Lovel BYASS 1811-1874, b. Worthing, Sussex, England to Dr John BYASS and Annie Maria PECKNELL, married in 1836, Surrey, England to Rebecca HALSTEAD 1809-1883, b. Kent, England to John HALSTEAD and .....

Dr Lovel and his wife Rebecca travelled to South Australia as the surgeon on a ship and settled on Kangaroo Island, South Australia in 1838 where a son Lovel was born and died as an infant. Additional information on the following external link...
Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association [Dr Lovell Byass]

By 1839 they had moved to Portland, south-west Victoria where a daughter was born in 1839.

Dr. BYASS and family moved inland from Portland to the Wannon River, south of Sandford, near "Merino Downs" station by 1843 where he took up some land and continued his medical practice until 1849 when he moved back to Portland.

In the 1850s the family moved to Warrnambool, south-west, Victoria where he continued as a medical practioner.

By 1863 the family had moved to Port Macdonnell, south-east, South Australia.

Dr Lovel BYASS died at Hamilton, S-W Victoria in 1874 and was buried in the Hamilton cemetery.

His widow Rebecca died in Melbourne in 1883 and was buried in the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew.

Dr. Lovell BYASS and Rebecca HALSTEAD had the following children:

  1. Lovel BYASS 1838-1838, b. and d. 1838, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
  2. Annie Marie Pecknall BYASS 1839-1924, b. 1839 Portland, S-W Victoria, d. Perth, Western Australia, m. 1869 to William Henry HEDGES c.1829-...(bef. 1897)... 5 children.
  3. John Lovel BYASS 1841-1868, b. Portland, S-W Victoria, d. Mount Gambier, South Australia, m. 1862 to Emma FROST c. 1837-1864.
  4. Peter George BYASS 1843-1896, b. Wannon River, near "Merino Downs" station, d. Mount Gambier, South Australia, m. 1869 to Emma CLARKE 1849-1920, b. Adelaide, South Australia, d. Mount Gambier, South Australia. 11 children.
  5. William Charles BYASS 1847-1930, b. Wannon River, near "Merino Downs" station, d. Perth, Western Australia, m. 1870 to Elizabeth NORTON c. 1844-1900, b. Staffordshire, England.

External link to : Australian Medical Pioneers Index [contains medical & background information]

Contribution from Robyn Waymouth

Lovel Byass was the son of Doctor John Byass, who practised in Maltravers Street, Arundel, Sussex, and his wife, Anna Maria, daughter of wealthy brewer and landowner Sir George Pecknell. John and Anna Maria had 12 sons, of whom 3 died before reaching adulthood. Of the remaining nine, 7 are believed to have become doctors; every account that can be found of them indicates that they were skilled in their profession and popular with their patients and in the communities they served. Lovel was the second youngest of the family, born in 1811.

Nothing is known of his early life, but it is possible that he acquired his medical knowledge by apprenticeship (perhaps to his father, who was also trained in this way?) rather than at a medical college; when in later years registration of doctors was introduced in Australia, he was accepted through a clause in the regulations which gave exemption to experienced practitioners.

On 5th January 1836 he married Rebecca Halstead, daughter of John Halstead, an army officer, at St Olave's Church, Southwark, London. About two years after their marriage Dr Lovel Byass and his wife, Rebecca, left England for South Australia. Lovel had accepted a position with the South Australian Company, as ship's surgeon of the 'Eden' and then as resident surgeon on Kangaroo Island, S.A., where the South Australian Company still had its headquarters, even though Governor Hindmarsh had already selected the area near Holdfast Bay to be the site for the capital.

The 'Eden' reached Kangaroo Island on 24th June, 1838, and Lovel and Rebecca lived at Kingscote until the end of that year, when Lovel's contract expired. While there they had a son, named Lovel, who died soon after birth. The headstone in the Pioneers' Cemetery at Kingcote is still in good condition. (1989)

They left the island on board the Socrates bound for Portland Bay, where old acquaintances, the Hentys, had established a settlement, and arrived there in January, 1839. There Lovel practised his profession, and was the first doctor in that part of Victoria. A stone marks the spot where his house was built.

During the next few years four children were born to them, Anna-Maria Pecknell (1839) the first white female child born in Portland, John Lovell (1841), Peter George (1844) and William Charles (1847).

In 1844 Lovel was persuaded by one of the Henty brothers to take up some land at Merino Downs on the Wannon, while still practising his profession. The venture proved unsuccessful and by 1849 the family was back in Portland. They moved to Warrnambool in 1851 and Lovel bought the practice of Dr Corney in 1853. In 1863 the family moved to Port McDonnell in South Australia, where they lived for four or five years, after which some of the family moved back to Victoria.

Lovell practised for several years in Merino, but when his health failed around 1872, he retired to Hamilton, where he died in 1874 and where he is buried. His widow died in Melbourne in 1883 and was buried in the Boroondara Cemetery at Hawthorn.

Of the sons, John Lovel married in 1862 Emma Frost, but she died two years later; John died in Port MacDonnell in 1868. Peter George remained in Mount Gambier, S.A., married Emma Clarke, had a large family, and died in 1896. William Charles had four sons, but only one, Philip, survived to adulthood; William Charles died in Perth in 1930. Anna Maria Pecknell married William Harry Hedges in Mt. Gambier in 1869, had five children, and died in Perth in 1924.

An anecdote as related by a grand-daughter of Lovel's, concerns a Mr McEachran of Strathdownie, a property between Mt Gambier and Casterton. News was received in Portland, no doubt by horseman, that Mr McEachran had been speared in the thigh by an aborigine, and was in urgent need of medical attention. Dr. Byass immediately set off on horseback to cover the largely uncleared fifty miles or so of country. He removed the spearhead, treated the wound, and returned to Portland the same way. Mr McEachran lived to an old age.

In 1987 a great-grandson of his confirmed this story when he spoke with a great-grandson of Lovel's at the unveiling of the stone which marks the site of Lovel's house in Portland, built in 1839.

Dr Lovell BYASS

Ref: Echoes of the Past" Shire of Glenelg BiCentennial Committee.
Originally Published: "Casterton News" 1886

The extract below is from an article based on an interview in 1886 with a Mr. Patrick LYONS and refers to an incident involving William McEACHERN and Dr BYASS.

P. 20 "Echoes of the Past:

....."Did I tell you," said he, "how Mr William McEachern was attacked by the blacks, and nearly murdered?"

"Well," remarked our host, "when Mr McEachern was managing Spring - bank, which was then known as the Cattle Station - this was about 1845 - he did not stand in very high favor with the blacks, for, you see, though he had no sheep at all on his run, whenever the blacks walked off with the Dunrobin sheep, Mr McEachern would join in the pursuit, and the blacks resented his interference in what, according to their ideas of right, he had no business in which to meddle. At this time one of his bullocks died on the run, and, when he went out next day, he found that the carcase had been carried away, which seemed to indicate that the blacks had had a hand in the removal."

"He would have been very angered by this," we ventured to remark.

"You may say that," said Mr Lyons - "and he wasn't long in going out after the cattle thieves. Well, he was riding about, and soon he saw some blacks about two miles from the hut that was on the run - there were two or three women, a boy, and a man, and they were digging yams."

"Well," he proceeded "Mr McEachern rode up to the blacks, dismounted, and began talking to them, questioning them as to what had become of the beast, when one of the black scoundrels, who had been hiding behind a gum - tree, threw a spear at Mr McEachern, who was standing at his horse's head, with the reins thrown over his arm. The spear entered his temple, and, while he was pulling it out, other spears were thrown. One of the women then came up close and, as Mr McEachern pulled the spears out of whatever part of his body they stuck in, the lubras picked them up, and added to his annoyance by prodding him with them."

"Did he go among these people unarmed, then?" we asked, in some surprise.

"No!' replied Mr Lyons. "He had a pistol with him, but he had, very unwisely, left it unloaded, which was the same, almost, as being unarmed. However, he used the pistol as a weapon of offence and defence, and he hit his male assailant with the butt-end, which broke off, and then he was entirely unarmed in the presence of those he was compelled to look on as his enemies. Indeed, although the blacks were friendly enough at times, with their marauding thievish habits, they could only be looked on as the white man's enemies at that time - they had not been thoroughly cowed. His endeavor to defend himself, by striking a blow, however, had its effect on the wretches, and he was able to remount his horse, and make the best of his way home, but he had not gone far when loss of blood from the spear-wounds compelled him to dismount again."

"Was he injured much, then?" we asked.

"He was hurt - he had a severe cut on his cheek and one eye was gone. Anyhow he made his way, as best he could, to the hut, and the hut-keeper sent a black boy off to Dunrobin, on Mr McEachern's horse, and Mr McPherson and I came down to the Cattle Station, about an hour after, when we found Mr McEachern almost dead. I went across the river for the doctor - named Boyce [sic], who was living then at what is now known as Boyce's Bend, between the Sandford cemetery and Councillor Rhodes'. By the same token, it was a little village of its own, then - there was a shoemaker named Rogers, and a tailor named Turnbull, living there at the time.".....

The extract below is from an article based on an interview in 1886 with a "Mr. JONES" from Strathdownie. Mr Jones is believed to have been William McEACHERN and this extract also refers to the same incident and Dr. BYASS.

P. 39 "Echoes of the Past:

....."In June, 1842, I arrived at the Glenelg, in charge of Mr John McPherson's cattle and horses. We came to the Glenelg, opposite the old Dunrobin head station. Mr William McPherson was then managing Dunrobin. The river was half-flooded, and there was no bridge, so I took the wheels off one of the bullock-drays, and, with the aid of a tarpaulin, I made a boat of it, by which we got all the things across the river. Then I made the cattle and horses swim across, in lots, myself and my horse swimming after each lot. Mr John McPherson, who was with us, got over in the dray boat, and so did the men, and we then took the cattle and horses to what was then called Morton's run, now Spring Bank. The former owner, Mr Morton, with his bullock-driver, was out stripping bark, and, having camped out at night, was killed by the blacks, about eighteen months before our arrival, and the place was deserted, through fear of the blacks, until we took possession in 1842. There was no Casterton for some years after that. In 1844, the blacks killed one of the Dunrobin shepherds, and took half the flock - some 750 sheep. Mr Wm. McPherson and his men were out for three days, but could not find the sheep. Then Mr McPherson came to me one evening, and stayed with me all night. He told me about his unsuccessful hunt after the sheep, and that he had at last to give them up, but knowing, as he did, that I was good at tracking, he urged me to go with him, and I at last consented, and I asked him to take me where he had last seen the tracks. He did so, and I then picked up the tracks, after passing through what is now called Bahgallah. We then followed them across the river. By that time it was getting late, and, as we were not prepared for camping out, I told Mr McPherson that we had better go home for the night, and that we should get some men from Mr John Henty's place, at Sandford, and so be better prepared for staying out on the morrow. This being done, we started next morning to where we last saw the tracks, and in the evening we came on the blacks and the sheep. The blacks were busy, making spears; they had three or four sheep on the fire, and were preparing for a feast, but the moment that they saw us they bolted into a ti-tree scrub, leaving everything behind them. We tried to have a shot at them, but they were better bushmen than we were, and so got out of our reach, so we took possession of the sheep, and got back four miles with them that evening. Next morning Mr McPherson and myself were leading the way, and the men were following with the sheep. Mr McPherson, on seeing the Digby ranges to the right of us, wanted to go that way, thinking that it was the Bluff at Runnymede, I wanted to persuade him to the contrary, and when I found he was firm in his own idea, I said, 'well, Mr Mac, you can go your own way, but, for myself, I will go home.' Mr McPherson did not like to part with me, so he followed me, and we got home with the sheep that evening. After that time every flock of sheep had two armed shepherds, and every hut two armed keepers. Even after my going after those Dunrobin sheep the blacks were watching me - as I had no jumbucks - meaning sheep - but only bullocks, they considered that I had no business to assist my neighbor to recover his sheep. They thought that if I was not in the party, the sheep would have been their own, for themselves and their friends to feast upon. In fact, I was told afterwards, that some of them tried to get a gun at a neighbouring station, to shoot me while after the sheep. It was about November 1844, that I was attacked by the blacks. The attack took place about two miles from the hut, near to what was called the Middle Camp. The blacks had taken to spearing cattle, after I had recovered the sheep for Dunrobin, and I had to take several of the cattle to the stock-yard, to cut out the spears that were sticking in them. After I found that the blacks were watching for myself, I used to carry a brace of horse-pistols, in holsters, on the saddle. On the day of the attack on me a duelling-pistol was all I had with me, and it was unloaded. My kangaroo dogs, which always followed me, did not follow me on that day, so that I was alone and helpless. I found the blacks hiding themselves amongst some trees on the cattle track, so that they would as I thought, spear the cattle on their way to the camp. When I spoke to them they seemed to be very frightened, and, as I knew they were always frightened of a man on horseback, I alighted, so that I could speak to them about the spearing of the cattle, when some blacks from behind commenced spearing me. Every spear I pulled out I broke, so that they had none left to use at last."

"I then faced one of the blacks with my empty pistol," states Mr McEachern, in continuation of his story "as if to shoot him, and then I broke the pistol over his head. I then remounted my horse, which was a young one just broken in, and stuck the spurs into him, and after going some distance, finding myself getting into thick timber, and being so weak that I could not guide my horse among the trees, I threw my self off, for fear of having my brains knocked out against the trees. The horse, when he felt me falling turned round, but did not pull the bridle out of my weak and exhausted hand. I was then so weak, from loss of blood, that I could not get into the saddle again, until I took the horse to a projecting root of a tree, above the level of the ground. By getting on to this root I was then able to get my foot into the stirrup, and myself into the saddle once more. The horse then walked homewards with me, but when I reached the hut I could not raise my right leg over the saddle, to dismount. Every time I would try to do so, I could hear the blood rushing through a wound on my back, opposite my heart, and I could feel the blood running down the inside of my trousers. I at last got off, with the help of my kind hut keeper, Michael Londrigan, who afterwards continued to be my nurse for three months during the time I was laid up. Mr W. McPherson sent for Dr. Corney, and I sent for Dr. Byass, and they arrived at the same time, and, after they had examined and probed my wounds, Dr. Corney said that, if I lived for four hours, there might be hope for me. Dr. Byass said twenty-four hours, Dr. Byass attended to me and did not leave my bedside for five days and nights, although his own house and family was only four miles distant, away on the Wannon. There was a piece of spear, three inches long, through my upper lip, clenched against my jaw-bone, which the doctor would not venture to cut out for some days, until he would see what turn my life would take. About two weeks before all this happened to me, I found blacks on the river, opposite Runnymede, with some beef they had carried away there. Then a black fellow went about fifteen yards on one side of me, and another about the same distance on the other side, with spears poised to throw at me. On my noticing their intentions, I said to the others that were standing by, 'Good night, good night to all,' and turned my horses round and coolly walked away, so the spears did not follow me that time. Another time they took the working horses away, and then sent one of themselves to tell me where they were. It was M Londrigan that went that morning to bring the horses, and when he got to where they were he saw several blackfellows sitting near the horses with a bunch of spears in their hands, and, on their seeing him, they sprang to their feet, and were quite disappointed when they saw it was not I. So, luck was kind to me that day in saving my life. All this took place, and more, after the killing of Casey, and the recovering of the sheep. In 1845, I came through the bush from Glencoe to Heathfield with a constable from Portland following me. Coming through Kilbride (now Nangwarry), I said to the constable that if I had stock, I would put them on this ground. The constable, on reaching Portland, spoke about what I had said to him, and at once people went out, and had a look at the country that was spoken of, so that it was soon taken up as a run.'......

Obituary : Dr Lovell BYASS

Warrnambool Examiner, September 1874:

Our obituary contains the name of Dr Lovel Byass, formerly a resident of this town. We are informed by his son, Mr. W.C. Byass, that deceased came to South Australia in charge of an emigrant ship in 1836 and after remaining at Adelaide some time he left for this colony and was at Portland, also at the Wannon. In 1851, Dr. Byass arrived in Warrnambool, and about two years after he purchased the practice of the late Dr. Corney. After twelve years residence in this town, Dr. Byass proceeded to Port Macdonnel, and subsequently to Merino, and whilst residing at the latter, in 1869, his health failed, and on retiring from professional life he went to reside at Hamilton. Two years ago he was attacked with paralysis of the left side, and the final attack came on during the past month. Dr Byass was the brother of Mr Robert Byass, the well-known ale and porter bottler of London.