Annie Tuckfield Edwards

Annie Tuckfield Edwards (1879-1906) was born Port Adelaide, South Australia, to Francis Gilbart Edwards (1848-1913) and his wife Caroline Edwards née Ralph (1850-1896). Annie was the fourth of their ten children.

Annie’s parents had married in Ballarat in 1870. Their oldest three children were born there. Sometime between 1876 and 1879 the family moved to South Australia. Two more children were born in South Australia. A seventh child was born in Ballarat in 1887 and not long afterwards the family moved to Melbourne, and this infant son died in Richmond, Victoria in March 1888. Annie’s father Francis had joined the railways on 1 December 1887. Two more sons were born. From the place of birth information on their birth certificates it appears that the family moved from Richmond to East Brunswick, Victoria. In 1893 the youngest child, Arnold, was born in Brighton and died a year later in Elsternwick. In July 1896 Caroline died, in Grant Street, Brighton of cancer of the uterus.  Annie was 17 when her mother died.

Annie began following the church of the Salvation Army around 1897. Two years later she became a member of the church, a “Salvationist”.

The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth, a former Methodist Reform Church minister.  The Edwards were Methodists and were very proud of their connection by marriage to Francis Tuckfield, a Methodist missionary of the Geelong district. Francis Tuckfield (1808-1865) was the husband of the sister of  Annie’s grandmother.  Annie’s middle name was bestowed because of the Tuckfield connection.

The Salvation Army began as a mission to the poor in the East End of  London in 1865. The Church commenced in Australia in Adelaide in 1880. By 1900, the Salvation Army in Australia had about 50,000 soldiers (members) in 512 Corps (churches) with 1,929 officers, cadets or employees.

    When she joined the Salvation Army, Annie became a “Young People’s Worker”.  Around 1904, five years after joining the Army, Annie applied to become an Officer. Her application was rejected because of her poor health.  However, she was made a Sergeant responsible for “Rescue Work” and she was later appointed to the Girls’ Home in Beaumont, South Australia.  Her health improved and she was promoted to Lieutenant around 1905.

    The Girls’ Probationary School was run by the Salvation Army under the control of the State government. The home opened at Woodville in 1901. It was at Sea View House, Beaumont from 1905 to 1910. It was then at Norwood and from 1912 at Fullerton. The school was for children in Government care considered to have behavioural problems.

    In 1906 Annie became ill with consumption – tuberculosis  – and died in May aged 27 after an illness of five months.  She was buried in the Wesleyan section of Booroondara General Cemetery at Kew, a suburb of Melbourne, sharing a plot with her mother and two infant brothers. The Salvation Army’s newspaper, the War Cry, had an obituary on 15 June 1906.

    A headstone recently installed by a great grand daughter of Annie’s mother Caroline at Booroondara Cemetery

    Annnie Tuckfield Edwards was my husband’s great grand aunt.

    I am grateful to the research officer of the Salvation Army Heritage Centre in Bourke Street Melbourne for locating and making available articles about the Edwards family in its archives.

    I am also grateful to my husband’s cousin for the providing photographs, which prompted me to research Annie’s short life.