Robert Dyer Gillard 1830-1905

R D GillardRobert Dyer Gillard was born in Martock in 1830 or 1831, son of Vincent Solomon Gillard (1803-1872) and Mary N. Dyer, as his death certificate indicates.

He had two sisters, Sarah and Susan, and a brother, Paul (as well as some half-brothers from his mother's second marriage).

He arrived in Sydney on HMS Vulcan 5 November 1852, as a member of the 2nd/40th Foot (Second Somersetshire Regiment). This was the regiment that put down the Eureka rebellion in Ballarat in 1854.

He was to marry three times, and die 22 September 1905, at Collingwood, in the same year that his grandson, my father, was born. He was buried 23 September at Boroondara, Kew.

My father David Michael Gillard inherited £121/10/6 from Robert Dyer Gillard's deceased estate in 1960, and this is how he and I came to know of him and other Victorian relatives.


RDG's first wife was Margaret (or Martha) McGrath, who was born in Tipperary in 1838, the daughter of John McGrath and Marianne Ryan. They were married 16 January 1857 in Bendigo. She bore him five children before dying aged 50 on 14 April 1888 at Mary St, Richmond.

Their eldest child was Robert Henry Perceval who was born in 1858, the year after they married, on 16 January 1857 at the Catholic Church, Sandhurst, in Bendigo. He lived only five years, dying in 1863.

The second child, Elizabeth Mary Arabella was born 10 September 1860 in Richmond - where it seems Martha lived from the time of her marriage until her death fifteen years later. Elizabeth had seven children, only of whom died in childhood, as far as we know, so she has a large number of descendants through her marriage in 1887 to John Austin (1854-1906). I take the opportunity to acknowledge the research of two of their descendants, Steward Hogan and Raymond Burt, who have each sent me an enormous amount of information about their/our family. Elizabeth died 19 August 1926 at Westgarth, Northcote, Victoria.

The third child was Eugene Thomas Vincent, who was born 1863 and married Lucy Challis Hinwood. All of his five children lived into old age: Eugene Thomas Vincent II, Robert Clarence, Lilian Janet, Redvers William, Oliver James (later Sir Oliver) Gillard. At least four of them had children themselves. Of Eugene Snr's children probably the most prominent Gillard was Sir Oliver (1906-1984) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and after retirement from the bench in 1978, Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, until he suffered a stroke in 1979. He married Jean Mary Gillon in 1934 and their three children are Graeme Oliver, Eugene William and Roger Challis. The two last are or were both barristers in practice in Melbourne.

The fourth child was the second to die in infancy, George Edward (1864-1867).

Martha's fifth and last child was my grandfather William Edgar Gillard (1873-1906).

Before WEG was born, however, Robert Dyer was already in a relationship with a second woman, Bertha Hill Cribb, who was born about 1836 in Whitcombe, Somerset. They were not able to marry until 26 November 1890, after the death of RDG's first wife. However, by that time, she had already borne him four children, the first two before the last child born to Martha! The Victorian Public Trustee's document of July 1960 refers to an inheritance which Robert Dyer received: 'One half share as widower in estate of Bertha Hill Gillard (Cribb)', an amount of £222/1/0.

The first child, Arbella (or Arbela) Gillard (1868-1916) married James Oliver Thomas Winter.

The second child was Ellen Ann Gillard (1870-1929) who married John Simon William Hargreaves. I'm much indebted to his grand-daughter Joyce, and to her daughter Barbara Cohen, for most of what I know about Robert Dyer Gillard. Ellen's and John's four sons were: John Simon William Hargreaves (who lived for only two days, 27-29 December 1896), Thomas Robert Hargreaves, Ernest Albert Hargreaves, and Jack Gillard Hargreaves. Thomas Robert married Annie Bale, and had three children including Joyce (Hargreaves) Cox, who had at least one child, Barbara (Cox) Cohen.

Bertha's third child was Ernest William Gillard (1875-1923) who had seven children: Henry William, Ernest William Dyer, Bertha May Collins, Ruby Isabel Harvey, Allen Keith, Beryl Gordon, and Jack Valentine.

And the fourth was Avernus Deiphobus Gillard (1877-1939). Avernus had nine children: Avernus Thomas, Edward Oliver Cribb, Robert Norman, Elizabeth Annie Maud Jessop, Albert William Gillard, Anastasia Arbelia, Allen, James Frederick Gillard, and Dorothy Violet.

Bertha died 6 May 1902 in Collingwood, probably at 139/141 Alexandra Parade, where RDG owned property.

He married again, in 1905, the year of his death, in his 70s, to Grace Maling (1875-1940). She had been previously married, and had a son, Charles H. Maling, who therefore became RDG's stepson and one of his heirs, but Grace had no children with RDG. She herself married for a third time after his death, to Richard Edwards, with whom she had four children.


Reference
Jeffrey J. Gillard, Thick on the Ground: A Story of Van Diemen's Land and of Free Settler George Gillard, his ancestors and descendants 1572-1809-1978 (with brief references to other early Australian Gillard families), printed [privately] for the author in Melbourne Victoria, June 1978, limited edition.


Garry Gillard | New: 13 July, 2009 | Now: 23 May, 2017