September 28, 2021

Old Places

Where we study the past to define our future

Arkells Lane Signpost

Arkells Lane Signpost

Arkell’s Lane, Bylands

Arkells Lane is named after Frederick George Arkell and a local history book, Pretty Sally’s Hill by J W Payne, states he came from Gloucestershire. Frederick was born on 15 May 1825 in Stepney, London, the 8th and last child of James Arkell and Mary Pearce. James and Mary were married on 3 February 1806 in Charfield, Gloucestershire, and James was born on 16 November 1778 in Guiting Power, Gloucestershire, the son of William Arkell and Hannah Hancock. William and Hannah were married on 16 April 1780 at Daglingworth, Gloucestershire1.

William is probably William Arkell baptised on 26 November 1763 in Guiting Power, the son of William and Ann Arkell. The next we hear of Frederick, now aged 19 years, is when he was indicted at the Old Bailey, for stealing, on 14 January 1845, 64 prints, 97 pictures, and 8 frames, the goods of Thomas Crump Lewis, his master: also, on 25 March, 3 1/2 lbs. weight of wool, and, on 28 March, 4oz. weight of wool, the goods of William Giles, his master.
Frederick pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 7 April 1845 to transportation for seven years. Thomas Crump Lewis was a paper hanger living in Buxton Street, Clerkenwell, in 1851 (Census).

Transportation to New South Wales had ceased in 1840 but continued in Tasmania and later in Western Australia. The newly settled district, later the colony of Victoria, was convict free, but there was a movement seeking cheap labour. So the government back home decided to introduce a new scheme whereby convicts who had received a sentence of seven years and had reports of good behaviour would be sent to Victoria with the promise of a conditional pardon on arrival in Melbourne. They were called “exiles”.

Frederick sailed from London on 6 January 1847 with 289 other convicts on the Thomas Arbuthnot and arrived in Melbourne on 4 May. During the voyage Frederick became sick with dyspepsia. Under the care of the doctor on board it took 13 days for him to be “cured”. After arrival Frederick found work in Melbourne2.

Frederick married Flora Cameron on 27 August 1849 at St James Cathedral, Melbourne. In 1909, writing about Frederick, the Kilmore Free Press stated that he “was one of the first men on the Bendigo (gold) diggings, having sunk the first hole there.” This would have been in 1851 when gold was discovered in large quantities along the Bendigo Creek.

Frederick and Flora had eight children: Anne Cameron born 1851, Mary Jane born 1853, Duncan Cameron born 1855 at Whittlesea, John Joseph, born 1856 at Whittlesea, Margaret Louisa born 1858 at Bylands, Charles Walter born 1860 at Bylands, Jessie Jane born 1862 at Bylands, and Allen Ewen born 1864 at Bylands.

The following is a summary extracted from the book Pretty Sally’s Hill by J W Payne:

“Frederick came to Whittlesea at the time the town was established in 1853 and built the first general store and bakery. He contributed to the building of the Church of England school in 1854 and was a trustee of the school for more than twenty years.

In 1855 Frederick purchased lots 106 and 107 in the Parish of Bylands and later adjacent lot 13C making a holding of 868 acres which he named Dene Park. From this property Frederick supplied meat to nearby settlers. He also supplied timber to Melbourne, about 35 miles to the south.

He was a member and sometimes Chairman of the Bylands and Glenburnie District Roads Board for nine years. The school at Bylands was established largely due to his efforts. He called the first meeting of local residents in 1864 and was correspondent (secretary) for the school from 1864 to 1877.

Frederick was also involved in his local church and built a store at Morphett’s Siding when the train line was built in 1870 to Seymour and beyond. At his suggestion this name was changed to Wandong. He also managed a sawmill east of Wandong for a short time.”

On 3 July, 1884 the Kilmore Free Press reported that Frederick’s wife Flora had died on 25 June. Frederick then married Martha Jane Kelly (1837-1910) in 1885. Three years later the train line from nearby Heathcote Junction to Bendigo was built, and it went through Frederick’s land. It is likely that Frederick and Martha, with all their children now adults, left Dene Park about this time, to be closer to Melbourne by moving to Moonee Ponds. After a long life of 93 years Frederick died at Moonee Ponds on 5 January 1920.

Arkells Lane
Arkells Lane


[1] Websites, familysearch, worldconnect, and, accessed February 2020 

[2] Public Record Office of Victoria and Claim a Convict, accessed February 2020

This article is copyright to Grahame Thom of Wallan and it was first published in the journal of the Gloucestershire Family History Society, No 150, Autumn 2016.