John Longmore – Of Hill End

This is an image from the Holtermann Collection in the State Library of New South Wales. The man in the picture is John Longmore, who was born in Dufftown, Scotland in 1836. He married in 1853 and came to Australia with his wife and two young daughters in 1860. After time spent in Kiama and Katoomba, the Longmore family eventually settled in Hill End about ten years later. At that time Hill End, which is in central New South Wales, was a thriving gold-rush settlement.

The photographs in the Holtermann Collection were commissioned by Bernard Holtermann, who struck fame and even more fortune in October 1872 with the unearthing of a huge chunk (specimen) of quartz and gold. This picture would have been taken in 1872. The photographer was Beaufoy Merlin. (see

John Longmore was my great-great-grandfather and is buried in the Hill End and Tambaroora Cemetery. He died in November 1905, just short of his 70th birthday.

A number of years ago I became interested in the idea of putting together a family history booklet. And being a keen photographer I wanted to put some Hill End images into this project. It was going to be a very limited edition – probably one hundred copies or so – but in order to cover the costs of production, I wanted to have a cover price of about ten dollars.

Hill End today is an Historic Site that is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). And knowing that the NPWS then had a barking mad policy of charging small-scale photographers for doing editorial work in national parks, I rang up their Commercial Permits officer to find out what their policy would be on family history projects such as this.

And I was told that if there was going to be a cover price on the family history booklet – which made it a commercial venture, of course – that I would have to get a permit from the NPWS and pay them a substantial fee, plus give them a security deposit and then have public indemnity insurance as well. In fact I was even told by this person that I would need to get a permit from the NPWS if I wanted to take a photograph of my great-great-grandfather’s grave and use it for “commercial purposes”.

Sadly, I still haven’t put this family history together yet (where are you Carolyn Longmore?) but as a display of ludicrous public servant thinking, I thought that the attitude of this National Parks and Wildlife Service officer just couldn’t be beat.

P.S. Actually what is probably most absurd about this situation is the fact that if the anti-photographer policies of the NPWS and various local government bodies had existed in the 1870s then the remarkable body of work that is the Holtermann Collection may never have been created. And we would all have been the poorer for that.

About rossbmedia

Journalist ... interested in the truth not public service spin.
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7 Responses to John Longmore – Of Hill End

  1. What is your interest in doing this family history? Where or which family line do you belong to?

    I have been trying to trace back from John in Scotland to see the connections there. I was given to believe he was the gardener and she was the youngest daughter of the Grants. but haven’t been able to confirm.

  2. rossbmedia says:

    Hi Penny – I am a descendant of John and Lillias’ second daughter Euphemia. She was born in Scotland in 1858 just before the family moved to Australia. Her second son was my grandfather and his daughter Barbara Conroy (nee Neal) is my mother. Euphemia only had three children (her siblings all seem to have had much larger families), so our branch of the Longmore clan is fairly small compared to some others. But there are three surviving grandchildren of hers, plus ten great-grandchildren and now twenty or so great-great-grandchildren.

    • John Ralph Moore says:

      Hello Ross

      I believe I to are a decendent of John and Lillias Longmore and as such to you as well?
      My mother was June Moore (nee Neal who died 1997 aged 70) My mother June and Barbara Conroy (nee Neal) were cousins.
      My Grandfather was Ralph Neal (married Mary ‘Molly’ Harrington) Ralph had a sister Rhoda Short (nee Neal who married Clifton Short)
      The paternal home was in Hornsby.
      My Great Grandfather (Neal) married one of the Longmore daughters which escapes my memory at this time.

      Reagrds John Moore

  3. Lilias Kelly says:

    Hi Ross,
    I am descended from Isabella Longmore (younger sister of Euphemia) born at Hill End. She married Thomas Ashton and their eldest daughter Lillias (b.1896 at Hill End) was my grandmother. She married Joseph Kelly in Western Australia in 1924 and I am the daughter of their eldest son Richard John. Hence, John Longmore is also my great, great grandfather and Lilias Longmore is my g g grandmother.
    My sister Patricia and I are very interested in family history. She visited the areas in Scotland where John came from in 2005. I visited Hill End in 1978 from WA and photographed the very gravestones to which you refer.
    My sister is very much the more dedicated family historian than I and has collected lots of info over the years with the intention of writing it up one day. If you are interested in swapping information with her, I can put you in touch with her.
    Lil Kelly

  4. John & Lillias were married at Grantown by the Rev Mr. Grant at the Cromdale church on 15th December 1953.
    Isabella m born 13 march 1855, died 14 march 1856
    Margaret born 22 june 1856
    Euphemia born 2 march 1858
    James born 7 June 1860 (my direct line) died 19th March 1935
    John born 24th June 1862
    Isabella born 6 July 1864
    Mary Elizabeth born 16 August 1866
    William born 12 February 1868, died 23 April 1869.

    John also worked on the Zig Zag Railway in Lithgow

    James’s family
    married Miraim (Minniw) Starr 21 April 1884 at Hill End
    John Charles born 8 April 1885 ( my grandfather)
    Lillias Jane born 30 March 1887
    James born 9 January 1889
    Thomas Albert born 29 March 1891
    Edward Finley born 23 October 1893
    Angus Walter born 31 October 1895
    Kenneth William born 17 March 1898
    Keith born 3 January 1900
    Jessie Euphemia born 24 November 1902
    Kathleen born 16 August 1906
    Minnie born 31 Dec 1908
    Donald Maurice born 26 October 1911

    John Charles family
    Langsford John born 21 March 1916 died 15 March 1971 (my father)
    Kenneth died during the war

    Langsford family
    Kenneth John born 23 september 1946
    Penelope Anne born 21 July 1949

    Kenneth John

    I have more information but need to sort through it all. I also have been trying to find out who was John’s parents in Scotland. Have you had any luck.. I did find out that a Longmore was once the owner of the Oldest distillery in Scotland which is now owned by Chivas Regal. But cannot find any connection. We visited the castle in 2005 but everything had been sold and a there was a new owner. Unfortunately he was not there on the day. How is your history booklet coming along?

  5. Steve Ellis says:

    Hi guys. My name is Steve (Stephen) Ellis – grandson of Angus Walter Longmore (ashes Hill End cemetry). Married Thelma Cross (Hill End). Angus & Thelma had Norman; Noel; Jean – all lived at Hill End opposite the Royal Hotel. Jean , my mother. Have quite a few pics & artifcats from Hill End – partic. of Angus & the recreation of the Holterman nugget.

  6. Susan Edmunds says:

    Hi Ross – didn’t know you were doing this. Did you know that Rose Cottage at Hill End was one of the Longmore houses (it’s still there). Also, the family legend is that the Holtermann nugget came out of a gold lease John Longmore had sold? He was in partnership with some others in a mine – I can’t recall the name but could look it up. I’ve often thought of searching the old mining leases to see if the legend is true. From the research I’ve done, John appears to have been an only child & he came from the lowlands although Lillias Grant Findlay was a highlander – her father was a sheriff. I believe John’s mother was Isabella Mitchell.The Longmores have a reunion in July every year in Scotland but I sent over a copy of John Longmore’s photo hoping someone would recognise it but they didn’t. Euphemia’s sister came out before her – I think she married a Cummins. cheers Cousin Sue

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