NFHM Blog Challenge Week 2: Family

Week 2 of the National Family History Month blog challenge, and this week I’m writing about “family”. Family for a family historian is such a broad topic. Do I write about an individual, or a family? A recent story or an old one? So. Many. Choices. And surprisingly it’s taken me a while to narrow it down.

Reunions are a place where ‘everyone’ is family, so it seems appropriate to write about big a big family reunion one of my family’s had … the Kelly Family Reunion.

31 December 1938 was the date chosen as it marked both 100 years since the arrival of William Kelly and his second wife Jane (nee Caley) in South Australia from the Isle of Man, as well as 50 years since the death of William.

The reunion was held at the Kelly family property, “Sulby Glen”, in the tiny country town of Cudlee Creek, South Australia, the drew 300 of the 400 descendants, with quite a number making the trip from interstate.

The article in the Advertiser, dated Monday 2 January 1939 writes …

Never has the old Sulby Glen property at Cudlee Creek seen so many visitors as passed through its beflagged entrance gates on Saturday morning, when almost 300 of the 400 descendants of William Kelly, from the Isle of Man gathered together to pay homage to his memory and to commemorate the centenary of his landing in Australia. The gathering was certainly unique as far as South Australia, is concerned, and one of the very few of its type ever held in the Commonwealth. The day was also the 50th anniversary of the day of his death.  Sixty cars and a large motor bus brought the visitors, who came from New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia, and from many parts of South Australia … [read the full article here]

It really was a big do. Even making the South Australian newspapers. Being such a big event, I’ve often wondered if anyone had any movie footage of the day, alas to date I’ve never heard of any in existence (but you never know) … and that would certainly be amazing to see.

However one thing we do have is a group photo that was taken on that day. Click on the photo below for a larger image.

Kelly Reunion group photo 1938[Click for a bigger view]

Kelly Reunion group photo, 31 December 1938

For more about the 1938 Kelly family reunion, see an earlier blog post that I’ve written about it here.

95, and What a Birthday it Was!!!

Today’s Trove Tuesday post doesn’t really require much text from me, as the article is self-explanatory.

The article below comes from the Australian Christian Commonwealth newspaper, and is dated Friday 2 September 1921. This article is about my 3x great grandma, Elizabeth Kelly (nee Gould) on her 95th birthday party.


Elizabeth Kelly (nee Gould)

Elizabeth Kelly (nee Gould)

A good old Methodist, in the person of Mrs. Elizabeth Kelly, celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday on Saturday, August 20. The members of her family gathered at Mr. Joseph Kelly’s home, Valmai Avenue, Clarence Park, to do her honour. During the afternoon numerous visitors called to pay their respect, amongst them being Mrs. Thyer, who is also ninety-five years of age and went to school with Mrs. Kelly at High Ham, Somersetshire, England. They met again some years later when both were young married women, and lived a few miles from each other at One Tree Hill. Mrs. Thyer moving to the Angaston district they lost sight of each other, and half a century later they meet again. It was interesting to note the pleasure with which they recalled incidents of their childhood days, and how solicitous they were for each other’s safety as they stepped off the verandah together.

Mrs. Kelly came to South Australia, with her father, the late Joseph Gould, in the “Prince Regent,” September; 1839, at the age of thirteen. She remembers well the discomfits of the journey to town in a spring dray, the cramped accommodation of Emigration Square, and all the incidents attendant on setting up a home in a new and young country.

Her father first took up land at Brown Hill Creek. Mr. Sleep, after whom Sleep’s Hill is named, used to conduct services in his house, and Mrs. Kelly attended them. She remembers hearing the late D. J. Draper preach his farewell sermon in the chapel in Gawler Place. Later they .moved to Cudlee Creek, and she sometimes walked nine miles to church. (Attention! young people, please).

She was married to Mr. William Kelly in Trinity Church by Dean Farrell in 1846, and they settled at One Tree Hill, where Mr. Kelly was a great help to the struggling Methodist cause, and assisted with the building of the church, under the leadership of the Rev. Joseph Lloyd. Mr. Kelly died in the year 1891.

Mrs. Kelly had eleven children, fifty grandchildren and seventy great-grandchildren. Mrs. Kelly is the proud possessor of a roll of honour in the form of a photographic group of thirteen happy-95th-birthdaygrandchildren who fought in the great war (three of whom did not return). The surviving members of the family are Mr. Joseph Kelly, late of Maitland, now of Clarence Park; Mrs. E. Linklater, Wilmington; Mrs. D. Harrington, Prospect ; Mrs. A. Adams, Smithfield; Mr. J. Gould Kelly, Riverton; Mrs. H. H. Blackham, One Tree Hill; Mr. E. A. Kelly, “Yelki,” Smithfield, and Mrs. E. H. Rhodes, Gilberton. Mrs. Kelly’s descendants are favourably known in many of our country circuits.

part of the article on Elizabeth Kelly's 95th birthday

part of the article on Elizabeth Kelly’s 95th birthday

You can find the full original article on Trove here.

And just for reference, Elizabeth Kelly (nee Gould) lived on for another 3 years!

For more on the Gould family, have a read of this article on the Tea Tree Gully Historical Society website.







The ‘Unique’ Family Reunion

Family reunions seem to be the talk of the town at present. Well, on social media anyway. And why wouldn’t they be, with A.J. Jacobs’ Global Family Reunion which was held this weekend, proving to be a huge hit.

So on the topic of reunions, I wanted to share with you, one of my family’s family reunions.

This one was held in December 1938 at “Sulby Glen”(the Kelly family homestead) at the tiny town of Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills. This date marked not only 100 years since the arrival of William Kelly and his second wife Jane (nee Caley) to South Australia, pioneers to South Australia from the Isle of Man, but also 50 years since the death of William.

My connection to this family, other than the fact that they settled at Cudlee Creek, which is where I grew up, is that William is my 4x great grandfather.

Various newspaper articles tell the story of the Kelly reunion, but I’ve chosen just two to share with you.

This first one was before the event …

FAMILY GATHERING TO HONOR PIONEERS. (1938, December 3). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 21. Retrieved June 7, 2015, from

The Advertiser, 3 December 1838, p. 21

And this second one was afterwards. It is a long article, and what I’ve shown below is only about 1/3rd of it. To see the full article, click on the link in the caption.

this article appeared in The Advertiser, 2 January 1939 you can read the full article on Trove at:

this article appeared in The Advertiser, 2 January 1939
you can read the full article on Trove at:

Relatives came from around Australia to attend this event. The newspaper says that this type of reunion was unique for not only South Australia, but with very few of this kind of reunion held throughout the Commonwealth.

Approximately 300 people attended the Kelly family reunion, and we know who at least 277 of them were, thanks to an autograph book which was signed by those who attended this reunion … and has SURVIVED! Below are a few pages from this treasure.Kelly Autograph Book - a1

Kelly Autograph Book - a3

Kelly Autograph Book - a4

Kelly Autograph Book - a5

And if having newspaper articles telling us about the reunion, as well as the autograph book was’t awesome enough, there is actually a group photograph from the Kelly 1938 reunion!! Yes truly!

Kelly reunion group photo taken at "Sulby Glen", Cudlee Creek, 31 December 1838>(click for a larger image)

Kelly reunion group photo taken at “Sulby Glen”, Cudlee Creek, 31 December 1938
(click for a larger image)

If anyone has connections to the Kelly’s from Isle of Man, there are several books relating to this family available. You can find these at Gould Genealogy.

Have you been to any family reunions? If so, do you have any momentoes from them?