WILLIAM BUCKINGHAM SEAMONS

Born on 31 December, 1884 at Franklinford, Victoria, Australia.
Married Mary Ann Arkley at Melbourne, Australia, on 17 September, 1913.
Died 29 November 1964 at Ashburton, Victoria, Australia.
William and Anne had 3 children:

  • Robert Frederick, born 18 July 1915 at Kyabram, married Beryl Anna Toal at Moonee Ponds on 22 February 1941, died 14 October 1988;
  • Gladys Edna, born 24 July 1917 at Kyabram, married Gerald William Sexton on 9 November 1940 at Ascot Vale, died 27 April 2015; and
  • Winifred Jean, born 1919 at Kyabram, married George Frederick Kellow, died 8 Dec 2007.

William, the seventh of twelve children born to James and Elizabeth, was born in a little mining township called Franklinford, about 8 miles from Daylesford, in Victoria. At the age of eight years, he went to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Kyabram, northern Victoria. His Uncle (actually his second cousin, but some 37 years older than William), Frederick JUDKINS, was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire England, on 5 January, 1847. Frederick was the son of Charles JUDKINS and Margret DUKES. Charles was born on the 6 November 1822 in Aylesbury, England, to Sarah Seamons (a sister of James' father, John), and William Judkins. Margret Dukes was also born in Aylesbury on 5 July, 1823.

Frederick was the only child of Charles and Margret born in England. Charles, Margret and Frederick migrated to Australia before the birth of Mary Ann Elizabeth Judkins, on 2 October, 1851 at Franklinford, Victoria Australia. Charles Henry (11 May 1856) and Emma Sarah (4 March 1859) followed. (It is interesting to note that Mary Ann Judkins married Thomas Thomas in 1871, and two of their daughters, Mary and Clara, married James and Elizabeth's two eldest sons, John James and Joseph, respectively).

On 3 October, 1877, Frederick married Matilda ROBERTS (Born at Ballarat on 23 June, 1854) at Yarrowalla Wesleyan Church, Victoria. Matilda was the sister of Elizabeth Anne Roberts, wife of James Seamons, and the mother of William. Hence, both Fred and Matilda had direct blood relationship to James and Elizabeth's children. Because Fred and Matilda had no children of their own, they "borrowed" William from James and Elizabeth. It is also understood that Clara left school at the age of 12 and went to live with and work for her Uncle Fred and Aunt Matilda. Part of her job was to also care for young William.

Fred Judkins and Matilda (Tilly) Judkins (nee Roberts)

Frederick and Matilda owned a vineyard at Kyabram, the name of which was the Aylesbury Vineyard, so named after Fred's home town in England. William left his mother, father and nine siblings at Franklinford and went to live in Kyabram from the age of eight. As well as the Vineyard, they ran cows, chooks and bee hives. The Judkins also owned draught horses and a gig-horse.

From the time that William arrived at Kyabram, he was milking the cows and walking around the neighbourhood delivering the milk before school. The family attended the Methodist Church in Kyabram, and William started lay-preaching at the age of 20, and continued as a local preacher until his death in 1964. He attended the Rehoboth College in Eastern Australia, possibly at Sale. He was in training to be a missionary to China, but he had difficulty at the time in learning the Chinese language, as tutors were scarce. William spent some time at Lakes Entrance as a Home Missionary.

After about 6 years in Kyabram and under the leadership of Rev. James Tratham, a Young Men's Evangelistic Band was formed with three leaders, of which William was one for three years. The holding of his first Church service happened on the third Sunday in December, 1900, through the sudden illness of the Minister, Rev. Trathan. William was directed to take the afternoon service at the Tongala W. H. Days Church and from that service on, he never looked back. Just prior to his 16th birthday, he was placed On Trial, but never appeared on any Preaching Plan.

At the December Quarterly Meeting of the Local Preachers, he was orally examined on "Banks Theology" from the first to the last chapter, answering questions for one hour and twenty minutes.

During his 26 years in the Kyabram Methodist Circuit, he preached in almost every Circuit in the Goulburn Valley. He travelled to all of his Sunday services on a push bicycle, on which he had a cyclometer which registered 88,600 miles. William would often take as many as three services on a Sunday, travelling from Tongala, Merrigum, and other townships around that area. The trips were made sometimes by horse and gig or buggy, or by the bicycle.

William B. Seamons, at age 21

He returned to Kyabram, possibly when his Uncle died, to look after the vineyard and the farm. William and his Aunt Matilda were still living there when William married Annie Arkley on 17 September, 1913.

William and Annie Seamons on their Wedding Day, September 17, 1913.

Matilda went to Melbourne to live with one of her sisters, while William continued at Kyabram with the vineyard, whilst also growing his knowledge of dried fruits. At that time, the fruit was all dried on racks in the sun, and William had a good market for his produce because of the high standard.

Back standing (left): William Buckingham Seamons;
Seated (left) Matilda Judkins (nee Roberts) & Frederick Judkins;
Seated second from right: Elizabeth Anne Seamons (nee Roberts), mother of William Buckingham Seamons. (note that Matilda and Elizabeth Anne were sisters).
It is not known who the others in the photo are, however it is highly likely that some are more of James Seamons' children.

In about 1920, William was offered a position in the State Department of Agriculture in Melbourne, so he decided to sell the Aylesbury vineyard, but before leaving, the Ardmona Preserving Company in Mooroopna asked if he would manage the Company for twelve months. The Manager's residence was on the Maroopna property, and the State Department held his job for the twelve months.

William, Annie and their three young children, took up residence at 24 Grandison St., in Moonee Ponds in 1922.

In 1925, William went to the Nyah West area of Victoria for a period of about six months to supervise the dried fruit packing, as a lot of dried fruit was now being exported from Australia, and the quality of the fruit had to be first class. William was recognised as one of the most knowledgable Victorian fruit inspectors at that time.

On his return from Nyah West he spent a lot of time on the wharves, opening and inspecting cases of fruit, both dried and preserved. He spent more time on supervising the loading of the fruit than anything else, with most of his actual reports on the loadings then being written up at night, when he had returned home. In 1926, William had a Californian bungalow type house built on Mt. Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds. This was originally numbered as 597, but was later altered to 713.

William and Annie Seamons, and their 3 children, Gladys (l), Robert and Winnie.
This picture was taken at St Kilda on January 8, 1927

In 1932, Aunt Matilda moved in with William and his family, and remained with them until her death in 1935.

In 1946, as the result of an injury to his foot (that occurred at the Moonee Ponds railway station), and in combination with a slight diabetic condition, he had a leg amputated, but even with this impediment, he still continued travelling, preaching and attending meetings.

In 1949, he and Annie moved to Ashburton to be nearer to their daughters. William continued to go to work in Melbourne until he retired at the age of 65 years. At Ashburton, William and Annie resided at 10 Vears Road, next to their daughter, Gladys, and her family. William continued to work in Melbourne until the end of 1949, when he retired at age 65. The residence in Moonee Ponds was sold to their son Robert, who with his family lived in it until they subsequently moved to Pascoe Vale in 1968. The house in Mt. Alexander Rd. no longer stands, but was opposite Queen's Park, and near the Memorial Stone to Burke and Wills' first night stopover on their fateful exploration.

A shooting accident in the country had left William with lead in his foot. Years after this accident, he suffered from lead poisoning, and in 1960 had to have his remaining leg amputated. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he was still able to tend his garden which was full of fruit trees and grapevines.

William never lost contact with his own large family of brothers and sisters; some remained in the Tylden, Franklinford area, as well as at Yandoit, while two brothers, Richard and Walter, moved to Kyabram. Richard had a shoeing forge in the town. William's youngest sister, Alice also lived in Kyabram after her marriage to Ben Nichols. Older sister Annie Hall lived in Brunswick, while the two older brothers, John and Joseph, moved to Melbourne and lived in the Ivanhoe area. Brother Edmund went to Queensland where he joined the police force.

Most of the family continued with the Seamons longevity by living to ripe old ages, and until William's death in 1964, he wrote letters to the remaining members of his family, and continued to send them money.

MARY ANN ARKLEY, wife of WILLIAM SEAMONS

Robert and Jane Arkley came to Australia in 1888, on an un-assisted passage from England. With them were their children Mary Ann, aged 12, William, aged 10, Thomas, aged 7 and Robert aged 4-5. (Robert was one of twins, the other having died in England).

Robert bought 3 terrace houses in Athol St. Moonee Ponds, Victoria, and from these dwellings he started a milk delivery round, as well as selling dairy products from one of these houses. When Mary Ann was in her mid-teens, Robert had a shop built in front of one his houses, and from here, Annie started a mixed business, selling groceries, laces, cottons, etc., while at the same time, continuing to run the thriving milk business.

During the period 1904/5, this Business and the terrace houses were sold and a family home was bought in Elgar Rd., Burwood, with a dairy farm being set up at that site. This farm was over a very large area, with a creek running through the property. In 1988, most of the area on the far side of the original site had been developed into school buildings, however the family house was still in Elgar Rd., and was still in good repair.

Annie Arkley, born 1876, died 1961.