Mollie Depledge’s story

My name is Mollie Charlotte Depledge. I am a great great granddaughter of William and Mary Depledge of Painthorpe, Yorkshire, who lived in the 18th century. My grandfather, William Depledge was born in 1842, and settled at Encounter Bay in 1855 with his brother James and mother Jane. Depledges have lived in the area ever since.

In 1839, Matthew, wife Mary Jagger and family settled at Encounter Bay. Mary died in March 1852. Matthew had long decided to marry Jane Depledge. He already knew Jane and her family as Mary’s mother and Jane’s mother were cousins. Jane and Matthew were married on 6 January 1855. Later that month Jane and her sons, William and James, and husband Matthew sailed in the Mermaid to Melbourne.

They landed in Melbourne in May 1855 and sailed on the Havilah for Port Adelaide. They disembarked on landing and walked through thick bushland, probably following an aboriginal track to the Hindmarsh River, where they were met by sons of Matthew and taken by bullock dray to their new home. The property bordered what is now the top end of Jagger Road.

The home had beautiful views of the Southern Ocean, West Island, The Bluff and Petrel Cove, the blue waters of Encounter Bay, Granite Island and Policeman’s Point, now Victor. When I was a child I often visited the old home, which was then in ruins. A couple of steps led down to the livingroom and not far from the back door was an underground tank which supplied them with rain water. On the far side of the livingroom one could see where stairs led to the upper floor which was a bedroom. On the outside wall on the southern end was the remains of a fireplace and may be five metres away was a mulberry tree which still bears lots of fruit. In the spring there were white flag iris flowering, double daffodils, several lavender bushes and an elderberry tree. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also brought out cutting of a white moss rose. I have planted two in the garden of the National Trust. These were grown from cuttings taken from a very old bush in my aunt’s garden at Encounter Bay. Matthew and James and William had plenty of hard work to do building stone walls (there was no fencing wire or wooden posts in those days), tending the garden and digging the potatoes and onions.

My father remembers being told that William would take half a bullock in the bullock dray to Bald Hills on the road to Yankalilla, and took butter into Victor and probably Port Elliott.

When he was 31, William decided to marry Charlotte Eliza Stimson of Waitpinga. Charlotte was born at sea south of South Africa. On a four inch square of paper, the captain wrote, ‘Charlotte was born on December 20th 1852. The weather was cloudy and windy and the ship was the Macedon”.

That little piece of paper was folded in four and pinned to Charlotte’s clothes, I presume for the whole voyage to Australia of nearly two months. How that little piece of paper has survived over 160 years really amazes me.

They were the second couple to be married in St Augustine’s Church in Victor Harbor. The first was Edie Jenkins, daughter of the captain of the Gem which sailed between Port Adelaide and Port Elliott.

William and Charlotte’s first home was a hut on a property that faced what is now Depledge Road which runs into Waitpinga Road. Waitpinga is west of Victor Harbor. Here Charlotte’s first was born, a daughter, Mary, but sadly she died in infancy.

In 1876 William’s stepfather, Matthew Jagger died so William and Charlotte moved into the larger home of William’s mother, Jane. Here six of Charlotte’s children were born: Anne, Amelia Clara, William Ernest, George Arthur, James Walter and Eliza Rosetta, so named as her mother could see The Bluff (Rosetta Head) from the window.

In April 1891, William bought Sections 3 and 4 in the Hundred of Waitpinga from Davey Jones, both coastal sections of land east of Kings Beach Road. Section 4 is still in the Depledge name. On the properties were two houses, one an old cottage built in 1865, and a stone home of two rooms which is still standing.

My father was born in the front bedroom on 17 September 1891 and that’s where he wanted to die. He had a stroke and I cared for him for over three years but sadly three weeks before he died he was hospitalised and died on 15 August 1978. He is buried – as were his grandmother, aunts and brothers and sisters (except for Ern who moved to Sydney) – in the Victor Harbor cemetery.

William was that upset when he found out that he was born out of wedlock and the treatment of his mother that he decided that no men would set foot on the property. So Anne, Clara and Eliza remained single. In June 1925, Charlotte died and her birth certificate was passed on to Anne. In June 1926, William died.

All of the treasures of William and Mary were passed on to Anne. When she died in 1948 all her possessions went to Clara and then Rosetta. It was Rosetta’s wish that these were donated to the Victor Harbor National Trust. My father was youngest of four sons and the only one to have children. I have a brother Geoffrey and a twin sister, Nancy who sadly died at age 50. It is now my duty to pass these on to the National Trust.

Mollie Depledge
April 2018

An un-success story, so far… now resolved (see below)

… or a proverbial brick wall!

If you can help with further information please contact us.

Early in 2016 with some waiting time on my hands, I ventured into the Victor Harbor Antiques Shop on Eyre Street. Typically, it’s crammed with old stuff. As I browsed I noticed at floor level a dusty but charming old framed photo of two young boys, both with Victorian wide lace collars. One lad, standing, is dressed in knickerbockers and the other in a dress, is sitting on a bicycle/tricycle. I turned the frame around and found an inscription: Frank and Alex Read.

Now, my dog Pip’s favourite walk is on the beach adjacent to the G S Read Reserve on the Esplanade. One of the members of our Encounter Bay Family History Group researched George Septimus Read and wrote his story as part of our Who Were They? project 2010-2013 which tells the personal family histories of those after whom our parks and reserves are named. George Septimus Read’s story is included in this website under the tab Local History.

As I was leaving the premises I thought it only polite to speak to the proprietor seated at her cluttered desk in a dark corner. I mentioned the photograph and commented that Read was a significant figure in the early history of Victor Harbor. ‘Oh,’ she said. ‘There’s another one.’ We walked back to the place where I had spied the first photo and she turned around another one, similarly framed, of an elderly gentleman, seated, with two young boys, one of whom was obviously the younger one of the first photo. Could this be George Septimus Read with grandsons? Sale price for the photos was $40 each.

I accepted the offer for the pictures to be held pending consultation with other members of our group and further research.
READ Frank and Alex READ Grandad and boys

Digging through Digger revealed one Read grandson, Frank Victor, but no Alex or Alexander with a credible family link.

I explained the mission to members at the next meeting of EBFHG and returned to let the shop proprietor know the investigation was ongoing. She insisted I take the photographs on appro. I displayed them at the following meeting. Members agreed that we purchase the photos and two members were delegated to negotiate a price. In the event, we had to pay the full price but at least the photos were in hand.

I also looked for Alexandrina Read now because some members were suggesting that the boy on the bicycle was in fact, a girl. Certainly, the bow in the hair seemed odd for a boy, however young and dressed.

George Septimus Read died in 1900. I booked into a History Month session at Strathalbyn with an expert on dating old photographs. I took ours along and was able to confirm that these were indeed taken in the late 1800s.

In the meantime, one member had made contact online with the wife of a direct descendant of GSR. She was very interested in the photos and sent information and photos from her research.

By now I was beginning to doubt the photos were in fact (touched up) photos, but possibly drawings/paintings. I took one (two boys) from its frame but found no inscription. I was consequently loath to remove the second frame (grandfather and boys). Time to consult with ArtLab!

The Senior Book and Paper Conservator confirmed that they were indeed photographs using silver nitrate processing and good examples of this technique. She removed the frame from the second photo which was inscribed ‘With every good wish’. But some joy: she revealed the name of the photographer, Ernest Gall and his address, 11 Alma Chambers, Grenfell Street, Adelaide.

Ensuing research at the State Library of SA uncovered a wealth of Adelaide and country town streetscapes, and photos of a few prominent citizens of his day taken by Gall from about 1880 to 1910. But delve as I have, there seems no extant collection, list or index containing a mention of our photos.

Conclusion: While my first reaction that these photographs might be locally historically significant I have as yet no proof. An EBFHG member is going to contact the Sunday Mail for help through their pages. The Read descendant has expressed interest in acquiring the photographs.

Update 3 August 2016

One of our members submitted the photos to a Can You Help page in Adelaide’s Sunday Mail and received several responses though nothing helpful.

I extracted faces from three photos we have, two of which we know are of George Septimus Read, and the consensus seems to be that they all could be of one and the same person. The interested family member from interstate expects to visit later in the year.

READ GSR comparison

Still needing proof!

Keep watching this space!

Update March 2017

I continued to have correspondence during 2016 with the wife of the descendant of George Septimus Read. In early 2017 the EBFHG requested the project be finalised. Our client had consulted various cousins and relatives and they believe that these photographs are indeed of their family, probably of Henry Joseph Tite, another of Encounter Bay’s pioneers. Tite married GSR’s daughter Anne, and descendants believe that the photos are of him and Tite children. The client agreed to reimburse us for the photos and postage. In the event, we also gratefully accepted a donation.

So the photos have been packed and despatched, an exciting birthday present for the GSR descendant! Success!
Read photos parcel for web

Earthquake around Encounter Bay

Were any of your relatives living in the district in 1897?

From Trove Newspapers

comes the following…..

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954) Saturday 15 May 1897


A correspondent writing from Victor Harbor says :— “On Monday afternoon, at about half past 2 o’clock, the inhabitants of Port Victor were startled by a rumbling report and an accompanying ”dance” of the earth and buildings. At first the disturbance resembled the noise caused by a lot of empty tanks being carted over a rough road, and everyone rushed out to see the supposed huge load that was making such a row and causing the buildings to shake. All along the streets people hurried out, and the scene was not devoid of amusement. The sound developed wonderfully, and so did the tremor. I am staying with my wife at Mr. Humberstone’s magnificent Grosvenor Hotel, a new structure of 60 rooms, and we were just preparing to leave for a walk along the jetty when the noise attracted our attention. Curious to know the cause of it I walked out on to the balcony, and by this time the whole building was literally swinging to and fro perceptibly. My wife immediately came out, as things were getting a bit exciting ; what with the loud rattling of doors and windows, the report, and the rolling of the massive edifice. No sooner had she left the room than the plaster on the walls of the bedroom and adjoining sitting-room fell with a crash on to the floor. We were terrified for the few moments, and expected the building to collapse, but there is not a crack in the walls from end to end. Fifteen of the rooms upstairs were damaged by portions of the wall plaster giving way and the repairs will involve considerable expenditure; otherwise the hotel is not at all damaged. There is a shop in course of erection near the hotel, and the mason who was at work on the scaffolding says the whole building shook so much that he felt certain it would be wrecked, and so he slid down the ladder and moved to the roadway like a sheet of greased lightning. Several other new buildings were slightly damaged. Only those who were here can appreciate the severity of the shock. One visitor, who did not realise the cause of it at the time, says he was sitting on the rocks at the sea side of Granite Island; and they shook so much that he rushed off in a state of fright, thinking the water or something else had induced the boulders to slide. Later on, when asked if he noticed the shock, he realised that he certainly had done so. I hope to have timely warning when the next tremor is to visit Victor Harbor.”

DNA testing: Is it worthwhile?

My experience with DNA testing

I have come to a few roadblocks in my family tree, so in August this year I decided to see if DNA testing could help. In case anyone else is interested in going down this path, I have put together a few notes on my experiences.

What is DNA all about?

This is something I should have researched more before I started, and would recommend anyone else undergoing DNA testing does so. I am slowly finding out the basics and how to interpret the results.

As DNA is a bit like a zipper – pairs of chromosomes, one from each parent – you will share your DNA equally with your mother and your father. Each of your four grandparents will have contributed 25% to your DNA, each of your 8 GGrandparents 12.5% and so on. (There can be very slight variations due to X and Y chromosomes but I won’t go into that here).

Once you reach your GGGG Grandparents, some of your ancestors will start dropping off your DNA profile, i.e. it is not possible to represent ALL your ancestors in your DNA meaning that a particular ethnic group (though represented in your family tree) may not show up in your DNA at all.

Siblings will share approximately 50% of your DNA (this is random chance so may vary slightly), aunt/uncles approximately 25%, first cousins approximately 12.5% and so on.

The process

There are several companies doing DNA testing. I chose so that I could compare my results to other members and receive notifications when other tested members share my DNA. They test Autosomal DNA which identified genes from both male and female ancestors.

1. I paid online (total cost was about $160, $30 of which was postage) and sent my request in August. advised the process would take 6 to 8 weeks.

2. A week later I received my test kit. It was very straightforward and simple. A sample of saliva is required.

3. Return postage and packaging was provided and I produced the sample and sent it off about a week after it arrived at the start of September. At this point I also activated the test online (each test kit comes with a unique identifying number). When activating online I chose to make my results publicly available to those people with matching DNA and opted to link the results to my family tree.

4. Ancestry kept me updated at all stages via email, notifying me when my kit was posted, activated, had arrived for processing, had started testing, had completed testing.

5. The results are available online only at the DNA website. These arrived sooner than I was expecting, at the start of October.

The results

1. Ancestry provides a basic breakup (in percentage form and displayed as a pie graph) of your ethnic DNA makeup. Mine was partly expected and partly very surprising.

2. My maiden name is McLeod and many of my ancestors are from Scotland and England, and yet my UK DNA was less than 1%. This created even more questions for my family tree research. Had all of these ancestors dropped out of my DNA, or did they come to the UK long before from somewhere else?

3. Large hunks of my DNA were from expected ethnic groups e.g. Greek and Irish, but other regions of the world popped up to surprise me e.g. Finland, The Iberian Peninsular, India and European Jewish to name a few. I turned out to be a real Heinz 57 variety. Looking at other people’s DNA makeup- this is not the case with everyone.

Lost cousins

1. provides a list of other people who have been tested and who match your DNA. They are sorted from closest match to furthest match, and grouped in expected relationship groups, e.g. 2nd to 3rd cousins, 4th to 6th cousins, 5th to 8th cousins (this is about as far back as they go). These matches are updated weekly. They also advise you if there is a shared ancestor in any of the family trees. So far I have 30 pages of DNA matches – with about 20–25 people per page!

2. If the people you match have linked a family tree to their results, will show you any shared surnames occurring in both your trees, and map locations of ancestors’ birthplaces and whether or not these are shared between your two trees. You may then expand the siblings and their descendants in your tree to find possible links and matches.

3. There is also a function that shows if a particular match also shares a match with any other people in your DNA list – meaning the three of you (or perhaps even more) are related to each other. I have several of these groups – some are relatives who have been tested, others are completely unknown to each other.

4. Contact details for matching DNA members are provided and you can then communicate with each other to advance your research.

Successes and failures

1. If members have a private family tree, or have not linked a family tree to their results, then it is not possible to see how you may be related and the results are pointless unless you can contact them and get access to their tree. I have found some members respond well to contact and will work with you to find relationships, others will not answer your emails.

2. My greatest success has been working with a distant cousin from the UK. We matched only a locality in our family trees, but after expanding our siblings, have discovered our families share many of the same surnames and are intrinsically linked through intermarriage in that one locality.

3. My greatest failure has been finding the strongest match on my DNA list had a private family tree, discovering they also share matches with me and five other tested members, only one of whom had a public family tree. I have written to this excellent match a couple of times but had no response. This is my strongest possibility of finding a link through one of my family tree roadblocks, but although the information must be there, it is totally unavailable due to the unwillingness of others to share information.

What next?

1. I have also decided to have other members of my family tested to help narrow connections through group matching and excluding. My mother, sister and several cousins are having their DNA tested.

2. I have downloaded my DNA from and uploaded it onto a website called GEDmatch (this was done at the request of one of my Ancestry DNA matches). The process was fairly simple but took quite some time – several days before results were fully processed. This has provided more in depth results of DNA makeup and offers more tools for research. The site is free and allows you to:

  • Read and research DNA information.
  • Check DNA makeup through several different systems.
  • Match with other tested members in minute detail e.g. exact matching chromosomes and degree of match,
  • Check if your parents are related to each other (just from your own DNA),
  • Check predicted eye colour,
  • Obtain visual representations of your DNA makeup etc

I have yet to fully explore and understand this website, but will keep anyone interested updated with its usefulness.

Is DNA testing helpful in family history research?

Definitely yes.

I will be happy to assist anyone interested in undertaking this method of research, or share future insights.

Tracey Treloar

2015 Obituaries project

Thanks to the hard work and long hours of effort by a number of members of our group, History Month in May saw the publication of the 2015 Obituaries Project, which covered more areas in the Encounter Bay district. An Index of surnames can be found under the Obituaries Project tab on this website.

Copies of the book Obituaries and Reports of Deaths Encounter Bay Inman Valley Waitpinga Port Victor Hindmarsh Valley are now in the Victor Harbor Library, and in a database on the library computers. Copies may also be purchased from the Encounter Bay Family History Group for a very reasonable cost.

The display put up in the library during History Month attracted considerable interest.


History month 2015 - Joan & Colleen cropped sm.jpg

Project underway for 2015

We can report that our Obituaries & Reports of Death Project for History Week, 2015 is well under way. Our plan is to have a collection of as many as possible obituaries and reports of death containing the search terms as follows…..

  • Port Victor
  • Encounter Bay
  • Waitpinga
  • Hindmarsh Valley
  • Inman Valley

When complete, they will be added to the computers in the Victor Harbor Library, and also published in booklets that will be on the shelves of the library.

Missing obituaries

We’re pleased to say we have been contacted by a reader and notified of an obituary for Victor “Harbour” that has been missed in our collection. The obituary has been noted and filed and will eventually be added to our collection.  In the meantime, if any readers come across any other obituaries for Victor Harbor/Victor Harbour that we have missed, we’d be very pleased to hear from you.

History Month project 2014

The Obituaries Database information has been gathered by members of the Encounter Bay Family History Group from the Trove Digitised Newspaper Collection (National Library of Australia). This year we have tackled collecting the obituaries for Victor Harbor/Victor Harbour (using both spellings). We do not claim to have found every obituary — errors and omissions are inevitable. This is an ongoing project and we plan to cover other places in our region in due course.

Below is the Index of surnames contained in our database, with the number of individuals in brackets. We are prepared to do lookups, and would appreciate a small donation to our group in return. Use the Contact Us link at the top right of this page.


Recollections of a veteran

The following newspaper article has been found by one of our members as a result of her research into the BALD family in South Australia, of which she is a descendant.

(By a special Reporter: “The Observer”. Saturday July 14 1917)

What Mr George Bald has not seen or heard of life on the ocean is hardly worth recording. He has seen it in all its pleasantness; he has seen it with all its excitement and danger; but withal he has been enabled, despite numerable vicissitudes and privations, to view portions of the world and participate in events which fall to the lot of few men. Mr Bald, who resides with his wife and daughter on Glen Osmond Rd, Eastwood, was born at Dunfermline. Fifeshire, Scotland, on December 27th 1835, has had an eventful career. He was a weaver by occupation, but that life did not appeal to him, and at an early age he ran off to sea. After many years spent before the mast, he permanently settled in Adelaide in 1860, and for the past 35 years has lived at Parkside.

Crimean memories

 After serving on a collier trading between Newcastle and London, Mr Bald joined the brig “Her Majesty”, of Whitby, and at this period the Crimean War broke out. The vessel was commissioned by the French Government to transfer a load of coal from Cardiff to Constantinople, but she went ashore in the Bristol Channel. This ship was the first vessel to tie up at the new dock at Cardiff in 1855. Discharging her coal, “Her Majesty” of Whitby, was chartered to convey troops and material for the fighting forces at the Crimea, and duly landed them at Commish Bay, about seven miles from Sevastopol. Mr Bald was in that port when the news of Lord Raglan’s death came through. There were scores of troopships lying at Commish Bay, and the injured were brought from Sevastopol, and thence transferred to Constantinople. Florence Nightingale had gained great prominence at this stage, and she had organised a hospital on the opposite side of the Bosporus, where the wounded received every attention. Mr Bald recalled a terrific gale in 1855 at Balaklava, in the Black Sea, when the “Granite City”, of Aberdeen, was the only vessel to successfully ride it out.

Marooned on an island

Another vessel in which Mr Bald sailed was the Ship “Port Jackson” of Port Jackson, belonging to Bobby Towns – ‘as pretty a vessel as ever left port’. While making a narrow passage at the Philippines, the little vessel struck a submerged rock and went down almost instantly and the crew of 20 had barely time to escape. They reached a small island in the ship’s boats, and had to remain there three months until they were taken back to Shanghai by a French ship. After a few days on shore the skipper proposed that he should make for Manila, ostensibly for assistance, and a special deck was constructed on what was known as the “long boat”. The second mate, the carpenter, and two coolies accompanied him, but no further tidings were heard of the party. As the Chinese pirates were prevalent just then, Mr Bald is of opinion that they were massacred. While trading between the Coorymurry Islands, in the Arabian Sea, for the Arabian Government on the “Caractacus”, of Liverpool, the veteran, with other Europeans, assisted to quell a mutiny among the coolies from their ships, when a conspiracy of massacre was frustrated. Mr Bald arrived in Australia in the “Granite City”, and his last connection with the sea was on a trading vessel named the “Uncle Tom”, plying between Sydney and Queensland.

An earlier account concerning George BALD was recorded in the South Australian Register on October 24 1855 and can be read here……



Believe everything you read on a census?

Not necessarily, as the example brought to our February 2013 meeting by one of our members proved.

One resident of the UK home as filled in by the head of the household read…..

Name and surname: Tobit Crackit  age 8

Relation to head of family: Tom Cat

Marriage Particulars: Married with 16 children born alive; 16 children still living

Occupation: Mouse catcher, soloist and thief

Birthplace: Birkenhead

Nationality: Cheshire cat

Infirmity: Speechless

The head of the family had also added a postscript to his form.

It reads “ All the above mentioned have breakfast, tea and supper, eat standard bread, drink sterilised milk, sleep with windows open, and wash our sheets once a week. Etc.

God save the King.

R.S.V.P.   Rest in Peace.”

I wonder if Tobit Crackit’s information made the statistics!