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John Ambrose Hintze & Frances Maude Bruce

Journal by Timelines

John Ambrose Hintze & Frances Maude Bruce
Pioneers of Bittern
Journal No. 283


1856
Johannes Hintze was born on the 4th of August 1856 in Stolpe Bei Angermünden, which is a district of Angermünde in Uckermark, Brandenburg, Deutschland.

He was the son of Carl Hintze “Charles” and Lena Spensley.

** Deutschland is now known as Germany. **


Circa 1873
Johannes leaves his home in Stolpe to become a mariner in England.

On the 10th of May 1873, Johannes obtains work, which was possibly his first job, on a brig named the “Frances
Ann” which was based on the River Esk at Whitby in Yorkshire.


1874
After twelve months working as a Boy (a junior seaman), seventeen-year-old Johannes signed up for an apprenticeship with the English Merchant Navy on the 18th of April 1874.

In those days a mariners’ apprenticeship was for four years, but Johannes received a one-year credit for the time that he had previously served on the “Frances Ann”

Upon signing his indentures, he was transferred to a barge named the “Clio” which was based on the river Thames in London.


Circa 1875
It was at about this time during his apprenticeship that Johannes, Anglicized his name to John.

** I will continue to refer to him as John, however, you will discover later in this journal, why John eventually changed his name to John Ambrose Hintze. **


1877
Upon the completion of his apprenticeship on the 18th of April 1877 John became an Able-Bodied seaman.

** Back in those days an apprenticeship in the Merchant Navy was a very hard slog, so Johannes decided to take a well-earned holiday.

My guess is that he probably returned home to visit his family back in Germany. **

On the 10th of July 1877 able-bodied seaman Johannes returned to Whitby in Yorkshire and finds work on the brig “Sancho”.

On the 6th of September 1877, John transferred from the brig “Sancho” to a barge named the “Gallovidian” which was based on the River Mercy at Liverpool in Merseyside on the opposite side of England.


1878
On the 29th of August 1878, John transferred from the “Gallovidian” and signed on with the S.S. “Rosa Mary” which was based at Hartlepool in Durham.


1879
John was obviously a hard worker because on the 21st of January 1879 he was promoted to a Leading Seaman and was given the highly sort after position as a Steward.

On the 20th of December 1879, John transferred from the S.S. “Rosa Mary” and signed on with the S.S. “Yarm” which was another Hartlepool based ship.


1880
To fill in his leisure time at sea John continued with his studies and on the 22nd of May 1880, John of 4 Stonefall Terrace, Belle Vue, West Hartlepool, obtained his Second Mate mariners' certificate at South Shields in Durham.

In between his life at sea and his studies for his mariners' certificates, John still found time to sweep a recently widowed Ann Hoppenrath “Annie” nee Spensley off her feet.
Annie’s husband, Albert Ludwig Hoppenrath, a Prussian born Master mariner had died two years earlier on the 9th of February 1878 at the age of thirty-one.

** There does not appear to be any relationship between Annie and John’s mother Lena, whose maiden name was also Spensley.

For further details about Annie and her family, refer to my journal titled “Thomas Spensley & Mary White”. **


1881
On the 25th of April 1881, John married Annie at the St James Church of England, in West Hartlepool.

** This was the same church where Annie’s first marriage to Albert took place. **

John and Annie’s wedding certificate shows that John was a mariner who lived at Belle Vue, West Hartlepool and that he was the twenty-four-year-old son of Charles Hintze (deceased).

Annie, who was thirteen years older than John, was a widow who lived at 3 John Street, West Hartlepool, and she was the thirty-seven-year-old daughter of John James Spensley a grocer.

** Annie was actually the illegitimate daughter of Jane Spensley, who never married.
John James Spensley, a younger brother of Jane, appears to have been active in the upbringing of his niece Annie, as can be seen on Annie and John’s wedding certificate. **

Two months after John and Annie married, John transferred from the S.S. “Yarm” and signed on with the S.S. “Sarah Ann” which was another Hartlepool based ship.

On the 15th of December 1881, John of 3 John Street West Hartlepool received his First Mate mariners' certificate at South Shields in Durham.


1882
On the 16th of January 1882, John transferred from the S.S. “Sarah Ann” and signed on with the S.S. “Mary Coverdale” which was a schooner based in Hartlepool.

On the 16th of March 1882, John left the S.S. “Mary Coverdale” and signed on with the S.S. “Breeze” which was another schooner based in Hartlepool.

On the 30th of May 1882, John lost his job on the S.S. “Breeze” and for a short period of time he was “out of employment”

On the 22nd of July 1882, John found work on the S.S. “Sandal” which was another schooner based in Hartlepool.

On the 27th of November 1882, John transferred from the S.S. “Sandal” and signed on with the S.S. “Nelly” which was another schooner based in Hartlepool.

On the 28th of December 1882, John lost his job on the S.S. “Nelly” and for a short period of time he was once again “out of employment”


1883
On the 10th of February 1883, John found work on the S.S. “Hathusages” which was another schooner based in Hartlepool.


1884
On the 23rd of March 1884, John resigned from the S.S. “Hathusages” and enrolled at
T. Taylors School in West Hartlepool.

On the 17th of May 1884, John of 3 John Street West Hartlepool obtained his Master mariners’ certificate at Sunderland in Durham.

Whilst John was studying to become a Master mariner, E Withy & Co, shipbuilders in West Hartlepool, England, received an order to build an iron steamship to be used for transporting coal around the Australian coast, from J Huddart & Partners, a shipping company in Melbourne, Australia.

The ship took almost ten years to build, but eventually, the steamship “Colac” was launched at West Hartlepool on the 12th of January 1884 and during the following months the testing and the final fit-out were completed.

The Master of the S.S. “Colac” was Captain John Hintze and his first job as a master of a vessel was to deliver the S.S. Colac to Australia.

So, at the beginning of June 1884, John said goodbye to his wife and sailed away from her and England, “forever”.

The S.S. “Colac” under the command of Capt. John Hintze arrived in Melbourne on the 19th of August 1884.

It appears that Johannes was obliged to stay in Australia and instruct the owners, and crew, on the workings of their new ship.

Twenty-eight-year-old John quickly decided that he liked Australia more than he liked his forty-two-year-old wife Annie back in West Hartlepool, so he decided to stay here.

** The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds the records of the crew of all ships who commenced or ended their voyage or stopped at a Victorian port from 1852 to around 1922, and every mariner is recorded in these documents.

I have spent hours upon hours searching through these records and I cannot find any record of our mariner John Hintze.

Nor could I find any immigration record of him ever arriving in Australia.

It seems that the only way that John could have avoided being recorded was to jump ship as a deserter, who is now known as illegal immigrant. **

It was at that point in time that John decided to create a new identity, so he changed his name to John Ambrose Hintze.

If he was a deserter, as it appears likely, his mariners’ certificates would have been worthless, and he would have not been able to work as a mariner or seaman in Australia, because he would have been eventually arrested.


Circa 1884
It was around this time when mariner John met a young lady by the name of Frances Maud Bruce.
Frances was the daughter of mariner Roberto Bruce and the step-daughter of a mariner named Samuel Brewer Thurton.

** For further details about Frances refer to my journal titled “Robert Bruce & Honora Duncan”. **


1886
Disregarding the fact that he had a forty-six-year-old wife back in England, John married a pregnant twenty-four-year-old Frances in the St Peters Anglican Cathedral in East Melbourne, on the 1st of March 1886.

Following their wedding, they settled at 153 Franklin Street, West Melbourne.

Alexander Decourcy Brewer Hintze the first child of John and Frances was born in Melbourne shortly after the wedding of his parents.


1887
Alexander passed away at Exter (Port Adelaide) in South Australia on the 27th of April 1887.

** We know that in 1882 Frances and the rest of the Bruce family moved from Port Adelaide in South Australia to South Melbourne in Victoria.

It appears that Frances may have taken Alexander across to Port Adelaide to show him off to her friends and that he possibly became ill during the journey. **


1887
Beryl Maude Hintze the second child of John and Frances was born at 153 Franklin Street.

Beryl passed away at 153 Franklin Street, aged 14 days.


1888
Elsie Gretchen Hintze the third child of John and Frances was born at 153 Franklin Street on the 13th of November

Elsie was baptised at St Peter's Anglican Cathedral in East Melbourne on the 16th of December 1888.


1891
John’s first wife Annie, died at West Hartlepool, in Durham, aged 47.


1892
News of Annie’s death eventually arrives in Melbourne just before the birth of Spensley John Ambrose Hintze, the fourth child of John and Frances who was born at 321 William Street, West Melbourne in 1892.

** It is unknown if Spensley John Ambrose Hintze was named in memory of John’s mother Lena Spensley, or his former wife Ann Spensley, to whom he was still legally married.

It would be interesting to know if John had mentioned to Frances that he was a bigamist. **


1893
Beryl Grizel Hintze the fifth child of John and Frances was born at 400 Queens Street Hotham.

** Hothan is now known as North Melbourne. **
We know from various reports that Beryl was born with a disability. I have not discovered if this was a physical or mental impairment.
Circa 1894
This is about the time when the Hintze family moved from North Melbourne to 234 Park Street South Melbourne.


1896
Hazel Dorothea Hintze the sixth child of John and Frances was born in Sturt Street, South Melbourne.
Throughout her life, Hazel was affectionately known as Dorothy and Dot.


1897
John and his family are now living in Kavanagh Street, South Melbourne.


1899
John is now a foreman and he and his family are still living in Kavanagh Street.


1900
John is now a carrier and he and his family are now living at 168 Hanna Street, South Melbourne.


1903
John and his family are now living at 41 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne.


1906
John and his family are now living at 78 Albert Road, South Melbourne


1908
John and his family have returned to 41 Palmerston Crescent South Melbourne

** In 1908 permanent electoral rolls were established in Victoria, and women over twenty-one were given the right to vote as a result, the residential addresses of women prior to this date, are difficult to find. **


1909
Elsie Gretchen Hintze the third child of John and Frances, would not have been eligible to vote prior to the 13th of November 1909 and therefore prior to this date she would not have appeared on the electoral rolls.


1911
John wrote a letter to the Minister of External Affairs on the 14th of February 1911.

The reason for this letter, which was sent from his home at 41 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne, was that John had been rejected for an invalid pension because he wasn’t naturalized as an Australian.

As a consequence of being rejected for the pension, John was asking the Minister of External Affairs, to send him the necessary paperwork because to be sent to him, so that he could apply to be naturalized, with the ultimate aim of receiving an invalid pension.

John stated that he was an invalid and was unable to appear in person, as per the usual application process.

** Obviously John didn’t want any government official to see that he was fit and healthy.

It is also interesting to note that John failed to mention in his letter, that he was an illegal immigrant. **

Within a week or two, John receives the documents that he requested from the Minister of External Affairs.

Upon receiving the necessary naturalization documents, John and his family immediately moved to Bittern on the Mornington Peninsula.

On the 7th of March 1911, John submits his application for a certificate of naturalization, to his Excellency the Governor General.

In his application, John stated that was now living at Bittern with his wife, son, and two daughters, and that he also had another daughter, who was currently residing at St. Kilda.
As mentioned previously, eighteen-year-old Beryl Grizel Hintze was born with a disability.

** Back in those days there were very few facilities for people with disabilities, the main one being in St Kilda, and this facility provided care and accommodation for children and adults, who were deaf, dumb, blind, disabled, spastic, autistic, or otherwise physically or mentally impaired. **

John also stated in his application that he was now fifty-four years old, and since his arrival in Australia he had resided for about nine years in Melbourne and seventeen years in South Melbourne and was now living at Bittern and his occupation is a farmer.

In his original letter to the Minister of External Affairs, John stated that he was an invalid.

Along with his application to his Excellency the Governor General, John also submitted a certificate signed by a Justice of the Peace.

The J.P. stated that he knew John and that he was a person of good repute.
Another document that John submitted with his naturalization application was a Statutory Declaration that detailed his place of birth.

And the final document that John submitted was his Oath of Allegiance.

** Inspection of his signature on his application papers, clearly indicate that all of the documents were prepared or written by different people, which seems to suggest that John was endeavouring to give the impression that he was an invalid who was having trouble writing. **


1912
John is still a farmer and living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their children Elsie, Spensley, Beryl and Hazel.

** I have included Beryl, although the only official document that I have located beside her birth and death records, was on the electoral roll and that was in 1942 when she was forty-two years old.

Keep in mind that Beryl may have spent some of her life in care, however, family folklore and other reference material, indicate that she lived at home with her parents. **

** When the Hintze family moved to Bittern the population was 148 people living in 33 dwellings most of which were humpies.

There were no businesses or shops until the general store and post office opened on the 1st of May 1912. **


1913
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances, and their children Elsie, Spensley, Beryl and Hazel.

It appears that Elsie was romantically involved with two local chaps, one a farmer and the other a carter.
The farmer was of the Catholic faith, and the carter and Elsie were both of the Anglican faith. i.e., Church of England.

** Back in those days there was an underlying feeling of intolerance between the Protestants and Catholics, especially among those whose families came from the U.K.

As a result, parents often tried to discourage their children from entering into a mixed marriage. **

Elsie was aware that the farmer would take his stock and produce to the Dandenong market at regular intervals.

She was also aware the carter made two or three trips a week to the Dandenong market carting apples from the local orchards and fruit, vegetables and other produce from the local farms.

In those days Dandenong was Victoria’s second biggest produce market.

Elsie knew that each trip necessitated an overnight stay in Dandenong in order to rest the horses.

So, she decided to move to Dandenong to live, and in order to do so, she had to convince either one or both of her boyfriends to help support her financially.

A perusal of the electoral rolls for each year that she resided in Dandenong, reveals that her occupation was always home duties.


1914
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their children Spensley, Beryl and Hazel.

John and his son Spensley are both farmers.

** By 1914 a small nail factory had been established at Bittern in an old tin shed, and the only other business was a fruit preserving company which later became a canning factory. Both of these businesses had folded by 1918.

The dentist came once a month and worked in a corner of the blacksmith’s foundry.

A solicitor would arrive once a week and would meet with his customers on a seat outside the general store. **

In April 1914, the Hintze family attended the official opening of St. Mark’s Anglican Church on the corner of the Balnarring - Stumpy Gully Road and the Frankston - Flinders Road at Balnarring.

Twenty-five-year-old Elsie who had by now left home was living in Wedge Street, Dandenong.

On the 7th of August 1914, Elsie attended the Annual Catholic Ball which was held in the Dandenong Town Hall.

Details of the event were reported in the “South Bourke and Mornington Journal” newspaper, on Thursday the 13th of August 1914.

The following is an edited extract from the newspaper report.

** On Thursday night last the annual Catholic Ball was held in the Dandenong town hall.

The hall was nicely decorated with bunting and greenery, which combined with the fancy dresses, gave a most pleasing effect to the eye.

Over 200 people attended, and it was a huge success.

Mr Keast, M.L.A., and Mrs Keast were present, and during the evening Mr Keast delivered a stirring patriotic speech, which was heartily cheered, and ended with the singing of the National Anthem.

Prizes were given for the best fancy-dressed set, best-dressed lady (fancy costume) and the best fancy-dressed gentleman.

The committee of ladies had a splendid supper laid out, and everyone did justice to the good things provided.

The following is a description of the costumes: Mrs Johnson, black silk palette, trimmed with silk appliqué; Miss Elsie Hintze, "Evangeline"; Miss D. Spooner, ivory silk, trimmed swansdown. **

On the 21st of June 1914, eighteen-year-old unmarried Hazel Dorothea Hintze gave birth to her first child at Carlton.

Hazel named her son John Hintze, and according to his birth certificate, his father was unknown.

On the 1st of September 1914, after bidding farewell to family and friends, including his sweetheart, Doris S Martin of “Melrose” Mt. Martha, Spensley John Hintze enlisted in the Australian Infantry Forces 5th Battalion.

** The 5th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War and Spensley was one of the last to join this unit.

The 5th Battalion was recruited within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and just two months later on the 21st of October 1914, the unit embarked from Melbourne on the transport ship “Orvieto”.

After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on the 2nd of December 1914. **


1915
On Anzac Day the 25th of April 1915, twenty-three-year-old Spensley John Hintze, who was known to his mates as Ben, was reported missing during the second wave attack on the second ridge at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

His body was recovered on the 27th of April 1915, and it wasn’t until then, that he could be officially declared “Killed in Action”.

His remains are buried in grave 15, row 2, in the Lone Pine Cemetery, half a mile southeast of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli.

In memory of Spensley and other local soldiers, their names are listed Roll of Honour which now hangs in the foyer of the Balnarring Hall.


1915
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughters Beryl and Hazel and Hazel’s son John.
Elsie is still living in Wedge Street, Dandenong.


1916
Twenty-eight-year-old unmarried Elsie gave birth to her first child Spencely John Hintze at Carlton in Victoria on the 5th of March 1916.

According to Spencely’s birth certificate, his father was unknown.

** Why Spencely instead of Spensley is unknown. **

Following the birth of her son, Elsie moved from Dandenong to her parent's home at Bittern.


1917
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughters Elsie, Beryl, and Hazel, and Hazel’s son John and Elsie’s son Spencely.


1918
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughters Elsie, Beryl, and Hazel, and Hazel’s son John and Elsie’s son Spencely.

Later in the year, Elsie married a local lad by the name of James Laurence White, who was commonly known as Jim.

Following their wedding, Jim and Elsie moved to their farm in the Swan Hill region of Victoria

From this point in time, Elsie’s son Spencley was raised by his grandparents John and Frances.

** For further details about James & Elsie refer to my journal titled “Lawrence White & Mary Anne Bourke” who among the original were pioneers of Bittern. **


1919
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughters Beryl, and Hazel and Hazel’s son John and their grandson Spencley.


1921
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughters Beryl, and Hazel and Hazel’s son

John and their grandson Spencley.

** The Bitten, Balnarring, Merricks, Red Hill railway line was opened for traffic on the 2nd of December 1921.

From the turn of the century, there had been considerable agitation to connect the Balnarring and Red Hill districts with the existing rail service from Frankston to Hastings.

For the construction of the railway line, the contractor used six teams of horses with scoops together with wheelbarrow crews to carry out the earthworks. **


1924
Hazel Dorothea Hintze the sixth child of John and Frances married John Johnstone on the 16th of January 1924.

It appears that it was at this point in time when Dorothy’s nine-year-old son changed his name from John Hintze to Edward John Johnstone.

Edward was from then on affectionately known as Eddie.


1924
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughter Beryl and their grandson Spencely.


1928
John is still living in Bittern with his wife Frances and their daughter Beryl and their grandson Spencely.


1931
John and his wife Frances and their daughter Beryl and their grandson Spencely are now living at “Kensington Lodge” in Woodbine Grove, Chelsea.

Their recently widowed daughter Elsie and her children, whose father was Jim, have also moved to Chelsea, and are living 200 yards away at Sherwood Avenue.


1932
John died at his home “Kensington Lodge” at Chelsea on the 1st of March 1932.

He was buried at the Springvale Cemetery in the Church of England section, compartment A, section 13, grave number 20.


1933
Recently widowed Frances and her daughter Beryl and grandson Spencley are still living at “Kensington Lodge” in Chelsea.


1934
Frances and her daughter Beryl and grandson Spencely are still living at “Kensington Lodge” in Chelsea.


1935
Frances and her daughter Beryl and grandson Spencely moved from Woodbine Grove, Chelsea to 13 McKenzie Street in Cheltenham.

Also living with them were Elsie and her children who had previously been living in Sherwood Avenue at Chelsea.


1936
Around mid-year, Spencley decided that it was time for him to leave home, so he packs his bags and moved to Moorabbin Road [now known as Warrigal Road] in Cheltenham, where it appears that he may have obtained lodgings with the family of his future wife Ila Dulcie Tilley.

Spencley went through a number of name changes, but at some point in time prior to his wedding he became known as Laurence John Spence, however, he was commonly known as Laurie.

** For further information about Laurie refer to my Journal titled “Laurence John Spence & Ila Dulcie Tilley.**


1937
Frances and her daughter Beryl and her daughter Elsie and her children are still living at 13 McKenzie Street, Cheltenham.


1938
Frances died at her home at 13 McKenzie Street, Cheltenham on the 29th of September 1938.

She was buried at the Cheltenham Memorial Park in the Church of England section, compartment CE, section 111, grave number 27.


1942
Elsie a munitions worker, and her married daughter Joan Frances Bryant nee White, who was also a munitions worker, and Elsie’s sister Beryl and possibly some of Elsie’s sons, were living at 42a Burke Road in East Malvern.

The reason why Joan’s recently acquired husband Dick Bryant, was living nearby at 60 Beaver Street, East Malvern, is unknown.

Hazel and her husband John and their children were living at 423 Point Nepean Road Frankston.

** Sometime during the year, Elsie and her children Joan, Laurence John, James Patrick, and Spencely Kevin all unofficially changed their surnames from White to Whyte, and this change is used in many official documents. **


1949
Elsie a munitions worker, and her married daughter Joan Frances Bryant nee White who was also a munitions worker,

Elsie’s son James Patrick a shop assistant, and his wife Jean Eileen Whyte nee McGregor, plus and Elsie’s sister

Beryl were still living at 42a Burke Road in East Malvern.

Hazel and her husband John and their children were still living at 423 Point Nepean Road Frankston.


1954
Hazel and her husband John and their children were now living at 77 High Street Mount Waverley, and John was now a P.M.G. employee.


1958
Hazel and her recently retired husband John were now living at 51 Charles Street, Cairns, in Queensland.


1959
Hazel and her husband John were now living at 3 Pensioners Cottage, Pease Street, Cairns, in Queensland.


1965
Seventy-one year old Beryl, died at St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy.

Beryl never married, and interestingly, she only ever appeared on the electoral rolls once in her life and that was in 1942.


1968
Recently widowed Hazel is now living at 39 Collinson Street, Cairns, in Queensland.


1972
Hazel was still living at 39 Collinson Street Cairns, in Queensland.


1974
Elsie died in St Georges Hospital, at Kew on the 2nd of September 1974, aged 86.
Hazel died at Charters Towers, in Queensland on the 24th of October 1974.



Author's note:-
All of my journals are works in progress.
They are constantly being updated and your input will be gratefully accepted.

Surnames: BRUCE HINTZE SPENSLEY WHITE
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on 2022-10-02 03:43:32

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