William Charles Cheeseman (1883-1951)

(last updated: 11 October 2021)

William Charles Cheeseman (shown in the photo on the left, which was taken in Melbourne before William left for France in 1916) was the eighth child of Alfred John and Jane Elizabeth Cheeseman (nee Wright). He was born in Carngham in Victoria in 1883 and married Jane ('Jinny') Anderson (1885-1969) at the nearby township of Beaufort in 1906. Their wedding certificate shows they were married at the residence of William's brother-in-law Edward Haggis. William was then a 22 year-old batchelor labourer who was born at Carngham. Jane was a 21 year-old spinster and domestic servant who was born at Burrumbeet in Western Victoria. Her parents were said to be John Anderson, a farmer, and Elizabeth Mary Wright (I suspect her surname, which is the same as William's mother's maiden name, is a transcription error). The wedding was witnessed by two of William's older siblings: Alfred William Cheeseman and Sarah Jane Haggis. There remains some uncertainty over Jane's mother's maiden name. As we have seen her wedding certificate says it was Wright while her death certificate, described below, says it was Tapp (which we think was the married name of one of her sisters).

According to Heather Tytler's 'J E Brain Family Tree' on Ancestry, Jane's mother was Elizabeth Mary Sandlant (1848-1928) who hailed from Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire in England and married Scottish-born John Anderson (1838-1916) at Burrumbeet in Victoria in 1868. They had 10 children in addition to Jane, all of whom were also born at Burrumbeet: Sarah (1870-1934), John (1871-1948), George Henry (1873-89), Robert (1875-9), William (1877-1947), George (1879-98), Fanny Maud (1881-1971), Alexander (1883-83), Walter (1884-1943) and Alexander Anderson (1891-1964). Heather adds that in 1900 Elizabeth successfully sued John for a divorce because of his cruel and violent behaviour towards her and their children. Elizabeth lived at Beaufort until her death there in 1928. John Anderson moved to Sutherlands Creek near Geelong where he died in 1916.

After their marriage in 1906, William and Jinny lived at Beaufort where William worked as a farrier and the couple had their first three children: Olive Jane (born at Beaufort in 1906), Ivan William (Beaufort, 1908) and Dulcie Beryl (Mount Cole, 1910). The children are shown with their parents in the photo on the right which was taken not long after William enlisted for service in the First AIF on 17 March 1916. William's enlistment papers indicate he was then 33 years old and had served for more than four years in the local militia (the Victorian Rangers). He was allocated to the reinforcements for the 39th Battalion and embarked from Melbourne on the HMATS ACCANIUS on 27 May 1916. He disembarked at Plymouth in England on the 18 July and trained with the 39th Battalion in England before being posted to the 10th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery which would serve with the 40th Battalion in France. William and his unit proceeded to France on 22 November 1916. While there he rose to the rank of Lieutenant and eventually commanded the trench mortar battery. On 11 January 1918 he was awarded the Meritorius Service Medal (MSM) for 'valuable services rendered to the the armies in the field'. A report in the Riponlea Advocate on 29 June 1918 told its readers that in writing 'of Lieut. Wm. Cheeseman of Beaufort, a brother officer (Lieut. G. A. Fidler) states that a more devoted man to his job' a better soldier, a truer pal, and above all, a man, he did not wish to see. He won his stripes and commission by ability, and had built for himself a friendship with the lads and with the officers that anyone should be proud of. [The author continued that he] had known and been associated with Lieut. Cheeseman ever since he joined the 39th Battalion at Ballarat'. The officer in question was George Albert Fidler (1894-1977), a native of Sale in eastern Victoria, who enlisted there in January 1916 and proceeded to France nine months later. After serving with the 39th Battalion he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and posted to the 10th Light Trench Mortar Battery in May 1918. George returned Australia in June 1919 and lived and worked (as a draper) back at Sale before moving to Melbourne where he died at Dandenong in 1977. George's death notice, published in the Melbourne Age on 23 September of that year, tells us he was the 'beloved husband of Mary (dec) and Claire [and] loved father of Alan, Brian, Joan, Rosemary, Carmel (dec), Michael, Robert, Susan and Diane'. He is buried in Melbourne's Cheltenham Memorial Cemetery.

During the war William's younger brother, Private later Sergeant Ralph Cheeseman, served in France with the 57th Battalion and was wounded three times. One of their cousins, Walter Chibnall, who also served in the 10th Light Trench Mortar Battery, was killed in action at Passchendaele on 17 October 1917. A nephew of William's, his older sister's son Stan Haggis, also joined the unit in 1918 and served as William's batman (see the photo below). William was fortunate enough not to be wounded. Unlike many of his colleagues he also remained in England for a good time after the war ended in November 1918, spending three months on paid leave in Devon where he helped out on the farm of his brother Ralph's father-in-law, Thomas Palmer of Newington. William was eventually recalled from leave and sailed for Australia on the SS NORMAN on 4 July 1919. He disembarked at Melbourne and was discharged from the Army on 2 October 1919. His great adventure was finally over.

Click here to see more photos of William's war service.

10 Australian light trench mortar battery

10th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery taken in France sometime between 1 March 1918 (when William was promoted to Lieutenant
and assumed command of the unit), and the end of the First World War. William is seated in the centre of the second row.
Directly behind him to his right is his nephew, Stan Haggis, who served as his batman.

After his discharge from the Army, William farmed land, acquired under the soldier settlement scheme, in the district of Trawalla near Beaufort. According to Hugh Anderson's The Flowers of the Field: A History of the Ripon Shire, William 'was growing oats and running sheep on 303 acres. Sixty acres were swamp, but 180 acres had been cultivated'. Anderson added that like many other men in the district, William found making a living from the small farm difficult: 'Cheeseman's complaint [in evidence to the Royal Commission into the Soldier Settlement Scheme] was insufficient land to work. During his first year (1922) he had made 800 from hay and wheat and his worst year was 1924 when he cleared only 400. 200 pounds had been repaid to the Closer Settlement Board in that time, leaving little money with which to make improvements and support a family of four' (pp. 157-8, their fourth child, Eric Norman Cheeseman, had been born at Beaufort in 1923). In a subsequent hearing held at Beaufort's Shire Hall in August 1925, William again stated 'he had not enough land and what he had was becoming worked out. He would have to go off his block if his wife or son could not get an adjoining one' (Melbourne Argus, 19 August 1925). William's attempts to obtain extra land proved unfruitful and, as reported in the same newspaper on 19 July 1938, 'Mr W. C. Cheeseman's farm of 303 acres at Lake Goldsmith on the Trawalla Settlement has been sold at 10/10/- an acre to the Whitfield Bros of Beaufort'.

During this time, the family maintained a house in Beaufort at which William's brother, Alfred Cheeseman and his wife Alice Maud and their family, would occasionally spend the weekend, going to whatever entertainment that was on in the town. According to Alice's eldest daughter Winnie Stafford (nee Cheeseman), her parents 'loved these weekends, there was always so much fun at Bill and Jinny's, they had three children, just a small house, but Auntie Jinny could make a comfortable bed on the floor and she was a wonderful cook'. In 1940 William served as the 2IC of a home defence unit established by the Ripon sub-branch of the RSL. By the time of the 1942 election, William and Jane had moved from Beaufort to Armstrong Street in Ballarat where William was working as a railway employee. They were still there in 1949. As the following notice published in the Melbourne Age reported, William died at Ballarat two years later: CHEESEMAN - On January 15 at Ballarat, William Charles Cheeseman of 1106 Armstrong Street North Ballarat, dearly beloved husband of Jane and loving father of Olive (Mrs L. Symons), Ivan, Dulcie (Mrs T. Allender) and Eric, aged 67 years (16 January 1951). Jinny died of bronchopneumonia at Ballarat on 4 September 1969. Her death certificate, which was informed by her eldest daughter, Olive Rodgers, states she was 84 years old, was then residing at 102 Ascot Street South in Ballarat and had three children, all still living. The Ballarat Cemetery records show that William and Jinny are buried together in the Ballarat New Cemetery (section 01, grave 04).

What of their children? We know little about William and Jinny's youngest son, Eric Norman Cheeseman beyond his date of birth. Heather Tytler tells us he married Eileen Iris Lewis in Victoria in 1946 and they were divorced in around 1962. She further thinks Eric died and was cremated at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery in 1996 although we have still to confirm this. We know a little more about their other three children as follows:

1) Olive Jane Cheeseman (1906-82) grew up in Beaufort and married Lionel Symons (1898-1951) at Surrey Hills in Melbourne on 6 June 1926. According to Heather Tytler's 'J E Brain Family Tree' on Ancestry, Lionel was born at Creswick in central Victoria, the son of William Langdon Symons (1869-1919) and Alice Maude Mitchell (1873-1909) who were married there in 1895 and had eight children in addition to Lionel. Heather adds that William and Alice were both of Cornish origin. William's father, William Cock Symons (1833-80), was born at St Austel. He emigrated to Victoria in 1862 and married an English woman, Mary Langdon, at Clunes in 1868. Alice was the youngest daughter of Richard Teddy Mitchell (1833-1905) who was born at Gwennap near Redruth in Cornwall and arrived in Melbourne in May 1857. Later the same month he married at Ballarat an Irish woman, Matilda McKeogh (1839-1903) with whom he would have ten children.

The Australian electoral rolls show Olive Jane and Lionel Symons, labourer, living at 'Nerring via Beaufort', in Victoria in 1937. They were registered at 61 Morres Street Ballarat in 1949 together with a Donald Symons, presser. The 1954 roll has them at 117 Barkly Street in Ballarat together with a Leonard Francis Symons, labourer, and Sylvia Ruth Symons. Lionel died at Ballarat two years later. In around 1960, Olive re-married, to Ernest Samuel Rodgers (1900-62). She died at Ballarat in 1982 and is buried with Lionel in the Ballarat New Cemetery (Private Section F, Grave 35). Olive had no children with Ernest. She and Lionel had two girls and five boys we are aware of. The girls are: 1) Dulcie May Symons (c1925-1928) and 2) Joy Lorraine McBryde (1944-2008) who had five children including John Simon McBryde (1971-2008) whose tribute published in the Melbourne Herald Sun on 22 September 2008 reads: 'McBRYDE - John Simon. On Sept 19 2008, peacefully at home, aged 37 years. Loved father of Joshua. Loved son of George and the late Joy McBryde; loved brother of Lee and Con, Kim, Donna and the late Leon; loved uncle of their families'. Olive and Lionel's boys - pictured in the photo below - are: 1) Donald Symons (1926-2019) who married Patricia (Pat) Brain (1929-2013) whose tribute in the Melbourne Herald Sun reads: 'SYMONS (Brain) - Patricia (Pat) passed away peacefully on Monday Nov 4. Adored wife of Don, loving mother and best friend of Donna and Don, Vikki and Graham. Grandmother to Cassie, Jacob, Joel, and Hailey and partners. Great Gran to Matilda, Charlie and Taliah (6 November 2013); 2) Douglas Symons (c1930-96); 3) Leonard Francis Symons (1931-81) who was twice married and had two children with his second wife, Patricia Margaret King (1927-2015); 4) David Stanley Symons (1935-95) who had four children; and 5) John Symons.

olive jane cheeseman olive cheeseman and sons

The photo on the left, taken from Heather Tytler's 'J E Brain Family Tree' on Ancestry, is of Olive Jane Cheeseman.
The one on the right, supplied to us by Karen Simmons, shows Olive Rodgers formerly Symons nee Cheeseman
and her five sons at the wedding of her daughter Joy Lorraine Symons to John Simon McBryde.
The sons are, from L/R, Leonard, David, John, Doug and Don Symons.

2) Ivan William Cheeseman (1908-77) was living with his parents at Beaufort and working as a farm labourer when he married Winifred Mary O'Loughlan (1909-79) in 1931 (probably at Beaufort although that has still to be confirmed). According to the 'O'Loughlan Family Tree' on Ancestry, Winifred was born at Christchurch in New Zealand. Her parents were two Australians, James William O'Loughlan (1880-1970) and Winifred Sarah Hill (1885-1954), who were married there in 1907. The New Zealand electoral rolls show they lived at Sockburn, an industrial suburb of Christchurch where James worked as a lorry driver, until around 1920 when they returned to Australia. They had at least two further children in New Zealand: Patrick Allan (born in 1908) and Doreen Edith O'Loughlan (1916). James William was born at Raglan near Beaufort, one of six sons of two Irish immigrants, Patrick O'Loughlan (1833-1917) and Sarah Jess (1850-1927) who hailed from County Clare and County Limerick respectively and were married at Ararat in 1873. His obituary, published in Ballarat's The Evening Echo on 26 February 1917, tells us Patrick worked as a carter when he first came to Victoria but afterwards took up land in the Beaufort district where he followed agricultural pursuits for over fifty years. His wife, Sarah, died at Swan Hill in 1927. She and Patrick are buried together in the Beaufort cemetery.

His military file in the Australian Archives tells us 1009 Pte James William O'Loughlan served with the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles during the Boer War and was awarded the South Africa Medal (Queen's) 1899-1902 with six clasps: South Africa 1902, South Africa 1901, Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony. He and his colleagues sailed from Melbourne on 15 February 1901 and, from May of that year until the end of the war, fought against Boer forces operating in the Eastern and Southeastern Transvaal. Following the cessation of hostilities, the unit sailed from Durban back to Australia in April 1902. The Australian electoral rolls show that after returning from New Zealand, James, who was working as a labourer, and Winifred lived initially at Tandara, southwest of Echuca, and then Daylesford where Winifred died in 1954 and was buried in the local cemetery. James moved to Melbourne where he spent the last years of his life in a war veterans' home in the bayside suburb of Frankston. He died in 1970, his death notice in the Melbourne Age reading: 'O'LOUGHLAN - On January 29th at the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg. James William O'Loughlan dearly loved husband of the late Winifred, loved brother of Mary (Mrs Carroll), Michael, Annie (Mrs Sanderson), John, Laurence, Donald and Francis (all deceased) and Patrick. Boer War veteran' (31 January 1970).

The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage in 1931, Ivan and Winifred Cheeseman lived first at Nerring near Beaufort where Ivan worked as a farm labourer. After he joined the Victorian railways they lived at Litchfield in the Wimmera, Dunnstown near Ballarat and, during the 1950s and 1960s, at Beaconsfield outside Dandenong where we would visit them on occasion. In around 1970 they moved back to Beaufort where Ivan died in 1977 and Winifred two years later. They are buried together at the Beaufort cemetery. Both the 'O'Loughlan' and Heather Tytler's 'J E Brain Family Tree' on Ancestry believe Winifred had a son before she and Ivan were married, Kenneth Joseph O'Loughlan (1928-2005), who lived and worked all his life at Beaufort. We are still to confirm this is so. Jenny Tapungao tells us they had two daughters: 1) Lynette Cheeseman who married Rick Brown and had two children; and 2) Shirley Cheeseman (1933-2020) who married James Alexander Glover (1929-2012) and also had two children. The electoral rolls show Shirley and Jim, who was working as a security officer, were living in the Geelong suburb of Belmont in the 1980s. Both died at Geelong and are memorialised in the Highton (Barrabool Hills) Cemetery there. Shirley's tribute, published in the Geelong Advertiser reads: 'GLOVER - Shirley. Passed away peacefully on February 25 2020, aged 87 years. Dearly loved wife of Jim (dec). Much loved mother and mother-in-law to Kerry and Graeme. Loved Nan to Matt & Georgie, Ben & Arlie, Nick & Cat and Kate & Joel. Special GreatNan to Fred, Lulu, Sadie, Indi, Oscar, William, Jack, Henry & Ruby. Much loved Mum of Gary and mother-in-law to Michele. Loved Nana of James and Liam' (29 February 2020).

3) Dulcie Beryl Cheeseman (1910-2003) married Theodore William Allender (1905-71) in Victoria in 1931. Theodore's parents were William John Allender (1875-1954) and Caroline Jane Thomas (1877-1910), who were married in Victoria in 1899 and had six children in addition to Theodore: Winifred Grace Ord (1900-56), Elwyn Beatrice Neylan (1901-89), an un-named child who died at birth in 1902, Leila Mary Allender (903-94), Myrtle Alice Allender (1907-86) and Arthur Keith Allender (1909-97). Caroline died at Ararat in 1910. Twenty years later, William John married a Scottish-born widow, Magaret Webster Harris Guthrie nee Bell (1873-1956). Margaret's daughter from her previous marriage, Margaret Mary Grace Allender nee Guthrie (1906-87), who was born in South Africa, was married to William's youngest son, Arthur Keith Allender (1909-97). They had two children we know of: Arthur Gordon Allender (1932-2005) and on other, and are buried together in the Mount Cole Cemetery. According to the 'Allender Family Tree' on Ancestry, Theodore's paternal grandfather, Solomon (aka Thomas) Allender (1823-89), was born at Birmingham in England. In 1843 he and an accomplice, George Karp, were convicted of breaking into a property at Wolverhampton and stealing silver and other goods. He was transported to Australia on the ANSTON which arrived at Hobart Town on 4 February 1844. After receiving a conditional pardon in June 1853, Thomas left Tasmania for Victoria where he married Mary Ann Snell (1848-1928) at Ballarat in 1866. He and Mary had ten children between 1867 and 1886 (William John Allender was their fifth child). Thomas died at Buninyong in 1889 and is buried in the Ballarat New Cemetery. His wife, who was born at Ashby in Geelong West, died at Ararat.

The Australian electoral rolls show that throughout the 1930s, Theodore Allender lived and worked with his brother Arthur on the latter's farm at Mount Cole Creek. The boys' father William and his second wife, Margaret Webster Harris Allender, were living at 39 Grano Street in Ararat where William died in 1954 (probate from his will was granted to has two sons the following year). Dulcie doesn't appear on the electoral rolls until 1943 when she and Theodore, together with Theodore's sister-in-law, Margaret Mary Grace Allender, were registered as living at Warrak, a small rural town near Mount Cole. Theodore died at Warrak in 1971. Dulcie continueed living there until her death in 2003. She and Theodore are buried together in the Mount Cole Cemetery. Information provided by Jenny Tapungao plus other sources tell us they had four children and ten grandchildren as follows:

1) William Theodore Allender (1932-94) who worked as a male nurse, married Valerie Ann Houston and had three children: Gary William (born in 1960), Daryl John (1961) and Murray Norman Allender (1964). The 1980 electoral roll shows their eldest son, Gary, was then serving as a soldier in the SAS Regiment at Swanbourne in Western Australia;

2) Geoffrey Allender (1936-70) who worked as a shearer and is buried in the Mount Cole Cemetery. He and his wife Dawn Williams and had two sons: Ricky (1964) and Scott Geoffrey Allender (1966-83);

3) Margaret Joyce Allender (1931); and

4) Brian Maxwell Allender (1932-2017) who married Joan Frances Pedlar and had five children. Brian, a factory worker and painter, died at Drysdale in Geelong. His tribute, published in the Geelong Advertiser on 11 October 2017, reads: 'ALLENDER - Brian Maxwell. Passed away suddenly on Monday October 9 2017, aged 76. Loving father of Craig, Dale, Brett (dec), Kerrie Michelle and families'. The tribute for Brian and Joan's son, Brett Andrew Allender, reads: 'ALLENDER - Brett Andrew. Passed away peacefully at home on Apr 30 2017, surrounded by family. Loving husband of Debbie. Devoted and amazing Dad of Melissa and Christopher. Father-in-law of Josh. Loved son of Brian and Joan. Loving brother of Craig, Dale, Kerrie and Michelle' (Geelong Advertiser, 3 May 2017).

Image Sources:
Cpl William Charles Cheeseman and William and Jinny and family, private collection.
10th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery in France 1918, courtesy of Christina ('Teen') Bainbridge nee Cheeseman.
Olive Symons nee Cheeseman and sons, courtesy of Karen Simmons.

Return to Benjamin and Jane Cheeseman's life in Australia.

Return to First Families Home Page