The Ballarat Ludbrooks: George and Charlotte's Descendants (1)
In the 1970s my cousin Dorothy and second cousin, Pam, organised a huge family reunion of all of the descendants of George and Charlotte Ludbrook, who came to Victoria on the The Sea King, arriving in 1855, the year after Ballarat's famous Eureka rebellion, from England, having previously lived in London. Over 500 descendants of George and Charlotte attended, many living far from Ballarat!
According to Pam, George's father was called Henry, but she has been unable to find any additional information. It seems both of us have recently been in communication with Jan Ludbrook in Surrey!
Today I will ring up Pam, to see if she has any more information!
George was a carpenter, born in approximately 1831 in Suffolk. He and Charlotte had at least seven children. These were pictured with them, presumably in the early days of Ballarat. To my knowledge, they came not as miners, in search of the riches of gold, but instead, to make a living from those same riches, by providing services that were in short supply in the burgeonong town.
Charlotte was a school teacher, She and George had been active in the Non-Confirmist movement in England, prior to migrating to Australia. The Non-conformists were individuals who fell outside the Act of Uniformity of 1662, which essentially demanded that all citizens follow the Book of Common Prayer as prescribed by the Anglican Church. All officially recognised clergy had to be ordained within the Anglican Church. To access education, at either primary or higher education levels, one also had to be a practising Anglican.
The problem was, that by the 1850s, over half the population of England fell outside this Act of Uniformity, given the rise in many protestant break aways from the Anglican faith. By this time Presbyterians, Congregationalsists, Baptists, Methodists and Quakers all competed with the Anglicans for the souls of Great Britain. Education was thus closed off to a huge multitude of the population. Proudly, my Ludbrook forbears, despite to my knowledge of being low church Anglicans became part of a large group of citizens who decided education should be secular and accessible for all, regardless of religious persuasion, gender, or income. Charlotte and George were involved in providing education for those who fell outside this Act of Uniformity, paving the way for the National school system in both England and Australia. These National schools were in fact, the foundation of the contemporary government secular school systems in England, Australia and New Zealand.
Charlotte and her daughters Ellen Elizabeth, Julia Eliza and Annie Laura, all were school teachers.
George, as stated earlier, was a carpenter, his son William Willmot, my great-grandfather was also a carpenter/joiner and cabinet maker, as was his son William Harold (Harold) and his son's Willmot (Bill) and Ken.
Son George Henry , was an undertaker, whilst two sons Charles Edward and Robert Charles were auctioneers.
Discovering their occupations, it is not difficult to surmise how valuable these skills were in the early days of Ballarat, with land to be auctioned off for private title and the building of permanent homes, as well as the very high mortality rates that were common in mining related accidents and where dirty water led to outbreaks of cholera and dissentry!
Discovering more about them beyond the family tree that cousin Dorothy had already traced has been challenging. It essentially involved obtaining information from England. This led me to a search on the internet, where I discovered George Henry's birth, was registered in the records held for Nonconformists, held at the Greater Ormond Street hospital, in London, not, as was the usual practice, kept in the registeries of Churches. George and Charlotte were his parents, so all the names matched!
Another search yielded that Ludbrooks have been carpenters since at least the 1600s, giving my uncle Ken's grandchild Adam an incredibley long, possibly unbroken, line Ludbrook inherited skill and expertise; pretty extraordinary!
I also found it pretty amazing there was such a strong inheritance as educational reformers and pursuers of social justice, given I had myself become a Drama and English teacher, very active in the Australian Education Union and curriculum innovation. As such, my own work took me beyond the classroom, to forums of the United Nations, as well as Japan and many, many conferences within Australia. I championed issues of equal opportunities for girls, gender equity, conflict resolution, education for peace and student participation in school decision-making and negotiated curriculum. I had no idea of the work, my forbears had undertaken in such similar arenas. The discovery, was quite spooky, as well as affirming. Do our genes dictate our career paths?
I began emailing or using 'linked in', to contact any Ludbrooks I could find on the net.
I have also met a number of Ludbrooks over the years, all far removed, or otherwise, from my own Ballarat Ludbrook roots. This includes members of the New Zealand branch of the Ludbrooks, several from the United Kingdom and more recently have received emails from a Ludbrook in South Africa and another from Surrey in England.
If you are a Ludbrook and reading this, please feel free to get in touch via this site or through Linked In.
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