TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Hanley Bennett

The Bennett Connection

The death of William Bennett relates to a person that I didnt know existed, but Hanley Bennett was the adoptive father of Clara Adela Whiteman, my 1st cousin 2 x removed.  Clara was the daughter of Hariette Thevenet nee: Whiteman, my great, great Aunt, and an unknown partner having been born in Tamworth in 1872.  All these many years I had assumed that Hanley Bennetts only child had been Clara, but this article about his son William proves that theory was wrong.  After further research I discovered he in fact had 7 sons!

Clara’s mother Harriette is said to have travelled to New Caledonia as a travelling companion to an elderly woman and it may have been that she fell pregnant with Clara whilst away.  Regardless, she returned to Australia from Noumea on 24 Jul 1872  aboard the Havilah, and gave birth to Clara in Tamworth a month later on 26 Aug 1872.  Clara was adopted by Hanley Bennet, a prominent Tamworth citizen, and his wife Eliza probably soon after her birth, but Harriette returned to Noumea, where 3 years later she married Edgar Victor Guette.

Clara grew up in Tamworth, married James Chad and had four children of her own – Athel Hanley b. 1900 d. 1918, Gladys Irene b. 1901 d. 1977, Margery Clarice b. 1902 d. 1902, Myrtle b. 1902 d. 1902.  Sadly, Clara died only 18 months later in November of 1903.  She was buried with her beloved father Hanley.

Headstone of Hanley & Eliza Bennett and their adopted daughter Clara Adela Chad nee: Bennett (Whiteman)

On a recent trip to the Tamworth General Cemetery I was able to locate the grave of Hanley Bennett, his wife and Clara Adela.  I was quite sadened to see the headstone was surrounded by “junk” and I have since contacted the local council in relation to this.



TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Serious Accident

It seems difficult to imagine a time when there weren’t cars speeding past houses and along country roads, but this article highlights the fact that in 1909 travelling by horse and buggy was the conventional mode of transport.  This accident occurred in the town of Nundle which is roughly 60 kms from Tamworth.  A number of the men in this article may well have been taken to the hospital at Tamworth for treatment of their injuries.

None of the men are members of my family, but I wonder if my grandparents Edward & Ines Bailey knew any of them?


Robert Roland Allsop b. 1852 – d. 1925

Robert Roland Allsop with wife Elizabeth Eve nee: Idsteine

Robert Roland Allsop  is my husband  Terry’s great, great Uncle.  He was the second son born to Terry’s convict  2 x great grandparents Rowland Alsop and Jane McIntyre, and was born on 13 Mar 1852 in Maitland, New South Wales.  What I do know is that Roberts life, and that of his brother Michael (Terry’s great grandfather), took very different paths.  I do feel very privileged to have a couple of beautiful photo’s of this family.

Robert married Elizabeth Eve Idsteine on 22 Feb 1876 in Maitland and the couple went on to have 8 children together: Elizabeth Ann, Mary Genevieve, Alphonsus Charles, Catherine Lucy, Frederick John Joseph, Vincent James, Norbert Rowland, Edith Therese.

Robert seems to have done reasonably well in life having been apprenticed as a cabinet maker and working for that firm for over 30 years.  I think that “Mindaribba” may have been the name of the home in which he lived in Hunter Street, as Hunter Street runs off the main street of Maitland.  Robert was heavily involved in charitable work with his church.  He gained respect as a kindly, devout and compassionate man by all who new him, and he was dearly loved by his wife and children.  He died on 8 Dec 1925.

Roberts’ brother Michael died just 6 months later in June of 1926.



TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Illicit Drug Trade

It seems that a small drug trade was alive and well in Tamworth during 1909.  I have no doubt that my grandparents, Edward Thomas Bailey & wife Ines Maude nee: Smith, would have soundly disapproved of the habit of using and/or supplying illegal substances.  It seems that both the men mentioned in the article knew the law inside out, both having said that they either saved the opium for private use, or gave it away – hmmmm!

It seems that in Australia opium was made illegal to sell around 1905, certainly that is when this law came into place in Victoria.  I know that opium was used many years ago medicinally and recreationally, but had no idea what effect it may have had on the body, so I “Googled”.  Turns out the 2 main effects of opium are euphoria and relaxation, and that is was usually smoked.


Frederick William Thomsen – Soldier

Will was the third child born to Franz Frederick Thomsen and Julia nee: Duncan (her story here) in 1894 in Tamworth, New South Wales.  He is my 1/2 Great Uncle.

Will served during WW1 signing up for service on Monday 26 Jun 1915 at Liverpool, New South Wales.  He was 20 years and 9 months old.  His papers include a consent form from his father Franz. F. Thomsen dated 22 Jun 1915.  At the time he joined the Army his chest measurement was 36″, he was of dark complexion with blue eyes and fair hair.  He stood 5′ 11″ tall and weighed 152 pounds.  He was a Methodist and was listed as a bush labourer.

Will left Australia on 8 Nov 1915 arriving in Alexandria, Egypt on 1 Jan 1916.  From there he was shipped out to France arriving on 25 Mar 1916.  On 6 Sept 1916 whilst on leave he was caught not carrying a pass in Paris, for which he had to forfeit 3 days pay.

On 14 Nov 1916 whilst in France he received a gun shot wound to his left thigh and by 17 Nov he was in a hospital in Rouen, France.  Later in the month it was decided to send him to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Westminster in London.  His next of kin, Franz Frederick, was notified by letter which was dated 6 Dec 1916.

It appears that Will was discharged from hospital to furlough on 12 Jan 1917 and was to report for duty to Perham Downs, Birmingham on 27 Jan 1917 however, he is listed as AWOL from 2.30 pm on 21/1/17 to 9.30 28/181917 for which he was reprimanded and forfeited 2 days pay.  On 11 Aug 1917 his record states he was entitled to 3 blue stripes and on 31 Aug 1917 he was transferred to the Anzac Provost Corp at Tidworth.  Will seems to have spent the rest of his service in England between Tidworth and Persham Downs and was promoted from Private to ER/2 Corporal on 10 Feb 1919.  Will mailed a number of postcards to his mother Julia and also to my grand father Edward Thomas Bailey (here).

During his time in England he met and married Miss Dorothy Kate Kill at the Holy Trinity Church in London on 12 Aug 1919 and left England to return to Australia per the HT (hired transport) “Konigan Luise” on 18 Dec 191.  Will was officially discharged from the Army on 22 Apr 1920.

Will was awarded the 1914/15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

I would love to hear from any family member that could put me in contact with their only son Ray Thomsen or his descendants, who may have left Australia to live in England.

TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Family Wedding

Herbert Howeth Bailey at daughter Peggy Mae’s Wedding.

I’m adding an additional TROVE post this month just because it involved a family wedding!  My great-uncle, Herbert Howarth Bailey married his sweetheart Mary Mildred Davies in Singleton, New South Wales, in February of 1909.  For whatever reason, the article relating to the wedding wasn’t printed until early March so I have included it my March TROVE posts.

Herbert was the younger brother of my grandfather Edward Thomas Bailey, who had married the year before.  The wedding of Herbert and Mary Mildred sounds as if it was a very pretty affair.  The couple must have moved to Tamworth quite soon after the wedding as their first daughter, Marjory Ann, was born here in January of 1910.  This was followed by the birth of Daphne Mildred in May of 1915, Henry Herbert in November of 1917 and Peggy Mae in June of 1928 – all born in Tamworth.

It is known that in 1930 Herbert was listed as a station hand in the Tamworth area, and later became a share farmer near Barraba.  Herbert, Mary Mildred and the four children moved to 73 Westcourt Road, New Lambton in 1936 and remained there until their deaths.  Mary Mildred died on 24/4/1950 and Herbert died on 8 Nov 1954.


TROVE Tuesday – It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Cats & Dogs

Tamworth residents seem to have come up with a number of interesting solution to a number of pests in the area.

The interesting thing about the above article is the fact that the domestic cat and her kittens were deliberately not fed, but made to hunt for themselves.  By today’s standards that would probably be classed as animal abuse.  But, it is a unique way to deal with a huge problem.  Sparrows hop, skip and jump all over our backyard every day all these years later.  I would have thought that the bigger problem would have come from the grey doves, lorikeets and sulphur crested cockatoo’s which are in plentiful supply in our area!

This next article is quite interesting to me, as my grandfather Edward Thomas Bailey often rode the hill around Tamworth catching rabbits for extra income. (Story Here)  Rabbits must have been a significant problem at the time for someone to go to such lengths to eradicate them.


Thomas Hardy – A Brush With Fame

My husband Terry has the one and only famous person that graces either of our trees. He is Terry’s 3rd cousin 3 x removed – you could say the connection is not close!

Thomas Hardy – painted by William Strang, 1893

Thomas Hardy, novelist and poet, was born on 2 June 1840 in Dorset, England and is Terry’s 3rd cousin 3  times removed. I must say that the only one of his works that I have read was Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), but he has a very large number of poems and novels to his credit.

Thomas was well educated, highly regarded for his poetry and novels both during his lifetime and since, and lived a long life. He is linked to rumours of an affair with his cousin Tryphena Sparks as a young man, but went on to marry Emma Gifford whom he is reported to have loved dearly. When Emma died he married Florence Emily Dugdale who was 39 years his junior, however he continued to write works dedicated to the memory of Emma which Florence found embarrassing.

Thomas died on 11 January, 1928, his body was cremated and then interred in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey amongst others such as Chaucer and Dickens. His heart, though, was buried with his first wife Emma Gifford at Stinsford Cemetery.

Unfortunately, the literary arts have not travelled down the branch of my hubby’s tree.

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TROVE Tuesday-It Happened in Tamworth in 1909 – Fire

I wonder if my grandparents, Edward Thomas Bailey and Ines Maud nee: Smith, knew the newly married Frederick Schwartz and his wife?  Fire in 1909 was almost always totally consuming of it’s target, with very limited fire fighting resources available to home owners.  The loss of their newly built home and wedding presents must have been a dreadful blow to the young couple.





The Australian Bullocky Postcards

Australian Bullocky with his Bullock Team

These 3 postcards from my grandfather’s postcard collection show an occupation from a long gone era, that of a Bullock Team Driver. In Australia they were call Bullockies and they operated before the building of the railway system .  The cards show the bullock teams working in the Australian bush and hauling timber during the mid to late 1800’s but Bullockies were driving bullock teams as early as the mid 1790’s in the Sydney area.

Bullock Team in Australian Bush

Bullock teams were essential in hauling food and other supplies to remote country areas.  They forded streams and rivers and navigated perilous tracks over the Great Dividing Range.  On the return journey they took with them heavy loads of wheat, wool and sugar cane – along with timber.  A bullock team with a heavy load could only travel roughly 3 miles a day, which is approximately 5 kms.

Bullock Team Crossing Stream