Hector Gollan: 1843 to 1922

Captain Hector Gollan

Born: 21 January 1843

Died: 1 July 1922

He married Margaret Shoesmith in 1883 in Sydney.


Sydney Morning Herald Monday 17 July 1922



Captain Hector Gollan, who died recently at Tinonee in his 82nd year, was one of the most widely known men in the Manning shire, having taken an active part in the building up of this part of the State.

He first was engaged in the timber industry.

Later he turned his energies to shipbuilding, and he built the schooner Isabella Gollan, which traded on the coast for many years.

He also built the ketch Maggie Gollan and the tugs Christina Gollan and John Gollan.  Captain Gollan gained his master’s certificate, and, taking charge of the Maggie Gollan for years made regular trips between Sydney and the Manning.

Captain Gollan took a keen interest in civic affairs, acting as president of the local Agricultural Society, Manning River District Hospital, Progress Association, and other organisations.

He was also one of the representatives of C Riding in the Manning Shire Council.



The Northern Champion Wednesday 5 July 1922


Captain Hector Gollan, J.P., a grand old pioneer, died on July 1st at his late residence, “Bellmont,” Tinonee.

Born in Scotland 80 years ago, he arrived in Australia with his parents when only a child and lived practically the whole of his life in the Tinonee district.

He served well in the public life of the Manning. He was for many years a councillor in the Manning Shire Council; and a member of the M.R. A. & H. Committee for several years; he also served on the committee of the M.R.D. Hospital and was a great financial help to that institution.

Year after year he placed his fine steamer ”Christina Gollan”  at the disposal of the committee for excursions to Harrington free of charge.

He also sat for years on the Licensing Bench, and when retiring about the end of last year he remarked that his health warned him that he must give up his public offices and make way for younger men.

He was a shining light in the nautical world, having built his own ships and sailed them. The ships that he built were the Isabella Gollan, the Christina Gollan, and the John Gollan, the latter being stationed at Harrington as a tugboat for the past 30 years.

He also built quite a number of oil launches and pulling boats, and he built a fine sawmill at Tinonee, which was totally destroyed by fire soon after its erection, but his enterprising nature soon had the structure rebuilt. This he handed over to his sons, trading under the name of “Hector Gollan & Sons.”

He took a keen interest in our harbor works at Harrington and when the work was first begun he wrote to the press criticising the building of a northern breakwater, and he predicted

that some day the breakwater would be left high and dry. The present position of this breakwater upholds his criticism made over 30 years ago. He also said before the spur wall was started that it would be a white elephant.

For a great number of years he traded between the Manning and Sydney in his good sailing ship The Maggie Gollan. 

He claimed that he was the only man who ever brought a sailing vessel over the Manning bar at night time.

Many excellent qualities combined made the late Captain Gollan beloved by his follow men.

His genial personality, his never falling kindness especially to those in distress, his ever ready and practical sympathy and his unshakeable loyalty to his King and country were among these.

The funeral look place on Sunday afternoon and was the largest ever seen in the district. The sight of the long, sad procession as it moved slowly away from the old homestead was one not easily to be forgotten. The procession out of the town was led by Piper J. M. McLeod, of Taree.

The Rev. S. P. Stewart and Rev. W. Tassie officiated at the graveside; Mr. Bridge having charge of the funeral arrangements.

The casket in which the body was laid was made of cedar planks procured by the late Captain Gollan 30 years ago for this purpose.

The late Captain Gollan leaves a widow and five sons, namely: Messrs Hector, George, John, Donald, and William, all of Tinonee, to mourn their loss.


The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer Friday 7 July 1922


After a period of illness extending over several weeks, Captain Hector Gollan, J.P., died at his residence, Tinonee, on Saturday afternoon last, in the 82nd year of his life.

The deceased gentleman was probably the most widely known man in the Manning Shire, and was well known in the commercial and industrial centres of the State.

Wherever he was known his name was hold in the highest esteem, His was a warm hearted, breezy personality, which attracted lasting friends.

The late Captain Gollan came to the Manning with his parents in the long ago, when the history of Australia was in its primer stage.

A narrative of his long, useful and well-spent life, in which were mixed hardships, trials, and successes, would fill a large book, and would be highly interesting reading.

The late Mr. Gollan was not only a pioneer of the soil — he was an industrial pioneer, and no man who ever lived in the district did more for development along sound lines than he did.

He was not a superman and did not claim to be one, but he was a man of dauntless course and energy, one who would not be set aside from the course he had mapped for himself, because he saw difficulties and dangers ahead.

The first portion of land he cleared was near the Dawson, and on it he grew a crop of corn, the grain of which was promptly eaten by white cockatoos.

Later he directed his energies towards the timber trade specialising first in cedar and other soft woods, and in later years to hardwood.

Always a handy man with tools, he determined to build vessels to trade between the Manning and Sydney.

His shipbuilding yard was at Tinonee, and the first vessel he turned out was the schooner ‘Isabella Gollan’ which had a long career on the coast.

The ketch ‘Maggie Gollan’ was next, then followed tugs ‘Christina Gollan’ and  ‘John Gollan.’

The last named is now doing harbor work at Harrington, and the fact that the hull is practically as sound to-day, after being buffeted for 35 years by the waves of the treacherous Manning bar, is a great testimony to the honest work put into it by the conscientious builder.

The story of Captain Gollan, when in command of the ketch ‘Maggie Gollan’, is more like a romance than a tale of coastal trading. After the launching of the vessel, the builder decided to go to sea in her, and qualify for a master’s certificate. Putting a skipper on board, and working as a sailor, he mastered the secrets of seacraft, and obtained his ticket in course of time. He then took charge of the trim little vessel, and for years made regular trips between Sydney and the Manning.

There was no tug at the heads then to help vessels in or out across the dangerous bar, but Captain Gollan was singularly free from accidents, and is admitted to be the only man who ever sailed a vessel from sea into the river at night

For years the ‘Maggie Gollan’ was ‘the farmers’ friend,’ taking their maize away and bringing back supplies from Sydney.

All of this is reminiscent of the days of little sailing vessels on the water, and bullock drays on the land; and brave and industrious men, and equally brave and industrious women, on the lonely homesteads in the bush.

It is worthy of note that none of Captain Gollan’s vessels ever carried insurance whilst they were under his control.

Captain Gollan loved Tinonee, that prettily-situated hamlet which was once the commercial and shipping centre of the Manning.

He fought hard to retain it, and to develop it, but he did not have the assistance in his efforts which might have been extended to him, and the forces of Taree and Wingham proved too strong, and Tinonee faded. But the old captain still clung to the old place, and ended his days there, leaving worthy sons to perpetuate a worthy name and bequeathing to them a noble example to follow.

Tinonee will miss him— miss the grand old man who ever had a cheery word for the child in the street, for those in lowly situations as freely as for those in higher.

‘King of Tinonee’ was a term affectionately bestowed on him by the people of the town who know his sterling worth.

The late Mr. Gollan was a man of charitable nature, but, true to the spirit of his race, he  disliked all ostentation. He never allowed, his left hand to know what his right hand did, but through the long years of his life generosity was an outstanding trait of his character, and those of the second and third generation can speak of acts of kindness by Hector Gollan to those who have passed to that client somewhere in which he joined them on Saturday last; and many who are comfortably situated to day have a good deal to thank him for.

Although a very busy man in his own affairs, the late Captain Gollan, before the snows of time had gathered so thickly on his head, took an active and intelligent part in all civic district matters, and pat as committee man and oftimes president of the Agricultural Society, M.R.D. Hospital, Progress Association, and kindred bodies.

For a term he was one if the representatives of C riding in The Manning Shire Council.

He was also a man of’ deep piety, and a life-long adherent of the Free Presbyterian Church, retaining to the end in his household the beautiful pen-picture of family life painted by Burns, in Cotter’s Saturday Night.

The late Mr. John Gollan (father of the late Hector Gollan), and who died at Tinonee on Tuesday, September 26, 1907, was born in Rosshire, Scotland, in 1814, in the stirring times of Napoleon, and came to New South Wales in 1851, accompanied by his wife and sons— Hector, Roderick, Thomas— and a daughter (Maggie), now Mrs. McPhee.

They went first to Raymond Terrace.  On July 30, 1852, the family left Raymond Terrace for the Manning, arriving at what is now known as Purfleet on August 20, after a tedious journey of 21 days.

It will, of course, be understood that roads did not exist in those far-off days, and on arrival Mr. Gollan found the Manning in practically its primeval condition.

The site on which Taree now stands was then standing brush.

Mr. Gollan was one of the early pioneers of this now prosperous district.

The surviving members of the family of the late Captain Gollan are Mr. Thomas Gollan, Sydney; Mrs. McPhee, Casino; Mrs. John Allan, Wingham and Mrs. J. W. Ellis  Tinonee.

The deceased gentleman leaves a widow, and the following sons: Hector, George, John,  Donald and William.

The funeral took place in the Tinonee cemetery on Sunday afternoon last, and the day was bleak and showery, it was a very impressive one.

The polished cedar coffin, which contained the mortal remains, was covered by beautiful wreaths and was conveyed to the cemetery in a hearse drawn by four black horses.

The gathering ‘at the graveside was a representative one of great tribute to a worthy man.

Many old men, bowed with the weight of three-score years and more, were there, also many younger men, to whom the name of Hector Gollan had been a household word.

The Manning Shire Council, Taree and Wingham Municipalities, hospital committee, and Agricultural Association, and Caledonian Society, were represented.

As the cortege left the house, and turned into the main street, Mr. J. M. McLeod,, honorary piper to the Caledonian Society, played ‘The Land o’ the Leal.’

The religious service at the grave was conducted by Rev. W. Tassie, assisted by Rev. S. P. Stewart.

The coffin was carried from the hearse to the grave by the five sons.

Mr. S. A. Bridge had charge of the funeral arrangements.