Fords of Katandra

Victoria Australia

Thomas FORD  
Married Eliza Ann BATE
10th & youngest child of Joseph FORD & Elizabeth (Betty) BRACEGIRDLE

Photo below

Thomas and Eliza's headstone at the Katandra Cemetery, Victoria, Australia.



Thomas John 1849-1928
William Henry 1852-1933
Eliza Ann 1855-1921
Frederick Arthur 1857-1857
Frederick Arthur 1859-1947
Francis Alfred 1862-1911
Florence Henrietta 1865-1936
Arthur Edward 1869-1942
Lavinia Maria 1871-1951
Joseph Herbert 1873-1948
MOTHER Elizabeth (Betty) BRACEGIRDLE  
BIRTH DATE About 1825-1827
BIRTH PLACE Chorley, Cheshire, England
BAPTISM DATE  24 June 1827
BAPTISM PLACE  Hough, Wilmslow, Cheshire, England
 SIBLINGS              Hannah 1808-1871
Mary 1811-1844
Eliza 1813-yyyy
John 1815-1815
Joseph 1816-1873
Elizabeth 1818-yyyy
Sarah 1820-1900
Ann 1823-yyyy
John 1824-1914                                  
EDUCATION Name of School
OCCUPATION Railway Plate Layer, Bushman, Farmer, Cartage
MARRIAGE DATE 28 December 1848
MARRIAGE PLACE Manchester Cathedral,
Parish of Manchester, County of Lancaster, England
DEATH DATE 21 August 1906
DEATH PLACE Yabba Yabba, Victoria, Australia
BURIAL DATE 23 August 1906
BURIAL PLACE Katandra Cemetery,
Section, C of E, R1 G27,
Katandra, Victoria, Australia.
Heart failure
KNOWN RESIDENCES   Cheshire England yyyy-yyyy
Manchester England yyyy-yyyy
Emerald Hill, Victoria, Australia yyyy-yyyy
Sunday Creek Victoria  
Seymour Victoria  
Avenel, Victoria  
Katandra, Victoria  


Photo to the right


gum tree karobean 6th september 2010 3


Family Memories

Thomas FORD, the youngest child of Joseph FORD (farmer) and Elizabeth FORD (nee BRACEGIRDLE) abode - Hough, Bollin Fee, Wilmslow, Cheshire was baptised at the Wilmslow Parish Church on 24th June 1827, his exact birth date is unknown.

He is found on the 1841 census living with his parents.


FORD, Jos - Farmer








FORD, Elizabeth
























Note: the Ths HARINSON refered to above is Thomas HARRISON, Thomas FORD's nephew (the son of his sister Mary HARRISON (nee FORD) and Thomas HARRISON).

Thomas Ford, Bachelor married Eliza Bates, spinister on 28 December 1848 at the Cath. Parish Church (Manchester Cathedral) in the Parish of Manchester in the County of Lancaster.  Thomas was aged 21 and residence was listed as Ardwick, son of Joseph FORD (Grocer) and Eliza was aged 19, her residence being listed as 7 Fairfield Street, daughter of John BATES (occupation - Clerk). The marriage certificate was witnessed by Thomas's brother and sister-in-law - John FORD and Martha FORD (nee BATE - Eliza's sister). On the Certificate, Thomas's occupation is listed as "Plate Layer'"

PLATE LAYER MANCESTER A plate-layer lays or repairs the iron rails on which railway wagons, carriages, and locomotives run.  The first railway systems or tramways used flat plates rather than rails, hence the term "plate-layer".  Even when the design was changed and iron rails were used instead of plates, the person who laid these rails was still described as a plate-layer.

In 1850, Thomas and Eliza had their first child Thomas John FORD (born in Wales where Eliza's father was living) and by the 1851 census had moved back where Thomas's home town and are living at Hough Lane, Bollin Fee, Cheshire next to his parents and brother John FORD (who was married to Eliza FORD'S (nee BATE) sister Martha).


FORD, Thomas







Chorley Cheshire



FORD, Eliza







Calveley Cheshire







1 (16 MOS)



Uchymymydel Ucha Flintshire



Thomas, Eliza and their three eldest children (Thomas JohnWilliam Henry and Eliza Ann) departed from Liverpool, England aboard the ship "Herald" on 28th October 1857 and arrived at Port Phillip Bay, Victora, Australia on 22 February 1858 . They are listed on the Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923 Port B Fische 142 Page 008 as:
FORD, Eliza  27
FORD, Eliza A   2
FORD, Thos  30
FORD, Thos J  7
FORD, Wm Hy 4

Their 4th child - Frederick Arthur was born late January 1857 in the registration district of Stockport, Sub-district of Cheadle in the County of Chester England. Unfortunately he died 5 weeks later on 5 March 1857 at Adswood, Cheadle Moseley, due to a debility from Birth. Thomas's occupation was recorded as farmer.

The term "unassisted" was used to describe passengers that paid their own fare, to distinguish them from passengers that migrated under sponsorship schemes, known as "assisted" passengers.

After they arrived in Victoria Australia, the family lived for a short time at Emerald Hill, then Sunday Creek.
From Newspaper reports in 1860, Thomas Ford of Sunbury Creek, near Seymour, late farmer, now out of business.  Causes of Insolvency- losses sustained in the purchase of cattle. Debts 176 pounds 3 shillings, assets 34 pounds 10 shillings, deficiency 141 pounds 13 shillings. Mr Jacomb official assignee.
By June 1859 when child number 5 - Frederick Arthur, was born they were living in Seymour and shortly afterwards moved to Avenel, where they lived for the next 20 years. Children Francis, Florence, Arthur, Lavinia and Joseph were born in Avenel. Thomas had been a "bushman" at Avenel and carted wood between Avenel and Katandra.  They owned 53 acres at Mangalore and 78 acres at Avenel.  Eliza also owned 2.25 acres there.

Their property at Avenel adjoined that of Ned Kelly's mother, Ellen.  The court Circuit records for Avenel show an altercation between Thomas FORD and Ellen KELLY.


John "Red" KELLY (Ned KELLY's father) was born in 1820 near Tipperary Ireland.  On 1 Jan 1841 he was sentenced for stealing and transported on  a ship called "Prince Regent" and sent to Van Dieman's Land (Now Tasmania).  He arrived in Hobart Town in January 1842.  He worked in Convict Camps until granted a ticket of leave in 1845 and Certificate of Freedom in 1848.

In 1850 he married Ellen QUINN and lived in Wallan, Kilmore, Bendigo and Meri Creek. By 1853 he was horse-stealing with his in-laws the QUINNS.

Red's siblings, Edward, Mary, Ann, James (Jim) and Daniel came from Ireland to Melbourne on the "Maldon" om 1857 and went to live with Red and his family at Wallan. They then moved to Beveridge and moved to Avenel in the early 1860's when Ned was about 8 years old. Ned KELLY attended school at Avenel firstly at the Church of England School and then the common school. Red died at Avenel in 1866 when Ned was 12 years old.

Red's sister (Ned's aunt) Ann married Jack RYAN and while in Avenel Jack and Ann RYAN rented a farm from Thomas FORD.
In April 1867 Ann RYAN charged Ellen KELLY (Ned's mother) with assault and Ellen countersued.  Ann won the case and Ellen Kelly was fined £2 for abusive language and threatening behaviour after the disagreement between the sister-in-laws. On the 28th May 1867  Ellen was charged with using threatening language against Thomas FORD (Ann RYAN's landlord) when he came to collect Ann's rent. According to Ellen, he demanded the rent and she defended her sister in law. Ellen once again countersued saying that Thomas had assaulted her and was back before the court. That was the last straw for Ellen, so she packed up the family and went off to Greta after her fine had been paid. The Police magistrate Arthur Akehurst had found them both guilty, with Thomas being fined 5 pounds or 6 weeks in Jail, Ellen was fined 40 shillings which was paid with the help of Ann and the Sheldons (whose son had been saved from drowning the year before by Ned). Apparently Thomas Ford had a reputation of being "Quarrelsome" (I'm not sure who came up with that phrase - Ellen Kelly, the magistrate or someone writing the Kelly family history).

Whilst in Avenel, the farm and other land was sold by the Mortgagees in 1875. The following is from Newspaper Article dated October 1874.
On 9 December 1874 the personal estate of Thomas FORD of Avenel is to be sold by the Sheriff at the Supreme Court Hotel La Trobe Street East Melbourne.

2 roods - parish of Avenel Crown Allotment No 6 section 2 Town of Avenel
2 roods- Crown Allotment No 20 section 2
18 acres 3 roods and 24 perches at Avenel Crown Allotment 1
10 acres Anglesey parish Avenel Crown Allotment 7
9 acres 1 rood Anglesey parish Avenel Crown Allotment 8
9 acres 1 rood 12 perches Anglesey Avenel Crown Allot 9
21 acres 3 rood 33 perches Anglesey Avenel Crown Allot 11.

Thomas also occupied a first class freehold farm in the parish of Wormangal, between Avenel and Nagambie known as Bonwicks Farm 246 acres 1 rood 19 perches and a half acres allotment in the new township of Avenel, near the railway station, with restaurant, Blacksmith shop etc.

In the Argus newpaper Melbourne dated Saturday 27 February 1875, it states that the above properties were for sale by Public Auction on Wednesday 10 March 1875, for positive and absolute sale by order of the Mortgagee.

Alfred Bliss has been favoured with instructions to sell by Public auction at Ford's restaurant near Railway Station Avenel on Wednesday 10 March 1875 at 2.00pm.
Lot 1 is a compact farm fenced in and cleared, ready for the plough, known as Bonwicks Farm and now in occupation of Mr Thomas Ford. Lot 1 Parish of Wormangal County of Moira.
Crown Allotment 20b section 2.   79 acres 3 roods 35 perches
Crown Allotment 20a section 2.  146 acres 1 rood 24 perches
Crown Allotment 20b section 1.   20 acres
TOTAL                                       246 acres 1 rood 19 perches.

There are 2 cottages on this farm on the main road from Avenel to Nagambie.
1. 4 rooms let to Mrs Butler at 15 shillings per week
2. 3 rooms and kitchen unoccupied.

Lot 2 is an allotment of 2 roods. Allot 1 section section Y of special allotment near Railway Station Avenel, on which are erected a building used as a restaurant containing 8 rooms rented by his son Mr W H FORD at 1 pound per week. Blacksmith shop etc.

Titles are all certificates which may be seen at the offices of Messres McKean & Wilson Solicitors Elizabeth Street Melbourne.  Terms one third cash, balance 3 and 6 month bills bearing 8%.

Government legislation in the 1870's opened up the way for the average person to select up to 320 acres of farming land for a reasonalby small initial outlay and pay this selection off over a period of time.  This saw vast areas of the Goulburn Valley selected.  According to the Landowners Names listed on the Shire of Yarrawonga Voters Roll 1880 for this area. Thomas and Eliza's son Frederick Arthur FORD owned land at Katandra, as did Thomas John FORD (senior/junior?).  The family had finally settled at Katandra in the late 1870's.

Eliza had brough 21 acres of land from her son William Henry FORD (with whom she was already living) in July 1882 and they settled there in July 1884.  This adjoined land already owned by Thomas.  As their family grew up, each selected land at Katandra.  "Lilybank" owned by William Henry FORD has only just been sold out of the Ford Family in 2011. (Refer to book "Early Families of Shepparton and District" published by Shepparton Family History Group for more information).

Landowner Names listed on a survey map for this area in the early 1900's are:

Ford (Eliza)  21 acres
Ford F A        71 acres
Ford F A       318 acres
Ford J           178 acres
Ford J H        159 acres
Ford T J        266 acres 
Ford T J        320 acres
Ford W H      319 acres
Ford W H      157 acres
Ford W H       160 acres




























Located 114 km north of Melbourne between Seymour and Euroa and just to the west of the Hume Highway, Avenel was established as a stopover point on the road from Melbourne to Albury.

The area was settled in the 1830s and Henry Kent Hughes named his property 'Avenel' after a village in Gloucestershire, England. It was used in the title of a popular novel at the time - 'the Maid of Avenel'.

The township was established in 1849 when the government offered land for sale adjacent a ford over Hughes Creek which had, for some years, been used as a camping place by drovers and teamsters travelling on the Old Sydney Road, established in 1839 as the overland mail route between Melbourne and Sydney.

Avenel grew rapidly as gold prospectors poured north driven by dreams of riches on the goldfields. By 1859 a substantial stone bridge had been built to meet the needs of the increased traffic. Around this time the Royal Mail Hotel was built near the bridge. This is about the time Thomas and Eliza Ford and family arrived in Avenel.

Avenel's most famous citizen was Ned Kelly. William Henry Ford was about 2 years older than Ned Kelly and Eliza Ann Ford was about the same age, and they attended the Avenel Common School at the same time as Ned Kelly in 1864 and 1865.

Kelly's father took the entire family to live in Avenel in the early 1860s. Ned lived in the town from the age of 8 until his father died when he was only 12. Ned recorded his father's death at the local Court House. Ned's father is buried in the town cemetery. There is a popular story of how the young Ned Kelly saved a boy from drowning in the local creek about 150m downstream from the bridge (Hughes Creek).  Ned rescued Richard Shelton, whose family owned and operated the Royal Mail Hotel. He was rewarded with a green sash which he wore the day he was shot. (The sash is at the Benalla Museum) .

The railway reached the town in 1872 and, for the next few decades, it enjoyed importance as a location where wheat from the surrounding area was shipped out to Melbourne. By 1880 the town had a flour mill and a grain store. The Ford family had left Avenel by this time.
Today it is typical of town's which have been by-passed. A small town with a few historic remnants.

The Bridge
The first Overland Mail from Melbourne to Sydney was established in 1839. The route it traversed was known as the Old Sydney Road which was also used by drovers and bullock wagons. It crossed Hughes Creek at a shallow, sandy ford which became a camping place for teamsters and, in 1849, the village of Avenel.

In 1859 a six-arch stone bridge was built by Hugh Dalrymple for the Victorian Board of Land and Works. This major upgrade was largely the result of the goldrushes and, in its early years, would have been used extensively by Cobb & Co. It was retired in 1969 when a new bridge was built but its historical value was recognised and it has been preserved with a plaque to denote its significance.

Royal Mail Hotel
Dating from the 1850s this small brick and rubblestone house was a coach house for the changing of Cobb & Co. horses for some decades after its original construction. It then reverted to a domestic dwelling. It is located near the stone bridge across Hughes Creek.

Baptism No 1379, Wilmslow.
Marriage CertificatenNo.# 340
Death Certificate No# 48/9582