A FAMILY HERITAGE
THE BOX FAMILY
Ashdown Forest in Withyham, Sussex. C1850s.
A DEDICATION TO OUR ANCESTORS
The general information regarding the Box family in England has been from various sources, both public and private, such as the Genealogist, Vol !, 1877, 'The Visitations of London 1568, & 1634"; The Guildhall Library London, various parish records, and letters from Box family members residing in England. I especially wish to thank Peter and Penny Norfolk of Suffolk, Clive Box of London, and Mr John Stevens of Crowborough, Sussex, his letter given to me by fellow researcher Lyn Mitchell of Black Rock
Heavy flat irons
Suggested furniture and utensils needed for the laundry were:
1 Beeswax cloth; 1 Ironing table; 1 Bucket; 1 Knife; 1 Clothes basket; 1 Laundry brush; 1 Clothes horse; Lines ; Copper; 1 Mangle; 1 Dipper; 1 Peg bag and pegs; 3 Dusters; 1 Polishing board; 2 enamel basins; 1 Saucepan for soap; 1 Enamel bucke;t 1 Shirt board; 1 goffering iron; 1 Skirt board; Irons; 1 Sleeve board 2 Ironing blankets; 1 soiled linen basket; 2 Ironing sheets; Tubs; 2 Iron holders; 1 Washing board; 2 Iron stands; 1 Wooden spoon; Crimping tongs; 1 Wringer;
To Keep White Clothes a Good Colour
1. Do not allow them to become too soiled before washing; 2. Use plenty of clean water and good quality soap; 3. Wash quite clean before boiling; 4. Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap before blueing; 5/ Avoid excessive use of washing soda and other chemicals; 6/ Pass quickly through the blue water; 7/ Hang out to dry as soon as possible in bright sunshine.
To Dry Boil Clothes
Washing is no trouble and easy to do if you dry boil. Clothes will be snow white if put into the copper the night before with half a bar of soap cut up. Soap the clothes lightly (no rubbing required). Next morning bring the clothes to the boil slowly and punch often with pot stick. It is the slow boiling that drains the dirt out and leaves the clothes snowy white. Allow to boil ten minutes, no longer. Clothes should never be put into boiling water, except a table cloth with tea stains. These should be put into very hot water as cold water sets the stain.
Boxes of London---1240
Boxes of Barkham 1570---1621
The Commonwealth Gap---1640---1660
Francis Box---? 1643----1679
Francis Box 1750-1837
The Hunnisett Family
Family of Francis and Elizabeth
Sussex & Withyham
PART 3----IN AUSTRALIA
George Box 1808---1867
Francis Box 1836---1912
Henry Box 1839---1913
John Box 1841-1914
Anna Box 1849-1919
Eliza Box 1848-1911
THE BOX FAMILY HERITAGE
Some Early Records
It seems the Boxe family were in Walkern and Hoddesdon,
at Hertfordshire, since the time of Edward the confessor, 1042--1066
Boxe is said to have anciently been a parish possessing a church. In 1700 the foundation of the church are said to have been visible in a field called the church yard, near Box Wood. and it is probably here that the name was noted in the Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror in 1066.
In 1166 William de Boxe held two and a quarter knight’s fees of Robert de Valoigns. This means that Robert de Valoigns, as lord of the manor gave William de Boxe, land which should bring in an income of ₤10 per year, per knights fee ----quite a large income, when a workman would only receive a penny per day, plus his food! ( ₤ 10 = 2,400 pence.) In return, William must either serve the lord in war for a certain time, probably about 6 weeks each year, or else pay him 20 shillings. So, as William held two and a quarter knight’s fees, he probably served his lord himself for one fee but also paid him 25 shillings to cover the remaining one and a quarter. William would have been a reasonably prosperous man, though not wealthy, and would have had a certain amount of social status in his community.
Alan de Boxe, nephew of Hugh de Boxe was holding land in Hoddesdon in 1198. Alamric de Boxe was holding land in Walkern in 1200, his son William sued Richard de Boxe for a tenement in Stevenage in 1229!! (And some are still arguing over land, nearly 800 years later.)
The manor of Boxes was part of the holding of the Boxe family. A messuage and 30 acres called 'Le Boxes' had rents and services in Hoddesdon in 1376.
There appears to be a long history of the family in Stevenage, before they moved out to London and other counties
In London, Martin and Hamo Box, along with Thomas and Henry Box were Sheriffs and Aldermen. They were men of some note, who owned considerable property and were influential in the Government of the day.
BOXes of LONDON
Martin Box was Sheriff of London in 1283-1284. He was an Alderman of Cornhill Ward, 1285-1301, and was a Woolman (wool merchant). He died in 1301 and his will survives, a translated extract as follows:
"To Richard and John his sons, and to Isabella, Cristina and Elena his daughters, messuages ( dwelling and lands), rents, &c, in the parishes of S.Michaelde Bassishaw, S. Olve near the Tower in Martelane, S. Botolph near Billingesgate, S. Botolph without Alegate, and elsewhere. To Adam his son rents in the parish of S. Giles the Crepelgate, in Chigenelane, parish of All Harrows de Berkingechieche; and in the parish of S. Michael de Basseshaw. To Petronilla his daughter, twenty shillings. His principal mansion and Warf and certain houses in Martelane to be sold to provide a marriage for the above Cristina and to pay his debts".
Footnote—Petronilla would either have been married, so received her inheritance at that time,( dowry), and her twenty shillings would still have been a substantial gift; or she may have been a Nun, and so provided for. Elena de la Box was recorded in Gloucestershire in 1273—possibly Martin’s daughter.
Hamo Box was Sheriff of London, 1291-1292. He died in
1298, and his will survives. A translated extract as follows:
" To John his first born son his tenements in the parish of all Hallows at the Hay; to Magery hid daughter his tenements called ‘Beaurepair’ in the same parish. To Alice his daughter his tenements in the parish of Fenchyreche. Bequest of certain rents for the maintenance of a chantry (endowment for the saying of a daily requiem; chapel where this was said) in the parish of S. Michael upon the Cornhill. To Margret his daughter his tenements in the said parish of S. Michael. To Isabella his daughter rents in the parish of Pasternsterchyrche. To Bendicta his wife by way of a dower one hundred marks sterling, and her free-bench of his dwelling house situated in the above parish of all Hallows; also custody of his children".
Thomas Box, was Sheriff in 1279-1280 and Alderman of
Walbrook Ward, 1285-1293; Henry Box ,was sheriff 1294-1295.
There is little doubt that That Thomas & Henry were members of the same family as Hammo & Martin (source; Guildhall Library, London)
The following two pedigrees were published in Volume 1 Visitations of London, published by 'The Harleian Society', London 1869.
Visitation of London-----Cheap Ward---1568
Phillip Box of Witney The single coat only.
Phillip Box of Witney, married Dorothy, daughter of Payne, son Thomas Box of Witney married Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Rankell of Witney.
Children of Thomas Box and Elizabeth:
William Box; Henry Box; Ralfe Box; Sarah Box and Alice Box.
From Jane Cavel in Witney:- "I Live in an old cottage just
a few minutes walk from the church where Henry Box is buried and the school that
bears his name. though I am not related to this family I have got very
interested in their history, as it makes a change looking at wealthy folk after
my poor ancestors! It really brings history to life too."
I will take some extracts from Jane's research; "Henry Box was living through the really turbulent times of the English Civil War and earlier Boxes bought up property that King Henry VIII had confiscated from English monasteries. And although Henry Box himself did not live to see it, the Great Fire of London in 1666 must have destroyed much of the property he mentioned in his will.
The list of children of Thomas and Elizabeth Rankell given in the Visitation of London is incorrect; Sarah, Alice, Ralph and William were children of Henry, not his siblings, so the Visitation must have got the generations mixed up.
Henry Box, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Rankell born born 1585 according to a monument in St. Mary's Church Witney, was a prominent member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, one of the oldest of the London Livery companies. He spent much of his time in London, but shortly before he died he bought some land here in Witney and had a school built on it in 1660. It still exists today and is called the Henry Box school. there is a portrait of Henry hanging on the wall in the old school room.
The monument in St. Mary's states Henry went to Oriel College in Oxford, founded the school in Witney and endowed it with £50 per year from his property in his manor of Longworth in Berkshire, and that he had one daughter to his first wife (not named) and four sons and three daughters to his second wife, Mary.
His will mentions only three of his children, Sarah, Alice, and Ralph. the IGI has the following children of Henry and Mary Box, Edward bapt June 1626, Raullf bapt. Oct. 1627; and Ann bapt. Jan. 1624 all at St. Mary's Colechurch in London. the IGI also gives the baptism of Sarah daughter of Henry and Jane Box in 1615 in London, and Boyd's inhabitants of London says Henry's wife Jane was buried in 1615. another baptism that is probably 'our' Henry is that of Henry Box (son of Henry Box) at Longworth, Berkshire, in 1623. I know Henry had property there at one point. His will shows he had some property in the city of London but he describes himself as "of Hmmersmith" and that is where his son Ralf had a house later.
It seems likely that Henry's grandfather Phillip Box is a brother of William Box in the next Visitation. there was a legal dispute over land near Witney between William Box and his brother Phillip
Phillip was a Clothier here in Witney and was Bailiff at the Borough Court here. We know from court records that Phillip went to London on business.
There are many gaps in the Witney parish records in the 1500s & 16oos and it seems some members of Box family may be responsible for some of them. there is a record of a Thomas Box being prosecuted for tearing a page out of the birth register in Witney in order to falsify the age of his younger brother Leonard.
Also in the early Witney parish registers there are numerous references to members of the Box family in Crawley (a hamlet very near Witney). At different times various members of the Box family have been recorded as millers at several of the fulling mills in the area (including the one at Crawley), and this involvement in the woollen industry seems to be a theme that runs through the generations' (Martin Box, way back in the 1200s was also a 'Woolman').
What is a Visitation:
In the early 1480s. Richard 111 incorporated the college of Arms, to oversee the granting and use of arms. In the 1500s the regulations were much tightened: a property requirement of land worth £ 100 per annum, or property of £300 per annum was introduced and control over use of arms was tightened. From 1530 the King of Arms made Visitations of the country to examine claims. After considering the evidence provided by the family, they either confirmed or disclaimed the right. A large number of pedigrees were collected.
Between 1530 and 1686 at roughly 20-30 year intervals, exclusively for gentry and nobility.
Heralds carried out a system of survey of counties of England and Wales. These ‘Visitations’ were for the purpose of recording the pedigrees and Arms of the nobility and Gentry. They were also used as means of assessing taxes to be paid.
Visitation of London 1633-34
William Boxe Esquire, Alderman of London, married Ann, daughter of Henry Phillips of London, Haberdasher.
Children---William Boxe—sonne & heyre
Edward Boxe—2nd. sonne
Thomas Boxe—3rd. sonne
Martha Boxe married to Robert Fourth alias Ford
The Book of Family Crest. Vol 2
The Family Crest of Box is a demi-griffin, or winged arg. Holding between the claws a fireball—the first feather gold. (Drawn by artist Audrey Reed.)
Footnote: this is said to be the Family Crest of John Box of London and later Boston (see later Chapter )
Boxe of Barkham( Barcombe, near Lewes)
In Barcombe, Sussex in 1597/98 William Boxe married Margaret Chatfield, they had one daughter, Ann. Margaret died soon after, and in 1606 William married Susannah Beard, they had 2 boys and three girls. Susannah died in 1616; William married a third time to Margaret ?, there were no more children before William died in 1620.
Extract of Will of William Boxe
Will of William Boxe of Barkham, yeoman,16 May 1620.
To Margaret his wife ₤ 100, being a bond of George Beard and Jeremy Beard his brothers- in- law to Robert Whitpayne and Robert Carew. To Ann his eldest daughter ₤ 28. Nicholas Chatfield her grandfather and Richard Chatfield her uncle. To William his eldest son, Fawkner Boxe, his second son, and George Boxe his third son ₤50 each at 21. To Mary his second, Susan his third, and Alice his fourth, and youngest daughter, ₤40 at 21. Mentions house and farm at St. Michael’s, Lewes, and plate and Jewels. Executors, Edward Chandler of Laughton yeoman, and Richard Fawkner of Laughton, yeoman; Richard and George Beard, of Rottingdean, yeomen; Thomas Beard of Rottingdean and William Hollingdale of lewes( who married Margaret…) overseers. Witness William Hollingdale and George Chandler’.
The eldest son of William and Susannah Boxe, William Boxe born in Barcombe, Sussex 1608/9, is believed to be the one who is recorded as paying Hearth Tax of 1673 at Southborough, Tonbridge, , and is thought to be the father of Francis Box of Tonbridge. ---There is circumstantial evidence to show a close link between Francis and the Boxes of Barcombe, however, despite thorough professional research, no will or other evidence has been found to confirm the relationship. There is also another possibility:
There are records of Edward Box and Margaret Box, children of Francis Boxe, baptised in Sussex in 1637 and 1641 respectively. Unfortunately so far no record has been found for ‘our’ Francis, although it is very possible Francis was part of this family also, which could have had connections in Barcombe. The Barcombe Register has records of Baptisms of children of Edward Boxe (probably brother of Wm Sn. above) in early 1600s, and children were usually named after parents and grandparents.
Very few marriages and baptisms are recorded for this period, due to the civil war. This period in genealogy is called ‘The Commonwealth Gap’; see below.
Francis Box of Tonbridge ? Abt. 1639 --- 1679
Francis Box married Ann Snashall, as ‘brother’ William Snashall, in the will below, has to be a brother-in-law, it was common practise at that time to refer to in-laws as brother or sister. Francis and Ann married about 1660, and had 3 boys and one girl, who were inheritors mentioned in his will.---see below.
Will of Francis Box of Tunbridge, proved at Rochester
To William Box, eldest son 5s. at 21; to second son John 5s. at 21; to 3rd. son Thomas 5s. at 21; to daughter Ann 5s. at 21; to Ann wife rest of goods, if she marry to pay each of children 10 pounds. His wife Ann with his loving brother William Snashall exor. Loving friends William Barker and William Hosmer, overseers, 12d. each. Mark and seal of testator. Witness: John Thaxton and John Hutchinson.
Footnote--Wm. Hosmer and Elizabeth Henty were married at Barcombe, Sussex, possibly the same person as in the will above, and the occurrence of the name there is strong presumption of the derivation of the testator from the Boxes of Barcombe. Several members of a family from Pembury had previously migrated to Lewes, three miles from Barcombe. W.S. Ellis
Further notes on the children of Francis and Ann Box
William Box baptised abt 1664, married 1702 Mercy Fannes at Wadhurst (Genealogist) Mercy was buried in 1703. William married secondly Elizabeth, William was buried 3rd. April 1731. And ‘Widow’ Box was buried at Speldhurst 23-1-1750/1—this is probably Elizabeth. Admon. of William’s estate July 1731, written in Latin, translates to; ‘Middlesex Seat’ fol. 132: July 1731 William Box, on the seventh day commission was issued to Elizabeth Box, widow, relic of William Box, deceased, of Groombridge in the parish of Speldhurst, in the county of Kent, to administer the goods, rights and credits of the said deceased to well and faithfully commission the same."
John Box, baptised 1666. at Pembury.( Genealogist)
Thomas Box baptised abt. 1668 at Haysden married 1/ June 1693 Mary Cavey
(IGI) Mary was buried March 1694. married 2/ 4-7-1699 at Ashurst Elizabeth Boane/Margaret bur. 24-5-1752 (t’spt) Thomas was buried bur. 9-10-1743 Tudley, Tonbridge.(FHL)
Ann Box baptised 21-9-1671, married William Fann , of Fant Sussex (IGI)
The family remain in Tonbridge for the next two generations before returning to Sussex.
The Commonwealth Gap
Records for the period known as ‘The Commonwealth Gap’,
---are very scanty for the reasons given below:
In 1640 civil war broke out in England,( which resulted in Oliver Cromwell taking the head of King Charles1st., and making himself Ruler of the Commonwealth ) the practise of sending in annual returns of baptisms, marriages and burials to the Bishop ( B’shop’s t’scripts) ceased and did not resume until 1662. A Parliamentary ordinance had declared Bishops, Deans, and Chapters abolished so there was no one to receive them.
Also the Commonwealth churchmen were obliged to have Baptisms administered in their own homes, and by an edict of November 1655, even this was made a crime. Marriages from 1649 to 1660 were forbidden in church. (In Kent the church doors were locked and people were unable to marry in the church)
In 1653 the Commonwealth government decreed that the responsibility for the keeping of records of birth, marriages and deaths should be transferred to a local registrar, who would charge four-pence for the registration of a birth, and one shilling for marriages. (if one could not afford the cost, the event was not registered)
From 1654 the actual marriage formalities, however, were conducted by a J.P. and treated as a civil ceremony. Banns were to be called in the market- place and the marriages celebrated at the J.P’s residence, so it was not surprising that they did not always come to the notice of the parish register. In fact very few births and marriage records are available for this period; known as ‘The Commonwealth Gap’, may be better known as ‘The Generation Gap’.
The early 18th. century, 1702 saw the death of William 3rd., Queen Anne succeeds to the throne. About this time the shops of London, which had previously been little more than street stalls and markets, became gaily decorated with glass windows, in which to display their pretty trifles. Now selling new-fangled luxuries, which appeared to the renowned historian, Daniel Defoe, as signs of degeneracy and impending ruin. He complained in 1713, ‘coffee, tea & Chocolate are now becoming the capital branches of this nation’s commerce! (some things never change)
The middle of the century brought a wave of evangelical preaching, in strong contrast to the staid sermons of the established Church of England. The ‘One nation, One Faith’ policy of Queen Elizabeth a hundred years earlier, was being severely challenged. This appealed to the strong independent, non-conformist character of many of the Box family members.
Thomas Boox (Box) Born—abt. 1668 at Tonbridge
Died 1746 at Tonbridge Buried 3-5-1746 at Tonbridge Married 4-7-1699 reg. at Ashurst Margaret / Elizabeth Boane Born abt 1670 at Tonbridge Died 1752 at Tonbridge
Little is known about this family at this time. However Kent was mainly an agricultural region with a few iron works, & it is known that later generations were Farmers and Blacksmiths, so we may assume Thomas also was in one or both of these professions.
Unfortunately no will, of Thomas, has yet been found to establish any further facts.
Issue all Baptised at Tonbridge
1/ John Box-B. 3-6-1701
2/ William Box- b. 2-6-1703, married 1720 Judith.
3/ Ann Box—b. 15-8-1705 married 24-12-1725 Nicholas Greenway
4/ Thomas Box. B. 23-7-1707 married 31-12-1735 Ann Oliver
5/ Francis Box B. 8-8-1710
6/ Margaret Box B. 29-10-1716 married 3-10-1734 Thomas Jeffery
7/ Henry Box B. 25-4-1716 married. 6-10-1741 Mary Pullin
8/ Elizabeth Box B. 10-11-1718
9/ George Box B. 6-12-1721
Father Thomas Box
Born 25—4—1716 Mother Margaret /Elizabeth
All these children were Baptised at Tonbridge
After the birth of Francis, we loose track of Henry and Mary.
1/Henry Box B. 3-5-1745 M.abt 1780 Mary, B. abt. 1760
2/Mary Box B. 11-10-1747 M. 2-11-1769 Francis Webb B. abt. 1747
3/ Francis Box B. 23-5-1750—D. 18-11-1837 M. 1781 at Speldhurst, Kent
!/ Ann Gilbert (Widow) B. abt.1764; -M 1791 at Speldhurst, Kent.
2/Elizabeth Hunnisett Bp. 9-10-1770
Francis Box ---1750---1837
Francis was an educated man and freehold land owner, this is evident in his will and in the records of ‘Withyham Inhabitants 1838’
By the time he is 31, Francis is a Yeoman farmer, and in October 1781 he married, Ann Gilbert, a 17 year old widow. There seem to have been, one and possibly two children to this union, as there is a burial of an infant Ann Box in February of 1781, and there is a birth record for a son, Henry, to Francis & Mary Box in 1788. This appears to be an error in recording the name Mary instead of Ann—not an unusual mistake in those times. Henry does not get a mention in the will of Francis Box , written 1813, which suggests he probably had died before then.
Ann died in 1790, and in 1791, Francis, now 41, and a Blacksmith, married Elizabeth Hunnisett, a 21 year old spinster, daughter of a well to do Yeoman farmer, of Speldhurst.
Later records also tell us that Francis Box of Withyham was a voter in 1837; Prior to 1832 to be eligible to vote, one had to own freehold land worth at least 40 shillings, later the restrictions were changed slightly. However there is sufficient evidence to show Francis was a property owner, and a man of some substance.
From his death certificate we learn that Francis was living at Lye Green, with his eldest daughter, Mary and her husband George Hewitt at the time of his death in November 1837. On the death certificate, George Hewitt describes himself as the occupier of the house. So perhaps Francis owned the house. The book ‘Withyham Inhabitants 1838’ also records Francis as the owner of the farm at Ragsworth Green, where his married daughter Eliza and her husband John Tayler were living.
The children of Francis and Elizabeth were educated, when, in 1838 only about half the adult population of Withyham, could read and write, and about a third could do neither.
Francis and Elizabeth are recorded as tenants of the Forges, which was one of two early iron forge cottages at Lye Green, Withyham, in 1798; In 1838, after his death, William Box is recorded as the tenant, in 1860 Francis Box is the Tenant. (Historical Notes of Withyham, by Rev. C. Sutton, 1902; supplied by Penny Norfolk)
Forge cottage as it is today. It was originally two small brick cottage, each would have been extended over the years and now is one cottage. Picture taken in 1999, and supplied by Peter & Penny Norfolk.
Francis set up a blacksmith shop; in ‘Withyham Inhabitants 1838’, Hugh Robinson, from Rotherfield, is a labourer to Mr Box. Hugh with his wife Harriette, from Withyham, and their two children are living under the same roof with Box, the Blacksmith.
Francis Box's Blacksmith shop, has a very faint F.B. etched into the brickwork.
Francis's Blacksmith shop. Picture taken and supplied by Nan Lawson of Bentleigh, Victoria.
Francis died in Nov. 1837, his will was proved 26-10-1838, before the Judge, by the oath of Richard and Henry Hunnisett. Francis bequeathed all his estate both real and personal, whatsoever and wheresoever, to his children. All property to be sold and monies invested for the support of his children until they attain the age of 21 years. Executors Richard Hunnisett of Fant, Cooper and Henry Hunnisett of Chatham, South Rochester.
Elizabeth wife of Francis, came from a well to do family of yeomen farmers, she died in December 1812, the year her last child was born.
In 1803, when France was threatening England, Francis was listed on the Sussex Militia list; Pevensy Rape, Northern Division, Withyham, as being a Blacksmith and willing to serve.
On the Pevensy Liberty local roll Oath 1810 (ESRO ref. Pev.535)
Henry and James Hunnisett of Westham parish were enrolled on 26-7-1810, before William Goringe, John Goringe and John Rye.( Relatives of Francis’s wife Elizabeth.)
The Hunnisett Family Origin of the Name
The name is believed to be of Walloon origin( a dialect of
Northeast France) and to have derived originally from the name Johannes ( John
in English). Hanosse, which is probably a familiar form of Johannes, is found in
French iron forge records from the latter part of the 14th. century
and was used as both a forename and a surname. In the 15th. century
we find the surname Hanozet which is almost certainly a diminutive form of
Hanosse. At the beginning of the 16th. century the name crossed the
channel and began to appear in the English records. Although the French name
would have posed a few problems for the English scribes, which must partly
account for the numerous variations of the name found in early English records,
many of the very early spellings are remarkably close to the French Hanozet.
Major variations in the early English Records were Henesye and Honison.
The most common form of the name today are Honeysett and Hunnisett. Other significant variations include Honneysett, Hunnisett and Honnisett.
A short history of the early families
The name Hunnisett, and its other forms, was unknown in
England before the 16th. century. Several of the earliest Hunnisetts
in England are known to have been ironworkers from France who settled in Sussex.
Prior to this time the name was found near Namur in Northern France( now
Belgium), where again the name was associated with the iron trade.
The first recorded ‘Hunnisetts’ in England were two Frenchmen, Jakes and Adrian Hanyset who appeared in the denization rolls of 1541 although both had been here for a number of years by then. Two years later Adrian was accused of murder but fled the scene and was never brought to trial.
During the 1550s. James Henesye (also recorded as Jaques Hanysue or Onysed) was an iron finer in the Horsham/Nuthurst area of Sussex and when he died in 1560 left the earliest known example of a "Hunnisett" will.
In 1569 peter Henesit married Clemens Tole in Fletching, Sussex and had a number of children baptised in Mountfield and later Westfield. Probably half of today’s "Hunnisett" families, including our own, can be traced back to Peter through his son Clement. Both Peter and Clement were Hammermen in the iron industry of the Sussex weald.
By the middle of the 17th. century the iron industry of the weald was in decline and the descendants of this family took up other occupations such as farming, and one or two moved further afield, initially to Kent and later to London, in search of work.
Many of the early Hunnisetts left wills which helps us to link the families and provide an insight into their lives. Richard Honnisett, who died in Herstmonceux in 1732, did not leave a will but an inventory of all his goods and chattels survives and along with other information, such as records of leases, provides a fascinating insight into this early 18th. century yeoman farmer and his family.
Will of James Henesye—1560
In the name of God, Amen. The yere of our Lord God 1560, 3
July, I James Henesye of the parishe of Nutthurste in the diocese of Chechster
beinge sycke of bodye but hole of mynde, thankes be to God, do ordeyne and make
my last will and testament in manner and forme followinge. Fyrst, I bequeathe my
soule in to the handes of Allmightie god, my maker and redemer, and my bodye to
be buryed where yt shall please God to take yt. Fyrste, I will that Agnes and
Elizabeth my daughters, either of them a cowe, and either of them a fether bed,
and eche of them iij(3) payre of shetes. I will that Nicholas my sonne to have
my cloake, and Peter my sonne my best coate, and the residewe of my rayment to
be divided betwene the foresaiede Nicholas and Peter. The residewe of all my
goodes I will and bequeathe to Ann my wyfe whom I ordeyne and make my sole
executrixe of this my last will and testament. She to pay my dettes and to
performe my legaces, and Hewghe Marchaunt to be my overseer of this my last
will. Wytnesses at the makinge of this saide will—Henrye Brodbryge gent,
Thomas Bakynne, John Adeane, Jacobe Myshew, wythe others.
James was buried at Nathurst, Sussex, on 7 July 1560.
This transcript is a copy of the original will held at West Sussex Records Office, Chichester, Ref.: STC 1/10,f5 1
A true and perfect inventory of all the goods and chattels, ready money, debts and all the moveables of Richard Hunnisett of the parish of Herstmonceux in the county of Sussex farmer deceased, taken this 24th. day of January 1732 by us Richard Bristed and John Dan.
Wearing Apparel & money in pocket £ 4 - -
One long table and form, 6 chairs, 1joynd stool 13 /--
A clock & case, a cupboard, a dresser, & oval table £ 2 --7/--
Fire shovel & tongs, brand-irons, creepers 7 slice 10/ -
Two pairs of pothooks, 1 spitt, 2 gridirons, 2morters,
2 pestles, a clever, a chaffing dish, stilyards 13/- -
A pair of bellows, 2 block irons, a case iron & 3 candlesticks 3/ -
Eleven pewter dishes, 28 pounds & 14 plates £ 1 - 8 /---
A warming pan, a small brass ladle, a brass skillett,
18 trenchers,& several small things. 10/- -
It goes on to list the contents of 5 other rooms, including a
brew-house and the milk-house, his linen and finally his livestock etc., which
comprised the bulk of his wealth. It is clear he made his living mainly from his
herd of 26 cattle, producing meat, milk, butter and cheese. He also kept a few
horses and apparently bought piglets to fatten for the table. He brewed ale and
probably cider and his daughters, probably, spun wool and maybe flax to provide
yarn for weaving into cloth.
Richard’s eldest son Henry Hunnisett, married Elizabeth Errey, and their eldest daughter Elizabeth Hunnisett, married Francis Box in 1791, in Tonbridge. After the birth of their first two children they moved to Withyham in Sussex.
Some notes on the family of Francis and Elizabeth.
The first two children were baptised at Speldhurst, then the
family moved down to Withyham, in Sussex, where all the other baptisms are
In 1838 Francis’s daughter Eliza and her husband John Taylor, are living at, Ragsworth Green Farm, with their three children, the farm belongs to Box of Lye Green (Francis) In 1851 John is a Wood Dealer and living at Forest, with Eliza and their children, Stephen 10 a scholar; Esther 6 a scholar; Mary 3; and Martha 9 months. The three children born before 1838 are most likely working away from home.
Mary’s husband George Hewitt, has a Grocers and Beer shop, and they have six children. Sadly by 1841, Mary is a widow, of Lye Green, a shopkeeper, with her are Jane 13; George 11; Amy 10; Harriete 6; and Stephen 4, only five children listed, perhaps the eldest one is outworking. By 1851 Mary is still a Grocer and now only has three children at home, most likely helping with the shop and house work, Harriette 17 is at home; John 16 is at home; and Stephen 14 is a scholar.
Mary’s brother George, now married to Mary, nee Cripps, is a labourer for Mrs. Hewitt
(See separate chapter for George.)
William, son of Francis and Elizabeth in 1838 is a
Labourer for Mr. Peerless. With his wife Sarah, nee Taylor, and four children,
they live at Withyham, probably the tenants of Forge Cottage. Sarah is described
as a great invalid from Rheumatic pains, and receives about 9s. per. week In
1841 they are living at Upper Cherry Gardens, Withyham, with their
children-Henry 13; John 8; Jane 6; James 4; and Thomas is 1 year old. By 1851
they are at 72 Cherry Gardens, William, now 48 is an Ag. Labourer; John 18 is
also an Ag. Labourer; Jane 16, is at home; James 14 is also an Ag. Labourer;
Thomas 11 is a scholar; Harriett 8 is a scholar; Mary 4 is at home; as is
Caroline 2. So Sarah has had another 3 children, after being described as a
Thomas 6th. Son of William and Sarah Box is g-g-grandfather of Clive Box of London
Clive Box of London, with wife Juliette, son Christopher, brother-in-law and baby.
Mary daughter of William and Sarah, Born 27-7-1846, Died 1-9-1925 at Old Farm Withyham. She is buried at St. Michael’s church, Withyham with her husband John HALL, who died on the 13-2-1926. Mary and John had 11 children. Their second son Fredrick, was born 16-10-1869 at Motts Hill, Withyham. He served in the 1st. Battalion Scots Guard, and was killed in the Boer War.
Albert Edward, 5th. son of John and Mary HALL, was born 13-2-1879, at Old Farm, Withyham, he married Alice Margaret Hensman. They moved to Tunbridge Wells and spent the rest of their lives there. Albert spent time in France in service in the Great War. He worked for a Warehousing/ Removalist firm right up to the day he died at the age of 73. Old Farm, at Withyham is still standing (1999) it is a wonderful old house
Albert Edward Hall--grandfather of Penny Norfolk.
Old Farm Withyham, Albert and Alice Hall had two sons, the eldest Bertram Hall married Phyllis Stevens, they have two daughters, Penny and Janet. Penny married Peter Norfolk, they do not have any children.
Maria, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth, married Jonathan Edwards in 1834. In 1838 they are living at Withyham, with 2 quite young children, Jonathan is a Thatching Labourer. By 1851 Jonathan is a Thatcher; and they live at 69 Wickens Cottage, Withyham; with their children, Thomas 16 also a Thatcher; Mary Jane 8 a scholar; and William 2. As they had 2 quite young children in 1838, and now there is an 8 year gap between the first two children, it seems like they have lost one or more children.
Francis, son of Francis and Elizabeth, married Mary Ann Elliot on the 3 September1827, and they settled in High St, Tunbridge Wells in Kent—just across the border from Withyham—In 1841 they have Henry 13; Jane10; James 8; George 6; and Harriett age 1.
Henry, Born 20-7-1797,died 20-11-1860, son of Francis and Elizabeth, married Maria Killick on the 7 June 1820, as Henry is not listed in Withyham in 1838 he may have been away learning his trade. He was clerk of the Withyham Parish Church in 1840 and by 1841 he is a Blacksmith, living at Smith House in Withyham, with Maria and their children, Harriett 19; George 15 an apprentice Blacksmith; Francis 12; later became clerk of Withyham Parish church in 1860.
( from "Historical Notes of Withyham 1902" by Rev. C.N.Sutton; supplied by Penny Norfolk. ) Possibly the Francis who was tenant of Forge Cottage in 1860. Anne 9; Emily 7; Elizabeth 5; and Fredrick 6 weeks. In 1851 now 52 Henry employs two men in his Blacksmith business. Living at home with Henry and Maria are, Francis 21 a Blacksmith Journeyman (having completed his apprenticeship, he is free to leave his ‘master’); Emily 16 is a Teacher at the National School; Elizabeth 14 is a scholar; Fredrick 9 is also a scholar; as is William age 6. (Later became a chorister of St. Michael and All Angels Withyham;)
Choir of St. Michael's, Withyham 1859.
Ann, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth, married Edward
Geer on the 26-10-1829, nothing more is known of this couple.
John, son of Francis and Elizabeth, married Lucy Card on the 18-18-1824, nothing else known at this time.
Jane daughter of Francis and Elizabeth, married Thomas Wren on the 14 June 1840, nothing else known at this time.
Harriett, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth, married James Gattes, on the 11 Nov. 1817, nothing else known at this time.
Sussex is divided into various areas called ‘rapes’. The
Pevensey rape covers our area of interest. It was originally nearly all forest,
described as, ‘containing among its thickets, comparatively open spaces,
sometimes heathy, sometimes marshy, sometimes filled with the lagoons after an
excessive rainfall. There are thickets mattered with creepers and savage thorns,
while in every hollow the swamp spreads around their roots, the black water
thickened with broken, rotting wood. In its fullest extent it covered an area
some 100 by 30 miles square. The Romans when they arrived built their fort at
Pevensey, its only inhabitants were then the Britons beaten by Julius Caesar,
their Druids and the wild deer and wild boar, great tuskers rooting around for
The Saxons first sent their swineherds into the forest to feed the pigs on its acorn and okayest. To pasture these more permanently they began to clear areas for enclosures. William the Conqueror and his Normans arrived in 1066, they began to turn the old forest swine enclosures and pastures into regular settlements, from which developed many of the villages surviving to-day. The forest now belonged to the King and its enclosures were occupied under tenancy from the King.
During the next five centuries, the forest began to gradually diminish as the valuable iron ore found in it was smelted and cast into cannon, cannon shots, metal tombstones, firebacks, fire irons, wrought iron gates and the like. In the early stages of development the number of furnaces was limited to a few landowners, but by 1573, when industry was at its peak, there were 32 furnaces and 40 forges, operating in Sussex, compared with 8 and 6 respectively in Kent. The industry petered out by the mid 1700s. by the decline in the number of trees available for fuel. Bickley Furnace ran out of water to power its bellows in a drought of 1744 and its wheel had to be ‘treadled’ by human feet to keep it going. The furnace stopped operating in 1770 due to the rising cost of labour and the last of them to close was at Ashburnham.
The remaining forest area became known as Ashdown Forest, which actually falls within five parishes—Buxted, East Grindstead, Hartfield, Maresfield and Withyham, with Forest Row being carved from East Grindstead. In the nineteenth century—and two Manors—Duddlewell and Maresfield—although several other manors claimed rights over the Forest. The original meaning of ‘Forest’ is not the wooded area of today, but was an area designated by the king as being outside common law and was usually set aside for hunting deer. The forest has poor soil and was not very suitable for agriculture.
People living in and around the forest had ‘Common rights’ to allow their pigs to forage. They were also permitted to cut ‘litter’ for fuel and other purposes for their own use. ‘Litter’ means the bracken and debris of other scrubby plants. Small branches of trees would be cut for making staffs and peaty turf for fuel. Stones and clay were gathered for building materials.
The Commonwealth period, (Oliver Cromwell 1640—1662) was followed by the Normans when Charles 11 was brought back from France, several of his supporters were rewarded with land. Where this land was previously under Royal authority, the new owners also acquired the common rights attached to the land. This meant that some people in the forest were rich landowners but with commoner rights.
By the nineteenth century some landowners were attempting to restrict commoner rights, true commoners and other landowners often challenged these attempts. The courts appeared to be increasingly backing the restrictive landowners and fines and sentences were steadily getting more severe. By 1870, this had led to the ‘Ashdown Forest’ case; brought by Reginald Windsor, seventh Earl de la Warr as Lord of the Manor of Duddleswell against John Miles and his landlord Bernard Hale. Barrister, J.P. Lieutenant of Sussex, and Ashdown commoner---William Augustus Raper assembled evidence for the defence, by collecting 119 depositions from elderly Forest residence. The commoners won the case on appeal, mainly due to these testimonies which established that people had enjoyed ‘litter’ cutting rights for over 600 years.
Withyham is a picturesque little rural village on the outskirts of the Ashdown Forest, adjoining Buckhurst Park. The outer boundaries of the modern Ashdown Forest enclose some 13,000 acres on the Hasting Beds of the High Weald of Sussex. It has an elevated topography of between 300 & 600ft. Most of the crops in the area suffer from waterlogging in winter, and hardness and cracking during hot weather, making them extremely difficult to cultivate. The Sackville and de la Warr families own most of the forest and surrounding areas, so most commoners work for them, or are tenant farmers on their property. Herbrand de Sackville had come to England with William 1, settling in Essex. His grandson Jordan (d.1178) came into possession of the manor of Buckhurst through his marriage to Lady Ela de Dene. The family prospered over the years and in 1561 Sir Thomas Sackville was created Master Forester of Ashdown for life, in 1567 he was created Lord Buckhurst and in 1604 first Earl of Dorset.
From the twelfth century the Commoners of Ashdown Forest had enjoyed the privilege of using the forest to graze their cattle and swine, and also to take birch and willow and alder wood for their repairs. The forest provided the litter –bracken and fern with a mixture of other gorse, grasses tree seedlings and Erica—and peat for fuel. They also used marl—a calcareous clay dug from small pits around the forest—
The commoners and the wealthy landowners alike used the raw materials from the forest for their lively-hood and their personal needs. They grazed their sheep and horses, as well as cattle and swine in the forest, cut litter for fuel, and for bedding the cow and the pigs, as well as scrub for fuel, and bushes for stopping gaps in outside fences (hedge fences). Over the years parts of the forest had been enclosed for farming, with various blocks fenced with hedges, which served as wind breaks, and allowed the rotation of crops. These were mainly grain such as corn, and hops for brewing. Heath from the forest was used for thatching buildings, also mould for mixen—manure heaps—stone for repairs and new buildings, loam for the daubing the inside of the walls, gravel for filling bottoms of stock yards and for garden paths. Peat was also used for manure and heating, and sometimes a potato house was built with sods and thatched with peat.
The access to common right, which went with the many small and large holdings, scattered around the fringes of the forest provided a measure of independence for many families. Men, women and children worked, gossiped and played in the forest. It was central to economic and social relations among local families, in the dispersed hamlets and cottages around the edges of the forest, each with cowhouse, garden, and one or two little crofts (farms), green and flourishing and all cribbed from the waste.
George Box 1808------1867.
George Box, 5th. son of Francis and Elizabeth Box
was born 5-9-1808,and was baptised on the 9th. October 1808, at St.
Michael’s and all Angel’s in the Parish of Withyham, Sussex. On the 30th.
August 1831, he married Mary Cripps of Crowboro. Mary was baptised 23rd.
May 1813, daughter of Thomas Cripps and Elizabeth Sands
George’s two eldest sisters, Mary and Harriette Eliza were born in Speldhurst, Kent, just a few miles across the border from Withyham in Sussex. In 1798 the family settled in ‘The Forges’, one of two original cottages of the iron forge in Lye Green, a hamlet of the parish of Withyham, on the out skirts of Ashdown Forest.
It was here that George was born, grew up, went to school; and to church, here he would have helped gather the litter for their fire, as well as mould for the mixen, help to cultivate their croft, tend to the animals and the daily farm chores.
However as Withyham is only a small hamlet, three miles on the Sussex side of the border, the family probably went to Tunbridge Wells, which is three miles on the Kent side of the border, for most of their commercial needs. The photograph of George, on opposite page clearly shows it was taken at Tunbridge Wells.
The beginning of the 19th. century, was a time of
unsettled disquiet as Napoleon was still determined to conquer England and move
on to Europe. There was a fragile peace agreement with the French at Amiens, but
every one knew it was merely a truce that Napoleon needed to prepare his attack.
Every one also knew when the attack came, it would not be up the Thames but
would fall on the southern counties, and particularly on the beaches of Sussex,
as Oliver Cromwell had successfully done in 1641 and taken the crown from
Charles 1st. and his head with it.
Colonel John Moore, writing to his chief from the cliffs of Kent "….the system should be ‘to head and oppose’. Horses and wagons alone, he said, should be removed, and in the coast counties every man capable of bearing arms must be enrolled…….Most men, I take for granted, can fire and load a musket…..No foot of ground should be conceded that is not marked with the blood of the enemy."
In 1803, before George was born, his father Francis was listed on the Sussex Militia list; Pevensy Rape, Northern Division, Withyham, as being a Blacksmith and willing to serve.
On the Pevensy Liberty local roll Oath 1810 (ESRO ref. Pev.535)
Henry and James Hunnisett of Westham parish, brothers-in-law of Francis were enrolled on 26-7-1810, before William Goringe, John Goringe and John Rye.
Camps appeared, armed towers were built, every quarter of a mile along the Sussex and Kentish coasts; fire beacons of furze and cord-wood, with their barrels of tar, stood ready to signal to inland counties the approach of the French. On Wednesday, 19-10-1803, a national day of prayer and fasting was held, that England might be saved. Their prayers were heard and England was saved by her Navy, when Nelson took Victory to sea once more. When she returned Trafalgar had been won, but Nelson was dead; the whole of England was rejoicing and mourning at the same time.
Francis and Elizabeth’s sixth child, William had been born just months before the invasion, and, before the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, two more boys and two girls were born, the youngest Maria, in 1812; the same year that their mother Elizabeth died; perhaps in child birth.
George was just four years old, and would be cared for by his older sisters, Mary now 18, and Harriett 17. There were a total of 11 children living at home. Harriett was the first to marry in 1817.
After Waterloo the old village life of Sussex was not the same, gone were the peasant’s age-old rights to graze a cow, a pig or a few geese, and to cut turves from the waste land; those waste lands that had given him food and money and self respect had been taken from him to save the country from famine. The war years that had brought prosperity for the large landowners did nothing for the small landowners, and even less for the peasant farmers. Even with full employment he could not earn more than a few shillings a week.
When uncertain employment came with peace, the situation became intolerable. In 1830 the peasants rioted, burning hay-ricks and breaking machinery for a wage of ½ a crown a day. For their frustration three were hanged and 420 deported; such was the savagery of the law and the penalties to which the working class were subjected.
This was the environment when George and his family were growing up. The pub was the social meeting place for the working men, then as it still is today a place to relax and socialise. The ‘Dorset Arms’ in Withyham was formerly a farm, part of the Buckhurst Estate, it probably dates back to the 15th. century. There used to be a shop opposite (possibly the grocer & beer shop of George and Mary Hewitt) and it was here the talk of social issues could be freely debated.
The riot and it’s consequences, the increasing charges over common rights, and the increasing migration to Australia and the United States. News of letters from relatives and friends who had already taken the journey across the sea would have created lively discussion and debates. The likes of Thomas Henty a landowner of some renown, yet not sufficient to feel confident in the future prospects of England, had migrated to Australia in 1829. As had Henry Camfield, a young Kentish man, whose forebears had dwelt in a moated manor house called Groombridge Place. Shrinking fortunes had driven his father to one of the estate farms, where he and his family lived in a modern house, set among fields and orchards and hop gardens beside the river Medway and about three miles from Tunbridge Wells. He was now taking what capital he had and two of his labourers and their wives to Swan River, hoping to find there a modest competence, no longer produced by farming a small estate at home. John Martin a yeoman farmer from Kent migrated to New South Wales, in 1840 telling his family ‘ here you’ll be big men, in time, not little men grubbing turnips as the Martins have done for generations past. In years to come you will have so much, you won’t be able to count your sheep—or your acres". Also Henry Dendy of Surrey, in 1840 cashed in on the governments ‘Special Survey’ of land in Melbourne, 5120 acres for one pound an acre. Deny brought 100 workers with him, including the Lindsay family, who some of us are also related to. Unfortunately Dendy was hoodwinked by the unscrupulous J.B.Were. However Dendy was not the only one to be out-smarted by the Were brothers. As Weston Bate recalls in his ‘History of Brighton’ on page 130:--"…,let us consider McMillian’s charge that Brighton had been much neglected. It was tempting to level it at J.B.Were, still the proprietor’s representative, for the proprietorship had failed Brighton in several ways by 1851(as it was to do again before all the land passed from Nicholas Were'’ hands).……And the betrayal of the Anglicans who lost their first church and school building due to the sharpness of Nicholas Were,…J.B.Were was not known as the patriarch and co-founder but as the landlord….J. Bl…y Were." And on page 347: " On the other hand what use had Dendy’s opinion been in the case of the Church of England grant, when the Weres had even walked off with a building?. And what had ‘dedication’ accomplished in the case of the Town Reserve, lying off from the crescents of Foot’s plan, which had been cut to pieces and sold before the public had had any joy of it. Feeling against the Weres was once again sharply critical".
George Box married Mary Cripps in 1831, at the parish church in Withyham. George signed his name to the marriage certificate, Mary made her mark. They settled there, and by 1838 they had three children, helping to make up the population of Withyham, then about 1187 people. George was labourer working for Mrs Hewitt—most probably his sister Mary’s, widowed mother-in-law. He may well have been living at 44 Rugs Smith Cottage, where they are recorded in 1841, now with 4 children, and George was by then an agricultural labourer. During the next ten years George and Mary are to experience grief, not once, but twice, with the death of two little boys, Ephraim born 26-12-1845, and Benjamin a year earlier 20-2-1844, both died in late 1840s. George continued farming, and, from later reports growing Peach trees. The family remain at what, in 1851 was called 44 Rugsmith Green, there were only three families living at Rugsmith Green at that time, they were the Boxes, Taylers, and Martins, the men all agricultural labourers, about 40 years old, and raising young families. The children would have gone to school and played together. George’s sister Eliza, was married to John Tayler.
Caroline 18, has now left the home, and is believed to be working as a cook. William 16, was also living away from home, he was a grocer’s servant for Mr. Elliott at Little Shepherd’s farm, in Hartfield. The Elliott family, first Abraham Elliott Sn., untill his death, then his son Abraham, have owned ‘Little shepherd’s’ which included a farm and a grocery business since the early 1800s. and still have the grocery business today (1999).
Francis, the second eldest of George’s sons, now 14 and an agricultural labourer, Henry 11 was at home, John 9 was a scholar, Anna was 2, and baby Eliza 4 months.
The next decade was to see great changes in the lives of George and his family. Gold is now discovered in Australia, and no doubt is the main topic for discussion at the pub, and around the table at home. The big question; whether to go and try for a better life across the sea, or stay. Women no doubt shared their hopes and fears over a cuppa at the kitchen table. Reports from friends and relatives who had preceded them, perhaps the West family who, with George’s son William, met them when they arrived in Melbourne, would have been discussed at length.
Newspaper and magazine advertisements extolling the advantages of a new and better life in the colonies; added to the lively debate. There were plenty of Uncles, Aunts, cousins and friends to offer their opinions, support or otherwise.
We can only imagine the mixed feelings of the each member of the family. Francis was probably all for the adventure of seeking his fortune on the gold fields. The older men may have thought their fortune lay in better opportunities for farming rather than on the gold fields. The women may well have harboured unspoken fears of an unknown future believing 'The Devil you know is better than The Devil you don’t know’ No doubt they would also have heard of the deaths at sea through ship wrecks, and disease. These fears would be weighed up against the future prospects of the family, in England and across the world. There surely would have been many anxious days and sleepless nights, perhaps especially for the women folk, who generally abided by what the men decided.
By the time the eldest son, William, married Elizabeth Avis, in Nov.1854, the decision to migrate to Australia had been made. William and Elizabeth came first in 1855.
A replica of Atalanta
George and Mary followed William and Elizabeth a year later,
in 1856. They sailed on the Atalanta, on her maiden voyage. She was a 930
ton, 3 square rigged barque built in 1855 at the New Brunswick shipyards in
Canada. She measured 190 feet in length, 35 feet wide, with a depth of 22 feet.
She was made of Oak, Tamarac, Pitch Pine, Birch, and Spruce, with yellow metal,
and iron bolts. She was first registered as a class A 1, for 7 years with Lloyds
of London. Her first owners were Wilson & Co., and her first Master John B
The Atalanta remained in service for 23 years making 7 voyages to Australia, and carrying cargo between London and India, under 6 different masters, and 3 owners.
On her maiden voyage to Australia she was registered as a Government emigrant ship, although, like many such vessels, she carried both assisted (bounty) passengers and unassisted passengers.
George paid his own fare out, as he came ‘on his own account’, to his son William, Henry also came ‘on his own account’. Francis and John were assisted passengers They are all recorded as being Baptists, although the children were all baptised in St. Michael and all Angel’s Church of England. The records show the whole family listed on both the assisted and unassisted lists. There are two lists of passengers, which are at variants with each other; the passenger list records George and all the boys as agricultural labourers, which is in accordance with the census records in England, of 1841 & 1851. The ‘Nominal’ list of passengers records them as woodcutters, this is incorrect.
The Atalanta left Liverpool on the 27th. March 1856 with 296 adults and 37 children on board. There were 65 married couples; 37 single adult men; 129 single adult girls; (mostly Irish, probably orphans) 35 boys age 1-12; and 38 girls age 1-12; 5 infant boys and 5 infant girls. There were 223 English; 118 Irish; & 38 Scotch
As stated above George was listed as a 47 year old agricultural labourer, able to read and write; Mary was recorded as being able to read, but not write; Francis 19 agricultural labourer ; Henry 16 farm labourer, & John 14 agricultural labourer, these boys all able to read and write; Ann was 7, Eliza 5, and baby Lydia 9 months. George and Henry paid their own fares, John and Francis were assisted passengers, Francis was bound to Richard Cooper of Prahran for 2 months at £ 39 per year; and John was bound to A. Wright Esq. of Beaudesert , again this seems to be an error, (probably should be Beaufort, Vic. a town midway between Ballarat and Ararat on the western highway) for 6 months at £20 per year. Again there appears to be some discrepancies in the records as Francis went to the gold fields, not John.
Preparation for the voyage.
The decision to go having been made, the next step was how to
prepare for the voyage.
Perhaps the first consideration was the baptism of the last three girls, Anna, Eliza, and Lydia being baptised on the 9 March 1856, in St. Michael and All Angel’s church in Withyham. There was no shortage of advice from friends and relatives, as well as journalists, as in 1852 an Editor named John Capper compiled a specialised publication, Phillip’s Emigrant’s Guide to Australia. He gave advice on everything including what sort of clothing a family ought to take, for the wife: Three cotton dresses, one pair stays, four petticoats, sixteen chemises, two flannel petticoats, twelve pairs cotton stockings, four pairs black worsted stockings, six night dresses and caps, six pocket handkerchiefs, four handkerchiefs for the neck (scarves) six caps (day wear) two bonnets, cloak and shawl, one pair boots, two pair shoes, eight towels.
For the husband: Two fustian jackets, waistcoats and trousers, three pairs canvas trousers, one overcoat, two felt hats, one Scotch cap, sixteen striped shirts, two Guernsey shirts, twelve pairs cotton half-hose, four pairs worsted hose, six handkerchiefs, eight towels, two pair boots and one pair shoes, strong but not heavy.
For the children like in proportion. The family will also require a flock mattress and bolster, one pair blankets, one coverlet, six pairs cotton sheets, two or three tablecloths, six pounds yellow soap, three pounds marine soap, metal wash-hand basin, knives and forks, plates & mugs, one quart hookpot, besides a supply of string, sewing materials, tape, buttons, etc.
A supply of provisions will be found beneficial, as the ship’s dietary may not be such as the emigrant and his wife have been accustomed to.---say 1 cwt of flour, 1 cwt. Of potatoes, a few pound of tea, coffee and cocoa, some candles, a hundred eggs (carefully preserved, instructions given), biscuits, jams, some suet, butter, cheese and bacon and a couple of hams, with a little wine and some bottled beer. The whole of the above might be had for about £20, which added to the cost of the steerage passage for a couple, say £45.
In reality the emigrants took what they could afford, or what they could fit into one box, if they were assisted passengers, as that is all they were allowed to take.
If they were paying passengers, they could take more, 1st. class passengers might have enough furnishings stored in the hold for their new home,.
There was also advice on selecting the ship, the Captain and the agent, with a warning to particularly ‘beware of dishonest passenger-agents’ Some were known as ‘Bounty Hunters’ on the sea; those that were more interested in collecting the ‘bounty’ for the assisted passengers, at the end of the voyage, than the welfare of the passengers during the voyage. One such disreputable agent was a partnership of three Flinders Lane merchants Geo. Thomas, John Enscoe, & Geo. James, who claimed £3,856 in 1841 for passenger, supposedly ‘in a very healthy state, and express themselves perfectly satisfied with the treatment they received during the voyage.’ However further investigation found that 5 patients were in extreme ill health and two were in a dying state of T. B.
Another disreputable agent was prominent Melbourne merchant J.B. Were. Who received £3,605 , in 1841 for ‘healthy’ passengers, although one passenger confessed to an investigation that the surgeon had ‘cautioned him to pass himself off as healthy before the medical board at Williamstown, and that he would be provided for by the agent Mr. Were’. Another passenger Mr. Crawford, had to be lifted out of his bunk by several seamen and placed in a particular position on the deck to try to deceive the board. The Dr.’s gratuity of £110 was recommended to be withheld, though there was no ‘evidence’ against Were. However another inquiry against Were for deception regarding another voyage later in 1841, dragged on until mid 1842, when La Trobe recommended to Sydney that the entire £3,773 bounty should be refused, however Governor Gipps took a more accommodating view, merely deducting £264 to cover additional quarantine expenses.
Some captains had gained such splendid reputations that their names were house- hold words, it was wise, if one had opportunity to seek out their ships. We shall never know how George came to choose the Atalanta, but it was a very wise choice. Being her maiden voyage she was not contaminated with vermin and contagious diseases.
James Henty recommended early September was by far the best time to leave England, you get well away before the equinoctial gales commence and by the time you arrive in Australia you have spring and summer. George and Mary did not travel at the best time, perhaps the choice of a new ship and reliable Master was of premium importance.
Now the reality of final farewells to relatives, life long friends and companions has arrived, no doubt there have been many good byes said over the preceding months. For Mary, George and their family, sadness was mixed with joyful expectation of seeing their eldest son again, after 10 months. Perhaps Caroline, their eldest child accompanied them to the depot at Liverpool, where they would spend another two or three days before boarding.
The trip from Withyham in spring time, when violets, tulips, wallflowers, daisies, pansies and cherry blossoms are in bloom, would have been a pretty sight, although the wind would still be chilly and require the protection of a coat. The distance from Withyham to Liverpool is 206 miles (332 Kilometres), in a north- westerly direction. It would have taken some days to travel, necessitating a stop-overs in Taverns along the way. What thoughts must be going through their minds as they travel most likely by horse and coach through the roads and lanes from the quiet country village to the bustling, smoggy, noisy, industrial dock yard city of Liverpool. Trains did not come to Withyham until 1866, and only lasted for 100 years. Today the old station buildings are a private house. Travel by barge along canals was also common in England at that time.
On arrival at Liverpool they are confronted with dormitory style, emigrant depots, virtually a galvanised iron warehouse, fitted out with double bunks along each wall. Although they were strictly regulated, they often proved unhygienic and numerous cases occurred of people sleeping in beds vacated by emigrants who had been suffering from contagious diseases. Here they first experienced the lack of privacy that was to be their lot for the next 3 months, and gave them the opportunity to meet their travelling companions.
One hundred and twenty nine single women for thirty seven single men—whow, and once on board they were separated, and not supposed to speak to each other!! The girls had a ‘Matron’, in charge, whose job it was to maintain order and ‘proper’ behaviour of the single girls.
Actually reports say the light inside was so dim in the depot one could barely see their neighbour.
They were usually here for two or three days, all 200-300 sleeping in one room, but the stay could be as long as two or three weeks.
Inside the Barracks.
Eventually the time comes to board, the steerage passengers first, walking up the behind each other with their bags containing their months change of linen, and their cooking utensils. The young women first, some looking around cheerfully, others sad, and some in tears; but all took pains to adjust their shawls, their tresses, or their caps. The married women, some like Mary carrying babies in their arms, with toddlers following, the little ones clinging to mum’s skirt, some a bit older skipping and dancing on the deck; the mothers absorbed with the care of their children, and the fear of losing them in the crowd. The young single men were generally light hearted, buoyed by expectations of adventure and excitement, while the older men, taking care of the boxes, looked dark and sombre, aware of the possible danger that might lay ahead, and not likely to shrink from the encounter.
Having passed the medical check as they boarded, they found their way, in the dim light, down the hatchway, to their few feet of space, that was to be ‘home’ for the next three months.
A peek inside the steerage cabin
John, Francis, and Henry to the forepart of the ship, George
& Mary with Ann, Eliza and Lydia, to the middle part; and the single girls
to the aft. When all the passenger were on board, relatives were allowed to say
their final farewells. Probably Caroline was there with other close relatives to
bid them a safe voyage, amid the tears and well wishes; it would be the last
time Caroline saw her mother.
If there were any cabin, or 1stclass passengers, they stayed in private accommodation until the ship was nearly ready to leave.
The passengers are now left to contemplate their situation, and ‘settle in’. The bed spaces were six feet by three feet each, married couples above, and their children below. Every one furnished with bedding pegs on which to suspend their clothes being placed to every upright stanchion, and each bed divided from the next adjacent often with only a thin piece of board, or just a cloth hung between them.
Mary and the other women, must surely have deplored the lack of privacy, and it would have been a lengthy process to dress in a complete outfit of stockings, shifts, stays, petticoats, and dress while lying on a narrow bunk as the ship pitched and rolled. Luckily, the creaking of the ship’s timber and the slapping of the waves against the hull provided enough noise to mask, if not entirely obscure, the sounds of snoring, vomiting, and love making.
They may have been aboard for another two or three days, while supplies of live stock, sheep, pigs, and fowls were loaded; mainly for the Captain’s table, and any cabin or 1stclass passengers, that might be on board; before the ship actually took up the anchor and set sail.
March 27th. 1856, as departure drew near,
bands on quays and following craft began playing popular songs: The Girl I left
Behind me’, the single men all joined in with loud voice, ‘Home Sweet Home’
for the mothers, and invariably ‘ Rule Britannia’.
No matter how hard the conditions in England were that brought about the decision to leave, there were pangs of sadness at the prospect of never seeing their native country again—it was expected to be the road of no return for George and Mary, as it proved to be.
The steam tug towed Atalanta out to sea as the bands redoubled their playing, George and Mary and their children, with other passengers, gathered at vantage points for last glimpses of relatives and friends, watching and waving till they could barely see the shore.
As the ship moved into St. Georges Channel, one by one the passengers succumbed to sea sickness. If the wind is favourable they can be out of the Channel by the end of the first week, and most passengers will have found their sea legs.
The passengers begin to get into their daily routine, up by seven every morning, they are organised into messes for eating in relays. The women are rostered to help with cooking and serving the meals, while the men help with cleaning the deck. Ten every morning is muster for inspection, lots of the single Irish girls get sent back to wash properly. There is often a school on board for the children, and any adults who want to learn. Sundays, if there is not a Chaplain, the Captain or the Doctor will conduct a Church Service.
About the beginning of the second week they enter the Bay of Biscay, which is notoriously unpredictable with dreadful squalls, and gales, when everything that is not tied down will go flying, these can be interspersed with dead calms.
In 1863, 15 year old Maria Steley, wrote " It is worse today, the ship rolling very bad. Tins etc. rolling from one end of the ship to the other, sea running mountains high. Next day—Not much better today, we could not stand or sit without holding on to something. Can’t get our tables down to eat off, we are obliged to sit on the ground, you would laugh to see us tumbling from one end to the other."
In 1854 Eliza Wicker wrote, "there was a pretty sight, pots, pannikins, tins, spoons, knives, and forks, rice, coffee, pepper, biscuits, oatmeal, baskets, shoes, boxes, and salt water with sundry other things all jumbled together and flying to and fro the ship."
Once out of the Bay it seems to get much calmer, with descriptions like: beautiful day, sailing well, 9-12 knots per hour, covering up to 260 miles per day.
Mary must have been worried, as Lydia was not recovering well from the sea -sickness, she would have been dehydrated from vomiting, and not wanting to eat. Doctor Caroll would have recommended Lydia go into the hospital, Mary would stays there with her.
The whooping cough develops over the next few days. Lydia must have become very week and unable to fight off the fever. Doctor Caroll would do all he could to help, but to no avail.
6th. April Weary from lack of sleep, Mary no doubt cradled her little girl in her arms and quietly watched her slip away. Later the same day many of the passengers gathered on the deck, as Lydia’s little body, wrapped in canvas, two bricks in it to make it sink, was placed on a board that rested on the side of the ship;- as the Captain read the burial service, the board was tilted and the body committed to the sea.
"It was a solemn sight to witness such a stillness pervading the whole of the emigrants, befitting such a sorrowful occasion."
The weather at this time could be warm with good breezes making pleasant sailing. In the following days they watch shoals of flying fish, some landing on the deck, lots of jellyfish, dolphins at play, and whales "rolling through the water just like a large boat, and making such a noise, almost like a horse neighing." The sailors occasionally caught a flying fish, and cause some fun putting it up for auction, they might get 6d. for one.
Nearing the tropics, they get their boxes up to take out their hot weather clothes. The heat of the sun is increasing very much, there is no twilight, as soon as the sun sets it is dark, but the moon is beautiful, and it is lovely to see it shining on the water. After the children are put to bed, the adults go up on deck, to entertain and be entertained. They had impromptu concerts, dancing and singing.
As they approach the equator the description by Thomas Lyle, aboard the Nepaul in 1852, is typical of many I have read. "The appearance of the heavens about this time was exquisitely grand beyond description, the colours assuming the most various and beautiful tints while a part of the western horizon was bedecked with a cloud of pitchy blackingness, such as I have never seen before with a broad line of scarlet underneath. The appearance of the moon here was very large and shone with a brightness which almost prevented us looking at it without injury to our eyes. The water as it passed the vessel’s side appeared full of phosphoric lights…."
19th. April—About 5 days out from the equator, Jane Hasting, a young bride just 21 years of age dies of gastric fever, again all the passengers are saddened by such a tragic lose for her poor husband.
Often the sea is quite calm, the ship barely moving, not a breath of wind, stifling hot, they can be caught in the doldrums for days, and sometimes weeks before they get a favourable wind to take them out. Some ships were blown miles off course by contrary winds, at times crossing the line two or three times, before getting a favourable wind to send them on their way---the right way.
24th. April—Crossing the line, and baby Emma Cundle, is the first infant to die, cause, Marasmus.-- Malutrition, occurring in infants and young children, caused by insufficient intake of calories or protein.
The usual merriment of crossing the line is postponed in respect for the grieving parents.
From the diary of David Battersby (great grandfather of Gwladys Box/Brussell)
aboard Southern Ocean,
'June 20th. 1863-"We are crossing the line and the sun rises about quarter past five, at twelve it is over our heads, sets about half past six. During the day it almost burns your feet to walk on the deck. I am wearing nothing, only my trousers and shirt and am almost roasted. In the night there’s many sleeping on the deck and others sleep on the tables. Children without any clothes on them. I have great difficulty in sleeping with just my nightshirt and nothing to cover me because I sweat so much that the bed is wet through."
4th. May—Marina Bryant is the second little girl to die of whooping cough.
In the southern hemisphere the weather becomes much colder as they head for ‘the composite circle’ route, which cuts 40-50 days off the trip. It means travelling as far south as ice will permit, often in lat. of 50-55 deg., for the next two and half thousand miles, in seas and winds that swept unimpeded around the world. At best they might sight a few remote islands, at worst, nothing but drifting icebergs until they were obliged to thread the needle’s eye between Otway and the unmarked Cape Wickham. One of the most vivid descriptions of sailing the composite great circle to Australia was written by William Scorsby, sea captain, clergyman, and authority on ships’ compasses. In 1856, at the age of 67, he came to Australia on the auxiliary ship Royal Charter Far south in the Indian ocean he wrote that, not even in accounts of hurricanes which he had often read, did the sea ‘gain the enormous height it now had with us—a height frequently of forty feet- regular waves rolling in the direction of the wind incomparably higher peaks and crests produced by crossing waves. The vehement storm not only blew off the lighter summits of the foaming crests, but actually seized upon great masses of the roaring peaks of crossing seas, cut them off….and drifted them away…."
In terms of life on board ship, this meant the emigrants experienced a range of climatic conditions few of them could have imagined.
20th. May—Two months after sailing, about 2/3rd. of the way through the voyage, in the bitterly cold southern waters, George Benson, 1 year old,
becomes the first boy to die, cause Marasmus— …. The cold became more and more intense, one wonders how the Irish orphans among the steerage passengers fared.
Again to quote Thomas Lyle in September 1852, " Very high wind increasing in the night to a gale, next day blew a gale all day still increasing towards night until it blew, to use a nautical phrase, ‘great guns’. Coming events were casting their shadows before, by the hatches being partially put down and every preparation made to make her tight and snug. The sky from the quarter which the wind blew was dark and heavy, and as the night neared the violence of the storm increased; the sea rising in waves more huge dashed with fury against her sides, breaking over her to the discomfort of all especially to those who had to be on deck, and pouring through every opening down between deck. The storm continued all the next day and night……… A sad gloom covered the faces of all the next morning to see the plight we were in. With berths and ourselves drenched and every other place cold and wet, added to the difficulty of getting any thing warm as the cook could not get a fire to burn from the fierce wind and the sea making it go out. We felt that we could give any money for a little something warm early in the morning, but it was nearly 11 before we could get any, and that not half boiling. But amidst all we were somewhat consoled that worse things happen at sea. As the Captain told us that once before on those seas he had the whole of what was on the deck swept clean away, the cooks galley, pots, pans, boats, spars, not a vestige was left, and was obliged to go without any thing warm for 3 weeks. Which made us feel somewhat more satisfied after this revelation.
The following day was fine but still very cold. The next day it began to blow hard again and continued for three days with the sea again pouring down the hatchway, and beginning to feel it was only to be expected, we became somewhat seasoned to it!
There could be no thought of writing diaries or letters back home during this time. All of the women and many of the men would just be praying to finish the voyage alive. When they had arrived and could write home, perhaps to family members thinking of following, they would endeavour not alarm them with too much detail of this part of the voyage
22nd. May—George Haysey is the second infant to die, the cause being secondary fever after measles. Often at this time the conditions were too bad to even permit a decent burial.
22nd. May—Edith Nellor 2 years old, third victim of whooping cough—two deaths in one day, we can hardly imagine the despair of all the passengers
22nd. May—Anna Box had her seventh birthday, it could hardly have been a day for celebration, with the deaths of two more children, and just weeks after her baby sister had died.
24th. May---Lilly Sellyorap dies from secondary fever after measles.
24th. May—Thomas Hobbs 1 year old, dies from the same cause, another two deaths in one day and four in two days.
31st. May—Mary Netherwood—1 year old, dies of Marasmas.
1st. June.---Isabella Shields---17 years of age, one of the Irish orphans dies from fever following consumption.
The weather and sickness were not the only disturbances on board ship. Squabbles amongst the passengers were not infrequent, and sometimes more serious events occurred, as David Battersy recorded in August1862
"Ten o’clock in the morning there was great excitement on board. Purser and chief constable were caught drinking and smoking with a naked candle, in the store room. The purser followed a young man (who had caught them) around the deck with a gun and fixed bayonet, intending to run him through, and could have done so, had he not thrown himself down the hatchway to save himself from the Purser, who threw the gun at him, and then the bayonet. One young man brought the Captain to them, and the captain ordered the Purser into the forecastle, where he must remain to the end of the journey, another 10 days".
During the next week the weather would start to abate and become much warmer. The passengers start calculating when they will reach Australia, sometimes they even bet on it. Some passengers bet on how many miles they would travel each day. Almost unconsciously all are listening to hear the cry ‘Land ahead’, when it comes there is a mad rush onto the deck, for the first sight of anything other than sea and sky, for nearly 80 days.
The Health Inspector Dr. Robertson boarded the ship at the heads at Queenscliff, and after checking the health of the passenger and the cleanliness of the ship, he helped himself to a file of newspapers from England, which was later widely criticised by the newsmen.
Sunday 15th. June— Last day on board, a church service would no doubt have been held on the poop deck, with much joy and relief for all those who arrived safely. In the evening the Atalanta berthed at Hobson’s Bay, Melbourne. The end of a sorrowful voyage, for those who had lost loved ones. Time to bid farewell to friends made en route, and prepare to meet their relatives and friend, or make new ones. The orphan girls, and any others who did not have family to meet them, would have stayed on board until arrangements were made for their departure. Generally they could stay up to 10 days, while looking for accommodation and work if necessary
No doubt for George, Mary and the family it was a joyful reunion with William and Elizabeth, as well as old friends from England.
One can barely imagine the anticipation of the passengers to get a look at their new country. As they first arrived at Queenscliff, then onto Melbourne, their first surprise may well have been the sight of 5 prison hulks moored in the port of Melbourne at Hobson’s Bay off Williamstown. This was just one effect of the gold rush in the early 1850s, which brought hundreds of gold seekers, and those who hope to obtain the gold metal without doing the digging for it. As well as bringing out the worst of many law-breakers, as in England, Melbourne did not have the prisons for the sudden influx of criminals, and alternative arrangements had to be made.
The streets of Melbourne, little better that dirt thoroughfares at the best of times, despite efforts by convict gangs to clear, mark, and in some parts to Macadamise them. Old tree stumps, gullies, rivulets, lakes and bogs, made it a dangerous business to try and wade through the mud in winter, having been dug up with the traffic of bullocks and wagons, they became muddy water ways!! In 1856 the Argus reported that a man had struggled to death ‘in six feet of water and slimy mud in Spencer street’, and reports of drowning in streets were not uncommon through to the 1860s.
It is not surprising then that the grandchildren were told ‘when the family arrived Flinders street was a quagmire, a number of carts and/or buggies bogged.’---perhaps on the way to or from Sunday evening church service, although it is possible they did not disembark until the Monday morning.
Melbourne was not all mud though, as a result of the prosperity brought by gold, together with the almost limitless optimism and vision of some of her leading citizens, she was endowed in the 1850s.with some of her most important public institutions and buildings. The Melbourne Public Library, opened in Feb. 1856, was one of the grandest public buildings erected of that era. The Melbourne University opened in April 1855.
It was decided that Victoria, (Marvellous Melbourne) surely a jewel in the British Crown, should erect a house of parliament which befitted its wealth and status. Work began on the ‘magnificent’ classic design in 1855, and during 1856 the first stage was erected in Spring St., where it dominated the eastern skyline. These were some of the scenes that greeted George and Mary on their arrival. An earlier arrival in 1850, was Henry Box, a merchant from Walsall, he wrote a letter home of his first impressions of Melbourne: "…you may be assured I was greatly amazed…..after passing over a magnificent bridge, I entered a wide macadamised street half as wide again as Park St. Walsall, and half a mile in length lined on each side with handsome stone or brick houses, well stocked, large and handsome shops, full of all sorts of and descriptions of goods---this is Swanson St. Besides this there are Great Collins Street and Elizabeth St, both equally wide and long and more extensively built on……besides this there are first rate buildings as hotels, banks, merchant stores, two churches, several good buildings as Chapels, a Roman Catholic Cathedral, mechanics institution, post office, & Police Office. In addition to which almost every eligible situation near the city is covered with a gentleman’s villa with beautiful garden……..Before nightfall I began to forget that I was in any other than a large English town, ……" all this only 15 years after the first settlers arrived in Melbourne. However beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not all immigrants were so impressed. Elizabeth Skinner in her journal wrote; "Who that landed in Australia can forget their sensations on first placing foot on the golden shores? I for one, cannot. Although we had, of course, read and heard so much about it (for just then Australia and the gold fields were the universal topic in England), ……..we found ourselves actually landed at the wharf in Melbourne late one Saturday evening in August 1854...Our first sight of Melbourne from the vessel’s deck had not given us a favourable impression. The buildings appeared low and mean, the country road looked barren and parched, and indeed the open parts of the bushland about Melbourne did not improve on a nearer view…….The streets looked very strange with poorly lit shops and crowds of people."
We are told Mr. West drove the ladies to his home in Brewer
Rd., this may have been Mr. Joseph West, an early settler who obtained some of
the first plum and apple trees and began sowing the pips of the fruit for
nursery stock, which became commercially important;-- may be Joseph had
suggested to George to bring out the peach stock.—Joseph prospered and by the
early 1850s., he was able to build a house in Brewer rd. Bentleigh which cost
£1,400 ., a huge amount for those times. The male members of the family walked
from Port Melbourne to the home of Mr. West, the ladies and girls rode in Mr
West’s horse drawn carriage.
According to the story handed down, the family stayed at the home of Mr. & Mrs. West until George was able to rent 9 acres of land on which were erected a house and out buildings, the property of Mr. Porter in Paterson Rd., East Brighton, now East Bentleigh. George is believed to have brought out some peach stocks or stones, which he established at Paterson Rd., that turned out excellent, the fruit believed to be in great demand. In 1862 this property is described in the Rates book, as a ‘Paling’ owned by Harriet Porter, with a rateable value of £25. The description ‘paling’ may apply to a building that is otherwise described as ‘vertical slab’. These palings were split from a log using a large wooden hammer, know as a ‘maul’, and steel wedges. They were then set on a bottom plate, usually trenched out to take the bottom of the slabs. A top plate held the top of the slabs in position. Various methods were used to weatherproof the building, including making the slabs fit closely, plastering, and lining with material such as newspaper or hessian. Interesting to note the term ‘paling’ rather than the more common terminology ‘slab hut’, typically Brightonian!!
All that was to come later, the first evening/ or day would undoubtable be spent catching up on family news, and getting their ‘land legs’, not to mention a good nights sleep.
Monday 16 June 1856—The Age Newspaper reports;
The arrival of the Atalanta yesterday places in our hands a Times of the 27th. March, and two other papers, embracing between this date and that of the 10th.received by the Ocean Monarch-------
Seventeen days later news are supplied by the arrival of the Atalanta, a Government emigrant ship, in command of Captain Blyth, and under the medical superintendence of Dr. Caroll. The cleanliness of the ship does infinite credit to those who have the care of the Atalanta, and the health of the adult passengers has been very satisfactory. The files of the English papers would have been perfect, and the public would be in possession of a complete history of the European news from the 10th. down to the 27th. of March, had it not been that the very intelligent and praiseworthy official at the Heads, Dr. Robertson, thought well to take from the ship papers from the 18th. to the 27th. of that month. In this instance, the medical official has not the weak excuse of taking the papers for the purpose of telegraphing news to the Government, because it happens that the telegraph wires are closed on Sunday for the conveyance of any other intelligence than that of the grounding of vessels in sight of Queenscliffe. If then, it be true, as Captain Blyth informs us, that this Mr. Medical-officer Robertson took the papers on shore, it must have been for his own personal gratification; and if a public official can have the more than glaring impudence to intercept new of such vital importance as may be contained in these stolen papers, then it is quite time that the services of such an individual should be dispensed with.
The Argus newspaper also criticised Dr. Robertson, ending with: If this gentle hint should fail in its desired effect, perhaps the Executive will politely bow Dr. Robertson out of his office, and appoint as his successor some one who has a more accurate perception of what is due to his paymasters---the public.
The subjoined extracts are from English papers of the 15th. 19th. and 27th. of March. (these would have been the three papers Captain Blyth. had) the only news of any interest was the birth of heir to the French throne. The infant Imperial Prince was born 15 March 1856, however any news from the 19th. – 27th. March was restricted to any passengers that may have brought their own papers with them.
The Port Phillip Herald also condemned the actions of Dr. Robertson.
PART 3--------Life In Australia
No doubt in the next few days, the West family would have
told George and Mary of the growth of Melbourne since their arrival, in the
early to mid 40s; especially relating to farming, and the very successful
production of grapes. A Melbourne solicitor, Henry Moor, brought in
especially-selected vines from the Camden vineyards in New South Wales. He
planted his own specialist vineyard of 5 acres in South Road and, by 1848, had
100,000 vines growing there. Other growers followed suit and soon the
countryside from the bay to East Boundary Road was dotted with vineyards. The
McKinnon/Ormond area proved particularly successful for grape-growing, the fruit
used for wine, raisins and table grapes which were marketed in Melbourne with
great success. Within a few years, the Brighton area had become the greatest
grape-producing locality in Victoria. By the end of the 1850s, the
Brighton-Moorabbin region was yielding more grapes each year than any other area
of Australia. Then, suddenly, by the early 1860s. the era of the grape ended,
with a blight that had apparently also attacked the Cheltenham and Lilydale
The ‘wastelands’ of the sand belt, as the area was often called, responded well to fertilisation, watering and careful management, perhaps different to that of England.
The rapid growth of Melbourne, since becoming a city in 1837, saw Victoria, become a separate state from New South Wales on the 1st. July 1851,however this was pre-empted when news was announced in a special edition of the Melbourne Morning Herald, on the 11th. November 1850. Huge celebrations were held in the city on the 15th. November as hundreds of people gathered around the giant red-gum in the Botanical Gardens. This tree was a land-mark, having been a favourite camping place for Aborigines, and now became known as ‘separation tree’. The festivities on this day coincided with those for the opening of Melbourne’s massive single-arched stone bridge over the Yarra. The blue stone structure had taken four years to build and it was named Prince’s Bridge in honour of the, then Prince of Wales, Prince Edward.
The family settled into life at East Brighton, the younger children may have attended the church of England school in Tucker Road, which had opened in 1852 and was replaced in 1878 by the State School No. 2038, the name changed to Bentleigh in 1908.
Rules for the Teacher 1879:
1/ Teachers each day will fill lamps, and clean chimney
before beginning work.
2/ Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the days session.
3/ Make your pens carefully, you may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the children
4/ Men teachers may take one evening a week for courting purposes or 2 evenings to attend church regularly.
5/ After 10 hours in school you may spend the remaining time reading the bible or other good books.
6/ Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7/ Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum for his benefit, during his retirement years, so that he will not become a burden on society.
8/ Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
By 1915 the rules had changed for the ladies:
1/ You will not marry during the term of your contract.
2/ You are not to keep company with men.
3/ You must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.; unless attending a school function.
4/ You may not loiter downtown in ice-cream stores.
5/. You may not travel beyond the city limits, without the permission of the chairman of the board.
6/ You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
7/ You may not smoke cigarettes.
8/ You may not dress in bright colours.
9/ You may, under no circumstances, dye your hair.
10/ You must wear at least two petticoats.
11/ Your dress must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.
12/ To keep the school room clean you must—sweep the floor at least once a day; scrub the floor with hot soapy water, at least once a week; Clean the blackboard at least once a day; Start the fire at 7 a.m., so that the room will be warm by 8 a.m.
George, & Henry may have worked with William, until they
rented other properties. In the1862 rates book of Brighton, John is recorded as
renting a ‘Paling’ dwelling in Tucker Rd., owned by Mr. A. Moeller, with a
rateable value of ₤10 William is also renting in Tucker Rd. from Mr. A.
Moeller a ‘paling’, value ₤15 Mr. A. Moller himself is occupying a ‘paling’value
₤2-10-0 Henry is renting a weather- board dwelling in Jasper Rd., value
₤14 10-0 from Mr. N. McLean.
On the 16 May 1862 the Moorabbin district Roads Board was proclaimed, giving independent local government authority, future rated are recorded in the Moorabbin Council Rates books.
Francis remained on the gold fields at Heathcote, in 1868 Francis is registered on the Postal Directory, as a miner at Heathcote, they came to Bentleigh about 1875
Much of this land, we are told, was uncultivated, native bush with heath, gum trees, wattle and she-oak. All this was done with basic pick and shovel, and horse drawn plough. When the soil had been tilled the crops were sown, by the farmer crawling along the furrows on hands and knees planting the seeds. Water from the higher swamp basin in the Dandenong's broke the surface at various places as it travelled underground to Port Phillip Bay, and wells were dug on each property, so watering would have been done by drawing from the wells or perhaps some had use of a water wagon. Then followed the weeding, and later the thinning out of the new plants, all done by hand for many years. It’s probable that only about two acres of land was sown at any one time, as the farmers may have rotated the fields as they had done in England.
John, & Henry, and later Francis Box all established market gardens of their own, and again had to clear the land before they could start farming it. They were a close knit family, who shared their leisure time, as well supporting each other in business. Anna told the story of the family going for a picnic to Mordialoc, when it was time to come home, just as the party were about to leave, an Aborigine, the family believed to be ‘King Billy’, and some of his tribe came on the scene. One of the tribe took hold of the horses head, and wouldn’t let go, saying "my Mordialoc, my Mordialoc", someone in the party was witty enough to throw down a shilling, and he saw the shilling and went to beat the others in the tribe to get it, enabling the driver to get the horse away quick and lively." (my father had told me this story, and the same story was related many years later by his brother Francis, to a newspaper journalist.) Other forms of entertainment were family singing around the piano, or organ. It seems a number of the families had an organ and many were quite musical. The various churches were also the centre of community life.
A population in Victoria of a quarter of a million people by 1854, created an enormous demand for food, especially fresh green and root vegetables and fruit. The gardens of Brighton, Moorabbin, Bentleigh and Cheltenham represented the first large and concentrated development of market gardens outside Melbourne.
In these early days of marketing a family member would sit up late to wake the market man and set him off at about 11 p.m. With his cart loaded high, with bagged potatoes, vegetables, fruit and flowers, the gardeners would start out, along the sand filled tracks to Nepean Road. There one cart would be joined by others emerging from the side roads. Soon there would be a convoy of carts progressing slowly through the night to St. Kilda Road to the city. The journey would take between two and four hours, depending on the distance to be travelled and the condition of the road at the time.
The regular trips to market created a comradeship amongst the farmers, each of whom knew his fellow travellers; his habits and personality, his circumstances and his family, even though the farms were often located miles apart.
The farmers went to market two or three times a week These markets were, first the Western Market, then the Eastern Market, then the Victorian Market. They were incredibly bustling places; the noise of horse and dray, with iron wheels rattling and screeching over cobblestones, and the drumming of hooves, as huge loads were manoeuvred to and from loading places. There was much shouting and cursing, mixed with banter and laughter, as they prepared for business. There were no stalls in the market, the gardeners rented space, and sold their vegetables from the dray, after having hitch the horse to the hitching posts.
Once the produce had been sold; the dray then had to be loaded with manure. The sandy soil of gardens was only productive if it was kept constantly fertilised, and huge quantities of stable manure was required. In the city itself, and on the other side in South Melbourne there were many stables which could provide this. Each grower had selected stopping points where the manure could be pitch-forked on to the dray, with a load heaped almost as high as the produce just marketed (and some people claimed the night watchman also helped to provide ‘fertiliser’ for the gardeners.)
Many farmers worked 12 to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.
After finishing their business at the market George, and other farmers would start the arduous journey home. George and some other would stop at one or other of the many inns and hotels along the way, which was his practise, as it had been in England. Here they would discuss their crops and cultivation, the variables of the weather, the fluctuations of the market, and exchange any news of England.
Mary only had four months in her adopted country. On the 20th. October 1856, she left home about 7 AM, going to assist her neighbour, Mrs. Ellis in her confinement, on her arrival Mary complained of a pain in her head. However she worked until 1 PM washing, when she had some lunch and a small quantity of spirits. A Mr. Douglas was present when Mrs. Ellis’s baby was born about 2 PM, he left then, leaving Mary with Mrs. Ellis.
When he returned about 2.30, Mrs. Ellis asked him to go and look for Mary, he found her floating in a water hole near the home, he pulled her out, she was dead.
In evidence at the inquest, William’s wife Elizabeth testified that Mary had suffered from pains in the head, has never been out of her mind, and that she was subject to fits, and had an attack a short time ago. When the pain in her head was bad she used to bath it in cold water.
The coroner of the court at Brighton, found death by accidental drowning. For those of us who have links with the Lindsay family of Brighton, Henry and Fredrick Lindsay were two of the Jurors at the inquest.
George was left a widow with one married son, three single working sons, and two small daughters. One expects William’s wife Elizabeth, may have done the caring for Eliza and Anna, as well as coping with her own growing family
George continued in market gardening at Paterson Rd. for another 11 years, when he too met his death through an accident..
On the day of 14th. July 1867 he apparently over indulged, as while driving home he fell off the dray. A gardener, by the name of William Schmidt, had noticed that George was drunk, and saw him fall. He and another gardener ran up and found that his leg was injured. They lifted him up, put him on the dray and drove him home.
The next day Dr. Collyer Whittenbury attended George, diagnosing a comminute fracture of the leg—the soft parts over the seat of fracture rapidly sloughed—
George went on favourably for a few days, when lockjaw came on—and also symptoms of general flush poisoning. In consultation with Mr. A’Beckett it was deigned advisable to amputate the thigh high up, on Sunday last, which Dr. Whittenbury did. George bore this operation well—reaction came on rapidly and tetanic convulsions increased, he died of exhaustion from them, on the 29th. July 1867.
George and Mary were both buried in the Brighton Cemetery.
1867 was an eventful year in the life of Melburnians, as
it was the year of the first visit to Australia by British royalty, when Price
Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria, arrived in Melbourne in November of
that year. The event was celebrated with predictable fervour, from the very
loyal colonist to the ‘Mother Country’. They flocked to town for the many
celebrations accompanying the visit, including the laying of the corner stone of
the new Town Hall, with 2,500 ladies and more men present.
Royal occasions, whether it be a visit or a birthday, marriage or anniversary, featured strongly in the annual ritual cycle. Alfred’s visit gave the colony a chance to show off its burgeoning technological arsenal of fireworks, illuminations and decorations, and an early display of electric light in Melbourne.
In the Gazette of 1871-72 Brighton East is described as a postal village partly in the parish of Prahran and partly that of Moorabbin, and it forms part of the electoral district of Brighton. It is partly under the control of the borough of Brighton and partly that of the Moorabbin Road board. It is situated on the south edge of Le Man’s swamp about 3 miles south east of St. Kilda and ½ mile north of the township of Brighton.
I can not be certain if this picture is of Caroline or her mother Mary Box, nee Cripps.
Caroline—1st. child of George and Mary Box
Born 25-5-1832—Withyham, Sussex.
Died 21-5-1886—cancer, East Brighton, Victoria.
Married 1874—George James Robilliard
Little is known about Caroline, except that she was living
away from home in 1851, working as a cook, prior to coming to Australia
She came to Australia aboard the Caduceus, which left Sth. Hampton on the 5-5-1863. Arriving in Melbourne 1-7- 1863 Caroline was met by her father and went to live with him at East Brighton ( now Ormond )
The Moorabbin Rates book of 1869, records Caroline as owner of house and land in centre Rd. East Brighton; 1873 records Caroline as Storekeeper on land 1 acre 5 perches, in 1874 Caroline is recorded as a Draper at the same address.
Caroline, along with many of the Box family members, attended the Primitive Methodist Church, in Tucker Rd.; it was here that she met her husband, George James Robilliard.
After her marriage, Ida Beckett, whose older sister Nellie, was married to George’s brother, Captain James Robilliard., was employed to take over the housekeeping responsibilities in the two –storey building About the same time, Ida’s small sister, Martha , known as Pattie, went to live there as Caroline & George’s foster daughter. Later several other sisters and two brothers eventually made their homes in the area.
In her will Caroline bequeathed her estate to her husband, and after his death, the property to be sold and all money be divided equally between her surviving brothers and sisters. All her wearing apparel to go to her sister Eliza.
The administration of George’s will records two legacies to Pattie, named as Miss Martha Maud Beckett: the first sum of ₤ 80-2-4. And a residual amount of ₤ 42-17-8. This money was part of a large sum shared equally between the eight beneficiaries, one of whom was Pattie’s brother-in-law James Robilliard. She was also bequeathed his organ, which she learnt to play.
His other personal estate to his brothers and step-sister.
William 2nd. Child of George and Mary Box
Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas Avis and Eleanor
Robinson, who had married in Lewes on the 8-4-1833. Although I have not
researched the Avis name.
When Joyce Robinson (descendant of Jessie Box) was visiting Withyham, she photographed the tombstone of John Avis, his wife Ann and daughter Sarah. Another researcher sent me details of Land Tax returns for 1785, in Withyham Parish at Lye green, where John Avis was owner, occupier of ‘Little Holding’; while William Avis was owner, occupier of ‘Little Alksford’. William Avis Jrn. Was occupier of ‘Hendal’, owned by Duke of Dorset, & another Avis as occupier of ‘Ham & Sprouds’, owned by Duke of Dorset.
There were a number of Avis families in ‘Withyham Inhabitants 1838’, Jnr. is a farmer of Monns Farm; Peter (died1838) farmer, Hunts farm; William farmer, Souther Woods Farm; another William, single man, living with his widowed sister-in-law and her two children, and a lodger. William is a maker of Cricket Balls.
Mark Avis and Solomon Avis of fletching both gave depositions to Wm Raper for the ‘Ashdown Forest Dispute’ of 1878-79; also from the dispute, George Edwards gave evidence, "I knew Southerden Woods Farm, about 40 or 50 acres, between Friars Gate and Lye Green-----Lord de La Warr’s property, Avis was tenant of it, his son took it after him…."
The Militia list 1803 of Pevensy Rape, Northern Division-Withyham also listed:
John Avis---Farmer--- Class 1
John Avis---Labourer Class 4
Richard Avis---Lab. Class 4
Richard Avis---Lab. Class 4
Thomas Avis Farmer Class 4
Thomas Avis Lab. Class 1---Lame
William Avis Lab Class 1
William Avis Servant Class 1
Classifications: Class 1 = men age 17-30, unmarried, no child under 10
Class 2 = men age 31-50, unmarried, no child under 10.
Class 3 = men age 17-30 married or with 2 children under 10
Class 4 = The remainder between 17-55.
William and Elizabeth came to Melbourne aboard the Omega,
leaving Sth. Hampton on the 30-1-1855, arriving in Melbourne 4-5-1855, an 85 day
trip. William’s occupation was recorded as ‘woodcutter’.
As assisted passengers, they were ‘bound’ to Mr. Thomas Dowling at Merrie Creek, where their first child, Ester was born at the village of Pentridge ( now Coburg, the gaol having taken the name of the village,) in August 1855, 4 months after arriving,( a wedding night conception), . Sadly Ester died one month before her grandparents arrived in June 1856. She was buried in the Baptist section of the Brighton Cemetery. William and Elizabeth’s next child, Fanny, was born in Prahran on 5-6-1857.
By the time their third baby, Eleanor, arrived in 1859, they were living in Brighton. They leased a market garden at the corner of Centre and Jasper Rd. After residing there for some time, they then rented land at the corner of Jasper and Manchester Rd. (? now McKinnon Rd ). In 1862 They were renting a ‘Paling’ dwelling in Tucker Road, the owner being Mr. A. Moeller.
On the 29-4-1868 William Box purchased, from a Mr. Richard Philbrick, some 10 acres of land, (lot 2) in North Rd., Brighton (now Ormond), for the sum of ₤130 , and began a flower nursery. The next year 7-3-1869 William purchased a further 10 acres( lot 3) in Jasper Rd, from Mr Richard Fairlam, for the sum of ₤ 250. This property went east from Jasper Rd and backed onto the property bought the previous year. The Jasper Rd. property had a dwelling, which later became known as ‘Box Cottage’, and is the base and museum, for the Moorabbin Historical Society.
Unfortunately for us historians, though possibly fortunate for the original owners of the Cottage, it went unrecorded as far as council rate books are concerned; the first Brighton Council was formed in 1859 when the eastern boundary of that municipality was drawn to follow Thomas Street. As the cottage was then located east of Thomas Street it meant that it remained in a municipal non-entity and although the owner escaped from having to pay rates, people today have been unable to trace the original owner.
However some people believe the cottage is perhaps more important than who owned it. However land title records do tell us that a Jasper Hale bought the property,( both lots 2 & 3) from Henry Dendy on the 26-8-1844, for the sum of ₤100 , whether Jasper Hale built the cottage, or whether it was already there is uncertain at this time. (it could have been a squatter's hut, prior to the government reclaiming the land to sell to Henry Dendy in 1840)
William and Elizabeth lived in this Cottage, and were actively involved in the community and the Church. William was also actively connected with the Ancient Order of Foresters, for 39 years, and served on the Council of Moorabbin from 9-3-1871---1-8-1878.
The original cottage is believed to have consisted of a Parlour / kitchen, with one bedroom, with an antique wardrobe, (that was later restored by Mark, son of Stefanie Renick, daughter of the next owners, who lived in the cottage from 1918 to 1958). A dairy was attached to the right of the parlour, and a scullery (Laundry/ bathroom), at the back. Water came from a creek, later known as Elster Creek, which flowed down through Elsterwick to Port Phillip Bay,-- and was later blamed for the out-break of Poliomyelitis in 1937.- Two wells were dug to tap into the underground springs, one on the north side, and one to the south of the cottage, near the scullery, which later had the water connected to it. There was a barn for farm equipment, chook houses and an outside toilet.
It was built of various species of eucalypts, which are known to have been in abundance in the area at the time. It must have been a very pretty cottage with the front entrance facing Jasper Rd. It had mauve Wisteria and white Roses growing over the veranda, and the chimney, orange Tecoma trailed along a trellis, next to a Kurrajong tree, with many flowers such as jonquils, daffodils, snowdrops and many more, a gum tree, golden wattle, a flowering cherry tree, orange flowering gum tree shaded the garden. At the Jasper Rd. boundary were a row of Cyprus trees, an enamel name ‘Colonial’ was secured on the south wall.
By this time( 1868) there were 4 more children, making 6 children and the parents, and the family was still growing. We may glimpse at what life might have been like form an extract in- Dr. R. Dunstan, Wester Morning News, 2nd. Dec. 1929 -( Cornwall) "The single room possessed by most cottages had to serve for all purposes of kitchen, nursery, and sitting-room combined. The furniture in this apartment, commonly consisted of a rude table, resembling a carpenter’s bench; and, in some cases, three or four straight backed chairs. The majority of people, however, had to be content with a long form and three-legged stool, whilst the children sat on blocks of wood. The grand seat for the head of the household was often formed out of an old tree trunk. A few earthen wear cups, saucers, and basins, some wooden or tin plates, an iron crock for boiling purposes, and a ‘kettle’ or ‘baker’, practically completed the equipment".
The fireplace invariably consisted of an open hearth, resembling in its appearance a cave let in to one of the walls. Within the hearth often stood a three- legged stool. From the lintel hung a white valance known as the ‘chimney cloth’, everything around the fire was kept spotlessly clean. The housewife manage all the cooking for large families, with her few essential tools."
Lighting was sometimes no more than the glowing embers of the fire. When something more was required in the way of illumination, it was supplied by candles. In the very early days ‘candles’ were made from the pith of rushes dipped in tallow. These rushlights were generally held by a clip attached to an upright iron stand. Being pliable they could be bent round and each end lighted. This, however, was considered a somewhat extravagant thing to do, and from it came the proverbial warning against ‘burning the candle at both ends’.
And from The Good Old Days, Cornish Magazine, 11, 114.
"In the one, or at the most two, tiny bedrooms, the furnishings were
equally scanty, consisting only of a couple of bedsteads, with crossed ropes to
sustain the mattress. The latter was little better than a straw mat, about half
an inch thick, feather ties being at that time a luxury for the rich. How the
family contrived to pack themselves in at night was indeed a marvel. In most
cases where there was but one bedroom the two youngest children lay with the
parents, the infant lying on the mother’s arm, and the next youngest outside
the father; whilst a mattress placed on the floor sometimes accommodated as many
as six other children, four lying side by side, and two across their feet….."
Although this is in Cornwall, it is reasonable to assume it was not much, if any
different anywhere else in English rural areas, and our pioneers brought their
English ways to Australia; they knew no other way. However in Australia, they
prospered more than they could ever have hoped to in England.
During the next eleven years another seven children, and two bedrooms, were added, by this time the family seem to have been quite well off. It is thought that in the 1880s, a new house was built towards the front of the property, facing Jasper Rd., with a covered walk- way connecting the two buildings. The front house was rather big and typical of many houses built then, as this was a time of prosperity for Victoria, the ‘ boom’ before the ‘bust’ of the 1890. Houses built at this time were very ornate, with verandas trimmed with wrought iron, and inside stained glass windows and ornate cornices on the ceiling. Stefanie said the dining room had a beautiful chest of drawers, with ornaments from India.
With 10 children living at home, no doubt both dwellings were used, and the family would not require 6 children to sleep on one mattress.
The new house would have had such modern conveniences as water connected to the kitchen, which had one fire stove, and a gas stove, Kerosene Lamps and gas light brackets on wall, so perhaps the very hard pioneering days of drawing water from the well, and cooking on an open fire were over, and the family would have lived in relative comfort. The children also had the benefit of a better education, as amongst the books in the front house were ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, inscribed to Violet Box, from the Ladies College, which was apparently in North Rd. also the works of Charles Dickens "Christmas Stories", as well as a French Bible.
As the family grew up married and moved on, the original cottage was left vacant for some years.
Some of the grandchildren and nephews and nieces recall visiting the cottage, but not being allowed in the ‘big house’.
On the 11-6-1888 William sold the portion of land, lot 2 to Mr. Lebbens Hordeen. for the sum of ₤ 2,975 –15-0 This would most likely be when the front ‘big house’ was built.
William is now 54 years old and possibly retired as on the 30-10-1888 he appears to have leased abt 9 acres to Arthur Augustus ? and Thomas Harwood, and on the 13-3-1890 William leased same portion of property to Kayon, Kay You and Cheong Ki., the Chinese market gardeners.
William died in 1902, leaving the 10 acres, lot 3 to his wife Elizabeth, with the dwellings, and out buildings.
Elizabeth seems to have sold 9acres & 19 perches to a nurseryman, William Snowdon Anderson on 11-1-1908, retaining only one acre with the original cottage, out- buildings, and ‘front house’.
Possibly from the proceeds of this sale Elizabeth had two shops with dwellings built in Jasper Rd. ( No.239)on the west side, not far down from North Road, these were given to George William Box, 3rd. son of William and Avis, when George married Elizabeth Tippett on the 4-12-1902.
Elizabeth Box Sn. also had a cottage built in Jasper Rd.; there was a carriage way between this cottage and the two shops. The cottage was leased to Mr. & Mrs Henry McCurry;-- Mrs McCurry was formerly Elizabeth Lindsay, daughter of the brickmaker Mark Lindsay and Jane Balkham, who, with Mark’s brother Stephen, also a brickmaker, immigrated with Dendy’s immigrants to Brighton in 1842.
Mr McCurry’s father, Henry McCurry, Srn. and his wife, formerly Catherine Fitzwilliam, lived in Brighton, where their last 4 children were born. It appears likely that Henry McCurry Sn. worked for the Lindsay family in Brighton, where his son met and married Elizabeth Lindsay. Elizabeth Lindsay-McCurry was the mid-wife in the area and was present at the birth of some of the Box children, and also at the birth of Stefanie Reitmann and her brother William, who grew up in the cottage. Emily Jane McCurry, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth, married William Henry George Box, (known as George) grandson of George Box Sn.
Henry McCurry was in the process of buying the cottage, he was renting, from Elizabeth Box, when she died in 1914, so the business had to be concluded by " that brat of a girl", (Violet) according to a report by Francis Box, son of W.H. George and Emily Box, (perhaps Violet was just an astute business woman—knowing the attitude of men to doing business with women in those times)
In time the original ‘Box Cottage’ was let to various people for holidays and weekend ‘in the country’. One of the people who regularly used the cottage was a German tailor, by the name of Mr. Quashdorf (phonetic), who had a business in the city, he rented the cottage as his weekend farm. He was friendly with a Swiss Sculptor, Mr. Augustus Rietmann and his German born wife, and invited them to the farm for weekends. Mr Rietmann was very keen on the farm, and decided that the healthy farm life would restore his wife’s health, as she had been ill since coming to Australia. The Rietmann family took over the lease of the Cottage abt. 1917-18, at first on a trial basis, then a legal lease agreement with Miss Violet Box was arranged 14-6-1919. Violet stipulated in the agreement that nothing was to be moved, and everything kept exactly as it was, this meant the Rietmanns could not have any furniture of their own in the cottage, they rented it all, just as it stood, furniture, crockery, books, ornaments, bedding, the lot.
Mr Rietmann was a Sculptor, who had come to Australia from Switzerland. He first worked for Corben’s Monumental Masons at Clifton Hill, where he worked long hours carving the marble war memorial soldier figures in many Victorian country towns. He used to do much of his work from the cottage at weekends, after he purchase the property in 1935, he left Corben’s and worked exclusively at the cottage. He converted one of the back bed-rooms into a workshop, in time extending this to the barns to become a factory workshop.
The City of Malvern ran a contest for the best design for a memorial to those who fell in the "Great War 1914-1918", Paul Montford designed the wining entry.
In 1930 Mr. Rietmann was asked by Paul Montford to carve the marble for this memorial, which he did at the cottage.
On the 23-8-1931, His Worship the Mayor—Cr. C.J.Waters-- unveiled the memorial in the Foyer of the City Hall, where it now stands.
The original clay model of Paul Montford’s is at the new factory in Bay Rd. and is to be placed in the RSL at Bentleigh.
Later, when there was not the call for war memorials, Mr Rietmann became interested in pressed cement (mortar) gutter brick making—to replace open weedy drains. He was a pioneer in clay and cement garden furniture. He made plant pots, columns and stepping stones, lamp standards for St. Kilda Rd.
The Rietmanns had two children, Stefanie born 1918, and William born 1919. Stefanie particularly loved the cottage, and everything about it. The trees, the flowers, the space to play hide and seek, the books to read and the beautiful furniture, which she dusted and polished every Saturday, from the time she was old enough to do so.
Life at the cottage was not easy for Mrs. Reitmann, being of German descent, at a time when Australia was at war with Germany. Even though Mrs. Reitmann could not speak English, she knew they were not welcome when stones were thrown at the cottage, accompanied by shouting; she knew the shouting meant something like go home Germans. Mrs. Reitmann was a small timid lady, who did not enjoy robust health, and became very nervous. This was not helped when Stefanie was born; Mrs. Reitmann put her new baby in a pram in the back garden—they were great believers in plenty of fresh air—one of the Chinese market gardeners, from next door asked, ‘baby boy or girl", "Baby girl" replied the proud mother; "No good" said the Chinaman, "In china we kill baby girls" this had a dramatic affect on Mrs Reitmann; the baby was not left unattended in the garden. It’s no wonder, with her husband away from early morning to late evening Mrs Reitmann wanted company in the house, with the big garden and trees. From 1920 to 1930 the front rooms of the front house were let to various families. They helped Mrs. Reitmann learn English and introduced Stefanie to those wonderful Australian Classics—May Gibbs "Boronia Babies" "A book for Kids" by C. J. Dennis; "Dot and the Kangaroo", & Mary Grant Bruce’s "Seven Little Australian", and ‘We of the Never-Never".
Stefanie, now Mrs Renick has kept and restored as much of the furniture and treasures from the cottage as possible. She had her present home built facing north, as the cottage did and designed to fit in with the furniture she had been able to selvedge. She has also shared her reminiscences of her happy childhood, and life at the cottage with me.
"When we were very small we slept in the
bedroom with our parents-they had two cots in the room; when we got bigger, after our evening
meal and relaxing in the cottage, with lamp or candle in hand we walked over to
the front house, down the passage to the bedroom, then my brother and I climbed
out through the window and slept on the veranda"
We had wonderful neighbours, south neighbours were the Chinese market garden,--now Lewis’s timber yard, and Lewis St.—on thet south side of that was the lovely home and garden of the Schreibers and Jorgensens, now Chalmers St. Artist Justin Jorgensen, who established Mont Salvat, as an Artist’s colony. Dr. Jorgensen of Belgrave, Bertha Jorgensen was the first Violinist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. These people were all very kind and good neighbours of the new migrants. We had many enjoyable evenings of music and discussing sculpture.
I went to Ormond State School, but I didn’t like it because the kids made fun of me, I spoke English with a huge accent, they used to laugh at me. My mother would cut my lunch, and send me off at the gate, I used to across to Murray Rd.-which was just a track, walk along past the wattle, and a creek that used to go under the railway line, then through ? scrub and wattle, straight up to school. I would pretend I was going in and would come back and climb a tree. I would sit there until I thought it was time to come home—about two hours—and say school was over. My mother was very upset. High school wasn’t much better, even the teachers made fun of my Christian names—Stefanie Muric—a family name. But you grow out of these things, I went on to McRobertson’s Girl High School, and later did an arts course at Melb. Tech. and became a teacher.
In 1914 when Elizabeth died, there was just the one acre,
with the original cottage and front house. It was bequeathed to her youngest
daughter, Violet and her
(Violet’s) older sister Ada, who had married and moved to Western Australia.
Violet Box moved to Sydney, where she later married Mr. Woodman. The Rietman’s lease included the front house as well as the original cottage.
The cottage was bought by Lewis Timber in 1970, used as a store room for some time before it was dismantled, preserved and reconstructed about 100 metres to the north .in May 1984, with the aid of a grant from the 150 Year celebration Committee. It is now used by the Moorabbin Historical Society to display memorabilia of the life and times of early pioneers.
From the Family Album:
Elizabeth Box, nee Avis
Harold Box believed this photo to be the original cottage taken in the 1860s. Pictured in front is William and Elizabeth Box.
The Cottage as it is today.
The Children of William and Elizabeth Box
There were 4 boys and 9 girls in the family.
The boys all worked in the nursery with their father, and were apparently kept from the earnings, but without an actual wage as such, it seemed to be understood they were to share in the family fortune or have the family business when their father died. By the time he died the business was apparently non-existent and so was the family fortune, they believed it would be a great fortune.—No doubt the result of the depression of the 1890s.
1/ Esther Box B. 1855 first child of William and Elizabeth Box died in infancy.
2/ Fanny Box B 1857 the second daughter of William and Elizabeth Box, married in 1874, at the age of 17, Arthur Downward, who was 18 years old, son of Edward Downward and Elizabeth Graham, who had married in Tasmania. Fanny and Arthur had four children, the eldest, a girl, Alicia Downward—known as Lill—born in Brighton 1875, lived at Ormond with her mother. Another daughter, Octavia Rosa Downward, born 1876 in Brighton, died age 7 weeks, buried in the Brighton Cemetery; a son William Alfred Downward born 1878 Brighton also died 1878 age 3 months and is buried in the Brighton Cemetery.
Another son Arthur Henry Downward ( commonly known as Arthur Harvey Downward) born 1883, at Carlton, birth registered to Fanny Box and Arthur Downward. (certificate No. 14717) Apparently this child did not live with his mother, ( he is believed to have been brought up in a children’s home, possibly the Methodist children’s Home in Cheltenham—(where Southland now stands) The Postal directory records Arthur Downward senior, as a labourer, residing in Jasper Road Ormond from 1875 to 1879 inclusive, the Moorabbin rates book also records Arthur as the rate payer on an 8 acre market garden property in North Rd. This property and the residence in Jasper Rd. which also had 2 acres of land was owned by Fanny’s father William Box.
Fanny’s husband Arthur had apparently left the family home some time in 1878, and was lodging at the Belfast Hotel in Hargraves St. Sandhurst (Bendigo). He was arrested on a charge of horse stealing, and tried in the Sandhurst Assizes Court on the 22nd. October 1878. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to four years hard labour. A fellow named Stanbridge came as a character witness for Arthur, but said he had only known him for about a month as a fellow lodger at the Hotel. On the 28th. October 1878, Arthur was transferred to Pentridge, from where he was released by remission, on the 5th. November 1881. This was Arthur’s only offence, but as horse stealing in those days was a very serious offence, the only job opportunities would have been in the building trade or on the wharfs, where no one asked too many questions. It is likely Arthur changed his name and or left Victoria for good.
Fanny Downward died 10 September 1932, leaving her entire estate to her daughter Alicia. The estate consisted of a piece of land being lots 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 …. In Jasper Rd. Ormond, together with a weatherboard dwelling, containing four rooms, valued at £600, and furniture and household effects—very old and worn---valued at £ 20. Her father, possibly gave this property to Fanny when she was left to raise her daughter on her own. Then Arthur Henry (commonly known as Arthur Harvey) Downward claimed the property in Jasper Rd. after the death of his sister Alicia ( commonly known as Lill).
The Story as told to me by a niece of Fanny Box- Downward:
"Aunt Fanny’s daughter Lill, got our eldest sister to go to Mornington with her to the cemetery. Lill wanted to look at the tombstones to find records of Downward….Lill took me to Brighton cemetery once, we spent a long time looking for grave sites, but we didn’t find what she was looking for. Fanny was believed to be intellectually disadvantaged, and is said to have spent some time in an institution, as she required full time care. Her daughter Alicia worked as a housecleaner, and visited her mother every Wednesday, sometimes accompanied by her Aunt. At some time some of the property in Jasper Rd. was sold, so that Alicia could take her mother home and care for her, herself. It is said that Alicia’s Aunt Violet also lived with Alicia, for some time while her mother was in care.
Dad didn’t bother with Lill, as we called her, that was Alicia Downward, but mum was a very kind person. Lill used to come to our place a lot, and mum would always help her out whenever she could. They lived in Jasper Road, it was another single fronted house, rather like McCurry’s house.
They never lived at Mornington, as far as I know, Downward did, but Aunt Fanny never did. But when mum used to help Lill. quite a lot and she would help Aunt Fanny when she could. One night mum and I went down to see them as Aunt Fanny was very sick, she was bed-ridden for years, she lived on in the cottage and Lill looked after her. I was a little girl, when we went to make enquires about Aunt Fanny ( actually, as Fanny died in 1932, the niece was 20 years old, not a little girl). We talked to Lill in the kitchen for a time, then mum said to Lill, " I’ll just go in and have a look at your mother", so mum and I stepped into the bedroom and I felt mum stiffen. Then she walked closer to the bed and she said to me "she’s gone", and we had to go and tell Lill her mother had died. Well after that mum was more supportive of Lill, but Uncle Ernie who was pretty tough said, " Listen you should have nothing to do with woman, just leave her alone, and he wouldn’t help her. But before he died, Lill died without making a will. She had never married, so didn’t have anyone to leave her estate ( house) to Uncle Ernie considered. himself next of kin, because our father had died, and despite the fact that he told mum to have nothing to do with that woman he applied for probate, but he didn’t get it because unbeknown to him it turned out Lill had a brother or half-brother ( Arthur) who popped up and was able to prove he was a son of Mr Downward and Fanny Box. He got the property, Uncle Ernie was riled about that. The property had quite a bit of land and they had lots of plants, bulbs and shrubs and things, that we always thought came from the Old Box estate. Lill told us that her mother ( Fanny) used to exhibit flowers in the shows that were held in Melbourne Town Hall, but of course Lill could well have been a bit fanciful."
"She admitted at one stage that there was another child, she (Lill) didn’t know him as a child, her mother never mentioned him. But he came to her once and said that he was her brother, or it might have been half-brother, I don’t know the full version, he lived at Mentone, but Lill wouldn’t have anything to do with him. His daughter lived in the house, but I had left by then, so I didn’t know her".
Alicia Downward died on the 6 September 1951, as there was no will, her brother Arthur Henry Downward, commonly known as Arthur Harvey Downward claimed the estate, house and land at 311 Jasper Rd. Bentleigh, valued at £ 1,319-3-0; together with furniture valued at £ 57-15-6. And savings totalling £ 40-19-8. Amongst the debts to be paid out of the estate was £ 21 to her niece, Ida Cummings for care and attention., and to Ida’s husband William Cummings £ 18 for refund of outlays.
Arthur Henry Downward, born 1883 married Alice Cleary in Melbourne in 1909, they had four children:
A/ Ada Downward, born 1910, died 1912, Sth. Melb.
B/ Lucy Downward born 1916 (Mrs. Bailey);
C/ Alice Downward born 1920, Northcote;
D/ Arthur Harvey Downward born 1924.
Arthur Henry Downward was a carrier by trade, died 23-4-1957 in Melbourne, he was 74 years old, is buried at St. Kilda.
Arthur Harvey Downward born 1924, worked as a PMG Technician, known as ‘Arty’ by his mates from Ferntree Gully. Appears not to have married, died 26-4-1980, as result of an accident, Knoxfield. He is buried at Springvale Crematorium.
Lucy Downward married Lawrence Bailey, they had four children; Ian; Carol Viola; Colin Harvey; Julie Alison Bailey
Ian Bailey married Val, they have Adina and David Bailey and were living in the USA in 1980.
Carol Bailey married Brian Bartlett, they have Bradley Grant and Clayton Lawrence. Bartlett
Julie Bailey married Michael Hardware and they have Dion Michael Colin Hardware, and Jevon Michael Bailey Hardware.
3/ Eleanor Box B. 1859---third child of William and
Eleanor was born in 1859, she died of Typhus fever on the 30-5 1879, after having given birth to son earlier that year, Eleanor was interred in Brighton Cemetery.
4/ Alice Amelia Box B 1861—fourth child of William and Elizabeth Box.
Alice was born in 1861, married George Dale, a Bootmaker, in 1881. They eight children:
A/Elizabeth Dale b.1881 Brighton;
B/Lilly Dale b. 1882 Brighton;
C/John Dale b. 1884 Brighton;
D/Thomas Dale b. 1886 Brighton;
E/ Rose Dale b. 1888;
F/ Ethelbert Dale b. 1890 Brighton;
G/ George Dale b. 1896 Armadale, died 1955 Parkville;
H/Elsie Dale b. 1899 Camberwell. ( ? Allan Dale, died of wounds in 1916 in the WW1.) Alice is interred in Keilor Cemetery.
5/ Thomas Henry Box b. 1863----fifth child of William and Elizabeth Box was born in 1863 and died 19 Sept. 1906. He was interred in Brighton Cemetery. Nothing else is known of Thomas at this stage.
6/ Annie Lavinia Box B. 1865 sixth. child of William and Elizabeth Box. Annie married Charles Rogers. They had two children,
A/ Annie Elizabeth Rogers b. 1886 Brighton;
B/ William Richard Rogers b. 1888 Brighton East., the family moved to Western Australia. Annie died in 1918, was interred in Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth.
7/ Arthur Walter Box B 1868—seventh child of William and Elizabeth Box. Arthur married Dagma Marie Nelson. They lived in Hawksburn and had one son names Walter Kingston Box, who used to write for the ‘Hearald’, newspaper. They also had one daughter, Marie Box. Arthur suffered from some kind of rheumatics or arthritis, he spent a lot of time in the Alfred Hospital, but was at home when he died. He was bedridden because of his condition
8/ Cecilia Eliza Box B. 1870 Twin sister to George William, and daughter of William and Elizabeth Box. Eliza married James Ainger, a Carter. Eliza and James lived at Surrey Hill, in those days Surrey Hills was country, and they had a cow. They visited George William and his wife, from time to time, which was reciprocated. George’s family were tea-totaller and apparently James Ainger liked to ‘bend the elbow’ a bit. The three older children of George’s family were invited to a twenty first birthday party at the Ainger’s and were shocked at the goings on !! The children were:
A/ James Arthur Tansey Aigner b. 1890 at Balwyn, died 1896 in Surrey Hills;
B/ Albert Fredrick Aigner b. 1892 Balwyn, died 1945. Albert was a Wholesale Fruiterer, he married Victoria Frances, their children Walter Aigner, Albert Aigner; Vi Aigner; Rose Aigner; Hector Aigner; Eva Aigner; John Aigner.
C/ Ada Constance Aigner b. 1894 at Surrey Hills, married Carl William Johnson-Boe;
D/ James Henry Aigner b. 1897 Surrey Hills;
E/ Edward William Aigner b.1899, Surry Hills was a gardener, died 1930 Maroondah Hospital, buried Box Hill Cemetery.
F/ Lillian Mary Aigner b. 1901 Surrey Hills;
G/ Eva Rose Aigner b. 1903 Surrey Hills, married Mr. Portbury;
H/ Florence Margaret Aigner b.1906, married Mr. Rogers;
I/ John Tansley Aigner b. 1909 Surrey Hills.
9/ George William Box B. 1870—twin brother of Eliza,
son of William and Elizabeth married Elizabeth Honor Ann Tippet.
4-12-1902, just one month after George’s father William had died. George and
Elizabeth had eight children—4 boys and 4 girls. When George and Elizabeth
married, George’s mother Elizabeth Box, gave them a shop and dwelling at 239
Elizabeth ran a little grocery with a few vegetables and things. George went to work, for a time at all sorts of jobs, at one time working in Oakleigh Tyre works. Eventually he turned to the job he knew best, and worked for a firm of nurserymen. Later he became a self employed gardener, looking after a garden in Queens Rd. Melbourne. Stefanie Rennick recalls, ‘They were wonderful to my mother, because she used to buy her goodies there and they would say, "come in the back and have a cup of tea". And if my mother had any problems, like where to go to have her baby, and what to do, they were very good—they would explain to her what to do’. Mrs. Reitman could nor speak English ‘My mother wanted us to go to Sunday School and church, so the Andersons and the Boxes took us; the Boxes were leading lights in the Presbyterian Church. The Box children were all about the same age as my brother and myself, I am the same age as Fred Box, we all grew up together."
The children of George and Elizabeth are
1/ Ida May Box, born 1903 had cared for her mother and was 42 before she married a Scot, named William Cumming, a tramway machinist upholsterer They lived in Grange Rd, adopted a boy and named him William George Cumming known as ‘Billy’, he married Wendy Mansell, their children are:
A/ Susan Cumming b. 1972;
B/ Paul Cumming b. 1973 married 1997 Felicity Steel;
C/ Shane Cumming b. 1973;
D/ Melissa Cumming b. 1977, Melissa has Angel Cumming b. 1996.
Ida died 1978 and William died 1979, both are buried at Springvale.
2/ Harold Box born 1905, was the eldest son of George and Elizabeth, he was a Printer by trade, first working in the city, he later had built a dwelling with printing shop business in Jasper Rd., about opposite his mother’s store. Harold had poor eye sight and was blind later in life, he never married, and by the time all the other children had married, their widowed mother was quite elderly. Harold gave up work and cared for his mother. He died Christmas Day 1999, age 90. Harold was treasurer of the Prebyterian church, his sister Avis recalls he always did the book work in the sitting room, where the family gathered, and he did not seem disturbed by the chatter of his six or seven brothers and sisters all talking at once. He was very conscientious in his work and carried out the duties for many years.
3/ Dorothy May Box, b. 1907 ‘Dorrie’, a very pretty girl, according to her sister, Avis, married Fredrick Jackson, a Gas Co. worker. Dorrie had a number of mis-carriages, one of them nearly full time.. Then it was discovered she had Diabetes, so they adopted a baby girl, Margaret Jackson, then later had a daughter of their own, they named her Judith Jackson.
Margaret Jackson married Davis Walker, they had
A/ Michelle Walker b. 1969, married Andrew Neville;
B/ Darren Walker b. 1971, married Rebecaa Coyne, they have Joshua Walker;
C/ Bradley Walker b. 1974;.
Judith Jackson married Carl Johnson their children are:
A/ Steven Johnson b. 1965;
B/ Peter Johnson b.1967,married Melisa Hamid;
C/ Craig Johnson b. 1968, and Geoffrey Johnson b. 1971. The marriage dissolved and Judy later married Steven Ely, and later Arthur Linhan.
4/ Thelma Elizabeth Box, born 1910 was third daughter of George and Elizabeth, married Keith Eagle, a driver. First Keith drove transport trucks, then he drove tour buses. After that he took a stationary job, he was a house manager at B.H.C. in St. Kilda Rd. They had a beautiful unit, that went with the job. They were there until Keith had a stroke died suddenly in 1978. He had diabetes, but wouldn’t keep to the rules—he liked his food too much. They had:
A/ Nancye Elizabeth Eagle, who married John Harkin, from Queensland, their children are: 1/ Mary-Anne Harkin born 4-7-1960, married Barry Howe and has Samuel Howe, born in 1989;-- 2/ Michael Harkin, born 1961,sadly died one month after birth, in 1961; 3/ Christopher Harkin b. 1963;-- and 4/ Elizabeth Harkin born 1965.
B/ Roddan Eagle, married Carolyn Mansell, they have Gerard Eagle b. 1979, and Kerri-Lee Eagle b. 1982, both adopted. Thelma died in 1996.
5/ Avis Ann Box, born 1912, fourth daughter of George and Elizabeth, married 17-6-1944, Alf Eldridge. They have two boys.
A/ Robert Eldridge is a Dr. of Philosophy, he works for the C.S.I.R.O. and is married to Sandra. They have three boys, 1/ Adam Eldridge, 2/ Nicholas Eldridge and 3/ Patric Eldridge.
B/ John Eldridge is a civil engineer and works for Vic. Roads, he married Carole Biggs—no relation to the great train robber, Ronald Biggs—John and Carole have Robert James Eldridge; Catherine Elizabeth Eldridge; and Meredith Eldridge, Carole died in 1995.
Avis Ann Box-Eldridge died in 2002, she was the last surviving child of George and Elizabeth Box, and has shared her memories of the family with me.
Avis recalled the ‘Gas-Lighter’ man riding his bike around the streets, with a long pole with a hook on the end to pull the chain attached to the light switches. In the 1920s. not everyone could afford the new gas lighting, as Avis recalls their neighbours had it, but the Box family continued to use Kerosene lamps until the older children started work and things eased.
She also recalled a great talking point about her father and his brothers playing around the disused railway line and sugar mill, that was never used. It was the broken dreams of Mr. William Murray Ross. Mr Ross arrived in Melbourne in 1852, from Liverpool, a man of vision and energy. He quickly prospered in business, and in 1858 was appointed ‘Territorial Magistrate’. Ross was busy accumulating property which he intended to eventually name after himself as ‘the new suburb of Rosstown’—his holdings in Prahran and Caulfield totalled 925 acres, consisted of orchards, market gardens, and tracts of heath-dotted paddocks over which cattle grazed, and a reserve know as ‘Leman’s swamp’. The present day Caulfield park was just south of Ross’s property. His plan for the reserve was to make a site of both a Sugar Mill and for processing sugar beets, and an associate reservoir for its water supply. This was one part of a larger overall plan, that of developing the whole of his land holdings as a new suburb, with the mill as a centre of local industry.
Melbourne was just beginning to build a rail service, the Melbourne and suburban Railway Company had been authorised to construct lines to Hawthorne and Windsor, the latter pass through Prahran……the function of the committee was to urge on the company towards construction of the Windsor railway,W.M. Ross was a member of the committee, who with his Prahran holdings stood to benefit handsomely. The line was opened to traffic in December 1860. Ross was also a member of a syndicate formed to build a railway line from Windsor to Oakleigh, and hopefully one day to ‘Gipp’s Land’, this syndicate was claimed to have the support of the Attorney-General-Archibald Michie……The route proposed was along the valley south of the Dandenong road, passing through Caulfield to Oakleigh. Although plans were drawn up the whole scheme fell through. However by May 1875 Ross was circulating a broadsheet canvassing the Rosstown project. On this broadsheet he announced details of all aspects of the project. The main themes being the establishment of a Sugar Mill, a railway to serve the Mill, and a residential settlement----As he stated on the broadsheet the Mill was already under construction, and he had bought much of the required machinery. Subdivision was starting and it was only a short time before he petitioned Parliament to authorise a three mile railway from Elsternwick to the Mill-------- Ross’s overall plane was to have the Gippsland rail line come to Oakleigh then on to his Sugar Mill and to Elsternwick, then to Melbourne.
‘The Rosstown Junction Railway and Property Company’, registered on the 29-9-1887---the major shareholders were W.M.Ross, T. Bent, B.J.Fink, and J.McA. Howden----On the 12-9-1888 the first materials for trackwork were placed on the new line, followed five days later by arrival of the company’s first steam locomotive at the Oakleigh end. Also during Sept. a new double line junction to the Rosstown Railway was installed at Oakleigh, closer to the station, and the old 1883 junction removed----The second locomotive for the company had arrived at Elsternwick by 16-10-1888, with two engines working the line was pushed ahead.
Ross was well aware of the problems associated with his ‘Statutory Date’. In autobiographical notes penned some years later, he claimed that on the 14-11-1888 he hired two carriages from the Victorian Railways. And using one of the company’s locomotives ran what is best as the best-known feature of the Rosstown railway stories---the ‘only’ train---that is, of course, besides the numerous other trains for construction purposes between September 1888 and March 1891.
According to Ross, passengers on his train included Thomas Bent, and the well-known legal men Malleson and Riggall. He said that the train ran from the platform at Elsternwick and’---ran to Oakleigh platform, stayed awhile for refreshments, and went back to Grange Rd. where the company got out and adjourned to Mr Ross’s house, where they dined. This is mentioned as proof that the line was constructed and in such a substantial manner as to permit a heavy engine drawing two loaded carriages to pass over it.
The Rosstown scheme seems basically to have been soundly conceived for its time----Unfortunately the project was continually hindered by red-tape and financial difficulties as Victoria plunged into depression in 1890s. It was never used and fell into decline, as did its visionary promoter. The sugar Mill likewise was never used. Mr Ross died penniless 29-8-1904. His two memorials—a derelict sugar-works building and a decaying Elsternwick to Oakleigh railway line, were great haunts for children to play and swaggies to sleep in. They were dismantled in 1908 and 1916 respectively. Little now remains to testify to the ambitious but ill fated Rosstown dream. However Mr. Ross does have a legacy of Rosstown Hotel and Rosstown Street in Carnegie.
Avis also recalled "a very big gum tree near Ross’s property in Grange Rd., that had a big hole in it, probably blown out or something like that, we children used to say—whether it was true or not, I don’t know, we might have been told---that was where the Ross’s mail was always put—in this hole in the tree".
William John and Herbert Reynolds Box were twin sons of George and Elizabeth Box.
6/ William Box b. 1914 married Maud Hanchette, they had:
A/ Malcome Box b. 1946, married 1976 Sandra Ede, they have 1/ Stephen Box b, 1979 2/ Nicolle Box b. 1981, Malcome worked in the Public Service in Canberra;
B/ Andrew Box b1953 married 1983 Christine Dormer, they have 1/ Corrina Box b.1985, this family lived in North Eastern Victoria;
C/ Jennifer Box b.1956 married 1980 Phillip Turpin, they live in Melbourne. William was a flower grower and also in the Air Force, he died in1986, Maud died in 1993.
7/ Herbert Box born 1914, married Olwyn Richard of Welsh descent, their children are:
A/ Elaine Box b. 1946, married 1975 Bruce Henry, they have 1/ James Henry b. 1978; 2/ Robin Henry b. 1981; and 3/ David Henry b. 1983.
B/ Richard Box b. 1949, married Nerida Bowen, they have 1/ Duncan Box b. 1974; 2/ John Box b. 1976, 3/ Cerwiden Box b. 1980, and 4/ Evan Box b. 1982.
C/ Bryan Box b. 1950 married Collen Malony, they have 1/ Kieren Box b. 1978,and 2/ Eden Box b. 1982;
D/ Christopher Box b. 1953 married 1/ Pam Smith, 2/ Sue Tirchett, Christopher and Sue have 1/ Thomas Box b. 1984 and 2/ William Box b. 1987.
8/ George Fredrick( Fred) Box born 1916 was the last child of George and Elizabeth Box, he married Olive Cameron. There were no children to this couple and Fred died in August 1997.
George William Box died 17-8-1933, and Elizabeth died 13-10-1953, both are buried in the Brighton Cemetery.
FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM
George William Box and Elizabeth Honor Tippet.
Avis Ann Box -Eldridge with a picture of her mother Elizabeth Tippet.
Left to Right-Sitting: Elizabeth Tippet-Box, Dorothy Box-Jackson, nursing Nancy Eagle, Thelma Box-Eagle holding baby William Cumming, Maud Hancette-Box with Malcombe, Avis Box-Eldridge with Robert, Judith Jackson, Margaret Jackson.
Standing--William Cumming, Ida Box-Cumming, Keith Eagle, Harold Box, Olive Cameron-Box, Fredrick Box.
10/ Emily Caroline was the seventh daughter of William
and Elizabeth Box, married Hugh Couper. Emily died of abortive
septicaemia in January 1912. Hugh died in 1921, both are interred in Brighton
11/ Ada Elizabeth was eighth daughter of William and Elizabeth Box, she married James Lyall of Northam, Western Australia. They lived in W.A. and had 6 children; William Alex ( Alec) Lyall b. 1904 at East Brighton; Hilda Mary Elizabeth Lyall,b. 1906 East Brighton; Violet Margaret Lyall b. 1907; Nellie Lyall, married Eric Knipe; James ( Jim) Lyall, Jim is believed to have died in a mine disaster in W.A; Leonard (Len) Lyall was in AIF, abroad in 1940. Ada died at Belmont W.A., and is buried in Karrakatta Cemetery.
12/ Ernest Herbert B. 1877—the fourth son of William and Elizabeth Box, had no time for his niece Lill, after his sister Fanny died. Ernest was a gardener, like his father and brother, he married Annie Sharp in 1908. They had one child, Ada Elizabeth Box, married Charles Turton, and had Alan Charles Turton, who lived in Port Fairy.
Annie died shortly after the birth of Ada Elizabeth in 1909. Ernest remarried in 1923 Florence Mayfield Kenny, they were regular visitors to George William and Elizabeth Box. " After our father had died and Uncle Ernie’s wife had died, Uncle Ernie had a car, an early model Chev. He took mum and Harold for drives down to Mornington; it was a favourite spot. They usually went for a drive then came back and had tea at our place. On one occasion, when they got to Mornington, Uncle Ernie stepped out of the car, had a heart attack and died. So that was the end of Uncle Ernie". 23rd. March 1952. He was interred at Springvale, Annie was buried at Brighton Cemetery. Florence Mayfield Box died June 1946, at Malvern.
13/ Edith Violet Box B. 1879—the ninth daughter and youngest child of William and Elizabeth Box, was known as Violet.
From her niece, Avis Box-Eldridge:
"Aunt Violet, she ended up being a house keeper for a number of people; I remember she was a housekeeper to an elderly gentleman and then, at different times she worked in the country as a housekeeper…..But she was lame, she had a foot deformity, and for a while in, or I suppose when I was about 10 she lived with us because she was having trouble, probably I would say it was from her hip which might have caused the foot deformity. She had trouble and couldn’t work and she came and stayed with my parents. I remember many of the things; one of the men she worked for, he was a widower and had a son, and the son, having reached the state of manhood, he used to go out and come home late at night. Always when he came home his father would hear him, and he would call out "Cecil stop the clock". It was not because the clock annoyed him, but so he would know what time Cecil came in. Aunty Violet used to get his bath ready and tell him to have a bath, and she said he would go in and stay in the bathroom for a while then pull the plug out, and let the water go. She said she could tell by the towels that he had never had a bath; and yet he was a gentleman, but bathing wasn’t something he cared to do. And then she worked on a sheep station as cook and housekeeper or something and she told us a tale about one of the children from the farm. They used to go to Sunday school and they had to learn a text, and repeat it the next week; and this little boy had been hanging around the sheep yard, and he had to recite the text ‘Behold the Lamb of God’, but he said ‘ Hold the lamb begod’…….whether they were true or not, she was a great spinner of tales".
It may have only been a couple of years after her stay at her brother’s house, that Violet married Cecil Walter Woodman in Sydney. They lived at Palmerston Rd. Fairfield West Sydney. Could this possibly have been the Cecil in the story above???. Violet die in July 1950 and Cecil in August 1957, both are interred in Rookwood Cemetery NSW.
Francis Box –Born 14-10-1836—2nd. son of George and Mary Box
Francis was born in Withyham, Sussex, he came to Australia
with his parents, two brothers and sisters aboard ‘The Atalanta’ in 1856. As
a bounty passenger Francis was bound to A Wright Esq. Of Beaudesert, according
to the records, but probably was Beaufort, a Victorian town midway between
Ballarat and Ararat on the western highway. He seems to have been a wanderer, an adventure seeker,
working on construction jobs throughout Victoria, and as a carrier and gold
seeker on the diggings. He sought his fortune in and around the Heathcote area,
in the 1868, Postal Directory, Francis is a miner in Upper Dargo, and his
marriage certificate records his occupation as miner.
At Heathcote he met and married Eliza Jane Thompson, known as Jane, 16 years younger than himself, daughter of John Thompson and Eliza Green / Thompson.
Francis and ‘lady luck’ were never good companions, and he was not to realise his dream of wealth on the gold fields, and when their first child Francis George Box died in 1875, at the age of 13 months, Francis decided it was time to return to market gardening with the rest of the family. He and Jane brought their son’s body to Brighton where he was buried. Francis’s brother Henry had a block of land in Tucker road, he was not using, which he let to Francis on what was known as a purchasing lease agreement, so Henry and their brother John helped Francis clear the land, erect a dwelling and commence gardening. Things were going well for Francis and Jane, over the next four years four more children were added to the family, then tragedy struck again. On Friday night 24th. March 1882, about 9 PM, while Francis was winding the clock, his wife called out. On turning around Francis saw the bed cloths alight, Eliza cried out "Save the baby" Francis thinking she meant the new baby, just 5 days old went in to his room, but he wasn’t there. Realising Eliza meant their two year old daughter, Francis rushed towards the other room, but was beaten back by the flames and severely burnt on two attempts to enter the room. A married niece and others had difficulty escaping half dressed. They lost everything, and daughter Lena Caroline Box died in the fire. There was £ 7-2-0 in the house, of this a £ 1 note, of course was burnt, four half- sovereigns were recovered intact, the remainder in silver and copper was partially melted. Some church and community members took up subscriptions to assist the family.
Francis and Jane, started again, in the true Box spirit of diligence and hard work, were able to take advantage of the prosperity of Victoria as a whole. Melbourne was still benefiting from the gold rush, with many people taking advantage of the land boom, which came to a sudden stop in the 1890s. Francis started with buying about 2 acres of land at the corner of Tucker Rd. and Elizabeth St, erected a cottage and lived here until his death. This property was bequeathed to his sons W.H.George Box, & Charles Francis Box, and his daughter Mable Alma Box- Hembrow. He also had seven and a quarter acres and house situated on the east side of Tucker Rd. bequeathed to Charles Francis Box, and another two acres on the west side of Tucker Rd. adjoining the properties of Henry Box and Mr. Clinch. which was bequeathed by Francis to his daughters Jessie Melinda Box Robinson and Edith Florence Box Clay
Between the time of the fire and 1890 four more children were born, one died as an infant and another at the age of two, only five of their nine children lived to adulthood. Francis died in 1912 and Jane died in 1922, both are buried ain the Brighton Cemetery.
The surviving children were: 1/ William Henry George Box; 2/ Mable Alma Box; 3/Charles Francis Box; 4/ Jessie Melinda Box and 5/ Edith Florence Box. These are recorded below with their families.
Emily Jane Box, nee McCurry, and William Henry George Box.
William Henry George Box born 14-1-1876, 2nd
son of Francis and Jane.
W. H. G. Box was known as George. He went to the Common School No 213 at East Brighton, later to become State school No 2083 East Bentleigh. In 1885 George was awarded a book for attendance, diligence and general proficiency. After finishing school George followed his father in the market garden. When he married Emily Jane McCurry in 1899 daughter of Henry McCurry, a market gardener of Marriage Rd. North Brighton, and Elizabeth Lindsay, of Brighton, who later moved to Jasper Rd. Ormond. At the time of their marriage Emily was living at Rosbourne Av. East Brighton, and they were married at ‘Graystaine’, Tooronga Rd. Malvern, by Mr. John Hemsnelwood.
George rented 11 ¾. acres of land in Tucker Road, adjoining the State School (now Moorabbin Primary School), he later purchased this property. . This property was owned by a bachelor, Mr. Alex Waun. After Mr. Waun died the property went to his brother Mr. Robert Waun, from whom George purchased the said land in 1905.
From 1 Jan. 1900 until 31 Dec. 1912 he also rented the land now held by the Victorian Education department. This land was portion of the estate of the late Mr Peter Marquis, whose widow passed away in 1912. By the term of the will of Mr Marquis, this land had to be offered for auction; George bid £100 per acre, for 9 acres. Another market gardener, Mr W. Sheppard bid £ 1,000 for the lot, and was the successful purchaser. George also owned 21 ½. acres in Tucker Road, bounded by Browns Rd. in the east and Elizabeth Street on the north. This land he purchased from Mr. Warnbach, and later sold to Mrs. William Marriott.
Gardening was not an easy occupation, it required long hours of back-breaking work before the early morning treck to the market in horse and dray. Steel tracks had been laid along South Rd. and Centre Dandenong Rd. and Nepean highway for the wheels of the lorries to roll on, so as to prevent getting bogged and digging up the ‘road’. This was fine providing the horse had no objections, but Emily is recorded as telling how she had to get up early to help get one stubborn horse to go between the tracks, he baulked at the idea every time. George was a very successful gardener and the family had a comfortable life at Bentleigh.
In 1916, George decided to sell his properties in Bentleigh, and bought a 320 acre dairy farm, in Strzelecki. He purchased this property, site unseen, believing it to be good for growing potatoes and onions. So the day came for the family to set off for life in the country, to the land of the Lyre Bird. Emily may not have been too happy about the idea, and neither was their eldest daughter Dorothy. At 15 years old Dorothy, who had been dux of the primary school, at Bentleigh, and had done a couple of years at business college, sat sulkily in the jinker with her mother and two younger sisters. George and the two boys looked after the dray with all the house hold possessions. Travelling along, what we now know as South Gippsland Highway, which then was just a dirt track, sand in summer and mud in winter. We don’t know what time of year they moved, but we are told that at the hills the lorry was too heavily loaded for the horse to be able to pull it up. So they had to unload half their goods, take the rest up, unload and come back, load the second lot, go up, then reload the first lot to continue. No wonder the trip took them several days, camping at the side of the road each night. It wasn’t long after they arrived, they learnt they had been hood-winked, the land round Korumburra was petrified wood in a rocky timbered gully and would only grow Blackberries, weeds and ferns. The dream of growing potatoes and onions became a nightmare.
They all worked hard, the children helping to hand milk the 30-40 cows before and after school every day. Women in those days did not work in the sheds, but Emily worked very hard helping with the milking as well as in the paddock, trapping and ferreting rabbits, for the table and for further education for Hazel and Jessie. During the depression years rabbits were the stable diet for many families, prompting the following verse.
Of rabbits young, of rabbits old,
Of rabbits hot, of rabbits cold,
Of rabbits tender, rabbits tough,
I think, my Lord, we’ve had enough.
When his son Frank married in 1925, George gave him half the property. In
1936 George let his half to share farmers, came back to Melbourne, and settled
in Park Rd. Cheltenham, the poorer for the experience, and in ill health due to ulcers.
A few different sharers worked the property for a time, then George’s grandson Len Seabrook took it on. Len worked hard and was starting to reap the rewards, when he was struck with Polio, his brother George Seabrook took it over.
After the second world war, the dairy industry boomed and George’s son Francis, and grandson George, did well out of it.
Despite his ill health George walked a mile or more to his son’s market garden in Bernard Street Cheltenham to work every day until he retired. Having survived the 1900s. and 1930s. depressions, in his will George left three properties, one in Park Rd. Cheltenham one in Railway Rd. Cheltenham, and one in Mundy St. Mentone, as well as investments in bank bonds; the Korumburra butter factory; and Dandenong Bacon factory, to the value of nearly £ 8,000, to be managed to provide for Emily during her lifetime. George died 15-6-1957 and Emily in August 1965, they are both buried in the Cheltenham Cemetery.
George and Emily had 8 children, 5 girls and three boys. Seven of these children grew to adulthood and one, Henry Box born 1904 died three months later. One family story says George and Emily were so poor at that time—due to the depression—that they put little Henry’s body in a tomato box, loaded it on to the buggy and took it to Brighton cemetery dug the grave and buried him themselves. Later, when more financial the body was moved to the family grave. The surviving children are listed below:
The 1st. child of George and Emily Box was:
1/ Dorothy Box born 2-1-1901. One day after the Federation of Australia was declared. Dorothy apparently got over her sulky mood about living in the country, because she married Albert (Bert) Seabrook and lived on a dairy farm in Strzelecki for many years before retiring to Gordon St. Korumburra. Dorothy died in June 1982, and Bert in September 1971, both are buried at Korumburra. They had four boys and one girl listed below:
A/ Stanley Allan Seabrook born at Wonthaggi on the 14-8-1920, began his education at Strzelecki primary school, then on to Korumburra Elementary School and Teachers College. On the 5-6-1940, Stan was living in Parkville when he enlisted in the 2/2 Anti Aircraft Regiment, of the Airforce, however on the 4th. August it was discovered that Stan could not rotate his left arm, due to a deformity of the elbow; from an old injury, he was discharged unfit for the unit.
On the 16th. April 1941 he enlisted in the AIF at Royal Park, he did some initial training at Bendigo, and on the 28th. June 1941 he left Sydney for the Middle East. he disembarked in the Middle East on the 25th. July 1941, where he suffered from Dysentery and Enteritis. The Ordinance field park’s role was the maintenance of motor vehicles. The various Division Sections were scattered about the Middle East, its vehicles, corps and division sections supporting the troops in Egypt, in Palestine and in Syria and Lebanon. The headquarters were in Barbara until 8 March 1942, when it packed up and moved to the Suez, where it embarked for Australia, though some elements remained in the Middle East in support of the 9th. Division. Stan served in the Middle East until 28th. Jan.1943, when he embarked on " L. 3’, and arrived in Sydney on the 27th. Feb. 1943. In July 1943 he was transferred from 1st. Aust. Ord. Fd. Pk to 2/122nd. Aust. Bde Ord Fd Pk. In August he embarked on ‘H.T. Allen in Cairns for Milne Bay, New Guinea, where he disembarked 2 days later, he returned to Australia in March 1944. He was discharged from the army in May 1944. After the war he went to university and obtained three degrees of education, which led to many moves and promotions. He married Irene Goff, there were no children of the marriage. In time, Stan and Irene went their separate ways and Stan latter married Pam. After he retired Stan and Pam bought a property in Warrigal, where Pam still lives; Stan died in 1998.
B/ Ronald William Seabrook, born at Poowong 21-2-1923, The following year, Ron’s younger brother George was born, a very sickly baby, who needed a lot of attention. Neighbours, Mr & Mrs Davey, who were childless offered to look after Ron, to help out. Ron lived with the Davey family until he started school.
On the 29-12-1943 he married Jean Bryson, daughter of Alexander Bryson and Edith Clark. Jean had attended Poowong primary school, Korumburra elementary School, Presbyterian Ladies College and business College before returning home to the farm. She met Ron at the 50/50 dance held in the Poowong Public Hall every Saturday night, where they enjoyed the Foxtrots, Pride-of –Erin; Parma- Waltz; Gypsy-Tap, and the good old Barn-Dance. Ron, is a farmer, the family live in Echuca. Ron’s Australian Sheep dogs have been champions for 10 of the last 11 years in trials. Ron has bravely fought a long battle with cancer, the staff at Royal Melbourne hospital call him their ‘miracle man’ At present he is very well, and still taking his dog to the trials. Ron and Jean have five boys and one girl.:
1/ Graham Ronald Seabrook, born 27-9-1944 married Lorraine, they have Julie Seabrook born 30-1-1968; Katrina Seabrook, born 2-1-1970; & Mark Seabrook, born 26-4-1971.
2/ Gwenneth Jean Seabrook, born 19-9-1946, married Frank Godden, at the Methodist Church Rochester, on the 29-4-1967. They have Stephen Andrew Godden born 15-6-1968 in Rochester; Sharon Maree Godden born 15-9-1971 in Rochester, is now a Hairdresser; twins Kylie Jean and Kerrie Leanne were born 20-1-1977 at Bendigo. Kylie has her own business as a Travel Marketing Co-ordinator; while Kerrie is at present nearing the end of a two year working trip overseas.
3/ Bruce William Seabrook, born 2-4-1950, married 1/ Judy they have Barry Leigh Seabrook born 24-12-1971; Gene Seabrook, born 3-6-1973; marriage dissolved, married 2/ Glenda, they have Eboni Seabrook, born 18-11-1979; Darren Seabrook, born 14-7-1981; Bret Seabrook born 22-6-1989.
4/ Peter Malcolm Seabrook, born 17-7-1951, in Echuca, married Judy Seabrook they live at Bendigo, and have Mathew Seabrook, born 4-8-1977; Bradley Seabrook, born 8-9-1978; Jarrard Seabrook, born 15-2-1980;
5/ Robert John Seabrook, born15-2-1953 in Rochester, and partner Nilla, live at Bendigo, they have Luke Seabrook born 26-12 1979; Jason Seabrook, born 31-3-1982, and Cassandra Seabrook, born 6-11-1987.
6/ Alexander Edward Seabrook, born 11-6-1956, in Rochester, works on the family farm at Echuca, and is not married.
C/ George Albert Seabrook, born 28-2-1924, married Winifred Beryl Smerdon.
George took his grandfather’s dairy farm at Strzelecki when his brother Len became ill. He also did well and in time bought the property and extended it. He and Beryl lived there until George was forced to sell due to ill health--cancer. They have two children, George died in July 1991, their children are:
1/ Marilyn Joy Seabrook, born 20-9-1949, married Garry Hill, they have Stephen Hill born 29-10-1973; George Hill, born 4-6-1976; Elizabeth Hill, born 13-1-1979; and Lynette Hill, born 8-1-1983.
2/ Brian Douglas Seabrook, born 25-4-1952, married Jan Wheeler, they have Trudi Seabrook, born ? and Spmoni Seabrook born 28-9-1977
D/ Leonard Francis Seabrook, born 19-3-1926, married Winifred Mary Brough
Len took on the share farm of his grandfather in about 1943, he worked hard and was beginning to reap the rewards when the Polio epidemic struck. Len became a victim in 1945, after hospital treatment and a time recuperating at the home of his Uncle & Aunt in Cheltenham he went home. His father was a believer in the massage methods of Sister Kenny, which had been rejected by the medical profession in Australia. Sister Kenny went to America where her methods were widely acclaimed. Bert spent many hours massaging Len’s arm. In time he regained the use of it and was able to go back to living an active life, including playing tennis. During his illness, Len had learnt to do most things with his left arm. When he had recovered he would play tennis with his right arm, until it got tired then switch to his left arm, confusing his opponents completely. Len also went back to farming on his father’s 140 acre property at Strzelecki. He and Mary later bought a farm at Warrigal where there was irrigation available. They have two children, Len died in Nov. 1990. Their children are:
1/ Phillip Richard Seabrook, born 30-10-1950, was in the Police force for a time, and now works in Security. He married Barbara and they have Fiona Seabrook born 16-8-1975; Leonie Seabrook, born 2-6-1977; and Anthony Seabrook, born Nov. 1979.
2/ Sheryl Maree Seabrook, born 31-10-1950, is a doctor, living in Perth W.A. with her husband Eric Witford. They have Julie Witford born ? and Michael Witford born 15-11-1979.
E/ Maisie Dorothy Seabrook, born Dec. 1933, attended Strzelecki South School, then onto Korumburra Elementary School for two years. This required riding a bike three miles to catch the school bus, then three miles back again, and those trips in winter were pretty severe. Maisie became quite ill with Pneumonia, so the decision was made for her to go as a boarder to Strathburn Presbyterian College in Power St. Hawthorn, a traumatic experience for a country girl who had never been away from home before, Maisie hated it. She married Robert Howard Morgan, who worked in banking, which led to many moves along with promotions. They have three children.
1/ Jennifer Morgan was born in Yarra Wonga 28-2-1956, married Bernard Meyer, they have Katherine Meyer born 21-4-1984; Richard Meyer born 8-1-1987; Helen Marie Meyer born 15-9-1990; and Phillpi Meyer born 31-1-1994.
2/ Richard Morgan was born 12-8-1958 in Hobart married Lisa, have one child.
3/ Pamela Morgan born 10-10-1962, married Brett Henry, they have Caitlyn Henry born 10-2-1984; Alexandria Henry born 7-6-1988; and Dylan Henry born 5-1-1993
The second child of W.H.George and Emily Box was:
Francis (Frank )Box born 15-7-1902---Francis was born in Bentleigh, as it is now known He was fourteen when the family moved to Strzelecki, and most probably finished school. He would have worked with his father and mother on the farm right from the beginning. When Frank married Gladys Battersby in 1926, his father gave him half the property to work for himself. By the time the war started they had 5 children, aged from 12 to 2 years old. Frank joined the land corps of the R A A F, at Melbourne, trained at Shepparton, He was posted to Point Cook, and many other places in Australia including Pell and Winnellie in the Northern Territory. He was discharged on the 18th. July 1944, having been promoted to Corporal. While Frank was away Gladys, like many war wives had to manage the farm and raise the children alone. When Frank returned they sold the property and bought a 40 hectare, sheep and cattle farm at Carbor, just out of Wangaratta. Later extending to a second larger property also in Carbor. Frank died 23-3-1986 and Gladys on the 2-8-1986.
The Five Children of Francis and Gladys Box are:
Dulcie Box born 2-3-1927, Dulcie’s father,
Frank did not think it would be a good idea for their children to go to
Strzelecki South School with their Seabrook cousins, so they attended Strzelecki
School, until she achieved her merit certificate, then helped on the farm until
she married Raymond Francis Bussell, they have :A/ Samuel Robert Bussell, born 12 –11-1947, married Norma
Hoult they have Darren Lyle Bussell born 27-4-1971; and Craig
Andrew Bussell born 31-8-1973.
B/ Sylvia June Bussell, born 13-11-1949, married J. Haydon Barry, they have –Rachel Alexandra Barry born 20-12-1980; Phillipa Anne Barry born 14-2-1983; and Vanessa Kate Barry born 11-8-1984.
C/ Joan Lorraine Bussell born 18-4-1955, married John Millic.
4/ Harold Leslie Bussell born 5-3-1959, married Sue Bussell, they have Leanne Melinda Bussell born 31-1-1983; Benjamin Leslie Bussell born 22-4-1985 and Lynette Bussell.
2/ George Box born 31-5-1928, married Jean Holms, they work the larger farm at Carboor, and have the following 10 children;
A/George Box, born 3-10-1958, he married Heather, no children recorded for this couple.
B/ Alisa Box, born 19-1-1960, married Justin Hughes, who runs a Plastic Factory. They have Ebony Hughes and Tasman Hughes who are twins.
C/ Robin Box, born 5-4-1961, married Veronica Roman they have Andrea Roman; Lisa roman; and Jodi Roman.
D/ Malcome Box, born 30-12-1962, married Sue Kerrison, they have Amanda Box and Anthony Box.
E/ Christopher Box, born 14-1-1965, works the farm of his grandfather Francis Box at Carboor. He lives with his partner Liz Davidson, just out of Myrtleford, there are no children.
F/ Heather Box born 30-1-1966, married Stephen Roma, they have Brooke Roma.
G/ Jean Box born 5-12-1967, is a trained nurse. She married an Electrician, Franco Corsini. After travelling round Australia for some time they went to England where Franco is working with Jean’s brother Ross, in Bristol. They do not have a family as yet.
H/ Noel Box, born 24-12-1969, and partner Dianne Newton-Farrell, have Jacinta Box,born 3-10-1995, and Michael Box, born 22-10-1997.
I/ Ross Box, born 18-5-1972, is an engineer Refrigeration mechanic working in Bristol, England. Ross is a carefree bachelor.
J/ Adrian Box, born 5-6- 1974, like his brother has remained single—so far.
3/ Gwladys (Welsh spelling) Box born 29-6-1930, Gwaldys was a rather shy girl, and found it difficult to be with people she didn’t know very well. She recalled her schooldays, first at Strzelecki school until, when in the third grade the teacher decided not to return after the September school holidays. The children were left with no teacher, so no school, brother George Box took it upon himself to break into the school and collect all their books, ( for which he was strongly reprimanded for not asking permission of the school President). Father then decided the children should go the Strezlecki South School,
with their Seabrook cousins, soon after other children from Strzelecki School followed. Gwladys also remembers a holidays she spent with her Box cousins in Cheltenham, when cousins Peter and Charles Box stayed at Carboor. At first Gwladys says she was very homesick, and cried a lot, but two weeks later when it was time to go home, she didn’t want to go, so more tears. She recalls the most memorable day of her holiday, was when her Uncle George took herself with cousins Avis, and Beryl Box; Ray and Marion Woff, with their parents, Jean and Neil Woff; also George’s sister Lyn Box and her then ‘beau’ Fred Spencer, all piled into the back of the farm truck, going to Daylesford Springs for a picnic. Uncle George drank 32 glasses of spring water, and was very proud of it, lucky it wasn’t alcohol !!!! Another day they all piled into the truck for a day at the beach at Rosebud, but not before Jean Woff had ascertained from brother George " Just what are we going to do, I need to know whether I need to wear my corset or not!!!".
Gwladys married Victor John Bussell, a farmer in Carboor. Their 6 children are:
A/ Jeanene Alison Bussell born 20-4-1953, married Ross Stewart, they have, Natalie Maree Stewart born Feb. 1973; Amie Louise Stewart, born 19-11-1981; and David James Stewart born 26-8-1983.
B/ Trevor John Bussell born 11-8-1954, is a Shearer/ Farmer married to Debra Anne Pizzini. They have Daniel John Bussell born 3-11-1981; Kristie Ann Bussell born 12-3-1985.
C/ Neville Andrew Bussell born 28-1-1958, married Terrie Dawes
D/ Garry Ross Bussell, born 12-1-1959, married Sarah Sheppard, they have Tyler Bussell born 14-10-1994; and Maddison Bussell born 3-4-1996.
E/ Wendy Joanne Bussell born 4-9-`960 married Peter De Koeyer; they have Paul De Koeyer born 29-1-1987, is a keen athlete, playing, basket ball, football, and competing in field and track Claire De Koeyer born 11-6-1991, is a keen netball player, receiving ribbons and a gold medal at school competitions.
F/ Geoffrey Douglas Bussell born 27-4-1963 is also a Shearer/ farmer, married to Jeanette Peterson, they have Jessica Bussell born 13-2- 1991; Sarah Bussell born 24-4-1992; and John Bussell born 11-10-1994.
Gwladys died May 2001, Vic still lives on the farm at Carboor
4/ Nora Box born 4-7-1933, Nora never married, she had an Arabian horse stud business, and worked on farm with her parents, caring for them in their later years. She continued running the farm with help from her nephew, Christopher Box. As Nora is now retired, due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, her nephew Christopher Box manages the farm.
5/ Darnley Box born 27-5-1937, like many of his cousins also chose to leave the family business and make his own way in the world. He married Shirley Jean Davidson from Sydney, their children are: Calvin Glen Box; he married ton, no children; Rhonwyn Box, married Wolfgan Erwin Friedel, they have:
1/ Nakita Cecilia Kara Friedel, born 4-10-1991 2/ Meischa Friedel, born 19-11-1996 Lachlan Box, who is not married, and Darnleigh( Leigh) Box, is
married to Sharon Bennett, they have 1/ Sarah Box, born 12-7-1990 2/ Joshua Box born 5-12-1993.They live in Western Australia.
The 3rd. child of George and Emily Box was:
George Box and Pearl Pickering on their wedding day.
George Box, born 8-3-1905
---The year the first
Australian full-length feature film was produced by W.A. Gibson and Millard
Johnson; ‘ The Story of the Kelly Gang’ is thought to be the world’s
first full-length feature film. When screened in 1906 it was billed as the
sensation of the year, it cost £ 400 to produce and took
£ 25,000 at the box office.
As his father was also known as George, George jn. was always called ‘ Boy’ by his family. ‘Boy’. went to Bentleigh Primary School, and was 11 when the family moved to Strezlecki. Like his grandfather before him, George also had a restless spirit, and left the family home at about the age of 15, leaving behind his half of the Strzelecki property, which in time was bought by his nephew, George Seabrook. George ‘Boy’ tried his hand at many jobs, including working in a poultry farm in Chesterfield Rd. Cheltenham, and also in the coal mines at Wonthagi, for a time. Eventually, though George decided market gardening was the way to go. On the 6th. July 1927, he signed an agreement with Edward Flack of Mentone, to jointly lease a house and 20 acre of market garden in Bernard St. Cheltenham, from Florence Morrison, the terms of the lease being for 5 years at yearly rent of £40 Florence Morrison was one of 6 children of Henry Comport, there being 4 daughters and two sons, who inherited the property. ( source, titles office) And from Tom Sheehy’s book ‘Battlers Tamed A Sandbelt’ on page163, we read: "…….The Comports were well known for their market garden pursuits at the time and Henry Comport, who served as a Moorabbin Shire Councillor grew tomatoes in his garden and processed them as tomato sauce in a shed on the same ground in Bernard St. this product was the first ( at present known of) to be entered into competitions and win prizes in exhibitions as far away as Paris, from Cheltenham".
Cheltenham was originally called ‘Two Acre village’ by Josiah Morris Holloway, a land speculator, (it may have been subdivided into 2 acre block, as it was possibly thought this was sufficient land for a man to make a living from) who bought large slices of land between Gipsy Village (now Sandringham) and Cheltenham.
In December of that year, 1927, George married Ada Pearl Pickering, and they settled into the house. Unfortunately one week later the house burnt to the ground while George and Pearl were visiting relatives, thought to have been George’s Uncle Charlie and Aunty Ethle Box.. Neighbours and relatives helped to erect a couple of rooms, so they had a roof over their heads for Christmas, but nothing else. They worked hard together, for ten years, by which time Edward Flack had passed on, and George could afford a deposit on the property. He later also rented another house and 6 acres of land adjoining his property in Wilson St. This property was owned by Mr. Oats of Box Hill, George worked the land and sub-let the house, often to workers he employed; the main one for many years was Jack Warr and his family.
During this time market gardening was done much the same as it had been 70 years earlier, when George’s great-grandfather had arrived. The seeds sown and the seedlings thinned out and weeded by crawling along the furrows on hands and knees, with a piece of hessian bag tied around their knees to save wear on their trousers.
Pearl recalled a day in summer when the temperature was in excess of 100 deg. F. and George was on his hands and knees weeding all morning. When he came in for lunch Pearl commented, " Its hot out there darl". George, whose temper could be as hot as the weather snapped, " I’ve b----y well been out there weed’n all morning, I don’t b---y well need you to tell me its hot".
Tilling of the soil was done with horse and plough, and marketing with horse and lorry. Motor transport to market didn’t start until around 1930, and was interrupted during the war years due to petrol rationing, tractors were not used until the 1940s. Some mechanised methods of sowing, to eliminate the need for thinning the seedling came about around 1966. The planting of some crops as seedlings, rather than seeds also eliminated the need for thinning, though carrots and parsnips, which George specialised in were planted as seeds. Weed control was pretty well unheard of, though some gardeners did use a spray of a mix of power and lighting kerosene. Watering was always a big problem in the summer months, due to low pressure during the day, the sprinklers were kept going all night as the water pressure was marginally better. This meant George, or sometimes his sons, often stayed up all night shifting 7 or 8 sprinklers ever hour. Gardening has always required long hours of hard back-breaking work at least 6 days a week and often seven days a week. Pearl also worked hard along side her husband, helping with the washing and loading of the vegetables, as well as looking after a small poultry farm.
Despite the long hours and hard work, the family made time to socialise. In their courting days, George and Pearl enjoyed the black and white silent movies. In the early 1930s. sound films were making an appearance in the theatres. At home card nights with relatives and friends was a regular form of entertainment; and radio broadcasting had commenced in Melbourne with 3AR going to air in late 1923, although it may have been some time before every one could afford the new console radio. They followed the football and cricket, and later played tennis. Annual community activities such as market gardeners picnic, Sunday School picnics, and church fetes were all part of the social program.
Pearl’s family had lived in Cheltenham for nearly 20 years. Her father, Charles Pickering had one of the two, Hansom Cab taxi services run from Cheltenham station. The Pickerings were all talented sports people, Charles having played both football and cricket for St. Kilda, This talent has been inherited by many of their children and grandchildren. Pearl and her sister Linda were good at all sports, and excelled in Lawn Bowls, Pearl being club champion a number of times, and runner-up to the champion of champions on more than one occasion. After retiring from work George sold the Bernard St property, moving to Surrey Hills. He acquired two other residential properties before settling in Wilcyrus St, where they lived for the last 20 years. George died in July 1986, and Pearl in July 1992, both are buried in the New Cheltenham Cemetery.
George and Pearl had 5 children listed below:
1/ Charles Box, born 24-7-1929, attended Cheltenham State
school, leaving at the age of 13, as he had passed his merit certificate in
December of that year, 1942. Charles has memories of the air-raid shelters being
built at the school in 1942. "They had working-bees, with all the
fathers of the kids, with pick and shovel, they were very elaborate, filled the
school yard up with these split trenches, one going this way, and one going that
way. They were boarded up so you could have even put floors in them, we had
air-raid drill at that time, those of us, like me, in the eighth grade were
responsible for one of the kids in the lower grades, the sirens went, and you
had to take them into the trenches. They were actually roofed over and took up
the whole of the school yard, many people had air-raid shelters in their own
He recalls the best teacher he had was George Baker, who taught the 7th. & 8th. Grades. Charles got his merit certificate and was 3rd. dux of the school; first was Joyce Dixon and second was Les Tilly. Charles recalls other teachers as Miss Bervil for the younger grades and Miss ( Squizzy ) Squirer for the 3rd. grade. Miss Tredinick for the 5th. Grade; Mr. Higgins the 6th. Grade When Charles first started school Miss Bervil asked him, ‘What is your mother’s name ?’ Charles replied, ‘ ‘Tweety’,--George had for a long while address Pearl as ‘Sweetheart, later abbreviating it to Sweetie,--hence Charles knew his mother as ‘Tweetie !! Miss Bervil remembered having taught Pearl and her brother and sister 20 years earlier—she was still there when the youngest of our family went there—Miss Squirers also taught two generations of our family.
After leaving school Charles joined the Naval Cadets, he recalls going one Christmas time, probably 1944, with the Cadets down to the base camp at Mount Martha, Balcombe, where many of the American Marines, as well as many Australian service men were sent for rest and recreation after fighting in the Coral Sea.
Charles remembers with amusement dad’s greyhounds, when he was 9 or 10 years old he had to walk the dogs in the paddocks along side Highet football ground ( now St. Kilda’s ground). At that time it was nearly all vacant land with some gardens, so walking the dogs was fine, until they spotted a rabbit. In his own words, "…where I was walking these blasted dogs, well the blasted dogs would sight a rabbit or something, and this dog was as big as I am, the dam thing would take off, away the dog would go—what hope has a 9 or 10 year old got of holding those blasted dogs when they decide to go ? Dad was pretty annoyed when it took an hour or more to find the blasted dogs and get them back !!
After finishing school Charles went to work with his father in market garden. During the 50s. at least one of the neighbouring properties had been sold and subdivided, causing all the adjoining properties to be taxed at residential rates, instead of rural rates. So with suburbia spreading out, in 1960 Charles, in partnership with a neighbour Arthur Martin, took possession of a 40 acre property in Mile Rd. Tynong, which was actually on the Cora Lyn flats. Arthur left the partnership in 1962. In 1966 Charles bought another 20 acre property near by at Vervale, and his brother Norman took over the Tynong garden. About 8 years later Charles moved to Cranbourne and worked in Bekeart’s factory until he retired. He married Cora Casanova late in life, there are no children to this marriage.
2/ Peter Box, born 22-3-1932, attended Cheltenham School to grade 6, by which time his father had prospered enough to be able to send him to Wesley College in 1944. His brother Charles was also offered at this time to return to school at Wesley, but as he had been working for 12 months he did not want to go back to school. Peter recalls the occasional shooting and ferreting trips with his father and Charles, also going fishing in George’s motor boat, ‘Diana’.
Peter, particularly took after the Pickering side of the family and excelled in all sport. He first played football for the Cheltenham Juniors, and, at Wesley was captain of the tennis, cricket, and football teams in 1945, and captain of the cricket and football teams of 1946. He played football with the Cheltenham juniors until 1950, and was a member of the Combined Federal District junior team of 1950. Peter first concentrated on a promising tennis career, after winning the under 13 Victorian Championships at Glen Irish, then on another occasion when playing at Kooyong, he had Neil Fraser down 7-5 and 40 love, and Neil got up and beat him. At the age of 17 he was picked to play for the Brighton Tennis Club in a pennant match, but he played so badly he retired from Pennant tennis and the next week played football for Cheltenham. His opponent in the centre that day was John Beckwith,( who later played for Collingwood), Peter hardly got a kick. However by the end of the season Peter won the club’s best and fairest award. Towards the end of the next season the League talent scouts were beginning to take an interest in Peter. The first to approach him was Melbourne, who said that Warne-Smith, a selector and Brownlow medal winner would call at his home and sign him up, however he never came. St.Kilda club scouts wrote to Peter, while Richmond and Footscray made personal contact. Peter had a training run at Footscray, and also agreed to have a run at Richmond. When Footscray heard that, they went to Peter’s home, promised him a game with the Second Eighteen in the last game of the season (1950), and that was good enough for Peter to sign with them. Peter played his first year of senior football in 1951 and dominated the centre position week after week. At the end of the season, Jack Dyer, in a special article for Sporting Life, named Peter as one of the outstanding first year players, and predicted he would be a future Brownlow medal winner. On a fateful Saturday afternoon, three days before the first training run of 1952, Peter was involved in a horrific motor bike accident, which put him hospital for three months.
Lou Richard, in his book ‘Boots And All’, wrote "……Box had to virtually start his career again in 1953, but flourished at centre half-forward. Although not as tall as the key forwards of the day, he performed admirably, using pace, superb ball handling and a big leap to outpoint bigger opponents. He also possessed tremendous desire to win….In 1954, Box put in another good season in a premiership side, but it was the following year that he began to fire. He was moved into the centre and won the club best and fairest with an attacking brand of play and keen anticipation…..that approach combined with great dash and skill, was the recipe for his 1956 Brownlow triumph. Box found a new level of consistency to beat Geelong’s Peter Pianto by six votes. That triumph could have been the launching pad for many plenty more sparkling seasons from the 24 year old. Instead Box struggled the next year, polling just four Brownlow votes. The football world was stunned when he quit Footscray later that year to join VFA side Camberwell. ………Some of his marks were tremendous. He drew gasps from the crowd when he launched himself into space to take spectacular marks over bigger players, but added to this he was fast, fairly strong and a beautiful long kick".
Peter also played in the Victorian V.F.L. team in Perth in 1956 and the V.F.A. team of 1958. One of his treasured possessions is his large framed Browlow Medal Certificate, which reads in part……….We desire to express our admiration for the splendid sportsmanship and superb skill which you displayed throughout the season—qualities which deservedly gain for you the award for the Best and Fairest Player………’
Like his father and his great grandfather Peter chose to leave the family business and make his own way in life, eventually working as a sheerer. He married Joanne Barns, they had a daughter Kerrie Box, she married a Mr. Black and has a daughter Stephanie Black. Kerrie and Stephanie live in Florida, USA. After Peter and Joanne were divorced, Peter married Peggy and has three sons.
A/ Peter Box, born 1965, is a Butcher in Wagga, he married a school teacher, Tyrell Schultz and they have; Frazer Box born 25-12-1991; Callum Box born 4-10-1994; and Brandon Box born 30-6-1997.
B/ Paul Box, born September 1967, who married Jessica, they have one daughter, and Jessica has two other children.
C/ Adam Box, twin brother of Paul, married Lyn Davis who also had a son Troy, Adam and Lyn have; Jarrard Box, born 1992; and Taylal Jayne Box, born 5-4-1999.
3/ Beryl Joan Box, born 4-6-1933, at the age of 9 months went to live at Strzelecki with her grandparents, and stayed with them for three years. Beryl was returned to her parents in Cheltenham, in 1936, the year Britain had three kings in one year. George V died on 20th. January; Edward VIII reigned for 11 months although he was never crowned. After his abdication on the 11th. December; George VI addressed his Accession Council in St. James Palace on 12th. December, nine hours after his brother Edward left for exile.
Beryl attended Cheltenham State School to 6th. Grade, her memory was the rhyme;
" Cheltenham school is a very good school,
Made of brick and plaster,
The only thing wrong with it
Is the baldy headed master". (sorry Mr. B)
Beryl finished her education at Methodist Ladies College for
5 years, then worked in the English Scottish and Australian Bank, before the
A.N.Z. took them over. Beryl has also inherited the sporting talents, playing a
good game of tennis and golf. She married market gardener, Desmond Walker,
they live at Carrum downs and have 4 children.
A/ Loretta Walker born 30-7-1953, married Gary Matthews, they have Scott Matthews born 26-2-1981; Gregory Matthews born 24-5-1982; and Bryan Matthews, born 26-10-1985.
B/ Karen Walker born 27-10-1954, married Edward (Ted) Coatman they have Danielle. As the marriage ended soon after her birth Danielle is known as Danielle Walker.
C/ Vickie Walker, born 26-8-1959, married Stephen Byrne, they have Rhiannon Byrne, born 22-7-1981; Cale Byrne, born 12-2-1989; Jordon Byrne born 13-6-1995.
D/ Rodney Walker born 9-1-1961, Rodney also inherited sporting ability, and as a teenager displayed a talent for cricket. Like many of his relatives, Rodney chose to leave the family business and make his own way in the world. He lives in Florida, USA and works in the Automotive upholstery business.
4/ Avis Lorraine Box, ( the compiler of this book) born 22-6-1934, the year according to Tom Sheehy’s book, ‘Battlers Tamed A Sandbelt’ was also beginning of a turbulent time in Cheltenham over a number of years. During which time, the weather and other causes created havoc; including several lightning strikes, a snowstorm, and some well placed fireballs in the police-station, post-office, co-operative store, and the roadway of Jellico Street, not to mention a tornado that hit Cheltenham, in October 1936. Just as the depression was starting to ease, and the year Moorabbin was celebrating it’s second anniversary as a city. The tornado wrecked houses and shops in the main st. (Charman Rd.) and hurled bricks from chimneys of some buildings through the plate glass windows of others, flying debris causing several injuries, some serious. Iron roofing was sucked high into the vacuum to end it’s flight three kilometres away in the city of Mordialloc, as far away as Parkdale.
I remember the cats around the farm, they kept the mice and rats at bay. As the Pickering grandparents lived opposite the Church of Christ in Pine St Cheltenham, unwanted kittens were often dumped there, I always took them home, there was always room for a few more, even though mum once threatened to keep the cats & throw me out—I think she was only joking. Some of them met with fatal accidents, when cars or trucks were being moved around the yard, and one once chose to sleep on top of the loaded truck ready for market. It stayed there all the way to the Melbourne market, when George untied the cover and pulled it off, off went the cat, at a great pace, never to be seen again. On returning home dad said to mum, "Don’t tell Avis, I lost her cat in the market". The ‘don’t tell’ attitude was meant to protect us children from the darker side of life. Even when our grandparents passed on, our mother’s advise was don’t go to the funeral, just remember your grandparents as you always knew and loved them. However I was to learn much of the sadder side of life in a hurry, when my intended mother-in-law died six months before our marriage, father-in-law six months after we married, and our first child, six months after that. Two years after our son died another Paediatrician said, " What doctor did that?’. to-day he would be sued, then it was forget about it, get on and have another baby !!.
My only memory of the war years is the black curtains, that had to be hung up at night, ‘Just so no-one can see the lights’, mother said, it must have frightened me then, as the memory still has a strange effect on me. Again our parents treated us like children, not little adults. They did all they could to protect us from the nasty side of life. They would say, "Don’t worry the children; don’t upset the children", so I was mostly blissfully unaware that Japanese sea planes were flying over Melbourne and Sydney, that Darwin was actually bombed many times, or how very close the Japanese came to taking over Australia. V. P. day is very vivid in my memory, as we were let out of school early, I remember the trams crowded with wildly excited commuters cheering and laughing joyfully.
I also attended Cheltenham primary school, and Methodist Ladies College. After finishing school, I worked in the E. S.&A bank with Beryl.
In 1978 I went to Chisholm Institute of Technology as an adult student, and achieved an Associate Diploma in Welfare Studies, I worked as a volunteer court adviser and Probation officer. I later did a Vic-fit Exercise to Music Leaders course, and worked with older adults for nearly 15 years, retiring in 1993. From 1978 to 1993 I was also a voluntary fund- raiser for World Vision of Australia, the last ten years managing an Opportunity Shop on a full time basis. In my spare time I achieved a Teacher of Dancing certificate for the ‘New Vogue Branch’ ( Old Time).
I married a Bricklayer, Robert Polglase, in 1954 at the Methodist church in Charman Rd. Cheltenham, the marriage was dissolved in 1970. In 1977 I married Alan Leigh. Robert Polglase & I have:
A/ Kenneth William Polglase, born 22-12-1955, died 23-12-1955.
B/ Allan Robert Polglase-Leigh, born 25-1-1958, after I married Alan Leigh, son Allan adopted the surname, and is known as Allan Leigh. He married Maryanne Stienman in 1983. Allan spent 12 years in the army, mostly as a P.T.I, he left the army to establish his own gymnasium in Sydney in 1989. The business collapsed when the marriage broke down in Jan. 1991, followed by a particularly vindictive separation, during which Allan was wrongfully accused of a criminal act, and gaoled for nearly two years, before he was acquitted, on appeal. It was proved the learned Judge had erred in no less than 39 points of law, 19 of which were major errors, and the trial declared by the three Supreme Court Judges "A blatantly unfair trial, and a gross miscarriage of justice".
Allan returned to Melbourne, where he met his present partner Jeanette Mitchell, and after regaining his health, he worked in security until November 2000 when he rejoined the army. His hobby has been martial arts, in which he holds a black belt, and was the chief instructor in Australia in the Ishinru style of Karate. He & Maryanne have: Kristel Katrina Leigh born 30-8-1984; and Tamara Stacey Leigh, born 15-2-1986. The girls live in Yakima USA with their mother and stepfather, and use his name of Underwood.
C/ Reginald Mark Polglase, known as Mark Polglase was born 18-10-1961. Mark’s hobbies are photography and bush walking in the high country. He has walked across every Victorian Mountain, and the Great Alpine track, as well as the Bogong High plains from Mt. Bogong to Mt. Beauty and then to Mt. Feathertop
(his favourite mountain). His greatest accomplishment has been a 300 km walk from Mt. Hotham to Mt. Kosciusko, taking beautiful photographs from the top of these mountains. Mark has also driven across the Nullarbor and back to see his father, with only his dogs for company. Mark is not married.
D/ Katrina Mary Polglase, born 27-9-1962, died 19-3-1970, the result of an elderly gentleman driving his car at high speed on wet roads. He lost control of the car, careering over an unmade footpath, where he collided with Katrina and Mark, he went on to knock down a fire hydrant before stopping against a light pole. For such recklessness he was charged $40 !!! Fortunately Mark recovered from his injuries—well the physical ones, anyway.
I also have a foster son Christopher Williams, whom I have raised since he was a baby. Christopher is not married. Although he is profoundly deaf, with the aid of hearing aids he is a very active member of St. John ambulance, and works on a casual basis at Mitcham Private Hospital, he lives at Boronia.
5/ Norman William Box, born 1-4-1942, just two months before three Japanese Midget Submarine, each with a two man crew and two torpedoes, attacked a ferry in Sydney Harbour, at 8 PM on the 31 May. Nineteen ratings were killed and ten wounded, some of whom had just returned from active service in the Pacific and the Atlantic.. They never suspected that they would be in danger in the normally peaceful waters of Sydney Harbour. The six Japanese died when their midgets were bombarded with depth charges.
The youngest child of George and Pearl Box. Norman also attended Cheltenham State school and later High School.. He was given the opportunity of going to Wesley, but in his own words, " I left school in 1956, I had no future at school, I was no bloody good anyway, did 2nd. form twice, that was enough". He chose to join his father in the garden and start earning money. Norman also had the sporting ability, he played A pennant Lawn Bowls, until he became ill. He married Denise Warhurst when he was only 19 years of age. They lived in Cheltenham until 1962 when he joined his brother Charles at Tynong. They stayed there until about 1979, when he sold out and bought the Korumburra Hotel. Just on 7 years later he sold the pub, and bought a hobby farm at Nar- Nar- Goon, working as a truck driver, until bad health forced his retirement this year. Norman and Denise had 3 children before their marriage dissolved in 1983. Their children are:
A/ David Box born 1961, married Heather Yann, they live at Beechworth and are part owners of the Supermarket. They have Mathew William Box born 1987; and Emily Box born 1990.
B/ Jennifer Box born 1962, married Mark Hayes, a Solicitor. They live in Brighton and Jennifer is expecting their first baby.---Sandon James arrived 24-8-2000.
C/ Jeffery Box born 1967, is a Shop fitter, not married, lives with his partner Alison.
The 4th. child of George and Emily Box
Jean Box born 11-11-1906-at Bentleigh, like her sisters was dux of the primary school when she finished at Strzelecki. At the age of 14 Jean came to Melbourne and lived with her McCurry relations in Box Hill, working in a jewellery factory for some time. Later Jean moved to board with the Pickering family in Pine St. Cheltenham, working as a machinist in Richmond. She married Neil Woff a market gardener of Cavanagh St. Cheltenham, Neil was the son of George Woff and Annie Woff, nee Neal. When they married Neal’s parents built a new home for themselves in Cope St off Charman Rd. so Jean and Neal lived in the family home, which had been built in the 1880s. The house was situated on 14 acres of land on the west side of Cavanagh St, this land later became the sand pits. The family also had 6 acres across the road adjoining Le Page’s property, next door to the Hail’s place. They also had another 30 acres market garden in Bernard St where the Cheltenham High School is now. Ray worked this market garden with his father until the education department took it over in 1952.
Neal died in Nov. 1972, and Jean in July 1973, both were cremated, their ashes scattered to the four winds. Jean and Neal have two children:
A/ Raymond George Woff, born 13-5-1930, worked with his father in the garden, later opened sand pits in Cavanagh St., which were managed by John Mc Devitt., brother-in-law of Ray’s Aunty Pearl Box. Ray married Pam Margaret Allsop, they have Debra Jane Woff born 20-8-1956, unmarried; Andrea Louise Woff born 19-5-1962, married Mark Turnball, they have Madeline Rose Turnball born Feb. 1995. Catherine Margaret Woff born 11-6-1964, married David Vincent in England, they have Oliver David Vincent, born 8-9-1993. The marriage is dissolved, Catherine and Oliver live in Brighton, Aust.
B/ Marion Burl Woff, born 3-5-1931, was named after her Aunt Marion Burl Woff, who was always known as ‘Aunty Burl’, had cared for her mother during a difficult pregnancy and birth. The name Burl comes from a farm in Dorset, where the Woff ancestors lived. Marion is very proud of her Woff heritage, great grandpa Woff came to Australia as a single man he married Fanny Mundy. Marion recalls, "The Mundys came to Bordertown in NSW and then to Roseanna, where they had a market garden, on the banks of the Yarra. They got flooded out around about the late 1850s-1860. He lost ₤5000 of home and market garden etc. They moved down to Mundy St. Mentone and took up a holding from Mundy St. to Como Rd. so I have gone full circle and come back to Como Rd part of the original family property. Fanny was said to be a lovely, lovely woman, good Christian woman. She laid the foundation stone of the Cheltenham Methodist Church in the 1920s after being a member for 50 years. So the Mundys were very highly regarded people and so were the Woffs". Marion also recalls "when things were really bad during the depression, dad came home from market one day having sold his entire load for 6d and I do remember grandma and grandpa (Box) would occasionally send us up a sheep, meat for quite awhile, and certainly they sent the original cow".
Marion worked as a model before her marriage to Jack Carnall Lucas. They have two children, Stephen John Lucas born 9-9-1954 and Karola Kunish have twins Mathew and Scot Lucas. The relationship is dissolved, the children live in Perth with their mother and are known as Kunish. Gregory Scot Lucas born 2-1-1956 married Suzanne Clarke, They have Allyson Catherine Lucas born 23-8-1985; and Julian Gregory Lucas born 13-8-1987.
The fifth child of George and Emily Box:
Hazel Box born 13-10-1913. Hazel attended Strzelecki primary school, then went on to Warrigal High school for a few years, where she met her life long friend, Nancy Waddell. Nancy described Hazel as a very good student. Hazel left Strzelecki to go and stay with her sister Jean Woff in Cheltenham, and finished her education at Mordialoc High school. After finishing school Hazel worked in a factory for a while, but hated it, couldn’t face working under somebody else!! Next Hazel tried being a house-maid, the story as told by her niece Marion, "Well I went to see Aunty Hazel 2 days before she died, and she told me about working in Glenhuntly for a family, with a dreadful woman. According to Aunty Hazel, this woman bullied her very badly, this was straight out of school, but she couldn’t get work, and she was the house-maid. I’ve got the feeling the husband might have been nice, and he might have been a doctor, but certainly she couldn’t stand the wife. There were children and she was supposed to look after as well as scrub the floors and do the cleaning da-dee-da. This particular day there was going to be a party for one of the children and she was up at 5, and had worked her little insides out, and she did something, she forgot something, I forget what it was, and the woman really ticked her off. So Aunty Hazel went to her room and packed her bag, and threw it over the back fence, climbed over after it and ran away. !!
She went to someone she knew, who was involved in the Alliance Friendly Society. She lived with that family and worked in the office."
Nancy Waddell-Wisner, also recalled Hazel worked for a family with three children, twins and one other. Also that hazel lived in a private home where she was treated like one of the family. During this time Hazel did an accountancy course, and became a chartered accountant, but she never accepted working under somebody else.—so typically Box!! So she bought a knitting machine, which she installed at her brother George’s place, in the sheds and became a self employed knitter. Next Hazel was off to England and Scotland, where she lived for about 8 years, while there she met and married Henry (Harry) McLeod. A widower with two grown daughters. There were no children to this marriage. Hazel was a widow when she died in April 1995, Harry having died about 1983.
The sixth child of George and Emily Box:
Jessamine (Jessie) Box, born 24-4-1917; Jessie went with her sisters to Strzelecki school, riding on their ponies. Jessie and Lyn on the jinker pony, and Hazel on her 'Star'. Jessie went on to Korumburra elementary school for music, and became an accomplished pianist. After finishing school Jessie worked for a time at 'Allowrie' a home for disabled children until she was involved in a serious motor bike accident, leaving her with a 'bad hip', and one leg shorter than the other. she wore a specially built up shoe. she later went to Warrigal hospital where she did her initial nursing training. she finished her training at the Women's Hospital in Melbourne. she married Leonard Maxwell who had been a prisoner of war, and was not a well man, Jessie met him while she was nursing, they settled at Wagga-Wagga, and had one daughter.
Yvonne Maxwell who married Daryl Hawken they have a son Matthew Hawken, he and his partner Sonia Kaye have a son Malakai Leigh Graham Hawken who was born on the 27-7-2001.
The seventh child of George and Emily Box:
Fredrick Spencer and Lindsay Box on their wedding day.
Lindsay (Lyn) Box born 18-9-1918; Lyn was named after her maternal grandmother Elizabeth Lindsay of Brighton, who married Henry McCurrie Lyn recalls being told about her birth which occurred three week earlier than expected. "Dad harnessed up the jinker and took mum, with Jessie, into Korumburra, they caught the train to Dandenong, where uncle Charlie picked them up in his 'Fiat' car and took them to Nurse Callow's hospital." Lyn continued, "We were not allowed to be sick. I had Rheumatic fever at age 2 or 3 years, I was not taken to a doctor; rest was unheard of ---get up and dressed and about. I left school at age 13, I was not allowed to go to high school, said to be because of bad health. I did house work at home until I was about 15 or 16 then came to Melbourne and worked at 'Allowrie for 5 shillings a week, plus keep.
Work at home included things like polishing the brass door-knobs, cleaning forks and spoons; chamber pots; closet; as well as dusting and collecting 'morning-wood' for the fire. Shopping was done by 'phoning an order to the Korumburra butter factory, the goods being delivered in the cream cart. We had telephones before cars, dad bought a car in 1925"
Melbourne had telephones in 1880, even before London!! In that year the Melbourne Telephone Exchange company was floated by business man Henry Bryon Moore. By June 1881 the system could boast 128 subscribers, in 1887 the government took it over. In the late 1880s telephone links were made to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, one of the earliest and largest systems in the world.
After her parents returned to Cheltenham in 1936, Lyn lived at home and worked for British Xonlight in Brighton until her marriage to Fredrick Norman Spencer. Fred enlisted in the army on the 10th. June 1940 at Caulfield. He was posted to the 2/2 Field workshop at Williamstown, where he was classified Group 1 Fitter on the 13th. august 1940. he left Melbourne for Bombay, arriving there 3-9-'40, however he returned to Sydney on the 12-10-40.
In 1942 he relinquished Gr. 1 Fitter in favour of Graded 1 Wireless Mechanic, he went to the Middle East in Feb.’42, and on to Ceylon in March, then back to Melbourne in August 42. He was detached for duty to the 4 Australian General Hospital in June ’42, then back to Ceylon later that month, and back to Australia, where he had leave from 14-8-’42 to 2-9-’42. During the next year he had many posting in Australia and New Guinea, in October ’42, he was transferred to 2/2 Australian Field Ambulance. In April ’43 he was promoted to Corporal In the later part of ’44, Fred was in Queensland where he suffered from Bronchitis. December ’44 he was in New Guinea, where he remained until September ’45, during which time he continued to suffer from Bronchitis and Asthma. He was discharged on the 11-10-1945. After the war Fred maintained his interest in C.B.Radio and belonged to a group of like minded servicemen who called themselves ‘The Wild Geese’ Lyn and Fred had two sons.
A/ Collin Spencer born ? 1940 was a truck driver, he married Christine, they have Tracey Spencer, and Kellie Spencer. Collin died 1970s.
B/ Lawrence Spencer born ? 1942, married Jean, they have one son, Ashleigh Collin Spencer.
FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM
Standing--Emily Jane Box, nee McCurry; Dorothy Seabrook, nee Box.
Sitting--Elizabeth McCurry, nee Lindsay, nursing Stan Seabrook.
40th. Wedding Anniversary of George and Emily Box 1940
George and Emily with their first four children, Dorothy, Frank, George and Jean; 1908/9
Francis and Jane with three of their grandchildren-- Dorothy, Frank and George; 1905
Mable( May) Alma Box 3rd. child of Francis and
Eliza Jane Box.
Mable Alma Box and Earnest Hembrow on their wedding day.
Mable Alma Box ( known as May) born 22-12-1878. Married
in 1899, Earnest Hembrow they had one daughter Doreen May Hembrow., born
1900, married Christopher James Wilson, they had
A/ Heather Wilson, and
B/ Glynn Wilson who married Barbara, they have Stephen Wilson, who is married to Jane; Timothy Wilson; and Bruce Wilson who is married to Terry Christopher died in March 1975.
Earnest Hembrow died in the early 1900s.
May and Amos Batcheldor.
May married in 1912, John Amos Wright Batcheldor, they
A/ Rex Alwyn Batcheldor, who married Marion Johnston in Kurri Kurri N.S.W. in 1954. Rex died before 1958, they had two children.
B/ Hylton Francis Melbourne Batcheldor, born 1916 in Cowra died 19-10-1975. He married Marjory May Sutcliffe in 1942, they had one son Robert Batcheldor. who married Margaret Hocking. They had two children.
Hylton Batcheldor enlisted in the 2nd. AIF (2nd 4th Btn, 6th Div) in 1939. He served in the Middle East, Greece and Crete and was among the last to escape from Singapore before it fell. After his discharge he became an ambulance officer in Sydney, and later transferred to Cowra.
Amos Batcheldor died in August 1958 at Cowra, and May died February 1969 in Cowra N.S.W.
Lena Caroline Box born 1880 4th. Child of Francis and Eliza Jane Box, died in the house fire 1882
Charles Francis Box born 19-3-1881, 5th. Child of
Francis and Eliza Jane Box.
Charles and Ethel Box
Charles Francis married Ethel Wells in 1910, there
were no children to this marriage. Charles appears to have been an astute
business- man, and willing to help the family out when called upon. He may have
been the first in the family to own a car; the Fiat he took his sister-in-law to
hospital in. The first car to be driven in Victoria is believed to have been a
steam car built and driven by engineer, Herbert Thomson. The first Australian
built petrol car was the work of another engineer, Harley Tarrant, in 1901. In
1907 he acquired a Ford agency and became a large motor dealer. Compulsory
registration of vehicles and licensing of drivers did not occur until 1910, and
by June 1911 there almost 3,000 registered cars and nearly 6,000 licensed
At the time of his death, Charles was living in Tucker Rd. Bentleigh, in the home he named ‘Withyham’, after the village in England where the family had immigrated from. He also owned three other properties totalling in excess of 14 acres. He bequeathed the money from the sale of these four properties to his two nieces Ina and Ellen Forscutt and two nephews John and William Robinson. He gave his brother-in-law, William Robinson first option of purchasing the property in Tucker Rd. Bentleigh. Besides this he was the mortgagee of five other properties. Charles passed away on 5-11- 1943 and Ethel died on 2-12-1947.
Louis John Box born 17-3-1884, 6th. Child of Francis and Eliza Box, died 22-4-1884.
Fredrick Edward Box born 31-10-1885, 7th. Child of Francis and Eliza Box, died 5-4-1887.
Jessie Melinda Box born 26-3-1888, 8th. Child of
Francis and Eliza Box.
Jessie and William Robinson
Jessie Box, was a teacher at Eskdale, when she met William Robinson farmer at Callaghan’s Creek, near Mitta, they married on the 21-4-1921 at Tallangatta. William’s father James Robinson had been born in Northern Ireland in 1862. In Australia he took up farming at Callagher Creek, via Tallangatta. His wife Ann Tobin was born on the gold fields at Rutherglen Vic. The family later took up market gardening in Tucker Rd. Bentleigh. Jessie and William Robinson had two sons: both boys joined their father in the market garden. In 1950 they moved to Notting Hill, and established " The Hilandale Poll Hereford Stud’, and also on a property at Rowville. They stayed there for ten years, then moved on to Mornington, where they continued their interest in the Stud and successfully showed their cattle at Melbourne, Sydney and many local shows. Jessie died at Mornington on 3rd. August 1975. William died on 31-1- 1983.
!/ Jack Francis Robinson born 11-6-1921, married Emily Joyce Stooke , daughter of William Henry Stooke,. market gardener, councillor for City of Moorabbin, and a Justice of the Peace. When they first married they live in the house named "Withyham" in Tucker Rd. Bentleigh, which had been the home of Jack’s Uncle Charles Box, they had three children:
A/ Ian William Robinson born 11-2-1954 at McKinnon, was baptised in the Tucker Rd. Methodist Church. Ian is a consulting engineer and also has his own business, "Skysurfers". He flies "Advertising Banners" and does sky writing. He also manages the family farm at present. He married Marion Patrica Bourke, on the 26-8-1980 at the Catholic church Drouin. They have Jaqueline Anne Robinson. Born 15-6-1983 at Frankston; Michael William Robinson born 17-7-1985 at Frankston; and Deborah Frances Robinson born 5-5-1988 at Frankston.
B/ Jeanette Robinson born 13-6-1950 at Mentone was baptised in the Tucker Rd. Methodist Church. She married, Geoffrey Colin Coghill, an accountant with B.P. Aust. Ltd. at St. Marks Methodist Church Mornington on the 5-5-1973, they have: Ross William Coghill born 17-8-1978 at Brisbane; Andrew David Coghill born 15-3-1981 at Mt Waverly; and Catherine Anne Coghill born 27-2-1984.at Mt. Waverly
C/ Kaye Frances Robinson born 21-7-1957, married on the 15-5-1982 at St. Mark’s Methodist Church Mornington, Rodney Newman . Kaye was a school teacher, and Rodney is a farmer, they now live in Rochester after spending 20 years farming in that area. After travelling extensively in Northern Australia with their children, they are now looking for another farm, they have: Luke Aaron Newman born 25-4-1985 at Bendigo; Glen Cameron Newman born 13-3-1987 at Bendigo; Sandra Kate Newman born 17-1-1990 at Bendigo.
2/ William (Bill) James Robinson born 25-10-1925 at Bentleigh. Bill is a market gardener and farmer, he married Margaret Perrin 31-5-1958 at Scot’s church Dandenong. They lived on a farm at Rowville for 20 years before moving to Mornington following the death of William Robinson senior in 1983. They called their half of the property " Rowville", they also farm Poll Hereford cattle, they have two children:
A/ Sandra Margaret Robinson born 25-7-1960 at Dandenong, Secretary, married St. James the Less, at Mt. Eliza, Steven Michael Paxton of Port Melbourne., they have James Michael Paxton born 11-11-1989 at Mornington; Aaron Robert Paxton born 27-7-1992 at Mornington; Grant Mitchell Paxton born 24-4-1995 at Mornington.
B/ Stephen William Robinson born 7-6-1963, Stephen is a butcher and farmer, particularly interested in breeding cross- bred cattle. He married 11-3-1988 Marina Heybach, at Springvale. Maria died March 1990.
Jack and Joyce celebrated their golden wedding in 1998, Jack passed away on 3rd. September 1999. Joyce continues to live on their farm at Hilandale Mornington with the help of her family.
Left to Right-- Jack, Bill and William Robinson, on Robin, Mitta and Pride.
Edith Florence Box born 14-5-1890-- 9th. Child of
Francis and Eliza Box
Edith married in 1912 Jack Samuel Clay, a market
gardener in South Rd. Moorabbin they had 6 children, 4 boys and two girls. It is
thought two of the boys, Alan and Keith may have carried on their parents market
garden for a time before going their separate ways. Edith and Jack Clay retired
and went down to Balnarring to live. Edith died on the 9-7-1976, and is buried in the new Cheltenham Cemetery.
Extract from ‘ The Sun’ 12th. July 1976: "…..Edith Florence, late of Merrick, dearly loved wife of the late John Samuel Clay, loving mother of John, Kenneth, Joy, Laura (dec.), Keith and Alan. Loved mother-in-law of Linda, Frances, Vern (dec) Joe and Shirley, and dear grandma of 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren".
"……..dearly loved mother of Ken, mother-in-law of Frances, loved grandmother of Judith, David and Joan, great grandmother of Kerrie, Christina, David, Anthony, Stewart, Graham and Brendan. Aged 85. A truly Christian mother.
The six children of Edith and Jack are:
1/ John (Jack) Francis Clay, born 26-2-1913, at Brighton East, married Lynda Blanche Sibte their only child, Vivian born 21-6-1952, was a ‘Down Syndrome’ child.. Jack worked a market garden in East Bentleigh with his brother Ken for many years. Lynda died in the 1990s.
2/ Marjory Joy Clay, born 28-8-1915 in the home in Brady Rd. Moorabbin. In 1931 Jack and Eadie built the house in Bignel Rd, in 1939 they bought a property at Merrick. The four boys remained on the Bentleigh. Alan and Keith went to war, while Jack and Keith stayed home to keep the market garden going. This was often a difficult decision for many families to make; who should go and who should stay and look after the family. As primary producers were essential workers many were not allowed to go; everybody has to eat!.
Joy was not allowed to go out to work, but had to stay home, probably in the house at Bentleigh to house keep for the boys.
Joy married Vernon (Vern )Ronald Lipman they lived in Centre Rd. Bentleigh, and had three children.
A/ Ewen Lipman born 3-2-1939, is a Chiropractor. He married 23-12-1962 Dawn Sutton; they have: 1/ Andrew Lipman born 22-11-1963, he is a Masseur and Acupuncturist married Helen at Brighton in 1977. 2/ Phillip Lipman born 2-3-1965, is also a Chiropractor, works with his dad, married to Stella, a school teacher in 1988. They have Miles Lipman born 1988. 3/ Simon Lipman born 3-10-1970 is a Masseur and not married.
B/ Keith Lipman born 7-6-1943, married Lynette Neil
C/ Bromwen Lipman born 20-12-1946, married 3-1-1969 Ross Prout, a Baptist Minister, and Editor of a Christian Newspaper. Before Ross became a minister he was a teacher at Northcote Boys High school when Stanley Seabrook was Principal. Bromwen recalls her grandmother (Edith Clay) had had an accident to her left eye, and it was very slightly drooped. She also remembers visiting some of her Aunts and Uncles. She recalls Aunty Jess and Uncle Rob, when she was just a school girl. As an adult she sometimes visited Aunty Hazel and Uncle Harry McCleod when they were at Cheltenham, before they built in Wedd Street. She also knew Aunty Lyn, but not well. Bromwen and Ross have: 1/Merridith Prout born 3-6-1971, she is an Audiologist, married to Nigel Lad on 22-2-1994, they have Evan Lad born 10-9-1997, and Jacinta Lad born 7-6-1999. 2/ Owen Prout born 11-12-1972 is a Youth worker, married to Lynda Wilson who was a teacher before her marriage. They have Stephen Prout born 14-11-1998, and one due in April 2001. 3/ Verity Prout born 15-6-1979 is a District Nurse, not married.
Vern died 22-6-1973.
3/ Kenneth Graham Clay, born 6-4-1914 at Brighton East, worked the Bentleigh market garden with his three brothers until the war started, when it was decided Alan and Keith would enlist. After the war it is believed both boys went to their parents at Merrick for a time. Alan stayed longer than Keith, they both got soldier settlement properties. Ken married Elizabeth Frances charlotte Beatie (known as Frances) they have three children:
A/ Judith Clay married Ken Londrigan; they have a daughter Kerrie Londrigan, Ken Londrigan died in July 2000.
B/ Noelle Clay married Barry Goldman; they have Kristena Goldman, & David Goldman.
C/ David Clay married Joan Mary Thomas, they have four sons, 1/ Anthony Clay who is not married and lives in England;2/ Stewart Clay is married to Jeanene and they have baby Britenary Clay; 3/ Graham Clay is married to Melisa and 4/ Brendon Clay is married to Jodi.
The family history records that Jack and Ken weren’t able to join the services in W.W.II because they were classified as essential services—market gardening.
The brothers worked well together, Jack did the marketing (selling/ orders etc) while Ken did the planning and layout of the garden…making sure the same crop wasn’t grown too often in the same plot. After splitting up with his brother Jack, Ken went to Colac, in the western district, and had a dairy farm. They used to go to Sunday school in Tucker Rd. Ken’s son carried on the dairy farm at Colac. Ken Clay died 8-2-1995.
4/ Laura Jean Clay, born8-6- 1918 at Murrumbeena, a family story is told that when Laura was able to break from the confines of home and earn 2/6 a week, she hung her ‘scanties’ on the clothes line after their dad had gone down to their market garden. Forgetting to get them off the line before his return, father arrived home and saw her ‘scanties’ in full view and so hit the roof, telling her to get rid of them!!! As a puritan from way back he was not into seeing sexy underwear. Aunty Jessie who lived nearby came to Laura’s rescue and told her she would wash and dry her undies, so her dad couldn’t spoil the few precious little things she had. Laura married Joe Pollard, they had two children Rhys Pollard born 1947, and Merridith Pollard born 1951/52, who married Jacques Berthelot, they had one son John Paul Berthelot born 24-2-1981. Laura died about 1964, and Joe died in the 1970s.
5/ Keith Clay, born 12-8-1919 at Murrumbeena, married 1/ 30-10-1943 Josephine (Jocie ) Hope Pulbrook, they had
A/ Raymond Keith Clay born 2-3-1947, he married Maree Fischer on the 3-1-1981. They have five children:
A/ David Clay born 25-10-1982;
B/ Naomi Clay born 9-1-1984;
C/ Josiah clay born 28-10-1985;
D/ Deborah Clay born 11-6-1987;
E/ Nathaneal Clay born 24-11-1988.
Keith recalls his grandmother (Edith Clay) sitting beside the fire at the Bentleigh house wearing a cameo broach. Grandpa Box died before Keith could remember him. He also recalls the school teachers freely handing out ‘whipping’ for any offence, little wonder he hated school!! Leaving school at the age of 14
(22-11-1933 at the hour of 11.00 A.M.) Keith worked with his father on the Bentleigh property, earning a shilling a week ( 10 cents). He saved his money to buy an English Standard bike with gear –box. It took him nearly two years to reach his goal. One of his favourite foods as a young boy was ‘ dripping and bread’ especially brown dripping. As a school boy coming home after school his mum would say to him " get yourself some bread and dripping then run outside". This treat eased the hunger of a growing boy.
Keith continued to work with his father until a couple of months before his 21st. birthday, when he enlisted in the army. This was the 13th. June 1940, at the military offices at royal Park, Melbourne.
Basic training was done at Balcombe Army camp and Darley near Bacchus Marsh, before Keith was sent overseas to Palestine in 1941. From there to New Guinea where he saw action around the Milne Bay area. Contracting malaria he was evacuated on ‘Manunda’ hospital ship back to Australia and North Shore- Sydney. After 6 weeks of medical attention, he took leave back to Melbourne. At the completion of his leave, he was sent to Queensland and then back to New Guinea, in 1943 to Lai. After contracting Malaria and Black Water fever again, Keith was discharged from the army, six months before the war ended.
After the war, Keith worked with his brothers on the market garden for five years, riding his motor bike from Carnegie to Bentleigh each day. His first bike was a one horse powered ‘James’ then an ‘Indian’, which he considered was a box of rubbish. Asked why he rode a motor bike, Keith replied it was better than riding a push- bike. He purchased his first car, an E.H. Holden in 1955. About 1950 Keith bought a 50 acre farm at Cora-Lyn ( 9 mile road) etching out a living farming cattle and growing crops, such as maize to supplement the cattle feed.
In the little orchard near the house, seed plants for Jack and ken were grown for the market garden. Parsnip seed was the main crop and was of high quality. The maize that was grown would be cut up in the chaff- cutter ready for the cattle to eat.
In 1963 Keith sold up and moved to Tyabb on the Mornington Peninsula, and became an apple-grower, and a man of many talents. After the breakdown of his marriage in 1971, Keith moved to Balnarring and to a well earned retirement, playing bowls and making wooden toys for his growing number of grandchildren. ---This history supplied by Alwynne Simpson.
B/ Alwynne Jocie Clay born 8-5-1953, married Kyle Andrew Simpson on the 26-1-1974. They have three children:
A/ Gavin Simpson born 12-6-1975,
B/ Donna-Lee Simpson born 2-3-1977,
C/ Karen Simpson born 22-5-1982.
6/ Allan Wallace Clay, born 27-2-1921
Allan was conscripted to the armed forces and became a batman to a military Padre and posted to P.N.G. Keith and Allan met by chance at Nassi Bay.
Allan had been camped on the side of the jungle track and on seeing Keith called out to him. Niether of them knew the other was in the area, and Keith was unaware that Allan had been conscripted.
After the war Allan bought a ‘Soldier’s Settlement’ property an Nathalia, (Vic.)
He married Shirley Campbell and had more than their share of sadness. They had two children, the first Peter Clay died in 1969, aged in his mid 20s, is believed to have been a Spina Bifita child, which led to his early death. Their second boy James Clay married and his first two children died quite young; the second one in a tractor accident. A further two children were born after this.
It is believed that Jack and Edith Clay had a seventh child that was stillborn.
FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM
Back row; left to right; Alwynne Simpson, nee Clay; Vivian clay; Judy Londrigan, Nee Clay; Bromwyn Prout, nee Lipman; Ewen Lipman; Raymond Clay.
Seated-Frances Clay, widow of Ken Clay; Keith clay; Joy Lipman; Jack clay.
Keith clay with some of his grandchildren, left to right; Naomi Clay; Debra Clay; David Clay; Gavin Simpson; Donna Simpson; Nathaneal Clay and Josiah Clay.
This is all the descendants of Francis Box and Eliza Jane Thompson Box. Francis Box died 4-2-1912 at his home in Tucker Rd. Eliza Jane died in 1922
Henry Box, 3rd. son of George Box and Mary
Henry Box born 19-2-1839, Withyham, Sussex, England, came
to Australia with his parents, brothers and two of his sisters in 1856. Henry
paid his own fare out, and so was not ‘bound’ to anyone for employment. He
most probably would have helped his brother William, until his father rented 9
acres in Paterson Rd. East Brighton (now Bentleigh). Records in the Brighton
rates book, tell us that in 1862 Henry was renting a weather board dwelling in
Jasper Rd. Brighton from Mr. McLean. From the Moorabbin rate books we learn that
from 1870 onwards Henry bought property in East Boundary Rd. he had one block of
17 .4 acres, and another of 8 ½. Acres. In 1875 he owned 2 acres in Tucker Rd.,
that his brother Francis was working on a purchasing lease agreement, as was his
brother John on 10.4 acres in North Rd. By 1877 Henry had added another two
blocks in Tucker Rd. to his investments. One was of 13 acres and one 10 acres.
At the time of his death he had property in Boundary Rd. and also had property
at Elsternwick in the parish of Prahran and also 26 acres 1 rod and 23 perches
in East boundary Rd.
About 1868 Henry married Elizabeth Emma Ward, daughter of William Ward from Norfolk, England, and Ann Ostler. from Cambridge, England. Emma was the eldest of 10 children, 5 of whom had died by the time the youngest was born in 1863.
Henry and Emma had nine children—5 girls and 4 boys.. One son, Albert Edward Box born Sept. 1873, died in Feb. 1875; another son, George Frank Box born June 1871, died Sep. 1875. Henry was a member of the Court Pride of St. George, AOF, up to the time of his death, he then being the oldest surviving member. The members of that order turned out in large numbers for his burial, which was conducted by Mr Euston, a former pastor at the Bentleigh Baptist church. It is believed the Box men were lay-preachers at the Baptist and Methodist churches. They are reported to have preached emphatically with arms waving.
Henry died at his home, ‘Wyuna’ in Dunoon St. Murrumbeena in July 1913, Emma died in December 1921.
It is my guess the following three pictures, which were found in 'Box Cottage' at Ormond, are probably children of Henry and Emma. The one of the two children together and the one of the young man were both taken at the same studio as the one of Henry, shown above. I believe the two single portraits are later photos of the two younger children. Maybe someone out there can confirm or correct my belief !!
Their surviving children are:
1/ Caroline Alma Box born 1863 in Brighton Married in Victoria Edgar Robert Purdue. They moved to NSW where Caroline died in 1943 and Edgar died in 1945. They had five children;
1/ Percival Edgar Purdue born 1889 in East Brighton died before 1943.
2/ Maurice Henry Purdue born 1891 in East Brighton, married in NSW Natalie L. Russell of Glen Innes.
3/ Leslie Jack Purdue born 1897 at East Brighton; In 1945 he lived in Tasmania.
4/ Clarice Mary Purdue born 1897 at Ken Hill, died 1912 at Glen Innes NSW.
5/ Frank Outin Jensin Purdue born 1899 at East Brighton.
2/ Mary Anne Box born 1865 at East Brighton, is said to have married Mr. Jenson. In 1945 Mary Ann Jenson’s contact address was; Australia House, Strand, London.
3/ Lydia Elizabeth Box born 1867 in East Brighton, never married, lived in North Rd. up past Jasper Rd.. She was thought by her nieces to be a very religious lady. Later she lived in Murrumbeena where she died in October 1957.
4/ William Henry Box born 1869 at Moorabbin, never married, inherited the boundary Rd. property after his parents died. William apparently sold the property when he retired, as he left no real estate only some personal estate. His sister Emma was executrix of the will. William died 15-6-1945
5/ Emma Elizabeth Ellen Box born 1875 at Brighton, married 1/ John Wilkinson in 1895 they had one son Arthur Roy Wilkinson born 1896.
Arthur married Dorothy Matilda Gilbee, in 1915, they had six children:
A/ Coral Doreen Wilkinson born 1915 at Murrumbeena, married first Albert Williams, and secondly, Graham Isell.
B/ Leonard Roy Wilkinson, born 1917, married Veronica (Vera) Joyce Comber, born 1918, they had three children. 1/ Allan Wilkinson married Christine, they had Karen Wilkinson; Rhonda Wilkinson; Brett Wilkinson; and Claire Wilkinson. 2/ Maxwell John Wilkinson, born 1941 died 22-11-1948. 3/ Fay Wilkinson, married Peter.
C/ Emma May Wilkinson, born 1919 at Hawthorne married Fred Springfield.
D/ John Wilkinson, married Margaret.
E/ Joyce Wilkinson, married Jack Newby.
F/ Robert Wilkinson, married .
John Wilkinson senior died, aged 30, in 1901 at East Brighton Emma married Fredrick John Mitchell in 1905 at East Brighton. They had four children
a/ Doris Mary Mitchell born 1905 at Brighton East;
b/ Fredrick Vernon (Vern) Mitchell born 1912 at Murrumbeena;
c/ Edna Mitchell who married Donald Boane, they had Dennis Boane;
d/ Donald Mitchell. The family lived at 9 Sydney Rd. Murrumbeena. Emma died October 1964.
6/ Olivia Christina ( Chrissie) Box born 1878, married Donald Earnest Watt, Chrissie died in April 1963 at 2 Vickery St. Bentleigh.
Extracts from ‘The Sun’ Thursday April 25th. 1963: "…….dearly loved wife of Donald, loving mother of Donald Raymond, born 1903, Alan Richard born 1909, and Violet Martha Blanch born 1912, grandmother of Phyllis, Cliff, Val and Don. Great-grandmother of Heather, Gary, Raymond, Christina, and Geoffrey. In her 85th. Year. Wonderful mother at rest".
"….dearly. loved mother of Ray, loved mother-in-law of Jean, grandmother of Phyllis (Mrs McCole) Clifford and Valma; great-grandmother of Heather and Gary McCole, Raymond, Christina and Geoffrey Watt. At rest".
"……loved mother of Vi and grandmother of Don wonderful mother. Peace, perfect peace".
7/ Archibald Ward Box, born 1882 in Brighton, married 1902 in Victoria Helena Maria Treacy. They moved to Queensland.
This is all that is known of Henry’s family; It is the only one we don’t have contact with any descendants.
William Ward 1822--- 1908
One of our unidentified pictures. I think it could be Elizabeth Emma Ward-Box.
Maybe someone out there may be able to identify the lady.
John Box born 1841, 4th. Son of George and Mary Box
John was Baptised on the 31-10-1841 at St. John’s church Withyham, Sussex. He came to Australia in 1856 with his parents, brothers and two of his sisters. He married first Martha Louise Sheldrake, with whom he had 10 children.
Martha died in December 1895.
John married secondly, his housekeeper, Eleanor Amelia Codrington Rushall, daughter of a wealthy family, Eleanor had previously been the licensee of The Terminus Hotel, in Hanmer St. Williamstown.
Eleanor (Nellie) Rushall.
John and Eleanor, who was always known as Nellie, had three children.
John’s family had a holiday home in Wellington Pde. Chesea, a few doors down from the home of his daughter Eunice and her husband Timothy Leigh. All the family took turns to go down a week about for holidays. Like his brothers John was a Puritan from way back, and very stern with the children. A story is told about the family going on a picnic when John fell in a river. He took his trousers off for the children to dry by the fire, and constantly warned them, "Don’t you kids burn my pants"!!, he was also an active member of the Order of Forester, and was instrumental in having the meetings on the Court transferred from South Brighton to Bentleigh. On the 7-7-1914 John went to bring the cow in for milking, as he had been gone a long time Eleanor went looking for him. She found him lying on the ground, apparently he had had a heart attack, a doctor was sent for, but John could not be revived.
From the book ‘The Colony and its People---1888’ we read: "Box—John, East Brighton was born in Sussex England and came to Victoria with his parents. He remained with them for a number of years engaged in market gardening and then in partnership with his father carried on the same business for fifteen ( eleven) years on a piece of land in East Brighton. After that he purchased 10 acres at Nth Rd. the whole of which now is under cultivation".
Probate records show John owned a property of 16 acres & 15 2/10th., perches in Nth Rd. valued at ₤700 (it is unclear whether this is the property referred to above or not. Probate records do not list a 10 acre property, but personal assets include "58 days at ₤30 per annum from 8-5-1914 to 7-7-1914 for 10 acres of land at Nth. Rd. East Brighton ₤4-15-4". His real estate also included a house in Davey St. Oakleigh value ₤400, this is thought to be the house Eleanor moved into shortly after John died. and stayed there until Alex turned 21 and the boys received their inheritance
The 10 children of John & Martha were all born in East Brighton
( now Ormond) they are:-
1/ Rebecca Box born 1863, 1st. child of John & Martha, was a missionary in China for many years. She was known as ‘Faith Box’, by her work associates for her extraordinary faith during the Boxer Rebellion in China. She married about 1900 a Greek Silk merchant Nicholas Viloudaki, they had one son Ray Viloudaki, born 24-12-1902, he married an American girl Helen and they live in the USA. The ‘Geneologist June 1995’ printed 4 page article titled ‘The Life And Times Of Faith Viloudaki’ by Philip Brotchie. Following is an extract from that article:
"Rebecca Anne (Faith) Viloudaki nee Box…….Faith became a missionary and was stationed at various posts in China in the late nineteenth century. She was in the very first Australian party to go to China with the China Inland Mission (CIM)
The intrepid group left Australia for china on 20 November 1890……In her late 20s., unmarried, and full of evangelical zeal, Faith undertook the necessary preparation( which at the time appears to have been a few months apprenticeship to a clergyman), and the northern winter 1890/91 found her cold physically, but enthusiastic mentally, at a mission station in the heart of China. One of her first challenges was the Chinese language, in which there were at least five levels of examination, with honours awarded for high achievement Faith clearly became very fluent.
During the uprising, Faith’s post was invaded by the Boxers, and Faith was faced with a group of them who were clearly intent on killing her. She is reported to have trembled so much as they advanced on her that she shook a Bible off a table onto the floor. The superstitious Boxers interpreted this as the work of evil spirits, and they fled. In this manner Faith’s life was almost miraculously spared. It seems that faith’s future husband, Nicholas, played some part in removing faith from the danger zone (missionaries, where possible were evacuated to the relative safety of the treaty ports, which included Shanghai, where he lived) since she was subsequently to comment that, as he had helped save her life, the least she could do was marry him."
Faith died in the USA in 1950, Nicolas predeceased her. Their son Ray Viloudaki born about 1901/2, and his wife Helen had three children: Ray is reputed to have died in America in the late 1970s. or early 1980s.
William (Billy) Viloudaki born about 1928
Dorothy Viloudaki born about 1932
Bruce Viloudaki born about 1934, was killed while serving with the US Navy.
FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM
Ray and Helen Viloudaki
2/ William George Box born 1865, 2nd.
child of John & Martha
William first worked with his father on the market garden property in North Rd. but after a disagreement one day left the family home, and little is known of him. He married Alice Agnes Howard, and they had triplets in 1891, the three little girls all died in March 1892 from gastroenteritis.. another daughter, Amy Lavinia born in 1898. Alice died in 1913, and in 1914 William married Marian Leighton Phillips, they had one daughter Phyllis Martha, born 1920. William, Alice and the triplets are interred in Old Cheltenham Cemetery, and Marian at Springvale.
3/ Alfred (Alf)Amos Box born 1868, 3rd. child of John & Martha, was a market gardener, and a warder at the Methodist church in Oakleigh. He married Gertrude ( Gertie) Chivers Thompson, even though times were hard, they managed to have a piano and the children all learnt to play. When the family was grown up it became a family affair every second Sunday, for the married couples to bring a ‘basket’ to Ma & Pa’s home for ‘high tea’, where they enjoyed an evening of music and singing. Alf and Gertie were very dedicated Christians, they attended church three times every Sunday. Some of the children felt that was enough to last them a life time, and did not go to church after they were married—except for when they visited Ma & Pa, then they went along with them !! Alf and Gertie are remembered with affection by their daughters- in-law Jean Box & Nellie Box, & grand-niece (by marriage) Nancy Curtis/Lawson. Nancy recalls her mum telling her that when she visited, as a teenager and cousin Gertie would nick into mum’s room to read her magazines,-known as ‘Penny Dreadfulls’; Gertie sn. would come in and say, ‘Don’t you gals go reading my books!!’.
Nancy also recalls Gertie was not known for her love of house work, and her sister-in-law, Eunice Box/Leigh, who was ‘Holier than thou’---and very houseproud, was very contemptuous of Gertie, because she didn’t work hard enough. From a very early age the girls prepared the evening meal, cleared the dishes, did the washing, and all the work. Even after they were married they went home once a week and did the house work. Gertie’s mum live with them for many years, when the children were small. She is remembered as a lovely lady, who was a dressmaker, and made all the children’s clothes. Alf died on the 21-4-1949, & Gertie in 1957 they had 9 children, recorded below:
A/ Francis Alfred Box born 1893, died 1913 of
B/ Ernest Charles Box born 1894, served in the first world war, being wounded in the leg in France. He returned home to Heidelberg hospital where he met Scottish widow Elsie Stait.. Elsie’s first husband, a soldier had died in service, Enr and Elsie married and had a daughter Lilly Box Ern worked for Oakleigh council, driving a Steam Roller. Ern was also a Pastry Cook, and worked in the local cake shop. His nephew, Wally’s wife Nell, says Uncle Ern was a wonderful cook. He made beautiful cakes, and when he would say to Nellie, "Come round for tea", Nell would reply, "If you are making ‘Spanish Cream’".----a cake resembling chocolate mouse-- Nell says it was delicious. Later in life Ern was a Librarian
C/ Doris Grace Box born 1897, died 1898 of Measles.
D/ Gertrude ( Gertie) Emma Box born 1900, married George Algie Comley, Gertie died 1992, after spending some months in a nursing home managed by her niece.
Gertie and Algie had 8 children, their daughter Dorothy, was bridesmaid at the wedding of her Uncle Wally and Aunt Nellie. Their children are:
1/ Alfred George Comley; born 1921 died 2004, joined the army when he was under 18 years of age, after railroading his parents into signing the papers for him. He was taken prisoner in Japan, he married Joyce, but as a result of his war experiences the marriage was dissolved, there were two children of the marriage.
2/ Dorothy Comley; married KEN WEBSTER and is thought to have lived at Trafalgar. They had two children, BEVERLY & ROBERT
3/ Marjory Comley; married a soldier, BILL GRAVEL who had a serious back injury and was in a brace for many years. They had two children SHIRLEY & ANDREW. They went to live in Charters Towers.
4/ Elsie Mavis Comley; married JOHN/ JACK JONES They had six children, ADELE MAVIS, PAUL, RONALD, JOHN, MARK, and CATHERINE. Elsie died of breast cancer in 1986.
5/ Geoffery Comley; has several children
6/ Norma Violet Comley; married MICHIEL VAN DER VELDEN and they had a store down past Lakes Entrance at Nowa Nowa and later moved to Wodonga. Norma and Michael had six children, PETER, RAYMOND, CHRISTOPHER, KATHERINE, MICHAEL and STEPHEN.
7/ Lesley Frank Comley died 1990, married GLORIA and had six children, BARBARA, LESLIE, GLORIA, JANICE, CHRISTINE and PETER.
8/ RALPH Comley, married BRENDA they had several children Brenda died and Ralph is now with LORRAINE.
E/ Elsie Martha Box born 1905, married James Lang
F/ Walter William Box born 1907, in 1941 he met
and married 23 year old, Nellie Farmer; --Walter attended Oakleigh State
school, leaving when he was 14. In 1943 he worked with his brother Harold on a
market garden in Beaumaris for 2 or 3 years. Then Wally and Nell moved to
Gembrook, where Wally worked with the C.F.B. for a time. After that they lived
with ‘Ma Box’ for 2 ½ years while they both went to work to get enough
money to buy land at Clayton, where Wally worked in the timber works. His wife
Nell describes Wally as a happy-go-lucky carefree sort of a guy. He tried his
hand at many jobs, but didn’t settle to anything until Nell convinced him to
do a night school course in boiler making/ welding, after which he worked for a
an engineering firm N.Z.P.I. for nearly 20 years. They moved to Rye when Wally
retired in 1970.
Before they were married Nell lived at Hastings, working and living in a guesthouse in Melbourne, going home once a fortnight. One day in 1941, a work mate said "Next time Wally Box is in town, I’m going to introduce you to him, I reckon he’d be just right for you". " Oh, no you’re not". Says Nellie, "I’m not interested in men or marriage". Soon after her mate came in and said "You are going out with Wally Box, tomorrow night". "Oh, no I am not", says Nellie. The next night off they went to the theatre and ten months later got married.!! They had two children;
1/Walter Ernest, works as a ‘Handy Man’, married Marie, they have Petra Marie.
2/ Raymond Phillip, who is an accountant.
Wally died 27-1- 1975, at the age of 64 Nell still lives at Rye
G/ Olive Amy Box born 1909, married in 1933 Ernest
Elton Watman, Olive died 1995 and Ernest in 1960 They had 4 children;
1/ Phillis Mary Whatman born 1934, married in 1995 William Ernest Ryan born 1927; they have two children
A/ Ian William Ernest Ryan born 1957, he married Karen Brazel they have Naomi Ryan, born 1982; Stephen Ryan, born 1984 & Hannah Ryan. Born 1990.
B/ Kim Alice Ryan –adopted, Kim has a daughter Madieson Ryan born 1993;
2/ Alan Ernest James Whatman born 1940, died 1993;
3/ Gwenyth Alyce Whatman born 1943, married James Edward Walker they have 3 children; Debra Lee Walker born 1967; Kerry Jane Walker born 1970, and Brett James Walker born 1972
4/ David George Whatman born 1953.
H/ Harold Chivers Box born 1912, married Jean Ayers. Harold began his working life as a Lithographic Printer. He did hid apprenticeship with Robert Harding, then went to Victory Publishing where he met the Telephonist/ receptionist, Jean in 1941 Harold joined the Air force, doing his initial training at Victor Harbour, after which he returned to Melbourne, and he and Jean married in Feb. 1942. Soon after Harold went to Ballarat to what was known as ‘Wags’—‘ Wireless Airgunners School’ before going to Sale where they began flying, from there to Bairnsdale, then up North. In Queensland they formed No. 23 Squadron with the Americans, and they were really under the jurisdiction of the Americans. While Harold was away at war, Jean lived with her parents at North Carlton.
After the war Harold and his brother Walter leased about 5 or 6 acres of land in Dalgety Rd. Beaumaris, from Harry Clayton, they had a very successful crop of Rhubarb for number of years, when their lease expired Harold bought a 6 acre property in Dingley. Here he and Jean had a poultry farm and grew rhubarb, and had about 30 lemon trees. Later they sold the back half of the property and about 1973, they sub-divided the rest and built their present home. They travelled overseas a number of times, visiting the family of Nicholas and Rebecca Viloudaki in America. Harold became a councillor for Springvale in 1965, he was Mayor in 1968-9 and again in 1976-77. He remained a councillor until 1983. The Dingley Public Hall was renamed the Harold Box Hall in recognition of Harold’s service to the community.
A commemorative plaque in the Harold Box Hall at Dingley lists his achievements as the first president of the Dingley baseball club, the Neighbour Centre, 1985-88, Rotary club of Dingley village, 1978-93, Probus, 1978-93 and Keysborough Bowling Club. He was also vice Chairman of the Abbeyfield Society. Harold died in 21-6-1993. Harold and Jean have four children:
1/ Peter Box, born 23-6-1944, attended St. Bede’s College at Mentone, later became a School Teacher and is now Principle of Kurnai College, Maryvale Campus. He married Sandra Ann Sterry, they have three children:1/ Emmaline Jane Box; 2/ Chritopher Chivers Box; and 3/ Louise Kate Box
2/ Helen Box born 6-2-1949, like her father was a keen athlete and basket ball player, attended Killester college with her sisters, and is also a School Teacher. Helen married Graham Charles Potts, they live at Tullamarine, Graham is retired after 22 years in the administrations office of Quantas. They have two children.
1/ Victoria Ann Potts, married Dean Morris on the 18-11-2000
2/ Shannon Maria Potts. Shannon married Steven Harvie and they have Benjamin Jacob Harvie
3/ Christine Box, 19-10-1950 Christine attended Killester College. Christine is a double certificate nurse, working at the Freemason’s Hospital. Christine married Neville Charles Rayment, they live at Bacchus Marsh, with their three children; 1/ Liam Alexander Chivers Rayment; 2/ Greta Claire Rayment; & 3/ Thomas Lachlan Charles Rayment.
4/ Patricia Box born 7-10-1952 also attended Killester College, and works for an E. N.T. surgeon at the Mercy Hospital in East Melbourne. Patricia a keen net ball player, married Rayman Harry Grant, they live at Box Hill, with their very special I.V.F. baby daughter Georgia Mary Grant.
I / Roy David Box 9th. And last child of Alfred Amos and Gertrude Box, born 1920, married Shirley Houghston Roy drowned in the sea at Sandringham while fishing with a neighbour in the 1940s. The boat turned over in heavy seas, the neighbour stayed with the boat, Roy said he would swim for help, he was never seen again. Roy was Best Man at the wedding of his brother Wally and Nellie farmer.
4/ Amy ( Aim) Alice Box born 1871, 4th.
Child of John & Martha married ?? Percy Stevens
Aim’s is said, by her niece, Florence Leigh Curtis, to have been a very emancipated lady, she always had her own business, never married, but had two daughters; one was Naomie Amy—first of all Aim lived with another fellow. And later with Percy Stevens, her second daughter was Florence May Stevens, who married a Mr. Lenz. Aim is said to have told Florence "I’ll never marry, any time it doesn’t suit me, I can walk out". Florence said, she liked aim very much as she was a really nice person, very forthright, who said what she though and exactly what she meant, --- so typically Box!! Aim had a little shop in Dandenong. She died on Boxing Day 1932/3 in her shop, someone found her, and called the police, looking for her next of kin, found her sister Eunice Box Leigh in Oakleigh, neighbours told them Eunice was with her daughter Florence Leigh/ Curtis, so we got this knock on the door to tell us Aim had died.
5/ Ernest Spencer Box born 1872, 5th. Child of John & Martha---known to his nieces and nephews as Uncle Spen, Ern married Lena Anne Wyte, they lived in Atherton Rd. Oakleigh. They had three sons; 1/ Stanley William Box married Ruby Pickering; 2/ Louis Box; 3/ Aubrey Box. Ernest died 22-1-1873.
6/ Eunice Hester Box born 1873, 6th. Child of John & Martha married 1896 Timothy Leigh. ( much to her father’s disgust, as he never had any time for any ‘damned Irishman’) Timothy, with his two brothers, Rowland and William, were left orphans at a very early age. Timothy started work at the age of 11 in the Jam factory in Sth. Yarra ( now a big shopping complex), later Timothy bought run down dairy businesses and built them up and sold them. Timothy and Eunice had two daughters and a son:
1/ Violet Amy Leigh born August 1894 died 15-10-1901
2/ Florence Martha Leigh, born 27-1-1899 married plasterer Keith Curtis born 21-8-1899, at St. Mark’s Church East Brighton on the 22-3-1926. Keith’s family had been market gardeners in Kew, When the building trade slumped during the depression, Keith bought a wood-yard in Chelsea, he also had an ‘Ice Round’ in the summer, until he had a Conorary attack when he was 45. He later bought a house in Wellington Pde. Chelsea, where they had many happy visits from family members staying in the family holiday house, a few doors down. Keith died on the 14-7-1968 and Florence died 12-5-1981 They have two children..
1/ Nancy Eunice Curtis, eldest child of Florence and Keith was born 24-3-1927, in Surrey Hills. After being educated at Mont Albert Central School, Nancy worked in an importing/ exporting office for 5 years. While staying with a cousin in East Brighton they attended a church dance one evening, when Nancy met Robert (Bob) Lawson. It had to be fate, because Bob normally didn’t dance and didn’t go to church. He was an Auctioneer and had a business in Nepean Highway, he later became a Member of Parliament. Now retired Bob is President of the local radio station, and the Brighton Historical Society, of which Nancy is also a member, as well as her interest in Box Cottage.
Nancy recalls fun times spent on the beach with their many cousins. "Uncle Alf had an old car—a dodge or something like that—He used to bring my grandmother Eunice down, and she always stayed with us at Christmas. She was terrified because Uncle Alf would put the car straight into third gear, it used to kangaroo down the road, Nana was absolutely terrified, but they all survived. I can see him sitting there with his hat on, & Aunty Gertie sitting next to him, & various relatives in the back or where-ever. Of course the kids were all grown up then, but we saw quite a lot of them. I saw all Aunt Gertie’s grandchildren, some were a bit older than me and some a bit younger, but we all used to meet on the beach and play
Nancy & Bob have five children:
A/ Grant Lawson, married Hazel Taylor, they have Elise Charlotte Lawson; & Claire Elizabeth Lawson, Aimes Hazel Lawson & Annabel Nancy Lawson, who are triplets.
B/ Joanne Lawson, married Malcolm, they have Alexandria; Hilary & Hamish Leigh.
C/ Mark Lawson, married Jae Lee Chung, they have Michelle Lawson born ?; Maria Lawson born 199
D/ Kathryn Lawson
E/ Timothy Leigh
2/ Peter Valdama Curtis, who married Florence
Patton, they have five children:
A/ Ian Curtis, married Marrianne they have Scott Curtis, Aaron Curtis, & Thomas Curtis, & Kalliana Curtis
B/ Barrie Curtis married Jasmine Wersterman
C/ Leigh Curtis, married Suzanne Peters
D/ Daryl Cutis
E/ Anita Curtis married Glen Ashby, they have Benjamin Ashby, Henry Jase Asby; Peta Daisey Asby; & Billy Joseph Ashby.
C/ Harold Victor Leigh born 1902 married Alice Hughes. They have Joan Elizabeth Leigh born 1929, married 1956 Ronald Bevis Spencer. Harold died 22-2-1961
7/ Louis Spencer( Spen) John Box born 1876, 7th.
Child of John & Martha, he married Lena Anne Wyte worked a market
garden in Barkly St. Oakleigh, off Dandenong Rd. (where the Motel is now). Lena
Anne was a florist, and she made the bouquet for the wedding of Wally Box and
Nell Farmer ‘Spen was one of the executors of his father’s will, he and Lena
had three children:
A/ Stanley William Box, born 1905 married Ruby Ethel Pickering, born 1908.
B/ Louis Box born 1907
C/ Aubrey Spencer Box born 1903
8/ Florence May Box, born 1877, 8th. Child of John & Martha Florence married Charles Burgess whose father also lived with them. It is said neither Charles or his father were known for their sobriety. Charles was a Curator of the local golf course. This is somehow said to have taught the children to use language then considered to be unacceptable. Eunice Leigh visited the family and on occasion was coming out to the back veranda she found Violet with a carving knife. Asking, ‘What are going to do with that?’ Violet replied, referring to a wart on her hand, ‘I’m going to cut the bugger off.’ One evening Florence had not been feeling well and said to her husband that he could take her to the doctor in the morning, but by morning it was too late, she died of Peritonitis. Charles and Florence had two children: Violet Burgess & Charles Burgess, they were cared for by their paternal grandmother. 1/ Violet Burgess & 2/ Charlie Burgess.
9/ Alonzo ‘Lon’ Sheldrake Box born 1881, 9th. Child of John & Martha Alonzo volunteered for AIF service on 10-9-1914 and joined the original B company of the 6th. infantry Battalion. After training at Broadmeadows, he embarked aboard the transport Hororata at Port Melbourne on the 18-10-1914. Further training took part in Egypt before the Battalion landed at Gallipoli on the 25-4-1915. On return from the Peninsula, the Battalion refittef and retrained, before service in France and Flanders. Alonzo returned to Australia on the 13-2-1919.
On the 12-6-1918 ‘Lon’ married Mary Louisa Closter, daughter of an old pioneer family of Dandenong. Mary’s wedding dress was made at Dandenong, from silk believed to have been sent from China by her married sister Rebecca, whose husband was a Greek silk merchant. The dress has been donated to Box Historical Cottage and is on display there.
Nancy Lawson, niece of Lon & Mary recalls, " Lon & Mary lived in Dandenong, did not have any children, but fostered a young girl. they lived in an old house, although they were very well to do. Lon had been a market gardener, but they never bothered to have a bigger house, they were happy as they were. Lon owned a house two or three doors down from mum and dad in Bentleigh. It is thought he also owned a dairy farm, out from Dandenong, where Cathy Mackie lived. When Lon used to go to the family to collect the rent and all the rest of it, they were telling him about Cathy. How she had Colitis, she eventually had to have her bowel removed and had a bag. She used to visit the Alfred Hospital, this meant getting up at 4 AM to catch the milk cart into Dandenong to catch the steam train into the Hospital. So Lon said let her stay with us in Dandenong, which she did. Eventually she lived with them full time. She was related to the Mackie’s of Mackie Road Bentleigh. Cath’s brother lived in Davey Av. a few doors from mum. ‘Lon was one of the executors of his father’s will, and in 1914 was living at ‘My Old Ranch’ Milan St. Mentone, his occupation described as a Pitcher Setter.
10/ Walter Stanley Box born 1885, died 1915 was
the 10th. Child of John & Martha
Martha died 22 Dec. 1896, and John took in a housekeeper Eleanor Codrington Amelia Rushall, whom he married in 1900.
John Box’s 2nd. wife Eleanor( Nellie) Rushall,
was born in 1866 in Fitzroy, daughter of George Rushall, who was born 1823 in
London, and his wife Mary Ann Jones, born 1-12-1823 at Battersea, England. They
married in the Church of England at Battersea on the 1-12-1845. They came to
Australia with their young son William arriving, it is believed in Portland in
1849, before settling in Fitzroy. George took a leading part in the campaign for
separation of Fitzroy from Collingwood. Elected to council in 1874, he was Mayor
the following year. He retired from council in 1894. He resided for many years
at 132 Gore Street, George is also listed in Wise’s Postal Directory of
1894-1900 as an auctioneer of 124 Gertrude St. Fitzroy. He was also in business
with a partner who persuaded George to put his money in the same bank as he
used. It was one of the 11 banks that crashed in 1892/3. The family are believed
to have lost everything.
As a young girl Nellie enjoyed the benefits of a wealthy family, she had singing lessons with fellow student Helen Porter Mitchell, better known as Dame Nellie Melba, and hey attended many concerts together. Nellie, like all society people had her ‘calling cards’, which she carried in a little case tied to her waist.
In 1894 Nellie was owner a 10 roomed stone hotel known as the Terminus Hotel in Hammer St. Williamstown. This was near the foreshore, and a favourite place for the many sailors coming off the ships. Nellie had many friends amongst the sailors; one named John Ryder seemed to be a special friend. He had a ship in a bottle made for Nellie, which her grand-daughter Lillian still has. Lillian has a photo album with a number of pictures of sailors. Nellie kept a receipt (perhaps her last) from McCraken’s Brewery, in Collins St. Melb. dated 26-10-1894, for one barrel of ale £2-8-3, with a 5/- discount, amount payable £2-3-0. In 1897 Nellie gave birth to a daughter she named Lavilla Griffith, born in Albert Park, sadly little Lavilla died at Fitzroy in 1898 age one year. After the family lost everything in the depression, Nellie worked as a housekeeper, first for a doctor at Cockatoo, and later for John Box at Brighton, whom she married, John was 24 years her senior. John’s two eldest children were older than their stepmother, and his youngest of the first marriage was 15 years old and probably working.
Nellie gave to her grand-daughter, Lillian Andrews/Seamer many keepsakes, including her little mother-of-pearl case which was tied around her waist and held her ‘calling cards’ in it. Also she wore around her waist a pouch containing a prayer book, in which Nellie had recorded her mothers birth and wedding dated. The prayer book was presented to Nellie on the 31-8-1889 at Fitzroy. Another keepsake is a little pearl ring with a glass cover at the back that opened like a locket, in which the ladies could keep a lock of hair.
John and Nellie had three children.
1/ Nellie Gladys Box born 9-5-1901, at Brighton,
remembered visiting her Rushall grandparents in the big two-storeyed brick
mansion, with the big staircase. Nellie was 13 when her father died, she got a
job as a domestic maid and lived in At Caulfield. In about 1923 Nellie was
living at home and defied her mother by sneaking out one night to meet the boy
from the next property, she stayed out late and when returned copped a horse
whipping from her mother. Horse whipping was acceptable punishment in those
days. If one business man did the wrong thing by another it was not unusual for
such a fellow to be horse whipped in Collins St. Melbourne.
Nellie married 6-2-1926 William ( Bill )Andrews, born in 1908, his mother died when he was 10 and Bill pretty much looked after himself, with kind neighbours cooking his meals. He became a butcher, following in the same trade as his father Bill and his Uncle Arthur Andrews, by the age of 18 he knew he was ready for marriage. At the age of 45 Bill had a tractor accident that resulted in the amputation of one leg. This made standing on saw dust in a butcher’s shop both difficult and dangerous, so Bill retired from being a butcher. He had a tractor fitted out to suit his needs and worked on for a number of years. Nellie & Bill have three children;
A/ Lillian Eleanor (after nana) Andrews born 22-8-1926, has photos of her grandmother as a very beautiful lady, who liked to dress up when she was young. She was very poor after John died.
Lillian has many happy memories of family life, which she shares with us.
She attended Beaconsfield Primary School starting in the preps at age 4 ½; her Uncle Ray Box was in the 7th. grade and Aunty Thelma Box in the 8th. At this time the families were all living on farm at Beaconsfield, they had sold the first house Jack Rushall Box had built for them in Mill St. Oakleigh. This was when he received his inheritance from his father John Box. The boys of the family (excepting Wm George) received their inheritance about 1927, when the youngest child, Alex Gordon turned 21. At this time Lillian’s father worked in a butcher’s shop in Carlton He used to walk home to Beaconsfield on Saturday and walk back again on Sunday. Lillian remembers a play house Jack built for her, and recalls he took her bird nesting.
Jack lost this farm during the depression.. He later managed a farm at Hallam, opposite where the Standford Hotel is now. Aunty Thelma met her husband Ray Hart there, when he came over from Western Australia to help on the farm.
Lillian left school in 1941, and began work in the office of the department of aircraft productions, as it was wartime, she tells her story:-- " Often I had to go out and sort out components for the planes. In between office work I’d have to see about things for the planes. We had special passes to go and watch the test pilots take the planes up. sometimes they crashed down, that was awful. When the war finished I worked William Anglis for about a year, then I went to McIlwraith/ McEachern shipping company. While there I used to be taken out to lunch nearly every day by the sea Captains. it was beaut; they would take me to hotels like Scot’s and Menzies. I was just 18, but they would get me to buy undies and negligees for their wives and sweethearts at home. Captain Suttie was an old Scottish darling, he used to take me out and buy me chocolates. I worked there as a stenographer.
By this time mum and dad had bought a holiday house at Monbulk and we would come up for the weekends. The Seamer family lived in Monbulk I met, Harry Seamer. during this time, and later we were married. Mrs.Eva Seamer used to tell me stories her mother had told her about their parents arriving on ships. She said there would be a man waiting, and pick out a girl he wanted for a ‘house-keeper’, as they came down the gangway. Eva’s family first lived in Richmond, moving to Monbulk when Edith was about 2. Harry and I both worked in the city before we were married. Sometimes we preferred to stay in Carnegie at the weekends, as there was little entertainment in Monbulk. If we wanted to go to the pictures from Monbulk, we had to catch the ‘dog-box’, an old army truck, at 7 PM. the roads were rough and there were some fatal accidents with young people hanging out of the ‘dog-box’. If we wanted to go to a dance at Upwey it meant a 9-kilometre walk.
When we stayed in Carnegie we had to have a chaperone to see we didn’t get up to any mischief. Usually this was my Aunty Eunie ( Eunice Florence Box/Leigh) She was great fun always laughing, a real glamour girl. She wore high-heeled shoes and make up right through her old age. If we went to the pictures or ice-skating, Aunty Eunie came too. Sometimes if Aunty Eunie couldn’t come Uncle Tom or Aunty Elsie Rushall would be our chaperone.
Lillian and Harry Seamer have five children.
1/ Noel Seamer, born 10-12-1948, went to school at Monbulk Primary, then Upwey High school. When he was 18 Noel was seriously injured in a motor car accident. He was in a coma for over a month, and had major surgery. It took him 7 years to get back to normal, but he still occasionally suffered from epilepsy Noel was a technician with the PMG. when they changed to Telecom, about 1972, they put off all the old staff. Noel married a girl of Polish/ German descent, Henrika Irmagard Rem, they have four children: Ronald Seamer born 7-2-1973; Brent Scot Seamer born 19-2-1974; Kay Seamer born 30-3-1977 & Ray Seamer born 7-7-1978. the marriage has been dissolved.
2/ George Raymond Seamer; named after Ray Box was born 22-12-1939 is a builder. After finishing Monbulk Primary School, George went to Ferntree Gully Tech. that has now been pulled down. He married a girl from New Zealand. they met on a cruise ship, she was there with her grandma, and he was travelling with a group of friends. She came to live with us at Monbulk. they have two daughters—Kiri Lee Seamer, named after Dame kiri Lee, born in 1979, now works as a masseur in a sports complex, opposite the Alfred Hospital. Kiri has just returned from 12 months in England working in the hospitality industry—Laurelle Rae Seamer has also recently returned from a working holiday in Ireland. She worked for the Great Western Motel chain; both girls came home for Christmas 2000, neither of them are married.
3/ Dianne Seamer; born 23-9-1952 is a teacher at the Monbulk Primary School, where all the children began their education. Dianne married Nurseryman Denis Brooks, they have a business at Sylvan They have three children:--Mathew Brooks born 6-2-1976; Jeffrey Michael Books born 14-8-1980; Rebecca (Beckie,) Brooks born 20-5-1982; Gregory Stephen Brooks born 25-2-1996.
4/ Mark Seamer; born on what was then called ‘cracker day’24-5-1957, Empire Day was one of the two annual days celebrated with fire crackers, the other, of course, being Guy Fawke’s Day. As usual on these days the hospital was inundated with burn victims, hence the banning of fire-crackers for children. They are now big boy’s toys, on a big scale, which we all watch with delight. Mark was in the police force for many years, having been a Sergeant at Nunawading and Dandenong, he was then a detective Sergeant in Internal Affairs. He retired recently and is hoping for a career as a financial adviser. He married Debbie Clark on St. Patrick’s Day, they have three children-Todd Seamer born 22-5-1988; Genna Seamer born 3-7-1990 and Kallen Seamer born 20-8-1991.
5/ Heather Seamer. born 14-12-1960 married a Dutch bricklayer (Ted) Dekkers they have two children—Samuel Michael Dekkers born 19-12-1995 and Dana Dekkers born 11-12-1997. Heather worked in the National Bank before her marriage.
Harry Seamer died 14-6-`996; Harry had lived most of his life in Monbulk. When war broke out Harry chose to serve in the navy. He joined HMAS Launceston, a minesweeper, in the signals department, and spent his time in the South Pacific including Japan. Back home he worked as an accountant for Anderson’s and then managed the berry farms for some years. Being of a mathematical bent he was soon called on to be the treasurer for the guides, scouts, netball, senior citizens, football, & infact about any and every club that has an association with Monbulk. He was one of the few who was willing to give of himself to every group in the area. He, along with his dear wife were instrumental in bringing about the Community Hall in Monbulk, and they ended up, Lillian as secretary and ‘guess who’ as Treasurer. He received the Paul Harris medal from the Rotary Club for his exceptional work in the community.—
( source, Lillian Seamer. an extract from a Eulogy)
The Monbulk Community also recognised Harry in its Honours List, which was reported in the paper. It reads in part, The highlight of the night was the presentation of the highest recognition that the Rotary International Organisation can bestow on an individual, the Paul Harris Fellow.
This presentation was made to Harry Seamer….he has served the community with commitment and dedication. He has been involved in major organisations spanning some 50 years with great spirit and a willingly contribution of his time and effort.
Lillian still lives in Monbulk.
B/ William (Bill) Andrews—2nd.
child of Nellie & Bill Andrews, Bill was a butcher in Carnegie, but
after the family moved to Monbulk, Bill missed them, so he moved up there too.
He drove tractors, he married Mary Barlee, from Officer. Mary was much
loved by Bill’s cousin Nancy Curtis-Lawson. Nancy always called Mary ‘The
life of the Australians’; she could have run the country. Nancy said they
lived up the country and Bill patented a carrot washing machine or something
like that. Mary did research and wrote a book about 2/2 Pioneers Battalion in
WW2. Their children are;
A/ Debra Andrews; born 1970 is married to Scot, they have Nathan & Cassie B/ Gregory Andrews; married Renne
C/ Mel Andrews; married Jeff
D/ Nardine Andrews. married Simon
C/ Beryl Andrews 3rd. child of Nellie and Bill Andrews--born 15-8-1930; married Wallis (Wally) Dodd. Wally worked with the PMG when they married, then he became a tanker driver. They were on a farm for a while at Pakenham, until their three-year-old daughter, Vicki, fell into a manure pit. It was liquid manure; caked hard on top, it looked like a road, but when the little one walked on it in her rubber boots, she just disappeared. She was in the children’s hospital for quite a while, because the manure got into her lungs and she had a lot of breathing problems. Their first child, Stephen Dodd was born when Beryl was 5 ½. months pregnant. Beryl was involved in a car accident, when born Stephen weighed 2lb. He stayed in the Queen Victoria Hospital for 4 months. He had epileptic fits while he was teething, then he grew out of it. At the age of three he contracted Encephalitis from the creek running through the farm. He was unconscious for three months, when he regained consciousness his brain was damaged. At 18 he had a stroke that paralysed him, he was so thin Beryl could carry him everywhere. He only say our names and nothing else. He died at the age of 23. 2/ Vicki Dodd; born 27-10-1957 is married to Mark, who is a driver for Lindsay Fox. They have Michael born 23-3-1981; Bradley born 6-3-1982; Kylie born in March 1986; 3/ Janice Maude Dodd, married Brian Young they had Joshua Young & Benjamin Young. The marriage dissolved and now Janice and a partner have one child. 4/ Grant Dodd born 8-12 1969/70 is a bricklayer married to Paula they have Lauren Dodd & Brittany Dodd..
2/ Jack Rushall Box 2nd child of John Box and Nellie Rushall/ Box, was born 29-5-1904, married Doris Manning on the 26-8-1939 at St. James C. of E. Dandenong, Rev. Sinclair was the officiating minister. Nellie Andrews and John Oliver Houlton witnessed the marriage. Doris was born 1-1-1911daughter of John Hoskings Manning and Ada Palmer of Richmond.
Jack was only 10 when his father died, as soon as he was able to go to work he took on the responsibility of providing for the family. He was a real ‘Jack of all Trades’, he would have a go at anything, but market gardening was his preferred occupation. He would most likely have started his working life in market gardening with one of his older half brothers. Eleanor & family were living at Oakleigh in rented premises in 1927, when Jack and brother Alex received their inheritance. It is thought they pooled their money to buy/build a house for the family in Mill St. Oakleigh. As Jack was the eldest and Alex being a ‘change of life’ baby was a little ‘slow’ Jack had taken the responsibility of the family. Around 1930 Jack was buying a farm property at Beaconsfield. The depression hit every body, and although Nellie and Bill Andrews with their three small children were living there as well as Alex, Eleanor and her two fostered children Ray & Thelma they were not able to keep the farm going. The Andrews family moved to Carnegie, while Jack & family moved to Bryant St. Dandenong. Next move was to manage another farm at Hallam,
About the time of his marriage Jack was working A.J.C. in Sth Yarra, he was always an itinerant worker and moved around a lot. After their marriage Jack and Dot went back to Dandenong living in Langhorne St.
At different times Jack worked as a butcher, farmer, market gardener, a bar man, a poultry farmer, a timber cutter, and with horses. He finished his working life as a machinist at International Harvesters, leaving there due to ill health. He suffering for 10 years with Rheumatoid Arthritis, he was wheel chair bound before he died 19-10-1970, Doris died 18-4-1971 (cancer) They are both buried at Cranbourne Cemetery. They had two boys.
A/ Leonard (Lennie) 10-10-1940, Baptised 1-6-1941 at St.
James C.of E Dandenong, at this time the family were living in a little flat in
Langhorne St, next door to Nanna Manning. From here they moved to Carnegie
behind the butcher’s shop in Koornang Rd, which the Andrews family had
recently vacated. Then in Len’s words, "We went from the butcher’s shop
in Carnegie to Whittlesea farming cows. The guy, The other Bill Andrews didn’t
think dairy farming was going to be much good. In fact I think the only reason
he bought it was because meat was a very expensive commodity and they used to
sneak up to the farm every so often and slaughter a beast and take it back to
sell it at the butcher’s shop. Now that would been highly illegal in those
days. It would be sold under the counter, good meat for friends. You would call
that ‘black market’ meat I suppose, but I can remember them. Bill had a
butcher’s shop in Koornang Rd. Carnegie, that’s where I first met them.
Arthur had some involvement, whether he owned it or not I don’t know. Dad was
running that farm up there for them, whoever they were, and Arthur would bring
his son Ronnie Andrews up. Ronnie used to have a rifle and he used to go out and
shoot steers. Then they would hang them up in the trees and butcher them. Now
they wouldn’t do that until late in the day, then they would take them down
the paddock on the old horse and wagon or what ever, they might have shot them
there, I forget now, but they would put them up in the trees and butcher them
and load the meat into the back of the old panel van, the old chev they used to
have, and take it back to the shop. It would have been a very profitable
business in those days. Later on they were going to change the farm from
dairying to horse agistment, training farm, race horses or trotters, I’m not
sure what, but I know dad worked a lot among horses in his young days around
Caulfield and there and he knew what was in store for him and he wouldn’t have
a bar of it. so we shifted to a poultry farm at Nar Nar Goon.
We stayed there for three years, then went to Monbulk, dad cut timber in the scrub. He would come home probably about 8 or 9 months of the year wet through to the waist from wadding through the all this wet bracken fern and foliage. It was always wet, you know what they say, it rains for 9 months of the year and drips for the other three. All the timber cut by hand axe and saw, then it was taken out of the forest, down to the saw mills. I don’t know how they got it out of the forest, perhaps by a team of horses. Dad was always good with a team of horses, we used to plough the land at Whittlesea with two draft horses in front of the plough. I can remember not being able to go to school because the road was snowed in, that was Mt. Pleasant Rd. I used to get 6d for my lunch once a week, and would go down to the pie shop and get a pie for 5d and a penny worth of liquorice blocks, that was a big meal in those days.
We went from Monbulk to a market garden at Cranbourne, an acre of land and a four roomed house, between Devon Meadows and Cranbourne. When International Harvesters opened their big factory at Cranbourne, dad got a job there. I remember he came home one day and told mum he had reached his ultimate goal, he was getting ₤20 per week, that was good money in those days. As his health deteriorated he had to retire, he became wheel chair bound, so he & mum moved into Cranbourne, to be nearer to the doctor. They later moved to a flat in Frankston to be near the family".
Len started work with the PMG when he was 14 as a postman, he became a linesman and spent 39 years in the one job!! (a contrast to his dad’s working life) He took a ‘package’ in 1993, then went back at various times for people who are contracting to Telstra, like Vision stream, the cables for pay television. Len married Marie Bergman in 1969, they have one daughter Lisa Box born 18-8-1971. Lisa is not married, she works in a pharmacy. Len’s marriage dissolved in 1988. He had a loving partnership with Dorothy Ann Piper for 12 years when Dorothy died on the 23-2-2001.
B/ Graeme Box their second was son, born on the 19-7-1948 at Dandenong hospital, when the family was living at Whittlesea, Vic. The family moved about quite a bit, so over the next few years they moved to Nar-Nar-Goon, Monbulk, & Cranbourne. Graeme attended Cranbourne Primary School –now the site of the R.S.L.---and secondary schooling at Dandenong Technical School, completing form 4 in 1964. In January 1965, Graeme started training with the PMG. In November of that year he was posted to Frankston Telephone Exchange, where he worked as an area technician, then a Technical Officer for 29 years, until he accepted a redundancy in 1994. On the 11-1-1969 Graeme married Lorraine Ellen Burnell and they settled in Frankston. They have two children; 1/ Jeffrey Dean Box born 23-11-1969, born at Frankston hospital, attended Tyabb Primary School and Hasting High school, as the family lived at Tyabb from 1975-1985. Jeff continued his education at the Clayton campus of Monash University, where he passed his Science degree with honours. He works at the Alfred hospital as a Scientist in the Bio- Chemical section. He presently lives at Heidelberg as is not married. 2/ Dionne Jane Box was born 27-4-1972, and followed her brother to Tyabb and Hasting Schools. Dionne continued her studies at the Frankston campus of Monash University, where she completed a nursing degree. (gone are the days when training was done on the job!!) She then took up a position at the Brisbane Hospital for a few years before travelling to London, where she worked in the children’s Hospital for about four years, in between trips to other parts of the world. In America she met Sydney born Stephen John Essenstam, whom she married on the 4-6-1999. They returned to Brisbane and have a son Zachary William John Essenstam born 19-9-1999. Graeme later married Patricia Kaye Ferguson on the 25-9-1993.
Doris died in the Caulfield Hospital on the 18-4-1971. Jack having predeceased her on the 19-10-1970.
3/ Alexander (Alec) Box, 3rd. child of John and Nellie (Eleanor) Box, born 2-5-1906, died 1953. Alec worked at the Dandenong Railway yards. He was also a trainer for the local football club. He was highly thought of and respected by he whole community.
John Box was 72 years old when he went out one evening to bring the cows in for milking. When he had not returned Nellie went looking for him, she found him at the gate; he had died of a heart attack.
The Southern Cross newspaper reported John’s death. The death of Mr J box of North road removed from the district one of the oldest residents, and also a member of the local Court AOF. Deceased was 73 years of age and for some time had been ailing. On Tuesday week he went to milk the cow, and as he was a long time away his wife made a search and found lying on the ground……Mr box joined the Foresters in 1861 and took an active interest in the order……..He leaves a widow and three children.
After her husband’s death life was difficult for Nellie, she lived in a house in Oakleigh belonging to the estate, and for which she paid rent. She took in a number of welfare children, for which she was paid a small amount to care for. Nellie also raised two other children recorded below. Over the years Nellie lived with each of her children.
4/ Ray Box --This history of Ray has been compiled from his niece, Lillian Andrews/Seamer. Also from Mary Barlee/Andrews, the wife of Ray’s nephew William Andrews. Mary wrote a very detailed history of the 2/2 pioneers, I will use a few extracts from her work. And also a summary of the 2/2 pioneers from Elizabeth Pidgeon of Eltham Victoria.
Ray was born in 1919 in Carlton, to Maryanne Akers
of Bacchus Marsh and John Dun of Bullengarook, farmer. He was made a ward of the
state because they were not married. Eleanor raised him as her own (the family
believe Eleanor legally adopted Ray, however records don’t confirm this) Ray
changed his name to Ray Box when he was about 16.
Ray attended school in Bentleigh, by the late 1920s. Jack Rushall Box had begun farming at Hallam and in 1933 Ray went to work with him until the family moved to Dandenong in 1936. He had become interested in amateur cycling, he won a number of trophies, and his bike was his pride and joy. A very out going person he was known as a bit of a larrikin After Nellie Box married butcher Harry Andrews, Ray went to work with him, at Carnegie, and sometimes with Harry’s brother Arthur, also a butcher at Prahran.
After the out break of war Ray served in the 2/2 Pioneer Battalion, "which was the Australian contingent of the British Force sent in to capture Syria from the Vichy French who were allies of the Germans and controlling Lebanon and Syria. The plan was for an advance on three fronts. The 2/2 Pioneers were deployed as part of the force on the central advance. They were involved in extremely difficult night moves along unknown mountain tracks. The enemy knew their territory better and out numbered the allies in manpower and tanks, after three weeks of heavy fighting the Vichy French finally surrendered. After a successful campaign, and their distinguished service, the Battalion was given the task of occupation troops in order to rest and re-inforce, re-equip and receive further training. ……..Linda Goetz Holmes in her book: "4000 Bowls of rice" a prisoner of war comes home" outlines what followed next for the Battalion. "In January 1942, the combat-seasoned unit was rushed aboard the "Orcades", back to the Pacific to defend Australia. Instead, in a decision that remains controversial to this day, the Battalion was put ashore at Java and placed under Dutch command. When the Dutch capitulated, nearly all of the Pioneer Battalion was forced to surrender to the Japanese as well".
After the fall of Singapore, Japan had a garrison of over 70,000 prisoners to deal with. They lacked the sea power to transport them to Japan, nor had adequate jail facilities to house them. They had a potentially strong and well-trained work force. It was decided to put them to work on the construction of the Tai-Burma rail link. It was intended to reduce the logistical problems of maintaining a large army in Burma. Work was to commence at Thanbyuzayat and join 415 kilometres later at Ban Pong. It was constructed through remote mountainous jungle territory, in a region subject to tropical diseases and the vagaries of tropical weather…..Thousands were put to work on this infamous Burma Thailand Railway as slave labour under extreme, inhuman and tortuous conditions" (source Elizabeth Pidgeon)
Ray did his initial training at Puckapunyal, he was in C Co. 8th. Platoon, his platoon Sgt. was later to be Sgt Kevin Nolan. He was aboard the ‘Queen Mary’ when she left Sydney on the 7th. April 1941, bound for Freemantle, then Ceylon. and after further ship transportation, & by train through the Sinai desert to Gaza. From here they were taken on training marches through Arab villages, which were noteworthy for their filthy condition. The men eagerly looked forward to weekend leave in Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem. It was probably from here that Ray sent his mother a brooch, (which his nephew Len Box now has) it was a mother of pearl crown, with the word mother in gold across it. Ray also wrote the following letters to Lillian.
Had a trip on the boat, spent some time in Palestine, went and saw Tel–Aviv, its not a bad old hole, too many Jews for my liking, worse than the bloke who’s next door to you. (a Jew had the fruit shop next door to Andrews butcher shop). the Arabs don’t seem a bad sort of people but you have to watch them just the same. You would not like to live the way they do, they never seem to wash, in the same footsteps as the present (we don’t have time to wash either, plenty of water around, but they have springs on a bore—that’s not a pig. Have been getting plenty of eggs, we pinch them more than buy them. You would have laughed when we went foul hunting. The boys caught one, and gave it to me to ring its neck. I thought I did. Then comes in a second one, I put the first one down on the ground and went in for the kill on the second one. The first one got up and ran away, well laugh, we often have a good joke about that. The only thing I’m good for is egg hunting 4 doz. and two is my best so far. They would come in very handy back home. Been sleeping in some funny places since I left Aussie, in a grave yard one night, wog houses some other nights, the best up to date was a wire mattress, and boy was it good, a home away from home. Saw Frank for a few hours one evening, he is doing well, he has left the cookhouse. He had no letters from his girlfriend, looks as if I’ve been left again too. I’ll stick to the old saying, never say die until you’re dead, and that’s me. Well young lady I am just about dead for want of sleep, so I will close now with lots of love to mum and dad, Ray.
Received three letters from you and one from mum last Tuesday. Glad to here everything is going alright. I have a fair idea who the girl was that rang you people—had a letter infact. Did Nanna enjoy her day at the theatre, I believe she is doing well again. I shore (sic) did enjoy ?—at the Times theatre. This would make your ears stick out; I got 14 eggs in one day. I suppose you are wondering where I get them all, I get around, that’s me. So you don’t like the shop, I don’t blame you, if you can get a good job at typing take it. You want to find a good job while you are young, I wish I was there trying to help you. I think I will go bush when I get back, sunshine is best for me. Hope you enjoy your day at Ballarat, it sounds like a good place, I’ve had some mail from there—that’s me, love ‘em all and marry none. I will close now, I am going to write to mum after this so cheerio from your dear old Uncle Ray.
After this they took part in many campaigns until the end of the year. They encountered much heavy fighting with casualties on both sides.
‘January 1942 started with a blizzard that raged for three days. Between the 16-12-’41 and 14-1-’42 Ray was with the 6th. Australian Infantry Special, he rejoined the battalion on the 22-1’42. On the 16th. January orders came to move, and on the 18th. the companies left camp and joined up in battalion convoy for the move south.. On arrival in Palestine the men were outfitted with summer clothing and prepared to leave………After lunch on the 1-2-’42 the battalion boarded the ‘Orcades’. which left Port Tewfik carrying 3,000 troops to an unknown destination. Feb. 9th the Orcades stopped overnight at Columbo, but no troops were allowed ashore. they reached the harbour of Oosthaven on the 15th. Feb……….It was decided to form those units on board into a landing force code named ‘Boost Force’……..The Orcades arrived at Tandjoeng Priok, Port of Batavia, the capital of Java on Feb. 17th. to be greeted by pouring rain and the B.B.C. announcement of the fall of Singapore. In some confusion the pioneers disembarked’ Again they were involved in heavy fighting under difficult circumstances.
‘The Dutch capitulated on March 8th and the situation became desperate as the entire Japanese strength would be concentrated on the retreating forces. The battalion continued on through Garoet, then along a narrow and difficult mountain route. The news came through that the Dutch had surrendered and that they too must capitulate………Fifty years later Capt. Winning wrote to Mary Barlee, ‘As you know, the entry of the Japanese into the war was a direct threat to Australia and our battalion was mobilised. We went into action and inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese at cost, however, to ourselves. Among the missing was Ray Box and I was unable to get any information, except that he was last seen firing at the enemy.’……On the 15th March the battalion (now prisoners) was moved to the market place at Leles, south east of Bandoeng where they remained, relatively unguarded, until April 13th when they were entrained for Batavia. They were marched to 10th. battalion (Dutch) Barracks, known as the Bicycle camp which was to be their home for the next 6 month………Soon after arrival work parties were organised, the men welcomed the chance to get away from camp and the work was not hard. ………In a letter dated 20-4-1996 Kevin Nolan recalls, 3-7-’42 records an agreement between me and 8 members of the platoon that we would not sign an ‘oath’ not to attempt to escape until forced had been used against us. Ray was one of those who stuck to their word and were punished, being made to kneel on the gravel path for an hour in the hot sun. We considered this to be sufficient duress to rid us of any legal responsibility, and so we all signed, because it didn’t mean a thing to us.’ Food was poor in the camp, rice and a small quantity of vegetables in a thin pork flavoured stew was the sole diet of the prisoners……….Kevin Nolan’s diary continued….22-3-42…….teach Ray Box to play chess, then beaten by Doug Christy. Somebody steals bread, we are confined to barracks. 31-3-42……Box and I lose to Rabbit & B.Low at 500. ..Very disappointing month, all went wrong. 5-4-42 Trials this morning, I enter for shot (putt) and H.S. & J. Grass too wet so both left till after lunch…….Mac and I beat Boxy and Rabbit, Ha Ha. Rice and spuds, worse meal to date……..Spent P.M. half making a monopoly board with assistance of Ray Box. Interrogation of all re ‘going thru’. Late in September the prisoners were told that a large scale evacuation was to take place to provide special working parties at an unknown destination……….On the 14th. October the Maebisi Maru of 8,000 tons left Singapore with 1500 POW packed tightly in her holds, these included the 2/2nd. pioneers. Conditions were bad, the heat below deck was almost unbearable. For nine days the ship steamed up the west coast of Malaya, Thailand and Burma………On the morning of Oct 26 a group called Williams Force marched out of the jail, through the former British area of the town into a native shopping area. Here the natives, ignoring the guards, thrust food cigars and anything else that they could find at the prisoners. On arrival at the railway station children passed cooked rice cakes through the fence to the prisoners. After a short train journey and a short walk to No. 3 Branch, Thai War Prisoner’s camp, the local Burmese also gave cooked food and fruit to the men. This new location was Thanbuzayat. The head of No. 3 branch was Lieut.-Col Nagamoto who was to be their Japanese commander until the completion of the Burma Thailand Railway at the end of 1943…….the Japanese held several inspections to select men fit enough to send to Japan on working parties. Selection was simple, a Japanese medical officer (actually a dentist) walked past rows of prisoners. Older men, those with dark skin or freckles, tropical ulcers, malaria, broken or amputated limbs were excluded. Of the 900 Australians selected only 5 % could be considered fit, among the 73 pioneers. Ray was one of those selected. The men had mixed feelings about going to Japan, some thought that Japan might be better than the jungle camps, it certainly could not be worse. Others had doubts, they knew that the war in the Pacific had turned in favour of the allies and that many Japanese ships were being sunk by Allied submarines"’
"On the 6th. September 1944 1,350 Briton and Australian prisoners were placed aboard the "Rakuyo Maru". It left Singapore as part of a convoy bound for Japan. An American submarine, one amongst a fleet, however, without knowledge that POW were aboard torpedoed the ship, after first attacking its accompanying fuel tankers. They had believed war supplies only were aboard. It lifted the boat out of the water, but surprisingly not killing any of the prisoners stashed in the holds. The ship did not immediately sink and prisoners abandoned the ship, clinging onto whatever debris from the ship they could salvage. The Japanese rescued a minority, including their own but in the main they were left for dead for some days, many survivors having to endure the effects of the oil slick from burning tankers on their bodies which in many cases caused blindness. Fierce hunger and thirst led many to drink salt water that led to mental incapacity, which often ended their lives. Only 136 were to survive, after being rescued days later by the same U.S. fleet." (This history of the 2/2 Pioneers was researched and supplied by Elizabeth Pidgeon of Eltham Victoria)
Ray did not survive, after having been reported missing in Java 30-4-1942, he was reported a prisoner of war 4-11-43, and reported missing believed drowned on or after 12-9-1944. Eleanor received the following letter::
from-Victorian Echelon and records,
281 Lonsdale St..
Melbourne, C 1
26 February, 1945
Mrs. E. C. Box,
76 Koornang Rd.
Ref: VX22788—Box, R.J.
With further reference to this office letter dated 30/10/1944.
It is with regret you are advised that the International red
Cross, Geneva, now report that Tokyo confirms the identification of the above
named soldier as being missing following the sinking of the Japanese transport
on the 12 September 1944.any further information that may be received will be
immediately conveyed to you.
J.Thomas...for Lieut. Col.
officer in charge,
Victorian Echelon and Records.
At the National War Memorial in Canberra a Memorial wall has
been erected and every serviceman who died for his country is named. Among the
names is that of R. J. Box
Lillian received the following letter.
Dear Miss Andrews----1-1-1945
I knew a Ray Box from Dandenong out of 2/2 Pioneers. He was on the boat with me, a very fine fellow. If I remember rightly he worked in a butcher’s shop. I don’t know if he got any of your mail that you sent him. He was very good with his sick mates, he used to sleep with some of them who were sick, for fear they might need help during the night. I never saw him after the boat was sunk. My honest opinion is that he is gone, although I didn’t see him go. That’s about all I can tell you. The same address will always find me.
Lillian had found the name and addresses of 80
survivors and wrote to all of them in the hope of finding Ray.
Some years after the war, Thelma Box’s Husband Ray Hart who had served at Tobruk, was a truck driver. He stopped at a pub in Ferntree Gully one day and during the conversation learned that the pub owner had been in the 2/2nd pioneers. He had infact been on the Rakuyo Maru, and standing on the same platform as Ray when the ship went down!!. He was one of the lucky suvivors.
5/ Thelma May Box---Thelma was born in Carlton
in 1918. Her birth mother is recorded as Florence May Clark, her father not
recorded. Florence May Clark had married Arthur Thomas Adamson in 1915. Arthur
Adamson was killed in Action in France in May 1915, he is buried in the Canadian
sections of the war cemetery in France. Florence May Adamson married Edward
Theodore Palmer in 1920.
Eleanor raised Thelma from the time she was a few months old, as one of her own and Thelma was always Thelma Box.
Thelma remembers Eleanor as always being an old lady, and when asked how old she was, Eleanor always replied 99. Thelma recalls the family were very poor after John died. They lived in a house in Davey Av. Murrumbeena, which they rented, and were put out of. They moved to Regent Street until Alex turned 21 and they all received their inheritance from John’s estate. Alex and Uncle Jack’s money built a house.
Thelma married Ray Hart before the war started. When it broke out Ray was one of the first to sign up. He was one of the ‘Rats of Tabruk’. Thelma and Ray had one son Lesley born 22-3-1936. Les worked with the PMG. On the 28-8-1991, Les watched a Richmond football match on T.V. then ‘phoned the family to wish his father and daughter Jodi a happy birthday, he walked into his bedroom, fell across the bed and died, aged 55.
Les’s first marriage was to Valerie Brown, they had three children, 1/ Garry Hart, born 14-11-1958, married Dianne Peterson, born 18-7-1960, live in Tasmania, Garry is a Cheff, and won the apprentice of the year award when he was training. . They have April Hart, born 15-8-1993, who played the Violin, and Shane Hart born 1988, who played the Keyboard, and Soccer and Basket -ball
2/ Karen Hart born 1960, could be a great swimmer, but doesn’t like the rigorous training involved, married Christopher Forte, they have two children;
1/ Chanelle Forte born 21-1-1982
2/ Ricki Christopher Forte born 15-9-1985
3/ Jodi Hart born 28-8-1962 ?
The marriage dissolved and Les married Jane they had one son Glen Hart
Thelma and Ray celebrated 65 years of married life.
Ray died in 2001. Thelma remained in Montrose.
Ray and Thelma Hart.
Anna Box born 22-5-1849, baptised 9-3-1856 in
A/ Beatrice Pay born at South Yarra 17-6-1883, in Sth Yarra, was an excellent pianist and Music Teacher. On 26-2-1906 she married Stanley Robert Mitchell who was born at St. Kilda on 12-2-1881. They lived at Sunnyside Camberwell
Beatrice died at Camberwell on the 31-7-1922, and is buried at Box Hill
1/ Robert Norman Mitchell; born 24-2-1907, ---7-12-1993 married
13-1-1934, Eunice May Britton, born
1-5-1914 at Yackandandah, they have two children:
a/ Barry Robert Mitchell, born 18-10-11936, married 12-1-11963, Jennifer Buchanan, born 28-5-1941; they have four children:
1/ Karen Kathleen Mitchell, born 12-11-1963, died 11-6-1995, in W.A. was cremated at North Altona, Victoria, her ashes scattered in Victoria and Western Australia.
2/ Peter Robert Mitchell, born 23-3-1965 at Mildura, Victoria, married 24-1-1998, Joanne Stevenson, born 11-4-1969, they have two children
1/ Sarah Mitchell,
2/ Connor Robert Mitchell
3/ Warren James Mitchell born 17-8-1967; married 2-11-1997 in Newcastle Nicole Louise Brown born 19-8-1968
4/ Maidi Elizabeth Mitchell born 9-10-1969.
b/ Lynette Joy Mitchell, born 13-3-1940, second child of Robert Norman and Eunace Mitchell. Lynette did not marry. Picture opposite, Lyn in St. Michael’s Church Withyham.
Jean Frances Mitchell born 21-1-1910, 2nd. child
of Robert and Eunice Mitchell, died 28-8-1910;
3/ Francis Roy Mitchell born 27-2-1912, married 23-11-1934, Zillah Keys They have three children:
Brian Raymond Mitchell, born 4-3-1937, married
22-9-1962, Ruby Sylvia Chalmers , they have two:-
a/ Gavin Paul Mitchell 7-7-63, married 1-9-2001, Wendy Veronica Kerwin
b/ Daryl Wayne Mitchell 29-5-1966 married 27-3-1999 Cynthia Brinkhaus, born 20-6-1969. They have Emily Jane Mitchell born 31-8-2000.
2/ Douglas Graham Mitchell, born 9-12-1938, married at White Plains, New York City, 12-12-1969 Monica Birgetta Flodin, born 21-6-1939, at Stockholm, Sweden
Francis died 2-10-1979, Zillah died 10-1-1982.
4/ Margaret Mitchell, born 12-12-1918, 4th. child of Stan and Beatrice Mitchell, married 23-9-1961 Arthur Yates, who was born 12-12-1920. There are no children recorded for this couple.
B/ Norman Henry Pay born 22-7-1885, 2nd. child of Anna and Henry Pay, was a farmer, married Jessie Isabella Colman, they have two children:
1/ Eileen Margaret Pay born 8-2-1915 at Elwood, she married , Alexander Reed Irwin. They have three children:
1/ Ronald Irwin, married Elaine, they have; Debra Irwin, Karen Irwin, and Bradley Irwin.
2/ Joan Irwin, married Alan Fredrick McCraw, they have one son, Mark Andrew McCraw, Jennifer McCraw and Chery McCraw.
3/ Kenneth Irwin, married Judith Anne, they have two children
a/ Mathew John Irwin; b/ Fiona Anne Irwin.---
Eileen died at Berwick on the 8-7-1981 ---Alexander died 24-10-1987.
2/ John Francis Pay born at Ringwood on the 30-11-1916, he died as a result of a bike accident on the 1-9-1935, he was not married.
Jessie died on the 15-4-1917,
1/ Irene Margaret Hardidge, born 6-2-1951, she married 21-2-1975, David McGuire, they have two children
a/Laura Jane McGuire born 18-6-1980,
b/ Glen Raymond McGuire born 21-10-1978,
2/ Brian Douglas Hardidge, born 12-8-1954, married 4-12-1976
1/ Julie Stevens, they have three children, Brian and Julie have gone their separate ways, Brian married 2/ Toni Collins who has two daughters, Vera & Am,. Julie married 2/ Gary Morgan.
The three children of Brian and Julie are:-
a/Daniel Brian Hardidge, born 24-10-1977; is engaged to be married to Jennifer Wetenhall, they have a daughter Bethany Kay Hardidge, and expect another child in Feb. 2005.
b/Timothy Allen Hardidge, born 3-8-1979;
c/ Mathew Scott Hardidge, born 25-6-1983.
3/ Jennifer Hilda Hardidge born 13-3-1959, married 6-1-1989 Robert Leach, born 16-5-1953, they have a daughter Nikki Leach. Born 28-4-1992. Brian and Julie have divorced and both remarried; Brian to Toni Collins who has two daughters, Vera and Amy. Julie married secondly Garry Morgan.
Norman died on the 20-2-1955, and Nellie died 21-1-1973
C/ Laura Eliza Pay. 13-1-1887, 3rd. child of Anna and Henry Pay died 28-11-1951. Laura was a music teacher until she suffered from a cyst near her brain. This caused mental deterioration, she was a patient at the Ararat Asylum and died in the Ararat Hospital of Peritonitis. Laura did not marry.
Anna Box/Pay died 7-10-1919, and Henry Pay died 9-7-1935.
Three portraits of Henry Pay
Back row L-R Beatrice with baby Francis Mitchell; Anna Box-Pay; Henry Pa
Middle row-Norman Pay; Stan Mitchell; Robert Mitchell Jnr; Laura Pay.
Front row-girls identity unsure, one may be Jessie Colman-Pay.
Eliza Box born 30-11-1850, baptised 9-3-1856 in
The Gurr family have records in the East Sussex records office of land dealing in
Henry born 1797 and Mary Ann, nee
His marriage to Eliza Box in 1876 was at the home of Mr. George Robilliard, of
Jabez’s sister Mary Ann Gurr married Robert Henry Heazlewood (pronounced Hazelwood) on the 19 Aug. 1839 in Lauceston Tasmania, they had 12 children, 6 were born in Tasmania,--3 died in Tasmania. Their 7th. child William Grange Heazlewood was the first white male born in the western district in
An Extract from ‘Tree of Hazelwood : A Family Chronicle”, by Vere R Heazlewood, 1973, p49.
“Jabez an Eliza lived at east
Jabez died on the 11th. February 1903 and Eliza on the 30th. August 1911. They are buried in the
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