2. Rebecca Smith nee Hickmott
(last updated 2 October 2018)
Rebecca Hickmott was born in the Adelaide Hills (probably near Meadows) in April 1851. When she was around three years old, the family sailed from Adelaide to Melbourne and then moved to Clunes in central Victoria where she grew up.
She married a Cornishman Joseph Colmer Smith (1832-1926) at the home of her brother-in-law, Richard Mitchell, at Clunes on 25 August 1869. Their wedding certificate shows that Rebecca was a 20 year-old spinster and Joseph a 33 year-old bachelor storekeeper from Waubra (then known as 'The Springs'). They were married by the Wesleyan Minister, John Newton, and the ceremony was witnessed by Rebecca's father, Henry Hickmott, and Richard Mitchell.
According to one of Rebecca and Joseph's descendants, Lynton Smith from Swan Hill, Joseph was the second son of Thomas Colmer and Jane Smith (nee Rowett) from St Austell in Cornwall. In 1849 Thomas and Jane and their five children emigrated to Australia on the GENERAL PALMER. The family disembarked at Adelaide and spent three years at Burra in South Australia where Thomas and Jane had a further son, James Rowett, who was born at Burra in 1850 (James married Elizabeth Cook in 1874 in Ballarat and died at Learmonth in Victoria in 1885). In around 1852 the family moved to Waubra in Victoria where Thomas senior was a shopkeeper (Waubra is located some 20km from Clunes). Thomas died and was buried at 'The Springs' on 7 October 1874. His wife Jane died at Ballarat in 1890 and is buried at Coghill's Creek.
The above picture on the right is of Joseph's sister Selina Harrison nee Smith and her husband Christopher, taken at their Willowdale property at Waubra (click on the picture to see a further, earlier, photo of Selina sent to us by Kathryn Jones-Lucas). Information about Christopher and Selina and their family can be viewed on Kathryn's 'Harrison Family Tree' on Ancestry.com, and on Tania King's Harrison Family of Waubra website.
After their marriage Joseph and Rebecca lived initially at Waubra before moving, in the late 1870s to Bungeeluke North and then Lalbert in the northern Wimmera district. Derived from an aboriginal name for the creeper that grew on the mallee trees in the area, Lalbert was probably named by Major Mitchell during his trek through the area in 1836. The first white people to move into the area were the Ham brothers who took out a pastoral lease for land there in 1846. The 1865 Land Act opened up the district to settlers who were able to take out leases for 320-acre holdings and pay these off at low rates (provided they lived on and gradually improved the land). Jan and Janine Power's book, Lalbert Reflections, says that Joseph and Rebecca Smith were among the first four families to settle in the area, the others being the Ingrams, Meehans and the Tampions. As such they played an important role in the early development of the local community. According to one source, Joseph initially sold chaff to travellers and others in the district. Another (one of the couple's granddaughters, a Florence Groat from Nyah) remembered that:
Rebecca acted as a mid-wife, delivering several babies in the Lalbert district [and] also helped neighbouring women in cases of illness or other emergencies. She also started Picnic and Sports days held on Boxing day at Lalbert Lake to enable people to get together. Horse racing was held on Joseph's property. Joseph took his wagon to Wycheproof to pick up supplies of food, etc. Possibly he brought back loading for other people as well.
The materials carted by Joseph (pictured on the right) were not restricted to chaff and supplies. The 12 October 1887 edition of the East Charlton Tribune reported that a 'Mr Joseph Smith of L'Albert has left at our office a sample of the Lake Kunat Kunat salt. The salt which is easily gathered, is apparently of excellent quality, and can be sold at much cheaper rates than the imported article...Mr Hickmott of this town will receive regular supplies of the Kunat Kunat salt from Mr Smith, and will always keep a good stock on hand'.
Together with his brother-in-law Henry Edward Hickmott, who by then had also moved to Lalbert, Joseph joined other town leaders in pressing the Victorian Department of Education to open a school in the area. Lalbert State School 2990 was subsequently opened in 1889 and six of its inaugural class of fifteen were children of Joseph and Rebecca. The 1903 and 1909 electoral rolls show Joseph, a farmer, and Rebecca Smith still at Lalbert. Also registered there in 1903 were John Albert and Joseph Robert Smith, both farmers. In 1909 the roll included Ernest, Richard Colmer and Thomas Henry Smith, farmers, and Rose and Tryphenia Kate Smith (Thomas' first wife - see below).
Sometime between 1909 and 1913 Joseph and Rebecca sold their farm at Lalbert and purchased another, which they named 'Green Hills', at Bolinda near Romsey in central Victoria. According to James Margetts, who sent it to us, the photo above of Rebecca standing behind the ornate chair was taken at Bolinda. Rebecca had written on the back of it: 'Green Hills. Bolinda Feb 12 1913. Dear Mr and Mrs Margretts [sic], with love to yourselves and baby. Hoping this finds you well. From your very sincere friend, Rebecca Smith'. James added that Rebecca 'was writing to my great grandparents, Frank and Rhoda Margetts, and the baby she is referring to is Frank James Margetts, who is my grandfather'.
Rebecca Smith nee Hickmott (pictured on the left with her youngest daughter Mary Lilian) died at the home of her daughter Selina Gamble (nee Smith) at 9 Walker Street in Northcote in Melbourne on 13 March 1914. Her death certificate, which was informed by her son-in-law John Charles Gamble, states that she was 63 years old and had died of pneumonia following nine weeks of illness. Although her normal address at the time was Green Hills, Rebecca was buried at the Burwood cemetery on 14 March 1914. A notice published in the Argus newspaper on 20 March the same year indicated that probate from Rebecca's last will and testament was awarded to her daughter, Myrtle Auriel Smith, spinster of Green Hills, and her son-in-law John Charles Gamble of Walker Street in Northcote.
The electoral rolls show that after Rebecca's death, her husband Joseph remained for a time at Bolinda where he was helped with the farm by his sons George, Stanley and Percy (who eventually took over the running of the property). The 1924 electoral roll showed him living with his youngest daughter Mary Lilian Dowling and her husband at 5 Perth Street in the Melbourne suburb of Murrumbeena. At the time of his death on 6 July 1926, he was living at 16 Weerona Road in Murrumbeena. He was then 94 years old and died of senile decay and heart failure. Joseph Colmer Smith was buried at the Burwood Cemetery two days later. His death certificate records that he had been in Victoria for 81 years and at Waubra for 35 of these. All of his children but one, Stanley Claude Smith, were still living.
Joseph and Rebecca had no less than fourteen children between 1870 and 1894. The first five - Emma Jane Smith, Selina Sophia Smith, Thomas Henry Smith, Joseph Robert Smith, William James Smith, and John Albert Smith - were born at Waubra. The remainder were born either at Bungeeluke or Lalbert: Richard Colmer Smith, Charles Christopher Smith, Ernest Arthur Smith, George Edward Rowett Smith, Eliza Myrtle Aurora Smith, Percy Herbert Smith, Stanley Claude Smith and Mary Lilian Isobel Smith. Only one of these did not marry: Stanley Claude Smith who was born at Bungeeluke North in 1892 and died, aged 26 years, at Murrumbeena in Melbourne in 1919. We know that Stanley's older brother George Edward Rowett Gordon Smith married Mary Brodie (1893-1973) and had six children - Betty, Mary, George, Donald, Patricia and Noel Smith - but nothing else about them. The Australian electoral rolls on Ancestry.com plus a number of other sources have enabled us to provide some details of the lives and times of Stanley and George's siblings as follows.
Rebecca and Joseph's eldest daughter, Emma Jane Smith (1870-1933) - pictured on the left - married Alexander Davidson (1868-1939) at Waubra in 1889. We think that Alexander was born at Ballarat, the son of Alexander Davidson (1840-1919) and Mary Ann Merrett (1851-1932). Soon after their marriage, Emma and Alexander moved to Lalbert in central Victoria where Emma's parents had also moved. The roll of pupils at the Lalbert School in 1889 has an Ernest Davidson, born on 29 April 1882, enrolled and an Ivy Davidson, aged 3 years and 4 months, as 'likely to attend'. The roll in 1901 has Ernest Davidson, 12 years and 4 months, and Ivy Davidson, 4 years and 6 months, in attendance and Vera Davidson, 3 years and one month, likely to attend. A later roll provides the following dates of births for Ivy (27 February 1890), Arthur (1 April 1893) and Rhoda Davidson (4 July 1895). All three children were said to be living at the time '10 chains south of Lalbert and 7 miles north of Tittybong'.
The 1903 electoral roll shows Alexander, a labourer, and Emma Davidson living at Lalbert. The Shire rate books cited in Jan and Janine Power's Lalbert Reflections states that an Alexander Davidson ran a boarding house - which he built in 1899 - at Lalbert between 1901 and 1904 and was a butcher there between 1905 and 1907. The following court report published in the Melbourne Argus on 21 November 1913, indicates that Emma left Lalbert and her husband in around 1905:
Emma Jane Davidson, 41 years of age, petitioned for a dissolution of her marriage with Alexander Davidson, 43 years of age, formerly a jockey, on the ground of desertion. The marriage took place on October 25, 1889, and there are five children. Mr. L. S. Woolf (Instructed by Mr. J. Woolf) appeared for the petitioner. The last place where the parties lived was at Lalbert, on the Murray. A butcher's business was acquired, and the wife used to kill the sheep - five at a time - and drive the cart in order to deliver the orders. The respondent then began to ill-treat his wife and she left him and came to Melbourne in 1905. Evidence of misconduct by respondent was also given, and a decree nisi, with costs, was granted. The petitioner was given the custody of the younger children.
It seems that Emma re-married the following year, to a William Richards in Melbourne although that is still to be confirmed. Family researchers think that Emma and Alexander had between six and eight children (the five mentioned in the court report may have been those still living with their mother). The children include: 1) Rebecca Myrtle Ivy Coral Davidson (1890-1967) who married George Allen (1882-1964) at Lalbert in 1908 and had three children: George Arthur, Rhoda Alma Coral and Alan Roy Allen; 2) Alex George Arthur Davidson (Lynton Smith believes that this or a second Arthur got married in Australia but then went to England to live); 3) Rhoda Elsie Muriel Davidson (1895-1974) who married William Cashmore in 1912; 4) Vera Isla Davidson (1898-1980) who married first Raymond Grant Vinnicombe at Romsey in 1920 and, second, Alfred Eric Gale (1904-75) at East melbourne in 1928 and had three children and 5) Joseph Gordon Alfred Davidson. Click here to see photos of some of Emma's children and grandchildren.
Rebecca and Joseph's second daughter, Selina Sophia Smith (1871-1932), married John Charles Gamble (1862-1939) at Ballarat East in 1896. Probably a native of Yorkshire, John had been previously married to Louisa Elizabeth Meadway, daughter of Henry and Isabella Kezia Meadway nee McNaughtin, and had at least five children with her before her death at Sale in Victoria in 1894. The 1903 electoral roll has Selina Sophia and John Charles, a clerk, living at 110 Donald Street in Brunswick in Melbourne. They were at 92 Barkly Street in Carlton in 1909, 11 Walker Street in Northcote in 1914, and 50 Canterbury Road in Middle Park in 1919 (along with their daughter Isla Doris Isabel Gamble). The 1924 roll has Selina, John and Isla at 43 Armstrong Street in Middle Park. In 1928 Isla married Norman William Stuart in Queensland and went to live in Sydney (see below for more details). Four years later, Selina Gamble nee Smith died at the Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh. Her death notice in the Melbourne Age states: 'GAMBLE. - On Thu 5th July at a private hospital, Bentleigh. Selina Sophia, loved wife of John Charles Gamble, of 197 Koornang road Carnegie, loving mother of ls!a (Mrs. Stuart) and Keith, aged 61 years' (7 July 1932). The electoral rolls show that after Selina's death, John lived for a time with his daughter Isla and her husband in Sydney. As the following death notice shows, he moved back to Victoria sometime between 1936 and his death three years later. He and Selina are buried together in Burwood Cemetery. Click here to see a photo of Selina and some of her siblings.
GAMBLE. - On the 24th June at the resldence of his son-ln law (Mr M. F. Duff) at Bunninyong, 52 Mount Pleasant road Belmont, John Charles the dearly beloved husband of the late Selina Sophia Gamble and loving father of Ruby (Mrs Wilsonl), Ethel (Mrs Duff), Horace, Victor, Queenie (Mrs Turner), Isla (Mrs Stuart, Sydney) and Keith late of Home Affairs Department in his 85th year (Melbourne Argus, 26 June 1939).
As their death notices indicate, Selina and John had two children: 1) Isla Doris Isabel Gamble who was born at Brunswick in Melbourne in 1897 and married Sydney-born Norman William Stuart in Queensland in 1928. They lived in Sydney after their marriage and, as the following death notice published in The Sydney Morning Herald indicates, had one child: 'STUART, Norman William (Bill); March 20, 1954, at his residence, 422 Edgecliff Road Edgecliff, dearly beloved husband of Isla, and loved father of Jean. At rest' (23 March 1954). 2) Keith Gamble.
Thomas Henry Smith (1873-1950) was twice married. His first wife was Tryphena Kate Dickens (1881-1911), the daughter of Thomas Dickens and Frances Ann Wood, who he married in 1901 probably at Lalbert. He and Tryphena had one one child we are aware of: Herbert Thomas Smith who died at Lalbert in 1902 as an infant. Tryphena died at Lalbert in 1911 and is buried in the local cemetery with her deceased son. Sometime later Thomas married Elsie Eleanor McKinnon (1895-1980), daughter of Walter McKinnon (1862-1952) and Emily Horley (1863-1944) who were married at Homebush (presumably in Sydney in NSW) in 1887. Elsie was born at Maryborough in central Victoria where her father worked for a time as a policeman. The Australian electoral rolls show that Thomas, said to be a grazier, and Elsie were registered as living at Lalbert in Victoria in 1924 and 1934 and Manangatang in 1937. The 1942 roll has them both at Robinvale on the Murray River (Thomas was then a pensioner). They both died at Robinvale, Thomas in 1950 and Elsie in 1980. They had three children as follows:
1) Walter Joseph Smith (1923-1980). The Department of Veterans Affairs' WW2 Nominal Roll shows that VX139917 Driver Walter Joesph Smith, born at Swan Hill on 6 April 1923, enlisted in the Australian Army 'in the field' in Victoria on 28 April 1943. He was then living at Robinvale and gave as his NOK Eleanor Smith. He was discharged on 31 January 1946 while serving with HQ 129 Australian General transport Company. He married Nancy Joan Leslie (1928-2017) at Robinvale where Walter was working as a carpenter. They lived the remainder of their lives at Robinvale and had five children there: Barry, John, Daryl, Lyall and Warren Smith. By the time of Nancy's death at in 2017, these had produced 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
2) Malcolm James Smith who married Beverley Ratten and, according to Lynton Smith, had three children; Melinda, Alister and Brenton Smith.
3) Dorothy Emily Smith (1931-2008) who married Bendigo-born Kevin James Haw (1926-95) in 1950. The Department of Veterans Affairs' WW2 Nominal Roll shows Kevin served as a private soldier in the Australian Army Ordinance Corps between 26 April 1945 and 17 January 1947. After their marriage in 1950, Dorothy and Kevin lived at Robinvale where Kevin also worked as a carpenter. Dorothy's death notice, published in the Herald Sun on 27 August 2008, indicates they had three children: Pauline, Thomas (deceased), Donna and John Smith.
Thomas' younger brother, Joseph Robert Smith(1874-1963) married the sister of Tryphena Kate Dickens, Susan Margaret Dickens (1883-1964), at Waubra in 1905 (the married couple are pictured on the right). Their granddaughter, Frances Mills, tells us that Joseph and Susan initially farmed land at Galah near Ouyen and that they and a number of other settlers received from the local council a formal certificate of appreciation for their pioneering efforts (which was framed and proudly displayed in the family home). Frances adds that their only child and Frances' mother, Mavis Frances Smith, was born at Galah in 1915.
The Australian electoral rolls have Joseph and Susan registered as living at Tiega (located a few miles from Galah) in Victoria at the time of the 1914 and 1919 elections. In around 1920 they sold their lease at Galah and moved to Melbourne. By the time of the 1924 election Joseph was working as a dairyman and he and Susan were living at Bushy Park on Melbourne Road near Dandenong. In 1931 Susan was registered as living at 69 Potter Street in Dandenong while Joseph was farming at Bannerton near Ultima. The 1936/7 and 1942 rolls have them both at Bannerton. Frances Mills tells us that in around 1946 they bought a farm at Hutcheson's Lane in Romsey and named it 'Glen Mavis' after their daughter. She adds that they were at 'Glen Mavis' until 1951 when Joseph retired and they moved to nearby Kyneton (the 1954 electoral roll has them at 21 Wheatley Street in Kyneton). In 1957 they moved again, to the Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh, where Joseph died six years later. His wife Susan died at Heidelberg in Melbourne in 1964. Their daughter, Mavis, married Stanley Charles Mills in 1938 and had two children: Frances Susan and Robert Andrew Mills.
William James Smith (1878-1933) married Alice Mabel Nimmo in 1912 probably in Lalbert. Lisa Sukra has Alice's parents as George Nimmo (1868-1945) and Alice Maud Goodrem (1872-1930). This is confirmed by Ancestry's index of Australian bdms which shows that Alice was born at Minyip in Victoria in 1894. Lisa also believes that Alice died in Kew in Melbourne in 1972 and that she and William had two children: Florence Mabel Smith (1915-90) and another still living. William who worked as a butcher in Lalbert until the early 1920s, died at Swan Hill in 1933. He and Alice's daughter, Florence, married a baker, Charles Andrew Groat, sometime in the 1930s. Although still to be confirmed we think that Charles was the son of Lalbert's first baker, Albert Groat. According to the recollections of T. J. Woods contained in Jan and Janine Power's Lalbert Reflections, Albert was 'a very fine Baker and good at most sport - Football, Shooting, Boxing, etc, and made the first bread in the old Type underground bakehouse ... from bread tins made by a plumber bext door.' The electoral rolls show that Charles and Florence Groat lived initially at Waitchie near Ultima, then at Seymour and, from the late 1940s, in Melbourne. According to Lynton Smith they had two children both still living.
John Albert Smith (known to everyone as 'Al' and pictured on the left with his wife) was born at Waubra in 1878 and travelled the same year with his parents to Bungeluke North near Lalbert. Al attended the Lalbert state school after it opened in 1893 with his siblings and cousins from the Hickmott family. He married Eliza Grace ('Gracie') Brooks at Waubra in 1910, at about the same time as he took up a block of land at Wornack near Ouyen in the northern Mallee district. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that Eliza Grace Brooks, the daughter of Mark Brooks and Ellen Conrick, who were married in Victoria in 1876, was born at Axedale in Victoria in 1888. Her siblings included David Henry, George Thomas, James Francis, John Charles, Joseph Conrick, Kathleen Florence, Mary Ann, Percy Mark, Walter Peter and William Brooks all of whom were born at Axedale.
In 1912 Al and Gracie were joined by Al's cousin and good friend William Henry Hickmott and his wife Frances and their two small daughters Grace and Gladys. William had earlier helped Al clear his block of much of the Mallee scrub then covering it. He and Frances lived with Al and Gracie while waiting to be granted their own allotment of land north of Ouyen. It seems that Al didn't remain on the land for long. The Australian electoral rolls show that he worked as a butcher at Ultima between at least 1909 and 1936. Some time after this he and Gracie and their family moved to Melbourne (the 1942 electoral roll shows them living at 7 Errol Street in the suburb of Footscray). John Albert ('Al') Smith died at Footscray in Melbourne in 1944. His wife Gracie died at Swan Hill thirty-three years later, aged 88 years.
As the photo above shows, Al and Gracie had six children: Howard Lionel (1911-1981), Maurice Clement (1912-1992), Lloyd Albert (1913-1989), Auriel Leonora Grace (1915-), Sheila Merlyn (1917-) and Loris Mary Smith (1921-). Lynton Smith tells us that Howard Smith married Clare Wilson and did not have any children. Maurice Clement Smith, who was a butcher by trade, married Olive Annie Cox (1916-1992) at Ouyen in Victoria in around 1935 and had three children there: Maurice John, Margaret Dawn and Marilyn Fay Smith. Lloyd Albert Smith married Jean Mitchell and also had three children: Lesley, Garnet and Ann. Auriel Leonora Grace Smith married a New Zealander, William Ronald Perris (1910-1972), and had four children: Barbara, Alison, Rodney and Julie. Sheila Merlyn Smith (Lisa Sukra's grandmother) married Raymond Edward O'Connor and had two children: Terrance and Jennifer. And Loris Mary Smith (Lynton's mother) married John Ryan Smith and had three children: Daryl, Lynton and Gregory.
Born at Bungeeluke North in Victoria, Richard Colmer Smith (1881-1976) attended the Lalbert State School (no 2990) with his siblings and Hickmott cousins. The 1909 electoral roll shows him working as a farmer and living with his parents at Lalbert. In the same year he married Hilda Alice Fidge (1889-1971) probably at Lalbert although this has still to be confirmed (one of the couple's wedding photo is shown below, another can be viewed here). The Chambers Family Tree on Ancestry tells us that Hilda was born at Dowlingville in South Australia, the sixth child of Edward Fidge (1854-1929) and Tryphena Pridham (1861-1943). Like many other South Australians the family moved to Victoria to take up land being opened in the Wimmera and Mallee regions. In 1904 Edward was farming land at Mumbel Plains near Lalbert.
The electoral rolls show that after their marriage, Richard, who was a butcher by trade, and Hilda lived in Melbourne initially at Dandenong, then nearby Clayton where, according to a report in The Dandenong Journal on 28 August 1946, he and his sons, Alan Richard Colmer Smith of East Oakleigh and Douglas Albert Smith of Clayton, formed a family butchery entitled the New Clayton Company. By the time of the 1954 election Richard had retired and he and Hilda were living at 6 Hatter St in Oakleigh. They were still registered there in 1967. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that a Hilda Alice Smith, aged 82 years, the daughter of Edward Fidge and Tryphena Pridham, died at Kew in Melbourne in 1971, Richard died at Box Hill five years later. They are both buried in the Burwood Cemetery.
Richard and Hilda had seven children: 1) Doris Lillian Smith (1911-2001) who married James Adrian McCarthy in 1933 and had four children; 2) Gladys Irene Smith (1913-84) who married Noel Nathanial Bloomfield in 1938. Gladys died at Rushworth in Victoria and is buried with her paternal grandparents in the Burwood cemetery. 3) Heather Pearl Smith (1919-1994) who seems to have been married twice, first to Stanley James Stone and second to Albert Henry Walker (1914-97) with whom she is memorialised in the Wonthaggi Cemetery. We think she and Albert had a daughter who is still living. 4) Douglas Albert Smith (1922-74) who enlisted in the 2nd AIF at Oakleigh on 23 September 1943 and was discharged from the Army on 9 November 1945 at which time he was serving as a signalman in the 20 Australian Line Section. We believe he married Margaret Jean Paton (1933-2002) and had three children: Wayne Douglas Smith (1954-78) and two others still living. 5) Maureen Linda Smith (1934-2015). The Palmer Family Tree tells us Maureen was married and had a daughter. 7) Alan Richard Colmer Smith. 7) Shirley Smith.
This photo is taken from Lisa Sukra's 'Smith Family Tree - Cornwall to Australia' located on Ancestry.com.
It was taken at the time of the wedding of Richard Colmer Smith to Hilda Alice Fidge in 1909 and shows, from L/R:
Mary Lilian Isobel Smith, John Albert Smith, Richard Colmer Smith and Hilda Alice Smith nee Fidge
Charles Christopher Smith (1882-1954) married Charlotte Christina Margaret Goodwin in 1912 and had five children: Charles Albert, Mabel Rebecca, William George, Stanley Clyde and Roy Percival Smith. The Australian electoral rolls show that Charles, who worked as a labourer, and Charlotte lived for a time at Ultima in Victoria before moving to Melbourne (by this time it seems that he and Charlotte may have separated). Charles died in Footscray in 1954.
According to Sands and McDougall's Directory, Ernest Arthur Smith (1884-1949), who was born at Bungeeluke North, was a storekeeper at Lalbert in 1909. Lynton Smith tells us that he married Rose Harrison and had a daughter, Elvie Miriam. The 1914 electoral roll shows an Ernest Arthur Smith, a butcher, and Rosie Smith, a music teacher, living at Dandenong (possibly with Ernest's brother Richard Colmer Smith). In 1924 and 1931 they were at 'Glenelvie' on Coorigal Road in Murrumbeena. Ernest was then working as a traveller. They remained on Coorigil Road with their daughter Elvie Miriam Smith, a hairdresser, through the 1930s and 1940s. Ernest died there in 1949. Lynton Smith believes that both Rose and Elvie are also deceased.
Eliza Myrtle Auriel Pearl Smith (1888-1921) married Auguste Granville Gerecke (1884-1945) in 1915 at Romsey in Victoria. Auguste was born at Tower Hill in 1884, the son of Hermann Gerecke (1832-1908) and Mary Ann Collins (1853-1928). The electoral rolls show he was a policeman and was stationed at Romsey in 1914. Myrtle was then living at 'Green Hills' with her father and brothers Percy and Stanley. Their wedding was described in the Ultima and Chillingollah Star as follows:
Gerecke - Smith. A quiet but pretty wedding was celebrated at the residence of the bride's father (Joseph Smith, " Greenhills," Bolinda, late of Lalbert) on Wednesday, 2nd June, the contracting parties being Mr A. G. Gerecke, of Romsey, and Myrtle Auriel Smith, the officiating clergyman being the Rev King, of Romsey. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a dress of white silk trimmed with Limerick lace and pearl trimmings; the skirt was finished by a wide hip sash of ivory white crepe-de-chine; the bridal veil was arranged cap fashion, with ivory spray of orange blossom, the effect being very becoming. The bridesmaid, Miss Lilian Smith, wore a dress of white silk with lace overdress and pearl trimmings and swathe belt of shell pink crepe-de-chine. Mr Frank Merrifield acted as groomsman and carried out his duty most effectively. The bride groom's gifts to the bride were a beautiful diamond ring and a set of furs, and the gift to the bridesmaid a very pretty necklet. The presents to the bride and bride groom were very numerous and handsome. At the conclusion of the ceremony the wedding break fast was partaken of and the health and prosperity of the happy couple toasted with musical honors, After full justice had been done to the good things provided evening amusements and dancing were, indulged in with great life and spirit, every one thoroughly enjoying them selves. The bride looked very smart in her travelling costume of navy clothetta, with collar and cuffs of Ottoman silk, navy panne velvet hat with white ostrich feather nouch. The dancing, etc., was kept going till 2.30 p.m., when the party broke up after a real good time.
Myrtle and Auguste had three children before Myrtle's untimely death at Meeniyan near Inverloch in Victoria in 1921: Auriel Edith, Albert Edgar and Stanley Gerecke. Frances Mills tells us that Stanley was brought up by Myrtle's sister-in-law, and Frances' grandmother, Susan Margaret Smith who would have liked to adopt him but wasn't able to. Auguste Gerecke was stationed at Benalla at the time of the 1924 election and lived in East Melbourne from the early 1930s until his death in 1945. The following death notice was published in the Melbourne Age on 14 November 1945: 'GEREKE - On November 13, at the Police Hospital, August Grenville of 47 Agnes Street Jolimont, dearly beloved husband of the late Myrtle Gerecke and loving father of Auriel, Albert (AIF) and Stan (AIF), aged 81 years, late of the Victoria Police Force, sadly missed'. Auguste and Myrtle are both buried in Melbourne's Burwood Cemetery.
Myrtle and Auguste's only daughter, Auriel Edith Gerecke (1915-92), who worked as a salesperson, was living in Camberwell North in 1943 and at Deepdene in 1949. The latter roll also shows an 'Oriel' Edith and Reginald Francis Duffy, tanner, were registered as living at 53 and 55 Park Street respectively (a Vincent Graham and Irence Alice Duffy were at 3/34 Park Street). The 1954 roll has a Reginald Francis, tanner, and Auriel Edith Duffy both at 53 Park Street. The 1963 roll has them at 1/3 Cowderoy Street in St Kilda Park along with an Irene Alice Duffy, hairdresser. Reg and Auriel were still registered there in 1968, 1972 and 1977 (Irene was at 3/34 Park Street in each year along with a Vincent Graham Duffy, spring maker, in 1968 and 1972). Only Aurial and Irene were at their respective addresses in 1980. The Melbourne Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust website shows that Reginald Francis Duffy died on 28 January 1980 and is memorialised in the Altona Memorial Park. The Benalla Cemetery Trust website shows that Auriel Edith Duffy of Benalla, aged 76 years, died on 30 July 1992. It notes that in 2006 her ashes were exhumed and given to family who were 'going to Wangaratta'. Her memorial plaque at Benalla reads: 'Duffy nee Gerecke Auriel Edith died 30 July 1992 aged 76 years loved wife of Reg sister of Bert and Stan'.
Auriel's brother, Albert Edgar Gerecke (1917-95), was born in the Melbourne suburb of Port Albert and, after leaving school early, worked as a labourer in the Albury and Bechworth areas. The Department of Veterans Affairs' Second World War nominal roll shows that VX57966 Pte Albert Edgar Gerecke - pictured on the right - enlisted in the Australian Army at Royal Park in Melbourne on 18 June 1941. A week later he married Ida Mary Kneebone, youngest daughter of Eugene Kneebone (1864-1953) and Arabella Hamilton (1882-1967) of Everton near Beechworth. On returning to duty, he was allocated to the reinforcements for the 2/24th Infantry Battalion which at the time was involved in the defence of Tobruk. Albert probably joined the battalion when it was in Syria and would have travelled with it back to Egypt in order to help meet Rommel's new offensive. In August 1942, the family was informed that Albert had been killed in action leading it to post the following notices in the Melbourne Argus: 'Pte Albert E Gerecke reported killed in action in Egypt is the elder son of Mr A G Gerecke (late Victorian Police Force) of Jolimont. His brother Stanley (who is a member of the AIF was reported missing in Malaya (8 August 1942). 'GERECKE.-On July 22, VX57966 Pte Albert Gerecke, nephew of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Smith (Bannerton) brother of our dear Stanley (A.I.F.), missing in Java. Some day we'll understand' (15 August 1942). The following report, published in the Catholic Advocate on 10 September the same year, showed the first reports were mistaken:
Vatican Radio Brings Good News Soldier Reported Killed a Prisoner of War Albert Gerecke had been reported killed in action. An acquaintance, listening to the short wave on Saturday last, heard the name mentioned on a Vatican Radio broadcast. He communicated with the parents, who began an anxious search of broadcasts in the hope of getting further information. After vain enquiries, they at last got in touch with Mrs. J. J. Daly, of the Catholic Welfare Organisation. A telegram was despatched to the Apostolic Delegation, through the Apostolic Delegation Prisoners of War Information Bureau. Immediately the following reply was received: "Vatican Radio, Saturday, September 5, broadcast Albert Gerecke, VX 57966, 47 Agnes-street, Jolimont, prisoner military hospital, Italy. Slightly wounded. Receiving good attention.
Along with hundreds of other POWs, Albert was repatriated to England at War's end and thence to Melbourne where he was discharged from the Army on 8 September 1945. The Australian electoral rolls whow that, at the time of the 1949 and 1954 elections, he and his wife Ida Mary were at 11 Roper Street in Mount Beauty near Yackandanda in Victoria where Albert was working as a storeman. Sometime after this they returned to Melbourne, living first in the suburb of Altona and later on Keilor. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that Ida Mary Gerecke, aged 68, died at Emerald in Victoria in 1985. Albert died at Wangaratta in 1995 and is buried with Ida in the Wanaratta Cemetery. We believe they had one girl and two boys.
His military record in the Australian Archives shows that Stanley Gerecke enlisted in the Second AIF on 9 July 1940. He was born at Romsey in Victoria on 9 November 1917, was working as a farmer, and gave his father, August Granville Gerecke of the Village Bell Hotel in St Kilda, as his NOK. He was assigned to the 2/29th Infantry Battalion and was sent to Singapore with the Australian 8th Division. He landed at Singapore on 25 March 1942 and was posted as missing on 27 April the same year while serving in Java. He became a prisoner of war in September 1943 and served on the Burma Railway. In October 1945 he sailed from Singapore to Melbourne and was discharged from the Army in December the same year. Stanley married Nadine Shirley Robb (1925-2016). Frances Mills tells us that Stanley and Shirley had two children: Reuben Gerecke in 1948 and Lynette Gerecke in 1965. She adds that after the war, he and Shirley, who came from the Romsey area, lived at different times in Melbourne, Romsey, Benalla and Leongatha. The Australian electoral rolls show that Stanley, a tram employee, and Shirley were living at 400 Punt Road in South Yarra in Melbourne in 1949. They were at Romsey in 1954, Bena near Korumburra in 1958, 1963 and 1967 (where Stanley was working as a farmer), back at Romsey in 1968 (farmer), Lancefield near Bendigo in 1972 (farmer) together with a Reuben Frederick and Margaret Mary Gerecke (both working as process workers), and Benalla in 1977 and 1980 (farmer - Reuben, shop assistant and a Carol Ann Gerecke, typist, were also living at Benalla but at a different address). Shirley died at Cobram in 2016. Her death notices published in the Melbourne Herald Sun indicate she and Stanley by that time had nine grandchildren.
Joseph and Rebecca's second youngest son, Percy Herbert Smith (1890-1961), worked on his father's farm at Lalbert before marrying Mary Dorothy Scanlon there in the early 1900s. Ancestry's index of Australian bdms shows that Mary, the daughter of Bartholomew Scanlon and Bridget Odwyer, was born at Golden Square in Victoria in 1899, and that she died at Fitzroy in Melbourne in 1947. She and Percy had three children: James, John Percival (or 'Jack' as he was known) and Maureen Smith. The 1924 and 1931 electoral rolls show that Percy Herbert, a farmer, and Mary Dorothy Smith were living at Rochford near Lancefield in Victoria. In 1936/7 and 1942 they were back at the home farm at Romsey (one of Percy's descendants, Melissa Smith, tells us that the farm is still owned by the family). Percy died at Box Hill in Melbourne in 1961, aged 70 years. The photo on the left which was provided by Melissa Smith shows her grandfather (Jack Smith), father, uncle, brother and new nephew. As Melissa notes, it demonstrates well that 'the Smith family name still goes on'.
Joseph and Rebecca's youngest child, Mary Lilian Isobel Smith (1894-1979) was born at Bungeeluke North (she is pictured in two of the photos above, one with her mother and the other with her siblings John Albert and Richard Colmer Smith). She was living at 'Green Hills' at Bolinda at the time of her mother's death in 1914. We think that she might have then gone to Melbourne where she married James William Dowling (1891-1957) in around 1919. The son of Edward Simpson Dowling (1862-1937) and Christina Vaughan (1863-97), James was born at Gre Gre near St Arnaud in Central Victoria. His military record in the Australian National Archives shows that he enlisted in the First AIF at Broadmeadows in Melbourne on 2 May 1915. Allocated to the 2nd Australian General Hospital, he served with that unit in Egypt and France before being transferred to the 12th Field Ambulance at War's end. He returned to Australia on the SS Port Denison in March 1919. The Australian electoral rolls show that Lilian and James, who worked as a labourer, lived all their married lives in Melbourne, initially at Murrumbeena (most likely with Lilian's father, Joseph Smith, who died there in 1926) then Glen Humtley and finally 197 Koornang Road Carnegie. James died at Carnegie in 1957, Lilian at Croydon in 1979.
Lilian and James had two boys: 1) Rowett Stanley Dowling (1920-60) who served in the Royal Australian Engineers during the Second World and lived and worked (as a brick layer) in Melbourne until his death in 1960. He seems not to have married. 2) James Douglas Dowling (1923-2013) who served in the RAAF during the Second World War and married Dawn Elaine Poulton (1930-2012) sometime after his discharge in 1946. According to the Dowling Family Tree on Ancestry, Dawn was born at the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, the daughter of Lesley Albert Poulton and Evelyn Maud Moncrieff. The Australian electoral rolls show they moved around a bit between their marriage and time of separation: Woorinen near Swan Hill, and Carnegie, Watsonia and Greensborough in Melbourne. The Dowling Family Tree tells us that James and Dawn had four children and, at the time of James' death in 2013, at least four grandchildren and a great granddaughter.
|Hickmott family Rootsweb site||Henry Edward Hickmott|
|Emma and Eliza Hickmott||More Smith family photographs|
'Rebecca Smith (nee Hickmott) at Green Hills, Bolinda 12 February 1913', courtesy of James Margetts.
'Joseph Colmer Smith', 'Rebecca with youngest daughter Lilian', 'John Albert and Eliza Grace Smith', 'Al and Gracie Smith and family', and 'wedding of Richard Colmer Smith and Hilda Alice Fidge', courtesy of Lisa Sukra.
'Gravestone of Tryphema Smith' and 'Joseph Robert and Susan Margaret Smith nee Dickens', from Jan and Janine Power's Lalbert Reflections.
'Four generations of Smiths', courtesy of Melissa Smith.
'Christopher and Selina Harrison nee Smith' and a young Selina Smith, courtesy of Kathryn Jones-Lucas.
'Albert Edgar Gerecke', taken from the Mulveney Keady Quinlan Collins Family Tree on Ancestry.