Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ivy Jessie McCallum, daughter of Jessie Hughan and Alexander McCallum

Ivy Jessie McCallum was the third and final child born to Alexander McCallum and his wife Jessie Hughan. She was born on board the ship ‘Royal Charter’ while it was crossing the Irish Sea off the west coast of England, carrying her parents and siblings, Margaret and Gilbert.
The McCallum family had boarded the ship in Melbourne on Saturday April 10, 1858, when Jessie was about six months pregnant. They had obviously hoped to be safe on English soil by the time the baby arrived, but it wasn’t to be, and Ivy was born ‘at sea’ on July 11, 1858.
Ivy’s first 2 ½ years were spent in England, Scotland and France as she travelled with her family and aunt, Bertha Hughan. For health reasons her father Alexander did not return with them to Melbourne when they sailed on board the ship ‘Themis’ at the end of 1860.
Ivy would have had no memories of her own of her father, as he died in 1871 when she was almost thirteen, and she had never seen him again after they parted company in England when she was two. Even more tragically, she only shared her life with her mother for seven years...Jessie Hughan McCallum died of a lung infection late in the winter of 1865.

The three motherless McCallum children were taken in by their newly married aunt, Bertha Hughan, who had wed Henry Bishop in March of 1865. The McCallum family station, ‘Youngera’, near Swan Hill, continued to be managed by their uncle Allan Hughan and other employees, but the children resided with the Bishop family, first at Mount Rowan near Ballarat, and then various suburbs of Melbourne.
It has also been suggested in recent years that Ivy Jessie lived at neighbouring ‘Tyntynder Station’ with the Beveridge family for a short period after her mother’s death.
In 1868, Ivy’s brother Gilbert sailed off with his uncle Allan Hughan on a pearling adventure along the west coast of Australia. Ivy was living with the Bishops at Mount Rowan, where her uncle Henry Bishop was a storekeeper. Two cousins arrived during her time at Mount Rowan- Roland in 1866 and Olive in 1868.
By 1870 the family had moved to Trinity Cottage in Hotham, a suburb of Melbourne. Bertha and Henry had another child whilst living here, a son named Guy Arnold. Daughter Violet was born in 1874 at Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, and then the family found themselves residing at ‘The Hermitage’, Jolimont, when Myrtle Bishop was born in 1877.
Ivy’s youngest Bishop cousin, Daphne Lorna Josephine, was born at Inkerman Street, St. Kilda, in 1878.
Judith Laging, Ivy’s granddaughter, wrote that Ivy was the first pupil enrolled in the new Presbyterian Ladies College in east Melbourne when it opened in 1875. She would have been 16 or 17 years of age at this time. Helen Porter Mitchell, better known worldwide as opera singer Nellie Melba, also started school at PLC in 1875, although she was almost three years younger than Ivy.

Ivy McCallum married at the age of 27 years in 1885.Her husband was 24 year old Englishman Henry Edward Robley (known as ‘Edward’) who had been in the colony for only three years. He was the son of William Nevison Robley, a joiner and cartwright from Northumberland, and Jane Forster, and with his twin brother Joseph William Robley had been born at Broadfield House, Warden, Northumberland, in 1864.

Henry Edward Robley arrived in Melbourne on board the ship ‘Sorata’ in March of 1882. His granddaughter Judith Laging wrote in a letter:

“Edward, as he was called, had a brother James who was the Australian representative for Nobels selling explosives. He urged H.E.R to emigrate, and he sailed on the ‘Sorata’. James lived in Adelaide. He married Louisa someone. Their children were Lena, Nevison, Harry, Victoria, Vernon and George Laing.”


Henry Edward Robley’s brother, James Hindhaugh Robley, was the eldest child of William Nevison Robley and Jane Forster (others were Ann Isabella, Robert Anderson, George Nevison, twins Henry Edward and Joseph William and two daughters named Mary Jane who both died in childhood).

James Hindhaugh Robley seems to have been an intriguing character. In 1873 in the district of Hexham, Northumberland, he married 23 year old Jane Waugh. She died three years later in 1876, aged 26. A daughter, Mary Jane Robley, was baptised in the parish of Newbrough on May 2, 1875. Her parents were noted as being James Robley, carpenter, and Jane, of Broadfield House.
There is a marriage in the U.K marriage index for the December ¼ of 1879 for a James Hindhaugh Robley to either Mary Riley or Catherine Wardhaugh, but no further information about this marriage has been forthcoming.
James had immigrated to Australia by the time the 1881English census had been taken, and the next trace of him comes on his 1880 marriage certificate. On December 20, 1880, at Ballarat, Victoria, 28 year old James Hindhaugh Robley , a commercial traveller, married 23 year old Mary Ann Frood. It was stated that James was a widower as of 1876, and that he had two living children from his previous marriage. He had been born in Hexham, Northumberland, to parents Nevison Robley, builder, and Jane Forster. James’ wife Mary Ann was the daughter of plasterer William Frood and his wife Matilda Granville Colwell, and had been born in Ballarat in 1857.
Mystery surrounds the marriage of James and Mary Ann. They had one child together, a son named James William Robert Robley, who was born in Ballarat in 1881.Mary Ann Frood Robley died on June 16, 1938, in Ballarat, and her only issue was recorded as ‘James William Robert, 57 years”. Her death certificate stated that she had married James Hindhaugh Robley in Ballarat when she was 23.
It seems James Robley parted ways with his wife Mary Ann, as he started a new family with Louisa Charlotte Klapproth in Sandhurst from 1885. An online index of cases mentioned in Victorian Police correspondence offers the following information:
ROBLEY: Mary Ann nee Frood. Writes in 1894 asking the police to help in getting documents retained by Adelaide solicitor George F. Mitchell. These include her marriage in 1880 and false registration of the births of William Nevison Robley and Louisa Victoria Robley to mother Louisa Charlotte Klapproth.”
Recently located ( July 22, 2008) in a Victorian Police Gazette was the following:

“DESERTERS OF WIVES AND CHILDREN. James Hindhaugh Robley is charged, on warrant, with deserting his wife, Mary Ann Robley, Eureka Street, Ballarat east, in December 1883. Description:- Englishman, 41 years of age, about 6 feet high, stout build, round features, light brown hair. When last seen had moustache only. Is a commercial traveller. Supposed to be in Bendigo or working for Briscoe and Co, Little Collins Street, Melbourne. 15 April, 1893.”

Mystery solved!!!!

The birth certificate of William Nevison Robley was registered by Louisa Charlotte Klapproth, and she invented a fictitious marriage date to help legitimize her son’s birth. He was born on November 10, 1886, in Sandhurst, the child of 31 year old James Robley, traveller and 28 year old Louisa Charlotte Robley formerly Klapproth, who had been born in Launceston, Tasmania. Louisa stated that she and James had married in South Yarra, Melbourne, on October 8, 1884, and that they had another child, Caroline Ivey, who was one year old.
‘Klapproth’ is a very rare name, and only several were recorded in the BDM indexes for the period 1850-1900. Louisa is most likely the daughter of Herman Klapproth and Caroline Hopp who registered the births of two children in Tasmania in the 1850s. This is supported by the fact that her first child with James Robley was named Caroline, and that another son was given the middle name ‘Herman’.

Vernon Herman Robley was born on April 26,1894, in Adelaide, South Australia (information taken from his service records from WW1 as downloaded from the National Archives Australia website)These records also recorded that he spent six years at St. Peters School Collegiate, Adelaide, and passed the Senior Public Examination, Adelaide University, 1912. His next of kin was father, James Robley, of Gilbert Street, Gilberton, South Australia.
James and Louisa Robley had four sons serve in WW1:- first to join was Vernon Herman in 1914, followed by Henry Foster in March 1916, William Nevison in August of 1916 and George Laing in December 1917. Three of the four made it safely back to Australia...eldest son William Nevison Robley was killed in action at Polygon Wood, France, on 25 or 26 September 1917. Like the relationship of his parents, mystery surrounds William Nevison Robley. For some reason unknown to this researcher, he enlisted in the A.I.F under the alias “Laing Morrison”. His address at enlistment was “Mawla”, Miller Street, Box Hill, the same as his brother Henry Foster Robley. His father was stated as being James Morrison, ‘Newbrough’, Kings park, South Australia, then later amended on his form as ‘Father J.H Robley, c/o Elders Smith & Co Ltd, Adelaide, S.A’.
William Robley had made his will in London on June 4, 1917, and his sole beneficiary was his “sister”, Mrs. Maude Robley, ‘Malwa’, Miller Street, Box Hill. This in fact was his sister in law, Elizabeth Maud Robley (formerly Murdoch) who had married his brother Henry in 1914.He signed his will as ‘Laing Morrison’- in fact it wasn’t until after his death that his name was officially recognised as ‘William Nevison Robley’. His records contain a statutory declaration from his brother Vernon Herman Robley, dated May 4, 1918. It states:
“ I, Vernon Hermann Robley, Lieutenant, Australian Imperial Force, residing at 2 Gilbert Street, Gilberton, South Australia, declare that I am the brother of the soldier who enlisted as No. 4089, Private Laing Morrison, and that the above is an assumed name, his correct name being William Nevison Robley. His father and next of kin is Mr. J.H Robley, residing at 2 Gilbert Street, Gilberton, South Australia. I desire that the soldier’s name and that of his next of kin may be amended on his records.”
Because of the location of the Robley family in South Australia, where online birth, death and marriage records are at present sadly lacking, I have not completed any further research into the family of James Hindhaugh Robley.
Ivy’s first child was born on August 3, 1889. Named Stella Jessie Robley, she was joined three years later by her only brother, Vernon Edward Robley. He was born on December 26, 1892. Three more daughters followed: Lois Ivy on June 12, 1895; Norma Olive on March 19, 1898 and finally Evelyn Margaret on July 9, 1902.
The family residence was “Tremaine” at Cromwell Crescent, Hawkburn, a suburb of Melbourne, and the children all spent their formative years and beyond in the happy home.

Of the four Robley sisters, only one married. Youngest child Evelyn Margaret Robley married her second cousin, Harry Gordon Oakley in 1950(their grandmothers were sisters- Jessie and Bertha Hughan) after he had returned safely from service overseas in WW2. They had no natural children of their own, but adopted a son whom they named Hughan in honour of their mutual maternal history.
Vernon Edward Robley, the only son of Ivy McCallum and Edward Robley, married in England whilst serving with the A.I.F in WW1.On 27 October, 1919, at Hampstead, Vernon married Sophia Winifred Burfitt, daughter of Albert Herbert Burfitt and his second wife, Sophia Hall. They had three daughters and two sons:
Verna Winnifred Robley born December 6, 1920. Married __ Grey on April 16, 1942.Died October 29, 1992.
Alison Margaret Robley: born August 19, 1923.
Judith Ethelwyn Robley: born June 14, 1929.
Ian Burfitt Robley: born August 6, 1930.
Stuart Edward Robley: born June 27, 1932.
Sophia Winifred Burfitt Robley died when her children were still quite young. She died at 104 Shannon Avenue, Newtown, Geelong, on July 19, 1938, aged only 42. Sadly, she had also lost her own mother at a very young age- Sophia Hall Burfitt had died at the age of 37 years in 1895, when her daughter Sophia was only an infant. In fact, her mother’s death had been registered before Sophia’s birth- the latter in the December ¼ of 1895, and the former in the March ¼ of 1896. This suggests that Sophie Hall Burfitt died at the birth of her daughter or very soon after late in 1895.
Sophia Burfitt Robley’s cause of death was given as ‘Hyperpiesis’ (which is defined as “persistent and pathological high blood pressure for which no specific cause can be found”) and cerebral haemorrhage. She had been suffering from the former condition for six years.
At the time of her death her children were Verna Winifred, aged 18; Alison Margaret aged 15; Judith Ethylwyn aged 9; Ian Burfitt aged 8 and Stuart Edward aged only 6.

Vernon Robley married again four years later. In 1942 he married 43 year old Dora Galbraith, a widow whose husband James Campbell Galbraith had died at the young age of 31 in 1930. Dora had been born Dora Amy Kennedy in 1899, the daughter of Thomas Kennedy and Grace Little. She had married James Galbraith in 1926, and I do not know if they had children before James’ death in 1930. One of the family birthday books records the birth date of Marjorie Grace Galbraith on December 4, 1928- this would fit in with the small four year time period in which Dora and James were married.
Dora Kennedy Galbraith Robley died in 1983, aged 83 years. Her husband Vernon Edward Robley died on December 22, 1962, just four days short of his 70th birthday.

Of the other Robley siblings, children of Ivy Jessie McCallum and Henry Edward Robley, their years of death are as follows:
Norma Olive Robley: died Prahran 1974 aged 76 years.
Stella Jessie Alice Robley: died 1976 aged 88 years.
Lois Ivy Robley: died 1982, Yarrawonga, aged 87 years.
Evelyn Margaret Robley Oakley: died Yarrawonga on December 3, 1995, aged 93.

Ivy Jessie McCallum Robley died on February 19, 1949, at Hawksburn, aged 90 years.

Ivy’s husband, Henry Edward Robley, also died at the family home, ‘Tremaine’, 12 Cromwell Crescent, Hawksburn. Aged 80 years, he died on June 15, 1942.

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