Kuruc-a-ruc Homestead Collection

Scope and content note

Portrait by Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co

Situated in the Victorian township of Rokewood, Kuruc-a-ruc homestead was under the ownership of the Elder family from 1863-1963. The collection belonged to Miss Marion Elder, whose Grandparents Nairne Guthrie and Jessie Elder lived on the property. 

Featured in the collection is a photographic copy of a manuscript entitled 'A pioneer family 1841-1903'. The manuscript details the history of the Rowe family from the time of William Rowe's arrival in Australia. During his search for land William spent time staying at Kuruc-a-ruc, which was then under the ownership of the Aitchinson family. The Rowe family acquired a large amount of land in the region, including the property of Glenfine.

The collection also contains a large album of portraits, taken predominantly by Melbourne and Geelong photographers. Two other albums feature miscellaneous family photographs. There is also a small collection of loose photographs and a newspaper article, which relate to a survey of the "Dog Rocks" near Geelong.

'A pioneer family 1841-1903'

The manuscript details a history of the Rowe family from the time of William Rowe's arrival in Australia in 1841. It provides an account of family life in regional Victoria during the second half of the 19th Century.

While in search of land, William became ill. During this time he stayed at Kuruc-a-ruc, which was then owned by the Aitchinson family. Though their assistance, William acquired local land known as "Naringal" and set up a sheep station. In 1857 he also purchased the nearby property of Glenfine.  His son, William Thomas Rowe, later took over management of the property and commissioned the construction of the Glenfine homestead c.1873.

William Thomas married Elizabeth Stretch, daughter of Geelong's Archdeacon, Reverend Theodore Carlos Benoni Stretch. The manuscript primarily focuses on their life together at the homestead, including a period in the 1890s when the region became popular for gold mining. Elizabeth facilitated the development of the "Hollybush" township, which was built on the property to cater for miners of the Glenfine South mine.

The manuscript is accompanied by a photograph of cattle pulling a log through the bush.

Dog rocks survey

The collection contains eight loose and unlabelled photographs, which relate to a survey of the Dog Rocks near Geelong. These include images of landscape and native flora. Several photographs feature people involved in the survey and their cars. Accompanying the photographs is a newspaper clipping 'National Park Plans' by Charles Barrett.

Small cardboard album

The album contains a collection of unlabelled photographs, featuring images of people, picnics, the seaside, farming equipment and horses.

Burgundy coloured album

The album is only partially filled. It includes unlabelled photographs, which feature images of children at the beach, local buildings and sailing boats. A significant number of images appear to relate to an international vacation. The album includes some loose photographs, including a portrait of a young child, which features the signature of Melbourne photographer, Alice Mills (1870-1929).

Large album & list of photographers

The album predominantly contains a number of portraits taken by Melbourne and Geelong photographers. Ballarat, Sydney and international photographers are also featured, as well as one portrait each from photographers in Rokewood, Adelaide and Hobart.

Miscellaneous photographs which appear in the album include the image of a Buninyong cemetery headstone, which features the family name Gillespie.

The table below provides a list of photographers featured in the album. Photographs are numbered by page and either A, B, C or D (left to right, top to bottom on the page), coresponding with their location in the album.

Photographer / Studio




Alexander Brothers 88 Renfield Street, Glasgow
Bardwell, William Royal Arcade, Melbourne 1888-92 30
Bateman, John St. George's Street, Canterbury
Bear, William 60 Moorabool Street, Geelong 1880s 6
Burman, William J 209 Bourke Street East, St. George's Hall, Melbourne
Chuck, Thomas Foster
London Portrait Gallery
Royal Arcade, Bourke Street East, Melbourne 1870-74 25A
Creelman & Co
Burlington Galleries
Sydney Arcade, 408 George Street, Sydney 1886-1900 18
Duryea, T 158a Rundle Street, Adelaide
Foster & Martin 29 & 31 Collins Street East, Melbourne 1879-87 13D
Freeman & Co 346 George Street, Sydney 1880-90 21A
Grouzelle, Louis 69 & 71 Swanston Street, Melbourne 1887-91 7A
Hellis, Robert & Sons 13 Silver Street, Notting Hill Gate W & 30 Clapham Road S. W, London 1870- 24A
Imperial Photographic Co 109 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 1884-86 7C
Jamieson, J 42 Lothian Road, Edinburgh
Johnstone, O'Shannessy & Co 3 Bourke Street, Melbourne 1865-86 7B
55 & 57 Collins Street, Melbourne 1886-88 4
Kilpatrick 8 Donegall Place, Belfast
Lindt, John William 7 Collins Street East, Melbourne 1876-88 13A
Matthews, William T & Co 60 Moorabool Street, Geelong 1880-81 8C
Matthews, William T & McGill, Helen 60 Moorabool Street, Geelong
F. B. Mendelssohn & Co
Queens Walk Studios
80 Swanston Street, Melbourne 1889-1900 17
Millist, Robert William Rokewood 1898 2
Perry, George William Melbourne 1855-97 1
Richards, George & Co 19 Sturt Street, Ballarat 1886-96 9D
Shaw, George
Viewpark Photo Art Studios
Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh
Stewart & Co 217 Bourke Street, Melbourne

1879-91 14D
217 & 219 Bourke Street, Melbourne 1881-89 14A
284-286 Bourke Street, Melbourne 1899-1900 19
Turner, Joseph & Co 60 Moorabool Street, Geelong 1857-64 12D
Turner, Joseph
New Portrait Rooms
66 Moorabool Street, Geelong 1865-67 11C
Tuttle & Co 84 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 1883-91 22D
Waddington, Edmund Cosworth & Co 109 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 1883-84 9C
Wherrett, Charles
Melbourne Portrait Rooms
83 Elizabeth Street, Hobart 1872-81 8B
Willett's Art Studio 161 Moorabool Street, Geelong 1889-1909 16
Willett's Elite Studio Sturt & Bridge Streets, Ballarat
Willett's Photographic Temple of Light 30 Bridge Street, Ballarat 1888-91 9B
Wilmot & Key
Geelong Portrait Gallery
31 Malop Street, Geelong 1865- 23A
Yeoman, John & Co 47 Chapel Street, Prahran 1884-91 32
169 Bourke Street East, Melbourne 1885-99 7D