Snippets from the life of Martha Sarah Ellis.
Martha travelled to Australia on the SS Nairnshire as part of a group of servant girls such ships were often known as “Bride Ships”, with her younger sister Kate Ellen Ellis. Kate Ellen was 2 years her junior and only 17 when she left England. It would appear that Kate Ellen managed to settle much quicker in Western Australia than her elder sister Martha. Kate Ellis married almost a year after arrival in the January 1891 in Fremantle and settled there.
It is thought that Martha probably left soon after Kate’s marriage, to go to Melbourne in Victoria. Almost a year later Martha is getting married also in January on the 16th to Walter Todman in the All Saints Church, Saint Kilda in 1892.
Was Martha Kate’s protector? Martha did not leave England without her younger sister, who may not have been able to join her until she was at least 16 years of age. As the eldest daughter in the family Martha would have understood that if she left home with her sister Kate, Kate would probably become the unpaid domestic worker for the family. Prospects would have been no better for Kate that they were for Martha.
Kate was younger than Martha when she arrived so was perhaps better able to adapt as she may not have had so many strongly formed opinions at that age. In contrast, Martha appears to have been a feisty and opinionated soul ready for any sort of adventure.
It is interesting to ponder why Martha did not leave Western Australia straight away. Perhaps she felt that she needed to be around until she knew that Kate would be taken care of. Kate’s marriage to Thomas Wardle gave Martha the freedom to travel and leave her bad experiences behind her.
To Read more about Martha's life for articles previously posted for the A to Z Challenges click the Letters below:-
 Shipping Records for the 'Nairnshire', Page 3 Passenger listing, 8 Oct 1889; Passenger and Crew Lists (State Records Office, Western Australia. [Copy of the original record provided via email by Tom Reynolds from the State Records Office of Western Australia on 8 February 2013 Note no reference was given. Reference created from known sources])
 England, birth certificate for Kate Ellen Ellis, born 12 June 1872; citing 1d/721/191, September quarter 1872, Camberwell registration district, St George Camberwell in the County of Surrey sub-district; General Register Office, Southport
 Marriage index entry for Andrew Thomas Wardle and Kate Ellen Ellis married 1891, entry number 110, Western Australia Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, Department of the Attorney General, Western Australia [I have not see a copy of the marriage certificate of Andrew Thomas Wardle and Kate Ellen Ellis however I have assumed that the marriage was at the beginning of the year based on the number of the entry for that year.]
 Marriage certificate of Walter Todman and Martha Sarah Ellis married 16 Jan 1892, Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, 345 (1926),