Edith Olive Lewis nee Hickmott

(last updated 1 January 2019)

edith olive hickmottOlive was born at Charlton in Victoria in 1885, the sixth child of Henry Edward Hickmott (1852-1931) and Elizabeth Ann Owen (1855-1923). When she was around five years old, Olive moved with her family to Lalbert where she attended the local State School with her siblings and cousins from the Smith family. We get a sense of both Olive and her life at the time from a letter she wrote in 1896 to the 'Young Folks' page in the Melbourne Weekly Times newspaper. Olive began by telling 'Aunt Connie', the column's editor, that this was 'the first time I have written to you. I would like to be one of you nieces. We take 'The Weekiv Times' every week. My father has been taking it for a long time. I a!ways read the 'Young Folks' page, and enjoy reading it very much. We have a cousin who is a great runner. He won the St Arnaud Handicap - a silver cup. I have three miles to walk to school. Our school master's name is Mr Warren. He has only been there a short time. It is only a half-time school. I also have a cousin, who has a nice big do!l - a present from a little girl who was leaving for South Africa. My cousin's name is Myrtle Smith, and the runner is her brother Joe. We have a nice greyhound dog, he has caught several kangaroos. His name is Hero. Our baby sister walks about everywhere; her name is Ella Adeline. She is fourteen months old. I am 11 years on 28th of October and am in the fourth class. With love to Uncle Ben, Cousin Connie and accept the same yourself. I remain, your loving niece, Edith Olive Hickmott'.

On 9 April 1903 the young girl who had written so confidently to her 'Aunt Connie', married a man almost twice her age. The wedding took place not in the local church but at her father's residence at Lalbert presumably because Olive was then eight months pregnant. Fiona Lewis tells us Olive incorrectly signed their marriage certificate as Olive Lewis rather than Hickmott (a mistake that was corrected on 21 May) and that the wedding was witnessed by Maud M. E. Lewis and Eliza Ada Free (who would marry Olive's older brother, John Edward Hickmott, six months later). Olive's husband was a local saddler and shopkeeper, Herbert Digby ('Bert') Lewis (1871-1962). Born at Digby near Hamilton in the Western District of Victoria, Bert was the fourth child of George Sugden Price Lewis (1838-1877) and Catherine Ellen Maguire (1848-1933). George had come from Hobart Town while Catherine was born at Belfast (Port Fairey) in Victoria. They were married at Merino near Digby and had fifteen children between 1867 and 1891: George William (a butcher who had married Olive's older sister, Sophia Elizabeth Hickmott, at Charlton in 1898), Mary Maud Eliza, Eva Annie May, Herbert Digby, Henry John Haynes, Richard, Annie Catherine, Rosanna, Hannah Harriet, Ellen Georgina, Alexander (who died of wounds on 12 Aug 1915 at Gallipoli while serving with the 16th Battalion), Mabel Adelaide, Murray Winter, Stanley Russell and Daisy Evelyn Lewis. Bert and the other members of his family are pictured in the photo below.

family of george sudden price lewis

Contained on the Lewis and a number of other family trees on Ancestry, this photo is said to be of George Sugden Price Lewis and
Catherine Ellen Maguire and their family in around 1892. Back row (L/R): Herbert, Richard, Maud, Henry, George, Eva
and Ern Budds and Rosanna. Middle row: Alex, Murray, Catherine (holding Daisy), George, Annie and Hannah.
Front row: May, Stan and Ellen Lewis.

Daryl Povey's 'Glenelg and Wannan Settlers and Settlement' website tells us that Bert's grandmother was Mary Price (1815-77) who married a Welshman, Richard Lewis (1815-90), in 1841. She already had two boys, William Sugden Price Lewis (1835-1915) and George Sugden Price Lewis (1838-77), who Richard raised as his own sons. Daryl adds that Richard Lewis settled the 'Emu Creek' pastoral run, built the 'Woolpack Inn' at Digby in 1843, purchased 'Rifle Downs' station and later owned 'Pleasant Hills' station. Writing to him in 1977, Kathleen Drew outlined some of the early history of the 'Rifle Downs' station as follows:

Captain Richard LEWIS sailed his ship to Portland in the early 1840s, came inland and selected 'Rifle Downs' country. It was a large amount of land, the Smoky (Crawford) River being the southern boundary, then going east through Digby and taking in the Pleasant Hills country, and some of the cleared land north of the Stokes River. As Captain LEWIS had no one to work for him on 'Rifle Downs', he sailed back to England, impressed a crew, sailed back to Portland where he dismantled his ship and travelled to 'Rifle Downs' with his crew. Also some timber, etc, from his ship, which he used in building the house. The doors in the main hall were from his ship. The remaining timber including all the floor boards, which were all pit sawn, and the bricks were made at the building site. The house was finished in approximately 1848. Captain Lewis's relations by marriage, the Simkins, apparently came with him, and some of their descendants are still in and around Digby. Captain LEWIS imported the first thoroughbred stallion to Victoria, named King Alfred. A Chris COULSON of Merino came out as the groom to this horse, and I believe a forebear of Tony GASPERINO stowed away with this horse and hid in the straw when the police were searching for him. There was quite a racing stable at 'Rifle Downs' in Captain LEWIS's time and a training track cut through the forest where it was comparatively flat and sandy. This area is still known as the racecourse, and now belongs to Mr Eddie HISCOCK. I understand that the first church service to be held in this district took place at 'Rifle Downs' in the sitting room.

After their marriage Olive and Bert (also known as 'Cockie' or 'Cocky' Lewis) continued to live in Lalbert from where Bert ran his saddlery business. In addition to his day work, Bert served as a member of the Lalbert Mechanics Institute and the Lalbert Bush Fire Brigade. He and Olive were dedicated family members of Lalbert's St Stephen's Church of England and, as indicated by the photo below, probably enjoyed an occasional game of tennis. They had four children in Lalbert before Olive's unexpected and untimely death there in 1912. This came as a great shock to everyone especially her parents and siblings in Western Australia who placed the following 'In Memorium' notice in the Quambatook Times: 'In sad but loving remembrance of our dear daughter and sister Olive, who departed this life on August 29th 1912, aged 26 years, also our dear little grandchild and nephew, Harry Hickmott, who died August 24 1913, aged eight years and ten months. Dearest loved ones we have laid thee into peaceful grave's embrace, but thy memories will be cherished, Till we see thy heavenly faces. Inserted by their ever-loving parents, sisters and brothers - H. E. and E. A. Hickmott and family, West Australia' (26 August 1914).

Olive was buried in the Church of England section of the Lalbert Cemetery. Bert and the children remained in Lalbert after Olive's death, the children all completing school there (see the photo below). Bert married Ellen Georgina Mary Wood (1888-1971) in Melbourne in 1922. The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage he and Ellen lived at Lalbert where Bert worked as a saddler and, from the early 1940s, a farmer. In the mid-1950s they moved to Swan Hill where Bert died in 1962. Ellen continued living at Swan Hill before moving to Bendigo and then to Melbourne where she died in 1971. According to the 'Gladys Medland Family Tree' on Ancestry, Bert and Ellen had a son: Murray Lindsay Lewis (1924-99) who was born at Kerang and died at Bendigo. Although still to be confirmed, we believe Murray married Beryl May Hucker and had four children.

mrs bert lewis

From Jan and Janine Power's book, Lalbert Reflections (p. 156), this photo of a tennis party at Lalbert in 1908 includes, seated on the right, Mrs Bert Lewis
and two of her children Phyllis and Herbert. The others are said to include Mr and Mrs Bill Nalder (nee Leach) and their daughter Nellie,
Bill's brother, Bert Nalder (at the back holding the horse) and 'members of the Wilson and Smith families'.

Olive and Bert Lewis had four children who were all born at Lalbert and, as described below, would provide their parents with eleven grandchildren we know of and at least eight great grandchildren and 17 great great grandchildren:

1). Richard Francis ('Dick') Lewis (1903-87) who married Margaret Jane Killen (1903-77) in 1923. The Australian electoral rolls show they lived at Lalbert until the late 1930s. During this time Dick both played for and coached the local football club. According to an entry on the Geni family history website he 'had a rare distinction for a footballer . . . of playing in two premierships in the one year, one with Ultima in the Swan Hill League and one with Lalbert in the junior league. He was also a member of Lalbert's premiership sides in 1919 to 1924 and again in 1930'. Dick finished his football career in 1938 when he and his family moved to Swan Hill where Dick worked as a stock and station agent. Sometime in the mid-1970s they moved to Geelong where Margaret died in 1977. Dick moved back to Swan Hill and lived there until his death in 1987.The ' Rachel Hayes 2012' family tree on Ancestry tells us that Dick and Margaret had three children, Herbert John Lewis, Richard Norman Lewis and one other:

Herbert John ('Jack') Lewis (1924-81) married Kathleen Elizabeth Wynne (1923-2016). We believe Kath was the daughter of Walter Wynne (1896-1946) and Emma Elizabeth Hansen (1901-98) who were orchardists at Nyah West. The Department of Veterans Affairs' WW2 nominal roll shows that Jack enlisted in the RAAF in Melbourne on 10 August 1942 (he was then living at Nyah West and gave as his NOK his wife Kathleen). He was discharged on 12 October 1945 while serving as a Flight Sergeant at 5 Operational Training Unit. The Australian electoral rolls show that, after the War, Jack and Kathleen lived at Nyah West, Piangil on the Murray River outside Swan Hill and, from the early 1960s, at Geelong where Jack was as a hotel proprietor. He died at Geelong in 1981 and is buried in the Geelong West Cemetery where his gravestone tells us he was the 'Loved husband of Kath. [and] Devoted father of Barry and Pam'. Kath lived on to 2016. Her tribute, published in the Melbourne Herald Sun on 28 May of that year tells us she was then 93 years old, the 'Devoted mother of Barry and Pam. Adored Grandmother to Jason, Tanya, Cindy, Jackie (dec), Monique, Rick and their families. Daughter of the late Walter and Emma Wynne. Sister to Bob (dec), Phyllis, Vin (dec), and John'.

Richard Norman ('Dick') Lewis (1927-2005) and his wife Dulcie Jean lived at Nyah West and Boort before, in the mid-1960s, moving to Melbourne where Dick worked as a grocer and storekeeper. Dick died at St Arnaud in 2005, his obituary published in the Herald Sun on 20 August 2005), telling us he was the 'Loved husband of Jean (dec.) and devoted partner of Colleen. Loving father and father-in-law of Robert and Sharon; Jan (dec. ) and Ray and Iris; Ian and Christine, Paul and Kerry, Malcolm and Michelle; great mate of Simone; Nikki and Aaron. Treasured Pop of 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren'.

2) Phyllis Irene Lewis (1905-79). As shown in the photo below, Phyllis and her two younger brothers attended the Lalbert State School around the period of the First World War. On 22 January 1931 the Melbourne newspaper, Table Talk, informed its readers of the engagement of 'Miss Phyllis Irene Lewis, of Ultima, only daughter of Mr H. D. Lewis and the late Mrs Lewis, of Lalbert, to Mr Edward Barton Rutley, of ES&A Bank, Manangatang, only son of the late Mr E. B. Rutley of Echuca'. The couple's marriage certificate, obtained from Ancestry, shows that Edward, then a 31 year-old bachelor bank clerk born at Ascot Vale, was living at Koo Wee Rup at the time of their wedding. His parents were Edward Barton Rutley (deceased sawmiller) and Martha Shaw. Phyllis, 28 and born at Lalbert, was working as a clerk at Ultima in Victoria. The wedding was witnessed by an old school mate of Phyllis', Olive Daglish. As you would expect of someone working for a bank, Edward and Phyllis moved around a lot after their marriage, eventually settling in the Wimmera township of Maryborough where he died in 1970 and she nine years later. The 'Meagher Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us that Edward and Phyllis had two boys one of whom married and had three children.

3) Herbert Gould Lewis (1907-79) married Gladys Winifred Medland (1917-94) at Ultima in 1936. According to the 'Medland Family Tree' on Ancestry, Gladys' parents were Norman Vivian Treverton Medland (1889-1969) and Sarah Jane Rowe (1886-1941) who were married at Collingwood in Melbourne in 1915. The Department of Veterans Affairs' WW2 nominal roll shows that Herbert enlisted in the Australian Army at Caulfield in Melbourne on 27 March 1942 ( his NOK was his wife Gladys). He was discharged on 26 September 1945 while serving as a private soldier in the 2-106 General Transport Company. The Australian electoral rolls show Herbert and Gladys lived at Ultima and Culgoa after the War before moving to Bendigo in the late 1960s. Herbert died at Bendigo in 1979 and Gladys at Finley in NSW in 1994. We believe they had two sons: Graeme Stanley Lewis (1938-2000) and one other (probably Gerald Vivian Lewis although that has still to be confirmed).

4) George Roy Lewis (1909-2002) married Muriel May Nalder (1907-96), daughter of Mathew Gaskell Nalder (1877-1953) and Elizabeth Wilmot Hosking (1884-1953), at Charlton in Victoria in 1932. Their wedding was described in the Table Top newspaper as follows:

LEWIS - NALDER. WEARING an ensemble of ivory georgette effectively trimmed with fine Chantilly lace, Miss Muriel Nalder, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. G. Nalder, 'Sunnyholme', Meatian, near Swan Hill, made a very pretty bride as she entered the Methodist Church, Swan Hill, last month for her marriage to Mr. Roy Lewis third son of Mr and Mrs. H. D. Lewis of Lalbert. A veil of rare Brussels lace (lent by Mrs A. McIntyre) fell softly over the bride's gown and was held in place by a coronet of real orange blossom. A sheaf of white waterlilies mingled with pink tiger lilies completed her toilette. A trio of bridesmaids, and a train bearer attended the bride. The bridesmaids, Misses Alice Pearson (Melbourne) and Evelyn and Beryl Nalder (sisters of the bride), wore long green mittens in effective contrast to their period frocks of blush pink taffeta. Sheaves of pink shaded gladioli and head wreaths of flowers were pretty accessories. The bridegroom's brother, Mr. H. G. Lewis, was best man, and Messrs. E. Nalder and N. Bradbury acted as ushers. Wedding dinner was afterwards held at the Crystal Cafe. The bride's mother received the guests in a navy blue georgette and lace gown with matching hat and carried an autumn tinted posy. Mrs Lewis had a posy of scarlet carnations to harmonise with her marocain ensemble (14 April 1932).

The Department of Veterans Affairs' WW2 nominal roll shows that Roy enlisted in the Australian Army at Ultima on 29 April 1942 (NOK Muriel Lewis). He was discharged on 17 September 1945 while serving as a private soldier in the 21 Battalion VDC. The Australian electoral rolls show Roy, described as a grazier, and Muriel lived at Tyntynder, and later Swan Hill in Victoria. During this time Roy played for the Ultima Football Club of which he and his eldest son, David Lewis, are life members. Muriel died at Swan Hill in 1996 and Roy in 2002. His obituary, published in the Herald Sun on 15 Jul 2002) reads: 'LEWIS. - George Roy (Roy), passed away peacefully at Swan Hill July 13, 2002. Aged 93 years. Loved husband of Muriel (dec.). Dearly loved father of David, Digby, Tup and Olive'.

pupils at lalbert 1919

Also from Jan and Janine Power's book, Lalbert Reflections (p. 256), this photo is of the pupils of Lalbert State School 2990 in 1919.
It shows Roy and Bert Lewis (6th and 7th from the left in the third row from the front) and their sister Phyllis Lewis
(4th from the right in the back row). Also present are two of their Hickmott cousins, Melva and May Hickmott
(1st on the left and 5th from the right in the back row), two daughters of Jack and Ada Hickmott nee Free.

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