William Cole (1810-1879)

The Cole connection was made with the marriage of Alfred Charles Bray to Ellen Louisa Cole, granddaughter of William Cole.

William Cole from Tonbridge in Kent, England was our first Cole ancestor to come to Australia, arriving with his wife Martha Sophia (nee Skinner) on the Amelia Thompson in July 1838.

Our Cole ancestors are associated with the Molonglo area of NSW, east of present day Canberra. Exploration and settlement of the area started as early as the 1820s and the village of Bungendore was establish around 1835. The Cole family together with the McFarlanes lived in the Molonglo around Carwoola, between Bungendore and Captains Flat, from the mid-1840s into the twentieth century. They worked as sawyers or on various pastoral stations, apparently leasing property like many others families with whom they often intermarried.

Martha Sophia Skinner's family have been traced back to the mid-17th century in the Tonbridge area of Kent.

Cole's Road

In his book Queanbeyan District and People, Errol Lea Scarlett refers to a William Cole and Cole's road, and the Queanbeyan Age of 1 April 1869 records:

"Cole's Road' - from Braidwood to Queanbeyan built by William Cole opened in 1861."

Is this our William Cole?

Since the Coles were sawyers (and hence land clearers) at the time, it lends credance to that possibility.

The Goulburn Herald on 19 February 1870 referred to who it is believed is the same Mr. Cole:

"A wayfarer in 1870 recorded some impressions of the Braidwood - Queanbeyan road. Passing from Braidwood through Little Bombay it reached Cole's house nine miles farther along on the eastern side of Mulloon Creek."

Our William's wife Martha died in 1862 at 'Moloon Flat' near Braidwood.

St. Thomas' Church and Cemetery

Many of our ancestors were laid to rest in the cemetery at St Thomas Anglican Church in Carwoola. The chuch was built between 1872 and 1874 with funds provided by pastoralist Thomas Rutledge although burials started earlier in 1840. There were also Catholic and Presbyterian sections in the cemetery.

St. Thomas' Carwoola

St. Thomas' Anglica Church and Cemetery, Carwoola

Frederick William Cole (1840-1899)

Frederick William Cole

Frederick William Cole was our first Aussie Cole and born on 10 August 1840 at Springfield, Gundaroo, NSW. He was the son of William and Martha Sophia (Skinner) Cole from Kent who had arrived in Sydney of the Amelia Thompson on 23 July 1838.

Frederick was a sawyer like his father when he married Ellen McFarlane on 26 January 1861 at St Philip's Church, Bungendore. F.W.Cole appeared on the NSW Government Gazette list for Registration of a Horse Brand and worked at the large properties of Foxlow and Gidleigh near Bungendore. 

Our direct ancestor was Ellen Louisa Cole one of their seventeen children who married Alfred Charles Bray.

Gidleigh Station

One of the first land grants was to Phillip Parker King RN by his father, Governor Phillip Gidley King. He named the property after the family home "Gidleigh" in Scotland. King apparently was too busy to visit the property and it was managed by overseers. The pastoral station was established in 1855 and remained in the Rutledge family for three generations, firstly with Irish born, Thomas Rutledge, then his son Wiliam Forster Rutledge.

It is understood that the Coles were one of a large number of families living on leased sections of Gidleigh and supplementing the income from their properties by labouring for the Rutledges who by the 1870s controlled over fifty thousand acres around Bungendore.

In later years Frederick worked as coachman and he died at the District Hospital, Bungendore on 5 July 1899 aged 58 years.

Ellen Louisa Cole (1874-1943)

Widow, Ellen Louisa (Cole) Bray

Ellen Louisa Cole who was born at Bungendore in the Monaro District of NSW on 22 January 1874, the tenth child and fourth daughter of Frederick William and Ellen Cole.

Little is known of Ellen Louisa's early life but it is not difficult to imagine that in such a large family that everyone would be kept busy with the daily family chores as well as contributing to work on the estates where they lived. It is likely that she received a basic education at the school at Gidleigh, establish on the property by the owner Mr. Rutledge for the benefit of his family and the resident staff.

It is not known how Ellen met her future husband, Alfred Charles Bray, but before her twentieth birthday she was in Sydney and they married at St. Thomas' church, Balmain South on 15 February 1894.

At Woronora Cemetery

Care has been taken to include only accurate information on this site however it cannot be guaranteed. Data from many sources and contributions from fellow researchers make up this site and errors may be present. Any corrections and additional information would be most welcome.