family photo strip - John
John Coates' Family History Pages

The information and photos on this page are from many sources. We have done a lot of research ourselves, especially searching through old newpapers and BDM records. The assistance of other family-history-minded members of the extended family has been invaluable, including Bev Bisaro, Merilyn Andrews and Keith Heffernan. Please contact me if you have additions, corrections or questions. I would particularly like to hear from you if you are related to our branch of the Smith family


Two of my great-great-great-grandparents were George Smith and Sally Sutcliffe married on 5 November at St Peters Burnley, Lancashire, England. He is described as a soldier at the baptism of his son Sidney. They had at least three children:

  • Thomas Smith was baptised on 24 June 1802 at St Peter's Burnley, Lancashire.

  • Joseph Smith was baptised on 23 February 1806 at St Mary's Oldham, Lancashire.  He married Judy Clayton on 5 June 1826 at Middleton, Lancashire. Joseph was a cotton spinner at the time of his marriage, and on the 1861 census a mechanic in an iron foundry. Joseph and Judy may have had as many as 12 children between 1831 and 1849.

  • Sidney Hollinworth Smith (my great-great-grandfather) was baptised on 7 February 1808 at St Mary's Oldham, Lancashire.  He married Sarah Heywood (1810-1872) on 7 April 1833 at St Mary's Oldham. Census and baptism records (for his children) suggest he was a some type of engineer in the coal  mines, who relocated fairly frequently.
    Sydney and Sarah Smith had 8 children:

    • Hannah Smith
      She was born circa 1837 in Tonge, Lancashire, England. In the 1851 census she was 14 years old, living with her family in Ince, Cheshire, and working as a spinner in a cotton mill.

    • George Smith, my great-grandfather
      He was born 1 February 1838 in Ashton Under Lyme, Lancashire. See details below

    • Catherine Smith
      She was born circa 1840 in Tonge, Lancashire, England. In the 1851 census she was 11 years old, living with her family in Ince, Cheshire.

    • Alice Smith
      She was born 9 January 1842 in Little Lever, Lancashire, and baptised 21 July 1850 at St John The Evangelist in Farnworth, Lancashire. In the 1861 census she is 19 years old, living with her family in Chadderton, Lancashire, and working as a cotton powerloom weaver.

    • Martha Smith
      She was born circa 1844 in Little Lever, Lancashire. In the 1861 census she is 17 years old, living with her family in Chadderton, Lancashire, and working as a cotton powerloom weaver.

    • Sydney Smith
      He was born circa 1848 in Little Lever, Lancashire. In the 1861 census he is 13 years old, living with his family in Chadderton, Lancashire, and working as a coalminers' waggoner; in the 1871 census he is 23 years old , working as a mechanic's labourer, married to Hannah with a child, Martha Smith, born circa 1869; they are living with his parents.

    • John Robert Smith
      He was born circa 1850 in Little Lever, Lancashire, and baptised 7 July 1850 at St John The Evangelist in Farnworth with Kearsley, Lancashire.

    • Ellen A Smith
      She was born circa 1852 in Wigan, Lancashire. In the 1871 census she is 19 years old, living with her family in Chadderton, Lancashire, and working as a cotton cardroom hand.


St John the Evangalist, Farnworth.

George Smith

George Smith, was born 1 February 1838 in Ashton Under Lyme, Lancashire. He was baptised at 12 years of age on 7 July 1850 at St John The Evangelist in Farnworth with Kearsley, Lancashire. It seems the family became Methodists at this time and several of the children were baptised. In the 1851 census he is 13 years old, living with his family in Ince, Lancashire, and working as a "drawer in coal mines". In the 1861 census he is 22 years old, living with his family in Chatterton, Lancashire, and working as a "driller at ironworks". He later stated that he had become a leader of a chior at the age of 18, probably at his local the Wesleyan church.

He emigrated to Sydney, Australia in the late 1860s, apparently alone as there is no evidence he had family in the colony. He moved to Bathurst, NSW, in 1871 and he later stated he had arrived in the colony "a few years earlier"..

On 22 December 1877 at the Wesleyan Parsonage, Bathurst, NSW, 39-year-old George Smith married 19-year-old Sarah Jane Wilson. He stated his occupation as "soap & candle maker". Sarah Jane was the oldest daughter of Edward Gribben Wilson and Elizabeth Barlow and had been born in Sydney on 20 January 1858.

 In 1880, George Smith bought the Club House Hotel on the corner of Howick and George Streets in Bathurst, to convert it into a rather grand Coffee Palace (where no alcohol was served). The Smith family and some of their in-laws, the Wilson family, had living quarters upstairs, as well as visitor accommodation. 

The hotel-style building where the Coffee Palace was located is shown in the centre of the photo on the left.

The Bathurst Coffee Palace

A few days since we mentioned that Mr. George Smith had taken the Club House Hotel for the purpose of converting it into a coffee palace. It is but a week or so since this was projected, and yet, when we visited the Palace yesterday, it was in a state of forwardness for the reception of guests which really astonished us. Every portion of these extensive premises has undergone renovation and is now in a condition to rank, as far as appearance and comfort are concerned, with the best hotels in the country.

The bar has been fitted up in a modern hotel style, and the display of gaily labelled bottles would lead anyone at first sight to believe the “licensed to retail spirituous liquors” was still the order of the day at the old corner. Such, however, is not the case. Cordials of a non-inebriating nature alone will be dispensed at the Coffee Palace, and no doubt but that the bar will be as much frequented during the coming winter by persons in quest of a hot cup of tea, coffee, etc. as ever it was in previous years for “rum hot etc.” Crossing the spacious hall, which, by the by, has been very nicely fitted up, the grand dining room is entered This fine room is certainly without its equal in the district as a dining hall, It is 32 feet long by 20 feet broad, and furnished with a handsome set of dining tables, three-fourths the length of the room. An excellent cottage piano stands at the further end of the room, and everything is arranged for facilitating the serving of a large number of diners in the shortest possible time. The room has been nicely decorated throughout, and the coloring around the borders of the ceiling has a soft and pleasing effect.

The entrance to the hotel proper is through the large hall in Howick Street. Through the bar again and the ladies dining room is entered. This large and lofty apartment, the entrance to which is just past the bar in George Street, will be sure to become very popular with the fair sex. It is an arrangement long wanted in Bathurst. Ladies here, without the additional expense of engaging separate sitting-rooms, can have the same advantages which gentlemen possess in the commercial rooms of hotels. Beyond the ladies room are well-furnished and fitted private parlors, etc. and also the commercial showrooms, arranged for the display of samples by commercial men.

The upstairs arrangements are really magnificent, well appointed dining and sitting rooms, and bedrooms of a description which must make the Coffee Palace a favourite resting place for visitors from all parts of the country. The bedrooms are not only lofty and really well furnished but open on to the grandest balcony in Bathurst. A fine bathroom is now being fitted up in the upstairs department for hot, cold, or shower baths.

In the bedrooms thirty beds are arranged solely for guests, the private bedrooms for the families of Mr. G. Smith, Mr. Wilson, and also for the servants are in another part of the building. The lighting arrangements are excellent, atmospheric gas is used and apparatus is sufficient for from 40 to 50 lights.

The culinary arrangements are all below stairs and of first-class order. The kitchen proper is a model of cleanliness and order; there is a fine cooking range and all to hand for the preparation of the substantials and delicacies which will be so freely dispensed in the Coffee Palace. The scullery, pantries and cellars are all in keeping with the kitchen, and an abundance of pure water laid on all over the premises.

The stabling is most extensive and in fine order, and throughout the establishment is such as to meet wants long felt in the district, and will undoubtedly prove a success. The Coffee Palace will be open to the public this (Saturday) morning.    [Western Independent, 27th March 1880]

George and Sarah Smith were very involved in their local community and church activities. His life in Bathurst is described in glowing terms in the account of the speeches made at the Testimonial Dinner for him on the eve of his departure, with his family, from Bathurst to the Bega region. [Transcript from Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, 30 May 1889].

In June 1889, the Smith family moved from Bathurst to a dairy farm at Wolumla, near Bega, NSW, and the three youngest children were born there. In 1912-13, they then moved to Brisbane and lived at Kooraville, 39 Boundary St, West End, South Brisbane.  George Smith died at age 81 on 8 May 1919 in Brisbane and is buried in South Brisbane Cemetery, Portion 8C Grave 362. In his will George describes himself as a "retired grazier". At the time of his death, he owned eight properties - six houses in South Brisbane (Kooraville, Baskerville, Fernleigh, Coorabell, Accot and an unnamed five-roomed house) and two in Breakfast Creek, plus a farm of 139 acres at Richmond River, NSW.

George and Sarah Smith had 9 children:

  • Sidney Edward Smith
    He was born in 1878 in Bathurst. He married Elizabeth Tremble on 12 October 1907, in Queensland. Between 1913 and 1919 he is on the electoral rolls as a dairyman in Tuchekoi, QLD. He died 30 Jul 1962 in Brisbane, QLD.
    Sidney and Elizabeth had 2 children:
         George Harold Smith (1908-1933); did not marry; died as a result of a collision between his Baby Austin car and a truck.
         Annie Smith (1911-1974) who married Anthony John Heffernan in 1933; they had 7 children.

    George and Annie are pictured below with their grandfather, George Smith senior, in 1912.

  • Alice Sarah Smith
    She was born in 1880 in Bathurst and died in 1881 in Bathurst, NSW.

  • Helen Smith, my grandmother
    She was born on 25 January 1882 in Bathurst. She married Alfred Henry Coates (1881-1967) on 15 November 1911 in the Methodist Church, West End, Brisbane, QLD. They settled in Lismore where their children were born and where she taught music. Later she lived at 24 Berry Street, Spring Hill, QLD. She died on 13 July 1971 at Corinda, QLD, at age 89.
    Helen and Alfred Coates had three children:
         Graeme John Coates (1915-1983)
         Roy Henry Coates (1917-2013)
         Alan Claude Coates (1919-2012)

  • George Harold Smith
    He was born in 1883 in Bathurst. He married Mary Clarissa Pass (1882-1959) on 29 November 1911 in Murwillumbah, NSW. Between 1913 and 1919 he is on the electoral rolls as a dairyman in Tuchekoi, QLD. Later he is listed as a farmer at Tuchekoi, QLD, and then at Burncluith, Chinchilla, QLD. He died on 20 April 1950 in Queensland.
    George and Mary Smith had one child:
         Hazel Mary Smith (1913-1991) who married Clarence Albert Evans (1914-1993); they had 4 children.

  • Arthur Roy Smith (known as Roy)
    He was born on 15 February 1886 in Bathurst. He married Alma Jean Jones née Munro (1916-1987) on 26 November 1949 in Ashgrove, QLD. She was a widow with a young daughter. Between 1913 and 1936 Roy is on the electoral rolls as a farmer at Fernleigh near Widgee, QLD.  Later he was a taxi cab proprieter and had his own business in Brisbane. He died 18 May 1972 in Brisbane.
    Roy and Alma Smith had one son, still living.

  • Claude Wilson Smith
    He was born in 1887 in Bathurst. He married Elsie Kathleen Barker (1886-1958) in 1915 in Sydney. In 1913 he was on the electoral roll as a dairyman in Tuchekoi, QLD (with brothers Sidney & George). Later he was living with his parents at Kooraville, 39 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane, working as a carpenter. He died on 14 Nov 1918 in Lismore, NSW, while staying with his friend Mr. Skinner [Northern Star 15 November 1918]
    Claude and Elsie Smith had one child:
         Neil Wilson Smith who married Suzanne Mary Jackson in 1959 in Sydney. They had at least one son.

  • William Henry Smith (known as Harry)
    He was born in 1890 in Bega, NSW. He enlisted in WW1 and served in the Army Medical Corps, 7th Field Ambulance AIF. He died on 6 August 1916 at Pozières, France and is listed on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial M.R. 26, Part VI, S-Z.

  • Frank Norman Smith
    He was born in 1892 in Wolumla, NSW (near Bega). He married Olive May Brimblecombe (1892-1976) on 14 April 1915 in Queensland. He enlisted WW1 on 20 May 1916 and served in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment Reinforcements and as a driver in the 32nd Coy ANZ Division Train in Egypt. He returned home from Suez in 1919. In 1925 he was on the electoral roll as a farmer in Cooroy, QLD. He died on or about 29 August 1942 in Rabaul, New Britain, New Guinea.

    At the outbreak of WW2 Frank Norman Smith was on Lakunda Plantation, Kokopo, New Guinea, as a farmer and planter; his wife and family were evacuated. He is on the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour in St George's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London: "Frank Norman Smith of Lakunda Plantation, New Britain. Son of George and Sarah Jane Smith; husband of Olive May Smith. Died at Rabaul, New Britain." 
    Tom Goss was in company with fellow plantation owners, Vic Pratt, Frank Smith and Albert Smith, as well as CJ Thompson from Carpenters Ltd. and Jack Marshall from the Rabaul Administration; this party held out in the jungle at Raniolo Plantation for six months following the Japanese invasion. Two weeks after their surrender, at the end of July, this group of six was executed by the Japanese. There is very limited information on this execution which is known to have taken place. The fate of all who perished after the fall of Rabaul was not known until after the war was over. [extract from]

    Frank and Olive Smith had three children:
         Rae Elsie Smith who married Leonard Roy Woolf
         Ethel Olive Smith who married Edward Charles Sturtevant
         Stanley Frank Smith

  • Annie Ida Emily Smith
    She was born on 9 October 1893 in Wolumla, NSW (near Bega). Annie had a beautiful contralto voice and she sang duets with Reginald Stephen Best (1892-1948) on 4QG before they married on 27 February 1931 at Brisbane, QLD. They had no children. They separated after a few years and she returned to live at Kooraville, 39 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane with her mother. She died on 8 August 1946 in Brisbane, at age 52.

    Annie Smith was a bridesmaid with her soon-to-be sister-in-law, Mary Clarissa Pass, at the wedding of Annie's sister Helen Smith and Alfred Henry Coates on 15 November 1911. See photo left, Anne Smith on left, Mary Clarissa Pass on right.




George Smith circa 1877

Sarah Jane Smith née Wilson
circa 1877

Sidney Edward Smith
with his son George Harlod Smith
circa 1910

Helen Coates née Smith

George Harold Smith and
Mary Clarissa Smith née Pass
with George Smith senior
Kooraville, circa 1911

Authur Roy Smith and
Alma Jean Jones née Munro, 1949

Claude Wilson Smith

William Henry Smith

Frank Norman & Olive Smith
Frank Norman and Olive Smith

Annie Ida Emily Smith