L. Robert (Bob) Mewett, late of Noradjuha, Victoria (1925 – 2003)

Mary, Alan, Florris, Bob, in Sydney.       Bob and son Robert, Noradjuha, Vic.

In June 1973 I received the following letter, written on numbered pages from a carbon copy book, from a complete stranger who turned out to be a 3rd cousin of mine, Bob Mewett:

Dear Mr Mewett, 

    I have been given your address by George Mewett of Castlemaine and I believe that as well as a relationship we have a common interest in recording our family’s past history. I have been very busy on the job for just over 12 months now and have found out a lot about our ancestors which none of my family knew about.

     I hope that you can give me a “free ride” as far as Jesse’s descendants are concerned as I have practically nothing on them, but when I started out the only Mewett outside our family that I had heard of was Ted.

     About 16 months ago I met two very old sisters who were in their 90th years and who were nursed by Ted when they were children. Since then, one has passed on but they would have been very pleased to hear from a descendant of his. Now I am hoping you can help me out with this information. The ladies were Miss Jessie Leslie, 90 years, of Wail near Horsham and her sister Mrs Rigg, 92, now deceased. 

     I have descended from Jesse’s brother Robert who eventually settled at Nurcoung, about 25 miles from here, in 1882/3. Do you have any information as to who Jesse’s sisters Susan, Charlotte, Ruth, Elizabeth and Harriett married? I have proof that Charlotte married Thomas Barber of Gumeracha. Another (sister) married James Dorman and I have a photo of them but I am not sure of her name.

     I have contact with quite a few descendants of Thomas now. I presume that you know that Jesse’s parents were Samuel and Martha. I have only just received information from England saying that Martha’s maiden name was Balcombe, not Baukum as her death certificate says, and also to state that Samuel’s parents were John Mewett and Elizabeth (Woollar).

     Early this year my wife and I spent two weeks in S.A. looking up descendants of Samuel and Martha. I found it very hard to get much about the old people as the generation which knew (had) departed in the last 10 years and none of the present ones were sufficiently interested then to record anything.

     I have quite a bit of the family now and I hope with a bit of luck in the next year or so to fill in quite a few of the gaps. Could you tell me if Ted married a Miss Lloyd and did she come from Murtoa in Victoria? Possibly you know of a Max who played football with Carlton two or three years ago.

                                                          (paragraph omitted)

     I am on the land over here and actually own the land Robert first selected at Nurcoung in 1880. Do you have any family photos. I have one who is said to be Samuel, (and) Dave’s wedding photo with his brother Jim and father Jesse and Mrs Jesse (Rhoda). If possible I would like the information which you have about the Mewett family and I will be only too happy to fill in any gaps I can from what I know and return them to you.

     Many thanks for any assistance you can give me.

I am,

    Yours sincerely,

          L. Robert Mewett

P.S. I am also an active member of the Wimmera Group of the Victorian Genealogical Society at Horsham.

Needless to say many letters passed between us after this first missive. It was this first letter that revealed to me that my great-grandfather was Jesse, and that my great-great-grandparents were Samuel and Martha. Bob’s efforts inspired me to get on with my own research. Together we planned a successful Mewett Family Reunion at Williamstown and Kersbrook, South Australia, in April 1976.

The recent death of Bob’s wife, Florris, has prompted me to publish the above letter and write these few words as a tribute to Bob’s inspirational work, without it we would still have been in a continuing fog of ignorance about our past.  Darryl Mewett, another cousin, has continued Bob’s work with commendable and industrious attention to detail; his catalogue or register of descendants of Samuel and Martha numbers at least 1333 names to date and I think this figure does not include the current generation(s).

Bob himself was descended from Samuel and Martha Mewett through their eldest son, Robert, who was born in Willingdon, Sussex, in 1829. Together with three sisters and brother Jesse, Robert sailed with his parents on the Platina, arriving at Port Adelaide in 1839. Robert married Eliza Manser at Gawler S.A. in 1852 and they had eight children including son Andrew born at Mt Crawford in 1856. Andrew married Annie Coates at Noradjuha, Victoria, in 1898 and they had six children including their eldest son, Norman Robert, born at Gymbowen, Vic., in 1899. Norman married Ruth Dawkins in 1923 and they had two children including Lionel Robert (Bob) born at Natimuk in 1925. Bob married Florris Fuller in 1954 and they had three children. Keeping to my strict undertaking given at the beginning of this blog in 2011 for privacy reasons not to name any living persons herein, I have refrained from naming Bob and Florris’s family. 

– almewett         

Published in: on December 11, 2019 at 5:47 pm  Comments (1)