Flockton family

Note: Links to newspaper items are opened in a new window; however, an ancestory.com membership is required to several of the following links. In addition, we are indebted to Julia Woodhouse and her daughter Louise Wilson for the photographs on this page; they appear in Louise’s book Margaret Flockton, A Fragrant Memory (Wakefield Press, 2016). For more information on Louise’s book click here. The background information on the Flockton family is a very succinct summary of  Louise’s opening chapters, so we refer to her book for more detailed information.

The Flockton family arrived in Australia when two of three children of Francis Stephen Flockton (known as Frank) & Isabel Mary Flockton arrived in Queensland with an aunt in 1882. Both sides of this family were successful in various businesses in England. The outline of the family across four generations is as follows:

Sarah Flockton was distantly related to the Flockton family on the maternal line, and when she married Stephen Fatt, Stephen changed his surname legally to Flockton. As Louise Wilson points out in her opening Chapter:

As an ambitious and class-conscious man, Stephen needed a surname more acceptable than ‘Fatt’ in business circles and Flockton was a distinctively English-sounding name. That suited Sarah, one of the many daughters of the Oxonian Rev. Jonathan Flockton. What lady of society dreams of becoming ‘Mrs Fatt’ upon marriage?

Stephen was a descendant of the Huguenot Piersenne family who fled persecution in France and took refuge in London. Like his father (Stephen Piersenne Fatt) he was a very successful Russia broker, a merchant who traded in Russia and Scandinavia and had high status in English society.

The Flockton family were manufacturers of turpentine, a fairly dirty process which had health repercussions. The Cruikshanks were merchants, and Sarah Young was a sugar planter, and daughter of Dr George Young, the founder of St Vincent’s Botanic Gardens. The Fatt family consequently did not approve of Frank’s marriage to Isabel.

Francis Stephen Flockton (Frank) was born in London on 18 Oct 1835 and baptised in St Marys, Stoke Newington on 26 Jan 1836.

Frank and his three older brothers sailed to Melbourne, Australia, on board the Mary Harrison, departing from London on 03 Mar 1852. Frank was only 16, the oldest brother only 21. They were adventurous, and that period coincided with the goldrush in Victoria. Frank returned to England in 1859 and commenced working in his father’s business.

Isabel Mary Flockton was born on 01 Feb 1835 in London and baptised in St John, Southwark, London (close to Tower Bridge) on 17 Mar 1835.

Frank and Isabel married on 19 Mar 1859 in St Martin Outwich, London, as reported in the Morning Chronicle on the Tuesday following the wedding:

Their marriage certificate can be viewed here.

Frank & Isabel had three children:

01. Dora Mary (b. 18 Nov 1839, d. 30 Dec 1949 in)

02. Margaret Lilian (b. 25 Sep 1861, d. 12 Aug 1953 in Sydney)

03. Isabel Phoebe (b. 17 Apr 1863, d. 31 Dec 1960 in Sydney)

Frank and Isabel’s period in England is well described by Louise Wilson in her book. Briefly, Frank inherited a large sum of money when his father Stephen died in 1865, his mother having predeceased him in 1858. Frank immediately used the money to support himself and Isabel as artists. He was generous to others but eventually ran into hard times, moving about from place to place and seeking help from various family members. Things improved for a short time when Isabel inherited from an aunt, and the couple moved back to London. Their daughter Margaret showed great promise as an artist and spent many years being trained. She eventually moved to Australia, with her parents, in 1888.

Frank & Isabel

Isabel Phoebe called herself by her second name Phoebe. In the 1881 census her sister Dora, aged 21, lived with her parents in Sunbury; Stephen is described then as a “painter in water colours”. In fact, “he exhibited with the Royal Academy in England and had a penchant for tree-filled landscapes and portraits of dead bird. [Their] mother Isabel was also a talented artist” (Australian Museum, Sydney). Dora’s occupation is not stated in the census records, and her two younger sisters are not listed: Phoebe appears in the 1881 census as an assistant governess, a boarder in Totease House, Buxted Rd, Buxted, Sussex.

Phoebe (scanned incorrectly as Rhoebe in ancestory.com) arrived in Mackay, Queensland on 16 Dec 1882 on board the Merkara along with her sister Dora and Maria Flockton, the latter being a 30 year old sister of Phoebe and Dora’s mother.

Portraits of Phoebe (the left portrait is by Margaret)

01. Dora Mary Flockton, known as Dolly, married Philip Boulton on 30 Dec 1885 in Gladstone, Queensland. Philip was born in England on 15 Jun 1852 and joined the Union Bank of Australia soon after arriving in Australia. He was appointed as the manager of the bank in Gladstone.

Dolly and her son Nigel, Sydney 1889;  Margaret

Philip and Dolly had four children, their first two in in Bundaberg, Queensland, the others in Victoria:

01. Geoffrey Francis Philip (b. 07 Jun 1887, d. 11 Jan 1888)

02. Nigel Philip (b. 29 Oct 1888, d. 30 Jun 1969)

04. Stephen Philip (b. 31 Mar 1890, d. 03 Oct 1918)

married Mona Edith Little (b. 25 Nov 1892, d. 08 Oct 1981); there were two children.

05. Dorothea Margaret (b. 10 Jan 1895, d. 13 Feb 1981)

married Cleon Dennis (b. 18 Jun 1888, d. 25 Jul 1932); there were five children.

Sadly Philip died of liver cancer on 13 Jun 1895, leaving £451 pounds to his wife (probate granted, The Australasian, Sat 20 Jul 1895. Within a few months Dolly took her children to Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, where she ran a guest house.

Stephen enlisted in WWI on 12 Jan 1915, giving his profession as bank official with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He was a gunner then a bombardier (a person responsible for the targeting of aerial bombs). He was sadly killed just a month before the end of WWI.

Phoebe’s descendants were in possession of a letter passed down the family which an aunt of Phoebe and Dora sent Phoebe just after WWI ended. The letter mentioned Phoebe’s children Harry (called Hal by the family), Hal’s sister Phyllis (called Phil) and Dolly.

Kennett House
Nov 26th 1918

Dearest Phoebe

Your dear Hal only left us this morning on his return to Bellbrook. It was very pleasant seeing him again, as he has not been here since he went to Gretna such a long time ago. He was looking well, & seemed very fit – so happy with thoughts of son starting on his homework duty. He read out loud to Aunt Julia & me last evening some of Rudyard Kipling’s poems. As I found a little book in my work box after he had gone I think he must have meant me to keep it which is so kind of him. He gave me a most interesting book this morning, “Gallipoli” by John Masefield & with such good illustrations. I am much looking forward to reading it. How clever Hal is dear, & so interesting on every subject. I do hope he will arrange to live with you & Phil on his return. How delightful it will be for you to have him home after all this long weary time. It is so wonderful that peace at last has come, & so quickly at the end when the Germans suddenly crumpled up. And the surrender of their fleet without a terrible battle is so splendid. We are hoping for news of dear Dolly before long. How terrible and crushing this overwhelming sorrow. Poor darling how one’s heart aches for her. She will have consolation of knowing her beloved Steve died for the Right, and how nobly he responded to the great rally, when the good brave Australians came over to help the old Mother Country. It is indeed a glorious way to die, giving his life for others. God grant our dear Dolly may find comfort & peace. She is good & brave I know & such a true Christian, & will be contented to know that her darling has been called to the higher life where she will some day meet him again. We were so fond of the dear lad, & shall always look back to his little visits to us with much happiness. We trust dear Nigel will be spared to return here to his dear mother, with [?] & the darling grandchild. We hoped to have had [?] & little Philip with us now – but it was thought best to put off the visit on account of influenza which was so bad in Harrow a few weeks ago. Dear Aunt Julia has not taken it I am thankful to say, & we have been spared having the trouble in our house – I hope you are keeping well, & Phil too. Much love to you all – including dear Maggie. I am sending you each a present the same as last year, & asking Dolly to drink it up.

Ever yours affectly

Mother’s love

Louise Wilson has written about the Boulton family – see for example, Booktown’s Boulton Ghosts.

In 1928 Dora made available to the Australian War Memorial all the correspondence relating to her son Stephen, and the letter quoted above is now part of that collection. The links are as follows:

Letters from Stephen Philip Boulton to his Family, 1915

Letters from Stephen Philip Boulton to his Family, 1916

Letters from Stephen Philip Boulton to his Family, 1917-1918

Condolence letters to the Boulton Family, 1918

Postcards from Stephen Philip Boulton to his Family, 1915-1918

Margaret Flockton became a well-known botanic artist in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney and her life is outlined in Louise’s book. On her website Louise writes:

The artist Margaret Lilian Flockton was born in England in 1861. Arriving in Australia in 1888, she worked first as a skilled lithographer and in the 1890s achieved recognition in Sydney’s ‘fine art’ world. At the age of 40 she finally found her dream job, with an ideal boss (Joseph Maiden). She became well-known amongst the scientific community of her day, but after her death in Sydney in 1953 she was then largely forgotten for half a century.

She was rediscovered by two botanical artists at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, Catherine Wardrop & Lesley Elkan, who championed her cause at an International Women’s Day lunch in 2003. Their speech led to the establishment in 2004 of an award for scientific botanical illustration, honouring Margaret. Within a couple of years, the Margaret Flockton award became something of a phenomenon, attracting entries from around the world…

Francis and Isabel resided in Linsley St Gladesville (Sands Directory from 1895 and later editions).

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