Elsie Florence Darby

#125, (4 April 1884-27 February 1966)
FatherGeorge Leonard Darby (c 1850-3 Jul 1926)
MotherMartha Alice Miller (3 Nov 1850-22 Dec 1921)
ChartsAylott Family - descendants
Brett Family - descendants
Darby Family - descendants
Deane Family - descendants
Fairclough Family - descendants
Leonard Family - descendants
Manthorpe Family - descendants
Read family - descendants
Smith family - descendants
Wayte Family - descendants
Mike Hill - ancestors
Descendents of Richard Darby
Last Edited15 Sep 2022
WikiTree ID:https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Darby-2766.

Short Biography

     Elsie was born in 1884 in Manchester. She was likely conceived just before her father George left England, to return to South Australia.

When she was 1 her family emigrated from London arriving at Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 9 February 1886.

They moved to the small town of Mylor and her father continued to work in Adelaide. In January 1898 there was a bushfire in Mylor that affected their place. In all, about 100 acres were burned.

We can't know how Elsie and James met, but it may have been through a family association. James's father was a lighthouse keeper and Elsie's cousin John Darby was Secretary of the Marine Board; both men had met Arthur Searcy and John Darby must have known him well.

She married James Smith, a clerk, at her parent's home in North Adelaide. She was 20 and her husband James was 23. Elsie was 5 months pregnant when she married; the effect of this on Elsie's strict Wesleyan Methodist mother isn't known however it is notable that Elsie and James married at Elsie's parent's Adelaide home, far from the town of Mylor where they grew up, and not married in the Congregational church that her sisters were married in. It's also notable that Elsie's mother and her mother's mother were pregnant when they married too. James and Elsie went on to have four children together, one of whom died young.

Her mother died 22 December 1921 at the age of 71. Elsie was aged 37 when this happened; her father died 5 years later. She and James Smith moved with their three daughters to Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, circa 1923. However, they only stayed there a year before moving to Sydney.

Her husband James died 16 June 1950 at the age of 68, leaving her a widow at age 66.

Elsie died on 27 February 1966 in South Brisbane at age 81 of heart disease and high blood pressure. Her body was cremated at Mount Thompson Crematorium in Holland Park.
Elsie Florence Darby
     NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page. Whilst historical facts are not copyright, my writing about these facts are. If you wish to use any text from this site on Ancestry or on any other website, please ask me first - Tim Hill.
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(For a brief history and context on the Darby family see this page)

Elsie was born on Friday, 4 April 1884 at Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester. She was likely conceived just before her father left England, and he probably didn't know anything about her existence for many months..1,2 She was the daughter of George Leonard Darby and Martha Alice Miller. Shelived with her mother at 103 Oxford Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, in April 1884.3 Elsie Florence Darby was baptised at All Saints (St. Matthias') on Wednesday, 9 July 1884 at Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester.2
Elsie Florence Darby c.1885
(source: M. Willson collection)


At the age of 1 Elsie emigrated from London on 25 December 1885 on the R.M.S. 'John Elder' with her mother and two sisters.They were on their way to join their father who was already in the colony. Elsie was not even two years old.4 Elsie arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 9 February 1886.5
Elsie was listed on the Rockford roll as a student at Mylor, South Australia. She attended school there at about the age of 8 from 1892 until October 1894 when the Mylor school opened..6 In December 1892 the Darby family had a grand piano at home, as it was lent for the cause of a fundraiser to build an institute and hall for the 700 or so residents.7 On 5 December 1892 there was a visit by legislators (including an M.P.) to the Darby property at Mylor where someone noted that George and his family had the best house in the district. There was perhaps a suggestion that this was inappropriate give George's position in the Land Office. Later that night, George and his wife and daughters contributed items to the programme of the concert in the evening.8

The town was described :
...Mylor is emerging from the embryo stage of existence. Most of the blocks have been sold at prices satisfactory to the Government. At present nothing can be seen except a general store, a carpenter's shop, and the frame of the local Church of England building. The rest is all a partially-cleared area backed and planted by gumtrees and scrub near the old stock road to Scott's Creek.9


A suggestion that the Darbys had the best house in the district was refuted by a T. Murphy (and in a different newspaper, 'Thomas H. Winkworth') who said that Mr. Hughes had a much finer house and that the Darby House was only 2 stone rooms, like several other houses.10,11 Elsie was listed on the roll as a She attended school there until September 1897 at the age of 13. student at Mylor School, in Mylor, South Australia, on 8 October 1894.12

In February 1896, Mabelle and Elsie Darby joined The Children's 'Sunbeam' Society of South Australia.13

On 13 February 1896 Sir Fowell Buxton vistited the area and 12 year old Elsie Florence Darby was one of two girls chosen to present the Governor with a basket of apples and grapes to give to his wife.14

In November 1896 she won a prize at the Public Schools Floral and Industrial Society at The Exhibition Buildings, in Adelaide, for a herbarium with over 100 native plants.15,16



In January 1898 there was a bushfire in Mylor that affected the Darby's place. This occurred on a hot and windy day, and there were about 35 people fighting the fire, which saved the house, trap and horse. In all, about 100 acres were burned. Whilst initial reports said that fruit trees, sheds, clothing etc were destroyed, another correspondent said about a dozen fruit trees were burnt. On the contrary, the worst sufferer seemed to be a Mr. Wake who had moved some of this things to the Darby's that day.17,18

The Darby's suffered another unsettling incident involving a horse carriage on 4 May 1902:
"SERIOUS VEHICLE ACCIDENT. Mr. G.L. Darby (chief clerk of the Woods and Forests Department), whilst driving to his home from Aldgate station on Monday evening with his daughters, met with a serious accident. The horse stopped suddenly, and in doing so broke a portion of the harness. The animal then bolted round a curve at the foot of a steep hill, throwing out all the occupants of the vehicle. Mr. Darby's ankle was broken, and he was removed to the Adelaide Hospital. His daughters received a severe shaking and abrasions."19,20




We can't know how Elsie and James met, but it may have been through a family association. James's father was a lighthouse keeper and Elsie's cousin John Darby was Secretary of the Marine Board; both men had met Arthur Searcy and John Darby must have known him well. Elsielived in 1904 at Adelaide.21

She married James Smith, a clerk, son of Walter Thomas Smith and Lucy Deane, at Elsie's parent's home at "Kiliora"(?) Stanley St. on Thursday, 22 December 1904 at North Adelaide. She was 20 and her husband James was 23. Elsie was 5 months pregnant when she married; the effect of this on Elsie's strict Wesleyan Methodist mother isn't known however it is notable that Elsie and James married at Elsie's parent's Adelaide home, far from the town of Mylor where they grew up, and not married in the Congregational church that her sisters were married in. It's also notable that Elsie's mother and her mother's mother were pregnant when they married too.. The wedding certificate was also signed by Mabelle Gertrude Darby. Others who may have attended the wedding include Patty Miller as mother of the bride, George Leonard Darby as father of the bride, Lucy Deane as mother of the groom and Walter Thomas Smith as father of the groom. Brothers and sisters who may have attended include Edward Smith, Lillian Smith, Lucy Smith, Arthur Smith and Edythe Mary Darby. James and Elsie went on to have four children together, one of whom died young.22

Elsie, aged 21 and James Smith, aged 23 became the parents of Heba Gwendolyn Smith on Tuesday, 11 April 1905 at North Adelaide.23,24,25 Elsie and Jameslived in March 1907 at 137 MacKinnon Parade, in Adelaide. This house was built by 1880 as it appears in the Smith Survey of Adelaide of that date. Made from South Australian bluestone with rendered quoins and facings to windows and doors, verandah with cast iron decorative bracket and frieze elements, and eaves brackets.26,27

Elsie, aged 22 and James Smith, aged 25 became the parents of Margery Jean Smith on Sunday, 31 March 1907 at Adelaide. This house was built by 1880 as it appears in the Smith Survey of Adelaide of that date. Made from South Australian bluestone with rendered quoins and facings to windows and doors, verandah with cast iron decorative bracket and frieze elements, and eaves brackets..26,28

Elsie and James Smith became the parents of Walter Leonard Smith circa 1911 at South Australia.29,30 A picture was taken of Heba and Margery Smith, their parents and their grandmother. It was almost certainly taken at Adelaide.
Marjorie and Heba Smith, James Smith and Elsie Darby, Martha Miller c1915 at (probably) 137 Mackinnon Parade, Adelaide.
(source: Mrs. M. Willson)


Elsie, aged 31 and James Smith, aged 34 became the parents of Mavis Constance Smith on Saturday, 11 March 1916 at Adelaide.

Her mother died 22 December 1921 at the age of 71. Elsie was aged 37 when this happened. She and James Smith moved with their three daughters to Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, circa 1923. However, they only stayed there a year before moving to Sydney.31

Her father died 3 July 1926 at the approximate age of 76. Elsie was aged 42 when this happened.

Elsie, as the mother of the bride, along with James may have attended the wedding of Margery and John Hill, a section head at General Motors Holden, at Sydney Church of England Grammar Chapel on Saturday, 2 November 1929 at North Sydney. Margery was 22 and her husband John was 23.. Others who may have attended include Mary Alberta MacCallum Bourke as mother of the groom and Joseph William Hill as father of the groom. Aunts, uncles and grandparents who may have attended include Walter Thomas Smith, Lucy Deane, Donald Hugh Aloysius Bourke and Argyle Michael Bourke. John and Margery went on to have only one child together.32 Elsie and Jameslived in 1933 at at Cliveden Flats on Roslyn Street in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst.33 Jim and Elsie had a photograph taken together c1945. Elsie and Jameslived in 1949 at at Kanimbla Hall in Tusculum St. in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point.34 Elsie Florence Darby was a housewife in 1949.34

Her husband James died 16 June 1950 at the age of 68, leaving her a widow at age 66.
Elsie with her Willson grandsons 1956
Source: B. L. Nicholson
Elsielived in 1958 at at 32 Bellevue Terrace in the Brisbane suburb of Clayfield. and lived there for at least 5 years.35

In later years, her daughter Margery never talked about her father, and never expressed affection for her mother who she wasn't close to.36

Elsie died on 27 February 1966 at at Princess Alexandra Hospital in the Brisbane suburb of South Brisbane at age 81 of heart disease and high blood pressure.37,38 Her body was cremated at Mount Thompson Crematorium on 1 March 1966 at the Brisbane suburb of Holland Park.37,39

Family

James Smith (11 Oct 1881-16 Jun 1950)
Children

Citations

  1. [S228] General Register Office, England - Birth Certificates, Certified copy of an entry in a Register of Births, 1884 No. 263.
  2. [S1089] Parish Registers for All Saints (St. Matthias), 1837- Parish as it Appears: Chorlton on Medlock, All Saints; Child: Elsie Florence Darby; Reference Number: GB127.M320/1/3/1.
  3. [S228] General Register Office, England - Birth Certificates, Certified copy of an entry in a Register of Births, 1884 Book 137 No. 263.
  4. [S336] The Argus, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1885 'EUROPEAN TELEGRAMS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), 31 December, p. 5, viewed 7 April, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6078638
  5. [S338] Ancestry.com.au Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Ancestry.com. Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839–1923 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009.
  6. [S1061] Mylor Historical Society,"Rockford School Enrollments," School Enrollments , n.d.. Currently held by Mylor Historical Society, Cotton Memorial Hall, Mylor, South Australia.
  7. [S1055] The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Mount Barker, South Australia, 1892 'SMALL HOLDINGS.', The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA : 1880 - 1954), 9 December, p. 3. , viewed 03 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147624577
  8. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1892 'THE MYLOR HOMESTEAD BLOCKS.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 5 December, p. 7, viewed 17 January, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48557693
  9. [S1055] The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Mount Barker, South Australia, 1892 'HOME FOR THE PEOPLE.', The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA : 1880 - 1954), 16 December, p. 3. , viewed 09 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147624615
  10. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1892 'CORRESPONDENCE.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 17 December, p. 4, viewed 17 January, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48555401
  11. [S243] The Adelaide Observer (later The Observer), Adelaide, South Australia, 1892 'CORRESPONDENCE. TO CORRESPONDENTS.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 24 December, p. 30. , viewed 04 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160801675
  12. [S1062] Mylor Historical Society,"Mylor School Enrollments," School Enrollments , n.d.. Currently held by Mylor Historical Society, Cotton Memorial Hall, Mylor, South Australia 1894.
  13. [S243] The Adelaide Observer (later The Observer), Adelaide, South Australia, 1896 'THE CHILDREN'S "SUNBEAM" SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 15 February, p. 35. , viewed 04 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161835402
  14. [S243] The Adelaide Observer (later The Observer), Adelaide, South Australia, 1896 'among the mylor BLOCKERS.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 15 February, p. 31. , viewed 02 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161835322
  15. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1896 'PUBLIC SCHOOLS' FLORAL AND INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 9 November, p. 3. , viewed 02 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54477765
  16. [S243] The Adelaide Observer (later The Observer), Adelaide, South Australia, 1896 'PUBLIC SCHOOLS' FLORAL AND INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 14 November, p. 41. , viewed 04 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162365313
  17. [S322] The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia), Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1898 'THE COUNTRY.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 24 January, p. 6, viewed 18 January, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35103487
  18. [S322] The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia), Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1898 'TO CORRESPONDENTS.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 27 January, p. 4, viewed 18 January, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article35103716
  19. [S322] The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia), Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1902 'SERIOUS VEHICLE ACCIDENT.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 8 May, p. 4, viewed 18 January, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4917238
  20. [S1055] The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, Mount Barker, South Australia, 1902 'THE SOUTHERN DISTRICTS.', The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA : 1880 - 1954), 9 May, p. 2. , viewed 03 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147767668
  21. [S7] South Australia, Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1904 No. 1183.
  22. [S7] South Australia, Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1904 No.1183.
  23. [S227] Margery Smith,.
  24. [S5] South Australia, Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages Vol.746 p.106.
  25. [S1084] Parish Registers for Glebe, 1929 No.133 Frank Hocken and Heba Smith.
  26. [S5] South Australia, Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1907 No.187 (District of Adelaide) (The house number isn't stated in the original source, but the house is still standing and can be identified from a contemporary photograph.).
  27. [S1314] McDougall & Vines SURVEY & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE CITY HERITAGE AND CHARACTER - PLAN AMENDMENT REPORT - CITY of ADELAIDE - VOLUME 2, PART 4 (M-N) - Building Data Sheets : Local Heritage Places https://d31atr86jnqrq2.cloudfront.net/docs/… p.25 (Shelly Mcvee helped me identify this house.).
  28. [S1314] McDougall & Vines SURVEY & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE CITY HERITAGE AND CHARACTER - PLAN AMENDMENT REPORT - CITY of ADELAIDE - VOLUME 2, PART 4 (M-N) - Building Data Sheets : Local Heritage Places https://d31atr86jnqrq2.cloudfront.net/docs/… p.25.
  29. [S543] Letter from Mavis 'Patti' Willson to Tim Hill, dated various 5th October 2013 p.2.
  30. [S5] South Australia, Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages Vol. (unknown) p.47.
  31. [S259] Mavis 'Patti' Willson, 11 Mar 2018.
  32. [S3] New South Wales, Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1929 No.258114(?).
  33. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980 - Ancestry.com, Electorate of East Sydney, Subdivision of Darlinghurst 1933 p.13 (http://search.ancestry.com.au/Browse/view.aspx).
  34. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980 - Ancestry.com, Electorate of Woolahra, Subdivision of Darlinghurst 1949 p.6 (http://search.ancestry.com.au/Browse/view.aspx).
  35. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980 - Ancestry.com, Electorate of Lilley, Subdivision of Clayfield 1958 p.5 (http://search.ancestry.com.au/Browse/view.aspx).
  36. [S1076] Barbara Nicholson, 03:00 -.
  37. [S290] Queensland, Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages 1966 No.79343.
  38. [S488] Mike Hill, recollection, unknown date,.
  39. [S543] Letter from Mavis 'Patti' Willson to Tim Hill, dated various 5th October 2013 p.2 (enclosed photgraph).
  40. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980 - Ancestry.com, Electorate of Lilley, Subdivision of Clayfield 1963 p.4 (http://search.ancestry.com.au/Browse/view.aspx).