Anne Emily

William Andrew Moylan (1855-1917)
Anne Emily O’Neill (1864-1894)

Anne Emily O’Neill was the sixth oldest of Patrick O’Neill & Elizabeth Lulham‘s twelve children, born on 20 Oct 1865 (record 7932) in the Clarence Town district, possibly at Brookfield where her parents had been running an inn.

William Andrew Moylan was born on 15 Sep 1855 (record V18552860) in Taree; his parents were William Moylan & Mary Hanney. He and Annie married on 09 May 1889 at Taree. William was a farmer at Woolla Woolla, near Taree.

The couple had three children in Taree:

01. Mary (b. 15 May 1890, record 33690, d. )

02. Catherine Imelda (b. 10 Apr 1892, record 34615, 1892, d. 07 Dec 1966)

03. Annie Patricia (b. 16 Nov 1894, record 32921, d. 1968) known as Nancye

Sadly Annie died on 15 Aug 1894, the cause possibly related to childbirth.

In 1897 William married Mary Ann Kearney at Raymond Terrace (record 8412). Mary and William had no children before Mary herself passed away; from The Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales on Sat 08 Mar 1913:


It is with extreme regret that we have to record the death of Mrs. Mary Ann Moylan, wife of Mr. William Moylan, of Woolla Woolla, which occurred at the M.R.D. Hospital on Thursday morning last. The deceased lady had been in her usual health mid-day on Tuesday. In the afternoon, however, she was taken ill with an old-standing complaint. She said it was nothing serious, but she appeared to become worse, and early on Wednesday morning had to be brought to the hospital and operated upon straight away. Her condition was then very serious, but after the operation she appeared to rally somewhat and was able to converse with those who saw her. After a while, however, her condition began to get lower and on Thursday about 25 minutes past four she passed away. By her last wish, she is to be buried at Raymond Terrace by the side of her mother, and her body was conveyed there by train yesterday (Friday) morning for the funeral. The deceased lady, who was much esteemed, was married to Mr. W. Moylan some 11 years ago and was his second wife. There were no children of the marriage, but deceased will he sadly missed by her step-children, Misses [Mary], Kitty and Annie Moylan, to whom she was devotedly attached. Before marriage she was a Miss Kearney, from Miller’s Forest. She was sister to Mr. Simon Kearney, solicitor, of Elizabeth Street, Sydney, and Mr. John Kearney, of Miller’s Forest. Since her marriage, she had lived at Woolla Woolla. She was about 54 or 55 years of age. The deepest sympathy is felt with Mr. Moylan, who is one of the most respected residents of the Manning, and the family, in their great sorrow.

On Fri 6 Jul 1917 The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer reported the death of William, which occurred on 03 Jul 1917:

Death of Mr. W. Moylan.

We regret to record the sudden death of Mr. William Moylan, of the Woolla, which took place on Tuesday night at 7.30. The deceased gentleman had suffered recently from a severe attack of influenza, but beyond this he was in fairly good health. On Tuesday he drove his daughter home from school, and after returning was sitting on the verandah, when it was noticed he was not well. He was put to bed, and a few hours after expired. The late Mr. Moylan was 61 years of age. He was born at the Woolla and lived their [sic] all his life. He was twice married, his first wife being Miss O’Neill, sister of Mr. H. O’Neill, the issue being three daughters, viz., Mrs. Elmo Witts (Hay), and Misses May and Ann Moylan. His second wife was a Miss Carney, of Miller’s Forest. He also leaves behind two brothers and five sisters. The remains of deceased were laid to rest in the Woolla cemetery, Rev. Father Curran officiating at the grave.

Generation 2

01. Mary B. Moylan married William O’Brien in Sydney in 1917 (record 9873). We have not managed to track this family. It is possible they had at least one child, a daughter Mavis, whose name appears in the description of the wedding of Mary’s sister (Annie) Nancye Patricia (see below). There is a record (45727/1918) of a Mavis O’Brien, born in Waverley to a William and Mary O’Brien.

02. Catherine Imelda Moylan married Elmo John Witts at Taree in 1914; her middle name Imelda appears in the official death record of tehir son Paul.

Elmo was born at Adelong in 1885, the son of a headmaster, Louis Harry Witts, and Fanny Douglass. Elmo himself became a teacher: from the Windsor and Richmond Gazette on Sat 01 Apr 1905:

Mr Elmo Witts, son of the headmaster of Marsden Park Public School, was successful in his pupil teachers examination for which be sat last December, and has gained promotion.

In 11907 Elmo was appointed to a “small school at Little Billabong, near Wagga”. He was a teacher at Goonumbla (about 17km north of Parkes) from 1913 for eight years. Elmo was the secretary of the Musical Society in Parkes and was a violinist (Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Sat 23 Jan 1904; Western Champion, Thu 29 Jun 1916). From mid-1921 he taught at Perthville, near Bathurst; the family were still there until 1935 (electoral rolls). From 1937 to 1949 they had moved to 57 Castlereagh St Penrith; their son Moylan Louis Witts, student, appears in the 1949 register. In 1954 the couple show up at 9 Dover Rd Rose Bay, Elmo now a shopkeeper. By 1958 the couple were no longer working, and they had moved to 182 Paddington St, Paddington; another son, Anthony James, a bank officer, lived with them.

Elmo was involved in a couple of traffic accidents. The first was reported in the National Advocate on Tue 16 May 1933:


A crash between a motor car and a motor lorry on the Bathurst – Perthville Road on March 31 formed the subject of a long legal argument in the Bathurst police court yesterday, when Frederick George Martin, a young beefarmer of Burraga, was convicted of negligence and fined £4 with £1/13/ costs.

The crash in question involved Mr. E. J. Witts, schoolmaster of Perthville, and his family, and Martin and four other men who were proceeding to Burraga.

Elmo John Witts declared that at about 7.30 on the night of March 31 he was driving his family into Bathurst when a collision occurred about 2½ miles from Perthville with a motor vehicle from Bathurst. He was on his correct side, but the other vehicle hit his rear mudguard and also took the number plate and tall light off. When the bump occurred the car swayed backwards and forwards. He stopped his car and saw the other vehicle disappearing in the distance. It had not stopped. Accompanied by his son he turned and chased the vehicle, which was caught in about two miles. The front wheel of the lorry was deflated. They stopped outside the Perthville Post Office and asked the owner of the lorry why had he not stopped. He said, “It was your fault.” I said, ‘how could that be when I was on my correct side and my near mud guard was hit by your front wheel” said witness, who added “I asked him if he was prepared to pay damages. He said “no” and I told him I would place the matter in the hands of the police.” It was a dark night and he could not distinguish the men very well. He also said “You have got someone drunk aboard and defendant asked if he said he was drunk. Another asked the same question and assumed a fighting attitude. He told him he did not want to fight. Then another man, who appeared to be drunk, came from the rear of the lorry and also offered to fight. After the lorry’s tyre was fixed the others drove off. He then returned to the scene of the accident and examined and measured the tracks. He measured the distance from the centre of the read to the off wheel of his car which was 13 feet. He picked up two wheel caps one of which he took to be off a Plymouth car. This cap was in the middle of the road. The collision occurred at a slight bend. He had been travelling about 25 miles an hour and estimated the other vehicle’s speed similarly. Only for the fact that he had slewed his car there would have been a head on collision. The width of the road would ba less than 26 feet. He was on his correct side as far as he could get. He asked defendant why he had not stopped and he replied, “It was your fault.”

Replying to Mr. Thompson he said the measurements were taken about an hour after the accident. He admitted three or four cars passed between the time of the collision and the time he inspected the tracks. He examined the tracks by the light of his car. They were plainly visible for he had a new retread tyre on the car. There had been some rain the previous day and the road was very soft. He did not see any car going ahead of him that night. When he met defendant at Perthville he did not hear the defendant say he was going to make him pay for the damages to the truck. He said he had his (witness’) number and he (witness) asked how he had done so as it was on the road. After he had told defendant he would put it in the hands of the police he said “Go your hardest.” He left the lorry to go into the Post Office. He did not hear defendant say “You’ll hear more of this.” There were several people who had been in Martin’s lorry who could have heard the conversation.

Moylan Witts, son of the previous witness, gave corroborative evidence, testifying that his father hod measured the distance with a tape measure under the head lights of the car. He did not hear defendant say he (defendant) would prosecute. He admitted defendant said “Go and bring a policeman and we will see whose [sic] right.”

Replying to Inspector Daley he said his father went to the Post Office to call the police. To Mr. Bromhead he repeated that if his father had not slewed the car into the bank a head on collision would have occurred.

Constable Squires, of Burraga, told of an interview with defendant on April 9 regarding an accident on the Perthville Road. Defendant gave witness a statement (produced) which was duly signed, saying “that’s right.”

This concluded the case for the police.

Mr. Thompson submitting that the mere act of the accident was not sufficient to throw the onus of proving negligence and he told the magistrate they had a perfect defence.

Mr. Bromhead: “Then let us hear it.”

Frederick George Martin, a bee farmer of Burraga, admitted driving a lorry containing four men on the Perthville Road. Two miles from Perthville he saw the lights of two cars. The first passed with ample room, but the second car, which he afterwards found out to be owned by Mr. Witts, seemed to sway across the road and struck his front mudguard. His car was in the centre of the road.

Mr. Thompson: Whose fault was it that the collision occurred.

Mr. Bromhead S.M: That is what I am here for, isn’t it, Mr. Thompson?

When Witts came up, continued witress, he asked would he pay for his (Witts’) car. He replied “No, will you pay for mine.” Witts said “well I’ll go and get the police. Witness said “I wish you would.” Witts went away and came back and said the policeman was not there. He told witness he was looking for trouble but the latter replied “it Is you who is looking for trouble and you’ll get it.”

Replying to Inspector Daley, witness said that one of his passengers, a man named Cuttle, was slightly under the influence of liquor. Another man named Arrow had had a glass of liquor, but witness had not had a strong drink during the day. Mr. Witts’ car was about 30 yards behind the first car. He was traveling from 20 to 25 miles an hour. He first saw Witts’ car about 100 yards from the impact. He felt Witts’ car graze his lorry and said to one of the passengers “that chap hit me.” He did not stop because when he looked round the car was still going. He first noticed his tyre was flat 50 yards from Perthville. He did not feel it just after the collision. Witts did not ask for his name. Witts, when asked, said he (witness) was not drunk. Two of the passengers were seated in the front of the lorry with witness and two were in the back. He was the owner of the lorry.

To Mr. Bromhead, witness said he did not report the matter to the police.

Dennis Arrow, of Mt. Arrow, a Justice of the Peace, corroborated the previous witness’ testimony. Sydney Sharwood, another passenger of the lorry gave corroborative evidence. The back of the car seemed to sway on to the front mudguard of the lorry, which was on its right side. Witts’ car was too close to the middle of the road and was 40 or 50 yards behind the first car. Witts was travelling at a good speed. He just felt the impact and did not hear the tyre blow out.

After Roy Cole, another passenger in Martin’s lorry had also corroborated the other’s evidence, Mr Thompson again raised the point that a mere mistake of judgment was not negligence. The police had proved the accident but had proved nothing else nor had they proved that he was negligent. His plea fell on deaf ears however, Mr, Broaihead deciding to convict.

Mr. Thompson: I hope you’ll take into consideration my argument.

Mr Bromhead: I shall certainly take into consideration the fact that the four in the lorry went along and did not stop.

He then imposed a fine of £4 with 8/ costs and 25/ court costs.

Some four years later, on Thu 16 Dec 1937, the Nepean Times reported as follows:

Claim for £5000

Mr Justice Milner Stephen and a jury heard a case yesterday in which Elmo John Witts, school teacher of Wallacia, claimed £5000 from Vincent Adams, boarding house proprietor of Wallacia, for injury sustained when a car driven by defendant collided with a motor cycle ridden by plaintiff on the Mulgoa Road, near Glenmore, on the afternoon of March 11 last.

Plaintiff, it was stated, had a very severe fall, fracturing the base of his skull and receiving injuries to the mouth and fracture of a rib. Medical testimony was to the effect that the schoolmaster’s efficiency had been very seriously affected, that he had lost his power of concentration, and was subject to occasional fits of weeping. The hospital and medical expenses incurred by him as a result of the accident amounted to £210. Plaintiff alleged that the collision was due to the negligence of the defendant, who set up a general plea of not guilty.

During the hearing the parties agreed upon a settlement, whereupon the jury was discharged, and, by consent, a verdict was entered for the plaintiff, upon terms which were not disclosed. …

Elmo passed away on 01 May 1958; from the Nepean Times, Thu 08 May 1958:

The death of Mr. Elmo Witts of 182 Paddington Street, Paddington, occurred on Thursday last. The deceased gentleman was for many years headmaster of Wallacia Public School, and after his retirement lived for a long time in Penrith. He was very well known in the district. He leaves to mourn their loss his widow, Mrs. Catherine Witts, two sons and two daughters.

Catherine died on 07 Dec 1966 (record 6491) and is buried in the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park at Matraville.

This is what we know about their children. The first two boys were mentioned above in the electoral rolls.

01. Louis Moylan (b. 1916 d. 1962 in Victoria)

02. John (b. 19 Jan 1918 at Parkes , d. 08 Jan 1942)

03. Joan Patricia (b. 26 Nov 1919, d. 07 Feb 1997)

04. Geoffrey Paul (b. 1922, d. 26 Aug 1945)

There were at least two more children whose details are not yet available.

Generation 3

01. Louis Moylan Witts, known as Moylan, married Joan Margaret Gunter at Randwick in 1948. In the electoral rolls between 1949 and 1958 the couple are listed at 92 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach, and both are teachers. In fact his appointment on probation commenced in 1938 ( Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales, Fri 11 Nov 1938) and was confirmed in 1942.

02. John Witts joined the Air Force during the Second World War (service number – 411569). He died in Canada and is buried in Montréal, Quebec. The incident was reported in the N Nepean Times on Thu 19 Mar 1942:

Missing Airman

Mr E. J. Witts, of Penrith, has received from Canada a letter, with newspaper cuttings, relative to his son, Leading Aircraftsman John Witts, who was reported missing as the result of a night navigation flight on January 8 last.

Squadron Leader G. W. Jacobi, writing from Ontario, Canada, to Mr Witts, states: “Your son made an excellent impression at this school and was a keen student. It is with deep regret and personal feeling that I am writing you at this time and may I extend my deepest sympathy during this period of uncertainty.”

A letter written by the secretary of the Farm Equipment Section of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association to a Sydney solicitor stated that according to press reports the plane on which Witts was travelling commenced the return Journey and signalled to Montreal in the prescribed manner early in the evening and was never heard of again. The course of the plane would normally have been westerly following approximately the St. Lawrence River and the north shore of Lake Ontario. Following a bee line the plane would fly over land practically the whole of the Journey but would never be more than approximately. 20 to 30 miles from the river or lake. The territory traversed is fairly well settled, and in daytime there would be little difficulty at any point in finding a suitable paddock in which to land or in making one of the numerous landing fields on the route. However, at night there would be difficulties as the country is rolling (though without high mountains or hills) and on every farm there is a greater or less percentage of bush. Moreover at this season of the year the country is covered with snow, and it would be difficult for the plane to see fences, stumps, and other obstructions. As soon as the loss was established the authorities undertook a widespread search in all directions. Well over two hundred planes had been searching for a week, and no trace of the missing plane had been discovered.

On the plane were two Australian trainees (Witts and another), a Canadian observer trainee, and the Canadian pilot.

03. Joan Patricia Witts married Graham James Wright at Penrith in 1942 (record 24475). graham is listed as a chemist, and Joan as a secretary, in the 1943 electoral rolls, the couple living at 58 Church St, Randwick, and were still in the same street up until 1977. In the 1980 electoral rolls the couple had moved to a unit in  Coogee. The Sydney Morning Herald carried the notice of Graham’s death on Sat 12 Jul 1986:

04. Geoffrey Paul Witts was a Pilot Officer during the Second World War (service number 424252 RAAF), assigned to 2 Personnel Depot Sydney, Penrith. From a website listing Unaccounted Airmen we read about the two Witts brothers:

424252 P/O Geoffrey Paul WITTS RAAF (a.k.a Paul WITTS, ex-WAG, No.459 Sqn RAAF. ME), was injured in a motor accident on the New River Road, Emu Plains, NSW. Whilst riding on the running board of a vehicle, his head struck a telegraph post. He suffered a fractured skull and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Nepean Hospital. Paul Witt’s older brother, AUS403769 LAC John WITTS RAAF, lost his life when No.1 AOS RCAF, Anson 6831 (ex-AW478), went missing on 8 January, 1942.

Generation 2 continued

03. Annie Patricia Moylan, known as Nancye, married Ernest Robert Griffin on 20 Aug 1921. From Sydney’s The Sun Sun 4 Sep 1921:


At the Sacred Heart Church, Darlinghurst, on August 20, Dean O’Haran celebrated the marriage of Miss Nancye Patricia Moylan, youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Moylan, of Taree, N.S.W., and Mr. Ernest Robert Griffin, second son of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Griffin, Highfields, Leicester. England. The bridal gown was of ivory cashmere-de-sole trimmed with silver lace pearls and beautiful white hand-made spray of orange blossoms. The court train, lined with lemon georgette, had embroideries of roses and pearls, and the embroidered veil was worn Juliet cap fashion, with trail of orange buds. Lemon taffeta frocks, with touches of silver and powder blue, wore worn by the bridesmaids, Misses Hazel Melville and Ida Donaghue. Their black lace hats had lemon-beaded crowns, with colored hand-made flowers. Little Mavis O’Brien and Joy Murray, in frocks of shell pink georgette over cashmere-de-sole, worn with pink French bonnets of tulle, were train-bearers. Mr. Roy Mitchell was best man and Mr. Bob Plasto groomsman. The reception was held at the Marlborough, where Mrs. W. O’Brien, sister of the bride, received the guests. The bride travelled in a silver-grey coat frock of tricolette embroidered in Jade and grey, worn with fitch furs and picture hat in tones of grey.

Ernest was a tailor. The Daily Commercial News and Shipping List reported on Wed 15 Aug 1923 that he was a director:

“Tailors, Limited.” — Regd. 1.8.23: Capital, £5000 in £1 shares. Objects: To carry on the business of manufacturing tailors and clothiers, etc. First directors: Henry Benjamin, Leonard George Fox, Andrew George French, Ernest Robert Griffin, and Daniel Herbert Partridge. Rgd. office, Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sat 3 Sep 1938 on his unsuccessful, two year legal battle to have an invention patented:

(Before the Chief Justice, Sir John Latham, Mr. Justice Starke, Mr. Justice Dixon, and Mr. Justice McTiernan.)

Griffin v Isaacs.

The High Court unanimously dismissed with costs the appeal of Ernest Robert Griffin from a decision of the Deputy Commissioner of Patents.

Griffin had applied to the Deputy Commissioner of Patents for letters patent for an invention entitled: “Improvements in supporting means for trousers,” which had been opposed by Marcus Manly Isaacs.

The respondent had opposed the grant on the ground that:

“(1). The Invention was not novel; or had been already in possession of the public with consent, or allowance of the inventor.

“(2). The invention had been decribed in a book, or other printed publication, published in the Commonwealth before the date of the application; or was otherwise in possession of the public.”

The Deputy Commissioner, after hearing argument on November 17, 1937, found that the respondent was “any person” within the meaning of section 56 of the Patents Act, 1903 – 1935, competent to give notice of opposition to the grant; and on February 14, 1938, found in favour of the respondent in deciding the case under section 57 of the Act, and awarded costs to be paid by the appellant.

It was contended for the appellant:

(1). That the Deputy Commissioner of Patents should not have refused to grant a patent upon the application, without allowing the applicant an opportunity to amend the complete specification, lodged In pursuance of the application.

(2). That the decision to refuse the grant was wrong in fact, and in law.

(3). That the respondent had no locus standi to oppose the application.

The Chief Justice (Sir John Latham) said that the applicant’s invention related to improvements in supporting means for trousers, skirts, or the like, and particularly in supporting means, which included the use of a composite band or bands (viz., consisting partly of elastic, and partly of non-elastic material) suitably fitted in association with the waist band. The object of the invention was described to be, to limit to a particular part of the waist band the crumpling or puckering, which was the natural result of pulling in a waist band. The character of the invention, said the Chief justice, might be indicated by reference to the hip straps, which had long been common upon the waist bands of trousers. Such straps consisted of cloth tabs sewn to the waist band, one of them buckling to the other so that, by applying tension at the two attached ends, the circumference of the waist band was lessened, and the trousers were held in position. The portion of the trousers, between the positions on the waist band, at which the hip straps were attached, was naturally puckered or crumpled…

According to the electoral rolls (1930 to 1972) the couple lived throughout their married life in Highfields, Sackville St, Maroubra. Nancye passed away in Sydney in 1968 (record 2808) and Ernest in 1977 (record 20508). We have no knowledge of any children.

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