The Hardwick Site

Elizabeth Lister

Married Charles Arthur — 8 January, 1855

Married John Murray Bate — 3 December, 1870

Elizabeth was born in Herefordshire in 1832 [1], probably in Hoarwythy at the home of her grandmother Susannah Pymble. Unlike her older brother John, and sister Sarah, there is no record she was ever taken on her parents’ sea voyages between England and Australia. The story in the family is that when the Captain returned from this voyage the servant tried show him the baby and he brushed the baby aside and said where is my wife? Elizabeth’s younger brother Henry was born at sea off the Westward Islands and died on his third voyage, fourteen days after his second birthday [2]. In 1841 we have our earliest source record of Elizabeth in the 1841 Census [3] which records Elizabeth living with her Aunt Mary Hook and Mary’s family at Board Street, Hereford. Elizabeth’s oldest sister, Sarah was at school at Parker Lane, Hereford [4] and it is assumed that her brother John was at boarding school also.

In the meantime Elizabeth’s parents had settled in Sydney and the children were sent for and travelled to Australia on the Aden in 1842, arriving 10 October 1842. John had accompanied his parents to Australia in 1830 when Edward Hardgraves was cabin boy and baby sitter to the lively two year old [5] and his sister Sarah was born in Hobart at the end of that voyage on the 15 July 1830. The baby Sarah was baptised at St Philips, Sydney on 23 August 1830 and again at St Mary’s, Whitechapel on the return journey. Susannah Lister was not interested in church theology, but if she wanted her children recognized in a country and baptism was the way, she was going do it regardless. It does make it difficult when researching and looking for source material when the ancestors don’t follow the rules!

On arriving in Australia the children met the three children who had been born since they last saw their parents, Annie, Thomas and Frederick. For the next two years Elizabeth lived with her family in Sydney where their home was a two-storied tenement house next to Parliament House looking out onto the Domain. Her father started a coastal shipping run from Sydney to the Moreton Bay settlement, but was ship wrecked in the Rainbow Channel between Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island in a cyclone on Tuesday 13th February 1844. Passengers and cargo were rescued but the ship was lost. Captain Lister was offered a job as a lighthouse keeper but he considered this an insult and turned his thoughts to settling over the Blue Mountains.

James Arthur, an up and coming developer of inns in and about Bathurst, offered the Captain a job as the lessee of the Robin Hood and Little John Inn at the summit of the notorious Rocks Hills 20 kilometers west of Bathurst. Captain Lister had the capacity for one adventure after another. The night they arrived at the Inn they were held up by bushrangers who even stole the family’s sheets for carrying the loot, leaving the ill-fated Captain with only the carving knife he was wielding to defend the family honour [6]. In spite of the setback the family settled into the inn job and lived there for the next five years. Captain Lister was returning from a business trip to Bathurst on 12 August 1850 at night when his horse bolted turning over the dray and leaving the Captain unconscious on the track. He died of hypothermia before he could be found. There is speculation that he was a victim of the robberies rife in the area [7].

The widow Susannah continued to manage the Inn with the help of the family and friends eventually moving to the Guyong Inn at Lewis Creek. Elizabeth’s brother John was involved with Edward Hargraves and two of Parson Tom sons John and William in the discovery of the first payable gold field in Australia on 22 May 1851. A month later, on 21 June 1851, Elizabeth’s sister Sarah married William Tom Junior. This young couple were witnesses on 9 January 1855 at Elizabeth’s wedding at home in Guyong four years later to Charles Arthur, the son of the Captain’s benefactor, James Arthur who also was a witness with the bride’s mother Susannah. These families of early settlers all stayed fairly close to one another. Brother John Hardman Australia married Anne Arthur in 1865, and younger brother Thomas Lister eventually married Emily Tom, a granddaughter of Parson Tom in 1879.

Elizabeth’s first marriage to Charles Arthur, a surveyor, lasted eleven years. They lived in Bathurst and had a farm Brookdale at Vittoria. Five children were born to the marriage Annie 1856, Alice 1858, Louise 1860. Alice died in 1861. Charles was born 1862 and died 1863 and Ernest was born in 1864. Elizabeth’s husband Charles died in 28 June 1866 at his home at Market Square, Mudgee. Charles was by then the district surveyor. His assets were left in trust to his three surviving children.

I was always told the widow Elizabeth met widower John Bate when they lived in Surry Hills next door to one another in Riley Street and they married at St James, King Street, but this hasn’t stood up to research. According to their marriage certificate they were married at All Saints, Bathurst on 3 December, 1870. Elizabeth’s residence is given as Bathurst and John’s residence as Sydney and his occupation government clerk. Elizabeth’s brother Thomas Lister was a witness and also her brother-in-law George Arthur. We know that in the days leading up to the marriage, a legal agreement was drawn up that the farm at Vittoria had been left by Charles to his children Annie now 14, Louise 10 and Ernest 6 — otherwise it would have become the property of the court, because John Bate was insolvent.

John’s children from his first marriage were quite a lot older than Elizabeth’s. Emily, the second eldest daughter, had married her cousin Samuel William Bate in 1867, and the eldest daughter Sarah married Fritz Luther in March 1870. The two oldest boys Frank and Richard were away making their own life in Queensland. When John started to plan to marry the young widow Elizabeth, he asked his son Frank to come home and take on the job of manager of Brookdale, with the plan the property would eventually become Frank’s. Frank and his brother Richard settled on the property to get it running smoothly. Eliza and Jack, as they were known, stayed at 369 Riley Street with the three Arthur children and four Bate children: George aged 20, Alice 15, Lilias 10 and Edward 9. On 26 January 1872 Ellen Gertrude Bate was born at Surry Hills and became known as Nellie to all the family. The family story is the baby was small and not thriving so it was decided to move to the farm, so the Surry Hills house was packed up and everyone moved to the farm at Brookdale. Eliza and Jack were now managing a household of eleven people, eighteen year old Alice was given the job of schooling the children, and my grandmother Nellie told me all her schooling was from Alice. The classroom was on the verandah of the house. The girls all took turns cooking meals for the household and even baby Nellie had her day in the week. At some time in these 5 years the name of the property was changed to Trangoff, Kings Plains.

On 13 October 1877 Jack died intestate after which the family problems started to appear. Jacks sister Elizabeth Agnew was the informant for Jack’s death registration at Orange but there is no mention of his second wife, though little Nellie is included as one of the surviving 5 girls. I am sure there was a great gathering of the family for the funeral — my grandmother told me she could remember her sister Emily on horseback accompanying the drays back to Tilba Tilba. We know some of Jack’s children stayed on including the faithful Frank who still believed his father’s promise that one day the farm would be his, and was content to manage it in the meantime. Richard went to live in Queensland, George moved to New Zealand and Alice and Lilias married. In 1883, Annie Arthur married Arthur Sebastopol Tom, son of William Tom and Sarah Lister. Eliza’s son Ernest Arthur died of typhoid fever in 1882 contracted after herding cattle through flood waters. His mother had always been mindful with the various mortgages arranged after her marriage to Jack, to keep her name alone on mortgage papers and to protect the interests of the children of her first marriage to Charles Arthur, even though Jack tried at least twice to have it transferred to his name. Eliza’s youngest brother Frederick became involved in Jack’s attempts to gain control of mortgages and Eliza warned Frederick by letter to accept no papers she had not signed alone.[8].

Frank married Clara Jean Hughes in 1884 and continued managing the farm until 1887 when Eliza’s brother Frederick Lister served an ejection action in the Bathurst Court on Frank. The court ruled against Frank and Annie’s husband Arthur Tom was appointed sole trustee, and the young couple took over the farm. Frank and Clara moved to Oberon and set up a fresh farm. [9] Seventeen old Edward Bate went to live with his sister Emily at Tilba Tilba and was killed in a logging accident in 1891.

In 1887 Eliza and Jack’s daughter Nellie was 15 and she was sent to Sydney to stay with one of her married sisters and attend finishing school. Nellie didn’t mind going to Sydney for a visit, but rebelled at the thought of finishing school, so she was sent to work as a housemaid for her eldest half-sister Sarah Luther who lived at Oberon and was the housekeeper at Caves House, Jenolan Caves. Nellie’s loyalties were divided, and I suspect her mother wanted her out of the way while changes were being made at the farm. Eliza and her unmarried daughter Louie stayed on at the farm with Annie and Arthur Tom. As time passed, Nellie came home to the farm to live but missed her older Bate brothers and sisters. Eliza and Annie did not approve of Nellie’s romance with the eldest Davis boy Ebbe from the Half Way House, Kings Plains. He was a miner at Dark Corner. Nellie persisted with the romance with the support of her brother Frank.[10] In 1893 Nellie married Ebenezer Davis in Eliza’s garden.

Eliza died on 2 November 1899 and is buried in Guyong Anglican Cemetery. Many years later Frank Bate Junior searched for Eliza’s will thinking to prove his father Frank had had his inheritance stolen by his stepmother. Frank gave me a copy of the will with the comment that he thought the will rather proved the opposite.

Eliza had eight grandchildren from her two married daughters Annie Tom née Arthur and Nellie Davis née Bate, though Elsie Isabel Davis was the only child of Nellie’s to survive to adulthood.


[1] Source material is birth certificate of daughter Ellen Gertrude Bate.
[2] Journal of a Sea Voyage, 1838 transcribed Anne Moulder et al.
[3] 1841 census records Mary Hook living with husband Charles Hook at Board St, Hereford, Marys daughter Susannah Pender from a previous relationship was also living with them as their daughter (Susannah Hook) and their children Jane, Charles Wesley & Ann Mary. Mary Hook died in child birth in 1845 & her son Jabez Philip did not survive the birth.
[4] 1841 Census also John Hardman Australia Lister in a letter concerning a disputed land claim on Bruny Island said he had lived in the colony since 1842 with his father.
[5] Golden Goliath by Frank Clune.
[6] Golden Goliath
[7] Richard Glasson of the Cornish Settlement was held up on the same track 11 days later also Henry Peffler.
[8] Samuel Bate — Singular Character by Frank R. M. Bate.
[9] Frank Bate called his Oberon farm Frankfort and lived there until 1914 when Clara died. Frank sold the farm and went to live with his sister Alice at Wyong where he met and married in 1916 a young lady from the farm next door Lillian Ross 35 years younger than him and at the age of 76 fathered a daughter Adele and two years later in 1919 a son Frank.
[10] Franks letters to Nellie at this time have survived and are in the possession of Margaret Hardwick.

Margaret Hardwick, 2010

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Elizabeth’s details web page made 6 July 2010; last edited