Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ellis Brothers - Reuben Ellis (1874-1951) middle years

Backtracking a little, and just a month prior to his father's third marriage,  Reu and Kate Harriett Dorothy Bartlett, marry on 7 September 1904, at the home of her father at 66 Spring Street, Preston.  Kate is the eldest daughter of Samuel Leaky Bartlett, a florist in Fitzroy and later in Preston, and Anna Dare Bartlett nee Cousins, and is one of 10 children.  Witnesses were Charles A Ellis, his brother, and Kate's sister Rosa C Bartlett.

At the time of their marriage, Reu aged 30 is a gas fireman living in Albert Park, and Kate, aged 29,  a florist residing in Preston, presumably at her family home.

I am not sure how they met, but Kate's sister Lily Grace Bartlett was also a friend of Reu's sister, Flo (Auntie Flo's Birthday Book).

Reuben and Kate Ellis 1904
Their early married life in 1905 finds them at 15 Hambleton Street Albert Park, then at 21 Linton Street St Kilda in 1906 and 1908.

Reu is a caretaker in 1909 residing at 99 Manningtree Road Hawthorn, whilst Kate is undertaking home duties.

A year later and six years after their marriage, sadly Kate Harriet Ellis died on 3 August 1910, as a result of lymphadenoma of some 3 months, at the residence of her parents, 46 Spring Street, North Preston.  She was only aged 35 and she and Reu did not have any children. Both she and Reu were living at the same address so Kate was probably being cared for by her mother.  Her death notice concludes  "A patient sufferer at rest."

Kate was buried on 5 August 1910 at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery in the Methodist section, Allotment A, plot 717.  This is also the grave of her husband Reu Ellis, and his second wife Paula Ellis.

Headstone of Reu, Kate and Paula Ellis

Grave of Reu, Kate and Paula Ellis - Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery taken 1992

Grave of Reu, Kate and Paula Ellis - Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery taken 1992
Some four months after Kate's untimely death, her younger sister Lily Grace Wong (nee Barlett) died suddenly at home in Invermay near Launceston.  She is buried in the grave to the right (shield) and her parents Anna Dare and Samuel Leakey Bartlett were later buried in the row directly behind.
Location of Ellis grave - Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery
The Ellis brothers and presumably sisters, ran a butcher shop in Loch, Victoria, among other interests from 1913 to 1916.  This was taken over by W R Thompson who ran it for many years with little change to the structure.  The shop has since been demolished.  I am not sure if the horse is next on the menu!

Ellis Bros Butcher Shop in Loch c1914

Now a widower, he is a gas employee, living at 37 Cardigan Place South Melbourne in 1912 and 1913. Later in 1914 Reu is living at 24 Charnwood Crescent St Kilda East.

On 22 March 1916  Reuben enlisted at Maribyrnong,  Victoria, he is aged 41 years 11 months, a widower, employed as a gasworker and residing at 66 Commercial Road, Prahran.  On enlistment he is described as of fresh complexion, 5 foot 11 3/4 inches, 150 lbs, grey eyed and brown haired.

 #25915 Driver Reuben Ellis  embarked 1 August 1916 on the "Orsova"  with the 23rd Howitzer Brigade 4th Reinforcements, disembarking 14 September in Plymouth.  To France 12 February 1917 aboard the  "Golden Eagle" he was marched to Etaples where he was transferred to 110th Howitzer Battery, 4th Divisional Ammunition Column on 24 March.

Driver Ellis, accidentally fractured his left clavicle on 20 September 1917 "In the Fld" .  It is reported on his casualty file "Returning from the Batty position driving in a team when his horses slipped on the cobbled road and fell....He was not to blame."  Injured, Reu returned to England on "Princess Elizabeth" 26 September for treatment to 2nd Military Hospital, Old Park Hospital Canterbury. He was later transferred to the 3rd Auxilliary on 3 Oct 1917 prior to his departure back to Australia aboard the hospital transport "Medic" arriving in Melbourne 1 Oct 1918.  Later that month, Reu was discharged medically unfit on 29 October 1918.

I have an address for Reu c/- Mrs E Taylor, 61 Harley Road, Harleston, London England from my grandfather Edgar Ellis' diary which may have been around 1918 prior to Reu's return home to Australia.

Reuben Ellis with brother with Edgar Ellis
He is pictured here with younger brother Edgar Ellis, my grandfather, c1916, but I think the date is incorrect as I am unable to align their dates together in service at that time.  Edgar enlisted 8 March 1917 at Melbourne, residing at Savernake 1917, so this photo must have been taken later elsewhere, perhaps in England.

I am not sure when Reu began his employment with The Metropolitan Gas Company but his photograph appears in their post war publication  "A Tribute to those employees of The Metropolitan Gas Company who served in the Great War 1914-1919".

On 24 September 1919, Reuben, a widower, marries Paula Dugmore Stanley, a widow, at 4 Havelock Road, Camberwell.  The witnesses were Joseph and Hannah Price - I don't know who or what their relationship was to either party.

At the time of their marriage, Reu is a gas works employee, aged 45 years, residing at 245 Bridport Street Albert Park, and Paula's occupation is stated as that of domestic duties, she is aged 42 years, residing at 41 Barrett Street Albert Park. Reu states his first wife died in 1910 and he has no children. Paula states that she is a widow, whose husband died in 1913, has one living child and sadly two deceased children at that time. 

Paula's parents are given as Thomas Timms, saw miller, and Jane Timms nee Dugmore, and she states her place of birth as Alexandra and aged 42 would place her date of birth around 1877. Interestingly here a number of facts become slightly distorted as she was born 22 September 1873 (some 5 years earlier) in Weldon Street, Godfreys Creek, Gobur, Shire of Alexandra, and registered as Sophia Timms, the daughter and eighth child of Thomas Timms, a miner from originally from the Isle of Bute, Scotland, and Jane Elizabeth Dugmore, of Melbourne.  So no Paula or Dugmore in her name as stated at her marriage to Reu.

There is more to Paula Dugmore Stanley than meets the eye!

On 21 May 1910, in The Argus (Melbourne) I found the following notice -

TO HARRY ASHER STANLEY, Formerly of Trafalgar, Victoria, and of Masterton, New Zealand.-Take notice, that your wife, Paula Dugmore Stanley, has commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria, 1010 No. 57, against you for divorce, on the' ground of desertion, and If you intend to appear and defend the same you are required to ENTER your APPEARANCE within 14 days from the publication hereof, otherwise the said proceedings may continue and the Court may proceed with the hearing of the petition of the said Paula Dugmore Stanley in your absence, and this advertisement is inserted by order of his Honour Mr. Justice Cussen, judge in chambers, at Melbourne.

R E. LEWIS and SON, 414 Little Collins-street, Melbourne, proctors for the petitioner

Paula's predicament is reported in The Daily News (Perth) on 24 August 1910 -

 MELBOURNE, This, Afternoon.

Before Mr. Justice Hodges to-day in the Divorce Court, Paula Dugmore Stanley, aged 36, residing at Leicester street, Fitzroy, sued for a divorce from her husband, Harry Asher Stanley, aged 49, a storekeeper, on the ground of desertion. The couple were married at Coolgardie on March 20, 1898, and had issue, two children. After residing in W.A. about two and a half years they came to Victoria, and lived at Trafalgar, in Gippsland. On March 17, 1904, respondent said he was going to the races at Bruthen. They parted on affectionate terms, but he did not return. He subsequently wrote from New Zealand saying that he did not want to have anything more to do with her, and that she could get a divorce. Petitioner said she had received about £60 from her husband towards the support of her children. A decree nisi was granted with costs.

The divorce was also reported in the DIVORCE COURT a day later on 25 August 1910 in The Argus (Melbourne) -


Paula Dugmore Stanley, aged 36, of Nicholson street Fitzroy asked for a dissolution of her marriage with Harry Asher Stanley, 49, on the grounds of desertion. Mr Woolf (instructed Messrs R P Lewis and Son) appeared for the petitioner. The parties were married at Coolgardie on March 20, 1897 and there are two children. They lived together in different places in Australia the last place being Trafalgar in Gippsland. In 1904 the husband said he was going to the Bruthen races and would be back in about a week. The wife had never seen him since though he had sent her about £63 the last remittance being in April 1906. A decree nisi with costs was granted.

The circumstances leading up to Paula's first marriage is interesting in the least.  The West Australia records Henry Ascher Stanley, storekeeper at Kalgoorlie, appearing before the Supreme Court In Bankruptcy on 2 February 1897 and he was declared bankrupt on 12 March, just a week before his marriage to Paula in Coolgardie!

The Index to Divorce Cause Records (VPRS 5335 / P0005 / Vol 3) at the Public Record Office of Victoria notes the Stanley divorce #57 in 1910.

Paula continues to reside in various suburbs of Melbourne and is living at 38 Erskine Street South Melbourne when tragically her second child Jack Stanley, aged 17, died as a result of an shooting accident at his uncle Joseph Timms'  Momba Station near Wilcannia in NSW,  on 17 November 1917.   Jack's name is inscribed on the same Ellis headstone at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery under his mother's details.

At the time of her marriage to Reu in 1919, Paula stated she was a widow, whose first husband died in 1913, but she was in actual fact divorced.  Any evidence of Henry passing away in Australia, or for that matter, in Masterton in New Zealand to confirm his death in 1913 has eluded me so far.

Some seven months later The Metropolitan Gas Company's gas holder explodes at Port Melbourne.

Reu, valveman, was called to give evidence to a Public Inquiry opened into an incident in which the Metropolitan Gas Company's large gas holder at Port Melbourne burst on Sunday 4 April 1920 "...there was an escape of a large volume of gas and the ignition of that gas that caused a flame that ascended to a height of between 300ft and 400ft.  A plank of timber had been found in the 'rises' of the holder, which may cause a jamb." Pictures of the accident show it was a significant incident.  The accident was widely reported in the newspapers and a number of the employees and locals was burned in the explosion.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Ellis Brothers - Reuben Ellis (1874-1951) early days

Following a recent email from Rosemary Noble, researching the Dugmore and Timms family, I have returned to my earlier research on one of the Ellis brothers, namely Reuben Ellis. Reu was my grandfather Edgar Ernest Ellis's brother, and the son of Charles Ellis and Sarah Elizabeth Howlett.

I will talk about Reu's early life first and some of his earlier family relationships.

Reuben (Reu) was the firstborn of seven children to Charles and Sarah, followed by Charles Alfred (Charl), Mary Ellen (Nell), Herbert Charles (Herb), Edgar Ernest (my grandfather),  Florence May (Flo) and Lucy Inez.
Home of William Joseph Maidment

His parents were married in 1872 at the home of William Joseph Maidment at Finnis Flat in South Australia. William J Maidment was the brother of Charles' mother Sophia Ransom Ellis (nee Maidment).

Charles was a miner at the time of his marriage, and I believe he previously worked at the nearby Wheal Ellen, a silver-lead-zinc mine at Scrubby Hill Road Woodchester some 7km east of Strathalbyn.  The Wheal Ellen mine closed in 1861 so this may have influenced the decision of Charles and Sarah to move to Moonta Mines in early 1874, some 200 km away.

Moonta at that time was an extensive copper mining area which became known as "Australia's Little Cornwall" with the arrival of hundreds of Cornish miners, and Charles found work there as a woodcarter. The Howlett family were involved in the copper mines through Sarah's father William Howlett's connections with Sir Walter Watson Hughes. William Howlett had worked as a crewman and later a shepherd for Hughes, and Sarah's older brother Henry worked as a shepherd for Hughes's brother as a lad of thirteen.  Henry Howlett and his wife Mary (nee Watson), Hughes's niece, were residing at Moonta at that time.  Also in Moonta was Sarah's brother Charles William Howlett and his wife Emily, and her sister Susannah and her husband Alfred Jesse Williams, were in the same area so there was family support there.

The Moonta Registers (from Marilyn Philbey) record their first child Reuben was born on 22 April 1874, at Moonta Mines to Charles Ellis, woodcarter, Moonta Mines, and Sarah nee Howlett.  Also born that year at Moonta Mines was his uncle Henry Howlett's sons, Thomas Herbert.

According to my notes from Bill Howlett (now deceased) "Charles William Howlett and his wife Emily, resided at lot 1531 near Waterhouse Road, and his sister Sarah Elizabeth and her husband resided on lot 1528 on Newland Street, at East Moonta. Jim Harbison of the Moonta National Trust provided the map notated as "The map is the location of home of Charles Ellis and Sarah Ellis at Moonta".  Perhaps this is where Reu was born.

Map of Moonta - Ellis home location circled
Bill Howlett also noted that "The first seven settlers at Agery were  ... Henry Howlett lot 317 and George Matters lot 318".  George Matters is another Hogben family connection.

From Moonta in South Australia, Charles Ellis set out in early 1875 with his son Reuben, then only a small boy,  to drive to Carisbrook in Victoria by horse and cart.  It would have been a long journey, almost 730 kms in today's terms. Carisbrook is near Maldon and Castlemaine, a gold mining area.  Sarah must have followed later.

Charles Ellis, a carter and residing in Carisbrook, lodges an application 13 March 1875 under the Land Act 1869 to lease "319 acres, 0 roods, 12 perches or more or less" in the Parish of Moe.
Application by Charles Ellis 13 March 1875
Application page 2
Brother Charles Alfred was born in1876 at Grange Farme near Carisbrook.  Charles' birth certificate states his father's occupation has changed - he is a farmer. The informant at his birth was uncle C W Howlett, his mother Sarah's eldest brother, who had been residing there for some time - two of his sons, Ernest Herbert and Alfred  Edwin, were born, and son Alfred Herbert died, at Carisbrook  in the years 1874 to 1877.  Another family connection to Carisbrook is Sarah's uncle Frederick Howlett married there in 1858.

Seeking excellent rainfall, good soil and plentiful timber, the Ellis family's next move is to Gippsland near Trafalgar, some 300 kms from Carisbrook.  Reu's sister Mary Ellen was born at Trafalgar in 1878.   Together with Charles's brother-in-law, Charles William Howlett, the families later moved to Narracan where they were to take up adjoining selections, with Charles selecting almost 320 acres (Lot 97 312.0.12 and Lot 98 318.0.30 respectively).  Charles Ellis cleared the land and farmed it for 30 years, but he never took up the title.  This fact would probably impact later on the outcomes for the Ellis siblings as adults.
Land selection at Narracan - Charles Ellis

Also nearby at Narracan was William Hogben, Sarah's maternal uncle and his wife Elizabeth Burnbridge Hogben (nee Maidment) Charles' maternal aunt.  So that families are very well supported by each other.

Narracan East was becoming quite a settlement with Charles Ellis conducting the butcher's shop, and Charles Howlett, his brother-in-law being in partnership with Samuel White in the store and blacksmith's shop (Thorpdale, Narracan, Childers - Centenary 1876-1976, Thorpdale and District Centenary Committee, 1976, p9, p49; So Tall the Trees: a centenary history of the southern district of the Shire of Narracan, John Adams, Shire of Narracan, 1978, p61).   The two brothers-in-law were obviously in partnership as "... at this time "Howlett and Ellis", of Narracan, over 30 miles away,  used to call once a fortnight on the settlers with a piece of good fresh meat, together with a quantity of salt junk.  They also brought letters and papers and took letters back for posting.  Of course everything was packed in on horseback and along very narrow Turton's and Lydiard's tracks respectively." (Land of the Lyrebird - A story of Early Settlement in the Great Forest of South Gippsland, Gordon and Gotch (Australasia) Ltd, 1920, p141).

"On 26 June 1877 eight Narracan residents signed a letter to The Minister of Education requesting a school be built, as the nearest one was 20 miles away. Thirty children ranging from three to fourteen years old were included in the petition. The signatories were William Riggs, C W Howlett, Peter Thomson, Charles Ellis, Peter Mills, J Gibson, S Nickell and C Atkin." (Coach News, Moe and District Historical Society Inc Newsletter, Volume 36, No 1, September 2008, The Forgotten School of Narracan - The early years at Moe South School 2213, Max Garner) 

Map from Coach News Volume 36, No 1 September 2008 by Max Garner
The Narracan East School #2295 (later #2012A) opened on 15 April 1878 in the Narracan Mechanics' Institute with a roll of 10 pupils.  Mr Elijah J Stranger was the first teacher and also an early selector. The numbers soon increased to 20, some coming long distances along a bush track through the timber.  The Ellis and Howlett children attended the school obviously making up a large proportion of the enrolment. I am presuming that Reu and his siblings would have attended school here given the application of which his father Charles Ellis was a signatory. The school closed in December 1892 (Vision and Realisation.  A Centenary History of State Education in Victoria, Ruth Hill, Volume 3, Education Department of Victoria, p1215).  The Narracan East Mechanics' Institute is now located at the Gippstown Heritage Park in Moe.

Coach News Volume 35, No 3 March 2008 by Walter Savige
It was here at Narracan that Reu's siblings Herbert Charles was born in 1880, as was my grandfather Edgar in 1882, and sister Florence in 1885. 

Sadly youngest sister Lucy Inez born in 1888 at Moe South only lived eight hours and she was buried by her father on his property (Lonely Graves of Gippsland Goldfields and Greater Gippsland, J G Rogers and Nellie Helyar, 1994, p40).  Noted on the margin of her death certificate - "Delivery at home Mary Howlett".  For many of the Ellis, Howlett and Hogben children their grandmother Mary Howlett (nee Hogben) acted as a midwife for their births.

Ellis children - Charles Alfred, Herbert, Reuben and Mary Ellen, Edgar not present
I do know, however, that my grandfather Edgar, eight years younger than Reu, also attended Narracan State School #2295 in 1889 and 1892, having earlier attended Trafalgar South State School #25257 in 3rd grade in 1888.

Reu's maternal grandfather, William Howlett, aged 65 passes away suddenly from apoplexy in Woodchester in 1884, and his widowed grandmother Mary remains there for a short time supported by her daughter Susannah and her husband Alfred Williams.  This was short lived as you can see by the Court Case in 1885.  Grandmother Mary Howlett as a consequence moves lock stock and barrel to Gippsland in December 1885 to live with her eldest son Charles William, who are on the adjoining property to Reu's parents.  Susannah and Alfred also move nearby to Morwell not long after arriving in 1886.  Sarah's youngest sister Mary Ann Temperance Howlett marries Robert James Wilson in Sale in 1888.  Reu now has a large extended family of his maternal grandmother, maternal and paternal great uncles and aunts, uncles, aunts and cousins in Gippsland.

Charles Ellis appears to be doing rather well as by 1888 ".. his land is valued at 8 pounds an acre and is particularly adapted for grazing purposes, to which, with dairy farming, he devotes it.  He has 30 head of cattle and 25 pigs" (Victoria and its Metropolis past and present Vol II The Colony and its People in 1888, McCarron Bird and Co Melb, p372).  Reu is now around 14 so I am not sure if he is helping his father on the farm or in the butcher's shop.

In 1892 Charles is managing the creamery established opposite the Narracan Railway Station which was providing substantial quantities of cream to the Trafalgar Factory (So Tall the Trees, p139).

Times are to soon to become difficult for the Ellis family if they had not already been so, as their mother Sarah suffered with an ovarian tumour for some 12 years.  Sadly Sarah passes away on 12 November 1895, at the home of her sister, Mrs. A Williams at Morwell, from operation exhaustion, and she was buried at Hazelwood Cemetery (Death Notice, Morwell Advertiser, 15 November 1895). At that time, her six surviving children were Reu 21 years, Charl 19, Nell 17, Bert 15, Edgar 13, and Flo 10 years.
Headstone Sarah E Ellis

Grave Sarah E Ellis - Hazelwood Cemetery

Hazelwood Cemetery Burial Register - Sarah Ellis

OBITUARY .-We regret to have to announce the death of Mrs Sarah Ellis. which sad event took place at the Gippsland Hospital on Tuesday last. The deceased lady suffered from a tumor for the past twelve years which caused her constant suffering. On 14th June she became worse, and was sent to Sale where she lingered in the hospital for twelve weeks, and had to undergo no less than five operations. During her life Mrs. Ellis was a constant worker for the church and was a genial favourite with all who knew her, especially with children. The funeral, which was largely attended, took place on Wednesday afternoon when the Rev. T. Stanley, Wesleyan minister of Warragul officiated at the grave.
(Obituary, Morwell Advertiser, 15 November 1895).

I presume that sister Nell has taken on a lot of responsibility in looking after the family and her younger siblings during her mother's extended illness and after her death. Around this time Eliza Davies helped care for the younger children when Sarah was ill and for a while after she died. Whether the older lads Reu, Charl and Bert are working on the farm or in the district is unclear.

In early March 1900 it is reported "NARRACAN - We will be losing two more of our old residents shortly.  Mr C Ellis having sold his farm, will be leaving the district. (Morwell Advertiser, 2 March 1900).  A Farewell Social was held at the Narracan East Mechanics' hall.  He conducts a successful clearing sale disposing of his cattle and pigs, and working plant.

Later that month, father Charles, farmer residing at Trafalgar remarries on 21 March 1900 at the Wesley Church, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.  His bride is Barbara Fanny Steel, aged 32, also of Trafalgar.  Significantly one of the witnesses is Eliza Davies.   Father Charles and their stepmother Barbara move to Germantown, now known as Grovedale, a suburb of Geelong.  Regretfully, after 19 days following a difficult labour, Barbara passes away on 29 October 1900. Their unnamed stillborn son delivered on 10 October was buried with his mother Barbara at the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.

Charles places his Germantown property, a 5 acre orchard and vineyard,  on the market soon after in early November citing family bereavement.  He then held a clearing sale in late November after the sale of the property.

Time passes and four years later, father Charles, a farmer at Korumburra marries again on 4 October 1904 to Eliza Lisle Davies at her home at Wesley Hill, near Castlemaine.  Eliza was the witness at his previous marriage so she was no stranger to the Ellis children.  Welcoming a sister, Alma Essie on 20 December 1905 at Kardella near Korumburra, their father returned to South Australia in 1906 with his wife and his youngest daughter, residing for a short time in Clarence Park, before relocating to Lockleys to undertake dairy farming.  The youngest Ellis sibling, Gwenda Ivy was born on 16 January 1908 at Westbourne Park.

So now there were ten surviving Ellis children. All the children from Charles' first marriage remained in Gippsland, their ages ranging from Reu aged 30 down to Flo aged 23.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A story about William Howlett

Around 1990 (nearly 24 years ago) I contacted the late Bill Howlett, a descendant of  my great great parents, William Howlett (1819-1884) and Mary Hogben (1821-1919).  Bill's family line is through their son Henry Howlett (1844-1915). 

Bill generously shared a lot of his Howlett and Hogben family research with me. The research he had originally undertaken were in the days on few computers, and I re-transcribed quite a bit of his original typed notes for him. Bill passed away in 1999.

Please note: This material was compiled a considerable time ago and since then more material and records are available which may indicate some inaccuracies which could not be confirmed at the time. I know there are dates which are slightly incorrect but I think the "story" warrants sharing.

William Howlett  (1819-1884)

Here is a part of Bill's story....
Original typed documents given to Robyn Fisher by Bill Howlett, Flagstaff Hill SA,  around 1990.  Re-transcribed 2003



The birth of William, the second child of Charles and Temperance, took place at Ampton Hall, Suffolk, England.  He was the son of a sailor and was baptised in a very old church, St. Mary the Virgin, on 7th January 1819.
Conditions in Suffolk were poor and living conditions extremely difficult.  Charles Howlett, apparently seeking the best for his family, is recorded as having foregone his life at home and joined his distant cousins in France, accepting the occupation of sailor on the Hugo ship La Recherche, operating from Brest, Brittany.
It was no easy task for his mother Temperance to raise a family, as only one month before William's birth, her first child Susan passed away, aged only two years.  With her husband almost permanently at sea, continuous assistance from her parents and cousins, the Palfrey family, who were masters of Ampton Hall in 1819, was necessary.
William attended the church school in the Ampton township with approximately 10 other students, until the age of 12 years, during time he welcomed seven brothers and sisters into his family.  Lloyds of London records state that William, at the young age of 13 years was permitted to join his father on a voyage from London to Calcutta in 1829.
However, at Calcutta, William "signed off" the La Recherche and joined the crew of a Brig named the Hero.   It can only be assumed that the father and son relationship on board was unacceptable, or perhaps a more lucrative offer was received from the Hero's captain.
Thus he advanced as a sailor until in 1835, when the Hero, in port in Devon England, was requisitioned by the English government for convict transportation to Sydney Australia and the crew were dismissed to be replaced by a Mariner group, who also acted as guards.  These naval marines, on arrival at Sydney, were to stay in the colony with the convicts so the Hero's captain, W.W. Hughes, requested his sailors to obtain passage to Australia by whatever available means, in order to join him for the return voyage.
As free citizens, such passage was almost impossible, so William and at least 5 other sailors applied to the newly formed South Australia Company in London.
He requested permission to emigrate and was accepted.  On the 5th October, 1836, William Howlett, aged seventeen years, arrived on the Emma at Glenelg, South Australia.
His emigration number was 442.  (Please refer to Before the Buffalo page 18.)
Early records show that he resided in Trinity Place, Adelaide, for nearly a year and worked as a hotel employee of the South Australian Arms Hotel in Hindley Street, whilst he awaited the arrival of his captain and fellow sailors from the Brig Hero.
Records show that, depressed and near penniless, he again rejoined his ship and returned to sea late in 1857.  Captain Walter Watson Hughes, owner and master of the Brig Hero, left the China Seas abruptly before the onset of the opium wars, and sailed to Port Adelaide, where the ship was sold.
The known sailors on the Hero in 1838 were: -
William Jolly -1st Officer
Samual Jackson
William Howlett (18 years)
Edward Hogben
George Hogben
Charles Maidment
Walter Maidment
Isaac White
The Captain and his crew were to return to England and be discharged on the Brig's arrival but all the crew decided to return to Australia by personal means.
Records in the South Australian Archives indicate that William Howlett left England in 1839 on the sailing ship Anna Robertson and arrived in Adelaide on 20th September, 1839.  Whilst his fellow sailors arrived thus:-
Captain Walter W. Hughes      Delhi            arriving 20.12.1839
Charles Maidment                    Charles Kerr             28.12.1839
Edward Hogben                       Resource                             1839
William Jolly                             Recovery                             1839
Samual Jackson                        Cygnet                                 1841
Isaac White                               unknown
David Harvey                           Arab                                    1843
On his arrival, William again resided at Trinity Place Adelaide, with Edward Hogben and his newly emigrated family, which included his daughter Mary.  He also returned to work at the South Australian Arms Hotel in Hindley Street.
Edward Hogben purchased land in Sturt Street and became a brewer.
Romance flourished between himself and Mary Hogben.  On December 17th, 1840, the betrothed couple purchased the Tiers House Tea Rooms near Mount Lofty.  A purchase invoice of furnishings bought is included at the end of this chapter.
On the 14th April, 1841, William Howlett and Mary Hogben, on licence number 452, were married at the Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide, by Colonel Chaplain B. Howard - William Roberts and Ann Colls were witnesses.
After their marriage, William and Mary, who were pioneers of Adelaide, commenced their life with a spirit of survival and the will to battle with the extreme odds of nature in the Tiers.
During the day, Mary tended her house duties and managed their tea rooms, whilst William joined his forester friends and hewed trees for timber to sell in Adelaide.
Using his home as a store area, he advanced to also purchase cattle, horses, sheep and farm produce, which once a week he would haul to Adelaide on a German style waggon to sell to city merchants.  In return he would purchase all types of imported foodstuffs, articles of clothing, axes and implements for farming and forestry trades.  These goods were for sale at reasonable prices or exchanged on a barter system.
In order to glean a scale of the price economy of that era, a price reference of one of his purchases has been included in this book.  It must be assumed that this purchase from David Browne and company would be compatible with the sales and barters conducted by William and his fellow Tiersmen.
The locale of the Tea Rooms is listed as cottage 133 Tiers, Mount Lofty, and was burnt down in latter years; its ruined walls remained until the foundations were made use of to erect several cottages.  These adjoin the grounds where the Grand Church of the Epiphany stands today.
On the 11th December 1841, the young couple sold the tea rooms and purchased at auction sale for Three Thousand Pounds, the Norfolk Arms Hotel, from David Crafer.
Included in this chapter is an advertisement inserted by David Crafer in the South Australian Register on 2nd December and the 11th December, 1841.
William and Mary renamed their Hotel the Forrester's Arms Hotel.  Records in the general registry office of the South Australian Lands Department validate that the young couple were land owners of 80 acres at the Tiers, or Crafers, as it is known today.
When Mr. David Crafer sold Howlett this hotel, it encompassed a great deal of goodwill, coupled with a name that would remain to posterity, perpetuating itself in the name of a township, "Crafers".  The Crafer's Hotel, a solid, homely structure in timber and brick, bears no resemblance to the thatched shanty known then as the Forrester's Arms.
The "Tiers" was at this time the hideout of all manner of unsavoury characters.  They had, if the journals of the day may be relied upon, a reputation as unhallowed as the "evil one himself".  Escaped convicts from Tasmania, with nothing to lose after bestial treatment by guards who regarded them as "scum", were not likely to treat with geniality any intrusion on the haunts of their newly found freedom.
Runaway sailors, desiring anonymity from the long arm of their ships' masters, who showed no mercy to deserters, also found sanctuary there and could hardly be expected to be "friendly" to the law-abiding citizens of the time.  However, there was much hilarity and enjoyment at the opening dinner of the new Inn, an advertisement for which appeared in the press of the day, stating :-
"Opening Dinner - Forresters Arms,
Stringy Bark Forest,
Mt. Barker Road,
Two Guineas a Head”
It is presumed that any diners who attended this opening function came from Adelaide and were not local clients of the area.
It is quoted in the book "Pump on the Roadway" by Tom Dyster, that the Howletts were quite capable of putting saucy "Tiersmen" in their place, serving in the bar, looking after the cuisine, and supervising the stores.  The locals respected them as hard working pioneers.
Visitors from the city could testify to the friendliness and efficiency of the service at the Inn, to say nothing of the spotless condition in which it was kept, albeit the floor was of mud and the roof thatched with straw.
There must have been many unpleasant incidents in a period such as this at the "Tiers" but the Howletts continued to prosper as good servants of the public and within one year had replaced their shanty with an inn constructed of timber and stone.
On June 18th, 1842, Mary Howlett gave birth to their son, Charles William.
Glen Osmond was a deep ravine opening out and terminating somewhat abruptly about five miles into the Adelaide Hills.  Up this ravine trudged horses, carts and bullock wagons, gradually wearing a clearly defined track which wound through gullies and along sharp ridges, becoming the origin of the major highway through the foot hills today.
A map of the original route in 1841 can be seen in this chapter.
On June 11th, 1841, a Bill to enable the construction of a solid road from Glen Osmond to Crafers, was passed by the Legislative Council.  The metal for this road had to be carried, ground and levelled and the surface rolled -no wonder those labouring gangs got thirsty -and small wonder Howlett's Inn flourished.
The South Australian Almanac of 1844 lists the population of the Tiers as 225, of which 103 were children.  It was because of the Tiersmen and their needs that William and Mary’s Forrester' s Arms Hotel came into being.  Men, bow-legged from too many hours in -tile saddle, graced the bar.  They were young men with old faces.  Sailors seeking refuge, told yarns of the sea and recounted rumours about young ladies from the best families down in Adelaide.  So the noise went on -and the drinkers resolved to enjoy themselves.  It can only be assumed that the ale was purchased from Hogben's brewery in Sturt Street, Adelaide.
There is little doubt that this auspicious inn had more interests than just being a house of hospitality and a Tiersmen's trading post, for, according to the Forrester's Arms ledgers and lodgers' books, as well as documents of the South Australian Archives, marriages, births and funerals were conducted there.
The Happy Valley Council 'Contact' of April 1986 reports the wedding ceremony of a Jacob Mackereth and his wife Sara on October 15th, 1842.  During their stay, the newly-weds rented room number 3 for one guinea per week.  Their total account on completion of their stay was £3.15.10 which included six evening meals and two shillings for drinks.  A few months later, according to the record book, Jacob and Sara opened a trading account.  They sold pears, mulberries and vegetables at barter, exchanging them for an axe, shovel and linen goods.  Later that year, Sara gave birth to their first child.  Sara needed medical care at the time and spent two days in room 2.  Mary Howlett acted as midwife.
Maps indicating the location of local residents' homes were kept at the Inn and acceptable traveller's enquiries could be answered.  However, most tracks were narrow and treacherous in wet weather.
It was about this time that William and Mary met David Harvey and his bride Maria (nee Sturgeon) David arrived in South Australia on the sailing ship Arab from Hounslow London England.
Also, a fellow sailor from the ship Hero, Edward Charles Maidment, married Sara Ann Hogben on 22nd November, 1843 at the "Tiers".  Mrs Sara Ann Maidment was the sister of Mary Howlett.
The friendship between the families of Howlett -Harvey -Maidment was very strong and was to remain so for the rest of their lives.
In 1844, Captain Walter Watson Hughes discovered the green rolling downs of the Angus River.  The expatriate Scotsman purchased the property of Temple Bar near Macclesfield and settled there.  It was here that his ex- sailors found mutual respect between their master and themselves.
The Howlett's Forrester's Arms Inn continued to trade prosperously until March 1844 when this entrepreneurial hotelier, upon being informed by his wife Mary that their second child was soon to arrive, cast his eyes to the green plains of Macclesfield.  This investment, they considered, was too lucrative to miss.
On 15th March 1844 Mary Howlett gave birth to their second son, Henry.
William and Mary sold their hotel to Richard Hawkins.
The Forrester's Arms Hotel as it was long known, became the birth-place of the Crafer's Hotel of today.  Its exact location in 1844 was half a mile nearer Adelaide, on the southern side of the new Freeway of today (1986), on the spot where a television tower is now erected.
Records in the general registry office of the South Australian Lands Department, indicate that William Howlett and David Harvey, gardeners, leased half of section lot 1448 near Wistow, at six shillings a year, on the condition that they continue as gardeners for Captain W.W. Hughes.
They were entitled to keep half of the fruit cuttings, suckers and layers they produced but were expected to fence, plough and clear the new land they used.  Farming this virgin land was difficult, particularly one section which was covered with Stringy Bark trees.
The list below, which is based on information published in Allen's Almanac of 1845, indicates how some of our pioneers of Macclesfield were using their leases:-

Howlett and Harvey
4 acres of wheat and 19 cattle
4 acres of wheat, ½ acre of garden, 9 cattle and 1 goat
9 acres of wheat, ½ acre of potatoes, 14 cattle and 2 pigs
The first clear indication of who was farming these lands can be obtained from what is referred to as the Declaration of Acreage in the South Australian Register of February 1846.  This quotes :-
Howlett and Harvey     on      100 acres
Maidment                     on      140 acres
Jackson                         on      80 acres (also a publican)
It is interesting to note that with the selling of Howlett's Forrester's Arms Hotel at Crafers in 1844, a fellow seaman from the Brig Hero built an Inn at Macclesfield, naming it the Goat's Head Inn.  Can it also be assumed that the Goat's Head Inn purchased its ale from Hogben's Brewery in Sturt Street Adelaide?
In 1846, Captain Walter Watson Hughes leased the Lake Albert and Peninsula estate, a property which later increased to 33,000 acres.  This property covered an area from Strathalbyn to a lake area of the lower River Murray, nearly to Meningie.  This area was rough, virgin land so that year he approached William Howlett, David Harvey and Edward Maidment and requested that they re-locate in Woodchester.
During this year a, council was formed, comprising four councillors, and was named "Onaunga".  "Onaunga" is an Aboriginal word meaning Big Water Hole, which signified Lake Albert.
William Howlett purchased the local animal pound for £100.0.0 from William Moulden, which gave the family a better sense of security.  This was located on lot 1791.  David Harvey purchased land at Hartley (lot 1314), some miles towards the east.
Charles Maidment purchased lot 1788 near Woodchester.
William and Mary Howlett, with their brother-in-law Charles Maidment's agreement, built their new home on the eastern edge of lot 1788 near Woodchester.
The house was built using materials obtained from local sources.  These consisted of Gum slabs, straw thatching and a mortar of Paris Creek lime set between Grey Whacker solid walls.  The floor was laid with slate paving which had to be cut from a nearby quarry.
William and Mary's new home was of two rooms, each approximately 12 feet x 12 feet, one being used as a bedroom and the other a kitchen.  The present ruins indicate that an outhouse dwelling of approximately 10,feet x 10 feet may have been used as a bathroom, laundry and store area.
And so, among the trees of the virgin scrub, these first' farms were designated, the first crude homes erected and the first cellars dug.
Nearby, mining had commenced and mines such as Wheal Ellen and others badly needed timber for their hungry boilers hence rapid scrub clearance and 'tilling of the soil enabled the area to develop rapidly.
By 1848 large leases of virgin land had been selected by settlers at Woodchester.  The Chapel and its reserve served as a physical and cultural centre for an increasing influx of pioneers.
William Howlett immediately recognised the pastoral potential of the area but, lacking assistance, he decided to return to Ampton, England and enlist the support of his brother James; leaving his family ,in the safe care of his trusted friends, Harvey and Maidment.
William and James returned home to Woodchester in 1852, when James was 23 years old.
In the year 1857 William and Mary's second son Henry, then aged 13 years, left his parents' home and secured an occupation as a live-in, shepherd with Captain Walter Watson Hughes and his wife Sophia, on their new leases at Moonta, on a wage of nine shillings and six pence per week.
On the 6th June, 1864, James Howlett married Ann Stodden Burnard, at Woodchester, changing his residence to Langhorne Creek where he became employed as a store salesman.
In 1867, Edwin Charles Maidment built a hotel at Woodchester and named it the Everley Arms Inn.
In the same year, 1867, David Harvey named his homestead and farm “Ampton” -  the name of the birth town of William Howlett.  Today, 1986, the Harvey family wool bales, still are registered and branded Ampton”.
On 18th August, 1869, Sara Ann Maidment passed away at Woodchester.  Sara was the sister of Mary Howlett.
On the 29th March, 1869, Charles Harvey, son of David Harvey, married Ann Maria Williams.
Ann Maria had a brother, Alfred, who later married Sussannah, daughter of William and Mary Howlett.
Ellen Howlett married William Pearson in 1871 at Woodchester and they became farmers at Brinkley, neighbours to David Harvey.
William and Mary were to have nine children: -
Charles William     1842
Henry                    1844
Sara                      1845
John                      1846
Ellen                      1848
Alfred                    1849
Sussannah              1851
William                  1853
Frederick               1856
William Howlett was appointed a special constable in 1873, with his head office at Mount Barker., William and Mary continued to live in this manner until William's death' on the 20th January, 1884, aged 64 years.
He was buried in the Woodchester Cemetery, Row 1, Grave 2, with his sister-in-law, Sara Ann Maidment.
Mary, his widow, later shifted to Morwell, Victoria and resided with her married daughter, Sussannah Williams.
Mary Howlett passed away on the 29th August, 1919, aged 98 years.
William and Mary Howlett crossed the Plains and though they lived beyond the age allotted to man, never forgot the ungratified thirst, the intense heat and bitter cold, the craving hunger and utter physical exhaustion of the trail and the rude crosses - which marked the last resting places of loved companions.  But there was another side - never would they forget the level plains covered with lush grass due to their labours.
The glorious sunrise in the morning-s and the camp fire at night, the last prayer at bed -time and the pure sweet air of the land they toiled for.

True, they suffered, but the satisfaction of deeds accomplished and difficulties overcome more than compensated and made their being a fact never to be forgot-ten, and a life-long pleasure for their descendants in remembrance.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


Found this little snippet about the first Computers and Genealogy Conference in October 1997 whilst looking at material for a piece on VicGUM's upcoming 30th Anniversary in July.  You can also check out the pictures Tom took with his SLR, pre-digital camera days.


One hundred and twenty eight tired prisoners were released on good behaviour bonds following their incarceration at VicGUM's first Computers and Genealogy Conference held at Old Castlemaine Gaol in October.

To ensure that there was not a gaol breakout the prisoners were well fed, if not over fed, and in most cells ladders were not provided to assist in getting over the walls, let alone into the top bunk!!!  The thought of a soft mattress however did not deter the less agile from bedding down. 

A tour of the Gaol introduced most of the prisoners to what they could expect for a long stretch and to their plot six foot under if they overstayed their welcome.

A busy schedule during the daylight hours kept the prisoners from entertaining escape plans, though many were seen lurking in the hallways during the breaks - no doubt planning their name in print under various disguises or discussing how to finance their next project.

Hitches were thankfully few and far between and hopefully disguised.  Starting the day without a microphone to keep the prisoners in line was quickly rectified and improvements to further incarcerations have been noted.  The Prison Warder was able to keep even the most unruly prisoners in line for the duration of the conference.

The on-line Internet searching promised to be very popular, particularly with the available telephone line being barred to outside calls and Telstra offering a 5 day callout wait, despite being offered bribes.   The longest cable to be found in Castlemaine proved that you too can be connected no matter what the distance!!  Setting up the Internet connection was not without a few hiccups and our free connection for the weekend was with the compliments of Castlemaine Internet who can be found at / 

The prospect of being captured on digital camera however did not deter the attendance of any prospective bank robbers and most prisoners were seen to be plotting how to scan and even print money to pay for their planned excesses in family history.

Mini workshops proved to be very hectic, both in choosing the workshop to attend and finding the location.  Choosing your workshop within the confines of the hallway proved to be, even for those agile of mind, an intriguing contest. The tight time frame meant that the Prison Warder was again very active in ensuring the constant movement between workshops by the inmates.  When several refused to move on he was noted to be most unfriendly threatening further incarceration for bad behaviour.  Such was his influence with the threat of further incarceration, he even managed to obtain the services of several inmates (at short notice) to assist in demonstrating the virtues of their favoured family history program - no broken arms or legs were to be seen!!!

Night time reading was well catered for with the Genealogical Society of Victoria and Gould Books of SA providing the opportunity for good bedside reading material for those on long term sentences.

Lack of contact with the outside world was certainly impressed upon with the production of a newsletter, if only to make arrangements for the inmates planning their escape to contact relatives outside the Gaol walls!

The weekend interment was extremely successful with many prisoners willing to be incarcerated again!

I would like to personally thank:

Speakers (in order of appearance):
Ken McInnes      Introduction to Computers and Genealogy (VicGUM)
Irene Fullarton    How to Research our Family History on the Internet (VicGUM)
Clive Nixon         Captured....(Michael's Camera and Video)
Allan Phillips      Getting it into Print...(Gould Books)
Tim Dolby          BDM's on CD Rom - Now and the Future (Informit, RMIT Publishing)
Kathy Baulch      So You Want to Write a Family Newsletter (VicGUM)
and for the unscheduled, but extremely relevant talk, on how to look after our bodies whilst indulging in Computers and Genealogy by Peter Richardson, Physiotherapist, Acupuncturist and Masseur (Castlemaine Holistic Therapies).

Workshops speakers - Meg Bate, John Nathan, Irene Fullarton, Ken McInnes, and Carl Miller, who together with unsolicited but most welcomed, fellow inmates - Bruce Tweedley, Tom Luke, and Peter Beckett, who obviously had hoped for early release and had planned for their early escape by arriving with laptops, all happily elicited their experiences and expertise to encourage the inmates to get it down in print and shorten their sentences.

Conference Papers which were prepared by:  Irene Fullarton, Kathy Baulch, Alexander Romanov-Hughes, and Ken McInnes, and printed by Bookaburra Press.

Conference Sub-Committee of: Heather Hardwick and Bruce Fullarton for their support - both of whom were unable to attend due to family commitments.  Bruce's and wife Anne's excuse for not wishing to be incarcerated was the imminent birth of their daughter, Tessa, who arrived on the Wednesday following the Conference!!  Not sure what the Gaol authorities would have made of a birth in custody.

My thanks, must also go to the rest of the VicGUM committee who conceived the idea of a VicGUM Computers and Genealogy Conference and who over the last two years have included:  Bill Gunther, Ken McInnes, Graeme Simpson, Bruce Fullarton, Penny Mercer, Merv Leeding, John Nathan, Colin Lewis, and Irene Fullarton, without whom VicGUM's first Computer and Genealogy Conference would not have been as enriching to all who were incarcerated!

Andrew and Kaye Duncan of the Old Castlemaine Gaol must also be congratulated on the ideal venue for our first Conference, who together with their friendly staff made the enforced stay most enjoyable, and it was a pleasure to be in their company.

Finally, I must also thank my husband, Tom, for his support over the past 18 months whilst I have been otherwise occupied with VicGUM, and have left the our two young daughters in his capable hands on a regular basis!

Robyn Fisher
President VicGUM Inc