(last updated 15 November 2017)
Baptised at Hackney St John in London on 26 April 1848, Eliza (pictured on the left) was a mere infant when she and per parents and older sister, Emma, sailed from London to South Australia on the sailing ship EMILY in 1849. She lived initially at Mount Barker in South Australia before moving with her father and step-mother to Clunes in Victoria in around 1854. She was only fifteen years and five months old when she married Robert Osborne (1830-1918), a saw miller, at Coghill's Creek in Victoria in 1863.
Robert's death certificate shows that he was 30 years old at the time of his marriage to Eliza, and was born at Stow Bedon in Norfolk in England in 1830. The son of William Osborne and Rose Nuss, he was living at Stow Bedon at the time of the 1841 and 1851 censuses; in 1841 with his widowed mother and siblings and in 1851 as a visitor at the home of William and Elizabeth Tilbrook. Although still to be confirmed, we think he sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne on the MORNING STAR which arrived at Port Philip on 20 September 1858.
Eliza and Robert had twelve children in the Clunes/Amherst/Eganstown area between 1865 and 1890: William Henry, James Robert, Louisa Sophia, Emily, Rebecca, Emma Jane, John, Edith Rose, Alice Mary, George Alfre, Olive Eva Violet and Charles Stanley Osborne (see below for more details). At the time of the 1903 and 1909 elections they were living at Telegraph Hill on Mount Franklin near Eganstown in Victoria. Robert was said to be working as a miner while Eliza was a nurse. As Rosemary Kennedy tells us, her nursing duties often went beyond the care of her patients. 'In 1904, one of my relatives, Mary Darcy from Borrisoleigh in Ireland, made out her Will. Eliza was a witness to the Will as was a local farmer Patrick Kelly (Borrisoleigh). Mary died in 1909 and is buried at the Roman Catholic Church in Eganstown. I am assuming that Eliza was a nurse to Mary as she was over 80 when she died. Mary was a farmer at Kangaroo Hills, a few kilometres from Blampied, near Eganstown'.
Eliza Osborne nee Hickmott died at the Telegraph Sawmill near Eganstown in 1912 from the effects of influenza and bronchitis. She was then 64 years old. Her death certificate, which was informed by her youngest son Charles Stanley Osborne, states that she was buried at the Burwood cemetery in Melbourne on 7 September 1912. She was said to have been born in London and had been 63 years in Australia, 56 of these in Victoria and seven in South Australia. Eliza's issue at the time of her death were: William (46), James Robert (44), Louisa Sophia (deceased), Emily (deceased), Rebecca (39), Emma Jane (36), John (34), Edith Rose (32), Alice Mary (29), George Alfred (27), Olive Eva Violet (24) and Charles Stanley (22). The following notice appeared in the 7 September 1912 edition of the Melbourne Argus: 'OSBORNE - On the 5th September, at her residence, Eganstown, Eliza, beloved wife of Robert Osborne, and loved mother of Will, James, Jack, George, Stan, Mrs Shiels, Mrs Babgary [sic], Mrs Kerr, Mrs Thomas, and Olive, aged 64 years'. On 4 September 1915 The West Australian carried the following Memorium notice: 'OSBORNE - In loving memory of our dear mother, who passed away at Eganstown, Daylesford Victoria on September 5, 1912. Inserted by her daughters, E. Shields Barrabupp, A. M. Thomas, Subiaco'. The executors of Eliza's will were George Alfred Osborne, who was working in Melbourne as a teacher, George's mother-in-law Louisa Wall of 12 Scott Street St Kilda and Jabez Ernest Lees, an auctioneer of 240 Clarke Street Northcote. Some time after his wife's death, Robert Osborne moved to the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris where he died from the effects of cancer on 10 January 1918. He was buried with Eliza in the Burwood Cemetery.
As mentioned above Eliza and Robert had twelve children. One of these, Emily Osborne (1871-74) died as a child. The remaining eleven all grew to adulthood and married. Four of their children went to live in Western Australia while the others stayed with their parents in Victoria. Four were either farmers or worked in the farming industry, three were teachers (one of whom became Chief Inspector of Victoria's primary schools) and one was a missionary. Between them they provided their parents with 33 grandchildren and some 40 great grandchildren we know of. Three of Eliza and Robert's grandchildren were killed in action in the First World War. Another died as a prisoner of war in World War 2. Among the others were seven farmers, three clerks, two teachers, two engineers, a registered nurse and a naval officer. They and their children and grandchildren were living in Victoria, Western Australia, the ACT, Queensland and the United Kingdom.
From Lisa Wahlsten's 'Osborne/Wahlsten Family Tree' on Ancestry, this photo is said to be of Eliza Osborne nee Hickmott (seated)
with her father Henry Hickmott and, 'possibly, her sister Rebecca Smith nee Hickmott' (the woman standing could also be
Eliza's older sister Emma Mitchell nee Hickmott). The man standing on the left may be Eliza's husband, Robert Osborne.
The two boys at the front are probably Robert and Eliza's two youngest sons: Charles Stanley and
George Alfred Osborne although this has not been confirmed.
From the Museum Victoria collection, this photo, which came from Heather Walsh, was said to be taken in around 1900
(more likely around 1890). It shows Eliza Osborne nee Hickmott and some of her children outside their home at
Eganstown in Victoria. From L/R: Eliza (holding Olive), Louisa, Emma, George and Stan Osborne.
1. William Henry Osborne (1865-1945).
Born at Amherst in Victoria, William was working as a miner at nearby Eganstown at the time of the 1909 and 1914 elections. Sometime after this he went to live at Beverley in Western Australia, near the home town of his uncle, Henry Edward Hickmott. The 1925 electoral roll has him at Bruce Rock in WA and working as a commission agent. As the following report in the Bruce Rock Post shows, he married Elsie May Haythornthwaite (1892-1976) there in 1928: 'Wedding Bells. Osborne - Haythornthwaite. On 21 March at Wesley Church at 7pm a wedding was celebrated by the Reverend W. J. Grove, in the presence of a number of select personal friends, the contracting parties being W. H. Osborne, commission agent at Bruce rock, and E. M. Haythornthwaite, nurse, also of Bruce Rock. After the ceremony the guests were entertained at a wedding breakfast at the Savoy Hotel. The happy couple are spending some months in the Eastern States and sailed by the SS Katoomba on Saturday March 24th'. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that Elsie was born at Bendigo in Victoria, the daughter of John Proctor Haythornthwaite and Mary Alice Jane Edwards (who were married in Victoria in 1889). According to the Dale Family Tree on Ancestry, John Proctor was born at Taradale in Victoria in 1865 and he and Mary Alice had five children in addition to Elsie May: William Henry (1890-1975), Edith Jane (1894-1971), John Proctor jnr (1896-1979), Eva (1899-99) and Mary Haythornthwaite (1910- ). John and Mary Alice also went to live at Beverley in Western Australia. Both died there, Mary in 1932 and John ten years later (and after re-marrying).
The electoral rolls show that after their marriage William Henry and Elsie May lived at Bruce Rock until William's death, announced in the 19 November 1945 edition of the West Australian as follows: 'OSBORNE - On November 18 1945, at Perth, William Henry Osborne, late of Bruce Rock, loving husband of Elsie May, loving father of Joan; aged 80 years.' It seems that Elsie and their daughter Joan then went to live at North Perth and later Como where Elsie worked as a registered nurse. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board website shows that Elsie, aged 84 years, died at Como on 15 August 1976 and was buried with John in the family grave at Karrakatta (Wesleyan section 1A, gravesite 610). We have yet to find out what happened to their daughter Joan who seems to have been born before William and Elsie's wedding (and so may have been William's step-daughter). While at Bruce Rock she may have boarded at St Joseph's College at Kellerberrin and studied music. The records of the Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board show that a Joan Osborne, born around 1925, died in the Perth suburb of Lesmurdie on 13 October 2003, was cremated and her ashes taken by the director of the Karrakatta cemetery. We haven't as yet been able to confirm this is our Joan.
From Lisa Wahlsten's 'Osborne/Wahlsten Family Tree' on Ancestry.com, this photo shows four of Eliza and Robert Osborne's sons.
From L/R: Charles Stanley, William Henry, James Robert and John Osborne.
2. James Robert Osborne (1867-1941)
Born at Clunes in Victoria, James trained to be a minister in the Bible Christian Church. Founded in 1815 by the Wesleyan preacher, William O'Bryan, the church sought to spread its dissenting beliefs and values via a combination of pulpit orations and missionary work. The Australian branch of the church amalgamated with the Methodists in 1902. In his capacity as a Minister of the Christion Bible Church, James married Eleanor ('Nellie') Warland (1869-1949), the youngest daughter of Dorset-born Henry Augustus Warland (1817-78) and Sarah Watts (1824-93), in the Melbourne suburb of Ascot Vale in 1894. A report in the Melbourne Argus informed its readers the wedding was officiated over by the Reverend D. Daley who was assisted by the Reverends J. Teague and S. P. Webber. The 1903 Australian electoral roll shows James Robert, a clergyman, and Eleanor Osborne living on Chapel Street in Nathalia in central Victoria. Their son's enlistment papers indicates they were living in Papua New Guinea in 1915 and at Tunstall in Victoria in 1917. The 1919 roll has James Robert, who was then working as a clerk, and Nellie Osborne living at 27 Coventry Street in South Melbourne. By 1924 James had become a real estate agent and he and Nellie were living on Churchill Street in Surrey Hills. The electoral rolls show that they continued to move around after this, living at 7 Yonga Road in Canterbury in 1931 and on Woodvale Road in Boronia in 1936/7. James died at Ballarat in 1941, aged 74 years. Eleanor returned to Melbourne's Surrey Hills where she died in 1949. They are buried together in the Ballarat New Cemetery.
We believe James and Nellie had only one child, a son Frank Robert Warland Osborne, who was born at Rochester in Victoria in 1896. According to his military records, Frank attended Wesley College in Melbourne where he passed junior public and junior commercial and was a member of the college's football team. He then lived with his parents at Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea and worked there as a plantation overseer. Frank enlisted in the First AIF on 13 September 1915. He sailed for Europe from Sydney on the HMAT BOONAH on 22 January 1916 as part of the 13th Reinforcements for the 2nd Light Horse Regiment. He was then aged 20, single, and gave as his NOK his father, James Robert Osborne, of Milne Bay via Samarai in Papua. According to the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour, Frank eventually served as a gunner in the 11th Brigade Australian Field Artillery. He died on 6 June 1917 from wounds received at the battle of Messines and is buried at the Westhof Farm Cemetery at Neuve-Eglise in Belgium. The following notices were published in the Melbourne Argus on 30 June 1917: 'OSBORNE. - Died of wounds in France, June 6, Gunner Frank Robert Warland, the dearly loved and only son of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Osborne, Milne Bay, Samarai, Papua, aged 21 years. Another sacrifice offered on the altar of duty', and more simply, 'OSBORNE. - Died of wounds, in France, June 6, Gunner Frank Robert Warland Osborne, the beloved nephew of A. M. and E. R. Warland, 'Maiwara', Hampton, aged 21 years'.
3. Louisa Sophia Osborne (1870-bef 1912)
Born at Amherst in Victoria, Louisa married Charles William Bassett in 1893 and had at least one son before her death in around 1912. This was Robert Joseph Bassett who was born in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern in 1894. His military record contained in the Australian National Archives shows that Robert attended the Hyde Street State School at Footscray and enlisted in the First AIF on 2 October 1916. By then he was working as a clerk (with H. V. Mackay of Sunshine), was married and living with his wife at 6 Webber Street in the Melbourne suburb of Seddon. Robert's wife was Christina Mary Henderson (1894-1936) who he married in Melbourne in 1914. She was born at Ballarat East in central Victoria, the daughter of William Henderson (1861-1936) and Ellen Drummond (1865-1941) who were married there in 1886 and had seven children in addition to Christina (see the photo below).
Robert embarked from Port Melbourne on the RMS ORONTES on 23 December 1916 as part of the 7th General Reinforcements. He arrived in England on 17 February 1917 and after undergoing specialist signals training at Perham Downs and Shefford proceeded overseas, on 6 September, to serve as a sapper in the 4th Division Signal Company. He died three weeks later from wounds received at Polygon Wood near Paschendaele in Belgium and is buried at the 112 Hooge Crater Cemetery at Zillebeke. It seems Christina was not officially informed that Robert had been wounded until the 22nd of October 1917, two days after she had heard of his death from the Red Cross. Robert's final resting place is shown in the photo on the left which was recently sent to us by one of his grandsons, Michael Cuthbert ('Mike') Bassett. Standing behind the grave are six of Mike's seven grandchildren and Robert's only great grandchildren.
Robert's military record also shows that Christina, who was then living at 753 Flemington Road in North Melbourne, informed the authorities that two of his cousins, Leonard Balzary and Frank Osborne, also died on active service during the Great War (see below). Christina did not re-marry and lived the rest of her life in Melbourne, dying at her parents' home in the inner suburb of Hawthorn in 1936. The family posted the following death notice for their beloved 'Chrissie' in the Melbourne Argus on 6 January 1936: 'BASSETT - on 4 January 1936 at Hall Street Hawthorn, Christina Mary dearly loved widow of Robert J. Bassett (late AIF) beloved mother of Charlie and Bert, beloved daughter of William and Ellen Henderson and loved sister of Ethel, Will, Bella, Alec (deceased), Maude, Maggie, Mayne and Jim'. As Christina's death notice indicates, she and Robert had two sons:
1. Charles William Bassett (1914-71). The Department of Veterans Affairs' nominal roll for World War 2 shows that VX1536 Gunner Charles William Bassett, born in Melbourne on 6 December 1914, enlisted in the Australian Army at Yarraville on 23 October 1939. He was then living at Albert Park in Melbourne and gave R. Bassett as his NOK. He was discharged from the Army on 13 September 1945 while serving with the 2/1 Tank Attack Regiment. According to the Marguglio Family Tree on Ancestry, Charles married Bessie Agnes Wescott (1919-88), the daughter of Charles Wescott and Annie Sabrina Lingwood (1894-1971). The Australian electoral rolls show that Charles William, clerk, and Bessie were living at 3 Mackay Street in Footscray in 1949 (together with a Catherine Annie Bassett, machinist), and then at 22 Narcissus Ave Boronia where Charles was living at the time of his death (probably at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital) in 1971. After Charles' death Bessie continued to live at Boronia until the mid-1970s when she moved to Noble Park. She died at nearby Dandenong in 1988 and was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium (Charles seems also to have been cremated there and is memorialised in the Crematorium's Banksia Garden). They had two children we are aware of: a son, Douglas Charles, born in Melbourne in 1950, and an older daughter, Christina who the Marguglio Family Tree tells us, is married and has four children.
2. Robert James ('Bert') Bassett (1917-88). His Naval Personnel File in the National Archives tells us Bert was born at the Melbourne suburb of Malvern on 16 March 1917 and his NOK at the time of his enlistment was his brother Charles W. Bassett of 3 Mackay Street Yarraville. Bert was appointed as a Cadet Midshipman on 1 September 1932 and was subsequently commissioned on 18 October 1939. He served in the RAN throughout the Second Warld War and joined Australia's Permanent Naval Forces on 1 January 1948 as a Lieutenant Commander. It seems Bert spent much of the war seconded to the Royal Navy. Although we have few details of his service in England we do know he was one of four Australian naval officers involved in the sinking of the German battleship the Scharnhorst off the coast of Norway on 26 December 1943. As reported in the Brisbane Courier Mail on 30 December 1943:'Lieutenant Robert James Bassett, R.A.N., believed to be from Melbourne, was the flotilla torpedo officer of the destroyers which torpedoed the Scharnhorst. Bassett aboard the secret 'S' class destroyer, Saumarez, was serving his first sea-going appointment after qualifying at the Royal Naval Torpedo School, at which he subsequently became a staff officer. Twenty-six-years-old, Bassett went to England in 1941, and last year married an English girl'.
Bert's wife was Elizabeth Myrtle Storey (1915-92), daughter of Cuthbert William Storey (1878-1955) and Myrtle Backhouse (1881-1919). They were married at Leighton Hall in Lancashire. Mike Bassett tells us that in 1905, Myrtle 'won the first Ladies Golf Championship in Melbourne . . . [adding that is is] amazing that my paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother were in Victoria at the same time! He adds that Bert and Elizabeth had two sons: 1) himself, Michael Cuthbert Bassett, who was born in 1945 and has five children and seven grandchildren; and 2) John Augustine Bassett (1947, married with no children). As mentioned above, after the war Bert returned to Australia where he was commissioned into that country's peacetime navy. He was promoted to Commander on 30 June 1952 and resigned from the RAN on 1 October 1956. During his time in Australia's post-War Navy Bert served on the Shropshire, Terrible and Glory and was stationed at HMAS Londsale, Albatross and Cerebus as well as in Sydney and Melbourne. He returned to England after his retirement and was living at Leighton Hall at Cornforth in Lancashire in 1958 and, from 1983, at 'The Cottage' in Albrighton near Wolverhampton in Shropshire. Bert died at Albrighton on 27 November 1988. His naval record contains a cable sent from Australia House in London to Navy HQ in Canberra advising of his death and stating a Requiem Mass was to be held for him on 6 December 1988 at St Joseph's Church at Albrighton. The cable further stated Bert had requested his death be notified to Rear Admiral W. J. Dovers CBE, DSO (who joined the RAN around the same time and eventually became Chief of Navy Personnel). A death notice was published in The London Times on 30 November 1988 (we have still to view it). Mike Bassett tells us his mother Elizabeth continued to live at Albrighton after her husband's death and died there on 10 March 1992.
From the Gillespie Family Tree on Ancestry, this photo is of Christina Mary Henderson and her family in around 1909.
Standing (from L/R): Isabella, William jnr, Ethel May and Alexander Hugh Henderson. Seated in the centre: Christina Mary, Willian snr,
Ellen and Maud Henderson. At the front: Ellen Mayne, James Henry and Margaret Temple Dummond Henderson.
This photograph was sent to us by Mike Bassett. It was taken in around 1917 and shows Christina Mary Bassett nee Henderson
with her mother, maternal grandfather and eldest son.
Also from the Gillespie Family Tree, the photo on the left is of Christina Mary Bassett nee Henderson
and her sons, Robert James and Charles William Bassett. The one on the right is of Christina's
younger brother, 3313 Pte Alexander Hugh Henderson, who served in the 38th Battalion in France.
4. Rebecca Osborne (1873-1953)
Born at Coleraine in Victoria in 1873, Rebecca married John Shiels at Daylesford in Victoria in 1899. We think that John was born at Geelong in 1872, the son of John Shiels snr and Margaret Young who were married in Victoria in 1867. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that John had four siblings: his twin sister Bryde, Margaret (born in 1870), Catherine (1875) and Ellen Shiels (1878). Like a number of Rebecca's siblings, she and John went to live in Western Australia where they they eventually became known by the name Shields. Thus the Australian Electoral rolls shows a John, labourer, and Rebecca Shields were at Kirrup in Western Australia in 1903, 1906 and 1910. The 1912 roll has John, a mill hand, and Rebecca Shiels at Barton's Mill in Pickering Brook. Rebecca Shields and John Shiels were registered at Barrabupp in 1914 and 1915 (John was by then a foreman) and a Rebecca Shields was at Farmer Street in Balkatta in Perth in 1916 and 1917.
His military record in the Australian National Archives shows that 264 John Shields, a saw mill foreman who was born at Geelong in 1876, enlisted in the First AIF at Perth on 18 January 1916. He gave as his NOK Rebecca Shields of Barrabupp (later amended to Belleview Terrace in Fremantle). John was allocated to B Company 44 Battalion. He proceeded overseas from Fremantle on the HMAT Suevic A29 on 6 June 1916 (the embarkation roll shows he was then 40 years of age, had enlisted at Barrabupp and Rebecca was living on Farmer Street North Perth). He sailed from Southampton to France on 25 November 1916 and returned to England in October 1917. After working on the administrative staff at Woking Hospital, John returned to Australia on the HT Balmoral Castle on 1 February 1918 (he was said to be suffering from lumbago) and was discharged from the Army at Perth on 3 April 1918.
The 1925 electoral roll shows Rebecca and John Robert Osborne Shields, farm hand, registered at Yalbarrin. The 1931 roll has a John Shields, farmer, at Bruce Rock and Rebecca Shields at Yalbarrin. The 1936, 1937, 1943 and 1949 rolls have Johm, farmer, and Raymond William Shields, farmer, at Bruce Rock and Rebecca at Yalbarrin. As the following notice published in The West Australian records, John Shields died at Bruce Rock the following year: 'SHIELDS: On January 21, 1950 at Bruce Rock Hospital, John Shields, dearly beloved husband of Rebecca, loved father of Ray also Jack (deceased), loved twin brother of Bryde (Mrs. Smythe. Melbourne), loved brother of Annie (Mrs. Dowd, Gippsland), Catherine (Mrs. Mc Clintock), also Ellen (Mrs. E. Lightly, deceased); aged 76 years' (23 January 1950). Rebecca died in Perth in 1953. Her death notice, published in The West Australian on 11 June 1953, reads: 'SHIELDS: On June 10, at 29 Preston-street Como, Rebecca, widow of John Shields, of Bruce Rock, loving mother of John (deceased) and Ray. Fond mother-in-law of Patricia, and loved grandmother of baby Phillip; aged 79 years'. The Perth Metrolitan Cemeteries Board website shows that John was buried in the RC section of the Karrakatta Cemetery. Rebecca was buried in Karrakatta's Wesleyan section along with her eldest son, John Shields who had died at Bruce Rock in 1930.
As their death notices indicate, John and Rebecca had two sons: John Shields jr (1901-30) and Raymond William Shields (1908-91). John jnr died at Bruce Rock in 1930. His brother Ray married Nellie Patricia ('Pat') Halligan (1923-2016) in 1951. They lived at Bruce Rock after their marriage, Ray dying there in 1991 (he is buried in the RC section at Karrkatta). Pat died in Perth in 2016. Her obituary, published in The West Australian on 5 November 2016, tells us she and Ray had one son, Phillip William Shields, Pat was the daughter of Hannah Patrick and William Arthur Halligan and she had three sisters: Elise, Verna and Mary Elizabeth (Bobbie) all of whom were deceased.
5. Emma Jane Osborne (1878-1954)
Born at Amherst in 1878, Emma married Edwin Albert Balzary (1860-1945) in the Bible Christian Church at Sailor's Creek Falls in Victoria on 2 October 1895. Emma was then living at Eganstown and was 20 years old. Edwin, described as a 'civil servant', was 31 (the family think he was more likely 34 or 35) and lived at 'Rosebank' on Evandale Road in Malvern. The wedding was witnessed by Emma's brother, William Henry Osborne, and James Nicholas.
Beth Chamberlain and her cousin Jean Nixon have researched and written about Edwin ('Ted') Balzary's parents and their family. Ted's mother, pictured on the left, was an Irish woman, Honoria Bentley or Bartley, who came to Australia in 1849 as part of the Female Orphan Immigration Scheme. Jean tells us that the scheme was designed in part to 'redress the balance of the sexes [in the new colony] which stood at two males to one female in the cities and eight males to one female in the areas "beyond the established boundaries"'. It was also hoped that the influx of young and pious working women would help meet the then high demand for domestic servants in the colony as well as provide a civilising influence within its outer reaches. Between 1848 and 1850, more than 4,000 girls from Irish foundling hospitals and Irish and English workhouses were brought to Australia under the scheme.
Honoria, who was sixteen years of age at the time, came on the orphan ship the PEMBERTON which sailed from Plymouth in England on 29 January 1849 and docked at Port Phillip on 14 May. She was received into a government-sponsored immigration depot on 26 May and left Melbourne for Portland some three weeks later. There she met and married Albert Vincett Balzary at the local church of St Stephen on 14 February 1853. Albert (pictured on the right) was born in Hungary and is thought to have sailed from Bombay to Australia on the RUNNYMEDE, arriving at Portland on 3 June 1852 (Jean notes that a number of subsequent certificates state that Honoria and Albert were actually married in Bombay but believes that was not so).
Jean continues that Honoria and Albert 'had three children born before 1858 - Lylle, Emily Louisa and Eleanor Albertha, but apparently not one of the three was registered'. Their next two children, Arthur Vincent and Edwin Albert Balzary, were born at Pleasant Creek (now Stawell) and Lamplough in 1858 and 1860 respectively. Lylle died young and may be buried at Dunolly in Victoria. Emily married John Walker Wills at Goldsborough in 1884 and had two children: Albert John Nelson Wills and Henrietta Leonora Maria Stoward Wills. Eleanor married John Edgar Peck at Goldsborough in 1882. They lived at Bealiba and had five children: Edwin, Arthur, Oliver, Walter and Cyril ('Jack') Peck. Arthur Vincent Balzary married Annie Margaret Smith (Beth's grandparents) at Fitzroy in Melbourne in 1895. They had seven children: Mildred, Una, Aubrey, Verna, Arthur, Norma and Dulcie Balzary.
Albert Balzary died at Dunolly on 3 July 1865 and was buried there the following day. He was said to be 51 years old. His wife Honoria (who was also known as Henrietta) re-married in 1875, to William Lovett, who came from Middlesex in England, at Dunolly in Victoria. At the time she was a storekeeper in the nearby town of Goldsborough. They had no children. Honoria Lovett nee Balzary nee Bentley died at her son Edwin's home at Evandale Road in Malvern on 29 November 1902. She was buried at the Melbourne cemetery on 3 December 1902.
After their marriage in 1895 Edwin Albert, a postman and later a 'sorter', and Emma Jane Balzary lived most of their married lives together at 8 Evandale Road in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern where Edwin died in 1945. Emma Jane died at Box Hill in Melbourne in 1954. The couple had five sons - Leonard Albert, Clifford Vincent, Raymond Robert Cecil, Edwin George and William Osborne Balzary - all of whom were born at Malvern and some of whom saw active service (see below). Ronald Balzary tells us that Edwin and Emma also had an adopted daughter, Mollie Balzary who, according to the Australian electoral rolls, worked as a commercial artist and mothercraft nurse. Mollie's brother, Edwin George Balzary (1905-45) worked for the Victorian Railways and lived all his life at Malvern with his parents. We don't think that he married. We have been able to discover a little more about the rest of their family as follows.
5.1 Leonard Albert Balzary (1896-1917)
No 2344 Pte Leonard Albert Balzary enlisted in the First AIF on 5 July 1915. He was then aged 18 and was living with his parents at 8 Evandale Road in Malvern where he had attended State School No 2586 on Tooronga Road. He had previously served four years in the senior cadets and six months with the citizen forces. He embarked from Port Melbourne on 29 September 1915 on the HMAT RMS OSTERLEY as part of the fifth reinforcements for the 23rd Battalion of the 6th Infantry Brigade. His father informed the authorities that he 'served in Egypt and afterwards in France with B Coy 23 Battalion as a stretcher bearer'. He was killed in action on Westhoek Ridge near Ypes in Belgium on 21 September 1917 and his name is included on the Menin Gate memorial. The following 'In Memorium' notice was published in the 21 September 1918 edition of the Argus: 'BALZARY - In loving memory of our beloved eldest son, Private Leonard Albert, stretcher bearer, 23rd Battalion, who fell in France on 21 September 1917, also his cousin Sapper R. J. Bassett, who died of wounds on 20th September 1917, loved brother and cousin of Cliff (on active service), Ray, George and Will, aged 20 years and eleven months.'
5.2 Clifford Vincent Balzary (1899-1964)
Clifford or 'Cliff' as he was called, enlisted in the First AIF on 13 March 1917 and embarked from Melbourne on the HMAT A32 THEMISTOCLES on 4 August 1917 as part of the 14th Reinforcements. He was then 18 years old and was living with his parents at 8 Evandale Road in Malvern in Victoria. He served in the 5th Division Signal Company and returned to Australia on 22 July 1919. The Australian electoral rolls show that he remained in the Army for a time after the war and worked in Melbourne where he met and married in 1927 Sylvia Eileen Mitchell (1899-1959), the daughter of Robert Alexander Mitchell and Ellen Fitzgerald. The 1931 electoral roll shows Clifford, now a public servant, and Sylvia Eileen Balzary living at 104 Bamfield Street in the Melbourne suburb of Sandringham. The 1936/7, 1942 and 1954 rolls show them at 7 Susan Street in Sandringham. Clifford Balzary died at Sandford in Victoria in 1964. His wife Sylvia had pre-deceased him by five years. Ronald Balzary tells us that they had four children: Peter John Balzary (1927-2004), Leonard Vincent (deceased), Noel Clifford and Wendy Anne Balzary.
Taken at Nui Dat in South Vietnam in 1967, this photo shows , from L/R:
WO1s Peter John Balzary, then RQMS of 5 Battalion, George Quinn and
Alexander ('Blue') Thompson who had earlier all served together in Korea.
The Balzary Family Tree on Ancestry.com tells us that Peter died at Cleveland
in Queensland on 6 November 2004, was married to a living Nihill
and had two children both still living.
5.3 Raymond Robert Cecil Balzary (1902-75)
Raymond and his wife Margaret Jean Palmer (1903-73), the daughter of Henry Palmer and Eliza Rebecca Hutchinson, lived in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh where Raymond worked as a salesman. They had three children: Raymond jnr, Thelma and Ronald Balzary.
5.4 William Osborne Balzary (1907-82)
The Australian electoral rolls indicate that William, who worked as a butcher, lived at his parents' home at Malvern until at least the time of the 1954 election. The Balzary Family Tree on Ancestry.com has William's wife as Helen Elizabeth Clark (1914-1992) who was born at 'Koarah' in NSW and died at Dandenong in Victoria.
6. John Osborne (1878-1949)
John, or Jack as he was known, was born at Amherst in Victoria. He married Alice Aldrich (pictured on the left) at Sailor's Falls near Daylesford in Victoria in 1914. The couple's wedding certificate shows that John was a 33 year-old bachelor and Alice a 26 year-old spinster who was born at Eganstown in Victoria in 1888. Her parents were James Grant Aldrich (1863-1947), a miner, and Naomi Wise (1864-1939) who were married at Daylesford in 1892. At the time of his wedding John was living and working as a tree feller at Busselton in Western Australia. The birth places and dates of their children indicate that he and Alice returned to the West after their marriage. This is confirmed by the following note in the Bruce Rock Post dated 21 December 1923: 'Mr Jack Osborne (brother of Mr W. H. Osborne well known in local circles) of Nannup with his wife and family arrived early in the week to take up farming in the Korbel district'.
The electoral rolls show them at Ellis Creek in 1925 and, from 1931 to 1943, on a farm at Belka (near Bruce Rock where John's older brother William Henry Osborne also lived). By the end of that decade they had moved to Korbel where John died suddenly of a heart attack on 7 January 1949. Death notices published in The West Australian indicate that John had previously lived at Kirup and Barrabup and that he was: 1) the father of Alan (Victoria), father-in-law of Jean, and grandpop of Diana; 2) the 'Pop' of Joy (Mrs Stammers); 3) brother of Emma (Mrs Balzary) and Alice (Mrs A. Thomas) of 29 Preston Street, Como; 4) brother of Rebecca (Mrs Shields), brother-in-law of John and uncle of Ray; and 5) uncle of Gwennie (Mrs Munyard), Bill and Ron Thomas. His funeral was described in the Bruce Rock Post thus: 'The funeral of the late John Osborne, one of the earliest settlers in the Korbel district who died suddenly at his home on Saturday last took place in the Methodist portion of the Bruce Rock cemetery on the Sunday. Chief mourners were Mrs Osborns (wife), Bill and Ray (sons), Mesdames Shields and Thomas (sisters), Mr J. Shields and Ray, Mrs Munyard, Mrs H. Stone and Ron Thomas' (20 January 1949).
After John's death Alice lived for a time with her family at Korbel before moving to Perth where, according to Ancestry's index of Australian bdms, she died in 1966, aged 78 years (the van Vliet Family Tree has her place of death as Nollamara). According to Ronald Balzary, the van Vliet Family Tree on Ancestry and other sources, John and Alice had five children as follows:
1. John Robert ('Bob') Osborne (1915-43). Born at Bruce Rock and educated at Belka State and Northam High Schools, Bob enlisted in the 2nd AIF at Claremont in WA on 30 October 1940. He was then working as a farm hand at Korbel and gave as his NOK his mother Alice. He was allocated to the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion on 13 December 1940 and, after going home on pre-embarkation leave in July of that year, sailed from Fremantle with his unit on 30 December 1941. They were destined for Singapore and within a month of arriving became prisoners of the Japanese. His family and friends at home were unaware of what had happened to him until September 1943 when Alice received a Red Cross card telling them Bob was in a Japanese POW camp. Sadly by the time they received the card, Bob had already died of illness in Thailand. According to the van Vliet Family Tree he had 'caught cholera while working on the Burma Railway ... and then died of pneumonia' in September 1943. Bob was buried at 'Kanni Sonkurai' (Grave No 170) until war's end when his remains were exhumed and re-buried at the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetry in Burma. As noted in the following report in the Bruce Rock Post, the family only became aware of his death two years after it had occurred: 'For many months hope had been dwindling in the breasts of Mr and Mrs J. Osborne of seeing their son Bob again and last week their worst fears were realised when the definite and sad news was received that Bob had died in a prison camp on 27 September 1943. This family has contributed its share to the winning of the war. Two other brothers, Bill and Alan, are in the RAN and their sister's husband, W. Stammers, also died while a POW in Japanese hands' (19 October 1945).
2. Ailsa Joyce Stammers nee Osborne (1917-93). As just noted Joyce's husband, William George Stammers (1914-1943) also died in Thailand as a Japanese POW. A plasterer by trade, William was born at Boulder in WA, son of John Thomas and Emma Stammers. His military file shows he enlisted in the Australian Army at Claremont on 10 July 1941 and was allocated to the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. He named Joyce as his NOK and married her before he set sail with the rest of his unit for service in North Africa and Syria. According to the Australian War Memorial, the ship returning the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion and a number of other units to Australia was diverted to Batavia on the island of Java to reinforce the Dutch garrison there against an expected Japanese invasion. This occurred on 28 February 1942 and the Dutch surrendered eight days later. The account by the War Memorial notes the majority of the pioneer battalion survived the fighting and spent the rest of the war as prisoners. Of the 858 members who landed on the island, 258 eventually died, most while working on the Burma-Thailand railway. William died from the combined effects of diarrhoea and ulcers at 55 Kilo Camp in Burma on 27 August 1943. Like his brother-in-law, Bob Osborne, he is buried at the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Burma. Joyce didn't receive news of her husband's death for another twelve months. After the war Joyce lived for a time with her parents at Korbel before moving to Perth where she worked as a clerk. We believe she died at Rockingham in 1993 although that has still to be confirmed. Nor do we know if she and William had any children.
3. William Thomas ('Bill') Osborne (1919-88). Born at Perth, Bill served as an Able Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy from 1941 until 1946. In 1948 he married Mary Frances Butcher (1922-2009) at the Perth suburb of Claremont. The Harold Leslie Walker Family Tree on Ancestry tells us Mary was born at Perth and was the daughter of Ernest Alfred William Butcher (1887-1945) and Josepha Marjory Jean Foale (1895-1962). The Australian electoral rolls show that Bill and Mary farmed land at Korbel until at least the 1980s. They are both buried at the Mandurah Lakes Cemetery whose records tell us that they had six children: Cheryl, John, Gregory, Michael, Stewart and Penelope Osborne.
4. Alan Stanley Osborne (1921-2005). Born at Ellis Creek, Alan was also an Able Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy, serving from 1943 until 1948 (when he was at HMAS Lonsdale, the Navy training establishment, in Victoria). A report in the West Australian on 4 August 1951 indicates he was granted a 1094-acre block of land at Mount Many Peaks (located some 35km north east of Albany) under the war service land settlement scheme. The Australian electoral rolls show that he and a Jean Yvonne Osborne farmed land at Mount Many Peaks until the early 1970s when they moved to Donnybrook. Alan died in 2005 and is buried in the Mandurah Lakes Cemetery whose records tell us he was the 'father of Diane, Rosemary, Robert (dec) and Lois'.
5. Raymond James Osborne (1929-2014). John and Alice's youngest son, Raymond James Osborne, worked on the family farm at Korbel for a good deal of his life. He married Norma Joyce Harvey in Perth in 1961 and died at Halls Head in 2014.
From Lisa Wahlsten's Osborne/Wahlsten Family Tree on Ancestry, the photo on the left is of WX9287 Private John Robert Osborne of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.
Born at Bruce Rock in WA in 1915, John died in 1943 while a prisoner or war in Thailand. His remains are buried in the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Burma.
The photo in the centre is of John's younger brother, Raymond James Osborne who was born in 1928. That on the right is of the infant Raymond
with his father, John Osborne (1878-1949), and possibly his mother Alice Osborne nee Aldrich (1886-1966).
Also from Lisa Wahlsten's Osborne/Wahlsten Family Tree on Ancestry, this photo was taken at
Raymond Osborne's wedding to Norma Joyce Harvey at Perth in 1961. The couple on the
left are Joyce's parents Joseph and Jessie Harvey. Those on the right are Raymond's
mother Alice Osborne nee Aldrich and her son William Thomas ('Bill') Osborne.
7. Edith Rose Osborne (1880-1969)
Born at Amherst, Edith married Mathew Alan Kerr (1869-1946) at her parents' residence at Glen Iris in Melbourne on 23 December 1903. The wedding was witnessed by John Osborne and Emma Balzary. At the time Mathew was working as a plumber and living with his parents and aunt Agnes Catherine Kerr on High Street in Glen Iris. According to one of his descendants, Marg Widdicombe, Mathew was born at Greymouth in New Zealand, the son of John Morrison Kerr, a miner, and Eliza Taylor. She adds that he had two siblings: Agnes Catherine Kerr (born around 1872) and John Samuel Kerr (1875) who later had a grocery shop in Glen Iris and married Ellen Louise 'Nellie' Pockett in Victoria in 1903.
The Australian electoral rolls show that Edith and Mathew, who was then working as an electrician, lived at Glen Iris at the time of the 1909 and 1914 elections. By the 1924 election they had moved to 128 Severn Street in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill and Mathew was described as a poultry breeder. The subsequent rolls show they continued to live at Box Hill where Mathew died in 1946. Edith (pictured below with some of her grandchildren) lived on until 1969. Like Mathew, she was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium.
Provided by Marg Widdicombe, the photo on the left shows Edith Rose Kerr nee Osborne with a number of her grandchildren.
Rear row (L/R): Les Kerr, June Worrall, Edith nursing Janece Falconer, Beverley Worrall and Rosalyn Coombes.
Front row: Marg Kerr, Anne Worrall and Heather Coombes.
The photo on the right is of Edith's son-in-law Stanley Seth Hazlewood Worrall (1905-67) who married
her daughter Olive Edith Kerr in 1929 (see below).
Marg Widdicombe and other sources inform us that Mathew and Edith had six children, all born in Melbourne. These included Mathew Alan Worrall (1913-51), who did not marry, John Robert Kerr (1909-72) who we belive married Ina Mary Rooks, and Dorothy Kerr who married Alan Falconer and is living in Queensland with their four children. We know a little more about the remaining three as follows:
7.1 Olive Edith Kerr (1904-99) who married Stanley Seth Hazelwood Worrall (1905-67) in 1929. According to the 'McGennan Family Tree' on Ancestry.com, Stanley's parents were Seth Hazlewood Worrall (1863-1941), a business man and grazier, and Hannah Jane Smith (1868-1912). He had eight siblings: Laura Maude Hazlewood Worrall (1887-1962), Elsie Elizabeth May Worrall (1889-1965), Ruby Brooker Worrall (1891-1981), John Hazlewood Worrall (1893-98), William James Worrall (1896-1966), Doris Hannah Warrall (1898-1980) and Amy Stella Worrall (1910-87). In 1910 Seth Worrall had purchased from Sir H. Allan Currie a 3,700-acre property, named 'Koonangurt', that was situated near Lismore in Victoria. The Australian Electoral Rolls show that immediately after his marriage Stan worked at 'Koonangurt' and he and Olive lived at Lismore. By the time of the 1949 election, they had moved to Geelong where Stan, who was then working as a contractor, died in 1967. Olive died in 1999. According to Marg Widdicombe, Olive and Stan had three girls: June Beverley and Ann Worrall (pictured in the photo above).
From the 'McGennan Family Tree' on Ancestry.com this photo is of members of the Worrall Family taken in around 1936
probably at 'Koonangurt' near Lismore. Olive Edith Worrall nee Osborne is said to be fourth from the right.
The person partly hidden on her right is, they think, Olive's husband, Stanley.
7.2 Seddon Morrison Kerr (1906-87) who was born at Camberwell and married Lilian Lawrence (1904-92), the daughter of Henry John Lawrence (1854-1936) and Annie Wilson (1862-1937), at Berribank in Victoria in 1931. The 'Merritt Family Tree' on Ancestry.com tells us that Lilian had four siblings all born at Ballarat: Harry Tulk Lawrence (1898-1977) who served (and was wounded) in WWI, John Hector Lawrence (born 1900) who married Leila Phyllis Robertson, Annie 'Ella' Lawrence (1902-84) who married Caleb Joseph Whitehead in 1925, and Lesley James Lawrence (1909-1994) who married Elsie May Moore in 1937. According to the Australian electoral rolls Lilian and Seddon, who was a teacher by profession, were living at 128 Severn Street Box Hill in 1931. They were living at Deans Marsh in 1937 and from 1943 to 1980 in the Melbourne suburb of Croydon.
7.3 Muriel Louise Kerr (1911-86) who was also born at Camberwell. She married Leslie Rupert Coombes who, according to the 'Parker Family Tree' on Ancestry.com, was born at Ararat in Victoria on 11 January 1908 and died at Canterbury in Melbourne on 24 February 1982. His parents were said to be William Coombes (1863-1943) and Anna Jane Size (1868-1951). Marg Widdicombe tells us that they had two daughters: Rosalyn and Heather.
8. Alice Mary Osborne (1883-1963)
Born at Talbot in Victoria Alice moved with her parents to Western Australia where she was married twice. Her first husband was a another Victorian by birth, Kerang-born John Alexander Bruce (1865-1908), who was also known as John Alexander Barlow. He and Alice were wed at Busselton in Western Australia in 1900. Alexander died eight years later, his Letters of Administration, published in the Kalgoorlie Miner on 17 August 1908, indicate he was then working as a timber mill proprietor and living at Pickering Brook. As detailed below, he and Alice and had three children we are aware of: Robert Kenneth Alexander, Jessica Elizabeth and Lois Jene or Jean Bruce. In 1910 Alice married the mill manager at Pickering Brook, William Thomas, at Claremont in Perth. The Australian Electoral Rolls show Alice and William, a mill manager, living at Barton's Mill at Pickering Brook in 1912 and 1913. By the time of the 1916 election they had moved to Perth were William ran a news agency at Subiaco. The following notice in The West Australian (dated 17 November 1927) indicates that sometime after this they moved to Belka near Bruce Rock where Thomas died in 1927: 'DEATHS Thomas - On November 16 1927 at Weerelie, William, dearly beloved husband of Alice Mary Thomas of Belka and loved father of Gwen, Billie and Ron'. The same year Alice's eldest son, Robert Alexander Bruce, became engaged to Charlotte Campbell from Guildford in Perth. They were married there in 1928, the same year Alice's eldest daughter, Jessica Elizabeth Bruce, married Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey also in Perth.
The electoral rolls show that after William's death Alice and her children continued to live at Belka until sometime after the Second World War when they moved to South Perth. A report in The West Australian on 27 Nov 1947 tells us that 'Mrs. A. Thomas, of South Perth, left by the Stratheden this week for London to visit her daughter, Mrs. Harry Massey at 36 Grove Way, Esher in Surrey' (Alice was then 64 years old, travelled First Class and described herself on the ship's manifest as a 'retired farmer'). The 1949 electoral roll has Alice at 29 Preston street in South Perth together with a Ronald Henry Thomas, engineer. She was still registered there in 1954 (Ronald Henry and Shirley Patricia Thomas were at 105 Forrest Street in South Perth). At the time of the 1958 and 1963 elections Alice was registered at 174 Coode Street in nearby Como. The WA metropolitan Cemeteries Board website shows Alice Mary Thomas, aged 80 years, died at Como on 16 March 1963. She was cremated at Karrakatta and is memorialised in the Crematorium Rose gardens (Garden 8A, position 0026). What of her six children?
1. Robert Kenneth Alexander Bruce (1901-56). Born at Kirrup in Western Australia Robert married Charlotte Mary Campbell (1903-86) in Perth in 1928. Charlotte was born at Guildford, the daughter of William Home Campbell (1866-1946) and Mary Ann Williamson (1873-1949). We haven't been able to trace them with any certainty in the electoral rolls. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board website shows that Robert Kenneth Alexander Bruce, aged 54 years, died at Claremont on 26 August 1956. His ashes were dispersed at Karrakatta Cemetery. The Cool Family Tree on Ancestry tells us that he and Charlotte had a daughter who married a son of Scottish-born William L. I. Cool (1890-1942) and Mary Louise Cole (1891-1961) and had three children including a Christopher B. Cool.
2. Jessica Elizabeth ('Jessie Eliza') Bruce (1903-84). Jessie trained as a school teacher and in this capacity met, at an Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science Congress held at Perth in 1926, a bright young Melbourne University physics student, Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey (1908-83). According to his entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Harrie
was born on 16 May 1908 at Invermay, Victoria, only child of Tasmanian-born Harrie Stewart Massey, miner, and his Victorian-born wife Eleanor Elizabeth, nee Wilson. Harrie spent his early years at Hoddles Creek, Victoria, where his father owned a sawmill, and obtained his merit certificate at the local state school in four years instead of the usual eight. He moved to Melbourne with his mother to take up a scholarship at University High School, where he was senior prefect in his final year. Supported by a government scholarship, in 1925 Massey enrolled at the University of Melbourne [where he obtained a B.Sc in 1928 and a BA Hons and M.Sc in 1929], winning a succession of prizes and exhibitions and completing full honours courses in physics, chemistry and mathematics. No drudge, he found plenty of time for sport and relaxation, especially billiards, tennis, baseball - at which he represented the university - and his great love, cricket, at which he excelled.
Jessie and Harrie were married at the district registrar's office in Perth on 11 January 1928 and, a year later, travelled to Cambridge where Harrie had a travelling scholarship to work at the prestigious Cavendish Laboratories for two years. While there he was awarded a further bursary which enabled him to complete his PhD at Cambridge and publish, with his colleague and mentor C. B. O. Mohr, the classic text The Theory of Atomic Collisions (1933). In August of that year they and their daughter Pamela Lois Massey returned to Australia to visit friends and family. While there Jessie was interviewed by the Australian Womens' Weekly where her remarks were both interesting and revealing. They spent, she told her interviewer:
the three months long vacation of each year travelling on the Continent avoiding the hotels catering for English people and selecting places typical of the country. In France she found children were not very welcome adjuncts to travellers, but in the other Latin countries and in Germany, excellent provision was made for tiny travellers'. Pamela Massey has been travelling since she was two, and has picked up ordinary, everyday words in seven languages. The family also had the opportunity of comparing foods and modes of life more so than the usual tourist. They did not care much for German food. There was too much meat and pork. And the French cooking did not appeal. Dutch food had the nearest resemblance to the English, of all the Continental countries, and they found Spanish and Portuguese fare, with an abundance of fruit, nuts and fish, delicious. Living in Cambridge. Mrs. Massey found food expensive. but domestic help good and cheap. 'It is very easy to get capable domcstic help in England. You can get an excellent maid for ten shillings a week, and one never dreams of being without one as you have to in Australia, she laughed. They are returning to England in September. 'My husband will be going to Russia,' Mrs. Massey said. She is a staunch supporter of that country. 'There is a very wrong impression circulated about it,' she said, 'tourists especially have a great time there. Everything is made very easy for them' (2 August 1933).
A subsequent visit made in 1937 was reported in equally gushing terms in The West Australian on the 23rd of July of that year:
Back in Perth after an absence of 10 years is Mrs. H. S. W. Massey, formerly Miss Jessie Bruce, who is spending this week-end with her mother, Mrs. A. Thomas, of Bruce Rock. With her husband, Dr. Massey (a physicist who is on a broadcasting tour of Australian national stations) and her eight-year-old daughter, Pamela, Mrs. Massey arrived from London by the Orford on Tuesday and will continue the journey to the Eastern States by the Narkunda next week. Chatting with friends at a reception to the Comedian Harmonists on Wednesday evening, Mrs. Massey outlined her life in Belfast, where she and her husband spend the nine months of the university year, and where Pamela attends a school run on the Dalton scheme, for which Mrs. Massey is full of praise. There was no formality at the school, she said, the teachers rarely being addressed by their surnames. The French mistress, for instance, was generally known as "Maddie," "Missie" was the mistress of Form I, while another mistress answered to the name of "Grubbie." The only member of the staff who was given her proper title was the principal. "Nevertheless," Mrs. Massey remarked. "the children are well disciplined and courteous and seem to develop in originality and self-reliance." Dr. and Mrs. Massey live in an old coaching house which has been modernised, but which retains a strong link with the past in the oldest grape vine in Northern Ireland. This is in a glass house, but bears excellent fruit without the aid of artificial heating. Apples, pears, cherries, red and black currants and gooseberries also grow prolifically and will be in full fruit at the present time. Mrs. Massey was educated in Melbourne, where her marriage took place. She has been in Belfast for three years and before that was four years at Cambridge, where her husband was doing research.
In the ensuing years, Harrie's academic star continued to rise. In 1938 he was appointed Goldsmid Proessor of Mathematics at University College London (UCL). After working for the Admiralty during the Second World War where he collaborated for a time on the Manhatten Project, he returned to UCL where he galvanised the Department's atomic and nuclear physics programs. As a Fellow of the Royal Society he was also heavily involved in the development of Britain's aerospace industry and activities including its involvement in the creation and use of the Woomera rocket range in Australia. Jessie meanwhile was putting her energies into her daughter and their newly acquired house in the fashionable town of Esher in Surrey which she no doubt introduced to Alice during her visit to England in 1947. Although they continued to make England their home Harrie and Jessie visited Australia on many occasions and by all accounts retained a strong affection for their native land. After a long illness Harrie died at Esher in 1983, Jessie died at Claygate in Surrey a year later. The Catherine House records show that a Pamela L. Massey married Leonard A. Duncanson in the Surrey Northern RD of England in 1952 although we have yet to confirm this is Harrie and Jessie's only daughter.
The photo on the left is from Lisa Wahlsten's Osborne/Wahsten Family Tree on Ancestry. It was taken in around 1953 and shows (L/R):
Ailsa Joyce Stammer (nee osborne), her younger brother Raymond Osborne and their two cousins Gwenda Iris ('Gwen') Thomas and Bill Thomas.
The one on the right is of Professor Sir Harrie Stewart Wilson Massie (1908-83) who married Gwen Thomas' half sister,
Jessie Eliza Bruce (1903-84), at Perth in 1928.
3. Lois Jene (or Jean) Bruce (1907-50). Like her mother, Lois was twice married. Her first husband was a Korbel-based farmer, John Charles Forster (1901-79). who she married at St George's Cathedral in Perth in 1929. After their marriage they lived at Korbel where they had two children before John divorced Lois in Perth in 1942. As reported in Perth's Daily News on 8 April that year, Lois had become involved with another Korbel farmer, Horace Joseph Stone (1914-62), who she married in 1942 and with whom she had a further child. She continued to live at Korbel until her death in 1950. The following notices were published in The West Australian on 15 July 1950: 'DEATHS STONE: On July 14. 1950. at Royal Perth Hospital. Lois Jean the beloved wife of Horace Joseph Stone, devoted mother of Rosemary. Dorothy and Judy: aged 43 years. STONE: On July 14, at Perth loved mother of Rosemary. My own darling mummy. STONE: On July 14. 1950. loved and devoted mummy of Dorothy Anne. Goodbye. Mummy darling. STONE (nee Lols Barton Bruce): On July 14. 1950. Lois Jene greatly loved daughter of Mrs. A. M. Thomas, 29 Preston-street Como, loved sister of Ken, Jessie (England), Gwennie, Billie (Melbourne) and Ron. STONE: On July 14, Lois. loved sister of Ron and sister-in-law of Shirley. Sadly missed. STONE: On July 14, Lois. loved sister and sister-in-law of Billie and Helen Thomas, Melbourne. STONE: On July 14, 1950. Lois beloved sister of Jessle (Mrs. H. Massey. England), sister-in-law of Harrle. Loved aunty of Pamela Lois. STONE: On July 14, 1950, Lols much loved sister of Gwennie sister-in-law of Vern Dewar. Sweet rest Janle. STONE (L): At Perth, on July 14, Lois, loved wife of Horace, of Korbel, esteemed sister-in-law of Cecll and Enid Lamb. I34 Killarney- street. Mt. Hawthorn. STONE: A loving tribute to Lois Jene, from Charles, Rosemary and Dorothy Forster. Sweet memories. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board website shows that Lois was cremated at the Karrakatta Crematorium and is memorialised in the Crematorium Rose Gardens (Garden 8A, position 26).
4. William ('Billie') Thomas who married Helen Riches at Darlington in Perth in 1948. The wedding was reported in The West Australian on 5 July 1948) as follows: Thomas-Riches Wedding The wedding of Miss Helen Riches, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. G. Riches, of Darlington, and Mr. William Thomas, son of Mrs. A. Thomas and the late Mr. W. Thomas, of Korbel, took place in St. Cuthbert's Church, Darlington, on Saturday evening. The bride's gown of silver embroidered tulle over white satin, fashioned with a pointed bodice and full crinoline skirt, was worn with a raw-cut tulle veil of finger-tip length, and white daisies were used for her small bouquet. The matron of honour, Mrs. G. Munyard, carried a bouquet of violets and ageratum against her smart draped frock of pearly-grey crepe. Miss Joan Freeman, the bridesmaid, wore a picture frock of pale aqua-blue. Cecile Brunner roses and pale-blue daisies were used for the light coronet on her hair and for her bouquet. The groom was attended by Messrs. R. Thomas and K. Law. Before leaving the reception at the bride's mother's home in Lionel-road, the bride changed to a smart grey tailored suit and a little matching felt hat. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas plan to tour in the South-West before leaving for Melbourne, where they will make their home'. The Australian Electoral rolls show a William Roy, engineer, and Helen Dorothy Thomas, assistant, living at 7 Craigrossie Street in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg in 1949 and on Ballarat Road Deer Park in 1954 and 1963. We have been unable to trace them after this. We do know, from the Department of Veterans Affairs' Second World War nominal roll, that a Helen Dorothy Riches, born at Albany on 4 September 1920 enlisted in the Australian Army ay Guildford in WA on 15 October 1942. She was then living at Nedlands and gave as her NOK Les Riches. She was discharged on 30 May 1945 while serving as a private soldier at 1 Australian General Hospital.
5. Gwenda Iris ('Gwen') Thomas (1911-91) was also married twice. Her first husband was Peto Munyard (1919-43), son of William George Munyard (1891-1929) and Minnie Amelia Jorgenson (1895-1963). Born at Magill in South Australia, Peto enlisted in the RAAF at Perth on 7 October 1940. His NOK was Gwenda Munyard who he had married in Perth in 1941. Peto died on 20 March 1942 while serving in the Middle East as a Sergeant in 14 Squadron. According to the Australian War Memorial he was killed in a 'flying battle' and is buried at the El Alamein War Cemetery at Marsa Matruh in Egypt. The Munyard Family Tree on Ancestry tells us Peto and Gwen had no children. On 22 December 1948, The West Australian reported the following engagement: 'Gwenda Iris Munyard. youngest daughter of the late Mr. W. Thomas and Mrs. A. M. Thomas (Korbel) and 29 Preston-street. Como, to Frederick Vernon, only son of the late Mr. H. F. Dewar and Mrs. F. M. Dewar. 90 Anzac road. Mt. Hawthorn'. They were married the following year and lived in South Perth/Como where Frederick worked as a grocer and business manager and Gwen as a teacher. We think they may have had at least one son, Robert Vernon Dewar who was living with his parents in 1980 and working as a gardener, although this has not been confirmed. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board shows that Gwenda Iris Dewar, aged 80 years, died at South Perth on 23 September 1991, was cremated at the Karrakatta Cemetery and is memorialised in the Garden of Remembrance there along with her husband Frederick Vernan Dewar, aged 74, who died at South Perth on 6 December the same year (RC Section, garden 12, position 248).
6. Ronald Henry ('Ron') Thomas. The Australian Electoral Rolls show that a Ronald Henry Thomas was living with his mother Alice Mary Thomas at South Perth at the time of the 1949 election and working as an engineer. He and a Shirley Patricia Thomas were living at 105 Forrest Street in South Perth in 1954 and 1958. It seems they then moved to Canberra although we have not yet been able to corroborate that the Perth and Canberra Ronald Henrys are the same person. The 1963 and 1968 election rolls have Ronald Henry, engineer, and Shirley Patricia Thomas living at 48 Hicks Street in the inner suburb of Red Hill. In 1980 they were registered as living at 80 Brereton Street Garran. The following seat notice was published in the Canberra Times on 9 January 1987: 'THOMAS, Ronald Henry. Passed away peacefully on 8th January at Peter McCallum Hospital, Melbourne. Beloved husband of Shirley, much loved father of Ann, Paul and Helen, Father-in-law of Peter and Sally, loving grandpa of Blake, Travis, Simon and Fiona. Will always live in our hearts'. A subsequent report in the same newspaper noted that probate from Ronald's will had been granted to his widow, Shirley Patricia Thomas.
Also from Lisa Wahlsten's Osborne/Wahlsten Family Tree on Ancestry, the photo on the left was taken in 1953 and is of Gwen Thomas and Joyce Osborne.
In the centre is Gwen's first husband, Sgt Peto Munyard 14 Squadron RAAF, who was killed in action in North Africa in 1942.
Pictured on the right are Gwen Thomas, Joyce Osborne and Ron Thomas in 1953.
9. George Alfred Osborne (1885-1959)
George was born at Eganstown in Victoria. He undertook his schooling in the old Telegraph School at Eganstown until 1901 when he began work as a junior teacher at the nearby Musk Vale State School. After gaining first place in the entrance examination he attended Melbourne University Teachers' College where he won the 1905 Gladman teaching prize. The following year he won the Dwight prize for the theory and practice of education, and completed a Master of Arts degree. In 1909 George married Emmeline Jane 'Lena' Wall (1884-1981). Born at Panmure in Victoria in 1884, Lena was the daughter of Thomas Wall and Louisa Rawlings (1850-1929). Louisa's death notice published in the Melbourne Argus on 26 October 1929 indicates she and Thomas had five children in addition to Lena: Maud Jessie, who worked as a governess, Albert, Maime, Ethel Eleanor, and Lila Thomesina Wall.
George taught at Warrnambool, North Fitzroy and Melbourne High School before serving as head master at Mildura High School towards the end of the First World war. In 1919 George and Lena moved to Lucknow near Bairnsdale in Gippsland where George worked as an inspector of schools. After being promoted to senior inspector in 1929, they returned to Melbourne where they lived at 419 Barker's Road in Kew (also registered there in 1937 was a Joyce Roberta Osborne a receptionist). In 1932 George was a member of a committee appointed by the Victorian Government to consider changes to the State schools curriculum. In an interview published in the Adelaide News in April of that year, George provided his readers with an overview of the direction these changes may take: 'In the revision of subject matter we must face the fact that our system is too academic and formal and too little concerned with life and the development of power in the individual. We tend to think more of the amount of knowledge we can instil into the minds of the pupils, and too little of the development of thought, reasoning power, initiative, resourcefulness, ability to attack new problems, and of adjustment to life as a whole in the pupils'. Probably at a result of his work with the committee, George was subsequently made an assistant chief inspector and, in 1938, was awarded a Carnegie travelling scholarship by the Australian Council for Educational Research to investigate the educational problems and practices in the United States and Canada. George later became Victoria's chief inspector of primary schools, an appointment he held until 1950. His retirement in that year sparked the following article in the Melbourne Argus:
The man who never left school. Sixty-five year old George Alfred Osborne - the man who never left school - is all for the modern child. And there is probably no one in Australia more competent to judge. Mr Osborne, who retired yesterday as Victoria's chief inspector of primary schools, has had 50 years in the education service. It began back in 1901, when, at the age of 15, he was a pupil at the old Telegraph school in the Daylesford district on Friday, and a 12/6 a-week junior teacher at Musk Vale school, a couple of miles away, on the following Monday. That is how it came about that he never left school. Yesterday, as he tidied up his office desk, assisted by his secretary, Miss Nancy Lee, he had a few things to say. 'Don't fall for grandmother's line that little children should be seen and not heard', said Mr. Osborne. 'The chief reason why modern education is so successful is because children are no longer punished into silence. Today they are not afraid to express an opinion, and as a result are more alert and responsive to teaching, and go out into the world much better citizens. I am violently opposed to rigid discipline and corporal punishment in schools. Both are repressive, and prevent a child from developing his own personality and initiative'. Mr. Osborne disagrees with grandmother on another score. 'Children of today are not undisciplined they are just brighter and more alert than the children of the early century', he said. Mr. Osborne thinks that the standard of education and teaching has advanced 'tremendously' in the last 50 years. Today teachers thought less of teaching the 'Three R's' than of developing the child's mind. And what will Mr. Osborne do with himself now? 'I'll just potter around the various organisations on which I serve, and see if I can do a little good here and there', h« said (24 May 1950).
George was able to potter around in retirement for a further nine years. He died at Kew in 1959 and, we think, was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium on 31 March of that year. Lena lived on for another 22 years, dying at Bright in Victoria in 1981. She and George had at least three children we are aware of, an eldest daughter and two others as follows:
1) Joyce Roberta Osborne who married David Renshaw Nicholls (1900-46) in Melbourne in 1938 (see her photo below). As reported in the Melbourne Argus, Joyce and David spent their honeymoon on an eight-month world tour that involved sailing to Naples and then travelling some '2000 miles overland visiting the Italian lakes, Venice and Monte Carlo then through the south of France to Paris and then England. Later they will return to Europe to visit Germany and return to Australla via the United States of America' (19 October 1937). The same article informed its readers that Joyce was a 'member of the Gold Diggers, a band of enthusiastic young workers for charity'.
2) Ralph Douglas Osborne (1917-73) who was born at Mildura and enlisted in the Australian Army at Royal Park on 31 July 1941. He was discharged on 26 February 1946 at which time he was a WO1 serving in the HQ First Australian Army. The Australian electoral rolls show that Ralph and Margaret Sandford Osborne lived all their married lives in Sandringham (later Beaumaris) in Melbourne where Ralph worked as a clerk. He died there in 1973, she in 2014. Both were cremated at the Springvale Botanical cemetery. They had at least one son we are aware of: Christopher George Osborne who served as a national serviceman during the period of the Vietnam war.
The photo on the left is from the Melbourne Age dated 15 January 1938 and shows Joyce Roberta Osborne on her wedding day at
Melbourne's Wesley Church where she married David Renshaw Nicholls. The other two photos come from the Wade Family Tree on Ancestry
and are of Gweneth Olive Clark and Raymond Abel Wade on their wedding day in May 1957 (see below).
10. Olive Eva Violet Osborne (1888-1978)
Like her brother George, Olive trained and worked as a teacher. At the time of the 1914 election she and her younger brother, Charles Stanley Osborne, were both teaching at Dean in the Grampions. The following year she married a local farmer William Harold Clark (1892-1969). The Clark family tree on Ancestry tells us that William and both his parents, William Clark (1864-1957) and Mary Jane Vanstone (c1869-1939), were born at Dean. It adds that William had eight siblings: Ethel Mae, Edwin Thomas, Herbert, Margaret, Marion, Allan, Dorothy Irene and Walter Clark. After their marriage William and Olive lived first at Dean and then, from around 1931 to sometime after 1954, at Berrybank near Camperdown in central Victoria. The 1960s saw then retire to Ballarat where William died in 1969 and Olive in 1978. They were both cremated at the Ballarat New Cemetery. Olive and William had two daughters as follows:
1. Floris Irene Clark (1917-84). Born at Creswick in Victoria Floris married Foxhow-born Victor Clive Dunn (1915-2000) probably at Skipton in around 1940 although that has still to be confirmed. Clive served in the RAAF between 1942 and 1946 when he was a Leading Aircraftman with 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot. The Australian Electoral Rolls show them living at Linton in 1943, Berrybank in 1949 and, from 1954, at Woodoo near Mortlake where Clive farmed land. They both died and are buried at Woondoo, Floris in 1984 and Clive in 2000. Their shared headstone tells us they had two children: Shirley and Philip William Dunn.
2. Gweneth Olive ('Gwen') Clark (1920-2013). Also born at Creswick, Gwen trained as a nurse at the Womens' Hospital in Melbourne and was working as a nurse at Berrybank in 1954. According to the Wade Family Tree on Ancestry, she married Raymond Abel Wade in 1957 (photos of them at their wedding are shown above). It adds that Raymond had been previously married - to Alice Mary Cairns (1916-55) who he married at Skipton in 1938 - and had two sons with her: Robert Leslie Wade (1948-2011) and John Raymond Wade (1938-85). The Australian Electoral rolls show that Gwen and Raymond farmed land at Woondoo. Raymond died at Warrnambool in 1983 and was cremated at the Ballarat Crematorium. His memorial plaque tells us he and Gwen had three children: David, Andrew and Elizabeth Wade. Gwen died at Woondoo in 2013.
11. Charles Stanley Osborne (1890-1941)
The 1914 electoral roll shows a Charles Stanley and Olive Eva Violet Osborne, both teachers, living at Dean in the Grampions in Victoria. The 1924 roll shows Charles was living and teaching at Merbein near Mildura. While there he met and married Lilias May Arnold (1901-94). Lilias was born at Stawell in central Victoria, the daughter of William Arnold (1865-1943) and Emma Galloway (1869-1963) who were married in Victoria in 1890. William Arnold's death notice, published in the Melbourne Argus on 23 July 1943, indicates that Lilias had three siblings: William Robert, Florls Isabel (Mrs. W. A. Thompson) and Alfred John Arnold (who served in the RAAF during the Second World War). The 1931 roll shows Charles and Lilias living on Twelfth Street in Mildura. In 1936 they were at 99 Hargraves Street in Castlemaine in western Victoria while the 1937 roll has them at 32 Queen Street in Ararat. They then moved to Melbourne where Charles died in 1941. On the day after his death the Melbourne Argus posted the following death notice: 'OSBORNE - On April 7, at Forster Street Heidelberg, Charles Stanley, the dearly beloved husband of Lilias Osborne and loved father of John and Norma'. After Charles' death Lilias went back to Merbein where she lived first with her parents and, following her father's death in 1943, on Yelta Road. She never re-married and died at Merbein in 1994. Lilias and Charles had two children: Norma and John Stanley Osborne. John died at Merbein in 1942 when he was just 14 years old. He and Lilias are buried together in the local cemetery. We have been unable to find any information about Norma.
Hickmott family Rootsweb site Henry Edward Hickmott Rebecca Smith Emma Mitchell First families index First families home page
Eliza Osborne and family, Museum Victoria Image MM 7865 (copied from Heather Walsh, 1990).
Eliza Osborne nee Hickmott, Osborne brothers and Alice Aldrich, courtesy of Lisa Wahlsten.
Honorah Balzary (nee Bentley) and Albert Vincent Balzary, courtesy of Beth Chamberlain.
WO1 Peter John Balzary and colleagues, courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, AMW COL/67/0315/VN.