Friday, 11 November 2016

Information for my book

Hi readers!

I am currently working on a book about the Bunston Family and their descendants.  It is a follow up to the one I compiled back in 2000 - The Bunston Family: Past and Present.

The book is becoming huge! I'm still only working on the first draft and have a long way to go.

Apart from the Bunston name, other names that feature in the book are listed below.  Note that the list will grow as more of the story unfolds.  The family has spread far and wide, throughout the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (so far).

If anyone is interested in contributing with information / stories / photos etc. rest assured that your name will be added to my list of acknowledgements.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through the contact form here, or directly via email at

I'm looking forward to hearing from everyone interested.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Sepia Saturday No. 344

Just a small post this time...

With the prompt this time being "Travel and Transport", I like many other other bloggers, was spoiled for choice.  I chose this picture.

Taken during World War II probably near Darwin, Australia, this shows my grandfather Arthur Smith driving a jeep with two of his mates.

Grandad served with the Royal Australian Air Force as a navigator,  Since planes are also a form of transport, I have included a photo of his crew with their bomber, also taken at Darwin.

Grandad is second from the left.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tombstone Tuesday

This headstone, located at the Skipton Cemetery, had always fascinated me - ever since I was young, visiting my grandmother who was buried about 15m further down the row.

I think it was the name "Elizabeth Lyle" which I had always thought to be very unusual.  Or, perhaps the Bunston surname at the top was also of interest as I knew a Bunston (the only one at the time).  Maybe I wondered if they were related to each other?

I would stop and stare at this headstone every time we went to the cemetery, at the time unaware of who these people were... I still stare today when I visit, but now with a known connection.

Buried here is George Bunston - my great great grandfather.  With him, his wife and my great great grandmother - Elizabeth Lyle Bunston, nee Thompson and their infant son Andrew Thompson Bunston.

I have written about George before - the eldest of 11 children, born in England on 8 February 1835 and migrating to Australia with his sister and first wife Sarah at the age of 20.  He died in Skipton on 18 April 1923 from bronchitis.  He had married his second wife, Elizabeth, in 1864.

Elizabeth was the fifth of seven children, born in Scotland on 13 August 1848 and migrating with her parents and siblings in 1852.  She died in Skipton on 14 June 1926.

Andrew was the youngest of ten children of George and Elizabeth.

This grave is also the resting place for two of their infant grandchildren, buried but not mentioned - though never forgotten.

Thelma May Bunston was the fifth of six children and only daughter of Phillip Henry Bunston and Gertrude May Reyland.  She was born on 22 December 1925 and died aged just three weeks old on January 12 1926.  She died six months before her grandmother.

Also buried here is John William "Jackie" Nash, my great uncle.  Jackie was the youngest of four children of Percy Victor Nash and Georgina May Bunston.  He was born in Linton on 26 January 1927 and died two years later on 14 September 1929 of pneumonia and meningitis.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tombstone Tuesday

William Horn Smith, his wife Ada May and their daughter Betty May.  Buried together in the Creswick Cemetery, Victoria, Australia.

My great grandfather, William was born in Dean, Victoria on New Year's Day in 1874.  In 1906 he married Ada May Lawless who was born in December 1885.

Together Ada and William had 13 children.

William died in Ballarat on February 8th 1948.  Ada died on June 3rd 1958 in Frankston.

Their daughter Betty May was born in May 1824.  She was only 10 months old when she died on October 25th.

Ada May with a friend

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Sepia Saturday No. 313

With a photo of siblings as a prompt, I decided to post photos of my grandfathers their respective siblings. 

Left to right: Muriel, Percy (back), Jackie (front), Wilf
With the youngest of the Nash children dying aged just 2 years old, this is likely the only picture of the four of them together - certainly the only one I have.

My grandfather, Percival George was born in Linton, Victoria in December 1921  He married Hilda Pearl Smith at Scrub Hill Presbyterian Church in September 1941, aged 19.  He served in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II.  Hilda and Percy had four children: Eleanor May; Ian John; Garry James Harvey and Andrew Brent.  Hilda died in March 1982 and Percy died in November 1997.  They are buried together in Skipton.

Muriel Gean was born in February 1923 in Linton.  She married Clifford Harrie Morris in 1946 in Ballarat.  Cliff served in World War II in the Australian Army.  He was captured by the Germans and spent over four years in Stalag 18A.  Cliff and Muriel had four sons: David Koloman; Murray; John and Graeme.  Cliff died in January 1990 and Muriel died in 2004.  They were both cremated and their remains are at the Skipton Cemetery.

Wilfred Victor was born in Linton in July 1925.  He married Jean Alison Blackwood in 1951.  During World War II Wilf enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force, however the war ended before he could take up his post in the South Pacific.  Wilf and Jean had five children: Judith Heather; Susan Margaret; David Graham; Michael Andrew and Robert Alister.  Wilf died in March 2008.  He was cremated and his ashed were scattered at one of the Nash family properties.

John William (Jackie) was born in 1927 in Linton.  Sadly, Jackie died in the Skipton hospital in 1929 after contracting pneumonia.  He is buried in the Skipton Cemetery with his grandparents, George and Elizabeth Bunston - though he is not mentioned on the headstone.

The eldest of four children of James and Charlotte Smith.  Unfortunately I do not have a photo of all five children together.

Phyllis Joy was born in Kimberley, South Africa in September 1913.  Joy married George Rex Hayward.  They had four children together: Elaine Joy; Austen James; Pamela Evelyn and Phyllis Merle.  Rex died in October 1979.  Joy died in March 2008.

My grandfather, Arthur Grenville, was born in Yendon, Victoria in May 1916.  Arthur married Elsie Marie Davenport in 1940.  During World War II Arthur served in the Royal Australian Air Force, being stationed in Darwin.  Arthur and Elsie had five children: Alison Marie; Thyrza Ruth; Esther Jane; Grenville Bruce and Anna Christine.  Arthur died in 2001.  Elsie died in 2014.  They are buried together, with their son Bruce, in the Skipton Cemetery.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Sepia Saturday No. 300


Although postmortem photos are creepy as hell, I so wish I had some.  Unfortunately I don't, so prompted by the family photo I decided to look at family portraits, parents and their children.

 Family Portraits

 Left to right:- George William Breadmore, Elizabeth Susan Johnston, Alice Maud Breadmore and Mary Breadmore (nee Bunston).  Photo taken c 1886

George Breadmore married Mary Bunston on June 24 1879.  George had been married twice before, his first being Mary Tarr and the second Alicia Phillips.  Mary also was married previously, to Jacob Walters (aka William Johnston).  Elizabeth is the daughter of Mary and her first husband, while Alice is the only child from this union. George had two children with his first wife before her death in 1848 and then nine with his second until her death in 1871.  Nine children also came from Mary's first marriage, with Elizabeth being the youngest.  Between the two of them they had a total of 21 children!

Elizabeth was born in 1874.  She married Frederick Harvey Smith in 1906.  Frederick worked as a painter. Elizabeth died in 1934.

Alice was born on September 20 1880.  She married Ernest Edwin Warren in 1901.  Ernest was born in 1882.  Ernest worked for the Victorian railways.  They had six children together.  Ernest died in 1951 and Alice died nine years later in 1860.


Left to right:- John Thompson Bunston, Roy Walter Bunston, Elizabeth "Bessie" Bunston (nee Kellett) and George Clive Skipton Bunston.  Photo taken c 1898

John was born in Skipton on Jan 10 1867.  He was the second child of George and Elizabeth Bunston (nee Thompson).  Bessie was also born in 1867, in Lysterfield.  She was the eldest child of John and Isabella Kellett (nee Thompson).  John and his wife were cousins, with their mothers being sisters.  John worked as a foreman and he lived in North Carlton with his family.  John died in 1926, not long after the below photo was taken.  Bessie died in 1952.

Left to right:- Roy, John, Elizabeth, George, Annie.  Photo taken c 1925

 Son George was born on Carlton on Feb 12 1893.  He served in the AIF in WWI, joining in 1917.  In 1919 he married Annie Jenkins on the Isle of Scilly.  They returned to Australia and went on to have four children.  George died in Melbourne in 1945.  Annie died in 1983.

Younger son Roy was born in 1895, also in Carlton.  He also served in the AIF, enlisting a year before his older brother.  He married Irene Myrtle Cone.  Together they had one daughter.  Roy died in Fitzroy in 1961 and Irene died in 1987.


Left to right: Mary Feargrieve Park (nee Thompson); Elsie Park and Josiah McNickle Park.  Photo taken c 1894

Mary was born in Berwick, Scotland on March 16 1850.  She was the younger sister of Elizabeth and Isabella Thompson (mentioned above).  She came to Australia at the age of 2 with her family.  She married Josiah Park in February 1867.  Josiah was born in Tyrone, Northern Ireland on June 14 1836.  Josiah worked as a blacksmith in Lake Bolac, Victoria. They had 12 children together.  Josiah died in 1928 and Mary in 1936.  They are buried together in Lake Bolac.

Elsie was the 11th of the 12 children.  She was born in Lake Bolac in 1892.  Elsie married Mr Richardson.  She died in Lake Bolac in 1962.


The Nash Family, Left to right:- George Edward; Matilda (nee Whatley); Percy Victor; Matilda; James William; Selena; Ethel Florence and Beatrice Annie.  Photo taken c.1903

James was born on March 18 1854 in Freshford, Somerset.  He worked as a gardener.  In 1883 he married Matilda Whatley who was born in Oxford on February 9 1861.  Together James and Matilda had eight children and the family lived in Limpley Stoke.  James died on February 2 1914.  In later years, Matilda was known around Limpley Stoke as Granny Nash.  She died on November 10 1956.

George was born on November 7 1884 in Freshford.  Like his father, George worked as a gardener.  He married Cynthia Daisy Edwards Ashman in 1906.  Cynthia was born on October 9 1887.  They had two daughters together.  George died in Limpley Stoke on August 6 1957.  Cynthia also died here on June 1 1970.

Matilda "Till" was born in Bath on January 9 1899.  She married William Sheppard on August 6 1938 in Trowbridge.  William was born on January 2 1890.  He died on September 24 1950.  Till died in Bath in 1976. 

Selina "Doll" was born in Bath in 1896.  She married Ernest Halbrook on May 30 1925.  Ernie was born on November 13 1894.  They had one son together.  Ernie died in Bath on November 28 1951.  Doll died in Trowbridge in 1967.

Ethel was born in 1890 in Bradford-On-Avon.  She married Reginald Richard Skirton on January 24 1911. Reginald was born in Bath in the late 1880's.  Ethel died on December 4 1962 in Bath.  Reg died less than a year later, also in Bath on May 10 1963.

Beatrice was born in Freshford in 1887.  She married Jack Hawkins on June 5 1911.  Jack was born on October 24 1885.  They had three children together.  Beatrice died in Wales in 1947.  Jack died on June 30 1970. 


Friday, 25 September 2015

Percival George Nash OAM - post # 2

I've been sorting out my research and other assorted hoardings and stumbled across this story I wrote about my grandfather.  I can't remember, but I have a feeling it is based on his account of his life as he told it to the Skipton Historical Society.  It does differ a bit from my earlier post but I decided to leave both as they are.

Percy Nash

The eldest of the four children of Percy Victor Nash and Georgina May (Gean) Bunston, Percival George Nash was born on December 21, 1921 in an upstairs room of what was known as "Bryant's Coffee Palace".  Dr Blair Donaldson and Mrs Bryant attended the birth in Linton.

However, it is stated on Percy's baptism certificate that he was born in Skipton.

The Nash family lived in the old family home on the farm, with Gean's parents who were elderly.  Their daughter caring for them until their deaths.  The Bunstons were not rich people, and only had a few acres of land, on which they reared a family of 12.

Percy had one sister and two brothers.  Muriel Gean born in 1923, Wilfred Victor born 1925 and John William (Jackie) born in 1927.

Jackie died as a very young child.  He was chasing Percy outside, along a foot path and through a self closing gate, which closed on him, breaking his leg.  He was in the Skipton Soldiers Memorial Hospital but contracted pneumonia and later died.  It is rumoured that the matron at the time kept picking him up, out of bed, and as a result he never recovered.  He was buried with his Grandparents in the Skipton Cemetery, although there is no mention of him on the headstone.

Percy's first job was cutting or splitting wood at the old hospital, now the home of the Hutton family, where he was asked to put in four hours each Saturday morning, this included cutting the wood and the rest of the time gardening or whatever odd jobs matron could find, for this he was paid 5/- per week.  In winter there was plenty of wood to split and cart to the kitchen door.

When he was about 12 years of age Percy joined the Skipton Brass Band and was a scout in the local movement.

Percy graduated from the Skipton State School in grade VIII and got his Qualifying Certificate, which he sat for in grade VI and the Merit Certificate which was the highest you went to in State School.  Percy said he "was never a brain, but managed to pass all exams and go up a grade each year.  The pupils were lucky to have good teachers, most were strict."

He was late for class one morning, and Miss Daly, the teacher, asked him "why are you late?"  Percy replied "I had a head wind".  She gave him two cuts over the hand and it was a cold and wet morning, too.

He left school on December 21, 1935, his 14th birthday, the day school broke up for Xmas holidays.  His parents had wanted him to go on to high school, but, as times were tough he started working.

That year, as Percy and his father were carting hay from their property at Spring Hill, which Gean had inherited from her father, to Mayfield for stacking, the AMP Insurance agent came along in his car and met up with them coming down the lane.  Percy signed up his life insurance policy out there.  He had that same policy when he died, more than sixty years later.

A few months later Percy had the manager from Langi Willi call to see if he wanted a job Boundary Riding and rabbiting on the station.  He accepted the job which meant riding the wire netting boundary fence with a pack of 20 dogs.  Of course, part of the job was the skinning of the rabbits and the feeding of the dogs.

He left Langi Willi, or was not required any longer, and was offered a job in the Mingay area, milking cows.  However, after riding his bike some 15  - 20 miles and finding he would have to sleep in the stable and eat on his own in the kitchen, Percy politely told the owners he wasn't very interested in that job.

At about the age of 16 he went rouseabouting with a shearing contractor.  The furthest shed away from home was at Omeo in the Gippsland area.  Considering that not too many of the young people in the mid 1930's got past the 30 mile radius of Skipton, this was quite an experience.

When he returned, Percy worked at "Moorallah" for A.B. Chirnside.  "Moorallah"was a 6000 acre station in the Carranballac and Vite Vite area.  Percy enjoyed working here.  Mr Chirnside was a good boss and the other men were "good types of men".  His job here included just about anything, horse riding; rabbiting; looking after stock; milking cows and occasionally some gardening.

War broke out in 1939 and when Australia entered it, the motor mechanic on the property enlisted.  Percy took over his job of looking after the cars and engines, and he did that up to the time he joined the RAN in 1941.

Percy did not play much sport, but loved swimming and diving.  He won a few races at the Annual Swimming Carnivals.  The pool was down on the creek at the end of Wright Street in those days.  This was a big pool, usually referred to as the men's pool, the girl's pool was further east towards the Police Station paddock.  Their changing shelter was on this bend too.

Percy and his sister, Muriel,  were both keen cyclists and won trophies in this sport.  Percy also got third place in the Under 14 boys High Jump and his team came second in the Under 14 boys relay.

Church on Sundays was always a must, especially the morning service, Sunday School in the afternoon, and if the milking was finished up in time, quite often the family drove the horse and buggy to the evening service.  The horse (Tommy) was not used to the lights (gas, from carbine) in the streets and on the buggy.  He used to shy off at the shadows and nearly tip them out.

The family often had sessions around the piano, singing hymns from the Sankey Hymn book.  PV was a very good cornet player, having played in the Skipton Brass Band and the 21st Battalion Band AIF.  He often said he played for King George V who had said to him, "Well done young man".  That was during WWI while the King was visiting the troops in France.  Gean was a good pianist.  As the kids grew older, Percy learned the cornet, while Wilf and Muriel learnt the piano.

Percy enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on June 12, 1941 but was not mobilised until November 26.  His training was at the Flinders Naval Base and he went to HMAS Milville, a Shore Base in Darwin fuelling ships and guard duty, he was also on fire duty, many houses mysteriously used to go up of a night.  After being there for three months, Stoker Percy Nash was drafted to HMAS Wato on August 23 1942.  Wato was a coal burning tug, and Percy was attached to it for just on 12 months, serving in Darwin, Moresby, Milne Bay, Brisbane and Cairns, doing mostly coastal work, towing barges and ships to dock.  After this stint on Wato he served for about two months on HMAS Golburn doing convoy duty, between Brisbane and Noumea.

Percy spent about three weeks in hospital with infected burns after his legs were scolded.  Because of this he went to Fairmile Base as a Captain's driver and he also did some truck driving.  Towards the end of the war Percy applied for a nautical course at Flinders and was there for five months completing this course.    He was discharged from the Royal Australian Navy on December 6 1945.  Over four years of service.

On September 6, 1941 Percy married Hilda Pearl Smith at the Scrub Hill Presbyterian Church.  Hilda, born on April 14 1922, was the ninth child of 13 of William Horn Smith and Ada May Lawless.  She lived and possibly worked on "Moorallah" at the same time as Percy.  Together Percy and Hilda had four children: Eleanor May (6/3/1942); Ian John (15/3/1946); Garry James Harvey ( 20/9/1950) and Andrew Brent (20/1/1961).

In 1951, while PV and Gean were on holidays in England, Percy and Hilda looked after the family property, "Mayfield".  This meant moving the entire family from "Moorallah" near Carranballac to the other side of Skipton.  The children, Eleanor and Ian, transferred from Carranballac State School to the Skipton State School for the year their grandparents were away.

A few stories came from the second Nash family to living on this property.  Not all of them happy either.  The family pet was hit by a car on the Glenelg highway and was killed.

After borrowing his father's car one day, Percy accidentally left one of his sheep dogs inside.  A couple of days later he was found in the car along with a totally destroyed interior.  This had to be re-upholstered and PV didn't even notice.

In 1953 Percy became on of 12 ex-servicemen who got an allotment on the Langi Willi Soldiers Settlement Estate.  Most of these areas were wide open spaces, paddocks of about 200 acres or more.  People lived in their garages until their homes were built.  Miles of fencing had to be done and there were hundreds of rabbits to get rid of.

It was around this time the Percy became involved in many aspects of community life.  The RSL, Skipton Presbyterian Church, Skipton and District Memorial Hospital, Skipton Youth Club, Skipton Rural Fire Brigade and the Australian Primary Produces union were just some of the local organisations in which he was involved.  Also, at Carranballac he had been secretary of the School Commitee.

At one of the local Debutante Balls, the girls were to be presented to Percy.  As neither he or Hilda could dance very well, they undertook private lessons so as not to be shown up by the younger couples.

Percy became very well known in Skipton town and district for his contribution to almost every organisation. He became a Councillor in the Shire of Hampden, attending his first meeting on February 16 1980 and, from that point on he laboured assiduously to give the distant township representation on all matters affecting its welfare.

However, March 27 1982 saw an end to a great partnership.  After over forty years of marriage, which had seen three wars, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, man walking on the moon and the introduction of television, Percy's wife and mate, Hilda, died after suffering from heart trouble, aged only 59.

Life went on and by 1983 Percy reached the honoured position of Shire President, and, for his endless service to the community he was awarded the Order of Australian Medal.  It was a popular award, truly earned, and indicative of a great many years of service to or for his fellow men.

Percy's only regret being that his wife, Hilda, was not there to share the award with him.

Unfortunately a threatening illness, requiring treatment, may have cut short this outstanding period of local representation, and in August 1987 Cr Percival George Nash OAM retired from the Shire of Hampden.

In 1986 Percy was forced to go to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for an operation to fix some severe back problems.  He was given a clean bill of health for at least three years and after being in RMH for about a fortnight, Percy had radio therapy at Peter Mac for a month or more.

This operation saw him get just on four years of good health before problems started again.  Percy faced more tests, scans and xrays.  With the thought of losing the use of his right leg in mind, Percy had another operation.  Between the two stages of the operation he caught pneumonia and had a clot in his lung.  It was too dangerous to wait though, so the surgeons completed the second stage of the operation 10 days later.  He left RMH not able to write or walk and given a 50 - 50 chance of survival.  Percy returned to the St John of God Hospital in Ballarat for a week and was then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was completely helpless, relying solely on the nurses for his survival.  Eventually he got into a wheel chair, then on to a walking frame and finally was able to walk unaided again.

In February 1987, after the marriage of his youngest son, Brent, Percy purchased a house in Skipton and moved into town.

This move into town made it easier for Percy to continue his community service.  Even with poor health he remained on many committees and was seen in church nearly every Sunday.  As his new home was next door to the Presbyterian Church he was able to climb over the back fence, and he did this even when he could no longer walk without the help of a frame.

Percy was the Skipton RSL, secretary five times and president two or three times.  He was also a driving force behind the building of the Skipton RSL Hall.

On December 29, 1946 Percy became a member of the Carranballac Rural Fire Brigade.  He later transferred to Skipton.  As well as being a fire fighter, at Skipton he was also lieutenant and was brigade Captain for a record 25 years.  Included in his term as Captain were the horrific fires in 1977 which saw the Streatham township and Carranballac area virtually destroyed.  For his tireless service to the community and his brigades, the Chief Officer, BV Potter, recommended Percy get the National Service Medal with two clasps.

He was with the Skipton and District Memorial Hospital Committee for over 30 years being president two or three times and secretary for the 33 or 34 years.  Percy was also a Life Govenor of the hospital.  The secretary on occasion for the Mechanics Hall Committee, Recreation Reserve, a member of the Skipton Swimming Pool's original committee and a founding member of the Ambulance Council from February 16 1980, only on account of poor health on August 19, 1987.  He was president in 1983 / 84.

Percy represented the Skipton Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder, at the Ballarat Presbytery for many years.  He was also connected with the Skipton Football Club, both junior and senior, for a number of years.  Here he held all positions president, secretary and treasurer.  Percy was also the secretary on the Silo Committee for many years and was on the Hopkins District Health Council for some time.  He was Chairman of the Shire Bi-Centennial Committee and was the Progress Association treasurer for a year.

Percy was also a foundation member of the Skipton Historical Society and the Skipton Lions Club but, somehow, could not keep up with all the Lions meetings.

Receiving RSL life membersip
From the community and organisations, Percy was honoured to receive several awards.  Life membership of Skipton RSL in 1977, Life membership of Skipton Football Club, 3BA / Ballarat Courier Community Service Award October 1981, Develop Victoria Council Certificate in 1983, the Lions Club of Skipton presented him with two appreciation certificates and their community service award, the Allan J Holding Memorial in 1990.

He never looked for recognition in his community work, but felt it was an honour to be recognised and to have the community show the confidence in him to place him in all these positions.

After a long 12 year battle with cancer, back, leg and heart problems, Percival George Nash OAM died in St john of God Hospital on November 22, 1997 - a month before his 76th birthday.

He was buried along side his best friend and wife, Hilda, in the Skipton Cemetery.

It is rumoured that at the time of his death, Percy was still involved with at least six organisations and committees.