The Wollongong, NSW Ansteys

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

Overview of the Wollongong Ansteys

The Wollongong Ansteys of New South Wales, Australia are a sub-branch of the St Gluvias Ansteys, an ‘Anstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branch. Hence they are originally part of the ‘Anstis’ family pedigree, and thus do not connect to the wider Anstey pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anstey. The patriarch of the Wollongong Ansteys is James Anstey (b 1831 St Gluvias), who is the brother of John Sutton Anstey (b 1829 St Gluvias), patriarch of the Newtown, NSW Ansteys.

James Anstey (b 1831 St Gluvias)

James Anstey was born in 1831 in St Gluvias, Cornwall to parents John Anstey and Ann Webb. He married Fanny Cornish in June 1853 in St Gluvias and they immediately headed off for a new life in Australia, aboard the ship ‘Ellenborough‘, arriving in New South Wales on 12 October 1853. The ship’s passenger list confirms that James Anstey was “aged 22 an agricultural labourer [from] St Gluvias, Cornwall” and Fanny Anstey was “aged 28, wife, [from] Penryn Cornwall“. After settling in Sydney for a few years, they moved to Wollongong in c1860 (and later Lismore in 1883, where James was a bootmaker), having children:

  • Charlotte Ann Anstey (b 1854 Sydney, baptised in St James, Sydney in 1855, married William John Bate in 1879 in Wollongong, died in 1929 buried at Clunes Church of England Cemetery, NSW);
  • John James Anstey (b 1856 Sydney, married Susan Kemp in Queensland in November 1882. They had children John H. C. Anstey (b 1884 Inverell, NSW); William George Anstey (b 1885 Inverell – an Anstey Hero), Alfred H. K. Anstey (b 1887 Armidale, NSW) and Hilda M. C. Anstey (b 1891 Armidale). John James Anstey was a schoolteacher in charge of Wyalong Public School when he died in Wyalong, NSW in 1896, his wife Susan Anstey was sole executrix of his will (his brothers William Francis Anstey and George Webb Anstey were witnesses to the will). The ‘Sydney Morning Herald‘ on 15 July 1896 reported “Deaths. ANSTEY.—July 6, at his residence, Cassin Street, Wyalong, John James Anstey, head master Public School, Wyalong, eldest son of James Anstey, Lismore, in his 40th year. Deeply regretted.” [Note: there was another John James Anstey born in 1859 in Amhurst – they are first cousins and easy to confuse – see the Newtown, NSW Ansteys]);
  • Emma C. Anstey? (b 1858 Sydney, died a child in Wollongong in 1865);
  • Mary Jane Anstey (b 1860 Wollongong, died 1861?);
  • William Francis Anstey (b 1861 Wollongong, became a blacksmith living at 70 Bay Street, Glebe, NSW in 1903. By 1908 he was described as an ‘engineer’. Appears not to have married and died in 1920 in Balmain South, NSW, buried at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney (Plot Section 19A ROW 1 Plot 4115);
  • George Webb Anstey (b 1863 Wollongong, became a schoolteacher at St Peter’s Public School, living at 150 Bridge Road, Glebe, NSW in 1903. He married Amy J. Archer in 1920 in Sydney but they appear to have had no children. He committed suicide in July 1944, the ‘Newcastle Sun‘ of 11 August 1944 reporting “SCHOOLTEACHER, 81, COMMITS SUICIDE SYDNEY’. — Worried because of failing eyesight, George Webb Anstey, 81, retired school teacher, tied copper wire and clothes line around his body and legs and threw himself into the sea near La Perouse on July 24. In a note to his brother, he had written: ‘I am in a jam from which there is no other way of escape. Last night, because of my eyes. I could barely work out the indicating lines on the wireless. They are getting worse and blindness must follow. I must quit the scene. Good bye, George.’ The Acting City Coroner (Mr. Hodgson) today returned a finding of suicide.
  • Henry Richard Anstey (b 1865 Wollongong, married Alice Maud Stead in 1896 in Lismore and had a single child Athol Mervyn James Anstey (b 1901 Lismore). Henry Richard Anstey was headmaster of Mullimhimby State School from 1894 to 1908 and then became a civil servant. He died in 1944, living at 79 Old South Head Road, Bondi Junction, leaving everything to his only son in his will);
  • Fanny Emma Davies Anstey (b 1868 Wollongong, married Horace William Walpole in 1894 in Lismore. She died in Lismore in 1956);
  • Ellen [Helen] Jane Tribble Anstey (b 1870 Wollongong, married Albert Cottee in 1896 in Lismore. They lived at Girard’s Hill, Lismore in 1936. She died in 1951 in Lismore);

In 1888, the ‘Northern Star (Lismore)‘ newspaper reported (apparently objectively) that “By the keen perceptive public it has long been proven that Anstey’s are the best Boots and Shoes obtainable in the district. The Best and Cheapest Shop is Anstey’s Woodlark Street.

James Anstey and his wife Fanny Anstey both died in 1908. The ‘Northern Star (Lismore)‘ newspaper on 1 June 1908 announced “DEATH OF MR JAMES ANSTEY: Mr. James Anstey, who has been a resident of Lismore for over a quarter of a century, died on Sunday morning. For the last week or more he has been in a very low state, and his dissolution was expected at any time. He was in his 77th year, and for some years had lived retired. For many years he carried on a bootmaking establishment in Woodlark Street, and his reputation throughout life was that of an honest tradesman and estimable citizen. He leaves an aged wife, and among his family are Mesdames Bates, of Federal Walpole and A. Cottee, Lismore, and Mr. H. Anstey, headmaster of the Mullumhimby State School. The funeral takes place today at I:30 p.m. for the new Church of England cemetery.

The following day the same newspaper added “The Late Mr. James Anstey. Of the late Mr, James Anstey whoso death was briefly reported yesterday, we have gleaned the following additional particulars: Mr. and Mrs. Anstey landed in Sydney in 1853. A few years afterwards they went to Wollongong where they resided for nearly 25 years. In 1883 the family removed to Lismore, and Mr. Anstey began business in Woodlark Street, later on he removed to Molesworth Street. Here he remained until advancing years compelled him to retire and his declining days were spent in quiet retirement amongst those members of his family living in Lismore. Mr. Anstey was a very prominent church worker all his life. Whilst in Wollongong he was a church warden for many yours being a “right hand man” for tho Rev. T. C. Ewing, rural Dean of Wollongong and father of our present Federal member. For some 16 years he was superintendent of St Michael’s Church of England Sunday School in Wollongong, and taking up the same work upon his arrival in Lismore he filled the position of Superintendent of St. Andrew’s Sunday School for about 14 years. Some years ago, the Church of England in Lismore was without a pastor for nearly 3 years, and during this period a great deal of tho work of the church was performed by Mr. Anstey and members of his family. Mr. Anstey being invariably called upon to officiate at the grave site of members of his own denomination when that sad duty was required in the absence of the regular ministers. Of late years, advancing age has compelled him to leave to others a work that he truly loved, but nevertheless his heart was ever with every movement for the advancement of God’s work and it can truly be said “that in his quiet, simple yet truly christian life he wielded an influence for good that will live for .year with those amongst whom his lot was cast. He was 77 years of age and had been married 55 years and Mrs. Anstey survives her husband and it is a sad blow to her thus to lose her aged partner. The members of the family still living are:- Mrs. W. .J. Bate, wife of Counseller Bate. : H. R. Anstey, Public School Mullumbimby. Mrs. H. Walpole, Mrs. Albert Cottee. There are two other sons also in Sydney, Mr G. W. Anstey B. A. St Peters Public School and Mr. W. Anstey engineer. The eldest brother [John James Anstey] died some 10 years ago whilst in charge of Wyalong Public School“.

The ‘Northern Star (Lismore)‘ newspaper on 2 September 1908 announced “DEATH: ANSTEY August 19th 1908 at her daughter’s residence James Street Lismore, Fanny, relict of the late James Anstey aged 82 years“.

Further Details on the Wollongong Ansteys

#1. There is an Anstey Street in Lismore, of which we find first mention of in 1900. It is fairly near Woodlark Street where James Anstey worked and right next to Girard’s Hill where some of the family lived. We suspect that Anstey Street, Lismore is named after one of this sub-branch, but seek formal confirmation (though see #2 below).

#2. Another Anstey family lived in Tregeagle, Lismore at the same time, headed by Charles Anstey (b 1850) and Jane his wife, but they are of the Tywardreath Ansteys and unconnected to this sub-branch.

#3. Both brothers James Anstey (b 1831 St Gluvias), and John Sutton Anstey (b 1829 St Gluvias) named a son ‘John James Anstey’, a combination of their two names.

We are actively on the lookout for Wollongong, NSW Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Wollongong, NSW 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 research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Wollongong, NSW 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 ‘Wollongong’ 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 research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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