Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Ship Prince Regent 1852 and the Bull and Mouth, Melbourne 1853

It is highly likely that my ancestor William Henry Luff arrived in Australia on the Prince Regent in 1852.  Here is what I have found out so far about the ship.  It was a barque of 529 tons with master Captain W. Jago at the helm.  It was a pretty good trip with no deaths recorded in the newspapers.

The ship left London via Plymouth on 12 July 1852.  It arrived in Adelaide on 15 October 1852 and then travelled on to Melbourne arriving on 4 Novermber 1852. The following are reports about the ship Prince Regent from the newspapers, including a passenger list which is not very detailed at all.  Some names could not be read from the scans on Trove.

South Australian Register 16 October 1852

This ship, with 236 passengers, left Plymouth on the 12th July, and arrived yesterday. Two births have occurred during the passage. There appears to have been no disease of any kind on board since leaving England, an exemption which is ascribed in no small degree to the great care now used in fitting up ships for the passenger trade, and the sedulous attentions of the officers appointed by the British Government at the several ports of departure.

Friday, October 15— The barque Prince Regent, 529 tons, W. Jago master, from London and Plymouth, 12th July. Passengers— Messrs Bane ...?????..., Bell, Campbell, Pratt, Chisman, Maslin and wife, Miss D ????? ad Armstrong in the cabin: Messrs Barret, Cornish, Gilbert 4, Gale, Ham 2, Jewell 9, Littlejohn 2, Mountjoy 10, Mitchell 2, Tape, Tydeman 8, Dobson 6, Wyles 7, Mumphed, Brown 4, Collins, Shaw, Ellis 4, Anderson, Carse 3, Samuels, Caldwell, Clayton 3, Milbert, Byers, Macdonald 2, Dobs, Heron, Crump, Oldridge, Blytheman 2, Layton, Edwards 2, Caurse, Hyde, Warren, Gitten, Mitchell 5, McKenzie 4, Franklin 2, Deane 2, Samuel, Becket, Marshal, Bloomfield; Lacey, Phllips 2, Wright 2, Chapman 3, Garrett, Hood, Taylor, Frew, Haylock 2, Ireland, Stacey, Rudd, Bateman, Huggins, Giles, Lawrence Christie 2. Saunders, Davermark, White, Hard, Allen 4, Wade 2, Luff, Wood 5, Cammond, Savage, Pocock, Wilcox, Meuse 6, Richards 4, MacKenzie, Matthews, Evans, Pooke, Richards, Burrat, Blencot 2, Howse Cutliff 2, Lewis 2, Smith 3, Gee 4, Sunday, Dunhelm, Cooke. Wolfe 2, Fenmore 4, Rundell, Chisman, Moore 4, Snail, Lowther, Foulker, Sinclair, Rowan, Foster 2, Johnson, Crump. Frazer, Schultze, Bustem, So comb, Beare, Scott, and Arnold, in the intermediate and steerage.

The Argus (Melbourne) 20 October 1852

October 15-Prince Regent, barque, 529 tons, W Jago, master, from London and Plymouth, 12th July.    The Prince Regent spoke the Sir Edward Pan? and the James Carson, both bound for Melbourne and apparently full of passengers.

The Argus  (Melbourne) 6 November 1852

November 4 - Prince Regent, barque, 527 tons, W Jago, commander, from Adelaide 28th ult. Pas- sengers-Messrs Johnson, Peters, Roberts, Jones, Salford, and two hundred in the intermediate Westgarth, Ross & Co, agents.

William Henry Luff couldn't find his brother in Melbourne after arriving off the Prince Regent and had to put an advertisement in The Argus (Melbourne) in March the next year, asking if he could meet him at the Bull and Mouth, Bourke Street, Melbourne.  It was a pretty popular, raucous and crazy pub loaded with people, as written about on this website.  Apparently it was a real sight for those just arriving into the gold rush crazed city of Melbourne.  It is quite exciting to know my ancestor probably went to such a pub and had an exciting first few months in a new country, hoping that his trip would lead to a fortune (not knowing that he would die a pauper).

Monday, 11 March 2013

Tracing a Gold Chaser - The elusive William Henry Luff

It is hard when one comes to a genealogical road block such as the one I have with my great great great grandfather, William Henry Luff.

I've just met a professional genealogist and asked her about William and said I didn't think he married Elizabeth Gillespie, the mother of his three children as I couldn't find a marriage record.  The first thing she asked me was "Did they have each child in a different place?  That's what they used to do to keep an air of respectability."

I laughed, as that is exactly what my ancestors did so at first it looked like they probably didn't marry.  They had their first child in Thames, New Zealand, the second in Sandhurst, Bendigo Region, Victoria, Australia and the third child in Christchurch, New Zealand.  But now after a lot of help I have found they probably did marry, and then told lies on every certificate as to the date and place of marriage.  Maybe they knew an descendant would try and trace them 150 years later.

The professional genealogist suggested I go back to London to find the elusive William Henry Luff.  There was a family there which I thought he may have been connected to, but because I had no definite certificates with William's parents listed, and also differing birth years, I could only presume this.  Now I think I am on the right track, but may need a couple more records to fully prove everything.  These documents will probably never show up!  I am now pretty sure he followed the gold rushes to set up grocery businesses and I know he was a miner when in Hokitika in 1868.  He probably dabbled in mining at other places but I can not confirm this!

Tips for researching travelling ancestors such as gold chasers:

Firstly get every official document you can.  This includes birth, death and marriage certificates, hospital admissions, land purchases.  Anything you can find.  It may not be much as itnerants often didn't put down roots!  You may have to search in America, New Zealand, and the different states of Australia to find these documents!

Next start searching online historic newspapers.  Find every reference to your ancestors name.  Try searching under different spellings and forms of the name.  Use quotations, so the databases search for the whole phrase.  For example I searched under, "William Henry Luff"  "W. H. Luff"    "Henry Luff"   "William Luff"  "W. Luff"  "H.  Luff"   "Mr. Luff"  "Luff, William Henry"   "Luff, W. H." and finally once I knew I had to find something in a very small time period I just used the word "Luff"  I also searched under "Lutt," "Lull," and other variants because often text conversion programs get things very wrong.

The website for NZ papers is  
The website for Australian papers is

When you do find a name that matches your ancestor, put the reference into a timeline and write how it could or couldn't be your ancestor.  At this stage you don't know for sure, but later you might just prove it is him or her.  If your ancestor had a common name like Smith or Jones, give up now!  That is unless he was Jabez Hiram Jones, which might just be ok!

You may find lots of unclaimed letters listed in the old newspapers, as they have moved on to the next gold rush.  You will probably find they followed the gold rushes almost exactly to the dates which are listed on this website

You may find similar things to me - advertisements asking for a brother to come and meet your ancestor after they got off the ship.  It may even name the ship they came on!  Go back to the UK and search over there and you may just find the family in the census with the brother right there in front of you.  Sometimes the other family members might have more unusual names that your direct ancestor which helps a lot.  Your UK ancestors may mysteriously vanish from the census records (because they are on the other side of the world of course) and sometimes reappear again having found no gold.

As well as establishing your ancestor's possible movements from newspapers you can look at the inwards and outwards databases for travel.  Try Family Search which has the passenger lists for many ships into New Zealand.  Try the online Victorian passengers database which has inwards and outwards passengers from the Victorian gold rushes!  Sometimes they may only be named as Mr Luff, which isn't that helpful if the ancestor has a common name.

Also try the Goldrush database by Kae Lewis to see if your ancestor had a mining licence.  Often family members are all together hunting for gold.  But like my ancestor many just moved into the area to set up a grocery business or other business in order to supply the thirsty, hungry miners!  Those people do not appear in this database.

Repeat all of the above newspaper and document searches for any other gold chasing family members you may have found to try and prove that you have located the correct person, who happens to be your ancestor.  They may be a witness on a marriage certificate or other document which is just what you need to prove things conclusively!

The following is very long winded, but is what I have found so far in date order for my own ancestor William Henry Luff and shows the lengthy and detailed process I've undergone to trace his movements:

I gained all the certificates I could for William and his family and found them pretty much blank in terms of his parents.  There also was no marriage certificate (he never married his wife it seems).  I went to Family Search and found the following birth for a William Henry Luff at about the correct date and place, and listed are a couple of his siblings:

Father: John Luff, Mother: Elizabeth
Exact Spelling: Off
Batch Number: C046984

International Genealogical Index
1. WILLIAM HENRY LUFF - International Genealogical Index
Gender: Male Christening: 06 APR 1831 Saint Matthew, Bethnal Green, London, England  (his birth on gives his father John Luff's occupation as surgeon).

2. SUSANNAH JANE LUFF - International Genealogical Index
Gender: Female Christening: 01 FEB 1829 Saint Matthew, Bethnal Green, London, England

3. THOMAS CHARLES LUFF - International Genealogical Index
Gender: Male Christening: 01 FEB 1829 Saint Matthew, Bethnal Green, London, England

Click here for some great history about the St Matthew's parish.


The father of the above children, John Luff, apothocary, was living at 170 High Street, Shadwell and got contents insurance for his property from Sun Fire Office.  click here  This is not far from Bethnal Green.


The father of this family, John Luff, had a letter to the editor of The Times (London) on 6 March 1832 about the cholera epidemic he was dealing with as district surgeon in the Bethnal Green area of London. Your local library can give you access to these overseas newspapers and often they are available from the comfort of your home.

John Luff letter to editor The Times (London) 6 March 1832  


John died tragically in 1833 of phlegmonous erysipelas (A type of inflamatory skin disease often caused by bacteria such as strep.  This is a form marked by invasion of the subcutaneous tissues, with the formation of deep-seated abscesses). He left a widow and 11 children destitute.  An ad in the newspaper begged for monetary help for this family. This explains why the children didn't go on to become surgeons or high up people themselves, instead working as shopmen and then probably going gold chasing (if I have the correct family).

John Luff death 2 October 1833 The Bury & Norwich Post, & East Anglian Or, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridge, and Ely Intelligencer

John Luff was originally from the little town of Downham Market in Norfolk.  Another place for me to search eventually!

John Luff's death and appeal for money for the family 3 Oct 1833 The Times (London)


This family is in the 1841 census for the district of Bethnal Green, Middlesex, minus the father John.

Name: Henry (Puff) should read LUFF
Age: 5
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1836
Gender: Male
Where born: Middlesex, England

Civil Parish: Bethnal Green
Hundred: Ossulstone (Tower Division)
County/Island: Middlesex
Country: England

Street address:

Occupation: View Image

Registration district: Bethnal Green
Sub-registration district: Church
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Elizabeth Luff 40 Is at the top so she is head of house and is listed as a Milliner.  Not born in county
John Luff 20  (Ship broker)
Mary Luff 20 (school mistress?)
Amelia Luff 20  (Milliner)
Caroline Luff 15
Emily Luff 15 
Elizabeth Luff 15 
Charlotte Luff 11
Jane Luff 10
Henry Puff 5
Also Eliza Mears? 20 Ind? (possibly a servant)


The family then appears to be split up for the 1851 census with Henery Luff born 1831 in Bethnal Green, London, still residing in London.  He was a shopman and was basically living with children and a servant.  I have no idea what the relationship is between Henry and the Jones family listed below.

1851 England Census
Name: Henery Luff
Age: 21
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1830
Relation: Shopman
Gender: Male
Where born: Bethnal Green, Middlesex, England

Civil Parish: St Pancras
Town: Kentish Town
County/Island: Middlesex
Country: England

Street address: 2 Ferdinand Terrace

Occupation: shopman

Registration district: Pancras
Sub-registration district: Kentish Town
ED, institution, or vessel: 1m
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Sarah Jones 11 - head daughter [but there is no head]
Edmund Jones 9 - son
Henery Luff 21 - shopman
Edward Luff 16 - errand boy [but surname is actually Jones on original record]
Sarah Collard 60 - servant 


This William Henry Luff disappears from England and doesn't appear again in the records or newspapers as far as I can find. Did he die or did he emigrate? Does this mean he is my William Henry Luff?  There is an ad in an Australian Newspaper which suggests this particular man emigrated:

William Henry Luff was mentioned as wanting to meet up with his brother Thomas in 1853.  He had just got off the Prince Regent from London arriving in Melbourne approx November 1852   Could this be his brother Thomas Charles Luff?  
William Henry Luff Prince Regent 1853 from the Argus 7 March 1853

Thomas Charles Luff disappears from the 1851 UK census so maybe he went to seek his fortune in the Victorian gold rushes which started in 1851, going back to England before the 1861 census when he reappears in the UK.

An ad a few months later almost confirms that the two brother's were there together during the gold rush.

A package went missing that should have been addressed to H. Luff or T. C. Luff in The Argus (Melbourne) on 18 October 1853.  William Henry was more often than not, known as Henry.  And the middle initial indicates possibly Thomas Charles Luff.  Bingo!!! It seems highly likely, but how to you prove it?
Package for H Luff or T. C. Luff in Argus Melbourne 19 October 1853

Then I found the first advertisement (mentioned above) for the Luff brother's to pick up their parcel and it confirms that the man's name is Thomas C. Luff late of Bishopgate Street, London, and the other man is Henry Luff.  Is now looking good!  I definitely think my William Henry Luff is connected to Thomas Charles Luff, their father being John Luff, surgeon of Bethnal Green.  (note I have ruled out many other families with similar names to get to this point of certainty).

Package for Henry Luff or Thomas C. Luff The Argus 29 Sep 1853  


Another letter arrives for a Thomas Luff in 1854.  The fact they have to keep advertising his letters suggests he is moving all the time, following the gold rushes in Victoria, or, at the very least, has no fixed abode.

Mr Thomas Luff letter 4 January 1854 The Argus (Melbourne)



In April 1855 a Thomas Luff (possibly our Thomas Charles Luff but I can't prove it unless I have the court case notes which often give middle names) gave evidence in a court case.  In any case it is a great example of the life many of the men led in and around the goldfields.   This Thomas was working at The Eagle Hotel, Ballarat, laying a floor with Edward Button who was a carpenter. 

Ai Poy, (a Chinese man), came in for "grog" and had 6 pounds in a sash around his waist and some English men followed him out of the hotel, held him down and stole it, but Edward Button was named as the thief by two Chinese.    Thomas claimed  Edward never left his work.  Thomas though went to watch the row.  The court found Edward guilty and he was put to six years hard labour.  They obviously didn't believe Thomas's testimony!  Click here for more details.

In The Argus (Melbourne) dated 11 October 1855 a T. Luff has an unclaimed letter.  Is it our Thomas Luff again?  The fact the letter is unclaimed suggests he has moved on from the Melbourne area or to a different gold field.  This may indicate he has returned to England by this time, but I can not find an outwards passenger listing for him.


William Henry Luff or a Henry Luff born in Bethnal Green, London in 1831 is not present in the 1861 UK census.  This confirms that he has either died or has left the country for Australia or New Zealand or another country. As we now know, he is most likely in Australia!

It looks like Thomas Charles Luff was in the 1861 census in England.  Did he seek his fortunes in Australia and then go back home without success, like many other miners?  There was however a Thomas Luff aged 30, who travelled from Melbourne to Otago, NZ in September 1861 and  appears in the Goldminers Database click here. He was also listed as donating 5 shillings to the Tuapeka Hospital, near the Gabriel Gully rush of that time.  The ad appeared in 1862, but Thomas Charles Luff, appears to be back in the UK by that time.  These are two different men as the UK 1861 census took place on 7 April 1861 and Thomas Charles Luff aged 33, born in Bethnal Green, London, appears, as follows.

1861 England Census
Name: Thomas Charles Luff
Age: 33
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1828
Relation: Lodger
Gender: Male
Where born: London, Middlesex, England

Civil Parish: Everton
Ecclesiastical parish: St Augustine
County/Island: Lancashire
Country: England

Street address: 28 Clarence St

Occupation: book keeper

Registration district: West Derby
Sub-registration district: Everton
ED, institution, or vessel: 23
Neighbors: View others on page
Household schedule number: 191
Household Members: Name Age
Edward Davies 21
Elizabeth Hilton 60
Sophia Hilton 19
Thomas Charles Luff 33
Thomas Edward Owen 21
Joseph Warner 3
Mary Warner 31  


The next clue I got was from a website of outwards passengers from Victoria, Australia.  There was a William Luff aged 27 who left on the Storm Cloud for Otago in Feb 1863, which puts his birth date at 1836 or thereabouts.

An ad then appeared in the Otago Witness in May 1863 as follows

DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP The business hitherto carried on under tho Firm and style of Luff, Slesinger and Co, Produce Merchants,"George-street, Dunedin, has this day been devolved by mutual consent. All debts due by the said firm will be paid by Samuel Slesinger, who will carry on the business as before. And, all debts due to the said firm are requested to be paid at once to the said Samuel Slesinger, whose receipt will be a sufficient discharge. 

Witnesses -WM.THOS. DUNLOP, JAMES TORRIE, Dunedin, 6th May, 1863. 

My William Henry Luff always appears in business ads for this cabinet making business in Christchurch as W. H. Luff, nothing else, so alarm bells went off when I found this ad.  Also he is listed as a shopkeeper selling produce and groceries when in Victoria later in life, listed again as W. H. Luff.  There is no mining licence record for William Henry in the Otago area however.  He may have headed for the Otago Goldfields which had a rush in  or maybe he went back Australia soon after arriving in NZ, thinking it was not for him?  It is likely he stayed in NZ however.

The obituary for his business partner Samuel Slesinger suggests he was on the Melbourne goldfields at the same time as my W. H. Luff.  He was a veterinary surgeon and died on George St, the same street as his grocery business in 1863.

"The death, is reported of Mr Samuel Slesinger, the well-known veterinary surgeon and proprietor of veterinary specifics, who died at Dunedin on April 15. According to a published notice, Mr Slesinger was born in Switzerland, but left his native land when very young, for Jamaica, where he practised his profession for some time. While there he was appointed to the magistracy. He left Jamaica for America, and from the latter place went to Australia about 1853. It was in 1862, after the gold discoveries, that he came to New Zealand, and his residence has been in Dunedin ever since. About six months ago deceased was seized with a paralytic stroke, and he never recovered." The Star 5 May 1896 

When you look further into his life, he was made bankrupt in 1862 in the Melbourne region.  Click here. 
It is likely he set up the grocery business once in Dunedin instead of a veterinary business as it was a way of getting fast money in order to go back into being a veterinary surgeon once again. 

Then I found a record for another passenger on the Storm Cloud, the same ship as William Luff. 
HESINGER (should be Slesinger)

Dah dah!  Proof, that W.H. Luff and William Luff on the Storm Cloud passenger list are one and the same person and that they either travelled with Samuel or met him on the boat coming out to New Zealand.

The other partner in the grocery business was also on the same boat as well!

It seems that W. H. Luff stayed on in a grocery business as there was an ad in the Otago Daily Times on 22 July 1863,  "WANTED, for a youth.  A situation in a store or office.  Apply Luff's produce store, George Street."  Click here for the ad. 


William Henry Luff was not in Dunedin very long it seems as he failed to claim a letter and this was advertised twice.  Once as a letter not claimed as of 31 December 1863 and then as of 31 March 1864.  So he still hadn't claimed it and it was still sitting at the Post Office.  So where did he go? Click here.
It is likely he went to mine on a goldrush, either in the Otago district, or the West Coast.  It appears he had no mining licence however, so he can not be traced accurately.


William's death certificate, which is largely blank and/or incorrect, says he arrived in the country in about 1866 (which I now think is three years out).  There is a Henry Luff who conveniently arrives on the ship Canute into Lyttelton in 1867, but there are no furthur details about the man.  On 1 Feb 1871 a Mr H. Luff left from Lyttelton on the Merope for London.  This man didn't marry in the colony or have children and was not mentioned in the papers at the time, so left no record, and just disappeared back home again.  This is probably a different Luff to my one, as mine was in Thames in 1871 where his daughter was born on 25 March 1871.


There was a Henry Luff who had failed to claim a letter which had been received at Hokitika in December 1867 and was advertised as not being claimed on 7 April 1868 in the West Coast Times.  Was this for our W. H. Luff or for the other Henry Luff that came in 1867 and left in 1871 on ships to and from London?  William Henry Luff's death certificate suggests he was in the West Coast in the late 1860s, in the Kumara area.  William and Elizabeth were in Hokitika from 6 March 1868 according to a intention to marry record (see 1868). 


I hit the jackpot this year with an intention to marry record from National Archives [Archives Reference: ] BDM20/13 Pg 398/153.  It says that William Henry Liff  [Luff] aged 28 and Elizabeth Gillespie aged 30 were intending to marry at the Presbyterian Church in Hokitika with Rev J. Gow (mispelt Good).  The record was dated 9 March 1868.  They had been resident in the Hokitika area for at least three days!   William was listed as a miner (there was a question mark next to this, suggesting the writing was hard to read) and they were listed as a batchelor and spinster.  After receiving this record I finally had proof that William Henry was into gold mining.

I couldn't find the marriage certificate however!  Then the professonal genealogist who I mentioned earlier, she found a marriage for an Elizabeth Gilespie (note spelling mistake which is why I couldn't find it), to a William Peterson (not my ancestor's name).  I received the certificate and it was William Peterson, goldminer and batchelor, aged 28 married Elizabeth Gilespie, sevant and spinster, aged 30 on 9 March 1868 (same date as intention to marry record).  They were married at the "House of Rev. John Gow, Sack? Street, Hokitika" and the witnesses were James McGoldrick, Okarita (Okarito) and Mary Eans?, Okarita.

I am confused about this.  Did the minister John Gow make a huge mistake in the records?  Did Elizabeth marry a different man (there was a William Peterson living in Hokitika at this time) - this is unlikely as everything else but the name matches the intention to marry record.  The genealogist thinks there has been a massive transcription error and I need to look at the original parish record (I still haven't managed to get this as yet).  Then I wondered why, a few years later, they gave different marriage dates and places?  Was it just for fun, and for a bit of a laugh, or was there a reason?  Were they on the run, moving all the time and giving different details?  We will probably never know.

It seems likely that the couple had travelled from Okarito to Hokitika to get married as the two witnesses were from Okarito and there was goldmining there at the time, from about 1866 and a few had struck some gold but many failed.  Click here  There was also a Gillespie's beach near Okarito which still exists today.  This is where James Edwin Gillespie, a goldminer, discovered gold in 1865.  Whether Elizabeth was related to him is unknown.

It is from this point on that I can trace the couple's movements with much certainty as I have birth and death certificates.

Photograph of the Presbyterian Church, Hokitika, 1867
Photograph of the Presbyterian Church, Hokitika, 1867. Ref: 1/4-002712. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.


The next time my William Henry Luff appears for certain is in his daughter's birth certificate (Eliza Jane Luff) from 1871, at Grahamstown, Thames.  He was listed as a storeman again!  The Thames goldrush started in about 1867, so William was trying his luck again at a different place and probably set up a grocery business again to make sure he at least had some cash coming in.  He didn't have a mining license in this area either!  I feeling that he shunned documents, even though he could read and write.


Amazingly I stumbled across the Luff family's journey back to Melbourne.  They left the Port of Auckland on 19 September 1872, aboard the steamer Hero (851 tons, Captain Logan) and arrived at Sydney on 24 September 1872. They departed Sydney on 27 September 1872 travelled via Newcastle and arrived at Melbourne on 4 October 1872 with Mr and Mrs Luff and Eliza Luff aged 1, who would have been in steerage as they are not named as cabin passengers in the newspapers, only listed in the Victoria inwards database.  This all fits in perfectly!


William Henry then appears in 1873 in Barnard Street, City of Sandhurst (now called Bendigo), County Bendigo, Victoria with the birth of his son John Thomas Luff on 7 July 1873.  William Henry Luff, storekeeper aged 38, born London, England (birth year approx 1835) .  Married 6 March 1869 in Sydney, Australia (a outright lie!).  Sibling: Eliza, 2 years.  Elizabeth Luff, formerly Gillespie, 36 years, born Glasgow, Scotland (birth year approx 1837).


There is then an ad for the sale of his business and all grocery goods belonging to it, as well as household furniture.  He was situated in the corner of Barnard Street and  Forest St, Bendigo, the ad was dated 15 May 1874 (Bendigo Advertiser).  If you look on Google Earth there is still a very old historic shop there to this day!

15 May 1874 Bendigo Advertiser W.H. Luff selling out


He then moved to Prahran, Melbourne and set up another grocery business but sold up again near the corner of Commercial Road and Chapel Street, Prahran district of Melbourne. He sold out to "move up country" in January 1875.
5 January 1875 The Argus (Melbourne) selling up again
The Argus (Melbourne) 5 January 1875

I tried to find the Luff family's journey back to New Zealand but can't find it as yet.  However they were back and settled in Christchurch by August 1875 judging by the following ad published in the Star 26 August 1875!

TS18750826 W. H. Luff renting garden and two good rooms near Carlton Hotel


The family then appear in Christchurch where their son James Robert Luff was born in 1876.  Details on the certificate: Born 26 June 1876 at Whateley Road (now Victoria Street), Christchurch.  Father William Henry Luff, Cabinet Maker aged 41, born in London (birth year approx 1835).  When and where married, 14 February 1870, Sydney, N.S.W (a big fat lie!).  Mother: Elizabeth Luff formerly Gillesbie aged 37, born Glasgow (birth year approx 1839). 

One of the few documents we can find for the Luff family is a hospital admission for Mrs Luff aged 37, admitted on 07-11-1876 for the disease gastritis and discharged on 19-11-1876.  This made her birth year more like 1829, not 1839.  I think they enjoyed lying about their ages!!  Her husband was Henry Luff, cabinet maker living on Papanui Road.  She was listed as Scottish and her religion was Presbyterian.  They were charged 2 pounds for her treatment.


William Henry advertised a double fronted shop to rent in the Press on 22 Feb 1877.  Later in the Star on 2 June 1880 he advertised a shed and stables to rent on Victoria Street.  And in the Star on 27 Dec 1881 he advertised two rooms to rent, furnished or unfurnished on Victoria Street.


John Thomas Luff died on 2 August 1879, at Victoria Street, Christchurch aged six of Diptheria which he had for 11 days.  A terribly tragic event for the family.  William Henry Luff, Cabinet Maker and Elizabeth Luff formerly Gillespie.  He was buried in Christchurch Cemetery in the Church of England section (now Barbadoes Street Cemetery).


All the moving around and chasing his fortune, didn't pay off for William Henry Luff.  He went bankrupt on in 1882 as advertised in the Star 7 December 1882.


William Henry Luff died on 31 December 1883 aged 51 (birth year 1832).  He died of inflammation of lungs, 5 days.  He was a Cabinet Maker living in Yaldhurst.  Buried at St Paul's, Papanui (in an unmarked grave, suggesting he was a pauper).  His wife was listed as Elizabeth Gillesby who he married at age 37 on the West Coast of New Zealand (i.e. about 1869) .  Father and mother listed as unknown.  He was born in London and had lived in NZ for 17 years (1866).  His children were 1 male, aged 7 years and one female aged 9 years.  The agent for wife was John Leckie of Christchurch.


Elizabeth Luff, formerly Gillespie was 76 when she died on 7 December 1905 at 49 Aikmans Road (birth year 1829).  She died of ???? morbus, Exhaustion, Anaemia whch she had for 17 years.   Her parents were unknown and she was buried at St Paul's Papanui.  She was born in Glasgow and had been in NZ for 50 years (meaning she arrived about 1855) and married William Henry Luff 40 years ago in Kumara, West Coast, NZ (about 1865).  She had one male child aged 29 and one female child aged 34.  Her son J. R. Luff of Sydenham was the informant.  Obviously she didn't tell her children much about her past as they had no idea of her parents names.

Other Notes:

After doing all this research I was left with some extra information which is worth noting.  This includes other William Henry Luff's I found during my research.

W. H. Luff arrived on the Ceylon into Adelaide in August 1850.  Click here.
1850 CEYLON from London 16 - 03 1850 via Plymouth 25/3/1850 - Captain W.B. Custard, arrived Port Adelaide on 6-08-1850 

There is another William Henry Luff, a brush maker, who was born in Bristol in 1834, son of Thomas Luff and Eliza Plaister who emigrated to Australia with his brother Edwin in 1851.  He lived in Talbot, Victoria.  My W H. Luff was in a similar area, Sandhurst which is now called Bendigo and is about 85 km from Talbot (one hours drive approximately), so it will be easy to get the two men confused as they lived so close together. They came on the Lady Fitzherbert

Name: William Hy Luff
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1834
Age: 18
Arrival Date: 25 Oct 1852
Arrival Port: Port Phillip Bay and Sydney, Australia
Departure Port: Bristol
Ship: Lady Fitzherbert
Nationality: English

This particular William Henry Luff from Bristol married Fanny Maria Haslam in 1863.  This is a completely different person to my ancestor.

 There was a John Luff who was murdered in Victoria in 1855 and his brother William Luff was present.  This is probably a different family again as I got the death printout for John Luff and he was aged 24 when he died, much younger than the John Luff brother of  my William Henry Luff in the 1841 census in London.  No birth place or parents listed.  Click here.

In Sydney in 1860 there was a William Luff (miner of Wattle Flat) who went bankrupt.  Click here.

W. H. Luff had two packages delivered in August 1863 to Port Phillip. Which W.H. Luff was it? Click here.
My W. H. Luff had probably already emigrated to New Zealand the February before this report in the newspaper.  Maybe he never picked up his package?  Maybe it was for the Bristol born W. H. Luff.

Further records for Thomas Charles Luff

I also was left with a lot of records for Thomas Charles Luff and could follow his life back in England.

A Thomas Luff arrived on the "Bride" into Port Phillip in Dec 1852.  Is this the other Thomas Luff who was slightly younger than Thomas Charles Luff of London?

Name: Thomas Luff
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1832
Age: 20
Arrival Date: Dec 1852
Arrival Port: Port Phillip Bay, Australia
Departure Port: London
Ship: Bride
Nationality: English

Name: T Luff
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1805
Age: 57
Arrival Date: 4 Apr 1862
Arrival Port: Melbourne, Australia
Departure Port: Otago Nz
Ship: City Of Hobart

He was in the 1881 census as a Canteen Manager (Inn Keeper) with wife and family.

Name:Thomas C Luff
Age (Original):52
Birth Year:1829
Birthplace:Bethnall Green, Middlesex, England
Relationship to Head of Household:Head
Marital Status:Married
Occupation:Canteen Manager (Inn Keeper)
Address:45 Wellington St E
Event Place:Woolwich, Kent, England
Record Type:Household
GS Film number:1341175
Affiliate Publication Number:RG11
Piece/Folio:748 / 92
Page Number:12
Head Thomas C Luff M52 Bethnall Green, Middlesex, England
Wife Margaret Luff F45 Westminster, Middlesex, England
Son John Luff M11 Holloway, Middlesex, England
Daughter Louisa Luff F9 Woolwich, Kent, England
Son Herbert Luff M7 Charlton, Kent, England
Servant Elizabeth Waters F15 Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Boarder Charles Colchester M28 Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Thomas Charles Luff then appears in the 1891 census as an unemployed grocer:

Thomas C Luff, aged 62, born Bethnal Green, Grocer, unemployed.
Other household members:
Margaret, wife, aged 56, deaf from childhood
Helen, daughter aged 22
John H son, aged 21, Draper's assistant, unemployed
Mary A Stephens, age 23, visitor from Cornwall

His death record from FreeBMD shows that he lived to the ripe old age of 81

Name: Thomas Charles Luff
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1829
Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1910
Age at Death: 81
Registration district: Woolwich
Inferred County: London
Volume: 1d
Page: 562