Y is for Yannasch

None of my forebears has a first name starting with Y, so the third personal name of Jacob Robert Yannasch Goldstein (1841-1910), the husband of my third great aunt, will have to do.

His name ‘Yannasch’, probably a variant of John, means “Jehovah has been gracious”.

Jacob Goldstein was born about 1841 in Cork, Ireland, only child of Isaac Goldstein (c. 1811-1887) and Mary Goldstein née Pulvertaft (c. 1811-1890). Jacob grew up in Belfast, where his father was a general dealer, that is a shopkeeper, and his mother was a dressmaker. In 1852 the Goldstein family lived at 12 King Street, Belfast. Isaac Goldstein was still living at King Street at the time of his death in 1887.

In 1858 Jacob Goldstein, then 17, emigrated to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 29 April 1858. He could read and write, was a native of county Armagh, and his religion was Presbyterian. He had sailed on the Arabian, which left Liverpool on 27 January with 365 government immigrants. The Argus reported that she had experienced fine weather during the passage, that she was very clean, and that the passengers were in good health. When he disembarked Jacob stated he intended to be employed on his own account.

From the early 1860s Jacob ran a general store in Portland, a Victorian coastal town. We catch a few glimpses of him there over the next decade: in 1863 racing a horse; in 1864 playing cricket with the Portland cricket club; in 1867 a lieutenant with the Western Artillery, part of the Victorian volunteer artillery (he served for 30 years without seeing any active service, achieving the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel); in 1868 writing about birds and ornithology to the local paper.

On 3 June 1868, ‘at the residence of the bride’, Jacob Goldstein married Isabella Hawkins (1849-1916), eldest daughter of the pastoralist Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins (1819-1867).

Jacob and Isabella had five children:

  • Vida (1869-1949)
  • Elsie (1870-1953)
  • Lina (1872-1943)
  • Selwyn (1873-1917)
  • Aileen (1870-1960)

His marriage and the births of his children were announced in The Belfast Newsletter, an Irish newspaper.

Much of the Goldstein family history has been documented in The Goldstein Story, by Jacob’s grand daughter, Lina’s daughter Leslie Henderson (1896-1982).

Goldstein Jacob

Jacob Goldstein: photographs in The Goldstein Story by his grand daughter Leslie Henderson.


Leslie argues that Jacob was not close to his father nor to his own children.

Both Jacob and his wife Isabella were interested in social service, devoting much time and effort to work among the poor.

According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, ‘Jacob Goldstein encouraged his daughters to be economically and intellectually independent’. With her more famous daughter Vida, Isabella was a keen proponent of women’s suffrage;  Leslie Henderson believes that Jacob  was less enthusiastic. [The ADB calls Jacob an ‘an anti-suffragist’.]

In Melbourne, the Goldsteins attended the Scots’ (Presbyterian) Church, whose minister the Reverend Charles Strong was forced to resign over heresy charges in 1883. When Strong later set up his own ‘Australian Church’ the Goldstein’s became members. In the late 1890s Isabella and her daughters, though not Jacob, became Christian Scientists, followers of the spiritual healer Mary Baker Eddy.

Jacob died in 1910 at the age of 71.



LIEUT. COLONEL GOLDSTEIN. (1910, September 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10462993




X, her mark, revisited

Second thoughts

On re-reading the ‘Grantham Journal’ piece of 9 December 1893, I find I agree with the interpretation of Linda Curry (in the comments, below). Although she favoured the Catholic candidate, Eliza was persuaded that she should not vote against her own denominational interests, ‘her own’ meaning Anglican. She was a member of the Church of England.

I have no forebears whose names begin with X, but ‘X, his mark’ on a document seems close enough.

Making an X is not a reliable way of identifying yourself, of course, and from time to time illiterate people were tricked into giving false endorsements of their intentions. One of these was my husband’s great great grandmother Eliza Dawson née Skerritt (1838-1899) who lived in Corby, near Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Though she apparently could not read and write, Eliza Dawson was a property owner and therefore entitled to vote for the local Board of Guardians. The Boards were committees that administered the Poor Law in the United Kingdom from 1835 to 1930, elected by owners and bona fide occupiers of land liable to pay the poor rate. The property qualification was abolished in 1894, but in 1893, Eliza, widowed since 1872, was an owner or occupier of land liable to pay the poor rate and so eligible to vote for the local Board.

In the 1893 election Eliza was canvassed by a Mr Walsingham on behalf of Mr William Harrison, the local butcher, who was a member of Church of England. Eliza, however, wished to vote for the alternative candidate, a Roman Catholic, the Reverend Canon Baron. Walsingham seems to have told Eliza that her children could not complete her ballot paper on her behalf but that he could. However, perhaps contrary to her wishes, he completed the ballot in favour of William Harrison. She later asserted that ‘…she did not give him any direct permission to record her vote for Mr Harrison’.

Eliza protested, and in reviewing the election, the Local Government Board  was satisfied that her ballot paper had not been completed in accordance with her intentions and that Eliza’s vote should be disallowed. This tied the vote and a fresh election was ordered.

Witnesses in the case included her sons William and Albert Dawson, and William’s wife Annie.

Grantham Journal 1893 09 30 page 6

Local Government Board Enquiry at Corby reported in the Grantham Journal 30 September 1893 page 6 retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive through FindMyPast

Two years before this, at the time of the 1891 census, Eliza Dawson was living at Stonepit Terrace in Corby with her sons George age 20 and Albert age 18, both farm labourers, and her grandson Arthur, age 12, still at school. The house previously enumerated on the Census was in Brown Road, with the occupants listed as Eliza’s son William age 31, who was a chimney sweep, William’s wife Annie, and a stepson, Frederick Munks aged 2.

Eliza presumably owned at least one of these houses, possibly both, giving her the legal status of property owner. (I haven’t been able to locate these addresses on a present-day map.)

I still have much to learn about the Dawson and Skerritt families. Until reading this article I had no idea that Eliza was a Roman Catholic [but see above, at ‘Second Thoughts’] or that she owned enough real property to qualify as a Board of Guardians voter.

A fresh election was held in January 1894. Canon Baron won the popular vote but the successful candidate was the Reverend Charles Farebrother, Anglican priest of Corby Vicarage. Depending on the value of his property, an elector had up three votes. It appears that the wealthier voters chose to vote for the Anglican clergyman.

Grantham Journal 13 January 1894 page 3

Grantham Journal 13 January 1894 page 3


I am descended from a long line of Huguenots – French Calvinists – on one side and German Lutherans on the other, supplemented by Anglicans (mostly) and various other Protestants. My husband Greg’s family were nominally Anglican, or if not, Non-conformist or, occasionally, followers of unusual creeds, not all of them trinitarian.

So it has been easy to assume that our families were Protestant Christians of one kind or another, and it was a surprise to discover a direct forebear who appears to have been a Roman Catholic.

The evidence is slight, however. To say that Eliza Dawson née Skerritt was described by an 1893 Corby newspaper as belonging to the Roman Catholic church reminds me of the cautious scholar who, seeing a mob of black cows, one of them white, reported that he had observed at least one cow white on at least one side.

There are very few facts, and they are difficult to interpret. Eliza Skerritt married Isaac Dawson in an Anglican Church, possibly before she changed her religious allegiance – if that’s what happened. I have not found her will or probate record, and I do not know whether she was buried a Roman Catholic. I know nothing about her husband’s denominational affiliation, nor her chilren’s.

Greg, raised in a sect which believes the Bishop of Rome to was accurately described by John in Revelation 17, will not be hurrying off to Mass on Sunday. I am waiting for more evidence before I can say with confidence that not all our recent forebears were Protestants.

Related post

W is for William

Today 25th April in Australia it is is Anzac Day, set aside to honour the men and women who served in the Australian and New Zealand armies in World War I and II and other conflicts, especially in remembrance of those who were killed and never saw their country again.

My husband’s first cousin twice removed was William Stanley Plowright (1893-1917). He was born in 1893 in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, the seventh of the eleven children of William John Plowright (1859-1914), a policeman, and Harriet Jane Plowright nee Hosking (1861-1946).

William enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1915 and fought at Gallipoli, where he was wounded. He was killed in the Battle of Lagnicourt in March 1917. William’s body was not found and he has no grave. The only local memorial of his death is his name listed on the war memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. This memorial was erected ‘to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium during the First World War, to their dead, and especially to name those of the dead whose graves are not known’. I wrote about him in two previous A to Z series:

I have also written about a friend of his, ‘comrade of the late William Stanley Plowright’, named Johnna Bell, remembered by William’s family.



Australian War memorial photograph image id C00470. Photographer Ernest Charles Barnes, April 1917. Description: Two unidentified soldiers stand amid the shattered buildings in the French village of Lagnicourt, which was captured by the Australians in late March 1917 as the Germans withdrew towards the Hindenburg Line. The Germans heavily shelled the village as they retreated.


William is one of many in our family who died serving their country. This short list is of only our closest relatives:

World War 1

World War 2

  • Frank Robert Sewell 1905 – 1943
    • died 22 February 1943 in Queensland of illness and wounds having served in New Guinea

Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Photograph by Gerard4170 and published on pixabay.com.

V is for Valencia

Cicely Valencia Lancaster (1898-1996), known as Valencia, was my sixth cousin once removed. Although ‘sixth cousin’ sounds quite distant, the acquaintance was a little closer. Because of our shared Champion de Crespigny family heritage,  my family knew her well and my father stayed with her in London several times when he was studying at Cambridge in the 1950s. In 1986 my parents visited her at her home at Kelmarsh Hall, Northhamptonshire.

Birley, Oswald Hornby Joseph, 1880-1952; Cicely Valencia Lancaster (1898-1996)

Cicely Valencia Lancaster (1898–1996) painted by Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley (1880–1952) (circle of). Portrait in the collection of Kelmarsh Hall.

Valencia was the oldest daughter of George Granville Lancaster (1853-1907) and Cicely Lancaster née Champion de Crespigny (1874-1946), who was the second child and oldest daughter of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1847-1935) and  his wife Georgiana (1849-1935). Cicely married George Lancaster on 19 March 1896 at Maldon, Essex, where the de Crespigny family lived at Champion Lodge. Valencia was born on 26 March 1898 at London and her brother Claude Granville Lancaster was born, also at London, on 30 August 1899.

At the time of the 1901 census, when Valencia was three, the family was living at Marston Hall, Shropshire. George Lancaster lived on his own means; the Lancaster wealth came from iron and coal. The household included ten live-in servants: a butler, footman, cook, housemaid, lady’s maid, two laundry maids, children’s maid and an under-nurse. At Marston Lodge, nearby lived a coachman and his wife and a groom and his wife. These too were probably associated with the Lancaster household.

In 1902 George bought Kelmarsh Hall and its 3,000 acre estate in Northamptonshire. There he established a herd of British white cattle. Cicely’s brothers took advantage of the hunting opportunities at Kelmarsh. Her brother Claude (1873-1910) kept hunters there.


Lancaster Jubie Valencia as children frm wwwKelmarshHall

Claude and Valencia as children

George Granville Lancaster died on 20 March 1907 at his rooms in the Albany, Picadilly, London. The Essex Newsman reported he had suffered a long and painful illness. Valencia was 8 and her brother 7.

Northampton Mercury March 29, 1907 page 9

Northampton Mercury March 29, 1907 page 9 retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive through FindMyPast


Northampton Mercury May 24, 1907 page 6

Northampton Mercury May 24, 1907 page 6 retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive through FindMyPast (Note George Lancaster had only two children although his will had provided for more)


At the time of the 1911  census Valencia was living with her mother in a flat in Bentinck Mansions, Marylebone, London. The household included a butler, cook, housemaid and German governess. Claude was at school in Kent

Bentinck Mansions

Bentinck Mansions from Google maps

Valencia never married, though it appears she attended the weddings of her friends and relations. There are a number of newspaper reports of her acting as bridesmaid at society weddings.

By 1921 she was driving a car. There is a newspaper report of an accident.

Northampton Mercury November 11, 1921 page 6

Northampton Mercury November 11, 1921 page 6 retrieved from the British Newspaper Library through FindMyPast


In 1939 Valencia received a large inheritance from her uncle Claude Philip Champion de Crespigny (1880-1939). A newspaper article describes her as

She is a cheerful countrywoman, in the middle thirties, who wins prizes at flower shows and, like her late uncle, takes a keen interest in racing.

Lancaster Valencia On Steps Wilderness frm wwwKelmarshHall

During the Second World War Valencia served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army. She was gazetted in 1940 with a seniority date of 24 November 1938. From 30 May 1941 she was promoted second Subs, the equivalent of second lieutenant.

In 1946 Valencia’s mother Cicely died.  It was reported at the time that for the entire war Cicely had lived with her daughter at North Audley Street, London. She was awarded the Civil Defence Medal for serving for five years as an Air Raid Precautions Warden (A.R.P.), in Westminster.



Kelmarsh Hall


When he turned 25 Valencia’s brother Claude inherited Kelmarsh Hall. For a time the Hall was rented out but afterwards he lived there and gardened enthusiastically. Between 1948 and 1953 Claude was married to Nancy Keene Perkins (1897-1994), who previously had been married to Arthur Tree (1897-1976). The Trees had rented Kelmarsh in the 1920s with a ten-year repairing lease and Nancy, who became a noted interior designer, had redecorated the Hall.

Claude died in 1977 and Valencia inherited Kelmarsh. In 1982 she established a charitable trust  to facilitate its conservation.

Kelmarsh Hall contains many notable portraits of the Champion de Crespigny family and documents. I am not sure when these were passed to the Lancasters. The baronetcy became extinct in 1952, Valencia’s uncles died without male heirs, and the baronetcy passed through cousins, but in the end there were no descendants in the male line.

The home of the fourth baronet was Champion Lodge at Essex. The sixth baronet Henry died in 1946 at Champion Lodge. By 1949 Kelmarsh Hall was sold and no longer in the family.  By then the former Champion Lodge was a country club. Amongst the family there were a few houses which could have been used to house the portrait collection.

On 29 November 1996 Valencia died, aged 98. Her funeral service was held at Kelmarsh on 9 December.

In 1997 it was reported that Valencia’s estate was worth over two million pounds. She left money to the RSPCA and other animal charities.


  • Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. Class: RG13; Piece: 2551; Folio: 9; Page: 9. Retrieved through ancestry.com
  • 1911 England census Class: RG14; Piece: 524 Retrieved through ancestry.com
  • “The Death Of Captain Claude Champion De Crespigny.” Times [London, England] 20 May 1910: 10. The Times Digital Archive.
  • “Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries.” Essex Newsman [Chelmsford, England] 23 Mar. 1907: 3. British Library Newspapers.
  • Valencia’s inheritance from her Uncle Philip: Edinburgh Evening News June 15, 1939, p. 8.
  • Kelmarsh Lady’s Death, Mrs C. Lancaster of The Hall Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail June 28, 1946, p. 12
  • “Police Raid Country Club.” Derby Daily Telegraph, 12 Sept. 1949, p. 1. British Library Newspapers.
  • Valencia’s will is included in “Latest wills.” Times, 6 Mar. 1997, p. 20. The Times Digital Archive, http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/6PzKZ3.

Related posts

U is for Una

Una Elizabeth Dwyer née Sneyd (1900-1982), first cousin twice removed of my husband Greg, was the daughter of Samuel Charles Sneyd (1863-1938) and Emily Sneyd née Way (1868-1952).

Usually in my family work I am able to find a considerable quantity and variety of information about the person I’m looking researching. I gain, I hope, some small insight into their circumstances and perhaps one or two events of their lives.

Una Sneyd and her family, however, managed to keep a very low profile. They didn’t write to the paper with bright ideas about burials in wicker baskets, weren’t imprisoned for bankruptcy, and weren’t exiled for their religious views. Thoreau said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation; the Sneyds apparently just led quiet lives, and left few traces of themselves for a family historian to work with.

Una’s mother Emily was the seventh of ten children of John Way and Sarah Way née Daw. She was born in Grenfell, New South Wales in 1868 but her family moved to Parkes, New South Wales, when she was about five years old.

In 1892 Emily married Samuel Charles Sneyd, a police constable, in Hughenden, Queensland. I don’t know why Emily, then aged 24, was in Queensland; Hughenden is two thousand kilometres north of Parkes. As far as I know, no other members of her family were in Hughenden. At the time of her marriage Emily was living at Hughenden.

Sneyd Way marriage 1892

1892 marriage certificate of Charles Samuel Sneyd and Emily Way

Emily and Samuel Charles had six children:

  • Lionel Walter Sneyd 1894–1976
  • Cecil Sneyd 1896–1954
  • infant daughter Sneyd 1898–1898
  • Una Elizabeth Sneyd 1900–1982
  • Ruth Dawes Sneyd 1904–1996
  • Jasper Samuel Sneyd 1906–1991

Lionel was born in Hughendon but the others were born in the Emmaville district of north-east of New South Wales. Samuel Charles Sneyd worked as a miner.

When Emily’s father John Way died in 1911, four daughters were mentioned in his obituary, so it would seem Emily was still in touch with her family. When her sister Mary Ann Waine died in 1938, Mary Ann’s obituary mentioned only one sister, Eliza: the family seemed to have lost touch with Emily.

The Sneyd family moved to Sydney sometime after 1913. In August 1915 Lionel Sneyd enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He gave his father as his next of kin. At the time, he was living in Marrickville, an inner-west suburb of Sydney

Lionel served overseas in France, was wounded in action in July 1916, and was repatriated with a fractured left ankle.

Only limited number of electoral rolls for New South Wales have been digitised. In these I have been able to find  Una Elizabeth Sneyd listed in 1930 as living at  39 Tupper Street, Marrickville. Her occupation was shop assistant. She was living with her parents and younger brother Jasper, who was also a shop assistant. Samuel was a carpenter. Emily’s occupation was listed as home duties.

In 1932 Una Sneyd married Patrick George Dwyer, an engine driver. In 1935 the Dwyers were living at 11 Audley Street, Petersham. Una’s occupation was given as home duties. Petersham is immediately north of Marrickville.

By 1936 the Dwyers had moved to 6 Brightmore Street, Cremorne. The suburb of Cremorne is on the lower North Shore in Sydney, 13 kilometres north-east of Marrickville, across the harbour. The Dwyers were still at the same address at the time of the 1980 electoral roll.

Samuel Charles Sneyd died in 1938 and Emily Sneyd died in 1952.

Sneyd Samuel death

Sneyd Emily death notice
I have not ordered her death certificate, but I notice from the index that Emily’s mother was named Ruth; her family appear to have known very little about Emily’s parents.

Patrick and Una seem to have had only one child, called John. He is listed on the 1958 electoral roll as living with them and is named in their death notices. As the voting age was 21, he was born between 1936 and 1937. I have not found a newspaper birth notice.

Patrick George (Paddy) Dwyer died 29 December 1981 in hospital. His death notice stated that he was from Cremorne, loved husband of Una. The notice names his son and two grandsons. Una died on 13 February 1982, also in hospital. Her death notice also named her late husband, son and two grandsons. In May 1982 there was a notice in the Sydney Morning Herald associated with the estate of Patrick George Dwyer, retired council employee.

In researching Una I have been able to verify dates, places and relationships with the aid of birth, death and marriage indexes, electoral rolls and notices in the newspapers. The Sneyd and Dwyer families, however, did not attract much notice in the newspapers and it has been hard to find any events that enable me to get to know Una Dwyer née Sneyd.

T is for Theresa

One of my fourth great aunts was Theresa Susannah Eunice Snell Poole formerly Walker née Chauncy (1807-1876).

Walker Theresa 1846

Theresa Walker in 1846 painted by her sister Martha Berkeley. Oil on metal. In the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Theresa was the oldest daughter of William Snell Chauncy née Brown (1781-1845) and Rose Theresa Chauncy née Lamothe (1748-1818).

Her brother, Philip Lamothe Snell Chauncy (1816-1880), wrote a memoir of his sister, Memoir of the late Mrs. G.H. Poole by her brother, first published in 1877.  In 1976 it was reprinted, with a memoir of his wife, as Memoirs of Mrs Poole and Mrs Chauncy. Much of my information about Theresa comes from these memoirs and I quote from them below.

Philip Chauncy in wax

Philip Chauncy modelled in wax by his sister Theresa in about 1860. The model is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Her father [William Chauncy] was sent from England to be educated by his relative, the Rev. Hugh Stowell, Rector of Balaugh, in the Isle of Man, and used as a child, to play with her mother [Rose Lamothe] when she was ten years old. In after years an attachment sprang up between them, and he frequently visited the island, where they were married in 1804 – the year in which the Bible Society was founded, and in which Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.

In the course of time her father and mother went to reside at Keynsham, near Bath, and on the 19th February, 1807, was born the subject of this memoir, whom they named Theresa Susannah Eunice.

I believe her mother lost one or two of her first children in early infancy, so that Theresa was the only one living at her birth. On the 18th August, 1813, Martha, now Mrs Berkeley, was born. I [Philip Chauncy] first saw the light on 21st June, 1816, and our mother died after childbirth in 1818. Our father married again in 1819, and had five children by this marriage.

In November, 1820, we went to France, where we resided, chiefly in the south, for four years and nine months. We lived at Angoulême [between Poitiers and Bordeaux] for two-and-a-half years, and while there I became ill, and well do I remember how lovingly my dear sister attended to me.

Theresa’s education was conducted chiefly at home by our father. She was but a brief period at school, for he considered it injurious to the faith and morals of his children to send them to school in France. At Angoulême, M. Labouchér was her music master, but whether for want of taste or perseverence, she never continued the practice of music. She soon became proficient in the French language, and at Mont D’Or [near Lyons] took lessons in Italian.

The memoir goes on with other incidents including hearing the Reverend Caesar Malan [Henri Abraham César Malan (1787–1864), Swiss Calvinist minister] preach at Geneva and losing Theresa’s little Italian greyhound. Theresa was sent on a visit to her grandfather at Wingfield, “where she tendered us good service by watching and partially defeating the intrigues of another branch of the family who were using every exertion to obtain an undue share of property from my grandfather in his old age. I [Philip] think Theresa must have been at Wingfield for several years”.

In the 1830s Theresa lived in London.

While in London she and Martha became members of Mr Edward Irving’s [(1792-1834), charismatic preacher and prophet] church at 13 Newman-street, Oxford-street, and there, too, they studied the fine arts under good masters – painting, drawing, and modelling; in these, especially the last, she was decidedly clever.

In 1836 Theresa and Martha, who had very recently married Captain Charles Berkley (1801-1856), emigrated in the “John Renwick to the new colony of South Australia, arriving in February 1837, just weeks after its proclamation.

Unfortunately there was “an incompatibility of temper and disposition between the two sisters that rendered their further residence together undesirable”, so that in 1837, Theresa left Adelaide to visit some friends in Tasmania.

On 17 May 1838 at Launceston, Tasmania, Theresa married John Walker (1796-1855), a retired naval officer. They moved to Adelaide, where Walker carried on business as a general merchant and shipping agent. The suburb of Walkerville is named after him.

John Walker 1846 by Martha Berkeley

John Walker painted in 1846 by his sister-in-law Martha Berkeley. The painting is now hanging in the Art Gallery of South Australia.


Kertamaroo, a Native of South Australia, modelled by Theresa Walker in about 1840. This is possibly one of the two models of Aborigines exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1841.


Havering about 1839 pastel on paper by Theresa Walker. Havering was a farm established by the Walkers on the banks of the upper Torrens, Adelaide.

Theresa Walker abt 1840

A wax portrait by Theresa Walker in the Town of Walkerville Civic Collection is of the artist herself, made in 1840. From the Town of Walkerville Collections Policy 2014-2018 : This wax portrait of Theresa Walker is described as neo-classical in style and regarded as one of her finest works. While the association of the Walkers with the settlement of Walkerville was short lived, (as the unfortunate Captain Walker ended up bankrupt and in prison in 1841) nearly a hundred years later in May 1948, the great-nephew of Theresa Walker, Sir Trent de Crespigny, gifted these valuable and rare artworks to the Town of Walkerville. Sir Trent de Crespigny [my great grandfather] stated that these gifts were in recognition of Theresa Walker’s historical connection to the township. These works are of national significance because of their historical association with Australia’s first female colonial sculptor and because they are of great aesthetic merit and provide a rare and unique representation of the people themselves.

Philip emigrated to South Australia in 1839. When he arrived he found the Walkers were doing very well and entertaining in style. Unfortunately, in 1841 John Walker became insolvent, having “failed for a large amount”. He was imprisoned.

In 1846 John and Theresa Walker moved to near Sydney, New South Wales, and then to Tasmania where John Walker became Port officer at Hobart and later, Harbour Master at Launceston. John Walker died in 1855 aged 58.

Theresa had for some time fallen in with the religious tenets of Mr. George Herbert Poole (1806-1869), who was the founder of “The New Church” [Swedenborgian] in Adelaide. He [Poole] had returned from Mauritius, where he had been a professor in the Royal College, to Sydney in January 1850, had left Melbourne for England in 1852, and returned to Launceston in 1856, where they [George Poole and Theresa] were married.

The Pooles first had a farm in Tasmania bought, her brother notes, “with Theresa’s money”. About two years later they sold the farm and moved to Victoria where George Poole tried gold mining. In 1861 the Pooles joined a vineyard enterprise near Barnawartha on the Murray near Albury with, among others,  Theresa’s half brother William Chauncy (1820-1878) who was then at Wodonga. George Poole “was supposed to be a thorough vigneron, as well as a connoisseur of the best methods of tobacco growing.” He was appointed local manager. For a number of years all went well but the scheme collapsed in 1864.

While at Barnawartha Theresa collected some of the first drawings of the Aboriginal artist Tommy McRae (1835-1901) who was also known as Tommy Barnes.


Drawing by Tommy Barnes / an aboriginal of the Upper Murray / in 1862. Given to P. Chauncy / by Mrs G.H. Poole. This drawing showing Dancers with weapons; Hunting and fishing; European house and couple has been woven into a tapestry woven in 2001 for the Centenary of Federation and now in the collection of Museum Victoria.


Ocean perch coloured by Theresa Poole

Lithograph of Ocean Perch (Helicolenus percoides) hand coloured by Theresa Poole for The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria. From Museum Victoria. in 1861 Theresa was commissioned to hand colour 1000 copies of this plate.

Annie Chauncy

My great great grandmother Annie Chauncy (1857-1883), daughter of Philip, modelled in wax by her aunt Theresa. The cast wax model is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. They believe the model was made about 1860. Annie would have only been 3. I think it possible the model was made in 1864 when Theresa stayed with the family and Annie was 7.


George Poole returned to Mauritius in November 1864 and Theresa followed him in April 1865. They lived there for about four years. While in Mauritius Theresa made wax models of eighty species of fruits. These were displayed at the Paris exhibition of 1867 and she was awarded a silver medal, even though some had been damaged in transit.

In late 1866 the Pooles both became ill with fever in an epidemic. They moved to India and, after a brief return to Mauritius,  in February 1868 moved back to Adelaide. George Poole gained a job as a teacher of a school at Navan near Riverton, South Australia about 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. In 1869 he became ill and died. This left Theresa almost penniless.

In 1870 she stayed for a while with William in Wodonga and then came to live with Philip and help with his children, his wife Susan having died in 1867. She lived with Philip for four years. In 1874 she visited friends in the Western District of Victoria, there taking up the position of Lady Superintendent at the Alexandra College in Hamilton. Later, ill with breast cancer, she went to Melbourne to live. In April 1875 she underwent an operation to remove her breast.

On 17 April 1876, Easter Monday, Theresa died at her house in East Melbourne.  Her brother Philip was with her when she passed away.

She was buried at St Kilda cemetery. Philip arranged for her to be interred, in accordance with her wishes, in  a wicker ‘mortuary cradle’ rather than the conventional coffin.

Theresa had written about mortuary cradles to the Melbourne Herald in September 1875 and apparently had ordered her own.

letter Theresa mortuary cradles

MORTUARY CRADLES. (1875, September 23). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244179646 [Note from Greg: The reference to ‘a Mr Home’ in the “Herald” quote is an allusion to the spiritualist medium D.D. Home, who had frequently demonstrated his power to defy gravity. He could levitate at will, or so it was said, and would hover in the air to write on the ceiling. He once flew out a third-floor window, returning through the window of the next room.]

Theresas coffin

A Novel Coffin. (1875, September 20). The Herald (Melbourne), p. 3. Retrieved rom http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244179533 This was Theresa’s coffin as she referred to the article in her letter of 22 September. In his memoir Philip says he used the coffin for her burial.


Sir Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), an English surgeon and etcher, was a proponent of earth-to-earth burial. In 1875 he wrote a number of letters to The Times and held an exhibition of wicker coffins in London.

Seymour haden

A sketch from The Graphic 17 June 1875 illustrating wicker coffins on show at the London House of the Duke of Sutherland from http://victoriancalendar.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/june-17-1875-coffins-of-wicker.html

Theresa Walker is thought to be Australia’s first female sculptor. She was the first resident Australian artist to be shown in the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Sources and further reading

  • Chauncy, Philip Lamothe Snell Memoirs of Mrs. Poole and Mrs. Chauncy. Lowden, Kilmore, Vic, 1976.
  • Hylton, Jane, Berkeley, Martha, 1813-1899, Walker, Theresa, 1807-1876, Art Gallery of South Australia. Board and South Australia. Women’s Suffrage Centenary Steering Committee Colonial sisters : Martha Berkeley & Theresa Walker, South Australia’s first professional artists. Art Gallery Board of South Australia, Adelaide, 1994.
  • Transcribed journal of Theresa Chauncy of the first three months of her time in the Colony of South Australia digitised by the State Library of South Australia https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/D+7604/1(L)
  • INSOLVENCY COURT. (1841, August 10). Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 – 1844), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71615117 also related articles:
  • Roughley, Julianne, et al. “Design and Art Australia Online.” Theresa Walker :: Biography at :: at Design and Art Australia Online, Design & Art Australia Online, 1995, www.daao.org.au/bio/theresa-walker/biography/.
  • National Portrait Gallery: Theresa Walker
  • The Town of Walkerville Collections Policy 2014-2018

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S is for Suky

One of my fifth great grandmothers was Susannah Lamothe née Corrin (1741-1803).

Susannah was the daughter of Henry Corrin (1713-1769) and Susanna Corrin née Quay (1713-1784). In 1763 she married Dominique Lamothe (1731-1807), a former French prisoner-of-war.

Lamothe Corrin wedding 1763

The marriage record of Dominique Lamothe and Susannah Corrin at St George’s Liverpool on 6 April 1763 retrieved from Liverpool, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1659-1812 Reference Number: 283 GEO/3/1 through ancestry.com

Lamothe had been a surgeon on the St Lawrence, a privateer  brig, which was captured by the English and brought to Douglas, the Isle of Man, on 31 October 1760. England and France were at war, in what was later known as the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). After their capture the officers and men of the St Lawrence were held in Castle Rushen as prisoners of war.

Two weeks after their capture the French officers of the privateer St Lawrence applied to the Governor of the Island for their liberty, and joined themselves in a bond to Messrs. Ross, Black, and Christian, of Douglas, merchants.  They were freed from gaol on parole.

In January 1761 the Lords of the Admiralty sent a British ship to take the prisoners of war off the island. All prisoners were delivered up except for Lamothe and Lieutenant Lessenne, who were exploring the island. Lessenne turned up on the evening of the next day, Lamothe later that night, but the tender for the boat had gone so Lamothe was placed back in Castle Rushen. Because of adverse winds the ship had been unable to wait. It seems that Lamothe was again freed from Castle Rushen, though there is no detail as to how this came about. There is a family story that Lamothe “attended the Governor’s wife as her medical man, and acted with great skill, and was thereupon released.”

In a letter of 30 September 1763 to Basil Cochrane, Governor of the Isle of Man 1751-1762, John Quayle ( Clerk of the Rolls for the Isle of Man and the Duke of Atholl’s Seneschal), reported on some local Manx happenings  :

the French Doctor was no sooner released from being a prisoner of war than he became captive to Suky Corrin (the daughter of his landlord, Hall Corrin). He went to France for his prize money, bought a cargo of Brandy to Dublin & this day returned to his spouse.

Dominique Lamothe and Susanna had eleven children. They lived in Castletown, Isle of Man, where he practiced medicine for 47 years.

Susanna died on 9 November 1803, aged 62. Dominique on died 8 January 1807 aged 74. They are buried at Castletown.

Their youngest daughter Rose Therese Lamothe (1784-1818) married William Snell Brown later Chauncy. She had three children:

  • Theresa Susanna Snell Chauncy 1807-1876
  • Martha  Maria Snell Chauncy 1813-1899
  • Philip Lamothe Snell Chauncy 1816-1880 my 3rd great grandfather.

Rose died shortly before her son’s second birthday. In his memoirs, Philip Chauncy wrote  “Having always resided at a distance from the Isle of Man, I have never known much of my Mother’s relations.” He knew his grandfather had been a prisoner of war and had been in correspondence with his cousin John Corlet LaMothe who had compiled the history of Dominique and Susanna from the records in the Rolls office of the Isle of Man.


R is for Rosina

One of my husband’s maternal great aunts was Rosina Doidge née Sullivan formerly Saunders (1889-1969).

She was the second child of Henry Sullivan (1863-1943) and Anne Sullivan née Morley (1861-1946). (Anne had two children before her marriage to Henry.)

Rosina was born at “Navillus”, the family home in Evelyn Street, East Bentleigh, Victoria.

In 1910 she married John Henry Saunders (1891-1948). They had four children.

John Saunders worked as a linesman, installing and maintaining electrical power, telephone, and telegraph lines. On Christmas Eve 1948 he was killed when he fell through the roof of the North Melbourne Locomotive Depot.

Alfred Doidge (1890-1964), one of John’s work-mates on the railways, went to Saunders’s house to pay his condolences  to the widow. To his surprise he discovered that his mate’s wife Rosina was a girl he had “kept company with” for four years from 1905.

It hadn’t worked out, because Alfred and Rosina had quarreled.

One Saturday evening in 1909, Rosina dyed a white dress black, and spoilt it. ‘Look what’s she done,’ Rosina’s mother said to Alfred. ‘What a shame,’ said Alfred. ‘You didn’t have to pay for the dress,’ said Rosina. There was quite a row, and Alfred and Rosina stopped keeping company …
Alfred  married a different girl and had three children, but his wife, Helen, died in 1930 and he had been a widower for 18 years.

Widower and widow, both of them now 60,  the former sweethearts Alfred and Rosina married on 8 June 1949. Their wedding and the story behind it was reported in newspapers around Australia.

Doidge wedding 1949

Rosina Saunders marrying Alfred Doidge 8 June 1949 at St Silas Church, Albert Park, Victoria


Tiff Over Dress (1949, June 6). Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article95732387

The graves of my husband’s family are quite often just bare earth. Rosina, however, erected a substantial gravestone at her parents’ grave in Cheltenham cemetery.

Sullivan headstone Cheltenham

The headstone on the grave of Rosina’s parents at Cheltenham cemetery

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I am grateful to our cousin Mark Schmidt for the photo of Rosina and Alfred on their wedding day

Q is for Queenie

My great great aunt Alice Magee née Mainwaring formerly Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1879-1952) was known as Queenie.

Alice was the ninth of ten children of Wentworth Cavenagh (1822-1895) and his wife Ellen Jane Cavenagh née Mainwaring (1845-1920).

The family lived in Adelaide, South Australia, two miles from the city centre in the suburb of Marryatville. Wentworth Cavenagh was a member of the South Australian Parliament, elected in 1862 to represent Yatalapart of the Adelaide metropolitan area north of the River Torrens. He served as Commissioner for Crown Lands and Immigration from 1868 to 1870 and Commissioner of Public Works from 1872 to 1873.

In 1887 Alice and some of her sisters attended a children’s fancy dress ball. A photographer took pictures of many of the children in their costumes. Alice, aged 8, was dressed as “Wee Wifie”. (Wee Wifie was a novel for children by Rosa Nouchette Carey first published in 1869.)

Queenie Wee Wifie B-7723-72

Queenie Cavenagh : age 8 dressed as ‘Wee Wifie’. Part of Children’s Fancy Dress Ball, 1887 Collection. Image from the State Library of South Australia B 7723/72


In 1892 the family surname was changed, and the name and arms of Mainwaring was assumed in addition to Cavenagh in acknowledgement of Ellen’s inheritance of the family property of  Whitmore in Staffordshire. In 1892 when Alice was 13 the family left Australia for England. Whitmore was leased and the family settled at Southsea near Portsmouth in the south of England.

A cousin has told me that Queenie and Gertrude, known as Kiddie, the two youngest children were sent to school in France, possibly because it was cheaper than England.



My grandmother wrote on the back of the photograph that it was taken in 1908 and the names: Back row, left to right: Queenie Magee; Kate Cudmore; Nellie Millet Middle row, L to R: Eva Gedge; May Gillett Front centre: Kiddie Bennett


In 1911 Alice and Gertrude, neither of whom had yet married, were living with their mother in Southsea.

Alice married William Edward Blackwood (Bill) Magee (1886-1981) on 14 August 1913 at St Simons, Southsea.

In December 1910, W.E.B. Magee gave his future mother-in-law a book of the first two operas of the Ring Cycle.

In 1917 and again in 1918, as Lieutenant Commander, William Magee was mentioned in dispatches as part of the honours for the Destroyers of the Harwich Force. In 1920, for services in the Baltic in 1919, Lieut.-Cdr. William Edward Blackwood Magee, R.N. was made Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, for distinguished services in command of H.M.S. Watchman.  William Edward Blackwood Magee became a Captain in 1929.

Alice and Bill had two children, Richard (1915-1937) and Jean, known as Moll (1917-1996).

Between the wars Alice and Bill lived in Dinan, France.  Dinan, a spa town in Brittany, had a thriving colony of English expatriates. Alice and Bill’s daughter Moll wrote a book about their time there.

On 20 January 1937, Richard Magee, a sub-lieutenant on HMS Anthony, was
lost overboard and drowned in the Gulf of Lion. He was only 21.

In 1939, at the outbreak of World War 2, the National Register, a census, was compiled in the United Kingdom. At the time of the 1939 register, Bill, by then a retired Naval officer was in Hastings, Moll was a volunteer and living with her aunt May Gillett and May’s children in Dorset (Mabel known as May 1868-1944 had married Francis Gillett but had been widowed in 1938.)

Alice is not on the 1939 register, presumably because she was still in France in 1939.

During World War 2 Bill went back into the navy.

Robert Capa, the war photographer was on board the Magee’s ship when he was in command of a convoy crossing the Atlantic. Magee was the commodore in charge of the convoy.

Magee from Gay Scan-10

W.E.B. Magee photographed by Robert Capa. Magazine of 13 June 1942 annotated “Mrs Magee”.

Commodore Magee DSO, RNR first greeted me with “Now, don’t expect any scoops for your blasted photography on this trip! Our job is not to fight but to run and dodge. We’d rather have a hundred freighters safe in port than a hundred Victoria Crosses any day”.

Capa continues Commodore Magee retired in 1933 and in August 1939 he was figuring on redecorating the little house in Dinan where he had lived for eight years and meant to settle there indefinitely. Bill asked how it felt to be back at sea said – “After eight year’s retirement, the first time I was on the bridge I felt just like Toscanini would feel if, after eight year’s rest, he returned to the concert platform – looking around, discovered an orchestra responding as well as any he had conducted before”

In 1945 Captain (Commodore second class, R.N.R.) William Edward Blackwood Magee, D.S.O., R.N. (Ret.), was appointed Commander of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire for Distinguished Service in the War in Europe.

On 6 April 1952 Alice, of Rosecroft, Titchfield, Hampshire, died aged 76. She outlived seven of her siblings.

On 3 April 1981 Captain William Edward Blackwood Magee, CBE, DSO, RN, retired, died at Fordingbridge, Hampshire. He was 94.

Related posts


  • Name change from Cavenagh to Cavenagh-Mainwaring London Gazette March 4 1892 page 1274
  • 1911 census retrieved through ancestry.com Class: RG14; Piece: 5551; Schedule Number: 147
  • William Magee’s career:
    • London Gazette 22 June 1917 and Edinburgh Gazette 25 February 1919
    • Edinburgh Gazette 10 March 1920
    • London Gazette 7 December 1945
    • 1939 Navy List
  • Death of Richard Magee: “Deaths.” Times [London, England] 27 Jan. 1937: 1. The Times Digital Archive.
  • 1939 register retrieved through FindMyPast
    • William E B Magee 09 Jul 1886 Male Capt Royal Navy Retired Married schedule 93 sub schedule 16 address 28, 30, 31 Eversfield Place , Hastings C.B., Sussex, England
    • Jean M Magee [Moll] 26 May 1917 Female Volunteer W 2061340 Dorset C St A Single 114 4 address Conygar , Dorchester R.D., Dorset, England. At the same house were Mabel A Gillett [nee Cavenagh-Mainwaring] Anne M Barrett [nee Gillett] and Michael C Gillett.
  • Death of Bill Magee: Brief obituaries Times, 11 Apr. 1981, p. 14. The Times Digital Archive, http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/6MW6n6.
  • I am grateful to my cousin Gay Doggart for the images of the photo album of Queenie Cavenagh-Mainwaring and some pictures of Queenie from within. Also for the image of Commodore Magee on the cover of the Illustrated magazine.

Further Information



P is for Penelope

Last year I wrote about how the children of my sixth great grandparents Constantine Phipps (1746-1797 and Elizabeth Phipps nee Tierney (1749-1832) were stranded in France during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

Constantine and Elizabeth Phipps had fourteen children:

  • Mary Ann Phipps 1772–1779
  • Frances Phipps 1773–
  • Elizabeth Phipps 1774–1836
  • Penelope Phipps 1775–1814
  • Constantine Phipps 1776–1794
  • James Phipps 1777–1795
  • Pownoll Phipps 1780–1858
  • Lucy Elton Phipps 1781–
  • Anna Maria Phipps 1782–
  • Weston Phipps 1785–
  • Maria Jane Phipps 1786–1822
  • John Lyon Phipps 1788–1819
  • Charlotte Phipps 1790–
  • Elvira Phipps 1791–1875

My sixth great aunt Penelope Phipps (1775-1814) was the oldest of the eight children left behind. She was 17 1/2 when her parents travelled away from their home at Caen, France temporarily. The next oldest child was Pownoll aged 12. The Phipps parents took with them their two oldest living daughters Frances and Elizabeth, who was about to be married, their second son James, and one small daughter, either Lucy or Anna. Penelope’s brother Constantine had obtained a post with the Honourable East India Company and had left for Madras.

So from November 1792 Penelope needed to care for:

  1. Pownoll Phipps aged 12
  2. Lucy Elton aged 11 or Anna Maria aged 10 (not sure which accompanied her parents to England)
  3. Weston aged 7
  4. Maria Jane aged 6
  5. John Lyon aged 4
  6. Charlotte aged 2
  7. Elvira Jane aged 1

Nine emigrés are executed by guillotine, 1793

The children were watched over by family friends, in particular two bankers surnamed de la Fosse who loaned money. In June 1793 private property in France – including Caen, of course – began to be seized by Commissioners of the Convention. The house leased by the Phipps was threatened. The children were to be evicted and imprisoned. People in the town protested on their behalf and the children were allowed to remain under confinement with a sentry to guard the house and the stables given over to the military. Through this the Phipps children luckily gained some shelter from the violence of the Terror.


It was only in May 1795 that the children were allowed out of the grounds of their house. Pownoll had previously been granted some freedom and had helped to gather food as well as exploring Caen at the time.

The children knew neighbours who were arrested and executed by the guillotine, including the de Beaurepaire family. Pownoll later married their adopted daughter, Henriette de Beaurepaire, who survived although she was arrested and imprisoned in Paris.

About the same time as Pownoll became engaged to Henriette de Beaurepaire, Penelope became engaged to James Chatry de la Fosse, nephew of the bankers who supported the Phipps family.

In 1797 five of the younger children were affected by smallpox and Penelope nursed them through it.

In 1798 the Phipps family were set at liberty and the children returned to England. Their father had died while they had been in France.

Their mother, Eliza Phipps, disapproved of the engagements of Penelope and Pownoll. James Chatry de la Fosse and Henriette de Beaurepaire were Roman Catholics and French and the English generally disapproved of  such marriages.

Pownoll was found a cadetship in the Bengal army and sent abroad.

In 1799 Henriette de Beaurepaire followed Pownoll to England. Some members of the Phipps family, seeking to prevent the marriage of Pownoll and Henriette, arranged to have Henriette arrested as a spy. Penelope found out about the plot and came to the rescue of Henriette.

In 1802 Penelope travelled to Calcutta with Henriette and met her brother Pownoll there. Permission to travel to India and avoiding her family finding out required an elaborate plan. Instead of waiting for her fiancee Jacques to come to England, Penelope chose to help her brother and Henriette. She wrote to Jacques breaking off her engagement.

Pownoll married Henriette on 10 August 1802 in Calcutta.

In October 1806 Penelope, aged 31,  married Daniel Johnson (1765-1835) at Allahabad. Daniel was from Great Torrington, Devon and was a surgeon with the Honourable East India Company 1805-1809. Daniel was later the author of “Sketches Field Sports as followed by the Natives of India” (1822) .

Penelope’s nephew, Reverend Pownoll William Phipps (1835-1903) said in his book (page 79) that she was never happy after her marriage and died broken-hearted.

In February 1814 Penelope died aged 38. She was buried at Great Torrington, Devon on 27 February 1814. There appear to have been no children although Daniel had a daughter Jane born about 1799.


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