Ancestral Places Geneameme

Yes, I did say in my last post I’m on the move so the chances of me posting in the next month were slim. Just after finishing that post, I read a new post from Alona at the Lonetester blog inviting geneabloggers to take part in a geneameme with the theme, Ancestral Places. The instructions…How many ancestral places can you name using the letters of the alphabet?  I couldn’t resist because one of my favourite things about family history is the places my ancestors lived.  Finding out more about those locations helps us learn more about them it’s a great way to brush up on geography general knowledge.  I’ve listed the main places my direct ancestors resided and added links to earlier posts about some of the families.  If I included 2 x great uncle George Diwell, I could have had a J for Jeparit or 4 x great uncle William Reed, a Y for Yulecart but I managed a place for most letters:

A

Almurta, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Ararat, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Lane, Piddington, Riddiford

ARARAT, VICTORIA

B

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia – Gamble, Harman, Riddiford

Bass, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White

Bisham, Berkshire, England – Buckland

Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, King, Richardson

Brighton, Sussex, England – Hughes

Broadstairs, Kent, England – Culmer, Jarman, Pettman, White

Byaduk, Victoria, Australia – Bishop, Harman

BYADUK, VICTORIA

C

Casterton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Jelly

Cavendish, Victoria, Australia – Hadden, Mortimer

Charlton, Wiltshire, England – Young

Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England – Chapel, Kirkin, Parsons

Clapham, London, England – Webb

Clerkenwell, London, England – Riddiford

Colac, Victoria, Australia – Gamble, Hodgins

Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence, Piddington, Riddiford, Timberlake, Wall

CAVENDISH, VICTORIA

D

Dover, Kent, England – Trewin

Drumgooland, County Down, Ireland – Jelly

E

East Lothian, Scotland – Calder, Warden

Edmonton, London, England – Riddiford

F

Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Riddiford

Fermanagh County, Ireland – Brackin, Hodgins

Frant, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

G

Geelong, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Gladsmuir, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden, Kinnaird, Neilson

Glen Alvie, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Grantville, Victoria, Australia – Combridge, Hunt, White

GEELONG, VICTORIA

H

Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland – Dobson, Hadden

Hamilton, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Gamble, Hadden

Hulme, Lancashire, England – Jelly

HAMILTON, VICTORIA

I

Ireland – Beaty, Irwin

Islington, London, England – Kirkin

J

K

Kingswood, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman

L

Lambeth, London, England – Kirkin, Riddiford, Webb

Leytonstone, London, England – Riddiford

Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland – Hadden

Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England – Lawrence

M

Macarthur, Victoria, Australia – Bishop

Macclesfield, Cheshire, England – Law, Shaw

Manchester, Lancashire, England – Shaw

Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England – Harman, Mulberry

Merino, Victoria, Australia – Diwell

MERINO c1880 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 21766/113 http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+21766/113

N

Newington, London, England – Turner

Norfolk, England – Baker, Thurling

North Nibley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford, Trotman

O

Oldham, Lancashire, England – Riddiford

Ontario, Canada – Riddiford

P

Poplar, London, England – Hunt, Jewell

Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia – Harman

Portland, Victoria, Australia – Diwell, Harman

PORT FAIRY, VICTORIA

Q

Queensferry, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

SAWMILL NEAR QUEENSFERY, VICTORIA c1880. Photographer: Fred Kruger. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.

R

Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, England – Combridge

Reading, Berkshire, England – Druce, Mortimer

Rotherfield, Sussex, England – Diwell, Sinnock

Rotherhithe, London, England – Webb

S

Smeaton, Victoria, Australia – Riddiford

St. Peters, Kent, England – Jarman

Steiglitz, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

ANDERSON’S MILL, SMEATON. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

T

Thanet, Kent, England – Culmer, Jarman, Trewin, White

Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England

Tipperary County, Ireland – Barry

Tonbridge, Kent, England – Lawrence

Tudeley, Kent, England – Lawrence

U

Uley, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford

V

Victoria

W

Water Eaton, Buckinghamshire, England – Cooke, Goodman

Weymouth, Dorset, England – Bishop

Whaddon, Cambridgeshire, England – Read/Reed, Waymant

White Waltham, Berkshire, England – Buckland, Mortimer, Sharp

Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia – Combridge

Woolwich, London, England – Kirkin

Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England – Riddiford

Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England – Riddiford

WONTHAGGI, VICTORIA 1925. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image no. B 61788/85http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+61788/85

X

Y

Z

 

 

 

 

Sweet Daisy

Do you have a favourite Australian genealogy record?  For me, it’s the Electoral Rolls.  When they first became available at Ancestry, I spent hours finding addresses, checking Google maps, finding occupations, spouses and unusual living arrangements.

That’s when I came to grow fond of a little branch of my Diwell family.  The head of the family was Thomas Edward Diwell, my 3 x great uncle, and his wife, Mary Jane Pretlove.  Thomas, a blacksmith, was the son of the first Diwell arrivals to the Western District, William Diwell and Margaret Ann Turner.

Thomas and Mary Jane married at Sandford in 1899 with their first child, William, born at Casterton in 1890.  Then Thomas took his family further than any of his family had been before within Australia, and moved to Balranald in south-west New South Wales where they remained for some years.   Nine children were born in Balranald, including a set of twins.  Sadly they lost two children, including one of the twins.  In 1913, eldest daughter Florence married at Balranald.

Around 1914, some of the family moved back to the Western District and a further child, Eva Muriel, was born at Hamilton.  Eldest son William was at Dartmoor working as a blacksmith.  At some point before 1919, Mary Jane and some of the children moved to Carlton, while Thomas seems to have travelled for work, listed at Donald and Beenak on the 1919 Electoral Rolls.   But not everyone was living together.  Third child, Daisy Isabel, aged 26,  was working as a packer and living at 171 Drummond Street Carlton, older brother William, a returned serviceman, was a student and living at 53 Barkley Street Carlton and mother Mary Jane, presumably with the younger children, was at 203 Drummond Street, Carlton.

By 1924, the family had moved to 134 Johnston street, Fitzroy (below), during a colourful period in that suburb’s history.  Father Thomas was, according to the Electoral Rolls, not in Melbourne, but instead living at Beenak in the Warburton area at least until 1928.  He reappeared on the Electoral Roll with the family in 1931, by which time they had moved next door to 132 Johnston Street Fitzroy (below).

So here was a family, used to living in an isolated country town, now residing in Melbourne’s bustling and bursting inner north, renown for slums and crime.  That alone captured my interest.  But what really attracted me to the family, particularly Daisy, other than her lovely name, was that her occupation on the Electoral Rolls was confectioner.  Taking that clue, I found that MacRobertson chocolates had a factory in Fitzroy, just down the road from the Diwells, so there was a strong possibility that Daisy worked there, making some of my favourites, including Freddo Frogs and Cherry Ripes.  Even sweeter.  I put Daisy away for awhile…until recently.

A new discovery, an article from Adelaide’s Daily Herald, has me liking Daisy even more, because Daisy fought for workers’ rights, particularly female workers, with her involvement with the Female Confectioners Union.

The Victorian Branch of the Female Confectioners Union, formed in 1916, met for their annual conference in February 1921, the subject of the Daily Herald’s article.  Mr E.H.A Smith, the union secretary, reported on the progress the union had made during the previous six months.  Wages had increased, eight days paid leave achieved and, in just six months, the union had increased in number by 474, with most of the women employed in confectionery manufacturing being paid members.

Mr Smith then passed on his congratulations to the leaders of the union, pointing out the unselfish work done by Margaret Wearne , the general secretary and Daisy Diwell, the treasurer, two pioneers of the union.

Miss Diwell has the distinction of being the union’s first shop president and her achievements in securing new members during the early stages of the union have been remarkable

dd6dd7

CONFECTIONERS MAKE PROGRESS. (1921, February 9). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), p. 7. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107251855

CONFECTIONERS MAKE PROGRESS. (1921, February 9). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 – 1924), p. 7. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107251855

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32336

PACKING CHOCOLATES, MACROBERTSON’S FACTORY c1910-1940. Image Courtesy of State Library of Victoria. Image No. H2003.101/82 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32336

By the end of 1921, the female confectioners had achieved another pay increase.

Confectioners' Wages. (1921, December 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 9. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4613994

Confectioners’ Wages. (1921, December 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 9. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4613994

Naturally, after that find I had to keep digging.  Some bits and pieces came up, but finally I found a recent essay, A fine and self-reliant group of women”: Women’s leadership in the female confectioners union”  by Cathy Brigden (2013).  From that I found out a lot more about Daisy.  She did work at MacRobertsons and had been there since at least 1918.  Also, when living at 171 Drummond Street, Carlton, she was boarding at the home of two of her co-workers and union members,  Elsie and Maud Hood and their parents.

Brigden’s study revealed, the three girls, Daisy, Elsie and Maud came to the fore as leaders of the union in 1918, tirelessly recruiting other girls to the union and Daisy became treasurer.  It was, however, that dedication that contributed to the failing of Daisy’s health and in 1921 it forced her resignation from her union role.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32448

TOFFEE CUTTING LINE & PACKING, MACROBERTSON’S FACTORY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image No. H2003.101/105 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32448

Despite not being a union official, it does seem that Daisy kept working at MacRobertsons  with her occupation listed as confectioner up until the 1943 Electoral Roll, four years before her death.  Since her last change of address was for the 1928 Electoral roll, I can only assume she was a confectioner up until that time, but it is unlikely she took the trouble to update her occupation on the Electoral rolls, when she had no need to update her address.

Since the Electoral Rolls have been available up until 1980 on Ancestry, I have been wary of assuming a person remained in their listed occupation when they did not move their residence.  I realised this when I saw my mother’s entries on the 1977 and 1980 rolls  In 1977 she was a teacher and in 1980, again a teacher.  However, she left teaching around 77/78, and was a business proprietor in 1980, but did not change address between 1972 and 1995.  Therefore if I were to check the Electoral Rolls beyond 1980, Mum is probably listed as a teacher up until 1995 when she had to change her address details with the Electoral Office.  That’s going to confuse some eager genealogist in the future.

Daisy died in Fitzroy in 1947 aged 54.   She never married and predeceased her mother Mary Jane, by seven years.  Thomas had passed away in 1932 and Mary Jane continued to live at 132 Johnston Street, Fitzroy with her daughter Margaret, also a confectionery worker.

So who or what was MacRobertsons?  In 1880, MacRobertsons had humble beginnings in the family bathroom in Fitzroy, of Ballarat born Macpherson Robertson, then aged 21.  The business grew from a small bathroom to the huge  factory where Daisy worked.  Everything at the factory was white and it was known as “White City”. The factory workers wore white. the buildings were white, the delivery horses were white and even Macpherson Robertson wore white.  The factory was self-sufficient with even the chocolate boxes produced there.

Robertson was a father figure to his staff,  had an interest in their welfare and supported the Female Confectioners Union.  In 1921, he authored a book,  “A Young Man and a Nail Can: An Industrial Romance”.  MacRobertsons introduced fairy floss and chewing gum to Australia and by 1923, the business had grown to 2000 employees earning a total sum of £350,00 per annum and the profits were flowing.

"OLD GOLD.". (1923, March 9). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), p. 3 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77897193

“OLD GOLD.”. (1923, March 9). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 3 Edition: THIRD EDITION. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77897193

As I read about Macpherson Robertson.  I kept thinking, “Didn’t Roald Dahl write about this guy?”.  Then I found an article by Kirstin Masters, entitled Australia’s Willy Wonka: From Home Candy-Making to Confectionery Magnate.   Say no more.

dd10

WONDERLAND OF INDUSTRY. (1925, April 15). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 10. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63710202

WONDERLAND OF INDUSTRY. (1925, April 15). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 10. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63710202

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32436

HORSE-DRAWN DELIVERY VANS OUTSIDE MACROBERTSON’S FACTORY. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2003.101/256 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/32436

Now that I have found this latest information about Daisy, it has opened up a whole new line of research.  Just for starters, there are four archive boxes of minutes, copies of the “Women’s Clarion“, the union’s journal,  and photographs held by the University of Melbourne Archives.  There are a multitude of histories about MacRobertsons and the man behind the brand, so I’ll be reading everything I can from that respect.

I would like to know more about the two residences, 132 and 134 Johnston Street, Fitzroy where members of the family resided for at least 33 years.  I wish the Electoral Rolls were more Census like, because I’m interested in who, other than the Diwell family, may have lived at the two homes over the course of three decades.  Also, how long did father Thomas live and work near Warburton and did Daisy’s sister Margaret have any involvement with the union during her time as a confectioner?  Finally my interest in Carlton and Fitzroy during the 1910s, 20s and 30s has grown and I will do more reading about the two suburbs to learn more about the life of Daisy and the Diwell family.   There are also tours of the MacRobertson factory site, a great way to get the feel for Daisy’s working life.  The Melbourne Chocolate History Tours site has some great photos of MacRobertsons.  I will try to do all this… when I find the time…

Until the next update on sweet Daisy, here are some wonderful advertisements for my favourite MacRobertson’s products, from the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Advertising. (1939, March 25). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 30. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51271083

Advertising. (1939, March 25). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 30. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51271083

Advertising. (1958, August 6). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 16. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51776246

Advertising. (1958, August 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 16. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51776246

Brigden, Cathy (2013-05). “A fine and self-reliant group of women”: Women’s leadership in the female confectioners union. In Labour History. (104), 49-64.

The Victorian Heritage Database

On May 5, I attended Day 2 of the Victorian Association of Family History Organisation (VAFHO) conference in Ballarat.  It was a great day with some wonderful speakers and I regret I couldn’t make the first day.

The first keynote speaker was Lisa Gervasoni, a town planner dedicated to Heritage conservation and a member of the Daylesford & District  Historical Society, among other things.  She gave a great talk about using Google Maps to help with family history research and then showed us the usefulness of the Victorian Heritage Database (VHD).  Timely, as I had considered a post about the VHD as I think it is a valuable resource for those researching families from Victoria.

The Victorian Heritage Database is a collection of Heritage places and precincts in Victoria including Heritage studies completed by local councils around the state.

While writing Passing of the Pioneer posts, if I see a property name in an obituary, I head straight to the VHD.  If the property is on the database, most times I can find more about the obit’s subject.  There is always a history of the building, property etc offering a wealth of information

In May Passing of the Pioneers, one obituary belonged to Mary Laidlaw (nee Learmonth).  She and her husband David lived at “Eildon” in Hamilton.  A search found information about the house, the architects Ussher and Kemp and the Napier Club that purchased the building in 1939, the year of Mary’s death.  Not only was I able to expand on the obituary, I learnt something of a house that it is a Hamilton landmark and has intrigued me since childhood.

"EILDON", HAMILTON

“EILDON”, HAMILTON

The VHD was useful when I researched The Parisian, the 1911 Melbourne Cup winner, because his owner John Kirby lived at “Mt Koroite Station” opposite Coleraine Racecourse .  On the VHD entry for “Mt Koroite” I found out more about John and even what he did with his winnings from the Melbourne Cup.

The VHD  is useful when researching a cemetery and I have used it for cemetery related posts.  There are photos of headstones and the Byaduk Cemetery entry even has a photo of Jonathon Harman’s headstone.  A short history of the town is given and a history of the cemetery, early burials and notable “residents” and more.

I have searched property names and  town names, but not surnames and Lisa’s talk made me realise I should.  Individuals may be listed as builders of a property or a labourer on a station.  My search of towns had found some references to my family members but I thought for the purpose of this post I would search specific family names.

None of my family were owners of large holdings or houses but the Diwell family were bricklayers and George Jelly was a builder, so maybe there was a chance.

When searching the VHD, use the “Advanced Search” form (below). It  will give you more results than the “Simple” search.

There are plenty of options to narrow down a search, but I only used the field “with all of the words“.

An entry on the database will include the location, statement of significance, history and description of the building or otherwise.  There is a Google Maps link with both the aerial view and Street View and most times there is a photo or photos.

Now for my results.  I did find entries I had seen before when searching towns,  but there were some new things.  What all the results show is the different ways your family members can be found at the Victorian Heritage Database.

HADDEN

My search started with the Haddens on my mother’s maternal line.  I had two relevant matches.  The first was about a Bills Horse Trough, in the Lions Park on the Glenelg Highway at Glenthompson installed in the 1920s.

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

A BILLS HORSE TROUGH (Portland Gardens)

While the horse trough had nothing to do with a Hadden, the entry has a history of the site, previously a blacksmith shop run by Donald Ross.  The other blacksmiths that operated in the town are named including the shop of  Harold James Hadden, my 2nd cousin 1 x removed.

Buggies outside blacksmith's shop.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria -  Elliot collection.  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42869

Buggies outside blacksmith’s shop. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria – Elliot collection. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/42869

I knew Harold was a blacksmith and that he lived in Glenthompson during that time period, but I didn’t know he ran his own blacksmith shop.

Another entry under “Hadden” was found on a previous search of “Cavendish” and is about gg uncle William Hadden, son of William Hadden and Mary Mortimer.  In 1913, he purchased the Cavendish Cobb & Co Depot and Stables (below) and the adjacent property on the corner of the Hamilton Road and Scott Street, Cavendish.  The 1914 Electoral Roll lists William’s occupation as blacksmith, useful with a Cobb & Co depot.  However, in 1915, the train came to Cavendish taking passengers away from Cobb & Co.

By 1919, William was living at Kiata near Nhill in the Mallee, running the Kiata Hotel.  I am not sure if he had sold the Cobb & Co depot by that time but he never returned to Cavendish and died in Geelong in 1927.

HARMAN

A “Harman” search brought up not a building but a roadside Memorial plantation at Byaduk, sadly in poor condition.  The trees, planted in memory of the Byaduk soldiers that served during WW2, have not been maintained over the years.  My 1st cousin 3 x removed and grandson of James and Susan Harman, Leonard Roy Harman, was killed during the war as was another Byaduk man A.R.McNair.   The Southern Grampians Shire Heritage study on this site reported that much of the significance and integrity of the site had been lost.

The Memorial planting was the only “Harman” reference found until I did a “Byaduk” search.  Then I discovered that a search of “Harman” did not bring up any references to “Harman’s”.  This was after I read the report about the Byaduk General Store ruins.  The general store is thought to have opened around 1863 when another early shop opened,  Joseph Harman’s, bootmaking shop.

DIWELL

I then turned to Mum’s paternal side and searched the Diwells.

Surprisingly the result took me back to Cavendish, a town I never thought they had links to.  However, I found my gg uncle William Diwell, a bricklayer, was the contractor that built the Cavendish Memorial Hall in 1920.

It was no surprise William Diwell was a bricklayer.  The following entries are about his father and grandfathers, all bricklayers or builders.

Firstly, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Merino.  Builders Northcott and Diwell built the church in 1868.  That would be ggg grandfather William Diwell and I am assuming Northcott is George Northcott of Merino.  George owned Merino’s Commercial Hotel (below) and the Cobb & Co Station.  From the VHD I  discovered they received  £126/15/- for the job and that they had also built the Merino Free Library and the Mechanics Institute.

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

COMMERCIAL HOTEL, MERINO 1880 Image Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_112.htm

The next Diwell match was for the Sandford Mechanics Hall (below).  I knew from a transcript of the booklet, Back to Sandford Centenary: 1957  on the Glenelg and Wannon Pioneers site, William Diwell senior had a link to the building of the Mechanics Hall but only that he suggested that it be made of brick and not wood.  The VHD shed a little more light on a conversation that took place between William and the committee secretary J.S. Anderson in 1864, but in doing so, it leaves me questioning the entry

From the Back to Sandford booklet ,I knew that William ran into Mr Anderson on the Casterton Road.  Anderson told William of the plans to call for a tender for the building of a wooden hall.  William suggested a brick building and that Mr Anderson should take the idea to the committee before advertising.  The committee thought it was a great idea and they called for tenders for a brick hall.

Turning to the VHD, the report continues on from the above story but cites rate book entries from 1863 that Richard Diwell of Casterton was a brickmaker or bricklayer.  Richard was my gg grandfather and he was nine in 1863 . It continued with the story that William suggested Anderson go back to the committee, but added that William had a proposal , maybe an offer of funding.  The committee agreed to the unknown proposal and the tender process began.   The tender was won by James McCormack.

The thing is, the hall was not built until 1885, 19 years after William Diwell met Mr Anderson on the Casterton Road.  William had been dead 14 years.  So he could hardly be credited for a brick hall,  surely.  Also, why is Richard Diwell mentioned?  Did they mean William or was Richard involved later when the hall was built when, as a 30-year-old bricklayer, it was more realistic?

JELLY

I found entries for George Jelly, my ggg grandfather, and father-in-law of Richard Diwell.  George built the Anglican Rectory in Henty Street Casterton in 1887.

What particularly interested me came from a spontaneous search I did for “George Jellie”.  It brought up the Coleraine Anglican Church.  The history of the church referred to the original structure built in 1853 by Casterton contractor, George Jellie.  My George Jelly did not arrive in Victoria until 1855 aboard the Athelate with his wife Jane and daughter, Mary.  According to his obituary, they first went to Murndal at Tahara, run by Samuel Pratt Winter and then on to Casterton.  George and Jane’s first born child in Australia was my gg grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Jelly at Casterton in 1856.

That beggars the questions, was there a George Jellie, contractor of Casterton in 1853 or did the first building at the Coleraine Anglican Church not get constructed until around 1856 by which time George Jelly had arrived in the town?  More research is needed on that one.

George’s obituary credits him for building the Casterton Mechanics Institute also, however that building is not on the VHD.

——————————————————–

While the Victorian Heritage Database is full of useful information, I do wrestle with it on occasions as it takes on a mind of its own.  I use a Firefox browser and I think it doesn’t agree with the database. I have tested Chrome and it seems a lot happier.  Another problem I occasionally have is when clicking on a link to VHD from Google or Western District Families.  I get a message that my session has ended.  If that happens, page back and click again and it will come up.

More on Lisa Gervasoni.  Lisa  has over 300,000 photos on Flickr and they are also found with a Trove search.  Lisa’s photos of landmarks and war memorials, often come up in my searches of Western Victorian towns.  When I have wanted to see what something in the Western District looks like, Lisa’s great photos have been there.  Thank you Lisa.

More on the VAFHO conference.  It was great to finally meet in person, Liz Pidgeon from the Yarra Plenty Regional Library and Infolass blog, who I have known on social media for some time.   I also met Craige from the Mortlake Historical Society.  You should check out the great Facebook page he is running for the society.

Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance

The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance.  I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

Pioneer Women of Portland. (1934, May 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: EVENING.. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64285807

A  Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online.  I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.

The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights.  She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.

After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of  Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated.  She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).

There are the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917.  Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore.  Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.

Following is the story of  Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on, a letter she wrote on Christmas Day 1848, to her parents in England.  Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.

After some local poetry comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”.  Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.

Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women.  Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible.  This is where I found Margaret.  The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.

Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb,  is also listed as Mrs William Diwell.  Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed.  This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.

The oldest pioneer women, recognised separately, include Marion Nunn Jones, Emma Holmes and Anne Beglan.

The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.

The booklet also comes as an Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Online book – Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance 

Elizabeth Ann Jelly

Richard & Elizabeth Diwell and family

This is Richard and Elizabeth Diwell and their family in the spring of 1900 in Hamilton.  The eldest child, Margaret was nineteen and the youngest, Martha was two. Elizabeth, at forty-four, was in the last months of pregnancy and was radiant.  Martha’s hand rests comfortably on her mother’s growing stomach.  Edith clutches the arm of father Richard, a successful bricklayer and keen gardener, a member of the Hamilton Horticulture Society.  Chrysanthemums were one of his specialities.  Within months, this serene family scene was shattered.

Richard Diwell and Elizabeth Jelly married in June 1877 at Casterton.  Richard, born at Portland in 1854 was the son of William and Margaret Diwell and was their first child born on Australian soil after their arrival in 1853 aboard the Duke of Richmond.  William too was a bricklayer.  Elizabeth was the daughter of  George and Jane Jelly and like William was her parents’ first born in Australia.  They had arrived in 1855 on the Athletae and moved to Casterton where Elizabeth was born in 1856.

Sadness came early in Richard and Elizabeth’s marriage with their first born child, Ada Jane, dying within her first year of life.  Six more children, Margaret, William, Jane, Ralph, Edith and Ernest were born in Casterton over the next eleven years until 1891.  It was in that year that Elizabeth, her mother and sister-in-law, Annabella McIntyre, signed the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Petition along with one hundred other Casterton women.  It was their contribution to the cause championing for equal voting rights for women.

Later in 1891, the Diwells moved to Hamilton.  The following year tragedy would occur again with the passing of five-year-old Ralph.  In 1893, Ethel was born and another pregnancy in 1895 saw the birth of Rebecca but she sadly died in 1896 aged ten months.  George was born in 1896, Martha in 1898.

Which brings us back to 1900.  Despite the losses of the past, life was continuing on for the Diwells.  In March, William was voting in favour of the cancellation of that month’s Hamilton Horticulture Society flower show due to drought and Elizabeth was pregnant for the 12th time at the age of forty-four.

Midway through October Elizabeth fell ill in and was nursed for the next three weeks until she gave birth to a daughter on 2 November.  The baby was weak and died two days later.  Elizabeth was also gravely ill and underwent an operation after the birth of the baby.  She battled to stay but succumbed to peritonitis ten days later, on 12 November.

Elizabeth’s obituary from the Hamilton Spectator on 13 November 1900 read:

“… Another death which has evoked the deepest sympathy of all who knew her took place yesterday when Mrs Diwell, the wife of Mr Richard Diwell, bricklayer of this town, died after a short illness.  The deceased was the second daughter of Mr George Jelly of Casterton where she was born, and she came to Hamilton with her husband in 1891. 

She was taken ill three weeks ago and on the 2nd instance she was confined, the child living only two days.  On Sunday evening she had to undergo an operation as the only hope of saving her life but at 3 o’clock yesterday morning she died of exhaustion, the diagnosis being peritonitis. 

She leaves a husband and eight children – three boys and five girls – the eldest of who, a daughter is only nineteen years of age – to mourn their irreparable loss. Mrs Diwell who was only 44 years of age was highly respected by all who knew her and the deepest sympathy is felt with the stricken family in their bereavement.  The funeral will take place a 3 o’clock this afternoon”

The headstone in the Hamilton Old Cemetery is a tribute to Elizabeth and demonstrates the devotion Richard and her children had for her.  Her headstone read:

“None knew how sad parting was, nor what the farewell cost, but God and his loved angels have gained what we have lost”

 

 

 

 

Despite having several young children, Richard never remarried.  The older girls Margaret and Jane would have taken on mothering duties of their younger siblings.  Margaret married in 1905, but Jane did not marry until 1915 at thirty by which time youngest Martha was seventeen.  Richard passed away in 1920 and was reunited with Elizabeth.

Life was not altogether easy for the Diwell children, although they always managed a happy disposition.  Margaret had seven children, however, three died, two as newborns.  Edith, my great-grandmother, suffered through an unhappy marriage and spent much time as a single mother.  Jane married twice, both husbands dying, the second after being hit by a taxi.  She never had children.

Grandma (Edith) and Auntie Mat (Martha)

Ethel had four known children, one dying at birth.  Martha or Mat as she was known was forty-one when she married and she also had no children.  The boys, William, Ernest and George all married and became bricklayers like their father and grandfather before them, but Ernest passed away at just forty-eight.

I was not lucky enough to know any members of this family but my mother fondly remembers and often talks of Grandma (Edith), Auntie Janey, Auntie Mat (Martha) and Uncles Bill and George.  The photo above of Grandma and Auntie Mat depicts them just as Mum remembers, always laughing and smiling.

As I look at the Diwell family photo I see Elizabeth as a devoted wife and mother but also a strong woman whose marriage was a partnership of two equals.  I can see the woman who was confident enough to sign the Suffrage petition and I see a happy, kind person, traits she passed to her children.

Next time I visit Richard and Elizabeth’s grave in Hamilton, I will be sure to take some Chrysanthemums.

 

©Merron Riddiford 2011