By Richard Shiell
“Pierre (Peter) Pallot was a true pioneer of the Waanyarra district. He arrived with the first prospectors, raised a large family and now has over 500 descendants.
Born on 9th December, 1824, at St. Peter Port Guernsey, he was the son of Jean Pallot and his wife Jeanne (nee Queripel).
As a youth Pierre went to sea and it was as a seaman that he arrived in March, 1849 at Port Adelaide and took whatever work he could find. At one time he worked as a shepherd on the pastoral station ‘Vectis’ near Horsham in Victoria.
Pierre was seized by gold fever which swept the country in 1851. He went to Forest Creek diggings (now Chewton) near Castlemaine. There, he joined a party of Guernsey men who had also travelled from Adelaide. The party included Nicholas Gallienne and his son Frederick, Peter Le Messurier and Charles Baker. Charles was among the first to find gold at Jones’ Creek (Waanyarra) in 1853.
On 15th February, 1853 Pierre Pallot married Sophia Gallienne in Adelaide. It was thought that they travelled back to Jones’ Creek later that year and followed the various rushes which occurred in the district.
Evidence of this can be seen in the birth registrations of the many children Sophia bore in the following years at Kingower, Two Mile Creek, Beechworth, Dunolly, Newbridge and Tarnagulla. Later the principal abode of the family was at Ironbark Gully, a source of rich alluvial gold deposits for many years, and situated about one mile south-east of Tarnagulla.
Pierre took out a cultivation licence on 10 acres of land at Nuggetty Flat, north of Waanyarra in 1869 (Allotment 5, Section A). Later he took an adjoining 13 acres of crown land (Allotment 12). After the death of his wife Sophia in 1871 Pierre moved to this property. No doubt this was also to be nearer to the other Guernsey men and their families, many of whom by now were related to Pierre by marriage.
Charles Baker had married Sofia’s sister Marie, and sister Harriette had married Robert Scholes. Nicholas and Rachel Gallienne lived at Waanyarra until their deaths in 1888 and 1882 respectively.
Peter and Sophia had 17 children but only seven survived to adulthood. The oldest son John Henry Pallot was the only one to settle in the district and John’s property is still in the possession of his step-daughter’s family. Sophia had a son prior to her marriage to Pierre Pallot. This boy Peter Le Messurier was raised in Waanyarra by his grandparents Nicholas and Rachel Gallienne. He later married a widow Annie Barnes and conducted a general store and post office at Jones’ Creek.
Two of his descendants still live at Tarnagulla.
In 1886 Pierre, now 62, married his deceased wife’s sister, Lucretia aged 45. Lucretia had assisted with the upbringing of several of Peter’s children but unfortunately she died within a year of her marriage to Peter.
Pierre continued to reside at Nuggetty Flat until 1891 when he then sold his land for £1 an acre and went to live in rotation with various members of his family. In 1911 Pierre Pallot, aged 88 died in Prahran at the home of his son Bill. He is buried at the Brighton Cemetery.
It is 77 years since Pierre Pallot died and there would be few people alive today who would remember him even as an old man. One such person is his granddaughter, Ivy Pallot.
Ivy described her grandfather as a “small, quietly spoken, active man who had white whiskers and an animated manner. Among his possessions was a 45 cm. long bottle in which was enclosed a model of the barque Water-witch, the vessel which brought him to Australia. Peter also had a tin trunk in his bedroom in which he kept biscuits and lollies for distribution to his grandchildren.
It was 1902, while Pierre was living with Ivy’s parents in Horsham that he wrote a letter to his granddaughter Sophie, aged 17, daughter of John Pallot of Nuggetty Flat. This letter is evidence that Pierre must have obtained an adequate education as the handwriting was good and the spelling accurate. Although the letter was written when he was aged 77, the handwriting is firm and there are no signs of the mental or physical deterioration often seen in elderly people.”
Thanks to Edna and Alan Holt for their book of 1983, “A Pallot Story”, from which most of this article is derived.
Richard Shiell, 1988.