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Dadswell Family History

Generation 8
Helena Matilda Dadswell 1867-1945

On this page:
Ancestors of Helena Matilda Dadswell
Helena Matilda's story
Key family dates
Further information

Ancestors of Helena Matilda Dadswell

Robert Doudeswell 1560 > Robert Doudeswell 1606 > Edward Dodswell 1659 > Alexander Dodswell 1686 > Thomas Dadswell 1732 > James Dadswell 1786 > Thomas William Dadswell 1828 > Helena Matilda Dadswell 1867

Helena Matilda's story

Helena (Dadswell) Norwood

Helena Matilda (also known as 'Lena' or 'Tilda') Dadswell was born at Ledcourt Crossing (later known as Dadswells Bridge) on 12 May 1867, daughter of Thomas William and Helena Aurora (Scheer) Dadswell. She was probably educated at the schoolhouse located within Dadswells Hotel, the establishment run by her parents.

Helena was six years old when her mother died and she probably continued to live at Ledcourt until in her late teens. At that time, she is thought to have moved to Horsham with her father, older brother Charles and younger sister Rita (Ulrica).

On 4 January 1887, when aged about 19, Helena is shown as being admitted to Dunolly Hospital. At that time she gave her occupation as a "domestic".

Helena's first child, Eveline Muriel Patterson, was born at Echuca on 9 November 1889. Her birth certificate says that Helena had married Henry Patterson, a bootmaker of Adelaide, South Australia, at Rupanyip, Vic, on 4 November 1887, although no record of the marriage has been found.

On 21 May 1891, NSW records state that Helena at age 24 and describing herself as a domestic servant and a spinster, married Sidney Herbert Norwood, also 24, at the Wesleyan parsonage at Deniliquin. Sidney, son of Joseph and Fanny (Meer/Mears) Norwood, was born in Birmingham, England, and described himself as a billiard marker at Deniliquin.

Their first child, Sidney Oxborough, was born late in 1891 at Deniliquin.

Sidney and Helena are shown in Deniliquin Council records as living in a weatherboard cottage in Crisp Street at this time but in 1897 Sidney Sr became the licencee of the White Lion Hotel in End Street (now Maher Street) and the family then lived in a house provided by the brewery owning the hotel.

Sidney and Helena both worked at running the hotel until 1905 when the family shifted to Shelbourne near Bendigo to run the hotel there. Helena's third child, Fanny (Fran) (1894-1984), could recall that she and her brothers Sidney, Tom and Charles Otto and their father travelled by horse and jinker the 80 kilometres from Deniliquin to Echuca where Fran took the train the remaining 90 kilometres to Bendigo while the others continued the journey in the jinker.

Shelbourne Hotel, about 30 km south-west of Bendigo, was an establishment for commercial travellers, at one end of the town. Fran said one side of the hotel was left untouched, but the rest was renovated during their two year stay.

On the untouched side lived 2 maids who provided the meals and looked after the children. Fran could also remember when her brother Tom was nearly drowned when he walked out on a plank over water. He was about four at the time.

Fran could also recall the family's hotel days when her grandfather Thomas William Dadswell (1828-1908) lived with them.

The hotel included a shop where Thomas sold small items. Fran would travel by horse and buggy into Bendigo for piano lessons, a trip requiring two sets of horses.

Fran said that on one occasion, when she was travelling by horse and jinker with her father from Bendigo to Shelbourne, the horse shied, shattering some glass they were carrying for the hotel's windows.

The family moved in 1907 some 20km westward to Tarnagulla Hotel. It had a sewing room, a maids' bedroom and Thomas' bedroom, all facing onto a yard. The couple's youngest child, Helena (Tuppy), was born around this time but died from gastro-enteritis on 29 April 1908 at the age of 16 months, and was buried at Tarnagulla Cemetery.
Tarnagulla Hotel
The grave marker has since been destroyed by a fire which swept through the cemetery. The hotel has also been burnt down but some of the original buildings at the back reportedly remain.

In 1917 the couple experienced the loss of a son (Sidney Oxborough Norwood) from fighting at Gallipoli during World War One, and when the family left the Tarnagulla hotel in 1920 Helena and Sidney separated. Helena went to Melbourne and lived at 44 Cooke Street, Abbotsford, before moving to 83 Albert Street, Melbourne East. Her daughter Muriel (1889-1974) could recall that her mother ran a guest house and later the Sun Café, in Little Collins Street, Melbourne.

At that time, while walking from the café to her home in Victoria Parade, Helena is said to have worn a sash hanging down from her neck, and kept her hand in the sash. In her hand was a revolver, which she carried for security.

The story was told that one evening when she returned to her boarding house, she threw down her handbag which contained the revolver. It discharged, and a young policeman who also boarded there, raced down the passage and into the street to find out what the trouble was about.

Muriel said her mother was also a beautiful painter.

After leaving Tarnagulla, Sidney was listed as living at Yallourn (1924), working as a labourer, possibly on the brown coal fields of that area. By the 1930s he also was in Melbourne, living at Orrong Road, Balaclava, and working as a caretaker.

Helena and Sidney both lived in Melbourne and experienced the violent death of another of their sons, Herbert Thomas (Tom) Norwood, who was murdered at Carnegie railway station in 1934. Sidney Sr died in 1936 aged 69 and Helena in 1945 aged 77. Both were buried in the same unmarked grave at the New Melbourne General Cemetery at Fawkner.

Key family dates

Helena Matilda Dadswell
born 12 May 1867 -
died 8 March 1945
married (?)
at Rupanyip, Vic
4 Nov 1887
Henry Patterson
born ca 1861 -
died ?
Child -

1. Eveline Muriel Patterson (Norwood) born 9 Nov 1889 - died 28 Dec 1974
Helena Matilda Dadswell
born 12 May 1867 -
died 8 March 1945
at Deniliquin, NSW
21 May 1891
Sidney Herbert Norwood
born 1864 -
died 7 June 1936
Children -

1. Sidney Oxborough Norwood born 30 Dec 1891 - died 7 August 1915

2. Fanny (Fran) Annie Norwood born 23 March 1894 - [married John Souter] - died 20 Sept 1984

3. Herbert Thomas (Tom) Norwood born 14 May 1899 - [married Veronica Pickett] - died 1 Oct 1934

4. Charles Otto Norwood born 24 March 1902 - [married Sybil Nealy] - died 19 Nov 1972

5. Helena (Tuppy) Dadswell Norwood born 9 Dec 1906 - died 29 April 1908


Click on any picture to see a larger size photograph.

Helena (Dadswell) Norwood and family Helena (Dadswell) Norwood Helena (Dadswell) Norwood

Further information

Brothers/sisters of Helena Matilda Dadswell
Norwood family (children of Helena Matilda and Sidney Herbert Norwood)
Thomas William Dadswell (generation 7, father of Helena Matilda)

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