Oxfordshire England to Australia


Information on this site is my research and input from Wayne Knoll.

 I would appreciate contact if you can correct or add information to this family


1st known Generation of Hollis

William Hollis c.1762 England

& Elizabeth Pottinger

Great Great Great Grandparents of Max Hollis & Siblings

Born: WILLIAM HOLLIS was born c.1762 in Sonning Oxfordshire England his parents are not known. It is known William had at least one sibling Thomas Hollis.

Marriage: William Hollis Esq. a Yeoman farmer, married by licence, ELIZABETH POTTINGER on 03 Dec 1805 in Sonning Oxfordshire. Witnesses to the marriage Mary Payn, Francis King, John Pottinger.

Wife Born: Elizabeth Pottinger was baptised 1773 Caversham Oxfordshire, the daughter of WILLIAM POTTINGER and *MARY SARAH BERRY. (Mary Sarah Berry was a daughter of Reverend Nathaniel Berry, she married William Pottinger 29th June 1771 Caversham Oxfordshire. Family all born Caversham: Sarah bapt 5 July 1771. Rachel bapt. 12th April 1775 d.1823. William bapt.28 June 1778 d.1810. John bapt. 10 Dec. 1777. Harriet bapt.16 May 1779. The Pottinger family lived at Shiplake- Sonning area. The Hollis Farm seems to have originally belonged to the Pottingers.)

1830 Directory of Berkshire: Listed among the Nobility is William Holl(e)s Gentleman and farmer, of Cane End, Caversham.

William's brother Thomas Hollis: William’s brother, Thomas Hollis, was a professional Surveyor who lived as a neighbour with his family across the river Thames at Sonning, Berkshire.

1841 Census: William Hollis's widow Elizabeth was 65years living with her children Harriet 25yrs, Thomas 25yrs a farmer, Richard 24yrs, Charles 22yrs at Ladbrook Farm Shiplake. Also mentioned living at this farm were Harriet Weston 18yrs F.Servant, Sophia Homes 20yrs F.Servant, Edward Deadman 20yrs Ag Lab., Edwin Streak 16yrs Ag Lab., Joseph Chandler 15yrs Ag Lab., Thomas Damer 16yrs Ag Lab.

Deaths of William & Elizabeth Hollis: William Hollis of Cane End was buried 26 December 1828 at Caversham St Peter aged 66years. Elizabeth Hollis of Sonning Berkshire (hamlet close to Cane End) was buried 15th December 1857 aged 84years.

Children of William & Elizabeth Hollis

1. WILLIAM POTTINGER HOLLIS, b. 1806, Cavasham Oxfordshire; m. CHARLOTTE BERRY, 09 Dec 1828, Sonning Oxfordshire. William established his family on the Thames at ‘Charville Farm’ of 450 acres, with a force of 15 farm servants, in Sonning, Berkshire. By the 1861 census William was a widower aged 55yrs. still farming  "Charville Farm", employing 15 labourers & 4 boys in the Civil Parish of Sonning & Woodley Berkshire. Living at the same address were his son Frederick 29yrs and daughter Charlotte 21years, Maria Berry an aunt was visiting and his servant workers.


1. Rachel Hollis b.1826/27 Shiplake, Oxfordshire. Resided 1851 census at Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire.

2. William Pottinger Hollis (Jr) b.1829/30 Sonning Berkshire. In 1851 William was a medical student aged 21years, residing at 78 Judd St, St Pancras, London with his uncle Richard Hollis. In 1861 he was a trainee Surgeon a pupil of Dr A ? Power, residing at 52 Burton Crescent St Pancras London, Middlesex. He is believed to have become a practising doctor/surgeon. He died Dec. Quarter 1898 aged 68years Islington, Greater London.

3. Frederick Hollis b.1831/32 Sonning Berkshire. Married Frances "Fanny" Hayden Mastern September quarter 1868 Reading Berkshire. Occupation 1871 Farmer at Borough Farm Sonning Berkshire, with 4 servants.  Family: 1. Robert Hayden Hollis b.1869/70 Sonning 2. William Charles Hollis b.Sept Quarter 1871 Workingham.

4. Maria Hollis b.1835/36 Sonning Berkshire. Resided 30 March 1851 age 14 St Johns School Hampstead Middlesex.

5. Thomas Hollis b.1837/38 Sonning Berkshire Eng. R ??

6. Charlotte Hollis b.4th Quarter 1839 Sonning Berkshire. On March 30th 1851 aged 11years (farmers daughter) Charlotte was at St Johns School Hamstead Middlesex


2. JOHN FREDERICK HOLLIS, b. Abt. 1808. John received into the church for public baptism August 8th 1809 Privately baptised April 19th 1808 by Rt. Baker at Goring Heath ( NB - Cane End is outside Caversham to NW-Goring Heath is a little further in same direction) Caversham Oxfordshire; d. 11 Jan 1854 Melbourne Australia. Married Frances Elizabeth Close 8th July 1840 St Pancras Middlesex Eng. Came to Australia with their children. 

[See more detailed account of this family below]


3. MARY ELIZA HOLLIS, Christened same day as her brother John 03 Aug 1809, Goring Heath Caversham Oxfordshire. Married John Pearman

Family two sons, both born where their father was born, and where their parents married, at Mapledurham, Oxford, England - on the north bank of the Thames, upstream of Reading.

1. Augustus "Gus" John Pearman, born 28 FEB 1832.  Augustus John Pearman obtained his MA from Oxford, and became the Reverend A.J. Pearman, vicar of St. Margaret's Church, Bethersden, near Ashford, Kent; & The Precincts, Rochester, Kent, & Minor Canon Row, Rochester (1898), and the author of the History of Ashford, as well as several papers on the church archaeology of Kent. He later was ordained Canon Augustus John Pearman.

2. Morgan Thomas Pearman "probably know as Tommy" born about 05 MAR 1835.  Tommy [Morgan Thomas Pearman], also obtained his M.A., of Pembroke College, Oxford and became the Reverend M.T. Pearman, and was the vicar incumbent for 37 Years at Iwade, near Sittingbourne in Kent, England.


Both the Reverends Augustus John Pearman and Morgan Thomas Pearman became historians and writers. The Reverend M.T. Pearman wrote "Historical Notes on Caversham' the Hollis's homeland.


4. THOMAS ADOLPHUS HOLLIS, b. 1811, Caversham Oxfordshire.

1881 census Thomas was 42yrs living at Laurel Cottage in the hamlet of Sonning Town, a farmer of 140acres employing 15 labourers & 2 boys and 1 woman and a corn merchant. His 41year old unmarried sister Charlotte (This Charlotte- was she a sister not recorded on the Oxfordshire burial Index?)  was living with him as was his 73year old aunt Maria Berry and servant Mary Butter.


5. HARRIET HOLLIS, b. 1812, Caversham Oxfordshire.

Harriet was a witness at the marriage of James Close and Mary Ann Swinley nee Bullock


6. CHARLES ERNEST HOLLIS, bapt. 1816, Caversham Oxfordshire. Charles married: Ann KEEN 31 March 1850 Old Church, Saint Pancras, London, England.

The 1861 UK census has Charles as 42years living with his brother Richard at 25 Prince of Wales.

1864 Berkshire Directory he is listed as a Farmer, at Charville Farm, (with W.P.Hollis) 


7. RICHARD AUGUST/AUGUSTUS HOLLIS, bapt. 1816, Caversham Oxfordshire.

According to the British 1851 census Richard was a Master grocer, employing 2 men living at 78 Judd Street, St Pancras London. 1861 census  he is recorded as a Tea Dealer (with brother Charles (E) Hollis also) in London. In the 1862 P.O. Directory of London he is listed as Tea Dealer, 25 Chapel St, Somerstown, (between Wilsted St & Brill Row) 1881-91 census Richard unmarried grocer.  In 1881 he was at No 62 St Peters Street district of Islington London. 1891 at 11 Brunswick Close Civil Parish of Clenkenwell London.


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2nd Generation

John Frederick Hollis c.1810

& Frances Close 1840

Great Great Grandparents of Max Hollis & Siblings


Arrived  Australia 1852 aboard the ship "Chalmers"

The reason for John Frederick Hollis to bring his wife Fanny and six children to Australia is not know. John Frederick was the second son of minor gentry, the large-landed yeoman farmers on the Thames river flats near Reading. He would seem to be an ideal Australian settler, having already been a working farmer and raised on a large yeoman farm since childhood. He and his family had emigrated from the greater Reading area where they’d lived in the rich fields of middle Thames Valley of Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

The Hollis family, John Frederick 42yrs, Fanny 38yrs and children Hubert John 11; Arthur 10; Fanny (Frances)  9; Edward  7; Edith Rachel 6; and little Lucy  4. left Liverpool England aboard the ship "Chalmers" arriving Melbourne Victoria Australia on 30th July 1852 and set up home in the Collingwood / Fitzroy / Richmond area.

Link to passenger diary of voyage of the ship "Chalmers"

Shortly after their arrival the families lives were throw into chaos and poverty with the death of the head of the household John.

Birth:  JOHN FREDERICK HOLLIS was the second son and one of seven children born to William Hollis Esq. and Elizabeth Hollis nee Pottinger. He was privately baptised 19 April 1808 at Goring Heath and received into the church for public baptism Aug 3rd 1809 along with his sister Mary Eliza. Goring Heath is very near Cane End  both to the NW of Caversham Oxfordshire.

Marriage: John, a farmer of Shiplake, married spinster Frances Elizabeth "Fanny" Close 08 July 1840 in Parish of St Pancras Middlesex England.

Wife Birth: FRANCES ELIZABETH (FANNY) CLOSE the daughter of JAMES CLOSE and MARY BULLOCK, was baptised 1813 in Shiplake Oxfordshire England.

1851 Census: In 1851 John his wife Fanny and children Arthur, Fanny, Edward, Hubert, Edith, and Lucy were all living at Albert Cottages in the civil parish of St Giles in the borough of Reading. He gave his occupation as formally a farmer. What was john working at at this time? , was he organising himself for the departure from England  and relocation to the other side of the world, which which did take place a little over a year later.

John & Fanny had not always lived in Berkshire, but had always lived with an hour’s walk from the rural English River Thames or its tributaries. Their youngest girl, Lucy, was born at Hurley, near Crookham, Berkshire in 1849 and Edith had been born in 1846 nearby where they were living in 1851, at Burghfield, near Reading, Berkshire. So this couple can be seen to have lived in Berkshire only since about 1845 or 1846. Their older children were all born where they had their farm, at Long Crendon, near Thame, in Buckinghamshire, on the borders of Oxfordshire, about ten miles east of the city of Oxford. Hubert was born in 1841, Arthur-1842, Fanny-1843, and Edward Payne Hollis in 1845, all at Long Crendon, near Thame in Buckinghamshire. This is not far away. Thame is only about twenty or thirty miles north of Reading.

Shipping Record: John Fredrick & Frances Elizabeth Hollis and their children arrived Melbourne Australia  aboard "Chalmers"  30.7.1852.

Death of John: John died aged 45yrs at Brunswick Victoria on 11th January 1854, 18months after his arrival in Australia.

Burial Mystery solved: John was buried in a public grave no.216 at Melbourne Cemetery on the 12th January, no denomination noted. Thanks to Wayne Knoll who made a visit to the cemetery July 2007 that this death was finally found. The entry had been left off the burial index for Victoria but was found in the cemetery register. (See burial of Fanny)

2nd Marriage of Frances: How Fanny coped to feed, cloth and put a roof over the heads of her six young children is unknown but it certainly wouldn't have been easy. Five years after John's death Fanny, occupation given as housekeeper, married  widower THOMAS SIMMONS a brick maker on the 2nd June 1857 at St Stephens Church Richmond. Thomas was an American born in Pennsylvania. He and Fanny had a daughter who died as an infant.

Death of Frances Simmons formally Hollis: Fanny died 10 Jun 1860  age45yrs at Crown St Yarra Berg Richmond Victoria. Her son Hubert Hollis gave this as his home address as informant. An inquest was held into her death, she was buried 13th June 1860 Melbourne General Cemetery. Thanks again to Wayne Knoll having visited the Melbourne Cemetery he found her grave location and grave number to be an exact same match for the so-called pauper grave of John F. Hollis. So it seems she is buried with John F. Hollis after all and the grave was retrospectively made a private one. Wayne has located the exact plot  in an area of grass in the middle of scattered old Church of England graves.

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 John & Frances Hollis Family

With the deaths of both their parents within 9yrs of their arrival in Australia the Hollis children were now orphans, and separated by sea from other relatives. What a traumatic time this must have been for  Hubert now 18; Arthur 17; Fanny 16; Edward 14; Edith 12/13; and Lucy 10 or 11. Thomas Simmonds their stepfather was either unable or reluctant to care for his stepchildren as the younger children were made wards of the State of Victoria and put under the guardianship of Mr Septimus Martin J.P., of Collingwood.

1. HUBERT JOHN HOLLIS, b. 1841, Thame Berkshire England; d. 12 Nov 1888, Prince Alfred Hosp. Melbourne aged 47yrs. No.15365; m. ELIZA SUCKLING, 05 Jan 1867, Collingwood Victoria No. 1067; b. 27 Aug 1839, Hertsfordshire England; d. 11 Feb 1924, Wandin Nth. Vic. age 84yrs No.3634.

[Click on Link below for more detailed information on this family]

2. ARTHUR HOLLIS, b. 15 Feb 1843, Buckinghamshire/ Bapt. Long Crendon England; d. 24 Apr 1909, Melb. Hosp. (66yrs) Arthur lived his life as a bachelor and at the time of his death lived at Mooroolbark / Lilydale.

3. FRANCIS "FANNY" ELIZABETH HOLLIS, b. 31 Jul 1844, Buckinghamshire/ Bapt. Long Crendon England.  Francis was the first of her siblings to marry. In 1864 at Collingwood (reg/no 03442) she married JOHN THOMAS SMITH, a brassfounder born in London. Fanny lived to be 83, dying in 1928 (REGNo.8315), the same years as her husband John, in Armadale.

 Family: five children from 1865 to 1877 three daughters & two sons

1.Rosa Frances Smith b.1865, Collingwood Vic. Reg/no 21267; d. 1928 St Kilda 62yrs; married Thomas Stott, 1886, St Kilda Reg/no 5476. Thomas had a wholesale produce agency at Melbourne’s Victoria Market which lasted generations.  This agency over time handled produce from Hollis linked descent farms in the South Wandin area.

2. Amy Charlotte Smith; b. 1868; Collingwood Vic. Reg/no 1797; d. 1955 St Kilda 87yrs; m. Edward Johnson, 1896.

3. Alfred John Smith, b. 1870 Collingwood Vic. Reg/no 14860; d. 1962; Fitzroy aged 92yrs. married Mary Ann Stephen 1900. Mary d.1946 East Melbourne; had seven children.

4. Arthur James Smith, b.abt 1872; d. 1932; Brighton 60yrs; believed married Johanna Sarah Richardson 1900; d. 1928 Prahan; had five children.

4. EDWARD PAYNE HOLLIS, b. 27 Jul 1845, Buckinghamshire/ Bapt. Long Crendon England; d. 1892, Beechworth Lunatic Asylum age 46yrs.(Reg/No.9077). Edward seems to have spent his life alone suffering from a form of insanity. He was a prisoner of the Crown from at least 1871 and possibly several years prior to this. He was transferred from Ararat Prison to Ararat Asylum to Beechworth Asylum on 20th April 1871. Edward was found dead in his room at the asylum believed be have died of epilepsy. He was 46years old.

5. EDITH RACHEL (ETHEL) HOLLIS, b. 1846, Burghfield Berkshire England. Edith married HENRY WILLIAM (WILLIAM HENRY) GRASS, in 1867. Henry b. 1844, Melb. Edith, was deserted by her husband. He died as he had lived in the stables of a Richmond hotel in 1883, at age 44, in a state of ulcerous neglect and dereliction. Edith responded to that lifelong devastation with compassionate dignity and lamentation for her children. She soon died herself, in 1892, aged only 46, leaving the two Grass children orphans.

Family two:

                    1. Lucy Ann Grass, b. 1869; Richmond Vic. Reg/no 4655

                    2. William John Grass, b. 1871, Richmond Vic. Reg/no. 04826

6. LUCY HOLLIS, b. 1848, Hurley Berkshire Eng.; d. 1891, Richmond Vic.age 43yrs. (Reg No. 7931); m. JOHN CURTIS, 1871, Vict. (Reg NO.2363); b. London Eng.

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Hubert & Eliza Hollis & Family

(Great Grandparents of Max Hollis)

Hollis Family Story written by Wayne Knoll

Passenger diary of voyage of the ship "Chalmers"



Information on this site is my interpretation of events through my research I would appreciate contact if you can correct or add information to this family


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