Baby Farming in 19th Century Melbourne

Whilst undertaking a brick wall research project into the early life of AIF digger Ralph Phillips, l was confronted with the term “baby farming” and was introduced to Emma Parry. 

Emma was born c1811 in Suffolk, England.  She arrived in Australia as Emma Ames with her 13-year-old son Frederick Charles Ames and 11-year-old daughter Emma Ames.  The bereaved family departed Plymouth per Eliza on 30 November 1852, arriving in Portland Bay, Victoria on 9 April 1853.  It had been a perilous journey with 41 of the 330 passengers dying during the voyage, primarily due to an outbreak of measles.  After disembarking, Emma was hired on 15 April by M Cameron of Portland on a six-month contract for £30 with rations. 

By 1879 Emma Ames was known as Emma Parry, a widow residing at 116 Kerr Street Fitzroy. From 1887 Emma Parry resided at Edina Cottage, 10 King William Street, Fitzroy where she practiced as a nurse.  Like many other older women residing in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Emma carried on a business as an accoucheuse.  The press referred to these private lying-in-hospitals as ‘baby farms’.  Emma’s reputation as a “philanthropist” amongst “distressed females” seeking a venue to be confined, and / or a house for their baby to be reared or adopted, was to become widespread knowledge to the broader Victorian community in December 1889.  Numerous newspapers reported on the activities at Edina Cottage. 

The Age disclosed that on the evening of Saturday 7 December a poorly dressed girl aged about 16 or 17 arrived at Mrs. Parry’s front door holding a bundle in her arms, explaining, “The little girl had taken very bad”.  When Mrs. Parry enquired of the symptoms, the response was that she didn’t know, but her sister who was outside could answer.  “In a trice Mrs. Parry’s mysterious caller had vanished through the front door” leaving her with the infant in her arms.  Unable to find the girls outside, Mrs. Parry realized that she had been tricked by a clever ruse to accept the unknown baby.  Mrs. Parry went straight to the Fitzroy watch house to inform the police of the incident.  However as abandoned children are entrusted into the care of a capable nurse, the police sent Mrs. Parry home with the baby girl, estimated to be six or seven weeks old.  The following day whilst nursing the baby, Mrs. Parry noticed some symptoms of twitching so she administered a few drops of brandy and water, and the baby fell into a calm and peaceful sleep.  However by evening the baby suffered a fit of mild convulsions.  After giving the baby a warm bath, Mrs. Parry ordered a lodger, Margaret Smyth, to take it to Dr. Fyffe.  Upon return, Mrs. Parry administered the prescribed medicine, along with three drops of cough mixture in warm water, believing she had noticed signs of a cold.  The baby appeared to progress favorably until two days later.  On the Monday evening the baby suffered another fit and died in convulsions.  Dr. Fyffe signed a death certificate, however the police considered the circumstances to be unusual, and directed the death to the coroner to conduct a post-mortem examination.  Dr. Henry Maudsley performed this procedure and concluded, “The body was emaciated.  The posterior parts of both lungs were congested.  Death was attributable to inflammation of the stomach and intestines, arising from improper feeding.”  He explained that the observed convulsions were merely symptoms of the diseased state of the intestines.”

Dr Youl conducted an inquest at the city morgue on 17 December 1889.    Evidence was heard that Louisa Thorn had answered an advertisement to adopt a child from Emma Parry in November.  She claimed to have followed instructions to feed the child on Swiss milk.  After a fortnight the child became ill so Thorn took it to Dr. Lawrence, who deposed the child was suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea produced by unsuitable food.  Louisa Thorn subsequently returned the child to Mrs. Parry.  Mrs. Marion Clarke, deputy register of South Fitzroy, testified of her concern of the death of an illegitimate child at Mrs. Parry’s residence 12 months ago from marasmus and collapse.  She stated the deaths of five other infants at the same address had been registered during the year, all from the same cause, except one that was stillborn.  In examination, Emma Parry stated 12 or 13 children passed through her hands over the previous year.  She stated she was known for providing a good home for children.  Over the past 12 months, five or six had died, their mothers had taken some away, and three or four had been adopted.  Evidence was also heard from Georgina Kiddell who lived with her father at Moolart.  She had been confined five times at Mrs. Parry’s, her father making the arrangements for her under the assumed name of ‘Mrs. Bath’.  The first child died at 10 days, the second was adopted the day following its birth, the third and fourth were also adopted.  Georgina paid £5 and £6 fee to the adopted parents.  The fifth child had died.  The Coroner stated, “The matter was a very serious one because a large number of infants were received at the house, and there was very little evidence to show what became of them.  Whilst evidence was heard that many respectable people had adopted babies, neither the mothers of the children nor the proprietor of the house were able to tell where any of them had gone to.”  After a short deliberation the jury delivered their verdict as follows: — “In Fitzroy, on the 9th of December instant, the deceased, Jessie Thorn, died of marasmus from improper and unsuitable food. The jury are of opinion that such houses as that kept by Mrs. Parry should be placed under proper supervision and that proper books be kept of all confinements occurring in them.”

One month later, Louisa Thorn of Rae Street Fitzroy appeared at the Fitzroy Police Court charged with making a false declaration to the deputy registrar of BDM.  Louisa had registered the birth of Jessie Grace Thorn, born 1 August 1889 listing herself as mother, rather than declaring that the child was adopted.  Louisa Thorn was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment at Castlemaine Gaol.

Janet McCalman’s comprehensive study of the Melbourne Lying in Hospital (later to be named the Royal Women’s Hospital) traced the registered live births at the hospital between 1857 and 1900 until death.  Janet revealed an incredibly high infant mortality rate, with 50% of the babies dying before their first birthday.  Of these, 15% had died before 28 days.  For approximately two decades the press had been reporting about “baby farming” nurses such as Emma Parry.     Janet states “the actual murderers among the baby farmers – i.e. women who took in babies for money – were few, but we found that there was an ancient practice of allowing babies to fade away.”  During “the 1880s mortality in LIH babies who were illegitimate reached 80%.  Since they were hand fed and artificial feeding was so unsafe, they faded away from constant gastro and marasmus.  The Infant Life Protection Act dramatically reduced this mortality by policing the private nursing industry fiercely.”

Public concern about the fate of infants increased and ultimately contributed to The Infant Life Protection Act 1890. The legislation was an attempt to regulate the private nurses and their residential establishments.  It empowered police to control the paid children’s nurses and granted them the authority to inspect homes.  Registration was required by all who nursed or maintained infants less than two years of age ‘for the purpose of maintaining such infant for a longer period than three consecutive days’ or ‘for the purpose of adopting such infant’.  The Act was also intended to regulate the work of people who brokered adoptions by taking charge of surrendered infants and matching them with adoptive parents for a fee.  Nurses and possible unscrupulous midwives quickly learnt how to play the new system.  The Royal Children’s Hospital provided official feeding instructions, and registered private nurses would ensure that these were prominently displayed when their premises were inspected.  Those that did end up in court would often recite the instructions as part of their defence.

By 1892 Emma Parry had relocated her residence and business to 8 Duckett Street, Brunswick.  Despite a change of venue, it would seem that the activities continued as they did in Fitzroy, with more births, adoptions and deaths.  On 16 April 1892 Dr Neild, acting coroner, conducted an inquest at the Court House Hotel, Brunswick into the death of Florence Zimmerman.  Florence was born to Janet Zimmerman at the Women’s Hospital on 23 December 1891 and was nursed for two months at North Melbourne.  Mrs. Elizabeth Ryan took charge of Florence Zimmerman on 9 January, receiving 10s per week for its care from Janet.  The baby was thriving until 13 February when Florence was “seized with vomiting”.  Mrs. Ryan took Florence to Dr. Peacock who prescribed medicine and cured the illness. Janet Zimmerman answered an advertisement by Emma Parry on 22 March 1892.  Mrs. Parry agreed to adopt the child if paid £5, declaring she would take good care of it and would permit Janet to see it at any time.  Mrs. Ryan attested that Florence was healthy when the baby left her care on 24 March.  Sergeant Brown deposed that Emma Parry called into the police station on 11 April to report the death of the child the previous day.  Emma Parry claimed she had called Dr Miller to see the child on 9 April, which had been well up until then.  Dr. Neild claimed there were other cases in the district where children died in mysterious circumstances, despite no apparent criminal intention.  He attributed most of these cases to ignorance, predominately arising from feeding unsuitable and indigestible food.  It was attested that Emma Parry accepted money to take possession of Florence Zimmerman into her home, which was described as “a filthy, frowsy house not fit for pigs or vagrant dogs to live in.  In three weeks a strong, healthy, stout child, apparently likely to live, became a living skeleton, with not a shred of food in its body.”  The Jury found Florence Zimmerman died of starvation and neglect wilfully caused by Emma Parry.  They declared Emma to be guilty of wilful murder.   The Coroner Dr. Neild agreed with the jury that Florence Zimmerman had been deliberately starved to death, and committed Emma Parry for trial. Emma received the verdict with intense surprise, moaning she had cared for the dear child day and night.

Emma Parry’s trial was held on 26 April 1892 at the Criminal Court.   Emma’s defence was that the baby died from an inability to assimilate its food.  However the prosecutor’s argument that Florence Zimmerman was starved to death prevailed, and 79-year-old Emma Parry was found guilty of manslaughter.  She was sentenced to nine months hard labour.  Upon being received at Melbourne Gaol it was discovered that Emma’s right thighbone was fractured, the result of falling down stairs at her home in Brunswick.  She was admitted to the Gaol Hospital, rather than the prisoner cells.  Emma’s nine-month sentence became a life sentence upon her death in the gaol hospital at 10pm on Wednesday 13 July 1892.  Dr Youl conducted an inquest at Melbourne Gaol on 15 July.  Evidence was heard from Dr. Shields that death resulted from old age and debility.  Coronial findings declared ‘death by natural causes’.

The term “baby farming’ conjures images of unspeakable evil and cruelty.  However to believe that the nurses were trying to help single pregnant young girls and / or find suitable homes for illegitimate and unwanted babies, is just too simplistic.  The clientele of lying in hospitals and private nurses were predominately highly vulnerable women disempowered by poverty.  Desperate single women who without family support had no option but to part with their baby whilst they tried to earn a living.  These social conditions created a market for private nurses / baby farming to develop, which in turn attracted both professionally trained nurses and incompetent rogues.  However regardless of the level of training and experience, today we can question the likelihood of any well intentioned nurse and her ability to rear children who were prematurely weaned and relied on artificial feeding.  In addition, we need to recognise the issues associated with poor sanitary conditions and the enviable task of nursing babies suffering with diseases and possibly weakened by syphilis.

It is worth mentioning that Frances Knorr aka Minnie Thwaites was the only Melbourne woman to be hanged for activities relating to baby farming at various homes in Brunswick and Carlton.  The discovering of three buried babies in backyards of homes where Frances had resided, led to her arrest.  Frances Knorr stated she took children in to nurse, and accounted for their disposal by saying that she had “adopted then out”.   Frances Knorr was tried at the Coroner’s Court on three charges of murder on 25 October 1893 and was found guilty at the criminal Settings on 12 November 1893.  She was sentenced to death and hanged by the neck at Melbourne Gaol on 15 January 1894.

Emma Parry
Emma Parry
Frances Knorr
In Flanders Fields

The significance of the Red Poppy

The Red Poppy, or Flanders Poppy, has been associated with the World War One battlefields of Europe since 1915.  Canadian doctor Colonel John McCrae immortalized the flower as a symbol of remembrance in honour of his friend and former student.  Lieutenant Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, was killed on 2 May 1915.  In the absence of a chaplain, Colonel McCrae performed Helmer’s funeral ceremony and afterwards penned a poem that has become known as “In Flanders’ Field”.

In the devastation of the battlefields in northern France and Belgium, the Australian diggers would witness the red poppies emerge from the blackened soil.  It was one of only a few plants to grow on the barren battlefields.  According to soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy was coloured by the blood of fallen comrades, which had seeped into the ground.

The British Legion adopted the Red Poppy as the Emblem of Remembrance to honour the dead in 1919.  In 1921 the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia accepted the international convention to recognize the Poppy of Flanders’ Field to be worn on Remembrance / Armistice Day.

The Powell Family Project

The Powell Family Presentation Folder

I have conducted a Single Line Research Project on the Powell Family. Attached is a photograph of the project folder, which was presented to my client. It includes the family stories, a military report, pedigree chart, Ahnentafel Report, descendant reports, printed pdf media files, a source usage report and bibliography. Below is a brief outline of part of my findings.

William Wall Powell a farmer from Herefordshire brought his wife Alice (nee Stock) and baby daughter Gertrude to Australia in 1875. They arrived in Melbourne on 26 February 1875 as unassisted passengers per Whampoa. The family initially lived in Richmond where another son was born later that year. In April 1882 William became the head trainer of the prestigious Norwood Kennels at Alfred Road, Burwood. William died at the kennels on 30 March 1885, leaving 30 year old Alice to rear five young children aged from 1 to 10 years.

Whilst William died at the relatively young age of 53, his father Thomas, a corn merchant, was to live to 86 years. Thomas was severely impacted by the Corn Laws and was declared bankrupt in 1822. However he turned his life around and sired a large family of nine children. At the time of his death, Thomas had 25 grandchildren; a further eight were born after his death.

Alice Powell remarried at the age of 50, although she separated from her second husband within five years, returning to live with various children for the remainder of her long life. Alice died at the remarkable age of 93 years, as did her youngest daughter. Her father, Charles Stock, a yeoman and prominent resident of Foy, Herefordshire, died age 90 years.

Various men from the Powell and Stock families enlisted to serve their country during both peace and wartime. Of particular note were the Jakeman brothers, Charles James Jakeman and George Harold Jakeman who were grandsons of Charles Stock. Their parents had immigrated from Herefordshire, England to Kansas, USA in 1880. On 13 January 1886 they arrived in New South Wales, Australia.

George enlisted for service during the Boer War in 1902, under the alias of Robert Harman. He arrived in South Africa too late to participate in any action. At the age of 31 George enlisted in the First AIF, as did his older brother Charles. Whilst being allocated to different units, both Jakeman brothers departed Alexandria to join the MEF on the same date, arriving at Gallipoli on 16 August 1915. Charles was killed in action just six days later.

George survived the Gallipoli campaign being a party to the final evacuation in January 1916. Two months later he was re-allocated from 20 Battalion to 51 Field Ambulance and was sent to the Western Front. George was awarded the prestigious Military Medal for bravery in the field on the night of 5th / 6th May. He was gassed in August 1918, spending five weeks recuperating. After three years of service in France, George embarked for England on 9 January 1919. George returned to Australia per Commonwealth and disembarked in Sydney on 12 June 1919. He was discharged fully fit on 17 January 1920.

Arthur Herbert Jakeman, the third son of George Harold Jakeman attested for the Australian Army on 17 January 1941. Arthur was sent abroad arriving in Malaya on 16 August 1941. On 23 September 1941 he was declared ‘missing”. Arthur had been captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner of war. He was at interred at Changi Camp for 3 years and 5 months. Arthur was liberated from this camp on 5 September 1945, almost four years after his capture. It must have been an enormous relief for his wife Jessie and their two children, but also for his father George, to see Arthur disembark at Sydney on 9 October 1945.

Charles Livingston / Lucas

The photo at right is of my 2 x great grandfather – Charles Lucas.  He was a difficult man to trace, as he was fallacious in providing details when registering births of his daughters.  It was only after discovering his Victorian prison record, of which this photo was attached, that clues were gleaned to unearth his true identity.  These clues ultimately led to Charles Livingston, the VDL convict per Lord Petre.

Charles Livingston was convicted on 24 October 1842 at the Liverpool Borough of Quarter Sessions Court, Lancaster, for breaking into a house with two others and stealing 31 pairs of boots and 15 pairs of shoes.  He was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years transportation to Van Diemen’s Land.  Charles could read and write and he was considered to be “intelligent”.   Along with only seven others from the total of 238 convicts per Lord Petre, Charles was deemed by the ship’s surgeon to be “monitor of a class very good indeed”.  Despite being able to charm the ship surgeon, within the convict system Charles was a constant offender, his behavior being reactive and violent.  He was reprimanded with periods in solitary confinement and with hard labour.  On 28 January 1851 Charles received his Ticket of Leave, on condition that he did “not reside in Hobart Town or Fingal district”.

Charles Livingston married an Irish convict woman named Mary Sullivan on 10 May 1852 in Franklin.  Mary Sullivan, whose proper name was Mary Leary, was convicted at County Cork on 28 December 1848, for stealing a shirt.  She was transported per Australasia.  Charles and Mary had three Tasmanian born daughters between 1853 and 1857.

After freedom Charles struggled to remain on the right side of the law.  In 1854 he was fined £50 for sly grog selling.  This was a substantial sum – equating to approximately $7000 in today’s money.  It is not surprising that the following year Charles was declared insolvent when his saw-milling establishment at Huon went bankrupt.  Charles attempted to establish another timber dealership at Bruny Island in 1858, but again, he was forced to declare insolvency.  In April 1859 Charles was in court charged with stealing a square stern boat on January 15.

Presumably on the run, Charles relocated his pregnant wife and three daughters to Victoria, and the family assumed the surname of “Lucas”.  Three more daughters were born in Victoria, the first in March 1860.  The following month Charles was charged with stealing two pairs of boots.  On this occasion he was lucky to be dismissed with a caution.  Charles wasn’t so lucky in 1862 when he was charged at Castlemaine with receiving stolen property.  He received a sentence of three years on the roads.  On 1 December 1865 Charles was convicted of cattle stealing at Ballarat, his sentence being five years imprisonment.  Charles was sentenced to a further period of three years on the roads on 22 July 1872, for once again receiving stolen property.  Charles was finally released from Pentridge Prison on 29 May 1875.

After more than nine years of living alone as a single parent, it is thought that Mary was reluctant to allow Charles back into her life.  Whilst Charles was in prison, Mary gave birth to two daughters alone.  One of these daughters was to die in horrific circumstances aged 17 months.  Susan Lucas had stumbled into the open fire in her mother’s hut, and the kettle of boiling water toppled and scalded her. 

Four years after his release from Pentridge, Charles Lucas died at the copper mining town of Cobar, NSW on 29 December 1879.  According to his death certificate, Charles died from an “overdose of morphine administered by own hand”.  Despite an inquest being conducted one day after Charles died, his actual death certificate was not signed until 6 March 1880 – over two months after his death.  As was the case throughout his life, it seems fitting that after his death, anomalies still continued. 

Ballarat Benevolent Asylum

On 6 September 2011 l began trawling through the ledgers of the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum hoping to identify any inmates who were VDL convicts.  Over 150 convicts who had travelled to the goldfields after the expiration of their sentence were ultimately identified.  As  the ledgers did not specifically note convict origins or ships to the colony, it was a painstaking task to unearth the Vandemonians.   Here is the story of two of these men, John Grant and James Charles Gunyon.

On 30 November 1857, a meeting was held at the Council Chambers in Sturt Street, Ballarat.  Mr. Oddie, the Chairman of Ballarat West, raised the discussion about the many cases of distress within the region, primarily caused by gold field injuries. He proposed the establishment of a benevolent association, and thus, the Ballarat Benevolent and Visiting Society, later to be known as the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum, was formed.  Initially the recipients of aid were visited in their homes, but it was soon realised that an asylum was required.  The Ballarat Benevolent Asylum was officially opened on 20 February 1860.  A study of the ledgers which date from 1860, show that inmates of the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum were not merely the old and infirm, but also those who were able-bodied but destitute.  As Ballarat was a popular destination for many convicts once they received their freedom, it is only natural that this study of the ledgers has unearthed numerous men who had been transported to Van Diemen’s Land.


It would appear that the majority of convicts who spent time at the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum, were either single or widowed men.  One such man was John Grant.  John Grant was born in 1809 at Glasgow, Scotland, the son of a stonemason. John became a soldier with the 42 (The Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot.  However he deserted and upon capture was inflicted with 300 lashes.  This obviously did not deter John from deserting a second time in 1833.  John Grant was captured three years later and tried at the Edinburgh Castle on 15 September 1836.  He was sentenced to 7 years transportation. John was admitted to the prison hulk “Hardy” moored at Portsmouth, on 16 November 1836.  John sailed from Spithead aboard “Sarah”, arriving in Van Diemen’s Land on 29 March 1837.

After spending time at the prisoner barracks in Hobart, John was assigned to Molesworth Jeffrey at New Norfolk in 1838.  A dramatic turn of events changed the fortune of John.  John came upon two bushrangers, James Mackay and William Hill, who were both ex-convicts.  They were wanted for the murder of two other convicts, William Trusson and William Clarke.  John Grant befriended the bushrangers in an attempt to earn their trust, before he and his friends Patrick Riley and Absalom Gomme, overpowered the bushrangers in a capture that was bloodless.  John Grant and his two accomplices received a £500 reward, and more importantly, on 29 April 1842 they each received a free pardon with no conditions.

John left Tasmania for Victoria in 1844.  Whilst his initial whereabouts in Victorian are unknown, he was in the goldfields during the 1860s working as a miner.  At the age of 59 John resided at Hard Hills, Buninyong.  He was admitted to the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum on 24 March 1868 due to the loss of his left foot.  He was discharged almost seven months later on 13 October 1868. John had applied to the House Committee to be transferred to hospital, and whilst the application was successful, he was not admitted. Instead he was supplied with salve and medicine and was informed that he would be treated as an outpatient.

John was readmitted to the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum on 5 July 1870. The ground of application was “loss of left leg”.  He left the asylum on 27 October 1870 as he had gained employment to look after a gold claim.  On 4 April 1871 John returned to the benevolent asylum, remaining there for almost two and a half years.  On 2 September 1873 he gave notice and left for the District Hospital to have his leg further amputated at his own request.  John returned from hospital on 26 January 1874.  The ground of application was recorded as “torsion of the left leg”.  He was discharged on 5 January 1876.  John’s final admittance to the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum was on 4 June 1877, suffering from pneumonia.  He died at 8pm on 22 June 1877, the cause of death being confirmed as pneumonia and exhaustion.


Another convict who relied on the services of the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum was James Charles Gunyon.  James was born on 1 February 1790 at Kitson, Middlesex, England. He became known as Charles.  Charles married Sophia Robinson on 31 October 1815 at St Bride, Fleet Street, London.  Throughout the next 10 years they produced five children.  Charles worked as a waiter at The Swan, Westminster Bridge, whilst Sophia was employed as a housemaid.  Whilst working on 12 August 1827, Sophia found £85 in bank notes, which she promptly slipped into her pocket.  When arriving home, she gave the money to Charles.  This impromptu decision had dramatic consequences for her family.  Sophia and Charles were both arrested and tried at The Old Bailey on 13 September 1827.  Sophia received a death sentence, which was commuted to transportation for life, in consideration of her five children.  Charles was transported for 14 years.

Sophia and her five children sailed to Australia aboard “The Mermaid”, arriving on 27 June 1828.  Charles arrived two months later on 25 August 1828, aboard “Woodford”.  The four older children were placed into the Queen’s Orphan School, but three-year-old Emma was allowed to live with her parents.  A further three children were born between 1830 and 1837.

Charles was appointed a police constable soon after his arrival; however continual instances of being drunk and neglect of duty caused him many penalties.  He was dismissed from his service with the police in December 1831.  His problems persisted and he was punished with fines, hard labour on the Bridgewater chain gang and time on the treadwheel.  His conduct record shows a total of nine offences of drunkenness.

Whilst a record of divorce has not been located, it would appear that Charles and Sophia separated prior to 1844.  When their daughter Emma married in 1844, Sophia signed her name as “Sophia Walker”.  She spent her latter years living with James Walker.  Sophia died on 29 July 1866 at Brighton, Tasmania.  She was buried at Pontville St Marks Anglican Cemetery, Brighton, Hobart.  James Walker died 25 February 1870, and was buried with Sophia.

According to the 1841 Tasmania muster, Charles had received a conditional pardon.  It is thought that he travelled to Victoria in 1847.  Little is known about his time there, however at least in his latter years, Charles worked as a shepherd and lived at Creswick.

Charles arrived at the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum on 1 July 1874.  He was admitted on the grounds that he was old and infirm.  Charles stated that he was 85 years old, native of Barnett, Middlesex, England.  He also stated that he was a widower with six children. It was noted that he was “admitted in a very low and weak state was taken into the hospital ward and never left.”  Charles died at 6am on 27 July 1874.  The cause of death was “ascites and Bronchitis”.  As the main cause of ascites is cirrhosis of the liver, it could be presumed that Charles continued to drink heavily beyond his days of being a convict.

Whilst Charles, Sophia and their elder five children arrived in Australia under duress, it would appear that their descendants adopted a sense of belonging to their homeland. Charles and Sophia had at least eight direct line descendants who responded to the call from their country, and enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces during World War One.  Of the eight, only five returned from duty.  This included Leslie Ernest Fitzgerald who had been hospitalised after suffering from trench fever; Alfred Edward Jarvis who received a gun shot wound to his knee in France on 9 June 1917; and George Henry Evans who was shot in Belgium in March 1918.  Those that did not return were Tasman Jarvis, who was killed in action at the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915; Richard George Jarvis who was also killed in action at Gallipoli in what we now call “Anzac Day”; and Henry Thomas Jarvis who was killed in action on 9 September 1916 at Franc

Ganmain, New South Wales

The venue of my May school holidays to visit my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousins.

Check out the facebook page Historic Ganmain to see some wonderful photos and read stories about this small Riverina town:

Close Menu