John Free (1857-1918) and
Mary King (1858-1942)

(last updated 24 January 2020)

William and Eliza's eldest son, John Free (1857-1918), was born at Mount Hesse and travelled with his parents and siblings to Teesdale and then Raglan before moving to Lake Carchap near Noradjuha in central Victoria where, on 9 October 1878, he married Mary King (1858-1942) at the residence of a Mr Edmonds. Mary was born at Lexton in Victoria in 1858, the daughter of William Wyman King (1830-1906) and Ann Tarry (1828-1902). According to his obituary published in The Horsham Times in 1906, William Wyman King was

... a native of Northampton, and landed in Adelaide in 1850 [The FamilyHistorySA website shows that William and Ann and their infant son Isaac King sailed from London via Portsmoth on the JOSEPH SOMES and arrived at Adelaide on 23 November 1850]. Some years ago he engaged in farming in the neighbourhood of Beaufort, and afterwards resided with his son, who had a farm in the Wimmera. About six weeks ago he came to Hamilton on a visit to his brother, where he was taken ill, and died at the time stated. He leaves four children - one son and three daughters - all of whom are married and settled at Carchap. His funeral was conducted by the Salvation Army, of which he was a zealous member. His body was laid to rest in the Hamilton cemetery by the side of that of his mother.

An earlier notice in the same newspaper informs us that Mary's mother, Ann King nee Tarry, had died at Carchap on 7 July 1902. 'The deceased who was 84 years of age, leaves beside her husband, a son and three daughters, all of whom are marred and living in the district, viz: Mr John Isaac King, Mrs John Free, Mrs Eli Heard and Mrs A. Dickinson' (The Horsham Times, 18 July 1902). According to the 'Naytes Family Tree' on Ancestry, Ann was also a native of Yardley Hastings in Northamptonshire and had married William Wyman King there the year before they and their infant son Isaac had emigrated to Australia.

After their marriage in 1878, John and Mary Free initially lived and farmed at Carchap. Reports in The Horsham Times shows that John was granted a lease to a 313-acre block of land at Nurrabiel. Two months later he was ordered by the Victorian Supreme Court to sell his land and affects to pay off accrued debts. The lease to the land was duly transferred to a John Thomson in June 1887. The following year John had an application for another parcel of land, known locally as Jalumba Swamp, turned down by the local Licence Board. In 1902, however, his wife, Mary, had an application approved to lease a 196-acre block of land located at 'Carchap and Toolono'.

The Australian electoral rolls show John, described as a farmer, and Mary living at 'Carchap, Nurrabiel' in 1903, and at nearby Telangatuk in 1909 (along with a John William Henry Free, carrier, and his wife Vera Maria). At the time of the 1914 election John and Mary were living at North Hamiliton in the western district of Victoria and John was working as a gardener. Sometime after this they moved onto a farm at Leitchville near Cohuna in northern Victoria. On 12 December 1918, the Bendigo Advertiser reported that four days previously, 'the death occurred at the Bendigo Hospital of Mr John Free, farmer, of Leitchville, from an affection [sic] of the brain. The deceased, who was 62 years of age, was a native of Geelong. He leaves a grown-up family of four sons and two daughters'. A subsequent obituary, published in the Cohuna's Farmers Weekly on 13 December 1918, provided a longer account of John's 'affection' and its aftermath:

Personal. His many friends and acquaintances at Leitchville and Pyramid will learn with some surprise and much regret of the death of Mr John Free of Leitchville. This quite unsuspected event took place after a rather brief illness at the Bendigo Hospital on Sunday night. The late Mr Free who was 62 years of age, was a native of Geelong and had spent his life in farming pursuits and came from the Pyramid district with his sons four years ago when they established themselves at Leitchville. To all appearances he was in the best of health till about seven weeks ago. when he contracted some affection of the ear which discharged and otherwise gave him trouble. After being under medical treatment for several weeks without apparent benefit, he obtained admission to the Bendigo Hospital about a month ago. His condition improved, and he was looking eagerly forward to bis discharge last week, when alarming symptoms suddenly made their appearance. When his eldest son, Mr Henry Free, who was sent for, arrived by motor on Saturday, the patient had passed into a state of unconsciousness from which he did not emerge. The late Mr Free leaves a widow and a grown-up family of six - Mr Henry Free, Mr Alex Free, Mr Norman Free and Mr Murlie Free of Leitchville; Mrs A. Bagel [Vogel], of Watchem, and Mrs Jackman, of Balmoral.

The Remembrance Parks Central Victoria website shows that John was buried in the Bendigo cemetery (grave no 24076) on 10 December 1918. The electoral rolls indicate that Mary continued to live at Leitchville after John's death. The 1919 and 1924 electoral rolls have her there together with Norman Francis Roy Free, farmer, Vera Maria Free and Walter Charles Alexander Free, farmer and contractor and his wife Susie Beatrice Constance Lillian Free. Mary was still there in 1931 together with Daisy Madeline Vera Free, Leslie William Free, farmer, Norman Francis Roy Free, Raymond John Free, farmer, Susie Beatrice Constance Lillian Free, Thomas Merlin Olave Elnathan Free, teamster, Vera Maria Free, Victor Henry Free, farmer, and Walter Charles Alexander Free. Mary was still at Leitchville in 1936 together with Leslie William, Martha Dorothy (Victor's wife), Norman Francis, Raymond John, Susie Beatrice, Thomas Merlin, Vera Maria, Victor Henry and Walter Charles Free.

Mary Free nee King died at Cohuna in Victoria in 1942. She and John had six children in total who, as detailed below, have provided their beloved parents with 19 grandchildren and at least 39 great- and 67 great-great-grandchildren we are aware of:

1) John William Henry Free (1879-1919) was born at Tatyoon in Victoria. In February 1901 he took up a 58-acre block of land that adjoined his mother's property at Carchap. Two months later, he married Vera Maria Rigby (1885-1962) at nearby Natimuk. According to the 'Osborn Family Tree' on Ancestry, Vera's mother, Ellen Osborn (1856-1949), who was born in England and came to Australia when she was three years old, married Josiah Rigby (1856-1937) at Heywood, northwest of Warrnambool, in Victoria in 1883. She and Josiah had at least four children in addition to Vera: Ellen Jones (1885), Ida Louisa (1888), Stanley Broch (1891) and Thomas Leslie Rigby (1893). Josiah and Ellen's respective deaths were reported in the Horsham Times as follows: 'DEATHS. RIGBY - On July 14 at Horsham, Josiah Rigby, loving husband of Ellen, and loving father of Vera (Mrs Free, Leitchville), Nellie (Mrs J. Kelly, Greenland Dam), Daisy (Mrs T. W. Jones, Natimuk), Stanley and Thomas (Moree, NSW) and Elsie (Horsham). Aged 83 years' (16 July 1937). 'RIGBY - On August 28, at 'Wembley', Ellen Rigby, beloved wife of the late Josiah Rigby and loving mother of Vera (Mrs Free, Leitchville), Nellie (Mrs J. Kelly, Greenland Dam), Daisy (Mrs T. W. Jones Natimuk), Stan (deceased), Tom (Pallamallawa, NSW) and Elsie (Mrs W. Farrow, Crib Point). Aged 93 years. (30 August 1949).

The Australian electoral rolls show John (or 'Harry' as he was known as) and Vera farming land at Mologa (near Pyramid Hill) in Victoria in 1914 and living at Leitchville, with Harry's parents and siblings, in 1916 and 1917. In September of the latter year Harry had some 90 rabbits, which he and his son had caught and killed and then left in bags on the road to collect when they had finished rabbiting, stolen by 14 year-old Francis Leslie Smith who took them home, skinned them and buried their carcases. Harry reported the loss to the police who hauled young Smith before a local magistrate. As the Kerang New Times reported on 11 September, happily the 'bench took a lenient view of the case, and dismissed the charge on the accused paying the value of the rabbits, £1 15s, plus 7s 6d costs'. Some 16 months later Harry died from the effects of pneumonia at nearby Cohuna. The electoral rolls show that the widowed Vera and their children continued to live with Harry's family until the late 1950s when she moved to Bendigo where she died in 1962. She and Harry had eight children of their own, three of whom - Doris May, Leonard Josiah and Melva Gertrude Rigby Free - died young. As detailed below their other five children all grew into adulthood, married and had children and grandchildren of their own. Jennifer Free tells us that, in addition to raising her own children, Vera later adopted two more children: Dorothy Mae Free (1914-1992) who married Joseph Bruns in 1935 and had four children and Kathleen Grace Free (Mayberry) (1929-1976) who married Colin Crane and also had four children.

1.1) Vera and John's eldest son, Victor Henry ('Vic') Osborn Free (1903-76), farmed land at Leitchville where he married Martha Dorothy ('Mattie') Craddock (1906-92), daughter of Frederick and Ellen Craddock nee Hardie, in 1932. They lived all their lives in the district and are buried together in the Cohuna Lawn Cemetery. Their tombstone informs us they were the 'loving parents of Joyce, Russell and Rodger'. These are: 1) Coralie Joyce Free who married William Francis Norman in 1954 and had at least two children; 2) Russell Victor Free who married Janet Heinrich and had six children; and 3) Rodger Alexander Free (1944-2018) who married Barbara Carver and had three children. Rodger died at Cohuna in 2018. The tributes to him, posted in the Melbourne Herald Sun on 26 November read: 'FREE. Rodger Alexander. 22.4.1944 23.11.2018 Peacefully at Cohuna Retirement Village with family by his side. Dearly loved Husband of Barb for 52 years. Loved Dad and Mate of Dean, Paul and Brad. Father-in-Law of Narelle, Laura and Sara. Adored Poppy of Talitha, Rory; Alex, Tristan; Bolena, Orlando. Much loved Brother of Joyce and Russell. Son of Mattie and Vic (both dec). Forever in our Hearts. FREE. Rodger Alexander. Much loved and loving brother of Joyce and brother-in-law of Bill. Loved and loving uncle of Greg, Jenny and family, Julianne, Neil and family. Many laughs and treasured memories. FREE. Roger. Brother-in-law to Marg and Ron Wilson. Thanks for the memories. Natures gentleman. Rest in peace Fond memories of a true gentleman. Geoff and Jesse.'

1.2) Raymond John ('Ray') Free (1906-91) was born at Noradjuha in Victoria and married Eva Margaret Elizabeth ('Betty') Jenkinson (1914-2006) at Cohuna in 1937. The 'Jenkinson Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us that Betty was the eldest daughter of James Small Jenkinson (1885-1961) and Ada Catherine Waters (1890-1945) who were married in Victoria in 1913. Betty's grandfather, Mathew Jenkinson, had come from County Wicklow in Ireland and married Annie Bell Shepherdess Small at Shellbourne (a small town to the west of Bendigo) in 1874. One of her brothers, Gunner Mathew Isaac Jenkinson (1917-42), died of wounds in Malaya on 9 February 1942 while serving in the 2/4th Anti Tank Regiment. He is buried in the Singapore's Kranji War Cemetery.

The Australian electoral rolls show that Raymond worked all of his life as a farmer and he and Eva lived at Leitchville, Bendigo and finally Cohuna where Ray died in 1991. Eva died there on 28 December 2006. Her tribute, posted in the Melbourne Herald Sun, reads: 'FREE - E. M. E. (Betty). On Dec. 28, 2006 at Cohuna Hospital Loving wife of the late Ray. Loved mother of Alan and Lynette (dec). Mother-in-law of Jenny and John. Loved Granny of Suzanne and Lisa; Matthew, Andrew and Daniel, and great-grandma of their families. Aged 92 years. Weep not that she has gone, But smile, that she has been. She was always unselfish, helpful and kind. What beautiful memories she left behind'.

1.3) Daisy Madeline Vera Free (1908-97). Born at Noradjurah in Victoria, Daisy married Leonard Brassil (1905-65) in the outer Melbourne suburb of Werribee in 1932. According to the 'Lee/Symonds Family Tree' on Ancestry, Leonard's parents were John Brassil (1862-1904) and Amelia Barrett (1870-1938) who were married in Victoria in 1889 and had six children in addition to Leonard: Patrick (1890-1914), John (1891-1965), Margaret (1893-1971), Sylvester (1896-1963), Agnes Mary (1897-1947) and Gregory Alan Brassil (1907-1979). Leonard's paternal grandparents, Patrick and Margaret Brassil (formerly Lawler nee Hughes) were both from County Clare in Ireland. Patrick was transported to Van Diemen's Land on the TORY in 1846 and married Margaret, who may also have been a convict, at Hobart in 1853. Leonard's maternal grandparents were Ralph and Eliza Emma Barrett (nee Hartshorn) who were married at Steiglitz, northwest of Geelong in Victoria, in 1869. Ralph's father, Benjamin Barrett came from Manchester in England and his mother, Mary Greig, from Edinburgh in Scotland. They both died at Steiglitz, Benjamin in 1889 and Mary in 1890.

The Australian electoral rolls show Leonard Brassil, a labourer, living on Watten Street in Werribee along with a Gregory Brassil, baker. Their brother, John Brassil a quarryman, and his wife Cecilia Lucy, were living on Stawell Street. The 1934, 1936 and 1942 rolls have Leonard, a labourer, and Daisy Madeline Vera Brassil living at Leitchville. The DVA's WW2 nominal roll shows VX75342 Leonard Brassil, born at Werribee on 23 June 1905, enlisted in the Australian Army at Caulfield on 11 February 1942. He was then living at Leitchfield and gave as his NOK his wife Daisy. He was discharged on 1 May 1944 while serving as a private soldier in the 2/10th Infantry Battalion. As the following notice, published in Melbourne's Sporting Globe indicates, his discharge from the Army was probably as a consequence of being wounded in action in New Guinea: 'News of Boys in Hospital. PTE. LEN BRASSIL is a veteran footballer and cricketer from Leitchvllle, near Echuca, where he played for 16 years. He got a bullet in the hand at Buna. He was with Mickey Traynor, South Melbourne wing man, when Mickey got a knock ln Papua. He also met Percy Chlvers, interstate bowler, in Moresby' (27 February 1943).

The electoral rolls show Leonard, still working as a labourer, and Daisy at Leitchville in 1949. By the time of the 1963 election, Len had successfully acquired, through the Soldiers' Settlement Scheme, a dairy farm at Katunga (near Numurkah). Leonard died at Katunga in 1965 and Daisy and her youngest son, Ronald Douglas Brassil, and wife, Marjorie Gwenneth, took on the running of the farm. Daisy died at Noradjurah in 1997. She and Leonard had four children:

1.3.1) Leonard Victor Brassil (1932-74) who married Joan Ellen Dripps (1935-2016) in 1954 and had eight children, three of whom died young. The Ryerson Index shows that their eldest son, Kenneth Leonard ('Ken') Brassil, died aged 57 in a car crash on 14 March 2012. His tribute, published in the Herald Sun on 20 March 2012, reads: 'BRASSIL - Kenneth Leonard. Taken tragically on Wednesday Mar. 14, 2012. Aged 57 years. Adored husband of Marlene. Loved and loving father and father-in-law of Mandy and Darren, Mark and Tracey, Briana and Dean, Adam and Amy. Adored Grump of Tahnee, Oliver, Xavier, Liam and Benjamin. Loving son of Joan and Len (dec.). Adored by his brothers and sisters'.

ken brassil

From the 13 April 2012 edition of the Shepparton News, this photo is of
Kennethe Leonard ('Ken') Brassil (1954-2012) and his wife Marlene.

1.3.2) Leonard and Daisy's eldest daughter, Melva Dawn Brassil (1936-2013) married John Reginald Lee at Shepparton in Victoria in 1956 and had seven children, the first two of whom were twin girls. Melva died at Moroopna in 2013. Her tributes in the Melbourne Herald reads: 'LEE (Brassil) - Melva. Mum, one day we'll dance together on those golden streets. Love you always - Jacqui, Mark, Shannen and Jamie Symonds'. 'LEE (Brassil) - Melva Dawn. Apr. 23, 1936 - Aug. 14, 2013. Aged 77 years. Late of Shepparton (formerly of Numurkah and Katunga). Passed away peacefully at Mooroopna. Loved daughter of Len and Daisy (both dec). Dearly loved mother and mother-in-law of Melva, Dawn, Lesley, John, Robyn, Jacqui, Raelene, and partners. Grandma of 18 and Great Grandma of 7. Our thanks to the Staff at Grevillea Lodge for their loving care '(17 August 2013).

1.3.3) Dorothy Margaret ('Dot') Brassil (1938-2013) married Edward George Warwick Fullager (1936-2017) at Shepparton in 1954. Dot died at Nathalia in 2013. Her tribute in the Herald Sun reads: 'FULLAGER (Brassil) - Dorothy Margaret (Dot) 28.08.1937 - 14.05.2013. Late of Nathalia (formerly of Katunga). Passed away peacefully at Nathalia Dist. Hospital. Dearly loved and loving wife of Ed; Mum of Doug and Isobel; Ben and Aileen; Donna and Clinton; Nan of Bianca and Ash, Sheridan and Matt, Lloyd and Austin and Estelle. Forever Loved' (15 May 2013). Edward died at the Nathalia District Hospital in June 2017. He and Dot had five children two of whom died as infants.

1.3.4) Born at Cohuna in Victoria, Ronald Douglas ('Ron') Brassil (1945-2016) and his wife, Marjorie Gwennith Sturgess, lived and worked on the family dirt farm at Katunga and had four children there. Following a short illness Ron passed away at Shepparton on 7 April 2016.

1.4) Leslie William Free (1910-90). Born at Noradjuha, Les married Veronica Jean(ne) Peace (1916-97) at Leitchville in Victoria in 1934. The 'Matt Randall Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us Veronica's parents were Leslie Austin Peace (1889-1944) and Josephine Borneman (1892-1951). Leslie and Josephine were both born at Gunbower in Victoria and both died at nearby Cohuna. They were married in 1911 and had three children in addition to Josephine: Leslie Gordon (1912-69), Alma (born in 1914) and Mary Elizabeth Peace (1922-2004). Les' grandfather, George Peace (1831-1923), was a Yorkshireman who married an Irish woman from Tipperary, Elizabeth Lewis (1835-1920), in Victoria in 1855. Les and Veronica Free lived and farmed at Leitchville and had five children there. They are both buried in the Cohuna cemetery.

1.5) Vera Ellen Free (1916-84) married Eric Lunghusan (1910-85) at Wee-wee-rup near Cohuna in 1942. According to the 'Thompson' and a number of other family trees on Ancestry, Eric's parents were Edgar Frederick ('Fred) Lunghusan (1877-1937) and Gertrude Isabella Mountjoy (1884-1966) who were married in Victoria in 1900. They had six children in addition to Eric: Leslie John (1901-82), Harry Raymond (1903-91), Edgar Frederick jnr (1905-2014), Rita May (1907-2012), Doris Eleanor (1908-22) and Edna Eliza (1918-94). Eric's paternal grandfather, Heinrich Lunghusen (1834-98) was born at Rautendorf in Niederaschen in Germany and married a Welsh woman, Eleanor Thomas (1840-1901), in Victoria in 1868. She died at Eaglehawk and he at Waterholes north of Bairsdale in eastern Victoria. Eric's maternal grandfather, John Mountjoy (1845-1908), emigrated from Cornwall to South Australia in 1852 and married Eliza Niffenecker (1854-1929) in Victoria in 1873. Eliza's father was a Swiss citizen who married an Irish woman, Maura ('Mary') Cullinane at Geelong in 1852.

The Australian electoral rolls show Vera and Eric Free farmed land at Wee-wee-rup near Cohuna for more than forty years before their respective deaths there in 1984 and 1985. The Australian electoral rolls tells us they had three children: Elizabeth Lynette ('Betty') Lunghusan who married Brian Arthur Waterson; Betty's twin brother, Eric Bruce Lunghusan who married Judith Aden Isaac; and Rex Victor Lunghusan who married Raelene Alison Crowley.

2) Born at Clear Lake in Victoria, Mary Madeline Emelia Free (1881-1943) married twice. Her first husband was Thomas Jonas Dye (1875-1907), the son of William Henry Dye and Rebecca Ann Osborne, who she married at Carchap in 1900. The wedding was reported by The Horsham Times as follows:

At Coonangorach, on 20 December, Mr Thomas John Dye, of Clear Lake, eldest son of Mr W. Dye of Heywood, was married to Miss Mary Madeline Amelia Free, eldest daughter of Mr John Free, of Conangorach, the ceremony taking place at the residence of the bride's parents. The bride, given away by her father, was gowned in white ivory silk, trimmed with white ivory chiffon and silk lace, with train and sash, and the customary wreath of orange blossom and veil. The bridesmaids were Miss Ross (Conangorach) and Miss Swift (Telangatuk), both of whom wore cream muslin and lace, with sashes to match. Miss G. Free and Miss E. King, in white lace over blue satin, with blue sashes over shoulder. There were five other bridesmaids attired in cream material with blue sashes. Mr H. Free, groomsman, was supported by MR W. Scott as best man. The wedding presents were numerous and costly.

The same year Mary gave birth to a son, Harold Valentine Thomas Dye, at Horsham. The electoral roll shows Thomas and Mary were farming land at Nurrabiel at the time of the 1903 election. Four years later, Thomas, who played football for Tengangatuk East and was a prize-winning member of the local rifle club, contracted typhoid fever and, as The Horsham Times reported in its 'District News' on 22 January, died in hospital shortly after:

Quite a gloom was cast over the district when it became known that Tom Dye had passed away at Natimuk on Tuesday. He was taken to Mrs Duncan's private hospital but a fortnight ago, and on Monday was reported that he was much better, but on Tuesday was to go under an operation, and died the same day. Mr Dye who was in the prime of life, was married to a daughter of John Free, of Telanguluk East, leaves one child. The remains were brought from Natimuk and buried in the Nurrabiel Cemetery (pictured below).


Nurrabiel cemetery

In 1912 Mary re-married, to the Wimmera farmer, Ernest August Vogel (1878-1970), son of Carl and Paulina Vogel nee Liesch. Ernest was born at Mount Torrens in South Australia and later moved with his parents and siblings to the Watchem area. His younger sister, Clara Martha Vogel, had married Mary's uncle, George Bruce Free, at Watchem in 1902. The 1914 and 1919 rolls have Ernest August and Madeline Amelia Vogel farming land at Areegra near Warracknabeal. They were registered as living at Donald in 1924, and at 104a Frank Street in Ballarat in 1931 and 1936/7 (by then Ernest had no occupation). The 1943 roll has them at 106 Frank Street together with a Norman Ernest Vogel, who was working a motor mechanic.

Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that Mary Madeline Vogel formerly Dye nee Free, then aged 61 years, died at Ballarat in 1943. The Australian electoral rolls show that Ernest returned to Watchem West where he was registered as a farmer in 1949. It seems that he re-married sometime after this as the 1954, 1963 and 1968 rolls have him and a Martha Johanna W. Vogel registered as living at 38 Woolcock Street in Warracknabeal. Martha was still there in 1972 following Ernest's death at Warrnambool in 1970. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms indicate that she died in Geelong in 1984 and had been born in around 1886, the daughter of Carl Wilhelm and Wilhelmina Kelm.

Mary and Thomas' son, Harold Valentine Thomas Dye (1900-23), married Ruby Adelaide Pickering (1899-1947), the daughter of George Louis and Mary Amina Pickering nee Kramer at Warracknabeal in 1920 and had two children with him: 1) Walter Gordon (1920-57) who served in the Australian Army between October 1941 and November 1945 (at which time he was a Staff Sergeant in the 2/3rd Australian Corps Field Park). During this time he married Joan Mary Anderson; and 2) Harold Dye jnr (1923-4). Harold Dye snr died from peritonitis at the St Arnaud Hospital in 1924. According to the 'Johnston061008' family tree on Ancestry, Ruby later married Evan Thomas Davies (1909-69) at Collingwood in Melbourne and had three children with him.

Mary and Ernest's son, Norman Ernest Vogel (1918-86) was born at Donald in Victoria and enlisted in the RAAF in Melbourne on 13 November 1940. He was then living at Ballarat and gave as his NOK his father Ernest. He was discharged on 2 November 1944 at which time he was a Cpl in 10 Communications Unit. In 1950 he married Myrtle Jean Hutchins (1922-2015), daughter of John Gordon Hutchins (1894-1960) and Sarah Myrtle Commons (1894-1972). They both died in Newtown, an outer suburb of Geelong, Norman in 1986 and Myrtle in 2015, and are buried together in the Highton (Barrabool Hills) cemetery (HIGH LAWN DL-808-103). The following tribute for Myrtle was published in the Geelong Advertiser on 10 October 2015: 'VOGEL (nee Hutchins), Myrtle `Jean' - Peacefully at Roccoco Aged Care, surrounded by family. Aged 93 years. Dearly loved wife of Norman (dec). Much loved mother of Graham, Pam, Gayle and Kim. Loved mother-in-law of Rosario and Garry. Adored and much loved Nana and Great Nana. You had a smile for everyone, you had a heart of gold, you left behind the memories that we will always hold. Many thanks to Dr Pye and the staff at Roccoco for all their love and care'.

3) Gertrude Henrietta Isabella (Gerte) Free (1886-1943) was born at Nurrabiel in Victoria and married Uriah James (Jim) Jackman (1873-1963) at Telungatuk East near Portland in 1909. Born at nearby Woodford, James was the eldest son of William Jackman (1843-1940) and Harriet Tate (1849-1935) who were married there in around 1869. His obituary, published in the Portland Guardian on 9 May 1940, tells us William's parents came to Portland with the Henty brothers in 1838, his father to work as a shepherd at Coleraine, and his mother as a nursemaid in Portland. They married in 1842, and their son William is said to be the first white child born in the town. Two years later they leased the Royal Hotel at Port Fairy, and later purchased two farms at Woodford. They also built and opened the Bridge at Mailor's Flat, where Michael Jackman died in 1876 and his wife in 1902. In later years, William was employed by his father to run a sawmill to supply the local stations. He also

. . . became efficient in veterinary work besides being a good horse trainer and rough rider. One of his horses, "Prospect" (by the Western District sire, Panic), won several steeplechases in Melbourne, and was afterwards sent to India. In 18-- he, with his brothers James and Michael, selected land at Clear Lake the then northern portion of the Mt. Talbot station leasehold. Here with his family, he successfully carried on wool and wheat growing in both of which he won prizes at the local shows. In I888, he won a bronze medallion for an exhibit of wheat at the Paris Exhibition. About the same time, the now Arapiles Shire seceded from the Wimmera Shire, and in the first election he was selected as a councillor. At the expiration of his term he did not seek re-election, as he preferred, private to public life. In 1910, after seeing his family settled, he returned to Portland, his birthplace, where he lived for over thirty years with his wife, who predeceased him in 1835. He had attained the venerable age 96 years.

gertejackmanAs mentioned, William's mother, Harriet, died at Portland in 1935. Her obituary tells us that, at that time, the bereaved family comprised 'Katie (Mrs. McRae), Susan (Mrs. Olle), Ellen (Mrs. Johns), Minnie (Mrs. W. Truran (deceased), Ruby (Mrs. S. L. Patterson), James, Henry, Albert, William (deceased), and Herbert'.

According to Jennifer Free, Gerte and Jim Jackman and their family lived initially 'on their farm at Telangatuk East, then moved to Balmoral, then Warrnambool in 1926 where Jim became a councillor in 1927, then mayor from 1930-32 [as well as serving as Lady Mayoress, Gerte (pictured on the left) was also, during this time, president of the Warrnambool Country Womens' Association]. He retired from the Council in 1937 and moved to Ballarat where he bought the Sturt Hotel. He sold this in 1938 and bought the Streatham Hotel. [His son] Ivan ran the two hotels for the family. The Streatham Hotel was sold in 1940 and the family moved to Melbourne. Jim sold his farm at Telangatuk just before the move. In Melbourne Jim lived with his family in an apartment house he had bought at 133 High Street in Prahran. Both of Jim's daughters lived with him until they were married ... [after Gertie's death in 1943] Jim [continued to live] in this home, in retirement, until his own death in 1963'. Gerte died in the Melbourne suburb of Kew in 1943 and Jim at Chadstone twenty years later. The Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust website shows they are buried together in the Roman Catholic section of the Springvale Botanical Crematorium (Compartment A, Section, 20, Grave 18). They had four children we know of one of whom, Athol Tate Phillip Jackman (194-16) died young. The other three all married and, between them, have have provided their parents with at least four grandchildren we know of:

3.1) Gerte and Jim's eldest son, Ivan James Jackman (1912-78), was born at Hamilton in Victoria's western district. At 14 years of age, he won the James G. Robertson scholarship of £52 as well as three years' free schooling at the Warrnambool Technical School. In 1936 he and a Miss Kelson thrilled the participants of Portland's 1936 'Younger Set Ball' with a demonstration of ballroom dancing of which Ivan was a Victorian country champion. Ivan married his dancing partner the following year, their wedding announced in the Melbourne Advocate as follows: 'JACKMAN - KELSON. The wedding of Letty, third daughter of Mrs T. Kelson and the late Mr Kelson, of King-street, and Ivan, only son of Mr and Mrs James Jackman, took place in St Joseph's Church, Warrnambool, the Rev Fr Hussey officiating. The bridegroom was supported by Mr E. Dalton, and the bridesmaids were Miss T. Kelson, sister of the bride, and the Misses Madeline and Kathleen Jackman, sisters of the bridegroom' (30 December 1937).

Ivan's wife and dancing partner was Jellitza Anne (Letty) Kelson (1908-87). According to Maureen Kelson's 'Kelson/Coffey Family Tree' on Ancestry, Letty was born at Tower Hill in Victoria, the daughter of Charles Joseph Kelson (1873-1922) and Mary Ann Margaret McMahon (1875-1964) who were married in Victoria in 1901 and had eight children in addition to Letty. Her grandfather, Joseph James Kelson came from Bristol in Gloucestershire in England and married Tipperary-born Catherine Bourke at the Melbourne suburb of Preston in 1853. The DVA's WW2 nominal roll shows that Ivan enlisted in the Australian Army at Togeri in Australian New Guinea on 18 July 1942. He was then living at the Melbourne suburb of Frankston and gave as his NOK his wife Jilletza. He was discharged on 8 September 1945 at which time he was a WO2 serving with the Army Training Centre.

We think they may have separated after the war although this has not been confirmed. The Australian electoral rolls indicate they each continued to live in Melbourne whose Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust website shows that Ivan James Jackman was cremated at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery on 8 June 1978. His wife Jellitza Anne Jackman nee Kelson was buried in the Roman Catholic section of the same cemetery (R W Gillard, Row BA, grave 31) on 11 November 1987. We don't know if they had any children.

3.2) Madeline Ruby Frances Jackman (1920-2001) married Leslie John (Jack) Synnott (1923-82) in Victoria in 1946. The DVA's WW2 nominal roll shows that Jack was born at Hamilton in Victoria and enlisted in the Australian Army at Seymour in central Victoria on 26 June 1942. He was then living at Ararat and gave as his NOK J. Synnott. He was discharged on 2 March 1948 while serving as a private soldier with HQ Australian Field Regiment. The Australian electoral rolls show that Madeline and Jack lived initially in Melbourne and, from the mid-1960s, at Latham in Canberra where Jack worked as a public servant. The Ryerson Index shows that a Leslie John (Jack) Synnott died at Woden Valley Hospital on 3 July 1982 (Canberra Times, 5 July 1982). 'SYNNOTT, Leslie John (Jack). Passed away July 3, 1982 at WVH. Dearly loved husband of Madeline. Loving father of Peter [John] and Denise. Fond father-in-law of Geoff and Libbie. Loving Pop of Claire, Audrey and Emma'. The same source informs us that Madeline died at Canberra on 17 March 2001.

3.3) Kathleen Joy Jackman (1921-2009) married a New Zealander, Mathew Lester (Max) Walley (1925-2000). DVA's WW2 nominal roll shows Max was born in Auckland and enlisted in the RAAF in Melbourne on 22 June 1943. He was then living at Prahran and gave as his NOK M. Walley. He was discharged on 3 May 1946 while serving as a Leading Aircraftman at East Sale. The 'Walley Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us Max's parents were London-born, James Maxwell Walley (1880-1932) and Mary Chigwidden who was born at Alice Springs in 1896. The Australian electoral rolls show that Kathleen and Max, who worked as a photographer and later a painter, were living first at Prahran and then Pascoe Vale in Melbourne. The rolls also show a Charles James Walley, student, living with them in 1977 and a Stephen Michael Walley, student, living with them in 1980. The Ryerson Index tells us that Kathleen Joy Walley was buried in Melbourne on 9 July 2009 (Herald Sun, 9 July 2009) and Maxwell Lister (Max) Walley was buried in Melbourne on 11 March 2000 (Herald Sun, 10 March 2000). They are buried together in the Fawkner Memorial Park Cemetery. The 'Walley Family Tree' tells us at least one of their boys is married and has two children.

james william compton4) Walter Charles Alexander (Alex) Free (1889-1971). Born at Nurrabiel, Alex was living with his parents and siblings on the family farm at Leitchville when he married Susie Beatrice Constance Compton (1889-1978) there in 1919. Born at Portland in Victoria, Susie was a descendant of two of the families who first settled the stretch of coastal country centred around Cape Bridgewater to the west of Portland. As a W. F. Hedditch detailed in a letter to the Portland Guardian in December 1930, the area was settled by 38 families, all from Great Britain, and who had, between them, 270 children. 'These pioneers', he continued, 'arrived with little capital, but stout hearts, and being full of energy, built their own homes of. either wattle and daub, stringy bark, thatch or split slabs and shingles . . . these sturdy pioneers, with the exception of one family, are still living in the surrounding district, into the third, fourth and fifth generations'. Hedditch finished his article by listing the various families and the number of their children. Those who settled in the Lower Cape Bridgewater region included a James Compton, who had six sons, and a Samuel Aitcheson who had three sons and six daughters. As Ray Hocking details in his 'Hocking Family Tree' on Ancestry, the James Compton mentioned was Susie's paternal grandfather, James William Compton snr (1832-83), who with his wife Jane Thompson, arrived at Portland on 5 September 1855 on the ship CAINGORM. Their six sons, all of whom were born after their arrival, were John Robert (1856-84), James William jnr (1858-1937), David (1861-1938), Thomas (1863-1942), Joseph (1866-1938) and Andrew Compton (1869-1938). The Atcheson family comprised Samuel Atcheson (1825-1924) and Mary Jane Todd (1837-1920), both natives of County Tyrone in northern Ireland where they were married in 1853, who arrived at Portland on 29 October 1855.

James William Compton jnr (pictured on the left) married Margaret Atcheson (1860-1944) at Branch Creek in Victoria on on 25 June 1884 and had three children in addition to Susie: James Norman (1885-1934), Mary Jane Florence Isabel (1887-1975) and John Robert Compton (1892-1970). James died at Portland in 1937. His obituary, published in the Portland Guardian on the 19th July of that year, tells us he and Margaret 'settled in the Parish of Mouzie in 1883. They lived there continuously for 46 years, when they retired and came into Portland . . . Deceased leaves a wife, a son (John), & two daughters - Flossie (Mrs. Hocking, Mentone), and Beatrice (Mrs. Free, Murray River). A son (Norman) died recently. The deceased's farm is now occupied by his nephew, Mr. Leslie Compton. For a number of years the late Mr Compton carted wattle bark from the Nelson district to Portland'. Susie's mother, Margaret Compton nee Atchison, died at Portland seven years after her husband. Her obituary describes her as 'of a singularly loveable disposition ever ready to give succour and a kind word where-ever and when the occasion called for practical pity and relief'.

The electoral rolls show that Alex and Susie Free lived and farmed all their married lives at Leitchville. Alex died there in 1971 and Susie in 1978. We don't think they had any children.

5) Born at Noradjuha, Francis Norman Roy/Rye Free (1894-1948) seems to have lived all his life on the family farm at Wee Wee Rup near Leitchville. We know that in 1911 he and his brother Alex were initiated into the Princess Alice Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows. We think he probably played football for one of the local teams although have not been able to confirm it. We also think that he died a bachelor at Wee Wee Rup on 6 December 1948. He was then 52 years old. His probate notice, published in the 22 December 1948 edition of the Melbourne Argus, states that the Sandhurst and Northern District Trustees, Executors and Agency Company Limited will be applying to the Supreme Court for a grant of probate of his will (which had been made out on 30 September 1940).

6) Thomas Merlin Olave Elnathan (Merlie) Free (1902-89) married Doris Eirene/Elvene (Dorrie) Gray (1911-98), the daughter of Lawrence Bingen Gray (1878-1931) and Jane Datson (1879-1951), at Bendigo in Victoria in 1934. The 'Datson Family Trees' on Ancestry tells us Lawrence, who was a native of Bendigo, married Jane there on 16 November 1908. He was was the only child of a Cornishman, Samuel Gray (1837-1907) and Samuel's first wife, Elizabeth White (1836-77), who he had married at Chacewater in Cornwall before emigrating to Australia. Elizabeth died at Bendigo in 1877 and Samuel, who re-married in 1888, died there in 1907. According to the Bendigo Advertiser, he was interred in the Methodist section of the White Hills Cemetery. The 'service was held at the residence, and deceased's favorite hymn, "Abide with Me," was sung. The coffin was borne to the grave by Messrs R. Uren, T. H. Davey, W. T. Nicholls, and R. Crooks. An impressive burial service was conducted by the Rev T. J. Thomas, and that of the Loyal Gold Miners' Pride Lodge was read by Brother H. T. Nicholls, F.S. There was a large collection of choice floral tributes, the coffin being literally covered. The deceased gentleman was prominently identified with the Mackenzie-street Methodist Church for many years, and the teachers and scholars of the Sunday school marched in front of the hearse en route to the cemetery' (15 April 1907).

Jane's parents were another Cornish couple, John Datson (1846-1915), and his second wife, Loveday Jane Paull (1843-1913), who he married in Cornwall in 1876, the same year they emigrated to Australia. They had six children, all born at Bendigo. John Datson died in Bendigo in 1915. His obituary, published in the Bendigonian on 6 May 1915, tells us he had for many years:

. . . lived at the corner of Thistle and Barnard streets. At about 3 o'clock in the afternoon he left home to do a little buslness in Golden-square. He walked down Thistle street to catch the tram in High-street. For some time he had been suffering from bronchitis, and took a bad turn whilst waiting for the tram. Mr. T. Clark, bootmaker, saw him leaning against a tree. Mr. Datson said to Mr Clark, "Oh, Tom, I'm bad." Mr Clark took him into his residence and sent for Dr Ffrost and Mr Datson's daughters. Dr Ffrost found him in a dying condition, and he expired soon afterwards . . . Mrs Datson pre-deceased her husband by 18 months. A matured family is left. The late Mr Datson before retiring from work followed the occupation of a blacksmith. He was about 70 years of age. Deceased was born in the parish of Kea, in Cornwall, in 1845, and came to Australia in 1876, following his occupation of engine driver and blacksmith. He had been a member of the Golden-square branch of the M.U.I.O.O.F. for many years, and was also a member of the Masonic order, having been initiated in the Zenith Lodge. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him, his genial disposition having gained him many friends. He leaves four daughters [Jane Gray, Fanny Osborne and Lily and Ethel Datson].

The Australian electoral rolls shows that Merlie, who worked as a teamster, and Dorrie lived at Wee Wee Rup near Leitchville until the late 1960s when they moved to Bendigo's Golden Square. Merlie died there in 1987 and Dorrie in 1998. The Bendigo Cemeteries Trust website shows they are buried together in the Kangaroo Flat Lawn Cemetery (grave no 6346). They had five children we are aware of:

6.1) Audrey Yvonne Free who married Mervyn James Spencer (1933-2013) in 1957. Mervyn, who worked as a reservoir keeper, died at Bendigo in 2013. His tribute published in the Melbourne Herald Sun on 12 August of that year, reads: 'SPENCER - Mervyn James. Aged 78 years. Loved husband of Audrey, loved father and father-in-law to Allan and Cathy, Lyn and Chris, Julie and Robin. Loved Pop of Andrew, Kathy and Joe, Sharon and Gary, Jordan, Chelsea, James and Emma'. He is buried in the Lawn Cemetery at Kyneton where he was keeper of the Lauriston reservoir for many years.

6. 2) Norma Beatrice Free who married Ronald William Edward Harvey in 1958. The electoral rolls showed them living at Koondrook (on the Murray River to the northeast of Kerang), Leitchville and, from the mid-1970s, at the Bamawn Extension near Rochester where Ron and his son, William David Harvey, were share farmers. We believe they had two further sons.

6.3) Mervyn Wallace John Free who was born at Cohuna in Victoria in 1940 and married Beth Millicent Ramsay at Geelong in 1966.

6.4 & 6.5) Merlie and Dorrie's two youngest daughters, Laurice Elaine Free and Jennifer Mary Free, married two brothers, Frank Mitcell Jobling (1935-2009) and Keith William Jobling at Cohuna in Victoria in 1970 and 1971 respectively. The Australian electoral rolls show they lived and farmed in the Kerang area until the early 1970s when they all moved onto farms at Monto (west of Bundaberg) in central Queensland. The Ryerson Index shows that Frank, aged 74 years and 'late of Tricare Nursing Home, Bundaberg, formerly of Monto and Mulgildie areas', died on 4 July 2009. He is buried in the Bundaberg Crematorium and Memorial Park. We believe that both couples had three children.

Rootsweb site for the Free, Flavell, Finkell, Coxall, Chaffe and Shepherd families William Free in Australia
Arrival in Melbourne 1853-1855
William Free in Australia
Mount Hesse to the Wimmera 1856-1878
William Free in Australia
Life and death at Corack 1878-1900
Ernest Oswald Free (1881-1964) and
Adeline Ellen Bennett (1887-1961)
Part II: Family and Descendants
Return to First Families
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