The Yangan, Queensland Ansteys

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

Overview of the Yangan Ansteys

The Yangan, Queensland Ansteys of Australia are a sub-branch of the Rugby Ansteys, headed by John W. B. Anstey (b 1857 Oxford).

John W. B. Anstey (b 1857 Oxford)

John Walter Benjamin Anstey (bizarrely also known as John William Barrington Anstey) was born in December 1857 in Oxford to parents Rev. Henry Anstey and Anna Maria (nee Chase); his mother died at the same time he was born. He emigrated to Australia in September 1881 aboard the ship ‘Liguria‘, arriving in Victoria, and settled in Glenmore for a while before heading up to Queensland. In 1890 John W. B. Anstey married Sarah Rigby, the ‘Warwick Examiner and Times‘ newspaper reporting on 11 January 1890 “ANSTEY – RIGBY On Tuesday 7th inst, at the residence of the bride’s parents, Yangan, by the Rev. E. C. Hammer, John W. B. Anstey (late of Glenmore), only son of the Rev. Henry Anstey of Slapton, Bucks, England, to Sarah, second daughter of Joseph Rigby Sen, of Yangan“.

John W. B. Anstey and Sarah had the following children in Yangan:

  • Eleanor Parkhurst Anstey (b 1891? attended Swanfels School in 1896, married William Kelly Wharton in 1926 in Queensland);
  • Henry Anstey (b 1892 Yangan – an Anstey Hero);
  • Beatrice Isabella Anstey (b 1894, attended Swanfels School in 1900, married Arthur Smith in 1920 in Queensland);
  • Charles Christopher Joseph Anstey (b 1897, known as Charlie attended Swanfels School in 1903 – married Gladys Evangeline Nielson in 1928 in Queensland, having children in Swanfels Maxwell Charles Anstey (b 1929, married Muriel Doris Smith – has Anstey descendants alive today); Athol Barrington Anstey (b 1931); Vernon John Anstey (b 1934); and June Isabel Anstey (b 1945). This family remained on the family farm at Swanfels)
  • John Anstey (b 1900, died an infant);
  • Madeline Ada Anstey (b 1901, attended Swanfels School in 1906, married Francis Harold Halls in Sydney, New South Wales in 1944);
  • John Alleyne Anstey (b 1903, attended Swanfels School in 1909, died 1937 in Queensland. The ‘Warwick Daily News‘ on 15 March 1937 reported “Mr. John A. Anstey TRAGIC DEATH AT INNISFAIL Native of Warwick District I INNISFAIL, Sunday, — John A. Anstey (33) was killed instantly on Saturday night when he fell over a parapet about three feet high and broke his neck. He had been speaking to some friends at an hotel. When they missed him some time later they made a search and found his body alongside the parapet. Deceased, who was a native of the Warwick district, was the local representative of the A.C.F. and Shirleys Fertilisers, Ltd, The news of the death of Mr. Anstey will be received in Warwick with deep regret. The late Mr. Anstey was a former student of the Warwick High School. For a long period he was on the Brisbane staff of A.C.F. and Shirleys Fertilisers, Limited, and some years ago was transferred to a responsible position in the firm’s Innisfail office. He was a keen cricketer and maintained an interest in several other sports, While in Brisbane he was secretary of the metropolitan branch of the Warwick High School Post Students’ Association, Mr. Anstey‘s father resides at Swanfels and Mr Cec Anstey, who is on the commercial staff of the Warwick High School, is brother of the deceased“);
  • Bernard George Anstey (b 1907, known as ‘Bunna‘, attended Swanfels School in 1913, married Helen Moore Stewart in Queensland in 1932. The ‘Warwick Daily News‘ on 7 May 1932 reported “ANSTEY — STEWART The Presbyterian Church, Innisfail, was the scene of a very pretty wedding on the evening of Thursday, April 21, when Helen Moore (Nell), Stewart, fifth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Stewart, of Innisfail, was married to Bernard George (Bunna) Anstey, fourth son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. B. Anstey, of Swanfels, Warwick. The charming bride, fair, petite, and slender, who entered the church on the arm of her father, was swathed in a beautiful gown of white taffeta, inlet with godets of frilled georgette, with which she wore a fashionable coatee. A billow of white tulle formed the veil, and she carried an artistic sheath of white and cream roses.“);
  • Cecil Ernest Anstey (b 1910, known as Cec, attended Swanfels School in 1916. He was a schoolteacher at Warwick High School, and married Maida Phyllis Hayne in 1938 in Queensland. The ‘Courier Mail‘ reported on 29 December 1937 “ANSTEY—HAYNE.—The engagement is announced of Maida Phyllis, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hayne, of Klllarney, to Cecil Ernest, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. B. Anstey, of Swanfels, Yangan“. Cec died in 2007, buried at Warwick Cemetery.)

John W. B. Anstey lived at Swanfels near Yangan, Warwick; he was listed as a farmer in the 1895 Electoral Roll, which was the first year that he “claimed the land“. However he was active in Swanfels as early as 1892 when he was ‘Secretary to the School Committee‘, a position which he held until at least 1899. In the ‘1909 Grooms Almanac‘ we find “Oddfellows.— Loyal Pride of Yangan Lodge M.C.I.O.O.F., N.G., W, Mauch ; Financial Secretary, J. W. B. Anstey“.

In the 1911 Electoral Roll the family were at Warwick, Cunningham, Queensland – in 1913 at Yangan, Darling Downs, Queensland

By the 1922 Electoral Roll John W. B. Anstey was considered a ‘Dairy Expert‘ at Abc Cafe, Palmerin Street, Darling Downs, Warwick, though the 1939 Electoral Register confirms that he was still registered as a farmer at Swanfels at this time.

John W. B. Anstey died in Queensland in 1940, the ‘Death Index‘ giving his parents as “Henry Anstey and Anna Maria Townsend“, which is incorrect (his mother was Anna Maria Chase, but as she died when he was born John was likely brought up at least partly by his grandmother Ann Townsend, hence the confusion).

John W. B. Anstey was buried at the Yangan General and Anglican Cemetery “aged 83“. The ‘Warwick Daily News‘ 9 February 1940 edition wrote “FUNERAL NOTICE ANSTEY.—The friends of the late Mr. J. W. B. Anstey, of Swanfels, are respectfully invited to attend his funeral which will leave the Warwick Hospital at 3.15 p.m. THIS DAY for St. Peter’s Church, Yangan, and thence to the Yangan Church of. England Cemetery.

His widow Sarah was buried with him in 1951 aged 80.

For those so interested, this family is mentioned on numerous occasions from 1892 onwards in local newspapers such as the ‘Warwick Examiner and Times‘ and ‘Warwick Daily News

There is today an Anstey Road in Swanfels, clearly named after/by John W. B. Anstey. The first we hear of this road is in 1897 where the ‘Warwick Examiner and Times‘ reported “J. W. B. Anstey, Swanfels, in regard to the proposed road through the property of T. Bourke’s, Yangan.—Received [by the Glengallan Divisional Board]

Further Details on the Yangan Ansteys

We are actively on the lookout for Yangan Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Yangan 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 Yangan 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 ‘Yangan’ 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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