Emily and Adeline


Emily and Adeline’s community


Emily Wells Collis was born in 1861 and Maria Adeline Stephens was born in 1872. Emily and Adeline were the Matriarchs of their small community and lived a few km’s from each other.

In August 1896 Emily at 35 had her 11th and last child  George and in December  1896 Adeline at 24 had her second child Ettie. From July 1882 to Sept 1911 a total of 21 children were born in this district.

October 30 1896 Emily’s son ‘King’ died from a head injury after falling and striking his head on a rock (just south of the Badger Corner boat ramp) Baby George was 8 weeks old – Adeline was 8 weeks from having Ettie. This would have been a difficult situation for Emily especially if James was away which was often the case. Emily and Adeline as neighbours would have been there for one another on this dreadful occasion. Adeline’s father in his capacity as post master was the informant (death) to registration board, and the registrar misspelt Robinson as Roberson, making it the hardest document to find and by accident whilst looking for Ettie’s birth record.

Emily and Adeline are my Great Grandmothers, Emily my Grandfather Horace’s mother and Adeline my Grandmother Maud’s mother, ‘their family connection’ not realised in their lifetime.

They were sort of related at the turn of the century ….. Harry’s youngest brother Alfred was married to James niece Clara Robinson/Holt

I remember working out years ago the parallels of their lives. I wonder if they had any idea………probably they did.

Firstly they were both daughters of the first official School Teachers to the Furneaux Group, thus their appreciation and value in educating their children.

both Emily and Adeline met and courted by the loves of their lives as young women living on Cape Barren Island – Emily and James in the late 1870’s …..Adeline and Harry in the early 1890’s.

both their husbands were highly respected and extremely capable mariners of the straits, they were also farmers.

they both had large families Em 11 and Adeline 10, Emily lost her son Henry whom we all refer to as ‘King’ when he was 12 and Adeline lost babe Maria when she was 2 days old.

they both had sons named Henry and George.

they both had a much loved first degree female relative with a disability and both relatives lived at the Royal Derwent Hospital on a permanent basis for ‘care and treatment’.

the church was a big part of their lives and both families were personal friends with Bishop Montgomery.

their homesteads were built from the same floor plan, except in mirror image both overlooking Adelaide Bay.

their parents also settled on Flinders Island – Henry and Hannah at Sawyer’s Bay and Ed and Maria at Samphire River. This in itself says a lot about their adopted home in the Furneaux as each family were posted there at the discretion of the Education Department. They could have easily left at the end of their contracts, but they didn’t. I guess they could easily frequent mainland Tasmania as both son in laws were some of the finest Mariners in the Straits. Flinders is a unique, beautiful part of Australia and these families are very much part of the early history. All relatives born on Flinders but no longer residing there still support a strong and sentimental identity to Flinders.


Samphire is found in abundance around Badger Corner and Samphire River. When we were kids we had a large patch of Samphire at the Badger Corner boat ramp called the ‘magic carpet’ – it was always soft and good fun to slide on.

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