My husband’s great great grandmother – one of them – was Eliza Morley née Sinden (1823 – 1908).

Eliza was born about 1823 in Cuckfield, West Sussex, to William Sinden (c. 1870-1839), a coach driver, and Mercy Sinden née Rose (1779-1852). She was probably the youngest child of at least six.

At the time of the 1841 census Eliza was living with her widowed mother Mercy Sinden at Albourne, Sussex, just over six miles south of Cuckfield.

On 17 September 1848 Eliza married John Morley (1823-1888) at Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, less than a mile east of Albourne.

Morley Sinden marriage 1848

In 1851 the Morley family was living in Keymer, 2 miles east of Hurstpierpoint. They were living at 97 Railway Terrace. John was a railway labourer. Keymer junction was an important railway junction on the line between London and Brighton. John and Eliza had one daughter, aged one, and soon afterwards, another son, William.

In 1853 they emigrated to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on the Ida, on 12 July. They were assisted passengers, that is, their voyage was subsidized by the Victorian Government.

On 10 May 1853 William, then aged one, died at sea of scarlatina  (scarlet fever, a bacterial infection). There were 26 deaths on the voyage. Eleven were attributed to scarlatina.

In Victoria the family lived at Collingwood, an inner city suburb of Melbourne, until at least 1861. There Eliza had five more children.

In 1862 John Morley was renting a  house in Tucker Road, Moorabbin, then a village fifteen kilometres or so miles south-east of the city centre.

In 1864 Eliza’s seventh child was born in Brighton, a suburb about eleven kilometers south-east of the city.

In 1866 Eliza’s brother George emigrated to Australia and came to live with Eliza’s family. George Sinden (1811-1884) never married and all George’s and Eliza’s other siblings had died. George Sinden died in 1884 aged 73.

In 1888 Eliza’s husband John died from a malignant disease of the stomach after an illness of three months. Eliza, then 65, was living at 7 Evelyn Street, East Bentleigh, with her daughter Anne who had married Henry Sullivan in 1887. Three of Eliza’s seven children had survived into adulthood.

In 1886, in addition to the house in East Bentleigh which was then rented by John Morley, Eliza was renting 2 1/2 acres of land nearby, where she seems to have kept a few cows. In 1890 it was reported that she had been fined 7s 6d plus 2s 6 d costs for straying cattle.

On 23 April 1908 Eliza died after an illness of ten weeks at the age of 85 from cancer of the pharynx  and of asthenia, a medical term for abnormal weakness.  She was buried in Brighton cemetery with her husband John. Their graves are unmarked.


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