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Isabella Ellis nee Sinclair - Probate

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 14 May 1918 courtesy of National Library of Australia

Some of you may remember me blogging about my 2nd great grandmother, Isabella Ellis (nee Sinclair) last month.  Lovely Jill Ball of Geniaus asked me if I had looked for her Probate files. I hadn't.  So guess what turned up in the mail yesterday?  The probate files.  Hoorah!!

It cost $34.13 to be precise.  Item 19/10252 Reel 3033.  No less than 11 pages for me to digest.  

I can see the signatures of her sons - James St Clair Ellis of Hurstville and Henry Victor Ellis of Bondi.  There is an inventory of her estate.  It was valued at less than one thousand pounds so was not subject to stamp duty.  

It totalled £783.0.10.

The debts were interesting.  The greatest of these was the exhumation and removal of her husband's body £27.6.  He had been buried a couple of years before at the Field of Mars Cemetery as per this notice found in Trove.

Sydney Morning Herald Monday 21 February 1916 page 8
courtesy of the National Library of Australia

They are now both buried at Waverley Cemetery.  Section 15 Ordinary Row 26 Plot Number 6679,6680 to be precise (Thanks to the Society of Australian Genealogists transcriptions of Waverley and South Head Cemeteries and Find My Past).

The value of her property was as follows:

The two cottages in St George's Parade "Inverary" and "Ararat" were valued at £500.  The vacant land at Empress Street (not included in the will) was valued at £50.  Property at Narrabeen was valued at £25 and property at Katoomba was valued at £33. 

There are detailed descriptions of the location of the properties at Narrabeen and Katoomba. 

If I wanted to/could get to I could probably go and plot out the property at Narrabeen exactly using the Narrabeen subdivision plans at the State Library of NSW.  There is mention of Turimetta Allotment 13 of Section 8 so I'm guessing it is somewhere near Turimetta Street in present day Mona Vale or near Turimetta Beach.  This must have been the family's seaside getaway.

The property at Katoomba was on Twynam Street which is on the north side of Katoomba - a part of Katoomba that I'm not familiar with.  It must have been the family's mountain getaway.

There are two pages listing in detail the household furniture valued at £64 altogether.  There are recognizable items like a Singer Sewing Machine (value £3) and several musical instruments - a small Harmonium £2 - a cottage piano by Aucher Freres £8.  

I was heartened to see that there were was a quantity of books (value £2-hrrumph) and two rocking chairs.  I was also heartened to see that there was a biscuit barrell, a pickle jar and a toast rack in the dining room (amongst other things). 

There are many things I need to investigate.  What was the Wal. Loo Table in the front room.  I'm thinking maybe walnut?  But loo?  

Isabella also had a gong (valued at 1 shilling).  I feel a gong is missing in my life and I must seek one out as a matter of urgency.  

What is hollow ware????  And whilst I've seen the word cruet before I've never really understood what it is.

Harry Young "My Jeweller" - of 524 George Street (near Park Street, opp Q V Markets) Hours of Business 8am til 6pm Friday - 10pm and Saturday - 1pm - Value for Money all the time all prices in plain figures, nett cash we are a live firm - was called in to value Isabella's jewellery.  He was peremptory in his evaluation:

Acting under your instructions I have valued the old personal jewellery in the above estate, in the presence of the two sons Messrs. James S. and Harry Ellis; it consists of a sundry lot, broken and otherwise, and the value I place on it is SIX POUNDS (£6) that being the figure at which I am prepared to purchase it.

You can just imagine the scene can't you?  A very dour affair I would imagine.

I have learned so much from these papers - that my 2nd great grandmother loved music, books, pickles, biscuits, toast, sitting in a rocking chair, holidaying at the sea and in the mountains and when it all got too much - banging a gong on the odd occasion.  Bless her and bless Jill for sending me off in this direction!


GeniAus said…
Thrilled that you found some items of interest in the packet.
GeniAus said…
G'day, I really enjoyed this post which I have included in this weeks GAGs - GeniAus Gems at

And did you know that Waverley Cemetery was under Mr GeniAus' care when he was Town Clerk there?
Crissouli said…
What a find, Alex... in case you haven't learnt what a cruet is, I have a few of them. my favourite is one that stands a bit over 30cm high, is silver and has a fancy handle as part of it's frame. I don't have a photo at hand, must take one the next time I polish it, but it holds etched glass pepper and salt containers, too fancy to be called shakers, as well as decanters for oil, vinegar and mustard or a sauce. I just love it.
Alex Daw said…
Jill - it was so funny getting the envelope. I had completely forgotten that I had ordered it. It was like Christmas.
Alex Daw said…
Jill - that makes it an even more special place to me now knowing that. Waverley Cemetery is a bit dim in my memory. I have spent more time at Rookwood, though I think Waverley is more pleasant in aspect.
Alex Daw said…
Oh Crissouli thank you. No I didn't find out what a cruet is and now I feel that I must have one. I do have one of those fancy butter container things inherited from my mother and I do like it. You know the thing that looks like a dome with a lid that you push back to reveal the butter sitting in a glass dish. I do like a bit of nonsense on the table.
Don't you love probate files (and deceased estates are almost as good (or more?). I have my grandmother's cruet set, which I think may even be her mother's. Sounds a lot like Chris's...doesn't get used much except when I want to "flash up" the table setting.
I have the silver butter dish "nonsense" too ;)

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