The Wonnangatta Valley Station and Harry Smith stories

by Graeme Shead, updated  12th November 2014

Site Contents

A Wonnangatta Pioneer Brief history of Harry Smith
Harry’s Family Features a table showing Harry’s family tree.
Wonnangatta Murders My interpretation of the events around the murders.
Station History A history of the Wonnanagatta Station ownership
References A list of resources used to help make this site.
Gallery A small collection of images showing Harry’s Hut being restored and the completed hut.If you have any images that could be included here it would be much appreciated.

If anyone finds any errors in this work, has more information or can help with the following outstanding information please contact :  Graeme  Shead:

Information still wanted:

  • Death registration for George Bernhard Hayes.
  • Birth and death registrations for Mary Hayes.
  • Birth registration for Oliver Smith jnr.
  • Birth for William Smith/Hayes.
  • Death registrations for Oliver Smith snr’s sons Tom and Jack.
  • The ship and passenger list of the ship on which Oliver Smith snr came to Australia. This may confirm the names of the American sons that came out with Oliver.
  • What happened to Mary Hayes. Under issue living on Thomas Smith’s birth certificate Mary is listed as being dead. Was she dead or was Ellen hiding the fact that the father George Hayes had taken her away. Did Mary live, was her name changed so the authorities could not find them, did she marry and did she have children.
  • Death registration for Mary’s  father, George Hayes.
  • What happened to Annie Smith, step mother to Oliver jnr, William, Thomas, and John. Annie would have only been in her fifties when Oliver departed.
  • What happened to the wife of John Bamford who was one of the two murdered Wonnangatta Station men. She apparently disappeared from the district without telling anyone she was leaving. The local gossip back prior to John Bamfords murder was that when they were living at Blake Snake Creek just out of Dargo, Bamford murdered her and buried her in the bush, however no proof of this exists, not even a police investigation. She may have simply got away from him. She may have stayed in Victoria or gone interstate, or is she buried around Blake Snake Creek.There is an informative chapter on John Bamford Titled COOK AND USEFUL in Keith Leydon & Michael Rays book “The Wonnangatta Mystery”.

    The locals around Dargo believed John Bamford and wife had come to Victoria from Queensland. In searching Queensland records Keith and Michael found a listing for a John Bamford who married a Mary Boyd. I have not been able to find any further record of this couple after their marriage. It is quite possible they are the Bamfords who moved to Blake Snake Creek , however this cannot be one hundred percent confirmed.  In this book we learn a John Bamford immigrated from the UK, married a Mary Boyd aged 22  on the 4th June, 1883  at the Ida Palmer Gold Fields, Qld. Her parents were William Boyd and Mary Ann Gleason.


If anyone turns up information on Mary Bamfords (nee Boyd) fate could you please contact myself or Keith Leydon who would love to hear, Keith can be contacted on Email   or 0418 138 107  or 03 5775 2839  or 20 Curia St, Mansfield, Vic, 3722.