FREDERICK AND FLORA ARKELL
Frederick Arkell, a commercial traveller of London was convicted of stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia in 1847. Prior to transportation he was sent to Pentonville prison where those with potential were given an opportunity to learn a trade. Frederick took up carpentry and on arrival to Australia was given six months employment with Hugh Glass, Stock and Station agent and merchant of Flemington. After two years Frederick married Flora Cameron, the couple having eight children. The family moved about living in Portland, Bendigo, Whittlesea and Bylands.
Frederick’s business acumen saw him employed as a constable and watch house keeper in Portland before establishing himself as a general merchant selling goods on the Bendigo goldfields. Using the profits he made, he moved to Whittlesea where he established a general store and later acquired landholdings in the Wandong area. Arkell acquired a substantial portion of the original Dene Pastoral Run in Bylands naming it ‘Dene Park’ from which he began supplying “meat to local settlers and timber splitters on Mt. Disappointment” before setting up a General Store on the Magpie & Stump Road – now the Kilmore/Epping Road at Wandong.
Frederick became a well-respected and an influential member of the Wandong community and is credited with changing the name of Morphett’s Siding to ‘Wandong’. He took a leading role in the establishment of a state school at Bylands (Big Hill State School No. 1105) of which he was Secretary for thirteen years; assisted in establishing the Primitive Methodist Church at Wandong; was nominated for Kilmore Council; was Chairman of Bylands and Glenburnie District Roads Board for nine years; and figured greatly in the development of the township of Wandong. Frederick Arkell is remembered in the naming of a local road at Heathcote Junction/Bylands – Arkell’s Lane formerly known as Dow’s Lane.
Originally Frederick’s residence was transformed into an hotel (Wandong Hotel) upon him acquiring his Publican’s licence in 1878. He described the residence/hotel as facing the Magpie & Stump Road on Part of Lot 10 E, consisting of a timber dwelling with eight rooms exclusive of those used by his family. It was from this site that Frederick also ran a general store and post office until 1881 and then established a separate general store/post office on Lot 11 of E some yards from the original residence/hotel. The General Store had several owners/tenants – Arkell, Ryan, Bowring & Nash, Adams, Rohan, Thomas, Clarke, Williams, Hough, and Collier . The store unfortunately burnt down in 1897 after which a new store was constructed. Arkell then sold his residence/hotel of eight plus rooms to David Pickup circa 1881 however David died some two years later with his son Charles taking over the business. The hotel (then named the Travellers’ Rest Hotel) was later sold to George Clayton who added an additional storey to the building providing additional rooms and a balcony. 2011:124). The Travellers Rest Hotel was located on the area now occupied by the Magpie & Stump Beer garden.