KENNEDY, John Eddie Sr. - I1745
John Eddie KENNEDY, Jean BURNS, and their family
THE LIFE OF DAVID AND JANET KENNEDY (BURNS) AND THEIR FAMILIES FOLLOWING THEIR MIGRATION FROM SCOTLAND IN 1854-55
3rd Great Grandparents of Wendy Elizabeth Higgins (Hine)
written by Wendy Elizabeth Kennedy Hine
John Kennedy (my 4th Great Grandfather) was born in Scotland in 1772. In 1792 he married Mrs. Kennedy (name unknown) in Scotland. Mr. & Mrs. Kennedy raised eight children, Mary b. 1793, Ann b. 14 Jan 1809, Robert b. 1797, James b. 1799, John Eddie, b. 1803, David, b. 1804, Martin b. 1805 and William b. 14 Apr 1815. It seems that the family was raised to adulthood in and around the County of Falkirk.
Falkirk, lies midway between Edinburgh and the County of Stirling. Falkirk means "speckled church" or the "church built of mottled stone". Falkirk is of historical significance insofar as it dates
back to the Romans in AD 32. Two significant battles were fought in Falkirk, the first in 1298 when the English defeated William Wallace. His defeat however was the catalyst for Scotland's future independence. In the second battle, Bonnie Prince Charlie defeated the Hanoverians in 1746. Much later Saxon families moved to the area and were granted land in the Lothians in which lies in the district of Falkirk and which ultimately became a center for industries such as iron, timber, chemicals and a distillery.
In the early 1850’s some of the family migrated from Scotland to various parts of the world. Robert Kennedy enlisted in the British Army and went to India. In 1837, James Kennedy migrated to Tasmania, Australia as a commander in the Tasmanian army. Ann, Martin, John Eddie and William went to Canada, William later moving on to the United States in 1885. Some of John Eddie Kennedy and his family later moved on the United States and married into the family of Joseph Smith the first of the modern day prophets of the Mormon Church and David Kennedy and his family migrated to Beechworth, Australia. It is possible that the intention of David Kennedy and his family in migrating to Australia was to seek their fortune on the goldfields of the Ovens Valley.
David and Janet Kennedy (Burns)
Janet Burns was born in Kilsyth, Scotland in about 1809. It is believed that her parents were Robert Burns and Elizabeth Forrester. Her future husband, David Kennedy, who gave his occupation as a Mason, was born in Falkirk, in the County of Stirlingshire in Scotland about 1804, the 5th child in a family of 8 known children. According to the marriage record, No 50200 from the Parish of Falkirk in the County of Stirling David Kennedy married Janet Burns from the Parish of Kilsyth, on the 19 November 1830. David and Janet had 7 children David Robert Kennedy, born 1831, William Burns Kennedy, born 1833, John Kennedy 23 December 1836, Janet Burns Kennedy born 1838, Ann Gordon Lockhart Kennedy born 1840 and James Kennedy b 24 October 1842, both Ann and James were born in Edinburgh. Prior to leaving Scotland David kept a wholesale liquor store in High Street Edinburgh.
David and Janet set sail on the ship “Athletae”, a sailing vessel of 1060 tonnes, carrying 409 assisted migrants, which left Birkenhead, England on November 23, 1854 and arrived in Portland Bay, Australia in February 19, 1855 under the Captaincy of Mr. H Bradley.
David Kennedy (Senior) as he later became known, was aged 40 years, his wife Janet Burns Kennedy was aged 44 years, when they embarked on their journey to Australia with four of their seven children David Robert Kennedy, born 1831, William Burns Kennedy
The Journey to Australia
On Saturday 18, November 1854 passengers began boarding the “Athletae” at Liverpool for the journey to Australia. “Athletae” was described as a “fine ship” with very “comfortable berths."
On the following day, the riggers were on deck preparing the rigging ready for the ship to sail. On Tuesday 21 November, a child was born, - the child, David Joseph, was the child of David Robert Kennedy and Ellen Nelson Gillies. The addition to the passenger list was described by a Thomas Dickson, a passenger on the “Athletae”, in his diary “we have got another added to our number tonight by the berth of a child it is a son born about eight at night and the mother sat down to her tea about tow hours before so that was quick and soon over and the mother doing well….” The preacher who also buried those who died on the voyage baptized the child. (The Preacher also conducted divine service every Sunday and prayers each night following the ringing of the bells.)
On November 23, 1854, two steam tugs pushed her away and at 5am the “Athletae” sailed from Birkenhead. According to the records, as the ship fare welled the coast of Ireland most of the passengers became very seasick as the weather during the early part of the voyage was wet, snowing and very cold. As the winds rose the ship regularly received a battering with huge swells breaking over her bow. On those occasions it was all hands on deck for the bucketing of water, with the carpenters working feverishly to stop up the holes as chests began to float from the hold. Often the berths were so sodden in the fore part of the ship that beds were brought up on deck each day to air except when it was bitterly cold. One passenger described such conditions; “it was the cruelest sight I have ever seen”. During some very rough weather the “Athletae” lost its Fore-top Gallant and Royal Mast, and once again the carpenters were set to work on repairs.
As the weather gradually improved and the passengers settled to the long journey ahead, but not without much discomfort and some difficult times. Passengers were divided into “Divisions” and by gender. Men and women spent the journey in separate quarters with a constable who was responsible for the good conduct of each Division.
Sometimes fare winds would ensure the ship was running at nine miles per hour, although from time to time the wind dropped and the sea was as calm as a lake. There were days when the ship traveled only six miles in two whole days. In between fare winds and squalls the best the passengers could do to amuse themselves at a four miles per hour pace was play games, dance and sing. They passed their time participating in a number of activities such as the singing of Psalms which was conducted by the Preacher and enjoyed by all and often in the background was heard the familiar and rhythmic sound of the sailors singing their rendition of “Rob Roy McGregor” as they pumped the ship’s water. Some passengers played musical instruments including the clarinet, accordion and drums, and some sailors entertained with triangles, all for the passenger’s pleasure.
In between musical pursuits passengers enjoyed the bird life constantly circling the ship. There were many sightings of porpoises, dolphins and sperm whales. Both Tinkers and Albatross also flew around the ship and were regularly caught by the passengers and sailors. It seems that the killing of albatross for the feat was a pastime not to be missed, as was the taking of feathers for quill pens.
“Athletae” passed the coast of Portugal and the first land sighted was Madeira on the “clearest morning ever seen.”, Madeira passed and on Wednesday 6, December 1854 the “Athletae” sailed passed the Canary Islands. Many ships passed “Athletae” on her journey including “Redrock” sailing from Newport to Calles. Much later into the journey it was reported that on New Years Eve a ship, the Clipper “Bourke Stamford” from Liverpool was sighted bound for the Bay of Bengal.
On Monday 11 December, the passengers received their first fresh water ration, after queuing all night to receive their share. Chests were also removed from the hold for those who wanted to obtain clean clothes. Because the weather was warming up, stockings were put away as were shoes. Sleeping on deck became a habit until about 3am when passengers returned in the cool of the morning to their berths for the remainder of the night. Reports indicate that health and hygiene was maintained rigorously by a doctor who inspected the passengers regularly to ensure “they all had clean shirts on." Dirty shirts meant a sentence of bread and water for a week.
Berths were regularly washed out and inspected by the Doctor. If fault was found the whole Division, was deprived of rations. Children then often went to bed crying with hunger. Many passengers challenged the Doctor about retaining the entire division meat because one or two had not cleaned berths properly, and noted that more often than not however the ration was under the required weight anyway. It was the Captain’s responsibility to speak to the passengers, and discipline the Doctor, Constable and Third Mate, hence the ration weight was rectified – even if only for a short while however. In the case of the “Athletae” it was reported that the Doctor “was often worse for drink“ and probably had little notion of his responsibilities in ensuring adequate passenger rations. Some days later the passengers mutinied, deciding that the Doctor was not doing his duty and that they believed he was incapable of doing so. A petition was drawn up which outlined the need for more room for beds, more fresh water and improved ration arrangements.
Punishment for laziness was severe. One passenger, a Duncan McMillan was punished:
“ Having been suffering from a severe attack of lazy …insubordination as evinced by his determined shirking of his fair share of the work of the last two days and his obstinate inattention to the direction of the constable of his Division.” “ In order to cure his present disorder and to prevent the repetition of such complaint for the future I consider it advisable that he should take moderate exercise he will therefore during the next seven days receive every morning on application at the surgery Soap – Water and a brush with which he will carefully clean every part of each Water closet on deck both inside; the dose to be repeated in the evening – Wm Johnson Rowland Surgeon Superintendent. December 13 1854.
On Tuesday 19 December the “Athletae” crossed the equator at or near St Paul's, a reef of rocks. Neptune boarded the ship in traditional style and asked about the health of the children, and the following day preparations for celebrations began. Shaving was the highlight and on the quarter deck, Neptune, the Captain and his family paraded to the tune of the Highland Bagpipes as the Baker was shaved first and after soaping him with Molasses and flour he was then hosed off. Sailors were shaved, people danced and sang and the line was crossed in the stiff breeze of the South East Trades.
December 31st arrived and the passengers sang in the New Year without “drop of spirits” as the captain was under a threat of a fine of five hundred pounds if he sold liquor to passengers. Illicit liquor however for three shillings was available and as one passenger declared, “nice drop of rum it is too”. Ships travelling to the UK were used to deliver return mail from passengers. As they passed a boat was lowered if it was safe and the passengers’ mail passed over by the Captain.
Tuesday 9th January 1855 saw the half way mark of the journey with Quail landing on the Topsail yard, almost the size of a turtledove. At the same time all was not well with the ague and fever rife among the sailors. Often the female passengers were confined to the Quarter Deck until later in the evening then allowed to go below to their berth. This practice did nothing to improve the health of the women as the weather grew colder and damp. In addition it was not unusual for the crew not to light fires and the passengers were forced to warm themselves in the Galley if they were able.
On Wednesday 19 February, the ship sighted a very "high coast and many hills” It was the coast of Australia, and 88 days since the “Athletae” had left Liverpool. A Doctor boarded as the ship docked in order to check the health of the passengers. Some had “ship fever” and were quarantined. Information provided to the passengers suggested that the land ahead was both inhospitable, with very harsh living conditions. The forthcoming land was described as “everything dear, low wages and very little prospects for work, and plenty of sharks.” On arrival at Portland fire was raging on land and many of the passengers were given orders to report to Port Fairy for work.
Following the docking of the ship, the ship’s Captain and the Doctor had charges brought against them and on Wednesday 21 February, the sailors stopped work. Mounted police with guns took away the Captain and the women gave evidence on board about their ill treatment when unwell, the rations being taken away and the children’s hunger. At the conclusion of the voyage many were unwell, disillusioned and wondering what was ahead of them. Captain Henry Arthur Bradley however was subsequently reported by the Portland newspaper as a disgrace.
Arrival in Australia – Emerald Hill
On arrival in Australia David Kennedy(Senior) and his family settled in Emerald Hill. (Later known as South Melbourne). The family remained in Melbourne until later in 1856 when they moved on to the Beechworth goldfields. Whilst living at Emerald Hill, their son David Kennedy married Helen ''“ Ellen”'' Nelson Gillies, and daughter Janet Kennedy married Albert Wallace. At the time of marriage David Kennedy was about 22 years, a bachelor and Cabinet Maker/Joiner by trade. Ellen "Helen" Gillies was about 19 years, a spinster from Edinburgh Scotland and indicated on the passenger records that she was a “Domestic”. David and Ellen were married on New Years Day 1856 at St Peters Church of England Eastern Hill, Melbourne according to the rites of the Church of England by the Rev John Barbour in the presence of David Kennedy's sister Janet Burns Wallace (Kennedy) and Albert Wallace her husband. (Janet Burns Kennedy married Albert Wallace on the same day in the same church). David & Ellen declared that they were members of the Free Church of Scotland and their marriage record indicates Ellen’s father as Adam Gillies was a Cordwainer (a shoemaker) and her mother Mary Nelson. [This conflicts with later information on her death certificate which indicates her father as Peter Gillies, profession unknown, and her mother as Jane Nelson.] Ellen signed the marriage record with a cross indicating that she could neither read or write. In 1856, just prior to leaving Emerald Hill David and Ellen had their second child Robert Nelson Gillies Kennedy who was born on 26 July.
Beechworth and the Goldfields
It was later in 1856 that the Kennedy families, senior and Junior, and Wallace family moved on to the goldfields of Beechworth in Northern Victoria. They were in fact were part of the pioneer migration to the gold rushes in Victoria in the 1850’s. Rate Records of 1856 indicate that they lived opposite the Newtown Bridge owning a building to the value of 10 shillings. Gold was first discovered in Spring Creek (later known as Beechworth) in 1852 and the area became known as the Ovens Goldfields. About that time the population in the Spring Creek district grew from a small number of pastoralists to 15,000 immigrants from USA, Canada and Scotland, and some Chinese. All came to seek their fortune in a very inhospitable environment. In addition to mining as pioneers of the Beechworth district the family along with their countrymen built many of the stone buildings and bridges in the district, many of which remain today and reminders of the Stonemasons skills and as a monument to their commitment to a life in a new country.
As the families arrived, they erected either a tent or a slab hut along the miner’s race, the original site of the Spring Creek diggings.
At that time, it was reported that holes had been dug to fifty feet in depth and sluicing was carried on in the bed of the river. According to Ros Shennan in her book “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” …it was the middle of Winter and water was a problem…. Along the creek for about a quarter of a mile to the right, a Mr. Kennedy had first hole on the flat, and the area was subsequently known as “Kennedy’s Flat”. It is suggested that this claim belonged to my third great grandfather David Kennedy who was apparently successful for it was reported in the "Constitution" that the popular cry at Silver Creek was "forward to Kennedy's claim".
According to reports at that time Silver Creek was a frenzy of activity. It was also noted that "Kennedy’s claim” later belonged to his son, David Robert Kennedy and later his grandchild David Joseph Kennedy. Rate records indicate that the family lived within close proximity from each other for many years.
|704||1856||Albert Wallace||Owner||Spring Creek||Newtown bridge||10 Shillings|
|704||1856||David Kennedy||Owner||As Above||5 Shillings|
|696||1859-60||Albert Wallace||Owner||Spring Creek||Government land||8 Shillings, 4 Shillings, 4 Shillings|
|698||1859-60||David Kennedy||Building burnt down||Government land|
|699||1859-60||D Kennedy Senior||July 1860||Government land|
|674||1860-61||D Kennedy Senior||Spring Creek near One Mile Road||Building Burnt down|
|675||1860-61||D Kennedy Junior||Spring Creek near One Mile Road||Building Burnt down|
|676||1860-61||Albert Wallace||Spring Creek near One Mile Road|
|1861-62||D Kennedy Senior||Hut. 12x111/2||Slab and Bark|
|1861-62||D Kennedy Junior||Slab and Paling roof||House 13x151/2||Annihilated by fire|
|559||1863||D Kennedy Senior||Owner||Church Street – – Bellett||Land and Building||1 Pound 10 Shillings|
|643||1862-63||D Kennedy Junior||Hut. 20x10.Slab and Bark||Across Spring Creek on government land||Burnt down|
|646||1862-63||Albert Wallace||Hut. Slab and Bark 12x11.6||Removed 1866|
|647||1862-63||Albert Wallace||Hut. 16x12.6|
|632||D Kennedy Senior||12x11.6.||Burnt down|
|633||1864||Albert Wallace||Spring Creek||116x12.6|
|628||1865||William Kennedy||Spring Creek||Removed|
|629||1865||Mrs. Kennedy Senior||Slab and Bark||Burnt down|
1872, The family lived in a "weatherboard house" in Spring Creek next door to Albert and Jane Wallace Kennedy), David's sister and near Janet Kennedy (Burns) senior who at that stage was the widow of David senior. Unfortunately David Kennedy Senior was admitted to the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum in June 1864 suffering from mental illness. A Dr. Thomas Dick the resident medical Officer in his Deposition following the inquest into David’s death in April 1865 said that David Kennedy had been admitted suffering from “mania”. According to the Inquisition Report he had become “paralysed and experienced several convulsive seizures”. It seemed he was physically in “reasonable condition” and died on 5 April, 1865 aged 60 years from “a disease of the brain” Diseases of old age such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia were unheard of at that time and no clinical diagnosis was made other that a “disease of the brain” He is buried in the Asylum cemetery which now lies beneath the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne, Victoria. The deposition of an Attendant noted, “his sister was with him two days before he died”. (His sister was named as Janet Burns wife of William Burns. It is now known that Janet was the daughter of his brother John Eddie Kennedy. John had migrated to Canada but his daughter Janet had married a William Burns and migrated to live in Williamstown in Victoria Australia.
Following the death of her husband in 1865 Janet Kennedy his wife remained in Beechworth near her family living in what was described as a "slab house" Records indicate that she died of "old age" at 84 years on October 8, 1888, at her home in Kerford Street Beechworth. She was buried in the Presbyterian Section of the Beechworth Cemetery, by the Rev Henry Swan.
The two other children of David and Janet Kennedy grew up in Beechworth. Their son William Kennedy remained a bachelor and lived in Beechworth until his death. He died of Asthma in the Ovens and District Hospital aged 52 years on the 9 August 1885. He is buried in the Presbyterian section of the Beechworth cemetery.
Ann Gordon Lockhart Kennedy at this stage cannot be located. There is a reference to her on her mother Janet’s death certificate as the youngest living child aged 42 years at the time of her mother’s death.
David and Ellen Kennedy (Gillies) 2nd Great Grandparents
Following their move to Spring Creek or Beechworth, as it later became known David and Ellen had 6 more children, born in either Spring Creek or Silver Creek. William Burns b. 1858, John Burns b.1860, Elspeth Meldrum b.1862, Janet Waddell b. 1863, Jane Shaw, Nelson Gillies b. 1856, and Albert Wallace Kennedy (named after friend Albert Wallace) b.1868 being the last child who died at three months and is buried with his grandmother, Janet, in the Presbyterian Section of the Beechworth Cemetery.
The family lived and worked raising their family and during the years 1864 - 1872 David Kennedy, owned land off Tomlinson's Rd at Silver Creek. This, according to local residents was the site of the original "Kennedy's Flat" formerly owned by his father. As a miner, David moved around within Spring Creek and Silver Creek. The children attended school in Beechworth, Silver Creek and Stanley, the latter a quartz mining settlement, which later became a timber and fruit growing area. Most of the children married, and worked at least for sometime, probably until the gold rush had passed, in Beechworth - Stanley or Nine Mile, as it was then known.
Fires destroyed many properties in those days. Kennedy houses were no exception as is noted in the above rate details. Two fires were reported in the OMA, one of which was fatal. The first occurred on February 25 1862 and reported by the “Advertiser” It appears that “a house on the opposite side of the Creek, belonging to David Kennedy was in flames”. The house, of slabs, shingle and lined with Calico was razed to the ground in 30 minutes. Three children were alone and in bed in the house at the time, their parents having gone to Beechworth minutes before. A candle burning in the window caught the curtains which ignited the calico and the house was ablaze. A passer by called the “Cooper” and they rescued the children and some furniture, although not without extensive injury to the Cooper.
The second, a fatal fire in 1872, which took the life of Ellen Kennedy leaving her young family and husband David is a sad and pathetic story reported in both the summary in the "Constitution" newspaper and the Inquest. She was buried by the Rev George Graham, Presbyterian Minister in the Beechworth Cemetery. Her death was informed by John Dempster the Deputy Coroner who conducted the inquest in the house of David and Ellen on May 18, 1872. The Inquisition as it was termed was conducted by the Deputy coroner with a team of “good and lawful men of Beechworth.” The finding was "accidental death by burning, her clothes catching on fire in her husband's house.” The Oven and Murray Advertiser reports that Janet Kennedy, widow and mother in law of Ellen was told by her grandson Johnny that his mother had had an accident and would she please come. She was badly burnt and could barely speak. Dr Fox was called and ordered brandy and water and ointment. "But the case was hopeless" he said. Her husband David was informed by their daughter Elsie (Elspeth) and informed the coroner that his wife was subject to fits of dizziness. Mary Strugnell, a neighbor and the butcher's wife was called to render assistance. A full account of this incident is in the OMA and Coroner's Inquest.
Following the death of Ellen in 1872, it is believed that the children were raised by their grandmother Janet and father. David Robert Kennedy died on April 12 1922 aged 89 at Nth Fitzroy at the home of John Barry his son in law. (John Barry was married to his daughter Janet Waddell Kennedy). He was buried at the Booroondarra Cemetery on 10 April 1922.
The Children Of David and Ellen Kennedy
David Joseph Kennedy
The first of their children was born "At Sea" on the “Athletae” on or about November 21, 1854, just prior to the ship’s departure from Birkenhead. After a short period in Emerald Hill following their arrival in Australia, David Joseph was born. He was raised and lived in his early years, in Beechworth with his parents. He gave his occupation as a Blacksmith from Silver Creek, when he married Mary Ann Osborne according to License at Reids Creek by the incumbent of Christ Church, Beechworth in 1877. Mary Ann Osborne was the daughter of Joseph Osborne and Elizabeth Sarah Johns. David and Mary Ann raised 7 of their 8 children. Elizabeth Sarah, b. 1877, Mary Ann b. 1879, Ellen Gillies b.1881, David James b. 1883 (d. 1880), Janet Burns b.1885, Joseph William b.1887, James Burns b. 1894, Elspeth Eileen b.1901. Ros Shennen in her book "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" records information about the Silver Creek SS No 2438 where the children attended school. In 1888, the trustees were invited to make an extension of an extra classroom with an increase in the annual rental to 18 pounds. On October 27 1888 Matthew Hayes writing on behalf of the parents to the Education Dept said, "the time has come when a State School building should be erected in this place". He pointed out the current ventilation and poor conditions of the existing school. The letter was signed by a number of parents giving details of the children they expected would attend. David Joseph Kennedy expected 6 to attend.
The Index to Inspectors Register of Common School No 36 Beechworth indicated the children of David Kennedy occupation- Coachsmith by trade, expected to attend were:
|No 822||Mary||b. 17.4.79|
|No. 823||Ellen||b. 26.8.81|
|No 855||Janet||b. 12.11.85|
|No 853||Joseph||b. 18.9.87|
|No 853||Elspeth Eileen||b. 15.10.01|
Mary Ann died 1903, died aged 44 years and is buried in the Presbyterian section of the Beechworth Cemetery with 2 of her children, David James who died in 1890 aged 6 years and daughter Janet Burns Kennedy b. 1885 died in 1961. The headstone is inscribed with the words: "Sacred to the Memory of Mary Ann. Beloved wife of David Kennedy died October 13 1903 aged 44 years. Also our little David. Aged 6 years"
David later married his second wife, Amy Roberts. This marriage brought forth a further 5 children. His last place of residence in Beechworth prior to his death was Kerferd Rd. David later returned to Melbourne to be with his family, following the death of Amy and died, aged 79 years at the residence of one of children in Ivanhoe in 1932. The information on the Beechworth cemetery record indicates that one of his late residences was St. Kilda where he was a Boat builder. He is buried alongside his second wife Amy in the Catholic section of the Beechworth Cemetery.
Robert Nelson Gillies Kennedy
David and Ellen's second child Robert Nelson Gillies Kennedy, named after his mother Ellen Nelson Gillies was born in 1856 in Emerald Hill and grew up Spring Creek. He married Lucy Sargeant from Stanley in 1866 in Melbourne, and moved to a weatherboard house which was located on the main Stanley - Beechworth Road diagonally opposite the home of his brother and sister in law William and Matilda Kennedy. Robert and Lucy had 2 children, Ellen Nelson Gillies b. 1887 and Robert David Nelson (Known as David) b. 1892, both of whom were born in Stanley. Robert and Lucy’s eldest child, Ellen gave birth to a child Mary Ann in 1912 who died a few hours later. Sadly, Ellen died giving birth to twins Jane and Elizabeth in 1914 who were raised by their grandparents as their own children. (The story of the “twins” is one of interest and sometimes humor although the details are very sketchy. Rumor has it (and myth probably) that one twin married a member of the Borchsmann family and on the wedding night the unmarried twin went to the house and in an anxious state, smashed the front door down with an axe. A little time later the frightened husband left the marital home never to return. Similarly many years later, according to “legend” they harassed the local Stonemason in the preparation of the headstone for the graves of their mother and grandparents indicating quite clearly where the headstone should be put. This was in the midst of the doubt and concern of the Stonemason as to the exact location of the remains. Needless to say, and in light of what we know he put the headstones where “he was told”. Both still alive they have shunned their family in recent years and according to some have lived an extraordinary and eccentric life, having claimed, “they were thrown out of their grandparents house with a suitcase and a little dog”. According to the family they are currently living together in Melbourne Victoria. Stanley people are aware that the twins came each year to Stanley and sit on their grandparents grave, speak to no none and leave again. Their last known address was Pier Street Port Melbourne in about 1995.
Son, Robert [known as David], later married Alice Myrtle Ashby. Daughter of Charles and Florence Ashby (Schmidt) David and Alice had a son Hector born in 1919, who later came to Moe via Walhalla and worked at George Morgan’s timber mill. Hector Kennedy married Dorothy Mooney and raised children, Ian, Dorothy, Robert and Kathleen. Hector and his daughter Kathleen are buried in the Yallourn cemetery as are David and Alice Kennedy (Ashby). Two descendants Ian Kennedy and Dorothy Basile (Kennedy), the daughter of Hector Kennedy currently live in Moe, Victoria.
Robert Nelson Gillies Kennedy died on the 16th December 1942. The Ovens and Murray Valley Advertiser reported his death.
“He was born at Emerald Hill 86 years ago and (according to his family, ran away from home) came to Stanley aged 12 years. He became a shepherd in the hills of Beechworth for Mr. Struggnell. Later he became a butcher for Messrs Lang, Murray, Manton and Hill. He was employed in the Wallaby claim at Europa Gully. For many years he took an interest in the Stanley picnic and made the tea for the picnickers on New Years Day. He was a member of the Lodge and married Lucy Sargeant. He has a son David and daughter Ellen. In 1998 his home was pulled down and the present owners are erecting a new home on the site"
In loving memory of our dear grandfather
Robert Nelson Kennedy who passed away 8th December 1942, aged 86 years
Also our dear grandmother
Lucy Kennedy who passed away 26th December 1944, aged 78 years
"Not gone from memory
Not gone from love
But gone to a better home above"
William Burns Kennedy
William was born to David and Ellen Kennedy on June 5 1858. William later married Matilda Louisa Hellyer, a Domestic, and they lived on the Stanley - Beechworth Road opposite Robert his brother and wife Lucy and family. William and Matilda did not have children however I understand they had a special affection for their nephew, my grandfather Clarence John Kennedy. Having passed a treasured family bible to Clarence, which he William as Best Man, received on the occasion of his brother John's wedding. The bible, with its inscription, was a gift from William Tomlinson, the father of John's wife Harriet with the words inscribed:
"To William Kennedy, From William Tomlinson with his Best Wishes January 1st 1886. I will fear not the grave where my ashes must lie. For my soul is immortal and never can die" The Bible has subsequently been passed on to me through Clarence’s eldest son, my uncle, Phillip Henry John Kennedy, William Burns Kennedy d. Beechworth, Victoria 1926 in the Ovens and District Hospital. He was buried by the Rev. Wall in the Church of England Section of the Beechworth Cemetery, alongside his wife Matilda Louisa.
John Burns Kennedy
John Burns Kennedy was born at Spring Creek in 1860 and married Harriet Tomlinson in 1886, daughter of William and Mary Ann Tomlinson (Taylor). William Tomlinson owned land which is located on Tomlinson's Road off the Lower Stanley Road between Beechworth and Silver Creek. John Kennedy gave his occupation as a Tanner. John and Harriet lost three of their six children in 1898, as a result of a measles epidemic. The headstone on their grave at the Beechworth Cemetery is inscribed
"Suffer the Little Children
In loving memory of our beloved children
Thomas Walter aged 61/2 years, Emily May, aged 31/2 years and Percival Arthur aged 31/2 months.”
William John Kennedy, the eldest child of John and Harriet was born in Beechworth in 1887 and died a bachelor and gardener aged 60 years in Williamstown Hospital in 1947 Violet Ruby b. 1902 and Reginald Taylor b. 1904. Harriet died in 1929 and John Burns Kennedy died at the age of 77 years in Footscray 1937. Harriet Tomlinson’s Family is of interest to note William and Mary Tomlinson have a vary beautiful marble headstone in the Beechworth cemetery, in a grave surrounded by lacework, but almost hidden from sight by a tree which has grown to enormous heights which is inscribed with the words:
In loving memory of our dear mother Mary Ann Tomlinson who died in Beechworth September 3 1897- 73 years.
We miss thee from thy place A shadow or conflict is remiss
The sunshine of thy face
We miss thy mind and willing hand
Thy fond and loving care
Our home is dark without thee
We miss thee everywhere"
Also our dear father William Tomlinson who died October 30 1899 - 73 years.
Elspeth Meldrum Kennedy
Elspeth was born in Spring Creek in 1862. She later married David Smith Scrivener from Geelong and spent the remainder of her life in Macedon, bearing 9 children. A number of the descendants of David and Elspeth Scrivener (Meldrum) currently live in Cohuna Victoria.
Janet Waddell Kennedy
Janet was born in Spring Creek Victoria, in 1863 and later married a John Barry from Bright. There is some speculation that John Barry is related to Ellen Barry, the wife of Aaron Sherrit, member and informant of the notorious Kelly Gang.
Jane Shaw Nelson Kennedy
Jane Shaw Nelson Gillies Kennedy, my maternal great grandmother was born in 1865. District Midwife of note, a Mrs. Job Stone, assisted her into the world. She grew up in Beechworth with her family and in 1872 the year her mother died she was, according to the Rate Books of Beechworth - living in a "weatherboard house". She nominated her occupation as "a domestic". There were many hotels in Spring Creek/Silver Creek/Hurdle Flat and Stanley and most if not all women not otherwise employed were domestics in the hotels.
In 1894, Jane went to Melbourne to give birth to Clarence John Kennedy at 198 George Street Fitzroy in 1894. Clarence's father is unknown, however following his birth she returned to Beechworth/Silver Creek to be near her family. She married Thomas Blackmore of Stanley in 1896, two years after my grandfather Clarence was born. They were married by Presbyterian minister, Rev William Cooper, at the home of Mr. William Sargant, Jane and Thomas gave their occupations as a Domestic and a Splitter. Witnesses to the ceremony were William Sargeant and Elizabeth Mary Sargeant. Thomas Blackmore nominated his age as 19 years and Jane 29 years. According to the birth record of Thomas it seems he was 21 years at the time of marriage. Jane and Thomas raised three children of this marriage Ellen Carol b. 1899 in Stanley, David Robert b. 1897 also in Stanley, and Matilda Jane b. 1905 in Stanley.
Clarence John Kennedy, my grandfather, as the stepchild of Thomas Blackmore was raised as a Blackmore, and it was not until his last year of naval service did he request the navy to change his name to that of his biological mother. Naval records of Clarence for WW1 indicate that he entered the navy in 1913 as Clarence Blackmore. It was later during the War that he requested the navy to change his name to his birth name Kennedy. He was married in England as Clarence Blackmore however it is unclear whether his name was ever legally changed from Kennedy to Blackmore and then back to Kennedy.
Thomas and Jane and their children spent most of early their lives in Stanley where Thomas had worked as a Labourer on his family farm in Blackmore's Road at the junction of the Lower and Upper Stanley Roads. The rate records of the United Shire of Beechworth indicate that Jane and Thomas were resident at Back Creek (between Silver Creek and Stanley in both 1903 and 1908 where they were neighbours of Robert and Annie Blackmore the parents of Thomas.) According to the records of both Mr. Geoff Craig and M. Roslyn Shennan in their histories of Beechworth, both the Blackmore and Sargant families were very involved in the annual Silver Creek picnics along with all residents of Stanley. The Sargeants and Blackmores played together as children in Stanley. On May 5 1915 reports a bicycle accident involving David and Willie, who it seems was being "dinked" on the back of the bicycle up the hill in Camp Street.
Clarence John Kennedy and Elizabeth Sarah Ann Chapple
Clarence John Kennedy’s life as a young child is for the most part a mystery. It is clear that he was raised in Stanley with his mother and stepfather, as a Blackmore. It seems he attended Stanley PS as the Honour Board lists his and stepbrother David Blackmore as having returned from WW1 in 1919. He spent much time it seems with William and Matilda Kennedy, his uncle and aunt. However on his death certificate, informed by his family, it is claimed that David and Ellen Kennedy were his parents, when in fact they were his grandparents. Given that he was raised as a Blackmore the community would not be aware of the circumstances of his birth. However as he later reverted to his birth name Kennedy it seems that his illegitimacy needed to be addressed in a society that did not readily accept women bearing children, in what was known as “out of wedlock”. Reluctance to acknowledge children born as illegitimate is testimony to the fact that the shame brought upon the family virtually excluded them from part of mainstream life. One may speculate that given the circumstances of his birth and his personal feelings associated with it, he may have chosen to nominate his grandparents as his parents.
Clarence joined the navy in 1913 and was posted to "Cereberus” on the 22 December 1913, as an Ordinary Seaman. He was then posted to the battleship “HMAS Australia” firstly as an Ordinary Seaman and working his way to an Able Seaman then Leading Seaman until demobilization on 16 August 1919. His reports indicate that he was of “good character and moderate ability”.
In 1914 he took part in operations in German New Guinea and was awarded both chevrons, and prize money between 1914 – 1917, and in 1916 he received a 1st Good Conduct Badge. Best wishes from the Princess Mary arrived for Christmas 1914 along with a gift of a gold tin containing a greeting card, cigarettes, tobacco, chocolate and a photo of the Queen. Many months at this time were spent in the North Sea aboard “HMAS Australia” as part of the Grand Fleet. In 1916, Clarence maintained a diary for a short period of time. Included was an entry for Saturday February 8 1916 – “started a new life – married”. Elizabeth Sarah Ann Chapple became his wife, the marriage being solemnized at the Registry Office in the District of Hackney, County of London, on the 5 February 1916 before Sidney F Trewin registrar and in the presence of MG Chapple and PM Chapple. He married aged 22 years as Clarence Blackmore child of Thomas Blackmore, a Motor Driver. Elizabeth gave her age as 28 years, and the daughter of James Henry Chapple, a Scaffolder. (According to the birth record Elizabeth Sarah Ann Chapple was born to Charles Henry and Elizabeth Chapple (Freeman) in the registration District of West Ham in the county of Essex on 13 February 1888 at 21 Ascot Street West Ham. Charles gave his occupation as a Gas Labourer who along with his wife lived at 21 Ascot Street West Ham.) Both Clarence and Elizabeth gave their address at the time of marriage as 148 Boleyn Rd Kingsland, part of the larger area Islington UK.
Clarence Blackmore/Kennedy gave his next of kin as his wife Elizabeth of 105 Mildmay Rd Islington UK and on demobilization as “Royal Terrace” 70 Nicholson Street Fitzroy Victoria. Other addresses listed on his naval record include 12 April 1920 moved to 86 Curtain Street North Carlton. Prior to his departure from the UK he applied to the navy for approval to change his name to Kennedy, and to the department of Repatriation for passage of his wife to Australia. Both requests were subsequently approved.
Clarence and Elizabeth (Elsie as she was known) raised three children Phillip Henry John, born 1919, Ilene Iris, my mother born 1921 and Hazel Rita Kennedy born 1923. All three children spent the majority of their formative years at 20 Ross Street Westgarth, Victoria on the banks of the Merri Creek, in a weatherboard Victorian house where my grandfather worked for the Tramways Board. Elizabeth Kennedy died in 1947 and her husband Clarence John died in 1950. They are buried together at the Preston & Northcote Cemetery Victoria.