(last updated 7 June 2023)
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.
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.
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.
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').
Born 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 (1888-1963), at Cowangie (their wedding photo is pictured on the left). According to the 'Kenneth Marshall Family Tree' on Ancestry, Charles' parents were Edward Marshall (1839-99) and his second wife, Mary Elizabeth West (1857-1910), who were married in Victoria in 1882 and had five children in addition to Charles: Edward George (born in 1883), Mary Jane (1885), William (1890), Walter (1892) and George Marshall (1895) - Charles' military file cited below suggests they had a further son John. Edward Marshall snr was born at White Waltham in Berkshire and died at Norval outside Ararat. His death notice in The Ararat Advertiser and Chronicle on 29 September 1899, tells us Edward had 'lived in tbe neighbourhood for over 30 years, and for a considerable time followed the occupation of a miner . . . [he] succumbed to an attack of bronco-pneumonia . . at the age of 59 years [and] leaves a widow and seven children'. Born at Beaufort in Victoria, Edward's wife, Mary, continued living at Norval after her husband's death. She died there in 1910 and, we think, is buried with Edward in the local cemetery.
His military record in the National Archives shows that Charles Marshall was born at Ararat and enlisted in the Australian Army at Ouyen on 13 August 1917 (he gave as his NOK his brother John Marshall of Cowangie). Allocated to the 20th Reinforcements for the 23rd Battalion, he sailed from Port Melbourne on 21 November the same year on the A71 HMAT NESTER. After spending time at Suez and then with the 6th Training Battalion in England, Charles embarked from Folkestone on 4 April 1918 to join the 23rd Battalion in France. He was wounded in action on 27 July of that year - probably at Dernancourt - and invalided back to England the following month. Charles returned to Australia on the ARGYLSHIRE on 1 August 1919 where he was met by his sister Mary Jane (now Mrs R E Underhill of the Melbourne suburb of Footscray). The Archives show that two of Mary and Charles' younger brothers also served in the First AIF. Walter Marshall enlisted at Melbourne on 13 July 1915 and served as a driver in Egypt and later in France. He returned to Australia on the SUDAN in May 1919. George Marshall enlisted at Ararat on 1 February 1916 and was killed in action in Flanders on 29 May 1917 while serving with the 39th Battalion. He is buried in the Strand Military Cemetery at Ploegsteert in Belgium.
The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage, Charles and Lillian Marshall farmed land at 'Duddo Wells' and lived all their married lives at nearby Cowangie in the northern Mallee region of Victoria. Charles died at Cowangie in 1963 and was buried in the local cemetery, his headstone reading: 'In Loving Memory of Charles Alfred Marshall 23rd Battalion First AIF. 16-7-1888 to 1-3-1963. Loved husband of Lillian. Mother of Mary, Jean and George. Des Menzel tells us that following Charles' death, Lillian continued to live at Cowangie where she '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 is buried with Charles in the Cowangie cemetery'. Des adds that Charles and Lillian had three children: Mary Elizabeth (born in 1925), Dorothy Jean (1927) and George William Marshall (1937). Mary Elizabeth Marshall (1925-2022) married a local farmer, Heinrich Alfred Allen Beckmann (1910-2000) at Cowangie in 1949 and had two children, Rex and Irene Beckmann. Following Heinrich's death in 2000, Mary re-married, to a John Kennard (Ken) Brown (1924-2007) at Cowangie on 16 April 2004. Fay Menzel tells us Mary passed away in the Pinnaroo Hospital on 23 January 2022. She adds that Mary's younger brother, George William Marshall (1937-2015), who was then farming land at Duddo Wells, married a local teacher, Joceyn Mary Ives, at Murrayville in 1973. They had two daughters - Amanda Emily and Charlotte - and later moved to Adelaide where George died on 19 July 2015.
Heinrich Alfred Allen and Mary Elizabeth Beckmann nee Marshall.
Supplied by Fay and Des Menzel, Jean and Mary Marshall in 1947 and Jocelyn and George Marshall in 1973.
Mary Eliza Free was born at Watchem in 1909 and married Harold Thomas James O'Neil (1903-80) at the Cowangie Methodist Church on 16 April 1930. A report of their 'pretty wedding', published in the Sunraysia Daily two weeks later, tells us the 'church was beautifully decorated with Easter daisies and fern', Mary's bridesmaids were 'Misses Doreen O'Neil and Amy Free (sisters of the bride and bridegroom) . . . [and] Mr Lancelot Morgan carried out the duties of best man'. It adds that after the reception and wedding breakfast, which were held at the home of the bride's parents, the 'happy couple left by car for Adelaide, amid showers of confetti. The future home of Mr and Mrs O'Neil will be in Mildura'. The 'Russell L Green Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us Harold O'Neil was born at Sandringham in Melbourne, the son of Melbourne-born Henry William (Harry) O'Neil (1867-1948) and a native of Launceston in Tasmania, Florence Charlotte Tankard (1936). Married in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitroy in 1889, they had six children in addition to Harold: Mabel Florence Louisa (born in 1892), Cyril Mat Henry William (1895), Nola (1906-6), Gordon Henry John (1907), Doreen Frances Maude (1907) and Noela Doreen Lorraine (1919-19). The last three of these were born at Mildura where their father worked as a labourer and later a cellarman. Florence and Harry both died at Mildura and are buried in the Nichols Point Cemetery there (Anglican-C035). The 'Russell L Green Family Tree' also tells us Harold's paternal grandfather came from County Cork in Ireland and his grandmother from Staffordshire in England. After their marriage in 1930, Harold, who also worked as a labourer, and Mary Eliza lived the remainder of their lives in the Mildura/Red Cliffs area where, Des Menzel tells us, they had four children: Rita, Howard, Mavis and Kevin O'Neil. Des adds that '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'. What of their children?.
We know nothing of their daughter Mavis. The Victorian index of bdms shows a Rita Shirley O'Neil married Leslie Reginald Greenhill (1922-2008) in 1949. Les was born at Irymple on 6 April 1922, the son of Alfred Ernest Greenhill (1883-1967) and Thelma Victoria Wilkie (1898-1982) who were married there two years earlier. The DVA's WW2 nominal roll shows Les enlisted in the Australian Army at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea on 24 February 1943 and served until 15 July 1946 at which time he was a Sapper in the 4th Welding Platoon RAE. The same source tells us Les' older sister, Melva Ethel Isabel Greenhill, who was born at Irymple on 29 December 1920, served in the RAAF from July to September 1942. Alfred and Thelma Greenill both died at Mildura and are buried in the Nichols Point Cemetery (Lawn-EEE002). Their gravestone tells us they had a son Noel as well as Les and Melva. At the time of his marriage to Rita O'Neil, Les Greenhill was working as a carpenter and living with his parents and brother Noel on Sandalong Avenue in Irymple. He and Rita continued to live at Irymple until at least the early 1980s (the election rolls have a Shirley Laura Greenhill, shop assistant, registered as living with them in 1968). According to the Ryerson Index, Leslie Reginald Greenill died at Irymple on 6 November 2008. His tribute in the Melbourne Herald Sun tells us he was the 'Loved and loving husband of Rita, much loved father of Diane, Garry, Sharon, Leonie, Debra, Lesley, Shane, Janine, Belinda and Tania. Father-in-law to Graham, Sue, Trevor, Peter, Tony, Sharon, Mark. Grandpop to Cameron, Kerrie-Anne, Janelle, Ebony, Richard, Aaron, Corey, Danny, Bianca, Rebecca, Luke, Adam, Kylen, Caleb, Shanley, Justin, Carla, Andrew, Cassandra, Emily, Jai, Shaniah, Jamey. Great Grandpoppy to Ella, Jaylin and Mackenzie.
The Victorian index of bdms also shows a Howard Mervyn George O'Neil married Beryl June Cook in 1952. The Australian electoral rolls have Howard and Beryl residing in Irymple from 1954 until at least the early 1980s. Howard was working first as a labourer and then a horticulturist (a Howard Thomas, labourer, Jennifer June, hd, and Lynette Kaye O'Neil were registered as living with them in 1977). According to the 'O'Neil-Sawyer Family Tree' on Ancestry, Kevin John O'Neil (1939-2017) was twice married, first to Doreen Sweeney in 1960 and then to Helen Frances Horsley (1948-2012) at Frankston in 1976. Kevin was said to have been born at Mildura and died at Carrum Downs on 4 July 2017. He had a son with Doreen and three children with Helen. His Tributes in the Herald Sun on 6 July 2017 tell us he was a member of the Frankston RSL sub-branch as well as the 'Beloved husband of Helen (dec). Loving father of Brad, Renee, Jaime and Dale. Father-in-law of Kylie and Travis. Adored Pop of James, Lachlan, Bayln, Georgia, Eliza, Molly and Vienne'.
Photo of Mary Eliza Free before she was married and on her wedding day in 1930
Elsie May Free was born at Watchem in 1914 and attended Pallarang State School from 1921. The 'Gray Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us she married Reginald Herbert Walker (1910-97) at Cowardilla in Adelaide on 7 December 1935. It adds that Reg's parents were two South Australians, Joseph Owen Walker (1872-1953) and Edith Goodes (1874-1947), who were married at Jamestown in the mid-north region of the state on 26 April 1899 and had four boys in addition to Reg: Joseph Alan (1900-01), Horace James (1901-66), Alfred Owen 'Johnnie' (1902-78) and Harold Lindsay Walker (1907-88). The electoral rolls show a Reginald Herbert Walker was working as a farm labourer at Cowangie at the time of the 1934 and 1936 elections so it is possible Elsie first met him there although we have yet to confirm that. We do know that after their marriage they lived in Adelaide where, on 2 January 1937, Elsie gave birth to their first son, Graham Reginald Walker (1937-2011), in the Alawoona Nursing Home at Mile-End (Adelaide Chronicle, 14 January 1937). Two years later readers of a 'Chatty Letter Concerning Cowangie and District' in the Ouyen Mail were informed 'Mr and Mrs Reg Walker from Adelaide have been holidaying here. You will remember Mrs Walker as Elsie, Mr and Mrs Eric [sic] Frees' daughter. They have a nice little two year-old son (18 January 1939)'. The 1939 and 1941 electoral rolls have them residing in the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton where Reg was working as a plasterer. The DVA's WW2 nominal roll shows Reginald Herbert Walker of Thebarton enlisted in the Australian Army at nearby Wayville on 19 March 1942. He was discharged on 2 May 1945 at which time he was serving as a private soldier in the 2/5th Company AASC. Reg and Elsie continued to live in Adelaide after the war and, Des Menzel tells us, continued regularly to visit Elsie's relatives in the Mallee. Both died at Morphett Vale in Adelaide in 1997 and are buried together in Adelaide's Centennial Park Cemetery (Derrick Gardens, Path 51, Grave 1192B). Their headstone informs us they had three boys: Graham, Murray and Alan Walker. The 'Gray Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us Reg and Elsie's eldest son, Graham Reginald Walker (1937-2011) married Bernadette Ann Bornholm (1937-2011) in South Australia in 1960 and had four children (one girl and three boys).
Photo of Elsie May Free before she was married and on her wedding day in 1930
Born 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 Ancestry.com, 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. Five years later she travelled with her parents and siblings to Pallarang where she attended the local State School. On 23 May 1932 Amy married Edwin Reinhard (Eddie) Menzel (1909-91) at nearby Cowangie. Eddie's parents were Reinhard Paul (Art) Menzel (1880-1950) and Ida Albertine Kraft (1878-1967) who were married in Victoria in 1907. The 'Drew Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us Art was born at Wail, located midway between Dimboola and Horsham in Victoria's Wimmera district, and Ida at Tanundra in South Australia's Barossa Valley. It adds they had four children in addition to Eddie: Elfreda Clara Pauline (born at Jeparit in 1907), Herbert Victor Stanley (1910-86), Hugo Walter (1912-33) and Stanley Laurence Menzel (1915-96). The 'Doecke Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us they also had a second daughter, Dorah Ida Menzel, who was born at Pinnaroo in South Australia on 24 December 1913. Art Menzel's grandfather, Ludwig Menzel (1848-1913), was born at Hoffnungsthal (Valley of Hope), site of the original German pioneer settlement in South Australia's Barossa Valley. He was the youngest son of Polish-born Christian Menzel (1791-1877), who with his German-born wife, Maria Dorothea Richter (1805-53) and Art's ten older siblings, sailed to Australia on the HELOISE which arrived at Port Adelaide on the 17th March 1847. His obituary published in The Horsham Times on 8 February 1913, tells us at around the time of his father's death, Ludwig moved from South Australia to Victoria where, along with some of his siblings, he farmed land near Dimboola. He later moved to Jeparit where he was one of the first to settle on the northern side of the town. The obituary adds the deceased 'leaves a widow, five sons and four daughters, viz: 'Ernest, Reinhold [sic], John, Joseph, and Alfred (Jeparit), and Miss Polly Menzel (Jeparit), Mrs Sherrard (New Zealand), Mrs C. Mengler (Murrayville), and Miss Sophie Menzel (Tasmania)'.
The Australian electoral rolls show Art and Ida Menzel farmed land at Kow Plains outside Cowangie until Art's death there in 1950. The 1963 roll has the widowed Ida living on Sharrock Street in Murrayville with her daughter Elfreda. Ida Albertine Menzel nee Kraft died at Murrayville four years later and is buried with Art in the local cemetery (Lutheran, B11/12). Their daughter Elfreda, who died in 1992, is also buried there. As noted earlier, their son Hugo Walter Menzel died in 1933. His obituary, published in the Ouyen Mail on 8 January 1934, tells us the then 21 year-old 'passed away at the Alfred Hospital after an illness of about 9 months. He was born at Jeparit but from a fairly young age had resided on his father's farm at Cowangie. He was associated with the Lutheran Church . . . interested himself in district activities and played football with Duddo Wells'. Hugo is buried in the Lutheran section of Melbourne's Fawkner Cemetery (Section C, Grave 688). On 28 February 1935, readers of the Adelaide Chronicle were informed of the engagement of 'Vanda A., third daughter of Mr and Mrs T. R. Mann, of Murrayville (Vic.), to Herbert V. S., second son of Mr and Mrs R. P. Menzel, of Cowangie'. The Australian electoral rolls show Herbert and Vanda lived at Cowangie until the mid-1960s when they relocated to Adelaide where Herbert died in 1986 and Vanda two years later. They are buried together at Enfield Memorial Park (Lutheran W7) their gravestone telling us they are the loved parents of Beverley and Kevin. The 'Doecke Family Tree' informs us Norah Ida Menzel (1913-2006) married Norman Eric Heintze in Victoria in 1938 and had five children while her younger brother, Stanley Laurence Menzel (1915-96), married Adelia Sophy Thiel (1915-74) at Pinnaroo in South Australia in 1945 and had three children.
Originally shared by Darryl Brady, this is of Reinhard Paul (Art) and
Ida Albertine Menzel (nee Kraft) on their wedding day.
Des Menzel, tells us that after their marriage in 1932, 'Amy and Edwin ('Eddie') Menzel lived on a farm at Duddo, Victoria, about 5 km north of Danyo, and had four children all 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'. Des continues that 'Amy, Edwin and their unmarried son ... Ron eventually moved from their farm into Murrayville. After the death of Edwin, who died in the 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 aged 93 years. All are buried in the Murrayville Cemetery'. Fay and Des Menzel tell us Joan Amy Menzel married Murdoch Clarence Walter (Wally) McDonald (1927-2022) at the Murrayville Lutheran Church on 16 April 1955. 'Wally operated a garage in Cowangie for many years, engineering and manufacturing farm equipment. He was also noted for his great craft and workmanship'. Wally died on 17 February 2022 and is buried in the local Cemetery. Joan presently resides in the Pinnaroo Nursing Home. She and Wally had five sons: Gary, Stephen, Craig, Andrew and Brett McDonald. The Australian electoral rolls show Desmond Stanley and Colleen Fay Menzel also farmed land at Danyo before moving to South Australia where they currently reside at Victor Harbour.
Baby Amy Maud Free at Watchem. Edwin Reinhard and Amy Maud Menzel nee Free with eldest son Lindsay Ronald ('Ron') Menzel
and Wally and Joan Amy McDonald nee Menzel on their wedding day in 1955.
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'. The 'Snellback Family' tree on Ancestry tells us Shirley Yvonne Schultz (1933-94) - born at Cowangie and died at Langhorne Creek near Strathalbyn in South Australia - married Henry John Eckert (1932-2008) in 1955. He also died at Langhorne Creek and is buried there with Shirley. Their headstone, shown on the Find a Grave website, tells us they had four children: Richard, Pamela, Christopher and Carol Eckhert. We believe Shirley's sister, Patricia Fay Schultz, married Maxwell Frank Williams (1934-2014) - who was born at Redhill and died at Adelaide in South Australia - and had four children (one male and three females). The 'Johnson Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us Maxwell's parents were Howard Williams (1906-85) - born at Blyth and died at Victor Harbour in South Australia - and Veronica May Tonkin (1906-90) who was born at Port Broughton and also died at Victor Harbour. The Find a Grave website shows Max - who is pictured in the photo below - is buried in the Mount Compass Cemetery in South Australia. His headstone tells us he was the 'beloved husband of Patricia Fay, loved father of Anne, Colleen, Tracy and Mark and Grandpa Max to Luke, Tim, Lauren, Reece, Amy, Jake, Charlotte, Molly and Jemima'.
Mavis Free before she was married and with her husband Erwin Harold Schultz at Stratalbyn in South Australia
Erwin Harold and Mavis Schultz nee Free with their two eldest daughters Shirley and Patricia ('Fay') Schultz.
From Lauren Johnson's 'Johnson Family Tree' on Ancestry, Maxwell Frank Williams (top right)
with some of his Army Reserve colleagues in 1952.
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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