Family Names

Friday, 28 April 2017

A to Z Challenge - X marks the spot

Snippets from the life of Martha Sarah Ellis.

Married in 1892 and by 1894 had moved into the South Yarra area near Chapel St, eventually moving onto Chapel St. the early years must have been difficult, as they moved around quite a bit until settling in 580 Chapel St., where they lived for the longest period during of their married life, 13 years.

Site - 1  1894       Shop & Residence, 27 Arthur St, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia.
Site - 2  1895       Shop & Residence, 5 Palermo St, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia
Site - 2  1896       Shop & Residence, 3 Palermo St, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia.
Site - 3  1897       Shop & Residence, 580 Chapel St, South Yarra

In 1908 and 1909 there were no entries in the “Sands & McDougall’s directory” for the Todman's.  This could have been because this could have been an oversight as Charlotte died at 5 weeks of age with Whooping cough and Lincoln was born - perhaps a busy time for everyone. 

Walter declares bankruptcy in 1910

Site - 4  1910       Shop & probably residence, 474 Chapel St, Sth Yarra
Site - 5  1912       Shop & Residence, 360 Chapel St, Sth Yarra

Photographer Unknown, 360 Chapel St., South Yarra, circa 1916, originally from Myrtle Sharp's Private Photo  Collection a digital copy held in Sandra Williamson’s Private Photo Collection[T082]
Site - 6  1921       Shop & Residence, 3 Cato St, South Yarra

1929       Walter dies and Martha moves away.

I have marked all the address for Martha’s time in South Yarra on a map see below [note the blue circles equate to the X symbol, tyr as I might I couldn't work out how to change them :-( ]:-

This map shows where Martha lived between 1894 when she moved into the South Yarra Prahran areas until 1926 when her husband Walter dies.created using Google MyMaps 2017 and can be seen at
It is interesting to ponder the map as we see the family further toward High Street the more desirable end of Chapel St.  In her book “Chapel Street Prahran, Part One 1834-1918” Betty Malone describes the vicinity as follows:-
“Not all of Chapel Street was devoted to shopping and industry in the pre-war years.  The lowly area on the south-east side of Toorak Road was not a part of which Prahran was particularly proud.  It was the home ground of many of the poorest residents of the district, of jobbing carters, whose houses, yards and stables came to the regular attention of the District Health Inspector.“ 
The area was often referred to as “Struggletown”.  It is then interesting to think of Martha in this context as the family move further away from Struggletown towards the prosperous end of Chapel St, over the years.

To Read more about Martha's life for articles previously posted for the A to Z Challenges click the Letters below:-
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 

·         Sands & McDougall's Melbourne and Suburban Directory - Todman, 1894 – 1929
·         Prahran Rates Book - City of Prahran, Sth Yarra Ward 1893 – 1921
·         Electoral Rolls 1901 – 1930
·         MALONE, B. (1983). Chapel Street Prahran, Part One 1834-1918. Prahran, Vic, Prahran Historical and Arts Society in conjunction with Prahran Mechanics' Institute.


  1. A beautiful photo of the shop on Chapel Street. Do you know who the people are?

    X is for destruction of a piratical fleet in Xiānggǎng (Hong Kong)

    Anne Young

    Anne's family history

    1. After much discussion with other family we have decided that the people are Apprentice on left, Lincoln Todman boy on bike. Hazel and Alma Todman Taller girl ?Ivy Todman and Walter on right Circa 1913
      Thanks for dropping by Anne

  2. I'm impressed that you were able to do anything with Google maps. I like them but they frustrate me at the same time.

    1. It took me ages to do the map, originally is was going to cover her entire life but then it became too large and I found that only do a section of life made more sense. I think I might try to make layers for similar and related addresses. I don't think I used Google maps correctly as I couldn't work out how to embed so I just did a screen capture and went from their. A very steep learning curve.

  3. Interesting. I wonder if moving like that messed with mail delivery at all. An odd thing to ponder, but it's come up in my life.

    J -- Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference and Speculative Fiction Writer

    1. Hi J, I think the posties knew everyone so if you moved particular in the same area they could find you. not like now where the posties seem to change all the time. Thanks for dropping by.


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