Ida May (née Pelling, m Jenkins) & Thomas Keller (g-grandparents)

Thomas Keller was born 3 August 1875 in Queensland to Herbert Francis Keller and his wife Alice née Shane.  Thomas had seven siblings although not all survived infancy.  His siblings were: Edith Alice Shane (b1867 d1938); “Frank” Francis Herbert Keller (b1868 d 1893); “Charles” John Charles Keller (b1870 d1938); an unnamed son (d1874); Ethel Maud Mary (b1876 d1899); and twins, Sarah Alice (b1880 d1881); and “Kit” Catherine (b1880 d 1960).

When Thomas was 18, his older brother Frank died when his horse fell on him.  This was reported in The Northern Miner on Wednesday 11 January 1893 p3 “DEATHS. KELLER. – At Springfield, on January 7th, through his horse falling on him, Frank Herbert, eldest son of H.F. and Alice Keller, at one time of Cardington Station, aged 24 years and six months.”

Ida May Pelling was the daughter of Albert Pelling and Florence Anne Fitzgerald, born 1884 in Queensland. Ida’s birth is recorded as “Ida Maud” but later records use “Ida May”.  Ida had the following siblings: Albert Harrison (b1886 d1887); William George (b 1888); Ethel Maud (b1891); John Vincent Wilfred (b1894 d1952); Violet Hilda (b1895); Eileen Florence (b1898); Florence Victoria Mary (b1901); and Albert Clifford Charles (b1903 d1980).

On 17 October 1903 Ida married John Henry Jenkins.  The couple had two children together, Ida May born 1905 and  “Jack” John Henry was born on 28 April 1907.  Ida’s husband John died 5 January 1908 when their son was only nine months old.

Just over twelve months later, on 3 February 1909 Ida married Thomas Keller.  I believe Ida’s son from her first marriage was known under the surname of Keller for the remainder of his life.  Thomas and Ida had at least six children together.  Some of the birth records are still not available to the public as they occurred within the last 100 years.  The children known to be born to the marriage are: Herbert Frank Shane (b1909); Arthur Charles Thomas (b1912) Cecil Andrew Percy (b1914) Phyllis Alice (b1917 d 1977); Thomas John (b1919 d1937); and Violet (b1923).

The couple’s youngest son Thomas John died in 1937.  This is the Thomas for whose memory many of the current Thomas’ are named.  His death was reported in the Cairns Post on Friday 22 October 1937, p6.  “DEATH.  Keller.- After a long and painful illness, Thomas John, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Keller, passed away at the Gracemere Hospital, Cairns, on October 1, 1937, aged 18 years.”  The same column carried a notice from the family “THANKS.  Mr. and Mrs. T. Keller and family wish to thank the Doctors, Matron and Nursing Staff of Cremorne and Gracemere Hospitals for their unremitting care and attention to their late son and brother, Tom; also the Brothers and students of Saint Augustine’s College, and all kind friends who sent floral tributes and messages of sympathy and condolence in their recent sad bereavement.”

Thomas Keller died in 1956 and Ida May died in 1970.


Mary (nee Bastable or Dowling) & John Keller (g-g-g-g grandparents)

According to his admission to the King’s Inns, Thomas’ parents were Mary (nee Bastable or Dowling) and John Keller of County Cork.  Thomas was catholic, according to a court report regarding his children in The Freeman’s Journal Dublin and Daily Commercial Advertiser on 18 April 1856, so I presume his parents were catholic.


This list is incomplete but I will update it as I find more records.

Sir Edward Paget – arrived 14 Feb 1842

Patrick Cronin, from Dromcolliher, Ireland
Catherine (nee Sullivan) Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
James Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Elizabeth Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Mary Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
John Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Johanna Cronin, County Cork, Ireland
Sydney/Daniel Cronin, born on the journey, recorded as Sydney later recorded as Daniel

‘Irene’ – arrived 16 October 1852

Hugh McNeilly, from (Killala) ?Killyleagh, county Down, Ireland
Ann (nee Perry) McNeilly, from Bangor, county Down, Ireland

‘Malvina Vidal’ – arrived 20 June 1853

Eliza Kershaw, from Tipperary, Ireland

‘Phoebe Dunbar’ – arrived 25 December 1854
The Phoebe Dunbar was owned by Duncan Dunbar and was a sister ship to Dunbar Castle, Dunbar Castle and the ill-fated Dunbar that was wrecked at the Gap on 20 August 1857.

Lavinia (nee Macklin) Gibb, from Tyrone, Ireland

‘Light of the Age’ – arrived 13 December 1855

Thomasine Eliza (nee Anderson, nee Keller) Underwood, from UK

‘Gipsy Bride’ – arrived 29 April 1860

Herbert Francis Keller, from Dublin, Ireland
Horace Keller, from Dublin, Ireland

‘Clara’ – arrived 22 February 1875

James Richard Harrison Pelling, from Middlesex, England
Emma Louise (nee Grinder) Pelling, from Middlesex, England
Albert Pelling, from Middlesex, England

Thomasine Eliza (nee Anderson) & Thomas Keller (g-g-g-grandparents)

According to the Kings Inns Admissions Book, Thomas Keller was the first son of John Keller and Mary Bastable ors Dowling from Cork, Ireland.  I have found very little evidence supporting details and dates for the life of Thomas Keller, or his parents. Newspaper clippings indicate he was in fact a solicitor but I am not convinced he was a barrister as claimed in his son’s obituary.  According to the Visit Dublin website, “The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is the oldest institution of legal education in Ireland. It was founded in 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII when the king granted the Society the lands and properties on which the Four Courts now stand but which were then occupied by a Dominican monastery. When the Four Courts were built in the 1790s, King’s Inns moved to Constitution Hill and the benchers commissioned James Gandon to design their present property. Henceforward, these would be the headquarters of the Benchers and the School of Law. The primary focus of the school is the training of barristers.”  Thomas was catholic, and after the Williamite wars of the 1690’s catholics were effectively excluded from the legal profession by the penal laws. It was not until the Catholic Relief Act of 1792 that catholics were allowed to practise at the outer Bar, so perhaps Thomas had no chance of being a Barrister due to his religion.  I think it would have been another thirty years before Catholics   began to regain any serious rights, under The Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.  Around 1840, Thomas married Thomasine Eliza Anderson, presumably in Ireland.  The marriage would have been contentious as Thomas was catholic and Thomasina protestant.
Thomasine was the only child of Helen (nee Rea) and Thomas Conyngham Anderson.  Thomasine would only have been thirteen at the time of her marriage to Thomas Keller which seems unbelievably young.  Thomasine’s father is believed to have died around the year of her birth, certainly his will was proven in London on 26 January 1827 but it gives little insight into any details about himself or his family.  Thomasine’s mother remarried around 1834 to Alexander Richey and they went on to have five more daughters.  It is unlikely Thomasine ever had the chance to consider them her sisters given the age difference and the fact she was married prior to their births.  It is possible Thomasine was forced into the marriage, or perhaps she sought marriage as an escape.   According to Thomasine’s will, she was entitled to property for “lives renewable”, due to her mother’s marriage articles, which I think gave her properties in Cullenswood, located in the Parish St Peter, Barony Uppercross, County Dublin.

Thomasine Eliza (nee Anderson) and Thomas Keller had the following children all born in Dublin:

  1. Herbert Francis b1843 arrived in Australia in 1860 aboard the Gipsy Bride and married Alice Shane in 1868.  They had eight children: Edith Alice b1867 d1938; “Frank” Francis Herbert b1868 d1893; “Charles” John Charles b1870 d1938;stillborn child b1874; Thomas b1875 d1956; Ethel Maud Mary b1876 d1899; twins, Sarah b1880 d1881 and Kate b1880 d1960.  Herbert and Alice both died within months of each other in 1916.
  2. Horace John b1844 arrived in Australia with his brother Herbert in 1860 aboard the Gipsy Bride.  I believe Herbert and Horace had Cardington Station on the Haughton River and were are one time credited with the naming of Cardington.  Horace was only about twenty seven when he died in1871.
  3. Alicia Augusta b1845  did not appear in the newspaper in 1851 so presumably, she died prior to this date.
  4. Laura Sophia b1847 In 1861 she was attending a boarding school in Tewksbury, Gloucester and died in 1867 aged twenty.
  5. Sybella b1847 Appeared on the 1881 census visiting the Rea family in Gloucester.  I believe the families were related, tracing back to a common ancestor, Thomas Rea who was a baker in Barnwood, Gloucester around 1769.
    Two years later, Sybella married John William Rea.  The family were wealthy judging by her father in law’s will, with his estate sworn at over sixteen thousand pounds.  Sybella was thirty five when she married and I cannot find records of any children.  Sybella died in Cornwall in 1931 aged eighty three.
  6. Florence Augusta b1849.  Married Thomas Barnett in 1875 and had seven children: Susan Janet b1879; Sybil Florence b1880; Nora Augusta b1882; Irene Laura b1885; John Poulson R b1887; Dorothy Marguerite b1887; and Emma Helen b1889.  Florence was widowed in 1904 and died in Bath, Somerset in 1933.
  7. Thomas Anderson b1850  He would only have been ten when his brothers arrived in Australia in 1860.  I have found a record for Thomas Anderson arriving in 1865 aboard the Queen of Colonies but can not be certain this is the correct record.  In 1873 Thomas married Margaret Christine Dieufel and they had two children: Thomas Anderson b1874 d1901 and Herbert Henry Keller b1875 d1910.  Thomas died in 1901.

(Thomas overload? – Believe it or not, I still don’t think we’ve covered the Thomas whose memory the current family members represent)

Thomasine’s husband, Thomas is believed to have died around 1851.  I have not found records of his death, rather records that refer to his being deceased.  This notice may possibly be part of the process of winding up his estate, while a later notice indicates the property, Rathmines House was left to his children.  Curiously, the notice refers to seven minors but a later notice refers to the six children above, listed by name, plus additional people with the surname of ‘Green’.  This notice is possibly related to Thomasine’s remarriage and plans to emigrate to Australia with her new husband.  It is the only record I have found that states Thomas Keller is deceased.

Initially I could not locate emigration documents for Thomasine because I was expecting to find the children travelling with her but it would appear the children were all left behind, possibly in boarding schools.  I am not sure why this was the case, perhaps she was not legally able to take the children out of the UK?  Perhaps someone with an understanding of Irish family law during the 1850’s could shed some light?  I seems probable to me that the children were left behind, in the same way she was married off, to clear the way for a new family life.  This sounds callous by today’s standards, but when you consider she would be taking them away from everything and everyone familiar, to a new country, she may have felt it was in their best interests.

Thomasine’s second marriage was to Charles Underwood and reportedly took place in Dublin, Ireland, however,  I have not been able to find a record of the marriage taking place.  I also doubt it took place as Thomasine refers to herself as “Keller” when writing her will after the marriage was supposed to have occurred.  According to Charles’ obituary, he was born in Mt Charles county Donegal around 1831.  I haven’t found records for his arrival but presume he emigrated separately to Thomasine who joined him in 1856 at Coolangatta Station, Shoalhaven. Charles’ obituary indicates the couple left Coolangatta Station in 1856 to manage Gullivan Station in the St George district of Queensland however, news reports and childrens birth records indicate they remained at Coolangatta Station until at least 1860.

Thomasine Eliza (nee Keller, nee Anderson) and Charles Underwood had the following children:

  1. Mary Westby was reportedly born in Ireland in 1851.  She married Henry Moore in 1871 and they had six children: Elizabeth d1872; Charles William b1873 d1935; Thomasine Eliza Anderson b1875; Ellen Matilda b1876; Isaac b1883 d1941; and Henry b1888 d1951.  Mary died in Warwick in 1941.
  2. Thomasina Frances Herbert was born at Coolangatta Station in 1856.  She married William Reynolds in 1871 and died in Warwick in 1930.  I have not yet researched children for this couple.
  3. Charles William M was born at Coolangatta Station in 1858.  He was to only survive for eight months, dying in 1859.
  4. Helen Elizabeth was born in 1860 at Coolangatta Station.  Helen did not marry but had a child, Joseph Henry in 1890.  She remained living with her father Charles until his death in 1915.  Helen died 16 March 1928.
  5. Sarah was the first child born in Queensland.  She was born 23 July and died 3 August 1862.
  6. Hugh George.  I have found no records for Hugh, but believe he was born after 1859.  His death was recorded in Queensland in on 4 July 1866 so it is possible he was stillborn.

Thomasine died 30 August 1873 and was buried in Warwick, Queensland with the surname Underwood.  Charles died in 1915 and was buried with Thomasine.

Alice (nee Shane) and Herbert Francis Keller (g-g-grandparents)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. “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.
  3. “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.
  4. Baby Keller was born on 26 June 1874 but its name and gender are unknown so I presume the baby was stillborn.
  5. 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____.
  6. 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.
  7. Twin girls were born 1 December 1880 Kate & Sarah.  Sarah only survived until 16 March 1881.
  8. 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.