This week, I have chosen one of my husband’s ancestors, Thomas Mansfield Smith. Nearly all the records I have found for him list him simply as Thomas Smith.
Thomas was born 9 November 1873 at Avonshire, in the colony of Victoria.
Avon Shire was an area between Sale and Bairnsdale, and the main town in the area was Stratford. Thomas’ obituary lists his birthplace as Briagolong, while family records say he was born at Valencia Creek.
Thomas married Louisa May Clyne on 26 August 1903 at Newry. The minister was John Garde, a Presbyterian minister. The witnesses were Thomas’ sister Mary Jean Smith, and his brother John James Smith. Although the marriage certificate doesn’t identify the name of the church, it was most probably St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newry. This is also probably the church that Thomas and his family attended when he was growing up.
At the time of his marriage, Thomas was working as a storekeeper at Boisdale. His daughter Dorothea’s birth certificate showed he was a storekeeper at Wa-de-lock. A family tree compiled by his granddaughter around 1979 states:
“When they were first married Thomas managed a general store at Boisdale, then he managed the Kilmany Park Presbyterian Boys’ Home. Later he worked for Department of Closer Settlement (Land’s Department) at Wurruk and also managed a cheese factory at Heyfield. “
Thomas later moved to Winlaton, in Northern Victoria.
The Victorian Electoral rolls were helpful in identifying where Thomas had lived from the time of his marriage:
• 1903-1913 Smith Thomas, Boisdale, farmer
• 1914-1917 Smith Thomas. Wurruk Wurruk, estate manager
• 1919 Smith Thomas, Heyfield, farmer
• 1921 Smith Thomas, Maffra West Upper, labourer
• 1924-1929 Smith Thomas, “Winlaton” Mystic Park, farmer
• 1931-1934 Smith Thomas, Winlaton farmer
Thomas died 23 March 1935 at the Swan Hill District Hospital. His obituary was inserted in the Swan Hill Guardian, Thursday 28 March 1935.
At the Swan Hill District Hospital last Saturday, Mr. Thomas Smith, of Winlaton, passed away. He had been in indifferent health for some time and on his state becoming more serious he was taken to the hospital about a week ago. Everything possible was done for him but his condition became worse, and he passed away. Deceased was 60 years of age, a native of Briagolong, Gippsland, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Smith, of Briagolong, his father, still living. Deceased came to Winlaton about fifteen years ago as manager of Winlaton Estate for Mr. Holdenson. When the estate was cut up for closer settlement some years ago, he selected the homestead block, and had resided there ever since. He was one who took a lively interest in the affairs of the district. He was postmaster, and also for some time correspondent for the local State school, and correspondent for the “Guardian”. He was keenly interested in sport, especially cricket, and at the time of his death was vice-president of Winlaton Cricket Club. He was genial and one always glad to do a good turn for his fellowmen. He will be greatly missed in the Winlaton and Benjeroop districts. He was the beloved husband of Lousia [sic] May Clyne, and loving father of Dorothea Isabella Sinclair (Mrs. T. Willis, Mystic Park), Louisa Jean, David James, May Mansfield (Mrs. G. Kelly, Lake Boga), Thos. Clive, Lyla Mary, Winifred Kerr, Jessie Clyne, Ena Clair, John William, Ralph Henry and Audrey Joy, also Rachel Margaret Deering (deceased) . The funeral took place last Monday from the Presbyterian Church, Swan Hill, following a service held by the Rev. R. G. Mitchell. His remains were interred in the Presbyterian portion of the Swan Hill Cemetery, the Rev. R. G. Mitchell officiating at the graveside. There was a large attendance of mourners and many floral emblems were laid on the grave in testimony to the esteem in which deceased had been held. The pall-bearers were Messrs. T. Willis and G. Kelly (sons-in-law), A. and G. Coombs (Seymour), nephews, J.H.W. Patterson and C. Nethercote. Messrs Frazer and Horn Pty. Ltd. had charge of the funeral arrangements.
Thomas’ obituary shows he was keenly interested in sport. Another newspaper clipping in my possession indicates that he was one of the founders of the North West Lakes Cricket Association.
Thomas was buried 25 March 1935 at Swan Hill Cemetery. The Swan Hill Cemetery register is the only record I have found that shows the middle name of Mansfield for him:
15.03.1949 Smith Louisa May Thomas Mansfield 66 y Pres R/O A127 U/Res – Winlaton M1
25.03.1935 Smith Thomas Mansfield Louisa May S/0 James & Dora (Mansfield) 61 y Pres A 127 U/Res Winlaton M1