Wyndham History

Jessie Anderson


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Person Item Type Metadata

Death Date


Biographical Text

Jessie Anderson was born Janet Kennedy in Laggan, Inverness, Scotland.  She emigrated to Australia with her husband James Anderson in 1841.

Jessie and James had ten children, six in Scotland (Margaret, Stephen, Samuel, James Stephen, Archibald and Isabella) and four in Australia (Jessie, Louisa Jane, John and Robert). Two children, Archibald and Isabella did not appear in the shipping records so they may have died before the family came to Australia.

The shipping records show that Jessie was not able to read or write, but she Jessie did at least learn to sign her name as her signature in on James’ probate papers.

Jessie followed her husband as they made their way in the new country.  Their first child born in Australia, Jessie, was born in 1841 at Mount Bute, Wardy Yallock.  Louisa Jane was born a Little River, John Robert was born at Skipton in 1844 and their last child Robert was born at Lollipop Ponds in 1848.

After James Anderson died in 1853, Jessie purchased the Rothwell Inn at Little River. Jessie was charged in 1856 with selling grog to railway labourers after hours ‘whereby they became riotous’: her defence was that they had become riotous first, threatening her with a knife and axe and tearing down a door before taking over the bar.  She was fined ten shillings.  Although Jessie is accepted as being the licensee of the Rothwell Inn, in the obituary of her son Stephen it states that after his father's estate was sold ‘the deceased purchased the Rothwell hotel at Little River, before the railway was opened from Melbourne to Geelong. After conducting that well-known hostelry for 13 years he disposed of it’.

Stephen returned to station management in the Western District (he was a renowned wool classer) and Jessie lived with her sons John and Robert who looked after the Little River railway gates.

Jessie died at the Break o' Day in the Rokewood district (near Ballarat) on 27 June 1871 after a three week illness.  She was possibly with her son John, who had gone to the gold diggings there.  The cause of death was listed as Atony (lack of muscle tone) of the stomach.  She is buried at the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.


Pioneer Profiles: A Port Phillip Pioneer’s group project, Volume 3, 1995. Contributed by Mrs Vicki Sach.

Wynd, Ian. So fine a country: a history of the Shire of Corio, Shire of Corio, 1981, p.125

1907 'DEATH OF A WERRIBEE PIONEER.', The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 11 May, p. 4, viewed 30 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90165360


“Jessie Anderson,” Wyndham History, accessed September 26, 2022, http://wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1158.


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