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.

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