Will, will or will

For this post, week 9 in #52ancestors, I had to decide:

  • Will I research a relative named Will or William?
  • Will I look at a will from one of my relatives?
  • Or will I research a relative who was willing to do more than most?

My decision was to check out the wills of some of my relatives. We are very lucky here in Tasmania that the wills of many people are found online at the LINC Tasmanian names index.

What did I learn from these wills?

My grandmother Hannah ENGLAND had bequeathed 25 pound to each of her grandchildren when they attained the age of 16.

My grandfather Henry Lewis ENGLAND bequeathed his piano to me. I remember as a child learning and practicing those scales and even now, after many years of not using the piano, I can still play most of Fur Elise from memory.

It looks like my great great grandparents John and Annie DAVEY did not leave wills so the Supreme Court appointed some of their children to make an inventory and then to sell the goods and chattels and hand the money to the court to pay costs. I am not very good at reading all that legalese though so it might mean something else entirely.

My great great grandfather Francis COLGRAVE left everything to his two youngest sons, presumably as the older sons already had their own properties and the older sisters were all married with their own families.

I can’t find any more wills of my direct relatives but one of my indirect relatives (sister of my great great grandmother Caroline Chandler nee Bryant) named Esther Julia WINTER left many instructions on who was to receive what in her will.

Readers: What is the most interesting will you have read in your family or from collateral kin?



4 thoughts on “Will, will or will

  1. Hi Sue I don’t have a Will for you but I found a Walter that may be of interest to you or some of your readers. I have been looking for personal accounts of the Brisbane Waterside workers as my Dad and his male family members were all Wharfies. I googled the names of the Brisbane wharves and got all the latest redevelopment news. I tried a number of other keywords. Of interest I got Margo Beasleys book about the Union history of the wharves in Australia. But this little gem I am finding most interesting: Wharfie by Wal Stubbings and Lesley Synge. Wal was born in Tassie in 1813 and died in 2014. His family were Wharfies and timber cutters. Wal talks of his life growing up in Hobart, then moving to Strahan and the Mt Lyell mine area. Eventually the family moved up to Brisbane and Wal would have worked on one of the same wharves as my Dad. My Mum used to tell me my Dad was a communist, at the time I was mortified as I thought ‘The Communists’ were the people who started all that war business. Now having read many articles about the Communist wharfies I can now see that the humanitarian principle of ‘sharing the wealth around’ would have appealed to my father. Also the wharfies needed to stand up for unsafe work practices and the gang process as Wharfies were not always well paid. Wharfie is published by Zing Books, ISBN 9780648043508 or 97806480435508 I purchased it from The Qld State Library Online bookshop.
    Regards Marg

    • Hi Marg,
      Thanks for that great info. My great grandfather or not was also a wharfie here in Hobart in the 1940s or thereabouts. Would be interesting to check up on what their roles were.

  2. Hi Sue, I asked the question on google, what cargo left Tassie in the 1940/50’s?
    I found things like: The Paton’s Woollen Mill, the Cadbury factory, copper ingots from Mt Lyell, timber (Huon Pine), Tassie apples before the big fires and pears.
    Also Wal mentions that the boat builders of Hobart built launches for the Navy in WW2 and that Hobart has the second deepest port in the world. The other load that google mentions was migrants in and out of Tassie, their ships would have had all sorts of food and fuel requirements that would have been loaded by Wharfies. Wal tells a story of having to enter ships holds that were 60 feet deep, carrying cargo down or going below to stack the holds via wooden ladders. On one occasion his mate just above him on the ladder got claustrophobic and collapsed onto Wal. Wal got him under control and pushed him step by step back up the ladder to the deck. Thereby saving the lives of all the men on the ladder behind him. In about 1978 I went on a tourist bus trip to Tassie, we visited the Mt Lyell mine and I travelled on the tourist rail line to the mine, Wal would have travelled this line to school. The trip also visited the Capilano honey factory so perhaps honey went via ships. Speaking of interesting cargoes, in the 1960’s while working on the Sydney wharves my Dad brought home a packet of flower seeds that had fell from a slit in a jute bag he was loading. Mum being an avid gardener planted the flowers which turned out to be her favourite poppies. Dad was not so popular when the policeman next door pointed out to Mum that they were indeed Opium Poppies. I can remember Dads alligator skin Gladstone lunch bag and his metal wharfie hook that they used to move the jute bags. When I became a farmers wife I used a similar hook to move the heavy wool bales. With a bit of practice and strategic placement of that little hook a wee lassie can move a wool bale with great precision. No use expending more energy than you need to. These are the everyday stories we need to preserve. Best be off for now. Regards Marg

  3. Hi Sue,
    My father’s will which was executed in 2000 was pretty straightforward. Everything left to mum.
    My great-great-grandfather, an Irishman, died at work on the job from a heart attack in 1891. He had only been in Victoria for five years and left an estate of 156 pounds 10 shillings and 10 pence. This included freehold land, money in the bank and money owed from an Imperial pension (he had been in the British Army in the Crimean War and in India), a whole other story. He died intestate and there was a probate hearing and inquest into his death.

    PROV can provide good records for Wills and Probate and fortunately, the ones I was looking for have been digitised.

    My second great uncle Charles McRea who had lived in England and died in 1951left his estate to his three grandchildren. The daughter of his deceased son received half and one quarter each to the son and daughter of his estranged daughter (another interesting long story). He had been the CEO of a coal company in London and had been knighted and was the Sheriff of London for a year, so Sir Charles McRea. His estate at the time in today’s money was equivalent to about six and a half million pounds.

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