Alice Amy Cheeseman

(last updated: 1 March 2017)

alice amy and family a in 1910

The Wills family in around 1910. L/R: Alice Amy, Isobel Madelaine, Reginald Alfred and Richard Alfred Wills.

Alice Amy Cheeseman (1880-1917) was born at Carngham in Victoria on 28 February 1880, the sixth child of Alfred John and Jane Elizabeth Cheeseman nee Wright. She married Richard Alfred Wills (1878-1942) at Beaufort on Christmas day in 1905. The wedding was reported in the Ballarat Star on 27 January 1906 as follows: 'a wedding was celebrated at the residence of Mr A. J. Cheeseman, farmer, of Eurambeen, when his daughter, Alice Amy was married to Mr Richard Alfred Wills, of Melbourne. The Rev. R. McGowan officiated. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a pretty dress of steel grey taffeta, with trimmings of crepe-de-shine and applique also a wreath and veil and bouquet of Christmas lilies. She was attended by Miss Nellie Doyle, of Ararat, who wore a costume of white book-muslin, and Miss Ada Cheeseman who was attired in grey voile. Mr Alfred W. Ckeeseman was the best man'. According to the Wills Family Tree on Ancestry, Richard was born either in Melbourne or at sea on 13 May 1878, the second son of a master mariner, Richard Wills (1849-1922), and Isobel Turnbull (1854-1904) who were married in Melbourne on 17 April 1875. The birthplaces of their children show that, after their marriage, Alice and Richard, who worked for the Victorian railways, lived at Beaufort, Horsham, Warburton and Goorambat near Benalla before Alice's untimely death in 1917. As the following report in the Benalla Standard described, she was one of a number of victims of an outbreak of typhoid fever at Goorambat:

THE TYPHOID OUTBREAK AT G00RAMBAT Another Death Reported The death occurred yesterday morning, at a private hospital In Benalla, of Mrs. Wills, wife of Mr, Richard Wills, railway employee at Goorambat. About tbree weeks ago Mrs. Wills contracted typhoid fever and was brought into Benalla for attention. Her condition became worse, and on Wednesday it was feared that she would not recover. She leaves a husband and three chiidren, the eldest 10 years of age. A sad feature about the case Is that when the outbreak occurred Mr. Wills sent his children to Melbourne so that they should be removed from danger, but the eldest girl either contracted or developed the disease down there, and she is at present suffering from it. Much sympathy is felt for Mr. Wills in his severe trouble. The remains were interred yesterday in the Banalla cemetery, the servlce at the grave being read by the Rev. P. J. Edwards, and the mortuary arrangements were in the hands of Mr. W. G. Abbott (2 Febrauary 1917).

Alice was buried in the Anglican section of the Benalla cemetery. Richard moved to Melbourne where he married Euphemia Johns (1889-1976), the daughter of Thomas Johns and Catherine Thompson, at Carlton on 26 April 1919. According to the Wills Family Tree he and Euphemia had six children: Alice Margaret Wills (1919-2014), Percival Richard Hugh Wills (1921-92), Arthur John Wills (1924-24), Richard Locksley Wills (1926-2009), Shirley Estelle Marian Wills (1928-2008) and one other. Richard and Estelle Pearl as Euphemia was named in the rolls, lived initially in the outer Melbourne suburb of Somerton before moving to Drouin, where Richard ran an orchard, and then back to Melbourne where they lived at Richmond, Hawthorn and Coburg. Richard died at South Melbourne in 1942 and is buried in the C of E section of the Fawkner Cemetery. What of his and Alice's three children?

1) Isobel Madeleine ('Madge') Wills (1906-49) married Doren Roland Fashoda Kent (1899-1975), a driver and yardman, in 1930 probably in Melbourne although that has still to be confirmed. Click here to see a photo of Madge and Doren not long after they were married. According to the Wills Family Tree on Ancestry Doren sailed with his parents - Rueben and Minnie Kent nee Bennett - and siblings from London to Australia on the Themistocles in 1911, arriving at Brisbane on 14 August (the Australian electoral rolls indicate the family travelled on to Melbourne where they lived in the suburb of Kew and Rueben worked as a labourer). After their marriage Madge and Doren also lived in Kew probably up until Madge's death there in 1949. The Australian electoral rolls show that Doren then moved to Dandenong where he was employed as a textile worker and his brother, Arthur Francis Bennett Kent and wife Eva Florence lived and worked as poultry farmers. The Wills family Tree tells us that Doren died at Dandenong in 1975. He is buried in the Springvale Botanical Cemetery (Mathews Lawn, Row AB, Grave 15). Information recently provided by Jenny Tapungao tells us Madge and Doren had five children: 1) Grace Kent who married Melvyn Lucas and has three children; 2) Thelma Pearl Kent who married Kevin Keightley in 1954 and has a daughter; 3) Margaret Kent who married Kevin Donegon and has two daughters (the family is now living at Barooga near Cobram); 4) Doreen Kent; and 5) Shirley Kent who is married to Dale Short.

2) Reginald Alfred Wills (1908-72) was born at Warburton in Victoria and married Kathleen Mavis Bunworth (1913-93) in 1939. Kath's parents were David Francis O'Connor Bunworth (1877-1939) and Christina Johns (1887-1964) the older sister of Richard Mills' second wife, Euphemia Johns. The Australian Electoral Rolls show Reg worked for the Victorian railways and he and Kath were living at Ultima in central Victoria in 1942 and during the 1960s at Dandenong on the outskirts of Melbourne (where they kept in touch with my parents Laurie and Elsie Cheeseman nee Hickmott). The 1972 electoral roll has Kathleen living on Cross Road in Devon Meadows (in the Flinders electorate) in Victoria. She was near Maffra in Victoria in 1977. According to the Wills Family Tree on Ancestry, she and Reg had five children: Kenneth Reginald (1941-2013), Ronald Alfred (1942-68), Glen Richard (1951-85), Reginald David and Yvonne Joy Wills. Information recently provided by Jenny Tapungao indicates all of Reg and Kath's children were married and provided their parents with at least 13 grandchildren.

3) Joyce Elizabeth Wills (1911-67). Born at East Warburton in Victoria, Joyce lived all her adult life with her parents and step siblings in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg where she worked as a machinist. She died a spinster at Parkville in 1967 and is buried with her father in the C of E section of the Fawkner Cemetery. Click here to see photos of Joyce and her siblings and half-siblings.

alice amy and children around 1917

From the Wills Family Tree on Ancestry, this is said to be of Alice Amy and her three children - Joyce Elizabeth, Reginald Alfred and
Isobel Madelaine Wills - taken not long before Alice's death in 1917.

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