Smiley Family History
Jessie Isabel Smiley 1908-1981
Francis Smylie/Smiley 1689 → Hugh Smiley 1723 → William Smiley 1757 → Hugh Smiley 1785 → Shepherd Parkman Smiley 1828 → Thomas Alexander Ward Smiley 1867 → Jessie Isabel Smiley 1908-1981.
Born: 21 February 1908, St Kilda, Vic
Died: 14 December 1981, Sandringham, Vic, age 73
Occupation: Shop assistant, wife, mother
Married: Henry William Dadswell, 4 June 1927, St Kilda, Vic.
Jessie Isabel Smiley was the eighth of the eleven children of Thomas Alexander Ward and Marion Harley (Bunn) Smiley.
As her father shifted the family often to cater for his work as a boring contractor, her childhood saw her living in a variety of locations and houses.
Along with others in her family, Jessie attended Brighton Road State School at St Kilda and as a young adult worked as a shop assistant. In the early 1920s, when her sister Lorna and husband Jim Weir were living at Red Cliffs in Victoria's northwest, Jessie made a visit from Melbourne and was introduced to a young grape grower, Henry William Dadswell.
Henry, eldest son of Otto and Emma (Lewin) Dadswell, was an ex-World War One signaller who was establishing a grape and soft fruit property at Red Cliffs East, and it was from this meeting that the couple were to later marry and to live for the next 50 years on the Red Cliffs property.
The marriage took place at St Kilda on 4 June 1927 when Henry was 32 and Jessie 19 [click on photo to see a larger image]. Together they had five children.
Late in life, the couple moved from their property to a house in Red Cliffs township. Henry died on 7 August 1978 in Red Cliffs, aged 84. Jessie moved to Melbourne and died at Sandringham on 14 December 1981, aged 73.
Children of Henry and Jessie (Smiley) Dadswell
- Jean Marion Dadswell 1928-1985 - link transfers to another website
- Gladys Jessica Dadswell (Gaye Robinson) 1930-2019 - link transfers to another website
- Tom born 1932
- Doug born 1937
- Harley born 1941
Reflections of Jessie (Smiley) Dadswell
The following notes were provided by Jessie in the 1970s:
Because of the travelling around, the older children went to a lot of different schools. The family was living in Chapel Street when I was born in 1908, and even then we moved around. We moved around St Kilda quite a lot, as father used to buy and sell houses. We had one lovely house in Hotham Street, with a tennis court, and we were at Murrumbeena at one time.
At one stage they had a butchers shop in Inkerman Road, a two storey place, and Uncle Frank (Frank Smiley) would sometimes help out at the shop. My brother Shep (Shepherd Thomas Smiley) later took over the shop, but eventually it was sold.
I can remember attending the Bunn family parties, and remember Harry Bunn (1861-1926) who was a very big and very stout man. He was always the life of a party, and I think he used to sing. He was married to Emily who was very small and always very busy. We knew all their children. One of them, Clarice, was with us a lot, and as she was my sister Lorna's age they would go around together. Clarice was more like one of our family because of the amount of time she would spend with us.
I can also remember Walter Bunn (1863-1923) at the Bunn parties. They (Walter and his wife Louisa) also used to have parties at home, playing cards. They were very keen on 500 and sometimes we girls had to take a hand. They got very cross if you made a mistake.
Walter used to recite poetry a lot. He didn't go to the war, but he would do a lot of reciting for the war effort. I can remember one piece of poetry he used to recite, called "The Cork Arm."
Auntie Bella (Isabella Ada Bunn, 1866-1932) was a very large person, who married Frank Ackroyd, and they had a family of five. One daughter was Eunice Ackroyd who married a painter Horrie Harbord. My father kept fowls and he used to get paint from Eunice's husband. He often joked we had the best painted fowl house in the neighbourhood.
I think Arthur (Arthur Bernard Bunn 1873-1952) worked with my father for part of his life. His wife, Auntie Jess, played the piano and used to get up concerts for the church. Their children were Bernard, Gwenda (who became my bridesmaid), Mollie and Len.
I can just remember Alfred Bunn (1862-1916) who was married to Lottie. After he died, Lottie had a little shop down near a new school, I think near Albert Park. Every Saturday morning we used to walk from St Kilda to buy butter and other things from her. We weren't very keen on the walk, but Mother said it was helping Auntie Lottie!
When we were young, Mother always had two cousins to visit for Sunday tea. They were George and Walter Wilson, who were single. I vaguely remember they had sisters, and I think one of them had the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade, Melbourne, and made lovely drop scones.
I visited Mildura, staying with Auntie Lorna and Uncle Jim, and that was when I met Henry Dadswell, and we married in 1927.
By the time I married, my father had built a house in Hotham Street near St Kilda Congregational Church. I was married from that house. Later Mother and Dad lived in Glenhuntly with my sister Doris and her husband, Harry Wilson.
[The marriage certificate shows that Henry and Jessie married at East St Kilda Congregational Church on 4 June 1927, when Henry was aged 32 and Jessie was 19. The witnesses who signed the marriage certificate were the groom's brother Stan Dadswell and the bride's cousin, Gwen Bunn. Although Henry's diary of the time has been lost, his son Harley can remember the entry for the day - it was simply 'Got married'.]
On our honeymoon, Henry and I stayed at Horsham on our way home, and we then travelled across from Hopetoun by car to catch the north-bound train at Lascelles. It was a terrible road, just sand. We then had to wait for the train, and I remember laying down on the seat on the platform very early in the morning. I thought the train would never come.
We had our first breakfast at Red Cliffs with the Spooners, who were our first good neighbours, and we were always friends with them.
[Henry could recall that the house had been let for about 12 months to some people named Smith. The arrangement was that they were to move out before Henry and Jessie arrived, and to make sure the house was clean. But the newly-wed couple arrived to find the yard was littered with paper, looking "an absolute shambles. I was terribly disgusted at bringing a woman home to such a mess".]
Jessie could remember arriving at Red Cliffs after their marriage. They came on the train. There was a "tin kettling" as a welcome from the other nearby settlers. "But as we didn't have any drink they used to nip out of the house from time to time. One neighbour, Mrs Dewbury, brought down their little gramophone and we had music. I don't think we had any dancing, it was such a small room.