Images from left:Accrington Town Hall (c) Copyright Steven Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Common Licence; SS Great Britain; Liverpool Customs House & Albert Docks; Bendigo Station circa 1862; Victoria Hill Mine; Pall Mall
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Waddingtons of Bendigo
Our story “Waddingtons of Bendigo” begins with the emigration of our first Australian family, then consisting of Amelia and Robert Waddington and baby daughter Jane Alice Amelia, from England to Australia.  Amelia and Robert’s marriage certificate informs us that their marriage took place at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Accrington, Lancashire on 11 August 1855.  At the time of their marriage both Amelia and Robert’s listed their occupation as “weaver in a cotton mill”.  Amelia’s father John was a labourer in a print works and Bob’s dad, Nicholas, was a block cutter.  Amelia’s parents, John Sutcliffe and Alice Frew, were married January 1822.  Bob’s parents, Nicholas Waddington and Jane Clegg married in February 1834. Marriage: 1 Jan 1822 St James, Accrington, Lancs. John Sutcliff - (X), of Accrington Alice Frew - (X), of Church Kirk     Witness: Robert Chadwick; Edward Kenyon     Married by Banns by: Jno. Hopwood, Minister     Register: Marriages 1813 - 1829, Page 105, Entry 315     Source: LDS Film 1278944 Marriage: 12 Feb 1833 St James, Accrington, Lancs. Nicholas Waddington - Accrington Jane Clegg - (X), Accrington     Witness: James Gregory; John Waddington     Married by Banns by: Jno. Hopwood Minister     Register: Marriages 1829 - 1837, Page 65, Entry 194     Source: LDS Film 1278944 Amelia was born 31 October 1834 and baptised 30 November 1834 at St. James’ Church, Accrington. Baptism: 30 Nov 1834 St James, Accrington, Lancs. Amelia Sutcliff - Daughter of John Sutcliff & Alice     Born: 31 Oct     Abode: Grange     Occupation: Labourer     Baptised by: J. Hopwood     Register: Baptisms 1825 - 1842, Page 201, Entry 1590     Source: LDS Film 1278944 Robert was born 10 March 1834 and baptised 13 April 1834 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Accrington. Amelia and Robert’s first child, Jane Alice Amelia was born in Omerod Street, New Accrington on 15 November 1861 and given the names of her grandmothers and her mother. Accrington and nearby towns were where the the First World War 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington) East Lancashire was raised.  Better known as “The Accrington Pals” the battalion suffered devastating losses on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  Listed as a member of the “Officers and Men of the Accrington Pals” is Waddington CSM Harry who was born in nearby Clayton-le-Moors.  Harry was killed in action on 28 June 1918, aged just 24 year.   A relative perhaps?     Why the family decided to emigrate is not known but it may have been due to a combination of the Lancashire Cotton Famine (1861-1865) and the Victorian Gold Rush which began in 1851. By 1849 there were eight mills and 1,443 operatives in Accrington and the increase in population as people flocked to the area to work in the factories created a housing boom. On a negative note though, by 1850 the River Hyndburn had gone from being a pleasant trout stream to an outlet for industrial and domestic waste. The district had become so reliant on cotton that when the American Civil War (1861-1865) started it had a disastrous effect; many mill workers were put on short-time and soup kitchens had to be opened to help people. These problems were impacted during the next decade when the Great Cotton Strike took place in 1878 with workers rioting when their wages were reduced by 10 per cent.” Source Accrington Observer December 05, 2002   There is a record (see below) of a Robert & Amelia Waddington arriving in Melbourne from Liverpool on the Gipsy Bride in 1857 but the only close record of a return to Liverpool is a record of a Mary & Robert being passengers on the Eagle to Liverpool in 1860.  The ages don’t match those of our “Robert & Amelia” but these could be clerical errors.  Are these records a coincidence or did Robert and Amelia make an earlier attempt to settle in Australia?    We are certain that they sailed from Liverpool in 1862 on the  SS Great Britain arriving in Melbourne in August of that year, as the ship’s passenger list shows also Jane Waddington age 1 year.  The ship departed port on 15 June with 165 crew and 544 passengers.  The voyage lasted 60 days. We do know, from the ship’s record shown at the bottom of this page, is that our branch of Waddingtons of Bendigo began with their arrival in Melbourne in August 1862 but we don’t know if they travelled directly to Bendigo, as our next record is the registration of son Henry Fairbank Waddington’s birth in 1873.  On that document  there is also mention of daughters Jane Amelia 11 years, Jessie 22 months and son John Robert (deceased). With regard to Robert’s occupation, of interest is that on Henry’s birth registration  his occupation is “labourer”, on Jessie and Henry’s baptismal certificate he is a “miner” but by time of Henry and Johanna’s marriage he is a “surveyor” but as can be seen from the next paragraph, at the time of their wedding in 1895 Bob had been dead for 11 years. Robert died in February 1884 at Swan Hill but his body was not discovered until August of the same year.  He is buried in the local cemetery in an unmarked grave.  Research by Jenny Barton (great-grand-daughter of Jane Alice Amelia Brewer (nee Waddington) has found that Bob was in the Swan Hill area trapping rabbits.  Following is a report Jenny found in The Argus (Melbourne Vic: 1848 - 1957 dated Sat 30 August - Page 10 Column 6).  It reads: “The police here received a telegram from Swan-hill tonight stating that the remains of a man named Waddington had been found in the mallee.  He had been engaged in snaring rabbits and last week he wandered from the camp.  Police and other have been searching ever since.” As Bob’s death certificate records death in February but burial in was in September, perhaps the reporter presumed that death had occurred not long before his remains were found?  The fact that Bob went missing in February and that his remains were not identified until August is so terribly sad.  Not just for the way his life ended but for the wife and family left behind and not knowing his whereabouts. Bob, and Amelia with little Jane Alice Amelia no doubt sailed from Liverpool with such high hopes.  Nonetheless, they would have been be proud to know that their descendants are by and large a good bunch. Documents filed for probate on her death informs us that Amelia died in Bendigo on 12 May 1906.  This page from that document lists Amelia and both daughters, Jane and Amelia as widowed. Search for passengers who boarded ships to Victoria from overseas ports between 1852 and 1923.  (Unassisted means passengers’ fares were not paid for by the government.) Family Name Given Name Age Month Year Ship WADDINGTON AMELIA 20 MAR 1857 GIPSY BRIDE WADDINGTON ROBT 22 MAR 1857 GIPSY BRIDE Search for passengers who travelled on ships leaving Victoria between 1852 and 1923. Family Name Given Name Age Ship Name Month Year Destination WADDINGTON MARY 27 EAGLE APR 1860 LIVERPOOL WADDINGTON ROBT 28 EAGLE APR 1860 LIVERPOOL Index of Inward Passenger Lists for British, Foreign and New Zealand Ports 1852-1923 Family Name Given Name Age Month Year Ship Name WADDINGTON AMELIA 27 AUG 1862 GREAT BRITAIN WADDINGTON JANE I AUG 1862 GREAT BRITAIN WADDINGTON RT 27 AUG 1862 GREAT BRITAIN
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