Clunes Post Office

Collier Family History Kent England to Clunes Victoria Australia

Rupert Owen Croxton Collier married my great grandmother Annie McSweeney in 1908 in Bacchus Marsh Victoria Australia. She had previously been married to my great grandfather Robert Eason Cook.

Annie McSweeney cropped
Annie McSweeney 1876-1919

Rupert Collier’s ancestry has been traced back to Edward Norwood born 1688 in Kingsnorth Kent England.

Rupert’s father, James Lyon Collier, was the Clunes postmaster for 26 years from 1860 -c1886. After this he was postmaster at Portland.

James Lyon Collier and William Collier Post Masters Vic Gazette 1861
James Lyon Collier appointed postmaster 1861 Vic Govt Gazette

There are quite a few interesting newspaper articles mentioning James Lyon Collier which I found on Trove:

James Lyon Collier Marriage 31 May 1871 Bendigo Advertiser 31 May 1871
Marriage of James Lyon Collier and Esther Croxton 1871

 

James Lyon Collier Super Claim Portland Guardian 1 Sept 1901 cr
Account of an unsuccessfull claim for superannuation payment by James Lyon Collier as reported in The Portland Guardian Sept 1 1901
James Lyon Collier Death Notice in The Argus 22 Dec 1902 cr
James Lyon Collier Death Notice in The Argus 22 Dec 1902
James Lyon Collier Death Notice in Bendigo Advertiser 27 Dec 1902 cr
Death Notice for James Lyon Collier in The Bendigo Advertiser 27 Dec 1902
James Lyon Collier Obit The Portland Guardian 24 Dec 1902cr
Obituary for James Lyon Collier in The Portland Guardian Dec 24 1902

 

View of Clunes c1860-1869
View of Clunes Victoria in the 1860s
Rupert was born in Clunes in 1879. His father was postmaster there until 1883 when they moved to Portland where he was postmaster until 1888. Rupert would have been four when he lived in Portland. He won first prize at the Horticultural Show in 1888 in the six button-hole bouquet section.
Rupert Collier Wins Prize 1888 9 Nov Portland Guardian
Rupert Collier wins a prize at the Portland Horticultural and Floricultural Society. Portland Guardian 9 Nov 1888

Annie was married to Robert Eason Cook when she became involved with Rupert Collier. Annie had four children to Robert the last being still born in 1904. In 1906 Esther Helena “Bloss” was born to Rupert and Annie. They married two years later. I don’t  know what happened to the first marri8age. Robert Eason Cook died in Brisbane at the age of that was in 1906. What he was doing up thee is another mystery. To add to the mystery his brother Thomas who lived in Perth was there as well. Robert’s occupation was an indent clerk. He is buried in Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane.

To get back to Rupert and Annie. Theirs is a sad story as they both died young leaving Annie’s three children from her first marriage and the five from her marriage to Rupert orphans.

Annie Cook and Rupert Collier 1908 Marriage cropped
Marriage Certificate of Annie Eason Cook and Rupert Owen Collier 1908

When she and Rupert married her children from Robert Cook were Grace, my grandmother, aged 15, James aged 12 and John aged 7.

Rupert and Annie had five children: Esther Helena called Bloss, Winifred called Winnie, Big Winnie to differentiate her from my mother who was also a Winifred, Inez, Rupert called Bertie, and Nellie.

From Electoral Rolls we can trace where they lived and Rupert’s occupation.

In 1909 they were living at 26 Lennox St Hawthorn and Rupert was a produce merchant. In 1914 he was working as a gardener and living at 19 Canning St Carlton.

Rupert enlisted on Feb 2, 1916:

Rupert Owen Collier Enlistment Application 1916
Enlistment form for Rupert Owen Collier Feb 2 1916

Rupert died seven months later.

Rupert Collier Death 1916 cr
Death Certificate of Rupert Owen Collier Sept 1916

Annie died during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic in 1919. An estimated 50 -100 million people were killed by this virus around the world. It is said to have been brought into Australia by soldiers returning home from WW1.

Annie Collier McSweeney Death Cert 1919 cropped
Death Certificate for Annie Collier nee McSweeney 1919

Annie and Rupert are buried together in Springvale Cemetery in Melbourne Victoria Australia. There is no headstone .

Springvale Cemetery Melbourne Grave of Annie McSweeney and Rupert Collier
Grave of Annie McSweeney and Rupert Collier Springvale Cemetery Victoria

When Annie died my grandmother was 26, James 23, Jack 18. The children of Rupert and Annie would have been Esther 14, Winifred 10, Inez 8, Rupert 6, and Nellie 4. Apparently they stayed in a house with a housekeeper but eventually had to be split up and put into orphanages. My mother told me her mother got married to an older man, Ernie Wilson, so she could take them out of the orphanages. My mother also said her mother had all her half sisters and brother as well as her own four children to rear. I don’t know how true this is after talking to other family members. My grandmother married Ernie Wilson in 1911, well before her mother’s death in 1919. My grandmother being the eldest would have done a lot of caring for her younger half sisters and brother. From what I have been told Nellie and Bertielived for some time with Winnie Munro nee Collier.

John “Jack” Cook took the name Collier and married Evelyn Hutson. He lived in Ballarat and was a showman, whatever that was.

James Alexander Thomas Eason Cook married Nellie Graham and lived in Melbourne.

Esther”Bloss” Collier married Herbert Skinner, Winnie married George Munro and lived at Marian Ave Coburg, Inez had a disability and lived with Winnie and Nellie’s families, she did not marry, Bertie was single as far as I can tell and Nellie, the youngest married Allan Turner.

Descendants of William Collyer 2015
Descendants of William Collyer 2015

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