ROBERTS Charles Fox

Charles Fox ROBERTS


Date of Birth: 22 February 1844

Birth Location: North Capel Farm, Stirling Estate, Capel

Age at Burial: 79 years

Date of Death: 20 January 1923

Death Location: “Lutterworth” Loc 63 Stirling Estate, Capel

Date of Burial: 22 January 1923

Denomination: Anglican B

Row/Grave: Row 11 Grave 141

Grave Transcription:

At Rest

In Loving Memory Of



DIED 20 TH JANY 1923









FATHER: William Jenkin Roberts (Snr) born: 1796 England. Died: 26 April 1883 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

MOTHER: Isabella Jenkin born: 1799 England. Died: 9 August 1875 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

GRANDFATHER (FATHER): William Jenkin Roberts born: 1763. Died: 1813 (England)

GRANDMOTHER (FATHER): Elizabeth Bullock born: 1760. Died: 1814 (England)


Matilda Roberts born: 1826 England. Died: On board ship to Australia – Buried at Sea 1842/43.

Elizabeth Roberts born: 1827 England. Died: 18 March 1877 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery. (It was reported in the 1850’s by a visiting surgeon, Henry Richardson, from the convict ship “Sultana”, that Elizabeth was a “poor, silly thing”. It can only be assumed that she was intellectually handicapped.)

William Jenkin Roberts (Jnr): born: 3 March 1828 England. Died: 6 June 1919 Buried Capel Cemetery. 1. Married 9 September 1850 Elizabeth Hurst. 2. Married 1910 Jane Scott (nee Elms)

Frederick Roberts born: 1830 England. Died: 12 July 1913 Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1855 Johanna Ryan.

Thomas Roberts born: 1832 England.  Died: 1832 Buried England.

Catherine Roberts born: 21 October 1834 England. Died: 18 January 1923 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery. Married 20 November 1850 John Scott Jnr.

Jane Roberts born: 3 August 1835 England. Died: 7 June 1926 Buried Picton Church. Married 6 January 1853 Robert Scott.

Thomas Roberts born: 1838 England. Died: 29 October 1907 Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery. Married 1863 Mary Ann Eliza Properjohn.

Ann Roberts born: 27 December 1840 England. Died: 7 February 1900 Disappeared Presumed Drowned Bunbury-Minninup. Married 21 August 1862 James Ramsay.

SPOUSE: Hannah Hurst born: 17 March 1842 England. Died: 14 August 1917 Buried Capel Cemetery.


William Charles Fox Roberts born: 21 July 1865 Capel. Died: 8 January 1946 Buried Nannup Cemetery. 1. Married 1888 Mary Longbottom. 2. Married 19 July 1909 Alice “Maud” Hambridge.

Clara Ann Roberts born: 1866 Capel. Died: 11 January 1931 Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married 10 September 1888 William James Bovell.

Susan Sophia Roberts born: 1867 Capel. Died: 7 September 1928 Buried Brighton Cemetery Melbourne. 1. Married 3 May 1892 George Crampern Rosselotty. 2. Married 28 February 1898 Rev. John “Jack” Beukers.

Herbert Henry Roberts born: 21 March 1869 Capel. Died: 20 October 1942 Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 22 June 1898 Rose Campbell Forrest.

Frank Albert Roberts born: 17 March 1871 Capel. Died: 22 January 1939 Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 18 September 1894 Mary “Jane” Higgins.

Capel Hannah “Pink” Roberts born: 1872 Capel. Died: 17 December 1920 Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married 10 September 1904 James Hargrave Shekleton.

Charles Basil Roberts born: 9 December 1873 Capel. Died: 13 December 1873.

Edith Isabella Roberts born: 1874 Capel. Died: 27 November 1953 Buried Bunbury Cemetery. Married 1893 Arnold William “Jack” Chapman.

Catherine “Emily” Roberts born: 1876 Capel. Died: 15 October 1954 Buried Old Mandurah Cemetery. Married 22 March 1899 George “Melville” Tuckey.

Baby Girl Roberts born/died: 1878 (Stillborn)

Grace Elizabeth Roberts born: 1879 Capel. Died: 23 July 1928. 1. Married 1900 James Phillip Shiel. 2. De facto/Married David John “Peter” Chapman.

Charles Basil “Bon” Roberts born: 1881 Capel.  Died: 29 August 1936 Buried Capel Cemetery. 1. Married 19 March 1907 Margaret Emily Roberts. 2. Married 1911 Elizabeth Ellen “Sis” Thompson (nee Nelms).

Ilma Jane Roberts born: 1886 Capel. Died: 18 December 1920 Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married 26 December 1913 Thomas Evans “Jack” Glynn.

OCCUPATION: Farmer and Horse Breeder.

Their Story

Charles’s parents William Jenkin and Isabella Roberts along with their 8 children immigrated from Cornwall to Australia on the ship “Diadem”. It departed from England 18 December 1841 and arrived in Australind, Western Australia on the 10 April 1842. Their eldest child, Matilda, died on the journey and was buried at sea.

William, at first, worked for George Elliott, the resident magistrate at the time, at his farm, Bury Hill, which is now central Bunbury.

In 1843 the opportunity arose, and he took up a 4400acre lease on part of the Governor Stirling Estate, Capel. The family built a wattle and daub house and established “North Capel Farm”. This was where their last and only child born in Australia, Charles Fox Roberts, came into the world on 22 February 1844.  He was named after Charles Fox, from Falmouth, England whose family owned a foundry and apparently helped The Roberts’s come to Australia.

Charles Fox Roberts grew up in a family that had great faith in the Church of England. Reverend Wollaston and other Anglican ministers were highly regarded visitors at times to the Roberts home. They performed baptisms, marriages, and services for all that gathered from the local farms.  Their strong beliefs helped them cope with the hardships of their new life.

As a young boy Charles would have helped with the farm work. The family grew potatoes in swampy ground that was cleared by hand. They ran cattle and sheep and produced milk, butter, eggs and grew grain for their own use and if there was any excess this was traded with the American Whaling ships that frequented the local shores. Charles was probably home schooled but at times may have joined the Rose children who were schooled by a Ticket of Leave man in their employ.

A sense of community became evident as more families moved to the area. Ploughing matches were held and picnics took place. The families supported each other, and the Roberts children began to marry and make their own way.

Charles was only 6years old when his oldest brother William married Elizabeth Hurst in 1850 and moved to his own farm “Trencreek”.

Charles became an Uncle for the first time in February 1851 when William and Elizabeth’s daughter Matilda was born.

Catherine also married in 1850, to John Scott (Jnr) and moved to “Stratham Farm”.

In 1853 Jane married Robert Scott (John’s brother) and moved in with Robert’s parents helping with the running of “Eelup” in Bunbury and then later established “Roselands”

Frederick married Johanna Ryan (an Irish Catholic) in 1855. They established a small holding “Stoneyfield”. Later moving to “Bellevue” near where the Capel cemetery is now situated.

Ann married James Ramsay in 1862 and moved to “Minninup” with James’s cousins. Later moving to Bunbury and establishing a butchering business.

Thomas married Mary Ann Eliza Properjohn in 1863 and established “Rosemore”.

As Charles grew and his siblings married and left to establish their own lives and families, he would have undoubtedly had more work and responsibilities on the farm.  His nephews and nieces arrived at very regular intervals until the last was born in December 1889.

When Charles Fox Roberts was 20years old he married Hannah Hurst, on the 22 September 1864.  Hannah was a cousin of Elizabeth, his oldest brother Williams’ wife. They probably met at family gatherings and social outings. Charles continued working with his parents on “North Capel Farm”. By the late 1860’s Charles had taken over most of the running of the farm from his parents. In July 1865 Charles and Hannah welcomed their first child, a son named William Charles Fox Roberts.  Their family continued to grow with the birth of Clara Ann in 1866, Susan Sophia 1867, Herbert Henry 1869, Frank Albert 1871, Capel Hannah “Pink” 1872, Charles Basil in 1873 and then tragically at 6 weeks old he died. In 1874 Edith Isabella arrived, Catherine “Emily” in 1876 and then again tragedy in 1878 when a Baby girl was stillborn. Grace Elizabeth arrived in 1879, Charles Basil “Bon” (2) in 1881 and then lastly the family was complete with the arrival of Ilma Jane in 1886 when Charles was 42 and Hannah was 45. Charles was known to the children as “Father’.

Trove Article -1870 Property to Let – link

The small wattle and daub house that had been built in 1843 had probably become very crowded and in the early 1870’s Charles parents William Jenkin (Snr) and Isabella, along with his sister Elizabeth had moved into a cottage in Wittenoom Street Bunbury.

In 1873 Charles Fox Roberts brother-in-law, James Ramsay of Minninup and husband of his sister Ann, drowned in a swamp on North Capel Farm.  Ann was left widowed at 33 with 3 children just 9, 5 and 4 years old, plus a butchering business to run.  The story has come down through the generations that a night of whisky and card playing at the farm ended with James being a little under the weather. When the time came for him to walk home to Minninup a wrong turn was made and to this day the swamp is still known as “Uncle James’s Swamp”.

Trove Article – 1873 Drowned in Swamp – link

Another story that has endured the generations is, a young Frank Albert Roberts burnt down the original home that was built in 1843. There are still bricks under the ground that are from the chimney. Apparently in the confusion and panic to save what they could from the fire and make sure the children were safe, the newest baby of the time was put on the ground outside. Whilst everyone was busy, one of the sow pigs picked up the swaddled baby and disappeared off down the paddock with it. All ended well and the baby was retrieved, unfortunately the house was not. It is unclear where the family then lived but a new house of wattle and daub was built about 30metres from the old one and life continued.

Charles helped support his aging parents and sister, now that they were retired to Bunbury to a small cottage on the south east corner of Wittnoom and Wellington Streets and he concentrated on improving North Capel Farm and building his reputation as a noted cattle and horse breeder. The lack of money impacted on the improvements, also the fact that the land was a leasehold. Fencing was apparently either non-existent or not a good standard as there were regular notices in the newspaper of straying stock on his leasehold that could be claimed when expenses were paid! Charles was a very keen supporter of the District Agricultural Shows in Nelson, Wellington, Vasse and Murray, he regularly exhibited livestock and won many prizes. Charles was also involved in the horse racing industry, both breeding and racing numerous horses. He was a steward for the Wellington Turf Club for several years and a clerk of the course in 1878.

Unfortunately, his mother Isabella died in August 1875 and was buried in the Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery. This left his Father William and his sister Elizabeth living in the cottage in Bunbury.

Trove Article – Isabella Roberts Death 1875 – link

Two years later Elizabeth died on the 18 March 1877 and she was buried near her mother Isabella.

William Jenkin Roberts Snr was now alone in the cottage although his daughter Ann and her children were living close by.

Governor James Stirling died in 1865 and at various times over the following years the Stirling Estate was advertised for sale or lease. The 4400acres, part of Wellington Location 41, being farmed by the Roberts was not sold and was re-leased to the Roberts family at each advertising.

Trove Article – Farm To Let 1880 – link

Also, in 1880, Charles’ brother-in-law John Scott died leaving his sister Catherine widowed. Catherine remained at Stratham Farm for a further 2 years before moving her family to a property near Cokelup swamp and later to a house she owned in Bunbury.

Charles’s family continued to grow. By 1880 he and Hannah had 9 living children – 3 boys and 6 girls. The family home must have been busy.  There were paddocks to be cultivated, potato crops and cereal crops to either plant or harvest, cows to be milked, animals to be tended and all done with very little farm machinery.

On the 26April, 1883, after a short illness Charles’ father William Jenkin Roberts Snr died and was buried in the Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery next to Isabella. He left his small cottage and all its contents to his daughter Ann Ramsay. He had obviously accumulated some wealth over the years, when he died, he owned livestock, real estate and had some savings. All his children were beneficiaries of his will. At his death William Jenkin Snr and Isabella’s living descendants in Western Australia numbered at least 75.

Trove Article – William Jenkin Roberts Death 1883 – link

In 1883 Charles won prizes for two fine shorthorn bullocks at the Guildford Show and 1884 saw Charles travelling by mail coach to The Vasse, Pinjarra and Fremantle presumably attending agricultural shows not only entering livestock but also judging.

In 1886, baby Ilma Jane Roberts was born. This was Charles and Hannah’s last child. The family was complete. There were 7 girls and 4 boys, ranging in age from baby Ilma up to William, now 21.

Farming life continued at “North Capel Farm”. In early 1886 the farms on Stirling Estate were advertised for sale once again, this included 2600acre farm, “Stratham”.

Trove Article – 1886 Ribbon Grant – link

It was at this time Charles bought “Stratham”, built a new 3-bedroom house and moved his family.

William Charles Fox Roberts, now 21yrs and Frank Albert Roberts now 15 yrs, remained at “North Capel Farm”. Charles also bought a 1440acre farm in Balingup that he named “Golden Valley” about 1886. This property was undeveloped, and he and his sons worked clearing and improving the land and building a house. Charles had now accumulated numerous pieces of farming equipment, making life a little easier. His farming had diversified to include both dairying and beef cattle, Berkshire pigs, cereal cropping, hay making, sugar beet, field peas, Indian corn, onions, carrots, and field turnips as well as the establishment of orchards at both Stratham and Golden Valley, but his great interest remained in breeding horses.

Charles and Hannah’s oldest child, William Charles Fox Roberts married Mary Longbottom from Nannup in 1888. They continued to live at “North Capel Farm” and the first of Charles’s grandchildren was born later the same year. Later they moved to “Golden Valley”.

Also, in 1888 Clara Ann Roberts married William James Bovell of the Ship Hotel in Busselton.

Susan Sophia Roberts married in May 1892 to George Crampern Rosselotty of Busselton. By November 1892 George had been killed in an accident when his horse collided with a tree whilst riding home from Bunbury with brother-in-law Herbert. Susan was 5months pregnant with their first child. Sylvia Crampern Rosselotty was born in early 1893.

Trove Article – Inquest 1892 – link

In 1893 Edith Isabella Roberts married Arnold William “Jack” Chapman who worked for the railways and at that time was stationed in Northam.

1894 saw Frank Albert Roberts marry Mary “Jane” Higgins, of “Springfield” Capel and make their home at “North Capel Farm” also.

In 1895 six of Charles and Hannah’s children were still living at “Stratham”. Emily, 17, was writing to George “Melville” Tuckey of Mandurah. From these we see that life was busy in the family. Emily, Capel, Grace, Ilma and Bon were all still attending the small Stratham school.

Life for Charles was lived going between his properties at Stratham, Balingup and Capel. Hannah usually accompanied him, to keep house for the men.  Often, he and the boys took cattle between farms. The family talk of picnics, race balls, agricultural shows and a circus that came to Bunbury in 1896 that had Bears and Monkeys! Their children regularly saw each other. The younger girls stayed with their older sisters or the older girls and their children, came to stay at the family home at Stratham or at Balingup. They talk of the whole family attending relatives and friends’ weddings.  They competed in the agricultural shows and went to the horse races. They enjoyed their social lives and worked hard in between times. Charles travelled to Northam and stayed with Edie. He became a member of the Bunbury Roads board in 1896 until 1900 and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1900.

In February 1898, Susan Sophia married again to a widowed congregational minister John “Jack” Beukers who had a young son. They lived in Donnybrook. Two months later Sylvia Rosselotty, Susan’s daughter Sylvia died of diphtheria and is buried beside her father in Busselton. Susan and Jack had 4 children over the next few years. Eventually Jack’s ministering duties took them to the Eastern States.

In June 1898 Herbert Henry married Rose Campbell Forrest of “Seaview”. Their new home was built at “Greenfields” part of “North Capel Farm”.

The following year, 1899, Emily married Melville Tuckey and moved to Mandurah.

Charles’s sister, Ann Ramsay, whose husband James had drowned at North Capel Farm went missing on the 7 February 1900.  She left a note addressed to a friend, but it was never revealed what the note said. No trace of her was ever found. It was presumed that she had walked into the ocean at the Back Beach in Bunbury.

Trove Article – 1900 Disappearance of Mrs A Ramsay – link

The government, in 1900, bought from the executors of Sir James Stirling’s estate the leaseholds on the Ribbon Grant that included the Roberts’ farms. They proceeded to drain and divide the land into blocks. Applications were made and the blocks bid on in 1905. Frank Albert Roberts was successful in retaining the original site of the homestead and 215 acres surrounding it and Herbert Henry Roberts purchased 270acres just north of this.

Grace Elizabeth married policeman James Phillip Shiel in 1900. In 1901 their first child, a girl was stillborn in Busselton. Shortly after they moved to Geraldton. After several moves, and 3 more children, they resided in the goldfields of WA. It was here that the marriage broke down. Grace then married David John “Peter” Chapman. Both her sons, one 14 and the other 17, died within a month of one another at the end of 1921. Shortly after Grace and Peter moved back to Capel.

Charles and Hannah’s daughter Clara Bovell’s husband William James Bovell died suddenly in 1902 leaving her with 7 children, aged between 1 and 12.

William Charles Fox and Mary Roberts and their family purchased a farm at Darradup near Nannup. It was across the river from Mary’s family. Now that “North Capel Farm” was being divided and sold, the time was right to move to their own property in 1902.

Charles Fox Roberts sold “Golden Valley” at Balingup by the end of 1903. The boys now had farms of their own and families to look after. A large dispersal sale for the stock and equipment from Golden Valley was held at Stratham during that year. Bon remained farming at Stratham

Trove Article – 1903 Live Stock Sale – link

In 1904 Charles, now 60, bought a large home in West Street Busselton from Dr Hungerford. Hannah named it “Ullesthorpe”.  He built a good set of stables behind the house for his racehorses, and they settled into retirement.

Trove Article – 1904 Ullesthorpe Stud – link

Trove Article – 1906 Ullesthorpe Stud – link

Capel Hannah “Pink” married James Hargrave Shekleton in 1904. James had taken over the management of the Ship Hotel Busselton. He was a widower and had 3 children. They had a daughter who was stillborn in 1908. In 1910 James Shekleton went to the Eastern States. On his return, 4years later, he found to his amazement that Pink had divorced him on the grounds of desertion!

Bon married local girl, Margaret Emily Roberts (no relation) in 1907. Sadly, Margaret died just 2 years later. Bon married again in 1911 to widow Elizabeth Ellen “Sis” Thompson (nee Nelms) and stayed farming at Stratham.

Unfortunately, Mary, wife of William Charles Fox Roberts died of pneumonia in September 1907.

Their daughter, Muriel Florence Roberts married Stephen George Longbottom of Nannup, during 1909, she was Charles, oldest grandchild and the first to be married. William married again, also in 1909, to a local schoolteacher, Alice “Maud” Hambridge, and had 3 more children.

Lastly the youngest of Charles and Hannah’s family Ilma Jane married Thomas Evans Glynn in 1913. Thomas worked in the timber industry.

Charles and Hannah continued to enjoy their children and grandchildren and were often staying with one of the families. In 1915 Charles sold “Ullesthorpe” and moved back to “Stratham”. As World War 1 took hold the life that Charles had known changed. At least 3 of his grandchildren went to war. Vernon Llewellyn Bovell, son of Clara was killed in September 1917. Several nephews and great nephews went into service, some did not return.

Charles life changed forever on 14 August 1917, when Hannah, his wife of nearly 53years, died in hospital in Perth. Hannah was bought back to Capel on the train and laid to rest in the Capel Cemetery.

Trove Article – 1917 Funeral Notice – link

Charles had recently bought Location 63 Stirling Estate and built a small house. He called this property “Lutterworth” which was the small village where Hannah had grown up in England. Charles continued to visit his children and grandchildren. His son Herbert was a successful horse breeder and trainer, so his interest in horseracing continued.

In November 1919, Charles sold Stratham. Bon and his wife “Sis” must have come to live with Charles at “Lutterworth”, as they were the only family left at Stratham.

The following year, on 20 December 1920, Charles buried two of his daughters. Pink 48, died on the

17 th and Ilma 33, died on the 18 th. They were buried next to each other at Karrakatta Cemetery Perth.

Charles’s sons had all followed the farming life, but this life was not for his daughters, none of them married farmers. By 1921 Charles had 38 living grandchildren. Some of Charles older grandsons were now farming. “North Capel Farm” was being farmed by Frank and his sons. William and his sons were farming at Nannup and Herbert and his sons had established “Greenfields” a successful horse stud. Bon continued farming but did not have any children.

By the close of 1922, on a return journey from visiting his son William and family at Nannup, Charles suffered a stroke. He came home to “Lutterworth” and it is there on 20 January 1923, Charles passed away. His funeral took place on the 22 January 1923 and he was placed next to his wife Hannah in the Capel Cemetery.

Trove Article – 1923 Obituary Mr C. F. Roberts – link

Charles Fox Roberts Will was dated 14 May 1918.

He left “Lutterworth” Location 63, Stirling Estate, to son, Charles Basil “Bon” Roberts. Although a misprint in his Will says it is Location 65 which he did not own. He leaves all the residue and remainder of his estate to be shared equally between his remaining 10 children. Charles had not updated his Will after Pink and Ilma had died in 1920. The Will did state, if any of his children predeceased him, and had no children of their own then their share was divided equally between Charles’s remaining living children.


Information and Story complied and researched by DC (CDCP team member and Great Great Granddaughter of Charles)

Links to other websites and family members with additional information included in story.

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© Capel District Cemeteries Project 19/05/2021

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ROBERTS Charles Fox
ROBERTS Charles Fox
ROBERTS Charles Fox