Eliza Ellen Dixon 1853 -

Isaac Dixon & Ann Elvee > Alfred John Dixon & Elizabeth Sturgeon > Eliza

My thanks to Grace Balch, great, great granddaughter of Elia Dixon.

 

Eliza Ellen Dixon  born 9 Mar 1853 at Victoria Terrace, Harrow on the Hill was the daughter of Alfred John Dixon and Elizabeth Sturgeon.  She was brought up in the lively household of hard working carriers and cow keepers in the then sleepy little town of Harrow-on-the- Hill, Mddlesex.

 

She had an exciting life, having three marriages and ending her days on the other side of the world - possibly the first of the Dixons to go to Australia.

 

She married firstly to George Climpson. George’s eldest sister Susan, had married her brother Alfred Archer Dixon. We don’t know what happened to George but we do know that Eliza met and lived with Charles William Balch.  He was living at 57 Clarendon Street, St Pancras in 1883.

The 1881 census shows Eliza and Charles living at 121 Richmond Row, Liverpool, living. Charles was the keeper of an eating house. At the time Eliza was 29 and Charles 30. However, technically they are not married. Charles Balch’s family came from the same area as the Dixons, Charles being baptised in Homerton, where his father, John, was a carpenter. When did Eliza move to Liverpool … and why?

Charles and Eliza had a daughter, Eliza Louisa Balch, recorded in Jan-Mar quarter in Liverpool. Later that year the little family disappear off to the other side of the world! Someone places a ‘Missing Friends’ ad in the newspaper regarding Charles Balch (painter) who left Camberwell, London, in December 1882 and was last heard of in Auckland, New Zealand. Unfortunately we haven’t found the immigration record. I wonder if they visited their uncle in Hastings, New Zealand?

Eliza and Charles married on 29th April 1883 at St Matthews Church in Auckland. Two sons were born to them - see below.

 

No record has yet been found to ascertain how and when the family moved to Australia. But the story that Eliza Louisa told about coming to Australia on the last voyage of the Cutty Sark does not seem to be accurate, as we can find no trace of the Cutty Sark going to New Zealand or Australia at those times. I expect they were drawn by the tales of the goldrush.

Charles died in 1894 aged 43 in Victoria. He died in hospital due to abdominal tuberculosis, a condition which is rare now in Australia but still common in developing countries. His death record states he had been resident in Victoria for 13 years but we know this is not accurate.

Eliza  remarried to James Spratt in Western Australia in 1914. There are electoral records which show them living in Palmerston St Cottesloe in Perth where James is recorded as an engine driver. On 26th April 1916, Eliza  died while visiting her daughter in Bacchus Marsh. She is buried at Maddingley Cemetery but there does not seem to be a headstone.

 

The children's stories

Eliza Louisa Balch

Eliza Louisa, first child of of Eliz and Charles Balch was born in Liverpool in 1881 and she moved to New Zealand and then Australia.

 

At the age of 19, Eliza Louisa married Walter Joseph Hooker Lindsay (a 36 year old farmer from Bacchus Marsh) on 19th December 1900 at the Primitive Methodist Church in North Carlton, Victoria. There is also a family story that Eliza had a love interest on the ship on the way to Australia. She apparently said that if Walter wasn’t waiting on the dock for her, she would have married the other bloke! We have yet to work out if this story could be factual!

A bit of background on Walter Lindsay - he was born Walter Hooker in Sydney on 25th April 1863, the only surviving child of the rocky marriage of his parents, Walter Edward Hooker and Annie Kelly. Walter was a butcher from Woolwich in Kent, England and Annie was a beautiful and fiery Irishwoman.  After the elder Walter’s death from ‘phthisis’ in 1867, Annie remarried to David Lindsay, also a Sydney butcher, and so her son, the younger Walter,  added Lindsay to his name.  After going bankrupt, David Lindsay turned to crime and spent quite some time in jail. His stepson, Walter, would have had a tumultuous childhood, until his mother remarried (bigamously) to a farmer in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. I don’t know the name of the man she married.

It was to that farm that Walter (the younger) took his new bride, Eliza, having inherited it from his mother’s third husband upon his recent death.  Getting confused yet?

Eliza didn’t have a great deal of anything good to say about her husband, but newspapers in Bacchus Marsh mention his name a great deal as being part of sporting clubs such as the rifle club, ANA Sports Day (where he was the Vice President at one time and steward for events such as woodchopping and throwing the sheaf.) He was even known to sing and recite at social occasions. In 1902 Walter won a prize for the most original character at the sports day - a French clown!

Apparently Eliza always used to say that she and her mother-in-law Annie did all the hand milking of the 80 cows on the farm. Perhaps Walter was away being sociable and charming - to everyone except his wife! Eliza always referred to him using slightly colourful language!

Eliza is described by family as being a strong kind of personality and if she decided she didn’t like someone she would say so in no uncertain terms! Walter had already received a sizeable inheritance of about £140,000 pounds, but it seems he was not a successful farmer and the family story says he drank all the money away. On 29 Dec 1909, Walter and Eliza’s only child was born - Charles Albert Hooker Lindsay at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria Sometime after this the farm was sold and the little family moved to Brunswick. Walter worked as a labourer and gardener until he died in 1932.  Eliza is remembered as a godly Christian woman who loved to play the piano, playing with a distinctive light and dancing touch. She also loved to dance. She was an adventurous lady too, taking overseas cruises in later life.

On 29 Dec 1909, Walter and Eliza’s only child was born:

 

Charles Albert Hooker Lindsay b at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. He married Edna Frances Lukey (whose family originated from Cornwall and Scotland) in Brunswick. Family describe Charles as an outdoorsy man, fairly short and stocky in build. He liked to go walking in the countryside for a few days at a time. Sadly, Charles was killed in 1947 after he fell in a building site accident, leaving Edna to bring up her two young children. They had two children:

Ian Balch. Ian became a builder and carpenter like his father and married Elaine Gunst in 1961. Elaine’s heritage is Scottish and Dutch. Ian and Elaine are now retired and live in Western Australia They had three children;

Ruth Balch Lives in Western Australia. Ruth and her husband have two boys adopted from South Korea.

 

Philip Charles Balch Lives in Western Australia. Philip has one son, Joshua Charles Hooker Lindsay - the last of the Hooker Lindsays

Grace Balch.  Grace married Jonathan Wright and used to live near near the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory, northwest of Mt Isa. They have three children;

Elijah Wright

Tjanara Wright

Manoah Wright

Charles Christopher Balch (Junior) married Margaret Harper Griffiths in 1919 but the marriage was soon to end in divorce and in the papers. Charles remarried in 1934 to Alice May Reed but did not have any children from either marriage.

Albert Richard Balch married Mary Meeking in 1911 and became a grocer. They had two sons. In later life ‘Uncle Alf’ was in a wheelchair, having lost his legs (for what reason we are unsure). Albert died aged 78.

In 1962 Eliza (who the family called Louisa) and her brother, Charlie, were in a car accident anddied. Eliza was 80 years old and Charlie 79. They were both buried at Fawkner Cemetery.

 

Eliza’s only child, Charles, married Edna Frances Lukey (whose family originated from Cornwall and Scotland) in Brunswick. Family describe Charles as an outdoorsy man, fairly short and stocky in build. He liked to go walking in the countryside for a few days at a time.

Sadly, Charles was killed in 1947 after he fell in a building site accident, leaving Edna to bring up her two young children.

They had two children,

Ian Balch. Ian became a builder and carpenter like his father and married Elaine Gunst in 1961. Elaine’s heritage is Scottish and Dutch. Ian and Elaine are now retired and live in Western Australia They had three children;

Ruth Balch Lives in Western Australia. Ruth and her husband have two boys adopted from South Korea.

Philip Charles Balch Lives in Western Australia. Philip has one son, Joshua Charles Hooker Lindsay - the last of the Hooker Lindsays

Grace Balch.  Grace currently lives with her husband, Jonathan Wright near the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory, northwest of Mt Isa. They have three children;

Elijah Wright

Tjanara Wright

Manoah Wright

Grace has been researching the family history for about a year and is delighted to find some distant Dixon cousins – me – but since this was written Grace has moved to Victoria.