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” …..perhaps this was meningitis? On the other hand Evelyn Bancroft & Diana Hacker in "A lust for leather; Hallam family 1818-2005", suggest it may have been due to an accident. 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.

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.

Source: Bancroft E, Hacker D. A lust for leather; Hallam family 1818-2005. Bancroft & Hacker; Gaythorne Queensland 2005. ISBN 0-958-992-2-4-X.

Edith’s father, George Hollingworth HALLAM, was a neighbour to Lou 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.

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.


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).

Maggie WEDEMEYER’s Descendancy Report
Information from various sources including Maggie's divorce and probate files
Maggie Wedemeyer in 1905 Maggie Wedemeyer in 1905
Divorce File, NSW State Archives.

Some details of Maggie's early family life can be seen in the section describing her mother’s life in chapter 6 … "GHL's Wife: Elizabeth DAVIS".Now, please read on: The linked story about Maggie’s life with her mother took us up to her life in East Bundaberg. Maggie subsequently moved to Sydney where she kept in contact with her sister Minnie. The sisters acted as witnesses to the other's marriage. Her first marriage did not last long. 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 this photo 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, hence her address was not given. It is possible that she went to Auckland because David STRONG's (her brother-in-law) father lived nearby. At the time of her subsequent marriage to Percy GATES, she lived at Auckland. She accumulated an amount of real estate in Sydney. Maggie died on 4 May 1946. The value of her estate was £3,819 which was a fair amount in those days. All this money 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!

Maggie's Estate

On the occasion of Percy's death (1957) the above trusts expired and Maggie 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. No records have yet been found to explain Maggie's financial success. Botany Crematorium have on record that there was a request for her ashes not to be retained.... which was unusual. Maggie did not have any children. The distribution of Maggie’s Estate was completed in 1960. However the electoral rolls showed that Hedley Charles Frederick GATES (2 Mar 1911 - 16 Apr 1990) remained in 103A Ebley St at least 1949 - 1963, and did not move into Maggie's family home of 106 Ebley St, 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. The other beneficiaries all immediately sold their bequeathed houses.

The Story Continues