100 Years Ago Today … 27th May 1921

Joan Scott

My mother was born 100 years ago today 27th May 2021. I always remember her saying she felt like she was 100 and well, now she would be there. We talked a lot about family as I grew up and I used to love to go through her photo album asking about the people in them. I would help with the Xmas card writing and displaying as I got older and that was another source for conversation. Some of her story below is from my research but much is my memories from life with her and those conversations.

My mother was born Joan Scott in Uralla NSW, the eldest daughter of Harry James Scott and Mabel Alice Scott (nee Tincknell). She was fourth in an eventual family of eight children.  Her two eldest brothers were her half-siblings, the sons of my Grandmother Mabel Alice Tincknell and Bevan Clifford Harkas Lloyd and at the time, she had another older full brother, Bill.

When Mum was born in 1921, the population of Uralla was 972 and with the help of my grandparents, it increased to 1120 in 1937.[1] Mum and all her siblings were all close as there wasn’t much of an age gap between the first five Scott children – five years to be exact! Mum and her next youngest sister, Betty, were particularly close all their lives.

At first the family lived in a rented house in Uralla close to town in an unnamed street in Woodville but later they moved to King Street, 2nd house from the corner at the end of the street on the left-hand side walking up from town. According to oral tradition it was preferable because it actually had electricity. This house still stands today but has been greatly renovated and has little resemblance to how it was in those days. According to Mum, Cooper Ryan lived on one side and Mrs Anderson on the other. [2] Mr Cooper was another neighbour and often, the children would hitch a ride to town on the running boards of Mr Cooper’s car.[3] Mr Cooper was most likely JG (Joe) Cooper the licensee of the Royal Hotel until the licence lapsed and also my grandfather’s boss.

I haven’t been able to find Cooper Ryan in any of the electoral rolls. The 1930, 1934 and 1935 Electoral Roll show Harry and Mabel living at Woodville along with quite a few Ryans. In 1931, for some reason, they appear to be absent from the roll. Mrs Anderson could be either Eliza or Sarah Eliza in 1932 and 1934 roll at Woodville. In 1913 Sarah Eliza Anderson was living in King St with Betsey Anderson. The NSW Birth Index has a Sarah born 1884 Uralla mother Betsey father Robert. Unfortunately, the rolls don’t have street numbers. I suspect Woodville is where there were no street names at the time.

The children shared beds as well as bedrooms sleeping one up and one down. Their brother, Bill used to scare the others telling ghost stories at night. Although Church of England was their religion, according to my mother and Aunty Betty, the children frequented just about every denomination’s Sunday School on a Sunday. They particularly liked the Salvation Army service because they were the most entertaining.[4]

Scott children at Uralla – Back row Betty, Joan, Bill. Front row Henry and Zelle and their pet dog 1927

From time to time, my grandmother would send a child off to a relative for holidays. My mother recalled being taken to her Aunt Annie’s, the sister of her mother, on a train to Glen Innes by her eldest brother Bert when she was about four years old. She cried so much that Bert had to come back and get her. Annie and her husband Jim Smith never had any children of their own, although I do believe Annie had a child and he was adopted before she was married. Mum said she loved children. Sadly, she died from rheumatic fever when still a young woman. The children called her Aunty Narna.

SCHOOL LIFE

They all attended the local primary school at Uralla and Mum and Aunty Betty used to play hooky from sports at school and visit the cemetery opposite the school. There was an Arnott’s tin on the bushranger Thunderbolt’s grave in which tourists used to leave notes. They would spend their sports afternoons reading the notes. In 1938 Council removed the tin and at some stage, much to my Aunty Betty’s disgust because he was a criminal, they moved Thunderbolt’s grave to prime position near the front gate. Apparently, Aunty Betty was not the only one upset as there was an uproar about it from other residents as other graves were damaged in the process.[5]

In 1928, the Uralla Times recorded that Mum was in 1st class and Aunty Betty in Kindergarten. They were both their respective class champions. [6] My mother’s second and third toes were webbed up to the top joint on both feet and she used to sit on them in school as she was self-conscious about them – no doubt the other kids teased her. She didn’t feel totally different though as her Uncle Tom Tincknell had webbed fingers.

In 1931 Mum was in fifth class and came second in the half-yearly exams while in 1932, Mum and her brother Bill were both amongst 34 candidates for their final primary school examinations which they passed.[7]

Moving on to high school, in 1933 the Uralla Times recorded that Domestic Science examinations had been held in cookery and laundry and Mum was a 1st year candidate.[8]

While at school, Mum also turned her hand to sports reporting. The following article appeared in the local paper in 1934 concerning an inter-house vigaro match:

DRUMMOND HOUSE v. TRICKETT HOUSE

By Joan Scott

The second match in the Junior Vigaro House competitions took place last Friday. A light shower early in the afternoon laid the dust and conditions were perfect.

Drummond House won the toss and the innings was opened by Fay Willard. Vera Meridith was batting well when she was bowled by Roma Muir for 6 runs. Zelle Scott and Roma Muir did all the damage with the ball for their respective sides. Zelle hit well also, but she bowls much better. Beth Cameron is another good bowler. The best all round player on the field was Gladys Dixon who dismissed Jan Dixon a very promising batsman, for the total of 7 runs.

The end of the match witnessed scenes of intense enthusiasm. Drummond House had scored 21 runs in their innings and Trickett House slowly but surely wiped off the deficit until only one run was needed for victory. Before this could be gained, however, the last wicket fell and the match ended in a draw of 21 each.[9]

While attending to her studies, Mum was often not at school. Being the eldest girl, she often had to stay home and help with the household chores. She told me that it always fell to her as Aunty Betty used to break things. Later in life Mum thought that Aunty Betty might have been deliberately clumsy so that their mother would not want her to help and was annoyed at her own naivety.[10]

GROWING UP

Mum seemed to have mostly good memories of growing up in Uralla. I know it wasn’t all roses as they didn’t have much money once the Great Depression hit and there were mouths to feed but they seemed to do OK. There were rabbits around and the boys went with their father shooting them. There were also a lot of fruit trees from which they would pick fruit. Despite these hard times, the Uralla Times carried mentions of food donations from the Scott children for the hospital and other appeals organized by the school.

Mum told me that she didn’t get a real doll until she was 12 or 13 years old and that her two younger sisters got one too at the same time. It was a porcelain doll but Mum said she was actually past dolls by then. Even so she thought it was nice she was included. Prior to that Mum had always carried around a brick wrapped in a piece of cloth as her doll.

The family had pets, two dogs that I know of by the name of Snow and Towser that belonged to them in 1936. I don’t know if they had a cat as well but probably not as my grandmother was not fond of them.

Scott family dogs Snow and Towser, Uralla. 25 September 1936

Nicknames were part of life in the Scott family. Joan acquired the nickname of Domie in which the “o” sound is the same as that in woman. It came about because her father referred to her as “little woman”. Elder brother, Bill, could not pronounce “w” and he used to call her “little doman”. It stuck. Also, the interchange of names – Harry, their father, being called Henry and son, Henry being called Harry could be confusing and this trend continued down to some in the next generation.

These are Mum’s siblings:

Bertram Harkas Lloyd (19/3/1914 – 9 June 1969 ) Bert took the name Scott as Pop Scott raised him.

Harkas Francis  (known as Jack) Lloyd (28/5/1917 – 23/7/1948) who remained Lloyd

William Arthur (Bill) (6/3/1920 – Nov 1972)

Betty (18/4/1922 – 9 Feb 2009)

Zelle (aka Tiny) (11/3/1924 – 17 Sept 1976)

Henry James (aka Harry or Young’un or Binti) (21/3/1925 – 22 Jan 1990)

George Albert (7/1930).  Sadly George died in September 1930 at a few months of age from Pneumonia.

When the children were in their late teens and early twenties, the ones remaining at home and their mother moved to Sydney, living at Kogarah. My grandfather remained in Uralla until he had a stroke and then he moved into the home at Kogarah so that my Grandmother could look after him.

Mum’s father, Pop Scott (Harry James Scott), Zelle, Mum and Henry Xmas 1940 Garden St Kogarah. Aunty Betty quipped on the back “Pop looks as if he owns Australia & not only Sydney”

Mum told me she was not allowed out to dances and the like until she was 19 and then her two younger sisters were allowed to go too but they had to take Henry with them as well to chaperone. Mum told me how unfair she thought this was that her sisters didn’t have to wait until they were 19 and also that it was unfair that when she did get married, it had to be a dry wedding at the instruction of her mother but that restriction did not apply to her sister, Betty, who married not long after.

Mum with her brother Henry and sister Betty in August 1941 when Mum was 20.
Betty and Joan Scott date unknown
“Alf, Ray, Joan & myself [Betty] taken all night dance in Hurstville on New Years Eve 1940”

Once Mum was allowed out though she seemed to have a great time and she had a large group of friends. There are many photos of her out and about having fun. A lot of the men road motorbikes and the girls would ride pillion on their outings. Mum and Aunty Betty seemed to mix with the same crowd and she kept in touch with some of them after she married my father. I remember Laurie (Laurel Pearl Hodgson nee Goodman) was her best friend in those days and her husband was Frederick (Freddo as he was known). Also, Vic Moreton and his wife were another couple that Mum kept in touch with over the years.

Photos above: Mum obviously pretending that she was going to lift. Out on a picnic with friends – Mum shading her eyes, next to her Vic Moreton and behind is her future sister-in-law Elva Hay (nee Jeayes) and Ted Hay. Bicycling – siblings Henry and Betty, Mum and Max Kleindiest who lived at Hurstville but they also knew from Uralla.

In January 1943, when Mum was 21 years old, the Uralla Times announced Mum’s engagement to Norman Wolgast of Sans Souci. [11] Norman would have been 22 years old at the time and he was in the RAAF. In 1944 he was a Leading Aircraftman (L.A.C.) when he was awarded the British Empire Medal for courage in saving the life of a pilot, despite great personal risk, by rescuing him from a burning plane.[12] Their engagement did not last though and I don’t think Mum was still engaged to him then. Mum said that she soon realised that, in her opinion, Norman just wanted a decoration for his arm so she broke it off. Many years later my Aunty Gwen put them back in touch and Mum seemed to enjoy the reminiscing but she did not keep in touch after that. Norman didn’t marry until quite late in life and he had a son called the same name as one of her Grandsons, Sadly, that marriage did not last and he was on his own again.

On the left is my mother, Joan Scott and Norman Wolgast her fiance at the time and my Aunty Elva and her first husband Ted Hay on the right. Date unknown.

The family were all into fairly harmless practical jokes. A few months after Mum’s engagement, her brother Henry enlisted in the army. He had not long before turned 18 and Mum and her sister, Betty helped pack his bag but, unbeknown to him, they had sewed pretty lace to the legs of his underpants. He did not discover this until he was in the barracks unpacking his bag and of course he was extremely embarrassed and their joke paid off.

Mum was a tailoress during the War and she worked making uniforms for the soldiers. It was during this time she met Elva Adeline Hay (nee Jeayes) who worked at the same place. It was through Aunty Elva that Mum met her future husband, my father, Ted (Edward Walker) Jeayes. I suspect many of Mum’s friends also worked in the same factory.

MARRIED LIFE

Mum and Dad married on Tuesday 28 August 1945. It was the day the Allied Occupation of Japan began after the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima and then another on Nagasaki in early August. Mum wore a blue suit with a dark brown trim and Aunty Betty was her bridesmaid in a similar style pink suit. Mum’s brother Bert gave her away. I am not sure why – perhaps Pop Scott was too frail.

Theirs was a quick honeymoon of a few days in a flat at Manly Beach and then Dad had to return to the Navy to continue his war service

Honeymoon photos at Manly Wharf and on Manly Beach August 1945. I can’t help but notice the lack of luggage. My mother certainly changed in that department over the years. Thank goodness for street photographers who took many of our family photos.

Not long after, in September 1945, Dad was posted to HMAS Hobart. He left for Japan in November and they would not have seen each other again until his return a couple of months later and his final discharge in February 1946. Dad brought home many silk tablecloths and other silk items. Unfortunately, when they moved to Queensland Dad threw them all out with other things when he cleaned up my Nana’s (Jeayes) garage that they had been using for storage. I have vague memories of seeing them there too. Mum was not impressed! The only item left is this handkerchief which, sadly, has a tear in it.

A silk handkerchief my father bought for my mother in Japan 1946.

When they were first married Mum told me they lived in a tent for a couple of months – perhaps that was until Dad went to Japan when she would have moved back with her mother. They then rented a flat and the landlord lived next door. The walls were thin so in order to have a conversation about him they nicknamed him Popeye. Later they built their own house which I think was at Caringbah but they had to sell it as they could not afford the mortgage at the time.

After the war Mum worked from home still tailoring. My grandmother had minded my brother for her for three months while she earned enough money to buy her own sewing machine – a Singer electric treadle machine. I remember Mum could make anything and she drew free hand patterns for clothes for me. Her sewing machine was off limits to me as she said it sewed too fast and she was frightened I would sew my fingers – it did go fast!

I am pretty sure that when they moved to Queensland the sewing machine was either given away or sold to a shoemaker – someone who sewed leather as an ordinary sewing machine would not be able to handle the work. That would have been in about 1972 or 1973. It was replaced with an ordinary singer sewing machine but Mum kept her cottons and other sewing supplies. I have inherited the two cotton reels below and whenever I see them they always remind me of her.

My father finished off his carpentry apprenticeship after the war and Mum used to write up his technical college notes for him. This served her in good stead for when they renovated future houses and helping out her children at times with their home projects.

Mum’s older brother Bill was a Sergeant in the army during World War 2 and later had many occupations including Ice Cream Vendor. Mum and Dad occasionally helped out with this, mainly so they could finish the run and go to the pub for a beer on the odd Saturday. Uncle Bill didn’t do particularly well in this business as he felt sorry for the kids who had no money to buy ice cream and gave them free ones. He had a huge following but, unfortunately, not many paying customers.

Mum’s brother, my Uncle Bill and Aunty Gwen probably taken at the Tarren Point Bowls Club

When I was born, we were living at Davistown near Gosford. Dad had bought a milk run and Mum helped him out by driving the truck. This had been a real revelation to me as I had never known her to drive at all. I don’t think she had a licence. She probably looked after other things as well like the accounts and I think she did some of the delivering too, even when pregnant with me.

When I was still a baby, we moved to 1 Undercliff Road Harbord. It had a flat that was rented out to another small family. We had chooks in the back yard and a rabbit called Whimpy. The chook house caught fire one night and the firemen knocked on the door to tell us. I caught whooping cough as I hadn’t had all my vaccinations and we think Mum did too as she developed that same whooping a few weeks later. I think my brother had to quarantine but he would have been vaccinated and did not catch it. We moved from there when I was about 4 years old. Mum and dad moved quite a lot – buying houses, doing them up and selling them.

A modern day photo of our house at Undercliff Road.

From time to time my Granny (Scott) used to visit and she would take me down to Harbord shops when I was two or three years old. There we would go to the green grocers and Granny would buy a stack of vegetables for Mum and an ice cream cone for me. Mum told me that she had to go and see him to ask him not to sell Granny so much as we could never eat it all. Granny was used to buying enough to feed her brood of children and as she now received a pension, she thought she was rich. All the Scott children took turns of a few months to look after Granny in her old age until she needed more care than what they could provide. She would come and stay for a few months at a time and I am sure it was over a number of years.

Mum’s mother, Granny Scott (Mabel Alice Tincknell) as I remember her.

We often took Granny on picnics. They were a big part of our family social life, usually on Sundays and always with family – either Mum’s or Dad’s or both. We often went with Uncle Bill and Aunty Gwen and when I was little Uncle Bill would take me “rock climbing”. It wasn’t up huge steep cliffs but there was some climbing up and over the rocks and they seemed high to me. A picnic with Uncle Bill was always a pic a pic.

Later on in life, an interest in squash saw Mum managing the Squash Courts in Queenscliff Sydney. It had been a Picture Theatre and I believe it was bought by Mr and Mrs Swain. The Swains then turned it in to squash courts. Mum worked there pretty much full-time I think. I remember that I used to spend a lot of time there and I have a vague memory of her working nights.

The Queenscliff Picture Theatre. The small white house, No. 133, tucked in beside the building was where we lived a few years after this photo would have been taken. Photographer and date unknown

By this time, we lived next door at 133 Crown Road so I would come in after school and probably Kindy before that, but I was also left at home or I played in the street a lot too like all the other kids in those days. My older brother was probably around too playing with his friends. I was always pretty self-sufficient and independent and Mum was not far away. She was also a tough love mother so we didn’t get away with much and soon knew the boundaries. I loved to help look after the children of the mothers who were playing squash and also help Mum fill drink machines and do other small jobs for her. Amongst a lot of kids, I remember a little boy called Darren and another little girl called Verity that used to be in my unofficial charge. It was at that time I decided I would like to call a future son Darren but the name morphed a little as it was a very popular name when he was born.

I also remember we had to go to Canberra once when I was about six or seven years old as there was some kind of squash championship on and Mum had to be interviewed for the radio. We stayed in a hotel (my first time ever) and I spent most of my days going up and down in the elevator. I remember being at dinner and seeing a menu and thinking of what I was going to have only to be told I was having spaghetti bolognaise, as it as the cheapest. Mum would have scrimped and saved for that holiday as she did for all our holidays.

The Swain’s sold the squash courts to John and Joan Nancarrow. Their son Cam was an up-and-coming squash player at the time and later went on to be a World Champion player with a highest ranking of 2. After Nancarrows bought the courts and Mrs Nancarrow took over receptionist duties, Mum worked as a shop assistant at Woolworths in Manly four days a week but still worked one day a week (Wednesdays) at the squash courts for many years. Somewhere along the line Mum gave up playing squash as I don’t remember her playing when we had moved up the road a bit further to 30 Crown Rd and that was when I was about eight years old. I do remember though that she used to play with Dad and I think she won more games than she lost. She hit him a couple of times with the ball, not deliberately but when he complained she would say that Dad was just too slow to move. I suspect that might be when they gave it up.

Mum knew all the great squash players of the time through working at the squash courts. I remember them too – Ken Hiscoe, Geoff Hunt, Heather McKay were often around or topics of conversation in our house. Mum kept in touch with the Nancarrow family for many years and she had many friends from those days.

Family holidays were always organised by Mum and she paid for them out of her wages. Sometimes we went to the Blue Mountains in winter but at Xmas it was Avoca Beach and later Terrigal where we used to camp at the Skillion. They liked it there so much Dad bought a caravan and left it there permanently for weekends and holidays so he could go fishing whenever he liked. He had a small trawler moored in the bay as well called Lynette J after me.

We went to Tuncurry and Foster a couple of years too with Dad’s sister, my Aunty Elva and Uncle Ron and my cousins. First year we camped in a tent but a storm came and pretty much blew it away so we had to move to a holiday house and that’s where we went the next year too. When the storm came up everyone was out fishing except Aunty Elva and Mum – we arrived back to find them hanging on the centre pole and the tent flapping around them as all the ropes and pegs had broken. Dad and Uncle Ron weren’t too popular. They used to come to Terrigal with us sometimes too.

While working at Woolworths, Mum formed some long friendships there too. She kept in touch with them all when she and Dad moved to Mooloolaba in about 1973 and again to Woodgate in about 1983. I knew them too as I used to work at Woolworths after school and in school holidays when I was at high school. Audrey Risk was probably the closest. She and her husband, Neville visited at Woodgate and sent many family photos and postcards from their travels. Others were Mrs Hazel Creighton. “Wally” Walpole and Norma Cavanagh (later Appleton). On one of Mum’s trips to Sydney they had a Woolies reunion pictured below.

“Wally” Walpole, Norma Cavanagh, Mum, Hazel Ceighton and Audrey Risk – Woolies reunion, Sydney. Date unknown.

RETIREMENT

About 1973 Mum and Dad retired to Mooloolaba. It was to be the first of many “retirements” for my father. I remember Mum being a little reluctant to leave Sydney, her job and her friends but Mum made the most of it.

At Mooloolaba, Mum was very good friends with Mary James who lived across the road in Ulmarra Crescent and her husband Col. Their daughter Kate was only little and she won the hearts of both Mum and Dad. Mary was a nurse and Col a carpenter and they had met when both worked in PNG. Mary and Mum also kept in touch until Mum passed and it was Mary who, with Col, moved up to Woodgate with their caravan in Mum and Dad’s yard so that Mary could nurse Mum in her last few months. Mary is a wonderful lady and we have always been very grateful for her kindness and help at that time.

House at Ulmarra Crescent Mooloolaba

Dad’s next “retirement” was at Woodgate where Mum made more new friends. Betty lived next door with Dallas and Beryl lived a few streets away. Betty and Mum would spend time on the beach and Mum used to walk with her or on her own up to Walkers point and back every day along the sand. This was how Mum came to collect shells. She had a huge collection including many balers that covered the whole sideboard and beyond.

Mum’s shelll collection at Woodgate

While living the retirement life at Woodgate, Mum used to get tired of the isolation as there was only a Post Office/general store, a caravan park and another shop up towards Walker’s Point and that closed not long after they moved there. They had to go to Childers or Bundaberg for groceries, other shopping and banking and Mum didn’t drive. So, Mum started to travel by McCafferty’s coaches or the XPT train to Sydney and visit her brother, Harry and sister Betty at Attunga or my brother at Crescent Head or friends in Sydney. She would also come and stay with me in Brisbane on her travels. She would be away for probably four to six weeks at a time, sometimes longer. Other times, especially in school holidays she would have one or two of my children come and stay for a while and she would take them for walks and show them all the natural wonders that the average tourist to Woodgate might not see. They would go fishing with my Dad as well. This was a great help to me as well as their father and I were both working. During this time, we also had a regular supply of mackerel and sand crabs that Dad caught and Mum would freeze for us.

78 The Esplanade Woodgate.

In July 1985 Mum and my Aunty Vi (Mum’s sister-in-law Violet Scott) decided to take a round trip holiday on the grand old lady of the skies, the Gooney Bird (Douglas DC-3). They convened at my house in Woody Point ready to catch the flight the next day when we heard the news of a siege at the airport. They thought we were making it up at first.

Fortunately, all was well the next day and they were able to take their holiday.

It was supposed to be the Gooney Bird’s last flight and it took them north from Brisbane to Charters Towers, Cairns, across to Darwin, down to Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and back home to Brisbane again. They stopped at many places along the way and had a great time seeing the sights and the history of the places they visited. Mum had a map of Australia on the wall at Woodgate where she traced out their journey.

Mum at Woodgate with her map of Australia in the background

In about 1986 Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. From memory, she had been in Sydney where she had been given a face lift courtesy of Medicare at the time. Mum had lost a lot of weight and she used to watch Beauty and the Beast on TV where the topic often came up. The panelist, Dita Cobb had them regularly and Mum used her same surgeon. He did do a very good job too. Apparently, lots of people wrote and asked for Dita’s surgeon’s name. I think Mum had been back for a check-up and she had noticed a lump. Anyway, Mum had a mastectomy in Sydney and although she looked into chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she decided against it. Mum made a good recovery.

Once she was well again, Mum continued her travels by coach and train and her visits to family and friends. My family and that of my brother would also spend enjoyable holidays at their place on the Esplanade at Woodgate. Mum loved having her family visit and she particularly enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren.

A few years later a spot was noticed on her lungs and it was watched for a few years before it began to grow. This was metastatic cancer and eventually Mum became very ill and that was when her long-time friend Mary, mentioned earlier, stepped in to give her palliative care at home. Sadly, Mum passed away on 3 February 1996 in Childers hospital where she had been admitted a few days before. Aunty Betty was her only remaining sibling still alive and I remember Mum once saying to her that she didn’t want to be the last.  As were her wishes, Mum was cremated and her ashes were spread by Dad at the rose garden at the Bundaberg Crematorium. A memorial to her is on the plaque where my father was buried at Pinaroo Cemetery in Brisbane as were his wishes. Mum was 74 years old. Rest in Peace Mum, I miss you.

.


[1] Ian Handley, The Land of the McCrossins, A History of Uralla, Ian Handley, 197?

[2] Conversation with my cousin, John Scott son of William Arthur Scott at his house 17 Maitland St Uralla in approx., 2004/2005

[3] Conversations with my mother.

[4] Conversations with my mother

[5] Conversations with my mother and Aunty Betty.

[6] ‘Class Champions’, Uralla Times, 8 March 1928, p 2

[7] ‘Uralla Practice School – Half Yearly Examination’ Uralla Times, 29 June 1931, p.1

[8] ‘Domestic Science Exams’, Uralla Times, 7 December 1933, p.1

[9] ‘DRUMMOND HOUSE v. TRICKETT HOUSE’, Uralla Times, 22 February 1934, p.4

[10] Conversations with my mother.

[11] The Uralla Times (NSW Thursday 14 January 1943, p,1

[12] https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1575704 and Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, no. 134, 6 July 1944 p.1 https://www.legislation.gov.au/content/HistoricGazettes1944

All photos are from my collection.

The Voyage of the ship Flora to South Australia in 1855.

Above “Flora” 1852 by Artist Lorenz Petersen (1803 – 1870)

As mentioned in my previous post, in 1854 the Bastable family decided to leave Ireland to seek a better life in Australia. These are some notes about the voyage and arrival of the passengers aboard the Flora.

Embarking at Birkenhead Docks, the passengers sailed to Australia aboard a 728-ton ship called Flora that left Liverpool on 28th December 1854 . The Flora was built of hackmatack, birch and pine in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada in 1837 and underwent some repairs in 1852 when yellow metal was used to sheath it to improve her speed. The Flora could carry 300 emigrants in uncrowded accommodation and was advertised as a first class and fast sailing ship.[1] Arriving in Adelaide on Saturday 7th April 1855, 310 passengers had embarked on the voyage to begin a new life under the command of Captain James Withers.

Upon arrival, the Flora was anchored in stream and the passengers were put ashore by lighter. The vessel remained in stream until it was brought to Prince’s Wharf on 10 May to unload cargo. It returned to stream on 23rd May and sailed for Calcutta on 24th May with no passengers.

During the voyage there were seven births and seven deaths, including that of three children who were already in an advanced state of disease when they boarded the ship. Two other children passed away, one who had been born aboard ship, and one adult who died of pneumonia. A note beside his name says that he had ‘a constitution considerably impaired by drunkenness’. The Surgeon Superintendent reported that there was diarrhoea among the children in the first and middle parts of the journey. Catarrh, Fever and Influenza appeared as they advanced from the warm weather to the higher latitudes with Southerly winds being prevalent.[2]

The owners, John Bonus and Son, were paid by the Emigration Commissioners the sum of seventeen pounds, four shillings and nine pence for each passenger 14 or over and half that amount for each passenger under 14.[3]

The Emigration Agent, on arrival of the ship, commented:

that the ship was well adapted for the conveyance of immigrants, that the immigrants had no complaints and their conduct was satisfactory with no corporal punishment necessary.

He also stated:

that they were in generally good health and that they appeared a generally eligible class for the Colony except for the single women who are too exclusively Irish.[4]

Obviously the women were judged solely by their nationality, as seemed common at the time.

Among the passengers were various tradesmen needed in the Colony including Carpenters, Blacksmiths, Joiners, Sawyers, Bricklayers, Miners, Masons, a Cartwright, a Quarryman and many Labourers with female Domestic Servants, Farm Servants, Seamstresses, Laundresses and one Dairy Maid.[5]

Some of the passengers were employed on board the ship in various roles including Schoolmaster, Matron and Sub-matron, Nurse, Constables, Cook and assistant Cook and Baker. The Baker was to supply the Emigrants twice a week with soft bread on Wednesdays and Fridays in lieu of 4 days allowance of flour. This bread was to be baked on Tuesday and Thursday, as it was not to be eaten new. On every other day of the week the oven was to be heated for baking food, which the Emigrants may have themselves prepared, for any three consecutive hours as fixed by the Surgeon Superintendent. This food was to be baked by the Baker. When the Bakehouse and Oven were not in use they were to be left thoroughly clean and locked up with the key kept in the Baker’s possession. Remuneration for this position consisted of a free steerage passage and a gratuity of three pounds payable in the Colony, provided his duties were discharged to the satisfaction of the Surgeon Superintendent and the Local Authorities. Failure to do so required that no gratuity would be paid and repayment of the cost of passage, which was nineteen pounds, from the Bond which had been given to the Crown.[6]

The day after their arrival was noted in the newspaper, the following article appeared referring to the new arrivals:

By the arrival of the Flora, the Lady McDonald, and the Northern Light above one thousand souls were on Saturday last added to the population of this province. Most, it not all, of these new arrivals left their native country in search of brighter fortunes on these shores. Most, if not all, of this multitude surveyed with beating hearts and rising hopes the long-desired country then outspread before them. We bid them all a hearty welcome, and wish them every success in life.

Our new fellow-colonists will not, however, feel themselves annoyed, or think any less favourably of the land of their adoption, if we admonish them that at the outset of their colonial life, they must hold themselves prepared for a certain measure of disappointment. The circumstances of their arrival will necessarily entail temporary inconvenience. To many, however, this will be no disappointment at all, because they will have come hither fully prepared to encounter a little jostling and roughing to begin with. They heard before leaving Eng-land that South Australia presented a remunerative market for the labour of the working man; but they also heard that it might demand the exercise of forbearance, moderation, and firm perseverance in order to gain a footing. That footing once secured, the rest is easy. We are anxious, therefore, that the new arrivals should summon all their courage and prepare themselves manfully to grapple with whatever present difficulties may surround them, not doubting that they will soon take root in the soil, and draw from the resources of the colony a steady, adequate, and independent living.

The first few months will be the hardest, both on account of ordinary and extraordinary causes. Ordinarily the influx of a thousand people into a city of less than twenty thousand must produce a temporary derangement. If all Birmingham were to be poured into London — men, women, and children — all entering at once, all at once demanding food, house-room, employment, and wages, it would not be greater in proportion than the present influx to Adelaide. Our new friends will therefore see at a glance that their arrival in such force must necessitate arrangement before they can all be comfortably settled, and the more so as other large influxes of immigrants have preceded at brief intervals.

We say again, the colony is large enough for all; but settlement is not effected simultaneously with arrival. Adelaide is the port of disembarkation for the whole colony, and it is not one part, but every part of the colony that offers a home to the immigrant. Therefore, al-though landed, the new comer must consider himself as having yet one other stage of his preliminary business to fulfil — he must find his location. And to do this will require good heart, patience, and enterprise.

We said that just now there were not only ordinary, but extraordinary causes of passing difficulty. The new arrivals may not all have learned as yet that the past twelve months have been the most remarkable in respect of weather of any recorded in the history of the province. A winter of unprecedented drought has been followed by a summer of unusual and protracted warmth, which has only just left us, although we have been already favoured with copious and invaluable showers of rain. The result of the combined drought and heat of the past year has been to reduce our harvest to far below average, in many districts destroying it altogether, so that trade is somewhat depressed by the failure of the cropland, the price of meat is enhanced by the drying up of the pasturage.

There are other reasons affecting the high price of provisions, but all this our new friends will find out in due course. Our present object is to show them that they have landed just after a bad season, creating, with over-importation and other causes, mercantile depression, and necessarily rendering their first experience of colonial life less cheering than it would have been under more auspicious antecedents. Our position, however, is thoroughly sound, financially and socially. We have already the prospect of an abundant and early harvest, so far as a most favourable seed time gives hope to the reaper.

Even now there are symptoms of improvement in general trade; and the markets of Melbourne and Sydney, by the tone of which our own is very sensibly affected, are steadily improving. We have passed through a trying time, though we have had no panic. Our new citizens must therefore do them-selves and the colony the justice to bear all these things in mind, and to remember also that a more hopeful complexion is gradually being assumed by the various interests of the province.

New comers frequently manifest a preference to remain in or about town; but the result of our own observation and experience clearly proves that very many, now indifferently off in Adelaide, would have been worth money had they gone up the country. If an immigrant fails to obtain suitable employment in the city, let him at once try the country. In the country many of our wealthiest colonists have amassed all their property; and the life of the country is the only true colonial life.

It has never been said that Adelaide could absorb all the surplus labour of England, but that Australia could. We have an immense territory only needing to be developed, and the wealth of the colony consists in the development of its soil. In respect of the current rate of wages, it is to be hoped that new arrivals will not feel themselves unwilling to engage for such rates of remuneration as circumstances allow of being paid, and that any difficulty felt in consequence of the present high cost of living may be endured man-fully, until the advancing season shall increase our command over the various necessaries of life.

At the present moment we trust the Government will see the desirableness of prosecuting with energy those public works for which the votes of the Legislature have been taken. Every effort is needed to provide temporary employment for the people; and in the formation of our roads and great public undertakings a legitimate and profitable field of employment is presented. Old colonists may do much to advise and encourage young ones; and we trust the new arrivals of the past few days may fall into the hands of judicious and useful friends.

The colony may not, after all, realize all the sanguine expectations of home ; but those who have left England in search of a land where ‘ labour stands on golden feet,’ and ‘ a fair day’s wage’ is given for ‘ a fair day’s work,’ will not regret the day of their arrival in south Australia. We have thought it desirable to hazard these few remarks for the encouragement of those who, recently arrived amongst us, may be harassed by the contemplation of imaginary or temporary difficulties ; but whose prospects in this land are in reality ten times brighter than they could have been in the land which they have left. [7]

I wonder if this was the first the passengers knew or were they informed before they left that there was a considerable effort required on their part. My family quickly moved on to another State and so quickly that I suspect that may have been their intention from the start. Perhaps many others did too.


[1] F. Chuck, The Somerset Years, The Book Printer, Maryborough, Victoria, 1987, p. 178.

[2] Various papers and reports regarding voyage per ship Flora arriving Adelaide S.A. 8 April 1855, Public Record Office, Adelaide, S.A. GRG 35/48/1855.

[3] ibid.,

[4] ibid.,

[5] ibid.,

[6] ibid.,

[7] ‘Population and Employment’, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), Tuesday 10 April 1855, page 2

Arthur Bastable a Patternmaker from County Cork

My ancestors came from many walks of life and many counties of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Several of my ancestral families came to Australia but not all did by their own choice. One family that did come by choice was the Bastable family and their story, while not complete, begins with my Great, Great Grandfather Arthur Bastable.

Arthur was variously described as a carpenter or pattern maker from County Cork in Ireland. He was the son of George Bastable and Jane Bourke who were married at Mourne Abbey on 8th January 1811[1]. Arthur was baptised there in 1812, as was his sister, Jane in 1814[2]. Mourne Abbey is situated about 5 miles south of the village of Mallow where Arthur was born.[3]

The surname Bastable is interesting in itself. Obviously of English origin it is said to be a corruption of the town of Barnstaple in Devonshire. There is also a Bastable pot or oven which is a three-legged cooking pot, that looks rather like a Dutch oven. It is placed over the fire in the hearth and is used to make stews and roasts, but also to bake a Bastable loaf or as it is sometimes called, a Bastable cake. I wonder how it came to be called a Bastable – did one of my ancestors make them?

Getting back to Arthur, as is the case with most people’s ancestors, there has been no information come to light on Arthur’s childhood nor his early adulthood. It does appear that he was reasonably well educated though and he certainly could read and write. So, we know nothing from the time of his baptism until he was about 30 years old and marrying in the Parish Church of Ballyclough. I can confidently speculate though that he would have been learning his trade and that would have probably taken seven years.

Arthur was married by license on 19th Feb 1842 to Catherine Ludgate.[4] Catherine had been baptised in Kilshannig by Mallow on 28th Dec 1817 and was the daughter of Michael Ludgate and his wife Elizabeth.[5] From the marriage of Catherine and Arthur three surviving children were born in Kilshannig, two daughters Jane in 1844, Kate in 1846 and a son, my Great Grandfather, George Ludgate Bastable born in 1847.[6]

These were the years of the Irish famine and Mallow was one area hit particularly hard. People were clamouring at the workhouse doors for food and the dead and dying lay about in the ditches. Typhus was also rife in some places. The winter of 1846/7 was the worst ever and soup kitchens were started to help feed the starving masses. The workhouses also raged with fever. In 1848 Cholera was taking its toll.

In 1849 another child, Charles Arthur was born. The Bastables lived through this horror until unfortunately Catherine and her infant son Charles succumbed, probably either to starvation or fever or both. Catherine was buried 5th Sept 1849 and Charles, aged just 6 months was buried 12 days later on 17th September 1849.[7] Sadly, one wonders whether baby Charles died from starvation after his mother died as there was probably no wet nurse to feed him.

Arthur was then left as a widower with several small children to care for three until three years later when he married Mary Ann Burchill on 14th September 1852 in Fermoy Ireland. Who helped him until then? Perhaps his family helped out. Mary Ann was born in 1823 at Desert Serges, Bandon the daughter of Thomas Burchill, a farmer. She had previously been a lady’s maid. [8] Arthur and Mary Ann’s son, Arthur was born in Ireland in about 1853.[9]

Above “Flora” 1852 by Artist Lorenz Petersen (1803 – 1870)[10]

In 1854 the family decided to leave Ireland, perhaps to seek a better life in Australia. They journeyed from Liverpool on 28th December 1854 embarking at Birkenhead Docks aboard a 728-ton ship called Flora pictured above. Arriving in Adelaide on Saturday 7th April 1855, they and another 300 or so passengers had embarked on this voyage, under the command of Captain James Withers. [11]

Arthur had worked as the Hospital Assistant to Surgeon Superintendent, Herbert W Swayne on the voyage. It is assumed that, like other passengers employed on the journey, he was also entitled to free steerage passage as well as the sum of three pounds that he was paid upon satisfactory attention to his duties.[12] This sum no doubt helped to pay their steerage passage aboard the Swordfish departing on 25th April and arriving in Melbourne on 10th May 1855.[13] They then boarded another ship believed to be the Hellespont, another regular on the coastal run that departed Melbourne 23rd May and arrived in Sydney on Friday 8th June 1855.[14] Mary Ann must have found the travelling difficult, not only with 4 children to care for but also as she would have been very pregnant, for on 9th July 1855 in Sydney there was the birth of another son, Charles.[15] I have to say that finding them arriving in South Australia was a big surprise. I knew they were in Sydney in 1855 and so I only looked in NSW and Victoria for their arrival. It was by accident, thumbing through the index, that I found them in the Biographical Index of South Australians 1836 – 1885. Figuring out how they got to Sydney also took a bit of time to research too, painstakingly searching through shipping notices in newspapers.

Why they did not stay in Adelaide is not clear. Perhaps they were so desperate to get out of Ireland they took the first ship heading this way. The Gold Rush was on at that time and so passages were in demand as people flocked to the goldfields of Australia. Perhaps they arrived in Adelaide, which was a very young settlement at the time, and conditions were not as they had expected. Food would have been expensive and comforts scarce. They may have also realised that they were not going to make their fortune on the goldfields and headed to Sydney the best way they could. Cities were experiencing an extreme shortage of labour due to the mass exodus to the goldfields and Arthur’s skills as a carpenter would probably have been in demand in the growing city. Whatever the reason, Sydney seems to have suited them.

The family settled in the Sydney suburb of Ashfield, which at that time was very much a rural area with small farms and market gardens and still had some areas of virgin bush. Here several more children were born to them, though not all survived. Arthur’s occupation was described as a fitter at the time of his death in 1875, however in the first Ashfield Rate Book of 1872 and the one for 1873 he is shown as owning and occupying a brickyard on his land.[16] The claypit that he used to make his bricks would have been on the nearby creek bank. Birch Villa was the family home and it appears from the rate books to have been built in 1873, most probably from bricks Arthur made himself.[17] Birch Villa was a two-storey house of ‘six (main) rooms and attics, built of brick and roofed with slates containing about 4 ½ acres of grounds.’[18]

When I was doing my research it was speculated that the house was most likely ‘built in the Victorian Rustic Gothic Style, with a steeply pitched roof with dormer windows, and two tall chimneys on the western end gable wall.’[19] However, the house that is there now and advertised by real estate at 18A Frederick Street as Birch Villa built 1890 is quite different.[20] I tend to think it may be the original house built 1873, not 1890 and although it has an attic, I don’t believe it was built quite as speculated or else there is a possibility it is not the original Birch Villa at all. There has been a lot of development in the area and street names have changed. A few streets away is a street named Bastable Street.

The assessable annual value of this property was 30 pounds in 1874 but there is no mention of the brickyard so it is unclear what his source of income was after that.[21] Perhaps he used his skills in carpentry and patternmaking to earn his income. He quite possibly had a tool chest like this one.

Above and below a 19th century Patternmakers Tool chest owned by C A Jewett. Photos Patrick Leach, 1995 with permission. [22]

Arthur bought the four lots that were part of the Ashfield Estate, which made up the grounds of Birch Villa on 4th October 1872.[23]  He also mentions in his Will two other properties, some land of 31 ¼ perches in South Kingston and a house in Denison Street, North Kingston.[24] So it appears Arthur & Mary had done very well financially.

Arthur passed away 31st January 1875 at Birch Villa aged 62 years and he is buried in St John’s Church of England Cemetery at Ashfield.[25] Mary Ann, his wife passed away 4th December 1913 aged 80 years. She was still living at Birch Villa at the time and is also buried at St John’s Church Cemetery.[26]


[1] Ancestry.com – Online Genealogy, Irish Records Index, 1500-1920, 596422 2627, p. 24 6 of 8 (accessed 2 Feb. 2000). http://www.ancestry.com/

[2] ibid., p. 24 6 of 8

[3] Marilyn Rowan, Transcription Agent, Death Registration Transcription of Arthur Bastable, died 31          January 1875, Register Births Deaths and Marriages NSW, 1875/2905

[4] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Parish Registers of the Church of Ireland, Ballyclough, County Cork, Ireland, Marriage of Arthur Bastable and Catherine Ludgate, married 19 Feb 1842, Film Number 597159.

[5] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, International Genealogical Index, 1994 Edition Version 3.04, Batch & Sheet C700351

[6] South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc., Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885, South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc., Adelaide, SA 1986, entry under Bastable.

[7] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Parish Registers of the Church of Ireland, Ballyclough, County Cork, Ireland, Marriage of Arthur Bastable and Catherine Ludgate, married 19 Feb 1842, Film Number 597159.

[8] Mallow Parish Centre, Parish Database Records, Parish Registers of the Church of Ireland, Kilworth, County Cork, Ireland, Marriage of Arthur Bastable and Mary Anne Burchill, married 14 September, 1852, p. 7.

[9] South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc., loc. cit.

[10] Artnet, Flora” 1852 by Artist Lorenz Petersen (1803 – 1870)  http://www.artnet.com/artists/lorenz-petersen/ship-portrait-sailing-vessel-flora-V1cQQWj9CD6ynrAU9jjSrg2 last accessed 18/9/2020

[11] South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc., loc. cit.

[11] Various papers and reports regarding voyage per ship Flora arriving Adelaide S.A. 8 April 1855, Public Record Office, Adelaide, S.A. GRG 35/48/1855.

[12] Ibid.,

[13] Shipping Intelligence Column, The Age – Melbourne, Friday 11 May 1855, p 4.

[14] Shipping Intelligence Column, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1855.

[15] Marilyn Rowan Transcription Agent, Baptism (Early Church Records) Transcription of Charles Bastable born 9 July 1855 baptised 5 Aug 1855, Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages NSW, Vol 42B No 4209.

[16] Chris Pratten, Secretary Ashfield & District Historical Society, pers. comm., 4 March 2000.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Nora Peck, Transcription of the Will of Arthur Bastable, died 31 January 1875, Land Title Office NSW, Old System Book 148, No 960.

[19] Chris Pratten, loc. cit.

[20] [1] One the House, https://www.onthehouse.com.au/property/nsw/ashfield-2131/18a-frederick-st-ashfield-nsw-2131-13173108

[21] Chris Pratten, loc. cit.

[22] Patrick Leach, The Superior Works: C.A. Jewett’s Patternmaking Chest http://www.supertool.com/etcetra/pchest/pattern.htm last accessed 18/9/2020

[23] Nora Peek, Transcription of Records of Land Title Office NSW regarding Lots 48, 49, 50 and 51 of Section 3 Ashfield Park Estate.

[24] Nora Peek, op. cit

[25] Marilyn Rowan, Transcription Agent, Death Registration Transcription of Arthur Bastable, died 31 January 1875, Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages NSW, 1875/2905.

[26] Marilyn Rowan Transcription Agent, Death Registration Transcription of Mary Ann Bastable, died 4 December 1913, Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages NSW, 1913/16146.

The Watch

Above photo 2003 my collection

I am probably biased, but this is one of the most exquisite fob watches I have ever seen. The blue on the hands might also have something to do with it as it is my favourite colour blue, reminiscent of my favourite bridge – London’s Tower Bridge. I have my distant relatives to thank for the opportunity to view this treasure that originally belonged to my Great, Great, Grandfather Dr Frederick Williams Cadwalleder Beavan and now sits in the Brownless Medical Library Museum in Melbourne Victoria.

It was probably in the spring of 1844, when conditions would have been best, that Frederick and his wife, Emily set out for England from New Brunswick in Canada where they had met and married in 1838. Frederick’s father had passed away on 1st March 1844 and Frederick was to take over his father’s medical practice in Blanchland, Northumberland England. [1]

Travelling with them were their two surviving children at the time, Alfred Spurzheim aged about five and Isabella Barbara, aged about three years old. A daughter, Agnes Charlotte had sadly passed away within two months of her birth in January 1844. According to Mr Allison’s diary, Frederick was to take his father’s position and was given a great dinner at J. Kingard’s (sic) house.[2]

While practicing at Blanchland, Frederick had continued to study and became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons on 12 April 1850.[3] He worked as a surgeon in Blanchland and surrounds, caring for the people from 1844 until 1851 when he resigned his position.

So, it was upon leaving the Derwent Mines in 1851 that he came to be presented with this gold fob watch manufactured by G Reid & sons, Newcastle on Tyne, No 14600.[4] Marks on the watch are JW (crown) p shield 18.  The box appears not to be the original being from Hardy Brothers in Sydney. The inscription on the watch reads:

Presented to Fred’k W.C. Beavan MD MRCSE

by 180 Inhabitants of

Derwent as a testimony to

their respect for his private

& professional character

2 of May 1851

Above Photo 2003 my collection

What a lovely momento! I am sure he would have been very humbled and proud to receive it. It certainly has been treasured.

Late in May 1851 the family are to be found living in Neath, Glamorganshire where Frederick was advertising his services as a General Practitioner.[5] Whilst I don’t actually know, I suspect his reason for leaving Blanchland was because they had decided to immigrate to Australia. Perhaps he was waiting for an appointment on a ship and, as he had family in Neath, he was earning some money while he waited. He also had his new RCSE Membership under his belt which would give him some professional standing in the community.

Either way, in 1852 they were aboard a ship called Mariner, an American Built ship, leaving London on 6th March and arriving in Melbourne, Victoria on 29th June 1852. Frederick was appointed Surgeon Superintendent. One daughter, Edith Florinda, their youngest and only two years old was left behind to be raised by Frederick’s unmarried cousin, Florinda. Alfred and Isabella were now around 13 and 11 years old and, sadly, another daughter, Emily Elizabeth, also born in Blanchland, had passed away while a toddler. Why they left Edith is a mystery long buried. She was very young and perhaps they thought the journey too arduous. I don’t know if they kept in touch but I imagine so. Frederick did return to England in 1854 and perhaps he visited her then, but I don’t think they saw each other again after that. Edith lived to be nearly 70 and never married, remaining with her father’s cousin Florinda until Florinda’s death parted them in 1875.

Settling in Kilmore Victoria, Frederick and Emily’s little family grew and many grandchildren were born. Frederick’s personal items were handed down through the family. Most of it seems to have gone to Frank Cleveland Beavan, the last surviving child of Frederick’s oldest son Alfred. Although Frank had married, he had no children and had lost touch with his cousins. Thinking he had no relatives to pass these treasures on to, he donated many of them to the AMA (Australian Medical Association) Museum. When it eventually closed, they in turn donated them to the Brownless Medical Library Museum. Frank’s letters to the AMA mention a surgeon’s journal which is not at the Museum as he thought they would not be interested. It seems to be lost. I did contact his executors but they weren’t able to help. However, many other fascinating and interesting items are there for all of us to see if we wish, including the fob watch. I think Frank’s decision was probably the best one even if he had known of other relatives to pass them on to.

NOTE: Frederick and Emily’s lives were very full and adventurous and so I have decided to tell some of their stories in small chapters.


[1] GRO, Death Certificate of Frederick Beavan, date 27 Feb 1844, Hexham 25 206, UK.

[2] Leonard Allison, notebooks, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada.

[3] Royal College of Surgeons, Certificate of Admittance as Member of the College, 1 April 1850, copy held by the author, Kilmore Historical Society and Brownless Biomedical Library Melbourne Ann Tovell Archive, envelope 1668.

[4] Medical History Museum Guide to Records, Listed by Ann Brothers, Kate Naughton, Louise Murray, Jessica Lot and Jessie Borrelle, Creator Australians Medical Association (Victoria Branch), Date range 1851 05 02, Quantity 2 items (item 1 [watch]: 4.2 x 4.8 cm; item 2 [case]: 11.0 x 11.0 cm), Inventory Identifier MHM02907 Series 4, Watch: gold fob-watch, belonging to Dr. F.W.C. Beavan. http://www.jnmhugateways.unimelb.edu.au/mhm/MHMS004.htm accessed 26 Jan 2010. It has the marks JW (crown) p shield 18 and does not appear to be in its original box as the box is from Hardy Bros, Hunter St Sydney and 118 Queen St Brisbane

[5] The Cambrian, 30 May 1851.

The Mysterious disappearance of William Ashton Shaw in 1923.

There is a rural town called Tilbury that sits on the western edge of the municipality of Chatham-Kent in the heart of south-west Ontario, Canada. Placed between the Great Lakes of Erie, St. Clair and Huron, Tilbury is about 60 kilometres or 37 miles from Detroit in Michigan USA.

One Tuesday afternoon in August 1923, on the 7th to be exact, a loving and caring father and brother, well known in the Tilbury and the wider community of the Kent- Essex district, suddenly disappeared. He had been home for lunch at noon with his family and, according to the newspaper reports, he returned to work afterwards. His wife, Elizabeth, or Lizzie as she was known, called sometime later to inform him that she was expecting guests from Windsor for tea and she requested he be home early to join them. A couple of hours later he left work dressed in his dark grey checkered suit, black shoes and his brown cap. His shirt was striped with no collar and he did not wear a tie. On his wedding finger he wore a large gold ring with a red stone in claw setting.[i]

After leaving his office, William “went to a Tilbury drug store and asked for notepaper, envelopes and ink, and in the store he wrote a missive, which, it is believed he never posted. He also bought a newspaper.”[ii]

The next day, the Windsor Star also reported:

When he failed to arrive home for tea his family became nervous, and made inquiries as to his whereabouts. A search party was organized, and it was learned that he started out into the country on foot, about the hour he was missing from his office, but he evidently failed to inform anyone as to his intended destination. Mr. Shaw is essentially a home man, and very attentive and considerate to his family, and the fact that he did not tell his wife that he was going away, and the additional fact that no word was received from him at the tea hour, or during the night is causing his family considerable alarm. Mr. Shaw is one of the most prominent and respected residents of the town of Tilbury. He has a host of friends and those best acquainted with him are unable to conceive of any circumstance which might account for his mysterious disappearance.[iii]

Understandably Elizabeth and William’s two sisters, Isabella and Maude were quite distraught wondering if he had been in an accident or come to some other kind of harm. On the 13th August Elizabeth published the following appeal:

“Will, dear, as we have received no word from you since Tuesday, your sisters and I beg you to communicate with us at once. We are suffering under a dark cloud of agony and suspense. If you would only send us a few words, so that we might know where you are, and help you in the time of your trouble. We can think of no reason for your leaving. It is so unlike the kind and loving husband which you have always been to me. My arms are outstretched awaiting your return. Please come back to me.

LIZZIE”[iv]

Born on Lloydtown in 1862, William was the editor and proprietor of the town’s newspaper Tilbury Times that he had established in 1884 at the age of 21. The Tilbury Times still exists today.[v] His father was Pringle Shaw an early pioneer who settled in Tilbury sometime before 1881 with his family. William’s mother, Sarah Ashton had passed away around 1870 and his father had then married Ellen Eales. William had married Lizzie (Elizabeth Ann Powell) in Tilbury in 1888 and they had no children.[vi]

Newspapers from all around published the story. The Buffalo Times in New York on 15th August also gave a physical description to its readers that William “is 61 years old, height 5 feet 8 inches, weight 160 pounds, light hair, bald head, blue eyes, fair complexion, clean shaven, slightly stooped shoulders, somewhat halting walk.”[vii]

 The Victoria Daily Times published a photo of William on 24th August. [viii]

Victoria Daily Times, William A Shaw

It was now 17 days since William disappeared. The weeks continued to pass by without a word. I wonder how his wife, Lizzie and sisters were holding up. It must have been a very harrowing time for them.

Then, after several more weeks of worrying and waiting, a breakthrough finally came with some extremely good news:

SHAW FOUND IN ST. LOUIS

Editor of Tilbury Paper Suffers Loss of Memory

Special to the Star

TILBURY, Oct 1 – Loss of memory is said to have been the cause of the mysterious disappearance of William A. Shaw, editor of the Tilbury Times, who was found in St. Louis, Mo., Sunday, after a search of eight weeks in which relatives, local, county and provincial police took part.

Mr. Shaw, a highly respected citizen left his home here August 7, to go to his office. He failed to reach the place and all trace of him was lost for several weeks, with the exception of a report that he had been in Chatham. This report was followed up and it was learned that he had been in Chatham but where he went from there was not known.

A couple of days ago the wife of the missing man received a letter from the editor’s brother, Pringle Shaw, from the West, which stated that her husband had written him from St. Lois, Missouri, asking him for money.

It appears that faulty memory had brough back a glimpse of Mr. Shaw’s past and brought to mind the name and address of the brother in the West.

On receipt of the letter the family asked Rev. Rural Dean Dobson, Anglican clergyman of Tilbury, to go to St. Louis to see if the author of the letter was the missing Mr. Shaw. Mr Dobson went to St. Louis and this morning brough Mr. Shaw back to his home.

Mr. Shaw does not remember how he got to St. Louis or anything that happened when he left home.[ix]

Over 500 miles from home, William was apparently safe! How did he survive I wonder? Did he have money for food and accommodation until he wrote to Pringle, his brother, living nearly 2000 miles away in Oregon on the other side of the continent? Was that where he was trying to make his way intending to visit? What caused his memory lapse?

Whatever happened, we will never know but William seemed to fully recover from this unfortunate episode. His stayed active in the community and his newspaper flourished. It is said that his favourite saying was “we must go to press”. He went on to be Mayor of Tilbury for 4 years from 1926 to 1929. He was a public school trustee, president of the Lake Erie, St Clair and Lambton Weekly Newspaper Association, a member of the Canadian Weekly Press Association, chairman of the Tilbury Public Library Board, a member of the Lions club, the Masonic Lodge, the Eastern Star and an Odd Fellow. He also assisted in the building of the new St Andrew’s church of England and was a church warden for 38 years. In 1936 the position of Warden Emeritus was an honour he received in recognition of his service to the church.[x] A very busy man!

William passed away from a stroke on 28th January, 1938. His sisters were still alive but his devoted wife, Lizzie had predeceased him four years earlier. William was 76 years old and, along with his other family members, is buried in the St George’s Cemetery in Tilbury.[xi]


[i] Buffalo Times, “William A. Shaw Reported Missing”, Buffalo New York, 15 August 1923 p. 6.

[ii] The Windsor Star, “NEWSPAPER MAN OF TILBURY VANISHES”, Windsor Ontario Canada, 8 August 1923 p. 7.

[iii] Ibid.,

[iv] Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Express, “WIFE’S GRIEF APPEAL”, New York 13 August 1923.

[v] Duqette, Scott R. and others, The Tilbury Story – Celebration of a Century, 1887 – 1987, “William Ashton Shaw”Corporation of the Town of Tilbury, Ontario Canada, 1987, pp. 305- 306.

[vi] The Windsor Star, “W.A. Shaw, Editor, Dies”, Windsor Ontario Canada, 29 Jan 1938 pg. 5.

[vii] Buffalo Times, “William A. Shaw Reported Missing” Buffalo New York, 15 August 1923 p. 6.

[viii] Victoria Daily Times, “William A Shaw”, Victoria, B.C. Canada, p. 12.

[ix] The Windsor Star, “SHAW FOUND IN ST. LOUIS”, Windsor Ontario Canada, 1 October 1923 p. 6.

[x] Duqette, Scott R. and others, The Tilbury Story – Celebration of a Century, 1887 – 1987, “William Ashton Shaw”Corporation of the Town of Tilbury, 1987, pp. 305- 306 and The Windsor Star, “W.A. Shaw, Editor, Dies”, Windsor Ontario Canada, 29 Jan 1938 p. 5.

[xi] The Windsor Star, “W.A. Shaw, Editor, Dies”, Windsor Ontario Canada, 29 Jan 1938 pg. 5.

Featured image W.A.Shaw, The Windsor Star, 29 Jan 1928, p.5

William was part of my extended Belfast Shaw family. My 1st cousin 3 times removed.

Finding Minnie

One of the stories my mother told me once was about the “half-sister left behind”. This was when my maternal Grandmother, Mabel Alice Tincknell emigrated from Somerset with her parents, Albert Edward and Annie (nee Burr) Tincknell and her seven siblings. They arrived in Brisbane on the SS Otranto in November 1911 and at first settled in Texas Queensland. Albert’s sister Mary Ann, her husband George Henry Gould and five of their children had emigrated the year before on SS Orsova.

My mother said that she and her sister, Betty often wondered what happened to the half-sister. She knew her name was Minnie Burr and she was an illegitimate daughter of her Grandmother, Annie Burr. It did seem sad that she was left behind but as I thought about it, I said to my mother that Minnie was probably married by then and didn’t want to come. Even so, I still wondered about Minnie and what became of her.

One day my mother gave me the family photos that had been handed down to her by her mother, Mabel. In the pile were two photos that my mother could not identify. One was a postcard to my Grandmother, Mabel from AE & J Webber. As it is not post-marked, I have no idea when it was sent except obviously near Christmas.

The other was a photo of a young woman. My mother said that she thought it might be Minnie but she didn’t really know. There isn’t a lot we can tell from the photo except that she is not wearing a wedding ring.

Several years later when I began to research the family history I decided to see if I could find out about Minnie. I knew at that time that my Great Grandmother, Annie Burr had been born around 1869 and married in 1890, so therefore Minnie must have been born before 1890 and probably after 1885 when Annie would have been 16 years old. I also knew that she lived in the village of Wedmore in Somerset England. So, it seemed if I went to the 1891 census, I should find Albert, Annie and Minnie.

However, although I found Albert, Annie and their daughter Mary aged 10 months living in Flood Street, here was no Minnie. That seemed odd since everyone seemed to know about her. As this was in the days before online records, I was looking at a film of the census. Wedmore wasn’t a particularly large village or parish, so I decided to look from start to finish through the whole village to see if I could find her. I needed to do this anyway to find the rest of the family and to sort all the different branches out as there are many.

I didn’t really expect to find Minnie but I did! She was in the hamlet of Blackford which is still a part of Wedmore parish, and she was listed as Minnie Burr, aged 3 years the adopted daughter of Joseph and Harriet Creeden. Wow! I thought, I actually found her! The Creedens did not appear to ever have any other children. I also found the family in 1901 census still living in Blackford.

Her birth certificate showed that Minnie was born in the Axbridge Workhouse on the 26th June 1887 to Annie Burr, a farm servant of Blackford Wedmore with no father listed.

Sadly, though I then came to a dead end. Until …

One day, in the days of bulletin boards and newsgroups, I asked about my Webber postcard in a UK and Ireland Newsgroup about 20 or so years ago. I didn’t receive any useful help on the newsgroup but out of the blue I received an email from Steve Griffiths in Bristol. He had heard about my photo through someone who saw my inquiry and passed it on to a man in Somerset, Oliver Webber who was related to Steve. Oliver didn’t have the internet so he contacted Steve and the email appeared in my inbox.

Steve wasn’t able to identify them either but he asked about my interest and I explained that I had ancestors from Wedmore. Steve also had ancestors from Wedmore, so I explained about my connection and then I mentioned Minnie and what I had found.

An email flew back immediately! Steve was very excited and asked for more detail so I told him the story. He knew who Minnie was – she had married his grandfather, Herbert Webber! Apparently, there were great exclamations in the household, so much so that Steve’s wife came to see what was causing the commotion. Minnie and Herbert had a daughter, Rose Mary who unfortunately died when still a baby, and three sons, Alfred Ernest Joseph, Arthur Leslie (known as Leslie) and Fernley Douglas who all survived.

I could not believe it either, Wow! The mystery was solved! Serendipity strikes again! Sadly, Minnie passed away during the flu epidemic of 1918 when she was only 31 years old, leaving Herbert to raise their three young sons. The eldest was around 6 years old and Fernley just a baby of a few months.

The following year, Herbert married Ivy Lily Heal and it is from that marriage that Steve was descended. We may not be cousins by blood, but we still consider ourselves cousins.

Looking at Minnie’s marriage certificate to Herbert, I noticed that she said her father was Duddridge Burr. Duddridge seemed like a surname to me and I wondered. I know that illegitimate children often made up a father’s name when marrying. Given that Minnie must have known she was adopted, often using Burr or Creeden or Creeden Burr/Burr Creeden, and that everyone seemed to know about it in my family, perhaps she actually knew who was her biological father. As usual solving one mystery led to another.

Back to the census. Approximately three miles from Wedmore and an hour’s walk, in the village of Mark lived a Duddridge family. Father, George was a carpenter and he and his wife Elizabeth had a small brood of five children including three sons, Joseph, Walter and George. Joseph, the eldest was born towards the end of 1869. When Minnie was born, he would have been almost 18 years old while Annie was just turned 19 years old. Certainly possible.

I have done Ancestry autosomal DNA and so has Ann, the daughter of Minnie’s son Leslie and we match at the right level. We also have many shared matches, obviously they are through our relationship to Annie. One shared match though really stood out to me and it was that of a lady in America whose maiden name was Duddridge. I puzzled over that for quite some time. How could I possibly share a Duddridge match with Ann when I descended from Annie’s marriage to Albert Edward Tincknell and she did not? How did I even connect to anyone with the name Duddridge?? It seemed very surreal.

While Wedmore has a very endogamous population, Annie and her ancestors were from Gurney Slade, near Binegar and about 15 miles east of Wedmore, so it is not likely that the Duddridge DNA link Ann and I have in common would be related through Annie.

A little more research and I discovered that Walter, the brother of Joseph Duddridge, had married Mary Tincknell, the daughter of Benjamin Tincknell and Emma, nee Williams. Mary is Albert’s second cousin. This is why it is important to research sideways as well as backward and forward.

So, my conclusion, until proved otherwise, is that for Ann to match the lady with the surname Duddridge, Minnie’s father must be a Duddridge. While it may not be Joseph, he does seem the most likely candidate.*

What about the possible photo of Minnie? We still don’t know. Steve asked his mother if there was a photo of Minnie in the house when she was growing up and she said there was and that she remembered Minnie had very thick black hair, just like the lady does in the photo. A few of Minnie’s grandchildren recognise common small traits but nothing really confirms it is her. It isn’t any of my Grandmother’s other sisters or Annie so that can be ruled out. Still, the lady’s identity remains a mystery.

And the Webber photo? Well we still don’t know who they are either, but Oliver uncovered another photo:

The gentleman seated is very obviously an older version of the same man seated in the first photo, but this photo is also unidentified. For Oliver to have a photo as well, there must be a relationship but no-one has been able to figure it out.

Through Steve, I have learnt about Minnie’s extended family and this year I was very privileged to be able to meet three of the four children of Fernley and the daughter of Leslie when I was in Norfolk and London. It was lovely to spend time with them, learning about their lives, part of which for some of them, had actually been spent in Australia. It was also fun, in turn, to share with them photos and stories of their Great Grandmother, Annie Burr and her life, about which they previously knew absolutely nothing.

If, by chance, any readers can help identify any of our mystery persons there will be even more shrieks of excitement again on both sides of the globe!

  • Note: Joseph Duddridge did have an older brother, Herbert Seviour Dunstone born in January 1868. He was the son of Joseph’s mother, Eliza Jane Dunston before she married George Duddridge. Herbert, it is speculated, is actually the son of John Seviour. He was baptised Dunstone in 1870 at Mark after George and Eliza were married in 1869 but took the name Duddridge. He was working in Meare during the 1881 census time and so he is also a possibility as Minnie’s father.

The Horatio Mysteries Part 4

So, here I was in London with tours and catch-ups planned for my short stay before flying home. I had come to England with absolutely no intention of researching at the National Archives at Kew so I had not even packed my pass. Other research in Northumberland had turned out to need me to go to Kew though and I had worked out I had one day and an afternoon I could spare to check those records. With Richard’s email coming through, I now knew I definitely had to go and try and find something other than the entry in Steele’s Navy List that I had noted for Frederick Bevan under Assistant Surgeons in 1804. A day and half seemed a bit of a stretch to find anything and especially with no prior preparation on how to research a naval ancestor but I had to at least make an attempt.

Time was very short, I arrived at Kew one afternoon but was too late to get a replacement pass so I could do no research myself. A kind and sympathetic assistant helped me identify what I needed to check for the Northumberland research the next day so my time wasn’t totally wasted.

At opening time, the next day I was on the doorstep and once a replacement pass was in hand, I quickly searched in vain for answers to my Northumberland research. I then decided to check Steel’s Navy List again to find the 1804 entry but that was just a needle in a haystack that I didn’t have time for. Turns out that it is under 1808 even though the list is for 1804 as I found my photocopy of the entry in my research papers when I got home. Putting those aside, I wasn’t sure where else to look for Frederick so I went to one of the research assistants who showed me the records in the catalogue that she suggested I needed to start checking.

There was also another piece of evidence – a letter Frederick had written in 1827 when he was desirous of being allowed to rent a house in the Blanchland area. In the letter he gives his credentials:

I have a Degree in Medicine.  I am a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in London.  I am a corresponding vaccinator of the National Vaccine Establishment, London.  I have served in the Medical Department of the Royal Navy.  I was formerly a member of the City Philosophical Society and I have practiced London, therefore my previous education must have been completely regular.  I practiced in Berkshire and I have practiced 17 years in this neighbourhood with the happiest success. 

“Serving in the Medical Department of the Royal Navy” certainly seemed to indicate he was a Naval Surgeon or Assistant Surgeon.

I was looking through ADM104/67 Medical List for the year 1804. It was the first record in the list. There was no alphabetical listing however and, although it was supposed to be 1804, the dates were late 1700s and made no sense. Thinking I was wasting precious time, I was just about to give up but thought I would just look at a few more pages when, there on page 85, was the entry for Frederick Beavan and the name of his ship Loire! I knew once I had a ship name I was on my way. I was thrilled to pieces and very excited. What if I had never turned those extra pages!!

ADM104/67 Medical List showing Frederick Beavan, Loire

Next I went to ADM24/60 Full pay ledger Assistant Surgeons 1 – 1785 to 1817 where on page 35 was a history of his payments from January 1805 to October 1806. Then checking ADM104/7 an Entry Book of Surgeons and Surgeons Mates I found under Loire there was Frederick Bevan first appointed 12 November 1804 as 1st Mate. Conflictingly, when I looked at the Loire Musters of 1805, they told me that Frederick was appointed by Warrant on 12 November 1802.

I believe the Muster warrant information should say 1804 and not 1802 as we already know that he was apprenticed in 1803 to Charles Delahoyd and the Medical List I previously checked at Kew was dated 1804.

Since my return from London I have bought an armful of books on Nelson, life in the Royal Navy in Nelson’s time and on Naval Ancestor research. Back in Brisbane I had read in one my new research books that it was after the passing of an examination and the issuing of a Certificate that a Warrant was issued. This prompted me to contact the very helpful archivists at the Royal College of Surgeons again and they sent me a copy of the Examination Book for that period. This book recorded the granting of Frederick’s Certificate as 1st Mate 2nd Class (later this position was changed to be called Assistant Surgeon) and was dated 2 November 1804. So, I am satisfied that his Warrant was issued in 1804 and 1802 is an error.

Now for the burning question – was HMS Loire one of the ships at Trafalgar?

Unfortunately, the answer is that it appears not. HMS Loire was a 40-gun Frigate of the French Navy when she was captured by the Royal Navy in 1798 and take into service. Her job was to provide escort and to be out plying the seas and engaging in battle to capture more French ships and, sadly, she is not listed among the ships at Trafalgar 21 October 1805.

The Capture of the French Frigate Loire – Claude Farrère – 1954[i]

Never-the-less she still had an interesting career and Frederick would have had many exciting tales to tell. Above is a picture depicting the capture of Loire. Frederick would have been involved in similar battles during his time in the Royal Navy. If you have seen the film Master and Commander, picture the ship as it is very similar. Also, picture the ship’s surgeon Maturin and the scenes of medical aid during the battle – that is where Frederick would have been and what he would have been doing.

Here follows a description of one scene off Cape Finisterre on the coast of Spain that Frederick definitely would have been a part of, once the wounded were back on ship :

On 1 June 1805, while regaining her station after delivering dispatches from Lord Gardner to Sir Robert Calder, LOIRE sighted a small vessel standing into the Bay of Camarinas to the eastward of the Cape. Capt. Maitland sent in the launch and two cutters under the first lieutenant, Mr James Lucas Yeo, with Marine Lieut. Mallock, master’s mate, Mr Charles Clinch and Messrs. Herbert and Mildridge, midshipmen, numbering 35 in all to bring her out. At daybreak they found two small privateers moored under a battery of 10 guns. The launch under Mr Clinch boarded and carried the smaller, a lugger, but since she was close under the guns she had to be abandoned. The two cutters carried the larger, a felucca armed with three 18-pounders and four 4-pounders and fifty men. Only three men from LOIRE, William Turner, Quarter Master James Gardner and Marine John Maynes, were wounded. Nineteen of the enemy were missing, some had jumped overboard, the others killed. The felucca was the ESPERAMZA (alias SAN PEDRO) of Corunna, victualled for a cruise of one month. Three small merchant vessels carrying wine for the enemy squadron at Ferrol were destroyed on the way out.

On the morning of the 4 June LOIRE stood into the bay at Muros to engage a French privateer fitting out there. Mr Yeo, Marine Lieuts. Mallocks and Douglas, and Mr Clinch with a force of about fifty were ready to land and storm any forts. As they entered the bay two guns in a small battery opened fire on them and Mr Yeo landed to spike the guns. Further on they found a corvette with 26 ports apparently ready for sea and a brig with 20 ports neither of which opened fire so it was assumed that they had no guns on board, however they came under accurate fire from a large fort with twelve 18-pounders at a range of less than a quarter of a mile. Mr Cleverly, the master, brought LOIRE to anchor with a spring so that her broadside could return the fire, the purser, Mr Shea, being in charge of the quarter deck carronades.

Meanwhile Lieut. Yeo, hearing the firing, pushed forward the quarter of a mile to the fort and entered it through a gate that the enemy had left open. Here he killed the governor who had brought troops from the town and the crews of the privateers to the inner gate. Those that were not killed fled into the fort and some jumped from the embrazures on to the rocks. Twelve of the enemy were killed and 30 wounded. As soon as the fort was taken, Capt. Maitland took possession of the CONFIANCE, 116 ft long and about 450 tons, a French ship privateer pierced for 26 guns but having none on board, which was due to sail for India in a few days. He then arranged with the inhabitants of the town to deliver up the guns and stores of the ship in return for a promise of no further molestation.

The BELIER brig, a privateer pierced for twenty 18-pounders was in an early stage of refitting so he burnt her. The small vessels in the bay and on the beach that belonged to the local inhabitants he left unmolested. The guns in the fort were spiked and thrown over the parapet, forty barrels of gunpowder, two small brass guns and some small arms were brought on board and LOIRE sailed out of the bay as soon as a land wind sprang up.

The wounded in the shore party were: Lieut. Yeo (stabbed by a bayonet), Mr Clinch, seamen Henry Gray, Martin Hendrikson, John Payne and marine John Leonard. On board seamen James Caldwell and John Witecomb were seriously wounded; Magnus Johnson lost his right leg above the knee and Christian Wilson had the calf of his leg shot off. Seamen John Plummer, Mark Archer, Thomas Lloyd, John Moulds and James Gillett were also wounded. The Spanish and French privateers were brought into Cork by LOIRE on 13 June. [ii]

Very much real life “Master and Commander” naval action.

Other entries in the log of Loire records the following events during Frederick’s time aboard:

11 Dec 1804 the convoy that departed Cork on the 7th inst. encountered violent gales on the 8th and the frigate Loire, sloop Heron, and their convoy of 30 + merchant vessels put back to Cork.

14 Dec 1804 departed Cork for Madeira with the convoy and escorts.

31 Dec 1804 departed Madeira for Cork having escorted the Reindeer and her convoy as far as Madeira, en route for the West Indies.

4 Feb 1805 arrived Cork.

21 Feb 1805 departed Cork for Plymouth.

25 Feb 1805 arrived Plymouth from Cork with a Spanish prize, from Rio de la Plata, name not detailed.

Circa 19 Mar 1805 prize money for the capture of the French privateer La Blonde with be paid every Tuesday and Friday at Plymouth. [Frederick would probably not be part of this prize money as he was not aboard Loire during this capture but he certainly would have received a share of other prize money]

17 Apr 1805 departed Plymouth on a cruise.

17 Jun 1805 arrived Plymouth with the prizes Esperance, La Confidence, and La Maria de los Gratia [the example action mentioned previously].

On 25 June she gave chase to the VALIANT of Bordeaux, a privateer frigate, about 20O miles west of Cape Clear. After 12 hours the enemy was forced to bear up by the appearance of MELAMPUS and BRILLIANT on the weather bow. VALIANT was very fast and carried twenty-four 18-pounders on the main deck but the six 6-pounders on the quarter deck had been thrown overboard during the chase. Victualled for a four month’s cruise she had made only one capture, the Halifax packet SIR CHARLES SPENCER and LOIRE brought her in to Cork on 29 June.

3 Jul 1805 arrived Plymouth with the Vallante. [Valiant]

On 13 December 1805 Loire and Alcmene fell in with the French squadron from Rochefort consisting of six sail of the line and six frigates and corvettes. Capt. Maitland sent Alcmene E to the fleet off Brest and shadowed the French ships, at times during the night being so close that he could hear orders being passed. He was chased away during the following day but closed up again at night. During the night of 16/17th. he found himself between two enemy squadrons and had to make sail to escape from them. The new ships were from Brest and reached San Domingo in February, they had apparently not recognised the Rochefort ships which returned to port soon after.

24 December 1805 Loire and Egyptienne captured the French 4O-gun frigate Libre off Rochefort after an obstinate resistance. The French lost 20 men killed and wounded, Loire had no casualties and Egyptienne had 8 wounded, one mortally. LIBRE was badly damaged and lost her masts so Loire took her in tow and reached Plymouth with her early January 1806. Libre was not purchased into the service.

22 April 1806 The Spanish privateer schooner Princess of Peace was captured in the evening about 10O miles south-west of Cape Clear. Although pierced for 14 guns she was only carrying one large 24-pounder. She was five days out on her first cruise without taking any prizes. Loire brought her in to Cork on the 28th.

On 24 July 1806 Loire attempted to close with a squadron of four French frigates but the enemy hauled to the wind so Capt. Maitland made for Sir Richard Keats squadron 150 miles west of Belleisle. He reported the enemy on the 27th and the following evening Mars was able to cut off the French frigate RHIN,44.

Frederick was paid off in October 1806. It was common for the Royal Navy to pay off men when hostilities ceased or diminished and the Napoleonic Wars were coming to an end. Less than a year later, Frederick married Barbara Leyson in Llansamlet, Glamorganshire on 29 June 1807.

Captain Maitland was transferred to HMS Emerald in November. HMS Loire was in ordinary at Deptford at the beginning of 1807 and later in the year Capt. Alexander Wilmot Schomberg was appointed to her as she fitted out at Woolwich. Early in the spring of 1808 he was sent, with Capt. Ayscough in Success under his orders, to protect the fisheries in Arctic waters. In 1817 she was ordered to be sold.

There is yet but one more link for Frederick to Horatio, although this is more of a literary one. The first Lieutenant of HMS Loire during the Napoleonic Wars and during the time Frederick was Assistant Surgeon, was James Lucas Yeo. Many times, he distinguished himself in battle. One is the instance mentioned earlier in June 1805 when HMS Loire was patrolling off the northwest coast of Spain and attacked shipping in Muros Bay. It turns out that Lieutenant Yeo was one of the actual historical officers on whom C S Forester modelled Horatio Hornblower, his fictional naval hero.[iii]

I do find it interesting that every branch but mine, has a story about our surgeon and Nelson. For the stories to be carried down so many lines, there has to be something in it and I think Frederick’s story so far is certainly part of it. I guess this is the story for me to pass on to my descendants.

Alas, though this is not really the end of the story, I still have one more question to answer. What was Frederick doing before he was apprenticed? Was he in school or was he already in the Navy, perhaps as a Boy until he was old enough to go ashore for an apprenticeship? The National Archives still calls, I cannot escape!


[i] Farrère, Claude, ‘Loire’, Histoire de la Marine française, 1954, Wiki media commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Loire_img_3184.jpg accessed 16/9/2019

[ii] KiwiCelts ‘Log of the HMS Loire’ – 40 cannon Frigate 1798-1818, Benyon, Paul, ‘Naval Database:’ HMS Loire, http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/18-1900/L/02761.html accessed 12/10/2018 and Phillips, Michael ‘Ships of the Old Navy’ Loire http://www.ageofnelson.org/MichaelPhillips/info.php?ref=1351 accessed 20/9/2019

[iii] Martinovich, Paul, C.S. Forester Society ‘Origins of “The Happy Return” available as pdf https://csforester.wordpress.com/about/publications/reflections-online/origins-of-the-happy-return accessed 10/9/2019

The Horatio Mysteries Part 3

It seems to be when I am travelling that intriguing contacts occur and my trip to the UK last May was definitely no exception. I was in London for a few days winding down from an 11 day walk through the County of Norfolk and some serious research in Northumberland, before flying home.  Out of the blue, an email came through from Richard. He had found my blog and his email began:

Dear Lyn,

I wonder if you can help me…

A sure-fire way to get my attention!

I have for a long time been trying to research … the family of my Godmother. She died way back in 1972 but I cannot trace any of her close family and – this rather shifts the focus of this story – she used to tell me, as a little boy, that her mother had known someone who had spoken to Admiral Lord Nelson on the day in 1805 when he left England from Portsmouth on the last time, to sail on the Victory for Trafalgar. That was slightly spiced up by the fact that the chaise longue she had in her little bungalow in the outskirts of London was what Nelson had slept or rested on, on his last night, as her family story had it. But not sufficiently spiced up enough to wake in me, a young teenager, the historical researcher I have become in recent years! So, I can kick myself for not asking her, or my mother, also deceased, more questions, or I can follow up the longest and most distant clues, as in this case…

Many of us know that kicking yourself feeling. It seems Richard’s Godmother was Margaret Grace Jenkins known as Mollie, and her maternal grandparents were Frederick Thomas Pendleton and Janet Sophia Bickford. Frederick’s parents were William James Pendleton and Mary Margaret Agnes Leyson Williams Cadwalleder Llewellyn Beavan. Yes, she really had that many names! Mary was the daughter of Dr Frederick Beavan and his wife, Barbara nee Leyson. Mollie is a 3rd cousin once removed to me and we share Dr Frederick Beavan as a direct ancestor.

Richard’s next email was even more fascinating:

The somewhat abstruse reason I am following this up is that in a month’s time BBC’s Antiques Road Show in coming to Salisbury Cathedral and I hope to take along the two lead sphinxes (about six inches long) that Mollie left me nearly 50 years ago. These, she always said, had belonged to her G G x? grandfather, and had been made of the lead captured from the French ships at the Battle of the Nile, as her family anecdote had it. But further to that there is the chaise longue that Nelson may or may not have slept or rested on on his last day on English soil prior to Trafalgar – unhappily not mine but left to an actual relative of hers, who, unhappily, I have at present no means of tracing, etc. Now THAT really would be something to talk about!

Figure 1 Lead sphinx photo by Richard 2019

Figure 2 Lead Sphinx photo by Richard 2019

When the Battle of the Nile took place in August 1798. Frederick was about 13 years old at that time. Henry was about 15 or 16 years old. The 18th Royal Irish Regiment saw service in Egypt in 1801, not long after the Battle of the Nile but the regiment was actually stationed in Gibraltar in 1798 and that is where Henry would have joined them in 1799. [i] It seems unlikely either were actually at the Battle of the Nile unless they were in the services from boyhood.

It is recorded that Henry received the Military General Service Medal for Peninsula War action with the Egypt clasp. This campaign medal was awarded retrospectively for his service in military actions prior to 1814 (see note). He was one of only three officers from his Regiment still alive to claim it.[ii] So, he was definitely in Egypt at some stage of his career but did he bring back the sphinx as a souvenir for Frederick? Is that the origins of this story?

Horatio Mystery, Number 3

More follows…


[i] Gretton, G. Le  M. (Lt. Col), The Campaigns and History of the Royal Irish Regiment from 1684 to 1902. ‘Appendix 1.’ Pg. 376 https://archive.org/details/campaignshistory00gret/page/n9 accessed 10/9/2019

[ii] Ibid., pg. 116

Note

Details and picture of this medal can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_General_Service_Medal

The Horatio Mysteries Part 2

The very first one of my family stories about “Horatio Nelson” came to me in 2010 from John, one of my 4th cousins who shares Dr Frederick Beavan with me as a 3 x Great Grandfather. He wrote in an email to me: I knew my grandmother well.  She told me that her great grandfather Beavan was one of Nelson’s doctors in HMS Victory at Trafalgar in 1805.  My grandmother was the eldest of 6 children of Frederick Beavan of Newcastle.

He also had mentioned to me that someone in the family had this information on their headstone but I cannot find the reference. However, I am sure it was Francis Robinson Beavan known as Frank. He was born in 1878 and was buried at St Anne’s Church Ancroft near Holy Island Northumberland in 1953. His passing was recorded on page 8 of the Berkshire Advertiser on 19 March 1953:

It was not long after receiving this information that I had an opportunity to look and found Frederick Bevan, Assistant Surgeon in the 1804 Steele’s Navy List on a visit to the National Archives (TNA) at Kew, near London. It was information that, at the time, I didn’t know quite what else to do with – many of the records then weren’t digitised and it seemed that a lot more time and skill was needed than I possessed at the time. I remember a card catalogue that didn’t seem very user friendly as well. When I returned home, I became aware of TNA’s online Trafalgar Database which I also checked but he was not listed in it. So, although always in the back of my mind, the story was left there for the time being.

So that is the original – Horatio Mystery, Number 1.

Continuing on … Horatio Mystery, Number 2

Back in January this year I made contact via MyHeritage with David who I could see was also related to me on this line. I knew from his surname and my knowledge of the branches and twigs that his great grandmother was Barbara Elizabeth Leyson Beavan who married Charles Walters, school master, at Edmondbyers. Barbara was Frederick’s granddaughter. David and I are 4th cousins and, like John, share Frederick as our 3 x Great Grandfather.

David told me that although he had found no evidence to support the story, in his family there was a legend that back in the early 19th century Henry Beavan, a Royal Naval surgeon, assisted in the removal of Horatio Nelson’s arm.

We know from the many written historical records about him that Nelson’s arm was amputated due to wounds received in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Teneriffe in July 1797.

This was a slightly different story to John’s. Henry, as mentioned in the background to these stories, was Frederick’s brother and a Captain in the 18th Regiment of Foot Royal Irish Regiment who began his military career as an Ensign in 1799 and, according to records located so far, was never a surgeon. So, were the names confused in the story? Whichever it is, there still remains an anomaly about the dates.

So, further research is needed into Frederick’s life before his apprenticeship. I am wondering if he was a Boy in the Navy in 1797 and when he was sufficiently experienced in seamanship, if he might have gone ashore for training to obtain his warrant as a Surgeon’s Mate which was later reclassified to Assistant Surgeon.

Research does show that in the 18th century an apprenticeship was first served with a practising surgeon ashore and learning the basics of anatomy, physic, and pharmacology could be achieved by spending time in a university or hospital. It was often the case that their studies were not completed and that once they had gained sufficient knowledge, they proceeded to the College of Surgeons, in London, for examination.[i] This sounds very much like the path that Frederick followed.

On the other hand, perhaps it is Henry who needs further research? Was he a private in the army before buying his commission? In support of that theory, the Regimental history of the 18th Regiment Royal Irish actually places the regiment acting as Marines with Nelson at that time. So, is the story correct that it was Henry who was there and the surgeon part is confused?

To be continued…


[i] Goddard, JC,  Genitourinary medicine and surgery in Nelson’s navy,‘The 18th Century Naval Medical Service’ Postgraduate Medical Journal 2005;81:413-48, https://pmj.bmj.com/content/81/957/413 accessed 17/7/2019

Featured picture – The Cockpit, Battle of the Nile. Unmounted. Produced by Health, William (artist), Dubourg, M (engraver) and Orme, Edward (publisher), 4 Jun 1817. Museum negative number PU4031). (By permission of the National Maritime Museum).

The Horatio Mysteries

Figure 1 Captain Horatio Nelson – Oil on Canvas – After Jean Francis Rigeau[i]

There have been quite a few mariners amongst my 19th century paternal ancestors and extended family. They ranged from Master Mariners sailing merchant ships all over the world to, just like in the movie, actual Masters and Commanders and even an Admiral of the Red, who sailed as a Lieutenant aboard the ship HMS Adventure with Captain Cook on his second voyage of the Pacific. Their careers are fascinating and often heroic. Each deserves their own personal story and it is my intention to write them but, for now, the one that has been the most tantalizing has been the one that follows concerning my 3 x Great Grandfather, Dr Frederick Beavan (c 1785 – 1844).

Stories abound in my paternal Beavan and Shaw families on all sorts of levels and I have always found some element of truth in them. Persistently, some of the stories concern a variety of tales about Lord Horatio Nelson. He pops up every so often in my life, featuring in poetry in my Great, Great Grandmother’s Album (see my other blog Emily’s Quill Pen), a marriage to another Horatio in another family and, lately, in a real-life tale about my 3 x Great Grandfather Dr Frederick Beavan. As far as I know, he was born in Wales in around 1785 and, according to oral family tradition, Frederick was the youngest of three sons of John Beavan & Mary Thurston.

In 1794 Frederick and his two older brothers, John and Henry Williams Beavan, were living in Middlesex England. They were probably with their Uncle Edward Beavan as their father was dead, he at least represented them. Their father is said to have died in St Petersburg but I have not been able to find any records.

At the time, the Will of Edward Williams, Vicar of Chepstow and their 3 x Great Grandfather (my 8 x Great Grandfather) who had died in 1692, was being contested on their behalf. It is from this Edward Williams that the forename Williams, which is common in the family, originates. Oral tradition says that Lord Alvanley, Sir Charles Edmonston and Mrs Scurrah were the guardians of the three boys. The Miss’ Hardins (Ardens) with whom it was also said the brothers stayed during the holidays, were the sisters of Lord Alvanley who lived near Beverly in Yorkshire. Richard Pepper Arden 1744 – 1804 (Lord Alvanley) was admitted to Middle Temple 7 June 1762 so he would have known Edward Williams’ grandson, Edward Williams (1722 – 1759) who died without issue, through their legal occupations. However, the original executors were Francis Capper, Samuel Salt and Elizabeth Williams (widow of Edward 1772 – 1759). Mrs Scurrah was their mother who had remarried in 1797.

I have not been able to trace the exact whereabouts of any of the three brothers from 1794 until the London Gazette reported on Sept 10, 1799: 18th Regiment of Foot Henry Williams Beavan, Gent, to be Ensign, by purchase. In 1837 the cost to purchase a Commission in the infantry as an Ensign was £450[1] A series of reforms had come about around that time, one of which was making the minimum age for a first commission 16 years old with the maximum being 18 years old.[2] Henry was approximately 17 or 18 years old.

On 3 January 1803, also at the age of about 17 or 18 years, it was recorded that Frederick Beavan was an apprentice to the surgeon Charles Delahoyd.[3] His actual Indenture was dated 29 December 1802 and the cost of his apprenticeship was £210.0s.0d.[4] This amount is estimated to be about £9000 in today’s money or, at that time, 4 years wages for a skilled tradesman but obviously those wages would be a lot more now, so it is difficult to compare and some say it is a lot more. Either way it was a considerable sum.[5] An apprenticeship usually lasted between three to five years. It is not known how long Frederick would have been apprenticed, or if he completed or started it with Charles Delahoyd, as apprentices sometimes transferred between masters.

The eldest brother, John was living in Swansea when he, sadly, died in 1806 at about 25 years of age. He seems to have had independent wealth and at least one property. It was customary for younger sons of gentry and landowners to take up a career in the military or the Church and as John was eldest, I assume he had the property and majority of the family wealth until he passed away when it would have passed to his next brother Henry.

The Will of Edward Williams of Chepstow mentioned earlier was still being disputed in 1850, so it is unlikely their circumstances arose from this but, they may have received inheritances from their father or other relatives who were also land holders and gentry. In this way the family may have paid for Henry’s Commission and Frederick’s apprenticeship.

So, to set the scene so to speak, that is a brief background of my ancestor, Frederick Beavan and his two brothers. To be continued …


[1] Wikipedia, Purchase of commissions in the British Army, 1837 Price of Commissions, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchase_of_commissions_in_the_British_Army, accessed 1/2/2019

[2] Beverley, Jo, Georgian Military, ‘Information on purchase of commissions in Georgian times’. https://www.jobev.com/military.html accessed 7/9/2019

[3] PJ & RV Wallis, Eighteenth Century Medics (subscriptions, licences and apprenticeships), PHIBB, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2nd ed.,1988, p.51.

[4] The National Archives, Kew, Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books. City (Town) Registers, 1 June 1802 to 31 January 1811, IR 1/39, p.85, The Genealogist, http://www.thegenealogist.com/ accessed 25 May 2014.

[5] The National Archives, Kew, Currency Convertor, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/ accessed 27 May 2014.


[i] “3040POA-G01 – Captain Horatio Nelson – Oil on Canvas – After Jean Francis Rigeau – 40inchx30inch – GBP1440 in a Handmade Frame” by GreatBritishPainting is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0