My great great grandfather Wentworth Cavenagh (1822 – 1895) was born 200 years ago on 13 November 1822 at Hythe, Kent, England to James Gordon Cavenagh and Ann Cavenagh nee Coates, the fifth of their eight children. He was baptised on 12 March 1823 at St Leonard’s, Hythe.
Wentworth’s father James Gordon, born Irish, was a surgeon of the Royal Staff Corps, an army engineering corps with its headquarters in Hythe, responsible in part for supervising the construction of static defence measures including the Royal Military Canal against Napoleon’s threatened invasion.
After their marriage in March 1815, the Cavenaghs lived at Hythe. In 1825 Cavenagh retired on half pay.
The Cavenagh family returned to Wexford in Ireland in 1837 and lived at Castle House. Wentworth Cavenagh attended the Ferns Diocesan School. It is believed he began training as a pharmacist in Wexford, but after the potato famine struck in the 1840s the economy was so bad he realised there was no future for him in Ireland and emigrated.
PASSENGERS BY THE BALLAARAT.—The following. are the passengers booked to leave Adelaide by the Ballaarat to-day:—For London —Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Misses Eva, May, Kathleen, Helen, Queenie, and Gertrude, and Master Hugh Cavenagh-Mainwaring, and Misses Herring, Schomburgk, and Horn. For Albany—Messrs. Green, Richards, and Radcliffe.
THE HON. WENTWORTH CAVENAGH-MAINWARING.—This gentleman, accompanied by his wife, six daughters, and one son, leaves by the Ballarat to-day for England, where he is about, to take up his residence at Whitmore Hall. He is a son of James Gordon Cavenagh, who was army surgeon in the Royal Staff Corps. He served in the army for thirty-five years, and went all through the Peninsula War. while he was also present at the Battle of Waterloo and the taking of Paris. He was a brother of General Sir Orfeur Cavenagh, K.C.S.I., lately deceased, who served in India in various campaigns, and who, as Town Major of Fort William, is supposed to have saved Calcutta during the mutiny. He was afterwards for several years Governor of the Straits Settlements. Another brother, General Gordon Cavenagh, served in various actions in China and India. The Hon. Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring was born at Hyde, Kent, on November 13, 1822. He was educated at Ferns Diocesan School, County Wexford, Ireland, and when eighteen years of age he left home for Canada, where he was engaged for some years farming. He subsequently relinquished this occupation and started coffee planting in Ceylon. Afterwards he tried to obtain a Government appointment at Calcutta, but was unsuccessful. Attracted by a Government advertisement he came to Australia, arriving in Melbourne in 1852. Thence he went to the Bendigo diggings, and from there he came to South Australia and started farming at Peachy Belt. He stopped there for several years, and in 1863 was elected to Parliament with the late Hon. L. Glyde for the District of Yatala. For nineteen years he remained in the Legislature without a break, and during that period he was Commissioner of Crown Lands in the Strangways Ministry, and Commissioner of Public Works in the Administration formed by Sir Henry Ayers. In the elections of 1881 he was rejected when the Hon. D. Murray and Mr. Gilbert (the present member) were elected On February 16, 1865, he married Ellen Jane, the eldest daughter of Gordon Mainwaring, an officer in the East Indian Civil Service, who was at one time Inspector of Police in the early days of South Australia, and on the death of his father, Admiral Mainwaring, he succeeded to the family estates in Staffordshire. On the death of her brothers without heirs Mrs. Cavenagh-Mainwaring became entitled to the estates and adopted the name and arms of Mainwaring.
My second great grand-aunt Julia Mainwaring, the sixth of seven children of Gordon Mainwaring and Mary Mainwaring née Hickey, died in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire on 17 August 1907, 115 years ago tomorrow.
Julia was born on 10 April 1857 in Peachey Belt, South Australia, then a forested area where firewood and fencing material was gathered, now the industrial suburb of Penfield, 35 kilometres north of central Adelaide. The Mainwarings had a farm there, sold in 1859.
FOR SALE, 60 Acres of LAND (Section 4108) in the PEACHEY BELT, and near the thriving township of Penfield. On it is erected a comfortable 5-roomed Dwelling-house, with an Acre of Garden fenced in, and planted with Vines and Fruit Trees adjoining; also a Well of excellent water, Stockyard, Stackyard, &c. It is subdivided into two paddocks of 40 and 20 acres respectively, the larger of which was fallowed last year, and is now under crop. For further particulars, enquire of H. Gilbert, Esq, solicitor, Adelaide; or to Mr. G. Mainwaring, on the premises.
By 1861 the family lived in Ward Street, North Adelaide, later moving to East Terrace opposite the Botanic Gardens. In 1866 they left for England; Julia was nine years old.
In 1871 the family, including Julia, then thirteen, was living at 94 Grosvenor Place Marylebone. The household included 4 live-in servants.
In 1874 Julia was involved in Shakespearean tableaux with her sister Alice. She appeared as Juliet in a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ tableau arranged by Edward Matthew Ward, RA. She also appeared as Anne Page in the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor‘, arranged by the author and journalist Edward Dicey; her character was described by The Times as “arch and pretty”.
Wilkinson -Mainwaring. -On the 12th inst., at the parish church, St. Swithin's, by the Rev. Edward Allfrey, John Campbell Wilkinson, lieutenant R. N., youngest son of George Yeldham Wilkinson, Esq., of Tapton, Derbyshire, to Julia, youngest daughter of the late Gordon Mainwaring, Esq. of Whitmore, Staffordshire.
In 1891 Julia and her husband were living in Bryanston Street, Marylebone, with two servants. (I have not been able to find John and Julia Wilkinson on the 1881 census)
In February 1900 John Campbell Wilkinson died at the age of fifty-six He was buried in a grave among those of the Mainwaring family, at All Soul’s cemetery in Kensal Green.
In the 1901 census Julia, possibly on holiday, was recorded as staying at Oriental Place in Brighton.
On 17 August 1907 Julia, fifty years old, died at Combe Cottage, Hambleden in Buckinghamshire and was buried with her family at All Soul’s cemetery in Kensal Green. Her probate records give her usual residence as 55 Connaught Street, Hyde Park, London. She left a will, with the executor her brother-in-law Augustus Frederick Wilkinson.
On 17 May 1838 at Launceston, Tasmania, one of my fourth great aunts, Theresa Susannah Eunice Snell Chauncy (1807-1876), married John Walker (1796-1855), a retired officer of the Royal Navy. He was forty-two; she was thirty-one.
At the age of ten or so, he entered the Royal Navy on 9 May 1806 as a First class volunteer [cadet] on theSwallow sloop (387 tonnes, 121 men) under Captain Alexander Milner. The Swallow patrolled the Channel and the coasts of Spain and Portugal. He attained the rating of midshipman in early 1809.
In August 1809, five months later, he was transferred to HMS Norge, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line. The Norge was commanded as follows:
1808 – 1809 Captain Edmund Boger
1810 – 1811 Captain John Sprat Rainier
1811 Captain William Waller
1812 – 1814 Captain Samuel Jackson
1814 – 1815 Captain Charles Dashwood
Walker served on the Norge off Lisbon, at the defence of Cadiz, in the Mediterranean, in the North Sea, and on the North American and West India stations. From late 1813 held the rank of Master’s Mate, a midshipman who had passed the exam for Lieutenant, and was eligible for promotion when a vacancy became available. In 1814-15 he took part in the operations against New Orleans. HMS Norge was paid off in August 1815. On leaving the Norge Walker was presented with a commission bearing the date 17 February 1815. He was on half-pay from 1815.
In 1821 the crew of the Norge and other members of an 1814 convoy shared in the distribution of head-money arising from the capture of American gun-boats and sundry bales of cotton. In 1847 the Admiralty issued a clasp (or bar) marked “14 Dec. Boat Service 1814” to survivors of the boat service, including the crew of the Norge, who claimed the clasp to the Naval General Service Medal.
When John Walker married Theresa Chauncy on 17 May 1838 in Launceston, Tasmania, the Launceston Advertiser of 24 May 1838 reported:
MARRIED.—At St. John's Church, on the 17th inst., Lieut. JOHN WALKER, R.N., to THERESA, daughter of W.S. CHAUNCY, Esq., of London.
John and Theresa Walker moved to Adelaide, where John Walker carried on business as a general merchant and shipping agent. The Walkers established a farm called Havering on the banks of the River Torrens.
John Walker chaired a local landowners meeting and in 1839 the village of Walkerville was named after him.
WALKERVILLE.-At a recent meeting of the proprietors of the preliminary section on the Torrens, immediately adjoining North Adelaide, purchased from Governor Hindmarsh for 1100l,. and now laid out by Messrs, Hindmarsh and Lindsay, surveyors, as a village, containing 100 acre allotments, it was proposed that the name of Walkerville should be given to the property, in compliment to our excellent colonist, Captain Walker, R. N., who is also a considerable proprietor. The proposal was agreed to unanimously; and Walkerville promises speedily to rival Hindmarsh Town, and become the most delightful suburb of Adelaide. Allotments, we are informed, are selling in both villages at from 25l. to 50l. each, according to situation
During the 1840s, John Walker fell victim to overspeculation in land value and a South Australian financial depression. He was imprisoned briefly for debt in 1841. In 1849 he left the colony with wife Theresa to take up a government position in Tasmania.
On Monday, the 8th of December, at Government Cottage, Launceston, LIEUT. WALKER, R.N , Port Officer, aged 58 years, deeply lamented by a large circle of friends, whose esteem he had gained by his affability of manner, and his undeviating rectitude in the discharge of his duty The funeral will leave Government Cottage on Wednesday, the 10th instant, at 4 p m. [Should be January but misreported in newspapers.]
DEATH OF LIEUT. JOHN WALKER, R.N.
The death of this gentleman, who was formerly a well known merchant of this city, is thus recorded in the Launceston Cornwall Chronicle of the 10th inst. :—
It is our painful duty to record the death on Monday evening, of Lieutenant John Walker, who for some years past has filled the appointments of Port Officer of Hobart Town, and Harbour Master of this port. Lieutenant Walker, as will be seen by the following extract from O'Byrne, has been on half-pay since 1815. He commanded in the mercantile marine, trading to India and these colonies, until about the year 1839, when he removed to Adelaide, and entered largely into mercantile transactions, in which not being successful he returned to this colony, where he has since been employed in the Port Office department. Lieutenant Walker was of amiable temperament, and accommodating and courteous in the discharge of his official duties. In private life he was the warm hearted friend and excellent companion. He lived respected and died lamented. O'Byrne furnishes the following brief sketch of Lieutenant Walker's naval career :—
WALKER (Lieut. 1815, F-P., 10 ; H-P., 31.) — John Walker, (a) entered the Navy 9th May, 1806, as Fst-cl. Vol. on board the Swallow sloop, Capt. Alex. Milner, employed in the channel, and off the coast of Spain and Portugal. In August, 1809, five months after he had attained the rating of Midshipman, he removed to the Norge, 74; and in that ship commanded by Capts. John Sprat, Rainer, and Chas. Dashwood, he continued to serve off Lisbon, at the defence of Cadiz, in the Mediterranean, and North Sea, and on the North American and West India stations, until August, 1815 —the last 19 months in the capacity of Master's Mate. He took part, in 1814 15, in the operations against New Orleans, including the Battle of Lake Borgne in 1815. On leaving the Norge he was presented with a commission bearing date 17th February, 1815. He has since been on half-pay.
John Walker and his wife had no children, and he appears never to have made a Will. After his death his widow lodged a claim for oustanding half-pay from the navy. She received 28 pounds 5 shillings.
Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1869 – 1933), an Adelaide surgeon, was my great grand uncle. He died 89 years ago on 27 June 1933.
He was the fourth of ten children of Wentworth Cavenagh and Ellen Cavenagh née Mainwaring. He was very close to his sister Kathleen, my great grandmother, and her husband, another surgeon, Arthur Murray Cudmore. My grandmother always remembered him fondly and knew him as Uncle Wenty.
Following his death the Adelaide newspapers published obituaries and reminiscences.
Obituary in the Adelaide Advertiser of 28 June 1933:
DEATH OF WAR SURGEON Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring's Fine Record CAREER OF SERVICE One of Australia's most able war surgeons, Dr. W. R. Cavanagh-Mainwaring, died yesterday at Palmer place, North Adelaide. He was 64 and a bachelor. For about 25 years he was associated with the Adelaide Hospital, and from 1900, until he retired through ill-health about three years ago, had a practice on North terrace. He was one of the most distinguished of the many accomplished old boys of St Peter's College. Conscientious skill and courage made Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring's war record one of many successes. He enlisted 15 days after the declaration of war, and finished his military work in 1919, being one of the few South Australian doctors to go through the whole of the campaign. While on duty he worked untiringly. No situation was too dangerous for him to tackle, and he became so attached to the 3rd Light Horse that he let chances of promotion pass so that he could remain with that unit. At one stage, when he was in hospital with an injured knee, he obtained transport to Cairo in a hospital ship, joined his regiment and went with it on an expedition as a passenger in a transport cart.
At Anzac When he left South Australia on October 3, 1914, he was regimental medical officer to the 3rd Light Horse, a position he held until October, 1916. With this unit he reached Gallipoli in May, 1915, a few weeks after the landing, and remained until the evacuation. Late in 1916 he became attached to the 2nd Stationary Hospital in Egypt, which was in close touch with fighting at Magdaba and Rafa, and later moved to El Arish, where almost all of the casualties from the first two battles of Gaza were dealt with. From El Arish the 2nd Stationary Hospital was transferred to Moascar, and Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring went to the 14th General Hospital, first at Abassia and later at Port Said. In 1918 he returned to South Australia, but after a short leave returned to Egypt. For his work during the Gaza fighting he was mentioned in dispatches. He was also awarded the Order of the White Eagle, a decoration given by Serbia for good work in the common cause to specially chosen men in the service or the Allies. He left Australia with the rank of captain-surgeon, and returned as major-surgeon.
Academic Achievement Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring's academic career was successful from the time he entered St. Peter's College until he earned the degree of F.R.C.S. He won many scholarships at St. Peter's, and passed at the first attempt every examination for which he sat, whether at college or university. His medical studies were begun at the University of Adelaide and finished in London.
He was a son of the late Mr. Wentworth Cavanagh-Mainwaring and Mrs. Cavanagh-Mainwaring, and was born at "Eden Park," Marryatville. Whitmore Hall Staffordshire, England was the property of his parents. It is now held by a brother, Mr. J. G. Cavanagh-Mainwaring. Mrs. A. M. Cudmore, wife of Dr. A. M. Cudmore, of North Adelaide, is a sister.
“Passing By” column from the Adelaide News of 28 June 1933:
Helping the Wounded FEW men in the 1st Division of the A.I.F. were more loved, I was told today, than Dr. W. R. Cavanagh-Mainwaring, who has just died at the age of 64. Mr. H.M. Bidmeade, who was one of the first men in the British Empire to enlist (he wrote in offering his services in the event of war, on August 3, 1914), was closely associated with Dr Cavenagh-Mainwaring in Gallipoli and Egypt. He told me today that often the doctor, in his eagerness to help the wounded, had to be dragged out of the danger zone. On Gallipoli, when he had established rest bases for his men in one of the gullies, he would never stay with them and rest, but always hurried off to help the other front line doctors with the wounded. It didn't matter what the danger was, he would go anywhere to help the wounded. Often, so Mr. Bidmeade said, he would be fixing up the wounded before the stretcher bearers arrived to carry them into safety. And whenever he found stretcher-bearers running short of food he would share his superior rations with them. Saved From Grave THERE is one man who, has to thank Dr. Cavanagh-Manwaring that he wasn't buried alive. It was at Quinn's Post, on Gallipoli. About 50 dead Australians and Turks were being temporarily buried in a big trench. The burying party was just going to cover up the bodies when Dr. Cavanagh-Mainwaring stopped them. "Take that man out," he said, pointing to an Australian. "I don't think he's dead. He wasn't. The doctor attended to him: and he re-recovered.
From the Adelaide Advertiser of 29 June 1933 page 10:
Out among the People By Rufus. Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring YESTERDAY I met dozens of men who expressed regret at the passing of Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring. He was known to his friends as "Cavy," and he was loved by all who knew him. Members of the 3rd Light Horse swore by him. One of them said to me, "If ever a man earned the V.C. it was Dr. Mainwaring." A doctor pal of mine who was at the war said to me:—"Cavy should have been knighted for what he did at the war." Mr. Jacobs said:— "Cavy was a splendid character. Although he could express an opinion in a courageous way, I never heard him say a nasty thing about anyone. With all his worth and knowledge of life he was modest almost to a fault. He was first and last an English gentleman." Cavy was a wonderful mixer, and he always had regard for the under dog. In addition to all his other qualifications, he was one of the best bridge players in Adelaide. He was an excellent field shot, and he loved a good race-horse. In recent years he was motored to the races by Joe Netter, who is at present touring the East with Mrs. Netter. Joe and his wife will be sorry to hear of the passing of their old friend.
From the Adelaide Chronicle 13 July 1933:
The "Old Doc" And His Spurs" ONE of the Old 3rd,' Glenelg, writes: —'Dear Rufus— The passing of Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring will be regretted by all members of the old 3rd Light Horse Regiment. He was a lovable old chap, and long hours on duty meant nothing to him. He had a habit of leaving his spurs attached to his boots on retiring, and as he often conducted the 7 a.m. sick parade in his pyjamas, the spurs looked a little out of place, and did not meet with the approval of his batman. As was usually the case with the rigid discipline of the A.I.F., the batman often issued the orders to his superior. In this case (so the story went at the time) the batman was heard to say to the old Doc. one morning. 'Haven't I told you often enough not to wear those damned spurs with your pyjamas?' Doc, rather sheepishly, explained he did not know he had them on, to which the batman replied, 'Well, if you're not more careful in the future I'll hide the cows on you, and you won't have any at all.' This was a great joke among some of the boys."
Several of their relatives had already established themselves in the new colony. In 1838, eleven years previously, Sarah Bock (sister of Ann Plaisted) with her husband Alfred Bock, and Ann’s brother William Green with his wife Tabitha (sister of John Plaisted) had settled there.
The Plaisted family travelled on the ‘Rajah‘, reaching Adelaide on 12 April 1850 after a passage of 4 1/2 months from London.
John Plaisted’s blocks formed two contiguous areas, one of 320 acres near the coast, the other 742 acres close to what has since become the settlement of Willunga.
One of Plaisted’s neighbours was John Pitches Manning, who bought an adjacent block, later called Hope Farm, at the same auction. A family history of Manning and Hope Farm describes his purchase:
"During May 1850, George Pitches Manning journeyed south to Aldinga in search of suitable farming land but was not impressed with the country, which was covered by stunted gum and sheoak trees. His attention was then drawn to a parcel of Crown Land at McLaren Vale, which was, in later years to be the property known as Tintara Vineyards, of which more will be said later. This property was put to public auction but unfortunately he was outbid by a Mr Plaisted."
(Tintara winery was acquired by Thomas Hardy in the 1870s)
"Noarlunga—The foundation stone of the new church to be dedicated to St. Phillip and St. James, was laid on Friday, the 28th ultimo, by the Bishop of Adelaide, in the presence of a numerous, and highly respectable, concourse of the inhabitants. His Lordship read the impressive service used on such occasions, which was listened to throughout with profound attention. Divine service was performed for the first time on Sunday last, at the "Horse Shoe" Inn. Mr Bock, the worthy landlord, fitted up the room for the occasion, and Miss Plaisted led the various hymns on a splendid organ. The arrangements for the accommodation of the congregation were simple yet comfortable, and, in fact, the whole was a great improvement upon the pro tempore places of worship previously used at Noarlunga."
The next year in April 1851 John’s eldest daughter Sally Plaisted married Samuel Hughes of Noarlunga.
On Tuesday, 29th April, at Willunga, by the Rev. A. B. Burnett, Mr. Samuel Hughes, of Noarlunga, to Sally, only daughter of John Plaisted, Esq., of Hornsey, late of Muswell Hill, near London.
In September 1851 John Plaisted, Alfred Bock, Samuel Hughes, and John’s son John Plaisted junior attended a meeting called to establish a monthly market in Noarlunga township. John Plaisted addressed the meeting.
In December 1851 John Plaisted sailed for Melbourne. In the 1850s he and and other members of his family seem to have travelled quite frequently between Melbourne and South Australia.
In February 1852, back in South Australia, Mr Plaisted (it is not clear whether this was John or one of his sons) won a prize of potatoes at the Noarlunga monthly market.
In March 1852 Thomas Plaisted was receiving cargo in Adelaide of 179 bags of flour and 35 bags of bran. In March and in May Job Plaisted (probably John) received mail in Adelaide. In May 1852 a Plaisted received 32 bags of flour.
In November 1852 J Plaisted, S. Hughes and A. Bock were subscribers to a fund for erecting a church at Noarlunga. The three men were generous in their donations, especially. J. Plaisted, who donated 10 pounds.
In August 1854 Messrs. Bell and Plaisted, were in business as grocers at 67 Queen-street. In March 1855 they had moved to 57 Queens Street, advertising a range of goods from pianos to barrels of haddock.
When John Plaisted died of tuberculosis in Melbourne on 4 May 1858, his death certificate stated he had been in Victoria 5 years, thus since 1853; he had been in South Australia for only 3 years.
In his will John Plaisted left to his wife the rent of Hornsey Farm, McLaren Vale, South Australia, and the rent of the Blacksmiths Shop at Noarlunga.
In 1856 in West Tamar, Tasmania, one of my fourth great aunts Theresa Walker nee Chauncy (1807 – 1876) married George Herbert Poole. He had been a teacher in the Royal College of the British Indian Ocean possession of Mauritius; she was an artist and sculptor.
In a memoir of Mrs Poole, Theresa’s brother Philip Chauncy wrote:
Theresa had for some time fallen in with the religious tenets of Mr. George Herbert Poole (1806-1869), who was the founder of “The New Church” [Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church] in Adelaide. He [Poole] had returned from Mauritius, where he had been a professor in the Royal College, to Sydney in January 1850, had left Melbourne for England in 1852, and returned to Launceston in 1856, where they [George Poole and Theresa] were married.
From the Hobart Colonial Times of 19 September 1856:
MARRIED. On the 15th instant, at the Manse, West Tamar, by the Rev. James Garrett, GEORGE HERBERT POOLE, Esq., late professor in the Royal College, Mauritius, to THERESA SUSANNA, widow of the late John Walker, Esq., Lieutenant, R.N.
It appears that Poole may have had a connection with Truro, in Cornwall, for a notice in the Cornish West Briton on 16 January 1857 states he had resided there:
At the Manse, West Tamar, Australia, of the 15th of September last, Mr. George Herbert POOLE, formerly of Truro, to Theresa Susana, widow of the late John WALKER, Lieutenant, R.N.
Following their marriage the Pooles began a farm in Tasmania, bought, her brother notes, “with Theresa’s money”. Two years later they sold the farm and moved to Victoria, where George, with no great success, tried gold mining. In 1861 the Pooles became partners in a vineyard near Barnawartha on the Murray near Albury. Among others in this arrangement was Theresa’s half-brother William Chauncy (1820-1878), who at that time lived in Wodonga. George Poole “was supposed to be a thorough vigneron, as well as a connoisseur of the best methods of tobacco growing.” (Although in 1843 Mr G.H. Poole wrote about the cultivation of the vine for the South Australian Register, unfortunately Poole was accused of plagiarising this piece. The Geelong Advertiser reported Poole had 20 years experience of growing vines in southern Europe but I am not sure this fits with the facts of his life.)
Poole was appointed local manager of the vineyard.
The scheme was successful for a couple of years but in 1864 it collapsed. George Poole returned to Mauritius in November and Theresa followed in April 1865.
In late 1866 both husband and wife became ill with an epidemic fever. They shifted to India, then after a brief return to Mauritius, in February 1868 moved back to Adelaide.
George Poole gained a job as a teacher of a school at Finniss Point near Riverton, about sixty miles (80km) north of Adelaide. In 1869 he became ill and died.
From the Adelaide Evening Journal 2 August 1869:
Deaths: POOLE.—On the 29th July, at Finniss Point, near Kapunda, George Herbert Poole, Esq., aged 63 years.
From The South Australian Advertiser 7 August 1869:
The remains of Mr. George Herbert Poole, licensed teacher of Finniss Point, were interred in the Riverton Church burial-ground on Saturday, the 31st ult. The deceased gentleman had been ailing for some time past, but suffered severely during the last month of his earthly pilgrimage from disease of the liver.
Finniss Point, also known as Finnis Point, is a few miles south of Riverton. The settlement no longer exists.
In 1863 my third great grandmother Margaret Rankin, formerly Margaret Budge nee Gunn, died at ‘Bookmark‘, a sheep-station on the Murray River near present-day Renmark.
Margaret had arrived in South Australia from Liverpool on the ‘Dirigo‘ in November 1854 with her second husband Ewan Rankin and four surviving children from her first marriage. In Wick on 10 June 1854, five weeks before they sailed on 15 July, she had married Ewan Rankin, a carpenter.
When the Rankin family arrived the two boys, Daniel and Kenneth, were 12 and 11, and the two daughters, Margaret and Alexandrina, were 9 and 2. I do not know where the family settled nor how Ewan Rankin was employed from the time of their arrival until Margaret’s death nearly ten years later. It appears, however, that Ewan Rankin had found work on a large property called ‘Bookmark‘ on the Murray River near present-day Renmark.
In the early 1860s ‘Bookmark‘ and the neighbouring station, ‘Chowilla‘, were leased by two men named James Chambers and William Finke. Chambers died in 1862 and his brother John Chambers took over. Finke died in early 1864. At that time Ewan Rankin seems to have been the ‘Bookmark‘ overseer.
In 1864 a man named Richard Holland bought the ‘Bookmark‘ station lease for his stepsons John, William, and Robert Robertson. The run extended from Spring Cart Gully near Berri to the NSW border. I do not know if Ewan Rankin stayed with the property or moved on; I have not found any reference to him after 1863.
In 1867, four years after her mother Margaret died, Margaret Budge, now 21, married James Francis Cudmore of ‘Paringa‘, a neighbouring station on the Murray, 20 miles upstream from ‘Bookmark‘.
In the 1870s Daniel and Kenneth Budge worked for the Cudmores and went into partnership with them. In 1870 Kenneth purchased ‘Gooyea‘ station in Queensland with J F Cudmore. In October 1871 the Adelaide “Evening Journal” reported that “A lot of 600 cows with 16 bulls, from Mr Cudmore’s Paringa Station, in charge of Mr. K. Budge, passed through Wilcannia on the 12th for Dowling’s Creek, Bulla, Queensland.”
In the 1860s paddle steamers carried a great amount of goods, much of it wool, up and down the Darling and Murray rivers. Two dangers were boiler explosions and collision with submerged logs, snags. In 1862 the ‘Settler‘ hit a snag near ‘Bookmark‘ and sank:
"In coming up the river near Bookmark Station she came in collision with a large snag some two feet under water, which made such a large hole in her below watermark that she had to run ashore immediately, when she sunk, and now lies with the water up to the floor of her cabins. She had some 200 tons of cargo onboard, the greater portion of which was for settlers and storekeepers on the river, and they will consequently be put to considerable inconvenience, in addition to the loss attending the accident. The steamer 'Lady Daly' is lying alongside the 'Settler' to render any assistance that may be necessary."
In 1865 the landing place at Bookmark station was cleared of 9 trees from the water by Edward Williams, superintendent of the Snagboat ‘Grappler‘, employed in the service of the Commissioner of Public Works.
In 1880 a correspondent of the “Kapunda Herald“, on a trip aboard the steamer ‘Gem‘ up to Wentworth, reported that “On the way down we had the chance of seeing Mr. J. F. Cudmore’s Paringa Station. It is a very pretty house built on a hill, with a fine garden terraced down the slope to the river, and from the steamer looks a grand residence. Farther down is Messrs. Robertson Brother’s Bookmark Station, which is a very nice looking building.”
In 1881 Mr G.E.M. [a Melbourne University student who wrote for the Melbourne Leader] on a trip down the Murray by canoe, coming around a bend,
“… to my astonishment, came suddenly in view of a well built residence, occupying a very elevated position off the left bank. Four tanks were near it on a lofty staging. The steam-engine was on a ledge lower down. A beautiful garden was round the house, and the flat ground below it was occupied by a number of outbuildings. My surprise was great to find that I was at Paringa, more so that it was only half-past three. The manager, Mr. Hayes, looked after me well. Paringa station belongs to Mr. Cudmore of Adelaide, and is his home for six months of the year. It runs 20,000 sheep, only a third of the number on Chowilla. I had a good night's rest, and, rising early, made my preparations before breakfast. At half-past eight I was proceeding onwards. At half-past twelve I was knocking at the door at Bookmark. The 21 miles between the two places did not offer much variety. Near Cutler's billabong I saw far ahead a man slowly propelling his boat, and having overtaken him, learnt that he was a carpenter by trade, who, finding work slack in Wentworth, had patched up an old furniture case to form a boat, and taking a few tools, had started off down the river to seek work. Instead of sculling in the ordinary way, he looked to the bows and pushed his sculls through the water. I was amused, on asking him the time, with the startling vehemence of his reply, "God knows." His boat crept along so slowly that I wished him good morning and paddled on. From Paringa can be seen a range of hills trending towards the Murray. They do not, however, come to the river, but form a precipitous bank for the Margary Creek, which flows into the Murray a mile above Bookmark. The station house is in a striking position, of which it is worthy, for a more elegantly furnished dwelling I have rarely seen. Despite my peculiar appearance, Mrs. Robertson extended to me a cordial welcome, and in the afternoon Mr. Robertson came home. All the wood work in this house and a great part of the cabinet work is the result of Mr. Robertson's own labor. In the evening we fished, using shrimps for bait, and caught in a short time a nice basket of bream. Music enlivened us till bedtime. The following day was delightfully spent. In the morning we drove to the back country, to try for a shot at a kangaroo. As we drove along I had many of the trees and shrubs pointed out to me. "This fragile gum tree," said he, " is the mallee, the Eucalyptus Dumosa ; that prickly bush, whose roots when cut yield fresh water, is the needle bush ; there is the sandalwood, there the box. This stunted shrub, interspersed with spinifex, is a kind of saltbush ; that dark-tinted tree is the native cherry ; that, very like it in appearance, is the bitter bush; yonder is the curious quandong, easily picked out by reason of its light-green foliage." The kangaroos sleep during the heat of the day under shelter of the pines. We disturbed many, but my execrable shooting invariably resulted in their hopping off scathless. In the evening, while fishing, I was sitting beside Mr. Robertson, watching my float, when he said quietly, "Look here," motioning towards a snake which had swum the river and landed at his feet. A well aimed blow killed the first and last snake I saw in my whole trip. It was the common brown snake, 4 feet 6 inches long. On the 15th. January, with great regret, I left Bookmark. Three miles from the house the Spring Cart Cliffs begin, and extend for a long distance, gradually diminishing in height.”
In 1887 the South Australian Government granted the Chaffey Brothers 30,000 acres from Bookmark station to begin Renmark, the first irrigation colony in Australia. In 1896 Bookmark station was divided into Calperum and Chowilla Stations; John and Robert Robertson dissolved their partnership, John retained Bookmark, and changed the name to Calperum, and Robert settled at Chowilla.
Now heritage listed, the homestead at what was Bookmark is on Calperum station. The present building, dating from the 1870s, replaces an earlier construction of pug and pine, which for walls used native pine trunks rendered with clay. This building technique was frequently employed in country South Australia, especially when there were not enough large trees to provide bark or slabs. In the early 1860s the Rankin family were probably living in buildings of pug and pine construction. In 1984 a pug and pine outbuilding built in 1863 on Chowilla was reported in a heritage study to be one of the oldest surviving structures in the upper Riverlands.
In 2015 the Robertson family celebrated 150 years on “Chowilla”, formerly part of Bookmark, which is now 35,200ha (87,000ac) and consists of mostly semi-arid rangeland featuring saltbush, blue bush, copper burr and native grasses. The Robertsons farm 132,000 hectares (327,000 acres) spread across four properties. Depending on the season the Robertsons shear 15,000 to 17,000 head of sheep.
Some years ago, one of my Cudmore cousins told me about a legal provision that had been made for two illegitimate children of our forbear James Frances Cudmore (1837 – 1912).
On 24 August 1912, a week after J.F. Cudmore’s death, a woman named Isabella Crowe of Nailsworth South Australia signed an indenture—a legally binding contract—in which she and her one male child and one female child, “alleged to have been fathered” by him, with their present and future descendants, agreed to make no claims on his estate in return for 300 shares in the Federal Coke Company Ltd. (In September 1912 shares in Federal Coke were being sold for 32/6; 300 shares on that basis would be worth about $61,000 today.)
The original of this indenture is held in the Mortlock Library, a wing of the State Library of South Australia. The signature of Isabella Crowe was witnessed by J.K. Cudmore (J.F. Cudmore’s eldest son). He also witnessed Isabella’s signature on a receipt for the shares, which appears on the same document, with the same date. The name “Isabella Crowe” appears several times in the document, always in the same handwriting, which is different from the handwriting on the rest of the document.
My cousin believes that the indenture was drafted in secret while J.F. Cudmore was still alive. J.K. Cudmore, it appears, had instructions to put it into effect when his father died.
Who was Isabella Crowe? I am not sure. I have found the birth of an Isabella Crowe in 1871 in Robe, South Australia, the third of six children of Henry Crowe and his first wife Harriet nee Barnes. Harriet died in 1878. Henry remarried and died in 1904. His second wife died 1897 leaving two children. In November 1891 a Isabella Crowe, aged 21, a servant, religion Wesleyan, living in Norwood, was admitted to the Adelaide Hospital.
I have found no other mention of Isabella, and no marriage or death records. (I had previously identified two children, Constance and Herbert Crowe born 1895 and 1896, as possibly the children of Isabella. The details in the Register of infants born in the Destitute Asylum for these two children indicate they are not the children of Isabella Crowe and J. F. Cudmore.)
A week ago I received an email about a photo in a family collection: “I have come across a photo of Peggy Champion De Crespigny with my mother, Ruth Smith, circa 1942, both in Army uniform.
They enlisted in the army around the same time and were good friends. I don’t know if this friendship pre-dated the war, but mum used to talk about the Champion De Crespigny’s with great affection. I don’t think they ever met up in future years even though they both eventually lived in Adelaide – mum since the mid-1950s. Mum passed away in 2005. [Peggy died in 1989.]
Mum has written on the back of the photo: Peggy de Crespigny and Ruth coming from the Torrens Parade Ground along King William Road near Govt. House, Adelaide.”
The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) was formed in August 1941 to release men from less important military duties so that they could serve with fighting units.
Isobel Ruth Smith (Service Number – SF64955), 23 years old, enlisted at Adelaide on 21 May 1942. Her occupation was clerk.
Margaret Champion de Crespigny (Service Number – S65003) enlisted at Adelaide on 26 May 1942. Her occupation was coding and deciphering, she had just started the signals course the day before.
From 25 May 1942 to about August Ruth and Peggy attended a communications course called the Australian Signals Course No. 41.
On 13 August 1942 Ruth was transferred to a special wireless school at Bonegilla near Albury. Ruth was graded as a Group 1 Wireless Telegraph Operator and later promoted to Sergeant. She was discharged in January 1946.
Ruth’s son sent another photo of Ruth “Also a photo of my mum, Sgt. Ruth Smith, who served in signals with the Australian Special Wireless Group a somewhat secretive outfit who were told that they were never mention their role, or mention the Aust Special Wireless Group, and were never to march in ANZAC Day parades (and she didn’t). Interestingly the ASWG became the Defence Signals Directorate.” He also recalled that his parents “would talk fluently in high speed Morse code, especially if they didn’t want [him] to know!”
On 17 August 1942 Peggy de Crespigny became a Sig [Signaller] Wm Gp 2 with SA L of C [South Australian Line of Communications Area]. In July 1943 she attended the LHQ [Land Headquarters] School of Military Intelligence at Southport, Queensland. In December 1943 she was discharged at her own request on compassionate grounds. Peggy’s mother Beatrix had died 11 November 1943.
I was interested to see that the attesting officer on Peggy’s forms was Captain May Douglas. I met May Douglas many years later. She was a friend of my grandmother Kathleen—both played golf—and she was also much involved in the Girl Guides.
On 6 December 1840 Julia Hickey, aged 23 arrived at Adelaide, South Australia, on the “Birman” which sailed from Greenock 23 August 1840. She was travelling with her sister Mary, 21, and brother Michael, 28, and Michael’s wife and children. On the passenger list Julia and Mary were described as farm servants from Castleconnel, County Tipperary, Ireland. Michael Hickey was a carpenter from Ennis, County Clare, Ireland and a cousin of a fellow passenger Catherine nee Hogan, a servant from Ennis, County Clare. Michael died on the voyage. His wife and children returned to Ireland.
Travelling on the Birman was William Morris, aged 21, a painter and glazier from Limerick. On 10 February 1841 Julia Hickey and William Morris married in the Roman Catholic Chapel on West Terrace, Adelaide. Between 1841 and 1857 they had eight children:
William George 1843 – 1906
Celia Catherine 1848–1916
Michael Christopher 1850–1897
Julia Mary 1852–1881
Gordon William 1857–1917
In December 1844 William Morris, who had previously been employed as a keeper in the Limerick District Asylum, was appointed Keeper for lunatics at the Adelaide Gaol. Twelve months later twelve lunatics were housed at the gaol. This was deemed unsatisfactory and a public asylum opened the next year in the East Parklands modified for the purpose. Nine lunatics were placed there under the care of the Colonial Surgeon, the Keeper William Morris, a second keeper, and the wives of the two keepers.
A much larger asylum opened in 1852. The new asylum held sixty patients and staff. This building was destroyed in 1938. The East Lodge however still survives. It had been home to the Morris family.
In the article South Australian Lunatics and Their Custodians, 1836–1846 by Marian Quartly published in 1966, Quartly wrote:
. . . the real control of the asylum fell to William Morris, the Head Keeper. Morris appears to have been a kind and honest man who did his best by his charges, but nevertheless Sheriff Newenham’s judgment of his capabilities was probably correct: Morris ” . . . tho a very proper person to superintend the care of lunatics as respects their safekeeping is not in my mind qualified by experience or habits to watch over the mental charges and graduation of insanity so frequent amongst this unfortunate class.” Morris’ “five or six years” of experience with lunatics prior to his Adelaide appointment was all in Ireland, where the emphasis still seems to have been on custody rather than cure. He could not have held a position of any authority in Ireland as he was practically illiterate.
On 13 January 1857 William Morris died aged 43 years. The death notice in the Adelaide Times read:
On Tuesday, the 13th January, Mr William Morris, for many years Head Keeper of the Lunatic Asylum, regretted by a large circle of friends and acquaintances
Julia Morris worked as Matron of the Asylum from 1846 until her death in 1884. In turn she was succeeded by her daughter Celia Morris who was Matron for eight years. The Morris family thus worked in the Asylum for nearly fifty years.
MORRIS. —On the 24th May, at Botanic-road, after a short illness, Julia Morris, the beloved mother of Celia and M. C. Morris, aged 64 years. For 40 years in the Government service.
THE Friends of the late Mrs. JULIA MORRIS are respectfully informed that her REMAINS will be Removed from her late residence Botanic-road To-morrow (Sunday), the 25th inst., at 3 o’clock p.m., for Interment in the West-terrace Cemetery. S. MAYFIELD & SONS.