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Margaret ROBERTS Hill

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Margaret Roberts was born in South Melbourne in 1855, the daughter of Harriett BOYCE and Hugh Roberts (a Welsh sea captain). At the age of 22 she was married in South Melbourne to William Samuel HILL. [Their daughter Ethel bore my father.]

This is the only known photograph of Beatrice Roberts Hill, possibly taken on the occasion of her marriage on the last day of 1877 to Wm Samuel Hill (30 May 1855 - 2 November 1924). They wer both 22. The photographer's address is given as Emerald Hill, which was the name used for South Melbourne 1855-83.

They must have gone to South Australia almost immediately, as their first five children were born in Adelaide, 1879-1885. They then appear to have returned to Victoria as the last two were born in Melbourne, 1888 and 1891. In 1885 Billy was serving in the Water Police at Port Darwin and living in Palmerston (which was renamed 'Darwin' in 1910). Then in about 1899 he took his wife and remaining four children (three [or five?] boys having died in very early childhood) to Western Australia to make his fortune (or not) on the goldfields. (Which is why I was born in WA.)

Margaret died after only two years in the appalling conditions on the goldfields on 14 October 1901 aged 46 years at Yundamindra (The Granites) in the Leonora district, of consumption and phthisis, and is buried in the Yundamindera cemetery. (Yundamindera is the name of the gazetted town. Yundamindra is the name of the station, and the area.)

This photo is from Alex Palmer's book in which he suggests that this is her grave.

(The second photo was taken by Andrea Lewis - thanks! - and is from the WAGS Lonely Graves site.) Palmer writes this.

The next [grave] in line has been carefully prepared by a loving bereaved person, probably Sam [Billy] Hill husband of Margaret Hill. The grave was once carefully lined with boulders and a large ironstone rock stands proud as a headstone. All is still in fair shape. (Palmer: 56)

William Samuel and Margaret ROBERTS Hill's seven children were: Hugh, Lionel and Leonard - who all died in earliest infancy - Beatrice Harriet, Ethel May, Leslie Lewis, and Elizabeth Mary (Elsie). The first five children were born in Adelaide, and the last two in Melbourne. Beatrice married Robert Raftis and had five daughters: Ellen, Beatrice, Margaret, Mary and Hanoria.
Leslie Hill enlisted 17 February 1915 and saw active service in France. He was wounded 19 September 1917, sustaining a compound fracture of the left femur, which led to him being discharged 30 August 1918 with a 1914-1915 Star, a British War Medal and a Victory medal. His sister Ethel wrote him a letter in verse, addressed to 'Les', which has survived (as a handwritten copy) in the possession of GMG . He married, but had no children.

Margaret Hill's death certificate

Margaret's occupation is given as 'House-wife'. The cause of her death was the same as that of her daughter Ethel (and Ethel's first husband, W.E. Gillard) here shown to have been Consumption (Phthisis) from which she had suffered for 6 months. [This is now called tuberculosis.]

Margaret's father was Welsh 'Sea Captain' Hugh Roberts, and her mother was Harriett Boyce (also with the TT spelling used for Margaret's eldest daughter, Beatrice Harriett). The informant was Margaret's husband William (who is thought to have marked her grave with large stones) whose place is residence is said to be Linden (where he had a mine and battery for many years).

She was interred the day after her death, 15 October 1901, in Yundamindera Cemetery. There was no minister of religion present - just the witnesses named: C.B. Webb, and Robert Raftis, the latter being Margaret's son-in-law, husband of the aforesaid Beatrice. She had lived in Western Australia for two years - and in Melbourne for the other 44 - so she didn't go to Palmerston?

According to her death certificate, her children at that time were Beatrice Harriett, 19, Ethel May, 16, Leslie Lewis, 13 and Elsie Margaret, 10 - plus '5 males deceased'. The script here is unambiguous: it clearly shows 5 (five) dead boys. But I have names for only three (3) dead boys: Hugh, Lionel Hugh, and Leonard William (two born before and one after Beatrice, in that order). The father of all these children is said to be the informant, but note that the information was not written by the registrar until a month later and miles away in Menzies.

References and Links

Coate, Yvonne E. & Kevin Coate, More Lonely Graves of Western Australia, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, WA, 2000.

Palmer, Alex, Yundamindra: Its Towns, Mines, People and Station, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, WA, 2006.

WAGS page, source of the second Margaret Roberts grave photo.


Many thanks to fellow descendant Adrian Spall for almost all of the above, including the photos of WSH, and the research.

Garry Gillard | New: 18 July, 2009 | Now: 21 December, 2020