LENNON sailors from Portaferry, Co. Down

For many years, I assumed most of my LENNON ancestors from Portaferry were farmers or farm labourers and wondered how my great great grandfather decided to leave and emigrate to Melbourne with his family. Portaferry is such a beautiful place; it’s on the end of the Ards Peninsula between the Irish Sea and the Strangford Lough and a couple of hours drive south of Belfast. By sea, it’s not far to the Isle of Man and Scotland.

However, further research on my part showed Portaferry was also a very busy port in the 1700’s and into the 1800’s. So the people were used to men going away for months and returning with interesting stories and items.

So now, it’s no surprise that my great great grandfather, William (1825-1907) left Portaferry with his family for Melbourne, Aust in the late 1860’s. In fact, they were following his father in law, James (1802-1876) MAGEE from the townland of Derry who had gone out to Melbourne in 1863 where he and his daughter, Susan were working. Tragically, James and Susan had buried their son and brother only 6 months after arrival when he was found drowned in the Avoca river and was presumed to have been there for 9 days. James and Patrick they were working as shepherds some hours (in terms of today’s travel) north of Melbourne.

In my ignorance, I was surprised that there was a very structured system of registration of sailors in the Merchant Navy in the UK and so I was thrilled to find those records are held by the National Archives UK and more recently, have been made available on FindMyPast.

The number of sailors in the Portaferry community also explains why several of William’s siblings left for overseas presumably looking for better opportunities. Hugh (1830-1910) went to New Zealand in 1883 with his family after many years as a sailor.

This is Hugh’s 1st Seaman’s ticket; it says he went to see at 16 years and was born in 1832 which doesn’t match the info in his father’s Missal which said he was born in 1830. But note he says he was born at “Cragrodden” which is pretty clear proof as there was only our LENNON family living on Craigaroddan. There were several other LENNON families in Portaferry in the town and on other townlands.

Both William and Hugh’s brothers, James (1833-1860) and Thomas (1834-1868) tragically died in India. James was with the British Army and died of Dysentery and Thomas was probably a sailor with the British Navy and drowned (I can’t be 100% sure that I have the correct record as the dates aren’t an exact match with the dates that presumably his mother or father recorded in his father’s missal but they are close).

I have another blog post in mind about the lives of all 10 children; 4 of whom, even after several years research, I can’t confirm where they ended up.

I’ve extracted all the LENNON men I could identify as definitely coming from Portaferry and or Craigaroddan in this set of records. Most of them aren’t my direct descendants but they might be yours.

Naturally, I’m keen to hear from any other LENNON descendants from Portaferry who may have more information or have questions which I’ll try and answer. My email is geniejen3@gmail.com. Thanks for reading my blog post, Jenni.

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Minnie Mouse lived in Melbourne

My mother, Marjorie LENNON BAMFORD had a number of different names over her short lifetime depending on who was addressing her.

To her grandfather, Thomas (1861-1923) LENNON, she was Bon (was she was a bonny child?).  She was certainly a precious child to her grandparents as she was their only grandchild from their 4 daughters.  Her mother, Alma (1894-1973) LENNON HOUSE called her Bon all her life.

Her school mates called her Minnie Mouse and when she went to work, the older women in her office called her Topsy.  In later years, she was better known as Marj. How Australian!

Mum was born on the 18th April 1918 at Nurse Hogan’s private hospital, “Homelea” at 541 Canning St, in North Carlton[1] (presumably a maternity home).  Mum and her parents were then living at “Yanathan”, 495 Station St., North Carlton[2].  Her birth notice was published in The Age on Saturday 27th April 1918. 

1918 Marjorie HOUSE’s birth certificate
1918 Baby Marjorie with her baptismal sponsor, Auntie Elsie LENNON

Mum was baptised at St Brigid’s Catholic church in North Fitzroy[3] where her parents had married in 1916[4] and her maternal grandparents, Thomas LENNON and Mary (1855-1942) PRENDERGAST had married in 1888[5]. One of her mother’s sisters, Elsie was her sponsor.  Mum was born as World War 1 drew to a close and all too soon the Spanish Flu pandemic was in full swing which must have been a very worrying time for her parents.

But by the next year, the new family had moved out to Thornbury to Harold St.[6] , and later, 4 Ballantyne St in Thornbury to a property owned by her uncle, Percy HOUSE. They remained there till sometime after her father, Ray’s death in 1928 when she was only 10.

Mum never talked about her father’s early death and why they moved out of the house in Thornbury.  According to the Title search for the property, Nana didn’t sell it till 1947[7].  Sadly, I have no idea why she didn’t live in it as she and Auntie Elsie always rented in my lifetime.  Perhaps after being widowed at the beginning of the Depression, she and her sisters pooled their resources to look after their mother and to provide moral support for Nana.  Presumably, she lived off the rent of Ballantyne St from the late 20’s to 1947. Perhaps then she lived off the money from the sale augmented by her work in Myer’s Millinery Dept from the late ‘40’s where in my lifetime she became the Manager.

It wasn’t till I went to scan the photographs of Mum’s first 10 years that I realised how many there were and how small most of them were – the smallest was 7cm x 4.5cm.  They indicate she had a life full of fun and love until her father died in 1928. 

I know her father was artistic as when I was growing up Mum had his autograph book which was the size of an exercise book of that era (a little smaller than A4 size); it had an embossed coloured leather cover and contained drawings, poems and cartoons.  I feel so sad that it was lost somewhere on one of our house moves as it was such an interesting collection and now would give me so many clues to his life and his friends.

Some of Mum’s photos are beautifully staged and I suspect that my grandfather was developing some of his own photographs as there are 2 types in the collection – some are obviously professionally printed but some don’t have proper borders or sharp colours and look more home made. I also suspect that her father was the photographer as the photos come to an abrupt stop around the time she was 10 when he died.

The last photograph I have of her childhood is a gorgeous studio portrait taken at 11 years of age and a year after her father’s death which was also the beginning of the Depres

I’ve always assumed this photo was done for Marjorie’s 11th birthday but now I wonder if it was to celebrate her passing the Grade 4 AMEB exam in piano.

What a difficult time to be widowed for my grandmother.  The next photo isn’t till 1936 when she was eighteen and a debutante.

Mum started school probably in 1923 and was enrolled in the new Catholic primary school, St Mary’s, Thornbury run by the sisters of the Good Samaritan order where she met Ursula SLATTERY, her friend for life. Even though as adults, Sr Ursula and Mum were rarely in the same state again, they remained in contact by mail and very occasional visits till Mum’s death in 1967.  The SLATTERY household must have been a very different experience for Mum as Ursula was the last of seven children while Mum was an only child. 

She made her First Communion at St Mary’s in 1925 when she was 7 years old.

She learnt to play the piano at St Mary’s and passed the Grade 4 AMEB exam for pianoforte in 1929 when she was 11 years old which is quite impressive.  

Mum stayed at St Mary’s till the end of Grade 7 or 8.

In 1986, on a visit with my family to Sr Ursula at Santa Maria College in Northcote, she told me that Mum and Nana moved to Middle Park after her father died and Mum travelled by cable tram to St Mary’s at Thornbury. They lived at 73 Nimmo St., Middle Park where they rented with both of Nana’s sisters, Mary and Elsie, Mary’s husband, Will HUGO and their mother, Mary PRENDERGAST LENNON. Oddly, I don’t have any memories of Mum talking about those living arrangements where she was the only child with 5 adults.  Dad did tell me that when he visited in the 1940’s that Auntie Mary and Uncle Will lived in one part of the house and the others in another part while cousin Rita said it was 2 houses ie maisonettes.  Dad also said that the sisters nursed their mother at home for seven years after she had a stroke; he was never taken in to see her and it wasn’t spoken about. Certainly, I have no recollection of Mum mentioning her grandmother and her long illness.

Despite Mum’s own ability on the piano and Dad having played cornet in his youth in the Macclesfield Salvation Army band; as children we didn’t get any music tuition probably because there wasn’t any money to buy instruments or pay for tuition. ‘

After St Mary’s and in 1931 – 1932, Mum and Ursula went to the Santa Maria Convent (also run by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan order) in Caroline St, South Yarra and then they went on to St Brigid’s Commercial School in North Fitzroy for a year to study Business subjects such at Shorthand, Typing and Bookkeeping.

Marjorie as Matron of Honour to her school friend, Dorothy

It was at St Brigid’s, I believe where she and Ursula met Dorothy GILLEPSIE (later JOHNSON) and became firm friends for the next 10 years. Mum and Dorothy were Maids/Matrons of Honour for each other when they married.

On Thursday 30th July 1936 when Mum was just 18 years old, she made her debut at the Old Paradian’s Ball at the Palais de Danse in St Kilda.  The Old Paradians were the Old scholar group of Parade College run by the Christian Brothers order.  I have no idea why she would have been part of this ball as she didn’t have brothers or male cousins who could have been students there. Perhaps one of her friend’s was making her debut and she joined her.  It was a rite of passage for young women in Mum’s era and in fact, Deb balls were still part of after school life in my time. One of my friends made her debut at our school ball and I attended as a guest.  Deb balls are still held in many Australian country towns to this day.

1936 Marjorie making her debut at the Old Paradian’s Ball
Marjorie is in the 3rd row from the front, 2nd from the left
Menu for the ball

N.B. All photos apart from the 1929 photo were originally either black and white photos or sepia toned. During the Covid restrictions in 2020, one of the 3 major genealogy subscription sites, My Heritage offered free and unlimited access to their colourising and enhancement software which I took advantage of and I believe that the colorisation has been given greater insight into my mother’s life. Of course, there is no way of knowing if the colours their algorithms selected are correct, but I’m still thrilled with the outcome.

[1] The Age, 27 April 1918

[2] Birth Certificate

[3] Baptism Register, St Brigid’s Catholic Church, North Fitzroy, Victoria

[4] Marriage certificate

[5] Marriage certificate

[6] 1986 Conversation with Sr Ursula Slattery

[7] Land Title, purchased July 2020

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My 6th Blogiversary

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve just written that title. Over the last 6 1/2 years, I’ve read the blogs of other genealogists celebrating their blogiversaries and I never imagined back in 2014 that I would be celebrating my 6th one this month.

I took part in an UTP genealogy cruise in Australia in early 2014 (the perfect cruise for a genealogist) and a few of the speakers talked about their blogs and the benefits of this method of sharing their research and hopefully, reaching unknown family members.

One in particular, GeniAus talked about the benefits and gave hints on how to get started so she was my main inspiration- thanks Jill. Alona of UTP and Gould Genealogy has also offered lots of encouragement over the years and even included me in photos of bloggers at conferences even when I’d hardly posted much that year – thanks Alona.

Six months later, I finally decided to give it a go and set up my own blog on this platform but I was really uncomfortable about sharing personal info so initially, I just wrote about quirky and interesting items I’d come across in my research.

But over the years and with advancing age, I’ve decided to write posts about my ancestors for the younger members of our families. I realise that few are going to be interested in Roots Magic database I’ve been assiduously adding to over the decades so writing posts is a great way to share the research I’ve done over the last 34 years before it’s too late. Somehow, writing a blog post on one topic or place or person isn’t as daunting as tackling a book; I guess because I just choose small topics and focus on them one by one.

What you don’t realise when you start researching as I did back in 1984 and recording it on our Commodore 64, that all that effort will only be worth it if I communicate what I’ve found to the family. It’s my legacy.

Also writing makes me organise your research better and in planning a post, I may realise I don’t have a source or need to scan more paper based records or even I need to use newer sources to confirm a fact.

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The Salvation Army and our family

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a Salvation Army officer talking about that day being the 140th Anniversary of the establishment of the Salvation Army in Australia.  Their first meeting was held in Adelaide’s Botanic Park (next to the Botanic Park) in 1880. 

I remember a certain uncle telling me this story a few decades ago, so it was great to hear it again as the Salvos were a big part of our family’s history in Macclesfield in England where my father and his siblings grew up.  Our grandfather, Samuel (1888 -1977) BAMFORD was a very devout Salvation Army man and played in the local band for over 50 years. 

Sam BAMFORD in Macclesfield, England

I believe his sons, including my father also played instruments in the Salvos band and the girls sang in the Songsters choir. As a child in the late ‘50’s and into the 60’s in the suburbs of Adelaide, I remember that some Sundays we would hear band music which was coming from the Salvo’s band playing on the back of a truck.

My cousins tell me that right to the end of his life, he was always out helping someone and was very devout spending an hour every afternoon reading and studying his bible.  He was often called upon to give testimony during their Sunday services.

This press release is from the Salvos in Australia.

Edward Saunders and John Gore, two prior converts of The Salvation Army in England met at a meeting of the temperance evangelist Matthew Burnett in Adelaide in April 1880 and together with James Hooker, they started holding open‐air meetings in Light Square.  140 years ago, on 5 September, 1880 at a Botanic Park open‐air meeting, John Gore standing on the back of a grocer’s cart announced The Salvation Army’s arrival in Australia with the invitation, “If there is any man here who hasn’t had a meal today let him come home with me.”

The Salvation Army’s dual mission of evangelism and social welfare was begun by lay people, with Captains Thomas and Adelaide Sutherland arriving five months later to a well‐established congregation.

The movement grew rapidly and quickly began Corps (Churches) right around South Australia and Australia.

I’m going to shamelessly copy the ABC presenter and include the song she played after her interview with the Salvation Army officer.  It was Britain’s entry in 1974 Eurovision song contest sung by Australia’s Olivia Newton-John.  The song was Long Live Love and mentions the Salvation Army bands; on the day it was beaten by ABBA singing Waterloo.

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Starlight Football Club in Corowa

This is a very short history of a very short lived junior football club in Corowa, NSW between 1905 and 1907 which my grandfather, Ray HOUSE was involved in.

While researching the life of my great grandmother, Pauline SANDMANN HOUSE in Corowa from 1899-1911 (see my earlier blog post Christmas Novelties, such as never before seen in Corowa); I found articles about my grandfather, Ray HOUSE’s involvement in the Starlight Football Club.  I never met him as he died well before I was born and my mother died when I was young so I don’t recall any stories about her father; these treasures from TROVE are greatly appreciated.  The club was obviously a stand alone club and I haven’t found anything yet that indicates it was part of a larger club or association.  I’ve only found articles about the club’s activities from reports in the Corowa Free Press, the Corowa Chronicle and the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express.

I wondered why I only found articles in May and June (and July in 1907) of each of the three years which seemed like a short season but recently found an article dated 25 May 1907[1] recounting a meeting of the Corowa and District Football Association in Howlong which was attended by representatives from Balldale, Howlong, Corowa and Wahgunyah. It reported that the group firstly, considered a motion to have a 3 match season but this was amended to hold a 4 match season in that year. So that explains why the reports were only for 2 or 3 months; I had no idea that seasons were so short in that time.

The first report I found was in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express on Friday 26 May 1905[2]  which reported on the first match between the Starlights and the Albury Hopetouns.  The report talked about “boys” and not “men” which made me think it was a junior side and that was confirmed when I realised that Ray was only 15 at the time.  They seem to be an enterprising group of young men who had formally organised themselves into a football club. I also noted that a number of the surnames in the Starlight’s team were also listed in adult Corowa teams so either the teenagers were also playing for Corowa or their older brothers, cousins and fathers were.  The Corowa Starlights eventually beat the Hopetouns 5 goals 2 behinds to 2 goals 1 behind in that first match.  Best players for Corowa were DUNNE, BROOKS, HUTTON, O’LEARY, ROSE and Reay HOUSE (I presume this is my grandfather, Ray HOUSE).  Interestingly for me, the match was umpired by a D. HAIG to the satisfaction of both sides[3] because Ray’s sister, Clarice married David HAIG, a saddler of Albury the next year – I wonder if the umpire was his brother in law to be?

1905 Ray among the best players

There is another mention of the Starlights in the Corowa Free Press Friday 16 June 1905 in the Football Notes[4] when it reported that the team to play a return match with Albury Hopetouns will be drawn from HUTTON (Capt.), GRIMMOND, ROSE, ROLAND, BROOKS, HOUSE, CAMPLIN, NOONAN (2), NUGENT, GALLAGHER, PARRY, FRANKLAND, ROACH, WRIGHT, O’LEARY, MORAN, O’HALLORAN, DUNN, WEBSTER, ROWBOTTOM, JONES, SQUIRES, HOYSTED.

1905 Ray playing for the Starlights v2

A week later, the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express reported that on 23 June 1905, that the Albury Hopetouns were defeated by Corowa Starlight’s at Corowa. The score was Starlights, 6 goals 7 behinds and Hopetouns, 2 goals 3 behinds.[5]

1905 Starlights beat the Hopetouns in Corowa v2

There is a mention of my great grandmother’s shop in the next article I found, this time in the Corowa Chronicle on Saturday 2 June 1906 in their Football column. This was a very long report of a team meeting in “Mrs HOUSE’s Fruit Shop” with 25 members to plan for their next game against the Albury Hopetouns.  The report stated that although they are only young in years, they must be complimented on the orderly manner in which they conducted their meeting.[6]  The paragraph that jumped out at me was this one. Mr Ray HOUSE presented the members with travelling caps which were in unison with the club’s colours, red and black, the gift being greatly appreciated.  He was only 16 at this stage. so I’m really impressed to read that my grandfather showed so much initiative. The club decided to leave Corowa on Sunday morning at 7 am, so players should try and be ready to leave punctually at the appointed time.

1906 June 2nd Ray HOUSE and Starlights Football Club

The following letter to the editor in the Corowa Free Press on the 8th June 1906 was an unusual tongue in cheek comment on the season opening match in the Corowa Starlight’s Football Club and the Albury Hopetouns.

1906 Letter to the Editor re match

On 3rd May 1907, there was a meeting notice in the Corowa Free Press[7] signed by my grandfather as the Honorary Secretary of the club. This notice reminded members that a meeting of the Starlight Football Club will be held on Thursday 2nd May at 7.30pm.

1907 May 3rd Ray puts in a notice re meeting of the Starlight Football clubv2


The Corowa Chronicle carried a report of this meeting on the 4th of May [8]– there were only 13 members present this time and Ray chaired the meeting. He was only 17 going on 18 at this time so I’m really impressed with his organising ability.  Office bearers were elected and the secretary was “instructed to write to the Hopetoun club at Albury to arrange matches between the 2 clubs.  It was decided that the team colours would be red and black (which I understand were and are the Corowa team colours).

1907 May 4th Ray HOUSE Chair of Starlight Football club

On the 18th May, the Corowa Chronicle[9] recorded that there had been a well attended meeting of members of the Starlight Football Club held again at Mrs HOUSE’s fruit shop which was in Sanger St (next to the School of Arts)[10].  The members elected J. GRIMMOND as the Captain and W. DUNN as the Vice captain. The selection group met after the meeting and selected – BROOK, HOYSTED, ROWLAND, GRIMMOND, DUNN, GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), O’HALLORAN, MCCORMACK, RIVERS, HOUSE, KILGOUR, NUGENT, CLANCY, BROWN, HUTCHINS, GIBBS, KNEEN, JOHNSON and NOONAN.

1907 May 18th Starlight FC meeting report


Later in the month, the Starlight team were thrashed by Howlong 10 goals 5 behinds to Nil!! [11] Can’t have been a very happy team on the journey home that night.


A few days later, the club met to select a team to play Albury (presumably the Hopetouns)[12].  Selected were WYER, BROOKS, KILGOUR, DUNN, PARRY, NOONAN (2), O’HALLORAN, GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), JONES, GRIMMOND, BREWER, HUTCHINGS, SEYMOUR, and HOUSE.  Emergencies : McCORMACK, Hoysted and Rivers.  The Club has engaged Crawford and Co’s drag to convey the team.

1907 May 29 Starlight Football club selected team to play the Hopetouns v2

At the end of May, a team was selected again to play against the Hopetouns at Albury [13] on Monday next (3rd June).  The team comprised GRIMMOND (Capt), DUNN, WYER, BROOKS, PARRY, KILGOUR, HOUSE, O’HALLORAN, NOONAN (2), GALLAGHER (2), ROACH (2), JONES, BREWER, HUTCHINGS, SEYMOUR.  Emergencies were HOYSTED, McCORMACK and RIVERS.  Importantly players were reminded that the drag will leave the Royal Hotel at 7am on Sunday.

1907 May 31 Starlights match against Hopetounv2

The last report I could find in the Corowa papers was dated 13 July 1097[14] when the Starlights played against a team of Howlong juniors in Corowa.  The previous time they played Howlong, they didn’t even score but this time the Corowaites………. were determined to turn the tables on their opponents when they got them on their own ground.  And they did! The final score was Corowa 2 goals 6 behinds, Howlong 2 goals.  Not an overwhelming win but a win nevertheless.  I presume the remark and nickname of the umpire Butcher O’Brien who is quite at home either as an umpire or a player, umpired the game in a masterly way and gave every satisfaction, applied to his trade/business not his playing attitude.

1907 July 13th Report of Starlight FC match against Howlong


I’m so grateful to the National Library of Australia for providing free digital access to many of our newspapers as they give such a great insight into our ancestors’ lives.  This website is called TROVE and available from anywhere in the world.

For information on the current Corowa Rutherglen Football club click on the link.  For history of the Corowa Football check out their Wikpedia entry.

I’d love to hear from anyone with further information and photos of the Starlight Football Club; please contact me at geniejen3@gmail.com.

[1] Corowa Chronicle, 25th May 1907, p5

[2] Albury Banner and Wodonga Express,26 May 1905, p19

[3] ibid

[4] Corowa Free Press, 16 June 1905, p3

[5] Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 23 June 1905, p19

[6] Corowa Chronicle, 2 June 1906, p5

[7] Corowa Free Press, 3 May 1907, p6

[8] Corowa Chronicle,, 4 May 1907, p5

[9] Corowa Chronicle, 18 May 1907, p5

[10] Corowa Free Press, 23 Jan 1906, p1

[11] Corowa Chronicle, 25 May 1907, p5

[12] Corowa Chronicle, 29th May, 1907, p3

[13] Corowa Free Press, 31 May 1907, p7

[14] Corowa Chronicle, 13 July 1907,p5

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X, Y and Z – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

Well, I’ve come to the end of the line; I’m all out of ideas for these last three letters.  I’m seriously proud of myself for completing this challenge this month (well, except for the last 3 letters).  Thanks to GeniAus for the suggestion to do this during self isolation and also her blog posts on how to structure the posts over the month.

I appreciate those who have read my posts and made comments or liked a post.

I’ve realised that one advantage of blogging over writing a book is that you can go back any time and add to the information as you discover new resources or improve the post or add more pictures, maps or documents.  One advantage I found from completing this exercise is that i have had to check my sources or improve my referencing or do more research to fill out a post.

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W is for Wodonga – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

Wodonga is the one half of the border between NSW and Victoria, known collectively as Albury Wodonga.  At the time my HOUSE family were living there; it was the Victorian border – well, it’s still on the border of Victoria but it no longer has a Customs function since the colonies and state federated in 1901 and you now just drive over the bridge into NSW whenever you want to (except for this particular time in history when state borders are closed due to the Coronavirus).

Wodonga, Victoria2

This map shows where Wodonga is in relation to some of Australia’s capital cities.

My gg grandmother, Jane (1837-1904) HOUSE SINNETT moved to Wodonga after her marriage to James SINNETT on 19 Jan 1861 at St Matthew’s church (see B is for Bell Ringer and V is for Verger) in Albury and proceeded to have 11 more children. She had already had an illegitimate child, my g grandfather, James in 1857 while the family was still in Sydney.  Jane and James bought land on House Creek (see H is for House Creek for the position of their land in Wodonga) in 1879.

Wodonga, Victoria

This map shows Wodonga in relationship to Albury; the Murray River between the towns is the border between NSW and Victoria all the way to the SA border

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V is for Verger – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

I learnt from a 1917 article in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express written by Harry Turnbull who wrote a wonderful series about his memories of growing up in Albury that my ggg grand father Charles (1808-1884) HOUSE was the Verger at St Matthew’s Church of England church in Albury.

1917 Charles and Ann HOUSE verger and asst caretaker of St Matthews, Albury cropped



This doesn’t surprise me because he was the Parish Clerk back in the old country (see P is for Parish Clerk).

The article also mentions that my ggg grandmother was the Assistant Caretaker as well.  It’s nice to read how involved they were in the Albury community.



St Matthew's , Albury


The church burnt down in 1991 and was rebuilt into this beautiful church.  I look forward to one day being able to worship there and walk in the steps of my HOUSE ancestors

You can check out the website for St Matthew’s, Albury  



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U is for Uncle – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

I didn’t know I had had an uncle Percy till the mid 80’s when I started my family history research; by then my mother had been dead a long time.  To compound things, she was an only child and her father had died when she was still in primary school and she never mentioned her cousins. All I knew was that her father’s name was Ray (1889-1928) HOUSE.

My research showed that he was the 5th child of James (1857-1889) and Pauline (1854-1930) HOUSE of Albury, NSW. His eldest sibling and brother was Percy Charles (1878-1938) HOUSE.

So far, I haven’t turned up more information on his early years. Percy doesn’t reappear again until 1901-1902 when ads in the Corowa Free Press showed he was in business with his mother in a Fruit and Tea Shop (see blog post                      ).

1898 Ad for Pauline and Percy's shop in Corowa Cropped

But Percy mustn’t have been happy in Corowa or wanted the bright lights of Melbourne as by 1904, he’s listed in the Sands and McDougall Victorian Directory as being a Confectioner and Pastry Cook in Collingwood.  In the 1909 Electoral Roll and again in 1910 when he married Florence J AYRES, he was working as a Tram Conductor for Northcote Tramway in Melbourne.

1910 Marriage of Percy HOUSE and Florence AYRES in

He died in 1938 at Northcote by suicide when he was Caretaker of the Northcote Theatre. I found it a very sad and unsettling experience sitting at PROV in Melbourne and opening his Inquest papers – perhaps the first time, they had been opened for several decades. Even sadder was seeing his final note written on a piece of exercise book paper in pencil and apologising to his landlady for his actions and telling her to ring the doctor and Thornbury Police. So thoughtful at such a desperate time of his life.

Interestingly, he was identified at the morgue by his brother in law, Clarice’s husband, David HAIG who told the inquest, he didn’t believe that the note was written by Percy while Mrs McArthur was sure it was his handwriting.  The coroner didn’t appear to comment on that discrepancy.

In Percy’s will which he made a couple of years before his death, he owned 4 Northcote houses which I think is amazing for someone who came from a poor family and didn’t have jobs which paid huge salaries. He left one to Lillian McArthur whom he was boarding with at the time of his death; she said he had boarded with her for 3 years. His wife, Florence was to continue to live in one of the houses he owned on Ballantyne St, Northcote till her death and also, she was to receive the nett income of his estate till her death which was in 1941.

After Florence’s death, the income from the estate was to be paid to his sister, Clarice (1886-1967) HOUSE HAIG till her death which wasn’t until 1967. Upon her death, the houses were to be sold and the money was to be divided equally between the Melbourne, the Alfred and the Austin Hospitals.  Such a generous act.  I notice there wasn’t any money left to his brother’s widow, my grandmother; perhaps they didn’t get on and that’s why my mother never mentioned his name.

I am happy to share the Will, Probate and Inquest documents with other HOUSE descendants, just email me.

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T is for Tasmania – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.


Anne (1813-1866) HOUSE WILLEY and husband Joseph (1813-1887) were the first of her family to leave Somerset.  They arrived with 4 children in Port Philip Bay in 1849 on board the Hope.  There were 2 other WILLEY families from Somersetshire but there is no mention of where they lived in Somerset whereas Ann and her famiy were listed as coming from Drayton in Somerset. By 1859, they were in Port Sorell, Tasmania where they had their 6th child, Jane.  I wonder why they decided to go to Tasmania while her brothers went to Sydney some years later.  Perhaps a member of the WILLEY family can let me know?

Map of Port Sorell, Tasmania

Joseph worked as a labourer in Drayton but was a fisherman in Port Sorell.

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S is for the Sultana – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

Charles HOUSE and his family arrived in Sydney on the Sultana on May 19, 1855. According to Migrant Ships for South Australia by Ronald Parsons, the Sultana was a 3 mast barque, built in 1849 in Durham and it made several trips to Australia.

1855 May 28th List of imports on board The Sultana croppedThey were preceded by his sister, Ann and her husband, Joseph WILLEY and their children who had arrived in Port Melbourne, Victoria on the Hope on 21st July 1849 with either Joseph’s brothers or cousins, Frederick and Alfred WILLEY with their families.

1855 Charles and Ann HOUSE arrive in NSW on the ship Sultana2

The family of Charles HOUSE arrived in Sydney in 1855

Charles’ brothers, John and William arrived with their families the next year on the Lloyd and I’ve been fortunate to find on the national TROVE catalogue (it isn’t just newspapers) items related to the Sultana.

1855 SMH report on the arrival of the Sultana in Sydney cropped

I’ve been able to find diaries by a couple of people travelling on the Sultana in the 1850’s and 1860’s at different State Libraries.  Then via their Copies Direct service I was able to order a copy for only $16.50 each.

1856 Diary unknown Cornishman p1

The best one that I’ve found is a partial (14 pages) diary by an unknown Cornishman who left Liverpool on the Sultana on 21st December 1857; so only 18 months after my family but it’s hard work transcribing it as the original held by the State Library of Victoria is a poor copy of the original.  They don’t have the original, don’t know if it exists and don’t know the name of author but they and we can deduce that he is a Cornishman (he mentions sailing from Penzance to Liverpool) and he’s obviously the son of a farmer.  He did say that he’d left because he was “dissatisfied with his prospects at home” and saved 40 pounds after his father “being unwilling to part with me, he having suddenly discovered that I was useful on the farm. I found myself on the eve of starting for the Golden Land with something over Forty pounds in my pocket.”

While waiting to sail, he met “an old chum who had been to Australia twice before” who advised him to buy some provisions “in the shape of hams, potatoes, chicken, jams as he having proved by experience that the ship’s fare is anything but luxurious.”  I’m afraid I don’t have a lot more detail apart from his description of the passengers including himself who were sick for many days and he noted that he “could scarcely taste anything for a fortnight” and but for the kindness of Mr. L who arranged for “arrowroot and bottled porter” he wouldn’t have recovered.  In the 3rd week, he found his appetite but found it was limited.  He “enjoyed the privilege of hearing the gospel preached by one of the ministers who were on board” and attended “a lecture on the country” but Rev P or B who especially made “some very good remarks on Colonial Life, the principle causes of successes and failures of those who went there.”

Pulsford diary p8

I’ve also purchased a copy from the National Library of Australia a transcription of Thomas Pulsford’s diary – he also travelled out to Australia in 1860 on board the Sultana before droving and doing other station work – such a change from working in Devon.  It was not the original but a copy of a transcription made by a family member in 1959 and donated to the NLA. He devotes less than a page to the trip out!  He mentions watching as a child was committed to the deep and another watching a sailor drowning after falling overboard.  One of other comments relates to the melting of his sealing wax in his writing desk when they were in the tropics.




I’ve also ordered a copy of the transcription of the diary of Tom BIRD who came out to Queensland on the Sultana  in 1862 to work for 2 years as a Shipping Agent.  His diary was originally sent back to his mother and stepfather in England, transcribed in 2012 by a descendant of the stepfather in the UK who thru research found Tom’s descendants in Australia and sent them the original and transcription.  They kindly donated it to the State library of Queensland.  I was only able to order the transcription as the original is too fragile to copy but I am looking forward to seeing it next time I’m in Brisbane.  This one has much more detailed information about each day; Tom tells us it was boring and he offered to do the captain’s accounts so he could be busy.


Last item I’ve found is a small book called “A settler’s 35 years’ experience in Victoria, Australia, and how £6 8 shillings became £8000” by Edward Hulme and published in Melbourne in 1891.  I was able to find a facsimile copy on Book Depository this year.  He was an artist in London in the 1850’s and decided to travel to Australia – “the land of gold with his wife, six sons and baby girl”.  He devotes very little to the journey out here on the Sultana but his account of their life in Australia after their arrival in 1856 is very interesting.  I should write a detailed post about that one day. He does mention that the children found the hard ship’s biscuits impossible to eat so he used his carpenter’s plane which he’d packed to shave them and with a liquid made them into puddings!


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R is for Robbed – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

I love TROVE for it’s free database of digitised Australian newspapers as do most genealogists. You never know what you might find out about your ancestors.  In this case, I learned about the jewellery which my great grandmother owned till it was stolen.

In the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 18th March 1881 edition I found reference to a break in at the home of my great grandparents, James (1857-1889) and Pauline (1854-1930) HOUSE’s residence while they were at Cole’s Circus with their young family. Did all breakins make the paper or was it because he was the compositor and later foreman for the newspaper that this theft was written about.

1881 ABAWE Mar 18 James HOUSE's residence broken into cropped with border1881 ABAWE Mar 18 James HOUSE's residence broken into col.2

HOUSEBREAKING.—On Saturday last, during the absence from home of families at the circus, certain thieves appear to have turned the opportunity to account for professional purposes. The residence of Mr. James HOUSE amongst others was entered, and certain valuables removed. Mr. House, it appears, left home about half-past seven in the evening, and was absent for a couple of hours. On his return he found that one of the windows had been opened, and the contents of drawers and boxes in the various rooms ransacked. The only articles missing were a locket, two brooches, one ring, and an earring, the whole representing about £12 in value. Information was immediately given to the police, and Constable Murphy at once suspected a young man named Bedford, who had recently been released from gaol, where he had served a sentence for opium-stealing. On the following morning (Sunday) the constable started in pursuit, and succeeded in discovering his man camped under one of the bridges on the road to Wodonga. Being on the Victorian side of the river, Constable Murphy could not arrest the accused, but he appears to have obtained his permission to search him, with the result that the locket and one of the rings forming part of the missing property were found upon him. Bedford then (probably unaware of the technical difficulty in the way of his being arrested on Victorian side) accompanied Murphy to Albury, and on reaching this side of the river was taken into custody. He was brought up at the police court on Monday, and committed for trial at the next sitting of the Circuit Court. With a view to facilitate the recovery of the rest of the stolen property, we append a description of the articles still missing, as follows:—One large gold brooch, pheasant pattern, without pin ; one small gold brooch, grapevine pattern, with green stone in centre; one gold earring to match the last-named brooch ; and one gold keeper ring.  How wonderful to read those descriptions of Pauline’s jewellery.

Immediately about the report of the break in at James’ house was an interesting report on the Cole’s Circus that was performing in Albury that night.

1881 ABAWE 18 March Cole's Circus




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Q is for Quilt – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

I know only from an article in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express in 1884, that my ggg grandmother, Anne SALWAY HOUSE must have enjoyed crafts as she entered both sofa cushions and a rag rug in the competition at the Albury Border Pastoral Agricultural and Horticultural Society Annual Exhibition on Sept 18, 1884.  Although by today’s standards, the writer was very patronising.

What may be termed the “rag rug industry” is an innovation of comparatively recent date, and the name is perhaps hardly a pretty one. The results, however, are very pleasing, and several of the rugs exhibited were exceedingly pretty as well as useful The exhibitors in this section were Miss Isabella Waite, Miss N. McEachern, Mrs. Horsfall, Mrs.M’Gowan, and Mrs. House (Wodonga). The contribution of the last-named exhibitor was rather a quilt than a rug, but for taste and conscientious work, though made by a very old lady, was especially worthy of note. (She was only 74 years old)

1884 Ann HOUSE's Fancywork wins prizes

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P is for Parish clerk – A-Z Blogging Challenge


2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

The first time Charles HOUSE is noted on an official record as the Parish Clerk of Drayton in Somerset is in 1834 when his and Anne’s son, George was baptised at St Catherine’s Church of England.

2015 St Catherine's, Drayton SOM1

St Catherine’s Church of England in Drayton, Somerset (photo by J Gay)

In the baptisms of the previous 2 children, Charles was listed as being a Labourer.

1834 Baptism George HOUSE son of Charles (Parish Clerk) and Ann

This Baptismal Register was accessed on Ancestry and note that as well as George’s baptism, 2 of his cousins were also baptised on that day.

He probably remained as the Parish Clerk till at least the 1851 census which was 4 years before the family left for Australia.

1851 Census Charles and Ann House

1851 England and Wales census accessed on either FMP or Ancestry

I found this very useful explanation of the role of the Parish Clerk on the Family Search Wiki.

Much of the work of the parish was carried out for a small salary by the Parish Clerk, an office held for life and commonly passed from father to son. He attended practically every service, keeping dogs out and people awake and collecting pew rents and customary fees. He wrote the accounts if the wardens and overseers were illiterate, made out fair copies of the lists of church rates, assisted officers in their collection, and was capable of dealing with intransigent Independents and Quakers, perhaps assisted in a town by a beadle. He collected tolls on sheep pastured in the churchyard (too sour for cattle), on those who hung their washing there and from those who set up stalls along the path on market days.

When I first noted that my ggg grandfather was the Parish Clerk for several years in Drayton, I presumed it was a church role which it looks like it was but it seems to have evolved into a local government role setting taxes, deciding on Building approvals and numerous other civic activities.  I found this description from Wikipedia very helpful.





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O is for Outback – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

One of Jane HOUSE’s younger brothers’, Thomas (1845-1910) seems to have moved around a lot once he married.  After losing his first wife and child in 1970 in Albury, he re-married in 1874 in Albury, NSW marrying Ellen Macklin.  Their first 2 daughters, Mary and Jane were born in Wodonga, Victoria in 1875 and 1876; Mary sadly, died in Wodonga. Then two more girls (Emma and Elizabeth) were born but this time in Hay, NSW in 1878 and 1879 and Elizabeth died there.  So much sadness in one family.

In April 1888, the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express carried an article about “a parcel of nice-looking ore from Tibooburra goes down this evening to the Sydney Mint for assay.  As this is not picked stuff, much interest is felt in the result.  This parcel has been forwarded by Mr Thomas HOUSE, one of the original prospectors of the Elizabeth Reefs, who has been connected with the reefs for several years, and believes that when proper machinery is erected on the Albert goldfield there will be accrue substantial results from the auriferous deposits which have laid unknown for so long, some of the previous assays having gone as high as 27oz. of gold to the ton”.

1889 Thomas HOUSE sends ore sample to Sydney from the Albert goldfields ABAWE 13 April 1888 p37

Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 13 April 1888 p37 (TROVE @ NLA)

We know the family moved to Milparinka and Warratta between 1879 and 1881 due to being able to track the births of Thomas and Ellen’s children.  The births of the last 6 children were registered in Milparinka, NSW from 1881 – 1894.

In the NSW 1891 census, Thomas is listed as living at Warratta* and from the entries on the page, it is between Tibooburra and Milparinka* which were part of the Albert Goldfields.  Thomas was the publican at the hotel; was it a proper building or just a tent?  He is one of only 10 entries for Warratta so it was very isolated and lonely. I can’t even find the town on Google maps  but found a couple of references online.  There is one other residence with females so it must have been very lonely for Ellen.  The census records that there were 5 males and 5 females living in the hotel and I’m presuming at the moment, that was Thomas, Ellen and 8 children – thankfully, the maths works out, 8 children had survived at that point. I can’t even begin to imagine how Ellen coped in such difficult circumstances with pregnancies and bringing up so many children in such difficult circumstances.

According to Google, it now takes 11 – 12 hours to drive from Albury to Milparinka so imagine how long it must have taken presumably using a horse and cart or coach (if it was available)?

Albury to Milparinka

*Warratta, New South Wales is a cadastralparish of Tongowoko CountyNew South Wales.[1]Warratta is located at 29°34′54″S 141°51′08″E between Tibooburra and Milparinka where the Silver City Highway crosses Warratta Creek. The Geography, of the parish is mostly the flat, arid landscape of the Channel Country.

* Milparinka town is right up close to Cameron’s Corner – the place where the borders of SA, NSW and Queensland meet.  It now has a minute population but for a while it was busy as it supported the Albert Goldfields and Thomas was a publican of one of the hotels there.
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N is for Night adventure – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

I was pleased to find the following newspaper report in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express in April 1884 about my great grandfather, James (1857-1889) HOUSE when he helped a local constable unsuccessfully attempt to locate a suspected thief in the early hours of the morning.  My favourite line is “Mr House discovered an instrument of a kind used by burglars, which, of course, conclusively shows that the man is a member of that fraternity and was then on a professional tour”.  That last phrase makes me chuckle every time I read it.


The northern part of the town was the scene of a somewhat exciting adventure one night last week.  It appears that complaints having been made to the police by several residents of the vicinity to the effect that a man had been prowling about their respective premises at night, a special watch was ordered to be kept, Constable HOLDEN being told off for the purpose. Between 1 and 2 o’clock, on the morning of Friday last, whilst standing a the  intersection of George and Olive Streets, Holden observed a dark object just inside the fence of the paddock adjoining Mr J HOUSE’s garden and prompted by curiosity he walked towards the object, which turned out to be a man who at once made off at top speed across the paddock.  The constable thereupon jumped the fence and went in pursuit, calling upon the man to stop and firing a shot in order to intimidate him.  This not having the desired result, however, the constable determined on a chase, in which he was placed at a great disadvantage, as besides being encumbered by the heavy regulation overcoat, the runaway had gained a start of a bout 50 yards.  Fence after fence was scaled by both pursuer and pursued until finally the constable was bottled in Mr HOUSE’s yard when within arms length of his man.  HOLDEN, feeling certain that the fellow had managed to conceal himself about the premises  roused Mr HOUSE up and with him made a thorough search of the place and also of the adjacent timber yard but to no purpose.  Next morning however, on examining the spot where the man had jumped the garden fence, Mr HOUSE discovered an instrument of a kind used by burglars which of course, conclusively shows that the man is a member of that fraternity and was then on a professional tour.  Constable HOLDEN though unsuccessful in capturing this nocturnal marauder, yet deserves great credit for the plucky and determined effort he made to that end. The fellow being still at large, it will be well for all householders to see that their doors and windows are securely fastened at night.

1884 James HOUSE chases offender with Constable HOLDEN in Albury in ABAWE 11 April 1884Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 11 April 1884

I wonder if this was published because James was a compositor by trade and Foreman at this newspaper – perhaps, he even wrote it.

George st in Albury where James and Pauline HOUSE lived

This map shows the intersection where Constable HOLDEN waited for the burglar.  The HOUSE family lived in a house in George St near that intersection.










Albury Banner and Wodonga Express



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M is for Memorial poem – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

On Friday 5 April, 1929 on the 25th Anniversary of his parents’ deaths, Edward “Ted” (1870-1933) SINNETT published an In Memoriam poem to his parents, Jane (1837-1904) HOUSE and James (1835-1904) SINNETT.  This was published in the Wodonga Towong Sentinel and I found it on TROVE a few years ago.

SINNETT.  In loving memory of our dear father and mother, who both fell asleep in the year 1904.
Father and mother are gone, but they are not by any means forgotten.
We could say many lovely things about our dear parents:
But the total of them is to be found in these words
A good and loving father and a better mother never breathed
In company with her parents, mother arrived in Sydney from England
Somewhere about the year 1850
Later on, mother, in company with her parents, came to live in Albury
Father, who came from Wales, for a time followed the calling of a sailor
But in due time father came to the little town of Wodonga
Father and mother were married in the Church of England at Albury in the year 1860
Father and mother then came to live in the Wodonga district
Their family consisted of ten children – five sons and five daughters
But the hearts of father and mother were saddened by the death of their little son, William
Later, two soon and two daughters fell asleep in the full bloom of young manhood and young womanhood
Somewhat more than two years ago our youngest brother who suffered a most distressing sickness, fell asleep
To be raised to Eternal Life by the Saviour of the World at the Last Day
Leaving behind him in these most perilous times of the last days, a widow and six children – four sons and two daughters
But now in the midst of the tears, and death, and sorrow, and crying, and pain and sin of the present evil world
There is to be found in the Holy Scriptures this most comforting promise of our loving Heavenly Father to us one and all
“And they shall be Mine,” saith the Lord of Hosts”.  “In that day when I make up My jewels”
And I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” – Malachi 3-17

Inserted by Edward SINNETT on account of his three sisters, – Mrs. J. W. BOWELL (Hastings), Mrs P. SOMMERS (Gordon’s Estate, Wodonga) and Mrs W. GOODWIN (Henty), respectively.  House Creek, Wodonga.25th March, 1929

Here is the most gracious request to be found on record.

“Then”, said Jesus “Father, forgive them, “for they know not what they do”. – Luke 23-34

1929 In Memoriam poem by Edward to his parent's Jane and James SINNETT

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L is for Land bought by the SINNETT’s – A-Z Blogging Challenge


2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

In 1861, Jane (1837-1904) HOUSE married James (1835-1904) SINNETT at St Mathew’s Church in Albury and had 11 more children.  In Oct 1979, James purchased 59 acres being Allotment 2 of Section 13 at House Creek (see H is for House Creek) in Wodonga, Victoria.


This map and the info about where the SINNETT land was situated was kindly provided to me by Uta Wiltshire (June 2019), Secretary of the Wodonga Historical Society.

From the newspaper report of Jane’s mother’s death in 1888, it seems they were still living on House Creek.  This is also indicated by where they both died in 1904 according to their death certificates.

map Wodonga 2019 showing where the SINNETT land was


I’ve made a guesstimate of the SINNETT land on today’s landscape using the shape of the creek as a guide and well as the info from Uta that the land is now at the corner of Lawrence and Melrose Streets.



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K is for Kicked by a horse – A-Z Blogging Challenge

2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

I have found over the years that the arrival of a death certificate can leave me feeling very sad for a few hours as I emphasise with the family and this was what happened in this case back in 1984.  In those days, you ordered the certificate by writing to Sydney and then waiting an unknown period for it to arrive in the post.

John (1848-1867) HOUSE was the second to last of the 9 children of Charles and Ann HOUSE when they arrived in Australia.  Only 7 years after the family’s arrival in Albury, John was kicked to death by a horse. I eagerly await the further digitisation of the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express to see what was written about this tragic accident.

1867 Death John HOUSE son of Charles and Ann

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J is for James HOUSE’s father – A-Z Blogging Challenge


2020 A-Z Blogging Challenge

“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.

My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset.  They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.

My great grandfather, James HOUSE was born in Sydney a couple of years after his grandparents, mother and her siblings arrived there from Somerset. I remember when in 1983, I first opened my g grandfather, James (1857-1889) HOUSE’s birth certificate that I could see that the informant was his grandmother, Anne SALWAY HOUSE while his mother was named as Jane HOUSE (my gg grandmother) but unfortunately, no father’s name was given. More recently when the Baptismal Register for St Peter’s church, Cooks River in Sydney became available on Ancestry, I found James’ baptism and again only his mother’s name was listed.

1857 Birth James (1857-1889) HOUSE son of Jane in Sydney

Jane went on to marry James SINNETT only 4 years later in 1861 in Albury and lived in Wodonga.  I don’t know what to make of the evidence I’ve found about whether he was brought up by his mother or his grandparents.

The first clue was on his Marriage certificate in 1877 when he gave the names of his grandparents as his parents. But when he died in 1889 in Albury (he was very young), his parents were not named on his death certificate which I found really odd when the family all lived nearby.  I can’t imagine his wife of 12 years having lived in Albury all that time didn’t know who his parents were .  When his natural mother, Jane died in 1904, as is the custom on Victorian death certificates; all her 11 SINNETT children were named and James wasn’t.

1904 Death Jane SINNETT nee HOUSE2

1917 Charles and Ann HOUSE verger and asst caretaker of St Matthews, Albury cropped

So I thought for a couple of decades that he didn’t know his sister was his mother.  However, one night last year, while researching the HOUSE family on TROVE, I came across a wonderful series of articles from 1917 recounting a Henry Turnbull’s Memories of Albury – he must have been quite an old man by then which were published in the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express. After telling the story of my ggg grandfather’s great bellringing skills; in passing he mentioned that “James HOUSE, for many years, a trusted and valued employee of the “Banner” proprietary was a grandson of Mr House”.  And this was 28 years after James died! So it was known around the town.

Move forward a couple of decades to the introduction of DNA testing; I was fairly slow to take this up as I found the science hard to understand, but after several webinars, a conference or two and reading a number of websites, I took the leap and I haven’t regretted it.  When my results were released, they showed I had my strongest matches with a number of people whose ancestors were also in Sydney as the same time as the HOUSE family.  Someone well ahead of me at that time with her DNA research and using Ancestry’s old DNA circles was able to suggest where the connection is and the surname is TYLER.

I don’t honestly know if this means anything to me; although, it’s nice to know it’s one of 3 brothers but as his father didn’t play any part in my g grandfather’s life, I find at this stage, I can’t get interested in researching their lives.  Does that make sense?


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