Snippets from the life of Martha Sarah Ellis.
Walter Todman was Martha’s first husband (love?) they were married for 37 years. So what would it have been like for Martha to have lived so long with Walter? What was he like?
What clues have I found? Let’s have a look
He was an inventor and registered several patents that included
– 1890 an improvement in the construction and working of a machine for shearing sheep.[i]
– 1891 Specifications for registration of patent by Walter Todman titled - An improved automatic check for venetian blinds.[ii]
– 1895 An improved machine for saving gold.[iii]
|Photographer Unknown, Lincoln and Walter Todman in his workshop, circa 1920s, Myrtle Sharp's Private Photo Collection. T080|
In 1895 Martha took him to court for maintenance. He was a bit absent minded- bringing pots and pans in from the shed what could he have been thinking! Click here to read about the court case.
We know he moonlighted/worked as a waiter as it came out in the court case; it was probably to support his business, his inventing and to support his family.
He was an upright citizen
– he was involved in fundraising with the Red Cross for the war effort at the Red Cross Carnival held in Chapel Street on the 29 June 1918. Walter’s shop and the chemist next door their combined efforts in a stall refered to as “Todman & Higginbotham” and raised a total of £101/13/2.[iv]
– He loved his cycling and sponsored a cycle race in 1921 on the Dandenong road in Oakleigh, put on by the Prahran and South Yarra cycling “ Walter Todman trophy race” a 15-miles course.[v]
|Photographer Unknown, Portrait of Walter Todman, 1926, Myrtle Sharp's Private Photo Collection currently held by Sandra Williamson[T084]|
He dreamed big and thought beyond his time, as we can see below from the following newspaper clippings:-
|W. Atkinson Wood M.D., 'PIONEER MOTORING.', The Argus, 14 July 1923, p. 6. , viewed 26 Apr 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2005084|
– & don't forget the roller skates made with bicycle wheels
|Anon, 'Cycling notes.', Punch, 19 September 1901, p. 26. , viewed 26 Apr 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article175389085|
I think I would have liked Walter, but I’m not too sure what it would have been like to live with. Martha must have been a very strong and self-determined woman.
To Read more about Martha's life for articles previously posted for the A to Z Challenges click the Letters below:-
[i] NAA: A4618, 2663
[ii] NAA: A13150, 12585
[iii] NAA: A13150, 11250
[iv] Anon, 'PRAHRAN RED CROSS.', Malvern Standard, 24 August 1918, p. 5. , viewed 26 Apr 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66410753
[v] Anon 'CYCLING.', The Argus, 24 October 1921, p. 5. , viewed 26 Apr 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4631477
[vi] Anon, 'Advertising', The Age, 9 August 1928, p. 4. , viewed 26 Apr 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205484132