A Batlow Pioneer Family - The Mouats
22 October 1946 The Tumut and Adelong Times
Away up in the Shetland Isles, off the Coast of Scotland, lies the ancient history of the Mouat clan, and it was from there that a young Gavan Mouat followed the call of the sea for several years, was twice round the world and looked like keeping up the good work until about 1860, when on a voyage to Australia aboard the 'St. Helena,' he met Agnes Rankin, an attractive young lady who, with her parents, was coming to the colony to settle.
Young Gavan found the call of his new love, Agnes, stronger than that of his old love, the sea, came ashore for good, married Agnes and took a job at Kiama where subsequently their first child, George, was born.
With news of the great fortune to be picked up easily over on the Adelong and Reedy Flat goldfields, Gavan soon decided to come across from Kiama and try his luck with the 'yellow stuff.'
Wife and baby were left in Tumut whilst he surveyed things out up on Reedy Plat and finally made a camp for them near the 'May Day' mine where he worked for some time with such well-known old identities as Tom Dacey and Tom Foley.
It was not long, however, before the Scot blood decided that he may as well work and make money for himself as for somebody else, and as a result a company or syndicate was formed comprising Mouat, Callaway, Carter and Beaver, which took over a claim just down-stream from the 'May Day.'
A job which made this combination famous was the cutting of a 20-mile race from high up in the Gilmore Creek to bring water to the claim, a colossal task when one realises the class of country through which the race had to come.
Whilst waiting in Tumut for her future home to be prepared on the 'flat,' Mrs. Mouat gave birth to her second child, Mary. Gavan Jnr. was the first of the family to be born on Reedy Flat, on May 21, 1864, and is now the second oldest native born of the Batlow residents.
There were subsequently four more children, Jessie, Agnes, Jack and Tom. Mining prospered reasonably well, through the years, and Mouat eventually bought out his partners after a move had been made to a new claim known as 'The Mud Holes' and which had entailed a further six miles being added to the famous 'Mouat's Race.'
The 'Mud Holes' were worked successfully for some time by father and sons, George and Gavan, until gradually farming superseded mining and the boys turned themselves to a variety of activities including farming, hauling, clearing, etc., whilst Gavan Jnr. also made quite a name for himself in foot-running.
With the young Mouats growing up, first Mary became married to the son of an Adelong mining family, the Collier's, then Gavan found himself un able to resist the charm of Rose Webber, a member of another of Batlow's original settler families and married her in 1891.
Jessie also found a mate from an old local family, the Rogers, and married Tom.
Agnes was not married until some years later, when she became the wife of a well-known local identity Will Jones, coach-driver for many years and subsequently Batlow's baker.
Neither George, Tom or Jack, were married and of these three only Jack survives and still lives near the early home at Batlow.
Tom died at the early age of 53 on January 31, 1926, Jessie passed away on 31st July, 1929, and George on March 26, 1934.
Gavan Snr. did not live to a great age. He passed away at 64, on Sept. 21, 1895, but his good wife completed the allotted span with a couple of years to spare, and died on January 17, 1909.
All these rest together in a corner of the Presbyterian section of the Batlow cemetery.
With Gavan the only boy of the family to marry, there is only one branch to perpetuate the family name, but with five sons there should be little risk of it dying out.
Bill, Jack, Harry, Donald and Jim, together with the two daughters, Katie and Jessie, are a 'brood' of which the older people are justly proud, whilst another son Leslie paid the supreme sacrifice in World War 2.
There are ten grand-children of Mr. and Mrs. Gav. Mouat - the fourth generation of Batlow Mouats.