Charles Ellis

(1851 - 1926) of Meadows and Moonta in South Australia, Narracan in Victoria and Lockleys in South Australia

Charles Ellis is my great grandfather.

Charles Ellis was born at Meadows, South Australia, on 3 August 1851, the son of George  Ellis, farmer, and Sophia Ransom Maidment.  

I  I believe this to be an early photograph of Charles Ellis.  

As to the second photograph, probably taken a little later, I am unsure as to the age of Charles here?  

On Christmas Day, 25 December 1872 when Charles was 21, he married his first wife Sarah Elizabeth Howlett, in the home of William J. Maidment, farmer, at Finnis Flat, in South Australia.


William Joseph Maidment's house is pictured here in 2000.

Sarah Elizabeth Howlett was born near Macclesfield, South Australia, on 24 May 1845, the daughter of William Howlett (1819-1884) and Mary Hogben (1821-1919).  Sarah's birth certificate was quite difficult to find with many years of searching and it was not until the indexes were released on CD that it was found, as it was registered by Maylin Rogers a month later and her father's name was incorrectly noted as Herbert not Howlett!

On their marriage certificate, Charles's marital status is stated to be that of a bachelor and his occupation that of a miner. Sarah is a spinster, aged 26, and she signed the marriage certificate as Sarah Elizzabeth Howlett. Both were living at Finnis Flat at that time. The witnesses were Wm J Maidment (presumably William Joseph Maidment – his mother's brother) and J. L. (?S) Maidment, his mother's sister Julia.

I believe Charles previously worked as a miner at the Wheal Ellen, a silver-lead-zinc mine at  Scrubby Hill Road Woodchester some 7km east of Strathalbyn.

You can get some idea of what the mine looked like here in the 1850s. I believe the this mine closed in 1861. It was later to reopen in 1909 to 1912 as a pyrite and gold mine. This photograph of the Wheal Ellen mine was taken in 2000 so not much remains.

When looking at the Ellis family photo taken c1880, I do not think Charles is pictured as he was married in 1872 and moved to Moonta in 1876, then Victoria in 1876.

Together Charles and Sarah had seven children: Reuben (known as Reu) (1874-1951), Charles Alfred (1876-1960), Herbert Charles (1880-1954), Edgar Ernest (1882-1968) my grandfather, Mary Ellen (known as Nell) (1878-1949), Florence May (known as Flo) (1885-1983) and Lucy Inez (1888-1888).

The family moved to Moonta Mines in South Australia around 1874 where their first child Reuben was born. Charles worked as a woodcarter. It is of interest that a large number of Sarah's family, including several of her brothers, two sisters and her mother, had also moved to Moonta.

From Moonta in South Australia, the Ellis family moved to Carisbrook in Victoria to seek their fortunes, travelling by horse and buggy and this is where their second son, Charles, was born at Grange Farme in 1876. The informant at his birth was C. W. Howlett, his uncle and his mother Sarah's brother.

Gippsland beckoned with excellent rainfall, good soil, and plentiful timber. Their daughter Mary Ellen was born at Traralgon in 1878. The Ellis family settled at Narracan taking up a selection next to Sarah's brother, Charles William Howlett and his family. It was here at Narracan that their son Herbert was born as was their next son, Edgar, my grandfather. Also born at Narracan was daughter Florence in 1885.

Sarah's maternal uncle, William Hogben also settled nearby. It should be mentioned here that William's wife was formerly Elizabeth Burbridge Maidment, Charles Ellis' mother's sister.

Sadly Charles and Sarah's last child, Lucy was born at Moe South in 1888, living only 8 hours. According to the death certificate the delivery was at home, witnessed by Mary Howlett, Sarah's mother, who was a midwife, and her death was not certified. The Victorian Death registers have her listed under Elliss. According to Lonely Graves of the Gippsland Goldfields and Greater Gippsland by J. G. Rogers and Nelly Helyar, Lucy was buried on Charles Ellis property by her father. Of interest, Nelly Helyar is a relative of my husband, Tom Fisher.

Charles Ellis obviously did well in his ventures in Gippsland as he won a medal and a cup for his potatoes and livestock at the local shows.



Inscribed -  

Korumburra & District A & P Society

Awarded to CH Ellis 

Best Cow

Reverse Side:  


 S Weisser


Morwell Narracan & Mirboo 

Agricultural Show

Presented by Society

C Ellis 

Best 1 cwt Potatoes 

Reverse Side:  

MFD & PT..???



Sadly, Sarah Elizabeth Ellis died at Morwell, Victoria, on 12 November 1895; she was 49, suffering from ovarian cancer and operation exhaustion.  There seems to be some discrepancy as to her place of death. Her death certificate is not specific as to the location. Her death notice in the Morwell Advertiser on 15 November 1895 and the Melbourne Argus the following day states that she died at the residence of her sister, Mrs. A. Williams, whilst her obituary in the same edition of the Morwell Advertiser states she died at the Gippsland Hospital. 



Sarah Ellis 

was buried in Hazelwood Cemetery, on 13 November 1895 as noted in the Hazelwood Cemetery Burial Register.

Some five years later, on 21 March 1900 when Charles was 48, he married for the second time, Barbara Fanny Steel, at the Wesley Church in Melbourne, Victoria, witnessed by Eliza Davies and Jesse Jamieson Steel.   Charles states he is a widower with 6 living children and 1 deceased child, a farmer and residing at Trafalgar.  Barbara states she is a spinster also residing at Trafalgar. 

Barbara Fanny Steel was born in Collingwood, Victoria, in 1868, the daughter of Jesse Jamieson Steel and Fanny Stephanie Seitz.

Some seven months after Charles and Barbara were married, they had one stillborn son who was born about 10 October 1900. Unnamed, he was buried on 13 October 1900 in Easter General Cemetery in Geelong. The death was not registered.

Sadly Barbara Fanny Ellis died, aged 31, as a result of blood poisoning after a difficult labour some 19 days prior, on 29 October 1900 in Queenscliff Road, Geelong, Victoria. She was buried with her unnamed stillborn son on 30 October 1900 in Eastern General Cemetery, Queenscliff Road, Geelong, Victoria. Charles was residing at Germantown.  According to the cemetery records she was residing in Sydney Place, Geelong. Other Steel family members were living in the Geelong area at the time.


Death Notice for Barbara Fanny Ellis

Melbourne Argus 30 November 1900

Four years later on 4 October 1904 when Charles was 53, he married for the third, and final time, Eliza Lisle Davies, at Wesley Hill, near Castlemaine, in Victoria.

Eliza Lisle Davies was born in Wesley Hill, near Castlemaine, in Victoria on 24 January 1865, the daughter of William Davies (1832-1917) and Mary Ann Hamlyn Hore (1839-1896).

It is of interest that Eliza Davies was a witness for Charles' second marriage to Barbara Steel, and I understand that she may have looked after the younger Ellis children when their mother, Sarah was ill and after she died.

Together Charles and Eliza had two children: Alma Essie (1905-1984) and Gwenda Ivy (1908-1983).

Charles never took up his selection at Narracan and moved to Korrumburra where his daughter Alma was born in 1905. Charles and Eliza and their young family later returned to South Australia to live at Lockleys in South Australia. The older Ellis children remained in Gippsland around Korrumburra and Loch, where the brothers ran a butchers shop.

Charles and Eliza's last child, Gwenda was born in South Australia, in 1908.

Charles Ellis died suddenly at his home in May Terrace, Brooklyn Park, South Australia, on 4 March 1926; he was 74. At the time of his death he was residing at 74 May Terrace Brooklyn Park SA. Charles was buried in West Terrace Cemetery, in Adelaide, South Australia, on 5 March 1926 in plot Eyre 5E.  

OBITUARY - The Advertiser, Saturday 6 March 1926, page 17

MARCH 6, 1926

Mr. Charles Ellis, of Lockleys, who died on Thursday, was an old and highly respected resident of the district.  He was the second son of Mr. George Ellis, of Meadows, where the name of Ellis has been well known since the early days of the State.  In 1872 he married the eldest daughter of Mr. William Howlett, of Woodchester.  He then removed to Moonta for a time, from which place in 1875 he set out with his eldest son, then only a boy, to drive to Carisbrook, in Victoria, with a horse and cart.  His next move was to Gippsland, whither he went with his brother-in-law, Mr. C. W. Howlett, where they took up adjoining selections near Trafalgar.  They cleared the land and farmed it for 30 years.  Mrs. Ellis died there in 1895.  Mr. Ellis also lived at Korrumburra, Victoria.  He came to Adelaide in 1906, and resided at Clarence Park for a short time, removing to Lockleys, where he had resided ever since, carrying on dairy-farming.  He married a second time a daughter of Mr. William Davies, of Castlemaine, of Victoria.  By the first marriage there was four sons (Messrs. Reuben Ellis, Melbourne; Charles Ellis, Herbert Ellis, and Edgar Ellis, all of Deniliquin) and two daughters, Miss Nellie Ellis, of Deniliquin, and Mrs. H. Smith of Savernake (New South Wales).  Of the second marriage there are two daughters, Misses Alma and Gwenda Ellis, of Lockleys.  The late Mr. Edwin Ellis, the well-known caterer, was a brother.  Mr. Ellis was one of the foundation members of the Lockleys Methodist Church, and was a trustee of the church for eleven years.  He as of a kindly disposition, andl always did his best to help others.

Eliza Lisle Ellis died at Lockleys, South Australia, on 12 March 1938; she was 73. At the time of her death she was residing at 73 Lipsett Street , Lockleys. She was buried with her husband in West Terrace Cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia, on 13 March 1938.