Racing at Kedron Park


Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 2 June 1929

It seems fitting today, Melbourne Cup Day, to write what I know of my 2nd great uncle, James Rylatt.

James Rylatt, the son of my great, great grandmother by her second husband, was a jockey in the 1920’s. He died on 1 June 1929 due to injuries sustained during a race at Kedron Park.

An enquiry was held into the circumstances of James’s death. It was ruled an accident in August 1929 (Bowen Independent, 13 Aug 1929) although allegations were made that jockeys were placing bets and interfering with horses during the race.

A summary of the trial was published in the The Week on 26 Jul, 1929. In this publication, James is described as a “straightforward rider” who “had not complained to the stewards about being interfered with in every race he rode”. It appears that there was a “ring” of jockeys that regularly targeted James during races.

James was survived by his wife Winifred and “children”.


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Trying to Make Sense of it All

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A Notorious Gang Member

On 4 June 1870, The Manchester Times summarised a court case that had reached a verdict on the previous Monday. The detail of the article is here. It details the chequered criminal history of my 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Butterworth, and his half brother, Edward Lavery!

That was to be my blog post – a description of this one point in Thomas and Edward’s history which had landed them in gaol. A few clicks later and I’m yelling across the room (to uninterested family members), “I’ve found another convict!!”

I thought that the major crime in Thomas’s life was in 1870, the year the article was written. The year he was sent to Portland Gaol. Not so. Thomas’s life of crime was so prolific I can’t imagine how he ever found the time to paint.

Thomas, the son of Robert Butterworth and Ellen Lavery, a painter by trade, was born in c1837. According to the newspaper article, he began his life of crime in 1854 and was arrested almost annually up to 1860 when he was convicted, along with his brother, at Preston for 6 years. This led me to comment to my husband, “Lucky they had ended transportation, otherwise I wouldn’t exist!” But they hadn’t – they were still sending England’s finest to Western Australia and that’s where we find Thomas in 1862. Bound for the Swan River aboard the convict ship, The Norwood.


1862, The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 – 1901), 25 June, p.4

The records state his name is Thomas Lavery, alias Butterworth. He is 22 years old; can read but not write; he is married with one child; he is a painter; his behaviour since conviction is described as “V Good”, “Good” and “Indifferent” on the voyage.

There is a record stating that he was discharged on the 7 August 1863 and he was sent to Perth. He received his ticket of leave 24 Aug 1863 from Fremantle. In 1864, he was transferred from Perth to the Swan River Settlement. He received his conditional pardon on 28 April 1865. He was employed as a labourer, woodcutter, shoemaker and general servant. A list of his masters is below (as best I can make out):

  • E Perusa w 3/- 07.04.64 Left 29.04.64
  • Entered service of A Taylor at 20/- Left 28.06.64
  • Entered service of W Liddelow 29.06.64 at 20/- ?? (sick?) 28.07.64
  • Entered service of C Pereina 03.08.64
  • Discharged 07.09.64 and sent out (with?) depot
  • There is a note stating that he was sent to York in 1865

How Thomas returned to the UK, I don’t know. With a conditional pardon, I doubt he was allowed. In any case, what I do know is that he is appearing in front of a magistrate again in 1870 (having hooked up with his brother and mates) and is sent to Portland Gaol where he is listed in the 1871 census.

What happened after Thomas was sent to Portland Gaol? I used to think that he had died in prison however, a discharge document for a man named “John Jones” grabbed my attention. John Jones is being released from Parkhurst Gaol in 1889 (he had been sentenced in 1880) and hailed from Birmingham. The side note states that his alias is Thomas Butterworth and sometimes Lavery. His occupation is a painter.

I still need to work out the rest of his chequered life – I doubt that it will be an easy task. He was a man who spent the majority of his life in gaol.

A man who unlikely knew his son nor saw his wife again.

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Letters to “Gentlemen”


On my deck …

I have been busy trying to find details of an illusive ancestor George Brown in Durham when I randomly began searching for Reuben Miles at the British Newspapers webpage. Voilà! Reuben was a writer!! Better still, so was his wife, Elizabeth.

I know very little about Elizabeth Groves, the wife of Reuben Miles. Now I know she was obsessed with mushrooms and was an avid commentator on the local market scene.

Elizabeth Groves was the daughter of John Groves, a possible chair maker, and was born in c1830 in Bristol. In the 1851 census, Elizabeth is living in Clifton Road with her two sisters, Mary & Anne, or employed as Stay Makers. In 1851 she married Reuben Miles, a gardener who later became a potato dealer. The couple had four (known) children: Reuben, Elizabeth, Thomas and William Henry.

In the newspaper archives of 1866 and 1867, I have found several letters written by Elizabeth Miles that all begin, “Gentlemen, ..”. She has several letters describing mushrooms and how to cultivate them; she discusses the plight of the potato dealer and developing standards similar to those used by corn and flour dealers. She calls for the implementation of a sack engine for the weighing of potatoes. And then there is the mushroom so large it raised a paver.

There are still many questions in the life of Elizabeth however some are answered in one other letter she wrote to the Western Daily Press July 1867 where she describes the narrow escape a lady and her two children had as a bull charged them in the middle of Castle Green. The lady and her children managed to find shelter in a potato store in Narrow Wine Street – I presume the store was owned by Mr Reuben Miles and his wife, Elizabeth.


Elizabeth died in 1867 at the age of 34.

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Don’t You Know Who I Am !!

I saw the above cartoon this morning. “Do you know who I am?” It made me wonder who my great great great grandparents are and how I could casually throw them into conversation. So, below is a list of my illustrious 3x great grandparents. Enjoy!

Thomas James Lane – born in London in 1818. Emigrated to Australia in 1853. Died in NSW in 1895. He was a member of the Church of England and his occupation is listed as a wheelwright.

Maria Moss – born in London in 1823. Emigrated to Australia in 1853. Died in NSW in 1906. She was Jewish.

Thomas Dawson – born in Bedfordshire in 1825. Emigrated to Australia in 1848. Died in NSW in 1914. He was a Baptist and his occupation is listed as labourer.

Mary Ann Garner – born in Bedfordshire in 1826. Emigrated to Australia in 1848. Died in NSW in 1894. She was a member of the Church of England.

Thomas Butterworth – born in 1837 in Manchester. Convicted several times and did stints in Chatham and Portland Gaols in the UK (his brother was his partner in crime). Death date unknown. Alias Thomas Lavery.

Betsy Monks – born c1838 in Lancashire. Little else is known about her.

John West – born in 1819 in Northamptonshire. Emigrated to Australia in 1849. He died in 1889 in South Australia. He was a member of the Church of England and his occupation is listed as sawyer.

Hannah Allsop – born in 1823 in Northamptonshire. Emigrated to Australia in 1849. She died in South Australia in 1910. She was a member of the Church of England.

William Scarlett – born in c 1828 in either Not Known (1851), Lancashire (1861), or Oxfordshire (1871). He was a coal miner in Durham from 1850 (at least). I am unsure of his death date.

Isabella Brown – born in c1831 in Durham. She was a coal miner’s wife who died in 1870.

Thomas Henry Fuller – born in 1817 in Suffolk. He was convicted in 1836, spent time on a convict hulk before arriving in NSW in 1837. He died in NSW in 1907.

Phebe Hutchby – born in 1828 in London. She emigrated to Australis in 1849. She died in NSW in 1921. She was a member of the Church of England and her occupation is listed as housemaid.

John Snedden – born in 1835 in Glasgow. He emigrated to Australia in 1883. He died in 1886 in NSW.

Janet Snedden – born c1827 in Lanarkshire. She died in 1883 in Lanarkshire.

Charles Johnston – born c1833 in Antrim, Ireland. He emigrated to Scotland by 1856 and then later to Australia by 1891. He died in 1907 in NSW. His occupation is listed as coal miner.

Mary Ann Brown – born c 1831 in Antrim, Ireland. She emigrated to Scotland by 1856 and then later to Australia by 1891. She died in NSW in 1902.

Robert Lemon – born c1838 in Lisburn, Ireland. He emigrated to Australia c1860. He died in NSW in 1909. His occupation is listed as a gaol warden and a presbyterian (fairly certain).

Margaret Oliver – born c1838 in Lisburn, Ireland. She emigrated to Australia c1860. She died in NSW in 1916 in Goulburn. She was a presbyterian.

Joseph Thomas Faulder – born in 1808 in Northumberland. He emigrated to Australia in 1841. He died in 1886 in NSW. He was a protestant and his occupation is listed as station manager.

Mary Norton – born in 1829 in Tipperary, Ireland. She emigrated to Australia in 1840. She died in 1864 in NSW.

William J Aldington – born in c1816 in London. He died in 1882 in London. His occupation is listed as Porter (1871) and Collector in the Tobacco Trade (1881).

Rebecca Innalls – born c 1816 in London. She died in 1891 in London.

James Brand – born 1823 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died in 1905 in Fife, Scotland. His occupation is listed as a Brick Manufacturer.

Anne Brown – born in 1825 in Bo’Ness, Scotland. She died in 1894 in Fife, Scotland.

Friedrich Aeschbacher – born in 1826 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland. He died in 1872 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland. His occupation is listed as a baler.

Anna Haldimann – born in 1828 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland. She died in 1907 in Lützelflüh, Switzerland.

Jakob Jörg – born in 1836 in Bern, Switzerland. He died in 1922 in Bern, Switzerland.

Anna Barbara Wirth – born in 1836 in Switzerland.

Reuben Miles – born in 1824 in Somerset. He died in 1896 in Bristol. He was a member of the Church of England and his occupation is listed as gardener.

Elisabeth Groves – born in c1830 in Bristol. She died in 1864 in Bristol.

Matthew Ryan – born in c1816 in Tipperary, Ireland. He emigrated to Australia in 1852. He died in 1871 in NSW. His religion was Roman Catholic and his occupation is listed as agricultural labourer.

Sarah Heffernan – born in c1822 in Tipperary, Ireland. She emigrated to Australia in 1852. She died in 1881 in NSW. Her religion was Roman Catholic and her occupation is listed as dairywoman.


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Writing Home

Christmas Card 1941


Dear Bro Gordon
I am sending you this birthday card, wishing you a happy birthday. I forget how old you are – I think it is about 15 or 16. Anyway, it don’t matter. I suppose you are some boy now, poking out the chest and earning 30/- a week. That isn’t bad money for your age. How are the girls treating you? I bet you are a girl killer by now. If you ever meet that girl I went with from Greta, take her out. Why you could ask mum to invite her up for a weekend. You will find her a nice girl and she might learn you to dance.
Your affectionate bro, George

The card pictured and the text above are from two separate cards by grandfather, George, sent home while he was overseas during World War II. The birthday card (which isn’t nearly as exciting as the Christmas card) was sent in either 1941 or 1942 (depending on whether Uncle Gordon was actually 15 or 16).

What I have always loved about this brief message from one brother to another, is the mention of “that girl I went with in Greta”. That girl is my grandmother and is the only record I have of actual “wooing” among my ancestors.

I have tried writing about my grandfather before but with little success. I become lost in the few years of his life that were WWII. It is also far easier to write about someone you never met than a close relative – that’s my experience at any rate.

Pa, as I knew him, was born in 1921 in Heidelberg, Victoria. From what I can gather, his father picked up work where it was available and as a consequence the family moved frequently.

When Pa enlisted in May 1940, he was 19 years old (although he bumped his age by one year when signing up) and living in Marylands, NSW. He joined 2/1st Pioneer Battalion which was based at the army camp in Greta.

If not for WWII and whatever reasons Pa had for enlisting, I may never have come into being. In Greta, he met Pauline Scarlett – possibly at a dance. They obviously hit it off as the battalion was in Dubbo and then sailing away to Palestine at the end of September 1940. About three months of wooing, give or take.

In May 1942, more than eighteen months later, Pa had two weeks home leave and then another three in November that year. In January 1943, he was granted compassionate leave for five days. This is where I become frustrated with the documents – George and Pauline were married (according to my notes) on 14 February 1943 in Gosford.

Pa spent another two years in the army and was discharged on 1 August 1945. He went back to the Hunter Valley to establish a home with his wife and daughter.

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Mary Jane Faulder


Mary Jane Faulder (I’m fairly certain)

Mary Jane Faulder is my maternal great great grandmother. Of her line, she is the first to be born in Australia.

Mary Jane was the second daughter and the sixth of eight children born to Joseph Faulder and Mary Norton (there was a 21 year age gap between her parents). She was born in 1859 in Yass, NSW.

When Mary Jane was 7 years old, her brother Lambert died. He was 10. I have been unable to find details as to the cause of his death so am assuming it was an illness.

When Mary was 17, her eldest brother, Firmin died at the age of 27.  Firmin left behind a young wife and two sons.

When Mary was 27, her father, Joseph, died at the age of 78. He died at the family station, Preesgwene. Joseph had farmed the property for over 25 years. It is likely that Mary Jane had been born here.

In 1889, at the age of 30, Mary Jane married James Thomas (JT) Lemon of Goulburn (he was 23). The ceremony and reception took place at her home, Preesgwene.

My great grandfather, Fred, was born the following year and his sister, Ethel, followed along the year after. The family continued to grow with twins, Robert and Dorothea, arriving in 1894.

Harry arrived in 1897, Lesley in 1899 and Sydney in 1901. It was during the 1890’s that JT Lemons was established. According to his obituary, JT was a man of ‘boundless energy’ and by 1907 the company had had three addresses in Goulburn as JT took advantage of opportunities to move the business to a prime location. In all ways, the family prospered.

(I hope for Mary Jane’s sake that she had some assistance with the brood at home during this period.)

In 1904, death struck the family when 7 year old, Harry drowned in the Mulwaree River while paddling with mates after school. The details of the Coroner’s hearing state that Harry couldn’t swim and had fallen into the river when trying to wash mud off his feet before putting them into his shoes. The boys he was with did not tell anyone that Harry was drowning, even when asked by Mary Jane, as they were afraid that they would be in trouble for swimming where they had been told not to. It wasn’t till several hours after that anything was said. The man who pulled Harry’s body from the river felt that had the boys been truthful upfront, then Harry’s life may have been saved.

Between 1913 and 1919, Mary Jane lost several family members. The first was her mother, Mary who died in 1913 from a heart attack. Her brother Frederick died after an operation in 1917 and her husband, JT died in 1919 from neuritis (according to his obituary he had been ill for some time).

While these deaths would have been difficult to bare, the death of her son, Leslie while fighting in France would have been unbearable. 

Leslie had enlisted on 9 July 1917 at the age of 19. He was involved in flighting on the German front in France (I believe) in April 1918. It was here that he received gas wounds which he died. He was buried in Rouen, France.

Within his war records are letters from Mary Jane stating that she did not receive his Victory medal and the Memorial Badge that was given to ‘mothers of the deceased’ was thrown into the fire by her maid (so could she please have a new one) as well as a letter stating that his personal affects have been lost at sea (his and 4999 others). The personal effects forever lost consisted of: letters, photos, a pipe, note book, three religious books, a fountain pen, wrist watch, utensils, english & french book, 2 wallets and one coin.

Mary Jane moved to Manly around 1924 where she lived in Stuart St with her son, Sydney – just around the corner from Little Manly where we used to swim as kids.

She died on 24 Aug 1931 and is buried in Goulburn.

Owing to her genial personality and loving disposition, the late Mrs Lemon had a wide circle of friends, and became endeared to all with whom she came in contact.” – Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 24 August 1931

Mrs Lemon was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church and presented a beautiful christening font  at St Andrew’s Church in memory of her son, Leslie.” – newspaper clipping from Ethel’s scrapbook.


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