(last updated 8 May 2018)
Mary married George Lee (1820-1872) in around 1853 (probably at Rich Avon Station). George was a former convict who was tried in the Kent Assizes on 18 October 1831 and was sentenced to seven years transportation to Van Diemen's Land. He was transported on the SURREY which left England on 19 November 1832 and arrived at Hobart Town on 7 April 1833. The Convict Conduct Registers contained in the Tasmanian Archives show that he was transported for stealing geese and had earlier spent time in prison for stealing rabbits. While in Tasmania he continued to fall foul of the law, receiving: 25 lashes on 4 August 1834 for 'improper conduct to a Court'; a reprimand for drunkeness and bad conduct on 5 January 1835; 25 lashes on 18 January 1835 for drunkeness; and 3 days solitary confinement on 30 August 1836 for being disorderly and for fighting.
According to one of his descendants, Bill Medlyn, George 'came to Victoria either with [John] Batman or very soon after. He must have been given a ticket of leave because he was a policeman in Geelong in 1839 and from there came up to the sheep station at Cope Cope on Rich Avon. He selected land at Carapooee in the 1860s.' George died in 1872 and was buried at St Arnaud. His tombstone reads: 'In memory of George Lee of Woolwich, Kent England. Died 17 May 1872 aged 52 years. Farewell! thou art gone to rest/Thy toils and cares are o'er/And sorrow, pain and suffering now/Shall ne'er distress thee more'. Thus saith the Lord. Set thine house in order: for thou shall die and not live (Isaiah 58)'.
The widowed Mary married William Fyfe (1839-1931) in 1875 (probably at St Arnaud although this has still to be confirmed). She died at St Arnaud in 1891 and was buried with her first husband George Lee, the words on the headstone being amended to read: 'Also Mary Fyfe Relict of the late George Lee and daughter of the late Edward Shepherd who died 14 February 1891 aged 56 years. They rest in peace'.
Mary and William had no children. She and George had only one child, a daughter, Mary Lee (1854-1910), who was the first white child born at Salt Lakes near Cope Cope. Mary married James Henry Medlyn (1843-88) at Carapooee on 8 May 1873. Their wedding certificate indicates that James was born at Wendron in Cornwall, the son of William Medlyn (1800-1889) and Martha Jenkin. William and his sons John and Mathew Medlyn were farmers at Wendon (see Doug Medlyn's 'Medlyn Family Tree' on Ancestry.com for more information on the family). The Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria, 1852-1923 shows that a James Medlyn (21) and Joseph Medlyn (28) came to Victoria on the QUEEN OF NATIONS in 1872.
At the time of his marriage to Mary, James was farming at Stuart Mill. We think they relocated to Carapooee West where it seems all their children were born. According to Paul Clatcher, Carapooee is an aboriginal name meaning 'Land Of Plenty'.
It came into existence as the result of the discovery of gold about 1855, as the prospectors were going north to New Bendigo, now known as St Arnaud North. The prospectors sank several holes on Peter's Station and found a little gold, but it was not until 1862 that the alluvial mining commenced. The district was then known as Peter's Diggings. The early pioneers reaped rich rewards from shallow sinking in the sources of the leads. The deepest sinking was at forty feet and claimed to have been the most payable. Other alluvial fields were known as 'She Oak', Cornish Hill (side of the school)...Bragg's Hill... Pollard Hill... and Frenchman's Hill. Gold Mining lasted 10 years.
Corn was first grown by Mr Peters, and Mr H. Perry purchased the first block of land that was sold on Peters Diggings. In 1865, a brick school was built by the Diggers and the first Head Teacher was Mr Saunders. Railway communication was established in 1878 by the opening of a line from Dunolly. Previous to that the only connection was by means of a rough bush track which extended from Avoca to the Richardson River. In the 80 years of its existence Carapooee has experienced the vicissitude of fortunes peculiar to most mining towns but owing to the flourishing conditions of the Agricultural and Pastoral industries is now looked upon as a prosperous district.
This photo was recently sent to us by Stephen Brooks who thought it could be of our James Medlyn and his family as it has written on the back
'James Medlyn, "Medlyn" via St Arnaud'. While this could certainly point to the couple being our James and Mary the presence of the eldest
boy in the picture suggests otherwise. We are both hoping someone may recognise those pictured and help us solve the mystery.
James Medlyn died at St Arnaud in 1888. Mary Medlyn nee Lee died there in 1910. She and James had six children we are aware of, three of whom - Martha Elizabeth (1877-1935), Alice Ann (1881-1966) and James Henry Medlyn (1888-1967) - never married. We have discovered a little more about the remaining three as follows:
1) Mary Grace Medlyn (1873-1960) married Robert Davis Wembridge (1873-1934) in 1902 probably at St Arnaud although this has to be confirmed. Robert was the son of Thomas Frederick Wembridge (1819-98). According to Yvonne Palmer's history of St Arnaud, Track of the Years, Thomas was born into a farming family of Ashill in Devon and attended school at Brighton. 'On leaving school he had been apprenticed to a malster but soon forsook his trade to follow other occupations in various countries until wanderlust led him to the Victorian goldfields.' In 1852 Thomas sailed from England to Australia on the STATESMAN whose passengers included two other Brighton school attendees, Frederick Steward and James Greville. After their arrival at Port Philip on 23 September, the three friends headed inland to the Avoca-Amherst district where they and five other colleagues prospected for gold.
Having little success the group decided that Wembridge, Steward and two others should explore the area around Carapooee and beyond and send for the remainder once a suitable prospecting site was found. As Palmer describes, they eventually discovered a rich lode in a place they named 'New Bendigo' (later St Arnaud north) and were able to work it for several months before word of the find got out and the inevitable rush of miners and other hopefuls took place. The Hecker and Kick Family Tree on Ancestry.com informs us that Thomas married Diana Davey (1836-1920) at Dunolly in 1860 and had nine girls and one boy, Robert Davis Wembridge, who was born at St Arnaud in 1873. Thomas thus eventually settled in St Arnaud where he bought a 30-acre block of land on Lexell Creek. There he established a large and productive garden that became a show place for townspeople and visitors alike who would partake of sumptuous afternoon teas beneath Thomas' blossoming fruit trees.
The Australian electoral rolls show that Mary Grace and Robert Davis Wembridge, who worked initially as a miner and then for the Victorian railways, lived for a time at Watchem but mainly at St Arnaud (on Canterbury Road). Mary continued to live at St Arnaud after Robert's death there in 1934. She died and was buried at St Arnaud in 1960. According to Robert White, Robert and Mary Grace had eight children: Elsie (born in 1903), Marion (1905), Mary Diana (1907), Thomas Medlyn (1910-67), Alice Maude (1913-36), Robert Fyfe (1914), Martha Lee (1918) and Kathleen Wembridge.
According to the Argus newspaper, Elsie Wembridge married Rowland George Moore at St Arnaud in 1925. Her sister Marion Wembridge married George Alfred Yorston (1901-78), the son of John Yorston and Mary Grace Mcconchie, at Glen Huntley in Melbourne in 1930. The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage George, who worked as a draughtsman, and Marion, a school teacher, lived in the Melbourne suburb of Mentone until the late 1940s when they moved to the inner suburb of Hawthorn. It seems they later lived at Box Hill where George died in 1978. The same sources show that Robert and Mary Grace's youngest daughter, Kathleen Wembridge, who was also a teacher, married Raymond James Griffiths, a meteorologist, at Camberwell in Melbourne in 1948, and they were living at Box Hill in 1949 and Canterbury in 1954.
The 'Smith Family Tree' on Ancestry.com informs us that Martha Lee Wembridge (1918-2003) married a John Corneille Smith (1912-2005) and had at least one child, still living. John was said to have come from Urana in NSW. After their marriage John worked initially as a grazier then as a stock salesman at Yarrawonga. It seems they spent the later part of their lives on the Mornington Peninsular where Martha died in 2003 and John in 2005. Robert White tells us that Mary Diana Wembridge became Mrs M. V. Augherston and her sister, Alice Maud Wembridge (1913-36), who worked as a nurse all her life, never married.
According to the Australian Archives Mary and Robert's two sons, Thomas Medlyn and Robert Fyfe Wembridge, both served in the Australian armed forces during the Second World War (they also show that Thomas had earlier served with the 22 Militia Battalion initially as a private soldier and later as an officer. Thomas was then working as a garage proprietor at Mirboo North in Gippsland and was married to Doreen Marjorie Jean Milner). Thomas and Marjorie continued to lived at Mirboo North after war's end and Thomas died there in 1967. The Australian electoral rolls show that Thomas' younger brother, Robert Fyfe Wembridge, worked as a butcher's assistant and was living with his mother, Mary Grace, on Canterbury Road in St Arnaud at the time of the 1936/7 and 1942 elections. Sometime after this he married Bernice May Robinson (1918-82), the daughter of Angus Robinson and Ettie Proven. At the time of the 1949 and 1954 elections, Robert and Bernice were living on Watson Street in Charlton where Robert was working as a 'superintendant'. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms show that Bernice died at Portland in Victoria in 1982.
2) Philippa Lee Medlyn married James McMullan Taylor (1869-1927) at Donelly's Creek near St Arnaud in 1905. According to the 'Jody Taylor Family Tree 01' on Ancestry.com, James was the son of an Irishman William Taylor (1830-1905) and Prudence McMullen (1840-1904), and he and Phillipa had three children: Arthur James (1906-96), Harold George (1909-75) and Frank Taylor (1918-67). It adds that Arthur married Jessie Griffiths (1910-2007), the daughter of Owen Griffiths and Helena Flett, and had four children, all still living. The electoral rolls show that Phillipa and James, who worked as a butcher, lived at St Arnaud until around 1914 and then moved to Melbourne living initally at South Melbourne and then Coburg. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that James died at Brunswick in 1931 and Phillipa at Moreland thirty years later. Their youngest son, Frank Taylor, died at Coburg in 1967.
3) George William Medlyn (1890-1939) married Jane ('Jean') Thwaites (1890-1975) at Carapooee in 1920. The Thwaites family website tells us that Jane's parents were John Thwaites (1855-1935) and Jane Donald Murray (1856-1945) who came respectively from Daylesford and Rushworth in Victoria and farmed at Carapooee West. Her siblings were Elizabeth Ann, William Thomas, Isabella, Robert, John and James Thwaites. George, who farmed land at Western Creek near St Arnaud, and Jean had three children: George Lee, William James and Frank Murray Medlyn. George Medlyn senior died in 1939. His wife Jean died in 1975 and was buried at St Arnaud.
We believe their eldest son, George Lee Medlyn (1921-94) and his wife Elvie Smith had no children. He worked as a sheep farmer and wool classer but also became an avid collector of rare colonial bottles. In 1885 he bought a former Clunes school house that was then being used as a knitting mill to house his bottle collection. According to an article written in 2009 by Madeline Jenkins and published in the local Advocate, 'with more than 6000 bottles on display, the Clunes Bottle Museum now houses the largest bottle collection on display in Australia. Mr Medlyn continued collecting bottles until his death in 1994, when he bequeathed the collection and building to the Shire of Talbot and Clunes. The museum's committee members are currently redesigning the displays and exhibition spaces with the help of a $20,000 grant from the Hugh Williamson Foundation. Ms Turner said every bottle in the collection was unique and, when the project was complete, the museum would be a great educational tool and tourist attraction'.
Robert White tells us that George and Jean's second son, William James Medlyn married Thelma Amy Wright at St Arnaud in 1948 and had eight children. Their youngest son Frank Murray Medlyn and his wife Elizabeth Withers had no children.
Ann Maria (pictured on the left) married Abraham Joseph Allen (1825-68) at Rich Avon station on 28 January 1854. The couple's wedding certificate shows that Joseph was a shoemaker who was born at Bacton in Suffolk and was then living and working at Swanwater. His father was Abraham Allen, a labourer. The marriage, conducted according to the rites of the Independent Church, was witnessed by William Price and Edward Shepherd where all parties signed the document. After their marriage Ann and Abraham lived at St Arnaud where they had four sons before Abraham's death at St Arnaud in 1868: Edward Allen (1860-c1912), Abraham Joseph Allen jnr (1864-1937), John Robert Allen (1865-1940) and William Allen (1868-1915) - see below for details.
Two years after her first husband's death, Ann Maria married Abraham Jones (1828-90), the son of Thomas Jones and Lydia Gilmore, at St Arnaud. Robert White tells us that she and the second Abraham had three children: 1) Annie Maria Jones who was born at St Arnaud in 1871 2) Lydia Ann Jones (1874-1948) who married George Brown and had at least two children: James William Brown (1896-1967) who married Agnes McDonald, and Ethel May Brown (1898-1960) who married Percival Thomas Hewitt and had four children; and 3) Amelia Jane Jones who was born at St Arnaud in 1877 and died there a year later. The local burial record notes that Amelia is buried in the same enclosure as her parents and next to her cousin Grace Victoria Allen, who died in 1890, the same year as Ann Maria's second husband, Abraham Jones. Ann Maria lived on for another twenty years. The 1903 electoral roll showed her living at St Arnaud East. In 1909 she was registered as living on Inglewood Rd in St Arnaud (as was an Amy Jones). She died, aged 75 years, at St Arnaud in 1912.
What of her and Abraham Joseph Allen's children?
1) Edward Allen who was born at St Arnaud in 1860. The 1914 electoral roll for the Grampians Division of Victoria showed an Edward Allen, who was working as a labourer, living at Gowar East. He was still registered there at the time of the 1919 election but was not there in the 1924 roll.
2) Abraham Joseph Allen (1864-1937) who farmed land at Kooheh (north of Carapooee) from at least 1914 to the time of his death in 1937 (he was buried at St Arnaud). Joseph, as he was also known, married twice. His first wife was his cousin Annie Louisa Shepherd (1871-1913), the daughter of Robert Shepherd and Mary Ann Seales. Annie was just sixteen years old at the time of her marriage. She and Joseph are pictured on the right with their children Annie and baby Joseph. Annie Louisa Allen nee Shepherd died at St Arnaud in 1913 and Joseph married her younger sister, Ann Ellen Shepherd (1877-1923) the following year. Ann and Joseph had one daughter, Thelma Allen who died, aged 13 years, at St Arnaud in 1929, six years after her mother.
According to Robert White, Abraham Joseph and Annie Louisa Allen had six children before Annie's death at St Arnaud in 1913. These included Grace Victoria Allen, 'who died at two years from convulsions', and Joseph Allen (1890-1966) who, according to Robert Shepherd's 'Shepherd Family Tree' on Ancestry.com, lived in Melbourne and did not marry. Their remaining four children, all of whom are pictured in the Allen family photograph shown below, were:
2.1) Annie Allen (1887-1973) married Thomas Kelly in 1912 and had at least two children.
2.2) Elizabeth May Allen (1891-1975). Born at St Arnaud, May married Victor William Cole (1887-1942) there in 1912. Victor was also born at St Arnaud, the son of Daniel Cole and Jessie Hawkins. The Australian electoral rolls show that May and William lived on their farm at Kooreh South from 1914 to 1942, the year of William's death. It seems that after this May lived initially with her sons (Allen, Robert Arthur and William Albert Cole, all farmers) at Emu and, from around 1949, at Inglewood where she died in 1975. With her at Inglewood in 1954 was her son William Albert Cole who was then working as a wood merchant.
2.3) Fanny Allen (1893-1923). Also born at St Arnaud, Fanny married Henry ('Harry') Howard there in 1913. Robert Shepherd's 'Shepherd Family Tree' on Ancestry.com tells us that Harry was born in 1872 at Ballarat East, the son of William Howard and Elizabeth Holstock, and that he and Fanny had a daughter, Annie Esther Howard, who was born at St Arnaud in 1919 and died in Ballarat in 1964. The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage the couple also lived at Kooreh where Harry worked as a labourer and where Fanny probably died although that has still to be confirmed. The photo below of the Allen family indicates that Fanny and Harry may have had a second daughter, Florence (or 'Florrie') Howard. While we have not been able directly to confirm this, the 1942 electoral roll does show an Annie Esther Howard, a waitress, Florence May Howard, home duties, Frederick Forbes Howard, a pastry cook, and Grace Evelyn Howard, home duties, all living at 3 Sleeth Avenue in Dandenong. According to the 'Ward Family Tree' on Ancestry.com, Annie Esther Howard married Kenneth Thomas Ward (1920-2003), the son of Charles Ward and Bessie Kempson, and had at least one child still living.
2.4) William Robert Allen (1894-1975). His military record contained in the Australian Archives shows that William, the son of J. Allen of Kooreh via St Arnaud, enlisted in the 1st AIF on 3 August 1915 and was alloted to the 6th Reinforcements for the 21st Battalion. He was disembarked from the MOLDAVIA at Fremantle with measles and was re-embarked on the ULYSSES on 2 November 1915 as part of reinforcements for the 28th Battalion. Following several bouts of sickness in France and England (including gangrene), he was transferred to the Australian Provost Corps and attached to the 2nd Division in France in 1918. He returned to Australia on the ZEALANDIC in 1919. The 1919 and 1924 electoral rolls have William Robert Allen, a labourer, living at Kooreh with his father Abraham Joseph (and, in 1919, his step-mother Ann). Both Robert White and Robert Shepherd believe that William later married Jean Frazer and raised a family at Geelong where William died in 1975.
Sent to us by Robert White, this photo is of Abraham Joseph Allen jnr and his family taken in around 1915.
Rear row (L/R): Fanny Howard nee Allen, Elizabeth May Cole nee Allen, Abraham Joseph Allen jnr, Annie Kelly nee Allen.
Front row: 'Florrie' Howard, Mary Ann Shepherd nee Seales, 'Dorrie' and Allen Cole, Robert Shepherd,
unknown and Mary Kelly, Joseph Allen with Merle and unknown Allen.
3) John Robert Allen (1865-1940). Also a farmer, John married Eliza Ellen Coles (1868-1960) at St Arnaud in 1890. According to Catherine Devine's family tree and the Pataky Family Tree on Ancestry.com, Eliza was the daughter of James Coles and Eliza Surkeet. They had nine children born at St Arnaud between 1890 and 1912: 1) Joseph Robert Allen, a farmer and labourer, who married Myrtle Amy Watkins and lived at St Arnaud all of his life. 2) Maude Authurine Allen. 3) Annie Victoria Marie Allen (1899-1988) who married Daniel Cecil Devine (1898-1968), the son of William James Devine and Bridget Greenwood from Young in NSW, at West Wyalong in 1919 and had ten children. 4) William Edward Allen (1894-1985). 5) John Leslie Allen (1896-1897). 6) Ruby Pearl Allen (1902-2002) who married Cyril Percy Cecil ('Ted') Welsh (1899-1980), the son of Michael Bendel Welsh and Caroline Howlett, at Wyalong in NSW in 1919 and had five children (see Peter Davies' Rootsweb site 'Davies Down Under' (25 Aug 2001) and Mark Landrigan's 'Landrigan Family Tree' on Ancestry.com. 7) Evelyn May ('Dolly') Allen (1902-1989). 8) James Leslie Allen (1905-1986) who is buried at St Arnaud in the same grave as his brother John Leslie Allen (who died in 1897). 9) Sydney Allen (1912-1984) who worked as a miner and was living with his mother and siblings on Powell St in St Arnaud in the 1940s.
4) William Allen (1868-1915). William's burial record indicates that he was a farmer. There is no indication that he married or had children.
(last updated 28 February 2011)
'Maria Shepherd', private collection.
Joseph and Annie Allen nee Shepherd and Abraham Joseph Allen and family courtesy of Robert White.
Remainder from the photos section of Wycheproof Historical Society website.
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