Philip_Chauncy 1878

Philip Chauncy 1878, image attached to my family tree

The photograph above, “Philip_Chauncy 1878”, first shared by me on 27 March 2012 on my online public tree at, has been saved and added by at least 13 people to their public Ancestry trees.

Yesterday someone asked me how I knew the subject was really Philip Chauncy, an excellent question. To able to substantiate your facts is the foundation of every sort of history.

Over twenty years ago, before Greg and I moved from Canberra to Ballarat, we spent an evening with one of my third cousins once removed, like me a descendant of Philip Lamothe Snell Chauncy (1816 – 1880), my 3rd great grandfather. My cousin and his wife very generously shared the results of their family history research with me, including a copy of “Philip_Chauncy 1878”, which I remember they said came from the Anglican Cathedral in Ballarat.

Philip Chauncy was appointed Registrar of the diocese of Ballarat in August 1878. He had lost his position as Government surveyor in January 1878 when around 400 public servants were sacked by the Victorian Government. He resigned as Registrar in late 1879 and died the following April. He had held the Registrar’s position for just over a year. The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of  Melbourne and Ballarat published an obituary on 7 June 1880.

Chauncy Philip obituary

THE LATE MR. PHILIP CHAUNCY. (1880, June 7). The Church of England Messenger and Ecclesiastical Gazette for the Diocese of Melbourne and Ballarat (Vic. : 1876 – 1889), p. 6. Retrieved from

Three years ago Greg and I went to the Anglican Cathedral in Ballarat in search of “Philip_Chauncy 1878”, naturally expecting to have to make an appointment to view the archives. To our surprise the gentleman who met us at the door was able to take us directly to the photograph, which was hanging on the wall close to the entrance of the Diocesan offices. The photograph was captioned “Philip Chauncy Esq. Registrar of the Diocese 1878”, and signed “Richards & Co Ballarat”. It was indeed the image passed on to me by my cousin.

Anglican Diocesan Centre and Cathedral Ballarat

Anglican Diocese of Ballarat: Cathedral and Diocesan Offices Lydiard Street September 2016

Philip Chauncy

Portrait of Philip Chauncy hanging in the Diocesan Offices of the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat in September 2016

It is one of only two photographs of Philip Chauncy that I have come across, the other being a family portrait taken shortly after the death of Philip’s wife Susan in 1867.

PLS Chauncy and family about 1867

Philip Chauncy and children shortly after the death of Philip’s wife Susan Chauncy nee Mitchell in 1867. From left to right Auschar Philip (1855–1890), Amy Blanche (1861–1925), Theresa Snell (1849–1886), Frederick Philip Lamothe (1863–1926), Philip (1816 – 1880), on Philip’s lap Clement Henry (1865–1902), William Snell (1853–1903), Constance (1859–1907), Annie Frances (1857–1883)