The life of Margaret McNie Aikman (1837, Scotland - 1909, Zeehan, Tasmania)

Margaret McNie Aikman, the daughter of Adam Aikman, migrated to Australia sometime after 1854. Her name is not shown in the Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923, suggesting that she was an assisted migrant or came under another name. Her siblings who also came to Australia were:

Margaret Aikman's husband-to-be, John Bowland, arrived in the colony with his brother Hugh Bowland on the Invincible, departing Liverpool on 5 June 1854, and arriving in Melbourne in August 1854. The passenger list states that they were English, but actually they were Irish - see below.

1859 - Margaret Aikman marries John Bowland and has children

Margaret Aikman married John William Bowland in 1859 in Scarsdale, Victoria, Australia (Victoria BDM Ref 3077). John Bowland was a schoolmaster originally from Wicklow a town on the east coast of Ireland.

Margaret and John Bowland had two children:

1866/1867 - John Bowland dies, Margaret marries William Morton

John Bowland died suddenly on 13 September 1866, aged 34 (Victoria BDM Ref 11995). The inquest into his death revealed that he died of 'aneurism of aorta'.

After John's death, Margaret Bowland (nee Aikman) married William (possibly George Sinclair) Morton, originally from Ayrshire, in December 1867 in Scarsdale, Victoria (Victoria BDM Ref 4202). William was a joiner by trade and apparently worked as a miner also in various places including Scarsdale and Bununyong (where he was employed by the National Gold Mining Company). When his son Adam was born, he described himself as a carpenter. Margaret and William had the following children (including one daughter), only two of which survived her death:

1870 - Birth of Lucy Broadbent - Melbourne

Lucy Maud Smith Broadbent was born in Melbourne in 1870 to John Broadbent and Mary Smith Thornton (Victoria BDM Ref 19672). She had one sibling and probable twin, Flint Smith Broadbent (born 1870, (Victoria BDM Ref 19671)). Lucy appears to have trained as a nurse and somehow ended up in Zeehan, Tasmania where she met Matthew Morton, see below.

Before 1884 - William and Margaret Morton move to Zeehan, Tasmania - Adam in Mines

At some point before 1884 (based on the death notice of her son), William and Margaret Morton and their family moved to Tasmania.

Adam ('A.G.S.') Morton was probably interested in mining because of his father's background. An article in The Tasmanian (Launceston) of 9 July 1892 noted that he was the 'late secretary of the A.M.A' and was departing 'from amongst us' (presumably from Zeehan, but to where is not noted). It noted that Adam 'had a genial way of conducting business, a courteous style of affording information, and a manly way of doing the work allotted to him'. He was noted in an article in The Tasmanian of 23 September 1893 as being a director of the Canary Ore S.M Company, which was mining between Dundas and Mount Reid. (He should not be confused with Alexander Morton who was the Curator of the Tasmanian Museum, who died in 1907. Alexander was born in Hardtimes Landing, Louisana, USA, the son of a planter and migrated to Queensland. It is possibly Alexander was related to Adam somewhow).

Before 1900 - Matthew Morton meets Lucy Broadbent - Zeehan

Lucy Broadbent worked as Matron of the Zeehan and Dundee Hospital for about two years (see below for further information) and there met Matthew Morton who was then 'of Zeehan telegraph operating staff'. They married in October 1900. The Zeehan and Dundas Herald of 28 June 1906 noted that Mr and Mrs Morton ('who as Miss Broadbent occupied the position of Matron of the Zeehan and Dundee Hospital for several years, during which period she gained the esteem and respect of all with whom she came in contact') and family departed Zeehan for Ulverstone on Wednesday 27 June 1096. (Also noted in the Daily Telegraph (Launceston) of 27 June 1906).

Matthew Morton was noted in The North West Post (Formby, Tasmania) on 21 July 1906 as being the postmaster and 'sub-collector of revenue' at Ulverstone. He apparently had also been appointed 'Under Secretary for Mines' which, after questioned, he explained simply meant that he was authorised to issue miners' rights for the district. The fact that the district was considered to have the potential for mining was thought to be a good thing, the article noted.

From 1909 - Adam Morton and the mines

From 1909 there are many references to Morton's section, property and syndicate, and the 'Dreadnought-Morton Mine' (two adjoining mines), in local papers including the Daily Telegraph (Launceston), for example in the edition of 11 February 1910, and The Mercury, for example on 19 August 1912. The Daily Post (Hobart) of 2 September 1910 described Adam as 'the well-known assayer' who had just returned from Hobart seeking capital 'for testing the value of two parallel tin bearing lodes on the selection in his name', located at North Dundas, South and adjoining South Renison [sic] Bell and North Dudley P.A.

1909 - Margaret Morton dies

Margaret Morton (formerly Bowland nee Aikman) died in 1909 in Zeehan. The Zeehan and Dundas Herald of 10 June 1909 notes that she died aged 75 at her residence, Main Street, Zeehan, and was the wife of William and mother of Adam and Matthew Morton, her only surviving children.

1909 - Sickness in Ulverstone - Matthew Morton seriously ill

The Daily Telegraph (Launceston) of 30 September 1909 noted that there was 'much sickness about the town (of Ulverstone) and district and several well known residents 'are laid aside', including Matthew Morton 'for whom much anxiety is felt' who was 'dangerously ill with pneumonia'. He was so sick in fact that relatives were summoned a few days earlier, expecting his death. For this reason, it would appear that Matthew and his family decided to travel to the mainland to recover in better medical facilities.

1910 - Adam Morton's wife dies, Matthew travels to Victoria to recuperate, Hugh Morton in Wynyard

The Daily Post (Hobart) of 30 March 1910 noted that Adam Morton was the chair of the Zeehan Caledonian Society. Adam's wife Miriam died on 15 December 1910 (when Matthew was in Victoria). He does not appear to have re-married.

The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times (Tasmania) of 8 June 1910 noted that Matthew was staying at the Greenvale Sanatorium in Broadmeadows, Victoria where is is 'doing well' recovering.

Matthew and Lucy Morton's son Hugh moved to Wynyard (Tasmania) in late 1910. According to the The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times (Tasmania) of 15 November 1910, he took over the management of the drapery business of Mr H H Burbury of Wynyard and was visiting Ulverstone on a flying visit. It was noted that his departure from Ulverstone was 'much regretted'.

The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times (Tasmania) of 1 May 1911 noted that Matthew had been on extended leave through ill health but was expected to take up duties again as the local postmaster shortly. The same newspaper on 5 May 1911 stated that 'the family' (indicating children) had returned to Ulverstone and had taken up their residence at the Post Office buildings. It noted that Matthew 'who has been on the mainland for some months to recuperate after a severe illness', received a hearty welcome on his return.

Adam Morton had a busy life. He was noted as chairman of directors of the Olympic Prospecting Syndicate in an article in the Daily Post (Hobart) on 3 October 1911. It would appear, from the article, that what was previously known as 'Morton's section' became known as Olympic.

1912 - William Morton dies

William Morton died in Zeehan, Tasmania, on 8 December 1912, aged 80. Only Adam and Matthew ('Matt') are mentioned in the death notice in the Zeehand and Dundas Herald of 9 December 1912.

1915 - New hospital in Ulverstone

A new hospital to replace the 'local cottage hospital' in Ulverstone was constructed during 1915. The Daily Telegraph (Launceston) of 7 October 1915 noted that the new hospital was erected 'to the order of Mrs Morton, late matron of the local cottage hospital'.

The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times (Tasmania) of 17 November 1915 and again on 20 August 1917 made reference to Matthew's wife, 'Mrs Morton's private hospital' in Ulverstone.

1917 - Matthew Morton dies aged 49

Matthew Morton died aged 49 on 15 July 1917 at Devon Hospital in Latrobe, Tasmania. His death notice in The Mercury (Hobart) of 17 July 1917 noted that he was the husband of Lucy Morton and brother of Adam Morton of New Town. His obituary in the Zeehan and Dundas Herald of 20 July 1917 was as follows:

At the Devon Hospital, Latrobe, on Monday last, Mr. Matthew Morton succumbed to a lingering illness. 'Matt,' as he was familiarly known, was closely identified with the early history of the Zeehan Post and Telegraph Office. He first embarked on his profession as a telegraphist with the Eastern Extension Cable Company, at Low Head, and subsequently joined the Tasmanian Telegraph Department, and came to the Zeehan office in 1891. In those early days, when the Silver City was justly described as the Wild West, Matt had a busy time, and his expert knowledge of his craft and skilful manipulation of the instruments stamped him a man of more than ordinary ability. He retained his position until 1903, when, owing to failing health, he was transferred to Ulverstone. Unfortunately the warmer and sunnier clime of that delightful North-West coast town failed to work the charm of restoring his shattered health, and Matt early reached the invalid state. He was a man of broad intellect, well-read, and a deep thinker, and, as most men of such temperament, a philosopher. For years past he knew his case was hopeless, and he made little of his trials and sufferings. In recording his release, at the comparatively early age of 49 years, sympathy goes, out to his widow and family. He married Miss Lucy Broadbent then matron of the Zeehan and Dundas Hospital, who now conducts her private hospital at Ulverstone. Mr. Adam Morton, who recently joined the staff of the Amalgamated Zinc Limited, at Hobart, is his only surviving brother. The funeral took place at the Church of England cemetery, Ulverstone, on Tuesday, when several West Coasters were present.

1921 - Lucy Morton ill, Adam Morton in China

Lucy Morton visited Melbourne in August 1921 (possible as a result of an illness, see below), according to the Advocate (Burnie) of 2 August 1921. During that time the 'LevenBank' Hospital would be managed by Sister Jenkins.

The Zeehan and Dundas Herald of 30 September 1921 noted that Adam Morton was now the manager of an English mining company operating in China. He wrote a letter to J A Duff in Zeehan from Kwong Tung province in which he noted the physique of the local Chinese and other observations.

1922 - Lucy Morton dies

Lucy Morton (nee Broadbent) died in April 1922 at Ulverstone. Her obituary in the Advocate (Burnie) of 1 May 1922, reads as follows:

Ulverstone mourns the untimely death of one of its most respected citizens, in the person of Mrs. L. M. S. Morton, late matron of the Levenbank Hospital, and relict of thc late Mr. Matthew Morton. During the last six months, she fought valiantly against death, which claimed her on Saturday afternoon. Born at Elwood, Victoria in 1873, she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Broadbent, and was educated at the Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne. She received her medical training at the Albert Hospital. For a time she was engaged in private nursing, and her first charge was that of the Zeehan Hospital, in which she held the position of matron for about two years. In November, 1915, she opened the Levenbank Hospital for private nursing, and conducted it till stricken down last year. The following child renare left to mourn their loss: Thomas, Hugh, Matthew, Grace and Marjorie. The remains were laid to rest yesterday in the Anglican portion of the Ulverstone General Cemetery. The cortege was a very lengthy and representative one, and there were many very beautiful floral tributes. The initial protion of the service was conducted at Holy Trinity Church by the Kev. L. U. Alley, and concluded at the graveside. The chief mourners were Mr. Thomas Broadbent (brother), and Mr. Thomas Morton (son). The pallbearers were Drs, Gollan and Ferris, Mr. T. Collett, and Hon. H.A. Nichost(?) while the coffin was borne by Messrs. T. Wilson, L. G. Bonner, W. Bricknell, and A. R. Wilkins.

1930 - Adam Morton dies

Adam Morton died in Melbourne in 1930. His obituary in the Examiner (Launceston) of 20 May 1930 states that he went to Zeehan 'in the early days and acquired an extensive knowledge of the field. A graduate of the Zeehan School of Mines, he practised as a public assayer for some years, and then went to the East [e.g., Asia]. He was an enthusiastic member of the Caledonian Society while at Zeehan'.

1941 - Grace Morton visits Tasmania

Matthew and Lucy Morton's daughter (sister) Grace Morton, who was then in charge of the Black Rock (Victoria) Infant Health Centre, visited her brother Hugh Morton in Burnie on 11 April 1941, and then travelled to Ulverstone the following day, as reported in the Advocate (Burnie) of 15 April 1941. The article noted that Grace lived at Ulverstone for many years when her late mother was matron of Leven Bank Hospital. She then returned to Melbourne.

Page created 11 December 2011, updated 27 December 2018. Copyright 1985 - 2018, Andrew Warland. email: andrewwarland(at)