William Richardson[1, 2, 3, 4]

Male Abt 1806 - Yes, date unknown


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  • Name William Richardson 
    Born Abt 1806  Durham, County Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Christened Address:
    Saint Patricks Catholic Church 
    Gender Male 
    _FSFTID KZZD-84N 
    _UID 98464FD5668742FBA00212400F20FA08510B 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I75  Treefive
    Last Modified 9 Aug 2019 

    Family 1 Ellen Hirst,   b. 20 Dec 1813, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Apr 1845, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 31 years) 
    Married 20 Jul 1836–21 Jul 1836  Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
    Address:
    Saint Patricks Catholic Church 
    Children 
     1. Sarah Jane Richardson,   b. 31 May 1837, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Sep 1872, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years)
     2. William Albert Richardson,   b. 17 Jun 1839, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Aug 1927, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
     3. Ellen Hirst Richardson,   b. 26 Mar 1845, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1845, Almondbury, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
    Last Modified 12 Sep 2019 
    Family ID F22  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Eliza Berry,   b. 12 Nov 1821, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Dec 1878, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years) 
    Married 21 Jan 1847  Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
    Children 
     1. Hilda Margaret Richardson,   b. 1848, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Oct 1899, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
     2. Mary Ellen Richardson,   b. 1850, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Jun 1938, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years)
     3. Theresa Clare Richardson,   b. 1851, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Oct 1851, Hudderfield, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     4. John Berry Richardson,   b. 10 Nov 1855, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Feb 1856, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     5. Bernard Richardson,   b. 15 Jul 1858, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Sep 1861, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 3 years)
     6. Eliza Harriet Richardson,   b. 23 Nov 1860, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Jan 1862, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
    Last Modified 12 Sep 2019 
    Family ID F1006  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 




    • William’s origins are uncertain. He was in Huddersfield by the mid-1830s. The 1841 census gave his birth place as Yorkshire, the same as his wife Ellen and children Sarah and William. In the 1851 census, William’s birthplace was given as Durham in Durham.

      William’s first wife – Ellen Hirst

      William and Ellen married in Huddersfield at St Patricks Cathedral (Roman Catholic) on 20 Jul 1836, and at St Pauls Church (Church of England) the following day. He was 30 years of age and she was 20. Marriage notices in the Leeds Intelligencer and Leeds Times confirm that Ellen's father was Mark Hurst (sic) and note that William was shopman to Mr Bates, silversmith. This was probably Joshua Bates, silversmith and jeweller of Newstreet, Hudderfield who died in 1841.

      Their first child Sarah Jane was born in 1837, and the second child William Albert in 1839.

      By 1841 William was a clock and watch maker at 51 Westgate in Huddersfield. By 1845 he was at 16 Market Place, as a watch and clock maker, jeweller, silversmith and optician.

      William and Ellen’s third child Ellen Hirst Richardson was born on 26 Mar 1845. Her mother Ellen died on 7 Apr 1845, and the infant died a short time later.

      If there were any other children born to William and Ellen, i.e. between William Albert in 1839 and Ellen Hirst in 1845, it is clear that they did not survive infancy.

      William’s second wife – Eliza Berry

      William remarried in 1847. His second wife was Eliza Berry. They had three children in Huddersfield, Hilda Margaret, Mary Ellen and Theresa Clare, but Theresa Clare did not survive infancy.

      By the census of 1851, William was a prosperous watchmaker/jeweller and the Richardson family was living in Market Place in Huddersfield. The 1851 census records two hands working for him in his shop and a young Irish girl as a servant.

      In the early 1850s gold was discovered in Victoria, a colony located on the Eastern seaboard of Australia. Gold stimulated a flood of emigration. Gold may have been a personal inducement for William Richardson to come to Australia but the death of infant Theresa Clare may have been the push.

      In June 1853 William and Eliza Richardson travelled on board the ship Ajax to Australia with Sarah Jane, Albert, Hilda, and Mary. They were unassisted - they were not travelling under any bounty scheme sponsored by the government so they must have had their own financial resources.

      In 1854 there was a rebellion in the gold fields of Ballarat, in Victoria, over the cost of mining licenses imposed by the government. There was a “battle” between the government troopers and the miners who had built a temporary wooden fort to defend themselves, known as the Eureka Stockade. If William Richardson had planned to chance his luck on the gold fields, news of the bloodshed and difficulties experienced by the miners might well have discouraged him. In any event there was money to be made out of the swarms of prospectors heading to Victoria.

      The 20 Jul 1853 edition of The Argus newspaper announced the opening of William’s shop at 34 Swanston Street in Melbourne, with William described as “a practical watchmaker” who would “repair watches and jewellery of every description with care and despatch.” William worked at Swanston Street while living with his family in Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne.)

      On 4 November 1854 William's daughter Sarah Jane, aged 17, wed Captain William Sinnott, aged about 49. She identified her father’s occupation as watchmaker.

      When Sarah Jane’s daughter, Maud Miriam Sinnott married in Sydney, Sarah Jane’s half-sister Mary Ellen Richardson appears to have been listed as a witness, indicating that contact continued between the two branches of the Richardson family.

      Eliza had three children between 1856 and 1861, all died young.

      On 28 June 1854 William Richardson, watchmaker and jeweller, 34 Swanston-Street advertised on behalf of AH for “A Capitalist” “to meet with a Brewer from London, of Ales, Single Porter and Stout, to start a Brewery, in consideration of being allowed a share of the profits for his services. Satisfactory testimonials can be produced from the first houses in London.” Eliza’s father’s had been a maltster, and his family had a long history in brewing, so perhaps this was an attempt to advance the family in Australia. It may also explain William’s ill-fated decision to get into the hotel business later.

      More children were born to William and Eliza Richardson but sadly, none of them survived past childhood:
      John Berry born 1856 died 1856;
      Bernard born 1858 died 1861; and
      Eliza Harriet born 1861 died 1862.

      The Richardson family struggled financially in Melbourne. John Berry Richardson was buried in a pauper babies’ grave in 1856. Bernard was buried with the Sinnott family. It is not known where Eliza Harriet was buried.

      The Argus of 12 June 1856 announced:
      “Australian Club House and Boarding House North Melbourne – WM. Richardson desires to inform the public that he has become the proprietor of that house, so proverbial for its superior comforts. Each gentleman has a separate bed-room, a [thing] very rare in this colony.”
      “W.R. would call attention to all who would wish the comforts of an English home at a moderate charge. It is convenient for diggers, being on the great outlet to the diggings.”
      “Terms - £1 5s per week.”
      “Good stabling for Twelve Horses.”
      The previous year, the Australian Club House of North Melbourne advertised itself as having “Eighty well ventilated bedrooms” with its rates set at 35 shillings per week. Richardson increased the rates.
      This house has an unusual history, being brought from England in a prefabricated state. It was nicknamed Noah’s Ark. It later became a school run by the Hair family and there was a description of its unusual design contained in an article written by J. Alex Allan entitled “Noah’s Ark and Mrs. Hare”:

      The line of expansion of the town in the early decades was towards what was now North and West Melbourne, and a syndicate of business men saw in the prevailing house-hunger the chance for an original speculation. They secured the land at the corner of Courtney- Street and Blackwood-street, and erected thereon – it would seem in 1853 - a curious structure of wood and galvanized iron, made to their order in England, imported in sections, and put together on the spot. The building fronted Blackwood- street, the entrance being near the corner of Courtney- street. The caretaker’s quarters lay to the right of the doorway as one entered along the eastern end. The whole of the remaining floor space was occupied by a large communal dining-room, surrounded on the north, south and west sides by small sleeping-cubicles, each with its separate door. Spacious kitchens and store rooms, with great coppers for bulk cooking, lay at the back or west end, and communicated by doors with the dining-room, throughout which ran two long dining-tables running parallel to each other from end to end of the large saloon, with gaps at convenient places for the waiters to pass through. Round the walls, at the height of twelve feet, ran a balcony, off which opened a second tier of cubicles. Two gangway-like stairways – one at the south-east angle, near the entrance, and one at the north-west corner, gave access from the ground floor to the balcony. Each cubicle had its little window, and there were, therefore, two rows of these small square openings running round the outer walls. Small wonder that the local wits, discarding its dignified title of “The Australian Club House”, refused to call the quaint structure anything else but “Noah’s Ark.”

      The Richardson family advertised their house in Emerald Hill for 5 pounds rental a week in 1856 and went to live on the premises. William Richardson, former watchmaker, was there from 1856 until 1862 and paid rates of 290 pounds in 1855 for a wood building as boarding house, saloon, 75 sleeping closets, kitchen and stables.
      In 1861 William Richardson became the licensee of the Caledonian Hotel, located in Jeffcott Street west, in Melbourne, behind the Flagstaff which was the historic landmark of Flagstaff Hill (and gives its name to Flagstaff Railway Station in the underground railway system today).

      The Argus of 12 Mar 1857 notified a sale by auction on 16 Mar 1857 of a leasehold property, known as the Australia Club and Boarding House, by order of the mortgagee. The property was subject to a lease to William Richardson commencing on 12 Jan 1857 for 2 years, at a rental of £501.

      On 1 Aug 1859, the Age newspaper of Melbourne carried a notice dated 13 Jul 1859 requesting William Haig M.D, a member of the Municipal Council, to stand for the Legislative Assembly. Among the electors of the district of Emerald Hill who signed the notice were William Sinnott and William Richardson.

      William Richardson was one of 14 signatories to a notice dated 1 Oct 1859 at Hotham, calling a public meeting, to be held on 19 October, for matters relating to the Municipal Council for the district of Hotham.

      William Richardson was one of the 17 ratepayers of Hotham who were signatories to a notice dated 29 May 1860 calling on the Chairman of the Municipal Council to call a meeting to consider the expenditure of rates and the schedule of public works as passed by the Council.

      A meeting was held on 28 Nov 1860 at the council chambers, Queensbury St, to elect 3 Town Councillors for the Municipality of Hotham. About 30 ratepayers voted by show of hands, votes received being Mr W. L. Campbell 28, Mr W. Richardson 25, Mr J. Barwise 24, Mr R. Reed 4. Mr Reed demanded a poll, which was set down for 8am-4pm on 29 November.

      There are references in The Argus to Richardson’s Caledonian Hotel throughout the early 1860s. The Hotel advertised regular quadrille dances (ladies not charged for their attendance) at which the piano and violin were advertised as being played.
      A description of the Caledonian Hotel up for sale in 1878 suggests it was “commodious and old- established hotel doing a steady business for upwards of 22 years.” So in 1856 it would have been newly built, in the outskirts of town. By 1878 the neighbourhood is described as an “improving neighbourhood” (which makes one really wonder what it was like twenty years earlier):
      “The house is substantially built of bluestone and brick, with cemented front. It is situated near the intersection of Jeffcott and King Streets in a very improving neighbourhood.”

      The quarterly licensing meeting for the City of Melbourne was held on 3 Sep 1861. Among the transfers granted was the Caledonian Hotel, Jeffcott Street, to William Richardson from James Cleghorn.

      In 1861 and 1862 three year old Bernard and 18 month old Eliza Harriet died at the Caledonian Hotel. The family was particularly sensitive about Eliza Harriet’s death: her death notice spelt out that she died of “dysentery brought on by teething.”

      Bernard Richardson was buried in the Sinnott family grave confirming Sarah Jane’s continuing influence within the Richardson family. Little Eliza Harriet’s final resting place is yet to be found. Melbourne General Cemetery is the most likely place but they were unable to find any record of her.

      William the watchmaker turned publican became insolvent due to “depression in trade, sickness in family and pressure of creditors.” This is published in The Argus on 14 Feb 1866. He was then 60 years old. The Argus of 9 Jul 1866 announced that William Richardson had been discharged from insolvency in the Insolvency Court on 6 July.

      Albert Vincent Richardson, (William Albert’s son), told his daughter Roma:
      “Grandfather opened a feed and grain shop in Melbourne (of which he knew nothing) and promptly lost all his money and William Albert then had to keep two families.”

      William Albert did not marry until 1870 so the reference to “two families” and a failed business might be out of synchronization. It is unclear how this business failure fits with the 1866 hotel-related insolvency.

      In 1878 Eliza Richardson died from complications arising out of a strangulated hernia. She was 55 years old. In the probate documents, she was described as a wife (not a widow) but her husband William is stated to be living in East Melbourne - Eliza died at Napier Street, Emerald Hill. He might have been living with the Sinnotts in Powlett Street, East Melbourne. At the time of her death, Eliza Richardson owned two “run down” properties. Her estate was distributed between her two daughters, Hilda Margaret and Mary Ellen and her granddaughter Phoebe (Hilda Margaret’s daughter.)

      Her husband William Richardson was not listed as the executor of her will, possibly suggesting either estrangement or lack of legal capacity – he would have been aged 72. The fact that the properties had been allowed to run down suggests estrangement. Eliza may not have had access to the handyman skills of William Albert’s father in law, James Mackereth.

      William the watchmaker moved out of Melbourne at one stage but it is not known where he went. This might account for a family tradition that he arrived in Melbourne at a much later date - he might have come and gone and come back again. He may even have gone back with William Albert Richardson. Perhaps it coincided with Eliza Berry's inheritance. Or he may have been jailed for insolvency.

      It is not known what happened to William following his discharge from bankruptcy, or when he died. Searches in Australia and England have been inconclusive. He is not buried with Eliza, who has a large and impressive headstone in Melbourne General Cemetery.

      When his son William Albert took his family from Adelaide to England in 1883, the passenger list has Mr and Mrs W.A. Richardson and five children, plus a Mr W. Richardson. Perhaps this is William on a final trip “home”.

  • Sources 
    1. [S243] Biography Richardson, William (Chrissie Macken).
      See BIO037 for the biography in plain text format

    2. [S600] TRE060 Family tree Richardson, William and Hirst, Ellen/Berry, Eliza (Joan Elizabeth Hunt_1, Chrissie Macken_2), TRE060.

    3. [S601] TRE063 Family tree Richardson, William and Hirst, Ellen/Berry, Eliza (Joan Elizabeth Hunt_1, Chrissie Macken_2), TRE063.

    4. [S802] TRE099 Family tree (gedcom) - Ward database 17 May 2013 (Karel Saint), TRE099.

    5. [S673] MAR090 Marriage Richardson, William and Hirst, Ellen, MAR090.

    6. [S677] MAR092 Marriage Hirst, Ellen, MAR092.

    7. [S711] MAR113 Marriage Richardson, William and Hirst, Ellen, MAR113.

    8. [S791] MAR142 Marriage Richardson, William and Hirst, Ellen, MAR142.

    9. [S1382] MAR226 Marriage Hirst, Ellen and Richardson, William, MAR226.

    10. [S2426] MAR Marriage Richardson, Mr and Hirst, Miss, marriage notice for Mr Richardson and Miss Hirst; 30 July 1836; page 5; http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.

    11. [S203] MAR051 Marriage Berry, Eliza, MAR051.

    12. [S208] MAR058 Marriage Berry, Eliza, MAR058.

    13. [S672] MAR086 Marriage Richardson, William and Berry, Eliza, MAR086.

    14. [S674] MAR088 Marriage Richardson, William and Berry, Eliza, MAR088.

    15. [S680] MAR096 Marriage Richardson, William and Berry, Eliza, MAR096.

    16. [S681] MAR097 Marriage Richardson, William and Berry, Eliza, MAR097.

    17. [S2444] MAR368 Marriage Richardson, Wm and Hirst, Ellen, MAR368., Marriage notices - Wm Richardson and Ellen Hirst; 23 Jul 1836; 30 Jul 1836; page 3; page 5.