And the sign said ….. Bootmaker

The Aston family of Carisbrook in Central Victoria has been well documented by its descendants and others, particularly as their blind daughter Tilly was so well known.  But this week I chose this photo to represent Sepia Saturday’s Theme of “Signs” as we can see Edward Aston’s sign of Bootmaker on his place of business (and home)  in the 1870s.

Aston ShopStanding in front of the shop in Simpson St, Carisbrook, are Sophie (b1862) and William (b1860) with their parents Ann and Edward Aston, some time in the 1870s. Ann and Edward had eight children, the youngest being Matilda, born in 1873.  When Tilly (Matilda)  was seven she became blind but was an inspiration as she overcame her difficulties and became well known as an author and teacher , and establishing organizations which were later to become the Victorian Braille Library and Vision Australia. An Electorate in Melbourne for the Federal Parliament is named Aston in honour of Tilly.

At the side we have an early example of a photobomber – I don’t know who she is  !

I am interested in this family as when my great-grandmother Eliza Bosley arrived from Coleford in Gloucestershire she stated when she landed in Melbourne that she was travelling to her Uncle Edward Aston in Carisbrook.

In fact Edward was not Eliza’s uncle but her cousin – their mothers were sisters.

Back in Gloucestershire there had been four  Baynham  sisters. Any of the following names which are underlined are people known to have lived in Carisbrook.

Amelia Baynham  b 1808 became Edward Aston’s mother

Ann Baynham b 1815 became Eliza Bosley’s mother (my great grandmother)

Charlotte Baynham b 1812 married Samuel Attwood  and Charlotte herself came to Carisbrook, the only one of the sisters to do so,  She was Charlotte Amelia Attwood’s mother and Charlotte Amelia married Frederick Eager who, prior to their marriage had been a partner with W.R.Smith in the shop  from the  photo lower down.

 Frances, Baynham b 1819  married William Thomas.

There is always a mystery, an unresolved issue with my ancestors.  In this case Tilly Aston had said in her Memoirs that her father, Edward Aston,  had come to Carisbrook in 1857  because he already had an uncle in Carisbrook. Originally Edward and Ann had  spent 2 years in South Australia before coming to Carisbrook, so who was the uncle ?

I think it most likely that it was someone on his Father’s side of the family, either Samuel Attwood  or William Thomas.  In the 1856 Electoral Roll for Carisbrook where is a William Thomas living at nearby Alma, who is on the Roll as he is the possessor of a Miner’s Right. And there is plenty of evidence of a Samuel Attwood with a nursery at Carisbrook. As yet I have found nothing similar on his mother’s side of the family.

Or was Edward just using the term Uncle in a creative way as Eliza did when arriving in Australia.

As with all family history research there is always room for the next person to continue the research.


F. Eager, connected to the cousins by marriage, was a founding partner of the W.R.Smith shop.

A theme like Signs leads to infinite varieties of interpretation – serious, historical, humorous.  Check out what other Sepians have found through the links on Sepia Saturday.


16 thoughts on “And the sign said ….. Bootmaker

  1. Wendy

    Fabulous photo! I’m sure I have nothing that dates back that far.
    What are we going to do about those ancestors? They can’t be counted on to spell correctly or identify others correctly. “Unresolved issues” — yep, I can relate to that!


  2. jofeath

    I see we have bootmakers and Gloucestershire in common this week. It’s intriguing when you can’t work out to whom people were referring.


  3. Sharon

    I just checked my tree as the name Aston was vaguely familiar. I have an Alfred Aston, who married my Great Grand Aunt, Margaret Ann Jones, in Creswick. Any connection?


      1. Sharon

        Thank you for looking. One day I may research him further but as he has married in to the family, there are many others who are taking priority!


  4. ScotSue

    How lucky you are to have such an old photograph and you can only admire the courage and tenacity of Tilly in overcoming her disability and making her mark on life to help other blind people.


  5. luvviealex

    Two bootmakers in Sepia Saturday this week! Fabulous photo and I’ve always loved the name Tilly. Good for her. I am now more informed about the social history of Victoria.


  6. Susan

    Carisbrook has built a memorial centre to honor Tilly Aston – who is Australia’s Helen Keller. Tilly was the ‘seed’ that grew into Vision Australia. I enjoyed reading ‘sign said bootmaker’. Read about the achievements of Australia’s Tilly Aston at, and watch ‘The Girl From Carisbrook’ at the culture vic website. The Carisbrook Historical Society will be hosting an opening ceremony later this year – stay tuned..


    1. boundforoz Post author

      Thank you foe stopping by. I regularly check any Carisbrook sites for updates of information. My focus is on finding out who was the uncle who enticed Edward Aston to Carisbrook and so set in place the immigration of many Baynham descendants. I’m wondering if you are a descendant.


      1. Susan

        I’m the driver behind the Tilly Aston memorial in Carisbrook. I know that Edward Aston’s uncle had land near the junction of the creeks, possibly an orchard. The link to the Frickes? But I don’t know his name. I’ll check with some Aston family descendants re his name and get back to you. I’ll check some old maps that may have his name or initial on the land if he owned it.


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