|Country of Origin||England|
|Date of Birth||11/2/1812|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1838|
|Submitted by||Yvonne Edward|
William Monger was born on 11th of February 1812, the second child born to William and Ann Monger, in Nailsworth in the Parish of Gloucestershire, England. Nailsworth played an important role in the boom days of the woollen industry being well known for its particularly high quality broadcloth. Prior to 1830 the mills had drawn on locals who worked in cottage-like industries including weaving to supply the mills. With the advent of steam power and greater mechanisation, new mills were built closer to the coalfields and the weaving of wool gradually died in Nailsworth, leaving a great number of people redundant. This had a flow-on effect to all trades with the result the area was left a rural backwater.
William Monger, a carpenter by trade and aged 21, met and married 18 year old Sarah Cox in 1833 in Avening. They had three children in the next three years with the third child, James only living for 10 days. The lack of employment together with the fact that his father had died and left William a small inheritance made the family decide to emigrate to Australia in 1838. Many Parishes devised schemes to assist potential emigrants and the Shortwood Baptist Chapel where William and Sarah were members helped 80 of their parishioners to emigrate to Australia. Accompanied by their two young daughters Cecilia 3-1/2 years and Ann 10 months, they set sail from England on the ship the ‘William Metcalfe\’ on 14th May 1838 arriving at Port Jackson on 31st August after a horrifically rough voyage of three and a half months. The ‘William Metcalfe\’ was a bounty ship organized by Mr J. Marshall, who was paid the sum of 18 pounds per adult.
Sarah did not like the lawlessness, heat and the parched countryside of Port Jackson so they were advised to go south to Port Phillip. They departed Sydney on 27th March 1839 as steerage passengers aboard the ‘Louisa\’, arriving at Williamstown\’s newly erected stone wharf on 6th April 1839. They were thrilled to see the first green grass since leaving England nearly a year before. Melbourne was still in the early stages of development as it was only 3-1/2 years since the first settlers had arrived. Five more children were born to them after their arrival in Melbourne. William purchased a block of land in Lonsdale Street where the Myer Store is today for 42 pounds 10 shillings and built a small cottage on it. William, in partnership with a friend from Gloucestershire, a Mr Peter Hurlstone, purchased the small steamer the ‘Firefly\’ which it is well documented to be the first steamer on the Yarra River. They only kept the steamer for a year when they took the engine out of it and put it to better use in a sawmill at Brighton.
William took over the management of a timber mill on the corner of Russell and Bourke Streets for Mr Anthony Hordern. They moved into a cottage on the site and sold their Lonsdale Street land for 235 pounds. William was a devout Christian and attended church services in Mr Samuel Crook\’s cabinet and coffin-making premises prior to the first Baptist Church\’s completion. The new church was built in Collins Street with Mr John Gill as architect, William Monger contracted for the carpentry work and Mr Crook making the cabinets. William was involved in the construction of many of Melbourne\’s early buildings. In the great depression that followed William was declared bankrupt as so many others were at the time. In 1856 William moved his family to Dandenong where he constructed the first flour mill in the area. In 1864 the family moved again to live in Sale, Gippsland. William in a partnership with a German man named Gustav Schneider built a sawmill on the Tambo river. The mill opened in 1864 and was named the ‘Wonga Wonga\’ sawmill. William joined with his sons in business and established a bone dust manure mill which soon became a steam threshing contracting business. William Monger and Sons built the original Hospital at Sale in a neogothic style, which was nicknamed ‘Two Turrets and a Dome\’ because of its pointy towers and a central dome.
William Monger died at Sale on 21st of September 1874 aged 62 years.