In 1836, after the death of his first wife, William ROADKNIGHT and his three sons William aged 23, Thomas aged 22 and Henry aged 20, boarded the Vansittart for Port Phillip and landed their livestock and shepherds on the 14th May at Point Gellibrand and proceeded to the Geelong area where they camped first at Bell Post Hill, then selected land on the Barrabool Hills near the Ceres bridge. Once established, William, leaving Thomas in charge, returned to Tasmania where he sold up his assets and married (1838) Elizabeth TWAMLEY, said to be the half sister of his first wife, Harriet. Returning to Geelong, he took his new wife to live at Berromongo on the Barrabool Hills. Their son Zachariah was born there in 1839.
When land sales were made available on 3 October 1839 William selected land on the north bank fronting the Barwon River, west of Pakington Street stretching to Fyans Road and there erected a temporary dwelling called ’Barwon Cottage’. In May 1845 William advertised for two brickmakers and proceeded to erect a long, rambling homestead on the site, built of locally made clay bricks and established a garden with fruit trees, a permanent home which was named ’Barwon Crescent’ or simply referred to as ’The Crescent’. This home remained in the Roadknight family for three generations.
The land to the north and west of the residence was known as the ’Fairymead Estate’ and as such was subdivided and sold in November 1887.
William’s son, Thomas, resided at ’The Crescent’ with his wife Caroline nee HILL, after the death of his father.
William’s grandson, Alfred Hill ROADKNIGHT (1850-1931) son of Thomas, completed his education at Geelong Church of England Grammar School and in 1868 was one of 63 who passed the Civil Service Examination in Melbourne. On leaving school he entered his father’s business and trained as an Estate Agent. In 1872 he took out an Auctioneers Licence and as (1884/85) Roadknight & Son (Thos and Alfred) Stock Agents & Auctioneers Moorabool Street Geelong, became a recognised authority on the values of land and house property. He was one of two valuers appointed to act for the Government in the local Court of Arbitration in 1889 to fix the amounts as compensation when 17 hotels were closed in Geelong.
Alfred served on the Geelong City Council and as Chairman of other Committees. He leased ’Barwon Grange’ (1892/93), at that time owned by James CHADWICK, a short distance downstream from ’The Crescent’. When his mother vacated the family home he moved into ’The Crescent’ and remained there until the property was sold in 1907. The site is now occupied by the former Returned Soldiers and Sailors Woollen Mill.