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 (known as May), 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’ or Jackie). From at least 1912 to 1914 he was advertising as “P. C. Anstey Bootmaker of Nicholson Street, Footscray“. Philip Charles Anstey was a bootmaker when he died on 25 June 1919 in Prahran, buried in Footscray on 27 June 1919. ‘The Age’ on 27 June 1919 reported “DEATHS. ANSTEY.—On the 25th June, at the Alfred Hospital (from influenza), Phillip Charles, dearly loved eldest son of William and Margaret Anstey, and beloved husband of May Anstey, 6 Austin-street, Footscray, and devoted father of Harold, Donald and Jackie; also beloved brother of Will, Aggie and Harry, and brother-in-law of the late Ollie (Mrs. W. Anstey), and Amy, aged 41 years. Loved by all who knew him.”. 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,” Alice May was buried in Footscray Cemetery on 30 August 1928 );
  • Agnes Lucy Anstey (b 1880 Hotham, married Felice Portelli in 1908, known as ‘Aggie’. ‘The Argus‘ on 18 August 1945 reported “PORTELLI (nee Anstey).-On August 16, at Sir William Angliss’ Hospital, Ferntree Gully, Agnes, loved wife of the late Phillip Portelli (late of Log Cabin, Olinda), loved only daughter of the late William and Margaret Anstey, loving sister of Phil (deceased), Will (deceased), and Harry (Healesville), loved sister-in-law of Florence A. (Mrs. H. Anstey) and Siss (Mrs. W. Anstey), late of Ballarat.“);
  • William Grant Franks [Frank/Francis] Anstey (b 1883, known as ‘Will’, he was William Frank Anstey, boilermaker; of Hopkins street, Footscray, in 1904. He married Elizabeth Olive Scott in 1911 (known as Ollie and Lizzie), having five children Constance Agnes Anstey (b 1912 Footscray), Frank William Anstey (b 1913 Newport), Olive May Ernestine Anstey (b 1915 Newport), Evelyn Jean Anstey (b 1917 Bendigo) and Charles Ernt (b 1919 Bendigo). Elizabeth died in 1919 (“ANSTEY.—On the 16th April, at Bendigo Hospital, Elizabeth Olive (Lizzie), dearly beloved wife of William F. Anstey, Bendigo Loco. Shed, mother of Connie, Frank, Olive, and Evelyn, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Scott, sister to Hannah, Jessie, Florence, Josh, Frank, George, Percy, and Ernest, late A.I.F., aged 30 years.”). In 1920 “ASSAULT CASE DISMISSED Complainant’s Story Discredited Before a Bench of Honorary Justices James Stevens;- at the Footscray Court on Monday, charged William Anstey and Richard Trezise with having assaulted him at his home in Coronation St., West Footscray. on 28th May. Mr. Menzies appeared for the complainant and Mr. Brocket for the defendants, both of whom pleaded not guilty.“. In 1925 he remarried Elizabeth Maude Grant (known as ‘Sis’). He was a railway employee when he died in 1939 in Prahran – the ‘Argus (Melbourne)’ on 21 April 1939 reporting “PEDESTRIAN HURT William Francis Anstey aged 55 years of Ferguson street Upwey was struck by a motor us in 1 Ferntree Gully road opposite the Ferntree Gully railway station last night Anstey was talking to a bus which was about to leave for Upwey. A Victorian civil ambulance which was sent from Melbourne took him to the Alfred Hospital where he was admitted with concussion a compound fracture of the leg, and lacerations“. He died a day later on 22 April 1939 – “KNOCKED DOWN BY CAR Upwey Man Dies From Injuries. FERN TREE. GULLY . MISHAP. Running across the street to catch a Railway bus near Winter’s Garage, Upper Fern Tree Gully, about 6.40 on Thursday night of last week Mr William Frank Anstey, 55 of of Ferguson street, Upwey, apparently failed to see a motor car which was travelling towards Belgrave and was knocked down, receiving shocking injuries. The unfortunate man vas carried a few yards after being struck by the car and suffered a compound fracture of the left leg, concussion, fracture of the skull, and lacerations to the scalp. He was taken to the Alfred Hospital, where he died early on Saturday morning”. He was buried in Ferntree Gully Cemetery, Melbourne – a few weeks later “LETTERS of ADMINISTRATION of the estate of WILLIAM FRANK ANSTEY, late of Ferguson st., Upwey, in Victoria, railway employe, deceased, intestate, may be granted to Elizabeth Maude Anstey, of the same address, being the widow of the said deceased.” – he worked for Victoria Railways at the time of his death);
  • Harry Greig Anstey (b 1885 Ballarat, in Prahran in 1911? He married Florence Annie Morgan in 1924. He was living in Healesville in 1945 and he 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.

#4. William Henry Budd Anstey married Margaret Eta [Etta] Johnson (died in 1957 in Footscray, buried there on 14 October 1957 – she was Roman Catholic) in 1890 in Victoria, having children Thomas Henry Anstey (b 1890 Footscray, married Eva Sarah May Robinson in 1929 in Victoria and he died in 1959 in Victoria – Eva died in 1969 in Footscray) and Margaret Annie May Anstey (b 1893 Footscray, known as May, married Thomas Joseph Corbett in 1921 in Victoria). In 1910 “W. Anstey” was a member of the Footscray Cycling and Athletic Club. Presumably this family were in Footscray in 1911. Because of the Footscray connection this family could well connect to the Ballarat Anstey sub-branch. Having said that, a clue worth following is the ‘Budd’ which could mean that William Henry Budd Anstey is part of the Bodmin, Cornwall Anstis family. There was a ‘William Budd Anstess‘ died in Bodmin in 1856 – indeed he could well be the ‘William Anstess‘ born in 1864 in St Austell to mother maiden name ‘Budd’) Certainly this gentleman is NOT William Henry Anstey (SU 3) of the Subiaco Ansteys who was in Broken Hill from c1890 onwards. THis family appear in some newspaper reports. The ‘Independent (Footscray)‘ on 1 November 1902 reported “DAMAGING BAMBOOS. TWO BOYS CHARGED. Two respectably dressed lads, named Gus. Peterson and Thomas Anstey, were charged at the Footscray Police Court on Monday with wilfully damaging bamboos, under the value of £20, the property of Arthur Chanter. : Mr. J. K. O. Smith.appeared for the informant:!s aid Mr. ‘ J. G. Pitcher -or. the defence: The evidence for the prosecution was to the effect that the boys went into the yard ,of an unoccupied house, the property’ of Mr. Chanter, and cut off a number of bamboos from a clump growing there. . Mr. Pitcher. said the case looked quite serious, in consequence of the value being set down as “under £20.’ As a’ matter of fact the whole of the bamboos were only worth about 5/… Now you boys, you have brought your parents into this disgrace and trouble, and put them to expense. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. What do you want to go into other people’s places doing damage for. Let this be a warning to you; go away and try to be good.. ..

Then on 18 July 1903 the same newspaper “At the Footscray Police Court on Monday a 10-year-old girl named Janet Livingstone proceeded against a 13 year old boy named Thos. Anstey on a charge of assault. . Mr. J. K. O. appeared for the complainant, and Mr. A. Cunning ham for the defence. The evidence of the complainant, was to the effect that on the 22nd May, seven weeks previously, at about 7 o’clock in the evening she was wheeling a pram along Moore street on her way to a raffle in Newell street, when the defendant, for no reason at all, stopped the pram and smacked her across the face. He made her nose bleed, and her mouth was cut about a good deal. May Anstey, a younger sister of the last defendant, then proceeded against Jas. Livingstone, a younger brother of the last complainant on a similar charge

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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