Tree progress September 2021

In May 2018 I wrote about the progress I was making on my family tree. The previous ten generations of my forebears have a maximum total of 1,023 people. How many of these, I wondered, could I name.

I found that I knew the names of only 319 of these (31%) Today, three and a half years later, I can name 358 (35%), only 39 more.

Ten generations takes your to your 7th great grandparents. Most of my children’s 7th great grandparents were born in the 1700s (where I know their date of birth). I know the names of 86 of the 512 forebears of this generation. I don’t know very much more than the names of 62.

For the last year I have been transferring my research to WikiTree, a collaborative project intended to produce a ‘singular worldwide family tree’.  (The genealogist Kitty Cooper discusses the scheme in a post of 26 April 2019). By contributing my research to WikiTree it will be there as a resource for my cousins to use now and indefinitely into the future, safe, I hope, from accidental and malicious damage.

There are discrepancies between my personal research tree and WikiTree. For one thing, I have names of forebears on my personal tree about whom I know nothing more than their name. These people cannot be added to WikiTree until I have more information about them. When I add a person to Wikitree, I provide source citations: I state how I know the facts being added and how I know about the relationship of the newly-added profile to the existing people on the tree. Adding my family tree slowly to Wikitree is an excellent way to review my family history research.

When looking at the 1,023 individuals of the previous ten generations of our forebears, I have only 258 recorded on WikiTree, 25% of the possible maximum.

A useful challenge that categorises ancestral profiles was posed earlier this year by the Dutch genealogist Yvette Hoitink. She suggests there are six levels of profile beyond ‘Unidentified’ (where not even the name is known):

  1. Name only – perhaps the forebear is named in a child’s record but no other details are known
  2. Vital statistics – know the dates but little else
  3. Occupations, residence, children, spouses – know several key points of information; know when and where they were born, married, and died, but also where they lived between those key dates and what they did for a living; know who their children were, and if they married multiple times.
  4. Property ownership, military service, religion, criminal activity – filled in more biographical details about their lives; researched in court, notarial, cadastral, church and military records, where applicable; if they owned property, how they acquired it, how they disposed of it; whether they left a last will or if they had a prenuptial agreement; for men, whether they served in the army; what religion they were and which church they attended; if they were criminals, what they did and what their sentence was.
  5. Genealogical Proof Standard – Yvette categorises this as ancestors for whom she has finished reasonably exhaustive research and has proven who their parents are; finished researching them in a wide range of records, such as newspapers, town records, and tax records; documented them according to current genealogical standards, analyzed everything properly, resolved conflicts, written up her conclusion, and met the Genealogical Proof Standard.
  6. Biography – Yvette categorises this as ancestors for whom she has not only finished the research, but has produced a biography or family story with historical context from it.

I have started a preliminary review of our tree against these criteria. I have been reasonably conservative in assigning levels: for example, I have written more biographies or family stories with historical context in this online research journal than are shown in this chart.

Surname groups from left to right: Young, Cross, Sullivan, Dawson, Champion de Crespigny, Cudmore, Boltz, Manock.
Forebears where I only know the names (level 1 shown in blue) are not yet recorded on Wikitree, I need more information to record them there.
The chart was generated with DNAPainter.

The chart was generated using DNAPainter and the dimensions facility on the ancestral tree tool. DNA Painter Dimensions are custom categories giving the ability to create and share different views of your direct line. One of the dimensions you can apply to your tree is what stage you have reached for each forebear in the six levels of ancestral profiles of Yvette Hoitink’s level-up challenge. I learned about the addition of this new DNA Painter ‘dimensions’ feature in April. I have been meaning to apply it.

Applying the dimensions to each of the profiles was laborious. I sped it up slightly by applying level 1 (only know names) to all profiles on the tree. I then individually edited each of the other profiles with what I felt to be a fair assessment of the state of my research.

When I finished adding the categories I was able to generate a summary of genealogy facts. For example for the tenth generation (the outermost ring on the fan chart) I could produce the following summary:

7th-Great-Grandparents 86 of 512 identified

Surnames: Way, Bishop, Colling, Way, Bishop, Moggeridge, Morley, Read, Hemsley, Jenner, Whalley, Hague, Gilbert, Trevithick, Huthnance, Ralph, Champion de Crespigny, Fonnereau, Scott, Gough, Trent, Phipps, Phipps, Tierney, Dana, Trowbridge, Kinnaird, Johnstone, Bayly, Holmes, Grueber, Smyth, Snell, Chauncy, Brown, Cosnahan, La Mothe, Perez, Corrin, Quay, Mitchell, Hughes, Price, Plaisted, Sier, Wilks, Wilkinson, Green, Neilson, Taylor, Miller, Cudmore, Apjohn, Furnell, Massy, Gunn, Manson, Harper, Cavanagh, Lane, Orfeur, Kirkby, Palliser, Wogan, Coates, Odiarne, Haffenden, Mainwaring, Bunbury, Latham, Kelsall, Duff, Skelly, Harrison

Research Level

  • Level 1: Names only  62 12.11%
  • Level 3: Occupations, residence, children, spouses  11 2.15%
  • Level 4: Property ownership, military service, rel  10 1.95%
  • Level 2: Vital statistics  2 0.39%
  • Level 6: Biography  1 0.2%
  • Unassigned  426 83.2%

I look forward to more research and exploring and recording my family history beyond collecting the names.

Related posts

John and Jane Edwards of St Erth

Who were the parents of Thomas Edwards 1794 – 1871?

Thomas Edwards was one of the 3rd great grandfathers of my husband Greg. He died suddenly, of “congestion of the brain”, on 7 January 1871 at Bungaree, near Ballarat, Victoria. An inquest was held two days later. The coroner, who seems to have been advised by a member of the family,  was the informant on Thomas’s death certificate.

1871 death registration for Thomas Edwards (marked with red star)

Thomas Edwards, born about 1794, was 77 years old when he died. He had been a wheelwright. His parents are recorded on his death certificate as John Edwards and Jane Edwards nee Gilbert. Thomas’s father was a labourer. Thomas had been born in Cornwall and had spent 22 years in Victoria. He had married Mary Gilbart at the age of 33, in about 1827. Eight children – 6 boys and 2 girls – are noted, but their names and ages are not given.

There is only one baptism for a Thomas Edwards about 1794 in south-west Cornwall: Thomas, son of John and Jane Edwards, was baptised on 6 July 1794 at Towednack, a village 5 miles north-west of St Erth.

Thomas Edwards married Mary Gilbart on 14 March 1826 in the parish church of St Erth. If he was 77 when he died in 1871, he was about 32 in 1826 when he married Mary Gilbart. The witnesses to the marriage were John Gilbart and Sarah Gilbart, both of them probably relatives of the bride.

On the 1841 census Thomas and Mary Edwards were living in Bridge Terrace, St Erth. Thomas, a carpenter, was 45 (born about 1796 but on the 1841 census ages of adults were rounded to the nearest 5 years). The household members were Thomas, his wife, and five children; one child was away from home staying close by in Battery Mill, St Erth, with her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Gilbart nee Huthnance.

After the 1841 census Thomas and Mary had a further three children. Altogether they had nine children, but one died as an infant in St Erth. 

In 1849 Thomas and Mary Edwards and their children emigrated to Victoria on the ‘Lysander’. The passenger list gives Thomas’s age as 53.  His occupation was recorded as wheelwright.

The dates on Thomas Edwards’s death certificate are consistent with those on the Lysander passenger manifest and the marriage record. 

Marriage of John and Jane Edwards, parents of Thomas

I am unable to find a marriage for a John Edwards and a Jane Gilbert or Gilbart. Some online trees have John Edwards as the husband of Jane Harvey, with their marriage on 21 June 1788 at Breage. On that marriage John is from Breage and a tinner by rank or profession, Jane Harvey is from Germoe. The witnesses were Thomas Edwards and Thomas Johns. Germoe is less than three miles west of Breage. I think this is the likely marriage of Thomas’s parents and that Thomas’s death certificate incorrectly gives his mother’s maiden name.

Siblings of Thomas Edwards

As stated above Thomas, child of John and Jane Edwards was baptised 6 July 1794 at Towednack, Cornwall. Between 1788 and 1820 there were only two other children baptised at Towednack to parents named John and Jane Edwards:

  • William baptised on 7 August 1796
  • Honour baptised on 21 October 1798

It seems unlikely that the John and Jane Edwards who were married in 1788 had only three children and that the first, Thomas, was born six years after marriage. I looked for other baptisms in south-west Cornwall for parents John and Jane Edwards in the period 1788 – 1820.

The neighbouring parish of Lelant also records baptisms of children with parents John and Jane Edwards. However, because some of these are in 1794, 1797, and 1798, thus overlapping with the children born to the Towednack family, it appears that the Lelant baptisms are for a separate family. 

On 26 December 1805 there is a baptism of a Sarah Edwards to John and Jane Edwards at Breage, 7 miles south-east of St Erth and 12 miles south-east of Towednack. It is also the marriage place of John Edwards and Jane Harvey.

There is a baptism of Charlotte Edwards on 4 May 1810 at Gulval. Gulval is just under five miles south of Towednack and just under 6 miles south-west of St Erth.

Some online family trees suggest a James Edwards born about 1805 is also the child of John and Jane Edwards, however I have not located a baptism for him with a mother named Jane in the indexes of the Cornwall Parish Records (Online Parish Clerk OPC) database. I have found a baptism for James in Germoe on 4 March 1804 with father John and mother Jenifred; Jenifred is possibly a variation of Jane. There was also an Anne Edwards, daughter of John and Jenifred baptised at Germoe on 2 May 1802.

I am puzzled though that there were apparently no children born to that marriage before 1794. However, the list of all Cornish baptisms on the OPC database to parents John and Jane Edwards has no other likely candidates for these baptisms in the period 1788 – 1794.

But there is a John Edwards baptised in Gulval on 23 November 1788. His mother’s name is not given. On 28 November 1790 there is a baptism at Madron, a village two miles west of Gulval, for Francis Edwards son of John, also without the mother’s name. On 24 June 1792 Jane Edwards, daughter of John, was baptised at Madron, again without the mother’s name. On 9 May 1806 Elizabeth, daughter of John (no mother named) was baptised at Penzance. She appears on the Madron register. I think it very likely that these four children are siblings of Thomas. 

Map of south-west Cornwall showing St Erth, Towednack, Breage, Germoe, Gulval, and Madron

To summarise, the possible family of John Edwards and Jane:

Birth yearNameBaptism dateBaptism placeParents
1788John23 November 1788GulvalJohn
1790Francis28 November 1790MadronJohn
1792Jane24 June 1792MadronJohn
1794Thomas6 July 1794TowednackJohn and Jane
1796William7 August 1796TowednackJohn and Jane
1798Honour21 October 1798TowednackJohn and Jane
1802Anne2 May 1802GermoeJohn and Jenifred
1804James4 March 1804GermoeJohn and Jenifred
1805Sarah26 December 1805BreageJohn and Jane
1810Charlotte4 March 1810GulvalJohn and Jane

Two of Thomas’s siblings, James and Charlotte, emigrated to Victoria, arriving in Portland on the Oithona in 1855 with their spouses and some of their children. Unfortunately, the death certificates for James and Charlotte give no details of their mother.

John, Francis, Jane, William, Honour, and Anne Edwards died in Cornwall. English death certificates do not record information about the deceased person’s parents and so will not help to confirm details of John and Jane Edwards.

I am yet to trace whether Sarah Edwards married or emigrated, and when she died.

Deaths of John and Jane Edwards

In May 1817 there was a mining accident at St Ives which killed John Edwards and injured one of his sons. The Royal Cornwall Gazette of 31 May 1817 reported:

A few days ago, John Edwards, of the parish of St. Erth, was killed, and his son for the present deprived of his eyesight by the untimely explosion of a hole in a mine near St. Ives. A person who called at the house of the survivor, was informed at the accident was occasioned by the use of an iron tamper, the powder and quills and a little rubbish had been put into the hole, but it had not been wet swabbed. It is to be hoped that this distressing event will deter all others from the use of such dangerous implements, and induce them to adopt such means of safety as [article ceases]

John Edwards was buried 24 May 1817 at Gulval. His residence was St Erth and he was 54 years old [so born about 1763].

On the 1841 census a Jane Edwards age 75 was living in St Erth in the household of William and Charlotte Thomas; Charlotte was Jane’s daughter. On 10 May 1842 Jane Edwards, age 76, was buried at St Erth.


The 1871 death certificate of Thomas Edwards seems reliable, though his mother’s maiden name appears wrong, possibly confused with his wife’s maiden name. His mother was probably  Jane Harvey who married Thomas’s father John Edwards in 1788. John and Jane Edwards lived in the area of Gulval, Towednack, and Germoe in south-west Cornwall. They had ten children .

Related posts


Sophia Duff

Sophia Henrietta Duff, my fourth great grandmother, was born about 1790, probably in Canada, to Major William Duff of the 26th Foot and Dorothy Duff nee Skelly.

William Duff and Dorothy Skelly were married on 9 April 1787 at Redmarshall, Durham. William was an illegitimate son of James, second Earl of Fife. Dorothy was the great granddaughter of Alexander, second Duke of Gordon.

Shortly after their marriage William’s regiment was posted to Canada and Dorothy accompanied him there. William retired from the army in March 1793 and the family returned to Yorkshire.

Major William Duff died aged 41 on 5 July 1795 at Fulford, near York. He was survived by his widow and only child. His inscription in the Duff family mausoleum (at Duff House, Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) stated:

Sacred to the memory of William Duff of the 26th Regiment, a meritorious officer, a most sincere friend, an affectionate husband, an indulgent parent. He lived esteemed and respected. He died regretted and lamented in the 41st year of his age in the year of the Lord 1795.

Cramond, William (editor). The Annals of Banff. New Spalding Club, 1893, Issue 10, page 369. Retrieved through Google Books 

Dorothy and Sophia stayed in touch with William’s family. A letter written by Dorothy to her father-in-law in London mentions a visit to William’s sister, and that Sophia was visited at school by her paternal grandfather.

Dorothy Duff (William’s widow) to Earl Fife
Richmond, Yorkshire Dec’r 23rd, 1801.
My Lord,— I have to thank you for a letter which yu were so good as inclose me fr Lady Duff before you left Duff House, and after being so long without hearing fr your Lordship, was glad to have so good an account of you which was confirmed to me by ye Miss Whartons who wrote me after ye Ball you gave them and that they seemed to have much enjoyed. I have to thank you, my Lord, likewise for your visit to Sophia at Doncaster, where, she tells me, you were so kind as to call upon her notwithstanding a very bad day on which you walked up to ye School, and by which she was much flattered. I had ye pleasure of receiving her a few days ago in perfect health when I returned home after being near three months with my friends at Redmoss Hall. Sophie is wonderfully grown, and is now nearly as tall as I am. When she was with me in Summer I had her at Scarborough two months for ye sea bathing, which gave us an opportunity also of being wt Miss Duff who we had not seen for a very long time. She is by this time gone to Ly Norcliffe. I hope ye much wished for Peace will be ye means of bringing Sir James and Ly Duff soon to England. Your Lordship may perhaps have heard that my Brother is married. It took place here a week ago, before I came home, and he has entirely left ye army — in which he has relinquished very flattering prospects.
Your Lordship would be sorry for ye death of poor Ld Adam Gordon — in whom I lose an affectionate relation and friend. I was deeply hurt at ye event- Sophia and I were to have spent this coming Christmas wt him at ye Burn. It was so settled when he was so kind as visit me here in ye summer, but our plans formed so long have proved vain. Sophia sends her duty to your Lordship.— Wh my respectful good wishes I remain, My Lord, your much obliged, etc., etc.,
D. Duff.
The Earl of Fife, Fife House, London. 

from Alistair Tayler & Tayler, Helen Agnes Henrietta, 1869-1951, joint author (1914). The book of the Duffs. Edinburgh W. Brown. Volume 2 page 523 retrieved through

The letter mentions :

  • Sophia, who was about 11
  • William’s sister, Jean Duff,
  • William’s brother, Sir James Duff and his wife Basilia, Lady Duff nee Dawes
  • Dorothy’s brother, Gordon Skelly, who on 15 December 1801 married Elizabeth Newsome
  • Dorothy’s great uncle, Lord Adam Gordon, the brother of Dorothy’s paternal grandmother. He died on 13 August 1801.

Sophia’s school at Doncaster was probably the school of Mrs Ann Haugh on Hall Cross Hill, which opened in February 1797, accepting 12 young ladies. Mrs Haugh was the wife of the painter George Haugh, who taught his wife’s pupils.

1 Hall Cross Hill, the location of Mrs Haugh’s school in 1801; image retrieved from

Dorothy Duff nee Skelly, widow of Richmond, Yorkshire, remarried to Captain George Tobin of the Royal Navy on 13 June 1804 at St George, Bloomsbury, England. Her daughter Sophia was then about 14 years old.

Two children were born to Captain Tobin and Dorothy: George in 1807 and Eliza in 1810.

Sophia met her future husband Rowland Mainwaring at a picnic at Devonport on 11 July 1808. In his book “The First Five Years of My Married Life” he described their meeting as `love at first sight‘. They became engaged two years later in November 1810 and were married on 31 December.

from pages 21 – 22 The First Five Years of My Married Life by Rowland Mainwaring
A portrait of Sophia painted in 1841, many years after her death in 1824; the portrait is now hanging at Whitmore Hall.


Related posts:


Rowland Mainwaring: from midshipman to rear-admiral

One of my 4th great grandfathers was a British naval officer, Rowland Mainwaring (1782 – 1862). I have written about the early years of his career in my post Midshipman Rowland Mainwaring.

At the Battle of the Nile, Rowland Mainwaring was a midshipman on HMS Majestic, a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line, George Blagdon Westcott, captain. Westcott was killed, and Mainwaring moved to the Thalia, a 36-gun frigate.

In about 1799 Mainwaring moved to the Defence, a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line, commanded by Lord Henry Paulet. Mainwaring completed his time as midshipman under Paulet.

The Defence served off Lisbon and Cadiz, and in the Mediterranean. During 1800 the boats of the Defence were active in inshore operations, capturing the Nochette and several gunboats at St. Croix on 11 June, and assisting in the capture and destruction of boats in Bourgneuf Bay on 1 July. Head-money (a reward paid per head of captured enemy personnel) was distributed 25 years later to those involved in the action of 1 July and for capturing the ship La Thérèse of 20 guns, a lugger of 12, a cutter, and two schooners of 6 guns each.

Mainwaring was present on the Defence at the Battle of Copenhagen of 2 April 1801. The Defence was in the reserve and did not see action.

Nelson Forcing the Passage of the Sound, 30 March 1801, prior to the Battle of Copenhagen painting by Robert Dodd in the collection of the Royal Museums Greenwich.
The leading British ship, the ‘Monarch‘, 74 guns, is in the right foreground. She is followed to the right by the ‘Elephant‘, 74 guns, with Nelson flying his flag as Vice-Admiral of the Blue. These leading ships and several others following to the left have passed the batteries of Kronborg Castle. Although the Defence is not pictured it was also a 74 gun ship.

Mainwaring was made lieutenant on 7 December 1801 and was appointed to the Harpy sloop. His later appointments were:

  • 4 August 1802 to the Leda, Captain Robert Honeyman, 38 guns
  • 8 November 1804 to the Terrible, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line, serving again under Lord Henry Paulet
  • 7 October 1806 as first lieutenant to the Narcissus, a 32-gun fifth-rate frigate

On the Leda, Mainwaring was entrusted with the command of a boat fitted with what was called an ‘explosion-machine’ in an attack upon the Boulogne flotilla.

The attack on Boulogne Oct 1804: ‘A S. E. View of the Town and Harbour of Boulogne with the Encampments on the Heights. Shewing also the situation of the French and English Squadrons as taken at anchor by E. D. Lewis H.M.S. Tartarus off Boulogne’. The flagship, centre bottom is identified as the ‘Monarch‘, 74, Admiral Lord Keith, then in charge of the anti-invasion blockade. The Leda is the second in from the bottom left-hand corner.
Drawing held in the collection of the Royal Museums Greenwich.

In August 1806 the Terrible was caught in a hurricane and dismasted. The Terrible was at the time in pursuit, in the West Indies, of a French squadron under the command of Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon.

An account of the dismasting of the Terrible from The Annual Biography and Obituary, Volume 17 (1833) retrieved through Google Books.

In later life Mainwaring commissioned seven marine paintings. These are mentioned in his will. Two have been mislaid; five are at Whitmore Hall. One is of the extant paintings is ‘The Battle of the Nile’ (mentioned in an earlier post). Another appears to be of a dismasted ship, perhaps the Terrible.

One of the marine paintings at Whitmore Hall

Mainwaring had been on continuous service from 1795 to the end of 1810. In December 1810, he took leave to marry Sophia Duff. This was followed by eight months of half-pay. On 16 August 1811 he was appointed to the Menelaus, a 38-gun fifth rate frigate.

His service on the Menelaus included the following:

  • the capturing, without loss, of the St. Josef, a French brig, pierced for 16 guns, lying within pistol-shot of one battery, flanked by another, and also by musketry from the shore, near the Bay of Fréjus in the south of France. The account was gazetted on 25 April 1812.
  • in 1812, Menelaus was part of the blockade of Toulon in the Mediterranean and operated against coastal harbours, shipping and privateers off the southern coast of France with some success. Mainwaring was noticed for the following:
    • the attention and assistance he afforded on the occasion of the Menelaus (together with the Havannah and Furieuse frigates and Pelorus brig) being chased by the French Toulon fleet
    • by his admirable gallantry and good conduct when the Menelaus, having pursued the French 40-gun frigate Pauline and 16-gun brig Ecureuil under the batteries in the vicinity of Toulon, once more effected a masterly retreat from the fleet that had come out to their protection, by passing through its line ahead of one 74, and astern of another
    • by the manner in which, under circumstances peculiarly honourable to him, he boarded and brought out the French xebec or zebec La Paix, mounting 2 long 6-pounders, with a complement of 30 men, from within pistol-shot of the towers of Terracina, under a galling fire
    • by his highly creditable behaviour in cutting out, under a heavy fire from the batteries in the river Mignone, near Civita Vecchia, the French letter-of-marque St. Esprit, pierced for 12 guns, but with only 2 6-pounders mounted
    • by his conspicuous gallantry in burning the enemy’s vessels in the port of Mejan (Méjean), Marseilles, in September 1812.
Watercolour Painting by Nicholas Pocock of the British ship, HMS Menelaus. HMS Eclair is on the left, Menelaus, right of centre in in starboard bow view. To the far right is a Mediterranean setee. Pocock served as a lieutenant in the Adriatic from 1811 to 1814. From the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK.

On 13 August 1812 Mainwaring was awarded a second promotal commission to the rank of commander for gallantry and valor.  He later served in these vessels:

  • Edinburgh, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line
  • Gorgon, a hospital-ship at Malta
  • Undaunted, a Lively-class fifth-rate 38-gun frigate
  • Euryalus, a 36-gun Apollo-class frigate
  • Caledonia, a 120-gun first-rate ship of the line; she was Admiral Pellew’s flagship in the Mediterranean.
  • Kite, a 16-gun brig-sloop
  • Paulina, a 16-gun brig-sloop of the Seagull class

Rowland Mainwaring kept a diary all his life. He published several books based on his diary. One of these was ‘The First Five Years of My Married Life‘ (1853), a record of Mainwaring’s activities afloat and of his domestic life. The book includes a detailed account of 1815, his last year of active service.

In 1815 Mainwaring was engaged in operations against American privateers operating in the Mediterranean against English shipping as a consequence of the ongoing Anglo-American war of 1812. Although the war officially ended in December 1814, Mainwaring received communication only on 26 April of the ratification on 17 February of the treaty of peace with America, and thus all hostilities in the Mediterranean ceased 40 days after that date, that is by 29 March.

In February 1815 on the Paulina Mainwaring was directed to proceed from Palermo to Corfu with dispatches and from there to Zante (Zakynthos, Greece), with the transport (chartered vessel) Enterprise, and embark the Phygalian Marbles, later known as the Elgin Marbles or Parthenon Marbles, for conveyance to Malta; they were then to be transported England. Mainwaring was annoyed by the orders for he had hoped to collect bounty from capturing privateers instead. He estimated his loss as £2,000 (between £150,000 and £1.5 million in today’s money).

There was a flurry of activity after Napoleon escaped from Elba in late February 1815. The Paulina was first involved in escorting a convoy of transports from Bona, present-day Annaba in Algeria, and Cagliari in Italy. The Paulina then proceeded to Naples and Gaeta in charge of a convoy with arms and ammunition for the Austrian forces. On arrival there was news of the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and Gaeta surrendered.

He proceeded to Genoa and Marseille and at Marseille attended a grand civic ball. In September he was back in Valetta and reunited with his wife and her third child who had been born on 14 August. This son was named in honour of Edward Pellew, Lord Exmouth, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean, and who had consented to be the child’s godfather. The Paulina was then ordered to proceed to Plymouth. He sailed on 30 September with his “family, goods and chattels, a milch goat, and various little comforts and luxuries for the voyage home.”

Map showing the Mediterranean ports mentioned by Mainwaring in 1815

Mainwaring was paid off in November 1815 and did not serve afloat again.

On the accession of William IV, Rowland Mainwaring was one of the old war-officers selected by Lord Melville as deserving of promotion. He was posted by commission–made captain–on 22 July 1830, one of 18 commanders elevated to the rank at that time.

On 29 September 1855 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral. He was one of 11 Captains on the Retired List promoted to be Retired Rear Admiral without increase of pay, on terms proposed in the London Gazette of September 1, 1846. Of the 11 captains promoted on 29 September 1855, 9 had been promoted to captain at the same time as Mainwaring.

Portrait of Captain Rowland Mainwaring painted by Mr. John Phillip, afterwards R.A., at Whitmore in May 1841


  • O’Byrne, William R. A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy, from the Rank of Admiral of the Fleet to that of Lieutenant, Inclusive. 1849. Page 711. Retrieved through
  • Marshall, John. Royal Naval Biography : Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and Commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted, Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes … with Copious Addenda: Captains. Commanders. 1832. Pages 126 – 130. Retrieved through Google Books.
  • Mainwaring, Rowland. The First Five Years of My Married Life. 1853. Retrieved through Google Books.
  • Cavenagh-Mainwaring, James Gordon. The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford; an account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent, with special reference to the manor of Whitmore, with appendices, pedigrees and illustrations. 1934. Pages 104115Retrieved through
  • Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Christine and Britton, Heather, (editor.) Whitmore Hall : from 1066 to Waltzing Matilda. Adelaide Peacock Publications, 2013. Pages 82 – 92.

Related posts

Wikitree: Rowland Mainwaring (1782 – 1862)

A Bombay wedding: George Symes and Katherine Lucas 1939

On 10 August 1939 Katherine Lucas, future first wife of my step-grandfather George Symes, embarked on the Strathallan at Port Adelaide, bound for London. At the time, it was widely believed that another war was inevitable, and indeed, scarcely three weeks afterwards, World War II began with Hitler’s invasion of Poland on 1 September and the British response two days later.

The column ‘Lady Kitty Hears’ in the Adelaide Advertiser of 11 August 1939 announced:

On The Strathallan

ON BOARD the Strathallan yesterday, Mrs. Peter de Peterson passed through Adelaide on her way home to Bombay, after spending three months in Melbourne with her parents, Colonel and Mrs. P. W. Vaughan. Her husband will meet her at Colombo. Travelling in the same ship is Miss K. Lucas, who is bound for England.

Built in the previous year, the Strathallan was one of 5 ‘Strath’ liners designed for the Australia run. They were known as the ‘White sisters’, for P&O had them painted white with buff funnels, a colour scheme made possible by the fuel they used: coal had been replaced by oil, and though black paint had usefully concealed the dirt from coal-smoke, white was clean, modern, and much cooler in the tropics.

RMS Strathallan was the fifth and final vessel of the Strath-class liners, launched in September 1937 with her maiden voyage in March 1938. She was 23,722 gross registered tonnes, 664.5 feet long (202.5m), and could carry for 448 1st Class and 663 Tourist Class passengers.

On 3 September, during the voyage, the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. A letter back to South Australia published on 20 October 1939 in The Times and Northern Advertiser of Peterborough, South Australia described the voyage after war was declared. The Strathallan was :

… on their way to Suez when war was declared and the steamer had to return to Aden and await orders from the Admiralty. They left Aden on 2nd September, and that night all the passengers had to transfer to the first class cabins—as the ship was “all black out” it was rather an ordeal, but the passengers made the best of it and enjoyed the fun of bumping into each other in the dark with their goods and chattels. They had to attend boat drills, first aid classes, wear life belts, carry emergency outfits, practise disappearing below when the air raid and gun warnings were given and not returning until the “all clear” signal sounded. The men passengers, eight on each deck, kept two hourly watch from 6 p.m. until daybreak, the life boats were kept in readiness, and each passenger had his own appointed place therein, so that everything possible had been arranged for their safety.

The Strathallan did not arrive in London until 9 October. When the letter was written, on 12 September, the ship had “been touring continuously without sighting land” for 10 days.

It seems Katherine Lucas may have already disembarked in Bombay in late August, perhaps intending to continue her voyage later or to defer the trip to England because of the anticipated announcement of war.

On 2 December 1939 the column ‘Lady Kitty Hears’ in the Adelaide Advertiser announced:


THE ENGAGEMENT is announced of Miss Katherine Bellairs Lucas, second daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. C. de N. Lucas, of Hyde Park, to Brevet Lieut.-Colonel George William Symes, of York and Lancaster Regiment, India. The marriage will take place in Bombay on December 11.

Katherine Lucas’s  portrait appeared in The Advertiser of 5 December.

Miss Katherine Bellairs Lucas, who recently announced her engagement to Brevet
Lieutenant-Colonel George William Symes. — Dickinson-Monteath portrait.

A report of the wedding was in the Adelaide News of 3 January 1940 in the column ‘Conducted by Candida’.

Adelaide Bride In Bombay

A WEDDING of interest to Adelaide folk was that of Miss Katherine Bellairs Lucas, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Claude de Neufville Lucas, formerly of South Australia, which was celebrated at the Afghan Memorial Church, Bombay, India, on December 11.

The bridegroom was Lieut.-Col. G. W. Symes, M.C., York and Lancaster Regiment, attached to the General Staff of Bombay District Headquarters. He is the son of Mrs. G. Symes, of Swanage, Dorset, England.

Vice-Admiral H. Fitzherbert. Flag Officer commanding the Royal Indian Navy, and naval officers and their wives, officers attached to Bombay District Headquarters and military units in the garrison and their wives, the Bishop of Bombay and other friends of the bride and bridegroom filled the church, the sanctuary of which was simply decorated.

The bride walked to the altar on the arm of Major-Gen. G. de C. Glover, officer commanding Bombay District.

She wore a white chiffon dress with long sleeves, a full skirt, with flared godets, and an attached hood coming half-way over the head. She was attended by Mrs. P. de Peterson, who wore a dress similar to the bride’s but ice-blue in color.

The Rev. J. W. F. Ruddell, chaplain of Colaba, officiated.

The bride and bridegroom left the church, under an arch of swords provided by brother officers of the bridegroom.

A reception was held at the Gun House, Colaba, where Major-Gen. Glover proposed the health of the bride and bridegroom.

The honeymoon was spent in Agra and Delhi, and the bride wore a going away frock of powder blue flat crepe.

from a photo album compiled by George Symes. He has captioned the wedding party: Phyl de Peterson, ‘Toots’, Katherine, John Marshall, 11 December 1939

I notice that the bridesmaid, Mrs P de Peterson was mentioned as travelling on the Strathallan at the same time as Katherine.

On 7 February the News published a photo of the wedding.

 (1940, February 7). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

Katherine and George had no children. When George retired from the army, they moved to Adelaide, where Katherine had grown up.

Katherine Symes died 15 March 1961.

George married a second time, in 1967, to my grandmother, Kathleen Champion de Crespigny nee Cudmore.

He died in Adelaide on 26 August 1980, and was buried in Centennial Park cemetery with his first wife, Katherine.

Centennial Park cemetery Adelaide Location: Acacia B, Path BT, Grave 135A – photographed February 2014


Remembering Helena Gill drowned 10 July 1932

Eighty-nine years ago Helena Lucy Gill née Hughes, my second-great-grand-aunt, drowned when the SS Casino sank in Apollo Bay, Victoria. She was 65 years old.

Helena was the second youngest of eight children of my third great grandparents Samuel Hughes (1827-1896) and Sally Hughes née Plaisted (1826-1900); she was the younger sister, by twelve years, of my great-great-grandfather Edward Walter Hughes (1854-1922).

Drowned Stewardess (1932, July 11). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

In April this year Greg and I went for a drive along the Great Ocean Road. We visited Apollo Bay and had lunch at the Apollo Bay Hotel. The hotel has a memorial to the Casino, which includes the ship’s wheel.

sign remembering the SS Casino in Apollo Bay opposite the Apollo Bay Hotel
extract from newspaper clipping on display at the Apollo Bay Hotel
Green, A. C. (c. 1900). Casino. Retrieved from the State Library of Victoria image H91.325/1112.
The “Casino” at Apollo Bay. (c 1920). Rose Stereograph Co. Retrieved from the State Library of Victoria Bib ID 1731943.

The Casino carried cargo and up to 25 passengers between Melbourne and Portland, stopping at Apollo Bay, Warrnambool and Port Fairy, for almost 50 years, from July 1882 to July 1932. She made more than two thousand of these coastal passages.

From about 1914 Helena Gill worked on the Casino as a stewardess. Her bravery in the shipwreck is recalled in a newspaper clipping, part of the display at the Apollo Bay Hotel.

Tomorrow there will be a small ceremony to mark the anniversary of the sinking. A service will be held at the Casino memorial in Gipps Street at 10 a.m. on Saturday 10 July.

S.S. Casino memorial, Port Fairy. (no date). Image from State Library of Victoria Image No: a07643.

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My yellow card

In 1971, when I first travelled overseas, Australians were required to carry an ‘International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)’, also known as the ‘Carte Jaune’ (yellow card). This was an official vaccination report recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO).

My card was printed by the Government Printing Office in Canberra in 1969. My first vaccinations, on 19 April 1971 were for smallpox, cholera, and typhoid. I received boosters on 3 May 1971. I was not vaccinated against yellow fever.

The Certificate was introduced following the International Sanitary Convention for Aerial Navigation of 1933, meant to protect communities and air crew against diseases spread by air travel. The convention established regulations to prevent the spread of plague, cholera, yellow fever, typhus and smallpox..

The World Health Organisation was formed in 1946 and the Fourth World Health Assembly adopted the International Sanitary Regulations (alias WHO Regulations No. 2) on 25 May 1951, replacing the earlier International Sanitary Conventions. International certificates of vaccination replaced the old International Certificates of Inoculation and Vaccination.

In 1969 the International Health Regulations (IHR) were adopted by the WHO’s World Health Assembly. The 1969 IHR focused on four diseases: cholera, plague, smallpox, and yellow fever. A model International Certificate of Vaccination was introduced. My Certificate was in line with this.

After smallpox was successfully eradicated in 1980, the International Certificate of Vaccination against Smallpox was cancelled in 1981, and the new 1983 form lacked any provision for smallpox vaccination.

Greg’s certificate was issued by the Australian Department of Health and printed in 1984. It includes the statement, “WHO declared on 8 May 1980 that smallpox had been eradicated. Smallpox vaccination is therefore no longer justified. It may even be dangerous.”

I can’t detect my smallpox vaccination scar on my upper left arm anymore. It looked similar to this one, though this scar in the photo is from the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin or BCG vaccine which is used to protect people against human tuberculosis. Photo from Flickr licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

My travels since 1989 have not required my vaccinations to be recorded on a certificate.

I have recently been vaccinated to protect against infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. I have a digital immunisation history statement which can be viewed on my mobile phone. My influenza immunisations are shown as well as my Covid-19 immunisation. The immunisation history statement is not a vaccine passport and there is no easing of travel restrictions within Australia as a result of immunisation. In fact there is no international recognition of Covid-19 vaccinations and in April 2021 the World Health Organisation in April 2021 that it does not recommend that countries “require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution.”

It seems likely that any update to my Yellow Card to certify that I have met vaccination requirements for international travel in the future will be digital and not paper-based. Digital versions of the Yellow Card have already been developed for Yellow Fever.

Philip Champion Crespigny married Clarissa Sarah Brooke 1 July 1774

Philip Champion de Crespigny (1738 – 1803), one of my fifth great grandfathers, married four times. His third marriage was to Clarissa Brooke on 1 July 1774 at St Marylebone. They married by licence with the consent of her father, James Brook(e) of Rathbone Place. She was a minor, of the parish of St Marylebone. Philip was recorded as an Esquire, of Walton upon Thames, County of Surry, widower. He signed his name PC Crespigny. The witnesses were James Brooke and Hester Brooke.

Clarissa Sarah, daughter of James Brooke an engraver, and Esther Brooke nee Bent of Fleet Street in the City of London, was born on 29 April 1755 and baptised on 3 June 1755 at St Bride’s Fleet Street. Clarissa’s mother Esther later left her husband and became an actress.

The Gentleman’s Magazine London, England July, 1774

Clarissa and Philip had four children:

  • Clarissa (about 1775 – 1836) who married Edward Toker
  • Maria (1776 – 1858) who married John Horsley
  • Harry (1777 – ?) baptised 14 August 1777 at Walton-upon-Thames, Surrey and presumably died young
  • Fanny (1779 – 1865)

Clarissa and two of her daughters were painted in 1780 by George Romney. By 1780 Romney’s portraits, according to Horace Walpole, were ‘in great vogue’. Romney’s diary notes that the painting was oval and he charged fifty pounds.

Fifty pounds in today’s value is around £7,000 ($AUD13,000) when measured as a real price. However it could be valued as the labour earnings of that income or wealth equivalent to £80,000 ($AUD150,000) or looked as relative income value of that income or wealth being £95,000 ($AUD175,000). I think the two latter values more closely measure how much Romney was earning and thus what Philip needed to earn in order to pay him.

Clarissa Champion de Crespigny and two of her children by George Romney. It would seem that the daughters shown are Clarissa born about 1775 and Maria born about 1776.
The painting was last sold in 1989 from a private seller to a private buyer through the London dealers Leger Galleries. This image is from a reproduction of the painting and came from Alex Kidson, Research Fellow of the Romney Society.

Clarissa had appointments to sit for the portrait on 14 and 17 April and each of the four days from 13 to 16 June 1780. She cancelled four further appointments around those dates. In his 2015 catalogue of the paintings of George Romney, Alex Kidson notes the unusual landscape oval format and the “subtleness of design in the angling and interlocking of the figures”.

Clarissa died on 15 May 1782 in Palace Yard, Westminster, and was buried at St Marylebone on 22 May. She was twenty-seven years old. A short biographical piece on her father refers to her as an amiable and accomplished lady who died in the prime of life.

Smith, Thomas. (2013). A Topographical and Historical Account of the Parish of St. Mary-Le-Bone, Comprising a Copious Description of Its Public Buildings, Antiquities, Schools, Charitable Endowments, Sources of Public Amusement, &c. London: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1833) retrieved from The same obituary appeared elsewhere, for example in the Hampshire Chronicle of 2 November 1807.

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William Pulteney Dana died 29 June 1861

William Pulteney Dana, one of my 4th great grandfathers, died at the age of 84 on 29 June 1861, 160 years ago today.

William Dana was the 7th of 13 children of the Reverend Edmund Dana and his wife Helen Dana nee Kinnaird. He was born in Wroxeter, in Shropshire, on 13 July 1776.

Dana married twice, first, in the United States, to Anne Frisby Fitzhugh about 1800. They had two children: a son, who died in infancy, and a daughter, called Anne . When Dana’s wife died in 1804, he returned to England, leaving his infant daughter to be brought up by her maternal relatives.

In England Dana joined the army, serving in the 6th Royal Garrison Battalion in Ireland. There he married again, to Charlotte Elizabeth Bailey in 1812. They had 12 children. In 1815 they settled in Shropshire.

To supplement his Army half-pay William went into business as a printer but was declared bankrupt. He was briefly imprisoned in the jail named after his father.

In later years William Dana lived with his daughter Anna Penelope and her husband W.H. Wood in Shrewsbury.

Anna Penelope Wood née Dana 1814 – 1890 and her father, William Pulteney Dana 1776 – 1861 – photograph now in the collection of my father
Obituary for William Dana in the Illustrated London News of 17 August 1861 page 172 retrieved through FindMypast courtesy of Illustrated London News Group.

Captain William Pulteney Dana, who died on the 29th of June last, at the residence of his son-in-law, W.H. Wood, Esq., Holywell-terrace, Shrewsbury, was descended from a family of some eminence which emigrated to America in 1640, and which was among the earlier settlers at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, where many of its members have, from that time to this, held high position in the legal, political, and literary world. His grandfather, the Hon. Richard Dana, and his eldest uncle, the Hon. Francis Dana, were Chief Justices of the State of Massachusetts in the reigns of the second and third Georges. The American branch of the Dana family still resides at Boston and Cambridge, in Massachusetts, and occupies a very distinguished position. Its present representative is Richard Henry Dana, Esq., a poet of note ; and his son, Richard Henry Dana, a leading barrister at Boston, is the author of “Two Years before the Mast.” William Pulteney Dana, the subject of this notice, was the second surviving son of the Rev. Edmund Dana, Vicar of Wroxeter, Shropshire, by his wife, Helen, eldest daughter of Charles, sixth Lord Kinnaird. He was born on the 13th July, 1776, and married, first, Anne, only daughter of Colonel Fitzhugh, by whom he had one daughter ; he married, secondly, Charlotte Elizabeth, third daughter of the Rev. Henry Bayly, Rector of Nenagh, in the County of Tipperary, Ireland (second son of John Bayly, Esq., of Debsborough Hall, in the same county, and a younger branch of the house of Anglesey), by which lady, who died on the 13of May, 1846, he leaves a numerous issue.

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William’s biography is included in the book about his daughter Charlotte: Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana (1820-1904) and her family in Australia.


The history of James Edwards and his family at Charlton

This post continues the transcription of the family history of the Edwards family at Charlton, Victoria, compiled by Frederick James Edwards (1884 – 1974). Charlton is in north-central Victoria in the east Wimmera. F.J. Edwards was Greg’s first cousin three times removed.


When the over all gold [alluvial gold] was booming, the squatters’ drovers became restless and left to go gold digging, and the squatters in desperation imported Chinese by the thousand, at one time 100,000 Chinese were here and they also left for the gold. They were paid by the squatters per month and keep. The pastoralists advertised In China and the Chinese paid £3 boat fare and brought their own food.

In 1862 the bill was passed to open up the land and started the selected going north. And in 1874 with his brother Thomas and a little money saved, James came to Charlton and pegged out two 320 acre blocks adjoining making the square mile. An Act passed in 1862 allowed a selector only 320 acres at £1 per acre with conditions such as, the selectors had to build, fence and clear with 10 years to pay off, which the selectors could not do, and the payment was extended from time to time.

The parish plan showing the two blocks selected by James and Thomas Edwards near Charlton
The land at Charlton in June 2021

James Edwards went back to Geelong after selecting land in Charlton and married Elizabeth Ann Nicholas on 29th December 1874 and started making preparations to come to Charlton. They got together 4 horses, a buggy, a light wagon and bare necessaries and started off in the late autumn of 1875. It took two weeks to arrive at Charlton and heavy rain slowed the travel,  it took three days to go from Charlton to the selection 12 miles out. It was a big trial especially for James Edwards’ young wife who had not been out of Geelong, she had known her husband quite a few years. She had three brothers and one sister Ellen, who married a Shire Secretary at Wagga and lived there all her life and reared a big family. Her own mother corresponded regularly and I remember how the letters were looked forward to. Our mother was a stout strong woman, as her father who, tradition says held the belt for wrestling In Cornwall.

The coming to Charlton, and the prospect of a home, allowed them to look forward to their future life. Her parents said to her when leaving, in 10 years you ought to be able to retire back to Geelong, little did they know the hardships of Pioneers. The first job after arriving at the selection was to build a home, which consisted of logs and mud, the roof was the tent and the house consisted of one room. With improvements to this they lived there three years, and during that three years they were building the home which we know. There were plenty of straight pine trees which were stood up 3 feet apart with slabs across and filled with mud.

I have often heard our mother say how lovely it was to get into this new house, bark of a big tree and flattened with weight was used a lot for roofing. A poem by Tom Murphy would fit in here

Wattle and Dab formed the walls of the hut
From gumsucker saplings the highbeams were cut
And the roof over the heads of my parents and I
Was the bark of a box from the gully near by
The furniture crude in the old fashioned shack
Was the pine from the pine ridge a mile or so back
And the hole still remains not far from the door
Where they puddled the clay for the old earthern floor
The flesh of the roo for mutton did pass
And faces were washed in the dew laden grass
This beautiful towel was the bright morning sun
And the moon gave them light when the daylight was done
Our porridge a corn twint, the wheat and the oat
Whilst we coloured our tea with the milk from the goat
But although they were days of trials and fears
They but used them as steps did our old pioneers.

Our mother was a wonderful woman and took her part in the pioneering of the district. A little woman named Jane Prichard came up with her and stayed with her for 10 years, a grand little woman. The first 10 years being the hardest for the pioneers. Our mother’s first born arrived in November 1875. She journed to her old home in Geelong for the event, the rest of her family were born at ‘Lamorna’. Ada the second girl was born in the tent, there was quite a big population coming there by that time, and a few of the old women acted as maternity sisters and the friendships in the District was a wonderful help to those old pioneers.


The Narrewillock school had 60 on the rolls and the families of those old pioneers always had 8 to 10 children, in fact 3 families adjoining us had 13 children. Within a few miles of our parents home there were a dozen big families, amongst the neighbours were the Douglass family of 12 only 1/2  mile away. Alec Coote, W. Coote and Tom Coote, O’Callaghan, O’Mearers, William, and a few others, all good neighbours and would all help one another.

For the first 10 years clearing the land carting water, and sinking storages was the big worry, the years 1875 to 1907.

The dingo gave them a worry, I have heard our father speak of the last dingo shot, he hid in a big bush one bright moonlight, expecting the old man dingo he came back to the kill of the night before and shot him. His 4 paws and tail were hanging up in the barn for many years. Kangaroos and Emus were all gone and driven back by 1880. About the early 80’s the rabbits put in their appearance, our father came home excited one day with a young rabbit and in a few years there was a plague of them. I caught the first fox in about 1890 with the sheep dogs. That was their first appearance and of course that pest will be always here now. The Shire gave a bonus of £1 a scalp and I got the £1 for the skin we kept for many years.

The native wild life that was on the Lamorna farm In the 1870s are now gone. Kangaroo, Emu, Native Cat, Wood mice, Curleu, Woodpecker, Ground Pluver, Chatterona Brown Bird, twice the size of a starling. The fox, rabbits and house cats, gone wild, are responsible for their disappearance.

Schooling for myself and four sisters was at Narrewillock five miles from home, the school had a few rooms attached, and an old man lived there named Brightwell, he kept the  Post Office. Our eldest sisters did all their schooling there, later there was a school built one mile away from home called Hallam school, myself and youngest sister went mostly to this school. All walking was the order of the day. A teacher called Os Derrick stayed at Hallam four years and this was really the only schooling I received. Our parents lost one of the family, a girl they called Mary Beatrice who died of quinsy in 1880 which was a heavy blow to our parents. Two of the biggest worries was the shortage of water and money, and carting water was a constant job and sometimes from the Avoca River 7 miles. This worry was not realised [relieved] till 1921 the year I tapped the Marmal Creek and filled our dam, when the creek ran in the winter time. This creek ran eight years out of ten, the farmers are now served by a channel from Lake Lonsdale, in 1948.

On the 640 acres there were two patches of about forty acres without trees and these patches got more than their share of cropping, as the clearing of this was a big job. Our father bought a mower with two horses to pull in 1877 and a little peg drum thrasher to thrash the barley, and in about 1882 bought a stripper and winnow from South Australia which was wonderful in those days.

This type of stripper was used till the turn of the century. Our father bought the first H. V. McKay harvester in 1906 and from then on harvesting became much easier.

Advertisement for H.V. McKay, Sunshine Harvester Works in Sunshine, Victoria about 1911. This image appeared in The Leader (Melbourne) on 11 March 1911, page 31 with the caption “Young Australia at work; 500 bags of wheat harvested, unaided, by the Sunshine Harvester in a week by two boys, aged 12 and 13 years, sons of Mr. James Murphy, Sale.” This image retrieved from Flickr but the original source not given.
HV McKay Harvester at Campaspe Run Rural Discovery Centre, Elmore, Victoria, Australia. Photograph by User GTHO retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

The horses named Darling and Jess were two good mares, they bred from them and their breeding was carried through right to the time the horses were discarded on the farms in about 1935, some farmers favoured horses earlier and some later. The prices for grain were too low for the farmers to prosper, the prices were controlled by spectator [speculators] being about 2/6 for wheat and as low as 1/- for oats, lambs 10/-. On less [Unless]  a compulsory pool was established in 1916 but still no price fixed. In 1928 the Wheat Growers Association was formed  which I was a foundation and executive member and from then on we gradually took control. The stabiliasion [stabilisation] scheme has been paying 12/- for quite a few years. I stayed on the State Council of the Victorian Wheat Growers Assoc. for five years and for the work and enthusiasm I put into the Association in the pioneering days, the Association at the Annual Conference in 1964, I was made a life member.


The season in this part of Victoria was uncertain, sometimes a very wet year and sometimes a drought. 1902 was the big drought and the next year 22 inches of rain. The big drought that I remember was 1902, 1914, 1920, 1929, 1940, 1944. I Frederick James took over the control of the farm in 1907. Nell the eldest married in 1902 to J. Findlay. Ada was music teaching in Ararat and Jean the youngest sister was with her, and Beatrice married P. Toose in 1909. I married in 1910 and had our 5 children there and for a while drove them to Narrewillock school but in March 1920 bought this house in Charlton and have lived there ever since. My wife Anne died 9th January 1963. Our family all turned out well they were all big, strong and good sports. Gwen (4 daughters) now Mrs. Richards, Bob married Joyce Parker (3 daughters) and is now at Beaumaris, Freda (1 son &  1 daughter) now Mrs. Piccoli and is now at Barraport. Joyce with two sons is on the farm, Nan (2 daughters) now Mrs. Nagel and lives at Black Rock.

The following is from my father James Edwards Diary.

1874. Met the surveyor from St. Arnaud and pegged out the two blocks at Narrewillock, the ground looks good plenty of grass but no water. I was married on 29th December 1874.

1875. Spent a few months in preparation in coming to Charlton, left Bullarook on 22nd May having lived there 14 years. My father has recorded they were very happy there. Arrived at the farm having spent 16 days on the trip. Very wet which made the travelling hard. First child born in November (Nell).

1876. Sowed the first patch of wheat, carting water.

1877. Second child born (Ada) .

1878. Drove to Geelong — one horse and buggy. We shifted to the new house having lived in a tent for 3 years.

1880. Rabbits were in plague proportion. Brought first stripper which proved a success.

1881. Lost two fingers, a sad event. Father suffered severely and was in St. Arnaud hospital for awhile.

1882. Started a Sunday school at Narrewillock which he kept on for 25 years.

1883. Shortage of water is causing hardship, sold 150 sheep 7/-.

1884 Received £11/7/3 as fathers share of Will B. Gilbart (London).

1885. Very bad year, 167 bags (4 bushels) total cheque £115/11/11.

1886. Another bad year 94 bags from 150 acres. Sold 61 bags for £34/19/6.

1887. First plague of Locusts.

1888. Sold 220 bags wheat price 2/10 ½ per bushel. Rev. Kirkwood started preaching at Narrewillock, he stayed there 20 years. Bought 125 sheep at 6/5d. , wheat price this year 1/9d.

1891. Sent two trucks of sheep and lambs to Melbourne, price £87/5/- for 226 sheep.

1892. Later sent 165 lambs to Melbourne, cheque £54/4/10. Bought stripper and winmower, the winmower is still at the farm. Bought cow and calf for £3.

1893. Sold 163 bags for 1/9 a bushel some at 1/7 ½, sold 115 bags oats @ 6 ½ d.

1896. Wheat price rose to 4/6 ½.  696 sheep were shorn, shearing cheque £5/2/- for shearers.

1897. Sent 130 lambs to Melbourne, cheque £41/1 2/10.

1898. Rented Howards 1200 acres for 3 years, £150 per year, this land is held now by Hillard, Blair, McGurk and L. Douglass.

1900. Ordered first seed drill, Massey Harris £45.

1901. Very dry, carting water takes the whole time.

1902. The first big drought, practically no rain for the year, horses went to Lang Lang and sheep sold, this from now on is  written by F.J. Edwards.

1903. The year was good and from now on the farming system very much improved.

1905. We bought a H.V. McKay harvester which made harvesting from now on much easier.

1907. [1908] Uncle Tom died, he had been a great help mate to father all his life  – age 81

1908. Our mother died, she had been in Ararat with Ada, but came home when she became sick –  age 65.

1909. Sister Beatrice married P. Toose

1910. Myself married to Annie Morcon of Bendigo.

1914. Another drought, no wheat, the first big war started.

1916. Our father died this year aged 81 both he and our mother are buried in Terrappee cemetery.

1920. Been having good seasons, my wife and self bought our home in Charlton, we have five of our family.

1921. I sank the big dam at the farm 9000 yds it took three five horse teams about three months, a big job.

1925. Ken McPherson took wheat growing on the shares, he and his wife stayed five years.

1929. Another drought, sent 24 horses to Tatura on swamp country, Gerald Buckley property, stayed 6 months.

1930. The Wheat Growers Association was formed this year the first big move to organise the wheat growers as a foundation member. I stayed on the State Council five years. The next ten years was the depression years, fair seasons but low prices.

1931. Bob 21 was now working the farm, I made over Pratts and Howards 560 acres to him.

1941. Son Bob married and built the new home at the farm, costing about £3,000.

1944. Very bad drought, Bob Edwards took over the full management and bought O’Mearers land 500 acres @ £7 per acre.

1948. Bob bought 2,000 acre property at Ballan and left the farm.

1949. Joyce and Bob Chambers left the Bank and gradually took over the whole farm, bought Bob Edwards’ land for £20  per acre.


1963. 9th January mother died and is buried in Terrappee Cemetery, her passing has left a blank in the family.

1964. Another good season, the Chambers have two good boys, one 19 and the other 13, these boys should and I think will carry on and uphold the tradition of the Pioneers, and who will carry on the farm at Narrewillock.

I am now 80 years.

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Wikitree links: