February 2010 Edition 59 Jerrems Family Newsletter
We Love Good Old Jerrems Stories
Dear Donald,
We enjoy making family connections. See the last story below about Anita Veale and Helen Mitchell.


Henry Herbert Jerrems
Ray Jerrems, Our Genealogist, Historian    

This article is a collection of information about Henry Herbert Jerrems, the grandfather of our readers Anita Veale (nee Jerrems) and Ken Jerrems and the great grandfather of Ben, Tate and Emma. This is my first article about the 'Melbourne' side of the Jerrems family, the impetus for writing the article having come from Anita, who recently supplied me with documents and photos.

For the sake of convenience I have also included some information about Henry's parents, Robert Cane and Alice.

Sources of information

My main source of information is the research carried out by Noel and Laurel Burns in 2000. I have supplemented this information with my own research and the information and photos passed on to me by Anita.

Robert Cane Jerrems (Henry's father)

Robert, Henry Herbert's father, was the 'founding father' of the Melbourne branch of the Jerrems family, being a member of the Jerrems family which migrated to Victoria in the 1850s and settled in Richmond. He was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire in 1849, his parents being Thomas Clarke and Elizabeth Jerrems (nee Jepson). My great grandfather Charles) was his brother, as was Donald's great grandfather (William George). Thomas died in 1866 but Elizabeth outlived some of her children, dying in 1902.

In 1870 Robert married Alice Rigg, who was born in 1850 in County Cumberland, England (on the Scottish border) and her Scottish parents were Thomas and Agnes Rigg (nee Carter). He died in 1888.

Robert and Alice had 6 children, Edwin (1871-1929), Edith Alice (1873-???), William George (1875-1937), Gertrude Amelia (1877-1951), Henry Herbert (1881- 1928) and Alfred Robert Cain (1883-1940).

After Robert died in 1888 in Richmond his widow Alice remarried in 1896, to James Alexander Newlands (b1829 in Scotland, father William Newlands). James died in Richmond in 1905, aged 76, leaving Alice a widow once again. She died in 15th April 1919.

Henry 's marriage and children

Born in Richmond in 1881, in 1903 Henry married Marion Elizabeth Beddome (she was born in Richmond in 1884, her parents being William John (born in New York) and Elizabeth Beddome (nee Sayce).

Henry and Marion had 4 sons (all of whom were born in Richmond except Arthur Ernest, born in Caulfield): Henry 'Harry' Beddome (1904-1955), Leonard William (1906-1982), Arthur Ernest (1910-1986) and Eric Alfred Sayce (1917-1970). Incidentally, Harry married Gladys Burns, the sister of Noel Burns who carried out the research on the Jerrems family.

Henry's Occupations and Addresses

1903 Electoral Roll, 78 Bridge Road Richmond West, Painter
1909 Electoral Roll, 6 Strode Street, Richmond, Painter (see photo of house)
1914 Electoral Roll, 33 Little Lennox Street, Richmond, Newsagent
July 1915 Army Enlistment Application, 14 Derby?? Street, Richmond, Clerk
January 1917 Army Enlistment Application 1 Botherambo Street Richmond, Newsagent (see photo of house)
1919 Electoral Roll, 1 Botherambo Street, Richmond, Soldier.
Mid 1920s Employed as typesetter by Melbourne 'Argus'.
1928 Death Notice, 9 Union Street, Richmond (see photo of house)
Note: Two of Henry's brothers (including Edwin) were also shown as painters living in Richmond in the Electoral Rolls (Alfred, painter in 1909, 1914, 1919, labourer 1931, 1936), Edwin (painter in 1909, 1914, and 1919), so it is possible that the 3 brothers worked together.

The Houses

The house at Strode St was a modest little single storey weatherboard house. The larger single storey weatherboard house at Botherambo St would have been a welcome change now that there were 4 boys in the family. The final house at Union St was a pretty 2 storey weatherboard house (complete with 'lace' verandah fencing) typical of the 'terrace houses' which were so popular in the inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney in the late 1800s.

Henry's War Service in France

The following is a summary of Henry's war record; I have compiled a full account for readers who wish to see it.

Henry first enlisted in July 1915 and was drafted as a reinforcement for the 29th Battalion. He was discharged due to ill health in March 1916. His medical report at the time of enlistment shows that he was of medium build (5ft 6 inches, 9 stone 5 lbs, chest 32-34 inches and half inches), complexion sallow, eyes grey, brown hair, Presbyterian.

Henry enlisted again in January 1917 and was drafted as a reinforcement for the 38th Battalion.

At all stages he was listed as a private.

He embarked from Melbourne for England in June 1917 and trained in England until late December, when he was sent to France to reinforce the 38th Battalion. .

Belgium had been the focus of the 38th Battalion's activities when Henry joined it, until it was rushed south to France in late March 1918 to meet the German Army's massive Spring Offensive. The Allies were flung back over the areas they had conquered at great loss over the previous years, however the Allies countered this by launching their own offensive on 8 August 1918. Henry's Battalion was also involved in an ill-conceived attack that failed to capture the village of Proyart on 10 August. Undaunted, the battalion continued to play an active role throughout August and early September in the 3rd Division's advance along the notorious Somme Valley, where the fighting was fierce.

Shortly after this (on 23.9.18) he went to hospital with myalgia (muscle soreness), spending a total of a little over 5 months in hospital. By the time he was discharged from hospital the war had of course ended and a few months later he returned to Australia, disembarking in Melbourne on 8.6.19. His family's happiness at his return would have been tinged with some sadness because his mother Alice had passed away about 7 weeks earlier.

In due course Henry was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

The fact that Henry spent 5 months in hospital in France indicates that his war service had taken a heavy toll on him, and this may have carried over to his civilian life later, as it did with my grandfather. A note from Joyce Jerrems passed on to me by Anita Veale refers to Henry as having retired from working at the 'Argus' newspaper due to gas damaged lungs ('gas' being poison gas released by the Germans).

Over 300,000 Australians volunteered to serve on the Western Front in the First World War, and over 50,000 were killed and a similar number were wounded or injured. There were also a large number who were 'gassed', many of whom were treated in the field and not recorded in the Army's medical records. In many cases the after-effects of the gassing lasted for years, culminating in death from lung problems.

Henry was one of many heroes who volunteered to serve their country, and finally paid the price. We will remember him.


The Melbourne suburb of Richmond and its fluctuating fortunes played an important role for the Jerrems family, so I have spent some time researching its history.

Thomas Jerrems' family migrated to Melbourne in the 1850s and settled in Richmond. Most of the family moved away over a period of time, but Robert Cane Jerrems, his brother Arthur Reginald and mother Elizabeth stayed there, as did Robert's children, including Henry. Richmond therefore formed an integral part of the life of Henry, his parents and his descendants for a period of over 70 years.

Richmond is situated on flat to lightly undulating land on the east bank of the Yarra River downstream of Melbourne. It was only 2 miles (3.5 km) from the centre of Melbourne. The area was mainly settled from the mid 1840s onwards. The population was 7000 in 1854, an estimated 11,000 in 1865, blowing out to 23,000 in 1881 (the year after Henry Herbert Jerrems was born). In 1961 the population was 34,000 and in 2006 it had returned to the 1881 level (22,475). The reduction was partly attributable to a slum clearance programme initiated after the Second World War.

Although the rate of settlement in the 1850s was brisk it tended to concentrate in particular areas. For instance there was a large Catholic population, probably boosted by former Irish miners and their families, concentrated below the Richmond Hill area. Richmond Hill itself (where Anita attended school many years later in the 1940s) was settled by well-to- do professional people. But in the 1860s a further pattern emerged of cheap sub standard housing being built by opportunistic landlords in enclaves, particularly on former dairy land in flood prone areas adjacent to the Yarra River. This was followed in the 1870s by the construction of large areas of low-cost workmen's cottages.

When Thomas brought his family from England to Richmond in 1860 there was another more sinister trend which was to cast a pall, both literally and figuratively, over the area for many years to come. There were already brickpits, tanneries and abattoirs there, but this industrialisation was soon to expand significantly. Uncontrolled by any Government or Council requirements the factories emitted a stench, dumped their waste in the River and exploited the workers.

On a more positive note, by the early 1860s a Town Hall had been built, and there two blocks of shops on the main road. In the 1850s there were church schools, and then a State school (possibly attended by the Jerrems children) opened in Lennox Street in 1858.

Thomas had died in 1866, leaving his wife Elizabeth (in her forties) to bring up a large family on her own in Richmond, and this theme carried through to the next generation when Henry's father Robert died there in 1888, leaving Alice at the age of 38 to bring up 6 children aged between 5 and 17. This would have placed Alice in a very difficult financial position and her prospects of moving out of the area if she had wished to do so would have been scuttled. Quite likely she had a network of supportive relatives (for instance her mother-in-law Elizabeth, her sister-in-law Catherine and her brother- in- law Arthur) and friends in Richmond and she would not have contemplated leaving it anyway.

One particular effect on Alice's children (including Henry) of Robert's early demise could have been that her children had to leave school early. It is in fact possible that one brother (William George) was illiterate because his name was spelled "Jerram" on his Army Enlistment Application. His occupations were also consistent with this (labouring and cleaning).

By the turn of the century Richmond had gone downhill significantly, and was becoming known for its high incidence of low standard of living and high industrial content. It had a number of factories including glass, nail, lime and cement, soap and candle, hosiery, tanning, and white lead, plus a quarry and two electric light works. However, no doubt Richmond was "home" and a known quantity to Henry and his brother Edwin regardless of its growing socio-economic detractions. Being from a well established family in the area would have stood Henry in good stead later as a newsagent, just as it would have done earlier when he and Edwin were painters.

There is a useful book about Richmond (McCalman, Janet, "Struggletown: Public and Private Life in Richmond 1900-1965", Melbourne University Press, 1984). Some of the above information comes from the book. The book does not refer to the Jerrems family at all.

Henry and Marion's family

Turning to Henry and Marion;s family of 4 boys (Henry Harry Beddome (1904-1955), Leonard William (1906- 1982), Arthur Ernest (1910-1986) and Eric Alfred Sayce (1917-1970), three were obviously born before the War, and one latecomer (Eric) was born during the War in 1917.

Bringing up the boys, particularly during Henry's absences in the Army, would have kept Marion busy. From a financial viewpoint the Army pay was good, but his absence from his newsagency would have left Marion with the additional responsibility of arranging for someone to look after the newsagency during his absence.

Death of Henry and Marion

Henry died on 13th July 1928 at Richmond aged 47 and Marion died at the same age on 14th April 1931, in Richmond. Three of their children were grown up when their parents died but Eric was only 11 when his father died and 14 when his mother died.

Looking at the family photo taken in 1917, before Henry set off for England on war service, it is sad to think that within 14 years Henry and Marion had passed away at comparatively young ages.

Sadly, Marion's death certificate shows that she had colon cancer when she died in a private hospital.


I am pleased that I have finally written an article about the Melbourne Jerrems families. I have started drafting further articles about Henry and Marion's children, and Henry's brother Edwin.

The Stork has been Busy
Ray Jerrems   The Jerrems Tree Grows
In the January edition of the Journal we referred to Helen Mitchell, who is a great great grand- daughter of Robert Cane Jerrems (her great grandfather Edwin being a son of Robert). Helen recently sent us the following email:

Hello Ray, just letting everyone know I am a nana again. My second daughter Jenni has just had a little girl Matilda Kimberley Hare. Both are well. She weighed in at 7lb 10oz. Regards Helen.

We also heard recently from Anita Veale (nee Jerrems), who supplied information and photographs for the previous article about her grandfather Henry Herbert Jerrems (coincidentally she is a great grand-daughter of Robert Cane Jerrems). Not to be outdone, Anita and George are now great grandparents for the first time, thanks to the arrival of Chloe Elise Berka. Anita and George now join the elite band of readers who are great grandparents.

We extend our congratulations to all concerned, and trust that the little girls are well.
Ray Jerrems  
After Ray had received letters from Anita Veale and Helen Mitchell and compared their addresses he realised that they virtually live in the same suburb of Melbourne.

This was amazing enough, when one realizes that their ancestors probably lost touch with each other about 80 years ago. But added to this is a further coincidence. When he told Helen where Anita lived she said that her youngest daughter Kelli went to school with a Kate Veale. Anita Veale confirmed that Kate is her grand daughter.

Melbourne has a population of over 3 million people, making these coincidences even more remarkable.

Jerrems Residences in Victoria (photos taken Feb 2001).

Henry Herbert lived here with his wife Marion Elizabeth and his family at #6 Strode St. Richmond (upper left).

The moved house after Henry's discharge from the Army in 1917 to #1 Botherambo St. Richmond (lower right).

#9 Union Street Richmond Occupied by Henry Herbert and family 1926. (two story)


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