Monday, April 12, 2010


In 1841 my granddad Wyllie's grandmother, Ann Cranston, was 12 years old and employed as a farm servant on a farm called Blackside near Muirkirk. We found the farm and found that the house is still there. We measured the distance from the town and it's more than two miles, and we tried to imagine Ann walking that distance or hitching a ride in a farm cart.

And we also tried to imagine her being so far from her family who were living even further away in a little iron-mining village called Glenbuck. Glenbuck no longer exists because it's been devoured by the mine.

Muirkirk 1 mile, Ayr 26 miles.

In the next few years the Cranstons moved into Muirkirk and Ann's father and her brothers worked in the iron mills - Muirkirk was a very busy mining town in the 1800s. Not any more, but the evidence of the industrial past is still there.

In 1850 Ann married William Wyllie and they migrated to South Australia where William worked as a brewer. Later in life, when the Wimmera was opened up for selection, they moved to Horsham and their sons selected land.


  1. Thanks for the Muirkirk pictures. My ancestors, the Weirs, lived there. The girls were often servants, the boys worked in the mines or as ironmoulders and my GG-father was a master shoemaker.
    I have been following all your travels and your wonderful photographs.

    1. I read this with great interest. I am the current owner of Blackside and enjoyed reading your comments. It has helped build up a history of the house and those who lived here . Thank you .