The life of Alexander Aikman (1842 - 1927) in Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Alexander Aikman (19 Jan 1842 - 22 Sep 1927, Geelong) was the youngest son of Adam Aikman (1801 - 1850) and Margaret McNie (1801 - 1863) from Stirling, Scotland.

Two of Alexander's sisters migrated to Australia before him:

Alexander Aikman and his brother James Aikman (1840, Cambusbarron - 1919, Drouin, Victoria) and James' wife Elizabeth (nee Ferguson) and their baby, arrived in Port Philip, Australia in June 1863 on board the ship 'Bates Family'. It is not yet known if he alighted at Geelong or Melbourne. In any case, he moved to Geelong where he lived.

Alexander Aikman married Mary Ann May (28 Sep 1843, Geelong - 7 Jan 1908, Geelong) on 29 July 1864 in the Manse of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Geelong (Victoria BDM Ref 3039). Mary Ann May was the daughter of Stephen May, a bricklayer (and former convict), and Ann Farrell. On their wedding certificate Alexander Aikman is described as a 'ploughman'. For most of their lives they lived at 'Hotham House', 23 Bellarine Street, Geelong.

Alexander's brother John Aikman (1838, Cambusbarron - 23 May 1917, Leongatha, Victoria) married Abigail Patrick in 1866 in Victoria, Australia (Victoria BDM Ref 641). Abigail was the daughter of John Patrick and Janet Wallace, and was born in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Alexander and Mary Ann Aikman had the following children:

August 1876 - Death of Ann May

Ann May (nee Farrell or Ferrall), the mother of Alexander Aikman's wife Mary Ann, died on Wednesday 23 August 1876, drowned in the Barwon River at Birregurra (Vic BDM Ref 8131). She was 54.

3 October 1877 - Death of Mary Ann Aikman

Mary Ann Aikman (born 10 October 1876) died on 6 October 1877. She was buried in the old Presbyterian section of the Eastern Cemetery in Geelong (PR4).

31 October 1877 - Death of Stephen May

Stephen May, Mary Ann Aikman's father, died on 31 October 1877 in the Geelong Hospital, of hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body) for 3 months - suggesting he had a stroke (or possibly other causes including brain tumour or infection). He was said to be 77 but was probably 74 (born 1804). Curiously, his death certificate states that he spent 10 years in NSW and 40 years in Victoria. Also curiously, he was buried at the Eastern Cemetery in Geelong, not with his wife Ann at Colac who had died in August the previous year (suggesting that the two had parted ways) but with his grandaughter Mary Ann Aikman who died on 25 days earlier, in the old Presbyterian section PR4.

1892 - Alexander Aikman, Fruiterer

By 1891/92, Alexander Aikman (senior) was listed as a Fruiterer and Registry Office, with offices at 254 Mooroolbool Street and 177 Ryrie Street, Geelong.

1896 - Marriage of Janet Aikman

Janet ('Jessie') Aikman (1870 - ?) married Jonathan McKenzie in 1896 (Victoria BDM Ref 4874) and they had children.

1902 - Marriages of brothers Stephen William Aikman and Adam Aikman

Stephen William Aikman (1874 - 1925) married Annie Ellis in 1902 (Victoria BDM Ref 7438). They had two known children, one of whom died as an infant. When Stephen died in 1925, only his son John ('Jack') was named in the death notice. This raises the question of who the other three children (Peter, Gwen, Helen) are:

See below in 1925 regarding Stephen's death.

Adam Aikman (1872 - 1956) married Evelyn Trickett in 1902 (Victoria BDM Ref 3436). They lived in Redfern where there first child was born, then Bathurst, possibly Melbourne for a short time, then Young in NSW where he ran an engineering business. At some point they moved to Sydney where Evelyn apparently made kilts (The Sun newspaper of 9 July 1953 ran an article on the kilt making of Mrs E Aikman and her son Mr G Aikman). Their children were:

1908 - Death of Mary Ann Aikman

Alexander Aikman's wife, Mary Ann, died on 2 January 1908 at 'Hotham House', Bellarine Street, Geelong. She was 65. Her death was noted in the Geelong Advertiser of 4 January 1908.

1909 - Marriage of Margaret McNie Aikman

Margaret McNie Aikman (1885 - 1965) married James Albert Cowley (eldest son of James Cowley of Seymour) on 17 February 1909 at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Yarra Street, Geelonsg (Victoria BDM Ref 1246, Geelong Advertiser 18 March 1909). They had the following children:

1921 - Marriage of John Andrew Aikman and Ethel May Aikman

Ethel May Aikman (1889 - ?) lived in Sydney, possibly near her brother John Andrew Aikman in North Balmain. She married Walter O'Shannassy in 1921 (NSW BDM Ref 15285/1921).

John Andrew Aikman (1878 - 1954) lived in Sydney but died in Melbourne. He married Letitia (Letty) Sheehan in Balmain South, Sydney, NSW in 1921 (NSW BDM Ref 1322/1921). They do not appear to have had any children. His death 'at Melbourne' was reported in The Argus of 21 January 1954, which noted his siblings as follows: Alec (deceased), Adam, Jessie (Mrs McKenzie), Ann (deceased), Stephen (deceased), Jim, Alice (Mrs Jackson), Margaret (Mrs Cowley) and Ethel (Mrs O'Shannassy). John Andrew Aikman was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium (Melbourne) on 21 January 1954. He was clearly still living in Sydney; his probate notice in The Sydney Morning Herald of 3 March 1954 noted that he was 'late of Glebe' and an engineer. His estate was granted to Letitia Aikman, sole executrix. No children are noted.

1925 - Death of Stephen Aikman

Stephen Aikman's death was reported in the Geelong Advertiser on 2 December 1925, as follows:

The funeral of the late Mr Stephen William Aikman, loved husband of Mrs Annie Aikman, a well-known and highly respected resident of Melbourne Road, Geelong West, took place last Saturday afternoon, privately in the Presbyterian portion of the Eastern Cemetery in the presence of a large number of relatives and a few personal friends. The glass (?) and two carriages were followed by a number of motors and private vehicles. The heavy silver-mounted polished casket was borne from the hearse to the graveside by Messrs R Brown, F Ellis, W Ellis, and J Aikman. The following supported the purpose pall: Messrs F Renshaw, G Walker, F Ellis, L Ross, A Brewer, R Brown sen, H Nelson, T Ellis, G Craig, and W O'Shaughannesy [sic]. Rev J Smith of North Geelong Presbyterian Church conducted the service at the home and Rev Charles Neville of St David's Presbyterian Church conducted the service at the graveside. Many beautiful floral tributes were sent by the following friends: Mr and Mrs C Culph, Mrs Culph and family, Mrs T Ellis, Miss Holmes, Uncle and Aunt and Him, Mr and Mrs J McKenzie, Mr and Mrs G Walker, Miss Chapman, Employees of A Aikman and Co Steel and Marwood, Mrs Condie and family, Arthur and Rose, Mr and Mrs Craig, Mr and Mrs F Renshaw, Mr and Mrs W Ellis, Mr and Mrs H Nelson, Mr and Mrs R Brown, Mr and Mrs A Ellis, Mr and Mrs T Ellis.

1927 - Death of Alexander Aikman (senior)

Alexander Aikman senior, undated but possibly around 1895 - 1900. Original album photo is endorsed 'a great Scotchman'

Alexander senior died aged 85 on 22 September 1927. His death notice in the Melbourne Argus of 23 September 1927 noted that he died at his residence, 'Hotham House', at 23 Bellerine Street, Geelong, and that he was 'the beloved husband of the late Mary Ann Aikman, and loving father of Alex, Annie, Jessie (Mrs McKenzie), Adam, Stephen (deceased), John, James, Margaret (Mrs Cowley), Alice, and Ethel (Mrs O'Shannassy)'. His death certificate states that he died of 'thrombosis cerebri', was senile, and was a 'retired storekeeper'.

1933 - Death of Annie Aikman

Annie Aikman's death notice in The Age on 21 October 1933 noted that she 'passed peacefully away at her residence, 'Hotham House', No 1 Bellarine Street, Geelong'. It noted she was the sister of Alexander, Janet (Mrs J McKenzie), Adam (Sydney), Stephen (deceased), John (Sydney), James, Alice, Margaret (Mrs Cowley), Ethel (Mrs O'Shannassy).

Page created 11 December 2011, updated 2 May 2019. Copyright Andrew Warland. email: andrewwarland(at)