2nd Edition of The Cossticks Available Now

The Cossticks 1700-1900 2nd Edition available now

The 2nd Edition of The Cossticks is now available for purchase directly from the printers. Soft and hardcovers are available. Click here or preview the book with the viewer at the right. Enlarge the preview to full screen to enable you to read the text of the Introduction.

Further details and projects can be found on the Historia Incognita web page.

11. John and Mary Ann Cosstick’s Children

James Edward Cosstick

The first child of John Cosstick and Mary Ann Hamilton was James Edward, born on 26 December 1861 . Mary Ann was just seventeen years old. It seems likely that Mary Ann’s mother, Ann Hamilton, had travelled from Adelaide for the occasion as a Mrs Hamilton is listed as being in attendance at the birth .

James Edward, or Ted, as his family and friends better knew him, went to New Zealand with his parents in 1863, returning to Amherst with them when he was eleven in 1872. Ted developed an interest in the activities of the gold fields, both as a miner and as a wood carter, and worked at the Opossum Gully mine of his Uncles William and Henry . He studied for the Government Engine Driver's Certificate that was issued by the Maryborough Mining Board and, upon gaining the qualification, he operated the steam engines at the Croydon Battery, as well as at the Government Battery in Talbot for a short time.

A report in the Melbourne Argus of 6 March 1875 refers to a court case where Robert Campion landlord of Avenel Hotel was charged with maliciously shooting Edward Cosstick. Avenel was the home of notorious outlaw Edward 'Ned' Kelly, and James Edward Cosstick would have been only fourteen in 1875. The story calls for further investigation.[Further details coming]

It was during the late 1870s or early 1880s that Ted Cosstick met Tom Davis Martin's eldest daughter, Lusy Elizabeth Martin. Tom Martin had for some time been farming his leased land along the Lillicur Road, as well as doing some mining and running a Butcher's shop in Amherst. His daughter, Lusy, was seventeen months older than Ted Cosstick, having been born at Ironbark Gully on 10 July 1860. Ted and Lucy were married at St. Michael’s Church of England at Talbot, on 23 November 1883. Witnesses to the marriage were Lusy’s father, Tom Davis Martin, and James’ younger sister, Margaret Cosstick .

Soon after their marriage Ted and Lusy moved to Waterloo, where Lusy's father, Tom Davis Martin was managing the Commercial Hotel. Their first four children were born at Waterloo Maude on 3 March 1886; Daisy on 4 June 1887, although she died only eleven days later ; Richard Martin on 11 July 1888; and Amy Lillian on 12 March 1890.

On 13 June 1890 Ted Cosstick's father, John Cosstick, died from injuries sustained in a wagon accident at Yorkey’s Crossing on the Amherst to Carisbrook Road. Ted and Lusy decided to move back to Opossum Gully to be closer to his mother, Mary Ann. Soon after the return to Amherst their second son, Edward Roy, was born on 29 May 1891, and their third son, Philip Charles, was born on 26 March 1893.

After returning to Opossum Gully Ted carried on his father's woodcutting and carting business, as well as continuing to look for gold. Several finds were apparently quite profitable. The fact that Ted's uncle, William Cosstick ran the Croydon Battery, helped to make small finds of gold even better, as the Talbot Leader was to report:

Matthews and party, working in Mr A. Cosstick’s paddock had a cleaning up for a fortnight's work, the return giving good wages. E. Cosstick and party also had a crushing that was payable. In connection with these crushings, it may be mentioned that owing to the liberal manner in which the parties were treated by Mr Cosstick they were able to make very good wages out of what would otherwise be hardly worth crushing .

The Matthews mentioned in the report was James David Matthews, father of Sylverton Ivy Matthews who later married Ted's son, Richard Martin Cosstick. Mr. A. Cosstick refers to Alfred Cosstick, William Cosstick's son, who lived on David Paterson's property on the Adelaide Lead Road opposite the Battery.

Ted Cosstick worked a number of areas around Opossum Gully, as well as in other parts of the district, and in October 1893 was reported to have obtained worthwhile finds at Mullocky Reef, near the Croydon Reef . Over the next ten years a considerable amount of work was done on the Mullocky Reef.

The reef occupies a nice rounded hill, which rises gradually from the clay on the north, and from Kangaroo Gully on the south. The amount of ore crushed from the place is hard to estimate, but some idea might be arrived at when one considers that the stone for a width of twelve feet was taken out bodily and crushed, giving good returns for a considerable time. The ore is exactly the same in appearance as the Pearl or Croydon...and may be said to lead to the last names reefs. Upon inspection the gold in most of these reefs is fine, and a fair quantity is doubtless obtained from the sandstone, which, upon proper treatment, gives results that are satisfactory to all concerned. None of the Mullocky yields were very high, but the quantity of ore treated, and the ease with which it could be got out and crushed, make up in a remarkable manner for the low grade ore to be treated. A rich ore is not always the most payable...

Very near to the Mullocky Reef was the Mary Ann Reef, between the Mullocky Reef and the Croydon Battery. It was discovered by accident one Sunday and had been worked considerably as an open cut mine with dividends of up to two pounds ten shillings per week . It seems likely that the reef was discovered by the Cossticks and was named either after John Cosstick's wife, Mary Ann, or after his daughter who was born in 1879 and died in 1880.

Much of the news relating to mining at Opossum Gully centred on the Croydon Battery and it's owner, William Cosstick. But many other members of the Cosstick family worked at or near Opossum Gully and at the Battery itself. Ted Cosstick made few headlines in the papers. His uncle, Sam Cosstick, was frequently mentioned in the Cricket news from Melbourne during the 1860s and 1870s. Sam Cosstick's nephews, almost without exception, took up the sport for one or other of the teams in the Amherst district. The sporting columns of the Talbot Leader during the 1880s and 1890s made constant reference to members of the Cosstick family in Cricket teams, Bicycle Clubs, or Race meetings .

Ted Cosstick seems to have had some talent as a bowler, it not as a batsman. The scores obtained at a match between the Clunes' Britannia team, and the Amherst Wanderers on Saturday 7 October 1893 were typical. Ted Cosstick, for the Wanderers, was caught out for no runs. His cousin, Alfred, did slightly better with a score of two runs not out. When it came to his turn to bowl, Ted bowled seventy eight balls, including five maidens, and allowed the Clunes team to make only eighteen runs while taking four wickets .

Seven years later, in 1899, Ted was still achieving similar scores, such as in a match between Amherst and Adelaide Lead. He was bowled for a duck by J. Dellar of Adelaide Lead. Dellar seems to have been something of a good bowler as the Amherst scores were Johns, 0; Gane, 0; Douglas, 1; Cooke, 1; Lilburne, 0; and Henry, 2 all bowled by Dellar. The highest score obtained by Amherst was eighteen runs achieved by R. Tyers. But when Ted Cosstick came to bowl he managed to take five wickets for a total of twenty six runs . He was regarded good enough to be made Captain of the team. This surely would have had nothing to do with the fact that his cousin, Alfred, had recently been elected President of the Amherst Cricket Club , or from any admiration of the career of his Uncle Sam.

The Cossticks were members of the Ancient Order of Foresters, and in 1897 and 1899 James Edward Cosstick was listed as being the responsible officer for paying the Municipal Rates on the Foresters Hall at Amherst .

Lucy Martin and daughtersThroughout the 1890s Ted and Lucy Cosstick lived at the Opossum Gully house with his mother and during that time added three more children to the family. Tom Davis Cosstick, named after Lucy's father, was born on 7 November 1895. John Albert named after Ted's father and brother, was born on 24 June 1901, and Amy Doris, named after Lucy's sister, was born on 30 December 1902 .

The house at Opossum Gully was only a few hundred metres south of the Croydon Battery and the sound of the battery could be clearly heard from the house . In 1905 William Cosstick died and both the Battery and the Croydon mine were also nearing their end, although the Cyanide Works reprocessed much of the sand created by the crushing and the mine was reopened during the depression of the 1930s . For a while after the Croydon Mine closed Ted Cosstick worked as an engine driver and manager at the government battery at Wallace’s Reserve, on McCallum's Creek, near Mount Cameron. The Talbot battery consisted of a three head box, with a pump attached, and powered by a portable eight horsepower motor .

Ted Cosstick decided to move from Opossum Gully when he was able to purchase forty acres of land at Green Gully from Joseph and Robert English . Green Gully was about three miles west of Opossum Gully near the Avoca Road. There had been some mining done along the gully during the early gold rush days but Joseph and Robert English had leased twenty acres each in 1874, purchasing the freehold in 1884 with the intention of farming the land which had been cleared from the surrounding bush .

James Edward Cosstick and Family at Green GullyThe house Ted built there became known as Pine Lodge because of three large pine trees growing next to it. Ted Cosstick's sons, Richard (Dick), Edward (Roy), Philip, Tom, and John (Jack) helped with the building and later extension of the house using stone and timber brought from Opossum Gully. Dick built the chimney using rocks found on the property .

Another twenty acres was purchased from William Townsend on the Avoca Road side of the property and Ted's youngest son, Jack, was set to work digging holes for fence posts while waiting to take up a job with the Post Office in Ararat. Ted's second youngest son, Tom, did general work around the farm, while the two eldest boys, Dick and Phil, left home to work in the large gold mines near Ararat.

Following in his father’s footsteps, and once again living up to the original meaning of their surname, Ted Cosstick secured a contract to cut and supply firewood to the Amherst Hospital. This business was later passed on to his sons Roy and Tom. With the money earned from this they were able to purchase the land for the farm. Roy helped his father with much of the clearing of trees on the property at Green Gully, but on occasions went to Ararat to work with Dick and Phil . By 1915 Ted Cosstick was concentrating more on farming than mining .

Roy Cosstick and brothersIn 1916, after the Australian Government had decided to support Britain in the war with Germany, Roy, then twenty three, and Phil, twenty one, joined the Army. Roy was sent to the Western Desert of Egypt, and then to France. Phil also served in Egypt and France, including the mud fields of Flanders and the battle for Pozieres. Ted was left to run the farm with nineteen year old Tom. Jack, just on fourteen, had gone to work in Ararat. Dick had married Sylverton Ivy Matthews, James David Matthews' daughter, on 29 July 1914, and had moved to Ararat to live. Their daughter, Ivy Joyce, was born on 22 May 1915 .

Although Dick and Ivy were living in Ararat they frequently visited Ted and Lucy at Green Gully by taking the train to Bung Bong where Ted would meet them with his buggy and drive them home. To his grandchildren Ted was affectionately known as “Didda”.

In an incident reminiscent of the accident that claimed his father’s life Ted had fractured his thigh after falling from his wagon in late July 1921. He was admitted to the Amherst Hospital and the fracture was healing well when he suffered acute heart failure. He died on 7 August 1921 aged fifty-nine . The Talbot Leader, in its obituary, paid tribute to his prominence as a cricketer for the Amherst team . He was buried at the Amherst Cemetery on 8 August 1921.

Sylverton Ivy Cosstick (Matthews) at AraratAfter Ted's death it became the task of his sons Roy and Tom to run the farm at Green Gully. The did the job well and with some profit. In 1924 Roy married widow Ruth Bliss and brought her and the two children from her previous marriage to live at Green Gully. Ruth was the sister of Sylverton Ivy Matthews who had married Roy's brother Dick.

During the late 1920s Lucy Cosstick's health began to fail and her daughter, Doris, the youngest of the family, who had trained as a nurse at the Daylesford Hospital, came home to Green Gully to look after her mother. Lucy Elizabeth Cosstick died on the 4th of January 1930, aged seventy and was buried at Amherst with her husband .

More details of the children of James Edward and Lusy Cosstick are in a separate chapter.

Margaret Cosstick

The second child of John and Mary Ann Cosstick was named Margaret . She was born at Amherst on 18 January 1863. Very soon after her birth Margaret’s parents took her and her brother to New Zealand where they remained for ten years.

In 1882, having been back at Amherst for several years, Margaret gave birth to a daughter, named Katie, at Talbot. Katie died as an infant aged only two months in March of the same year . It is not known who Katie’s father was. Katie was buried in the same grave at Amherst as her aunt, Mary Ann, who had been born in 1879 and died in July 1880.

On 4 April 1885, Margaret married William Henry Hibbins at Mosquito Vale. William, who had been born around 1855 at Mosquito Flat, was the son of Henry and Sarah Hibbins .

Margaret and William Hibbins had five children. The first died as an infant. He was William Henry Hibbins who had been born on 9 December 1885 and died three weeks later on 30 December. A daughter, Margaret Manser Hibbins, was born on 8 April 1886 , at which time Margaret and William lived at Adelaide Lead. The next child, Albert Osborne Hibbins, was born on 27 March 1889. Richard Hibbins was born on 28 September 1891, and Charles Webb Hibbins on 8 January 1893.

On 3 July 1894 William Hibbins died at the East Melbourne Hospital as the result of a brain tumor. He was subsequently buried at the Amherst Cemetery.

A year later, in 1895, Margaret married Henry Veail, a miner, who had been born at Maryborough in 1855. Margaret and Henry went on to have another three children.
John Henry Veail was born in 1896 at Talbot; William Henry Veail in 1898 at Beaumaris; and Mary Veail in 1901 at Ballarat.

On 22 June 1901 Margaret died at Ballarat. Her youngest child, Mary, aged only 5 months and 14 days, died in the same year. Nine years later, on 12 April 1910, Henry Veail died at Ballarat. The graves of both Margaret and Henry are at the Ballarat New Cemetery.

Albert John Cosstick

John and Mary Ann Cosstick travelled to New Zealand in 1863. It was at the town of Havelock, Waitahuna, that their son, Albert John, was born in 1865 .

On 25 May 1887, at the Presbyterian Church, Talbot, Albert John married Sarah Ann Simmons, known as Annie, the twenty-one year old daughter of John Benjamin Simmons and Mary Catherine Wilson of Majorca. Witnesses to the marriage were Frances Cosstick and George Cosstick .

Sarah Ann’s father, John Benjamin Simmons, had been born in 1838 at Clifton, near Bristol, and Mary Catherine Wilson at Orkney around 1840. They had eleven children including Sarah Ann .

Albert and Sarah Cosstick lived in a four bedroom weatherboard house on crown land at Amherst . Their first child, John William Cosstick, was born there in 1889. Less than a year later, on 14 June 1890, Albert John Cosstick informed the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Talbot of his father’s death at the Amherst Hospital the day before .

A daughter, Violet, on 7 July 1891 at Amherst but she died only thirteen days later on 19 July, and was buried at Amherst Cemetery.

On Friday 17 February 1893 Annie’s father, John Benjamin Simmons, aged fifty-five, was found dead next to a waterhole in New Gully . John had left his home at Rocky Flat, near Talbot, at eight o’clock on Wednesday morning to visit his daughter at Opossum Gully. He had taken a track that went through the bush at the back of the Amherst Hospital. It was a very hot day and it would appear that John had taken his coat off and stopped at the waterhole to get a drink. While kneeling down he had suffered a fit or had fainted, falling into the water where he suffocated. Annie’s brother, William Simmons had gone out looking for his father on Thursday but to no avail. On Friday Annie’s husband, Albert John Cosstick, and Talbot Policeman, Constable James Joseph Deverall, searched the Amherst area and found the deceased man lying next to the waterhole .

As if the death of her father was not enough for Annie, two years later, on 2 April 1895, her husband, Albert John Cosstick died aged only thirty . He was buried at the Amherst Cemetery.

After Albert’s death Annie and their son, John, aged only six, first moved to Grey Street, Maryborough , and later to be with her mother, Mary Simmons, and the rest of her family, at 61 Spensley Street, Clifton Hill, in Melbourne .

Annie Cosstick died, aged 45, at her mother’s home in 1911 .

Albert and Annie’s son, John William Cosstick was twenty-two when his mother died. He had studied to be an Optician and was living at 38 Caroline Street, Clifton Hill . He then moved to 127 Ramsden Street, Clifton Hill in 1915 and to 139 Davies Street Brunswick in 1916. He was at 77 Davies Street, Brunswick in 1931 and 1932 . His wife, Maude, lived at 77 Davies Street alone after 1933 . Maude worked for the Ball and Welch company after the war .

Dyson Cosstick

Dyson Cosstick was born at Havelock, or Waitahuna, in New Zealand, on 27 September 1866 .

After returning to Amherst Dyson married Richard John Barley in 1884. He was originally from Mansfield in Victoria.

Their first child was Mary Ann Carol (Carrie) Barley, born on 31 December 1884 at Carlton, Victoria; Dyson Francis (Pansy) Barley was born on 7 June 1885 at Collingwood; Nellie Louisa Barley, on 31 August 1887 at Talbot; Florence Cummings Barley, in 1891 at Brunswick (she died in 1892); Ruby Annie Barley, in 1893; and Richard John Barley, in 1896 at Euroa (he died at Euroa in 1897).

Some records list a Matthew Turner as Dyson's son. However, Matthew, who was born in 1901 at Castlemaine, is listed in the Victorian Births Register as the son of Frederick Turner and Matilda . Matilda's surname is not given, nor are the details of any marriage. As Dyson was married to Richard Barley in 1901 either Matthew was not her child, or she gave a false name to the registrar .

Dyson married Frederick Charles Turner on 8 June 1925 in Melbourne. He died only a few years later, in February 1930, and was buried at Fawkner cemetery on 24 February 1930. Dyson's first husband, Richard John Barley, apparently changed his name to Watson and had another family .

It is reported that Dyson worked as a midwife.

By the early 1950s Dyson was living at 50 Elm Street, North Melbourne. She died in April 1954 and was buried at the Fawkner Cemetery on 29 April 1954.

Sophia Cosstick

Sophia was born in 1868 at Christchurch, New Zealand. At the age of nineteen, on 15 February 1887, she married, by special license and with the consent of her father, her cousin, Alfred Cosstick, William Cosstick’s son . Their story is told in the chapter about Alfred Cosstick.

Frances Cosstick

Frances Cosstick was born at Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1869 . At Amherst in 1887, aged eighteen, she married Samuel Till, the son of James Till and Mary Ann Gould .

After their marriage Samuel and Frances went to live at Lauriston, Samuel’s home town. They subsequently had five children – James Till was born at Kingston in 1888; Mary Ann Till, on 9 November 1890, at Lauriston; Lillian Clare Till, in 1891 at Talbot; Albert John Till, in 1893 at Talbot; and Edith Pansy Till, in 1895.

Samuel Till was a wood carter, like his father-in-law, and had a number of horses and drays, including picnic drays. It became the custom for him to take people to the annual New Year’s Day races at Hanging Rock, an event which has since become legendary through Joan Lindsay’s novel Picnic At Hanging Rock. One can imagine the children of the family – James, Mary Ann, Lillian, Albert and Edith, who would have been aged 13, 11, 10, 8 and 6 in 1901 – journeying to the rock on the back of a dray, dressed in their finest, just as the girls of Joan Lindsay’s story. And we might imagine them climbing those mysterious cliffs and crevices.

But, unlike the children of Picnic at Hanging Rock, we do know at least a little of what became of the Till children after their visits to Hanging Rock.

James worked for the Victorian Railways and married twice – first in 1915 to Honora Lillian Bourke, who died in 1947, and secondly to Rubie Ethel White, who died in 1973. James died at Elsternwick in Melbourne on 16 January 1969.

Mary Ann, whose task as a young girl was to tend her father’s horses and clean the stables, married Edward Harold Webb and had three children . After her husband’s death Mary Ann lived alone, looking after herself, her house and garden with great care until the age of 94 when she died from the effects of cancer.

Lillian Till married Albert Valentine Waters in 1916. They moved to Melbourne and had three children.

Albert John Till, known as Bert, worked for the State Rivers and was manager of the Lauriston Reservoir for some time. He married Ellen Maud Stringer in 1917. She died only three years later and Albert subsequently married Gladys Mary Godden. Albert and Gladys moved to Melbourne where Albert died in July 1977 .

Little is known of Edith Till, apart from the report that Auntie Ed was the only lady who rode with an umbrella over her head. She married twice, the second time to William Thomas Henry Mutch of Hamilton, and then spent some years in Hamilton.
Frances Cosstick died at Preston on 2 June 1947. Her husband, Samuel Till, had died many years earlier on 26 March 1924. Both are buried at the Malmsbury cemetery.

Louisa Cosstick

Louisa Cosstick is listed as having been born in New Zealand in 1871 . She married Charles dargie on 20 October 1890 at Moor Street, Fitzroy . Witnessing the marriage were his father, Alexander Dargie, and her mother, Mary Ann Cosstick. Charles Dargie was a broom maker. Little else is known of Louisa, although Charles Dargie later remarried and moved to Darwin with his new family .

Richard Hamilton Cosstick

Richard Hamilton Cosstick , John and Mary Ann Cosstick’s eighth child, was born on 22 November 1871 at the town of Havelock, or Waitahuna , New Zealand. He was not to spend long in that country as his parents decided to return to Amherst during the next twelve months. Their next son, Walter Weller Cosstick, was born at Talbot in 1874.

Richard, who later became known as Red Dick , took up mining but with the decline of the Amherst gold fields he began to look elsewhere. In 1897 he was at Wonthaggi in Victoria where he met Thomas Edward Wilcockson. Tom Wilcockson later married Richard’s younger sister, Barbara Patterson Cosstick.

Richard Cosstick also went to New South Wales and it was at West Wyalong on 23 July 1897 that he married Ellen Gillespie. Richard and Ellen’s first child, named Bessie Gillespie Cosstick, was born in July 1898. She died on 29 December 1898 at Allandale and was buried at the Creswick Cemetery. A second child, William Cosstick, was born somewhat prematurely on 23 November 1899 at Opossum Gully. He died, aged only fourteen days, on 7 December and was buried by his father at the Amherst Cemetery on 8 December 1899 .

Richard and Ellen then decided to travel to a mining town named Laverton Western Australia . It is possible that Richard’s youngest sister, Victoria, also went with them at that time. On 5 February 1902, at Mount Margaret, Western Australia, a second son, John Richard Cosstick, was born . Their third son, Albert Osborne Cosstick, was born at a mine named Lancefield, on 5 April 1904 .

Richard and Ellen then returned to Victoria for a short holiday and Audrey Muriel Cosstick was born at Maryborough on 19 June 1906 .

Richard soon returned again to Western Australia, and on 19 October 1912 at Yalgarra, he married Hannah Eliza Wells . Richard and Hannah had six children – Alfred Hamilton Cosstick in 1913 at Kalgoorlie, Edward George in 1914, Walter Wells in 1915 at Boulder, Beatrice Mary in 1916 at Carbine, William Raymond in 1918 at Beverley, and James Samuel in 1920. Edward George Cosstick was killed by a lightning strike at Werribee in February 1929 . He was only fourteen.

Richard Hamilton Cosstick spent a total of twenty-two years in Western Australia, but after returning again to Victoria in 1923 he moved about regularly, living at Woods Point, North Melbourne, Carlton and Blackwood. In fact he had a different address almost every year between 1926 and 1947 . Following the great depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s many people who had once worked at Amherst returned there in the hope that some gold remained. Richard Hamilton Cosstick, with his cousin, George Cosstick, of Maryborough, and other members of the Cosstick family , returned to the Croydon Reef, retimbered the mine shaft and tried their luck. The water level was a continual difficulty.

Richard Cosstick also tried his hand at other work - at one time working in a quarry at St Albans, and at the Allans Confectionery factory . At home he was a keen gardener and cricketer. Both he and Hannah provided as much as they could for their family - Richard mending the children’s boots and cutting their hair, Hannah making and remaking clothes.

Richard Hamilton Cosstick died at Prince Henry’s Hospital in Melbourne on Wednesday 13 August 1947 and was buried at the Fawkner Cemetery . At the time of his death his place of residence had been Blackwood. His wife, Hannah, died at the Garoopna Home for the Aged at Kew on Thursday 24 August 1972.

Walter Weller Cosstick

Walter Weller Cosstick was born at Talbot on 15 May 1874 . He was the ninth child of John and Mary Ann Cosstick.

On 30 August 1899 at Homebush, near Avoca, Walter married Frances Louisa Bloxham, the daughter of Francis William Bloxham and Sarah Gregory. Frances, or Louisa as she was generally known, had been born on 16 February 1874 at North Melbourne. Both Walter and Louisa were twenty-five. Walter was working as a miner at Clemenston at the time .

Little is known about the lives of Walter and Louisa Cosstick. He gave his occupation as being a miner for most of his life , although he also worked as a railway fitter . They lived in Palmerston Street, Maryborough, for nearly all of their married life . Louisa continued to live there long after Walter died in 1930 .

Their children included one son and five daughters. The first, Stanley Frank Bloxham , was Louisa’s son by an unknown father. He was born at Natte Yallock in 1896. Stella May Cosstick born at Homebush in 1900; Minnie Cosstick born at Maryborough in 1902. She died after only three days ; Vera Annie Cosstick at Maryborough in 1903; and Gladys Gregory Cosstick born at Maryborough on 25 January 1905. Irene Jean Frances Cosstick was born many years later on 15 June 1917 when Louisa was aged forty-three.

Stella married John David Withell in 1922 and lived in Argyle Street, Maryborough for many years . Vera Annie Cosstick married Roy Wallace Purdon and operated a fruit shop in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn during the 1930s and forties . When Vera died in 1940 her sister Jean went to help her brother in law with the fruit shop. At the end of the Second World War Jean married Arthur Mee Nowlan and had two daughters, Pauline and Andrea .

Between them Walter and Louisa had just over eighty acres of land at Adelaide Lead . In her Will Louisa left this land to her four remaining children, Stanley, Stella, Gladys and Irene Jean. Jean later gave her share of the land to the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria for use as a wildflower reserve .

Walter died at 17 Palmerston Street, Maryborough on 17 December 1930 . Frances Louisa died many years later, on 24 January 1955. Both were buried at the Maryborough Cemetery.

In about 1927 their son, Stanley Frank Cosstick, married Bridget O’Toole and both lived at 17 Palmerston Street, Maryborough for most of their lives. From the mid 1930s Stanley always indicated that he had no occupation, although, like his father, he had been a railway employee at times.

Daughter, Gladys Gregory Cosstick, married John Daniel McDougall and they joined the rest of the family in Palmerston Street, Maryborough, living at number 38 . During the mid 1940s Gladys moved to 11 Victoria Street, Flemington , but later she and John went back to 38 Palmerston Street .

Emily Cosstick

Emily Cosstick as born at Talbot on 13 February 1876.

In 1893, at the age of seventeen, Emily gave birth to a son whom she named Leonard Irvine Cosstick. His father is not known. Three years later, in 1896, another child was born. This child, named Mary Cosstick, died only a day after her birth at Adelaide Lead . Again, the father’s name is unknown .

Within a year of Mary’s birth, on 25 February 1897, having just turned twenty-one, Emily Cosstick married James Cruickshank at Maryborough. After their marriage Emily changed the surname of her son, Leonard Irvine, from Cosstick to Cruickshank. James Cruickshank, son of miner Alexander Cruickshank and Annie Armstrong, was born at White Hills, Carisbrook, in 1877.

Emily and James had a daughter, Norah, born at Adelaide Lead in 1900, and then they subsequently went to Western Australia where they remained for twenty years. It has been suggested that Emily and James kept a hotel in Kalgoorlie for some years, and that they had a sandlewood business. Other reports suggest that James was a timber cutter and as such led a fairly impoverished life for some time.

The son, Leonard Irvine, married Esther Agnes Raper at Wellington, Bunbury, Western Australia, on 28 March 1916, just before he began service with the 48th Battalion of the AIF. They had one daughter, Rae, who was born about 1940. After his death in 1953, Leonard was buried at Blackwood, Western Australia.

Norah Cruickshank married Percy Pickering at the age of eighteen, in 1918, at Kalgoorlie. They had six children – Irene, born in 1920, Beryl, Norma, Percy, Norman and Kevin. All were born in Western Australia. Percy Pickering died in Western Australia in 1971, however at some time before this Norah married Arthur Clarke, an American, and moved to live at Ashwood in Melbourne.

Emily Cosstick’s husband, James Cruickshank, died at Kalgoorlie in 1942. Emily came back to Melbourne and lived at Norah’s home in Ashwood until her death 20 October 1964. She was buried at the Burwood Cemetery on 22 October 1964. Her daughter, Norah, died on 4 June 1968.

Adeline Cosstick

Adeline Cosstick was born at Amherst on 3 January 1881. She was baptized at St Michael’s Church of England, Talbot, on 17 April 1881 . She was John and Mary Anne Cosstick’s twelfth child, their seventh daughter.

On 27 March 1899, at the age of eighteen, Adeline married twenty-three year old William Thomas Walker at St Margaret’s Church of England at Allendale, Victoria. William Walker, a miner, was the son of Alexander and Ellen Walker, and was born at Moonlight, near Mayborough, Victoria, on 8 February 1876. Witnesses at the wedding were Adeline’s mother, Mary Ann Cosstick and brother, Walter Weller Cosstick.

William Thomas Walker and AdelineTheir first daughter, Adeline Victoria Walker was born at Allendale at the end of 1899. She died a few months later at nearby Smeaton on 8 May 1900. Adeline and William then moved to Maryborough where a second daughter, Vera Alma Walker, was born in 1901.

In 1902 Adeline and William decided to leave Maryborough and move to New Zealand. They left Melbourne on 5 February 1902 and sailed via Hobart to New Zealand, arriving there on 12 February. After disembarking from the S.S.Monowai at the town of Bluff they travelled by train to Invercargill.

Why did they decide to go to New Zealand? Adeline’s parents had been there and some of her older brothers and sisters were born there during the 1860s and 1870s. Perhaps things had changed since 1864 when Southland and Invercargill had been described as

the youngest, the wettest, the blowiest of provinces; Invercargill, the newest, the muddiest, the dreariest of towns…

Upon arriving at the Bluff new arrivals invariably made their way to Invercargill.

Landed from the steamer at the Bluff (Campbelltown), which landing is to be paid for, you are some twenty miles from Invercargill. Time and tide permitting, King Cobb will bring you there that very day – now through sand, in which the vehicle sinks to its axles; now over a swamp ingeniously macadamised with brushwood from the adjoining forest, where you have proved to your satisfaction the superiority of the quadrupedal arrangement of limbs; now skimming it smoothly over old Neptune’s bed, when he is elsewhere; now jolting it over the roots and stumps of a New Zealand forest, compared with which an Australian one is as a nursery to a cane-brake; and lo, Invercargill!

And so having arrived at Invercargill the visitor then takes in the sights.
Imagine a few (a few will do) of the smaller wooden houses prevalent in the lower part of Collingwood, with the iron church at Sandridge come out in the drapery line, and you have our two principal streets in your mind’s eye. Dee street, the most business one of the two, from some cause or other, presents a most unshopkeeper-like appearance. Deep trenches dug alongside either footpath, with dirt thrown up on the outer side, looking like the parallels of beseigers and beseiged, give the idea of hostilities existing between one side of the street and the other…. Tay street, the second principal street, meets the desideratum with transverse planks, placed more than an inch apart, in which the toe or heel of your boot will catch. Crossings are not dreamt of in the philosophy of the Town Board… The other streets – and, appropriate enough, they are all named after rivers – are still picturesquely studded with stumps, roots and fallen timber, seared with yawning chasms, and fringed with the “forest primaeval”.

Amusements are quite ill supplied… Two concert-rooms, after the model of that of the Royal Charter in all but the presence of the “social evil” (for we are not yet civilized enough to suffer that)…

Some amusements, to my mind, account for the large number of sixteen marriages during the last month in a population which cannot much exceed 1,000, though Buckle would have attributed them to the prosperity of the community.

Were these the impressions gained by Adeline’s parents, John and Mary Ann Cosstick, when they were in New Zealand during the 1860s? Undoubtedly they came across similar experiences. Perhaps we might wonder whether the lack of alternate entertainment at Waitahuna was one of the reasons that they had such a very large family.

In summing up his description of the town, the observer reported that

A marked feature of this town is the immense number of sly-grog shops…justice must be blind here… It is still doubtful whether the province has the resources within itself to insure its existence in the event of losing the Lake trade…

We might assume that something must have changed over the next forty years.
At Invercargill William Walker quickly found work with the railways. Then, after trying his hand as a waterside worker, furnaceman and tram conductor, he eventually opened a Tobacconist and Fancy Goods shop – and did Taxidermy work as well. Eventually he became manager at the Southland Cool Stores at Bluff – exporting cheese and butter to overseas markets.

It would appear that William was a keen gardener, musician and sportsman – growing flowers and vegetables, playing the cornet in a brass band, as well as playing cricket, swimming and running .

Another nine children were born in New Zealand – Doris at Owaka, Otago, on 21 October 1902; Alexander at Tahakopa, Otago, on 20 December 1903; Ina, on 3 May 1905 at Invercargill; Edith at Invercargill, on 19 April 1907; Reita on 13 March 1909; Myra on 2 July 1912; Iris on 21 November 1913; Iris, on 7 May 1915 at Invercargill; William on 23 April 1920.

Adeline and William Walker made at least two journeys back to Australia, but were not tempted to return to the land of their birth. They had made New Zealand their home and it was there that they died. Adeline died at the age of 73 on 9 January 1955. William died on 31 December 1957 aged 83. They were both buried in the cemetery at Bluff.

Shortly before his death in 1957 William Thomas Walker wrote an account of his life. It can be read here.

Lillian Cosstick

Lillian Cosstick was born on 29 July 1882 at Opossum Gully. On 7 September 1900, at the age of eighteen, she married Charles James Sheridan a bootmaker by trade, at the Presbyterian Manse in Maryborough . The four subsequent children were Eileen May Sheridan , born at Talbot on 23 April 1901; Charles John Sheridan, born in 1902 at Berringa (he died aged only 5 months); Minnie Veronica Sheridan, born at Dunolly on 2 August 1903; and James Albion Sheridan, also born at Dunolly on 16 December 1905.

Charles Sheridan became interested in photography and established a business as a Photographer in Birchip when the family moved there in 1911. About eight years later, seeking warmer weather to aid Charles’ asthma, they decided to move to Mildura. Unable to sell the photography business they decided to take it with them and re-established it in Mildura.

Moving to nearby Merbein a few years later they set up a theatre to show silent films – it became known as Sherry’s Pictures . Charles continued with this business until his death in 1924 after which Lillian and their son, James Albion, took over the picture theatre. At the end of the 1920s films with soundtracks were invented and customers soon were no longer satisfied to watch silent films. The Sheridans could not afford to purchase the new equipment needed for screening sound films and had to sell the business. Perhaps it was Lillian’s tendency to let the children in without paying that led to the shortage of money. Albion continued to work as a film operator for a number of years but eventually gave up the work because of the continual rush to get the newly arrived films from Mildura rewound ready for screening.

In 1935, after working as a wood carter and in the fruit orchards, and just about anything else that came along, Albion Sheridan, who was commonly known as just Albie or Sherry, married Nellie Maria James. Nellie was working in Fisher’s Store at the time and in order to avoid being asked to leave – the assumption being that married women were likely to inconvenience their employer by having children – Albie and Nellie married secretly at the Registry Office and continued to live separately for about two years . Their first daughter, Juliet Anne Sheridan was born on 1 May 1938 at Mildura, and Peter Albion Sheridan was born on 22 November 1940.

Twelve months after the birth of their son, on 6 November 1941, Albie, having since decided to join the Army, sailed on board the Queen Elizabeth bound for the Middle East. During the scheduled stopover at Singapore the men were taken prisoner by the Japanese. Albie was sent to work on the infamous Burma Railway and contracted an illness that led to his death in 1943.

Albie’s mother, Lillian, remained at Merbein until 1949 when she moved to North Melbourne to live with her sisters Dyson and Emily. She died in 1952 and was buried at Merbein with her husband Charles Sheridan.

Barbara Patterson Cosstick

Barbara Patterson Cosstick was born at Opossum Gully, Amherst, on Friday 16 November 1883. She was John and Mary Ann Cosstick’s fourteenth child. She was given her middle name in recognition of David Paterson , once the neighbour and partner of the Cossticks at the Croydon Mine. One story suggests that such recognition might have resulted in a share of the wealth from the mine, but more it seems more likely that, having used all the immediate family surnames for their children John and Mary Ann turned to using the names of friends.

On Monday 15 January 1900, when she was aged just sixteen years and two months, Barbara Cosstick married Thomas Edward Wilcockson, then aged twenty-three . They were married at the office of the Registrar of Marriages in Ballarat.

This marriage was probably regarded as being a necessity. In the same year their first child, Matilda Willcockson , was born at Allendale, Victoria.

Tom Willcockson was not a person to settle in one town and remain there for the rest of his life . For the next twenty three years he moved from town to town. Each of his ten children was born in a different town - Frances Margaret on 13 September 1902 at Amherst; Joseph Edward John on 16 October 1903 at Dunolly; Alice Barbara on 3 August 1905 at Bromley; Lillian Sophia on 12 February 1907 at Chiltern; Thomas William on 27 November 1912 at Wonthaggi; Albert Lucas on 20 January 1914 at Lithgow, New South Wales; William Henry on 13 December 1918 at Bathurst; Arnold Clarence on 1 January 1919 at Bedgerebong; and Mavis Phyllis on 22 January 1923 at Forbes.

Thomas Willcockson worked as a carpenter in the coalmines - the birthplaces of his children often correspond to the location of such mines - and later used his skills to build houses when he finally settled at Forbes.

His experience with mining also gave him skills to become a well sinker and he developed the ability to locate water by divination. Both skills he passed on to some of his sons.

Little else is known about Thomas Willcockson, but his youngest daughter, Mavis, recalled a number of more personal anecdotes. He was apparently adept at carving emu eggs, and at wood carving, having made and French polished at least two violins and a glory box for Mavis. He could play the fiddle, and many other instruments, and performed at country dances and homestead balls from which he would bring home gifts given to him by the farmers. He also was a keen fisherman and gardener. On the day of his son Joseph’s birthday in 1903, Thomas won first prize of £50 in a rifle shooting competition known as the Queen’s Shoot. It was always regarded as a major achievement.

Thomas Willcockson died at Lithgow on 19 October 1953. His grave is at the Lithgow Cemetery. Barbara then moved to Forbes to live with their youngest daughter Mavis and her husband Gordon at Forbes. She died at the Forbes hospital on 13 July 1967, aged eighty-four. Her grave is also at Lithgow.

Victoria Cosstick

Victoria Cosstick was the youngest of John and Mary Ann Cosstick’s fifteen children. She was born on 17 April 1885 at Opossum Gully and baptized at St Michael’s Church of England, Talbot, on 27 July 1888.

After the death of her father in 1890 and after attending the Amherst primary school, Victoria went to Western Australia, possibly with her older brother, Richard Hamilton Cosstick.

In September 1904 Victoria gave birth to a son, whom she named Charles James Cosstick. Charles died on 26 November 1904 at Daveyhurst and was buried the next day at the Daveyhurst Cemetery.

On 23 June 1905, having just turned twenty, she married Amos Flood Elliott at Mulwarri, near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Victoria and Amos had three children - Francis Arthur, Rose, and Edith - all born at Daveyhurst, Western Australia, before returning to Victoria.

For a short time, in 1908, they lived at Burns Street, Maryborough, possibly at the home of his parents . They then moved to Corowa, New South Wales, where another daughter, Edith Linda May Elliot, was born on 7 May 1910. Soon afterwards they moved to Lithgow where Amos worked as a Furnaceman.

During the 1940s she and Amos lived in Osborne Street, Wollongong in New South Wales.
Little else is known of the life of Victoria Cosstick apart from some personal anecdotes passed on by her grandchildren. She was, at least in the memories of her grandchildren, a very rigid woman in later life having organised her daily routines with precision and seeing no reason to go out of the house, nor for anybody else to go out. She insisted upon strict discipline whenever her grandchildren came to visit.

Yet, despite her strictness, Victoria apparently liked a good laugh and enjoyed radio comedies such as Mall, Verko and Ginger, and Dad and Dave. She would take the children to visit Wirth’s Circus when it came to town at Wollongong - until an elephant got loose on one visit and chased her! She also liked to take the children to visiting Vaudeville Shows. She had a good singing voice and in her youth was a popular dancer at the balls she attended.

Perhaps her reputed strictness was only in the eyes of her young grandchildren after all.

Victoria died on 26 June 1942 aged only fifty-seven. Her husband died at Lidcombe on 1 March 1964 aged over eighty. Both are buried at the Woronora Crematorium.


Anonymous said...

Hi Doug, have just read the story of the Willcockson's, I have a copy of Frances's birth certificate and it says she was born on 1st September 1901. Reading your story I see that your information is different. Leonne- NSW-29/7/2007

Anonymous said...

hello there! Im A desendant of Thomas William Willcockson. I remember stories he told my father when I was very young and he said that his paternal side were circus people from the states and that he was Lakota Indian heritage. He also said Daniel Boone's sister was related. Ive seen some info but cannot trace this information.

Douglas W said...

Interesting - leave another message if you ever discover the proof for this.

Lyn Fitzgerald said...

Hi Doug, reading your article, Lucy Cosstick is sometimes spelt Lusy instead, which spelling of Lucy is correct?