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William Frederick Hughes and Mary Stodart

William Frederick Hughes was born on 19/1/1828, baptized at Boston Spa, Yorkshire, on 2/8/1829, and married Mary Stodart at St Matthew's, Kensington, South Australia, on 26/6/1850. He had come to Australia in 1840 with his parents, George Robert Hughes and Charlotte Prentice, sailing on the Diadem, which arrived on 16/11/1840. He died on 30/8/1921 and is buried in the Inverbrackie cemetery (near Woodside).

The South Australian 2/7/1850

Mary Stodart was born on 26/2/1833, baptized on 22/4/1833, in South Leith, Midlothian, Scotland. Her parents were Laurence Stodart and Mary Ann Middleton. She died on 28/1/1919 and is buried alongside her husband at Inverbrackie.

WFH death
The Advertiser, 31/8/1921
Mary death
The Advertiser, 29/1/1919
Grave of William Frederick and Mary

William Frederick Hughes appears to have followed various occupations at one time or another. A newspaper cutting (see below) says that he was a storekeeper and a builder, and an article that appeared in The Observer in 1916 says that he was a stone-mason. An item of family folklore, appearing in Grantley Hutchens' book "The Family History of Thomas Hutchens", says that William Frederick Hughes was the foreman for the construction of the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island (in 1851 or 1852). Unfortunately, I do not know Grantley's source for this. And a scrap book compiled in 1934 by C. W. Fowler (a son-in-law of W. F. Hughes) apparently contained a cutting stating that William Frederick Hughes was the bullock driver who carted the roof slates for the first Mount Barker Presbyterian Church from the quarry at Willunga. This would have been in 1846 or 1847, when W.F.H. was about 18 or 19.

Copies of two newspaper cuttings from C. W. Fowler's scrap-book are shown below. Sadly, I do not know what became of the original book.

After his marriage to Mary Stodart (on 26/6/1850) William Frederick took up land near Woodside, as a tenant of the South Australian Company. He and Mary lived on this property, which they named "Bleakside Farm", for nearly 70 years. They eventually purchased it.

I have found several newspaper items referring to William Frederick Hughes, some of which are reproduced on this page. Usually his name is given as W. F. Hughes, but one item referred to him as F. W. Hughes and another as F. Hughes. Only one referred to him as Wm Hughes. I suspect that he was commonly known by his second name.

William Frederick Hughes formed a partnership with Thomas Reed, a successful farmer and former miner of Kanmantoo, and Thomas Stodart, Mary's elder brother (who later married William's sister Charlotte). Together they constructed and operated the Albert Mill at Nairne in the years 1857–1859. However, it seems likely that the venture was not successful. They sold the mill in 1859. (This information can be found in A Miller's Tale: The memoirs of John Dunn of Mt Barker, Ed. Anthony Stuart. See the Laurence and Mary Stodart page for more details. It is worth noting that according to John Dunn's memoirs, Thomas Stodart's brother-in-law was named Frederick Hughes.)

The newspaper items below (from the South Australian Advertiser) appear to indicate that the partnership of W. F. Hughes and Thomas Stodart was not confined to the Albert Mill venture.


Apparently Bleakside Farm was primarily a dairy farm: another newspaper item from 1902 (shown on the Richard and Sarah James page) refers to Bleakside as one of the principal dairies in the Woodside area. W. F. Hughes was one of the directors of the Onkaparinga Cheese and Butter Produce Company.

dairy factory
The Advertiser, 1/5/1906
The Advertiser, 26/11/1909

W. F. Hughes was Chairman of the Onkaparinga District Council from 1884 to 1887.

The Register, 19/7/1884
local affairs
The Advertiser, 3/9/1884
The Advertiser, 9/3/1885
paying MPs
The Advertiser, 24/8/1886
Association of Councils
The Register, 27/5/1887

In 1902 William Frederick Hughes was appointed a Justice of the Peace. (See the list of JP's published in The Advertiser on 20/11/1902.)

A "four generations" photo was taken at Bleakside in about 1915, showing William Frederick Hughes, his son George Laurence Hughes, grandson Frederick Thomas Hughes and great-grandson Frederick Campbell Hughes. On the same day a photo was taken of Mary Hughes, then confined to a wheelchair, holding her great-granddaughter, another Mary Hughes. These photos are shown on the Fred and Nell Hughes page.

A photo of William Frederick and Mary, taken on the same day as the four generations photo, is shown below.


Hughes memorabilia in the possession of my cousin Peter Hughes includes a card printed for the celebration of William Frederick and Mary's diamond wedding in 1910 (see below). I am amused by the verse, which encourages Mr and Mrs Hughes to look forward to imminent death! (But in fact they both lasted for about 10 more years.)

diamond wedding diamond wedding
(Click here for the text of the poem)
Newspaper notice
The Advertiser, 29/6/1910

Much of my information about the descendants of William Frederick and Mary Hughes, other than those who are my own ancestors, derives from the websites Ancestry World Tree: Hughes Family Tree and RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Schipp Family Tree.

William Frederick and Mary had the following children:

Children of William Frederick and Mary

George Laurence Hughes, eldest son of William Frederick and Mary, married Sarah Ann Hutchens. Their family is discussed on a separate page.


In memoriam

William Stodart Hughes married Elizabeth McKenzie, née Bartholomew, widow of Alexander McKenzie, on 17/12/1877, at Georgetown. She was born on 1/12/1842, daughter of one Thomas Bartholomew. Note that a Thomas Bartholomew was the father of John Bartholomew who was the husband of one of the daughters of Richard and Sarah James. It seems a reasonable guess that this is the same man, and is the Thomas Bartholomew who married Susan Putland in Newhaven, Sussex, in the December quarter of 1838, and came to South Australia in 1839 on the Buckinghamshire. Elizabeth's first marriage (which took place on 22/3/1862) produced six children (Bessie, Alick, John, Annie Mary, Thomas and Charlotte McKenzie). Her marriage to William Stodart Hughes produced four children: Willie Archie Stodart Hughes (b. 11/1/1878), Robert Francis Stodart Hughes (b. 28/11/1879), Robertina Lizzette Mary Stodart Hughes (b. 23/3/1883) and Maud May Stodart Hughes (b. 13/2/1887); for more information on these people see the links on the William Stodart Hughes page of the "Ancestors of Peter Keen" website. William Stodart Hughes died on 2/3/1911, Elizabeth Hughes died on 4/4/1927.

Death notice
The Advertiser, 3/3/1911


Mary Ann Middleton Hughes married Charles William Fowler, son of John Roger Gresley Fowler and Elizabeth Brackenridge, on 11/10/1884. Charles was born at Mount Torrens on 31/1/1846 and died at Mt Barker on 18/3/1936; Mary Ann died on 22/2/1916. According to a document prepared by an elderly relative they had two sons, who both died young, and a daughter who did not marry. However, it seems that the two children who died young were a son and a daughter. Charles Emery Fowler, son of Charles and Mary Ann, was born at Mt Torrens on 16/8/1888. I have not been able to find a death registration record for him. Elizabeth Fowler, daughter of Charles William and Mary Ann, was born at Gumeracha on 19/7/1887. I presume that she can be identified with the Elizabeth Fowler, daughter of Charles Fowler, who died at Woodside on 11/9/1901, even though the death record gives her age as 11. Mary Gresley Fowler, daughter of Charles and Mary Ann, was born at Adelaide on 27/7/1885. She died unmarried at Felixstow on 28/7/1967, aged 82 (and one day).

CW Fowler death
The Advertiser, 20/3/1936
Mary Ann and Charles Fowler Grave of Martha Fowler

Mary Ann and Charles William are buried at Inverbrackie. From the gravestone we see that Mary Ann was known as "Annie", presumably because her mother was called Mary. The Martha Fowler whose gravestone is also shown was Charles' sister (born 2/4/1847 at Mt Torrens).


John Benham Hughes married Anna Maria Macbean at Bleakside on 8/6/1905. She was born in 1862, the daughter of John Macbean and Elizabeth Hilder. John Benham Hughes died in July 1940; Anna Maria Hughes died in November 1941. Anna's father was the Reverend John Macbean M.A. (1811–1897), presbyterian minister at Inverbrackie from 1852 to 1854 and from 1861 to 1884. His 1872 letter to the University of Adelaide applying for membership of the University Association is preserved in the University archives. There is a also photograph of John Macbean in the State Library of South Australia.)

The Advertiser, 1/7/1905
Sheep sale
The Advertiser, 28/6/1918


Thomas Stodart Hughes died on 11/3/1860, aged 11 months.

Thomas death
The Register, 16/3/1860


Laurence Stodart Hughes married Amy Paltridge on 25/10/1902 at Kensington. She was the daughter of John Paltridge and Elizabeth Clapman, born on 17/5/1864 and died on 19/2/1921. He died on 30/5/1945.

Grave of A.S. and R.V. Hughes


Ralph Wilson Hughes must be the son who went to live in Western Australia, as stated in Advertiser article "A Diamond Wedding" shown above. In W.A. marriage records we find that Ralph Wilson Hughes married Kate Margaret Warren at Collie in 1899. There was a William Frederick Hughes, son of Ralph Wilson Hughes and Catherine Margaret Howley, who was born in Collie in 1902 and died aged 2 days. I suppose that we must deduce that Kate Margaret Warren was a widow when she married Ralph, and that Howley was her maiden name.

Ralph Wilson Hughes died on 17/8/1932 at the residence of his stepson, John P. Warren, in Edwardstown, South Australia.


Andrew Smillie Hughes married Ruby Violet Dunn on 27/10/1921 in the Methodist Church at Charleston (near Woodside). She was the daughter of George Dunn and Eliza Jane Disher, born 21/7/1886. George Dunn's father, William Dunn, was a brother of John Dunn, the prominent flour miller, philanthropist and sometime member of parliament. See the online biography of John Dunn. Andrew Smillie Hughes died on 5/4/1951, Ruby Violet Hughes died on 16/9/1983. They are both buried at Inverbrackie, along with a son named John Philip Hughes, who died on 16/8/1935, aged 9. They had two other children, about whom I know nothing but their names: Richard Andrew Hughes and Elizabeth Jane Hughes. There is a photograph of Andrew Smillie Hughes in the The State Library of South Australia.

The Advertiser, 1/12/1921


Margaret Disher Hughes remained unmarried, and died on 30/7/1957. For at least the last half dozen years of her life she resided in Mount Barker.

Jane, Arthur and Christina

Jane Isabella Hughes remained unmarried, and died on 6/7/1940.

Arthur Hughes died in 1879, aged 7, and is buried at Nairne.

Christina Aitchison Hughes died on 1/12/1929 and is buried with her parents at Inverbrackie.

Two newspaper cuttings

These cuttings are reproduced from C. W. Fowler's scrap-book (the present whereabouts of which I do not know).


(Unfortunately, I do not have the rest of the above article, which clearly appeared in a publication of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. The Advertiser of 22/11/1917 included a briefer report of the same occasion.)


The Dunn genealogy described in the above cutting is in agreement with the Marcombe Family website, where more information can be found. Searching for the name "Dunn" on the South Australian Passenger Lists website we find that three Dunn brothers (Charles, George and James) came to South Australia in 1839 on the D'Auvergne. William and John came in 1840, William on the Fairfield and John on the Lysander. Their parents, Charles and Thomasin, also came to Australia, although other siblings remained in England.

It is unclear precisely when the Hughes family's trip to the Murray, as recounted by Bro. W. F. Hughes in 1917, actually took place. An article in The Observer on 26/2/1916 says of William Frederick Hughes that "with his parents he went to Murrundie on the River Murray with Mr Edward Eyre's party". The Observer was surely just reporting what William Frederick said. Perhaps Edward Eyre's route to Moorundie was via Bagot's Well (a few kilometre's north-east of Kapunda), but perhaps the Hughes family travelled to Moorundie after Edward Eyre had established the place. Eyre was appointed resident magistrate on the Murray in 1841, after an inquiry into an incident which has become known as the Rufus River Massacre. (See the report published in The South Australian Register on 11/9/1841.) Eyre left Adelaide for the Murray on 1/10/1841, where he succeeded in establishing friendly relations with the aborigines. So presumably the Hughes family went to the Murray no earlier than October 1841. However, they were apparently back in Adelaide before William Frederick turned 14, in January 1842.

Unfortunately, these deductions seem not to fit very well with the story of Lieutenant Pullen and the "Water Witch" cutter. Pullen, a marine surveyor, had the task of determining whether there was a navigable connection between the Murray and the sea, and indeed he succeeded in getting the Water Witch from Encounter Bay to Goolwa, through the Murray mouth. But that was in May 1841, and according to his biography in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online Pullen had left South Australia by July 1841. Nor can I find any evidence that Captain Sturt went to the Murray in 1841. So maybe the 13 year old William Frederick did not actually see Pullen or Sturt, but saw some other people. And surely memories can get muddled in the course of 75 years.

Eyre 1841
The Register, 2/10/1841
Pullen report
The Register, 15/5/1841
(Note that Port Pullen is now called Goolwa)

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