Monday, 21 April 2014

R is for Railways - triennial listing of railways employees in Victoria

I wrote earlier this month about the Victorian Government Gazettes. The Gazette published a list of railway employees every three years between 1884 and 1929.

I have been able to follow the career of my husband's great grandfather, Henry Dawson (1864 - 1929).

On 7 June 1889 commenced employment as a railway employee.

On 30 January 1893 he was with the traffic branch as a lampman.

On 4 February 1896 he was with the traffic branch as a carriage cleaner.

On 2 February 1899 he was with the traffic branch as a porter.

On 1 January  1902 again employed as a carriage cleaner. His  pay was 7 shillings weekly.

As he was not mentioned in the gazette listing of 1905 it appears that Henry had left the railways before January 1905  (1905 Gazette 141 Page 4744

The Commonwealth of Australia Electoral Roll of 1909 has him still employed as a railway employee. He probably hadn't updated his voting registration. (1909 Australian Electoral Roll, Bentleigh polling place, Division of Balaclava, State of Victoria)

On 1 January 1912 Henry Dawson recommenced work with the railways

On 4 August 1914, 27 February 1918 and 7 April 1921 he was with the transportation branch as a lampman. He was still in that job on 24 November 1925; his weekly pay was 14 shillings 8 pence.

retrieved from

There is more information about railway employment  at  This web page includes a list of the Gazettes with the triennial listings of railway employees.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Q is for quarrelling including a duel

Heaton Champion de Crespigny (1796-1858) was my second cousin five times removed. He was the son of Sir William Champion de Crespigny (1765-1829), the second baronet, (who accused his coachman of stealing his harness).

1n 1828 Heaton fought a duel in Calais. Briefly Mr Long Wellesley  (1788-1857) accused Sir William de Crespigny of intimacy with  Miss E Long, the sister of Mr Long Wellesley's late wife. Long Wellesley believed the accusations had been confirmed by Heaton de Crespigny. Heaton later retracted the confirmation. A duel was fought. The matter later went to court which found against Long Wellesley. 

William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 4th Earl of Mornington, drawing about 1812. From Wikimedia Commons
Drawing of the Hon. William Pole Tylney Long Wellesley
Reverend Heaton Champion_de_Crespigny (1796–1858) by Philip August Gaugain Oil on canvas, 73 x 62 cm Collection: Kelmarsh Hall URL 
William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 4th Earl of Mornington, is described in the History of Parliament as "surely one of the most odious men ever to sit in Parliament". His obituary notice in the Morning Chronicle claimed that he was redeemed by no single virtue, adorned by no single grace. He was from a distinguished family. One uncle was Governor-General of India, another was the 1st Duke of Wellington. In 1812 he married Catherine Tylney-Long, a very wealthy heiress, believed to be the richest commoner in England at the time. At the time of the marriage William changed his surname to acknowledge his wife's surname. Catherine died in 1825 and William sought custody of his children (and through them access to his late wife's wealth). William was a notorious rake and was cited as co-respondent in a divorce case for adultery. Before her death Catherine was planning to divorce him and had entrusted her children to the care of her unmarried sisters. The matter went to Chancery court. William's uncle, the Duke of Wellington, intervened to keep the children out of William's custody.

In the course of the proceedings in the Chanceery court, Long-Wellesley attempted to show that his late wife's sisters were not suitable guardians for his children. He wrote a letter, published in The Sunday Times, asserting that Sir William de Crespigny and Emma Long, one of the sisters, had been intimate. (I have not found a copy of the original letter.)  Long-Wellesley asserted that Heaton de Crespigny, Sir William's son, had confirmed the story. While Heaton at first appeared to have confirmed the story, he later spoke to his father, and then retracted the confirmation.  He then requested Wellesley to retract his assertions. Otherwise he insisted on immediate satisfaction.

Wellesley and de Crespigny fought a pistol duel in June 1828 in Calais. They both fired, missed, and withdrew.

Extract  from "Duel Between Mr. L. Wellesley And Mr. De Crespigny." Times [London, England] 30 June 1828: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.
 Duelling was against the law, hence the duel had to move to France once the police became involved.

This is another account of the duel:
from Wellington's Voice: The Candid Letters of Lieutenant Colonel John Fremantle, Coldstream Guards, 1808-1821 (Google eBook retrieved from

 In 1829 Heaton's father, Sir William de Crespigny, sued William Long-Wellesley for libel. It was found that 
in an action for a libel, it is no plea, that the defendant had the libellous statement from another, and upon publication disclosed the author's name. 
Sir William de Crespigny was awarded one thousand pounds in damages, the equivalent of around one million pounds in today's money or two million dollars.

References : 

Friday, 18 April 2014

P is for phthisis (tuberculosis)

My fourth great grandfather (4*great) John Plaisted (1800-1858) died of phthisis, more commonly known as tuberculosis.

In early colonial days the disease was a part of daily life and few families were lucky enough to avoid it. There was no cure. The usual medical advice was a move to a warm, dry climate, a nutritious, nourishing diet, and complete rest. 

According to the 1841 census, John Plaisted was a wine merchant in Camberwell, Surrey, England. But in 1847 he sold his business and retired to South Devon.  In 1849 he sailed to Australia on the Rajah arriving in Adelaide in 1850 with his wife, six children and his sister-in-law. His wife's brother and sister had already emigrated to Adelaide. Although we don't know for sure, it seems quite possible that he came to Australia as the climate would be better for his health. (Hudson, Helen Lesley (1985). Cherry stones : adventures in genealogy of Taylor, Hutcheson, Hawkins of Scotland, Plaisted, Green, Hughes of England and Wales ... who immigrated to Australia between 1822 and 1850. H.L. Hudson, [Berwick] Vic. Page 58)

Adelaide was recommended as a good climate for tuberculosis sufferers. Charles Hill, for example, who emigrated to Adelaide in 1854, came in the hope the climate would be beneficial.  (Goldsworthy, Kerryn (2011). Adelaide. NewSouth Publishing, Sydney page 68 retrieved from Google books

The Plaisted family moved to Melbourne. They were living at 100 Collins Street when John finally succumbed to his illness.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium. The most common type is an infection of the lungs.  A common symptom is a persistent cough and later coughing up blood.  The patient loses his appetite and then weight. Other symptoms include a high temperature, night sweats and extreme tiredness. Tuberculosis was a slow killer; patients could waste away for years.

Tuberculosis was often seen as a romantic disease. In 1821 most famously the poet John Keats died aged 25. In 1828 Lord Byron wrote  "I should like to die of consumption. The ladies would all say, 'Look at that poor Byron, how interesting he looks in dying!"

John Keats in his Last Illness, engraved after the sketch by Joseph Severn, from the book The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, May to October, 1883 By Joseph Arthur Palliser Severn 1842-1931 image retrieved from

The graph below shows that the death rate from tuberculosis was 4,000 deaths per 1 million people in 1838 fell to around 3,000 per million in 1850. In the 1800s nearly a quarter of all deaths were due to tuberculosis. In Australia in the late nineteenth century tuberculosis was the leading cause of death, "20 times deadlier per capita than all cancer conditions today put together." In Australia there are still about 1,200 cases each year but it is relatively under control. However, worldwide 1.7 million people still die of the disease each year. (Britton, Warwick. "TB in Australia." Infectious Diseases. Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology, 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Apr. 2014. <>.)

Graph of Death rates from respiratory tuberculosis in England and Wales from Integrating nutrition into programmes of primary health care, Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 10, Number 4, 1988 (United Nations University Press, 1988, 74 p.) retrieved from  "Death rates from respiratory tuberculosis in England and Wales shows the fall in tuberculosis in England and Wales before BCG or therapies such as isoniazid and streptomycin were available. Similar declines were observed for the other common infectious diseases. McKeown concludes that improvement in food supplies and nutrition is the only reasonable explanation for these declines in mortality. Similar trends are occurring in developing countries today in areas in which some nutritional improvement has occurred despite little or no access to medical services."

Other blog entries about the Plaisted family  and their relations:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

O is for Old Bailey records

I have written once before about the proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's Central Criminal Court, which are online at in a useful searchable format.

In my previous blog entry, at, I wrote about the theft of a pocket handkerchief from my fifth great uncle, Claude Crespigny. The thief was transported as a convict to Australia, which seems a very harsh punishment for a minor theft. It appears he did not survive the voyage.

In 1789 Claude Crespigny's son, William (1765-1829), accused his former coachman, William Hayward, of stealing some used harness from him. (Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.0, 15 April 2014), January 1790, trial of WILLIAM HAYWARD (t17900113-104).)

The Old Bailey Sessions House by John Ellis, 1790. Image from
William Crespigny had dismissed his coachman and then travelled from London to his country house in Berkshire. Some weeks later he sent to his coach house in Little Portland Mews in London for the harness. The harness did not come. The harness, which had William's crest on it, was probably about two or three months old.

The question in the trial was what arrangement he had made with his coachman.

When this coachman was engaged, did you make a bargain with him? - I did of course.

Does it happen to you, among the coachmen you have employed, to recollect the terms of that bargain? - Perfectly.

I will trouble you to state them: I believe at first he asked twenty six guineas? - I do not recollect.

This will be very important; I must trouble you to tax your recollection; I believe in the end, the standing wages agreed on, was twenty two guineas, together with other articles? - Yes.

One guinea for boots? - My memory does not serve me.

One guinea for breeches; does your memory serve you to that? - I cannot say.

Do you recollect whether he was to have the old wheels, in order to make up this sum? - I perfectly recollect he was not to have them; I never allowed either old wheels or old harnesses to any coachman; I do not remember that any thing was said about it.

Was any thing said about the old harness? - Nothing to my recollection; I can venture to say, to the best of my recollection, upon oath, that nothing was said; I mean to swear that if any thing was said, that I never agreed to it.

Explain to me what these articles were that were to make up the twenty-two guineas, to be twenty-six guineas? - I believe I gave him twenty-five guineas a year, to the best of my recollection; I do not keep such a very minute recollection.

I must not compliment away a man's liberty? - I think it was twenty-five guineas a year.

Court. I understood you, the agreement was twenty-two guineas a year wages; what other agreement did you make besides? - I believe there were boots and breeches, and a number of et cetera's which the coachmen generally have, but I will not say on my oath.

Mr. Garrow. Pray do not be in a hurry, Mr. Crespigny, the boots and breeches we know all the world over, are two guineas; and the old wheels, though they cost us eight pounds, sell for one? - I know nothing about the old wheels; I never made any agreement for them.

Did your former coachman account for the old wheels? - No, never: I believe they were the first wheels I had ever wore out.

The trial was a trial by jury. William Hayward was found not guilty. There seemed to be reasonable doubt as to whether Hayward was entitled to the old harness as a perquisite, as much his right as his wages. However, the court was at pains to point out that Hayward's acquittal was not setting a precedent: "it is by no means to be understood that servants have a civil right to lay hold of the property of their masters and keep it as wages."

William Crespigny's memory issues are similar to those of Arthur Sinodinos at the recent ICAC hearings, represented in this cartoon about Arthur the bilby at .

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for Naval husbands

In 1895 my great-great-grandmother, Ellen Jane Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1845-1920), wife of Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1822-1895), was widowed at the age of 49.  Of their ten children, six were daughters and five of these were unmarried. She saw all of them married before she died, even the youngest, Kiddie.
  • James Gordon (1865 – 1938) 
  • Eva Mainwaring (1867 – 1941) 
  • Mabel Alice (1868 – 1944) known as May
  • Wentworth Rowland (1869 – 1933) 
  • Orfeur Charles (1872 – 1890) 
  • Kathleen Mary (1874 – 1951) known as Kate
  • Hugh (1875 – 1953) 
  • Helen Maud (1877 – 1918) known as Nellie
  • Alice Mainwaring (1879 – 1952) known as Queenie
  • Gertrude Lucy (1882 – 1968) known as Kiddie

Ellen and her daughters were all born in Australia. In 1891 the family moved to England and lived at Southsea near Portsmouth when Ellen inherited the Whitmore estate in Staffordshire after the death of her brother Frederick (1859-1891). The estate was leased, hence The Cavenagh-Mainwaring family could not live there until the lease expired.

Christine Cavenagh-Mainwaring, writing in 2013, suggests that Ellen Jane, following her inheritance of the Whitmore Estate in 1891,
didn't feel that Staffordshire offered sufficient suitable young men as potential husbands for her daughters, so being a very sensible and pragmatic woman, promptly took a house in Southsea, near to the naval base of Portsmouth where there were a considerable number of young naval officers and installed her bevy of girls there. (One can almost feel the approval of this strategy of Jane Austen's Mrs Bennet. ) The girls duly obliged and in due course five of them married naval officers. (Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Christine and Britton, Heather, (editor.) Whitmore Hall : from 1066 to Waltzing Matilda. Adelaide Peacock Publications, 2013. pages 117-118)
This Jane Austen view of a bevy of girls needing husbands, on the marriage market, provides a misleading image of the Cavenagh-Mainwaring daughters. When the Cavenagh-Mainwaring women married they were not young. Eva married at the age 25 to a 41-year-old lieutenant, not a successful career officer. My great grandmother Kathleen was 27 when she married.  Helen was 25 when she married, Mabel was 37, Alice was 33 and Gertrude was 37. Perhaps their colonial Australian background hindered their marriage prospects, perhaps they were not interested marrying as quickly as possible, perhaps not all Victorian women married young and our assumptions are wrong about this aspect of Victorian  life.

My grandmother wrote on the back of the photograph that it was taken in 1908 and the names: Back row, left to right: Queenie Magee; Kate Cudmore; Nellie Millet Middle row, L to R: Eva Gedge; May Gillett Front centre: Kiddie Bennett

In 1892, the oldest daughter Eva married a naval officer, Herbert James Gedge (1851-1913). There were reports of the wedding in English and Australian newspapers. (For example A LADY'S LETTER. (1892, November 26). South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1895), p. 18. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from .)

Launch of HMS Agammemnon at Chatham Dockyard from the Illustrated London News of September 27 1879

In September 1892 Herbert J. Gedge was appointed lieutenant and joined the Agamemnon. ("Naval & Military Intelligence." Times [London, England] 24 Sept. 1892: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.) He retired from the Navy as captain on 3 May 1904. (1912 Navy List page 645) He became an adviser in Egypt with the title of Pasha, a title denoting high rank or office. In 1913 Herbert Gedge died in Alexandria, Egypt. 

Eva and Herbert had two children: Norah (1894-1971 and Edward 1895-1991).

Kathleen, my great grandmother, married Arthur Murray Cudmore (1870-1951) in Melbourne, Australia in 1901. He was the only husband of these six daughters who was not in the navy. He was a doctor, a colleague of Kathleen's brother Wentworth. Arthur would have known the Mainwarings in Adelaide, South Australia. He went to England to study. The Cudmores had two daughters, Rosemary (1904-1987) and Kathleen (1908-1913).

In 1902 Helen, known as Nellie, married Thompson Horatio Millett (1870-1920) in Hampshire.

Thompson Millet was appointed Fleet Paymaster in September 1909. (Navy List 1918 page 130) In the 1919 King's Birthday Honours he was made Commander of the Bath (civil division). He then held the rank of Paymaster Commander (acting Paymaster Captain). ("Birthday Honours." Times [London, England] 3 June 1919: 18+. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.) In recommending him for the post-war award Admiral Commanding 3rd battle SquadronSir E. Bradford wrote
Paymaster Captain Thompson H. Millet, was my Secretary throughout the period of my command of the 3rd Battle Squadron, from June 1914, to July, 1916. Being almost always detached from the C-in-C's Flag except at sea, and generally having addition battleship and cruiser squadron and a flotilla under my orders was a source of increased Secretarial work, and Paymaster Captain Millet performed his duties with untiring zeal and an admirable punctuality. ( from
Helen died in 1918 and Thompson in 1920. They had had three children, Hugh (1903-1968) and Guy (1907-1978), and a third child, who died in infancy.
"Deaths." Times [London, England] 14 Apr. 1920: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
Mabel married Owen Francis Gillett (1863-1938) on 16 April 1906 at St Paul's Church, Valletta, Malta.

"Marriages." Times [London, England] 23 Apr. 1906: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.

Elevation drawing of St Paul's Valletta by the architect William Scamp in 1842. Retrieved from
In 1924 Owen Gillett retired as Vice-Admiral, and was promoted to Admiral on the retired list. His obituary in the Times mentioned his World War 1 service at the Cape, where he was senior naval officer at Simonstown for over three years. ("Admiral Gillett." Times [London, England] 23 Mar. 1938: 16. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.)

Mabel and Owen had two children, Michael (1907-1971) and Anne (1911-?).

Alice, known as Queenie, married William Edward Blackwood Magee (1886-1981) on 14 August 1913 at St Simons, Southsea.

In December 1910, W.E.B. Magee gave his future mother-in-law a book of the first two operas of the Ring Cycle.  I wrote about the book at

In 1917 and again in 1918, as Lieutenant Commander, William Magee was mentioned in despatches as part of the honours for the Destroyers of the Harwich Force. ( London Gazette 22 June 1917 and Edinburgh Gazette 25 February 1919) In 1920, for services in the Baltic in 1919, Lieut.-Cdr. William Edward Blackwood Magee, R.N. was made Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, for distinguished services in command of H.M.S. "Watchman.". (Edinburgh Gazette 10 March 1920) In 1945 Captain (Commodore second class, R.N.R.) William Edward Blackwood Magee, D.S.O., R.N. (Ret.), was appointed Commander of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire for Distinguished Service in the War in Europe. (London Gazette 7 December 1945) William Edward Blackwood Magee became a Captain in 1929. (1939 Navy List).

Alice and William had two children, Richard (1915-?) and Jean (1917-1996).

The Harwich Force Leaving for Sea by Philip Connard 1918. A view from the stern deck of a Royal Navy warship looking back at a convoy of warships arranged in two parallel lines. Four sailors stand on the deck. The foremost ships visible include light cruisers and a destroyer. The coastline is visible in the left background. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1318)retrieved from

Gertrude, known as Kiddie, married Edward Morden Bennett (1878-1941) on 30 April 1919 at St Thomas's Church, Portsmouth.

In January 1919 Commander Edward Morden Bennett, R.N. was made Officer of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire. (London Gazette 1 January 1919) At the time of his death he held the rank of Captain. 
"Deaths." Times [London, England] 28 Apr. 1941: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Kiddie and Edward had one daughter, Jean (1921-2009).

The six daughters of Ellen Jane Cavenagh-Mainwaring had a very different experience of marriage and motherhood to that of their mother. Ellen Jane married aged 19 and had ten children. Her daughters were aged between 25 and 37 when they married and had none of them had more than three children.

In the middle of the nineteenth century the mean age of women marrying in the United Kingdom was 25. (Woods, Robert (2000). The demography of Victorian England and Wales. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ; New York page 82) Recent figures have age at first marriage in the United Kingdom as 28.5 for women in 2005 and in Australia at 27.7 as at 2009. (Age at first marriage. (2014, April 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:56, April 16, 2014, from Historic figures for the United States show that the median age at first marriage for women was about 22 between 1890 and 1910, declining in 1920 and lowest in the 1950s and has climbed higher over the last decades to over 26 years old today. (US Census Bureau graph of Median age at first marriage by sex: 1890 to 2013 ) The earliest figure I have for Australia is that the median marriage age for spinsters in 1921 was 25.2. This figure is not useful to compare to the Cavenagh-Mainwaring women as it is after World War I. (Vamplew, Wray (1987). Australians, historical statistics. Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, Broadway, N.S.W., Australia page 46)

In composing this blog post I have realised how little I know about young women 100 years ago and my great grandmother and her sisters. I am unable to assess whether they were eager to be married or content to wait until the right person was there. I suspect they were financially able not to marry. Perhaps there was pressure on the youngest daughter not to marry and keep her mother company.

A related post  five of the girls attend a children's ball in 1887:

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

M is for motor cars

Two of my great grandfathers, Arthur Murray Cudmore (1870-1951) and Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882-1952), owned motor cars quite early in the twentieth century.

They both lived in Adelaide, South Australia. The website has published indexes of early South Australian car registrations from 1906-1927 and a list of 1910 car owners and members of the South Australian Auto Club.

Arthur Murray Cudmore registered an 8 horsepower Darracq in 1906. He received the numberplate SA 4. He passed the numberplate on to his daughter, my grandmother, Kathleen (1908-2013). This number plate stayed in the family until 2012. It was sold because no member of the family lived in South Australia any more.

Kathleen wrote an article in 1967 about number plates and her father's early cars.
from the South Australian Motor, March 1967, by Kathleen de Crespigny. Click image to enlarge.
In the article, Kathleen writes that her father had a car before registration numbers were introduced that was known to the family as "the little red car". When the car was new her parents drove it to Torrens Park, a grand house and now a school in the suburb of Torrens Park which is 8 km (5 miles) from the city.
It was considered both luck and good management that the car did not hit either of the gate posts as it came in. However, it did run into the garden bed just inside.
The Darracq owned by Dr A.M. Cudmore was painted with vertical stripes, one and half  inches wide, in black and green.
This Darracq photographed in Queensland in 1909 would have looked similar to the one owned by A. M. Cudmore. Image retrieved from
A famous Darracq was "Genevieve" which featured in a 1953 film about the veteran 1904 car in the annual London to Brighton car run.
screenshot from the film "Genevieve" retrieved from
Arthur Murray Cudmore took part in hill climbs just outside Adelaide.
AUTOMOBILE HILL CLIMBING CONTEST. (1905, December 18). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from
A. M. Cudmore completed the climb in 16 minutes 35 seconds.His Darracq had only 8 horsepower compared with the 15 horsepower of Mr E. S. Rymill's Darracq which made the fastest time of 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

In 1912 Dr A. M. Cudmore was fined for speeding along South Terrace at 26 miles per hour (41 kph).
LAW COURTS. (1912, October 12). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from
My great grandfather Trent de Crespigny registered his first car on 1 June 1914. It was a 20 horsepower Ford with the number plate 4562.

The Ford Model T, colloquially known as "Tin Lizzie", was an automobile that was produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 to 1927.Image retrieved from
Within a fortnight he had crashed it.

MOTOR CAR "BOLTS". (1914, June 16). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), p. 6. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from

In a History of the Royal Adelaide Hospital a short biography of Sir Trent de Crespigny remarks:
It is said that he was very interested in motoring, but that driving with him could be a rather hair-raising experience. (Hughes, J. Estcourt A history of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The Board of Management of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, [Adelaide], 1967. page 166)
In 1929 Trent de Crespigny had another car accident that was reported in the newspapers.
MOTOR CAR, HIT BY. TRAM, OVERTURNS. (1929, October 19). The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from

Monday, 14 April 2014

L is for Eliza Leister

I have decided to continue the story of Leslie Leister by writing about his aunt, Eliza, who became his foster mother.

Eliza Way was born 22 August 1865 on Brittons Dam Station, Kitticara, near Murrumburrah, New South Wales. Her father John Way (1835-1911) was a shepherd. She is named Elizabeth on her birth certificate.

Eliza was the sixth child of John and Sarah (1837-1895). The birth certificate stated three males living and two children deceased. There was a mistake on the certificate, Eliza in fact had three older sisters, and a boy and a girl had died before she was born. There were also four younger siblings.
From the birthplaces of her siblings we can see that the Way family had moved to Grenfell by 1868, when Emily was born. John's occupation was then as a sawyer. In 1870 Harriet was also born in Grenfell, "near Reece's foundry" ('The European Iron Foundry'). John was still a sawyer. In 1872 his son John was also born at Grenfell. In 1874 when Martha was born in Parkes, John Way's occupation was as a miner.

 By the 1890s, and perhaps earlier, the Way family were living at Bogan Street Parkes.

Eliza's sister, Sarah Jane, married Robert Whiteman, a miner on 12 July 1882 at Parkes. They had two children: Robert Henry, born 1883, and Mary Ann, born 19 August 1884. Six months before Mary Ann was born, Sarah Jane's husband Robert  died of pneumonia after an illness of four days. Sarah Jane probably relied on her parents and sisters for help in bringing up her two infant children. Sarah Jane remarried on 26 September 1894 in Melbourne to John Young, a miner, who had spent some time in New South Wales, presumably including a period in Parkes.

On 13 August 1894, just before her second marriage, Sarah Jane gave birth to a boy, Jack Walsh Whiteman. The father was not named on the birth certificate. The birth was registered on 21 September, with Sarah Jane the informant. Her mother had been a witness, assisting at the birth. There was no doctor and seems to have been no other nurse or midwife.

It appears that Sarah Jane left her baby Jack behind with her mother in Parkes when she went to Melbourne to marry John Young.

Sarah Way, the mother of Sarah Jane and Eliza, died on 7 April 1895 of what is described on the death certificate as biliary colic and an impacted gallstone. The length of her illness was described on her death certificate as chronic. Four of Sarah's daughters were married: Louisa in 1873, Mary Ann in 1883, Sarah Jane in 1894 and Emily in 1892. Four children had died. Eliza and John junior were unmarried and probably still living with their parents. It would seem to have become Eliza's responsibility to care for the grandchild Jack.

On 1 July 1896 Eliza married Robert Watson Duncan Leister at her father's residence in Parkes. The witnesses were Hugh Leister and Caroline Harrison.

Robert Leister was 25 years old, a blacksmith, born at Maryborough, Victoria. His father was a carpenter. Eliza was 29 and her occupation was given as "living with her father".

From Leslie Leister's war record, we know that Eliza was his foster mother. We don't know when Jack's name was changed to Leslie. There were no formal adoption laws in New South Wales at this time. The first legislation in NSW to regulate adoption was the Child Welfare Act 1923. (Releasing the past : adoption practices, 1950-1998 : final report / Standing Committee on Social Issues. [Sydney, N.S.W.] The Committee, 2000. – 1 v. (various pagings); 30 cm. (Report 22, December 2000) (Parliamentary paper; no. 600) retrieved from$FILE/Report.PDF 12 April 2014)

Robert and Eliza continued to live with Eliza's father John at Bogan Street, Parkes. When John died in 1911, Robert Leister is given as the informant on his death certificate. John's will left his estate to his daughters Eliza and Louisa and appointed Eliza as his executrix.

Taking load of wheat to silos by horse - Corner of Bogan & Dalton Streets, Parkes, NSW. , 1925-26. Image from the State Library of New South Wales retrieved from The Way and Leister families lived two blocks away on the corner of Bogan and Church streets.
Robert Duncan Leister died on 31 March 1925 at Bogan Street, Parkes. He was 56 years old. His occupation was upholsterer. He had been ill for several years with chronic nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) and for 24 hours with uraemia (the illness accompanying kidney failure). He had been 26 years in Victoria and 30 years in New South Wales; he had arrived in New South Wales about a year before he married Eliza. Robert and Eliza had no children of their own.

In 1929, William Charles Waine, husband of Eliza's sister Mary Ann, died in Orange. By 1930 according to the electoral rolls, Eliza was living at Byng Street, Orange. She had no family left in Parkes. Perhaps she was helping her sister or perhaps they enjoyed each other's company.

Eliza died after a car accident in February 1940. She was hit by a car when walking to church.

Eliza is buried at Orange. The grave at Parkes beside her husband remained empty. Parkes is 100km from Orange and there were no other members of the family living in Parkes at the time of Eliza's death.

grave of Robert Duncan Leister at Parkes Cemetery

grave of Eliza Leister at Orange Cemetery