1821info15a for Neely family
Ernest Alexander Neely and Charlotte Blackman

Charlotte's BLACKMAN's birth was recorded in the fourth quarter of 1855 (GRO ref: Dartford 2a 201). She was baptised in Wilmington, Kent on 14 October 1855.

Charlotte Blackman's birth registration - 5kB jpg

In 1861 the family lived at Slades Green, Crayford, possibly Howbury Farm.

1861 Census Sun/Mon. 7/8th April 1861
Source:     FHL Film  TNA Ref RG09
            Piece 466; Folio 129; Page 26; Sched 128
Dwelling:   Slades Green [Howbury Farm?]   
Place:      Crayford, Kent, England

Name                Rel   Mar  Age  Occupation                  Birthplace 
Blackman John       Head   M   43   Ag La                       Kent, WilmingtonFbeverl
Blackman Charlotte  Wife   M   45                               Essex, Redmdon (?)
Blackman William     Son   U   16   Ag La                       Kent, Wilmington
Blackman George      Son   U   15   La B???kfield               Kent, Wilmington
Blackman Mary A      Dau   U   12   At home                     Kent, Wilmington
Blackman Lucy        Dau   U    9   Scholar                     Kent, Crayford
Blackman Joseph      Son   U    7   Scholar                     Kent, Crayford
Blackman Charlotte   Dau   U    5   Scholar                     Kent, Crayford
Blackman John        Son   U    5   Scholar                     Kent, Crayford 
Blackman Henry       Son   U    3                               Kent, Crayford 
Blackman Emma        Dau   U    8 MO                            Kent, Crayford

In 1865, following the death of their father, John BLACKMAN, Charlotte's brothers William and George emigrated to Australia arriving on 24 August 1863. Charlotte's mother, also Charlotte, followed with eight other children. They departed the UK on 15 May 1866 as eight of the 244 registered adult passengers, arriving in Hobson's Bay, Melbourne on 13 August 1866, after a 140 day voyage aboard the 1218 ton clipper Golden Empire, of the Golden Line. It is assumed that she followed her sons to the goldfields near Ballarat.

Charlotte Blackman passenger list - 44kB jpg
Above: A composite image of Charlotte Blackman and family immigration passenger list on page 5 of the Golden Empire Source: Ancestry - Victoria assisted and unassisted passenger lists 1839-1923
1821info15a, sheet 2
Right: Charlotte Blackman née Clackston outside her Miners Rest house date unknown Courtesy: Llyris Hill Charlotte Neely at Miners Rest - 28kB jpg

Ernest Alexander NEELY

Ernest and Charlotte Neely - 25kB jpg Ernest Alexander was born in Tipperary Ireland in 1857, the son James NEELY and Mary Anne STEFF. The family left from Liverpool on 28 November 1866 as several of the 220 adult passengers for an estimated 140 day voyage on the Wallasea, They arrived in Melbourne on 25 April 1867, with Ernest aged 9. The Victoria Government Gazettes for 1873 and 1896 have Ernest as a carriage cleaner. He must have been about 15 when he started with the railways. Source: Heather Schoffelen

Left: Ernest and Charlotte NEELY Courtesy: Llyris Hill - with thanks
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Neely departure of the Wallasea 1866 - 70kB jpg
Above: A composite image of the departure of the 'Wallasea' on 28 November 1866 with 220 passengers on a voyage expected to take 140 days. Note: Emily NEELY, a servant Research: Vivian Bugden, Heather Schoffelen Source: Ancestry
Right: New South Wales Police Gazette 18 September 1872 seeking for Ernest Alexander Neely Source: Ancestry New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes 1854-1930 (Accessed: 08 June 2020) Police journal for Ernest Alexander Neely - 33kB jpg

Ernest Alexander NEELY, the Ballarat gold miner

Ernest A. NEELY was a Ballarat miner in the days when gold mining had progressed from the earlier alluvial opencast gold bearing beds to the deeper ore-bearing band of quartz extending north from Sebastopol to Black Hill. Whilst it is known that Ernest A. was a shareholder of the Queen Mining Company of Ballarat East and was described as a miner, it is not known where he worked: whether he worked for the Queen Mining Company or indeed which of the mines bearing a variation of that name. One can only hypothesize as to why Ernest A. auctioned his home and contents and moved to Melbourne. Several possibilities are offered with a speculative historical explanation in the context of the time.

Band of Hope Mine, Ballarat - 119kB jpg
Above: Band of Hope Mine, Ballarat in the 1880s perhaps a representation of the Queen Source: Bate

When Ernest A. lived in Ballarat, it had become a prosperous, if polluted, town whose fortunes fluctuated with the amount of gold extracted. The sale of his home and its contents suggests some affluence - see below

Ernest A. speculated in the Queen Mining Company, a No Liability Company, 2 by buying 250 one-pound shares with, it is presumed, the intent of making his fortune. His investment is equivalent to A$30,540 in 2018 by a simple CPI purchasing power calculator. 3

Ballarat Courier 09 May 1879 banner - 14kB jpg
The Courier confirms that Ernest Alexander was a Ballarat gold miner who invested £250 (equivalent to A$30,540 in 2018 by a simple CPI purchasing power calculator in a new mine venture taking over the established Queen Victoria Quartz Company. He must have a good sum in the bank to make this outlay.

Right: A composite image of Ballarat Courier 09 May 1879, which announces the formation of The Queen Mining Company, variously known as The Queen Quartz Mining Company and The Queen Gold Mining Company on 9 May 1879 on Black Hill Flats, Ballarat
Source: The full account can be read in Trove (Accessed: 23 June 2020)
Ballarat Courier 09 May 1879 - 33kB jpg

Contemporary images of The Corner, Ballarat

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Mining speculators at The Corner 1866 Source: National Gallery of Australia

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Buildings at The Corner with speculators outside the Unicorn Hotel 1868 Source: State Library of Victoria

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Dealing in mining shares at The Corner, undated Source: State Library of Victoria

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Brokers at The Corner 1880 Source: Bates

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Speculators on The Corner by William Thomas Smedley (1858-1920), 1886 Source: From the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia Vol 2, 1886

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The old bank building at The Corner, undated Source: ballaratrevealed.com

Some events in the life of Queen Mine

There were several Ballarat Mines with Queen as part of their name.

1821info15a, sheet 4
Ballarat Star 06 August 1881 banner - 14kB jpg
Right: The Ballarat Star of 06 August 1881 reporting a shareholders meeting. The full text can be read at Trove - Ballarat Star Saturday 06 August 1881 page 4 (Accessed: 23 June 2020) Ballarat Star 06 August 1881 - 18kB jpg

The Mining Manager’s reports in the sixth year of production, gives an air of promise and potential, rather than immediate success. He describes the working of a mine in good order, well ventilated but was in need of commissioning the purchased pumps. In all it appears there are eight drifts around a depth of 500feet (152m). In all it appears 541feet (165m) of rock have been excavated with many cross cuts between tunnels and other tunnels extended usually by stoping 10. The report hints at a lot of excavation without finding work able veins of gold in the quartz. The Manager used terms such as a strong vein [of quartz] was struck, from which several crushings were taken out, of an unremunerative quality; expect to strike quartz, but without any good results as yet; working a good vein, which, however, was cut out by a slide. With the exception of the teams optimistically discovered two strong good veins 16 feet above level, from which good results have been obtained the report may be summarised as of striking anything as yet of any value.

The company auditors balanced the books, which in a simplified form may be summarised as: 11

1821info15a, sheet 5
  1881 £ 2018 equivalent A$   1881 £ 2018 equivalent A$
Receipts £6,274.25 $766.400 Expenditure    
At Bank £30.47 $3,726.00 Contracts £2895.65 $353,800.00
      Wages & Salaries £1203.38 $146,980.00
      Cartage £203.08 $24,830.00
      Chandlery £311.35 $38,040.00
      Wood £491.26 $60,020.00
      Sawn timber £104.38 $12,786.00
      General charges £32.66 $3,990.00
      Advertising £21.77 $2,658.00
      Directors fee & travel £75.95 $9,278.00
      Liabilities £400.00 $48,860.00
Totals £6,304.72 $770,126.00   £5,739.48 $701,232.00
difference £565.24 $688,984.00      

Earlier in the year, on 28 February 1881, Trove reported several new ventures were floated in the Black Hills with the Queen Company discovery of a patch of 25 ounces of gold being a warranty for the confidence.

1821info15a, sheet 6

Home auction

On 21 January 1884 page 3 of the Ballarat Star announced, for some as yet unknown reason, the sale of superior household furniture and effects the property of Mr Ernest Neely, Of the No. 2 Hose Reel, Barkly street, near the Powder Magazine. To be Sold without the Slightest Reserve [...]. Judging by the sale of his property and quality of the contents of his home, Ernest A. had struck it lucky or made some money from his shares, above the wages of a miner.

Ballarat Star 21 January 1884 banner - 15kB jpg
Ballarat Star 21 January 1884 header - 36kB jpg
R TUNBRIDGE has been favoured with instructions from Mr Ernest Neely, who has sold his residence and intends leaving Ballarat, to sell by public auction, at his rooms Lydiard street. The whole of his superior HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE and EFFECTS, consisting of cottage Piano by Bard, maroon rep diningroom suite, 3 fenders and fire- irons, superior Brussels carpet and hearthrugs; extension, loo, and other tables; ottomans; h b. suite, comprising couch, lady's and gent's chair; 6 ordinary chairs (nearly new and made to order), quantity best linoleums (neatly new), glassware and crockery-ware, tapestry carpets, superior ornaments, massive nickel silver and brass- mounted half-tester tubular bedsteads with extended footrails, paillasses, superior spring mattrasses, (sic) flock do, duchess, chest of drawers, washstands and ware,   toilet tables, superior lamps, clock, revolver, single barrelled gun, kitchen table, cutlery, superior dinner service, glass shades, pier glasses in gilt frames, toilet glasses, quantity of oil paintings and oleographs, colonial sofa single and stump bedsteads; rocking Vienna, cane, and other chairs, cretonne couch, kitchen chairs, tables, &c. boilers, kettles, and usual kitchen utensils and culinary requisites &c. Also, Very elegant duchess chest and marble top wash-stand, beautifully carved; massive cedar wardrobe (two doors, one long drawer, and six shelves), one cedar wardrobe (mirror doors), splendid large mangle, very superior marble top walnut chiffonniere with mirror back. &c. &c Now on View. Inspection Invited, B. TUNBRIDGE and CO., Lydiard street, Ballarat

Source: Trove - Ballarat Star Monday 21 January 1884 page 3 (Accessed: 23 June 2020)

Right: Map dated 14 April 1871 locating Ballarat East Graveyard with modern additions and with Ballarat Powder Magazine also located

According to the advertisement for the Neely home auction, is was located of the No.2 Hose Reel, Barkly Street near the Powder Magazine. There is no modern indication of No.2 Hose Reel, as the area has been redeveloped, but it would be located somewhere on the map below.
Map locating Ballarat Powder Magazine 14 April 1871 - 53kB jpg
Map locating Ballarat Powder Magazine 2020 - 77kB jpg
Above: Map locating Ballarat Powder Magazine, now Ballarat East Bowling Club in 2020

The content of Ernest and Charlotte Neely's home suggests one of some affluence: more than that of a simple miner. The list of goods for sale uses adjectives such as Brussels, Vienna, superior, made to order, best quality, beautiful and elegant hinting at expensive purchases of quality. Rather than planks, linoleum, carpets and rugs adorned the floor. The main bed was no ordinary bed but a brass-mounted half-tester tubular bedstead with a sprung mattress, whilst there were also straw filled paillasses and flock mattresses perhaps for the children. Despite being a reproduction, the home had a dining room suite, suggesting a single purchase of matching items. Oil paintings and oleographs - a type of coloured lithograph, which has been impressed with a canvas grain and varnished, in order to make it look like an oil painting – adorned the walls to give a pretence to sophistication, as does the chiffonniere, which could have been identified as a simple sideboard with cupboards and top.

It is interesting to note that everything was to be sold without a reserve, suggesting there was an immediate need for money in their move from Ballarat. Did the Queen Mining Company go bankrupt following low returns?

Possible reasons for the auction

It is evident, from half-yearly reports, that the Queen Mining Company was full of expectations, perhaps not as successful as first hoped and that more capital was needed. However, there is a problem. Between 07 December 1880 and 04 August 1881 Ballarat Courier and Star carried newspaper advertisements for the North Queen Mining Company and the No.2 Queen Mining Company, both with No Liability. That they were both signed ROBT. ATKINSON, Manager suggests a link. Whilst both mines are in Ballarat's Black Hills, at this moment nothing is known about the specifics of the two companies, their history, or in which Ernest A. was a shareholder. It is possible that Ernest A. was bankrupt and had to sell his home and contents to meet his debts. Under No Liability rules, his initial investment was not the end of his financial contribution or responsibilities to the Queen Mine.

Ballarat Courier 09 August 1881 banner - 16kB jpg
On 09 August 1881 the Courier published a warning that investors not paying on the tenth call would forfeit their shares.
NOTICE - SHARES - forfeited for the non-payment of the 10th call of threepence (sic) per share will be SOLD by public auction at the Corner, twelve noon on Thursday, 9th August 1881 ROBT. ATKINSON, Manager

Right: Ballarat Courier 09 August 1881 showing non-payment on calls. 14
Ballarat Courier 09 August 1881 - 56kB jpg

By virtue of the Queen Mining Company being a No-Liability company, it would appear that Ernest A. would have to contribute further funds whenever his company made a call on his 250 shares. There are two ways of calculating how much Ernest A. would have to pay for each of the possible mines: by totalling the actual calls traced in Trove and by calculating a total owed from all known calls issued from the known mean.

Faced with the frequent demands over eight months and by virtue of the No Liability conditions, Ernest A. had fourteen days to meet the new financial demand. Upon failure to pay a mining companies call, the 1871 Act formalised the practice of forfeiture of partly paid shares. If Ernest A. had been unable to fund the calls, his shares would have been sold.

It is possible that Ernest A. forfeited his shares and therefore his investment, but if that was the case, whatever money left from the share auction together with whatever monies he received from his house and content, remained with the family. There was no other financial penalty to the mine.

There were other constraints in the gold industry that may have caused Ernest A. to leave Ballarat. In the early days of Ballarat gold mining, the alluvial gold was easily won. This contrasted with the immense outlay of money, labour and plant for the deep quartz gold extraction in the Queen Mine of Ernest A.’s time.

Following gold in the quartz bearing rocks was unpredictable. When the vein was lost, huge quantities of the bedrock and quartz bearing rock had to be removed in an attempt to find the vein or a new lode.

It may be a case that the Queen Mining Company was uneconomical having lost the lode or vein, necessitating the many calls to find new gold. There may have been no work for miners.

As established mines searched for new lodes it is possible that the number of miners or ‘tributors’ needed was reduced. In modern terms, Ernest A. may have been made redundant.

In these situations, the cost to search for new gold spiralled again fostering a modern redundancy situation.

Had Ernest A. weathered the financial uncertainty and

I am of the opinion that the Queen Mine, despite high expectations reported by the mine manager, struggled to find a lode of gold and that the frequent calls, being a demand on the family finances, caused Ernest A. to lose his shares and his investment, being that he was unable to invest more money.

End notes

  1. Bates p.202
  2. The No Liability Company was a creation of Victorian Mining Companies Act 1871 (Vic.), which made general provision for the incorporation, regulation and winding-up of specifically mining companies. The No Liability Mining Companies Act of 1881 had most of the usual Australian financial rules save that a mining company must adopt a constitution which states their objects as mining and add No Liability or NL to their name. Mining is the only sort of corporation which is entitled to this form of liability, because of the financially risky business of mining. No Liability companies should not be confused with the concept of limited liability. No Liability companies divided their capital into shares. They are differentiated from other companies as their shareholders are not liable to pay calls (q.v.) on unpaid shares when calls were implemented. This differs from traditional company structure where the purchase of shares is a binding contract. Should the shareholder choose not to pay when there was a call, the shareholder forfeits both the unpaid and paid shares. This encourages investment in potentially risky mining ventures, as a shareholder with unpaid shares can choose to withdraw from the company with no legal consequences. A successful mining company usually converts to a limited liability company when advantageous. Definitions: No Liability
  3. All conversions to A$ 2018 by this method MeasuringWorth, 2020 (Accessed: 22 June 2020)
  4. A gold miner who works a small claim on tribute: to work on the plan of paying or receiving certain proportions of the produce on his holding to the original Adventurers or owners, for the liberty granted of enjoying the Mine, or a part thereof, called a Pitch, for a limited time. Oxford English Dictionary
  5. Bates p.200
  6. ibid p.197
  7.   The name "Corner" arose from the fact that in the early 1860s, the previously unorganised business of share dealing began to assume regular form at the corner of Lydiard and Sturt Streets. This was originally an informal meeting place in front of Stallard and Goujon. It was amongst the world's busiest financial hubs; known simply as The Corner. Hundreds of gold speculators, dealers and agents would cluster there to trade in mining stocks and ventures. This was the place not just where money was invested, but where the first news of gold finds was hollered out to clustered groups of miners and speculators amidst robust questions and discussions of the quality of the finds.
      Stallard and Goujon were the first stockbrokers to set up an ‘exchange’ at the south-east corner of Sturt and Lydiard streets, where the London Chartered Bank stood in 1887: in 1966 the original London Chartered Bank building was demolished and was replaced by a modern Commonwealth Bank. In the 1860s, the first official stock exchange was a shed on posts over a mineshaft on the site now occupied by Her Majesty's Theatre. This was followed by a larger exchange occupying the Unicorn Hotel and Ballarat Mechanics' Institute, before the bigger Ballarat Mining Exchange was built in 1887 in Lydiard Street.
      "When the rich gutters were nearly worked out, and the large original shares had got reduced to scrip (q.v.), share dealing became a larger and livelier business, and brokers and jobbers multiplied, nearly all of them being, for the first few years, men who had been actually engaged in mines as working or sleeping shareholders. The business was accompanied by projection of new ventures, and the occasionally violent alternations of activity and depression which usually mark the course of share dealing, for promoters of new schemes have to live, if they can, by their craft, and the passion for scrip gambling provided an ample arena for their exploits." -
    J.B Withers, History of Ballarat (Accessed: 01 July 2020)
  8. Bates p.193
  9. Trove Ballarat Courier 31 January 1880 page 4 (Accessed: 25 June 2020)
  10. To extract (ore) by excavating horizontally, layer after layer
  11. Trove 11 March 1874 presents the extra-ordinary statement to the shareholders, which starts In laying before you our report for the past half year, we regret being still unable to present results of a successful kind in connection with operations at the mine. There was an overdraft. Called, at that time, Queen Victoria Quartz Company it appears to be unsuccessful and that the new 1879 company tried to reinvigorate mining under new management and a new name. The name had changed by 1875.
  12. Calls raise more money for the company. On top of the initial investment, further instalments, known as calls, were made to fund the development and eventual operation of the mine if it appears to be worth going further. Today, a call gives a shareholder the option to buy shares at a specified price and gives them the option to sell, a bit like a modern rights issue or placing. Today, a call gives a shareholder the option to buy shares at a specified price and gives them the option to sell, a bit like a modern rights issue or placing. Existing Queen Mining Company shareholder were given the option to buy new shares. Today there is an option allowing the shareholder not to buy, however, in 1880-1881, Robert Atkinson sold the shares of those who did not take up the calls option.
  13. Paul Burdett, Libertas Finace
  14. Trove Ballarat Courier 09 August 1881 page 4 (Accessed: 25 June 2020)
  15. Waugh JC
  16. Scrip A short written document, a piece of writing; especially. a brief note or letter, a receipt for a share or shares in a loan or a commercial undertaking; a share certificate OED
  17. Waugh JC p.31
  18. Bates pp.193,194
  19. ibid, Appendix 5 p.269 from Quarterly Reports of Mining Surveyors and Registrars
  20. Bates pp.192-193
  21. ibid p.199

  1. 2.1 Trove Ballarat Star 01 February 1875 page 4 (Accessed: 25 June 2020)
  2. 3.1 Trove Ballarat Courier 31 January 1880 page 4 (Accessed: 25 June 2020)
  3. 4.1 To extract (ore) by excavating horizontally, layer after layer
  4. 5.1 Trove 11 March 1874 presents the extra-ordinary statement to the shareholders, which starts In laying before you our report for the past half year, we regret being still unable to present results of a successful kind in connection with operations at the mine. There was an overdraft. Called, at that time, Queen Victoria Quartz Company it appears to be unsuccessful and that the new 1879 company tried to reinvigorate mining under new management and a new name. The name had changed by 1875.
  5. 7.1 Trove Ballarat Courier 09 August 1881 page 4 (Accessed: 25 June 2020)


Ballarat Fire Brigade

Ernest Neely, Ballarat fire brigade - 26kB jpg Left: Ernest Neely, in the uniform of Ballarat fire brigade Courtesy: Llyris Hill
The fire brigade has operated from the 20-22 Barkly Street, Ballarat East site since 1858. The tower constructed in 1864 would have been familiar to Ernest Alexander, but the 1916 engine house was built on the original 1858 structure.

Right: Ballarat Fire Station
Ballarat Fire Station - 34kB jpg

Ancestry's Victoria Rate Books 1855-1963 record one of Ernest and Charlotte's first home in 1894 Melbourne as:

The Australian Electoral Roll 1903-1977, available on Ancestry, records the family homes as:

The Sands and McDougall street directories of Victoria records:

There are contradictions between the Electoral Roll and Sands.

There is no obvious record of John Neely in the Electoral Roll or in Sands, probably as his newspaper obituary states, he was working on the New South Wales railways.

Hoverbox Photo Gallery - Molesworth Street, North Melbourne 2019
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1. Leonard and Adelaide outside 45 Molesworth Street 1898 Courtesy: Llyris Hill
2. The redeveloped 41 and 45 Molesworth Street
3. 44-52 Molesworth Street - as number 45 may have looked
1 2 3
  40 Molesworth Street 2019 - 59kB jpg 40 Molesworth Street 2019 - 59kB jpg 40 Molesworth Street 2019 - 59kB jpg 40 Molesworth Street 2019 - 59kB jpg 48 Molesworth Street 2019 - 48kB jpg 48 Molesworth Street 2019 - 48kB jpg
1821info15a, sheet 7
It is interesting to note that connections were still made with Ballarat.

Right: Ernest Alexander Neely's obituary The Age Monday 3 February 1913
Ernest Alexander Neely's obituary - 20kB jpg
It is recorded that Ernest died on 31 January 1913, (Vic BMD 2086/1913) at 41 Molesworth Street North Melbourne, a home he rented, still a railway employee, perhaps at Newport Railway Works. In his will of 16 September 1913, he left Charlotte all his property real and personal, his furniture, jewllery (sic) and personal effects, his life insurance and monies in the bank and building society. Probate was granted 17 March 1913 for a total of £262 5 shillings a 2 pence, equivalent to A$29,060 at 2018 CPI value.

Right: Ernest Alexander Neely's will
Ernest Alexander Neely's will - 44kB jpg
Charlotte, after the death of four of her family in about four years, died on 02 February 1939 (Vic BMD 951/1939): she was living at 41 Molesworth Street in 1930 and 39 Molesworth Street in 1935 (Sands and McDougall).

Right: Charlotte Neely's obituary The Age Friday 2 February 1940
Charlotte Neely's obituary - 13kB jpg
Charlotte, Ernest, Ernest J grave Faulkner - 31kB jpg Left: The family grave of Charlotte, Ernest, Ernest James Neely at COE, F Grave 93 Faulkner Memorial Park Courtesy: Llyris Hill

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Updated 10 July 2020