‘Native Dog Rock’ – the Holgate & Friend Connection

“The dogs, which used frequently to kill stock, had their haunt in a rocky outcrop…Ultimately they were completely ousted. The area is still known locally as the Native Dog Rock.”
(from ‘Old Tom Brown of Wesley Vale Dalton’, Federal Capital Press, 1938, p. 18)

Although the Holgates only feature briefly in my direct ancestor story in Australia, the descendants of James and Maria Holgate (my 5X great-grandparents on my maternal grandmother’s side) have had long and sustained connections with my paternal grandfather’s family; the Friend family. Considering the close ties and ongoing friendships between these two family groups (the Holgates and the Friends of Dalton), I thought some elaborations were warranted.

The ‘founding’ couples of these two family groups for me in Australia were James and Maria Holgate, and Thomas and Mary Friend. After arriving in Australia, the Friend couple, Thomas and Mary, live and die in the Narellan district. Their son Samuel married Harriet Apps and moved to the Breadalbane plains, working on Chisholm’s ‘Raeburn’ property. Although Samuel and Harriet Friend and the senior Holgate couple both purchase neighbouring properties in Dalton, their direct paths would have only scantly crossed. The Holgates purchased their property on the Jerrawa Creek, Dalton, called ‘Rockstone Vale’, near a rocky outcrop that would later to be known as ‘Native Dog Rock’, around 1850. Four children were born to this founding Holgate couple; Stephen (died while on passage to Australia), William, Eliza, and James (their only Australian born child). All remained at ‘Rockstone Vale’ or nearby on neighbouring land where they added to their families, resulting in long lines of Holgate descendants.

Holgate & Friend Tree
Holgate and Friend abridged family trees: details of those not discussed here omitted

Samuel Friend purchased his land, now called ‘Myrtle Vale’, near Dalton on the Jerrawa Creek, in 1875. Although Samuel Friend and James Holgate (senior) would have been next-door neighbours for 11 years, these years were isolating ones for James Holgate who suffered terribly from illness and headaches that confined him to his bed. He died in 1886. James (junior) and wife Sarah (said to be the first couple married in the new Methodist Church in Dalton) lived at ‘Rockstone Vale’ until their deaths. At this point the name ‘Rockstone Vale’ almost disappears from the records. The house and its remains are no longer present, destroyed by a bush fire in 1979. The original Holgate property is eventually divided among the family descendants who built homes on neighbouring land. Names of the new properties included ‘Willow Dale’, ‘Homeleigh’ and ‘Sunrise View’, the later becomes the home of James juniors son, Jonathan Holgate.


While the neighbouring Friend and Holgate family surely had many dealings and established friendships (particularly through the marriage of David Holgate to Emily Friend), it was the sons of Jonathon Holgate and Samuel Friend that would forge strong and lasting links; their sons, Walter Friend of ‘Myrtle Cottage’ and Harold Holgate of ‘Sunrise View’, had common aspirations. Walter, along with his brothers, transformed his father’s property, which had primarily produced fruit, into a sheep operation. Harold Holgate was also forging a growing sheep property following his father who had fruit orchards. I am sure Harold and Walter would have had a healthy competition between them, but they also worked alongside each other. During these years Harold would be a second teacher to Walter’s sons as they learnt the farming trade. Harold had no children and may well have seen the young Friend boys as part of his extended family. Together, with their self-taught bush carpenter skills, Harold and the young Friend boys extended sheds on both their properties, surely under the watchful eye of father Walter, to better cater for busy shearing seasons and yards for year-round sheep work.

Beam on ‘Myrtle Vale’ shearing shed reading: “Built 1951 by HJH (Harold Holgate) CWF (Cliff Friend) KRF (Ken Friend)
Lamb marking at ‘Myrtle Vale’ c1960. left to right: Terry Friend, Ken Friend, Harold Holgate, Walter Friend.

At the age of 58, Harold married Marcella McKenzie (nee Martin). Six years later Harold decided to sell up, opting for a more relaxed lifestyle in his elderly years in Dalton with new wife Marcella. By this time Walter Friend had already passed and his two youngest sons, Cliff and Ken (my grandfather) had taken responsibility of the Friend family farm which, after building a new home for Ken Friend and wife Val, became known as ‘Myrtle Vale’. The two Friend boys purchased Harold’s land, stock and machinery to expand their sheep enterprise. Today the original ‘Sunrise View’ property is still part of the Friend family farm, while Holgate descendants still live nearby and continue to be close family friends. We still refer to the sheds on the old ‘Sunrise View’ property as “Harold’s” and the hill paddock behind the old home of Jonathon, and his son Harold as “Dog Rock”.

Panorama showing “Dog Rock” near Dalton, N.S.W, looking south. Click to enlarge


Holgate family history publication by Daphne Holgate
‘Old Tom Brown of Wesley Vale Dalton’ by Federal Capital Press, 1938
Oral histories and local tradition

Mentioned in this post:
Thomas Friend b.1812 d.1886
Mary Friend (nee Piper) b.1818 d.1861
Samuel Friend b.1840 b.1896
Harriet Friend (nee Apps) b.1842 d.1930
Walter Charles Friend b.1880 d.1961
Clifford Water Friend b.1925
Kennith Ray Friend b.1930
James Holgate (senior) b.1807 d.1886
Maria Holgate (nee Foster) b.1804 d.1894
James Holgate (junior) b.1841 d.1919
Sarah Holgate (nee Brown) b.1841 d.1919
Jonathon Holgate b.1864 d.1939
David Holgate b.1878 d.1981
Emily Holgate (nee Friend) b.1883 d.1967
Harold Holgate b.1907 d.1980

See Friend family tree for more.

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