Catherine Scircle - Aboriginal born Molong NSW Australia 1836 :: Genealogy
<< Previous - Next >>

Catherine Scircle - Aboriginal born Molong NSW Australia 1836

Query by njpratt

Possibly Cathleen, Katherine or Kathleen or Circle or Circul. Also known as Cate Riley. We believe she was of aboriginal descent.

Born: Gamboola Station, Molong, NSW, Australia - 30 Jul 1836

Married: Joseph (Jack) Ellms - then widowed after he feel from a horse in the Bathurst races. We believe they had 4 children together - Sarah, Jack, Jim and Kate

She then either married or was defacto to Charles Anthony Smith. They lived on a property in Beni NSW on the Talbragar River (my grandmother grew up here).

Children: Emma Maria Smith born 25 Aug 1873 at Darrigal Dilgan Station near Yeoval NSW - my Great Grandmother. Also John, Patrick, Maud and Abigail.

Died: 20 Feb 1920 - Dubbo NSW

I would really appreciate any information you or your members could provide.

Thanks so much

Viewed: 3040 times
Likes: 0
by njpratt Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2016-06-14 22:12:23

njpratt has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jun 2016.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


by Edwards_Smith on 2016-09-04 04:04:56

Hi - Like you we are trying to find information on Kathleen (Catherine, Kate, Kathryn) Circul (Circle, Riley, Reilly, Smith) Aborigine who according to our family tree records had 4 children to Jack Ellems (Jim, Jack, Joe & Kate) before she became de facto with Charles Anthony Smith and had Eliza, Emma Maria, John Mark, Patrick William, Abigail, Alice Maud & Charles Anthony jnr.

We have the death certificate in the name of Katherine Riley and she is buried in the Church of England cemetery in Beni. She died of Senile Decay on the 20th February 1920 at Beni in the Talbragar Shire.

We have photos of her and one of her grandchildren - Joseph Edwards. We also have several photos of other family members as well as birth and death certificates.

by njpratt on 2016-09-04 08:58:14

Thankyou so much for you response. I would LOVE a copy of her Death Certificate if you would be happy to share. Also any of the details on her children - copies of certificates etc. I have a Death Certificate for Sarah Ellms Shaw that lists her mother as Catherine Scircle and father as Joseph Ellms which I am happy to share if you could provide an email address for me.

Interesting the different spelling of the surname of Ellms (Ellems) and use of Scircle and Riley. No wonder we are having trouble tracking her down.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find much other information on Catherine so far but am happy to share any information I have.

My personal email address is I look forward to hearing from you soon.


by Edwards_Smith on 2016-09-05 05:54:19

Hi - happy to provide a copy of her death certificate and all others that we have. Probably get them to you over the next few days.

Who was your grandmother who grew up on the property at beni? My connection is that my Great Grandmother was Emma Maria Smith who married my Great Grandfather Henry Edwards.



by Edwards_Smith on 2016-09-05 07:41:40

by njpratt on 2016-09-05 08:20:49

Hi Kerry,

Very excited to receive the certificates.

My Grandmother was Daphne Maud Smith - daughter of Emma Maria Smith and Henry Edwards. She married George Lyle Fearnside and had 2 children - Janet Fearnside and Glenn Lyle Fearnside.
My mother is Janet Fearnside - She married Edward Ernest Davis and had two children Jennifer Lynne Davis and Natalie Gaye Davis - Me.

I have since married - Justin Paul Pratt and we have 4 children - Erin Louise Pratt, Adam Nicholas Pratt, Luke David Pratt and Olivia Irene Pratt.


by Edwards_Smith on 2016-09-06 06:32:04

Wow - we have a photo of Emma sitting with George Fearnside and Daphne Maud standing behind them.

I've sent an email to Dubbo Historical Society but haven't heard back. I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything.

I'll send some of the photos we have too.

I think that the Church records from Dubbo and Beni may have information on Kathleen - at least that's what I'm hoping.


by Edwards_Smith on 2016-09-06 08:26:21

Daphne is my father's Aunty! (My grandfather Joseph's sister)

I've emailed some photos and letters tonight to you and more will come in the following days.



by linda_augusto on 2017-03-10 11:46:03

Hi Natalie and Kerry,

While Natalie knows me (Hi Natalie - hope you and your lot are well!), Kerry I am the Grandaughter of Pauline Bertha Emma (another daughter of Emma) and great niece of Daphne - Natalie's Grandmother.

Just letting you both know that Mum (Joyce Patricia Ann Crossland) and I are on the search trail also. We are heading to Dubbo in April and through Dubbo council, think we have found the grave sites of Catherine and Charles. Nat, Mum has sent it to your Mum. Perhaps you can send on to Kerry once received.

We are hoping to connect with the local land council and see what they can tell us about the station Catherine was born on...... will keep you posted if we get somewhere.

Take care and keep in touch

by KFuller2017 on 2017-11-14 11:33:38

Hi there!
I too am a descendant of Catherine/Cathleen Circle/Scircle/ Riley.
Linda, Your mum was very close to my Dad, Ian Heaney and my grandparents, Merrick and Marie Heaney.
We are currently packing our home up to move to Molong in Dec, and I would love to get to know you both, maybe we could bounce info off one another. My father has been talking to me about how he used to spend his holidays at Gamboola, Molong with family and was telling me how he’d live to take me there to see the place one day, so I googled it and it led me to my GGG Gran and you girls here. I have the extensive print out from Joyce that she was kind enough to pist me several years ago now but unfortunately got damaged whilst ine if our relocations. Please tell your mum I said hi and hope to hear from you all soon.

by lisalee on 2018-01-11 13:35:58

Hello, my name is Lisa and I am also a descendent of Catherine (Katherine/Kathleen/Cathleen) Circul (Circle/Riley/Smith), born July 30, 1831 at Gamboola Station, Molong.

I started looking for information about 17 years ago and I met with Mrs Daphne Fearnside of Geurie who gave me some information about Catherine (date and place of birth, children etc), but I didn't search any further at the time. I was so grateful for what Daphne shared with me as for most of my young life I had a deep longing to know and many unanswered questions about my ancestry. I have recently taken up the search again and I'm really happy to have found this site and to know that I have some distant relatives who are also seeking to know more about Catherine.

My connection is through Catherine's daughter Abigail Smith (Vitnell). Abigail's daughter Mary (known to me as 'Marney') married George Rutherford in Dubbo in 1926 and one of their six children was my grandfather Thomas Alfred James Rutherford (1/2/1933 - 1/3/2010; known as Tom/Tommy). Thomas married Wendy Levings and they had 4 sons - their eldest was my dad Colin Thomas Rutherford who died in 1984 at the age of 23. He is buried at the Dubbo lawn cemetery next to his brother Steven Dallas who also died at a young age.

I was born in Dubbo in 1978 and was given my mother's maiden name (McGuire), which was changed to Townsend when mum married in 1987. I now live in Cairns, QLD. I married Lindsay Gordon Stibbs in 2006 and we have two children - Lucas Colin (9) and Olivia Grace (6).

I would dearly appreciate any information at all, and I would be thrilled to access copies of certificates and photos if anyone is willing to share. Daphne gave me a photo of Catherine with a young boy and one of Emma Maria and Henry Edwards that I am happy to share. I kept my notes from our meeting which includes a narrative about Charles Anthony Smith and some events in his life.

I am visiting Dubbo with my family in September this year and I would love to meet if anybody is interested!

Kind regards,

by njpratt on 2018-04-18 06:56:08

Hi All,

So sorry for taking so long to respond. I have taken a bit of a break from the research and am only just getting back into it.

I have quite a few Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates for various ancestors. Death Certificate's for Abigail Vitnell, Katherine Riley and Charles Anthony Smith, in particular, amongst others that I would be happy to share.

My personal email is If you would like to email me I will be more than happy to send what I have by return email.

Lisa - I would LOVE a copy of your notes from your meeting with Daphne (my Grandmother) and the photograph if you don't mind. Also would love to catch up. Maybe we can all meet up in Dubbo in September.

Linda - Did you have any luck with the land council at all?

Kerry - Did you have any luck with Dubbo Historical Society?

Hope to hear from you all soon.


by KF64 on 2018-06-24 09:33:25

Hi Lisa,
Marney was my grandmother, your grandfather Tommy was my uncle. One of his sisters is my mother. My maiden name is Vitnell.

by Kerri_Lee31 on 2018-08-28 04:59:43

Hi Lisa, I stumbled upon your post today and I remember you when we were young. I spent a lot of time with marney and your pop uncle tommy when I was a child. I am too interested to know any info as my nan Jaqueline your pops sister passed away when mum(Linda) was only 13. Marney didn’t talk to much about her ancestry and i really want to find out more. If anyone has photos of Katherine Riley or relatives and certificates please contact me. Thanks Kerri-Lee

by curlyjow on 2018-08-28 12:18:29

Hi everyone, (hi Kath) i too am on the info trail for our family history, Kerry i have some really bad photo copies of some elms childrens certificates but still searching for better copies and others, would you have joseph elms death certificate also?
I would happily give you some money towards the cost of them, i have a few im after. If anyone has blueys or marneys death certificates id love a copy for my notes.
Also any information on Marney's oldest son Ronald Frederick and who his father may have been?

Kristi, which sibling is your line? I'd love to hear more info about you x

Hi Lisa, my pop and your pop were brothers, my pop is william (bill), my mum is Maureen. I have been working on our family history for a while now and have a few missing gaps, mostly with Mary (aunty Marney's) parents - i just left dubbo, i got to find the old graves for her parents george and abigail, georges parents george and jane vitnell (which are next to each other) and charles and katherine are in same row just up abit further, i can point you to an easy way to locate them,
Since i have left however i have come to think that Marney's husband george (bluey) and possibly the twins are buried in the same C of E section, (church of England section). So if anyone is heading out there could you please look into this further?
I already had photos from ancestry of their grave site but it truly is a wonderful feeling to see it yourself, the connection you feel to your past is beautiful.

Lisa, i have been in contact with your uncle Dan but so far i haven't heard from Reece. I would love a chance to meet and go through our family's history together, i dont know much about our family in dubbo, only the ones from the coast that i grew up with. when are you going to dubbo and where are you living, id love to organize a meet up.
If anyone would like to stay in touch, i am loving the journey of discovery x
Please email me,
Many thanks, Jodie

by lisalee on 2018-09-17 00:20:05

Hi all, I’m sorry I didn’t get around to organising a catch up before now - I totally forgot about things over the last few months with starting a new job and planning our trip. I’m in Dubbo now and leaving early Friday morning (21st). My email is and mobile is 0413 325 082, if anyone is around and free to meet up it would be fantastic.
Otherwise I’ll keep in contact via here and email and hopefully we can gather more info to share.

Many thanks,

by KimYvonne on 2019-03-07 21:56:36

new to the site and searching information on Katherine Riley Catherine Scircle born Gamboola Station Molong. She is the Mother of Mark John Smith my great grandfather, his daughter Violet Jean Hope is my grandmother [though she died before I was born and hence I've no experiences with her]. Mark John Smith appears to have been in a de-facto with Sarah Jane Shaw until they married in 1930. Any information about Sarah Jane Shaw would also be wonderful.
sincere thanks

by KimYvonne on 2019-03-08 01:15:03

Hi Natalie
it would seem my maternal great-grandfather and your great grandmother were sister and brother. John Mark Smith born 1876 in Goonoo Gooonoo NSW. Father Charles was 46 years and Mother Katherine Riley [Catherine Scircle Cate Riley] was about 40 years. John Mark married Sarah Jane Shaw in 1930 but prior to that date the couple had children Gladys E born and died 1904, Malcolm John, Alma Maud, Daisy Madeline [Aunty Daisy], Isabel Kathleen, William George [Uncle George], Abigail ?, and my grandmother Violet Jean Hope. I can remember little of these people, my grandmother died when still quite young. But I do remember visiting Aunty Daisy and Uncle George when they were living in Wellington. They were older and shared a house, though I think I remember my Mother saying Daisy had been to Sydney for work. My main impression was of very quietly spoken but very welcoming people, of course in those days we kids were sent outside to play so again I've not much to write about them. As far as I know neither Uncle George nor Aunt Daisy married. I intend speaking with Mum about these people because I want to write down whatever she can recall. I've so few close relatives alive who can speak for this generation. Sarah Jane Shaw is interesting for me because she may also be related to Katherine. My great grandparents lived on a farm in the Beni district near Dubbo
Perhaps some of this is of interest to you.

by Kathlean1080 on 2019-03-11 02:37:37

I am Ian Heaney my grandmother's grandmother was Catherine Scircle. Back in the 1960's my uncle and aunt bought Gamboola, I spent school holidays at Gamboola until I left High School in 1970. It was a massive homestead, from memory it had 17 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, stables and underground Cells for the convicts.

by KimYvonne on 2019-03-11 21:59:59

Hi Ian
I'm also related to Catherine Scircle [Katherine, Cate, Riley] I'm curios about your connection was it the Smith children or the Ems [Ellems]. My earlier post explains more about my Smith relations but I'm also very keen to find out whether Sarah Jane Shaw was related to Catherine Scircle. You must have wonderful memories of Gamboola. Would you know where further history might be found. I'm going to look up some historical societies in the area, hoping to find out more.

by Kathlean1080 on 2019-03-12 01:41:16

G'day KimYvonne, Emma Maria Smith was my Great Grandmother she died 30th July 1952 4 days before I was born (4th August 1952) at Dubbo base Hospital. She married Henry Edwards at the age of 16 at Dubbo in 1891. They had a tribe of children my Grandmother being one of them. She married William Heaney they had two sons Merrick (my father) and Lawrence. I have a brother and two sisters the 3 of wish I don't talk to. I live at French Park, NSW, on a hobby farm. If you need to get in touch My home number is 0269203354 VOIP.

by KimYvonne on 2019-03-13 00:34:34

Thank you Ian for your response. I've sourced a grainy image online of Emma Maria and her husband Henry Edward. I'm finding big families were not unusual for the times. Not that I was unaware of this but researching our family tree has put the spotlight on it. I think I've written earlier my connection to the Smith family but to be clear.
Emma Maria's brother John Mark Smith married Sarah Jane Shaw, they had Gladys E,Malcolm John, Alma Maud, Daisy Madeline, Isabel Kathleen, William George, there's an Abigail next them my Grandmother Violet Jean Hope [Sadly she died before I was born and I've always felt a great loss over not knowing her]
Violet Jean Hope Smith married Francis Peter Powyer - they had my Mother Jean Esther, Peter Francis?, Francis John, Kathleen, Loinel ? and finally Barry Ernest [still in nappies when his Mother died, so Mum has often said]. My Mum was very close to her Mother.
Mum's family with her Mother and Father live on properties in a tent for many years, and then in a house on one of the properties and quite removed from people, so Mum tells me she didn't get to learn much about her relatives. She does remember visiting with John Mark and Sarah on their property and that they had a horse and sulky, Mum says Sarah was a very proper lady and you didn't make excuses not to attend Sunday lunch - even if you were grown up and out working.
My email address is
Thank you for your contact details I'm sure I'll be touch

by linda_augusto on 2019-06-21 13:34:00

Hi guys,

I am so sorry it has taken so long to respond, I got so used to checking on the site with nothing that I stopped checking in. I am so excited to read all of the responses. I have some information that I am hoping will be 100% verified. It appears that Charles Anthony Smiths wife is Kathleen Riley and her mother may have been caller Catherine Circle and her husband is a Riley...... We are seeking the help of an Aboriginal lady who searches family trees and she has given us a lot of information she has sourced. There is a book she has found that Mum has ordered and perhaps the records of Gamboola that she can access through state records of the library which she is currently int he process of trying.

It is possible that Kathleen met Joseph Ellms at Gamboola and although he was married it is thought they “coupled up” and this is where the merge of families happened. Joseph died by falling off a horse ..... (again this is recall from me so this is written somewhere) and following this time Kathleen and Charles ended up together and this is when my great grandmother Emma Maria was born...... and the rest they say is history (like the pun there :-))

Kathy - Yes my mum talks of Ian and Marie and Merrick, I think she was in their wedding if my memory is correct. Lovely that you are moving to Molong, perhaps we can organize to meet in Wellington/Molong area soon. We have so much more information Kathy, Mum has been working with a local lady to us that she found through her work who has done some extensive searching and we have a lot of marriage and birth certificates a folder full that is very overwhelming but I am understanding slowly. Happy to share what we have but a face to face would be the best to tackle the information - the print outs Mum has copies of all of these and would be happy to share again.

Lisa - Hi.... we also have a lot of the Vitnell/Elems information amongst this that you may find relates to. I think I have the photos you are talking of and have some letters of Charles Anthony Smith not sure if this is the narrative you talk of but it would be great to compare. Mum and I are talking of heading back to Wellington way so would be happy to plan around as many of us as possible if we can come up with a date.....sorry I missed the message regarding September .......

Hey Nat - no luck with the land council, they don’t help with our type of search. I have been told link up can help and tried to call but no response. The lady we found has sourced Gamboolar station records and has notified that they are to be made public, she thinks she has managed to track them to the state library and is at the moment searching to see what she can find...... she has some information that might lead to something about Catherines mother that we are waiting to be verified before knowing it is definite..... it sounds promising but as you all know a lead happens and then nothing for a while. I also have some contacts through my workplace that may know something or someone so I will keep talking .....

Kim. - I think in our folder of goodies we have some information on Sarah and Mark - my email is - drop me a line and I can check what I have. I am interested in the farm you talk of in Beni. In 2017 My Mum’s cousin Glen (Nat’s Uncle and Daphne’s son) took us to the property that Charles and Kathleen lived at and the house that Nan, grew up in in Beni - it was a moving experience....... perhaps we can show you..... catch up there with others again. We also saw the graves of Charles and Kathleen.

Ian..... Wow, I am envious that you have memories of Gamboola - we snuck up the driveway and had a little look around - we also have a few photos of the property and some potential stories. So you’re Kathy’s dad yeah?

Kathlean1080 - So Merrick is your Dad..... wow, my Mum talks of Merrick - she will have some stories for you for sure.

Very happy to share what I have and perhaps get together for a yarn..... with Nan being one of 10 children it becomes so overwhelming yet comforting at the same time to know we have such a large footprint.

I have the WWII records of Nan’s brother Mick and Joe’s Navy information with a photo from Egypt. There is also Mum’s cousin Bernie’s records from Vietnam - these are all very interesting and the character of them comes through.

There is also a story linking Nan’s brother Charlie Edwards who passed away at 15 and this is linked to a story of the “governors” which is linked to Jackie Underwood (Known as Charlie Brown)- one of the eight men executed at Dubbo Gaol. Uncle Charlie was friends with the only remaining member of the Mawbey family not murdered in this event - who hid under the bed and survived.

Hope to get together sooner rather than later.....

by Kathlean1080 on 2019-07-02 07:32:39

Linda, is your mother's name Joyce [Basil]?

by linda_augusto on 2019-07-10 13:27:15

Yes Kathleen1080 it is!!

by linda_augusto on 2019-07-10 13:36:08

Kathleen1080 - your mother is Marie right?
And your grandmother is my Aunty Kate Heaney, she lived in Dubbo and was in a nursing home towards the end of her life. We used to bring Nan (your Aunty Paul) to see her often. In fact I remember catching up with family when I was a child - it may have been at your Mum and Dad’s place - all I remember was there was a cane chair with a big round back on it - to me it was like a throne - I think it was on a verandah or patio - we were in the yard I remember. This is my memory mind you so I could be totally off!

by Kathlean1080 on 2019-07-10 22:38:11

linda augusto. I met you once at mum and dad's, I remember you and another little girl your sister, you were both with Joyce.

by Julz2207 on 2019-07-28 07:02:08

I am also researching Catherine and Charles.
Daphne Maud Smith would have been my great aunty her brother Ashton was my grandfather. I am only reasonably new to researching family tree and have been struggling with this part of the family. If anyone can help with any information it would be most appreciated.


by linda_augusto on 2019-07-29 14:24:28

Hi Julie,

My Nan is Pauline - Ashton’s sister, I have a fair amount of information if you wish to email me I can send you what I have.

Kind regards

by Julz2207 on 2019-08-13 10:01:18

Hi Linda

I would greatly appreciate that. I will send you an email in the next few days.


by Kathlean1080 on 2019-11-01 21:43:54

linda.augusto, Cecil Mawbey was the surviver of that killing, The Mawbey's are related to mum's mother. He used to visit us at Rawson street regularly, but nothing was ever said about that event I found out much later from one of my cousins.

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.