Robert Dyer Gillard
It was Robert Dyer Gillard who brought our particular Gillard family to Australia in 1854, from Martock in Somerset where it had happily lived since about the middle of the sixteenth century.
Robert Dyer Gillard was born in Martock in 1832, son of Vincent Solomon Gillard (1803-1872) and Mary N. Dyer. At the time he arrived in Melbourne, in 1854, he was a soldier. He was to marry three times, and die 22 September 1905, at Collingwood, in the same year that his grandson, my father, was born.
According to Jeffrey J. Gillard (1978), RDG was 'born in 1830 came from Somerset and was the son of Vincent Gillard and Mary Dyer. He died in Victoria in 1905 at the age of 75 years.' David Michael Gillard inherited £121/10/6 from Robert Dyer Gillard in 1960, and this is how he and I came to know of his Victorian relatives. Jeffrey Gillard writes (page 155): 'Since "Robert" [sic] was born before the advent, in England, of birth certificates in 1837 there is no reference available from this source as to which Parish he was born in. However, copies of most of the Somerset Parish records are held at the County Centre at Taunton and a check there unearthed just one Vincent, presumably Robert's father.' Barbara Cohen has since informed me that RDG's death certificate indicates that Vincent Solomon Gillard, a baker of Martock, was his father and Mary Dyer was his mother.
RDG's first wife was Margaret (or Martha) McGrath, who was from Tipperary, the daughter of John McGrath and Marianne Ryan, born 1838. 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 the year of his death, 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.
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.