William Henry EDWARDS


William Henry Edwards the son of Hannibal and Mary Jane Edwards (nee Matthews) was born at Eldorado in Victoria on 8th November 1874. They lived in the gold-mining town of Chiltern in north-eastern Victoria. He was one of a family of eight children, having 4 sisters and 3 brothers, one sister dying as a babe.

We know little of William's early years in Chiltern but it is unlikely they would have been very luxurious as his father was a miner all life and doesnt appear to ever accrued any great wealth. At the age of 11 years and 5 months on th 27 May 1886 he became a school monitor teacher at Chiltern Valley State School - the start of a long career with the State Primary School system. Three years later he was appointed a Pupil Teacher there. From 1889 to 1899, William taught in schools around the north-eastern Victoria - Chiltern, - Whitfield, Edi South, in the King valley -Swanpool, Yin Barun; both south of Benalla and Noorong and Noorong Central.

It was whilst teaching at Noorong, that William married Emily Eddy, second daughter of Jacob and Mary Jane Eddy (nee Eddy) on January 11th 1899. The wedding was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Chiltern.

Sandmount 30-6-00 H T

Undera North 1-1-05 Head Teacher-N.W.of Shep.

Brankeet West 1-4-07

Toolamba 19-04-09- Sth of Shep.

Shepparton 1-1-1918

Lismore 1-9-18

On Friday July 27th 1923 the Lismore school received A.N.A. prize for the school with the most improved ground in the Colac district. Apparently since his arrival "the garden had won prizes, the ground was well planted with trees; swing and horizontal bar had been erected; a tennis court completed, and everything to make school life pleasant was included in the improvements." This was the second year in succession that Lismore had won the prize. The tennis court and horizontal bars were funded from a benefit concert run the year before.

He achieved his Certificate of Competency in Horticulture in April 1925 before being appointed to Maffra 18-10-25

Instumental in the establishment of the Maffra Higher Elementary School

Fitzroy - George St. 3-6-34

Retired 9-11-1939

During the second world war - between August 1940 & July 1946, he taught at a number of suburban schools as many teachers had joined the 'forces'. These schools were:- Fitzroy - George St., Heidelberg, Coburg East, Merri - Miller St., Fitzroy, Moonie Ponds C. S., Windsor, Brunswick - Albert St., Carlton - Lee St., Carlton - Lee St., Carlton - Rathdown St. and South Preston.


While living in XXXX children were born -


The family then moved to XXXXXX (about 19xx) where they remained until 19xx. Here xxxx more children were born -

After his wife passed away in 1950, William lived in Kew for some years with his son Clarrie. Around 1958 he moved to his son Howard's home which was the manager's residence attached to the Cheltenham branch of The Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney. Then in 1960 when Howard was transferred, he moved into a boarding house in St. Kilda. Soon after whilst sitting on the fence chatting to passers-by, as he was wont to do, he was advised by a stranger of a much superior boarding house nearby. He then moved into the recommended house which his offspring deemed to be an awful place but with which he was perfectly satisfied. "A terrible place with a single dark room with a linoleum fllor and few amenities."

From St. Kilda he would travel all over Melbourne by public transport, visiting his relatives - always with his walking stick and hat. His arrival was always unannounced.

He always carried jelly beans - which he didn't share too freely. His grandchildren recall how he would allow them one jeely bean each and then set the challenge "see who can make it last the longest" whilst having a small feast himself!


William was a very tall man, probably balding at an early age. His height and carriage often led people to mistake him for a policeman, stopping him in the street for advice or direction. He was an excellent vegetable gardener - the family being almost self sufficient in that regard from his efforts. He also kept a tidy but unassuming flower garden. His boys were designated to work a plot or two of the garden as part of helping with the running of the household. Often this requirement had to be fulfilled before going to school - which incidentally was often next to their house.

He was much the disciplinarian, but not as severe as his wife Emily.

After a period of illness during which time he was in hospital (possibly the Alfred) he returned to the same boarding house in St. Kilda. He passed away at the age of 87 in 1962 and is buried in the Preston Cemetery with Emily.


Forrest, Lake and Plain - A Magazine for school and home in the Colac inspectoral district; May 31 1923, Oct. 31 1923



Chiltern                        1

EDWARDS Hannibal                1  

EDWARDS Mary Jane               1

EDWARDS William Henry           1

MATTHEWS Mary Jane              1