Charles Wentworth

Charles Wentworth 1910

Charles Wentworth 1910

Charles Wentworth was born in Collingwood in 1843, one of four children, to Geelong colonists Charles Henry Seymour Wentworth and Hannah Esther Elden. Charles senior was born in Oxford, England in 1817 and had arrived in Sydney in 1837, then sailed down to Melbourne by coastal steamer (James Watt). Charles senior’s occupation were given as a doctor (like his father), and he was also employed as a Clerk to the Bench (helping establish the police station in Geelong), and he was contracted as a census taker for the colony in 1841.

Sadly, Charles senior died at the young age of 35, and the coroner ruled he was suffering from a condition of some time – delirium tremens (alcoholism).
Young Charles went on to marry Esther White (Smith) at St Marks church in Fitzroy in 1871. The witness on their marriage certificate is Isaiah Mead, and Charles signed his name with a cross indicating he could not read or write.

Charles Wentworth Police Gazette 1875 from Ancestry

Charles Wentworth Police Gazette 1875

By 1872, he started appearing in the Melbourne directories as a fruiterer living in Leveson Street in Hotham (North Melbourne). In 1875 he was recording as a van driver (Fitzroy rate books) and was selling fruit at the Eastern Market in Fitzroy, and appears in the Victorian Police Gazette for an unlawful assault and default of payment of his fine. The Gazette gives a wonderful description of him.

In 1885, after the death of Mahalia Jackson, Charles & Esther took in young Albert and raised him. They selected land at Warrenbayne where Boho Rd now meets the Hume Highway.

It seems the Wentworth, Jackson, Mead and Miles were living near each other in the Fitzroy and Collingwood areas of Melbourne in the 1870 – 1890 time period. All these families eventually left Melbourne to select land and live in the Boho, Warrenbayne, Baddaginnie, Violet Town area. Esther Wentworth’s step sister Harriet White, was the mother of Kate Jackson (Albert Jackson’s wife).

In 1888, 1903, 1905 and 1922, Charles is recorded as a farmer in Baddaginnie near Violet Town (Victorian Electoral Rolls).  In 1910 Charles can be found giving evidence in a court case entitled in the local newspaper as “The Warrenbayne Bush Fire Cases”. Damages were awarded against the Railway Department, In December 1909, when a bush fire broke away from the railway line just after a train had passed. This happened 2 miles on the Melbourne side of Baddaginnie and fire spread through the parishes of Boho and Warrenbayne. A meeting of those whose properties were damaged was held, and the farmers voted to proceed against the Railway to recover damages.

Charles gave evidence that on Dec 20th that he was sitting on his front verandah, situated 16 chains north from the place on the railway line the fire broke out. He saw the 11.00am train go by, and then saw the fire break out. The railwaymen had once again failed to burn off that particular area of grass. The fire then spread into Jackson’s paddocks and then across the Sydney Rd into Croxford’s and onto Charles’ land. Mr David Robinson also gave evidence. The judge ruled the Railways were liable and awarded the farmers 325 pounds in costs. (Benalla Standard Newspaper 18 Nov 1910).

In 1917 Charles is writing to council requiring a gate on an unused road near Mr D Robinsons, Burkes Hill to be opened. The owner was to be written to. (Euroa Advertiser 16 Nov 1917).

His wife Esther died in 1919 and Charles died in 1929 and they are both buried in the Violet Town Cemetery. There is no headstone.