The Kersleys in Australia

(last updated 16 December 2019)

Thomas' brother Robert Kersley in Australia

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Thomas John Kersley

Thomas and Bridget's Family

Mary Jane Kersley

Lucy Ann Kersley

Cornelius Kersley

Ellen Louise Kersley

bridget buckleyAfter arriving at Melbourne, Thomas made his way to Ballarat where he married Bridget Buckley (pictured on the left) by licence in the local Church of England on 18 March 1856. Their wedding certificate shows that he was a bachelor innkeeper aged 28 years and she was a 21 year-old spinster who worked as a servant. Bridget came from Michelstown in County Cork in Ireland. Her father was a farmer called Daniel Buckley and her mother was Bridget Mahony. The Church Baptism Records maintained by the Mallow Heritage Centre in County Cork in Ireland show that a Bridget 'Buckly', the daughter of Daniel Buckly and Catherine Mahony, was baptised in the Newmarket parish of County Cork on 21 May 1837. This may be our Bridget although maybe not.

We are likewise uncertain about exactly when and on which ship Bridget emigrated to Australia. Her death certificate, informed by her son-in-law Hugh Smith, indicates she came to Australia in around 1854. Her granddaughter, Winnie Stafford, believed she was employed by a Byrnes family to look after their children during the voyage from Ireland to Australia and that she parted from the family on arrival at Port Philip. The Victorian immigration records show that a Patrick and Jane Byrnes and their two children Mary Jane (aged 1) and Sarah (4), together with a Bridget Byrnes (aged 25) emigrated to Australia on the BRITISH QUEEN and arrived in Victoria in May 1853. If this was our Bridget she would have been 26 and not 21 at the time of her marriage to Thomas. The lists of passengers coming to Victoria show that another Bridget Buckley, aged 19 years, sailed on her own from England to Australia on the AUSTRALIA arriving at Melbourne on 20 September 1853. Although there were Byrnes on the ship, they were all young adults.

thomas and bridget kersleyNor are we certain about when and how Thomas arrived in the colony. His death certificate, informed by his son Thomas John, indicates that he came to Australia in around 1852. The lists of assisted and unassisted passengers arriving in Victoria around this time offer no possible candidates. Teen thinks that he may have been a sailor on the ship that Bridget sailed on and so met her on the journey out. There are no Kersleys on the shipping lists for either the BRITISH QUEEN or the AUSTRALIA although it is not altogether clear whether these lists normally include crew members.

Thomas and Bridget (pictured together on the right) had eleven children who were born in a number of different places in the area between Bendigo and St. Arnaud in Victoria: William Henry (born in Dunolly in 1857), Emily (Back Creek, 1859), Mary Jane (Inglewood, 1861), Thomas John (Moonambel, 1863), Lucy Ann (St. Arnaud, 1865), Cornelius (Peters Diggings, 1868), Alice (Peters Diggings, 1869), Henry and James (Stuart Mill, 1872), and Ellen (Stuart Mill, 1876). The birthplaces of the older children in particular coincided with the onset of gold rushes in the different areas and suggests that Thomas and Bridget and their family may have joined the throngs of people who constantly moved from one digging to the next. By the early 1880s, they had either made sufficient to live on or Bridget had had enough. The couple took up residence in St Arnaud where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Thomas, described on his death certificate as a miner, died at St Arnaud of acute bronchitis on 13 August 1896. He was aged 69 years and was, according to the St. Arnaud Times 'one of the oldest identities of the town'. Following a large funeral procession, he was buried at the local Roman Catholic cemetery on 16 August 1896. While we can't be certain, it seems that Thomas never met up with his younger brother, Robert Kersley in Australia.

Thomas' wife Bridget Kersley nee Buckley died on 15 May 1903 in Balmain in Sydney, NSW while visiting her youngest daughter Ellen Smith. She had left St Arnaud in November the previous year but had fallen ill and could not return home. While she wanted to be laid to rest alongside Thomas in St Arnaud, she was buried at the Rookwood cemetery in Sydney. Her last will and testament shows that, at the time of her death, Bridget owned no property or substantial assets. Her estate was worth a mere 24/8s/3d of which 15 had to be paid to Ellen in Sydney in order to cover Bridget's medical, undertaking and cemetery fees.

Thomas and Bridget Kersley's Family

As described above, Thomas and Bridget had ten children, one of whom, James Kersley died when he was seven years old. We think that James, who was born at Stuart Mill in 1872, may have had a twin brother: Henry James Edward ('Harry') Kersley who died sometime before his mother's death in 1903. We have been able to discover a little more about their remaining children as follows:

1. William Henry Kersley (1857-1910)

William Henry was born at Dunolly and eventually went to work in the Western Australia goldfields. The Australian electoral rolls show him working at the Britannia Goldmine at Kookyne (in the Coolgardie District of Western Australia) between at least 1901 and 1906 (a second 1906 roll has him as a woodcutter and living at Davyhurst). No other Kersleys were on the rolls, indicating that he had not married. The Western Australian Online Index of BDMs shows that a William H. Kersley died in the Black Range registration district of the State in 1910.

2. Emily Kersley (1859-86)

emily kersleyBorn at Talbot (Back Creek) near St Arnaud in 1859, Emily married Samuel Claxton, the son of Edward Claxton, miner, and Mary McCarthy, at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in St Arnaud on 31 December 1883. Their wedding certificate states that Samuel had been born at Castlemaine in Victoria but, like Emily, was living and working at St Arnaud at the time of their marriage. The wedding was witnessed by Emily's sister Mary Jane Kersley and Mary Jane's future husband William Laurence. 'Margie's family tree' on Ancestry tells us that Edward Claxton (1817-71) was born at Elm in Cambridgeshire and was twice married before, in 1854, emigrating to Australia with his second wife, Mary Ann McCarthy (1828-67), a Londoner who he married at Stepney in Middlesex in July 1883, and his 16 year-old son from his first marraige, Edward Claxton jnr. It adds that Edward Snr and Mary Ann had six children in addition to Samuel. Mary died at St Arnaud in Victoria in 1867 and Edward at nearby Redbank, where he had acquired land, four years later

Emily and Samuel had a son, Thomas Edward Claxton, before Emily's premature death from enteric fever on 7 April 1886. This occurred at the Main Lead gold field near the town of Beaufort where she is buried (lot 37 in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery). Samuel eventually returned to St Arnaud where he married Sarah Alice Murphy (1868-1947) in 1887. The electoral rolls show that he and Alice lived at St Arnaud after their marriage before moving to North Melbourne where, according to the St Arnaud Mercury, Samuel died in 1914. He and Alice had one son, Ernest Samuel Claxton (born at St Arnard in 1888) who married Rose McMahon (1890-1972) and worked as a bricklayer around the Frankston area of Melbourne before his death there in 1954.

Emily and Samuel's son, Thomas Edward Claxton (1884-1956), who was named after his two grandfathers, was also born at St Arnaud. He married Emma Margaret Quinn (1891-1971), the daughter of Michael Martin Quinn (1855-1927) and Susan Delah (1859-1936), at Quirindi (near Tamworth) in NSW in 1916. According to Helen Quinn's 'Beetham Family Tree' on Ancestry, Michael and Susan were married at Scone in 1839 and had eight children in addition to Emma. Mchael's parents, Thomas and Mary Quinn nee Hynes/Haines, both came from County Clare in Ireland where they were married in 1841. His obituary, published in the Scone Advocate on 14 October 1927, tells us 'not only did the late Mr Quinn claim Owen's Gap as the place of his nativity, but he had resided there continuously for the whole of his life . . . his people were amongst the first to settle at Owen's Gap, [where they] followed grazing pursuits on Sophia Creek, and held a snug little property in picturesque surroundings'. Michael's wife, Susan Quinn, died on 17 October 1936. Her obituary in the Scone Advocate informs us that the 'late Mrs Quinn, who was 81 years of age, was, before her marriage, Miss Susan Dellar, and she was born at Glennie's Creek. She came to Owen's Gap during her childhood and had therefore lived practically the whole of her life in the district'.

The Sands Sydney Street Index (1861-1930) indicates Thomas and Emma may have lived at Marrackville in the 1920s. The NSW electoral rolls have Thomas, a railway employee, and Emma living at 12 Edward Street Sydenham in Sydney in 1930. From 1936 to 1954 they lived at 13 Pile St in Dulwich Hill. Thomas died at Marrackville in Sydney in 1956. His wife Emma died at Newtown in 1971. The electoral roll entries and NSW register of bdms indicate they had three children who, as detailed below, provided their parents with six grandchildren we know of.

1) Trevor Thomas Claxton (1917-2001) was born at Barraba in the New England district of NSW in 1917 and married Beryl Agnes Levesque in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville in 1940. Born at Marrickville in 1927, Beryl's parents were Alfred Levesque (1876-1950) and Mary Ann Anglis Hitchcock nee Dodsley (1877-1934) who were married in Sydney in 1926. According to the 'Bartlett Family Tree' on Ancestry, Alfred came from Bethnal Green in London, the oldest son of two locals, Alfred Levesque (1852-1901) and Agnes Lamy (1852-1916), who were married there in 1874. They had eight children in addition to Alfred all of whom, like their parents, died in England.

Ancestry's passenger lists suggest Alfred may have spent time in Canada, South Africa and New Zealand before eventually settling in Australia in 1914. The Australian electoral rolls show he worked as a porter at the Women's Hospital in Melbourne for two years before moving to Sydney where he worked as a hospital porter and labourer. After their marriage, Alfred and Mary lived at Lakemba, Campsie and Marrickville where Mary died in 1934 and Alfred in 1950. They are buried together in the Anglican section of the Rookwood cemetery. The following funeral notice for Alfred was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 3 November 1950: 'LEVESQUE - The Relatives and Friends of Mr and Mrs Trevor Claxton and Family, Mr and Mrs James Donsworth and Family, Mr and Mrs Alfred Levesque, and David are invited to attend the Funeral of their beloved Father, Father-in-law and Grandfather, ALFRED LEVESQUE; to leave T. J. Andrew' Funeral Chapel, 25 Enmore Road, Newtown, this day after service commencing at 2.45 pm, for the Church of England Cemetery, Rookwood'.

As the notice indicates, both Alfred and Mary had a child in addition to Beryl. Alfred's was his namesake, Alfred James ('Fred') Levesque (1919-2006), who was born at Marrickville and married Minnie Hume Collier (1919-93) at Concord West in 1945. Fred served in the Australian Army during the Second World War. He and Minnie, who worked as a hairdresser, lived at Concord West, Cooma and Westleigh in North Sydney before moving to Orange in central NSW where Minnie died in 1993 and Fred in 2006. They had at least one child we are aware of, a son, David Ian Levesque who, like his father, worked as an accountant. Mary's was Gladys Mary Isabel Hitchcock (1904-2004) who was born at West Ham in London and married an Englishman, James Henry Donsworth (1898-1973), at Marrickville in 1935. Her marriage certificate, contained on Ancestry's Sydney Anglican Parish Registers database, shows that Gladys' father was Mary's first husband Victor Reginald Steven Hitchcock (1878-1958). Gladys, who worked as a hairdresser, and James, a fitter and mechanic, lived in Sydney after their marriage and had at least two children we are aware of: Audrey and Peter Allen Donsworth.

The Australian electoral rolls show that Trevor Thomas, a turner, and Beryl Agnes Claxton were living at 512 Illawarra Road in Marrickville in Sydney in 1943, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968 (along with a Dennis Trevor, plant fitter, and Maxwell Thomas Claxton, monotype operator) and 1972 (along with Dennis Trevor, plant fitter, and Lee Anthony Claxton, university student). The 1977 and 1980 rolls have Trevor and Beryl living on Scott Street in Shoalhaven Heads on the NSW South Coast. The rolls further show: 1) a Maxwell Thomas, musician, and Beverley Mina Claxton living in French's Forest in 1972 and 1977 and Artarmon in Sydney in 1980; 2) Dennis Trevor Claxton continued to live at 512 Illawarra Road Marrickville after his parents moved to Shoalhaven Heads; and 3) Lee Anthony Claxton, a teacher, was living at Mount Warrigal near Shellharbour in the Illawarra region of NSW in 1977 and Oyster Bay in South Sydney in 1980 along with a Wendy Noreen Claxton. According to the Ryerson Index, a Trevor Claxton, aged 84 and 'late of Shoalhaven Heads', died on 3 December 2001. A Maxwell Thomas Claxton, aged 60, died in Sydney on 1 January 2003.

2) Francis Ernest Claxton (1920-63), who worked as a boot maker, served in the Australian Army (14 Field Regiment) during the Second World War and married Alma May Hilton in Newtown in 1951. We think Alma's parents were John Henry and Emma Rebecca Hilton nee Nelson who were married in the Wagga Wagga district of NSW in 1913. His military file in the Australian Archives shows that 33636 John Henry Hilton, a 26 year-old labourer who was born at Tarcutta in NSW, enlisted in the First AIF in Sydney on 3 January 1917. He gave as his NOK his wife Harriet (later amended to Emma) Rebecca Hilton of 26 O'Connell Street Newtown. John embarked from Melbourne on the HMAT A9 on 11 May 1917 and arrived in England on 19 July 1917. After undergoing training at Lark Hill he proceeded to France where he served with the 7th Medium Trench Mortar Battery. He remained in France until March 1919 when he returned to England and thence to Australia in June of that year.

After living in Newtown for a number of years, Francis and Alma moved to the Sydney suburb of Seven Hills. The Ryerson Index shows that Francis Ernest Claxton, 'late of Seven Hills, formerly of Newtown', died in Sydney on 8 February 1963. Ancestry's 'Find a Grave' index tells us he is buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Woronora Memorial Park Cemetery in Sydney's Sutherland Shire. His headstone reads: 'N50146 Gunner F.E. Claxton 14 Field Regiment R.A.A. 8th February 1963 Age 43 Dearly Loved & Sadly Missed by wife Alma, Daughters Christine & Barbara & Son Ronald'. The NSW index of bdms tells us that Alma died in 1976.

2) Mona Mary Claxton who was born in 1922 and worked as an office assistant and stenographer in the NSW Public Service. The 1972 electoral roll has her living at Dulwich Hill in Sydney. We have not been able to find her after that, suggesting she may have married sometime in the late 1970s.

william henry kersley st arnaud photo 02

Although still to be confirmed, we think that the photo on the left, copies of which were held by a number
of Kersley descendants, is of Thomas and Bridget's eldest son William Henry Kersley who was born in
Victoria and died in Western Australia. The photo was taken in Melbourne most likely before William went to the West.
The photo on the right is probably of William's sister, Emily Kersley, who died of enteric fever in the Victorian
goldfields three years after her marriage to Samuel Claxton at St Arnaud in 1883.

alice kersley thomas john kersley

The photo on the left was taken at Fitzroy in Melbourne and is of Alice Kersley (with the parasol)
and her younger sister Ellen. Alice died at St Arnaud in 1888 aged 19 years. The one on the right,
taken at St Arnaud, is most likely of Alice's brother, Thomas John Kersley.

3. Alice Kersley (1869-88)

Alice died at St Arnaud on 18 October 1888 from burns received from a fire that had been lit outside the house to heat water for the family's washing. She was just 19 years old. She is buried next to her father in the Roman Catholic section of the St Arnaud cemetery.

4. Thomas John Kersley (1863-1932)

Thomas, or 'Tom' as he was known - pictured above - was born at Moonambel in Victoria. He married Christina Howes (1864-1957) at St Arnaud on 20 August 1885. Christina was born at Carapook in Victoria, the daughter of John Howes, an engine driver originally from Ipswich in England, and Christina Stewart from Paisley in Scotland. Tom, who later worked for the Victorian railways, was then working as a miner. The marriage was held in accordance with the rights of the Wesleyan Church and was witnessed by David and Ann Rodan. The Australian electoral rolls and the birth places of their children show that Tom and Christina lived in a number of Victorian country towns before eventually moving to 30 Epsom Road in Kensington, a suburb of Melbourne, where Tom died in 1932. Christina died at Kensington in 1957, aged 93 years.

Tom and Christina had eleven children between 1887 and 1909: Christina Emily, Percy William, Thomas Ernest, Amy May, Myrtle Nellie, John Howes, Ida Olive, Leslie Gordon, Doris Mabel, Alan Frederick and Frank Keith Kersley. Click here to read more about Thomas and Christina's family and descendants.

bourke street couple unknown woman

The photo on the left came from 'Con's trunk' and was taken at the studio of F.C. Burman of St George's Hall,
Bourke Street in Melbourne. The one on the right was in 'Monie's trunk' and is a blown up version of the same woman.
We think the man may be William Joseph Laurence although this has still to be confirmed. We are even less certain
about the woman who could be his future wife, Mary Jane Kersley, or possibly one of his sisters.

5. Mary Jane Kersley (1861-1919)

Born at Inglewood in central Victoria, Mary Jane Kersley married William Joseph Laurence (1855-1929) in West Melbourne on 3 July 1884 in the local Roman Catholic Church. William was then 29 years old and Mary Jane was 24. The best man was James Napoleon Burns (1857-1941), who married Mary Jane's sister Lucy Ann Kersley (1868-1951) the following year (click here to read about James and Lucy and their family). The bridesmaid was one Annie Clancy. Their wedding certificate indicates that Mary Jane had earlier moved from St Arnaud to West Melbourne where she was working as a domestic servant. William, a labourer whose 'usual address' was said to be Creswick, was also living in Melbourne at the time.

After their marriage, William and Mary Jane (pictured below with James Napoleon and Lucy Burns) moved first to the coastal town of Kiama in New South Wales, then inland to take up land at South Yalgogrin near Barallen, and finally onto a farm at Gillenbah just south of Narrandera. During this time they had ten children - Florence May (1884-1915), Mary Jane (1886-1913), Emily (1888), Alice Maud (1889-1967), Catherine (1891), William (1893), Bridget Ellen (1895-1934), Lucy (1898), Alexander (1900) and Robert Thomas (1906) - many of whom, by all accounts, inherited the loquaciousness of their father and stocicism of their mother (some were also devout Catholics). Mary Jane Laurence nee Kersley died at Narrandera on 24 January 1919. William Joseph Laurence died in Sydney ten years later and was buried next to his wife at Narrandera on 18 June 1929.

Click here to read more about the life and times and family and descendants of William and Mary Jane.

burns and laurences

Taken in Narrandera in NSW in around 1910, this photo is of, from L/R: William Joseph Laurence,
Mary Jane Laurence nee Kersley, James Napoleon Burns and Lucy Ann Burns nee Kersley.

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6. Cornelius Kersley (1868-1950)

cornelius kersleyCornelius Kersley was born at Peter's Diggings near Ballarat. As a young adult he moved to Melbourne where he worked as a blacksmith. Cornelius, or 'Con' as he was known as, married Wilhelmina Alice ('Minnie') Burrowes nee Campion (1871-1937) at the St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in West Melbourne on 15 July 1909. The marriage certificate, provided by their great granddaughter Barbara Moore, shows that he was then 41 years old. Minnie was 38 years old, had been born in Melbourne and was widowed in 1901. Her parents were said to be Frederick Campion and Harriet Ambrosine Isabella Tucker. Cornelius and Minnie were both living at Blackwood Street in North Melbourne and the wedding was witnessed by Anastasia McSweeney and Josephine Tunn (?). The 'Ted Bastoe' and a number of other family trees on Ancestry tell us that Wilhelmina was the eldest daughter of Frederick George Campion (1842-82) and Harriet Ambrosine Isabella Tucker (1843-1913) who were married in the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy on 26 April 1871. Frederick was a native of Little Totham in Essex in England who, with his sister Alice , had emigrated to Australian in 1860. Harriet came from Whitechapel in Middlesex. She and Frederick had eleven children in addition to Wilhelmina. They both died in Melbourne, Frederick in 1882, the year their youngest child was born, and Harriet in 1913.

minnie burrowesBarbara tells us that Minnie (pictured on the right) had earlier married Arthur Fiennes Burrowes (1852-1901), from Bath in Somerset, in Melbourne in 1889 and had four children with him: Frederick Thomas (1888-1964), Sylvia Daisy (1891-1965), Amy Myrtle (1894-1984) and William Burrowes (who died in childbirth in 1900). Arthur is said to have died in Footscray in 1901 although Barbara has not been able to find his death certificate. Minnie's son, Frederick Thomas Burrows, enlisted in the First AIF on 1 October 1915. He was then 18 years old and worked as a presser. He proceeded overseas on 7 March 1916 and served with the 24th Battalion in Belgium and France. His personal records show that while not wounded he suffered from regular bouts of sickness which, on occasions, landed him in hospital in France and England. While in England he was also charged on two occasions for overstaying his leave. Frederick survived the war and returned to Australia on the ULYSSES in January 1919. He died at in the Melbourne suburb of Chadstone in 1964. We don't know whether he married.

His two sisters did marry, Amy to William Robert Crago (1908-72) in Melbourne in 1929 and Sylvia to a First World War veteran, James John Ray (1891-1953), there in 1919. Born at Rotherhithe near London, James, who was then working as a motor driver and mechanic, enlisted in the 1st AIF in Melbourne on 14 February 1916. He gave as his NOK his father George Ray of East London. Alloted to the 3rd Australian Motor Transport Company he left for England in June 1916 and, following training at Lark Hill, embarked for active service in France on 25 November the same year. While in France he served with the 10th Australian Field Ambulance and AIF HQ until May 1919 when he sailed back to England and thence to Australia on the SS PORT MELBOURNE. According to the 'Solly Squires Family Tree' on Ancestry, James died in the Blue Mountains of NSW in 1953 and Sylvia in Melbourne in 1965. They had four children: Sylvia (1921-2003), Frederick (1924-2000) who married Valma Grant (1923-2002), Stephen Arthur George Ray (1926-2016), who married Iris Rubye Johnson (1920-85) and died Tellebudgera in Queensland, and one other.

con kersley familybeach group

The photograp on the left is of Con and Minnie Kersley and their three sons, Jack, Roy and Harry Kersley. The one on the right is from 'Con's trunk'.
and shows Con and Minnie with Con's sister, Lucy Burns (seated on the left), and her husband James Napoleon Burns (standing behind her).
Although still to be confirmed, we think the boys are Con and Minnie's sons and the two older girls are Minnie's daughters by her previous marriage,
Amy and Sylvia Burrowes. The young girl is probably Lucy and James' youngest daughter, Doreen Monica ('Monie') Burns.

The electoral rolls show that Con lived at different times on Bedford Street and Flemington Road in North Melbourne before his marriage in 1909. He seems to have travelled to and from work on his bicycle from which, a report in the Melbourne Argus tells us, in June 1907 he was knocked from while 'cycling along Sydney Road Parkville . . . and taken to the Melbourne Hospitalwhere he was treated for an injury to the head'. After their marriage Con and Minnie lived first in North Melbourne and then the nearby suburb of Kensington where Minnie died in 1937, The family placed the following notice in the Argus on 17 June: 'KERSLEY - on the 16th June at her residence 52 Derby Street Kensington Wilhelmina Alice the dearly loved wife of Cornelius and loving mother of Sylvia (Mrs Ray), Amy (Mrs Crago), Frederick, John, Roy and Harry (deceased), aged 66 years'. Con died at the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy on 27 June 1950. He and Minnie had three boys as follows:

1) John ('Jack') Kersley (1904-53). Born at North Melbourne in 1904, Jack enlisted in the RAAF on 26 November 1923 and would serve until 1947 by which time he had trained and worked as a coxswain and had reached the rank of Warrant Officer. His military record, contained in the Australian National Archives, shows that he had previously served in the senior school cadets for twelve months and as an Ordinary Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy for two years and seven months. His Air Force postings included Point Cook in Victoria, RAAF Base Rathmines on Lake Macquarie in NSW (which served as a Flying Boat Base during the Second World War) and RAAF Base East Sale (where he served with 20 Squadron). He was discharged at his own request on 16 March 1949. In February 1926 Jack married Olive Constance Devlin (1905-91) in a civil ceremony in Melbourne. According to the 'Flannery-Cleary' family tree on Ancestry, Olive's parents were Oliver Percival Devlin (1878-1951) and Isabella Jessie Gomm (1878-1958) who were married in Melbourne in 1900 and had eight children in addition to Olive. Her paternal grandparents were Oliver Devlin (1837-94), who came from Dungannon in Northern Ireland, and Marion Jane Ellen Stokes (1845-1936) who were married in Melbourne in 1877.

Jack died suddenly in Kensington four years after he left the Air Force. The following notices were placed by his family in the Melbourne Age on 30 March 1953: 'KERSLEY - On March 28 (suddenly), John Kersley, of 53 Bangalore-street, Kensington, the loved husband of Olive, and loving father of Jack (deceased), Sydney and Raymond, aged 48 years. KERSLEY, Jack - On March 28 (suddenly), beloved brother of Roy, brother-in-law of Doreen, loving uncle of Juanlta. KERSLEY Jack - On March 28 (suddenly), loved stepbrother of Frederick Burrowes'. Twelve months on, Olive placed the following 'In Memorium' message in the same newspaper: 'KERSLEY John - in loving memory of my dear husband and our dear father, passed away March 28, 1953. Inserted by his loving wife, Olive, sons, Syd, Ray, daughter-in-law, Marjory, and grandson, Raymond'. Jack and Olive had three boys: John Ronald, Sydney and Raymond Frederick Kersley who are all now deceased. John junior drowned at age 12, Sydney died of cancer in 1963, aged 33 years, and Raymond died of a heart attack around 1980. Jack Kersley died in Sydney in 1963. His wife Olive died there in 1991. Barbara thinks that she and her brother Raymond, who are the only children of Sydney Kersley, are the last living members of this line of the Kersley family.

jack kersley and crew

Jack Kersley, second from the left in the front row, with his Air Force colleagues probably at RAAF Base Rathmines
at Lake Macquarie in NSW during the Second World War.

olive kersley sydney kersley

The photograph on the left is of Olive Kersley nee Devlin with her and Jack's two eldest sons, John and Sydney.
The one on the right is of Sydney Kersley and his wife Marjory at the Melbourne Show.

2) The Australian electoral rolls show Roy Kersley (1905-88) was living with his parents at Kensington at the time of the 1931, 1936, 1943 and 1949 elections (he was then working as a seaman). According to Barbara Moore's 'Kersley-Moore Family Tree' on Ancestry, he married Tatura-born Doreen May Thompson (1912-88) in Victoria in 1946. Doreen's parents were James Thompson, born in Sydney in 1873, and a South Australian, Margaret Magner (1883-1925), who were married in Heathcote in Victoria in 1906 and had nine children. Margaret's grandfather, John Dillon Magner and his wife Margaret, originally hailed from County Cork in Ireland. After their marriage, Roy and Doreen lived first at Kensington, where Roy was working as a labourer, and then at 76 Maher Road in the outer Melbourne suburb of Laverton where Roy worked as a process worker. Ancestry's Australia and New Zealand 'Find a Grave' index tells us Roy died at nearby Sunshine on 16 April 1988 and is buried in the Altona Memorial Park Cemetery. Doreen died on 11 May 1988 and is buried in the Floral Lawn section of the same cemetery. Barbara Moore tells us they had two children with whom she has recently been in contact. They had in their possession 'Con's trunk' which had belonged to their grandfather and contains a treasure trove of family photos and other memorabilia, including the celebrated bowler hat that Con is wearing the above photo.

3)The youngest of Con and Minnie's boys, Henry ('Harry' or 'Vin') Kersley (1908-35), married Doris Carlyle Wildman-McCallum (1912-2001) in Melbourne in 1930. The 1931 electoral roll shows a Harry, a chemist, registered at his parents' address at Kensington. He died four years later and his family and friends posted the following death notices in the Melbourne Age on 13 April 1935: 'KERSLEY - On the 11th April, at the residence of his father, Mr. C. Kersley, 52 Derby Street, Kensington, Henry (Vin) Kersley, the dearly loved husband of Doris and loving father of Carlyle and Cornelius. KERSLEY - On the 11th April, at Kensington, Henry (Vin) Kersley, the dearly loved son of Cornelius and Wlhelmina Kersley, and loving brother of John, Roy, Sylvia (Mrs. Ray) and Amy (Mrs. Crago). KERSLEY - On the 11th April, at the residence of his father, Henry (Vinc), the dearly loved brother of Frederick Burrowes of 7 Osmaru-street, Northcote. KERSLEY - On the 11th April, at Kensington Harry, loved brother of Sylvia, brother-in-law Jim Ray. KERSLEY - On the 11th April, at 52 Derby-street, Kensington. Harry, loving son-in-law of Mrs. A McCallum, and brother-in-law of Mrs. C. Maddigan. KERSLEY, Harry (Vlnce) - A trlbute to our workmate for 9 years, who passed away on the 11th April, at his parents' home. From the staff of the Women's Hospital, Carlton'.

The 1936 electoral roll has Doris Carlyle Kersley living at 4 Louisville Ave Coburg in Melbourne. The 1942, 1949 and 1954 rolls have her at 61 Tinning Street Brunswick West (also there in 1954 was a Carlyle Edith Kersley, a receptionist). As indicated above, Harry and Doris also had a son: Cornelius Henry Neil Kersley (1934-2014) who died in Melbourne in 2014. His death notice published in the Melbourne Herald Sun on 19 February 2014 reads: 'KERSLEY - Cornelius Henry (Neil) 1.10.1934 - 15.2.2014. Dearly loved husband to Dorothy. Brother to Lila. Adored and loving father to Janine, Grant and Tyson and father-in-law to Jan, Kylee and Siobhan. Papa to Sandrine, Ainsley, Tiana, Mason, Hayden (dec.), and Harrison (dec.). A thorough gentleman And a great man, who was adored by his family. Life will never be the same. You will be sadly missed. You were simply the best'.

For more details of Cornelius and Wilhelmina and the Kersley and Burrows families, check out Barbara Moore's Pioneering Families of Australia website.

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beach picnic

This remarkable photo came from 'Monie's trunk'. We think it was taken in Melbourne in around 1910. It includes four
of the Kersley siblings and their spouses plus a number of their respective children. Our current estimation of the identities
of those pictured is as follows. Standing (from L/R): Lucy Burns nee Kersley, Wilhelmina ('Minnie') Kersley nee Burrows,
James Napoleon Burns, Cornelius ('Con') Kersley, Christina Kersley nee Howes, Thomas ('Tom') Kersley, unknown, unknown,
William Joseph Laurence, unknown, Mary Jane Laurence nee Kersley, Albert James Burns, Ellen Maud Burns and unknown.
Kneeling: unknown possibly either Amy or Sylvie Burrows, Roy Burns (nursing Doreen Burns), possibly either
Amy or Sylvie Burrows and unknown. Seated: all unknown.

7. Ellen Louise Kersley (1876-1931)

Thomas and Bridget's youngest daughter, Ellen Louise Kersley (pictured below) was born at Stuart Mill in Victoria on 21 January 1876. She spent her early years in St Arnaud with her family but eventually moved to New South Wales where she married a Rozelle grocer, Hugh Smith (1872-1937), at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on 4 November 1902. One of their granddaughters, Maureen Sharpe, tells us that, like his mother-in-law, Hugh was of Irish descent. His father was Cornelius Sheridan Smith (1843-1912) and his mother Bridget O'Neill (1844-76). She adds that Cornelius was born at Lislea in Cavan County in Ireland and married Bridget, who came from Tipperary in Ireland, in Sydney in 1868. He was the landlord of the Merton Estate Hotel at Rozelle (from 1877 to 1912), the Beach Hotel on Smith Street Balmain, and the Cricketer's Arms Hotel on Darling Street in Balmain.

After their marriage in 1902 Ellen and Hugh Smith lived initially at Rozelle in Sydney before moving to Gladesville and then to Balmain (the 1930 electoral roll shows them at 255 Darling Street in Balmain East and Hugh working as a hotelkeeper). They had six children: Gladys Louise (1904-1971), Myrtle Mary (1905-1983), Kathleen Maud (1907-1970), Cornelius Sheridan (1908-1983), Josephine Mary (1911-1999) and John Roy Smith (1916-1974). Ellen died at Balmain on 16 July 1931 and was buried at North Ryde cemetery two days later. Hugh died at Rozelle in 1937.

And their children? Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that Gladys Louise Smith married Joseph Hannington Roy Robson (1899-1966), the son of Joseph Hannington Robson and Wilhelmina Minnie Lohmann, at Balmain in 1929. According to the 'Mongomery Family Tree' on, Joseph snr was born at Massilon in Ohio in the US. He married Balmain-born Wilhelmina Lohmann at Balmain in 1896 and had eight children in addition to Joseph jnr. The Australian electoral rolls show that Gladys and Joseph, who worked as an engineer, lived at 15 Newcastle Street in Drummoyne from 1933 until at least 1954. Maureen Sharpe tells us that they had two children - Roy and Hugh Robson - and that Joseph died at Burwood in 1966 and Gladys at Woy Woy in central NSW in 1971.

Myrtle Mary Smith married Charles Joseph Yates (1898-1969) at Rozelle in Sydney in 1941 and had one daughter, Maureen Yates (now Sharpe). Her sister Kathleen Maud Smith married Joseph Albert Stewart (1906-75) at Balmain in Sydney in 1930 and had four children: Ellen, Joseph, John and Noelene Stewart. Cornelius married Eileen O'Keefe and had two children, Neil and Bruce Smith. Josephine married Ernest John Sargent (1907-79) in 1936 and had two children, Gwendoline and Warwick Sargent. And John married Grace Sylvia Hall in 1942 and had at least one child, Jayne Sheridan Smith.

ellen louise kersley st arnaud photo 03

Taken at the studio of F.J. Stubbs of St Arnaud, the photo on the left is of Ellen Louise Kersley.
The one on the right shows Ellen with her older siblings Cornelius and Lucy Kersley.

ellen kersley and family kathleen smith

The photo on the left is of Ellen and Hugh Smith with their two youngest children, Gladys and Myrtle,
and Hugh's aunt Elizabeth Halloran. The one on the right is of their third daughter, Kathleen Maud Smith.

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