John Quiggin (1820 - 1893) and
Hannah Vincent (Abt 1822 - 1907)

John Quiggin was born February 8, 1820 in Ramsay, Isle of Man, United Kingdom. He was christened there the following day, February 9, 1820.

In his 19th year John left The Isle of Man for Liverpool, where he remained for a short time, taking his departure for Canada, where he carried on business as a building contractor at Kingston, on Lake Ontario.

While in Canada, he married Hannah Vincent at St George Cathedral, Kingston, Ottawa on January 21, 1850.

Their family

John and Hannah had five sons and three daughters

George Alfred Quiggin was born in 1850. No record of any marriage has been found. George died of Tuberculosis on 5 January 1895 at the Lunatic Asylum, Yarra Bend, Victoria, Australia.

William Vincent Quiggin was born on 27 April 1851. He married Alice Tatham in 1910 and they had one daughter, Bernice Florence Quiggin in 1911. He is currently recorded as dying in 1905 however this is impossible given the above dates.

John Edwin Quiggin was born March 21, 1853 and married Caroline Ellen Robertson on 9 March 1881. They later divorced after having 5 children Edwin Vincent James A Quiggin, Albert Stanley Quiggin, John Charles Fairfield Quiggin, William Vincent Quiggin and Marguerite Iris Quiggin. On 25 August 1897 John married May Winifred Rutherford and they had 5 sons Sidney Rupert Quiggin, Arthur Vincent Mackay Quiggin, Wilfred Charles L Quiggin, Clarence Edwin Quiggin and Laurence Rutherfurd Quiggin. John died on November 12, 1932.

Charles Frederick Quiggin was born about 1855. He never married. Charles was reputed to be the "black sheep" of the family, squired quite a few births and did the family out of a lot of money. He died of syphilis on 15 August 1885.

Hannah Rosamund Quiggin was born in 1857 and died in 1863.

Albert Edward Quiggin was born in 1860. He only lived for 14 years, dying on 7 September 1874.

Edith Gertrude Quiggin was born in 1863 and married McGinn Sharp. Edith worked as a servant.

Annie Quiggin was born on 12 April 1865. She died in 1874, aged 8 years.

Some years later John Quiggin removed further west to London and Hamilton, near Niagara Falls where he entered the milling business, following the flow of population westward, he entered the United States of America and erected sawmills at Milwaukie and Chicago, on Lake Michegan.

In the year 1858 John, his wife Hannah, and their first five children (George, William, John, Charles and Hannah) moved south to St Louis, a large city on the Missisippi, where he entered into the timber business on a very extensive scale, and with much success until the Civil War broke out in 1860.

Soon after this he met with a great loss, having his sawmill and entire stock of building material destroyed by fire, but not being discouraged, he took a partner, and they soon had new mills erected and the business was again in full swing.

But the fearful war still continued, and the fighting was so close at hand that, after having had two narrow escapes from losing his life, he sold his interest in the business to his partner at a great sacrifice. John refused to be naturalised and moved with his family back to Canada for safety.

Leaving his family at Port Hope, he started out to look for fresh fields. After a tour through Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, he went to New York and from thence took steamer for San Francisco, crossing the Isthmus of Panama, after a stay of only a month at this city. He afterwards left for Vancouver Island, where he took the management of a large Oregon sawmilling business.

Not thinking the place suitable to rear a young family in (there were only two white women on the island at that time) he decided to try his fortune in Australia, and left Vancouver in 1873 in a sailing vessel with a cargo of timber for Sydney via Cape Horn. Their first port of call was Boston. After sailing from Boston, their ship, "Thos W. House" was involved in a collision and had to return to Boston in a badly damaged condition. She was 3 months refitting. Sailing again, the ship was some time out of Boston when she was chased by a southern privateer, but escaped in the darkness. "Thos W. House" docked in Australia on 26 December 1863.

After visiting Tasmania John finally settled in Melbourne, Victoria and started in business as a shipping and commission agent, and very soon got a large connection, principally with Tasmania. Success accompanied his efforts, and eventually he became the owner of a number of sailing vessels and agent for many more. But the extraordinary rapid progress made in improvements in steamships soon enabled them to compete successfully with the sailing vessels. John, foreseeing what was coming, disposed of his shipping interest, but still continued to carry on the timber and commission business at his office in Flinders Street, Melbourne.

The Quiggins also had quite a large land-holding and homestead in Wynyard, Tasmania, as John's younger brother, Robert, had immigrated there in 1853.

In 1876 John visited the Goulburn Valley and thoroughly explored the red gum forests along the river from McCoy's Bridge up to Nagambie. He was so impressed with their extent and value that he at once decided to erect a number of sawmills. The first and most extensive he built in Mooroopna, at a cost of about 1000 pounds. He hurried the erection of this mill, anticipating that the Goulburn Valley railway was to be constructed at once, but the general election of 1877 and consequent change in the Government altered matters. The Berry Ministry changed the route from the west to the east side of the river, thus necessitating a new survey and a delay of a full 2 years. This was a serious loss.

In 1878 he erected sawmills at Toolamba and Murchison, and later on at Kialla, Arcadia, Cooma and Coomboona, besides a second one at Murchison. With these mills he cut nearly the whole of the timber required in the construction of the railway from Nagambie to Shepparton, besides that for many other lines throughout the colony. In addition to this, for seven years he was a successful tenderer to the Victorian Railway Commissioners.

In 1878 John started a branch of his timber business in Wyndham Street, Shepparton, Victoria on an allotment of land on which the public buildings now stand, and which he leased from the late Mr George North. In 1880 Mr Welchman took the management of this branch, which he conducted successfully ever since.

About 1880 the Shepparton and Melbourne businesses were transferred to John's sons, who carried them on under the style of Quiggin Bros. [The brothers lost the Shepparton business during the bank foreclosures around 1920].

In 1880 John Quiggin removed all his sawmills to Gippsland, where he carried on an extensive business up to the time of his death, following a paralytic stroke on Tuesday 21st November 1893. John died on Saturday 25 Novemver 1893 at Power Street, Hawthorn, Victoria

Tribute (Believed to have been written by a close friend of John Quiggin)

John never engaged in public life. Indeed, he appeared to have quite an aversion to politics. In business he was honest, energetic and persevering, and in social life was all that could be desired - a good husband, a kind father, and a firm friend. He was generous and benevolent in the highest sense, and the hungry or distressed never left his door unsatisfied. He was a firm believer in the Christian religion, and especially so during the later period of his life. He evinced much earnestness in making his "calling and elected sure". Well educated, and with a mind stored with a varied fund of knowledge, he was a companion of the most interesting kind, and his loss was keenly felt by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.