Albert Pelling was born in Hornsey, Middlesex according to the 1861 census which was taken on the night of the 7th April 1861. Albert’s parents were Emma Louisa (nee Grinder) and James Richard Harrison Pelling. Albert was ten months old which would make his birth June 1860. According to the census, his father James was a house carpenter with the family living at 10 Royal Crescent Margate.
By the time of the 1871 census the family have relocated to his mother Emma’s home town of Hornsey and are living at 35 Mount Pleasant Road. Emma is a general shop keeper and James is now working as a Plumber – this seems inconsistent with the earlier census but I believe it is the same family .
Albert now has four siblings: Lewis John 8; Colin Stewart 5; Stewart Charles 3; and Lucy Alice 1. The children’s birth information tells us the family most likely returned to Holloway, London by 1863 for Lewis’ birth then moved to Stratford in Essex by 1866 when Colin arrived. They were to return to Margate around 1868 for Stewart’s birth but moved to Hornsey prior to the birth of their daughter Lucy in 1870. The four boys are listed as scholars indicating they were attending school and therefore were most likely able to read and write.
In January 1875, James’ mother (Albert’s grandmother) Lucy died and whether this influenced the family’s decision to emigrate to Australia is unknown but later that year James and Emma travelled aboard the Clara to begin a new life with their young family. The Clara sailed on 10 November 1874 and arrived in Brisbane on 28 February 1875, with the tug ‘Boko’ towing the ship up the river according to a passenger, Lizzie Chard.
I don’t have any information at present to tell me where the family settled after arriving in Australia. Albert’s youngest sister Hilda arrived 14 March 1876 and as far as I can tell was the last child born to Emma and James Pelling. By this time Albert would have been sixteen and most likely already working.
In 1883 Albert marries Florence Ann Fitzgerald on 23 August. Florence was born about 1861 in Ballinacurra, County Limerick, Ireland to Catherine (nee Donnelly) & John William Fitzgerald.
Albert and Florence’s children were all born in Queensland but I have no information relating to where they were actually born, but their second son (Albert Harrison) died in 1887 and is buried in Cairns.
- 1884 Ida May/Maud
- 1886 Albert Harrison
- 1888 William George
- 1891 Ethel Maud
- 1894 John Vincent Wilfred
- 1895 Violet Hilda
- 1898 Eileen Florence
- 1901 Florence Victoria Mary
- 1903 Albert Clifford Charles
In 1888 the family are living near the Railway Station in Cairns and Albert earns a reputation for killing snakes.
In 1892 an advertisement indicates Albert Pelling is the agent for the Citizens Life Assurance Co Ltd in Cairns. This is also the same year that his mother Emma Louise (nee Grinder) Pelling dies on Christmas day. By 1902 the family have relocated to Hughenden but the family’s home is destroyed by fire.
In 1903 Albert is working as a carpenter and the family are still recorded as living in Hughenden, Queensland on the electoral roll. In the 1905 electoral roll, Florence is still in Hughenden but Albert is missing from the roll. The following year a warrant for the arrest of Albert Pelling by the Townsville bench appears in the Australian Police Gazette, and indicates he has deserted his family. I have not found definite records for Albert after this date.
Florence next appears on the Chillagoe electoral roll in 1913 but this appears after her death in 1912. Florence is buried in the Chillagoe cemetery.