Ernest Oswald Free (1881-1964) and
Adeline Ellen Bennett (1887-1961)

(last updated 3 September 2013)

II: Children and Descendants

As described in Part I, Ernest and Adeline had eight children: Lillian Elizabeth ('Doll') Free, born at Watchem in 1906, Ernest John ('Mick') Free (Watchem, 1907), William Edward Free (Watchem, 1908), Mary Eliza Free (Watchem, 1909), George Robert Free (Watchem, 1910), Amy Maud Free (Watchem, 1912), Elsie May Free (Watchem, 1914) and Mavis Free (Speed, 1917). As also described, their second son, William Free, died in 1913, aged five years and while the family was living at Watchem. Their eldest and beloved son 'Mick' Free, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at Pallarang in 1960, never married. Information and photos sent to us by Fay and Des Menzel plus other sources have enabled us to put together the following information about the remaining children and their families.

oswald and adeline children watchem 1910

Taken at Watchem in around 1910, this photo is of Ernest and Adeline's five eldest children (L/R): Ernest John ('Mick') Free,
Lillian Elizabeth ('Doll') Free nursing George Robert Free, William Edward Free and Mary Eliza Free.

oswald and adeline and family in  the late 1950s

Ernest and Adeline and members of their family in the late 1950s.
Back (L/R): Mavis, Elsie May, Ernest John ('Mick') and Amy Maud. Front: Mary Eliza, Adeline Ellen,
Ernest Oswald and Lillian Elizabeth ('Doll').

lillian eliz free weddingBorn at Watchem in 1906, Lillian Elizabeth ('Doll') Free moved with her parents and siblings to Pallarang in 1917 and was enrolled at the local school in April the following year. In 1924 she married a local farmer, Charles Alfred Marshall, at Cowangie (their wedding photo is pictured on the left). The Australian electoral rolls show that Charles and Lillian farmed land at 'Duddo Wells' near Ouyen and lived at Cowangie where she and Charles had three children: Mary Elizabeth (born in 1925), Dorothy Jean (1927) and George William Marshall (1837). Des Menzel tells us that following Charles' death in 1963 Lillian 'learnt to drive a motor car and obtained her driver's licence at the age of 57. She passed away on 7 November 1999 in the Ouyen Hospital and [she and Charles] are both buried in the Cowangie cemetery'. The 1972 and 1977 electoral rolls indicate that Lillian and Charles' only son, George William Marshall, took over the family farm.

Mary Eliza Free was born at Watchem in 1909 and went to school there and at Pallarang after the family moved there in 1917. She married Harold Thomas James O'Neil (1903-80) at Cowangie in 1930. Harold was born at Sandringham in Melbourne, the son of Henry William and Florence Charlotte O'Neil nee Tankard. Des Menzel tells us that Mary and Harold had four children: Rita, Howard, Mavis and Kevin O'Neil and 'resided in Red Cliffs, Victoria. Mary suffered from very bad arthritis and was confined to a wheelchair for many years, she passed away on 16 April 1962 at the age of 53 years ... and is buried in Red Cliffs Cemetery with her husband Harold who died at Irymple on 12 December 1980'.

Elsie May Free was born at Watchem in 1914 and went to school at Pallarang from 1921. She married Reginald Herbert Walker in South Australia in 1935. According to Des Menzel, Elsie and Reginald resided in Adelaide after their marriage and had three sons there: Graham, Murray and Alan Walker. He continues: 'The Walker family enjoyed many visits to the Mallee, visiting Elsie's parents Ernest and Adeline and families. Elsie passed away 13 May 1997 and Reginald 25 May 1997 and both are buried in Centenniel Park in Adelaide'.

mary eliza free mary eliza free wedding

Photo of Mary Eliza Free before she was married and on her wedding day in 1930

elsie may free elsie may free wedding

Photo of Elsie May Free before she was married and on her wedding day in 1930

george robert freeBorn at Watchem in 1910, George Robert Free moved with his parents and siblings to Pallarang in 1917 and was enrolled at the local school in April the following year. Des Menzel tells us that George 'lived and worked on his parents' farm at Pallarang until the late 1930s when he moved to Brisbane ... His first wife died and then he married Nevada Ellinor Imburger, born 31 July 1927 [George and Nevada are pictured on the left] they had two children: Richard Ernest and Gayle. His son Richard passed away on 19 July 2002. George died 22 July 1984 and Nevada 24 April 1981 all are buried in St Mathews Anglican Cemetery at Grovely in Queensland. Little is known of George and his family'.

The 'pre-marriages' section in the Brisbane Courier Mail (dated 14 May 1949) includes the enty: 'FREE-IMBERGER - On 14 May 1941 at 6pm at St Andrew's Church of England South Brisbane, by Rev Waiton, Nevada Ellinor, only daughter of Mr and Mrs A. C. Imberger of West End Brisbane, to George Robert, second son of Mr and Mrs E. O. Free, Victoria'. On 20 June 1950 the same newspaper reported in its 'births column': 'FREE - At Women's Intermediate, on June 13th to George and Nevada (nee Imberger) a son Richard Ernest'.

The Queensland Index of deaths shows that Nevada's parents were Albert Charles and 'Neva' Imberger. According to the 'Imberger Family Tree' on, Albert was born at Tenterfield in NSW in 1895, the son of Julius Pius Imberger and Elizabeth Ebert. He married Neva Jurd in Bundarra in NSW in 1919 and died in Queensland on 15 August 1949. He and Neva had at least one other child: Rodney Albert Leslie Imberger (1925-40).

The 1954 electoral roll has George, a taxi proprietor, and Nevada Ellinor Free living in Drayton Court on Hargrave Road in West End in the Kurilpa subdivision of the Griffith Division in Queensland. They were at 6 Ernest Street in the Subdivision of Greenslopes (Division of Bowman) in 1963 (when George was working as a pipe tester), 1972 (storeman crane driver), 1977 (storeman) and 1980 (storeman). Nevada died in Brisbane the following year and George three years later.

Amy Maud Free was born at Watchem in 1912 and travelled with her parents and siblings to Pallarang in the north west of the Mallee region in 1917. She was enrolled at the Pallarang State School in 1918. She married Edwin Reinhard Menzel at Cowangie on 23 May 1932. According to Ancestry's index of Australian bdms, Edwin's parents were Reinhard Paul Menzel and Ida Albertine Kraft who were married in Victoria in 1907 (reg no 2137). Edwin had at least two siblings, both born at Jeparit: Elfreda Clara Pauline (born 1908) and Herbert Victor Stanley Menzel (1910).

Their son, Des Menzel, tells us that after their marriage 'Amy and Edwin ('Eddie') lived on a farm at Duddo, Victoria, about 5 km north of Danyo, and had four children born at Murrayville Hospital: Lindsay Ronald ('Ron') born 22 Nov 1932, Joan Amy (15 March 1934), Keith Edwin [28 April 1937] and Desmond Stanley (24 December 1940). The sad loss of their baby son Keith Edwin ... at the age of three weeks was heartbreaking to the family. Little Keith is buried in Cowangie Cemetery. Amy Maud was always a huge support to her parents and family and was an inspiration to all who knew her. Amy, Edwin and their unmarried son ... Ron moved from their farm into Murrayville. After the death of Edwin, who died in Pinnaroo Hospital in South Australia on 15 September 1991, and Ron, who died suddenly on 25 February 1996, Amy resided in the Pinnaroo Hospital Nursing Home where she died on 21 July 2005 aqed 93 years. All are buried in the Murrayville Cemetery'.

amy maud free edwin and amy maud free

Baby Amy Maud Free at Watchem. Edwin Reinhard and Amy Maud Menzel nee Free
with eldest son Lindsay Ronald ('Ron') Menzel.

Mavis Free was born at Speed in Victoria in 1917 while the family was en route from Watchem to Pallarang in the north western Mallee region. School records show that she was first enrolled at Pallarang State School in April 1922. She married Erwin Harold Schultz in Melbourne on 26 January 1933. Ancestry's bdm database, tells us that Erwin's parents were Friedrich Johann Julius Schultz and Helene Evelyn/Eveline Hiericke/Hienicke who were married at the residence of the groom's father, Carl Emmanuel Schultz, at Walton in the South Australian Barossa Valley on 17 August 1907 (reg no 232). The latter record also shows that Helene's father was Johann Friedrich Herman Heinicke.

According to Des Menzel, Mavis and Erwin (known as 'Ervie') initially lived in the Cowangie district after their marriage and had three daughters there: Shirley, Patricia (Fay) and Lorraine. He continues that in '1948 they sold their farm and moved with their daughters to Strathalbyn in South Australia. The family was well known in the district and successfully farmed there until Mavis and Erwin retired into [the township of] Strathalbyn where Erwin passed away on 18 June 1997. Mavis was the last surviving member of Ernest and Adeline's family. She passed away on 9 June 2013 and both are buried in the Strathalbyn Cemetery'.

mavis free mavis and erwin free wedding

Mavis Free before she was married and with her husband Erwin Harold Schultz at Stratalbyn in South Australia

mavis and erwin and family

Erwin Harold and Mavis Schultz nee Free with their two eldest daughters Shirley and Patricia ('Fay') Schultz.

oswald and adeline and family in 1944

Ernest and Adeline and members of their family at their farm at Pallarang in 1944.
Back (L/R): Charles Marshall, Edwin Menzil, Erwin Schultz, Dorothy (Jean) Marshall, Lillian ('Doll') Marshall nee Free,
Mavis Schultz nee Free, Shirley Schultz, Amy Menzel nee Free and Mary Marshall. Front: Patricia (Fay) Schultz, Joan Menzel,
Ernest Oswald Free, Adeline Ellen Free nee Bennett, Desmond Menzel, George Marshall and Lindsay (Ron) Menzel.

Image sources
All photos kindly supplied by Fay and Des Menzel.

Rootsweb site for the Free, Flavell, Finkell, Coxall, Chaffe and Shepherd families Ernest Oswald Free (1881-1964) and
Adeline Ellen Bennett (1887-1961)
Part I: Life and Times
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