In the same plot in Moonta Cemetery which holds
Richard, Elizabeth Ann and William Richard Stephens is a well-preserved
slate headstone recording the death of “Mary Ann, the beloved wife of
John Stephens, who departed this life 2nd March 1882, aged 69
years.” The accompanying verse hints at a difficult life:
Afflictions sore, long time I bore,
Physicians were in vain,
And God did please that death should seize
And ease me of my pain.
The lower half of the headstone bears faint traces
of two overlapping inscriptions, both referring to “John, beloved
husband of the above, who died ..... aged 73(?) ..... “. The
inscriptions have not been lost through weathering, as the slate is in
very good condition, and of even thickness throughout, but the lower
half contrasts with the upper inscription, which is deeply engraved,
the work of E H Herring of Adelaide. The SA Biographical Index
claims that this John Stephens died on 23rd December 1884. (It is
possible that the headstone was recut by Angus Donaldson.)
John Stephens and Mary Ann Barratt were married on 12th February 1831, at Kenwyn, Cornwall.
A John and Mary Stephens had twins, John and Mary, who were
christened at Saint Austell on 17th November 1831, almost nine months
to the day after the Kenwyn wedding.
Possible parents of John Stephens
Assuming that John came from Kenwyn, he could have
been the son of Andrew Stephens (or Stephen) and Jane, baptised on 2nd
June 1811, or the son of John Stephens and Philippa Richards,
christened on 20th September 1812. John and Philippa Richards
were married at Kenwyn on 15th October 1798.
John and Philippa Stephens had the following children, all christened at Kenwyn :
- William, born in 1799, who must have died young,
- Richard, christened on 7th November (December?) 1800, and died on 19th December 1800,
- Betsy, christened on 21st March 1802,
- William, christened on 19th August 1804. A William Stephens married Grace Holman at Kenwyn on 10th April 1828.
- Philippa, baptised on 28th January 1807,
- Phebe, baptised on 14th January 1810,
- John, baptised on 20th September 1812 at the age of 1 (ie born in 1811?), and
- Richard, christened on 7th May 1815.
A Phillippa Stephens died in the Truro district in
the December quarter of 1841, and a Philippa Stephens in the March
quarter of 1857.
There is no record of the birth of John Stephens
(senior), but Philippa Richards was probably the daughter of Richard
Richards and Elizabeth Burley, who were married in Kea on 6th
January 1775. Their children, all christened at Kenwyn were :
- Philippa, christened on 27th April 1776,
- Nicholas, christened on 4th October 1779,
- Elizabeth, baptised on 3rd November 1781,
- Susanah, baptised on 13th February 1785,
- William, baptised on 19th June 1791. A William Richards married Mary Hellings at Kenwyn on 20th August 1808.
- Mary, christened on 1st June 1794, and
- Richard, christened on 8th April 1798.
There are no records of the births of Richard Richards or his wife.
Andrew Stephens and his wife Jane had at least two children at Kenwyn :
Richard, baptised on 31st January 1808, and
John, baptised on 2nd June 1811 at the age of 1.
Parents of Mary Ann Barratt
Mary Ann Barrett was the daughter of Paul Barrett
and his wife Mary Ann. All their children were christened at Kea :
- Mary Ann, baptised on 6th June 1813,
- Jenifer, baptised on 28th April 1816,
- John, christened on 6th August 1819, and
- Elizabeth, christened on 31st July 1825.
There is no record of the birth or marriage of Paul Barrett or his wife.
John Stephens in Australia
John Stephens worked as a carpenter at the Burra
Burra Mine, before moving to Moonta. In June 1850 the workforce
of the Mine included 28 carpenters, paid for their skills at a rate of
£1-18-0 per week, compared to 254 miners, who received £1-10-0 a week
for semi-skilled labour.
When John and Mary emigrated, they were accompanied
by an unknown number of children who had been born in Cornwall, and at
Burra they had two more sons :
- Richard, born on 11th April 1851, and
- Alfred, born on 11th December 1854.
A possible daughter, Mary, died at Burra of influenza on 29th July 1848, aged 2 years and 6 months.
A search of the South Australian BDM registers for
the marriage of any children of John Stephens (born before about 1860
and married either in Burra, Moonta or surrounds) yielded the following
(P = partner) :
P P’s age
24 John Pascoe
25 Harriett Osborne
Residence of John Stephens, Moonta Mines
21 Nicholas Tamblin
30 Nicholas Tamblin
Residence of C Hooper, Kadina
25 Francis Gilbert
Elizabeth Catherine 18
Richard Borlace 22
Sampson Borlace 15-10-1866
Residence of William Varcoe, Kadina
Thomas Rosewall 2-4-1861
Residence of James Dunn
Whittaker , Kooringa
John Cornelius 15-12-1883
Residence of Jane Cornelius, Moonta Mines
20 James Hendry
Residence of John Stephens, Moonta Mines
23 Joseph Ayles
Residence of Mr
Grigg, Cross Roads (Moonta)
Thomas Stephens 16-2-1887
Bible Christian Manse, Kadina
Mary Ann Olds
18 William Olds
Residence of Thomas Stephens,
William Waters 22-3-1870
Residence of John Stephens, Moonta Mines
Full age Sophia Wheatley
Full age Henry Streep
Mary’s Church, Burra
Margaret Stevens 19
Residence of William Hill, Kooringa
An Alfred Stephen, aged 21, son of John Stephen, was
married to Virginia Downing (aged 20, daughter of John Downing) on 21st
March 1875 at All Saints Church, Moonta. The couple had six
children, all registered with the surname Stephens :
- Elsie Mabel, born on 2nd February 1881 at Moonta Mines,
- Lilian May, born on 29th December 1882 at Mount Barker, who
married Arthur William Edgar Errington (aged 24, son of George
Errington) on 9th August 1904, at the residence of the groom’s parents,
- Percival John, born on 21st August 1884 at Mount Barker,
- Harold Edwin, born on 13th May 1886 at Mount Barker,
- Herbert Alfred, born on 24th January 1888 at Mount Barker, and
- Nellie Adelaide, born on 10th April 1890 at Parkside.
Alfred Stephens was a grocer’s assistant before he
joined the South Australian Police Force on 1st September 1889.
He commenced as a 3rd class Mounted Constable, and was promoted to 2nd
class Mounted Constable on 1st January 1894. He died on 26th
December 1903, and his widow was paid £34-9-8 compensation in November
1905. Two newspapers carried brief notices :
Adelaide Register 28 December 1903 - “Police-Constable
Alfred Stephens, who for 14 years was stationed at the General Post
Office, died at his residence, Parkside, on Saturday. The
deceased constable joined the foot police on September 19, 1889.
He held the one position throughout, and discharged his duties with
great satisfaction. The funeral took place at the West Terrace
Cemetery on Sunday, and was attended by Sub-Inspector Shaw,
Sub-Inspector Burchell, 78 foot constables, and nine mounted
police. The Commissioner of Police (Col Madley) was unavoidably
Broken Hill Barrier Miner 5 January 1904 - “Constable
Alfred Stephens, son of the late Mr John Stephens, of Moonta Mines,
died in Adelaide on Saturday.”
Richard Stephens was the son of John and Mary Ann
Stephens (formerly Barrett), the youngest of three boys, and was born
at Burra on 11th April 1851. His father’s occupation was listed
as “carpenter”, and their surname was spelt “Stevens”. (The
evidence for this is held at Burra, in the District BDM records, where
the birth was registered on 8th May. This information does not
seem to have been transferred to Adelaide. He was not born on 8th
June 1850, as stated in the SA Biographical Index entry, which is based
on information collected by Elizabeth Simmons from other members of the
Simmons family, as this person’s parents were Richard, a miner, and
Hannah, nee Francis, who had been married at Redruth, Cornwall on 30th
May 1837. This Richard died at Burra on 14th October 1850, aged 4
The first major discovery of mineral wealth in South
Australia occurred at Kapunda in 1842, where copper was found by
Francis Dutton. Some small lodes of silver-lead and galena had
previously been worked in the Adelaide foothills, but had never made a
profit. Cornish miners, who had emigrated to the colony and were
working as farmers and agricultural labourers, flocked to Kapunda
to resume their occupations. In 1845, a far bigger copper lode
was discovered at Burra Burra, and soon 1170 miners, mostly Cornishmen,
were employed in the workings. The exodus of miners to the
Victorian goldfields brought work at Burra Burra almost to a standstill
from 1851 to 1855. Some of the Cornishmen made fortunes in
Victoria, but the majority of them averaged little more than
wages. Towards the end of 1855, they began to return to Burra
Burra, and by the winter of 1856 the mine was again in full production,
but by 1877 all the lodes had been worked out and the mine closed
down. Before that time, however, the discovery of the Wallaroo
and Moonta copper deposits had made even Burra seem small.
The first copper ore was found on “Walla-Waroo” the
pastoral property of Captain W W Hughes in 1861. This name was
later corrupted to Wallaroo. In the same year, discoveries were
also made at Moonta, and by the end of the year both lodes were being
extensively worked. A number of Cornish miners, accompanied by
their wives, families and household goods, came to the field from Burra
Burra and Kapunda, and it is probable that the Stephens family was
among this group.
On 19th May 1872, Richard, aged 21, married
Elizabeth Ann Northey
at his residence at Moonta Mines. Elizabeth
had arrived in Port Adelaide in 1855 on the emigrant ship “Hooghly”
(Captain H R Rich), as an infant less than one year old. Her
parents were Robert, then aged 23, a miner from Glamorgan, Wales, and
Ann (nee Pearce), aged 21, and at that time she was their only
child. Their ship had departed from Plymouth on 3rd January 1855,
and arrived at Port Adelaide on 19th April.
The Yorke Peninsula Advertiser and Miners’ News of
Friday 17th September 1875 reported an inquest held the previous day,
at which Elizabeth Ann Stephens and her mother were both witnesses :
“Coroner’s inquest – On Thursday, at the residence
of Mr Spender, near North Yelta, an inquest was held before Mr G F
Wyatt JP, on the body of a child twenty three months’ old, named Thomas
Job Spender, who had been drowned on the previous day in a tank.
“The following jury were sworn :- Thomas Woolcock
[later murdered by his wife], James Jolly, John Williams, James
Trezona, John Dodge, W H Williams, W H M Williams, C Nankervis, R
Vivian, R Maddern, S Jury, James Dunn. Mr James Jolly having been
elected foreman, and the jury having viewed the body of the deceased,
the following evidence was taken :-
“Wilhelmina Louisa Spender, mother of the deceased
stated – Yesterday afternoon, at ten minutes to four, the
deceased left my side, and asked me for a little pannikin. He
took some grain and flung it to the fowls at the door. After six
or ten minutes I saw him in the tank, and picked him out. He was
then quite dead. Did my best to restore animation. Stripped
the child, and put him in a blanket. Had had no experience of the
sort before. Screeched when I took him out of the tank, and Mrs
Northey, a neighbour, came directly. She rubbed him with hot
salt, and by this time the doctor had arrived. He had been sent
for immediately after the accident occurred.
“By Constable Burchell - There were no children
playing about the place. The child was alone when he left my side.
“Dr Archer stated – About half-past four yesterday
afternoon a messenger came and told me a child had fallen down a
tank. I came immediately. When I arrived the child was
lying on the bed on his back, covered with blankets, almost cold, some
parts retaining a little warmth. Although I could discover no
signs of life, I tried the ordinary means to restore persons after
drowning, and continued for about an hour and a half, but
ineffectually. There were the usual signs of death from drowning,
and I believe death resulted from that cause.
“Ann Northey deposed – About four yesterday
afternoon, my little girl came and told me Mrs Spender was
screaming. My son told me little Tommy Spender was drowned.
Came over and took the child out of Mrs Spender’s hands. We got
some salt and rubbed the child’s stomach. I had heard it was a
good thing. Dr Archer came and, I believe, did his best to
“Elizabeth Ann Stephens corroborated the evidence of her mother, the previous witness.
“By the Jury – Never saw the child playing near the
tank. I believe Mrs Spender always took great care to keep her
child and other children away from the tank, which was an open one.
“Verdict – Accidental death by drowning in a tank.”
Richard Stephens died on 22nd February 1913, and an
obituary appeared in the Kadina and Wallaroo Times of Saturday 1st
“In the death of Mr Richard Stephens, which occurred
at his residence at Yelta on Saturday last in his 62nd year, the
district has lost an old, widely known and highly respected
resident. He was born at the Burra, and as a youth in his teens
came to Moonta Mines with his parents 47 years ago [1865/6]. He
served an apprenticeship under the late Mr William Chappell, bootmaker,
of George Street Moonta, but, finding the business uncongenial, decided
to follow in the footsteps of his several brothers, and engaged in
underground work at Moonta Mines. By keen application he soon
became a proficient miner, and when the rock-drilling machine was
introduced at the mines many years ago [just before 1890] he was
selected as one of the first pare [working party] of men for duty in
that branch of work, in which he gave the utmost satisfaction.
He was a much-travelled man, having worked in the far north (ie Blinman
to Hergott [Marree] to Farina), Victoria, Western Australia, and
British South Africa. From the latter country he returned to
Moonta some two or three years ago in impaired health. Besides a
widow (second marriage) he leaves a family of two sons and three
daughters, namely - John H Stephens of West Australia, W B Stephens, of
Petersburg, Mrs C Simmons, of the West Coast, Mrs T Waldron, of West
Austra-lia, and Mrs W H Donaldson, of Kadina. His first wife
predeceased him by about 15 years. The funeral on Sunday last was
attended by a large number of relatives and friends. The
graveside service was conducted by the Rev W Shaw, assisted by the
Yelta Methodist Choir.”
A similar obituary appeared the Peoples’ Weekly of Saturday 1st March 1913 :
“Mr Richard Stephens, an old resident of this
district, died at his home, Yelta, on Saturday last. The deceased
was widely known, having worked in Victoria, West Australia, South
Africa, Broken Hill, and northern parts of South Australia, as well as
at Moonta. He was born at the Burra 62 years ago, and came to
Moonta with his parents in 1866. He was a bootmaker by trade,
having been apprenticed to the late Mr William Chappell of George
Street, but eventually forsook the business and obtained employment
underground at the mines. Subsequently he was selected as one of
the first to work on the rock drills when introduced here, in the use
of which he became most efficient. About two years ago he
returned to Moonta from South Africa in failing health. He leaves
a widow (second marriage), two sons (John H, Western Australia and W B,
Petersburg) and three daughters, (Mesdames C Simmons, West Coast, T
Waldron, WA, and W H Donaldson, Kadina). His first wife
predeceased him by about 15 years. The funeral on Sunday last was
very largely attended by relatives and friends. The graveside
service was conducted by the Rev W Shaw, assisted by the Yelta
Methodist Choir. The undertaking arrangements were in the hands
of Mr W Cowling.”
Angus Donaldson said that Richard threw up his
apprenticeship because he wanted to marry Elizabeth, and joined his
brothers in the mines to make more money. Richard’s marriage
certificate states that he was a bachelor, 21 years old, a miner
residing at Moonta Mines, and that his father was John Stephens.
The marriage was celebrated by Joseph Warner, at Richard’s “dwelling
house”. Witnesses were James and Elizabeth Ann Mullen of Wallaroo
Mines. In all, Richard and Elizabeth had eight children before
Elizabeth died on 19th July 1898 at Yelta. She was aged 44, and
is buried at Moonta. Her gravestone carries the verse :
Brighter, fairer far than living,
Gone from a world of care and pain,
Robed in everlasting beauty,
We shall see thee once again.
Richard and Elizabeth’s children were:
William Richard, born on 3rd May 1873 at Moonta
Mines, who died on 30th May 1896 of typhoid fever aged 23, and is
buried at Moonta with his parents,
John Henry, born on 9th July 1875, who married Emily Rule,
Laura Leith Jane, born on 27th January 1878 at
Yelta, who married Charles Simmons in Boulder, WA, and died on 26th
Wesley Owen, born 30th June 1879 at Yelta, died on
11th January 1881, and was buried in Moonta Cemetery by Rev Cook on the
next day. His grave is not marked, and his place of abode was
registered as Yelta.
Ethel Linda (or Ethelinda) Owen, born on 25th July 1881, who married Thomas Waldron,
Delilah Pearl, born 9th February 1885,
Wesley Barrett, born 1st September 1887 at Yelta, and died in 1974 (buried on 29th April), and
Anne Northey, born 9th September 1889, married
William Henry Donaldson (died in 1937), and died on 13th September
Adelaide Observer 1 March 1884 - “Yelta and North Yelta
Mines - We understand that one or both of these Yorkes Peninsula mines,
which have been abandoned for some years, will be worked again shortly.”
In 1884 a Memorial was presented to the Commissioner
of Crown Lands, signed by a large number of the “residents of the
District of Wallaroo”. The Memorial requested the Government not
to sell significant areas of Crown Lands lying in the Copper Triangle
between the towns of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo, as these lands were
used as common grazing lands, for gathering firewood, and because they
might cover as yet undiscovered copper lodes. Three of the
signatories, signing consecutively, were :
Richard Stephens Miner Yelta
James H Northey Miner
Yelta (Richard’s brother-in-law)
Other signatories were :
William Nothey (sic) Sawyer Yelta (Richard’s brother-in-law?)
J Vael (sic)
(Father of Joseph Northey’s
W J Stephens
Thomas Stephens Miner Moonta
James Stephens Miner Moonta Mines
Thomas Woolcock Miner Hamley (murdered by his wife)
A Richard Stephens, miner of Yelta or Poison Flat,
is listed in the Electoral Roll for the House of Assembly between 1884
and 1891. Richard would have travelled in search of work as the
Moonta and Wallaroo mines began to be worked out in the 1890’s, and it
is believed that the entire family went to South Africa with him
(possibly twice, as it is believed that he went with his first wife,
and his obituary also mentions a trip in about 1910). The family may
have lived at Modenfontein(? Modderfontein), near Fordsburg (now a
suburb of Johannesburg), during one of the trips.
However, conditions in South Africa were not
necessarily any better than those at home, as the following newspaper
articles attest :-
Quiz 1 September 1893 - “Times are very bad at Cape Town,
and many who went fortune-seeking to Natal and the goldfields are
returning. Private letters are full of miserable accounts of the
distress prevailing in South Africa generally.”
Adelaide Observer 9 October 1897 - “Returned Miners from
South Africa – Among the passengers on the steamer Narrung, which has
arrived at Port Adelaide from London, are a number of miners who joined
the steamer at South Africa. The majority of them are
Australians, who in some instances, for a number of years, have been
engaged in the Transvaal, and were personally concerned in the Rand
trouble, and particiated in the fighting with the Boers and
Zulus. One man in particular was engaged in no fewer than
twenty-two engagements, and among the trophies of war he obtained is a
costume of a Zulu warior whom he killed in battle. Speaking of
the goldfields, an experienced miner said the boom at Johannesburg was
practically over, and the period of depression which had set in was, in
his opinion, likely to remain for a considerable time. He
scathingly criticised the management of many of the mines in which
enormous sums of money had been wasted in surface development. A
number had been compelled to shut down, and the number of unemployed
was increasing, but in spite of this building in Johannesberg was being
pushed forward far in excess of the requrements of the
population. The railway to Buluwayo will be finished at the end
of the year, and a rush is expected to take place in that direction,
particularly if the concessions demanded by the Mines Commission are
not conceded in the Transvaal. All the returning miners strongly
advise Australians not on any account to go to South Africa.”
Jamestown Star 15 October 1903 - “Those Distant Fields - A
steamer has just brought back 56 of the fool Australians who joined in
the rush to South Africa some months ago. The expected pile
didn’t materialise; the hardly acquired nest-egg evaporated instead in
the quest of a mare’s nest. ...... Crowds of penniless Australians
watched the departure of the vessel from Durban; all of them would have
come too if they had had the means. In Capetown and Johannesburg
there are hundreds of mechanics and artisans unemployed and hopeless.”
A Richard Stephens (miner, aged 54) and a Wesley
Stephens (miner, aged 21) are shown as third class passengers on the
Passenger List of the ship Persic (7820 tons, Master Edward Roach),
which arrived in Adelaide on 15th August 1908. The Passenger List
indicates by default that they boarded at Liverpool, but is open to
interpretation, as the List states that ship also took on passengers at
Cape Town, although none have this port noted against their name.
Richard’s stated age is low (should be 57), but Wesley’s tallies.
Many miners were also attracted to the Coolgardie
goldfield in 1892, and to other Western Australian goldfields which
were opened during periods of low copper prices and much unemployment
in Wallaroo and Moonta. One boom period occurred in the second
half of 1895 and the early months of 1896, when the price of shares in
WA goldmines rose to ridiculous heights, causing a stampede of
prospectors to the fields.
J J Pascoe, in his “History of Adelaide and
Vicinity”, published in 1901, noted the role of the Western Australian
goldfields in relieving the depression in South Australia:
“From one point of view the migration of people from
this Province was a distinct loss; from another it was a most fortunate
circumstance. The glut in the labor market was quickly relieved,
and men whose outlook had been extremely discouraging were enabled to
obtain good wages. The Western Australian goldfields worked for
good in South Australia in yet other respects. Local producers
found a high-priced market for hay and butter, local manufacturers for
every class of mining machinery, local merchants for their goods, and
local capital for investment. The best of the Western Australian
groups of mines was originally owned by an Adelaide syndicate, and the
local men who took up their residence in the West invariably left their
families in this Province, and despatched, through the money order
office, substantial sums of money in the aggregate to their
relatives. In truth, the Western Australian goldfields afforded
great relief to all Australia at an awkward period.”
School records show that the children attended the
Moonta Mines Primary School, Linda commencing on 3rd February 1891,
Wesley in 1893 and Pearl on 22nd January 1894. These enrolments
listed the children’s father as the registering parent. In 1894/5
Pearl was re-registered by her mother, Elizabeth (occupation
“housekeeper”), which indicated a break in her schooling, and possibly
the fact that Richard was not in Moonta at this time. Ann was
registered for the first time by her mother, starting school on 2nd
One source claims that Richard and Elizabeth were
living at Broken Hill during the miners strike in 1892, and that
because there was no income from wages, Elizabeth acquired a hotel in
Argent Street and operated it as a boarding house, with 25 permanent
boarders. She engaged a girl from Melbourne to help with the
work, and it was this girl, Emily (Mil) Payne, who later married
Elizabeth’s brother Robert.
Laura believed that the Stephens were relatively
well-off compared to other miners, because Richard worked at Wallaroo
in a managerial capacity during the ‘90s. Richard and Elizabeth
lived at Wallaroo during the week, leaving the children at
Moonta. Elizabeth had a stroke at Wallaroo, and Richard brought
her back to Moonta where she died.
After the death of his first wife Elizabeth, Richard
married again, on 12th March 1899, to Mary Trenwith, at a ceremony
conducted at the Bible Christian Manse, Kadina, by George Henry
Paynter. Mary Trenwith was the widow of George Peter Trenwith,
and had been born Mary Langmead in 1853. Her parents were Elkanah
Langmead and Mary Ann Cock, who were married on 1st May 1852.
(Between April and May 1852 three marriages were registered between
members of the Langmead and Cock families.) Peter Trenwith
possibly died on 11th June 1895. On 16th October 1900, Audrey May
Langmead (born 14th May 1893) commenced school at Moonta Mines, being
registered by her guardian, Richard Stephens. Audrey was the
daughter of Mary’s brother Edward. (Elkanah is a name which came
into use in England in the time of the Puritans, when Biblical names
became fashionable, and remained in use in strict Methodist
families. Several men mentioned in the Old Testament bear this
Hebrew name, which possibly means “God has created”.)
George Henry Paynter, from Hick’s Mill, Gwennap,
Cornwall, had been a Bible Christian minister in the area since at
least 1873, and was the first minister to hold services and build
churches in the towns and neighbourhoods in that part of the State,
being Secretary of the South Australian Bush Mission for 40 years.
According to Laura, Richard Stephens was a very hard
man, and always well-dressed (she had to polish his shoes). She
did not like her father, but his remarriage freed her from management
of the family to go to Western Australia to marry Charles
Simmons. Ann, the youngest child, liked her father, saying “He
was a wonderful man, my father, he was so correct, so correct in his
speech.” She grew up very like her father in character - a stern,
autocratic lady, very careful in her speech and the way she dressed,
and everything had to be “just so”. Wesley was also very similar
in character. Ann inherited Richard’s walking stick, which now
belongs to Stephen Simmons. Eileen Mazzarol, daughter of James
Northey, did not seem to like the Stephens family - she believed that
they thought that they were better than they really were. In the
Stephens family photo Richard is wearing on his watch-chain a Lodge
medal, a star of which he was very proud.
Pearl Hopping remembers that Richard’s children
called his second wife “Mrs”, rather than “Mother”. Wesley, who
was aged 11 when his father remarried, was sent to live with two of his
sisters at Port Lincoln, who “spoilt him”. Richard is buried with
Elizabeth in Moonta Cemetery, and when Jean and I visited it in
September 1993, we found a vase and dead flowers on their grave.
When Richard died, he left each of his daughters a locket, containing a
photo of himself as a young man on one side (“a very handsome young
man, extremely handsome” according to Margaret Tilsner), and a photo of
Elizabeth on the other, surrounded by a ring of rubies.
The early success of the mines in the Copper
Triangle of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo, dubbed “Copperopolis” by one
newspaper in the 1870’s, was due to favourable world prices for copper,
which stood at about £110 per ton in the early 1860’s. By the
mid-1880’s, however, the price had tumbled to less than £40 per ton,
and the mine direct-ors cut wages to keep the operations
profitable. In early years they were able to do this because the
Cornish miners had very little experience with collective wage
bargaining. Accustomed as they were to individuals bargaining for
contracts in their work, they were also used to fending for themselves
and thus they seldom presented a united front to make demands on the
management. Eventually, however, unionism came to the mining
work-force in the form of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association (AMA)
when a branch was established at Moonta Mines in 1889.
At the end of September 1891, agitators in the union
organised a strike for better wages and better working
conditions. They thought that the management would capitu-late in
a few days, but, as a few perceptive writers then noted in the
newspapers, the strike was doomed to failure from the outset because of
its very bad start. The decision to strike was in defiance of the
wishes of the Chief Council of the AMA who had been investigating the
working conditions of the miners and surface men. And, more
critically, the work-force at Wallaroo mines did not adopt “common
cause” with their Moonta counterparts. They continued to work and
so did the Wallaroo smelters. Thus the Wallaroo and Moonta Mining
and Smelting Company was only partially affected by the strike and it
limped along for the rest of 1891 without catastrophic losses.
The men on strike at Moonta suffered great
hardships. Throughout October, November, December and January
they received only two issues of strike pay at £1 each. Many of
them left the district to look for work, but very few were
successful. Eventually the strike was broken in February 1892, by
dozens of men calling at the mines office asking for work. They
went back at reduced wages because the world price of copper had fallen
further during the strike.
The Yelta, near Moonta, was the only really good
mine outside the Moonta leases, and at one time it employed more than
300 hands. It was worked from 1861 to 1878, closing down when the
price of copper slumped. Captain Henry Hancock was for some time
superintendent at the Yelta mine, before he rose to become the
Superintendent of both the Moonta and Wallaroo mines. Yelta
boasted three chapels (Wesleyan, Primitive and Bible Christian).
The miners’ cottages were very like those of Cornwall but with some
modifications to suit local materials and conditions. They
commenced as two-roomed huts, built of local limestone rubble plastered
over and whitewashed once a year at Christmas. They had earth
floors, and the roofs were made of boughs, thatching and old pieces of
board, laid as shingles. Cooking was done out of doors, and mobs
of goats, living where other domestic animals would have starved,
provided milk and meat. Over time, the huts were extended, and
galvanised iron replaced the original roofs, while some had verandahs
as protection from the hot Australian sun.
The greatest hardship in the early days was the lack
of water. Only salt water had been struck in the mine workings,
and whenever there was a shower of rain, the water which ran from the
roofs of the miners’ pannikins to dip up the water that had collected
in the wheel-ruts in the road. The miners dug underground tanks
and lined them with masonry, made watertight with a mixture of tallow
and sand, applied hot as plaster. As these were filled by surface
drainage there were inevitable epidemics of typhoid, 110 deaths being
registered in one week. The heaviest mortality was, of course,
among the children. To meet the desperate need for drinking
water, the mining company erected a still and sold condensed water at
“tuppence a bucket and fetch it yourself”. The miners’ cottages
were built without regard for any streets, and blocks were fenced off
at any angle to include any size and shape. There were no
footpaths, no properly made roads and no lights at night. Dotted
around were dumps, slimy dams, and open shafts, making it hazardous to
venture out at night. The wandering herds of goats and other
stray domestic animals, particularly fowls, added to the general
confusion. There were no proper sanitary arrangements and, with
rapid increases in the population during times of high copper prices,
the settlement became very unhealthy. The Moonta Mining Company
eventually had to police the spacing of cottages in the immediate
vicinity of some shafts in the face of growing health risks. The
unhealthy nature of much of Moonta Mines, particularly in the area
colourfully dubbed “Cemetery Flat”, was responsible for an outbreak of
typhoid fever in 1870, during which dozens of people died.
When the first miners arrived, the area was covered
with a dense growth of mallee and native pine (Callitris), but the
demand for domestic firewood, fuel for the boilers, and pit-props for
the mines, as well as the ravages of the goats, made such inroads into
this that within thirty years the area became a treeless plain.
William Richard Stephens
According to Mrs Jean Martin of Port Lincoln (a
daughter of Laura Simmons), William’s girlfriend became pregnant when
he was about 19, and when their parents found out, they marched the
couple to the local Methodist Minister for an immediate marriage.
After the ceremony the two luckless celebrants were taken back to their
respective homes, and were never allowed to live together. He
died of typhoid fever aged 23 on 30th May 1896 and is buried at Moonta
with his parents. His wife bore a son, who lived with his mother
and regularly visited his father (grandparents ?). Returning from
one visit, he fell into some water and drowned.
William Richard Stephens married Hagar Mellow on
13th May 1892 at the residence of Richard Stephens, Yelta, and they had
two children, so one must assume that their parents relented, and
eventually allowed the couple to live together. Their children were :
Ruby, born on 5th July 1892 at Yelta, who died on 23rd April 1893, and
William Richard Spencer, born on 15th March 1895 and died on 18th November 1897.
Hagar Mellow was one of possibly twelve children of
William Henry Mellow and Ellen Nicholls. Their birthplaces
reflect the family’s movements in search of work :
Grace Ann (?), born about June 1864, who died on 18th February 1866 at Callington, aged 20 months,
Elizabeth Jane Coleman, born on 5th October 1865 at Callington.
She married Herbert Hubber (aged 23, father John Hubber) on 15th
September 1888, at the residence of Mrs Mellow, Yelta
William John Blight, born on 1st June 1867 at Callington. He
married Elfriede Emily Maud May (a widow, aged 46, father George
Marsland) on 31st March 1923 at the Methodist Parsonage, Moonta.
Grace Ann, born on 16th November 1869 at Callington. She
married Edward Bone (aged 24, father William Bone) on 11th October
1890, aged 20, at the Wesleyan Parsonage, Moonta.
Anna, born on 30th September 1871 at Wallaroo Mines. A Hannah
Mellow married Henry Richard Cathery (aged 22, father Charles Cathery)
on 2nd August 1892, aged 20, at the residence of William Robinson,
Hagar, born on 30th October 1873 at Wallaroo Mines,
Harriet, born on 8th November 1875 at Wallaroo Mines. She
married James Lord (aged 37, father James Lord) on 25th December 1894,
at the residence of the bride’s parents, Yelta.
Frederick, born on 10th June 1877 at Moonta Mines. He married
Rosalinda Annie Ladner (aged 25, father John Thomas Ladner) on 4th
December 1907, at the residence of the bride’s father, Moonta.
Edith Ann, born on 11th July 1879 at Moonta Mines. She married
Richard James Champion, a miner (aged 21, father Peter Knight
Champion), on 21st October 1899 at the residence of Mrs Ellen Mellow,
Yelta. One of their children was Ronald, born on 22nd October
1912, at Yelta.
Emma, born on 23rd April 1881 at Moonta Mines. She married
Andrew Leonard Speer (aged 20, father William Henry Speer) on 20th
March1901, at the residence of the bride’s mother, Yelta.
Percy, born on 12th January 1883 at Yelta. He married Bertha
Stock (aged 20, father James Stock), on 6th July 1907 at the residence
of the bride’s father, Moonta. Their children included :
Marjorie Clara, born about 1907, who married Maxwell Colmer Hughes
(aged 20, father Henry Hughes) on 14th February 1931, aged 23, at the
Methodist Manse, Wallaroo.
Greta, born at Moonta about 1910, who died on 30th August 1929 at
Wallaroo, aged 19, of pulmonary tuberculosis. Her father’s
occupation was “wharf labourer”.
Stanley William, born about 1911, who married Clarace Irene Gibbons
(aged 24, father Clarence Gibbons) on 8th February 1936, aged 24, at
the Methodist Parsonage, Wallaroo.
Stanley Jubilee, born on 1st December 1887 at Yelta.
William Richard Stephens was buried at Moonta Cemetery, in the same
plot later used by his mother and father. On his gravestone is
inscribed the verse :
Farewell our dearest son farewell,
Thy earthly race is run.
Though crushed with grief we strive to say,
Oh God thy will be done.
William Mellow died on 24th February 1898 at Yelta, aged 55.
After her husband’s death, Hagar Stephens
remarried. On 11th March 1899, aged 25, she married Arthur Atwell
(father Henry Atwell) at the residence of Ellen Mellow, Yelta.
Arthur was aged 34, and had also lost his first wife, Amelia Simmons
(father Henry Simmons), whom he had married on 28th September 1889, and
who died on 12th February 1897 at Moonta, aged 29. Arthur and
Hagar had at least one child :
- William Reginald, born on 26th November 1899 at Moonta.
John Henry Stephens
John (Jack) was living in South Africa during the
period of the Boer War, and enlisted in an unidentified unit, possibly
a local volunteer unit. He died in Western Australia on 18th
August 1917, aged 42. He returned to Adelaide on the ship Persic
(age given as 35 on the passenger list), arriving from Cape Town on
24th March 1908. He married Emily Ann Rule (aged 27, father John
Henry Rule) on 15th April 1908, at the residence of Mrs Rule, Moonta,
and they had a son, Richard, who died recently [1990’s] in Albany, WA,
leaving a son and two daughters; and a daughter, Delilah Pearl, who
married Arthur Farrow, and had two daughters. The Western
Australian BDM records list a Richard J Stephens born at Boulder in
1910, and a Delilah E Stephens, born at Boulder in 1911. Neither
the father or mother of these two is recorded.
Laura Leith Jane Stephens
Laura was apprenticed to a dress-maker, but when her
mother died she had to give up the trade to keep house for her father
and to look after the younger children. She became engaged to
Charles Simmons about this time, but he moved to Western Australia
shortly afterwards. When Richard Stephens remarried, Laura was
allowed to follow him, on the strict understanding that she would marry
him on the day that she arrived. This she duly did, in the house
of Mr and Mrs Searle, family friends from Moonta. Soon after
this, the Stephens family travelled to WA for a time. Charles
Simmons, a miner, was born in 1877; his father was Henry Symons, a
miner of Moonta, who changed his name to Simmons to avoid confusion
with a number of other Symons working at the mines at that time.
He and Laura were married in Boulder, WA, in 1899 and eventually
settled at Port Lincoln, where Charles died on 21st March 1949, and
Laura died on 26th October 1973. Her obituary appeared in the
Port Lincoln Times of 22nd November 1973.
Their children were:
Charles Stuart, born at Moonta on 30th July 1901,
who married Lucy May O’Brien in Adelaide on 3rd December 1926, and died
at Port Lincoln on 17th March 1978,
William Claude, born at Kalgoorlie on 23rd August
1903, who married Ivy Mary Margaret Carey on 10th March 1928, and died
on 3rd October 1988. They had four children :
Kevin Claude, born on 29th January 1928(?), married Beryl Jean McConnel and had three children,
Dean William, born on 8th January 1931. He married Valerie Jane Cross, and they have two children,
Margaret Rose, born on 20th July 1937, who married Ralph Ernst Karl Tilsner, and had four children,
Marie Joy, married Albert Thomas Whittle.
Ivy May, born at Moonta on 27th October 1906, who
married James Henry (Harry) Dennis on 26th January 1927, and died on
3rd July 1973,
twins Philippa and Elizabeth, born on 16th March
1909 at Moonta. Philippa married John Joseph (Jack) Donaldson on
22nd June 1937, and Elizabeth married Howard Lindsay Anderson on 5th
September 1931, and had three children :
Kenneth Alexander, born on 27th February 1932, who married Marina Joan Miller and had five children,
Dorothy Elizabeth, born on 16th October 1935, married Ian Alistair Fletcher and had two children,
Howard Gregory, born on 25th March 1944. He married Joan Hersey, and they have two children.
Delilah Pearl, born on 16th March 1911 at Hamley
Flat, near Moonta, who married Arne Hopping. They had one son,
and she died on 1st August 1988. Delilah’s birth certificate
noted that her father had also been born at Hamley Flat, was 34 years
old, and a farmer at Arno Bay.
Laurie, born on 1st October 1913 at Moonta.
She was born with a disability (severe curvature of the spine), never
married, and died on 27th July 1958.
Richard Stephen (Stevens on his birth certificate),
born at Cowell on 26th April 1919 (father’s age 41 and occupation
“farmer”), who married Jean Marjorie McCallum. Their children
Genevieve Marjorie, born on 23rd June 1943, who married Geoffrey O’Halloran Marlow and had two children,
Richard Stanley, born on 30th January 1945. He married Nerida Louise Johnson and had two children,
John Stephen, born on 6th September 1946, married Janet Lesleigh Prior, and had two children,
Maxine Laura, born on 20th December 1947, who married Andrew Thomas Abraham Reid, and has three children,
Charles, born on 23rd December 1951, married Dianne Louise Clayton, and has two children, and
Robin Hugh, born on 9th May 1956. He married Necia Brooking, and they have two children.
Vera Jean, born at Cleve on 9th February 1922, who
married John Joseph (Jack) Martin, and lives in Port Lincoln.
The Port Lincoln Times of 24th March 1949 printed an obituary of Charles Simmons:
DEATH OF MR CHARLES SIMMONS
“The death occurred at Port Lincoln last Monday of
Mr Charles Simmons, aged 73, a retired railway employee and well-known
local identity. The funeral left for Happy Valley cemetery
yesterday. The Rev W J H Brasher officiated at the graveside.
Mr Simmons spent part of his early years in South
Africa and Western Australia, the later years at Wallaroo and Moonta,
and at various centres on Eyre Peninsula in the employment of the
Mr Simmons is survived by a widow, three sons and
six daughters, Messrs S C and W C Simmons, Mrs Ivy Dennis, Mrs Bessie
Anderson, Mrs Pearl Hopping, Miss Laurie Simmons, all of Port Lincoln,
Mr R M Simmons, Mrs Phyllis Donaldson and Mrs Jean Martin, all of
His death notice gave his residence as Edinburgh
Street, Port Lincoln, and his children’s names as Stewart, Claude, Ivy,
Phyllippa, Elizabeth, Pearl, Laurie, Steve and Jean.
While in South Africa, Charles was in charge of a
gang of Chinese mine workers, who once left him food on his front
veranda - when Laura was asked if they ate it, she replied “Certainly
Laura Simmons’ obituary gave some tantalising details of the family’s life:
ADVENTUROUS LIFE ENDS AT 95 YEARS
“The late Mrs Laura Simmons of Port Lincoln who
passed away on October 26 aged 95 years, lived a varied and adventurous
Born Laura Leith Jane Stephens at Moonta in the year
1878, she became strongly identified with the Cornish way of life,
although her mother was Welsh born, and her father, born at Burra, was
thought to be of Yorkshire ancestry.
The eldest of seven children, her wanderings began
at an early age when the family moved to Broken Hill. They soon
returned however to Moonta.
When she was 12 her mother passed away, leaving her
to care for her brothers and sisters. In her teens she learned to
become a seamstress, at which she excelled.
She met and became engaged to Mr Charles Simmons,
son of a well-known Cornish family who had migrated to Moonta from
Penzance. Mr Simmons’ father is mentioned in the book “Cornish
Pasty”, and a sketch of him is entitled “Uncle Ar”.
When she was aged 22 she sailed for Boulder City in
Western Australia, to marry her fiancé who had taken up mining
there. Within a few months of marriage the couple sailed for
Johannesburg in South Africa, where Cornish miners were in great demand.
After staying there a short time the couple returned
to Moonta where their first child Stewart was born. They later
returned to the goldfields of Boulder City. Here they purchased a
house, in which their second son, Claude, was born.
Life in the Boulder was not easy for
housewives. Water was very expensive, and heat, dust and flies
made life unpleasant.
On the move once more, they returned to Moonta, where daughter Ivy was born, and then to Africa again.
The anecdotes told of life in Africa are many, for
practically every race in the world was represented at the goldfields.
The local doctor advised Mrs Simmons to obtain home
help. She was not much in favour of the idea, but the doctor went
ahead with arrangements. Charlie was the result. He was a
huge Kaffir “boy”, who soon became loved by the family.
When the family left Africa, Charlie was asked what
he would then do. With tears rolling down his cheeks he replied
that he would walk home to the Kraal to see his mother, a distance of
some 100 miles.
Mrs Simmons was a woman of great courage. When
son Claude contracted smallpox at three years of age, she insisted on
accompanying him to the Lazaret some miles distant, where smallpox
sufferers were sent.
Disregarding the danger to herself she stayed with
him and nursed him back to health. This was something of a
miracle, as few people left this building alive.
On their return to Australia they stayed in Moonta for a time before taking up land at the Hundred of Verran.
Times became hard for farmers, and each day was a
challenge, but with courage, fortitude and faith Mrs Simmons won
through. Until the time of her death, Mrs Simmons was the last
survivor of the original pioneer women of the Verran district.
The family made its last move, this time to Port
Lincoln, where they purchased the then beautiful property of Mallee
Park. This home, surrounded as it was then by gums and pines,
with its coach house and cellar, was a gracious reminder of times past.
Following daughter Laurie’s death, Mrs Simmons lived
alone for some years, till it became necessary for her to be cared
for. She divided her time between daughters Mrs Bessie Anderson
of Adelaide, and Mrs Pearl Hopping of Port Lincoln.
Wherever Mrs Simmons’ travels took her, she and her
husband practiced christianity, and were devoted Methodists.
After a beautiful service conducted by the Rev J
Maddern, a testimony to a true christian, she was laid to rest
with her husband at the Port Lincoln cemetery.
Mrs Simmons is survived by seven of her nine
children, 28 grandchildren, and 49 of her 51 great-grandchildren.
She loved and was loved by them all.”
An article in the book “South Australian Scrapbook”
gives a colourful account of the Kangaroo Express, the train which
plied between Port Lincoln and Thevenard, and Claude Simmons, an
employee of the South Australian Railways, contributed many anecdotes
for the article. He is also quoted numerous times in Patsy
Adam-Smith’s book “Folklore of the Australian Railwaymen”. Claude
had vague recollections of living in South Africa when he was about
five years old, and he went to school there for some time. He
died on 3rd October 1988.
Ethel Linda Owen Stephens
Ethel Linda Owen Stephens married Thomas James
Waldron on 8th April 1903 in the house of Mr J Simmons, Forrest Street,
Boulder, Western Australia, according to the rites of the Methodist
Church. Her place of birth was given as Boulder, but I believe
that this is incorrect. One of the witnesses to the marriage was
her sister, Delilah Pearl Stephens.
Thomas Waldron was born at Rutherglen, Victoria, on
27th July 1879, the son of John Waldron, a miner, and Mary (Minnie)
Goldsworthy. He was the fourth child and third son of thirteen
children. The family left Victoria for the lure of the Westralian
goldfields when Thomas was a young boy, and he became a miner like his
Thomas and Linda’s children were :
Elizabeth Ann, born in Kalgoorlie on 24th October 1904, and named
after her maternal grandmother. She married Frederick George
Hansson on 12th December 1923, and they had eleven children. She
died on her birthday in 1988, at the age of 84 (80 ?). Their
children were :
Jack Alexander, born in 1924, married Florence Francis Miller, had five children, and died in 1985,
Lynda Elizabeth, born in 1926, who married David McRoberts and had four children,
Donald, born in 1928, married Joan Hutcheson,
Frederick, born in 1930, married Rosemary Louge,
Edith, born in 1932, who married Karl Scherbleiner,
Lindsay, born in 1934, married Jan White,
Ann Lynette, born in 1936, married Ralf Anderson,
Anthony, born in 1938 and died in 1939,
Maxwell, born in 1940. He married Lyn Smith,
Paul, born in 1944, married Cathy Scott, and
Gerald, born in 1945, who married Donna Rath.
Thomas James, born in November 1907, and known as Jimmy, who died in Perth at the age of 21 on 11th November 1928 [he was buried
in the Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth],
Ethel Gwen, born in 1909 at Boulder, Western Australia, who married Theodore Ridley and had one child,
Laura Delilah Pearl, born in 1911 (21st December ?) at Boulder,
Western Australia. She married Neil Morrison and they had one
Harvey Richard, born in Boulder on 2nd December 1913, who married Edna May Cooke on 21st December 1935, and had six children :
Linda Anne, born on 18th April 1937, who married William Alexander Lynn Sutherland, and had four children,
Norma Elizabeth, born on 4th August 1938. She married Neville Cooper and they have two children,
Reville Thomas Harvey, born on 24th April 1940, and died in September of the same year,
Harvey Robert Wayne, born on 5th April 1942, married Moya Osborne and had two children,
Gail Maree, born on 26th December 1951, who married Raymond Thomas Stewart, and has two children, and
Terry David, born on 12th March 1954. He married Jenni Anderson, and they have three children.
Violet Roberta, born in 1915, at Boulder, Western Australia, who married Thomas Everett.
The family travelled to South Africa with the rest
of the Stephens family for one of their two visits, but returned to
Thomas Waldron died in 1921 in Boulder. Linda was in
hospital, and was wheeled to the window to watch his funeral
pass. She died within a week of him, on 3rd October 1921, and
young Jimmy was left at the age of 14 as head of the family, while
Elizabeth cared for the younger children.
Delilah Pearl Stephens
Delilah Pearl married Harvey Elmore (or Elmer) Fouse
in the Lilian Street Methodist Church, Fordsburg (now a suburb of
Johannesburg), South Africa, on 5th September 1905. He was an
American who had travelled to South Africa for his health. He was
the son of Reuben Fouse and Anna Collins, whose other children were
Orville, Alfred and Lola. One source states that Anna Fouse died
on 27th December 1893 at the age of 44 (does not tally with Census
age), and was
buried in the Carson Valley cemetery, Duncansville, Blair County,
another source says that she died in 1900.
The 1880 US Census lists the family :
Residence : Catherine, Blair Co, Pennsylvania
and Reuben’s parents and siblings :
Residence : Huston, Blair Co, Pennsylvania
William A Fouse
PA At home
PA At home
PA At home
PA At home
PA At home
Residence : Huston, Blair Co, Pennsylvania
Henry C Rhodes
Harvey and Delilah returned to Kalgoorlie, then Moonta, and eventually
returned to America, first to Duncansville, Pennsylvania and later to
Muskogee, Oklahoma. Their children were :
Harvey Stephen, born on 11th April 1906 in South Africa, who married
and had a son, Eric. In both the 1920 and 1930 Censuses a Stephen
Fouse (born about 1907) was living in Blair County.
Thelma E, born on 13th July 1908 in South Africa, who married Leroy D
Loy (born about 1905). In the 1920 Census she was living in Blair
County. A Thelma Fouse was listed as a sophomore in the Class of
1923/24 at the Hollidaysburg High School, Hollidaysburg, Blair County,
Pennsylvania. In the 1930 Census Thelma E Loy (husband Leroy D
Loy) lived in Blair County.
Delilah (Babe), born in 1911 in Pennsylvania, who married Charles
Augustus Clark in 1927, at the age of 16. She died in Brooklyn,
New York, on 23rd September 1961. In the 1920 Census she was
living in Blair County. In the 1930 Census Charles Clark (born
about 1905), Delila (sic) Clark and William Clark (born about 1929)
were living in Cambria County, Pennsylvania (just west of Blair County). Their chlidren were :
- Charles William, born on 21st April 1928, married Joyce Louise Beegle
(a Joyce L Clark born 15th August 1927, died 10th May 2003 at Brooklyn,
New York) and had five children :
Paul Andrew, born on 16th January 1956,
Anne Louise, born on 23rd March 1957,
Thomas Charles, born on 21st December 1958,
John William, born on 29th December 1959, and
Margery Joyce, born on 4th August 1961.
Thelma Marie, born in September 1930, who married Phillip J Daus
(born 19th March 1924, died 30th December 2003 at Hollidaysburg, Blair
County, Pennsylvania) and had five children :
Donna Jean, and
Ronald Augustus, born in July 1932, who is now a Benedictine Brother
(a Ronald A Clark, born 29th October 1932, died 25th November 1999 at
Brooklyn, New York),
Patrick Joseph, born 24th July 1934, married Jeanne O’Sullivan and had two children :
Susan Mary, and
Gaynell Jean, born on 12th February 1936, who married Michael J Smajda and had five children :
Jean Marie, born on 23rd July 1957,
Mary Ellen, born on 7th July 1958,
Kay Elizabeth, born on 10th August 1959,
Michelle, born on 28th April 1961, and
Dianna Lynn, born on 11th June 1964.
The family was planning to visit their relatives in
Australia after the birth of their third child, but unfortunately this
birth resulted in the death of Delilah Pearl. Harvey died shortly
afterwards, and the children were raised by his sister Lola Schultz,
who lived at Duncansville. The children had only a few mementos
of their parents, including their wedding photograph, in a sea chest,
and were unable to trace their Australian relatives. Lola wrote a
few times, but contact was then lost. The Stephens thought that
Ann Donaldson should have made an effort to bring the children back to
Australia, as she was quite well-off, and the best-placed to look after
them. Seventy five years elapsed before Margaret Tilsner, chasing
up a slender lead provided by Angus Donaldson, wrote to the Methodist
Minister in Duncansville, and re-established the link.
No trace of Stephen Fouse’s son Eric could be
found. Claude Simmons remembered Stephen as a child, as the Fouse
family came to Australia for six weeks before moving back to America.
Reuben Fouse was born on 5th April 1852, and Anna
Collins was born on 21st September 1852. They both died at
Duncansville, Blair County, PA. They were married on 15th January
1878, and their children were :
Harvey, born on 14th November 1878,
Lola Belle, born on 2nd February 1880 in Duncansville. She
married William Schultz (born in May 1875) on 11th February 1898.
Their child was :
Pearl Elizabeth, born on 25th April 1899 at Duncansville
In 1900 Lola, William and Pearl were living in Duncansville with Lola’s
father, Reuben Fouse. The family was residing separately in
Duncansville for the 1920 and 1930 Censuses.
Betta Roberta, born on 28th August 1881, who died on 21st March 1895,
Orville, born on 30th June 1883. He changed his name to Rafael
Pozo and married Mercedes P Erez. They had two children, and then
he married Adelaide Kindred, by whom he had a son, Orville, born on
14th June 1908. (The US Social Security records list an Orville
Fouse, born at Duncansville on 30 June 1883, who died in Luning,
Mineral County, Nevada in January 1972, and an Orville K (possibly
Kindred) Fouse, born on 17th June 1908 in Arizona, who died in Los
Angeles on 23rd April 1976 aged 67. An Orville Fouse was the
Production Manager on three films, “711 Ocean Drive” (1950), “Tobor
the Great” (1954) and “Moonfire” (1973). The Production Manager reports to the
Producer, and is responsible for the film’s budget, hiring crew,
approving purchase orders and time sheets, and making sure that all
departments perform their respective jobs within the parameters of the
Alfred Jones, born on 22nd August 1886. The 1900 Census showed
him living in Duncansville. In 1920 he was still in Duncansville,
living with his sister Lola Schultz.
The early history of the Fouse family
is expanded at the end of this chapter.
Anne Northey Stephens
Anne Northey Stephens married William Henry
Donaldson (aged 41, father Ebenezer Donaldson) on 1st February 1911, at
the residence of the groom’s father, Penang (Moonta). Their
children were :
Angus Maxwell, born on 29th December 1911 at Kadina, and
William Richard Colin, born on 5th December 1913 at Yelta.
Angus died about nine months after his mother.
Colin married and had a son, James, but died before his mother.
Wesley Barrett Stephens
Wesley Barrett Stephens married
Honorah Mary Wall
on 19th January 1914 at St Anacletus’ Catholic Church,
Peterborough, and their children were:
Richard John, born 3rd May 1914 at Crystal Brook, and died in Adelaide on 5th March 1991,
Barbara Mary, born 11th December 1915 at Crystal
Brook, who married Robert Cecil Murdoch, and died at Port Pirie on 20th
Eugene William, born 21st May 1917 at Crystal
Brook, who married Jean, and died at Adelaide on 10th September
Vera Catherine, born on 12th May 1919 at Crystal
Brook, who married Edward (Ted) Seery (born at Perth on 31st October
1912, died on 15th June 2004). Ted Seery moved to Port Pirie as a
teenager, after being orphaned at an early age, and he remained a
“Pirie boy” at heart all his life. He joined the Railways,
working first as a tracklayer, then, when his abilities were
recognised, as a clerk, responsible for the supply of provisions for
the trains, such as the Ghan and the Indian Pacific. He was an
excellent athlete, playing football for the Solomontown team, and was
offered a place in the South Adelaide league team, which he turned down
as it would have meant leaving Port Pirie. He was also a champion
runner, reaching the heats of the Stawell Gift. He retired at 61,
and moved to Adelaide. Although a fervent supporter of the Port
Adelaide league team, he started barracking for the Adelaide Crows when
they entered the AFL as the only South Australian team, and remained
with them even after the Port Power team was formed. He was
strongly religious, and a staunch family man
Mary Lorna, born on 24th May 1921 at Crystal Brook, married to Valentine (Val) Tyler,
Clare Margaret, born on 9th November 1922 at her
parents’ residence, Main Street, Crystal Brook, who married Robert
Allen Quin. Her father’s occupation was “laborer”.
Lilian (Lily) Patricia, born 7th March 1925 at
Whyalla, married to Ian Sells, who died at 6 am on 23rd May 2006.
Edmond D’Arcy, born at his parents’ home, 2 The
Terrace, Ellendale, Port Pirie, on 23rd June 1927, who died of whooping
cough on 12th February 1928. His father’s occupation was
“clerk”. His mother told Jean that there was an epidemic of
whooping cough at that time, and that she would see the older children
so racked with coughing that they would have to hold onto the
clothesline or the veranda posts to keep upright. At the child’s
funeral there was an honour guard of children from the school attended
by his siblings.
Ruth Joan, born 18th December 1928 at Port Pirie, married to Robert Colley, who died on 4th June 1992, and
Brian Darcy, born 1931 at Port Pirie, married to Beryl.
Wesley’s father, Richard, was a very strong
Methodist, and when Wesley married a Catholic, he was banished from the
family circle, which caused him to hold a lifelong bitterness against
his father. His sister Ann was considered a ringleader of the trouble which
banished Wesley. Family history was never mentioned, and no
photographs or other information was ever passed to the children, who
could contribute very little to my family research. Laura Simmons
visited Wesley and Norah once when they lived at Reid Avenue, Hectorville (late
50’s), and it was a very special occasion. Lily Stephens thought
that Wesley went to South Africa at one time, and returned with a “Zulu
stick”, which all the children remembered with fear. There was a
rumour that he had been involved in the death of two black men there.
SA Police Gazette 16 November 1921 - “Apprehensions –
Wesley Barrett Stephens, on an information, charged with embezzlement
on His Majesty’s Government (Railways Department), at Crystal Brook;
released on entering into a bond to come up for sentence when called
upon within three years, and to abstain from intoxicating liquor.”
Richard John Stephens
Richard Stephens grew up in Port Pirie, where the family had moved when
his father got work at the Port Pirie Smelters. Although he did
well at school, he had to leave at an early age to help supprt the
large family. He held a number of jobs before the War started,
but when it did, he saw it as an opportunity to escape, and immediately
joined up. His service number, SX473, indicates how early he was
when he enlisted in the Army in Adelaide on 20th October 1939. He
was posted to the 2/10 Battalion, and left Australia by ship for
England on 5th May 1940. During the voyage he broke his humerus,
and on arrival in Greenock was admitted to the Hairmyres Hospital,
south of Glasgow, on 7th June 1940. He was discharged from
hospital on 9th August, and sent to Bulford Camp and Lopcombe Corner on Salisbury Plain for
On 17th November 1940 the battalion embarked from
Glasgow for the Middle East, where it disembarked on 31st
December. Richard Stephens served with the battalion throughout
1941, including the famous siege of Tobruk. On 11th February 1942
he was returned to Adelaide, but arrived with an injured ankle.
To his disgust, he was not allowed leave, but was transferred straight
from the troopship to hospital. In anger, he absconded from the
hospital, caught a train to Port Pirie at the Adelaide Railway Station,
and arrived home still wearing his pyjamas, only partly covered by his
Army greatcoat. He was absent without leave for 13 days, before
the military police arrived to take him back to Adelaide. He was
fined £5 and his pay was stopped to make good the sum of 17/- to pay
for lost clothing. He was discharged from hospital on 16th May
1942, and rejoined his battalion.
On 22nd July 1942 he was promoted to Acting
Corporal, and on 6th August the battalion salied from Brisbane to New
Guinea. His rank as Corporal was confirmed on 6th January 1943,
but he was then to suffer many recurring bouts of severe malaria, and
he returned to Australia in March. The attacks continued until
September 1944. In November 1943 he was classified "medically fit
to carry out certain duties which require only restricted medical
fitness", and between attacks he worked in the Kit Store at Townsville.
On 16th September 1944 he was classified A1 fit and
transferred back to the 2/10 Battalion. On 17th November he
reverted back to the rank of private, at his own request. With
the battalion he fought at Morotai and Balikpapan in 1945. In
November 1945 he was selected for early discharge due to his long
service, and returned toAdelaide, where he was discharged on 4th December.
The 2/10th Battalion was the first South Australian
battalion formed for the Second AIF. It formally came into being
with the appointment of its first commanding officer, Lieutenant
Colonel Arthur Verrier, on 13th October 1939 but over a week would
elapse before the battalion began to take shape at Adelaide’s Wayville
Showgrounds. It trained first at Woodside in the Adelaide hills,
and then at Greta and Ingleburn in New South Wales. The 2/10th
embarked for the Middle East on 5th May 1940 as part of the 18th
Brigade, of the 6th Australian Division.
En route to the Middle East, the 18th Brigade was
diverted to the United Kingdom to bolster its defences following the
fall of France. The 2/10th disembarked at Gourock in Scotland on
18 June and was subsequently based at Lopcombe Corner, near Salisbury,
in England. On 8 July the 2/10th suffered the Second AIF’s first
casualty due to enemy action - Private Albert Webb, who was wounded in
a strafing attack by a German aircraft. The battalion relocated to
Colchester in October and left the United Kingdom on 17th November.
The 2/10th arrived in Egypt on 31st December
1940. In the United Kingdom the 18th Brigade had become part of
the newly-formed 9th Australian Division, but in Egypt, in February
1941, it was transferred to the 7th Division. D Company of the
2/10th reinforced the 2/9th Battalion for its attack on Giarabub on
21st March 1941, but the whole battalion was not committed to active
operations until it moved, with the rest of the brigade, to Tobruk in
the first week of April. The 18th Brigade took part in the
defence of Tobruk until it was withdrawn at the end of August.
After Tobruk, the 2/10th trained in Palestine and between late
September 1941 and early January 1942 formed part of the force
garrisoning Syria. It sailed for Australia on 11 February,
disembarking in Adelaide on 29th March.
Papua was the 2/10th’s next battleground and the
battles it fought there were its most bitter and costly. It
arrived at Milne Bay on 12th August and on the night of 27th August was
overwhelmed by Japanese marines in a confused battle. The
battalion fared even worse in its next engagement - Buna. Between
23rd December and 2nd January the 2/10th lost 113 men killed and 205
wounded in often ill-conceived attacks against Japanese bunkers around
the old airstrip. The 2/10th’s final engagement in Papua was at
Sanananda between 9th and 24th January 1943. It returned home on
12th March 1943.
The 2/10th returned to Papua in early August
1943. It trained around Port Moresby until deployed to the
Finisterre Mountains in New Guinea on 31st December, where it
participated in the operations to secure Shaggy Ridge between 4th
January and 1st February 1944. Arriving back in Australia on 8th
May, the 2/10th spent a year training before undertaking its final
operation of the war. On 1st July 1945 the battalion landed at
Balikpapan in Borneo and stormed the heights of Parramatta Ridge.
In ensuing days it cleared the Japanese from in and around Balikpapan
town, and was withdrawn into reserve on 6 July. It did not carry
out another active role before the war ended on 15th August 1945.
2/10th personnel were progressively returned to Australia for discharge
and with a cadre of only 42 remaining, the battalion disbanded at
Balikpapan on 29th December 1945.
During the war the Australian War Memorial published
an annual series of books which covered the events of the past
year. Some paragraphs in Richard Stephens’ copies are marked, as
having special significance to him. In the first book, “Active
Service”, covering the events to the end of 1941, the relevant
paragraphs describe the capture of the oasis of Giarabub on the eastern
border of Libya, and the siege of Tobruk.
THE oasis of Giarabub, remote from the coastal areas
where the main actions and rapid movements of our forces in Libya took
place, was for three months the centre of minor operations.
These, and their setting, differed greatly from the rest of the
Giarabub lies in Libya about 160 miles south of
Sollum, and close to the Egyptian frontier. It is the religious
focal point for the followers of Mohamed Ben Ali el Senussi, whose
teachings were propounded here and whose asceticism has its memorial in
a fine mosque containing Senussi's tomb. The oasis area was ceded
by Egypt to Italy in 1925, as a means of enabling the Italian
administration to exercise better control of the Senussi tribesmen.
The surrounding country is sheer desert. An
escarpment rises above Giarabub on the north. On other sides the
oasis area, which is thirty feet below sea level, is cupped within sand
hills and eroded crags and knolls and “marsh” patches of dark,
impassable sand. On the south, the Great Sand Sea extends its
shimmering waves as outposts of the Sahara.
Across the frontier in Egypt is Siwa, a larger and more fertile oasis area, of greater antiquity.
After the Italians advanced to Sidi Barrani, it was
thought possible that they would attack Siwa from Giarabub. Only
a small Anglo-Egyptian outpost was at that time based on Siwa.
Much enemy activity across the frontier was
noticed. Further north, beside the frontier wire running to Fort
Capuzzo, the Italians had a post at Maddalena. Their lines of
communication were by desert tracks, the main one going north-west to
Late in November 1940, it was decided to relieve the
British infantry detachment by a squadron of Sixth Australian
Division's cavalry regiment. “B” Squadron was detailed for the
task, moving to the pleasant springs and date palm groves of Siwa early
On the 11th, the Squadron made the A.I.F.'s first
raid against enemy lines in Libya, cutting telephone wires near the
Maddalena post, and returning with informa-tion about the defences.
The British front in Egypt was now taking the
offensive. On 17th December, our cavalry regiment's headquarters,
with portion of Headquarters Squadron and “C” Squadron, moved to
Siwa. Three days later, the regiment began to put out patrols
north-west of Giarabub. The role was now changing from that of
defending Siwa to cutting off Giarabub. A number of successful
raids on convoys and outposts were made. On 18th December, it was
reported that the enemy was evacuating Maddalena.
At Giarabub, however, his forces sat tight. At
this stage they probably comprised some1,200 Italian and 700 Libyan
troops. Their artillery was limited, but well sited, and the
country favoured an obstinate defence. There was a central walled
fort, heavily wired. Approaches were guarded by strong posts,
those facing north being particularly strong. The whole area was
enclosed with a twelve foot thickness of barbed wire. Our patrols
of mechanised cavalry could harass convoys entering or leaving, but
were not strong enough to achieve more. Any approach to the
escarpment edge on the north side drew accurate fire, the flanks were
commanded by knolls and guarded by a wilderness of sand bogs, and the
Great Sand Sea to the south was impassable to guns and heavy vehicles.
Action to capture Giarabub was considered when the
British offensive moved into Libya. It, was decided to use troops
of the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade, who had just arrived from
England, and were well advanced in training and equipment.
Brigadier L. J. Morshead, who then commanded this brigade, made a
reconnaissance of the Giarabub front immediately after the fall of
Bardia. He reported to the Com-mander-in-Chief, British Forces in
Egypt, in favour of a plan “to deny the enemy supplies and so starve
them into submission.” This policy was, for the time being, accepted.
So the situation rested, while the main tide of
battle moved westward across coastal Libya. The cavalry regiment
and the few British guns operating with it contained an enemy whose
capture appeared more or less inevitable.
The siege was tightened with an occasional raid by
the Long Range Desert Group. Comprising New Zealanders and some
British troops, this motorised force had been created for long range
raiding and reconnaissance between Italian posts in Libya. Its
journeys included trans-desert raids into Tripolitania, contact with
Free French in their advance to Kufra oasis, and a crossing of the
Great Sand Sea. A picturesque unit of bearded men, this unit
ranged far and wide, setting its course by the stars on long desert
In March, the plan for an attack on Giarabub was
revived. Units of the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade filled the
The troops allotted to the capture of Giarabub, in
addition to the Sixth Australian Division Cavalry unit, were the 2/9th
Battalion and “D” Company of the 2/10th Battalion, with the 2/10th
Battalion mortar and anti-tank platoons and a section of the medium
machine guns drawn from the 2/10th and 2/12th Battalions as a reserve
of infantry support fire power; a battery of British artillery, a
company of Royal Engineers, signallers, an Indian motor transport
company and two Lysander aircraft.
The Long Range Desert Group co-operated by watching the country west of Giarabub.
The commander, 18th Australian Infantry Brigade,
took charge of operations, and on 18th March set up his headquarters at
a gap in a rocky hill several miles east of Giarabub.
It was believed that the oasis was then held by
1,000 Italians and about 30 Libyans. (Practically all of the
enemy's native troops had, by now, deserted.) Enemy posts and patrols
were widely spread. It was desired to complete our operations so
that Australian troops would be back at Mersa Matruh by the 25th.
On the 18th, two platoons of the 2/9th Battalion
moved to reconnoitre an approach to Giarabub from the south-east.
This party sighted enemy guns and vehicles at a post to the south and
in rear of the proposed line of reconnaissance. They were not
strong enough to attack, and the commander did not feel justified in
continuing his task across completely unknown country while an enemy
detachment was at large behind him. The reconnaissance was
On the 19th, the Brigadier decided to send a force
of two companies, plus mortar and anti-aircraft detachments, to test
what appeared on the map to be a possible line of approach from the
south-east. This force was to secure a N.E.-S.W. line close to
Giarabub before dawn on the 20th. Its experience in this task
would decide whether or not a main assault from the south-east was
practicable. It had appeared, from aerial photographs and such
maps as existed, that the knolls on the southern sector dominated
Giarabub, and that their loss by the enemy would therefore break his
The advance guard left the Brigade Headquarters area
about noon - a long convoy of vehicles crawling and lurching deviously
under the lee of rocky outcrops and escarpments. A barely
possible route for wheeled vehicles had been prospected. Some
trucks were bogged and others stopped through over-heating, but three
hours of slow travel brought the head of the column to the double apron
wire fence and a line of telephone poles running south-east of Giarabub.
Crossing a gap in the wire, the vehicles turned on
to a track skirting it and running north-west between stony knolls.
These knolls were Italian observation posts.
Shelling began. Troops debussed from the leading vehicles and
pushed ahead in open order. The enemy quickly abandoned his
advanced observation posts and our troops gained ground under light
shell fire. The broken ground gave shelter from machine gun and
rifle fire, and the advance was ahead of its objective by
nightfall. After dark, extensive patrolling along the enemy wire
was carried out by the 2/9th Battalion. Gaps were cut, and small
posts inside the wire were raided.
The enemy shelled the route of the advance uneasily
and intermittently during the night. He had not expected an
attack from this quarter, where the approaches were through an
appallingly difficult wilderness and where there had been little
preliminary activity on our part to arouse his suspicions.
By dawn on the 20th, the companies of the 2/9th
Battalion held well advanced positions south-west, south and south-east
of Giarabub. The white dome of the mosque and some village
buildings could be seen through a gap in the hills.
The enemy had lost his observation posts, but his artillery and machine gun fire were brisk.
Brigade headquarters moved up early in the morning,
with the remainder of the 2/9th Battalion and one company of 2/10th
Battalion. A battery of British 25-pounders also arrived.
After a reconnaissance, plans were made for a dawn barrage and infantry
attack next day. An easterly dust storm blew all day on the
20th. Supplies came laboriously forward through the sandy
desolations. Brigade and regimental headquarters - -groups of
vehicles parked against the reverse slopes of rocky knolls - completed
their preparations for one of Libya's minor but strenuous “mopping up”
At 5.30 a.m. on the 21st, the 25-pounders opened
against the enemy's wire and gun positions. Engineers, with
bangalore torpedoes, were forward to blow gaps in the wire. Our
barrage was answered by only slight artillery fire. Enemy
dispositions had apparently been made on the assumption that our attack
would come from the north, where most of the earlier demonstrations by
the Sixth Australian Division Cavalry had been made. These
demonstrations were now renewed, and kept the enemy guns busy on the
Under the barrage, the infantry seized enemy posts
south of Giarabub, while the right company took a knoll which commanded
the entrance to the village. Another fierce sandstorm, this time
from the north-west, made conditions uncomfortable.
Later in the morning, the sandstorm reduced
visibility to an extent which made it extremely difficult for Brigade
Headquarters to plot the advance of our troops.
In some instances there was fairly determined enemy
resistance. Before 8.30 a.m. however, he had yielded sufficient
commanding ground to seal the fate of Giarabub. Groups of
prisoners were trickling out, and his artillery was silenced. It
was known that “nests” of the enemy were as yet untouched in the palm
plantation on the eastern edge of the town, and plans were discussed
for an artillery programme to subdue them. This proved
unnecessary, however; as the infantry pressed over the hills and sand
flats, the opposition dwindled. One enemy plane appeared to the
west, about 10 a.m. and dropped bombs. By 11 a.m., 300 prisoners
had been taken, including the officer commanding the southern
sector. In the meantime, the cavalry on the north had thrust
ahead briskly and broken the enemy's line of defence posts. The
final stages of mopping up the dugouts and stone-walled gun posts on
the edges of the small village were without incident. Giarabub,
its truculent little lieutenant-colonel, some 1,200 white troops, 30
Libyans and a few guns were in our hands. The mosque was
undamaged. A few calm Senussi stood about, awaiting the new
Australian casualties during the operation were
fewer than 100. As a battle, Giarabub was spectacular only in its
setting of jagged wastelands and sandy mazes around a cluster of small
buildings and burrows where men had lived for months. To the 18th
Australian Infantry Brigade who took the village, it may have seemed
the very end of the world-a wind-swept misery in which the bodies of
their dead were half covered in sand, an hour after they fell.
To the men of the cavalry regiment who had kept
patient and difficult watch on the place for more than three months,
and to the services who supplied them over appalling tracks, Giarabub
was journey's end. Its fall released them for a well-earned rest
and an overdue refit before the next call to action.
SIEGE OF TOBRUK
WHEN the enemy forces first pushed through from El
Agheila, a local defence scheme had been hastily improvised by the
sub-area command at Tobruk, the main and much-battered port of supply
for our troops in Libya. Around this “scratch force,” a medley of
detachments flowed as administrative staffs and fighting troops fell
back from Derna and Mechili. Detachments, stragglers and escaped
prisoners continued to arrive for some days.
With the appearance of Ninth Division, the defence
coalesced on the line of the old Italian perimeter system.
Command of all forces in the area was assumed by General Morshead on
In the meantime, the Bardia road had been cut.
Tobruk again became a besieged fortress-with the difference that sea
communication with Egypt was still open; a difficult, costly line of
communication, harassed by the Luftwaffe, but a life-line which made
Tobruk a real obstacle to the German drive.
To our forces at Tobruk were allotted the tasks of:
(i) Maintaining their present position
in order to deny the use of the port to the enemy, and to enable it to
be used as a base for future operations when reinforcements became
available and the situation permitted.
(ii) Taking any opportunity that might occur for local offensive action
to hinder the enemy’s advance on Egypt, in so far as such operations
proved possible without jeopardising the defence of Tobruk itself.
The first defence plan was based on the fact that
i8th Australian Infantry Brigade, which had been moved up from Egypt,
were a fresh and well-equipped reinforcement. With a force of
tanks, including those which had managed to fall back on Tobruk, 18th
Brigade were placed in reserve for counter-attack, while Ninth Division
were disposed about the perimeter defences. The preparation of
other defence works in depth was pushed ahead.
After preliminary skirmishing and probing, the enemy
launched his first serious attack against Tobruk on Easter Monday, 14th
April. Panzerkampfwagen - strongly armoured 22-ton medium tanks -
led the attack against a section of the perimeter held by the 2/17th
Battalion. These tanks passed through our forward defended
localities in the dark, and at first light had progressed almost up to
El Adem - Bardia road junction, a distance of about three miles.
Here, however, a surprise awaited them. Intense fire from our
field and anti-tank guns caused them to turn. Seventeen were
knocked out, the remainder retiring precipitately through the perimeter.
The fire of our 25-pounders was particularly
effective. In some instances the heavy turret and 75-mm gun and
mounting were blown completely off the German tanks. Our front
line infantry had held firm while the tanks passed between their posts
and the perimeter. They remained ready to deal with the enemy’s
supporting infantry, and so isolate the tanks. The situation was
completely restored, with, in addition to the heavy tank casualties,
the loss to the enemy of 110 dead and 250 captured.
Perhaps the most striking tribute to the spirit of
the defence was that written by the commander of a German tank
regiment. The following passage is from a document prepared by
him, which subsequently fell into our hands:
“The Intelligence gave out before the
attack that the enemy was exhausted, that his artillery was extremely
weak, and that his morale had become very low. Before the
beginning of the third attack the regiment had not had the slightest
idea of the well designed and executed defences of the enemy nor of a
single battery position, or of the terrific number of anti-tank
guns. Also it was not known that he had heavy tanks. The
regiment went into battle with unbendable will, determined at all costs
to break through the enemy and take Tobruk. Only the vastly
superior enemy, the frightful loss and the lack of any supporting
weapons caused the regiment to fail in its task.
39 tanks went into battle.
17 tanks were shot to pieces by the enemy.
2 officers are missing and wounded.
21 N.C.O’s and men are missing.
10 N.C.O’s and men are wounded.
This means a total loss of 50%.”
The little garrison on the perimeter had a smile on
their lips, a new con-fidence in their hearts. They had begun to
take their revenge.
The defence was also successful in the air on this
day. Of a force of more than 40 enemy planes which came over in
conjunction with the tank attack, 13 were shot down by the R.A.F.
and 4 by anti-aircraft fire.
A number of local attacks continued to be made, as
much perhaps as re-prisals for audacious raids from the fortress and to
maintain Italo-German morale, as to test our defences. However,
it was clear that there was not perfect accord in the enemy camp.
On one occasion Italian infantry came into action and, on withdrawing
after a severe hammering, were fired on by German tanks, which were
“supporting” them. On another, the tanks went in but the Italian
infantry did not follow. Again the tanks were driven out without
As work on strengthening our defence system
progressed, the garrison developed a policy of vigorous patrols and
raids. These, coupled with strong air action against
concentrations of enemy vehicles, put the besiegers on the defensive,
and they began to dig in.
All arms and services within the Tobruk line added
something to the tradition of aggressive defence that was being built
up here. The British character and the Australian found in this
tight corner an atmosphere that drew out and blended their particular
qualities. Stubborn, ironic in humour, inventive, cunning,
fundamentally sure of themselves, they grew into a compact
community. If in this narrative the emphasis is given to the work
of the infantry, it is because there is much in the work of other arms
and services at Tobruk which cannot yet be revealed. The “spirit
of the bayonet” can be taken as typical of the whole garrison.
One of the early fighting patrol episodes, which
illustrates this spirit, was carried out by a company of the 2/23rd
Battalion on 22nd April. The purpose was to discover the
locations of enemy positions astride the Derna road on the western
sector, to comb wadis in the area and to take prisoners. The
company went out in two parties before dawn.
The first party, under intensive artillery, mortar,
and machine gun fire, proceeded for about two miles, when they were
unable to go further. The party then retired, driving before them
one captured officer and 18 men, in addition to a previous batch of
prisoners captured on the way out and sent back.
The second party were quickly sent to ground by
heavy machine gun and artillery fire, but they engaged enemy infantry
positions and caused heavy casualties at short range. Later they
seized the positions and took prisoners. One of these prisoners
indicated that he and nine others were all that were left of their
company after the fight.
The party continued their advance, still under heavy
fire, and came within point blank range of at least two
batteries. This patrol was now about 22 miles from the starting
point. At this stage carriers moved forward and gave supporting
fire as the party charged the batteries.
After a hot action, the little force began to fight
their way back under intense fire of every description. One
carrier returned to the perimeter with wounded and then went forward
again for more. Three carriers were extricated, two were
destroyed by direct hits, and two broke down, their crews dismounting
and taking up positions supporting the party. Very heavy
casualties were inflicted, and prisoners were taken who moved back with
the party (prisoners captured in earlier stages had already been
returned under escort). The fight lasted over five hours, and we
were extremely fortunate to extricate the bulk of our forces.
This action was typical. Time after time, our
raiding parties and patrols sallied forth from the perimeter, gaining
information, inflicting heavy casualties, capturing prisoners, and
generally forcing the besieging force to adopt a defensive role.
Before either side had consolidated its position,
there was a slight outbreak of “warfare of words,” the enemy taking the
offensive by dropping pamphlets which read :
“The General Officer Commanding
German forces in Libya hereby requests that British troops occupying
Tobruk surrender their arms. Single soldiers waving white
handkerchiefs are not fired on. Strong German forces have already
surrounded Tobruk and it is useless to try and escape. Remember
Mechili. Our dive bombers and Stukas are awaiting your ships
which are lying in Tobruk.”
To this we replied with the following leaflet, using a rather more cajoling tone:
“Soldiers of Italy!
“For you and your companions the day of peace and happiness is close at
hand. In all Africa your comrades have given up the battle - in
Abyssinia the war is over; the Ambassador from the Duke d’Aosta has
already made prelimi-nary peace terms with British General Headquarters.
“Yesterday thousands of your countrymen were taken prisoner at
Tobruk. It is quite useless to make any further sacrifices of
this kind. All Italian soldiers who have been captured by the
British have been treated in the finest manner.
“So make an end of this before your losses become considerably larger.”
Where victory lay in this verbal skirmish is not
clear, but at least the number of Italian prisoners in our hands
continued to mount.
By the end of April the provision of direct air
protection for Tobruk by fighter aircraft had become most
difficult. The Air Force, however, was striking powerful blows in
aid of the defence by its bombing attacks on enemy posts and supply
Enemy air-raids increased in number and
intensity. Although many machines had been shot down by our
fighters and anti-aircraft defences, the scale of attack was
maintained. The main objective, of course, was to make the port
of Tobruk unwork-able. The extent of the enemy air-raids can be
gauged from the fact that, between 9th April and 31st May no less than
1,431 enemy planes were over Tobruk. Forty-nine of these were
shot down by anti-aircraft fire, and at least 42 were severely damaged
but were not seen to fall. The continuous programme of bombing
raids naturally took toll of our shipping, but it did not succeed in
closing the port.
For the sake of Axis solidarity the Germans had
intended to allot a share of success to the Italians in the re-conquest
of Cirenaica. The first infantry support in the April attempts to
take Tobruk had been Italian. But the Germans soon recognised
that Italian infantry morale was chronically low. It was not
surprising, therefore, that a primarily German force was used when the
enemy made a determined drive against the Medauuar sector on the
morning of 1st May. This time he meant to overwhelm finally the
The attack was led by about 60 tanks, including the
heaviest and best vehicles which the Germans had at their
disposal. These were followed by newly arrived German infantry,
short of desert experience but accustomed to victory in France.
By dusk, the enemy held about 4000 yards of the perimeter defence
frontage. But he failed completely against the secondary line,
and his losses were heavy. In this assault, enemy tanks “sat
down” on some of our forward posts and pinned down the garrisons while
German infantry enveloped the positions.
During this operation the enemy used flame throwing
apparatus. He had thrown his most formidable resources into the
attack, and had gained ground which included a hillock useful for
observation. In his wider purposes he had failed.
Toward the end of May, the enemy was settling down
to a plan for economically containing the garrison of Tobruk.
Attacks by tanks were discontinued. The German armoured
formations in Cirenaica now seemed to be reserved for holding off
British forces on the Sollum front, and for probing south-eastward on
the escarpment edge in the Halfya Pass area. Italo-German
reinforcement plans were seriously upset by the interception of convoys
between Sicily and Tripoli, and by the regular air attacks on
Benghazi. This probably influenced the adoption of “defensive
siege” tactics by the Germans and Italians outside Tobruk.
The machine gun was the most important weapon used
in these tactics. The Ger-man posts were well armed with machine
guns sited to operate on fixed lines of fire against our
positions. The enemy policy was to pin down our forward section
posts and to become master of the perimeter through fire
superiority. Part of his artillery support for this plan was
Italian. It produced prompt and accurate shelling whenever
move-ment was detected in our advanced positions. The high ground
which the enemy had taken on 1st May in the Medauuar sector aided his
fire plan. But against this observation point the frequent dust
storms gave some protection to movement within our lines.
Night patrols were active on our front. The
use of bangalore torpedoes, which had aided us in our attacks on Bardia
and Tobruk in January, was now an enemy means of blowing our
wire. At night he also dug cover close to the wire, and this was
used by the probing forces sent out in daylight to test and draw fire
from our outposts. In general, sporadic duels of automatic weapon
fire, with artillery on both sides sensitively responding to local
movements, marked a phase of watchfulness along the perimeter.
In the air, the “Stuka parade” of German bombers
continued unabated over Tobruk. Their raids were primarily
directed against harbour shipping, where even old wrecks were subject
to determined attack. It was common for 50 bombing planes to take
part in the attacks, which were of daily occurrence. The town
grew more and more untidy in appearance, but the working of the port
continued. The spirit of aggressive defence, which had given
early proof of its quality against tank attacks, remained throughout
May. On the perimeter it found a cautious expression as the use
of sorties became restricted by the accuracy and strength of enemy
machine gun fire.
The defenders had learned the weaknesses in the
Italian-built lines which they now held. Some of the concrete
pillboxes had proved to be traps. In one attack, enemy tanks
which had been immobilised but not abandoned had been able to keep the
wide apertures of these pillboxes under such punishing fire that the
garrisons were unable to use their weapons. These blinded posts
were then approached by the enemy, who killed or drove out our men with
grenades. The countering of such defects formed part of the
extensive re-planning and supplementing of the defence lines.
The immediate aim, in the long-drawn fire duel of
the perimeter, was to retain observation of the enemy. In a bare,
hard landscape that lacked minor cover, the possession of a wadi bank
or precedence in setting up a machine gun to command a thousand yards
of featureless plateau, meant the suppressing of all daylight movement
among the troops opposite. In this ground stalking the
Australians supplemented their own automatic weapons with captured
Breda and other enemy guns. Huge quantities of Italian ammunition
had been taken when the town fell in January. Some of this was
now used against the enemy. Our regular artillery support was
mainly British. Its value, like that of the infantry defence,
depended on observation. Courage and enterprise by the artillery
observation officers, and a typically informal and effective
co-operation between the guns and infantry posts, enabled our resources
to be used very effectively.
Unrelieved service, heat and dust in a Libyan summer
affect the quality of machines and weapons. The outward bearing
of men, also, changes under the abrasives of desert warfare.
Among troops with the general high calibre of the garrison of Tobruk
there remained a will to hold on and a readiness to challenge the enemy
at any time. But in manner the A.I.F. in Tobruk were very
different from the men who had ridden through Cirenaica in February and
March to occupy a province abandoned with so inept a resistance by the
These men were tempered in a steadier heat of
war. They kept watch on horizons of dust storm and sun haze, and
wind and sun burnt their bodies to a mahogany brown. They lived
harder than the simplest drover “back o’ Bourke” - and disliked
it. There were fleas and flies to disturb their sleep.
There were patrolling and digging and - quite as exacting in its way -
hours of motionless watching. The men of the perimeter lived in a
world of dust and aridity in which Nature had left not one soft,
Some of them were sardonic, and all of them were
tired before the summer ended. After the first phase of boredom
came a reaction. The love of record-breaking is strong in
Australians. Perhaps there was a new record to be made by holding
this wilderness and driving the enemy to despair and defeat. Men
who had reflected on the pleasant possibilities of being transferred
away from Tobruk were now inclined to qualify the thought. Having
endured so much for so long, there was something to be said for “seeing
it through” to the end.
Of themselves as men and soldiers they remained
confident. They had found that whenever the odds were
approximately level, they could out-fight the German.
The enemy knew the qualities of our men. Some
interesting observations were found in a captured German document,
prepared by the O.C. of a Lorried Infantry battalion.
“The Australians, who are the men our
troops have had opposite them so far, are extraordinarily tough
fighters,” wrote the O.C. “The German is more active in the
attack but the enemy stakes his life in the defence and fights to the
last and with extreme cunning. Our men, usually easy-going and
unsuspecting, fall easily into his traps.
“Enemy snipers have astounding results. They shoot at anything
they recognise. Several N.C.O’s of the Battalion have been shot
through the head with the first shot while making observation in the
front line. Protruding sights in gun-directors have been shot
off, observation slits and loopholes have been fired on and hit as soon
as they were seen to be in use.”
Behind the front, another phase of the struggle went
doggedly on. Anti-aircraft defences, hospitals, workshops and a
whole series of administrative and supply services had to function as
part of the defence of Tobruk. Men working in or near the town
were apt to talk with sober respect of the dangers “up forward” in some
exposed sector of the perimeter. In the forward posts, on the
other hand, the uncertainty of existence in the bomb target areas
further back was stressed. It is part of the saving philosophy of
troops in a war zone that the accustomed dangers of their own sector
are measured more lightly than those under which they see other units
Along Tobruk’s lines of communication, the essential
services functioned under air blitz and long-range bombardment.
Bits of the town crumbled away. Men who had to live there made
themselves as safe and comfortable as possible, and got on with their
jobs. The harbour was wreck-strewn. Lighters still plied
upon its waters, men still worked the ships. Tobruk’s news sheet,
“The Dinkum Oil” (its name conjuring up memories of another Australian
production on Gallipoli, in 1915), lived up to its motto of “always
appears,” by reproducing the B.B.C. news bulletins daily, with an
occasional cartoon and local supplement. The whole area, in fact,
lived up to the spirit of a slogan lettered on one water front office -
”Business as Usual During Air Raids.”
One thing sustained that spirit and gave it reality
- the unfailing efficiency and hard work of the Navy. British and
Australian destroyers made it possible, month after dangerous month,
for reinforcements and supplies to reach Tobruk, for sick and wounded
men and small parties to go out. The Navy bore its drudging share
in the defence of Tobruk not only with skill and courage, but with a
cheerful courtesy which the men of the garrison will always remember.
Tobruk has become a tradition. In history it
will surely stand as starkly and poignantly as a cenotaph of
stone. On a hillside near the Mediterranean is the cemetery with
the graves of those who died to take and hold Tobruk. Nearby is a
harbour of wrecked ships and the white shell of a wrecked town.
Beyond, the fantastic litter of war spreads over a stony waste.
Desolation could hardly be more complete. But men have endowed
the vista with an inner meaning, and the escarpment of Tobruk has
become a monument to their endurance.
The third volume published by the Australian War
Memorial at the end of 1943, entitled “Khaki And Green”, covered the
war in New Guinea and the Pacific. Actions that the 2/10th
Battalion were engaged in included Milne Bay, Buna and Sanananda.
PLAN TO TAKE MORESBY.
To recount this slight history of the campaign as
concisely as possible, it is necessary to recapitulate, briefly, facts
relevant to the commencement of hostilities. The enemy planned to
capture Port Moresby by the third or fourth week in September 1942 with
a triple offensive movement - from Milne Bay along the south-west-ern
coast, by naval assault of the south coast, and through the Owen
Australians smashed the Japanese landing forces at
Milne Bay, American naval forces had a decisive victory in the Coral
Sea in May 1942, and the battle of the Owen Stanley Ranges followed by
the battle of the beach-heads completed the enemy debacle in Papua.
On the 24th of August 1941 the Milne Bay garrison
consisted of two infantry brigades, one C.M.F. and the other, which had
just arrived, A.I.F. In addition there were a few base units, two
squadrons of R.A.A.F. fighters and a detachment of R.A.A.F. bombers.
The garrison was commanded by Major-General C. A. Clowes, who had assumed command on the 21st of August.
On the afternoon of the 24th of August,
coast-watchers sighted seven Jap barges mov-ing west of Porlock Harbour
and on the morning of the 25th of August they were re-ported to have
landed troops on the south-west coast of Goodenough Island. Our
fighters took off in bad weather and during the after-noon destroyed
all the barges drawn up on the beach. This left a party of about
three or four hundred enemy marooned on the island to be dealt with
However, this was only portion of the enemy’s force,
for on the morning of the 25th of August a reconnaissance aircraft had
sighted a fleet of nine vessels including war-ships steaming at full
speed southwards. It soon became evident that the fleet was
head-ing for Milne Bay and final preparations were made to defeat the
landed by barges on the north shore of Milne Bay near KB Mission in the
early hours of the 26th of August. Our bombers attacked the enemy
force during the landing operations and although they sank one ship and
inflicted other damage, the majority of the Japs got ashore.
Two platoons of the 61st Battalion who were
returning by ketch to Gili Gili from the north-east coast of Milne Bay,
ran into a concentration of enemy landing barges about this time.
Troops on the leading ketch opened fire and inflicted casualties on the
enemy but their craft was soon sunk. The second ketch was able to
escape in the darkness.
One company of the 61st Battalion at KB Mission was
in action soon after the initial Jap landing and at dawn was still
holding the enemy east of the Mission. The Japs had landed light
tanks and one of these broke through our position during the
night. It was immediately attacked with hand grenades and was
forced to withdraw.
Next day another company of the 61st Bat-talion
moved forward, and in the afternoon an attack by both companies,
supported by artillery and aircraft, was launched. The at-tack
made some progress but was eventually halted.
dawn on the 26th of August and thereafter, our fighter aircraft were
busy, ground strafing enemy concentrations, destroying enemy dumps and
supporting our forward troops. The thick jungle prevented the
pilots from observing enemy movements but it was evident that their
attacks were both costly and demoralizing to the Japs.
A further enemy convoy of about six ships landed
more troops and supplies on the night of the 26th/27th of August and
towards dawn our troops were pushed back to Rabi, about one and a half
miles west of KB Mission. At dawn, however, the enemy withdrew
eastward and the 2/10th Battalion moved forward to KB Mission which was
reached late that afternoon without opposition.
The enemy heavily attacked the 2/10th Battalion with
tanks, equipped with brilliant headlamps, on the night of the 27th/28th
of August. The Battalion held for about two hours until the
Japanese, using their tanks as a spearhead, forced their way down the
track, cutting the battalion in two. Our troops withdrew to the
rear of No. 3 Strip, where Brigadier J. Field, with the 25th and
61st Battalions, had organized a strong defensive position.
Driving on to this strip the Japs were halted by the murderous belt of
fire put down by the two battalions. Several attacks were made on
our position, but all were held at great cost to the enemy, and by
nightfall of the 28th of August, the position remained unchanged.
Great credit is due to the 25th and 61st Battalions for their
steadiness and coolness in their first action. At no time did the
enemy appear to get the better of them.
A third enemy naval force arrived in Milne Bay on
the night of the 29th/30th of August. Although some of our
positions were shelled it is not clear whether more troops were
landed. On the 30th of August, patrols from the 61st Battalion
moved forward from No. 3 Strip, reaching KB Mission. During that
night the enemy again attacked No. 3 Strip, again without success.
F. Wootten now commenced our advance by pushing the 2/12th Battalion
east towards KB Mission on the morning of the 31st of August.
Overcoming considerable opposition with much hand-to-hand fighting, the
battalion surged forward and reached KB Mission by afternoon and took
up positions for the night. A strong enemy counter-attack on the
rear companies of the 2/12th Battalion which had been reinforced by a
company of the 2/9th Battalion, was driven off in the early hours of
the following morning and during that day our forces consolidated their
positions. The advance continued against stiffening opposition on
the 2nd of September and about one thousand yards were gained.
That night more enemy warships arrived in Milne Bay but they took no
apparent offensive action. During the night the 2/12th Battalion
repulsed further strong counter attacks.
The 2/9th Battalion now moved forward through the
2/12th Battalion and on the 3rd of September launched a strong attack
with artillery and air support. The opposition held until late
afternoon, when our troops smashed through to gain a further six
hundred yards, and on the following day fought their way past Goroni,
two miles east of KB Mission. On the 5th of September Waga Waga
was reached and the main enemy opposition encountered. Our attack
Enemy warships were in Milne Bay during the night of
the 3rd/4th of September, and again on the night of the 5th/6th of
September when, it is believed, elements of the Jap force were
embarked. From this time all strong enemy resistance ceased, and
on the 6th of September the 2/9th Battalion pushed forward, capturing
considerable enemy store dumps but striking no organized opposition.
One of our supply ships was sunk at Gili Gili wharf,
and our positions shelled by enemy naval forces in Milne Bay on the
night of the 7th/8th of September. This was, however, the last
appearance of the Jap Navy in the area and was probably intended as a
END OF CAMPAIGN.
weeks afterwards scattered parties of Japs roamed the hills on the
north arm of Milne Bay, living on the country and attempting to avoid
our patrols. These parties were apparently trying to reach their
forces at Buna, but the majority was either killed or captured by our
patrols, or died of starvation and exposure.
It is difficult to estimate the enemy casualties in
this campaign but at a conservative figure more than seven hundred Japs
were killed by our ground action. To this must be added the
wounded who apparently embarked on the night of the 5th/6th of
September and the casualties, reported to exceed three hundred,
inflicted in the sinking of the Jap troopship by air action on the 26th
What was far more important was that the enemy
attack on Milne Bay, first phase of the plan to take Papua, was utterly
smashed, and left the enemy without the convenient air base from which
he could support his attack on Port Moresby.
THE BATTLES FOR THE BEACH-HEADS
It has been convenient to divide the Papuan campaign
into three phases. The first phase ended when the enemy was
smashed in Milne Bay. The second ended when the Japanese advance
over the Owen Stanley Ranges was stopped forty miles from Moresby, and
an A.I.F. division com-prising two A.I.F. infantry brigades and two
C.M.F. battalions drove the enemy from the ranges, overcame country
that must be seen to be believed, forced him from seemingly secure
positions along Eora Creek, smashed him at Oivi and Gorari, and drove
him in confusion toward the coast.
third and final phase covered the fighting for the enemy beach-heads at
Buna, Sanananda and Gona. This phase began on the 20th of
November 1942 and continued until the 22nd of January 1943. It
called for the highest qualities of leadership, for courage to equal
the fanatical ardour of the Japanese, for complete Allied co-operation
on land and in the air, and for a strategy which aimed a direct blow at
the heart of the Japanese resistance.
General Sir Thomas Blarney had realized all these
things. He personally surveyed the country over which Allied
troops must fight. He had evolved a comprehensive, far-seeing,
forceful plan, which embraced full use of American troops, and the
transport, by air and with the utmost secrecy, of Australian troops for
the first time in Australian military history. He provided for
the use of carriers and tanks and for increased artillery
fire-power. He charged Lieut.-General E. F. Herring with the
responsibility to carry out the plan. To this plan General
MacArthur had given his blessing.
THE BATTLE FOR BUNA
U.S. FORCES IN ACTION.
The battle for Buna commenced when U.S. troops made con-tact on the
left near Ango and on the right about four thousand yards south of Cape
En-daiadere. This was the first time these troops had been in
action. The troops on the right later became known as the Warren
Force, those on the left as the Urbana Force.
Two battalions attacked with artillery sup-port on
the 24th of November, but were held by heavy machine-gun fire and
wire. During the next few days further attacks were launched with
some success until on the 6th of December a detachment of one of the
U.S. battalions reached the coast east of Buna village and successfully
repulsed several subsequent counter-attacks. The other U.S.
battalion by this time had reached Entrance Creek. Here U.S.
troops were finally halted and could make no further advance against
the strong enemy opposition.
On the east, U.S. troops pushed forward until they
were halted on the southern edge of the New Strip, a dummy aerodrome
which had been constructed by the Japs some time previously.
Many attacks were launched by our troops but the
enemy held his strongly-constructed bunker positions and no further
gain was made.
At this stage Lieut.-General Eichelberger, a U.S.
Commander, arrived in the area with his staff and took over command of
the forces east of the Girua River, under Lieut.-General Herring.
Brigadier-General Waldron took over command of the U.S. troops but he
was wounded almost immediately and his successor, Brigadier-General
Byers, suffered the same fate a few days later. From then on
Lieut.-General Eichelberger personally controlled the U.S. forces.
It was now apparent that a deadlock had been
reached, and General Sir Thomas Blamey decided to concentrate his
reserves on the Buna-Cape Endaiadere front, and to strike strongly at
the enemy in that sector, while holding the Jap with minimum forces in
the Sanananda track area.
An A.I.F. brigade was brought by sea from Milne Bay
and together with tanks was landed in the Oro Bay-Hariko area, while a
fresh U.S. regiment was flown from Port Moresby to Popondetta and
On the 11th of December a battalion of a new U.S.
regiment commenced to relieve other U.S. troops, and on the 14th of
December launched a strong attack against Buna village. The
attack was pressed with great vigour, and by nightfall the village was
in our hands with the surviving enemy retreating to Buna Mission.
Meanwhile the fresh A.I.F. brigade was landing on
the east coast and its commander, Brigadier G. F. Wootten, was given
com-mand of Warren Force on the 17th December.
CAPE ENDAIADERE FALLS.
the 18th of December the 2/9th Battalion with eight tanks of the 2/6th
Armoured Regiment began the attack against the enemy positions north of
Cape Endaiadere. Moving forward with the greatest risk on a
limited front they smashed through the enemy resistance, which had held
up all attempts to advance for several weeks, and by noon had reached
Cape Endaiadere. Here the 2/9th Battalion turned west towards
Buna Mission. Casualties both to men and tanks were heavy, but
despite this, the initial momentum of the attack was never lost.
The advance made on this day was a magnificent piece of work,
overcoming as it did strong enemy pillboxes mutually supporting and
American troops followed up the attack, mopping up
as they went, and in the latter stages, when a nest of bunkers at the
east end of the New Strip held them up, the tanks turned back to help
in overcoming this resis-tance.
The 2/9th Battalion fought magnificently during the
next three days, moving west from Cape Endaiadere. By the evening
of the fourth day it had cleared the whole area north and east of
Simemi Creek, a poisonous stream little better than a brackish swamp
and varying in depth with the tides and the inland rainfall.
Meanwhile our forces following on were by the 20th
of December attempting to cross Simemi Creek in the face of stubborn
resistance from the far bank.
On the night of the 21st of December the 2/10th
Battalion, under cover of a feint attack at the creek mouth, managed to
establish a bridgehead, pushing a strong patrol across through thick
undergrowth and nine feet of water.
The bridgehead thus established had the most
important bearing on movement across the bridge connecting the Old and
New Strips. Enemy pillboxes covered the approaches to this bridge
and had been holding up all forward movement. But with the
establishment of the bridgehead in rear of this enemy position, the
Japs vacated their pillboxes without further fighting and the lower end
of the Old Strip was occupied by the 2/10th Bat-talion and a U.S.
unit. The bridge was quickly repaired and strengthened and the
four remaining tanks were brought across.
The 2/10th Battalion with one U.S. bat-talion, and
later a second U.S. battalion, and artillery support, continued to
fight over open ground up the Old Strip against a withering fire from
pillboxes and numerous tank attack guns sighted down the clear
ground. The infantry worked their way for-ward despite the
opposition. The tanks had been knocked out early, and the only
support to the infantry was a 25-pounder which was brought up near the
bridge over Simemi Creek and fired at enemy positions at point-blank
NORTH COAST REACHED.
Further advance was again held up at the end of the Old Strip where
dispersal bays afforded very adequate defensive positions for the
enemy. But towards the end of December the 2/12th Battalion was
On New Year’s Day this fresh battalion, with two
tanks, attacked towards the coast on a narrow front. The fighting
was again hard and casualties heavy, but by evening the coast had been
reached and the area thus gained consolidated. The following day
scattered remnants of the enemy were mopped up and contact was made
with Urbana Force, which had been operating further west.
BUNA MISSION FALLS.
Urbana Force, which had already taken Buna village on the 14th of
December, had as its next objective Buna Mission further to the
east. But a very strongly defended locality known as the
Triangle, south of Buna Mission, resisted all attempts to overrun
it. Eventually, how-ver, it was by-passed by one U.S. battalion
which crossed Entrance Creek and formed a bridgehead while another U.S.
battalion moved over. Some heavy fighting followed and the line
was pushed forward inch by inch.
The Triangle fell to U.S. troops on the 28th of
December, and on the following day more U.S. forces drove northwards to
the sea, isolating Buna Mission.
On the 2nd of January the final attack on Buna
Mission began from the south-east. Companies from two U.S.
regiments pushed forward slowly, suffering severely from cross-fire
from enemy bunkers but making steady progress. The Jap resistance
was overrun in the final assault, and one U.S. battalion turned west
and drove through to Giropa Point where contact was made with the
All enemy resistance east of Buna was now at an end
and the stage was set for the capture of Sanananda. The U.S.
battalions had fought hard and well in their first encounter, and while
some commenced to garrison the newly captured area, others moved
westward along the coast from Buna to eliminate the enemy forces still
left between Buna and Sanananda.
For the A.I.F. battalions and the tanks of the 2/6th
Armoured Regiment there was a new task, the fight for Sanananda.
COMPLETION OF OPERATIONS.
Following our partially successful attack on the 7th of December our
patrols continually harassed and pressed the enemy but no material
progress resulted. However an easier and more secure route was
found to the road block-now named Huggens after the American commander
who originally established it. About the middle of December the
2/7th Australian Cavalry Regiment and the 36th Battalion were flown in
to strengthen our attacking forces.
On the 18th of December the 2/7th Cavalry Regiment
moved up to the Huggens road block, and then attacked northwards along
the Sanananda track. It was the regiment’s first battle action
and, fighting as infantry, it pushed forward some distance before it
was finally halted by more strong enemy positions. Further south
a determined attack by the 36th Battalion was also repulsed and the
position was once again static.
By the 22nd of December, the 39th Battalion, fresh
from its successes in the Amboga River mouth area arrived at the
Sanananda track together with the brigade headquarters f rom Gona, and
moved to reinforce Huggens road block.
At this stage our own and enemy forces were disposed
along either side of the Sanananda track with our southern brigade
about three miles north of Soputa. Immediately north of these
troops was a strong enemy defensive area and north again of the Japs
was our road block position. Further enemy positions stretched
from north of the road block to the coast. Offensive action by
the southern brigade now cleared the east side of the track as far
north as the road block but the main Jap positions still remained.
By late December it became apparent that the battle
for Buna was nearly won and preparations to finish the Sanananda
operations were commenced. A fresh U.S. regiment arrived on the
1st of January and a regrouping of our forces then took place.
This U.S. regiment took over the Huggens road block position from 2/7th
Cavalry Regiment and 39th Battalion who moved back to relieve the 36th
and 55/53rd Battalions who in turn were despatched to Gona to relieve
the A.I.F. bri-gade which had taken Gona on the 8th of December.
T he A.I.F. brigade which had taken a prominent part
in the Buna operations also moved overland with four tanks of the 2/6th
Our plan was for the A.I.F. brigade to smash the
enemy locality south of the road block by a direct assault supported by
aerial bombardment, artillery and tanks, and then to push northwards up
the Cape Killerton track and attack the rear enemy positions of
Sanananda Point from the west flank. The U.S. regiment was to
push forward along the Sanananda track from the road block and
eventually link up with the A.I.F. brigade.
On the 12th of January 1943, after a heavy artillery
programme, the A.I.F. brigade commenced its attack. The thick
jungle and soggy ground limited the movement of the tanks to the track,
where they were subjected to heavy fire, and were all eventually
Our infantry was held by the stubborn Jap defence
and by nightfall a few enemy posi-tions had been captured. We
had, however, succeeded in almost encircling the enemy south of the
road block, and next day we subjected this locality to an extremely
heavy artillery and mortar bombardment.
The scale of the bombardment was too much for the
Jap and he made an abortive attempt to evacuate his position on the
night of the 13th/14th of January, an attempt which resulted in the
destruction of the greater part of the withdrawing force.
At the same time a composite U.S. force was
advancing westward from Buna to seize Giruwa which was believed to be
the eastern flank of the Japs’ main defensive system.
Following the capture of Buna, General MacArthur and General Sir Thomas
Blamey returned to Australia and Lieut.-General Herring returned to
Port Moresby, leaving Lieut.-General Eichelberger to conduct operations
in the forward area with Major-General Berryman as his chief of
staff. Major-General Vasey retained immediate command of the
force operating along the Sanananda road.
On the 14th of January the brigade drove north to
the coast. The 2/10th Battalion reached the coast east of Cape
Killerton and then pushed east until it was halted near Wye Point,
midway between Cape Killerton and Sanananda Point. The 2/12th
Battalion cut across country reaching the main Sanananda track about
one thousand yards south of the coast. It then turned north and
attacked strongly up the track, taking locality after locality.
Meanwhile the 2/9th Battalion moved east towards the
main track, and then north towards the coast on a line parallel to the
main Sanananda track. Despite this difficult and arduous approach
made through swamp, jungle and kunai, the battalion had driven in and
taken Sanananda before noon, a magnificent achievement. Part of
the battalion then moved west to assist the 2/10th Battalion coming
down towards Wye Point, and part attacked south along the track to meet
the 2/12th Battalion which was coming up the main Sanananda track
towards the sea. Patrols of the 2/9th Battalion also moved east
to-wards Giruwa to make contact with the U.S. forces.
At the same time U.S. forces were heavily engaging
the enemy, attacking northwards from the road block, while other U.S.
troops completed mopping up south of that position. The whole
force then concentrated its strength on the main enemy positions north
of the road block and moved forward slowly and methodically, dealing
heavy blows at the Jap defences and smashing pillbox after pillbox.
Another composite U.S. force was advancing westward
from Buna. Enemy positions at Tarakena retarded it for a time but
Colonel Howe, the commander, who had now assumed personal command,
brought up 37-mm guns loaded with canister shot and blasted the Japs
from his front. Further opposition was eliminated south of Giruwa
and on the 21st of January contact was made with patrols of the 2/9th
Battalion at Giruwa.
There now remained only isolated bands of enemy,
either attempting to escape or sur-rounded and fighting for their lives.
All organized resistance ceased on the 22nd of January and the battle of the beach-heads was at an end.
It must not be thought that victory was won by other
than hard, sustained fighting. The record of the 18th Australian
Infantry Brigade, 2/9th, 2/10th, and 2/12th Battalions, is typical of
other brigades. The Buna and Sanananda fronts had been relatively
static, but the arrival of this brigade imparted such an impetus to the
attack and unleashed such pressure that enemy resistance was
crushed. In five weeks’ continuous fighting in swamp and fetid
jungle this brigade lost ninety-six per cent of its strength through
sickness, hard-ship and battle, absorbed one thousand reinforcements,
and maintained continuous offen-sive power culminating in the brilliant
cap-ture of Sanananda. To achieve such results after losing
practically one hundred per cent of its original strength is a record
worthy of both the First and Second A.I.F. and one unsurpassed in the
annals of war.
Jean Annett had met Richard Stephens briefly in
England before he was sent to North Africa, but they felt so strongly
attracted to each other that, after the war, when Richard had returned
to Adelaide, he asked her to marry him, and she did, arriving in
Adelaide early in 1947. They were married on 25th April 1947, and
lived in a small flat at 100 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide. On
10th February 1948 Jean gave birth to a daughter at the Memorial
Hospital after a long and difficult labour. The struggle proved
too much, and she died the next day. She had been in Australia
only 11 months. Richard called his new daughter Jean.
A few years after the war the Stephens family moved
from Port Pirie to the suburb of Kirkcaldy, in Adelaide, and Richard
and Jean lived with them. His sisters all doted on Jean, and
helped his mother care for her. Richard Stephens worked at the
Taxation Office until he retired. In 1953 he married Mary
Margaret MacDonald, and they had one daughter, Anne. Mary
Stephens died on 14th February 1975 and Richard died on 5th March 1991.
Mary MacDonald was born on 30th November 1918 at
Naracoorte, to Clarence Gordon MacDonald and Jessie Emily Kelsey.
Clarence MacDonald was the son of Alexander MacDonald and Margaret
Hendy. He was born on 29th January 1888 at Hindmarsh, Adelaide,
and had two brothers, Cecil Masterson MacDonald (born on 22nd December
1890) and Roy Victor MacDonald (born on 1st July 1895). He was
married on 4th August 1915 at Christ Church, North Adelaide, and died
on 26th September 1954 at Henley Beach, Adelaide.
Jessie Emily Kelsey was born on 27th October 1889 at
North Adelaide to William Kelsey and Mary Emily Tilly
Goerecke. Her siblings were :
- Percy James, born on 7th October 1887 at North Adelaide. He
married Katherine Lee and they had one child, William Alexander, born
about 1914, before he died on 17th May 1924 at Henley Beach. William Alexander Kelsey died on 10th September 1936.
- Ernest William, born on 12th May 1892 at Henley Beach,
- Ruby Mary Emily, born on 5th March 1895 at Henley Beach, and
- Alexander William, born on 18th May 1904 at Henley Beach.
William Kelsey was the son of Edward Kelsey (born
about 1839, father John Kelsey) and Mary Douglass. Their children
- John Douglas, born on 31st October 1863 at O'Halloran Hill,
Adelaide. He married Alice Eva Strong (born about 1867, father
John Strong) on 31st August 1892 at the residence of Mr Priest,
- William, born about 1864, who married Mary Emily Tilly Goerecke on 27th December 1886 at Christ Church, North Adelaide,
Moore, born on 27th July 1865 at O'Halloran Hill, Adelaide. He
married Alice Maud Mary Philps on 4th October 1888 at Roseland Villa,
North Adelaide. Their children were :
- Annie Maud Mary, born on 11th April 1889 at O'Halloran Hill, Adelaide,
- Elma Myrtle, born on 31st October 1894 at Hurtle Vale, Adelaide,
- Edward Douglas, born on 20th January 1900 at Happy Valley, Adelaide.
- James, born about 1872, who married Bertha Emily Goerecke,
the sister of Mary Emily Tilly, on 27th July 1898 at the New Church,
North Adelaide, and
- Jinnie Isabel, born on 12th April 1873 at O'Halloran Hill, Adelaide.
William Kelsey died on 2nd February 1937 at Henley
Beach, and his wife Mary died on 5th December 1944 at Gawler.
Mary Goerecke was the daughter of Ferdinand
Friedrich Hermann Goerecke and Emilie Ernestine Caroline Blume (born
about 1834). Ferdinand Goerecke was born on 7th April 1825 at
Magdeburg, Germany, and died on 1st March 1907 at Tanunda, South
Australia. He married Emilie on 27th March 1856 at Tanunda,
and their children were :
- Rudolph Hermann Ernst, born on 9th September 1858 at Stonewall,
near Tanunda. He married Eleanora Engelbrecht on 25th December
1878 and their children were :
- Alphonse Rudolph,
- Howard, and
- three daughters.
Louise Emilie, born on 1st September 1861 at Tanunda, who married Carl
J O Fiedler on 28th January 1883 at Langmiel Church, near Tanunda,
- Selma Amelia Emily, born about 1863, and died on 21st March 1950 at West Croydon, Adelaide,
- Johanna, born about 1865, who married H Riebe, and died at her parents’ residence, Tanunda, on 13th May 1903, aged 38.
- Mary Emily Tilly, born about 1867,
- Bertha Emily, born about 1870, and
- Oscar Ferdinand Adolph, born on 7th December 1871 at Tanunda, and
- a son.
Emilie Goerecke died on 23rd September 1912, at Tanunda.
A Mrs Caroline Blum, widow, and her child, arrived
in Adelaide on 2nd March 1849 on the ship George Washington, which left
Bremen on 25th October 1848.
The Northey family had its origins in Cornwall,
where there are many families of this name. This particular
branch of the family has been possibly traced back to Henry Northe,
baptised in 1680. Early records show several variations in the
spelling of the name (Northie, Northy, Northe) which has been suggested
means literally “man from the north”. Another Henry Northe was
baptised in 1700. He married, and his children were :
Henry, baptised at Kenwyn on 2nd April 1737. He married
Susannah Mitchell on 2nd August 1779, and they had a daughter,
Elizabeth, christened at Kenwyn on 13th December 1779.
Peter, baptised at Kenwyn on 3rd May 1740,
John, christened at Kenwyn on 11th June 1743,
James, christened at Kenwyn on 28th August 1748,
Robert, christened at Kenwyn on 20th July 1751, and
Elizabeth, baptised at Kenwyn on 7th October 1754.
James Northey married Elizabeth Pascoe at Kenwyn on
14th March 1773 (or 4th March 1772?), a matter of weeks before their
was christened on 31st March 1773. They had at least
one other son, Henry, baptised at Kenwyn on 8th October 1776. The
family later lived in the villages of Blackwater and Chacewater, near
the larger town of Truro, and only a few miles from Kenwyn, the
original home of the Stephens family.
Elizabeth Pascoe was christened on 31st July 1743 at
Kenwyn. Her parents were William Pascoe, christened on 2nd
February 1711 at Kenwyn, and Elizabeth Steer, christened on 13th
February 1716, at St Mary’s, Kenwyn. They were married on 29th
November 1740, at Truro. Elizabeth Steer was the daughter of
William Steer, born in 1687 at Kenwyn, and Ann How (Howe), baptised on
19th July 1695 at Landrake. William and Ann were married on 22nd
May 1715, at Kenwyn.
Ann How’s parents were John How (Howe), born in 1661
at Landrake, and Jane Palmer, christened on 1st March 1665 at
Landrake. They married on 25th June 1694. Jane’s parents
were Samuel Palmer, christened on 25th April 1642 at Landrake, and
Wilmouth (Wilmot) Pollard, who were married on 14th November 1664 at
Samuel Palmer was the child of Robert Palmer,
christened on 31st January 1607 at Landrake, and Jane Richard, born
before 1611 at Landrake, who were married on 5th July 1636 at
Landrake. Robert Palmer’s parents were John Palmer, born before
1578 at Landrake, and Joan Walter, born before 1582, also at
Landrake. They were married on 5th November 1599 at Landrake.
Wilmouth Pollard was the daughter of Anthony
Pollard, born before 1612 at Lansalles, and Dorothy Jane ?, born before
1616, also at Lansalles. They were married in 1636 at Lansalles.
The younger James Northey married Mary (Maria)
Sandoe, (baptised on 8th May 1768 at Kenwyn (? 1775)), daughter of
Francis Sandoe, on 29th December 1795, and their children were :
James, christened at Kenwyn on 4th December 1796,
Stephen, christened at Kenwyn on 6th January 1799 (or 25th or 28th December 1800?),
Ann, baptised at Kenwyn on 2nd January 1803,
Mary, baptised at Kenwyn on 19th June 1803 (or 20th December 1803?), who married Benjamin Wasley,
William, christened at Kea on 7th April 1805,
Elizabeth, baptised at Kenwyn on 29th June 1806, who married Samuel Wasley in about 1831,
William, christened at Kenwyn on 4th June 1809,
Joseph, christened at Kenwyn on 6th October 1811,
Robert, baptised at Kea on 29th November 1812, who may have died young
Francis Sandoe, christened at Kenwyn on 5th December 1813, who died young,
Robert, christened at Kea on 23rd April 1815, and
Francis Sandoe, baptised at Kenwyn on 6th August 1815,
Benjamin and Samuel Wasley were brothers. Samuel and Elizabeth
Wasley had four children, three of whom emigrated to Australia in 1854
- John (born 1832) and his wife Loveday, and his unmarried sisters
Elizabeth (christened at St Mary’s Wesleyan, Truro, on 12th March 1837)
and Nanny (1837). The two sisters went to live with an uncle,
Joseph Wasley, at She-Oak Log, South Australia, and both subsequently
married. Elizabeth married Johan August Classon (aged 25, father
Yon) on 12th February 1857, at Trinity Church, Adelaide, and Nanny
married Joseph Williams (aged 25, father Joseph Williams) on 9th
October 1858, at the residence of Joseph Wasley, Shea Oak Log.
James Northey married Jane Dinnis on 23rd July 1820
at Kea, and they had nine children, some born at Kea and some at
Seveock, of whom at least three emigrated to Australia :
Elizabeth, baptised on 8th October 1820 at Kenwyn,
James, baptised on 7th April 1822 at Kenwyn,
Abram Dennis, christened on 2nd November 1823 at Kenwyn,
William, christened on 30th October 1825,
Joseph, baptised on 11th November 1827 at Kenwyn,
Robert, baptised on 18th April 1830 at Kenwyn,
Henry, christened on 22nd April 1832 at Kenwyn,
John, christened on 25th December 1834 at Kenwyn, and
Elizabeth, christened on 19th May 1839 at Kenwyn.
The 1851 Census listed the family :
Residence : Penstrase, Kea, Cornwall
55 Miner on
North Totnes, DEV
26 Miner on
26 Miner on
15 Miner on
James Northey, a miner, married Elizabeth Ann Dewar
(born 1826) on 4th November 1849, at St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, London,
and they had four children in Cornwall, before emigrating to South
Australia on the “Nugget”, which left England on 31st January
1858. At the time of the voyage, the children were :
Elizabeth, aged 9,
Mary Ann, born 7th September 1851. Mary Ann married James Henry
Tippett (aged 27, father Edward Thomas Tippett) at her father’s
residence, Wallaroo Mines on 12th October 1867, and died at Broken Hill
on 19th March 1923.
William Henry, baptised on 4th July 1854 at Tywardreath, aged
3. William Henry Northey married Sarah Blight (aged 17, father
Joseph Blight) at his father’s residence, Wallaroo Mines on 16th August
1873. They had one child :
Louisa Ellen born at Wallaroo Mines on 19th April 1874,
Sarah died on 18th February 1875 aged 18, and Louisa Ellen died on 19th May 1875, both at Wallaroo Mines.
William Henry married again, to Elizabeth Wayland (aged 19, father
James Wayland) on 31st March 1877, at the residence of the bride’s
step-father, Blyth Plains. They had children :
Louisa Helen, born at Wallaroo Mines on 6th May 1878,
William James Oliver, born on 4th August 1880 at Blyth, and
Mary Beatrice, born at Wallaroo Mines on 15th February 1884.
Louisa Ellen, baptised on 16th October 1856 at Tywardreath, aged
1. Louisa Ellen Northey and William Henry Roach had a child,
William Henry Roach Northey, born on 27th March 1872 at Wallaroo
Mines. This child died on 24th April 1872.
Another child was possibly Susan Ellen, who was christened at Tywardreath on 28th November 1852.
Elizabeth Ann Northey died on 6th September 1890 at
Wallaroo Mines, aged 64, and James Northey died there on 28th October
1894, aged 71.
Joseph Northey emigrated to Victoria on the “Omega”
in 1851, where he married Isabella Douglas (born 1828), and they had
Robert Northey was baptised on 18th April 1830 at
Kea, a small village in the Parish of Kenwyn, southwest of Truro in
Cornwall. The tin mines in the area provided employment for
Robert until he moved to Wales, to work in the coal mines at
Aberdare. Here on 24th July 1854 he married Ann Pearce,
“according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established
Church”. Both Robert and Ann signed the Marriage Certificate with
an “X”. Ann Pearce, daughter of another miner, John Pearce and
his wife, née Martin, was born in Cornwall on 25th November 1834.
After their marriage they decided to emigrate to Australia, and
departed from Plymouth on 3rd January 1855 on the emigrant ship
“Hooghly” (Captain H R Rich), arriving in Port Adelaide on 19th
April. The passenger list shows that they were accompanied by
their daughter, Elizabeth Ann, an infant less than one year old.
On their arrival in South Australia Robert and Ann
settled at Burra, where Robert worked in the copper mines, and over the
ensuing years they had twelve other children, all born in the Burra or
Moonta districts. In about 1875 the copper ore deposits at Burra
began to diminish, and many families, including the Northeys, moved to
Moonta, where they lived at Yelta at some time. A Captain Robert
Northey is listed as the superintendent of the Devon Consols Mine,
south of the Wallaroo Mine, between 1870 and 1878, employing up to 80
men, but it is not known whether this is the same person.
Robert and Ann’s children were :
Elizabeth Ann, born on 24th May 1853,
Joseph, born on 24th March 1856, married Caroline Veil (Veal, Veale
or Vale) on 25th December 1876 at the Primitive Methodist Chapel,
Yelta, and died on 23rd January 1908. Caroline was born on 24th
April 1857 at Kooringa to John Veale and his wife Elizabeth, née
Trethaway. Their children were :
Robert John, born on 9th July 1877 at Yelta,
Susan Lavinia, born on 2nd January 1880 at Yelta,
Joseph, born on 1st June 1881 at Adelaide, who died five days later on 6th June,
Percy, born on 25th October 1882 at Adelaide,
Henrietta, born on 4th January 1885 at Yelta, and
Joseph Leonard, born on 30th September 1889 at Yelta.
William John, born at Kooringa on 1st May 1857, and died there on 22nd November 1857,
Jane, born on 13th July 1858 at Kooringa, married James Halse (aged
22, father John Halse) at Yelta on 12th January 1878, and died on 24th
January 1943. Their children were :
Ethel Jane, born on 17th November 1878 at Moonta Mines, who died on 30th July 1885 at Yelta, and
Edith Ellen, born on 29th August 1886 at Yelta.
James Henry, born at Kooringa on 31st March 1860, who died there on 29th August 1862,
Caroline, born on 1st August 1861 at Unity Flat, Kooringa, married
Charles Augustus Anderson on 2nd July 1892, and died on 11th January
1911. Their children were :
Robert Charles, born on 26th October 1892, died on 27th August 1959,
Dorothy Blanche, born on 17th March 1894, died on 14th August 1949,
Alfred Andrew, born on 21st March 1897, died on 27th January 1981, and
Clement Cecil, born on 11th December 1899, died on 9th July 1981.
James Henry, born at Kooringa on 27th October 1862. He married
Edith Alberta Verco in South Africa on 10th November 1896, and died in
Broken Hill on 19th August 1907. Edith was born at Clunes,
Victoria to Joseph and Honor, née Trenwith, on 2nd July 1878, and died
in Adelaide on 2nd June 1953. Their children were:
Nancy Pearce, born in 1898, who married Carl Alfred
Nilsson (aged 38, father Nils Nilsson) on 22nd October 1925, at the
Registry Office, Adelaide,
Dora Honor, born in 1900 at Johannesburg, South
Africa, who married Albert George Jelly (aged 23, born at Boulder City,
WA, father George Albert Jelly) on 11th February 1922, at the Church of
Christ, Semaphore. Their second child was Allan, born at Military
Road, Semaphore, on 18th July 1927. His father’s occupation was
Delilah Alberta, born at Johannesburg, South
Africa, on 22nd December 1902 and died on 26th March 1962. She
married William Pollock Walton (aged 26, occupation “storeman”, father
William Walton) at the residence of W Mitchem, Semaphore, on 30th
September 1922. She was 19, and her occupation was
“milliner”. Witnesses were Alfred Walton and Nancy Northey.
Their children included :
William Alfred, born on 27th May 1928 at Semaphore. His father’s occupation was “sugar worker”.
Eileen Florence Ann, born on 4th September 1905 in Perth, who married
Umberto Remigio Mazzarol on 20th February 1926, at the residence of Mrs
E A Mitchem, Semaphore. Umberto Mazzarol was born on 11th August
1901 at Mannum to Joseph and Lily Mazzarol. Joseph (aged 52,
father Venturino Mazzarol) and Lily Mary Wainwright (aged 32, father
James Wainwright) were married on 23rd February 1901 at Joseph’s
residence at Mannum. Their other children were Raymond Douglas,
born on 12th February 1894 at Mannum, and Candida Celeste, born on 26th
September 1897 at Mannum.
Eileen and Umberto’s first child was :
Kenneth Joseph, born on 12th September 1926 at Nurse Sheeley’s
Nursing Home, Henley Beach Road, Torrensville. His father’s
occupation was “checker, Hereford Avenue, Trinity Gardens”.
On 31st January 1882 James Henry Northey of North Yelta enlisted in the
Yorke’s Peninsula No 1 Company of the Rifle Volunteer Force.
Edith Verco married William Mitchem (widower, aged 36) at St Paul’s Rectory, Alberton, on 2nd August 1915.
William Pearce, born on 2nd August 1864 at Kooringa, who did not
marry, and died on 9th October 1912 in a mining accident in Hannan’s
Star Mine, Boulder City, WA,
John, born on 14th June 1866 at Moonta, did not marry. He lived
in Madagascar and Bulawayo, became a big game hunter and died in
Emily, born on 25th July 1868 at Moonta, married David Owen in 1892,
Robert Dennis, born on 9th June 1870 at Moonta, who married Emily Payne on 10th October 1885 (1895?),
Edith Mary, born at Moonta on 18th October 1871,
Alfred Ernest, born at North Yelta on 13th July 1875, married
Florence Mary Maude Date on 9th August 1897 in South Africa, and died
on 30th September 1910 at Boulder City, WA. Alfred spent some
time in South Africa in the mining industry. He and Florence
provided a pre-marriage testament declaring that both were unmarried,
and that both had lived in South Africa for three years and three weeks
prior to their marriage date. Alfred returned to Australia in
1899 and lived in Victoria. He went to Western Australia before
the birth of their second child, Gwendoline, and Florence rejoined him
in 1902. He became the underground manager of the Golden
Horseshoe Mine, and died from silicosis.
Florence Scadalia (Cordelia ?), born on 9th October 1876 at Yelta, and
In later years the copper ore deposits in the Moonta
fields also began to diminish, and in about 1887, Robert and Ann moved
to Broken Hill, where silver and copper had been discovered in about
1880. They settled at Umberumberka, a small township near
Silverton. It is not known whether Robert worked in the mines for
a wage, or whether he was a self-employed prospector, or
“gouger”. By this time some of their children were married and
had their own families to support, and they may have even preceded
their parents to Broken Hill.
Robert Northey died at Umberumberka on 9th September
1889 of asthma and acute bronchitis, and was buried in a small cemetery
at Silverton. Several years later it is believed that flooding of
a nearby creek caused a wash-away which disturbed the burial sites, and
the unidentified remains recovered were relocated to the main cemetery
at Broken Hill. His death certificate stated that he had spent 2
years in Queensland, 31 in South Australia and 2 years in New South
Ann died of cerebral apoplexy on 19th May 1892 at
Broken Hill, and is buried in the cemetery there. Ann was living
on the corner of Thomas and Iodide Streets at the time of her death.
At that time there was a great deal of industrial
unrest among the mine workers at Broken Hill, resulting in general
strikes in 1889 and again in 1892, which caused extreme hardship and
suffering to mining families. Some miners, including the Northey
brothers, refused to join the striking workers - they were labelled
“scabs” and “blacklegs” and were not popular with the community or the
unions. This no doubt caused some of the brothers to leave Broken
Hill and emigrate to South Africa, where work was readily available to
experienced miners in the rich gold mines of Johannesburg and
Pretoria. Elizabeth, Joseph, Jane, Caroline and Emily remained in
Australia, although Emily did go there in later years. It is
thought that the younger daughters, Cordelia and Edith may have gone to
South Africa, and perhaps remained there after marriage. James
Henry Northey and his family returned from South Africa on the Medic in
The Walls and Sullivans
Edmund Patrick Wall
Edmund Patrick Wall, son of John Wall, was born
about 1832 in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Edmund emigrated to South
Australia, where he married his first wife, Honora O’Loughlin, aged 16,
at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Morphett Vale on 5th July 1853. He
became a farmer at Kapunda, and later at Eurelia, where he died on 29th
August 1901, aged 69, of senile decay. Honora was also born in
Ireland, about 1837, and died at Eurelia on 4th March 1886, aged
47. Their children were:
Mary, born 30th July 1854 at Kapunda, and
christened on 6th August. She married John McNamara (aged 27,
father Martin) on 10th June 1879 at Kapunda, and died at Eurelia on
16th March 1886. No children are recorded from this marriage, in
which the bride is recorded as Mary Woll, daughter of Edwin Woll.
John Francis, born 18th May 1856 at Kapunda, and christened on 25th May,
Margaret, born 14th January 1859 at Kapunda, christened on 13th February,
unknown child, born May 1861 at Kapunda, christened
19th May. The parish records do not give the name or birth date
of this child,
Elizabeth, born 30th March 1863 at Kapunda, and
christened on 11th April, who died on 18th March 1870, aged 7, of
ascites, at Sour Flat (now Rowland Flat),
James, born 6th February 1866 at Kapunda,
christened 15th February. He never married, and died at Eurelia
on 7th July 1938 .
After Honora died, Edmund married Ellen Flan(n)igan,
the daughter of Martin Flanigan, born about 1858, who died on 31st
March 1934, aged 77. She was buried at Eurelia in the same plot
as her husband, his first wife, and sons James and Martin Thomas Wall.
Adelaide Observer 15 February 1890 - “Marriage –
Wall-Flanigan – On 13th February at St Ignatius’s, Norwood, by the Rev
M Hager SJ, Edmund Wall of Eurelia, to Ellen Flanigan of Paradise.”
Edmund was a widower who gave his age as 50, and Ellen was 31 and single.
Edmund and Ellen had one child in Adelaide and three children at Eurelia :
Edmund Patrick, born on 4th March 1891 at Stepney, who married
Isabell May Saint George (aged 28, father William Saint George) at the
Queen of Angels Church, Thebarton, on 1st July 1925. They had a
daughter, Dierdre. Isabel died on 30th December 1969, and Edmund
died on 20th September 1984. They are both buried at Centennial
Martin Thomas, born 30th July 1892 at Eurelia, who died on 12th June 1939, aged 46,
Ellen, born 6th May 1894 at Eurelia, who married William Gangell
(aged 31, father Jacob Gangell) on 29th April 1925 at St Raphael’s,
Joseph, born 15th April 1895, who died on 6th January 1896 at Eurelia of marasmus, aged 8 months.
John Francis Wall and the Sullivan Family
John Francis Wall married Catherine Sullivan on 17th
May 1887 at All Saints Church, Port Augusta. Witnesses were James
Wall, farmer of Eurelia, and Maggie Kinnane, of Yanyarrie. John
Wall died at Jamestown on 16th January 1926, where he was buried.
Barbara Stephens remembered Catherine brushing John’s beard as he lay
dying in bed.
Catherine Sullivan was born at Kapunda on 20th December 1856, and was
christened on 1st January 1857, although her age was given at her
marriage as 21. Her parents were Eugene Sullivan, born before
1835, and Julia Ryan, also born before 1835, who were married on 14th
January 1856 at Gawlertown. Witnesses at their wedding were
Morgan Sullivan and Mary Sullivan. A Morgan Sullivan enlisted in
Company 68 of either the Rifle Volunteer Force or the Volunteer
Military Force on 16th March 1860. His address was given as
Smithfield, which is near Gawler. A Morgan Sullivan died on 23rd
July 1886 at Adelaide, aged 61.
Eugene Sullivan arrived in South Australia in 1848 on the ship
Westminster. He died aged 45 on 12th October 1876 at Laura, of a
fractured skull, after falling from his horse. He was a farmer
Julia Sullivan’s death notice recorded that she had
emigrated to South Australia in the ship Burma, arriving in 1840.
This was actually the ship Birman (448/545 tons, captain John Cleland),
which sailed from Greenock, Scotland, embarked passengers at Cork on
24th August 1840, and arrived at Port Adelaide with 218 passengers on
7th December . The passenger list included four families of Ryans
RYAN John, wife Mary, 3 dau, son, 2 dau
RYAN John, wife (Margaret nee DERMODY?), dau
RYAN Patrick, wife (Margaret nee SHAUGHNESSY? / Mary?), son (Pat?)
RYAN Thomas, wife (Honora nee FOX?), 2 sons, 2 dau, son
The Birman’s most important passengers were the
Bagot family, which played an important role in South Australia’s early
history. Charles Hervey Bagot was born at Nurney in County
Kildare, Ireland on 17 April 1788, he was the youngest son of
Christopher Bagot, landed proprietor, and his wife Elizabeth
Clibborn. Charles Hervey saw active service after 1804 with the
87th Regiment in South America, Cape Colony, and India, where he was
promoted to Captain in 1815. The same year he married Mary,
eldest daughter of M. S. J. MacCarthy, who was Paymaster-General of
Port Louis, Mauritius.
Bagot retired in 1819 on half-pay to Ireland where he was employed by
several landowners as agent. To provide openings for his sons he
emigrated with his wife and five children to South Australia in the
ship Birman, in charge of 224 immigrants, and landed at Adelaide in
December, 1840. He had been commissioned by Sir Montague Chapman
to select and manage a special survey. He chose several sections, and
in return Bagot received 1,500 acres on the River Light which he called
Koonunga, working it at first in cooperation with the Dutton brothers.
In 1842 his youngest son, Charles Samuel, discovered an outcrop of
copper ore on the site of what became the Kapunda Mine, and soon
afterwards Francis S. Dutton did likewise. An 80-acre section was
secured in 1844 at 20 shillings per acre. Francis Dutton received
a quarter share which he sold in just a short time to someone in
Charles Hervey controlled the copper mine until 1857. He then
floated a company in London which worked it until flooding and low
prices made it unprofitable in 1877. Hervey took shares in many
other mines, but none of them succeeded like the Kapunda. The
Kapunda produced minerals of an estimated value of £800,000.
Charles Hervey was a nominee in the Legislative Council in
1844-51. He was a member for Light in the part-elective council
in 1851-53, and after responsible government held a seat in the
Legislative Council in 1857-59.
Charles Hervey toured the colonies in eastern Australia in 1846. He went
to England and Ireland with his wife in 1853-55, and on their return
they built Nurney House at North Adelaide, making a home for the widow
and five children of their son Christopher, who was born in 1817 and
died in 1853.
On their next journey to Europe, Mrs. Bagot died in Cairo in
1860. After her burial, Hervey again went to continue his journey
in Europe, and from there he went to the United States. While in
London he wrote a book, The National Importance of Emigration.
In Adelaide Charles Hervey took a prominent part in the establishment of the
Congregational Church in North Adelaide before his death at Nurney
House on 29 July 1880 at the age of 92.
Emigration to South Australia only began in the 1840’s and was much
encouraged by Charles Bagot, land agent for Bindon Blood who lived at
Rockforest, Kilkeedy and who was supervisor of the Burren road
system. He chartered a boat, the Birman, which arrived in
Adelaide in 1840. His son discovered copper at Kapunda.
Several North Clare families, probably prompted by Bagot, settled in
the district - Kerin, Canny, Linnane, Davoren etc and all have
descendants there to-day. Dr Matthew Blood, first medical doctor
in Kapunda and first Mayor of the town, emigrated from Corofin in
1844. The Clare Valley, the great wine-producing area in South
Australia, and the town of Clare are named after the County of Clare in
Ireland. (Bindon Blood (1775-1855) married Harriet Bagot, his
second wife, in 1809 and they had five children (the last born in
1817). Harriet was the daughter of Christopher Bagot of Nurney,
County Kildare and the sister of Bindon's land agent, Charles Hervey
Julia Sullivan died at Peterborough on 11th May 1918, aged 85.
She was described as the “widow of the late Eugene Sullivan,
farmer”. She was born in County Clare, Ireland, and had been in
Australia for 80 years. She had married at 20, and at the time of
her death had 3 male and 3 female children living, and one deceased
male child. Her death, which was caused by “senility”, was
reported by her son, T Sullivan, of Peterborough.
Several family notices in newspapers refer to a “Johanna Sullivan”, but
with details that match those of Julia Sullivan. All the family
researchers I have contacted believe that Johanna and Julia are the
same person, but cannot explain the confusion.
Catherine died on 5th December 1942 at Adelaide, and was buried at West
Terrace Cemetery. The following death notices appeared in the
Advertiser 9 December 1942 - “DEATHS – WALL
– On December
5th, at Seaview Road, Grange, Catherine, beloved wife of the late John
Wall, aged 86 years. Requiescat in Pace.”
Advertiser 10 December 1942 - “DEATHS – WALL
– On December
5th, at Esplanade, Grange, Kate, beloved wife of late John Wall, late
of Eurelia, and sister of Mrs T McCabe, Port Wakefield, aged 86.”
Their children were:
Edmund James, born on 20th March 1889 at
Eurelia. He married Julia Ann Faulkner (aged 23, father Thomas
Faulkner) at St Anacletus’ Catholic Church, Petersburg on 12th May
1913, and died in Adelaide,
Eugene Joseph, born 14th March 1891 at Eurelia,
Honorah Mary, born 24th May 1892 at Eurelia, and died on 22nd July 1976,
Johannah Veronica (Vera), born on 12th August 1893
at Eurelia, who married George John Malycha on 2nd February 1921.
Their children were :
John George, born in Adelaide on 6th November 1922, who died young, and
Isadore, born at North Adelaide on 14th September 1924, who married
Ron McCallum, a policeman, and had children Mary, Teresa and Michael.
William, born 24th August 1895 at Eurelia. He
married Ethel Florence Finlay on 7th October 1924 at Quorn, and their
children were Brian James, another boy, and Ray. Brian was born
on 11th April 1930 at Peterborough, married Mavis Crutchfield at
Armadale, Victoria, on 22nd October 1960, and died at Riverhills,
Brisbane on 16th December 1984. He had a son, Tony. William
died on 21st January 1977 in Adelaide, and was buried at Dudley Park
Cemetery on 25th January. Ethel was born on 23rd June 1893 at
Willochra, and died on 5th October 1982 in Adelaide,
John Raphael, born at Eurelia on 1st December 1896,
and died of whooping cough at Eurelia on 31st January 1898,
Teresa, twin of John Raphael, born on 1st December
1896, and also died of whooping cough on the same day as her brother.
Catherine Sullivan’s siblings included :
Eugene Peter, born about 1858, who died unmarried of bronchial pneumonia at Carrieton on 5th July 1896, aged 38.
John Joseph, born about 1859, who married at the age of 28 Bertha
Hemingway (aged 21, father not recorded) on 13th February 1888, at St
Patrick’s Church, Adelaide. Their children were :
Maude, born on 29th July 1889 at Yanyarrie, who died on 19th February
1938, aged 48, and was buried at Booborowie with her parents,
Annie May, born on 8th May 1891 at Yanyarrie,
Grace Joannah, born on 19th September 1893 at Eurelia (Jean’s “Aunty
Grace”). She married Denis Ignatius Kelly, a policeman, and their
children were John and Peggy, who married Dean Solomon.
James Eugene, born on 27th July 1895 at Eurelia,
Alice Mary, born on 23rd November 1897 at Eurelia,
John, born on 1st December 1899 at Eurelia,
Francis, born on 30th August 1902 at Eurelia, and
Sydney Daniel, born on 1st January 1905 at Eurelia, who died on 20th February, aged 7 weeks.
John Joseph Sullivan died on 12th July 1935, aged 75, and was buried at
Booborowie. Bertha Sullivan died on 20th January 1958, aged 90,
and was buried with her husband.
Daniel Francis, born about 1862, who married at the age of 25 Honora
(Norah) Teresa O’Loughlin (aged 21, father Patrick O’Loughlin) on 16th
November 1887, at St Rose Church, Kapunda. Their children were :
Eugene Thomas, born on 8th April 1889 at Eurelia,
Beatrice Annie, born on 3rd September 1890 at Eurelia,
James Francis, born on 18th July 1894 at Carrieton,
Margaret Mary, born on 8th February 1896 at Carrieton,
Joseph Patrick, born on 26th July 1898 at Solomontown, and
Mary, born on 11th March 1902 at Solomontown.
Daniel Francis Sullivan died on 21st October 1902 at Solomontown, aged 40.
Mary Ellen, born about 1864, who married at the age of 22 Thomas
Joseph Conley (aged 26, father Michael Conley) on 22nd February 1887,
at All Saints Church, Port Augusta. Their children were :
Vincent James, born on 22nd August 1891 at Port Pirie, and
Mary Eugene, born on 28th December 1899 at Solomontown.
James, born about 1870, who married at the age of 27 Maryannie
Bunting (aged 17, father Watson Bunting) on 25th August 1898, at St
Raphael’s Church, Carrieton. Their children, all born at
Carrieton, were :
Annie Adeline, born about 1903, who died aged 8 in 1910,
Vincent James, born about 1906, who married Kathleen Stephens,
Catherine, born on 15th March 1907, and her twin sister
Veronica Julia, who died on 18th March 1907.
Catherine was called Kathleen Mary on her gravestone, and Katie in an
In Memoriam notice by her mother and brother. The family story is that
she was suffering from appendicitis, but the doctor wouldn’t come until
he had finished his tennis match with the priest, and by then she had
ruptured and subsequently died.
Joseph, born on 8th June 1871 at Saddleworth. He married Jane
Eliza Bunting (aged 18, father Watson Bunting) on 22nd April 1897, at
St Raphael’s Church, Carrieton. Their children were :
Joseph Eugene, born on 19th September 1897 at Farina, and
Daniel Francis, born on 25th October 1902 at Farina.
Joseph and Jane divorced, and Jane married Joseph Frederick Hood and
lived at Gawler. Daniel Francis Sullivan took the surname Hood.
Thomas, born about 1873, who married at the age of 20 Rose Hemingway
(aged 23, father Maud(e) Hemingway) on 13th March 1894, at St Raphael’s
Presbytery, Carrieton. Their children were :
Thomas, born on 21st April 1894 at Solomontown,
Mary Helen, born on 6th March 1898 at Carrieton.
Thomas and Rose lived in Victoria and are both buried in Burwood Cemetery.
Teresa Mary, born about 1875, who married at the age of 20 Thomas
William McCabe (aged 24, father James McCabe) on 18th February 1896, at
St Raphael’s Church, Carrieton. Their children were :
Thomas James, born on 15th May 1898 at Carrieton, and
Daniel Francis, born on 17th November 1902 at Carrieton.
Brian Stephens remembered old Granny Wall (Catherine
Sullivan) “sitting huddled up in their Port Pirie house, and always
smelling like peppermints.”
Eugene Joseph Wall enlisted in the AIF at Petersburg
on 18th April 1916, with Regimental Number 15250. His occupation
was given as “carpenter”, and he had served a 6 year
apprenticeship. His mother was then living at Main Street,
Petersburg, but later moved to Pine Street. His height was 5’8",
his weight 142 lbs, with brown eyes, fair hair and a fresh
complexion. He was granted long leave from 17 to 22 May 1916, and
then assigned to the Base Engineers as a Sapper. He embarked from
Sydney on the “Ceramic” on 7th October 1916 as part of a detachment of
reinforcements for the Engineers, arriving at Plymouth on 21st
November. The new troops were immediately marched to the
Australian Details No 3 Camp at Parkhouse. On 4th January 1917 he
marched out of camp to Brightlingsea, thence to Folkestone, where he
embarked for France on 20th March. On 8th April he was taken on
the strength of the 6th Field Company, Australian Engineers, at
Etaples, and a month later he was killed in action on 6th May 1917
during the second battle of Bullecourt. He was initially reported
buried 3¾ miles northeast of Albert, although it is probable that his
body was never recovered, as a memorial cross was later erected in the
Queant Road British Cemetery. In 1920 he was reported as being
buried at Lagnicourt. The only personal effects returned to his
mother consisted of his devotional book, purse, and a button. His
death is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial at
In December 1917 Catherine Wall wrote to the
Officer-in-Charge of the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, requesting
details of her son’s effects, but was informed that no personal effects
had been returned to Australia at that time, and that no further
information was available concerning his death. In May 1918
Catherine signed another letter, possibly written by her son-in-law,
Wesley Stephens, seeking “an official intimation of the death of my
son”, as she was “applying for letters of administration, and the
intimation is required by the Public Trustee.”
In September 1922 the AIF Base Records Office wrote
to Catherine Wall regarding the issuing of her son’s War Medals, and
asking “whether there are any nearer blood relations than yourself,
...... for instance, is his father still alive”, since such mementos
are “handed over in the following order of relationship ...... :-
widow, eldest surviving son, eldest surviving daughter, father, mother,
...... .” Catherine replied that “I am unable to give my
husband’s address at the present time he is in South Australia as far
as I know. My husband went to Western Australia in 1897 to work
and has not lived home since. The late 15250 Sapper E J Wall
finished his schooling at Peterborough and lernt his trade here as
carpenter. He was carpenter in the SAR Loco sheds at Peterborough
when he inlested and my main support. I am an invalid for years
and living with my married son since the late E J Wall enlisted.”
The medals were duly sent to Catherine.
General Monash, writing to his wife on 11th January
1917, explained that “The Engineers are scattered, in small parties,
chiefly as gangers to infantry working parties, but also in the more
technical trade works such as bridging, demolition, mining,
main-drainage, concrete work, roads and special constructions.”
Johannes Henrich BRUMBACH was born about 1708 in
Adelshofen, Baden Prov., Germany. He immigrated on 30 SEP 1754 to
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA. He was a German Baptist Brethren.
He and his family arrived at Philadelphia on the
ship Neptune, Captain Waire. They sailed from Rotterdam and stopped at
Cowes, England for provisions as was the general custom during those
long voyages, filled with innumerable hardships. The journey for
those who came from Southern Germany in 1754 lasted fully half a year
amid such hardships as no one is able to describe adequately with their
misery. The passage from Holland to Cowes, England, alone, often
required from two to four weeks.
Johannes Henrich BRUMBACH and his wife had the following children:
i. Jacob BRUMBAUGH.
ii. Conrad BROMBACH/BRUMBAUGH.
iii. Johannes BRUMBACH.
iv. George/Georg BRUMBACH.
Jacob BRUMBAUGH was born on 27 NOV 1734 in
Wurtenberg, Germany. He died on 13 AUG 1816 in Hopewell Township,
Huntingdon Co., PA. He was also known as Jockel. Jacob served
during the American Revolution as a Private, Seventh Class, Fourth Co.,
of First Battalion, Lancaster County/Pennsylvania Militia.
He was married about 1760 in "Funkstown"
(Hagerstown). Frederick Co., MD. Jacob BRUMBAUGH and his wife had the
i. William BRUMBAUGH.
ii. John BRUMBAUGH.
iii. Margaret BRUMBAUGH.
iv. Conrad BRUMBAUGH.
v. Jacob BRUMBAUGH.
vi. Hannah BRUMBAUGH.
His first wife having died, he then married
Elizabeth BAKER/ENGLE? about 1776. Elizabeth BAKER/ENGLE? died on
15 DEC 1827. She was buried in Marklesburg, Huntingdon Co., PA.
Jacob BRUMBAUGH and Elizabeth BAKER/ENGLE? had the following children:
i. Henry BRUMBACH.
ii. George BRUMBAUGH.
iii. Daniel BRUMBAUGH.
iv. Catharine BRUMBAUGH.
v. Samuel BRUMBAUGH.
vi. Ester BRUMBAUGH.
vii. Mary BRUMBAUGH.
viii. David BRUMBAUGH.
ix. Susan BRUMBAUGH.
Margaret BRUMBAUGH was born on 5 MAY 1766 in
Funkstown, Frederick Co., MD. She died on 8 AUG 1829. She was
married to Nicholas FOUSE (son of Theobald FAUSS and Margaret) in NOV
1785 in Sharpsburg, Frederick Co., MD. Nicholas FOUSE was born on
7 MAY 1748 in Zweibruecken, Bavaria, Germany. He immigrated in
OCT 1784 to Baltimore, Baltimore Co., MD. He died on 9 AUG 1825
at Huntingdon PA. Margaret BRUMBAUGH and Nicholas FOUSE had the
i. Margaret "Peggy" FOUSE was born on 12 OCT 1786. She died on 19 MAY 1855.
ii. Elizabeth FOUSE.
iii. Catharine FOUSE.
iv. Jacob FOUSE.
v. John FOUSE.
vi. William FOUSE.
vii. Frederick FOUSE.
viii. Theobald "Dewalt" FOUSE.
ix. Adam FOUSE.
x. Jonathan FOUSE was born on 11 JUL 1808. He died on 4 APR 1879.
(Another source states that Theobald Fauss was born
in Bavaria in 1725, and died at Zweibruecken, Bavaria in 1765. He
married Margaret in 1746 in Zweibruecken. She was born in 1725 in
Bavaria and died in 1784 in Zweibruecken. Nicholas Fauss (Fouse)
was born in 1764 at Zweibruecken, married Margaret Brumbaugh in 1795 in
Sharpsburg, Frederick, PA, and Margaret died on 1st August 1829.)
Frederick B. FOUSE was born on 27 APR 1800. He
died on 9 SEP 1873. He was buried in Clover Creek Reformed Church Cem.,
(now called Salem UCC), Clover Creek, Blair Co., PA. He was
married to Catharine ACKER (daughter of Leonard ACKER and Mary ) on 4
JUL 1821. Catharine ACKER was born on 10 OCT 1797. She died
on 30 OCT 1844. Frederick FOUSE and Catharine ACKER had the
i. Margaret FOUSE, born on 22nd September 1822, who married Jacob
A Nicodemus (born on 4th December 1819) on 2nd March 1843, and had 13
children. She died in 1906.
ii. Solomon B. FOUSE, born on 30th May 1824 and died on 6th
October 1858. He married Matilda Enyeart (born on 14th February
1835) on 7th March 1854, and they had two children.
iii. William Acker FOUSE, born on 26th December 1825.
iv. Catharine FOUSE, born on 2nd May 1827 and died on 6th January
1874. She married George Greaser Jr (born on 8th March 1825) and
they had ten children.
v. Elizabeth FOUSE, born on 17th April 1830 and died on 29th
October 1913. She married Albert G Boyd (born on 14th July 1805)
on 3rd January 1865, and they had one child.
vi. Jacob Acker FOUSE, born on 17 JANUARY 1832. He married
Sarah Rhodes (born on 27th August 1834, died on 19th January 1858) on
2nd January 1855, and they had one child. After Sarah’s death he
married Margaret Shontz Grove (born on 16th December 1838) on 1st
September 1859, and they had three children.
vii. John A FOUSE was born on 9 MAY 1834. He died in 1835.
viii. Paul A FOUSE was born on 15 MAY 1836. He died in 1870.
The 1880 US Census has an entry for Jacob Fouse :
Residence : Walker, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
birth M birth
Jacob A Fouse
PA At home
PA At home
Samuel Lininger Son
inL M 28
PA Farm labourer
and for his sister Margaret :
Residence : Forreston, Ogle, Illinois
PA At home
PA Apprentice blacksmith
and sister Elizabeth :
Residence : Butler, Butler, Pennsylvania
Albert G Boyd
WILLIAM A. FOUSE
One of the substantial farmers of Huston Township,
is a son of Frederick and Catherine (Acker) Fouse, and was born in
Huston Township, Blair County, Pennsylvania, Christmas day, 1824.
Nicholas Fouse, the paternal great-grandfather of the subject of this
sketch, was born in Polse, Germany, and was among the pioneer settlers
of Clover Creek settlement and Huston Township. He was a
blacksmith by trade, but followed farming, and was a participant in
several expeditions against the Indians. He was a Whig, and a
member of the Reformed Church, and married a Miss Brumbaugh, by whom he
had five children. His grandson, Frederick Fouse (father of
William), was born in the Clover Creek settlement, of which he was a
lifelong resident. He was a farmer by occupation, a Republican in
politics, and in religious faith and church membership a member and
deacon of the German Reformed Church. He served for many years as
a justice of the peace, and died September 10, 1873, at the age of
seventy-three years. He married Catherine Acker, who died October
30, 1844, at the age of forty-seven years and twenty days. They
had eight children, five sons and three daughters: Margaret Nicodemus,
now dead; Catherine Greaser (deceased); Elizabeth Boyd; Solomon
(deceased); William A.; Jacob; John (deceased); and Paul, now dead.
William A. Fouse was reared on the home farm,
received his education in the schools of his neighborhood, and has
always followed farming at the Clover Creek settlement. He owns a
farm of two hundred and thirty acres, of which one hundred and sixty
acres are in good state of cultivation. His farm, which has been
well improved, is favorably located in regard to church, school, and
market. Mr. Fouse is a Republican in political sentiment, has
held the office of supervisor in his native township, and always gives
his party a cordial support. He is a careful farmer, a good
citizen, and a consistent member of the German Reformed Church.
On May 31, 1845, William A. Fouse married Catherine
Greaser. To their union have been born nine children, five sons
and four daughters: Susan, wife of Henry Rhodes, a farmer of Roaring
Spring; Margaret, who married Joseph Detwiler, a carpenter, of Huston
Township; Elizabeth, wife of Martin Acker, who is engaged in farming;
Jane; Reuben, of Duncansville, who married Anna Collins; George, now
dead; Calvin; Samuel; and William.
[William Acker FOUSE was born on 26 DEC 1825 in
Huston Township., Blair Co., PA. Some sources show his birth date
as 25 DEC 1824. He was married to Catharine GREASER (daughter of
George GREASER and Agnes KATZELMOYER) on 1 JUN 1848 or 31 MAY
1845. Catharine GREASER was born on 14 FEB 1827 at
Ellenbach, Hesse Darmstadt. William Acker Fouse died on 28th July
1912 in Blair County, and Catherine died in 1910 in Blair County]
William Acker FOUSE and Catharine GREASER had the following children:
i. Susan FOUSE, born on 28th February 1849, who married Henry Rhodes, a farmer of Roaring Spring. Their children were :
i. Nettie May, born on 26th March 1876,
ii. William Calvin, born on 13th September 1877,
iii. Elmer Garfield, born on 15th July 1882, and
iv. Ralph Palmer, born on 12th July 1887.
ii. Mary Agnes FOUSE, born on 28th June 1850, who died in May 1854.
iii. Reuben FOUSE, born on 5th April 1852, who married Anna Collins, and died at Duncansville, Blair, PA
iv. George FOUSE, born on 11th February 1854, who died on 13th September 1863.
v. Calvin FOUSE, born on 23rd December 1855, who died on 2nd February 1898.
vi. Margaret Ann FOUSE, born on 23rd December 1857. Margaret FOUSE and Frank ROYER had a child:
i. Newton Henry ROYER. Newton Henry ROYER was born on 20 MAY 1879
at Martinsburg, Blair County, but I cannot find him in the 1880 US
Census. He died on 13 MAY 1946. He was married to Mary
Elizabeth METZKER (daughter of George B. METZKER and Susan LING) on 6th
June 1906 at Fredericksburg, Blair County. Mary Elizabeth METZKER
was born on 23 JAN 1880. She died on 9 JUL 1959. Newton
Henry ROYER and Mary Elizabeth METZKER had the following children:
i. Harvey N. ROYER.
ii. Clarence W. ROYER, born on 25th August 1908 at Beavertown, Blair Co, and died in January 1960,
iii. Dorothy M. ROYER, born on 1st October 1910 at Beavertown, Blair Co, and died in January 1981,.
iv. Frances L. ROYER.
v. George ROYER, born on 6th November 1913 at Beavertown, Blair Co, and died the same day,
vi. Irvin J. ROYER, born on 20th March 1915 at Beavertown, Blair Co, and died in August 1972, and
vii. Woodrow W. ROYER, born on 31st December 1918 at Beavertown, Blair Co, and died in February 1968.
The 1880 US Census shows Margaret living at home with her parents,
unmarried, with no reference to Frank or Newton Royer. The same
Census lists the Metzker family :
Residence : North Woodbury, Blair Co, Pennsylvania
birth M birth
George B Metzker
Elizabeth Beach Sis in
In the 1880 Census, a Frank Royer, a farm labourer aged 30, was living
with his parents Samuel and Elizabeth and seven siblings on their farm
at Woodbury, Blair County. A Newton H Royer, aged 10, was living
with his parents Daniel S and Eve (nee Heckman) at Porter, Clinton
After the death of her first husband, Margaret Ann (Maggie) married
Joseph Kiefer DETWILER, who was a carpenter, on 4th November 1886 at
Martinsburg, Blair County. Joseph Detwiler was born on 1st
February 1859, at Woodbury Township, Blair County. He died at
Beaverstown, Blair County. Margaret FOUSE and Joseph K. DETWILER
had the following children:
i. Gertrude Effie DETWILER. She was born on 12 MAY 1887, and died on 4 DEC 1918. She was married to Edward GARBER.
ii. Warren DETWILER, born on 2 FEB 1889, and died on 14 FEB 1962.
He was married to Emma E. ISENBERG (daughter of Joel ISENBERG and
Dorothy LONG) on 18 JUL 1917. They had the following children:
i. Clyde DETWILER.
ii. Dale DETWILER.
iii. Eugene M. DETWILER.
iv. Leon A. DETWILER.
iii. Mertie May DETWILER was born on 30 JAN 1891. She died on 2 FEB 1892.
iv. Luella DETWILER born on 23rd July 1892.
v. William Edward DETWILER, who was born on 31 JAN 1894, and died on 12 OCT 1957. He was married to Emma Katherine BURKET
vi. Harry F. DETWILER. He was born on 30 OCT 1895, and died on 24 FEB 1941. He was married to Martha M. MILLER
vii. Kathryn Idella DETWILER. She was born on 27 OCT 1898, and
died on 30 SEP 1984. She was married to Lloyd E. MCGRAW on 4 SEP
1919. He died on 14 JAN 1958. They had the following
i. Mildred MCGRAW.
ii. Leona MCGRAW.
iii. Madeline MCGRAW.
iv. Dean D. MCGRAW.
v. Bernard D. MCGRAW.
vi. Eunice MCGRAW.
vii. Samuel FOUSE, born on 7th April 1859. He married Martha
Detweiler (daughter of Joseph Detweiler) on 9th October 1894, and their
children were :
i. Anna Florence, born on 2nd August 1896,
ii. Fanny Pearl, born on 28th May 1898,
iii. Levi Calvin, born on 3rd May 1900, and
iv. William Earl.
viii. Elizabeth (Lizzie) FOUSE, born on 16th September 1860, who
married Martin L. Acker, a farmer, on 6th October 1887 in Blair
County. Their children were :
i. John A, born on 16th September 1888, who married Mary Olive Rhul
(born on 30th April 1891) on 12th September 1907. Their children
i. Ethel Ferne, and
ii. Ernest Erle.
ii. Marvin C, born on 19th August 1890,
iii. William Preston, born on 30th July 1893,
iv. Clara Ferne, born on 27th July 1895,
v. Harry Earl, born on 2nd October 1897, and
vi. Roy Elmer.
ix. Jane FOUSE, born on 20th August 1863, who married Jacob Detweiler on 28th November 1898. Their children were :
i. Clara Verna, born on 21st February 1895,
ii. Florence May, born on 10th May 1896,
iii. Howard Newton, born on 18th July 1898,
iv. Nettie, and
v. Mabel Grace.
x. Ellen, born on 27th March 1867
xi. William FOUSE, born on 23rd September 1869, who married Jane Riley. Their children were :
i. Lester, born on 11th January 1899, who married Emma (born 1900), and had a child :
iii. Catharine Elizabeth, born on 26th December 1900,
iv. Daniel Carl,
v. Anna Florence, and
The 1900 Census listed Orville Fouse, born about 1884, living in Blair County.
The 1910 Census lists the following people :
William A Fouse 1826
Jacob A Fouse 1831 Huntingdon
The 1930 Census listed :
Orville K Fouse 1909 Los Angeles
Samuel G Fouse
Quiz 20 June 1895 - “A pretty little wedding took place at
St Paul’s Church, Adelaide on Thursday June 13, the contracting parties
being Mr C Wall, only son of Mr R C Wall of Petersburg, and Miss Annie
Frearson, second daughter of the late Mr John Frearson. The bride
wore a cream costume, as also did the bridesmaid (Miss Edith
Wall). Mr A Ohlmeyer was best man. After the ceremony the
wedding breakfast was partaken of at the residence of Mrs Trush (sic),
sister of the bride.”