Robert Ennever or Enever was born in South Weald, Essex, England in 1826 into a farming family and was the eldest of eleven children, nine of them boys. He married Ellen Rainbird in 1851 and was a stone mason by trade in common with three of his brothers. Robert and Ellen with at least two children emigrated to Australia, Ellen and the children arriving in Melbourne in November 1862. It is thought that Robert had arrived some years earlier to pave the way for his family and he was the only member of his family to emigrate. The story of this Enever family, as they had then chosen to spell their name, and others who were early settlers in rural Victoria is told in Mitta Mitta: from the early pioneer days by S A Colquhoun, the village postmistress, and extracts are included below.
Mitta Mitta in the early days. From Mitta Mitta: from the early pioneer days, S A Colquhoun
"Mitta Mitta is a small picturesque village at the foot of the mountains, portion of the Great Dividing Range, in North Eastern Victoria. It is some 250 miles from Melbourne, 910 feet above sea level and situated at the junction of the Snowy Creek and Mitta Mitta River. It derived its name from a native word, Mutta Mutta, meaning thunder."
Gold was discovered in 1852 and a town developed in 1870 when mining began. The Post Office opened on 8 February 1870. The Pioneer Mine, to the west of the town, became one of the state's largest open-cut mines and with 441 kg of gold produced over 20 years. The Pioneer Mine was the third enterprise in Australia to use large-nozzle hydraulic sluicing and was managed for 12 years by James Hedley from the famous gold-mining family. In the early twentieth century gold dredges mined for gold yielding 167 kg of gold. Tin was also mined in the district. At the 2001 census, Mitta Mitta and the surrounding area had a population of 151.
The following are all extracts from various sections of 'Mitta Mitta: from the early pioneer days', by S A Colquhoun, Postmistress. Publ. December 1953).
Early selectors of land from Broadribb upwards on the eastern side of the river are as follows: Magorra: Robert Cardwell (Jack O'Connell's. first farm purchased in the district 1872 and Jack Scale's farm 1887), Christian Larsen, Robert Enever... (and others)
Businessmen and Tradesmen
Thomas Hardy, saddler, Robert Enever (Essex, England) Stonemason... (and many others)
Men who worked in the Pioneer Claim
Pioneer Claim. LtoR: Jos. Handford, Chas Beard, Jas. Cardwell, Robt. Cardwell, Alex McLeod, Walter Hodgkin and Geo. Enever. Mgr. Jas. Hedley, background. From Mitta Mitta: from the early pioneer days, S A Colquhoun
James Hedley, Manager, ... Robert Enever, George Enever (Shift Boss), ... (and others).
Robert Enever, Junior, and Charles Moncrieff kept the stones off the Grizzly.
George Enever, Thomas Walker and Schmack Bros. were the wood carters for the Dredge.
Some of the smaller claims were: Callaghan Claim: This claim was found and worked by Thomas Coleman, who cut the race into it from McMahon's Creek. His son, Edwin Coleman, also worked with him. It was then worked for a time by Robert Enever who sold it to a Melbourne firm, Messrs. George, William and Joseph Cottell. The latter did not work it very long and soon afterwards sold it back to Robert Enever, who on 1899 was joined by his son Robert and Robert Courtney, and this claim was then worked for some time by the three Bobs. On the 6th December, 1901, Edwin Coleman was killed by a fall of earth in the Callaghan Claim.
Music in the early days was provided with concertinas. Some of the players being Con Young, Nathan Scales and Robert Enever.
Serving in World War 1, William Scales lost a leg, William Colquhoun was invalided home and spent many months in hospital, Vincent Colquhoun died soon after returning home, the result of being severely gassed. Others were much impaired in health. Joseph Enever returned safely from the war and was electrocuted while working at Wonthaggi. John Alexander was killed by a car in Melbourne.
Mitta Mitta State School Heroes 1914-1918
J. G. Enever (killed) (and others)
Second World War: In September, 1948, plaques donated by the Shire in recognition of their service were presented to: Noel Enever (among others).
One of our Pioneer Women
Edwin Coleman & family. 1900 (from Mitta Mitta: from the early pioneer days)
There were many brave pioneer women who with their husbands helped to blaze the trail in this lovely district of ours. Of these there is one of whom I would like to make special mention, Mrs. Mary Coleman, of “Springvale” Mitta Mitta.
In December, 1865, Mrs. Coleman was born at Rocky Point near Stanley in Victoria. When about nine years of age her parents, Mr. And Mrs. Robert Enever, with their family moved to the goldfields at Granite Flat in John Cardwell’s bullock dray. It was here that she received her schooling.
At the age of 16 years she married Edwin Coleman and settled on the Mitta Mitta River. The spot is still known as Coleman’s Garden and many a picnic has been enjoyed under the shade of their old orchard trees. They later moved to “Springvale,” a property further down the river. Her husband was engaged in mining for a number of years.
On December 30th, 1898, Mr. Coleman’s sister, Mrs. Robert Enever, rode sidesaddle with her baby, James Enever, on her knee to visit her brother and wife. Jourmeying in the heat of the day she became ill and died at their home of sunstroke, leaving a family of eight children, the baby being only ten months old. Mrs. Coleman reared this little child until he was old enough to be cared for by his eldest sister.
On December 6th, 1901, Mrs. Coleman’s husband was killed by a fall of earth in the Callaghan Claim and his funeral took place from Robert Enever’s dwelling nearby – his late sister’s home. Mrs. Coleman was left with a family of nine children, the baby, Thomas Coleman, being about ten months old. She also reared a niece and a grandson.
Mrs. Coleman was a good horsewoman and rode sidesaddle. No distance was too great in time of sickness and bereavement. On one occasion when her son-in-law, John Burley, met with an accident and was admitted to the Albury Hospital she rode to Tallangatta intending to make the balance of the journey by rail, but upon her arrival there found she had just missed the train. Determined to fulfil her mission and having a good horse she again set off on a long ride to Albury.
For a number of years Mrs. Coleman was engaged in dairying at “Springvale” and supplied cream to the Eskdale Butter Factory, delivering it with horse and gig to the main Mitta North road, a distance of seven miles. She later moved with her youngest son to another farm, “Sunnybank,” about two miles and a half from the Mitta Mitta township.
During her long life, Mrs. Coleman enjoyed good health until 1935 when she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. The last few years she enjoyed travelling, visiting the homes of her family, and while spending a holiday with her daughter at Daylesford in 1946 she suffered a stroke. At the age of 82 years she passed away at the Tallangatta Hospital in January, 1948, beloved and respected by all who knew her.