Estevan Barbeta’s riding stirrups found in the dump

One day in c1965, Ann Honewell’s father went to the local dump from their home town of Warrion in Victoria, not far from the small town of Beeac and came home with a pair of riding stirrups. She cleaned them up and discovered on the bottom of them was an inscription of Lt Estevan Barbeta. Ann used these stirrups for many years and has always felt a strong connection with the man who previously owned them.

A few years ago, Ann contacted the Australian War Museum. Estevan Barbeta was a Veterinary Surgeon in the Boer War where he did two stints in South Africa with the 1st Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse. The photo above comes from Anne Richardson collection showing his campaign medal.

Ann still have those stirrups today.

Estevan Barbeta - Stirrups - Property of Ann Honeywell
Estevan Barbeta’s Boer War nickel-silver riding stirrups, 2016. Photo: Ann Honeywell.

Estevan’s life: What we know

Esteban (Steven) was born in 1873 in Carlton to Augustine (Gus) Barbeta and Lydia Littlejohn. He was baptised at St Francis’ Church with his godparents as Estevan Juan Josef “Stephen” Parer y Xicola and his wife Joseph “Josephine” Parer nee Clota. He was the second eldest child and eldest son of ten children.

Estevan (back right) and two of his sisters: Roseta (back left) and Marietta, about 1884. Anne Richardson Collection.

He was in the Boer War from 1899-1902. On Estevan’s return from the war he lived in Outrim, situated 16km north of Inverloch in Eastern Victoria, with his sister Marietta and mother for a period of five years (1903-1908), but returned to Fitzroy due to ill-health by 1909 and died a year later.

According to the obituary in the Hamilton Spectator on 2nd August 1910,

Mr. Barbeta practiced his profession of a veterinary surgeon in Hamilton for about five years, during which time he came in contact with a large number of people throughout the district, and he was extremely popular with all sections of the community. He took a prominent part in many local sporting in situations, especially the race club, acting as hon. veterinary surgeon to that body for many years. He was also an ardent follower of cricket and football.

Estevan died at the age of 31 at 238 Palmerston Street, Carlton and is buried in the Carlton cemetery. He never married, nor did he have children.

Estevan Miguel Steven Barbeta family tree
Estevan Miguel Steven Barbeta family tree.

His father Gus Barbeta y Parer

Many of the Barbeta’s and Parer’s came out on the same ships together as they were inter-married. Esteban’s father Augustine “Gus” came out to Australia at 16 years of age with Francisco and Salvador Parer on the True Briton from Plymouth departing 28th September and arriving 19th December 1867 in Melbourne. Gus was the son of Miguel Barbeta and Rosa Parer y Bosch the eldest of Pau’s Children. Pedro “Peter” Barbeta was Gus’ brother who came to Melbourne with Michael Parer.

In 1876 Gus married Lydia Carlos Littlejohn at the still under-construction St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Gus was very much a part of the enterprising Catalonians of Melbourne within the restaurant, entertainment and catering trade. Gus owned the Spanish Restaurant and Victory Baths on 40 Bourke Street from 1875-1883, buying it off Estevan Parer y Xicola and Martin Arenas. This became the location of the world famous Cole’s Book Arcade. Gus and Michael Parer owned Hosie’s Hotel from 1888-1898 paying an eye-watering £85,000 and spending a further £37,700 on refurbishment. It was underwritten by Michael Parer and when the land boom popped, Michael lost his money. Hosie’s Turkish Bathing Palace next door was owned by the Barbeta Bros (Gus and Pedro) 1884-1886.

Gus Barbeta was Salvador’s brother. Salvador married Marietta Parer who was Antonio Parer’s daughter, or to put it another way, they were cousins.

His brother Augustus Barbeta

Estevan’s brother Augustus “Gus” Joseph Barbeta was also a veterinarian that went to war as a veterinarian surgeon. He was Captain Augustine Barbeta in the Irish Fusiliors B.E.F. during the First World War and served in France from the 2nd September 1915. His badge is that of the British Army Veterinary Corps. Australian officers of the First World War wore their rank insignia on their shoulder straps, while the British wore them on their sleeve cuffs, while out of the line. Augustus has three pips, suggesting he is a Captain.

Prior to the war Augustus was living in Willaura, in central Victoria, not too far from the Grampians as a Vet surgeon. After the war in March 1920 he married Elizabeth Milne McJannet and lived in Killawarra and worked as a vet again.

Augustus Joseph Barbeta-taken at Chesney Ltd 50 Strand London-back Capt Augustine Barbeta Irish Fusiliors B.E.F. First World War. Son of Augustine and Lydia Barbeta-Anne Richardson collection-2-sml.jpg
Augustus Joseph Barbeta, British Army Veterinary Corps, Irish Fusiliors B.E.F. during the First World War, 1915. The photo was taken at Chesney Ltd 50 Strand London. Anne Richardson Collection.

How did the stirrups end up in the dump?

Due to the location of Colac to Beeac it could have been when Marietta Hayden nee Barbeta, Estevan’s sister died in 1946 in Colac where she lived at Bullock Swamp near where Ann grew up. Her husband John Hayden operated a farm and they had no children, perhaps because Marietta was 43 when they married. John died on 16th January 1956. Perhaps it passed on to someone else before arriving at the tip.

Though the period of recovery perhaps coincides more with his other sister Eulalia “Layeta” Barbeta who married Fran Sans, lived in Elsternwick and died in 1969.  Or his other sister Teresa Morrison nee Barbeta, but she died, a long way from the dump, in North Ryde, Sydney, NSW in 1965.

Can anyone add to the story?


Thanks to AWM, Anne Richardson and the Military Heraldry and Technology of the AWM.


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