first families 2001

Smith 'Family Stories'

By Martyn Smith, 14 March, 2017

First Family Member Details
Family Stories
Family Contacts, including related links

First Family Member Details

William Smith

Surname: SMITH
Given Name(s): William
Occupation(s): miner, engineer, mine manager, farmer

Birth Details
Birth Town: (see 'Life Before Australia' below)
Birth County,
Region, Province:
Birth Country: England
Birth Date: 1833 

Death Details
Death Town: Daylesford
Death State/Territory: Victoria
Death Country: Australia
Death Date: 11 Jun 1896

Immigration Details
Air/Port Landed: Geelong
Ship/Plane: Queen of the Seas
Year Arrived: Sep 1854
Anne Bullas
Surname: BULLAS
Given Name(s): Anne
Occupation(s): home maker

Birth Details
Birth Town: Sheffield
Birth County,
Region, Province:
Birth Country: England
Birth Date: 1837

Death Details
Death Town: Daylesford
Death State/Territory: Victoria
Death Country: Australia
Death Date: 14 Jul 1926

Immigration Details
Air/Port Landed: Melbourne
Ship/Plane: Titan
Year Arrived: Aug 1857

WOOD (NEE SMITH), Emily 01 WOOD (NEE SMITH), Ann 02 SMITH, William John 03
SMITH, David Enoch 04 SMITH, George Henry 05 SMITH, Richard Herbert 06
SMITH, Frank Ernest 07 SMITH (NEE SMITH), Florence Seymour 08 SMITH, Joseph Albert 09
SMITH, Charles Howard 10 ROBINSON (NEE SMITH), Evelyn Agnes 11  

Family Stories

Life in Australia:

William SMITH is a first father of the SMITH surname in Australia.  His wife, Anne, is the second oldest daughter of first father David BULLAS and his first wife Ann (nee HUTCHINSON), who are the subject of their own FF2001 webpage.


William SMITH, 20, shared a cabin with William BULLAS, 21, aboard the 'Queen of the Seas' [Scroll down at link, enter keywords Queen of the Seas AND 1854 and click search icon.  Go to pp12,13,27] when they, with his cousin George MELLOR, 25, migrated to Victoria in 1854.

It was to be three years before William BULLAS' sister Anne arrived with the rest of the family in August, 1857.  One suspects that William BULLAS spoke glowingly about his younger sister Anne to his cabinmate, for it was only eight months after Anne's arrival that she and William SMITH married.

William and Anne were married "in the house of Mr Bullas by License....According to the order of the Ch of England" at Little Bendigo, in Ballarat, on 28th April, 1858.  A twenty-four year-old miner at the time, William signed his name quite stylishly in the register.  On the other hand, twenty-two year-old Anne simply made her mark, as did her stepmother, Elizabeth BULLAS (nee Hammond), who was one of the registered witnesses.  Interestingly, Elizabeth allowed herself to be named as Anne's mother on the registration.  The other witness to the marriage was George MELLOR, who signed his name fully. Both William and Anne declared themselves members of the Church of England before the Officiating Minister, Reverend C. Searle.

Arrival and Progress in Daylesford

In 1860, William and Anne relocated to the burgeoning township of Daylesford where they joined the Wesleyan Methodist congregation, which at the time was Daylesford's largest.  Records of the Daylesford Wesleyan Methodist Church show William described as "Miner" at the baptisms of five of his children between 1863 and 1872.

In 1865, according to a Daylesford directory of that year, the Smith family lived in Daylesford's Stanbridge Street, on the left, five doors up from Vincent Street, William listed as an "engineer" rather than a miner. 

It may be that the family moved to nearby Champagne Gully at some time close to the turn of the decade because the first municipal Rate Book (now held in the Daylesford Museum) records that a William Smith, Miner, owned a house there valued at seven pounds and rated at seven shillings in 1871.  In 1872, a garden was added ... first inklings of a farming aspiration perhaps.  The record remains the same in 1873 and 1874 but there is no entry for William Smith of Champagne Gully in 1875.  (NB It is yet to be confirmed that this 'William Smith' was the William Smith whose story is being told here. Further, the Rate Book information must be checked again to confirm its accuracy.)

During this period, William, who had become a successful mine manager, decided to turn to farming for the livelihood of his growing family.  Indeed, Janet MacDonald, current co-owner of the farm William bought, confirms in her personal 'A Brief History of Mayfield 43 East Street, Daylesford' (9th July, 2015) that he purchased disparate blocks to form a farm on 5th February, 1875. 

Janet MacDonald records that it is thought that it was William who named the farm 'Mayfield' as "this was the first time it was held by one owner".  William's naming of the farm is supported by the words "He became the possessor of the farm now known as 'Mayfield'" in the 'The Daylesford Advocate' obituary (13th June, 1896) to him.  It may be that William named the farm after the Staffordshire village of Mayfield, 27km from Crich, Derbyshire, his native village.

The sizeable 'Mayfield' farm (43.6 hectares) was ... and still is ... situated on the eastern side of East Street, Daylesford township's eastern boundary.  Just down from the farmhouse, inside the farm's East Street fence, lay ... lies ... the spring that feeds the local Smith's Creek and it may be thought that the creek takes its name from this first family but this is highly unlikely. 

In at least as early as 1863, 'Smith's Creek' was a distinct settlement lying to the immediate south-east of the developing Daylesford town centre.  William and Anne SMITH's future daughter-in-law, Jane Ann TRESISE, was born at "Smith's Creek" (cf Birth Register) in 1867.  Furthermore, her sister Dinah's 1863 birth registration denotes "Smith's Creek" as her birthplace, also.  These dates decisively precede the 1875 purchase of the farm by William Smith.  (See below for brief further discussion of the name's derivation.)

Jane's and Dinah's parents, Cornish couple Richard and Dinah TRESISE, settled at Smith's Creek in the early 1860s and, in 1872, paid ten pounds to purchase a 0.2-hectare township block of Crown land a short distance south of the Smith farmhouse, on the western side of East Street.

It was during this decade or so that William and Anne SMITH also were building their family.  Anne bore seven sons and four daughters between February, 1859 and November, 1879 - eleven children within twenty-one years.  Each child survived till adulthood and they, particularly the sons, provided the sound development of the family's farming ventures till the 1920s and '30s, when, it seems, there were no grand-children in a position to carry the farming on.

In early April, 1887, the last spike, made of gold, was driven into the new Ballarat-Daylesford railway track and when a celebratory excursion train pulled into Daylesford station a few days later it had just steamed its way diagonally, from the south-west, through William SMITH's 'Mayfield' farm!! 

Maps produced by the "Railway Department Melbourne" in October, 1885 specify the route of the Creswick to Daylesford section of the line.  Map 10 shows that the line cut a curving swathe through the SMITH land and, just 200 metres north-east of the farm-buildings, joined the already constructed and busy line (carrying potatoes, timber and, in 1884, fifty thousand passengers) coming in from Carlsruhe, this line also cutting through 'Mayfield', from the south-east.

This modern-day satellite image clearly shows the now-extinct Creswick-Ballarat line (survived only by a heritage-listed embankment) joining the extant Carlsruhe line to divide 'Mayfield' into, as Janet MacDonald attests, rather inconvenient sections!  Also visible in the satellite image is a small circular formation in the paddock close to the house ... the spring that feeds Smith's Creek.

The image also serves to provide a bird's eye view of the Smith's Creek locality, especially if the image is scrolled down to include the intersection of  East and Sullivan Streets.  Maria Triaca, writing her grandmother's biography in the first person in Amelia. A Long Journey (Greenhouse Publications, Richmond, 1985), provides a superb glimpse of the neighbourhood in 1905 through her grandmother Amelia Musso's eyes.  Sent the previous year from Italy to Australia in her early teens with sister Matilde to join her uncle Battista, Amelia recalls, on page 46, her first impressions:-

"Our first days in Daylesford ..... were filled with opportunities to check my pre-conceived idea of Australia with reality.

"The first shock was Smith's Creek, a hamlet about a mile from the town, but for me nothing more than an outpost in the most appalling wilderness.  Tiny wooden cottages dotted a landscape that was thick with trees the likes of which we had never seen before.  They were huge, slender, with fine leaves, greyish in hue and nothing like the olives and pine trees that stood out in the dazzling sunshine of Moneglia.  They hung limp and damp continually wet from the fine misty rain that never stopped.

"Uncle's house was a two-roomed weatherboard miner's cottage with that peculiarly Australian feature of the verandah across the front."

This, forty years after the young Richard and Dinah Tresise made Smith's Creek their home; thirty years after William and Ann Smith.

Aged ninety-five when her story was published in 1985, Amelia had gone on to live a wonderfully rich and varied life mainly in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

William's Cousin George Mellor

William SMITH's cousin, George MELLOR, was the initial purchaser of a small town block of Crown land at the eastern end of the then existing Hill Street, just around the corner from East Street - precisely where the Daylesford Railway Station was later built.  A Department of Lands & Survey map seems to indicate that he did this on 11th December, 1877, less than ten years before the station was to be built.

It appears that cousins William and George both felt the impact of the iron horse's arrival in Daylesford.

Smith's Creek - which Smith?

Interestingly, Department of Lands & Survey maps indicate that "W. Smith", an abutting neighbour of George MELLOR, was the initial purchaser of at least three town blocks of Crown land at the northern end of East Street, near the corner of Hill Street.  The 8th August, 1872, edition of 'The Daylesford Mercury and Express', in its report of the land sales, identified this "W. Smith" as Walter Smith, an active local politician.  It may be that Smith's Creek takes its name from him although there is a convention that natural features are not named after politicians. 

However, Janet MacDonald advises that Daylesford local historian Les Pitt, in his book Mud, Blood & Gold : Daylesford The Early Years (Daylesford Historical Society, Daylesford, 2016), writes that Walter Smith arrived in Daylesford from Castlemaine soon after 1859, opening a hotel on the corner of East Street and Hill Street.  Pitt records that Smith rose to official prominence in 1866 and the years following.  As noted above, the name 'Smith's Creek' existed in 1863 so possibly the creek is named after Walter Smith before his rise, albeit his establishment lay a good distance north of the creek's source.

Alternately, it has been suggested that the creek is named after a certain George Smith, an early storekeeper on the intensively mined Cornish Hill, which is bisected by Smith's Creek.  Supporting this notion circumstantially is an early Daylesford survey map, bearing the date "1st Jany1867", showing a "G. Smith" as the owner of Lot 5 on East Street at its intersection with Victoria Street (now Central Springs Road), some little distance north of the source of Smith's Creek, but less distance than Walter Smith's hotel.  The map also locates four "stores" at the "gold workings" on "Wombat Flat" and one on "Specimen Hill" (now Cornish Hill) above.

Tributes to William upon his Death in 1896

According to the registration of his death, William died at "East Street" on 11th June, 1896, and was aged sixty-two.  His oldest son, William John, was the official informant.  "Bronco pneumonia" and "Exhaustion 7 days" were the causes of his death in the opinion of Dr Ruddle, who last attended him alive on 10th June.  William was a "farmer" and had been "41 years in Victoria".  Wesleyan Minister W.R. Cunningham witnessed William's burial in the Daylesford Cemetery.

The funeral cortege, which travelled to the cemetery from 'Mayfield' at 3.00pm on Saturday, 13th June, was impressive and occurred at a time of compounded duress for the family.  'The Daylesford Herald' of 15 June, 1896, wrote:-  "It is only a few months since Mr. Wm. Smith's six sons performed the melancholy duty of pall-bearers to their deceased sister (Mrs Wood).  On Saturday the same task fell to their lot, the departed relative this time being their respected father.  A very large gathering of relations filled the mourning coaches provided and a lengthy procession of Court Chevy Chase lodge and private friends followed to the grave.  There were 54 pedestrians, 35 vehicles, and a dozen horsemen.  Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved family, especially as some of its members are suffering from severe attacks of influenza.  Prayers for their comfort were yesterday offered in Wesley Church."

Both 'The Daylesford Herald' and 'The Daylesford Advocate' reported that William's death was premature, he having been "a remarkably hale and hearty man".  The newspapers reported that William, "one of the oldest residents of Daylesford", had been a successful miner and farmer, "his genial and unassuming manner won for him many friends and admirers" and "although not a public man he was one of our best known citizens".

Indeed, the 'Advocate', in its obituary of 13th June, 1896, wrote the following about William, the miner and the farmer:-  "Mr Smith ... engaged in mining pursuits first working in the Doctor's Gully tunnel.  He also acted in the capacity of mine manager for the White Star and Cosmopolitan companies, and was very successful in the Royal Oak claim.  Later on Mr Smith changed his occupation, turning his attention to farming.  He became the possessor of the farm now known as 'Mayfield', which is now regarded as one of the best in Daylesford."

Expansion of the Farm Holdings and, after William's Death, their Transfer and Management

[Note re links to William's Estate documents:  If clicking does not go direct to a PDF copy of the original document, use your browser's 'Back' button to return here.  Then click again.  Usually this will find the PDF, after a wait.  If not, repeat the process.  This should be successful.  If there is no success at all, try again on another day.]

Certainly, William and his family had developed a successful farming enterprise.  The Statement of Assets and Liabilities contained in the Grant of Probate of (William's) last Will and Testament shows that the original 'Mayfield' block (43.6 hectares minus, in 1896, a "portion sold to the Railway Commissioners"), including a seven-room brick house, had been supplemented by 1896 with the purchase of

  • a further 10.9 hectares a short distance beyond the road forming the southern boundary of 'Mayfield' and

  • a quite separate 44.4 hectare block bounded by Giacometti's Lane, Leitches Creek Road and Appletree Lane at Leitches Creek, approximately 3.5 kilometres down the road from the East Street/Raglan Street corner past the Daylesford Cemetery, to the north-east of 'Mayfield', and containing a five-room weatherboard house. 

The irregularly shaped Leitches Creek property probably was purchased in separate sub-blocks from about 1891 and was certainly the farm managed by oldest son William John, who had married in 1890.  A Department of Lands & Survey map shows that an additional sub-block probably was in the process of being purchased when William died and that a further small sub-block was purchased in 1909.   A short Bereavement Notice in 'The Daylesford Advocate' (24th May, 1918) following the death of William John's wife Jane indicates that the farm was named 'Brooklands', appropriate seeing that the property straddled Leitches Creek.

In what appears to have been a bustling farming operation, farm assets included (using the words and quantities of the probate Statement) 65 tons of hay, 145 tons of potatoes (no doubt, at 'Mayfield', loaded direct to the goods train!), 60 bushels of seed peas, 24 bushels of oats, 8 draft horses, 1 riding horse, 3 cows, 1 heifer, 1 calf, poultry, 1 reaper and binder, 1 engine, 1 chaff cutter, 1 crusher, 4 ploughs, 2 sets of harrows, 1 pea rake, 1 disc harrow, 1 house hoe, 1 set of scales, 1 bellows, 1 anvil with tools, tools, forks and 12 dozen sacks. Also included were 1 waggon, 1 buggy, 3 drays, 2 sets of harness, 1 set of light harness, 2 collars and plough chains and 1 riding saddle.

In a poignant and, one suspects, unconventional act for the times, William bequeathed his entire estate to his wife Anne, also appointing her sole executrix.  This he did, the day before he died, in a short 105-word Will witnessed by his friend of fifty years and neighbour of thirty-three, farmer John Nightingale, and miner Thomas Hammond.

John Nightingale's 1st August, 1896, affidavit authenticating William's Will - which follows Nightingale's affidavit - provides two pertinent insights into the occasion of William making and signing his Will, viz, " ... prior to the said deceased so signing the said will I read it out aloud and he heard me and said 'It's allright it leaves everything to the Missus'" (para 3) and " ... at the time the said deceased signed the same he was propped up in bed and without a writing table and was physically weak and for those causes his hand was somewhat unsteady but his mind was clear his power of will unimpaired and he was in full possession of all his mental faculties and well knew and understood and was capable of appreciating the nature and effect of his actions and of his so signing the said will" (para 4).

Thomas Hammond and John Nightingale witness William Smith's shaky hand affirming his last Will

William Smith 's faltering signature on his last Will and Testament

After applying successfully for Probate of William's last Will and Testament, Anne administered William's estate during the following two years, eventually signing her Executrix final account - found in the documents at that last link - on 15th December, 1898, by strongly making her mark at the foot of her account as this small section of it shows:-.

Anne Smith makes her mark

No doubt Anne's children attended to the documentary detail, practicalities and authenticity of the administration of the estate but one suspects Anne upheld her late husband's faith in her by exerting handy and watchful maternal oversight.

'Mayfield' eventually was sold in 1921 upon the death of its manager, second-oldest son David Enoch, who was aged fifty-six and married to Mary Jane (nee HALL) but with no offspring.  The Mossop family was the successful bidder for 'Mayfield' and it appears that the Stannage family was the purchaser of the additional 10.9 hectares over the road to the south. 

David's probate Inventory, signed with a flourishing hand by his widow and executrix Mary on 12th May, 1921, shows that David did not own the farm's land but that his personal assets included its produce, livestock and implements, viz, 407 bushels of wheat, 90 bushels of oats, 8 acres of growing potatoes, 4 draught horses, 1 light horse (old), 1 cow (nearly dry), 1 heifer yearling, 33 domestic fowls, 3 crosscut saws, 4 pieces of belting, 1 reaper and binder, 1 potato planter, 1 roller, 1 4-leaf harrow, 7 horse bars, 526 fence posts, 1 cultivator, 1 scarifier, 4 ploughs, 1 blacksmith's kit, 1 scuffer, 8 long forks, 4 forks, 1 hoe, shafting and pulleys, 1 pea rake and sundry tools.  He half-owned (brother William John probably his partner) 1 potato digger, 1 winnower, 1 chaff cutter, 1 electric motor, 1 corn crusher, 1 set of scales and 1 drill.  Additionally, David owned 1 jinker, 2 drays, 3 sets of old harness, sundry other harness, 1 riding saddle and 1 bridle.

The Inventory also records that David had purchased 19.3 hectares of bush land for ninety pounds in 1919.  In 1921 it was valued at more than 173 pounds.  The land, fenced by post and wire, lay a little to the immediate east of the 'Mayfield' southern boundary road, just past the rail line to Carlsruhe.  It had two titles.  Mossop descendant Janet MacDonald advises that her grandfather wrote to his fiancee on 20 March, 1921, telling her that, as well as other items offered at the clearing sale the previous day, he had purchased a 6.1 hectare bush paddock, which records show was a part of David's 1919 land acquisition.  

An interesting detail in David's Will, dated 1st February, 1921, is his small legacy to "my aunt MARY MOSS" of Hill Street, Daylesford.  Aunt Mary was his mother's sister, who had married Henry MOSS in 1863.  Henry died on 17th March, 1888, aged fifty-nine, and is buried in the Wesleyan Methodist section of the Creswick Cemetery, near the grave of his parents-in-law David and Elizabeth BULLAS and four members of their family.  Mary was eighty-two in 1921 and died three years later on 21st June, 1924, buried with her husband at Creswick. 

The snippet from David's Will provides a deeper sense of the companionship available to Anne, beyond that of her children, in the years following her husband's death -- both she and Mary being widows for many concurrent years.  They were the two oldest Bullas girls to migrate aboard the 'Titan' back in 1857 [Scroll down at link to search by keywords: Bullas AND Titan], when Anne was twenty years old and Mary eighteen.  Together, they surely must have contributed significantly to domestic arrangements as the family bravely journeyed over threatening sea and challenging landscape to settle in the far flung, infant Colony of Victoria.  Likely they shared the strongest of filial bonds.

All SMITH sons other than David - and, of course, William John, aged 58 in 1921, who had the farm at Leitches Creek - appear to have moved away from the Daylesford district by 1921; George Henry, 54, and Richard Herbert, 52, to Queensland and Frank Ernest, 50, Joseph Albert, 46, and Charles Howard, 44, to farming pursuits at Kellalac, near Warracknabeal in the Victorian Wimmera. 

Of the daughters, Emily had died in 1896 aged twenty-seven, Annie, 60 in 1921, was married to Emily's widower, retired bookseller John WOOD, Florence Seymour, 48, was married to Warrnambool school teacher Joseph Henry SMITH and Agnes Evelyn, 42, was married to Edward George ROBINSON of Kellalac.

Edward ROBINSON's sister Mary Ellen had married Frank SMITH in 1916 at Kellalac and another sister, Fanny Alice, married Charles SMITH in 1922, also at Kellalac.

Anne's Death in 1926

Anne SMITH died on 14th July, 1926, at Queensberry Street, Daylesford.  Dr Trewhella recorded that "Dilalation of Heart" and "Syncope" caused Anne's death.  "89 years" of age, she had been "54 years in Victoria".  Her occupation was "Home Duties".  Methodist Minister T. Pollard James, a cousin of Anne's daughter-in-law Jane Ann SMITH (nee TRESISE), witnessed her burial.  (Note:  Anne and William are buried in the same grave.)  Finally, the name of Anne's mother is recorded accurately as "Anne Bullas formerly Hutchinson" on Anne's death registration.

Upon her death, Anne's probate shows that the Mossops and the Stannages paid the balances of their purchase prices and the interest thereon.  Thus, the settlement of the sale of the Daylesford farm holdings was concluded.

A short notice placed in 'The Daylesford Advocate' on 16th July, 1926 announced simply:- "SMITH. - At Queensberry Street on July 14th, Anne, relict of late William Smith, of Mayfield Farm, passed peacefully away in her 90th year."

Research so far has found no formal account, in the form of an obituary or other such article, of Anne's life.  Consequently, it appears that little of the public events of her life or of her reputation is documented.  Nonetheless her achievement of a full and valuable life can be recorded here.

Anne lived for nearly ninety years!   She brought eleven other lives into the world and nurtured each one of them into adulthood.  In her time and in the conditions in which she lived, this was an outstanding feat of mothering in her own right and of parenting with her husband William.

Aged twenty, Anne came to the Colony of Victoria's rudimentary 'boom town' Ballarat in late-1857, the oldest daughter of an immigrant Yorkshire family, having sailed half the globe aboard the 'Titan'.  Anne's voyage to the antipodes took one hundred days - three months on perilous oceans to make a home in the foreign Australian bush!  (Fellow passenger, James Letcher, recorded a detailed journal of the voyage, found at that link after scrolling down and clicking his name.) 

Anne married within nine months of her arrival and settled soon after in Ballarat's even more rudimentary outpost, Daylesford, that was on the cusp of its own 'boom' period.  Pioneers William and Anne prospered in that environment as they raised their young children during the next twenty or so years.  Anne no doubt ensured the good health of her steadily increasing brood and laid sound domestic foundations whilst William earned the living by developing his skills and enterprise in concert with the evolving economy of Daylesford.

On his deathbed, William entrusted the family's well-earned wealth to Anne with approbation and she retained ownership of its centrepiece, 'Mayfield', for a quarter of a century.  Anne saw each of her daughters marry and make their own lives with their husbands and families.   Similarly, she saw all but one of her sons marry, with the two eldest maintaining the family's Daylesford and district farming enterprises.

We are left with an impression of a strong woman who grew even greater in stature the longer she lived.   Illiterate, she successfully partnered her husband in the care and growth of their large family, varied lifestyle and diverse assets, a role she faithfully continued for thirty years following his death.

Final Closure of the Farming Operations

During the fourteen years following Anne's death, the SMITHs' remaining Victorian farming operations came to a close.  Oldest son William John's 1934 last Will and Testament indicates that brothers Frank and Charles had returned to central Victoria from the Wimmera and were living in Ballarat and Daylesford respectively, each being a "Retired Farmer".  The fourth Victorian brother, Joseph, a bachelor, had returned also, and died at Ballarat in 1937, described as "Retired Farmer".  Joseph was buried with his parents in their Daylesford Cemetery grave.  At his death in 1940, William John was living in Daylesford and was described as a "Retired Farmer" also.

Reginald Tresise Smith

Fifty years earlier, in 1890, William John had married Daylesford milliner Jane Ann TRESISE in the Wesleyan Parsonage at Egerton, near Ballarat.  The bridegroom's uncle, Rev Moses BULLAS, officiated.

William John and Jane Ann were recorded on their death certificates as having had no children.  However, Reginald Tresise SMITH (born c1893) named them as his parents on his 1921 marriage certificate recording his marriage to Florence Cecily OLVER, from whom he divorced in c1925.

Also, Reginald received a pecuniary legacy from the estate of William John.  In his Will, however, William John denotes each executor and all beneficiaries, except Reginald, by blood relationship to himself.

Additionally, one of the two notices of William John's death that appeared in 'The Daylesford Advocate' on 18th June, 1940, described William John as Reginald's "kind foster-father".

Before that, 'The Daylesford Advocate' of 14th May, 1918, reporting the death and funeral of Jane Ann, lists Reginald as one of the "six relatives of the deceased lady" who were cord-bearers at the graveside.

For some time it was thought that Reginald may have been the son of one of Jane Ann's siblings (cf 'Tresise' in his name), but was brought up by William John and Jane.  However, research in May, 2000, revealed that Reginald may have been born on 7th March, 1894, at Villiers Street, Hotham, the son of 20 years old Eva HANLEY.  Eva gave her baby the name "William Forbes". No father's name is recorded in the Victorian Birth Register.

In 1894, Jane Ann SMITH's sister, Ellen Maude HANLEY (nee TRESISE), and her husband Joseph were living at 2 Vale Street, Hotham, just at the corner of Villiers and Vale Streets.

Whilst research has found no other details of Eva HANLEY save the record of the birth of her son, she may have been a relative (niece? cousin?) of Joseph HANLEY.

This highly circumstantial evidence regarding Reginald's identity is supported by the fact that the plaque on his grave at the Springvale Cemetery, where he was buried in 1962, names him as "Reginald Tresise Smith k/a Forbes".  Other evidence suggests that Reginald had adopted the surname 'Forbes' from as early as 1930 although he never changed his name officially.

Also, it is clear from a number of authentic documents, ie his Will and various family formal public announcements, that Reginald also was known as 'Rex'.

  • Could it be that baby William Forbes was taken to Daylesford to be fostered by the childless William and Jane SMITH? 

  • Was his name changed in order to ensure his inclusion in the family? 

  • Did Ellen and Joseph HANLEY's eldest child, Ella Mabel (known as Mabel), accompany him to Daylesford as a help for Jane?  Mabel, aged seventeen, certainly was in Smith's Creek caring for Jane's mother, Dinah TRESISE, in 1899.  Further, she was staying in the 'Brooklands' farmhouse at Leitches Creek at the time of Jane's sudden death in May, 1918. 

  • Was 'Brooklands' at Leitches Creek Reginald's home as he grew to adulthood

  • Did Mabel tell Reginald of his birth mother and his father's surname (likely 'Forbes')?  Certainly there appears to have been an ongoing close relationship between Reginald and Mabel.  The Jane Ann SMITH Bereavement Notice mentioned above is placed by William John, Mabel and Reginald together and the William John SMITH death notice also mentioned above is placed by Mabel and Reginald together and calls William John Mabel's "loved uncle". 

  • Did Reginald decide to honour his birth mother and father by adopting the surname 'Forbes'? 

Evidence suggests that nobody, save Mabel HANLEY (likely), Dorothy RANKIN - see  below - (possibly) and Reginald's lawyer, knew Reginald's legal name from about 1930 till after his death in 1962 when his Will was discovered.  Indeed, it is likely that he was known as 'Rex Forbes' during the last three decades of his life.

This puzzle continues to be investigated.

Reginald Tresise SMITH is Helen Cristine SMITH's grandfather.  Helen married a SMITH - Martyn Geoffrey.

Plaques marking the lawn grave of Reginald Tresise Smith and his life-partner Dorothy at Springvale Botanical Cemetery

Lawn graves at Springvale Botanical Cemetery

Clearly, Reg and Dorothy took the surname 'Forbes'.  Dorothy, 48, was killed when a car hit her as she crossed Johnston Street, Collingwood, at the north-east corner of Gold Street, on the night of 17th July, 1957, five years before Reg's death, aged 69, due to lung cancer on 5th August, 1962.  She was returning home to 206 Albert Street, East Melbourne.  Dorothy's maiden name was 'Rankin'.  Although her plaque, and her death certificate, indicate that she and Reg were married, neither Reg's death certificate nor the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages record such a marriage.

Life Before Australia:

First father William SMITH's 1858 Australian marriage registration records that his father and mother were James, a "farrier", and Anne (nee EATON).  It is thought that James and Anne did not migrate from England to Australia.

The baptismal register of the Parish of Crich in the County of Derby records that William was baptised on 29th December, 1833.  He was the "son of James & Ann Smith", who lived in "Crich".  James is described as a "Miner" in the register. 

Curate George Baker Blackley had his hands full - literally and perhaps metaphorically - on that mid-winter's day.  Two others were baptised with William. Emily, the daughter of Tansley Moor couple David and Sarah Marshall, and Jabez, the son of Thomas and Arabella Lee from Fritchley, were baby William's companions - all three, we may guess, would have behaved perfectly, of course!  David Marshall was a farmer and Thomas Lee a miner.

William's marriage registration records that William was born in the Parish of Ashover whilst the Crich Parish register and the International Genealogical Index record that he was baptised in Crich. 

These Derbyshire Parishes abut each other and, from time to time, have merged at their boundaries.  Following is correspondence (dated 22/1/00) from modern-day Crich resident Alan Flint that suggests William was born in the village of Holloway, which straddled the Parishes of Crich and Ashover:- 

" is very possible that he could have been described as being born in Ashover, simply because he was actually born in the part of the village of Holloway, which was at that time located within the large parish of Ashover .... Crich Parish and Ashover Parish were next to each other.  In actual fact last year I was able to visit a house in present day Holloway, in the garden of which is a very large dome-shaped rock.  On the top of the rock an inscription has been chiselled out.  If you can imagine a center line, on one side the letter CP had been chiselled out, on the other side of the line the letters AP.  Meaning the boundary between the parishes of Crich and Ashover.  Much more of Holloway was in Ashover Parish than was in Crich .... Even if he was born in the Ashover part of Holloway it is still possible that he may have been christened at Crich, because geographically Holloway is much nearer to the church at Crich than it is to the church at Ashover.  And journeying in those days would not have been easy."

Further information about William's family may be gleaned from the 1841 Census for the Crich Parish.  Only one eight year old "William Smith" is recorded as living in Crich at the time of the Census.  Thirty-five year old "James SMITH" was his father and thirty-five year old "Ann" his mother.  Both are recorded to have had the occupation of "Labourer", as is William's ten year old brother, Henry.  William had two other brothers, Charles,13, and Thomas, 6. His only sister at the time was Ann, 2.

The IGI records the baptisms of all the above SMITH children except Ann.  The baptism of Charles and Henry occurred in the Parish of Carsington, near Crich, whilst those of William and Thomas occurred in Crich.

William's wife Anne's parents, David and Ann BULLAS, nee HUTCHINSON, are the subject of their own FF2001 webpage.

(NOTE: The 'Related Links' in 'Family Contact' immediately below contain THE SMITH-BULLAS COLLECTION of twelve images arising from the lives of William and Anne Smith along with numerous related links to other online sites, including Alan Flint's excellent Crich, in the County of Derbyshire, that he now no longer develops, having handed his material over for use in the new, superb Crich Parish.)

Family Contacts

Surname: SMITH
Given Name: Martyn
Surname: JORDAN
Given Name: Jenny    (descendant of Florence Seymour SMITH)
Related Links: The Smith-Bullas Collection | Directory of Helen and Martyn Smith's FF2001 Webpages

Last updated by Martyn SMITH on 14 March, 2017.