Ernest William Edwards (1895-1965) & Mary Elizabeth Donnelly (1900-1951)

Ernest William “Ernie” Edwards was born on 12 Feb 1895 at Cobar, NSW (reg 2621/1895). Ernest was the first of three children born to William Edwards (c1874-1952) and Mary Ann Fardell (1874-1960). Both the Edwards and Fardell families operated successful carrier businesses in the Central West region of New South Wales.

William & Mary Ann Edwards and their family relocated many times during the 1890’s. The family would travel the country-side aboard a small horse-drawn cart which was referred to as a sulky by future generations. At the time of Ernest’s birth, his father was listed as a tobacconist.

Not long after Ernest’s birth, his family moved north to Bourke. Both of his sister’s births are registered at Bourke: Violet May was born on 05 May 1897 and Ethel Selina “Bub” was born 22 Jul 1899.

It is believed that the family remained in Bourke for several years and operated the carrying business from there. Unfortunately, during their time at Bourke, the family fell victim to Trachoma, which was known as “Sandy Blight.” This sickness caused permanent damage to William, Ernest and Violet’s eyes.

Sometime prior to 1918, the family relocated to Sydney. In 1918, they are listed as living at 12 McGregor St, Croydon in the Inner West Sydney district. The house remained in the family for about 50 years.

Ernest worked primarily as a ‘horse driver,’ but eventually was listed as ‘motor driver’ and would have seen first hand, as the world transitioned from horse to motor vehicle transportation. Ernest also found work as a timber worker or sawyer at various times in his life.

Ernest face low res
Ernest W. Edwards (age 27 years) on 01 Jul 1922 at his sister, Ethel’s wedding. Photo courtesy Gai Waterfield nee Hardingham.

Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” Donnelly was born on 05 Jul 1900 in the Inner West Sydney District (reg 19658/1900 at Ashfield). Mary was the first of three children born to Timothy Donnelly (1865-1925) and Lucy Clara Searle (1874-1939). Mary was almost four when her brother, Peter Joseph was born on 05 Apr 1904 and almost eleven when her sister, Ellen Kathleen “Nellie” was born on 02 May 1911.

The Donnelly family resided on Bland St, Ashfield in the Inner West Sydney district. MORE TO BE ADDED HERE.

Minnie (22) gave birth to a son, Leslie Joseph Timothy “Les” Donnelly on 01 Jun 1923. Les’ father is unknown at this time.

Ernest (34) and Minnie (29) were married on 19 Nov 1929 (reg 17202/1929 at Burwood). Ernest and Minnie’s son, William Ernest “Bill” Edwards was born in 1929 either before or shortly after the marriage. Three more children would be born to them over the decade: Joan Marie on 02 Aug 1931, Jean Aileen in 1933 and Alan Gordon on 10 Mar 1938.

After they were married, Mary Elizabeth came to live at the family’s house, 12 McGregor St, Croydon, however, soon later, they moved to their own house at 32 Keailworth St, Croydon. This house still stands to this day.

In the early 1930’s, Ernest’s occupation is listed as a ‘timber worker,’ he was listed again as a ‘sawyer’ in the 1940’s. In 1934, Ernest & Minnie are listed as residing at 28 Waimea St, Burwood and his occupation as a ‘motor driver.’

Ernest low res
Ernest W. Edwards. Photo courtesy Gai Waterfield nee Hardingham.

In the late 1930’s or early 1940’s, Ernest & Minnie took over residing at the Edwards’ family home at 12 McGregor St, Croydon. Minnie’s son, Les was not living with them at this stage and my Grandfather, Alan, had believed his half-brother to be his uncle for several years. Les enlisted in the Australian Army to serve the WWII efforts on 28 Jul 1943 at Bathurst. Les’ rank was a Craftsman his service number was NX173419. He was discharged on 27 Jun 1946 after the war had ended.

Minnie (51) died at the family’s home at 12 McGregor St, Croydon. Her cause of death is currently unknown. As she was so young at the time, none of her children were yet married and she did not get to enjoy seeing her grandchildren.

Minnie was buried at the Rookwood Cemetery in the Roman Catholic Section with her late parents. The family plot location is Sect. Mortuary 2, Row H, Plot 301. Minnie’s brother Peter was also buried in this plot when he passed away in 1975.

Ernest and Minnie’s daughters and Minnie’s son Les were all married in 1954. Joan married George Robert Cropp on 12 Feb 1954. George and Joan lived in the Edwards family home at 12 McGregor St, Croydon after they were married. They had five children. Les married Dorothy Fitzpatrick on 10 Sep 1954 and they had several children. Jean married Ronald William “Ron” Marsh on 18 Sep 1954. They had one son. Bill married Margaret Vivian Davey on 11 May 1963. They had no children. Alan was married in the late 1960’s and had three children.

Ernest drove a 1952 model dodge. In 1965, the car was listed for sale for a mere £14 (2017 equivalent less than $400). The car was likely in poor condition due to this. The model and colour of the car are currently unknown.

Ernest (70) died on 31 Jul 1965 at his residence at 12 McGregor St, Croydon. He was cremated at Rookwood on 03 Aug 1965. The location of his ashes or where they were scattered is currently unknown.

Bill Edwards (48 or 49) died on the 19 Apr 1978. His widow, Margaret, later remarried Fred Vassallo. Bill had a great photo of him with his brother Alan when they were young but its whereabouts became unknown after his death.

George Cropp worked as a welder and a fitter. George (59) died on 06 Jun 1986 as the result of a car accident. George was buried at the Portland Cemetery.

Ron Marsh died on 02 Apr 1984.

Joan Cropp nee Edwards (65) died on 05 Feb 1997. She was buried at Portland with her late husband.

Jean Marsh nee Edwards (70 or 71) died on 03 Mar 2004.

Les Donnelly (84) died in Feb 2008. He was buried on 20 Feb 2008 in the Rookwood Cemetery in the Roman Catholic Section. The plot location is Sect. Lawn 5, Plot 1130.

Alan worked as a firefighter at various locations around the Greater Sydney Area. He also had worked as a postal worker and sometimes drove taxis. He lived at 3 Haydyn St, Seven Hills for several decades up to his death. Alan (70) died on 11 Mar 2008 at the Blacktown Hospital the day after his 70th birthday. He often spoke about living to be the age of three score and ten, which is 70 years, this is the same age that his father had lived to. Alan had celebrated his 70th birthday two days before his death with his family at the park. Alan was cremated and some of his ashes were scattered at Sister’s Beach in Tasmania.


Contributors and Acknowledgements:



See Also:

Descendants of Thomas Fardell & Jane Cook




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