Part 2 Australian born Richardson descendants.


Children of John Richardson and Hannah Allison from Alston U.K.

Birth Records of Hannah and Mary Ellen Richardson.

Taking into account the comparative hard and harsh living conditions outlined above, John and Hannah Richardson's family somehow survived the severe Winter climate, kept on digging for gold, and also bore two additional daughters on the Goldfields, Hannah at Smythesdale in 1863, and Mary Ellen at Ballarat East in 1865. Unfortunately Hannah died in about the age of 1 in 1864, and Mary Ellen died in 1868 aged about 3 years old.


This family research project is dedicated to the fond memories Victorian Pioneer Settlers from Swan Reach in East Gippsland, Jack and Annie Richardson, and their four children, Joan Liddell Richardson, William John (Bill) Richardson, Annette Rae (Rae) Richardson, and Ian Joseph Richardson, whom have all sadly passed away between 2006 and 2014. Joan, Bill, Rae, and Ian Richardson, and collectively produced 10 grand children.


Wedding of John Victor (Jack) and Sarah Ann (Annie) Richardson nee Liddell
30 Oct 1922 at Nicholson, Victoria, Australia

Probably the best means of beginning such a genealogical research project, is to outline the earliest known family recollections and stories, and work either way from that point in time. The only definite facts that were known before this research effort, was Jack's father's name Emerson and his mothers name was Ellen Vipond, and the family were from Swan Reach in East Gippsland, Victoria. The sad aspect of these recollections, was that Emerson was an alcoholic, and he basically deserted his wife Ellen and four children, Jack as pictured above, Stella Maria (Stell), William Allison (Will), and Ellen (Nennie), sometime before World War 1.

Frontispiece of Emerson and Ellen Richardson's family bible
Courtesy Bill Richardson's family.

That's pretty much it - short and not so sweet. In brief, considering these four deserted Pioneering children, came from a religious Christian background, in a very conservative social era, it was most likely "not the done thing", maybe even taboo, to talk about old time family problems.

John Victor Richardson (Jack), is actually registered on-line as being born at Bailieston, Victoria, in 1887, which is about 95 kilometres East of Bendigo. After much deliberation, and some doubt over the accuracy of this statistical record, as Jack's War enlistment documents states he was born at Lucknow, via Bairnsdale in East Gippsland, the birth certificate for Jack was recently purchased. This Certificate clearly states Jack was definitely born at Lucknow, and not Bailieston, a classic example of errors in official records family historians have to often deal with and solve.

Birth Certificate of John Victor (Jack) Richardson of 1887, born in Lucknow Victoria.

Jack Richardson, was a pretty amazing, and exceptionally passive gentleman of his times, considering he went to fight for Australia in France in World War 1. Being calm, peaceful, compassionate, patient, humble, understanding, and a "softie with the kids and grandkids", he portrayed many typically similar Richardson family traits, of diligence, persistence and versatility.

He was the eldest of the 4 Richardson children, his siblings being Stella, Will, and Nennie. Jack was quite a handyman come allrounder, and a very gifted carpenter, very particular with his techniques, and proudly presented everything he made, (and did), in a manner that would stand the test of time. As his father Emerson was a gravel cartage and road maintenance contractor with he local shire, it was probably Jack's uncle William Vipond, the Tambo Shire engineer, he worked with and taught him such wood working skills.

Nicholson bridge next to the Liddell family farm on the far bank, believed to be built by William Vipond and his Shire work crew, including Jack Richardson.

Family recollections believe Jack was about his late teenage years, when his father Emerson, deserted his wife Ellen and the four children, probably around the year 1910. So, being the eldest son, this sad event, brought a load of extra responsibility on Jack's young shoulders, basically forcing him to leave school and find work, to support his mother Ellen, and three siblings in his family. That's five mouths to feed, five to clothe, three to school, and so forth, which must have created a lot of pressure back in those days, for such a young lad.

With the onset of the war in 1914, their lives went through further turmoil, and a lot of personal pain and loss, which probably overshadowed much of the family separation dramas. Many rural families has to move to the cities to find work in order to survive, as Hannah Richardson eventually did in 1916.

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Back of picture postcard written by Jack Richardson in 1914 to George Cunningham, a good friend, and also uncle of Annie Liddell on her mothers side.
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Jack used to get pretty lonely and even quite homesick, whilst working on such projects out the bush for extended periods. One of Jack's Photo Postcards, actually shows a photo of his work crew setting up the drilling rig for the bridge pylons at Hospital Creek. He wrote often to his good friend George Cunningham (an uncle of Jack's wife Annie) on the Tambo River from Tostaree, as per this particular postcard written in Sep 1914. Jack mentioned the Top Man (Foreman) on his work crew, made 10/- (i.e. 10 shillings or the equivalant of $1 a week) and was talking about leaving the crew, so Jack wrote "if he dose, I might get his job".

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Typical Picture Photo postcard of this era, showing the pylons going in for the Hospital Creek bridge.
This is Jack Richardson's work crew with his uncle William Vipond in charge in 1914.
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There are also many fond family memories of Jack's love of playing cards, as his Postcard also states "Very quite (quiet) up here. We are boarding at Jonsen's (probably had meals at the Tostaree guest house). He wrote "We play cards every night for an hour or too and make home for camp." Jack's grandchildren who lived with him in Darling Road, East Malvern in the mid 1960's, not long before he died, recall his enthusiasm for playing and teaching Crazy Whist and Euchre card games, with the neighbours too.

Jonson's place, mentioned in Jack's postcard of 1914 as "Jonsen's", was actually a guest house at Hospital Creek
Photo of Johnsons taken in 1913, Courtesy State Library of Victoria.

Fortunately, for the survival of the family's sake, Jack's uncle, William Vipond, was quite an accomplished, and locally recognised construction engineer. William engineered the original draw bridge on the Nicholson River, the trestle bridge (demolished 2013) that was next to the current highway at Hospital Creek near Tostaree, and also the original trestle bridge on the flats on the eastern outskirts of Orbost, in far East Gippsland. Uncle William Vipond and Jack worked together on numerous regional road maintenance and bridge building projects, Jack being a labourer, often under his uncle Williams supervision.

Our Jack was 26 years old at this point in time, and in September of the following year, on his War enlistment application, Jack listed his occupation as a carpenter. "Next of Kin" was noted on his papers, as "Ellen Richardson 82 Wattle Tree Rd. Malvern", which is great guide to at least the whereabouts of his mother and youngest sister Nennie, not long after the War started. A quick review of younger brother Will's enlistment papers, only two months earlier, have his "Next of Kin" naturally listed also as their mother Ellen, but he her contact address then, was still simply
"Swan Reach Victoria", which clarifies that Ellen and daughter Nennie moved to Melbourne within this time frame in 1915.

Jack joined the 5th Pioneers Battalion, after initial training at Royal Park in Sep 1915, and finishing later at Bendigo in Jan 1916. We also know for a fact, Jack sent another picture Postcard in 1916 on the way to fight in France, to his good mate George Cunningham from Tambo Upper. It did mention that they weren't allowed off the boat in Adelaide, but they were in Perth in West Australia, was in good health, and signed it "your ever mate Jack". The year of 1916 was not a good year for Jack, as his war record noted he was transferred to the 5th Pioneer Battalion for active service in France. He embarked from Melbourne on board the HMAS Wiltshire for France on March 7th 1916, which actually sailed via Adelaide and Western Australia. Another postcard to the George Cunningham mentioned they were unable to disembark at Adelaide, but his battalion did while in Perth, Western Australia.

As it turned out, Jack was badly wounded in the right forearm, became an amputee, and after lengthy hospitalisation eventually returned to Victoria from France on Feb 2nd 1917, on board the Denis Boulogne.

More info about Jack Richardsons Anzac War Record

Jack returned to Swan Reach after the war, and met up briefly with his younger brother Will, who was sent home from Egypt, having severe Diabetes. Sadly Will passed away at Swan Reach only a few weeks after Jack return home, at the request of his family, after a lengthy stay at Caulfield Military Hospital. Local friend Bill Whelan, put in a good word for Jack about a job in South Melbourne, and he got it, so he moved to Melbourne. He worked as a Ranger in his first post war job in 1917, in the paddocks and open land of South Melbourne, believe it or not, mainly rounding up stray horses.

Formal welcome to Jack Richardson at Swan Reach, after serving in France in World War 1.

Presumably this work was quite demanding, as later on in the same year of 1917, Jack commenced working as the Lift Driver in the Melbourne Town Hall. A Melbourne newspaper photo and article from 1952, quoted "Jack Richardson, the courteous kindly liftman, who has driven 17 Lord mayors from the ground floor to the second floor, will never again stand outside the main lift at the Melbourne Town Hall. At 65 he retired yesterday, after 35 years with the City Council. He began his job in 1917. He was just back from France, where - as a member of the 5th Pioneer battalion - he lost his right arm ... and his chances of resuming his job as a bridge carpenter for the Railways. 'I knew my disabilities, so I adapted myself', he said yesterday."

Jack Richardson's retirement notice in 1953 in the Melbourne Sun newspaper.

Apart from what the experience of going to war does to one's soul, perhaps we should all consider his personal pain and the loss of his right arm, being discharged, and returning home in a state extremely doubtful of whether being able to support the Richardson family again. It is noted that both of Jack's daughters, Joan and Rae, recalled him regarding his own personal status, going from a fit active bread-winner to an amputee, as being "only half a man". After the amputation, he had very little self confidence, and regarded his prospects of getting married and having a family as virtually non-existent. However, by sheer chance and good luck, Jack met up with Annie (Sarah Ann) Liddell, a lovely lass from Bairnsdale, in the city of Melbourne one day, and their romance, and resultant family blossomed from there.

The resultant marriage of Jack Richardson and Annie Liddell, was a key link to many local pioneering families in East Gippsland, as well as numerous other old time family ties going back decades and even centuries, of well established mining families from Cumberland and Northumberland in the U.K.. The Tree extract below here, clarifies the family links by marriage visually, between the Richardsons, and the Coulson, Calvert, and Liddell families, via the marriage of Jack Richardson, and Sarah Ann (Annie) Liddell from Nicholson, in Victoria, and her father William Coulson Calvert Liddell.

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Tree showing major Richardson and Liddell links by marriage in Australia
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This tree extract also outlines earlier generations on Jack Richardson's side, being his grandfather John Richardson's marriage to Hannah Allison back in Alston, Cumberland, John Viponds wife Mary Ann Bell from Cumberland, and within Annie Liddell's family, her Grandfather Joseph Liddell's marriage with Mary Calvert from Allendale Cumberland, and also Thomas Henry Cunningham from Manchester and his wife Margaret Murphy from Kiandra via Snowy River in New South Wales.

From left at rear, William Coulson Calvert Liddell (Bill), his daughter Annie Liddell and his new son-in-law Jack Richardson, and in front, Jack's sister Ellen (Nennie) wearing the hat. This photo is also taken on Jack and Annie's wedding day, 30 Oct 1922 at Nicholson in Victoria.

Liddell family tree - Diagram 1.

At a glance, one may think some names already mentioned, like Joan Liddell Richardson, William Allison Richardson, and William Coulson Calvert Liddell, may sound a bit unusual these days. Such naming structures, are derived from a long standing tradition of including a mothers maiden name, eg. William Allison was named after his mothers maiden name, Hannah Allison. William Coulson Calvert Liddell's moniker, is quite extraordinary, with Calvert from his mother's maiden name, and Coulson being his grandmothers maiden name on his fathers side. This naming tradition often makes tracing older generations and families much easier too.

Jack and Annie's family, from left Bill, Rae, and Ian, probably taken by eldest daughter Joan - circa 1936.

Dear Jack always had time for family, was kind and soft hearted, never spoke about the war, and never complained about having to fight for our country. He relished those special times with his sisters Nennie and Stell, all his children, and to all those who remember him, they would probably agree he showed special affection towards us grandkids too.

Jack (and Annie of course) was the only Richardson out of his generation who had any children. They had four children Joan Liddell in 1923, William John in 1927, Annette Rae in 1930, and Ian Joseph Richardson in 1933, whom in turn produced 10 grand children. They first lived in Victoria Rd, then Seymour St in Malvern, and in 1929 moved into one of William Vipond's three investment houses in McKinley Avenue, Malvern.

Camping near the beach at San Remo, are from left Annie, probably Ian, Rae, and Jack,
on an affordable beach camping holiday.

Jack and son Bill returning from holidays at an Remo on Phillip Island Victoria in 1946
a regular holiday spot, and Bill drove.

Jack lived out his twilight years at 23 Darling Road East Malvern, having bought this house around 1960, (the year Annie passed away), from his son Bill, who moved to Sydney. Due to age and ill health Jack's daughter Rae Sydenham nee Richardson, sold their family home in Clayton North in 1963, and her family moved in to help look after him, until he passed away in 1966. He always made time and effort to visit his sisters, Nennie and Stell.

Happy times - from left Nennie, Stell, and Jack Richardson, circa early 1950s.

A tribute to Jack by this page author


So, here I am, artist, poet, arms in sling,
Can't tie me boots, chop tha wood, do any damn thing,
The mind goes back, dreams back,
To tender young times -
A bond that shone like no other,
An understanding between Grandfather - Grandson,
Unlike Mother, Father, Sister or Brother.

He was laid to rest in my eleventh year,
A most impressionable age,
My Pa, a Grand old Gent,
A Gent of Peace -
Who lost his arm at war,
Master of all his sole hand tried,
So wise and much much more.

Always a smile, so rich and warm,
His laughter still resounds,
From day to day, year to year,
his garden of life did bloom -
Even with just one arm, no less no more,
For family, friends and strangers alike,
Each task was just a chore.

So here I am, pondering arms in sling,
Nearly unable to do any other thing,
Than to set me down, and admire my Pa,
Cos he never complained how they stole,
His arm whilst over yon,
More than just a young kid's memory,
As his Spirit still lives on.

Dedicated to
Jack Richardson - born Lucknow 16 Sep 1888.
Husband of Annie Liddell

Written by one of Jack's five Grandsons
K.J. Mixo Sydenham ~ Circa 1985.
Copyright 1992.

From family recollections, in the last three years of his life, long after his retirement, he was still like clockwork with his morning routine. Awake at 7am, molasses eaten with breakfast, shoes polished, eagerly awaiting the ABC news on the radio at 7-45. Part of this research project has been prepared on Jack and Annie's original dining table, they paid 120 pounds for in the mid 1920's, the equivalant of two years wages back then.


Typical photo shot of Stell Richardson.

Stell was born in 1888 in Bairnsdale, presumably as it was the closest hospital to the family home at Swan Reach. Stell was actually named after one of her mothers sisters, aunty Maria Bell Vipond, who was born in Stratford Victoria in 1865. Aunty Maria lived in Stratford most of her early years, and was a very talented professional Milliner - absolutely loved making her hats, which turned out to be her profession too. It should be mentioned, Aunty Maria's name was pronounced Mar-eye-ah, and not the more common way, Mar-ee-ah. Aunty Maria married Thomas Cutter in 1908 in Victoria, who was originally from Northumberland County. Stell's uncle Tom and aunty Maria ended up as cattle graziers at Briagolong, some time before 1914.

Stella's bible and bookmark - a special gift from uncle James Albert Vipond.

This special present from Maria's brother James (Jim) Vipond, given to Stell when she was about 8 years old, symbolises the strong bond between the Richardson and Vipond families, along with another supportive link to William Vipond mentioned further on.

As circumstances of her life eventuated, when Stell's father Emerson deserted the family, it turned out that the best option for Stell, and all concerned, was to move down to Stratford from Swan Reach, to live with her namesake aunty Maria Vipond. Stell was probably just approaching early teens when father Emerson left, and even though she was lovingly looked after by dear aunty Maria and uncle Tom Cutter, she really missed being with her family through these tough times.

Headstone of Maria Bell Vipond at Bumberrah Cemetery.

Stella, known to our family as Stell, was also well renowned for being quite an intellectual, as after she left Stratford, she attended numerous lectures in Melbourne, in particular in the fields of Literature and the Arts. According to the Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle in 1906, Stell passed a number of courses at the Bairnsdale School of Mines, an advanced pass in elementary drawing, and a pass in Brush Drawing, Old Syllabus, and a L.M.B.M. Course - i.e. Lexeme Morpheme Base Morphology, being a study of linguistics.

However, like most of our Richardsons did, and still do, Stell made the most of her situation, away from her mother and family, in the care of her aunt Maria. She was basically taught all the finer points of the hat making trade by her aunt Maria Vipond, and she turned her hand to the millinery with ease. Stell would most likely have been in her very early twenties, when she decided to leave the country lifestyle of rural Stratford, to live with her younger sister Nennie, at 39 McKinley Avenue in Malvern, an eastern suburb of Melbourne.

Timeline of movements of Stell Richardson.

Strange as it may seem, this particular house, amongst the thousands of other homes in this charming older suburb, was yet another example of how the Richardson Vipond connection definitely flowed on from caring attitudes and family ties in Cumberland. Uncle William Vipond, the Tambo Shire engineer who worked with Stell's older brother Jack before the War, undoubtedly had a keen eye for a good investment. Uncle William Vipond actually purchased 3 houses, number 50, and numbers 37 and 39 almost directly opposite, on the other side of the McKinley Avenue. Nennie and Stell lived there together for many years, under a special verbal arrangement with uncle William, that the house was provided as "rent free accommodation for the family", but only whilst he was still alive. Apparently William Vipond had a bit of a special "soft spot" for Stella, as she was left quite a substantial inheritance when William died in 1943 - it didn't seem to bother Nennie at all, at the time.

Stell was well favoured by Uncle William Vipond, and was nominated as executor of his estate.

It must have been wonderful for Stell to be with her sister Nennie again, for many personal reasons of course, and as it turned out, for financial reasons too. Sisters and spinsters, Nennie and Stell started up a few small craft and gifts shop together about 1920, and successfully ran them for about 3 decades, as described further below.

Poker work (burnt) and painted item by Stell Richardson - circa 1940s.

From quite a young age, our Stell also portrayed and expressed a very creative and artistic soul, and showed enthusiastic interest in a number of popular crafts of the time, including Poker Work, designing and making hats of her own design, sewing practical household items like door stoppers, lavender fans, and practical household items, plus decorating china tea sets.

A Poker work gift originally done for family friend Nell Doyle (initials N D) probably burnt and painted by Stell around the 1940s.
Its hard to read but says " The best thing to have up your sleeve is a funny bone.

These two sisters were very close, and eventually ended up living for many of their later years of life together, in the same double storey house, at 140 Finch St Malvern. After Stell passed away in August of 1965, her younger sister Nennie moved to a small unit in Ashwood, quite close to her nephew Bill Richardson's family home in nearby Ashburton.


William Allison Richardson was born in 1890 in East Gippsland. Sadly, Will died quite young, a very short time after returning from World War I, and equally as sad, no recent or surviving family members ever met him. Therefore, pretty much all that can be convey about Will, are only a few snippets from his War Record. Will signed up to serve with the 24th Battalion, at the age of 25 when he was a labourer. He was described as a redhead, with blue eyes, fair complexion, 5 feet 11 inches tall and 12 stone.

From left, brothers Will and Jack Richardson - early Feb 1917.

Also humility, and a genuine warm consideration of family and others, are two of many outstanding individual traits of these generations of the past, typical of many family members today. For example, in July 1916, Jack lost his right arm fighting with the 5th Pioneer Battalion in France, and returned home to Victoria on the 2nd Feb 1917 on board The Runic. No one in the family recalls him ever complaining about the loss of his arm in his later years. Anyway, the mystery has been solved as to exactly when this only known existing photo of Will was taken with Jack shown further below, both standing tall and looking very proud in their uniforms, being between 2nd feb 1917 and when Will died 16 days later at home at Swan Reach. The photo appears to be taken in a studio, most likely at Bairnsdale, or possibly Nicholson, or Swan Reach.

Discharge papers and medical reports say he had Diabetes Mollitum (or nowadays known as Mellitus), and suffered Diarrhoea a number of times overseas. Numerous Pathology reports stated "Blood sugar 5%". A Warrant Officers report simply stated " Patients condition is predicably hopeless" He did make it to Egypt in Jan 1916, however he complained of always being thirsty on board the transport ship, and he lost over 2 stone on the voyage to the war, and was subsequentially hospitalised in Egypt for a few months, immediately after his arrival there.

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At left Will's World War One Enlistment form (1915), and at right, his war medical report of 1916.
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Looking at the only known photo of Will, he's with his brother Jack Richardson, side by side, and appearing very proud in their uniforms, and it must have been straight after Jack was discharged very early in 1917, as Jack only has one arm. Wills war record noted he departed from Suez to Australia on board HMT Runic on 11 April 1916. On approved medical discharge and return to Australia, Will disembarked the Runic at 8-45 pm, on the 29th May 1916, and then spent a "lengthy stay in Caulfield Military Hospital" according to his Obituary notice.

Obituary notice of William Allison Richardson of 1917.

It states "His parents brought him home for a change" early in 1917. Jack's war record states he left Avonmouth near London on board the HS Karoola also in early 1917, so sadly, it was most likely a matter of only a days or weeks at the most, after Jacks return to Swan Reach, that his brother Will died.

Headstone of William Allison Richardson at Bumberrah Cemetery, who died in 1917.

NB. From this point this is a work in progress, and will be updated from time to time until completed to GEN 7.


Nennie Richardson with great great nephew Brett Cartledge in 1976.

Emerson and Ellen's youngest daughter, also Ellen, had a pretty tough time in her very early years. She was only about 9 or 10 years old, when her father deserted the family. Shortly after World War I began, in the Spring of 1915, she moved with her mum Ellen, into a largish double story house at 82 Wattle Tree Rd in Malvern. We are unable to confirm our assumption, but are reasonable sure that this house was most likely also owned by uncle William Vipond, and probably generously provided on a rent free basis, as family members.

Its hard to read but it actually is a War ration card for E. Richardson - 1944.

Ellen was actually called "Nennie" throughout the entire Richardson family from around the mid to late 1920s onwards, primarily because her brother Jack and Annie Richardson's first born, daughter Joan Liddell Richardson, couldn't actually say Ellen, and "Nennie" was the best she could manage to pronounce. So Nennie it was.

Nennie with her best friend Nell Doyle at the Swan Reach State School centenary reunion in 1975.

Nennie, like her elder sister Maria Stella, (Stell) was also quite artistic and creative, however Nennie had a more natural inclination and tendency towards business operations and bookkeeping. She was actually a member of a small group of local girls, called the "Girls Own Club" in Bairnsdale, which was a progressive young women's feminist group, originally set up by, and affiliated with the Young Women's Christian Association, which was officially opened by The Governor his Excellency, Sir John Fuller on 30th June 1911. This group in Bairnsdale was very small, about 6 local girls, that included Doris Mitchell, and one of Nennies best friends too, Nell Doyle. We believe after moving to Melbourne, Nennie was still involved in the "Girls Own Club" but at 117 Glenferrie Rd. Malvern, not far from her mothers home. The Club advertised in the Melbourne Argus newspaper on the 21st Feb 1925, for "Dressmaking and Millinery evening classes for 1 shilling for members and 1 shilling and six pence, for non members."

Not loo long after Nennie and Stell moved in together, into one of their Uncle William Viponds' 3 known investment houses, (Number 50 McKinley Avenue Malvern), they developed a business plan, and started up their very first "gift shop".

This first business venture, was actually a small shop front that was attached to the nearby public library in Glenferrie Road Malvern. They sold numerous practical household, hats, and craft and gift items, many of which they either made or decorated themselves at home.

Their second shop was still in Glenferrie Rd., but was at Hawthorn, very close to the Hawthorn railway station. Their business at these premises must have flourished, as they decided to move to rent a unit in South St, just of Riversdale Road, in order to save travel time and costs. Their innovative business approach was well rewarded, as they were eventually able to run their business from a fairly upmarket shopfront in an arcade in Collins St in Melbourne, that had a display area on the arcade floor, and an upstairs workshop. Regardless of having an on-site workshop, they still made and decorated goods for the shop whilst at home, and would take their items for the shop, in large suitcases by tram to their shop in the city. Neither Nennie or Stell married or had children. Older brother Jack, lost his lower right arm, only a few months after arriving in France in 1916, however he did marry and produce 4 children, and had 10 grandchildren, much to delight of Nennie and Stell.

From left Rae nee Richardson and John Sydenham and Nennie Richardson circa mid 1970s. They both greatly appreciated the extended families efforts, input, and get-togethers, especially when the grand nieces and nephews came on the scene too. This special affection and connection is lovingly expressed in a short hand written note Nennie left, just before she passed away in 1980.

Her touching note to her nieces and nephews reads,
"Dear Joan, Bill, Rae, and Ian,
I just want to thank you for your kindness and help. The interest of your families have made my life so much happier and contented. It is a wonderful thing to belong to a family and to have love and affection for one can be very lonely without them. Thank you all, and I won't say goodbye for I am sure we will be together some time.
God Bless you all. Love from Nennie"

Most surviving Richardson family members, would probably agree, that these sentiments, and appreciation of genuine love and concern for our family is paramount, still very active today, and would also most likely assume, it may be a continuation of a family tradition from the Cumberland days, ways, and ideals of old.

Jack and Annie Richardson's four children, from left Bill, Ian, Rae, and Joan, at their home owned by Jack's uncle William Vipond, at McKinley Avenue Malvern in Melbourne, about 1938.

The other Fab 4 - From left Bill, Rae, Ian, and Joan Richardson, at the Baxter Hotel, Victoria circa 2002


Joan Liddell Richardson was born in Malvern, an inner eastern suburb of Melbourne, on 12 Sep 1923 to John Victor (Jack) Richardson and Sarah Ann (Annie) Liddell. She was the eldest of 4 children, and pretty much all of Joan's childhood was spent growing up in McKinley Ave Malvern, in a very close knit and loving family environment, and also next door to her great uncle William (Latmos) Vipond. It appears the Richardson and Vipond families were particularly close from way back in the 1850s and 1860s, as they lived in neighbouring electoral districts #11 and #12 in Alston UK, they battled the elements on the Victorian Gold Fields in neighbouring towns, being Campbells Creek and Fryerstown, they both lived or farmed at Swan Reach in East Gippsland, and eventually lived as neighbours, in three houses owned by Joan's great uncle, William Vipond.

Joan Liddell Richardson - Circa early 1940s.

Joan passed on numerous old time stories to your web host in her later years, of her fond recollections of life in those days, and in particular the special bond she had with her two aunts, Nennie and Stell Richardson mentioned above, who both lived in Uncle William's other house virtually over the road. Her face lit up with a special glint in her eye, when she mentioned either chatting with Nennie or Stell at their front gate after school, or sometimes going inside to talk about her day over some biscuits or cake, if it was cold or raining. Joan went to the nearby Tooronga Rd State School near Dandenong Road, now known as Malvern Primary School, and later went on to Prahran Technical School.

Jack and Annie Richardson, pictured at their McKinley Ave home in Malvern, where Joan grew up - photo circa 1950.

We should also take into account times were pretty tough during and after World War One, which is a common reason why many rural Victorian folk moved to Melbourne, to find work and feed their children. For example, Joan's father Jack pictured above, lost his right arm fighting in France in World War One in 1916, returned to his family at Swan Reach, and eventually plucked up the courage to marry Annie Liddell at Nicholson in 1922. Even as a skilled ex-carpenter and bridge builder, a Returned Limbless Soldier like Jack, found it hard to provide for his family, so they moved to 47 Victoria Road in Malvern in 1924, when Joan was only 1 year old. One may assume it was no coincidence that Jack's uncle William Latmos Vipond was already living at 39 McKinley Avenue in Malvern in 1924, a mere half mile away from Jack and Annies house, and by 1931, Joan, her parents, her younger siblings Bill and Rae Richardson, were living at 38 McKinley Avenue, another of uncle William's investment houses.

The 1930s were renowned as financially difficult "Depression years", yet somehow most years Joan's parents were able to save enough money for their big annual family treat, being holidays over Christmas in East Gippsland. Joan, her parents Jack and Annie, and siblings Bill, Rae, and Ian, would pack a small bag each, and catch the country train from Spencer Street station to Bairnsdale, where they would be picked in a horse and cart up by Joan's Grandfather Bill (William Coulson Calvert Liddell) or sometimes by her uncle Joe (Joseph William Liddell).

View from below the Liddell farmhouse towards the Nicholson River - circa 1910.

This photo of the Liddell farm where Joan spent many happy Christmas holidays, playing with her Liddell, Calvert, Coulson, and Cunningham cousins, is pretty much how it would have appeared to Joan in the 1930s, apart from maybe a new farmhouse or two over the river. The Liddell property was actually two blocks of land on the Nicholson River, bought by Joseph Liddell and Mary Calvert around 1880, and had the original Orbost train line running through it. Well over a hundred years later, it is known as the Nicholson River Winery.

Our Joan left Prahran Technical School at the age of 14 to initially enter retail, and later became a Telephonist for the Post Master General's office during the 2nd World War. She married Edwin Morrison Hopkins (known as Morrie) in 1947 and lived in Huntingdale for 26 years. They had 2 children, Pamela May Hopkins and John William Hopkins.

Morrie and Joan on their wedding day 20 Sep 1947.

All of Joan's 3 siblings married and had their own children, and she generously lavished her wonderful warm, bright and bubbly nature, upon her very fortunate nieces and nephews too. For those who knew her well, her drive and determination, great sense of humour, and her caring and compassionate way of nurturing young and old - as only she could pass on, will never be forgotten. Upon retirement Joan and Morrie moved to Forest Hills, then Tootgarook, & Somerville, and it should be said, Joan continued the age old tradition of being close to family, as it seems she was never living more than a suburb or two away from her sister Rae (Annette Rae Richardson), for very long at all.

From left John, Morrie, Joan and Pam Hopkins about 1954-55.

Sadly Morrie passed away in 1995. Naturally experiencing the slow deterioration of Morries health and death, had a great and saddening effect on Joan, and all of our family members too. Support of her family and friends in her retirement village assisted her through this time of loss, yet our Joan had a wonderfully optimistic quality about her make-up, even her grandchildren and hopefully her great grandchildren will remember, and take on board. At the slightest sign of something positive happening around her, Joan would often say "Well that's an upper for you", and push her arm up towards the heavens.

Joan and Tom Henderson in 2004.

Joan and Morrie Hopkins, and Tom and Norma Henderson had been great friends for many years - they were married on the same day, and originally honeymooned in the same vacinity. Some time after Morrie and Norma passed away, Joan and Tom rekindled their friendship, and Joan and Tom eventually remarried on 12 Sep 2004 in Melbourne, on Joan's 81st birthday. They continued to live in Somerville until her health deteriorated and she moved to Blue Cross Nursing Home at Chelsea in 2009 until her passing.

Joan Liddell Richardson - Photo Circa 2005.

Currently awaiting text and images from the following Richardson descendants' families, reserved for :-


Lots of smiles - from left Joan Liddell Hopkins nee Richardson, Joan's sister Rae Sydenham nee Richardson, Rae's husband John Sydenham, in front Judy Richardson nee Harvey, and her husband Bill Richardson, circa early 1980s.


Rae as she was known to all, was born in Malvern Victoria, on the 29th Jan 1930. She was raised with her 3 siblings in a house in McKinley Ave, on of 3 investments properties owned by her grandmothers brother, William Vipond. Rae probably went to the same school as her sister Joan, the Tooronga Rd State School, however she passed her Matriculation Certificate (year 12 equivalent) at McRobertson Grammar School in 1947.

Rae like all her family, enjoyed a loving Christian upbringing, and also had a good work ethic. After leaving School, she worked in the office of Massey Ferguson, a major manufacturer of tractors and farming equipment. Although she also had a very typically Richardson passive and patient nature, Rae expressed a competitive side, and continued playing basketball into her early 20s, until the early onset of Arthritis began to limit her ability to play.

Also in her early 20s Rae met her future husband-to-be, John Sydenham at a local dance, and they eventually married in Malvern in Nov of 1953. Just prior to their marriage, John had been working at Phoenix Press in Melbourne ( a printing company owned by an Angus cousin ), and relished in riding quite fast to work from Caulfield, on his Indian motor bike.

A classic photo of Rae Richardson on John Sydenham's bike, before they were married. Circa 1950.

Wedding of Rae Richardson and John Sydenham at Malvern in Nov 1953.
From left, Bill Richardson, Mary Baker, John Sydenham, Rae Richardson, Pam Hopkins in front, Johns mum Ruby Skinner, and Raes parents Annie Liddell and Jack Richardson.

They began their new lives together in Lanham St in Clayton North, only a suburb away from where Raes sister, Joan Hopkins nee Richardson and her family lived in Greville St in Huntingdale. Rae and John had two children, Ken in 1955 and Jill in 1959, who obviously also enjoyed and benefited from the close proximity to the Hopkins place, with regular fun visits with their cousins Pam and John, for social get-togethers and occasional sleepovers. Rae in particular, had a strong drive for inclusive interactions and regular visits within her entire extended family, whether they were cousins or aunts and uncles, on her Richardson & Hopkins side, or within John's side, of the Sydenham, Skinner, and Bowen families.

Christmas day Dec 1956. From Left Jack and Annie Richardson, Jack's 2nd sister Nennie Richardson, Jack's youngest daughter Rae Sydenham nee Richardson, Rae's son Ken and her husband John Sydenham, and Raes aunt Stell Richardson, at Clayton North, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.

As outlined above, Raes father Jack Richardson, a World War One amputee, came to the point in his life, where he was unable to look after himself, so Rae and John sold their house in Clayton in 1963, and the Sydenhams moved into Jacks place in Darling Rd. East Malvern, where they supported him till he died in 1966. The Sydenhams then moved to new house in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Syndal, where Ken and Jill were raised to adulthood. Ken moved to West Gippsland in 1977 to work in the Commonwealth Bank in Warragul, he bought an old cottage at Ellinbank, and much later married Cate Booth in Nov 2009. Jill married Richard Harris in Aug 1980, and they had a daughter Jessie when they lived near Frankston, and some four years later, a son Callan, after they moved to Canberra in the early 1990s.

Rae was quite a community minded soul, and if they weren't away travelling in their small caravan, she volunteered her spare time one day every week for many years, in a small Opportunity Shop in Warragul Rd in Ashwood. She also sewed small things like potholders shaped like chickens, to sell in the Op Shop, until her Arthritis became too painful and awkward to cope with this, and many other simple tasks.

After their children left home, John retired quite early from his position of technician with Telecom, and Rae and John moved to Rye, on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula south east of Melbourne. By the early 1990s, their house in Brights Drive had become too large for their requirements, so they sold up and moved to a new unit at St Johns Retirement Village at Somerville. A few years later, Joan and Morrie Hopkins also moved into the same Retirement village, so the strong family bonds continued between these families, with lots of socialising together, and each providing mutual support when needed. For example, Rae had a calling to conduct a sermon on a monthly roster for the Sunday Church service at the Village centre, and Joan played the organ, up until her hearing began to fail.

Rae and John Sydenham with grandchildren Callan and Jessie, at Somerville c1994.

By this stage of her life, Rae's health had seriously deteriorated, and long term medications for Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritis had taken their toll on her digestive system. Her hands, feet, and shoulders, became virtually crippled, and although she rarely complained about anything, she managed to battle additional issues of Neuropathy, a broken hip, and eyesight failure during her twilight years. The two main things which kept her going through her declining health, were her very strong faith, as well as her ongoing family involvement and support. Her last few years were spent in The Bays Nursing Home at Hastings, as her mobility and agility became greatly impaired. Whether it was a call or visit from anyone in the family, a niece or nephew, children - or especially her grand children Jessie and Callan, her eyes would light up like fireworks on New Years Eve, and she was always interested to hear what had been happening in our lives.

Rae is also sadly missed by all who knew her, and as per her headstone, she was a "truly humble servant of the Lord".

Currently awaiting text and images from the following Richardson descendants' families, reserved for :-


Ian and Margaret Richardson in Sri Lanka in 2008 - post tsunami, continuing missionary work of their then
Sarah John Foundation / Ian Richardson Foundation.

Additional information, regarding Joan, Bill, Rae, and Ian Richardson, are being formulated by respective family members, to be added as an addendum update here, in the near future.


From Joseph Richardson born 1721 at Alston, U.K.


Back to Site Index.

Background into Lead Ore Mining in Northern U.K.

Background into the Gold Rush days near Ballarat Victoria.

From John Allison born in 1801, Alston U.K.

From John Armstrong born in 1705, Haltwhistle U.K.

From Thomas Bell born 1806 of Allendale, U.K.

From James Broadwood born 1796 of Northumberland, U.K.

From William Calvert born 1791 at Kirkhaugh, U.K.

From John Clementson born 1692 in Garrigill, U.K.

From William Coulson born 1760 in Cumberland, U.K.

From Robert Cochrane born 1778 in Eglington, U.K.

From Edward Hewitson born 1794 in Kirk Linton, U.K.

From John Liddell born 1880s in Ninebanks, U.K.

From Joseph Parker born 1810 at Allendale, U.K.

From James Rowe born 1765 in Cornwall, U.K.

From Nicholas Vipond born 1655 in Alston, U.K.

Letters from by James and William Armstrong in the 1860s.

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