Herbert Francis Keller was born about 1843 in Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland to Thomasine (nee Anderson) and Thomas Keller. Herbert was the eldest of his five full siblings: Horace John b1844 d1871; Laura Sophia b1847 d1867; Sybella b1847 d1931; Florence Augusta b1849 d1933; and Thomas Anderson b1850 d1901. He also had six half siblings from his mother’s marriage: Mary Westby b1851 d1941; Thomasina Frances Herbert b1856 d1930; Charles William M b1858 d1859; Helen Elizabeth b1860 d1928; Sarah b1862 d1862; and Hugh George b____ d1866.
Herbert’s father, Thomas Keller, was reported to be a barrister, according to Herbert’s brother, Thomas Anderson Keller’s death notice. I have not so far seen actual records for the time spent in Ireland but Thomas Keller apparently died around 1850 and after his death Thomasine married Charles Underwood. The couple emigrated to Australia sometime during the 1850’s but I have not found definitive records showing their arrival. There is a record for Thomasine arriving on board the ‘Light of the Age’ during December 1855 supposedly as an immigrant, however, this lists her address as Coolangatta Shoalhaven and no children are listed, leading me to believe she is returning home, not arriving. Charles Underwood was manager of the Coolangatta Station owned by the Honourable Alexander Berry MLC during 1856-1860. By 1862 the family are living in Queensland where Charles has taken over the management of Gullivan Station in the St George District.
I believe Herbert and his brother Horace remained in Ireland until 1860 when they are recorded as arriving in Victoria on 29 April aboard the Gipsy Bride immigrant ship. I would assume they initially made their way to Coolangatta Station.
In November 1865, Herbert applied for the licence of the Bohle Hotel. Three years later, on 22 November 1868, Herbert married Alice Shane. According to Alice’s death index she was born in Ireland around 1841 and her father was named William. The information provided for a person’s death certificate often tends to be inaccurate and is dependant on how well those left behind knew their loved ones’ family. Alice & Herbert’s marriage certificate tells us that Alice was born in Carlow, County Carlow, Ireland around 1844 and that her parents were Elizabeth & John Shane. How Alice came to Australia is at present unknown but a common theme I have encountered during my research is for female Irish immigrants to find employment as barmaids, so, despite being described as a ‘lady’ on her marriage certificate, I wonder if Alice found employment at the Bohle hotel? Their marriage certificate describes Herbert as a squatter and Alice as a Lady with both residing at Cardington Station. Alice’s first child, Edith Alice Shane, was born in 1867. Her second child Francis Herbert Shane (although the index records him as Herbert Shaw) arrived four months prior to their marriage. I believe both of these children were fathered by Herbert Francis Keller as their later records show they use the name Keller.
Including the two children listed above, Alice (nee Shane) and Herbert Francis Keller had the following children:
- Edith Alice Shane/Keller was born 15 Apr 1867. She married Alfred George on 7 Apr 1892 and they had five children: Edith b1892 d 1893; Ethel b1894; Alfred b1899 d1900; Alice Edith b1902 d 1903; and Ernest b1908.
- “Frank” Francis Herbert Shane/Keller was born 21 July 1868. His death notice indicated he previously worked at Cardington Station and that he was killed when his horse rolled on him on 7 January 1893 aged twenty four.
- “Charles” John Charles Keller was born 8 August 1870. In 1925 he was working as a teamster and died on 11 May 1938. I have not found records showing if Charles married or had a family.
- Baby Keller was born on 26 June 1874 but its name and gender are unknown so I presume the baby was stillborn.
- Thomas Keller was born 3 August 1875. He married Ida May Pelling 3 February 1909 and I believe they had seven children. This was Ida’s second marriage, her first husband, John Henry Jenkins died 5 January 1908 when their son was only eight months old. Date restrictions make searching for these records difficult but I believe these were the children: “Jack” John Henry Keller(Jenkins) b1907; Herbert Frank Shane Keller b1909; Arthur Charles Thomas Keller b 1912; Cecil Andrew Percy Keller b 1914; Phyllis Alice Keller b 1917; Thomas John Keller b1919; Violet Keller b1923 and Ida b____.
- Ethel Maud Mary Keller was born 19 September 1876 and married Samuel William Colborne 7 November 1894. They had two children, Joseph William b 1896 and Clarice Maude b1898. Ethel died 19 September 1899 and Samuel remarried in 1906 to Clara Jane Lucas.
- Twin girls were born 1 December 1880 Kate & Sarah. Sarah only survived until 16 March 1881.
- I believe Kate Keller married James Williamson on 24 November 1900 and died 5 May 1960. I am not sure if she had any children.
According to the electoral roll 1903, Herbert is a stockman at Woodhouse Station and a change of address appears in the Government Gazette for his brand. I am not sure but I think this means he has moved here from another station. He and Alice appear to maintain separate residences with Alice appearing in the electoral roll to live in Burdekin St, Charters Towers where she resided until her death on 7 September 1916. Despite the separate address’, Herbert’s death notice on 27 June 1916 leads me to believe they maintained a strong relationship.