Ellen Whitehouse
Name Ellen Whitehouse (female), aka Nellie
Birth Details Date & Place 11 September 1878, Deepdene, Melbourne, Victoria (1)
Baptism 1878, Deepdene Church of England
Father William Harrison Whitehouse, 1844, Weardly, Yorkshire, England
Mother Hannah Creighton, 1852, Gosforth, Cumberland, England
Death Details Date & Place 17 September 1958, 4 Pleasant Road, Hawthorn East, Melbourne, Victoria (2)
Burial Cremated, Springvale Crematorium (2)
Cause of Death Uraemia 42 days, certified by Dr. L. Kirsner, 17 September 1958.
Age at Death 70 years
Marriage Details Date & Place 14 June 1899, St. John's Church of England, Alexandra, Victoria. Marriage was by Licence issued on 13 June 1899 by Field Flowers Bishop of Melbourne..
Spouse John (Jack) Payne,1877, Alexandra, Victoria
  1. Ellen Myrtle Phyllis, 1903, Alexandra, Victoria (called Phyllis)
  2. Alexandra John Keith, 1907, Alexandra, Victoria (no first name is not mis-spelling)
Occupation Home duties -- what an inadequate description for a person who helped on her parent's farm then went pioneering on a property in Queensland!!
Residence Melbourne, Victoria, 10 years Meandarra, Queensland, Alexandra Victoria, latterly 4 Pleasant Road,Hawthorn, Melbourne Victoria
Religion Church of England

Nellie went pioneering to Queensland with her husband and 2 young children in the early part of the 20th Century, probably about 1912. They settled near the "town" of Meandarra close to Roma. There were members of Jack's family in the area as well as some of Nellie's family the Creightons.

To call Meandarra a town at this point is misleading. Allotments and commercial area had been surveyed but few buildings had actually been constructed.

The family arrived on an uncleared block of land and set up their farm from scratch. The children Phyllis & Keith were closely supervised, Keith in particular being kept in a sided wagon because of the fear of snakes. As Jack cleared some bush, he took the trees into a town about 40 miles away so they could be sawn into planks etc for the new home. The family lived in tents for a considerable period. I wonder if they were fighting the prickly pear too??

There was no school. As Jack had 2 children at this point, he became the prime mover for the construction of a school and wrote to the Queensland Department of Education on 23 March 1913. The Dept. built the school, it cost $197 pounds, and it opened in September of 1913. Two of the first pupils were Jack's two children Keith and Phyllis. Click here for more information on Meandarra State School

After remaining in Queensland for 10 years, Jack and his family returned to Alexandra in Victoria. I was told 2 stories about why they returned to Victoria. The first, from my father-in-law, Keith, was that there was a terrible drought and the property was no longer viable. The 2nd, from Phyllis was that her mother needed medical treatment for "women's troubles" and could no longer cope in Queensland. Maybe both stories are true and it was the combination of events which forced the return to Victoria.

Whatever happened, Ellen Whitehouse Payne and her daughter Phyllis returned to Victoria by ship, Jack and son Keith travelling overland. Keith would have been about 12 at this time. Keith told the tale of how terrible that journey was; they were the ubiquitous "Sundowners", that is travellers with driving stock along the New South Wales stock routes who came into the farmsteads at sundown to beg food and water for themselves and their stock. Keith said that it was very difficult to get water for the stock because of the shortage and they were often charged large amounts of money for it.

The family spent some considerable time in Alexandra, with both Keith and Phyllis completing their education there before the family moved to Melbourne where Jack ran his own hire car business prior to dying in 1940.

  1. Victorian Birth Entry, 1878/25158
  2. Victorian Death Entry 1958/11295