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Charles BULLEY

Charles Bulley
born c1827 - died 20th October 1893
Louisa Stevens
born c1836 - died 1870
Parents of Hannah Louisa Newman, nee Bulley

In December 1852 Charles Bulley arrived in Melbourne, Australia on the "Eliza" having left England on 13th August 1852. The "Eliza" was a ship of 912 tons and it carried 26 cabin passengers and 329 steerage passengers. Charles was a steerage passenger. On the shipping list he was named as what appears to be a gardener, however he was a currier (a curer of leather). He travelled alone and his age is given as 30 but according to my calculations it should have been 23 or 24. Why did he emigrate to Australia? Was it in search of adventure or perhaps in search of riches? Gold had been discovered in Victoria the year before. Was he seeking a fortune in gold and did he find it? Perhaps he did - sufficient anyway to set up a business, for the next we hear of him, three years later, he is marrying and running a leather business.

From information on his Melbourne marriage and death certificates, Charles Bulley was born in London in about 1827. Exactly when and where is still unknown. With help from an Australian, Sue Kelso, who is also tracing the Bulley family I have now fourd that in the 1851 Census Charles Bully is shown as living in Loughborough in the home of William Chapman, a currier. Charles Bulley himself is listed as a journeyman currier. It would seem likely that he had completed an apprenticeship with William Chapman for a jouneyman currier is a fully qualified currier. A currier is a person who cures (or curries) and dresses leather.

On the death certificate of Charles Bulley I had learnt that his father's name was Nicholas and his mother's Mary, nee Wood. The profession of Nicholas was given as "artist" (On the marriage certificate of Charles it had been given as "portrait painter"). The place of birth for Charles was given as London, England and the time he had been in Victoria, Australia as 40 years. The wonderfully informative given on Melbourne death certificate also gave the details of his four marriages and all of his children.

The death certificat of Charles BULLEY.

From the information on this death certificate and further marriage certificates we know that Charles Bulley married Hannah House, nee Stevens in 1855 when he was 27 and they had one child, Frederick Thomas. Hannah died in January 1859 and he married her sister Louisa Stevens (my great grandmother) on 2nd October 1862 at St John's Church, Latrobe Street, Melbourne. He was said to be 36 and she 26. Charles and Louisa had five children. They were Charles Edward, Hannah Louisa (my grandmother), Alice Mary, Elizabeth and Alfred Ernest. In 1870 Louisa died and in 1873 Charles married another sister in the Stevens family, this time Elizabeth. Charles and Elizabeth had two children, Ada Constance and Arthur. Arthur was born in 1875 which is the year in which Elizabeth died so she probably died in childbirth. Arthur died in 1876.

The four daughters of Louisa and Charles Bulley
Hannah Louisa (my grandmother),    and my great aunts Elizabeth, Alice and Ada

So here was Charles left a widower for the third time with a household of seven children. Three years later, in 1878, he married his housekeeper, Emma Rutherford, nee Druce, and my grandmother told us that after their marriage Emma brought home her (previously unknown about) six children by her former marriage. My grandmother says that they sat down to dinner as a family of fifteen. In 1993 I contacted Edna Watson in Sydney who had advertised in the Genealogical Research Directory for information about Bulleys in Melbourne. I found that she was a descendant of Emma Rutherford. I have had some interesting correspondence with her and we eventually met. In spite of the uncomfortable history of our forebears we enjoyed one another's company. Amongst other things she sent me a copy of the marriage certificate of Charles and Emma and the children (5) are certainly mentioned here so it would seem that they were known about after all - at least by Charles on the wedding day! Until her marriage to Charles Bulley, Emma Druce's children had been in orphanages. Her husband, who had been an Ambassador had somehow fallen on bad timesand when he died left her in severely straighten circumstances.

By this time Charles had become a successful leather merchant with a thriving shop in Post Office Place, Melbourne and a tannery in Richmond, Melbourne. The shop part of the business later moved to Elizabeth Street and there was also a warehouse.

My grandmother and her sibling/cousins had very little love for their new stepmother who seems to have had a very strong influence on her husband, Charles. Although the family were fairly well-to-do my grandmother and her sister/cousins were sent out into "service" to work as domestic servants. They felt this as a great disgrace and never forgave their stepmother for it.

Charles Bulley died on 20th October 1893 aged 66 of "Morbus Brightie, Arterial degeneration, Dropsy of Lungs, Oedema of brain and Coma" at his home, "Edgeware" in Mason Street, Hawthorn. This is a very pleasant suburb of Melbourne close to the River Yarra.

Charles Bulley died on 20th October 1893 aged 66 of "Morbus Brightie, Arterial degeneration, Dropsy of Lungs, Oedema of brain and Coma" at his home, "Edgeware" in Mason Street, Hawthorn. This is a very pleasant suburb of Melbourne near to the River Yarra.

Part of Hawthorn, showing Mason Street
and its vicinity to the River Yarra.

Emma outlived him. In a statement of the assets and liabilities of Charles Bulley which was with his will there is a list of his property which includes a `tannery and buildings, having a frontage of 300 feet to River Street, Richmond and a depth of 230 feet. Valued at £5000.' There was also his home `Land having a frontage of 99 feet to Mason Street, Hawthorn by a depth of 164 feet on which is erected a weather board (old) house containing 9 rooms. Value £700.' There is no mention of a shop. All told his personal estate minus his liabilities amounted to £17,479/12s/0d. Quite a considerable amount in 1893. The house in Mason Street seems to be a large one and was probably the house where my grandmother was brought up. I have found out where it probably was but the house is no longer there and the land has been subdivided.

In his will Charles named Emma as his executrix and he left house, furniture and everything in the house to her. His business he left to his stepson, Henry Rutherford, and his son Frederick Bulley (in that order) with a stipulation that money from the business was to be paid to Emma regularly for the "maintenance, education and support of" Emma and her family. He also asked that the business be sold and the money from it be divided between his children "as follows:- To my stepson Henry Rutherford and my said son Frederick Bulley two thirds...share and share alike and the remaining one third thereof to be divided between my stepchildren Frederick and May Rutherford (the children of my said wife and her former husband) and my children Alfred Ernest Bulley, Elizabeth Bulley and Ada Bulley..". So he left nothing to his son Charles Edward (who was certainly alive) nor to his daughters, Alice Mary and Hannah Louisa (my grandmother). This may have been because these daughters were married by then and perhaps he didn't think they needed it but I know that my grandfather was going through financial difficulties at about that time and any money would probably have been very welcome. Maybe my grandmother made no secret of her dislike of her stepmother and this was the reason that she was left out of the will. It does seem rather hard on those left out.

It would seem that in the end the business was carried on by the descendants of Charles and not Emma Rutherford after all. There seems to be some mystery about this which I have been unable to uncover. Bob Bulley, a descendant of Frederick Charles Bulley's eldest son by his first wife, Hannah, sent to me some copies of cuttings about the leather shop in Elizabeth Street which he and his brother, Max, had been running for many years. The final closure of the shop had been featured in the Age newspaper in 1989. Bob and Max Bulley had been unable to carry on the business any longer as they had no heirs who could continue after them. Bob Bulley has intimated some dire secret so perhaps some skulduggery went on which he is reluctant to tell either me or to Edna Watson about. Edna Watson told me that Emma's children did not fare well at all and ended in poverty. The business was not sold for Emma's benefit and in 1985 I visited it when Bob and Max Bulley were still running it. They both retired in 1988 and the shop was then sold.

Notice in `The Age' newspaper on Thursday 16th February 1989
about closure and sale of the Leather Bulley Shop
in Elizabeth Steet, Melbourne after 127 years of business.