James Hindhaugh Robley

James Hindhaugh Robley was born in March 1822 in Newbrough, Northumberland. He was the. son of William Nevison Robley and Jane Forster.

His father,William Nevison, was a cartwright and joiner by trade and the 1871 census shows that his son, James, was living with his father and mother at Broadfield House, Bellingham and that he was a joiner also.

In June 1873 James married Jane Waugh and their first child, Margaret Jane, was born in the September quarter of the same year the birth being registered at Hexham, Northumberland. Their second child, Mary Jane, was born in the March quarter 1875. Jane (Waugh) died in the March quarter 1876 and her death was registered at Hexham.

For a while now we loose sight of James, his 2 daughters are both recorded in the 1881 and 1891 census and are shown as living with their grandmother, Jane (Forster) Robley.

Meanwhile, James met Catherine Wardhaugh, a domestic servant, and on 1st February 1876 at 47 King Street, Castle Douglas she gave birth to a daughter, Mary Robley Wardhaugh.

James Robley eventually married Catherine in the Registry Office in Gateshead, Northumberland on 19th November 1879. Subsequently, the 1881 census shows Mary living with her grandparents in Kelton Kircudbright and the 1891 census shows both her and her mother living there also. Mother, Catherine, died in Midlothian in 1940 at the age of 90 and daughter, Mary, in Dumfries in 1943.

The next record of James Hindhaugh Robley is a certificate of marriage to Mary Ann Frood in Melbourne, Australia dated the 20th December 1880. James' occupation at the time was "traveller' clearly he lost no time in distancing himself from his 'new found' family.

In March 1894, James' wife, Mary Ann, wrote to The Chief Commissioner Of Police in Melbourne enquiring if Mr. G.F. Michell, a Solicitor, had any legal right to hold certain documents of hers to which she attached great importance. She further complained that there had been a false registration of the birth of a William Nevison Robley.

She accused Mr. Michell of holding these documents because she was unwilling to sign a 'Deed of Separation" from her husband for the sum of 50 pounds.

In the event the Chief Commissioner of Police delayed his reply and asked that Mary Ann be advised that there was nothing he could do to help. From the list of "important" documents it is apparent that James was in a relationship with another woman, Louisa Charlotte Klapproth.

Louisa registered the birth of William Nevison Robley on 6th January, 1887, as born on 6th November 1886, father, James Hindhaugh Robley. Louisa also claimed to have married James at South Yarra on the 3rd. October 1884. This was subsequently deemed to be false. William Nevison was subsequently baptised in Bendigo on 19th November, 1887.

There were 2 further children born to Louisa Charlotte and claimed by her to be fathered by James Hindhaugh, traveller of Sandhurst, ie. Harry Foster and Louisa Victoria May Robley, born 24th May 1890.

Of James Hindhaugh we know that his first wife Jane Waugh died and that his second wife, Mary Wardhaugh, whom he married in Gateshead was subsequently left behind when he migrated to Australia. There he was bigamously married to Mary Ann Frood while conducting an affair with Louisa Charlotte Klapproth.. He appears to have had no children by Mary Ann Frood. How this situation was finally resolved, if indeed it ever was, is not known.

What we do know is that his son,William Nevison Robley, occupation, clerk, enlisted in the Australian Army, 29th Battalion, 10th reinforcement under the name of Laing Morrison. He embarked on the transport "Port Melbourne" on 21st October 1916 and was killed in action in France on the 27th September 1917.

He is buried at Ypres, Menin Gate.

His army records show that he was born in Bendigo Victoria and that his next of kin was James Morrison Newbraugh of Kings Park, South Australia. His parents are listed as James and Louise Robley of Gilberton, South Australia and his true name listed as William Nevison Robley. His medals are listed as The British War Medal and The Victory Medal.

Harry Foster Robley, William's brother, was employed as a carter in Box Hill, Victoria. He married Maude Elizabeth. In 1916 he also enlisted in the Australian Army, 24th Battalion, and on the 25th September 1916 embarked on the troopship "Shropshire" for France. He survived the war returning to Australia in July 1919. In the voters register for Flinders, Victoria, Australia (1901 to 1936) there is a listing for a Henry Foster Robley and there is also a reference to a Harry Foster Robley Robley in the register of voters in Los Angeles, California between 1932 and 1964.

Similarly, there is a registration as a voter for Louise Victoria May Robley in the electoral list for Los Angeles, California in 1938. Did brother and sister migrate to America?

John Robley, Kalamunda, W. Australia, August 2008