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Colin & Catherine McCrae of Melbourne/Yarra, Victoria, Aus.

Replies: 20

Re: Colin & Catherine McCrae of Melbourne/Yarra, Victoria, Aus.

Posted: 1203238636000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Royse, McCrae
Hi Ruth
Many thanks for this – I had no idea she was married twice! I have quite a bit on Catherine (Kate). She married William Royse 2nd September 1869, at Holy Trinity Church in east Melbourne; William was aged 31 and Kate was 25 at this time. I have an electronic copy of their marriage certificate from the Department of Justice of Victoria’s website if you’re interested. William was the son of Isaac and Rachel Royse and came from Derbyshire; I’m not sure when he first arrived in Australia, but family lore has it that he made a bit of a fortune on the Victorian goldfields; he started turning up in Dunedin, New Zealand, about October 1861, working as a shipping agent under the business of Royse, Mudie & Co. and regularly travelled back and forwards between Dunedin and Melbourne. I guess he would have met Catherine during these travels. I’m not sure when Catherine permanently moved to New Zealand with him; there are mentions of a Mrs Royse on the ships William was an agent for as early as 1869; her eldest child was born in NZ in 1871; and her death certificate records she was in NZ for 46 years, making her arrival about 1872.

William had moved away from Dunedin for a short time, working in Hokitika and then Christchurch; his business partnership of Royse, Mudie & Co. ended about 1868-9 and he started a new one as a grain importer in Christchurch with George Stead as Royse, Stead & Co. William and Catherine had eight children – Elsie Frances, Kate, George Herbert, Mary Adelaide, William Graham, Reginald Thornhill, Nora Bell Eaton, and Olive Lee Darwent. The two eldest – Elsie and Kate - were born in Christchurch – the others were all born in Dunedin after William moved back there more permanently around 1875. William’s grain business also involved a flour mill on the Water of Leith in Dunedin, and he built a large house across the road from it; the house was called Leith House and still exists under that name as a rest home for the elderly on George Street; the house had fairly extensive grounds running up to the Water of Leith – these grounds are now the part of Woodhaugh Gardens running along the edge of George Street.

William Royse died quite young - in his 50s - of an aortic aneurysm which had affected him for about 5 years and had reduced his business activities. I think this may have affected the family financially as he is said to have died on a low. After his death in 1892, Catherine continued to live at Leith House until 1898, eventually moving to Queen Street, Dunedin, where she stayed until her death, 24 April 1918. She is buried in the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, with William and her daughter Mary Adelaide (Mary died as a child). I have a lot of more personal information about Catherine and her children, particularly her daughters, from newspaper social columns, but I haven’t had much time to sort through it all. If you’re interested in this, you can find it on the National Library’s (NZ) Papers Past - – which has scanned a lot of its newspapers, including some with text recognition and keyword searches. The newspapers able to be searched by keyword include the ‘Otago Witness’. Catherine and her daughters often pop up in the social columns and its fun to see what parties and social events they went to – right down to what they were wearing. There is only one Royse family in Dunedin, so it’s fairly easy to find them! There’s also quite a bit on William Royse and his businesses, although it can be a bit of a slog as a lot are just shipping notices. Let me know if you’re interested in their children too, as I have a little bit on them all. Catherine is my great-great-grandmother through her daughter Kate (later Kate Watson). I do have a photo of Catherine when she is a bit older – probably taken when she was about 40 if you’d like a copy.

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
babsandpete 1202634953000 
susana192 1202734146000 
babsandpete 1202807853000 
rocdo 1203205047000 
babsandpete 1203238636000 
rocdo 1203258117000 
rocdo 1203258406000 
rocdo 1263628675000 
rocdo 1263629008000 
Tarewa_Rota 1352407876000 
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