Victorian immigration records show that a family group, George (age 27) and Christina (26) Ryland, and their two sons, George and Richard, arrived in Melbourne on the Guiding Star in May 1854. As this is the only George Ryland recorded as arriving in Victoria until 1860, it seems likely that this is the same man who became a Draper and Clothier in Castlemaine.
Gardner records that his business was located 'in Mostyn Street, about the centre and facing the Market Square.' He also states that the business was in operation at the same time as neighbouring businesses of T. Butterworth & Co., and William Froomes (see records about these businesses for more details). This gives an approximate period of 1855 to 1865. His business is listed in the 1856, 1862 and 1865 Castlemaine directories held by the State Library of Victoria.
Ryland did advertise in his local area. The front page of The Mount Alexander Mail for 16 August 1861 bore his large advertisement for the 'First shipment of spring goods. Newest styles in Ladies' and Children's mantles, jackets, hats, ribbons,silks, &c., &c., &c.,. Every novelty of the season.'
The business carried softgoods of superior quality. Gardner described the business as similar to the two businesses mentioned above, but 'of a more fashionable character, a house where ladies' goods - millinery and dress goods - of a more stylish class were kept - the Buckley and Nunn's or Moffitt's of Castlemaine at that time under the direct management of Mrs. Ryland.'
George Ryland was, like his business neighbour Froomes, an Officer in one of the local Volunteer Forces, holding the rank of Captain in the 2nd Castlemaine Volunteer Rifles, later becoming the Commanding Officer of that force 'a rank he held until his death.'
Ryland was very successful in his business and built himself a substantial home, 'Rosemount' in about 1860.
Like other Castlemaine businesses (T. Butterworth & Co., W. Froomes, R. Calder and Murray & Christie) Ryland issued a single variety of penny token in 1862, struck by Thomas Stokes.
Gardner, F. (1910). 'Trade tokens and the firms who issued them.' The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 31 May, p.10.
Public Records Office of Victoria, Internet index to Unassisted Immigrants to Victoria, 1852-1923. VPRS 7666.
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens'. Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Vol.7., December, p.22.
Advertisement. The Mount Alexander Mail. 16 August 1861, p.1.
Hope, John (2005). 'G. Ryland', unpublished MSS, 1pp.