The WEDEMEYERs of Eastern Australia, Chapter 10

The "WEDEMEYERs of Eastern Australia" section of this site is divided into 10 chapters, and also appendices extending over 5 pages (sections). Please read in sequence by following the links at the bottom of each page or use the "Quick Nav" at top right. If you wish to select individual chapters, please click on the top left link to the Sitemap page. Please note the WEDEMEYER photo galleries here.

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GHL's children: John & Maggie WEDEMEYER.


An initial, though limited, effort has been made below on John Ernest WEDEMEYER’s life story. Please contact me with any further information on John or his descendants.

John WedemeyerJohn WEDEMEYER. Courtesy: A Heeps

On the left is a probable photo of John WEDEMEYER. It had the writing on its back "Mum's brother", referring to Elizabeth DAVIS (née WEDEMEYER). Audrey Heeps, a granddaughter of Elizabeth DAVIS, said the photo came to her by a round-about way from her "Aunt Flo" Florence Maud CAMPBELL (née DAVIS) who was Elizabeth's daughter.

We have firmly identified photos of Harry and Louis, thus by elimination, this is probably John Ernest’s photo.

John Ernest was born at Yarrol near Mount Perry (Mt Perry) on 10 Aug 1874, and was the youngest son of the GHL’s family. GHL’s involvement in establishing the Drummers Creek school in 1876, would have meant that John would have attended there as an 5 year old when the school (next door) opened on 5 April 1880.

In 1884, his brothers took up residence in their Selections at Walla to meet the requirement of their leases. They apparently ceased living in the family hotel at Drummers Creek. John was 10 at this time, and probably joined his brothers. Finances became difficult for the family. The family hotel burnt down on 23 Apr 1885, his father died on 5 Oct 1885, farming seasons were not favourable. How were the expenses of the three family Selections to be paid? Harry and Louis now worked as carriers, and since John’s death certificate gave his occupation as a carrier, he probably worked with his brothers on their bullock teams. See the stories of Harry and Louis for what probably also happened to John. Harry then died in an accident, in Dec 1890 at Eidsvold. This left Louis as the man with the day to day responsibilities for Walla, helped by John Ernest who was 8 years younger than Louis. In 1890 Louis and John lived at Eidsvold and Louis probably had taken 17 year old John to help him as "…a carrier, firstly of supplies from Mt. Perry to the gold diggings at Eidsvold and later of the quartz from the mines to the batteries."

The only records found of John’s occupation as an adult, were gazetted Timber Licences: 5 Dec 1896 and 15 Jul 1899, both for firewood.

John married Edith Mary Margaret (Edie) HALLAM on 3 Jul 1899 and regrettably died shortly after on 3 Apr 1900 at Craventown, near Eidsvold, Qld. This was only 10 weeks after his first child Beryl Lucy was born on 24 Jan 1900! His death certificate said he had suffered from "brain fever for 3 days”…ii) …..perhaps this was meningitis? On the other hand Bancroft & Hacker suggest it may have been due to an accident.…iii) page 84 He was buried in the Eidsvold #1 Cemetery, grave# 13, section I, row 2.

Edie’s “In Memoriam” notice said:

WEDEMEYER——In loving memory of my dear hus-
band, John Ernest Wedemeyer, who died on the 
3rd April, 1900, at Craventown, Eidsvold.
    Oh, Death, where was thy mercy?
      What treasures are thy prey?
    Why set thy seal on the noblest brow,
      And take the best away?

Source: Brisbane Courier; 17 Apr 1901; page 4.

Edith re-married to John Lawrence (Jack) BLUNDELL on 16 Dec 1903 at Bundaberg Qld. See the photo beneath of Edith and her second husband.

Edith and second husband (From L) Jack, Gavin, Madge BLUNDELL, Edith BLUNDELL (née HALLAM) & Beryl WEDEMEYER (John’s daughter)
Courtesy of Evelyn Bancroft & Diana Hacker. …iii) page 88

Bancroft & Hacker give these details of Jack BLUNDELL:

Jack BLUNDELL was a carpenter, but was later employed as a steam engine driver at the mine batteries. He also had a small sawmill on the Eidsvold to Mundubbera Rd just across the railway line from town. The sawmill was built c1916. The syndicate of which he was the head, worked the "Lady Augusta Mine" c1933/38. The first lump of gold smelted from the mine was as big as a Nestles Chocolate Bar. …iii) page 89

Edith’s father, George Hollingworth HALLAM, was a neighbour to Louis WEDEMEYER at Craventown, and the every-day lives of the WEDEMEYERs and HALLAMs were intertwined. Bancroft & Hacker tell the story how George Hallam died from accidental shooting on 29 Oct 1910, when he was hunting a goanna, which had been stealing eggs from the fowl house. The witnesses at the Inquest included 7 year old Beryl WEDEMEYER, her uncle Louis WEDEMEYER and Louis’ son Henry.…iii)pages100-101

John WEDEMEYER’s Descendancy Report

This report is made from the HALLAM point of view, and gives details of John WEDEMEYER’s wife Edith re-marrying after his death.

Sources: John Ernest WEDEMEYER.
i) Birth of Ernest (John) Wedemeyer, Yarrol, 10 Aug 1874.
    Reg# 1874/C/551. Registrar of BDM, Qld. (John Ernest Wedemeyer).
ii) Death of John Ernest Wedemeyer, Craventown, 3 Apr 1900.
    Reg# 1900/C/625. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
iii) Bancroft E, Hacker D. A lust for leather; Hallam family 1818-2005. Bancroft & Hacker; Gaythorne Queensland 2005.


May thanks to my kind correspondents: Alice McArthur, Evelyn Bancroft, Diana Hacker and Audrey Heeps.

Margaret Henrietta (Maggie) WEDEMEYER

At this stage, I can only present a small amount of data on the life of Maggie WEDEMEYER. This consists of: birth death and marriage data, information from various sources including Maggie's divorce and probate files, details of Maggie's estate and the brick walls which prevent further development of her story. Fortunately, a number of her photos survived due to her contact with her sister, Minnie STRONG (née WEDEMEYER). Please see the photo gallery of Maggie GATES (née WEDEMEYER).

Margaret Henrietta (Maggie) WEDEMEYER was born on 27 Mar 1878 at Drummers Creek, Mt Perry Qld…i) and was the youngest child of GHL’s family. Maggie's early family life with her mother and sister Minnie up to her later life at East Bundaberg is described here. Maggie subsequently moved to Sydney where she kept in contact with her sister Minnie. The sisters acted as witnesses to the other's marriage.

Maggie Wedemeyer in 1905 Maggie Wedemeyer in 1905

Her first marriage did not last long. She married Walter Francis George SHRIMPLIN, bootmaker, on 27 Apr 1899 in the Pyrmont Congregational Manse…ii) and left him 3 years later.…iv)

According to her divorce file, a sailor served her with a divorce petition in a tobacconist shop in Albert St Auckland on 27 Nov, 1905 on the grounds she had deserted Walter SHRIMPLIN for a period of greater than 3 years. The sailor used the photo on the left to identify Maggie when he served the petition. The Decree Absolute was signed on 28 Aug, 1906. She did not contest the divorce and did not appear at the proceedings.…iv) It is possible that she went to Auckland because David STRONG's (her brother-in-law) father lived nearby.

Walter tells the story of their marriage from his point of view, since Maggie did not contest the divorce. The evening newspapers liked reporting "human interest" stories from the divorce court:

Walter Francis Geo. Shrimplin, a bootmaker, asked for relief from Maggie Shrimplin, formerly Wedemeyer, on the ground of desertion. Petitioner, for whom Mr. R. Fraser, appeared, said he was married to the respondent in April, 1899, at Pyrmont, according to the Congregational rites. Shortly afterwards he allowed her to go to Queensland for a trip, and when she returned there was a change in her disposition. She seemed unsettled, and said she liked travelling, and would have another trip. He told her she was foolish. In April, 1902, she left him. He went to work one morning, and on his return he found her gone. Subsequently, he heard she was In New Zealand, and he proceeded to Auckland, where he discovered her in a dressmaker's shop. He endeavoured to induce her to return, but she refused. A decree nisi was granted, to be moved absolute in four months. …v)

While Maggie remained in New Zealand, she married the marine fireman Percy David GATES on 9 Oct 1912 at the Registrar's office, Auckland.…vi) Percy was born in Hobart Tasmania on 17 Oct 1885 to Joseph Edward GATES & Caroline Anne Lindsay Boaze SMITH.…vii) A few years before the marriage, in 1908 , Percy was a fireman aboard the s.s. Monowai on the Dunedin West electoral roll.…viii) There is not much detail about Maggie's marriage, though her sister Minnie had 2 photos of Percy and Maggie #2 and #3. Electoral rolls show they moved to Sydney Australia at least by 1930 when they lived at 9 Carlisle St Leichardt #6. Percy's occupation was "Retired " (at age 45)! This was during the Great Depression and retired may have been a euphemism for unemployed. Maggie's occupation was "Home Duties". The same information was given in the rolls in 1933 and 1935… until 1936 when they had moved to 106 Ebley St Waverley when Percy had "no occupation" and Maggie was still "home duties".…viii)

Images of Maggie with her husband Percy Gates and an unknown man thought originally to be their nephew Hedley GATES. Can someone help in identifying the unknown man? See #2 and #3.
     Click on these thumbnails for full images with text. OR click on the text link to the image eg …#2.

Image of Maggie with her husband Percy Gates and nephew Hedley Gates. Image of Maggie with her husband Percy Gates and nephew Hedley Gates.

How do we reconcile Maggie's occupation "home duties" with the 5 houses she owned in Sydney? In her Will signed on 7th March 1945 her assets are itemised, and the subsequent probate gives their value:…x)

Maggie must have accumulated a fair amount of money (how??), then later bought up housing cheaply during the Great Depression and lived off the rentals. But why did she buy pairs of adjacent houses? There is a story here?

Maggie died on 4 May 1946 after chronic heart problems over 6 years at 106 Ebley Street Bondi Junction.…ix) Her Estate was tied up in trusts so that during her husband Percy's life time he got only £8 per month + medical expenses + the right to live in the matrimonial home + £30 maximum for his own funeral expenses, Maggie's sister Minnie received £2 per month, and the rest of the income from the estate distributed amongst Maggie's 3 nephews Robert and Edward STRONG and Hedley GATES!…x) Botany Crematorium have on record that there was a request for Maggie's ashes not to be retained.... which was unusual. Did this reflect the attitude of Percy GATES to his late wife?

Percy died on 9 Feb 1957 when his place of residence was still at 106 Ebley St Bondi Junction.…xI) His death allowed the expiry of the above trusts and Maggie now left a house apiece to each of her nephews Robert and Edward STRONG and Hedley GATES and to great nephews Philip and Barry STRONG (5 houses in all) with the residue of her estate to her nephews above. The distribution of Maggie’s Estate was completed in 1960.…x) However the electoral rolls showed that Hedley Charles Frederick GATES (2 Mar 1911 - 16 Apr 1990) remained in 103A Ebley St at least from 1949 to 1963, and did not move into Maggie's family home of 106 Ebley St,…viii) which was his inheritance from the Will. Perhaps there was a protected tenant in 106 Ebley St and Hedley could not gain vacant possession? He was then recorded in Western Australia from 1977 until his death.…viii) The other beneficiaries all immediately sold their bequeathed houses. See Hedley's story here.

I never met Aunt Maggie, probably due to restrictions on travel during WWII. However, this bequest to myself (Philip) and Barry Strong (1932-2019) was most welcome. The wording of the Will created problems for us. I remember as if it were yesterday Barry driving me to Clovelly in 1960 to see our inheritance. He explained that the semi detached houses needed to be sold so that he could afford to get married. The catch was the wording of the Will which left us the pair of houses "in equal shares" which gave us the only options of one partner buying the other out or sell both houses and split the proceeds. At that stage of life we both had to go for option #2 and Barry married in 1960!

Images of Maggie's houses from L: 30A & 32 Winchester Rd Clovelly…#5; Carlisle St Leichardt…#6.
     Click on these thumbnails for full images with text. OR click on the text link to the image eg …#11.

Image of Winchester Rd Clovelly. Image of Carlisle Rd Leichardt.
Maggie WEDEMEYER’s BDM Summary

Sources: Margaret Henrietta (Maggie) WEDEMEYER.
i) Birth of Margaret Henrietta (Maggie) WEDEMEYER, Drummers Creek Mt Perry Qld, 27 Mar 1878.
    Reg# 1878/C/310. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
ii) Marriage of Walter Francis George SHRIMPLIN & Maggie WEDMEYER, Congregational Manse, Allen Street Pyrmont NSW, 27 Apr 1899. Reg# 2385/1899, Registrar of BDM, NSW.
iii) Enrolment of Maggie WEDEMEYER. Qld School Pupils Index. Queensland Family History Society Inc.(Part 1 of 3 CD's). Eidsvold original source: Eidsvold State School 1889-1989 Centenary.
iv) Divorce SHRIMPLIN Walter Francis - SHRIMPLIN Maggie. Number: INX-16-28384; Year: 1905; Divorce number: 5528. NSW State Archives.
v) Too fond of travel. Report from the divorce court. Evening News; 22 Mar 1906: 6.
vi) Marriage of Percy David GATES & Maggie WEDMEYER, Registrar's office, Auckland, 9 Aug 1912. Reg# 1912/6720. Registrar of BDM, New Zealand.
vii) Birth of Percy David GATES, Battery Point Hobart, 17 Oct 1885. 1885 Births register, Hobart District Tasmania. Reg# 1885/336.
viii) Electoral Rolls.
ix) Death of Margaret GATES, 106 Ebley St., Bondi Junction, NSW, 4 May 1946.
    Reg# 1946/13917. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
x) Maggie Gates’ Will and Probate file from the NSW Supreme Court # 1946/315601.
xi) Death of Percy David GATES, Sacred Heart Hospice Darlinghurst, 9 Feb 1957. Reg# 1957/1002. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
I am grateful for the following correspondents: Pat Prior and Hedley GATES family… Anthony & Pauleen GATES.

The Story Continues