Loth and Kildonan Melvilles

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The Melvilles families of the parishes of Loth and Kildonan in Sutherland go back a long way and the only proven links to the Melvilles of Clyne and Golspie are very indirect.  However, the Melville name coming from outwith this relatively isolated are of Scotland suggest there may be a link between those two Melvilles groups.  

Research into the Loth Melvilles has not been carried out with any great intensity over the years but from time to time the discovery of interesting and often puzzling information has brought about a 'burst' of activity.

This section of the website lists some of the family groups and answers some interesting puzzles about some of those Melville families but is by no means comprehensive.  It is more of a diversion from the Melvilles in whom I am most interested in the hope that one day evidence will appear to show that all the Melvilles from Sutherland's East Coast come from the same genealogical source.

One of the most interesting and puzzling Melville lines was that containing two individuals named George Hugh Melville and this line, as far as it has to date been researched, is shown below.


The George Hugh Melville Family Mystery 

Though a clear and direct connection has not been made between the Kildonan/Loth Melvilles and my group of Clyne/Golspie Melvilles the former group is of interest as there is always the hope of the discovery of a connection between the two groups. Additionally the Kildonan/Loth Melvilles are an interesting piece of genealogical research in their own right.

The Kildonan/Loth Melvilles have proved much more difficult to disentangle than their Clyne ‘cousins’ and a number of questions have arisen regarding the relationships between different families.  A number of puzzles arose from the finding of a George Hugh Melville, a Master Mariner, in Australia and given as originally from Helmsdale, Scotland.  The birth details and parentage for this gentleman were not entirely clear at first and it was only after finding that there was a Hugh Melville listed in the family of John Melville and Jane McKay from Loth that the first question regarding this family was partly resolved.  The ancestry of George Hugh Melville was confirmed by the details given by him on his marriage certificate combined with his and his wife’s death certificates information. This indicated that George Hugh was also the son of John Melville and Jane McKay.  The word ‘also’ is used though there are at least two possibilities:

(a)  Hugh and George Hugh were two sons.  Possibly George Hugh being named after the earlier death of Hugh.


          (b)  The two were one and the same person.  

In the OPRs it was commonly the practice to record just one Christian name even though the individual might have more than one.  It was not always the first name that was recorded and not always the name the person was or later would generally be known by.  This variation in the recording the usage of Christian names has caused many a headache in genealogical research!  This being the case Hugh 1831 might have been George Hugh or simply Hugh and a later Hugh was named after a deceased child and a father.

A birth date in 1831 is recorded for Hugh Melville but the birth year of George Hugh, as 1835, can only by determined from marriage and death records.  Clearly such extrapolation from other records is not entirely reliable and hence the possibility of two children or one born in 1831.  Not being unusual to have children listed with one name on the OPR records but to actually have two forenames is not the only naming problem.  On occasions they later could  ‘pick up’ another forename.  A good example of this is the information below on George Hugh Melville Junior the son of George Hugh born c1835.  This individual appears to have added the name Alan to his forename and at various times changed the order of those forenames.  This supposition is based upon the children fathered by George Hugh and by Alan George Hugh being by the same person but to two different females as will be explain later.  The following information gives the details surrounding a very complicated family.

As noted the parents of George Hugh Melville born c1835 were John Melville and Jane McKay. His grandparents were Donald Melville and Catherine Clunas and he had at least two brothers, James 1811 – 1876 and Alexander 1807 – 1888.  Some information on those brothers and their descendants is available to anyone interested in those families.

According to the 1881 census George Hugh Melville’s father was a Master Mariner at West Helmsdale. He married twice having six or seven children with his first wife, Jane McKay depending on whether or not George Hugh and Hugh were one and the same son or two different ones.  As far as is known he had no family to his second wife, Grace MacPherson

George Hugh followed in his father’s footsteps and was variously described over the years as Master Mariner, Deputy Harbour Master, Captain and Retired Harbour Master.  He married his wife Catherine Mckinnon in 1863 in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia and died in Australia at Newtown, Sydney in 1911 with his dearth certificate indicating that he had been in that country for almost 60 years.

George Hugh Melville and Catherine McKinnon had three daughters, Jane, Margaret and Florence, and two sons George and John.  It is son George Hugh, born in 1868, who most interests me and is the subject of this mystery and the protracted research required to unravel an intriguing story.

George Hugh Melville , b. 7 Mar 1868 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, occupation Clerk/Court Employee.  Variously described on records as Clerk or Court Employee.  Not given as deceased on 1935 death certificate of a family member but as deceased on a certificate in 1939.  Death certificate not located.

He married Ellen Thomas ,  b. Gulgong 20 August 1873 to Edward Thomas and Mary Ann Abrahams.   Married 5 Oct 1892 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia.  On the marriage certificate it is noted that the consent of the bride’s father, Edward Thomas, was given in writing since she was under the age of 21 years.

George Hugh Melville had family to two different women but under an alias (Alan George Melville or George Allan Melville or George Hugh Alan Melville) to the second of those women below;-

Ellen Thomas d. 1 September 1963

Gwendoline Estelle Melville d. 1 July 1949

He was married to the first named above in 1892 and had bigamous relationship or simply a relationship with the second.  The families were listed separately on the certificates and press announcements and not all members may have been aware of the family group another.

Family knowledge confirms that Ellen and Gwendoline were, in fact, sisters though I have not located the latter’s birth.  The death record for Gwendoline gives parents as Edward Thomas and Mary Anne Abrahams - the same as Ellen’s.

It looks as though Allan George Hugh Melville was ‘killed off’ in WW1 according to certificates from the 1950s.  Though noted as killed in action no one of this name or any combination of the names was found to be in the Australian Forces.

Death record for Gwendoline Estelle Melville 1 July 1949 at 9 Park Road, Bulli, City of Wollongong. Age given as 74 years.

Information from the death certificate;-

Place of marriage given as Newcastle, NSW to George Hugh Alan Melville (Deceased). Age at marriage given as 22 years giving an estimated birth c1870 while age at death of 74 years gives an estimated birth date c1875.  As the death informant was a son-in-law age at death and at age at marriage not necessarily known accurately and this was the case in age given for her at marriage. 

Parents noted as Edward Thomas (Stationmaster) and Mary Ann Abrahams on death certificate.

The children of the marriage are given as Reginald G. (50 yrs), Dorothy L. (40 yrs) Josephine M. (45 yrs) Jean (42 yrs) living – one male deceased but presumably referring to Wallace killed in action in WW11. 

Gwendoline was cremated at Woronora General Cemetery, Linden Street, Sutherland, NSW but there is no memorial there as her ashes were collected.

Death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald in July 1949:

Melville, Gwendoline Estelle – July 1, at Bulli, relict of the late Captain George Hugh Allan Melville (1st A.I.F., died in action), and loving mother of Reg (Cowra), Wallace (2nd A.I.F., died in action), Dorothy (Mrs Bertrand Cook (Bulli), Josie (Mrs John Glover, Adelaide), and Jean (Mrs Keith Scott, South Yarra, Melbourne).  Privately cremated, Woronora, July 2, 1949.

Despite searches in the War Graves Commission records no death record found for George Hugh Allan Melville or any combination of the forenames.  Also no death record found elsewhere.

This is one of the entries which shows Ellen as Gwendoline Estelle and George Hugh with the Alan added as the third forename.  As noted elsewhere the Alan does not appear on earlier records and when it does it can be the first forename.

Death record for Ellen Thomas 1 September 1963 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia.  Parents Edward Thomas and Mary An Abrahams.  The same as for Gwendoline Estelle Melville or Thomas indicating them to be sisters despite absence of birth record for Gwendoline. 

The only child family name common to both family lists is Dorothy. Dorothy Lyle Melville was the one referred to in the family to Gwendoline but the Dorothy referred to in the family to Ellen may have been Gayney by an alternative name as there is no birth record but there is evidence of her existence from her marriage.

Children of George in date list of Birth below as far as can be ascertained but NOTE that some are to Ellen and some to Gwendoline.  In brackets I place the name of the mother after the name as well as providing some information in the text.

              i.      Alan Gordon Melville ,  (Mother Ellen)

  b. 31 Jul 1893 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. d. 8 September 1968 at Katoomba Hospital.  Home address – 9 Holmes Street, Leura.  Address at birth given as Pilot Station, Newcastle.  Father given as George Hugh Melville (Clerk) and Mother as Ellen Thomas. Informant – Father.

Death notice for Allan Gordon Melville in the Sydney Morning Herald of 9 September 1968:

Melville, Alan Gordon (ex 13th Batt. 1st A.I.F.) at Hospital, Katoomba, of 9 Holmes Street, Leura, dearly beloved husband of Eda, loved brother of Dot (deceased), Florence, Elsie, Nell, Lois, Hector, Ron and Lackie and fond brother-in-law of Alma Collins and George Johnson and uncle of their families. At rest.

The death notice for Alan Gordon Melville lists the siblings with Gordon as a middle name, with the exception of Dorothy who was later found in records simply listed without a middle name. It excluded those children with the other various middle names including Dorothy with middle name Lyle.  The reason for this has now become apparent.  There were two different families here.  Most of the press notifications miss out children and this pattern follows for each group.  

Alan Gordon married to Eda Estelle Johnson.

Death notice for Eda Estelle Melville (MS Johnson) in the Sydney Morning Herald of 9 April 1977:

Melville, Eda Estelle – April 8, 1977 (suddenly) at Katoomba Hospital, late of 9 Holmes Street, Leura, loved wife of Alan (deceased), dearly loved sister of Alma Collins (Randwick) and George Johnson (deceased), loved aunt of Joyce and Barry, George, Pat and Terry, aged 71 years, at Peace.

                      ii.  Gayney Gordon Melville ,  (Mother Ellen)

     b. 17 Oct 1894 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Address at birth given as Pilot Station,       Newcastle.  Father given as George Hugh Melville (Clerk) and Mother as Ellen Thomas. Informant – Father.  Registration states – ‘After declaration duly made according to law’. May be because registration took place about three months after birth. 

Gayney disappears from records and also is not reported in family announcements though she appears in 1921 on the late birth registration of Nell.  Did she die young and become forgotten about or though called Gayney, in birth record, did she actually have another name, possibly Dorothy?

One of  Ellen Thomas’s siblings (next one to her in the list of children to Edward Thomas and Mary Abrahams)

was called Gainey.  Presumably this is where George and Ellen got the name. 

                      iii.   Florence Gordon Melville ,   (Mother Ellen)

                             b. 28 Nov 1895.  Address at birth given as Pilot Station, Newcastle.  Father given as George Hugh Melville (Clerk) and Mother as Ellen Thomas. Informant – Father. ‘After declaration duly made according to law’. May be because registration took place about three months after birth.

Florence appears in some later family press announcements but no other records found.

                      iv. Nell Gordon Melville   (Mother Ellen)

 b. 4 Jan 1897.   Birth not registered until 1 February 1921 - informant Ellen Melville,  95 Stuart Street, Padington, Sydney.   Wrongly registered as for 6 January 1899.  The 'Newcastle Herald' of 23 January 1897 announced the birth of a daughter to the wife of G H Melville of 7 Pilot Station, Newcastle and birth date given as 4 January 1897. The late registration gave father as George Hugh Melville and mother as Ellen Thomas.  Other children, given as in the family, when Nell born recorded on the certificate as:

Allan G. - aged 6 years

Gayney G. - aged 5 years

Florence  - aged 3 years

All living, none deceased.  Those were the children at the time of Nell’s birth and the children born post her actual birth are not listed.

Nell married Arthur Charles Pettitt , d. 11 Mar 1987 in Sydney, Australia.

Yvonne Fleming (nee Pettitt) states in an email regarding Nell:

After Nell passed away in 1989 - My Father and I read a book by Gwen Plumb ( the actress and Dad's cousin) called Plumb Crazy  - in it on page 35 is a reference to the family mystery. Also we had found out that my Dad Gordon (only son of Nell and Charles ) when he  was to be married in England - his parents' Nell and Charles made arrangements to travel there -  the paperwork showed that my Gandmother Nell had only been declared as born and not registered. Her Mother was supposedly Ellen Thomas . I say supposedly because she apparently reared 9 children - one of which was Nell but as Nell never refered to her as Mother (rather Nanny ? and to her Grandmother as Banna ? ) I presumed that in keeping with the revelations in Gwen Plumb's book - that Nell may have been the child of Ellen's sister living nearby and sharing the same man!!!  Nell also said over and over again about Ellen "she was a wonderful woman" - Ellen eventually left the home near her sister and apparently took 9 children with her to the suburb of Gordon in Sydney . The next door neighbours were the Barthgates who not having a daughter took a shine to Nell and consequently (so the story goes reared her as their own ).

I have obtained a copy of Gwen Plumb’s book, Plumb Crazy’, and found it  a great read.  There was not a lot new in it regarding the family other than confirming as facts what was already apparent by the earlier research.  It did seem to indicate that at least some members of the wider family had some knowledge of the strange goings on in this Melville family.

Contrary to the information in Gwen Plumb’s book I had Ellen having 10 children including Nell but this is on the basis that Gayney and Dorothy were two different children.  Since Gayney gets barely a mention in the records and never at the same time as Dorothy they may have been the same child or alternatively one or other may actually be one of the other girls be a different name.

                      v.    Dorothy (Lyle) Melville  (Mother Gwendoline)

                             b. 15 May 1898. 

This birth was record 13 December 1950 on the order of a Judge of the District Court and gives place of birth as Pymble, NSW, Australia.   The certificate is shown in the Appendix.  Interestingly her father is noted as George Hugh Melville sometimes known as Alan George Melville .  He is given as Journalist and born in Aberdeen but the marriage date is correct for the George Hugh Melville and Ellen Thomas above.  The mother is given as Gwendoline Estelle Thomas sometimes known as Ellen Thomas.

While this certificate contains some information at variance with that on certificates for some of the other children this might be accounted for due to the late registration and the fact that the individual no longer had access to the earlier generation for details.  Date of birth may also not be accurate due to uncertainty over time. Taking year of birth from age on marriage certificate would give a birth year of 1901.  The most concerning piece of information from this record is the statement that Dorothy’s father was from Aberdeen since this is the only such reference found in connection with this family.

At first sight Dorothy appears to be ‘in the camps’ of both those family members but later evidence showed a second Dorothy.

Dorothy Lyle Melville married Bertrand Anthony Cook (Medical Practitioner) on 16th July 1929 in Sydney.  Her parents are given as Allan George Melville (deceased) and Gwendoline Thomas.  Her father is given as a Journalist. Bertrand’s parents were William Henry Cook (deceased Farmer) and Eleanor Forry (surname unclear).

Dorothy’s Golden Wedding is announced in the Sydney Morning Herald of 23 Jul 1979:

Cook – Melville – July 16, 1929, at St Mary’s Cathedral, Bertrand to Dorothy, present address, 55 New South Head Road, Vaucluse.

Dorothy Melville b. c1898 (Date calculated from age of 25 years given on marriage certificate).  D. 1962.  Her place of birth is given as Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

On the marriage of Dorothy to David Spinks (aged 26 years) on 5 June 1923 at Waverley Registry Office Dorothy is given as employed on House Duties.  Her parents are given as George Melville (Deceased) and Ellen Thomas. George is given as having been of Independent Means.  The address at marriage is 1 Avoca Street, Bondi, NSW, Australia and, incidentally, this was the address of her mother in a trade directory of 1925 in which Ellen Thomas is described the head of the property.

Since there are two marriages for individuals named Dorothy Melville to different men and two death dates for two individuals named Dorothy Melville it is clear that there were two Dorothys who had the same father but different mothers.  Dorothy Cook (ms Melville) had her Golden Wedding in 1979 while Dorothy Spinks (ms Melville) had her death recorded in 1962.                          

                      vi.   Reginald George Melville  (Mother Gwendoline) b. 24 May 1899.  d. 24th May 1974.

This birth was recorded on 1 June 1925 upon a Declaration lodged in the Registrar General’s Office, Sydney.  The place of birth is given as North Sydney and the parents as Allan George Melville (Clerk) and Gwendoline Thomas.  The place of marriage is given as Brisbane, Queensland and the date as February 1898.  Those two facts are at variance with other facts given for this couple and the birth date given is just over a week later than that given for Dorothy Melville. Were they twins and/or is there a mistake in one of the birth dates?  In this family, has something strange been going on, are they just dysfunctional and get all their dates in a ‘mess’?

Reginald’s death announcement in the Sydney Morning Herald of 24th May:                  

Reginald married to Linda Alice Castle.  Reported in death notice in Sydney Morning Herald for Linda Alice:

Melville, Linda Alice – July 14, 1964, at her residence, 21 Cook Street, Cronulla (formerly of Cowra), dearly loved wife of Reg., loving mother of Jean (Mrs Ryall), Bill, Marie (Mrs Stone), Maurice (deceased), Shirley, Ailsa (Mrs Di Leva) and Jill (Mrs McLeish).

Buried in General Lawn Cemetery, Woronora.

                      vii.  Elsie Gordon Melville ,  (Mother Ellen)

b. 9 Dec 1899 in 189 Rowantree Street, Balmain North, NSW, Australia, d. 15 Apr 1988 in Sydney, Australia.

Other children listed on the certificate – Alan G (6 yrs)., Gayney G. (5 yrs), Florence G. (4 yrs),  Nellie (3 yrs) and note given saying all  children living, none deceased.

                            Father given as George Hugh Melville and mother as Ellen Thomas. Informant – Mother.

                             Elsie married John Wars .

                      viii. Hector Gordon Melville ,   (Mother Ellen)

b. 11 Aug 1902 in 46 Palmer Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Father recorded as George Hugh Melville (Clerk in Works Department) and mother as Ellen Thomas.  Other children recorded – Alan G. (9 yrs), Gayney G. (8 yrs), Florence G. (7 yrs), Nellie G. (5 yrs), Elsie G. (3 yrs) – all living. Informant – Mother.

                      ix.   Wallace Ross Melville,   (Mother Gwendoline)

b. 20 August 1903 in Sydney, NSW, Australia.  d. in action 1 July 1942 as member of A.I.F. 2/22 Bn. Australian Infantry. Rank – Private.  Wife given as Martha Kathleen Melville of St Kilda, Victoria.

Wallace appears to have no birth registration at all.  His date is gleaned from his WW11 enlistment details.

Dates of birth for Wallace and Josephine cause some difficulty – One or both may have given the wrong birth date.  They could possibly be twins with a wrong date for one or both.

                       x.   Josephine Mary Melville,   (Mother Gwendoline)

b. 28 August 1903 in North Sydney, NSW, Australia

This birth was registered in February 1951 in pursuance of an order made by a Judge of the District Court.  Parents given as George Hugh Melville also known as Alan George Melville and Gwendoline Estelle Melville (MS Thomas) also known as Ellen Melville (MS Thomas).

Again on this entry George Hugh Melville is given as born in Aberdeen and occupation as Journalist.  Parents place and date of marriage is given as Newcastle, NSW on 5 October 1892.  I suspect that the information on George Hugh Melville being the same for the three births recorded late in 1950 and 1951 (two in that year) has come from the same source.

Actress known as Josie and whose most famous part was in the musical Sally.  The Australian Theatre website says of her in its review of the show:

‘Sally moved to Melbourne in September and continued playing until June the following year. It was a huge success and was generally thought to be the beginning of a stellar career for Josie Melville. It was not to be. Josie pursued her career for a short time, but never repeated the success of Sally. She married a South Australian businessman in 1934 and devoted herself to family life.

                      xii.  Ronald Gordon Melville ,   (Mother Ellen)

                             b. 31 May 1904 in 46 Palmer Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia,

                             d. 9 Aug 1987 in Sydney, Australia.  Buried Rookwood Catholic Cemetery.

                             Father recorded as George Hugh Melville (Clerk) and mother as Ellen Thomas.

Other children recorded – Alan G. (10 yrs), Gayney G. (9 yrs), Florence G. (8 yrs), Nellie G.           (7 yrs), Elsie G. (4 yrs), Hector G. (1 yr) – all living, none dead. Informant – Mother.

Ronald married Cathleen Nora Malone , married 19 Feb 1935 in Sydney, Australia.  She d. 9 August 1987.

Marriage certificate indicates Ronald Gordon Melville to be a Newspaper Artist and Cathleen to be engaged in Domestic Duties.  He was 31 years and born Sydney and she 26 years and born Newtown , Sydney.  Place of residence for both was Bondi.  Cathleen’s parents were given as James Malone (Railway Employee) and Margaret Walsh.  Interestingly Ronald’s parents were given as George Hugh Melville and Ellen Thomas with no indication of his father being deceased despite an alternative source suggesting Alan George Hugh Melville, and possibly his father, with the added forename, died in WW1.  His father is entered as a Civil Employee.  As the marriage certificate for Dorothy gives Alan George Melville as deceased in 1929 and since Alan George and George Hugh are possibly one and the same the 1935 certificate may be in error.

Ronald’s death announcement in the Sydney Morning Herald of 11 August:

Melville, Ronald Gordon August 9, 1987, late of Dover Heights, dearly beloved husband of Cathleen (deceased), brother of Alan, Lachy, Hector and Dorothy (all deceased), Peg, Ellen, Elsie and Lois.

Why no mention of Gayney, Florence, Reginald, Josephine and Jean?  Is Ellen actually Nell?  Who is Peg as we do not have a Margaret?  Is Dorothy actually Gayney now using an alternative name.

Maybe those were the only siblings that could be recalled by the person preparing the announcement for the press.  It should noted that all those siblings have the middle name Gordon recorded for them except Dorothy who appears to have no middle name from later records.  At events where names of children of George Hugh Melville listed there appears to be two distinct groups. Those with the Gordon middle name and the others with different middle names, with the exception of a Dorothy who seemed to be at times accepted by both groups but more likely, as proven later, there were two named Dorothy – one in each family. Not all members of the group always appear – Gayney Gordon Melville, Florence Gordon Melville and Ronald Gordon Melville all missing from the list above   All the children appear to have the same parents but what is happening in this total family group? – increasing as records are examined it is becoming clear that George Hugh and Allan George are one and the same person with children to two different women.                                           

                      xii.  Jean Agnes Melville   (Mother Gwendoline)

                             b. 28 January 1905 in Sydney, NSW. 

This birth was registered in February 1951 in pursuance of an order made by a Judge of the District Court.  Parents given as George Hugh Melville also known as Alan George Melville and Gwendoline Estelle Melville (MS Thomas) also known as Ellen Melville (MS Thomas).

The certificate indicated previous issue as two females – this would accord with the number of previous issue not recorded until 1950 and 1951 but assuming this is one family does not include children recorded at the time of birth nor the child record late in 1925.              

                      xiii. Lachlan Gordon Melville   (Mother Ellen)

                             b. 25 Jun 1906.  d. 17 November 1971 at Coogee.

                             Date of birth extracted from Lachlan's WW2 service records.

Lachlan’s death announced in the Sydney Morning Herald of 18 November 1971:

Melville, Lachlan Gordon (Lachie) – November 17, 1971 (suddenly), at his residence, Coogee, husband of Mildred, loved father of David and Annette.

Announcements in the press on 18 November invited family and friends to a service in St Nicholas Church of England before cremation at Crematorium Eastern Suburbs.  Also a notice inviting members of Coogee Sports Club to attend the funeral of their ‘late esteemed member’.

He married Mildred Riley , married 22 Dec 1938 in Randwick, Sydney, Australia.  Married at District Registrar's Office.  d. 6 March 1996. Cremated at Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Sydney.

At marriage Lachlan’s parents given as George Melville (deceased) and Ellen Thomas.

Mildred’s death announced in the Sydney Morning Herald of 7 March 1996:

Melville Millie – March 6 1996, wife of the late Lachie Melville, much loved mother of Annette and David and adored grandmother of David and Tamara. Passed away peacefully in hospital, aged 82 years.

                        xiv. Lois Gordon Melville   (Mother Ellen)

                               b. 1908 in Paddington, Sydney, NSW, Australia. M. John Grant. D. 23 Mar 1996 in Sydney.

The Children of George Hugh Melville

What all this adds up to is George Hugh Melville  had the following children to Ellen and Gwendoline as in the lists below but to Gwendoline under an alias.  One source does make the case for daughter Nell being to Gwendoline but brought up partly by Ellen and partly by a new neighbour in the district of Gordon in Sydney.

Children to Ellen:                                                                               

          Alan Gordon Melville               b.1893                        

          Gayney Gordon Melville          b.1894                        

          Florence Gordon Melville         b.1895                        

          Nell Gordon Melville                b.1897*                                              

          Dorothy Melville                      b.c.1897**                 

          Elsie Gordon Melville  b.1899

          Hector Gordon Melville           b.1902

          Ronald Gordon Melville           b.1904

          Lachlan Gordon Melville          b.1906

          Lois Gordon Melville               b.1908

Children to Gwendoline:

          Dorothy Lyle Melville  b.1898****

          Reginald George Melville         b.1899

          Wallace Ross Melville  b.1903***

          Josephine Mary Melville           b.1903

          Jean Agnes Melville                  b.1905

*     Dorothy’s date is estimated from age given at Marriage.

**   Suggestion from Yvonne Fleming nee Pettitt that Nell could have been born to Gwendoline but brought up  by Ellen cannot be dismissed as this birth is just before the run of births to Gwendoline.  Possible first child to Gwendoline could have been given to Ellen to raise hence the addition of Gordon as a middle name.

*** Wallace Ross date of birth comes from the only record of him – Army Records.  It may not be accurate and since it is just 6 days different from the birth date of Josephine it is possible one or both dates in error and they were twins.

**** Birth date according to age at Marriage would be 1901 but since neither an age given at marriage nor a birth date registered many years later likely to be entirely accurate the date remains in doubt.

George Hugh Melville Address:

1900 George Melville, Council Clerk, St Peters Council Chambers, Cook’s River Road, St Peters.

Places of Residence of Ellen after disappearance of Husband:

Sydney Directories post WW1 suggest husband George Hugh Melville not with Ellen - dead or living elsewhere:-

Mrs Ellen Melville at 95 Stewart Street, Paddington, Sydney in 1921 and apparently head of house.

Mrs Ellen Melville at 1 Acoca Avenue, Sydney in 1925 and apparently head of house.

Places of Residence of Gwendoline after disappearance of ‘Husband’:

Sydney Directory:

Mrs Gwendoline Melville at 'Kema', O'Brien Street, Bondi, Sydney in 1918 and 1919 as head of house.


Mrs Gwendoline Melville at ‘Marden Hall’, Springfield Avenue, Darlinghurst in 1925. (Certificate)

So what happened to George Hugh Melville, alias Alan George Melville or George Allan Melville or George Hugh Alan Melville, and where was he after 1908 following the birth of his last known child, Lois Gordon Melville? Searches of Army and Naval records worldwide have not found him and even looking at service records for Melvilles with similar names, bearing in mind his ability to take an alias, have proved to be unfruitful.

Just few of the possibilities are worth mentioning:

1.  Did he simply leave the area and the families and take a new identity elsewhere in Australia or beyond?  He might even have been ‘thrown out’ of the family homes by his ‘wives’.

2.  Did it all become too much and so suicide in a distant spot was the answer to his complicated domestic affairs? 

3.  Did he join the Army or Navy and the records are incomplete in his case?

Whatever happened and whenever his end came it was well hidden and the family whether or not knowing his demise did their best to cover the activities and the trail of George Hugh Melville alias Alan George Melville or George Allan Melville or George Hugh Alan Melville by claiming he was ‘killed in action’.


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