The Ballarat, Victoria Ansteys

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Overview of the Ballarat Ansteys

To the best of our research, the Ballarat, Victoria Ansteys are a sub-branch of the Upottery, Devon Anstis family, hence they are an ‘Anstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branch and do not connect to the wider Anstey pedigree. There are two reasons that we are confident in this conclusion being:

  • There was also a family of ‘Anstis’ in Ballarat at the same time, who were certainly from Upottery; and
  • This family of ‘Anstis’ used the middle name ‘Valentine‘ frequently (see Further Details #2), as did two separate members of the Ballarat Ansteys (see below), suggesting very strongly indeed that they are the same family.

The patriarch of the Ballarat Ansteys is William Anstey of Devonshire.

The Anstis Family of Ballarat

James Anstis (b 1794 Upottery, Devon) married Ann Anstis and they had numerous children in Upottery, including a son William Anstis (b 1821 Upottery). In the 1851 Census, the family were in Upottery together with another son, Richard Valentine Anstis (b 1828 Upottery). See Further Details #2 for more on this marriage.

In 1852 William Anstis emigrated to Ballarat, followed by his father James Anstis in 1855, arriving on the ‘White Star’. William Anstis married Elizabeth Rowe and they had a son William Valentine Anstis, born in 1853, who married Eliza Jane Hardy in Ballarat in 1879 and died in 1907 in Ballarat.

The ‘Royal Cornwall Gazette‘ 22 September 1854 had the following “DEVONSHIRE. HONESTY OF AN EMIGRANT.-A very gratifying instance of honesty by an Australian emigrant occurred last week. A respectable butcher, named William Anstis, left Upottery, in this county, for Australia, in July 1852. So prosperous have his circumstances become since he has been there that a few days ago he sent home £134 to pay the debts he had left behind him, as well as some money to provide a good dinner for his creditors. Accordingly, the dinner was provided, at which the gratifed creditors mustered, and on the removal of the cloth each one was paid his debt in full. Mr. Antis also sent word that he exonerated all those who were indebted to him from payment of their debts, and also forwarded a sovereign to be expended in a treat for the poor of the village of Upottery.

Richard Valentine Anstis also came to Ballarat, marrying Mary Fowler and having a son (amongst others) William Anstis, born in Ballarat in 1860 – he died due to manslaughter in 1867 aged 7 in a case widely reported in the local newspapers.

In the 1891 Ballarat petition we have Mrs W. V. Anstis signed, of 61 Neil Street, Ballarat – the Ballarat and District Genealogical Society also give the following information “Eliza Jane ANSTIS (HARDY) m William Valentine ANSTIS (b ~1853) d 1907 age 54 Ballarat s/o Wm ANSTIS and Elizabeth ROWE, bur 23 Sep 1907 Ballarat Old Cemetery. 1894 Ballarat Directory Webb p 114, ANSTIS W V, 61 Neil St, Ballarat. 1904 Ballarat & District Directory Tulloch p 35 ANSTIS Elizabeth J, 61 Neil St, Ballarat.

In Ballarat Old Cemetery there are the following gravestones:

  • William Valentine Anstis died 21 Sep 1907 aged 54
  • Eliza Jane Anstis (wife of above) died 3 March 1911 aged 52
  • William Anstis died 8 June 1861 aged 41
  • Elizabeth Anstis (wife of above) died 19 Feb 1911 aged 92
  • James Anstis died 10 Feb 1858 aged 63

In the 1859 Victorian Government Gazette, a tannery and currier business of “William Anstis” and “James Baker” is mentioned. In 1856 in the ‘Ballarat Star‘ we find “On Wednesday, James Baker and William Austey had been charged with assaulting George Johnson. The affair had arisen through a dispute as to the ownership of a house, situate next to the London Chartered Bank. The case was dismissed.” – a good example of ‘Anstis‘ morphing into ‘Anstey‘ in Ballarat.

William Anstey of Devonshire

William Anstey was born in Devonshire in c1844, probably in Exeter (see below), attaching to an ‘Anstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branch (whether he was born ‘Anstey’ or ‘Anstis’ we are not yet certain). He married Margaret Franks (b 1855 Ballarat, daughter of William Franks and Agnes Greig) in 1877 in Hotham, ‘The Argus‘ newspaper reporting “ANSTEY—FRANKS.—On the 18th April, at the Union Church manse, Hotham, by the Rev. A. D. Kinnimont, William Anstey, of Devonshire, England, to Margaret, oldest daughter of Mr. William Franks, Rodler-street, Ballarat.” They had children:

  • Philip Charles Anstey (b 1878 Melbourne, known as ‘Phil’, married Alice May Russell, in 1913, having three children Harold Valentine Anstey (b 1915 – a major clue that the Ballarat Ansteys are actually ‘Anstis‘ origin); Donald Jeffrey Anstey (b 1917 Prahran, known as ‘Don’) and John William Anstey (b 1919 Footscray, known as ‘Jack’). Philip Charles Anstey died in 1919 in Prahran and his widow had a relief fund set up for her – in the 31 January 1920 edition of the ‘Footscray Independent‘ she wrote ” Sir, Kindly allow me space to tender sincere thanks to the many donors, and also those who arranged hand performances and socials or in any way assisted the [Anstey Relief] fund for myself and three children. I also thank the “Independent” for the publicity given to the appeal. Thanks are also due to Rev. Joseph H. Goble for his work and influence, and likewise to Mr. J. L. Dearie, the, initiator, who devoted himself. to the appeal, which has been a veritable “godsend” in my sorrow and trouble.-Yours, etc. A. M. ANSTEY. 6 Austin Street Footscray,“);
  • Agnes Lucy Anstey (b 1880 Hotham, married Felice Portelli in 1908);
  • William Grant Franks Anstey (b 1883, known as ‘Will’ married Elizabeth Olive Scott in 1911, having four children. William died in 1939 in Prahran, buried in Ferntree Gully Cemetery, Melbourne);
  • Harry Greig Anstey (b 1885 Ballarat, in Prahran in 1911? He married Florence Annie Morgan in 1924 and died in 1958)

William Anstey‘s widow Margaret died in 1938, ‘The Argus‘ newspaper of 20 September 1938 reporting “ANSTEY -On the 18th September at Uralla Olinda Margaret, dearly loved wife of the late William Anstey late of Ballarat dearly loved mother of Phil (deceased) Will, Harry and Agnes dearly beloved grandmother of Connie (Mrs E Rowse) Olive (Mrs T Hartley) Frank, Harold, Don, Jack, and Evelyn Anstey and beloved great grandmother of little Peter and John Rowse and Thomas Hartley, aged 82 years.~A life spent in service for others (Privately interred)“. She is buried in Ferntree Gully Cemetery, Melbourne.

As for William Anstey himself, he must have moved from Ballarat in his later years to live near his eldest son in Footscray because he was buried in 1921 in ‘Melbourne East’, which states that he was born in 1843. We also have a “William Anstey of Exeter, Devon” who was a seaman “born in 1845“, arriving in Sydney in 1871 on the vessel ‘Storm King‘ – probably this is our ‘William Anstey‘ of Devonshire.

William Anstey‘s likely grave is in Footscray General Cemetery, Footscray, Maribyrnong City, Victoria, and likely date of death 28 May 1921. However that is somewhat unconfirmed and has been provisionally attached by others to “William George Anstey born 1845 in Crediton” which is certainly incorrect as that person was still living in England in the 1911 Census.

It would be very helpful to consolidate this research thread if we could obtain a) the 1921 death certificate of ‘William Anstey‘ in Melbourne East, b) a photo of the gravestone in Footscray General Cemetery of the ‘William Anstey‘ buried there (“PLOT Presbyterian C, Grave 775 (Public Grave)“), c) any newspaper report of William Anstey‘s death, and d) confirmation of the exact family relationship between William Anstey of Devonshire and the Ballarat Anstis.

Further Details on the Ballarat Ansteys

#1. Other Ansteys did live in Ballarat for periods, but they are not of this sub-branch (for example the Majorca, Victoria Anstees)

#2. James Anstis / Ann Anstis Marriage by Ray Anstis. Ray also told us that the ‘Valentine‘ name comes from Elizabeth Valentine (1775 – 1862), the daughter of Richard Valentine (1752 – 1827).  She married William Anstis of Yard Farm, Luppitt in 1793 and the name ‘Valentine‘ appears as a middle name in subsequent generations.

#3. There is certainly a connection between the Ballarat Ansteys and the Newtown, NSW Ansteys (and by extension the Wollongong, NSW Ansteys) – see the Newtown, NSW Anstey page.

We are actively on the lookout for Ballarat, Victoria Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Ballarat, Victoria Ansteys who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. 

Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Ballarat, Victoria Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘Ballarat’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at and we will correct it.

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