Born in Brixham, Devon, England in 1865,1 William Robert Hill Franks and his Mother, Ann Mahala Franks, set sail on the S.S. Kapunda to Australia in 1876.2
They lived in Sydney, where Ann Mahala died in 1878, leaving William alone at the age of 12.3 The following year he and a couple of others, caught a Hunter River steamer up the coast to Raymond Terrace. They then boarded a horse drawn coach, owned by Tuck & Co, which eventually took them to the Copeland Goldfields, just outside of Gloucester.4
On Copeland, he was looked after by a local family as he was only 13 years old. He worked as a miner for a while but it appears there was more soil than gold. He got a job as a butcher, then a drover on Curricabark Station,5 where he met his future wife, Elizabeth (Collins) Wilmen.6
He eventually selected a property called “The Dewitt”.7 Two square miles. They had 10 children and both lived to the ripe old age of 91, and are buried in the Gloucester Cemetery.8
Author: Keith Franks
1 Findmypast.com.au, Devon Baptism, 1867.
2 Gloucester Advocate, 11 December 1951.
3 NSW BDM, Death Index for Ann M Franks, 1878, No. 929; Gloucester Advocate, 21 May 1937, 3.
4 Gloucester Advocate, 11 December 1951.
5 Ancestry.com, Australian Electoral Rolls, 1935, New England, Gloucester.
6 NSW BDM, Marriage Index for William Franks and Elizabeth ‘Wilmer’, Copeland, 1887, No. 4910.
7 Government Gazette of NSW, 20 April 1901, 3234, Parish Dewitt.
8 NSW BDM, Death Index for William Franks (1955, No. 24827) and Elizabeth Franks (1957, No. 26302).