The Mystery of Mary’s Mother

There are three daughters of Edward George Clerk for whom I haven’t been able to ascertain the mother.  They are Mary Emily Clerk 1838, Susan Bundarra Clerk 1839 and Anna Maria Clerk 1840. From what I’ve been able to determine they were all born in New South Wales, Australia.

Edward George Clerk was born in Somerset, England in 1813.  He married Anna Maria Stafford on 9 Apr 1835 in Winscombe, Somerset, England.  I found out, in researching this blog post, that Anna and Edward set out for Tasmania, Australia on 19 Jul 1835 but tragically Anna died at sea on 31 Jul 1835.  They had been married for only three months.   I had initially thought that Anna Maria might have been Mary, Susan and Anna’s mother.  Here is a partial timeline of Edward’s life.EdwardGeorgeClerkTimeline


I haven’t been able to find birth registrations for any of the three sisters.  In Mary Emily’s marriage notice it states that her father is E.G. Clerk Esq. of Clerkness, Bundarra.  (Clerkness is the name of the family property in New South Wales) but it doesn’t list her mother.   I obtained a transcription of her marriage certificate but her mother’s name wasn’t listed.


1859 ‘Family Notices.’, The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), 24 May, p. 3, viewed 20 August, 2014,

In two documents I found reference to Mary Clerk visiting or living at Clerkness, Bundarra in 1839/41.  They are Clerkness Station and a memoir by Susan Bundarra Young (formerly Buchanan, nee Clerk).  I bought a copy of Susan’s reminiscences from the Royal Australian Historical Society.

So this leads me back to the date of Edward George Clerk’s marriage to Mary Ann West.  I know plenty of children are born outside marriage but in this case I don’t think it is so with Susan and others stating that Mary Ann Clerk was at Clerkness from around 1839.

My conclusion is that there was an error made in recording the date of Mary Ann West and Edward George Clerk’s marriage or a very early transcription error which has been copied many times over the years.  I now believe that they married in 1837 not 47 and I will be ordering the original marriage certificate to verify this.  I started out this blog post with a question but now I have a possible answer!!  I’ll post the result when I receive the marriage certificate.  Although this is part of a tree I’m working on for someone else I’m enjoying it almost as much as researching my own family as the stories and people are all fascinating to me.

I Am Grateful For An Indoor Dunny

It’s been bitterly cold in Adelaide of late and when I went to the loo the other night I remembered our outdoor dunny at Flaxley where I grew up and thought how grateful I am for an indoor dunny. I haven’t been able to find a photo of just the dunny but here is one of the house.

Our house at Flaxley

Our house at Flaxley, South Australia

I remember my Mum saying if it has to be outside I’m glad it’s a flush toilet and not a ‘long drop’. It wasn’t far from the house but it backed onto the cow paddock and the cows would stand near it and chew their cud or eat grass but all you could hear, whilst enthroned, was their chomp, chomp, chomp which was most disconcerting to us young ones. Possums would sometimes climb on the roof and stomp around too. I remember many a night tearing back into the house scared of some real or imagined creature!

Kylie 7 years old

I was 7 years old here

The front room of our house was the local post office, you can just see the post boxes on the wall in the above photo. I won’t go into more detail about the post office now, I’ll save that for another post.

Typhoid In Port Adelaide

I recently came across George Emery a distant ancestor of mine who died of typhoid 31 Oct 1897 when he was living in the Port Adelaide area.  He was only 22 years old.  Knowing that this was a poor area of Adelaide I wondered about the living conditions of the area and on searching Trove found the following article which explains it quite well.

[trove newspaper=35100298]

This descriptive quote from the State Library website certainly paints a dire picture.

The City Fathers were apparently unmoved, for six years later under the heading ‘The Typhoid Ponds’ an irate citizen said:

“Onward runs this pestilential fluid… this abomination takes its course zigzag through the Parklands into the West Torrens district, percolating through to the wells, impregnating the water with germs of every deadly disease conceivable. For what, may I ask, do we pay sanitary taxes…”


A Walk Before Church

Sunday morning I went for a little walk before church to take some photos of Hobbs House as I had seen it on a walk once before.

Hobbs House


2014-04-06 09.49.07


Hobbs House


Split Tree


This tree is just a little way along the path in front of the house and was possibly used as a shelter by Indigenous people and European settlers.

Split Tree