Frank Albert Roberts about 1932

Frank Albert Roberts

Name: ROBERTS Frank Albert

Date of Birth: March 17, 1871

Birth Location: North Capel Farm, Stirling Estate, Capel

Age at Burial: 67 years

Date of Death: January 22, 1939

Death Location: North Capel Farm, Stirling Estate, Capel

Date of Burial: January 23, 1939

Denomination: Anglican B

Row/Grave: Row 2 Grave 16

Grave Transcription:

In Loving Memory

Of

FRANK ALBERT ROBERTS

BELOVED HUSBAND OF

MARY JANE.

FOND FATHER OF

WILFRED, FELIX, MARGERY & MARY

BORN 17 TH MARCH 1871.

DIED 22 ND JAN. 1939.

REST AFTER TOIL.

Father: Charles Fox Roberts born: 22 February 1844, North Capel Farm, Capel. Died: 20 January 1923 “Lutterworth”, Capel. Buried Capel Cemetery.

Mother: Hannah Hurst born: 17 March 1841, Leicestershire, England. Died: 14 August 1917, Perth. Buried Capel Cemetery.

Grandfather (Father): William Jenkin Roberts (Snr) born: 1796, Veryan, Cornwall, England. Died: 26 April 1883. Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

Grandmother (Father): Isabella Jenkin 1799, Cornelly, England. Died: 9 August 1875. Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

Grandfather (Mother): Unknown

Grandmother (Mother): Eliza Hurst born: 22 January 1823, Leichestershire, England. Died: 1850 Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England.

Siblings:

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 Crampen Rosselotty. 2. Married 28 February 1898 Rev. John “Jack” Beukers.

Herbert Henry Roberts born: 21 March 1969 Capel. Died: 20 October 1942. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 22 June 1898 Rose Campbell Forrest.

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/died: 1873 (lived approx. 6 weeks)

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

Grace Elizabeth Roberts born: 1879 Capel. Died: 23 July 1928. Buried Capel Cemetery. 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 “Sis” Thompson (nee Nelms)

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

Spouse: Mary Jane “Janie” Higgins born: 14 April 1872 “Springfield”, Capel. Died: 25 May 1951. Buried Capel Cemetery.

Children:

Wilfred Frank Roberts born: 2 March 1896 Capel. Died 27 February.  Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1927 Mary Victoria “Queenie” Walker.

Felix Guy Roberts born: 10 October 1897 Capel. Died: 24 February 1966. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1926 Maisie Jennings.

Margery Stirling Roberts born: 28 November 1904 Capel. Died: 30 November 1939. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1927 Cecil Edward Hazelton.

Florence “Mary” Roberts born: 28 November 1907 Capel. Died: 12 May 1989. Buried Capel Cemetery.

Occupation: Farmer.

Their Story

Frank Albert Roberts was the fifth child and third son of parents Charles Fox and Hannah Roberts of North Capel Farm. Frank and his siblings were part of the second generation of the Roberts family to be born in Australia. His Grandparents, William Jenkin and Isabella Roberts, their 5 daughters and 3 sons had migrated to Australia on board the “Diadem” in 1842. They landed at Australind. Their eldest daughter, Matilda died on the journey. Frank’s father, Charles Fox Roberts was born on North Capel Farm, Stirling Estate at Capel in 1844. He was the last child of the family and the only one born in Australia. William Jenkin and Isabella farmed North Capel Farm, (Lease belonging to Governor James Stirling) along with their children. The Roberts children married into other pioneering families in the district and developed properties of their own. Charles Fox Roberts married Hannah Hurst, in 1864 and took over much of the running of North Capel Farm from his aging parents.

Frank Albert Roberts was born on March 17, 1871. Charles and Hannah already had William Charles Fox 5 ½, Clara Ann 4 ½, Susan Sophia 3 ½, and Herbert Henry 2 when Frank was born. Frank was 1 when the next baby, Capel Hannah “Pink” was born in 1872. In the early 1870’s, William Jenkin (Snr), Isabella and their daughter Elizabeth, moved from the family home (built in 1843) on North Capel Farm to Bunbury. The home at North Capel Farm was obviously becoming very crowded and too busy for Grandparents William and Isabella.

The story has been told through the generations that when Frank was a small boy, he burnt down the original home built in 1843. In the rush to make sure the children were safe and retrieve as many possessions as possible, the youngest baby of the time was placed swaddled on the ground outside. A large sow pig picked up the bundle and trotted off down the paddock with the baby. Thankfully the baby was rescued unharmed. The house was not. There are still chimney bricks in the ground where the house stood. A new house was built a short distance away.

In 1875, when Frank was 4, his grandmother, Isabella died. Two years later, his Aunt Elizabeth died leaving Grandfather William, now 81, living in the house in Bunbury.  Frank went approximately 2 miles across the paddocks to the Gynudup School, which is where the Capel Cemetery is situated now and near his Uncle Frederick and Aunt Johanna Roberts’ farm. It was here that he received his education. The Gynudup School closed in about 1886. He worked on the farm helping his father and brothers with the stock, growing and harvesting potatoes and other crops. In 1883 Frank’s grandfather William, aged 87, died after a short illness.

Around 1886, Frank’s father, Charles bought “Stratham Park”. A new house was built, and the family moved. Frank, 15 and brother William, 21 remained on North Capel Farm. Also, at this time Charles bought an undeveloped property at Balingup and named it “Golden Valley”. Charles and the boys spent time going to Golden Valley clearing and developing the land and building a homestead as well as running North Capel Farm and Stratham Park. In 1888, Frank’s eldest brother William married Nannup girl, Mary Longbottom. They continued living at North Capel Farm for some time.

Frank competed in The Sheffield Handicap, a running race in Bunbury in 1892 and won his heat but was not placed in the finals. Horse racing was another of Frank’s interests. It was in his blood, his father bred and raced horses throughout the district. He entered his horse “Modesty” in the Hack Race at the Vasse Race Club Meet in 1893 and won.

In the early 1890’s Frank courted Mary Jane “Janie” Higgins from “Springfield” Capel. The Higgins family were another large farming family in the district. Like Frank, Janie also came from a family of 13 children but sadly both her parents had already died. Frank and Janie were married, September 18, 1894, in St Pauls Church, Bunbury.

Trove Article – Roberts Higgins Wedding

Frank took his new bride home to live at North Capel Farm. His brother William, and wife Mary and their growing family were living at both North Capel Farm and Golden Valley. A number of William and Mary’s children were born at North Capel Farm. Eventually, William and Mary moved to Golden Valley and then their own farm in Nannup.

By 1895, Frank had become a committee member of the Capel Race Club along with his father, Charles, brother Herbert and brothers in law, David Henry, Henry Charles and Reuben Gardiner Higgins. The races were a big occasion for the community. In 1896, Frank and his father, Charles weren’t happy that the mail service in the area had been changed from 3 times a week to just once, and along with many others signed a letter to the paper stating that it was an inconvenience.

Frank and Janie welcomed a son, Wilfred Frank Roberts, in March 1896. The following year, 1897, Felix Guy Roberts was born in October. Sometime during the early years of Frank and Janie’s marriage they added on to the homestead. Apparently, Janie built the brick fireplace. Franks older brother, Herbert married Ludlow girl, Rose Campbell Forrest in 1898 and lived nearby. Family weddings and get togethers were a regular occurrence.

The district shows were very keenly followed by the Roberts’ family. Father Charles, brother Herbert and Frank entered livestock in the shows, often bringing home many of the prizes on offer. The results for the Bunbury Show in November 1900, lists Frank riding in the Hunter Show jumping Class and running 2nd, having ridden his horse over jumps 3ft 9” high. Frank was listed in various advertisements as Manager of North Capel Farm. It was around this time that the government bought the land on Stirling Estate from Governor James Stirling’s executors, so it could be divided and sold in smaller blocks, thus attracting more people to the district. This was a very slow process as the government wanted to drain a lot of the swamp land on the Estate to make more of the land accessible. The drainage board were very slow moving in upgrading and establishing this project.

In 1903, Frank and brother Herbert were playing cricket for Stratham. They were also part of the Race Club committees for Capel and Bunbury. Charles Fox Roberts, Frank’s father sold Golden Valley and bought a large home in West Street, Busselton for his and Hannah’s retirement. Frank’s brother, Charles Basil “Bon” Roberts was living and working Stratham Farm for Charles.

Early 1904 saw the settlers accompanying the Minister for Lands on a tour of the Stirling Estate, obviously hoping that it would soon be available to them. They sent a delegation to Perth in April that year to try to speed up the process. In August a caretaker was appointed, and the settlers were advised to remove all stock from Stirling Estate and then in November 1904, the government advertised applications would be opened at the beginning of 1905. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with the government as they had raised the price of the land.

Trove Article – Minister of Lands Tour

On November 28, 1904, Frank and Janie welcomed a baby girl. They named her Margery Stirling Roberts. Wilfred was 8 and Felix 7. Maybe Frank and Janie taught Wilfred and Felix their early education. 9 acres of land was set aside on the Stirling Estate for a School when the land was divided into smaller blocks. The Stirling School opened in 1906, and the boys attended under the guidance of teacher Gerry Murnane.

There were many applications received by the government for the blocks on Stirling Estate, which ranged in size from 8 to 400 acres. Frank must have felt great relief when he was able to purchase the home block, North Capel Farm, of 215acres on which the Roberts Family home was built. Frank also bought some smaller blocks. Herbert bought land just north of Frank and built his home. He called his farm Greenfields.

Trove Article – Ministers Comments

Trove Article – Stirling Estate Allocations

Frank continued growing potatoes and milking cows. In April 1907 he was involved in a meeting in Bunbury discussing the establishment of a butter and jam factory in the South West. There were several opinions where it should be located. Frank thought Boyanup was the most suitable location and stated that he would send all his cream to it and become a shareholder.

Trove Article – Butter Factory

November 28, 1907, Frank and Janie welcomed their second daughter, Florence Mary Roberts. They called her Mary. It is thought that she must have been premature as she was reportedly so small, she fitted in a shoe box! She was born on her big sister, Margery’s 3rd birthday.

Trove Article – Potatoes

At the end of 1907, it was reported in the Capel News that Frank Roberts had produced a record potato crop. He also had horses entered in several of the District Shows.

Fencing on the Stirling Estate was still somewhat lacking as Frank was advertising that he had straying stock on his holding and when the owner paid expenses the stock could be claimed.

Empire Day was celebrated at the Stirling School on 24 May 1912. Wilfred, Felix and Margery were all in attendance along with many of their cousins. In 1913 Frank and some of the other parents helped supervise the children as Empire Day celebrations were held at the school again.

Trove Article – Empire Day 1913

World War 1 was a time for worry. Frank had several nephews and a niece who went to War. Felix took over the mail delivery up the Goodwood Road. Walter Higgins had been doing this but had enlisted and gone to the War. It was at this time that mailboxes came to the Capel Post Office. Felix, who wasn’t 21, applied for Box 1, but he had to get his father to sign the application, so Frank became the holder of Box 1, Capel. It has been handed down and is still held by the Roberts Family today. Felix filled out his enlistment papers but didn’t turn 21 until one month before the war ended. Sadly, some of Frank’s nephews did not return. Frank was on the Capel War Relief Committee who helped provide necessities and comforts for Australian soldiers.

Frank’s mother, Hannah died August 1917 in a Perth Hospital. She was returned to Capel by train the following day for burial in the Capel Cemetery.

During the war, Wilfred was working on “Springfield” for the Higgins Brothers. These men were Janie’s brothers and Springfield is where she was born and grew up. Felix worked at home on North Capel Farm for his father. Margery and Mary were still at Stirling School. Frank’s father sold Stratham Farm and moved to Lutterworth, (Lot 63) Stirling Estate. He was closer to home. Bon and his wife Cis were now living at Lutterworth too.

Frank was one of the farmers who did not pay their drainage rates in 1920. He went to court in 1921 because he believed the Drainage Board had not maintained their drains, causing his land to flood and income to be lost. He won his case.

January 1923 saw the death of Frank’s father Charles Fox Roberts and his burial next to Hannah in the Capel Cemetery.

In 1926 it was reported in the South West Times, Frank Roberts owned a Middle White Yorkshire sow pig that had a litter of 19 piglets!

Wilfred bought a shop in Properjohn Road, Capel that sold just about everything. His sisters, Margery and Mary had formed a friendship with Mary Victoria “Queenie” Walker, who had come to Capel as a schoolteacher. Queenie was often at their home or out and about with the girls. It wasn’t long before Wilfred and Queenie were courting. Also, at Stirling School another young schoolteacher, Maisie Jennings had caught Felix’s eye. Wilfred and Queenie became engaged in May 1926 and Felix and Maisie were married in July 1926. Felix built his new bride a house to the south of Frank and Janie. Frank then divided this land off and transferred it to Felix.

Frank’s nephew Edwin Rowland Campbell “Rowley” Roberts married Alice Elizabeth “Bub” Fletcher in 1925a and built a house about half a mile away from Frank and Janie’s home. Frank apparently liked to sing. Rowley and Bub could hear him singing in the outhouse each evening!

Frank walked daughter Margery down the aisle of St. Johns Church in Capel when she married Cecil Edward Hazelton in 1927. He also became a grandfather in 1927 when Felix and Maisie had son John Jennings Roberts. Wilfred married Queenie in July 1927.

Frank continued his farming pursuits along with Felix. Mary was helping on the farm as well, still being unmarried. She had two boyfriends, one had not worked out. The other Frank had waved his shotgun around and made sure he knew he wasn’t welcome.

Margery and Cecil had a daughter, Rosemary at the end of 1928 and Wilfred and Queenie had a son, Gordon in 1929. Felix and Maisie had another son, Geoffrey in 1932, and then in the following couple of years, Wilfred and Queenie had a daughter, Ainslie and Margery and Cecil had their second  daughter, Heather.

Frank enjoyed his grandchildren. John and Geoff lived on the farm, Gordon and Ainslie were in Capel and Rosemary and Heather lived in the Capel River District. Shooting was another thing that Frank enjoyed. Grandson Geoff recalled when he was a small boy, he remembered Frank often sitting outside the back door of the house with the air rifle, shooting the doorknob on the storeroom about 15 metres away. Grandfather Frank would then give little Geoff a turn. The dented brass doorknob is still there today. Geoff also told a story about a somewhat mischievous Grandfather Frank. They were walking towards the house when Frank fired a shot into the roof, turning to Geoff he said, “That will frighten the shit out of the old woman!” Of course, Janie came rushing out of the back door not at all amused unlike Frank who thought it was a great joke.

Frank passed away unexpectedly, in his bed, with his pipe still in his hand on January 22, 1939. He was buried the next day in the Capel Cemetery.

Trove Article – Obituary

Compiled and researched by DC – Great granddaughter and CDCP member.

If you are visiting this page and have further information that pertains to Frank Albert Roberts that you would like to add, can you please contact the Capel District Cemeteries Project via the CONTACT US section at the bottom of the main page.

© Capel Cemetery Districts Project 2021

Frank early 1890's
F.A. Roberts Headstone
Frank, Janie & baby Wilfred 1896
Frank, Janie & Grandchildren Gordon, John & Rosemary
Frank on his horse at the Lake block
Empire Day at Stirling School