Charles Alexander Punch (b 1832)

parents Thomas Punch & Ann Brown

born 15 October 1832, Poplar, London, England[1]
baptised 4 November 1832, All Saints Church of England, Poplar, London, England[1]
died 29 August 1884, Kerang, Victoria, Australia[4,5]
buried 31 August 1884, Kerang Cemetery, Victoria, Australia[2,4]

Charles Alexander Punch was the 5th child of Thomas Punch and Ann Brown and was born in the Docklands area of London where his father worked as a Shipwright.  He was baptised at All Saints Church of England in Poplar[1].

Parish Register - All Saints, Poplar

All Saints Church of England, Polar, London

All Saints, Poplar was located on East India Dock Road.

He probably grew up in the Docklands area and attended basic schooling.  In his youth, he might have worked with his father or started in another ship building related trade.  In any case, in his early twenties, he decided to emigrate to Australia.

Emmigration and Life in Australia

Sometime around 1851, Charles made his way to Australia.  No immigration record has yet been found but his death certificate states that he had lived in Victoria for 33 years[21]

In 1854 Charles married Mary Fisher at St Paul's Church of England, Melbourne, Victoria[3,19].  Mary was born ca 1830 and her parents were George Fisher and Mary (unknown)[3].  Together they had 12 children in the Bendigo area.

Charles was the first of the London Docklands Punch family to arrive in Bendigo.  His older brother John Joseph arrived in 1855 and was followed by another older brother, Thomas James, his older sister Sarah Ann and his younger sister, Louisa Charlotte who all arrived together in 1857.  That must have been quite a family reunion! Later still in 1873, his youner sister, Maria Amelia arrived.

With the great Victorian gold rush in full swing in the Bendigo area, he initially tried his hand at gold mining. His first child was born in Bendigo and his second at Dunolly.  When his four siblings arrived in Sydney in 1857, his sister, Sarah Ann stated that she had two brothers in the Colony, this Charles Alexander and John Joseph and they were at the Jones Creek Diggings.  On 14 January 1858, Charles' older brother, Thomas James, placed the following advertisment in the Melbourne newspaper, The Argus.

The Argus, 14 January 1858

Bendigo, Dunolly, Tarnagulla and other small townships were part of the Golden Triangle during the heady days of the Victorian Goldrush. 

The Jones Creek Diggings was simply a collection of miners, their families and tents together with a rudimentary Government Camp (later moved to Burnt Creek) where small fortunes could be made - with luck! 

The Diggings were probably located where Jones Creek crosses the Bridgewater-Dunolly Road.

Later in 1858, Charles' third child, Henry and his subsequent children were all born in Bendigo and the family stayed for the in Bendigo for about 25 years[3].

After the birth of their 12th child, Ada in 1870, things started to get complicated.......  Charles began a long term relationship with Mary Lucy Pay.  It may be that Mary Lucy was the Punch's housekeeper.

In 1871, Charles fathered a son, named Charles Alexander.  Reference 3, has two birth entries, one with Charles Snr named as the father and one with father stated as unknown.  Over the next 8 years Mary Lucy Pay had 3 more children with the father stated as unknown in the Victorian BMD Registers[3].  It can be reasonably assumed that Charles was the father of these children also.

Change of Location

After 25 years in Bendigo, Charles, Mary and their children moved to Kerang, Victoria. 

Mary Lucy Pay and her (their) children followed.

Did Charles and Mary Fisher simply not get along and were separated or was he leading a double life?  Irrespective of their private relationships, Charles continued to support Mary Fisher and made provision for her after his death, so what was going on[6]?

Charles must have made some sort of fortune in Bendigo and by 1880, he was a Publican in Kerang and a Land Owner[5].

Charles was the Owner and the Licensee of the hotel which was initially named Punch's Hotel in Victoria Street, Kerang and later became known as the Commercial Hotel.

Ref 4, 18 June 1880

Punch's Hotel, later renamed the Commercial Hotel and now the Kerang Sports & Entertainment Venue[7]
As early as September 1882, Charles called for tenders for unspecified building works.  Possibly extensions or renovations of the hotel.

Buisness must have been good.

It is believed that Mary Lucy Pay lived with Charles in the hotel[19].

Ref 4, 24 September 1882

Passing On

Ref 4, 2 September 1884
Charles died on Friday, 29 August 1884 aged just 52 years. 

Judging by the warm words in the death notice (left) he was well known and respected in Kerang.

Charles was buried on 31 August at the Kerang Cemetery in the Church of England Section 10, Row 1[2,4].

His gravestone reads:

"Erected by ML (Mary Lucy) Pay to the memory of Charles Alexander Punch died at Kerang 29th August 1884 aged 52 years.

Charles made out his Last Will on 10 September 1882.  Charles left an estate valued in excess of 3,400[5,6].

Charles allocated two properties, being Crown Allotments 9 & 10 in the Parish of Marrabit to his son Charles George Punch on condition that Charles George supports Mary Fisher for the rest of her life.  Charles clearly still cares for Mary and feels a duty to look after her.  Charles does not refer to Mary as his wife in his Will but rather as Charles George's mother.  It is likely that they were not living together as husband and wife at this time but rather Charles was with Mary Lucy Pay.  These two allotments comprised about 320 acres and were valued for Probate, at 590.  A considerable sum in those days.

Charles then left the entire balance of his estate to Mary Lucy Pay and she was appointed the sole Executor of his estate[5,6].  This was also very considerable and comprised:-

Charles' Will makes no mention of his other children by Mary Fisher, a number of whom were still alive at the time of his death.  Was he estranged from them because of his relationship with Mary Lucy Pay?

Mary Lucy Pay applied for the transfer of the hotel's liquor licence and this was granted on 5 September 1884.

Ref 4, 5 September 1884

Mary Lucy Pay applied for Probate on 2 October 1884.  In the Probate application she identifies herself as a Spinster[5].  Presumably, during the period after Charles' death , Mary Lucy operated the hotel and carried on Charles' business afairs.  Mary Fisher was still alive but was probably sidelined.

Mary Lucy ran the advertisment shown at right on 7, 14 and 21 November 1884 shortly after Probate was granted on Charles' estate.

Ref 4, 7 November 1884

On 20 February 1885, Mary Lucy transferred a parcel of land to Charles' son, Charles George.  This may have been the Allotment 1 mentioned in Charles' Probate.

Ref 4, 20 February 1885

Mary Fisher Died

Mary died on 2 September 1893 in Kerang aged 63 years.  The cause of death was stated as Debility which she suffered for 2 years[2,3,14,23].  She was buried at the Kerang Cemetery on 4 September in the Methodist Section, Grave O/10[2].  Interestingly however, her funeral service was presided over by Rev E H Scott, an Anglican Minister[23].  She was recorded with her married surname of Punch.  There is no evidence that Charles and she were divorced which was hardly known in those times.

Mary Lucy Pay

Clearly, Mary Lucy Pay was a major part of Charles later life and they enjoyed a close relationship for approximately 14 years until his death.  Mary Lucy was born in 1851 in Richmond, Victoria.  Her parents were William Pay and Elizabeth Hooley.  Mary Lucy died 29 July 1933 in Kerang aged 82 years[3].

After Charles death, Mary Lucy married John Joseph Cadusch in 1885 (probably in Kerang)[3].

John was born in Poschiavo, Switzerland.  He was naturalised on 8 February 1886 in Kerang[8].

Mary Lucy and John had (at least) three children.

In 1903, her address was Corner of Wellington & Victoria Streets, Kerang[20].  This is the location of the Commercial Hotel so it is assumed she continued to live there. 

From 1909 to 1931, her address was Wellington Street, Kerang[20].  It is presumed this is still the hotel.

In 1903 and 1909, John James Cadusch stated his occupation as Hotelkeeper and his address was as Mary Lucy's[20].  The ownership/management of the Commercial Hotel appears to have stayed in the Pay family. 

John James died in 1911 in Fitzroy South, a suburb of Melbourne, probably obtaining medical care[3].

In 1924, Frank (born 1879) was a Hotelkeeper and his address as the Commercial Hotel, Kerang[20].

Mary Lucy died in Kerang on  29 July 1933[11].  To her Pay grandchildren she was always known as Grandma Cadusch[22].

The Argus, 31 July 1933

Children of Charles Alexander Punch and Mary Fisher
Links to further family stories shown underlined

1.  Charles George Punch was born in 1855 in Bendigo, Victoria.  He died in 1913.  He married Annie Elizabeth Rowe in 1893.  Aniie was born in 1869 in Sebastopol, Victoria (near Ballarat).  Her parents were Oliver Eddy Rowe and Mary Ann Tyler[3].  No death details have been found.  Charles George and Annie had 4 children.

2.  Thomas William Punch was born in 1856 in Dunolly in central Victoria[3].  Nothing more is known.

3.  Henry Punch was born in Bendigo ca March 1858 and died aged only 9 months on 1 Jan 1859[3,15].  The family were living at High Street, Bendigo at the time.

4.  Mary Ann Punch was born in 1859 in Bendigo. She married William Simmonds.

5.  George Punch was born in 1861 in Bendigo.  He died in 1940 in Swan Hill, Victoria[3].  George was buried on 19 July 1940 at the Swan Hill Memorial Park in the Church of England Section, Row 16, Grave A382[9].

6.  Elizabeth Florence Punch was born in 1862 in Bendigo.  She married James George Ruff on 26 March 1890[16].  She died in 1924 in Hotham East (a Melbourne suburb)[3].

7.  Jennie Punch married William Henry Leech on 11 October 1906 at St Paul's Church in Bendigo[17].  No other details have been found for her.

8.  Adelaide Punch was born in 1864 in Bendigo but died aged only 4 years in October 1868 in Bendigo[3].  She was buried on 30 October at the Kangaroo Flat Cemetery, Grave 700[10].

9.  James William Punch was born in 1865 in Bendigo[3].  Nothing more is known.

10.  Jane Punch was born in 1867 in Kangaroo Flat[3].  Nothing more is known.

11.  Henry Punch was born in 1869 in Kangaroo Flat[3].  He married Margaret Honora Power.  See his story.

12.  Ada Punch was born in 1871 in Kangaroo Flat[3]. She had a son Percy born in 1893 in Kerang and later married Patrick William Wallace in 1896.  She died on 30 June 1904 in Swan Hill[18].

Children of Charles Alexander Punch and Mary Lucy Pay

1.  Charles Alexander Pay was born in 1871 in Kangaroo Flat (near Bendigo)[3].  Ref 3 has two birth entries - one with Charles Alexander Punch Snr named as the father and one with father unknown.  This Charles Alexander was known as Charles Pay.  Charles married Eliza Dickinson in 1897.  Eliza was born in Bendigo in 1870 and her parents were Richard Dickinson and Ann Beatty[3].

Charles and Eliza had 3 children:-

1.1  Mary Lisle Pay was born 1901 in Bendigo.  She was known as Lisle and married Robert Philp in 1924[3].

1.2  Charles Alexander Pay was born in 1904 in Kerang but died very young, also in 1904[3].

1.3  Walter Charles Pay was born in 1905 in Kerang.  Always known as Charlie, he married Iris Mary Weston in 1934[3].

Aged 45 years, Charles joined the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) on 15 February 1916[12].  He and Eliza were living in Nolan Street, Kerang at the time and Charles stated his occupation as Storekeeper

In fact, in 1903 Charles and his younger brother, Ernest,  formed the partnership of E & C Pay to operate a General Store and Wine and Spirit Merchant in Kerang but after about 10 years Charles retired from the partnership and then worked as a Bricklayer and has the nickname of ‘Brick’ Pay for 4 years until he joined the AIF[22].

Charles left Australia on the HMAT Runic on 20 Jun 1916 with the 38th Batallion of the 10th Infantry Brigade.

They arrived in Plymouth, England on 10 August and on 22 November they left for France.

Trois Arbres Cemetery
Ultimately, Charles did not see much action.  He died on 19 January 1917 from a fit of Epilepsy

Perhaps his Epilepsy was brought on by stress.  It would seem unlikely that he would have been accepted into the AIF if his condition was known beforehand[19].

He was buried at Trois Arbres Steenwerck Cemetery, near Armentieres, France.  Grave I.D.20.

Upon receiving the terrible news, Eliza wrote:-

from Eliza Pay letter to AIF, 20 July 1917

On 21 November 1924, Eliza and her daughter, Mary Lisle visited Charles' grave and wrote a letter to the AIF.  Eliza was living at Illawarra, Campbells Forest, Victoria at the time.  Here is an excerpt:-

from Eliza Pay letter to AIF, 12 January 1925

2.  Ernest Pay was born in 1872 in Bendigo.  Father was stated as unknown but presumed to be Charles Alexander Punch[3].  In 1905, Ernest married Esther Mary Davies.  Esther was born in 1879 in Ballarat.  Her parents were William Davies and Esther Mary Isaac[3].

Ernest was a Storekeeper and operated a General Store and Wine and Spirit Merchant Victoria Street, Kerang from 1903 to 1931 and from 1936 to 1954 in Scoresby Street, Kerang[20].  Until his older brother Charles joined the AIF, the business was a partnership named E & C Pay.

Ernest and Esther had five children:-

2.1  Geoffrey Pay was born in 1906 in Kerang[3].

2.2  Ernest Lloyd Pay was born in 1908 in Kerang.  He married Christina Alice Adele Rankin in 1940[3].

2.3  Allan Pay was born in 1910 in Kerang[3].

2.4  Esther Mary Pay was born in 1915 in Kerang.  She married Andrew Paton in 1938[3].

2.5  Dylis Elizabeth Pay was born in 1920 in Kerang.  She married Vernon Arthur Chenee (or Chenn) in 1942[3].

3.  Eva Pay was born in 1875 in Bendigo.  Father was stated as unknown but presumed to be Charles Alexander Punch[3].  She married a Martens[11].

4. Frank Pay was born in 1879 in Bendigo[3].  Father was stated as unknown but presumed to be Charles Alexander Punch.  Frank died in 1951 in Hawthorn, Victoria[3].  He probably grew up and lived much of his life in Kerang.  In 1899, Frank married Ellen (Nellie) Bullock in Kerang.  Nellie was born in Casfield, Victoria.  Her parents were Henry Bullock and Margaret Pratt[3].

In 1903, Frank and Nellie lived at Wellington Street, Kerang - probably with his parents at the Commercial Hotel.  In 1909 and later in 1914, Frank was a Farmer and had a property called Lower Lodden just outside Kerang.  In 1924, Frank was a Hotelkeeper and his address as the Commercial Hotel, Kerang.  Perhaps his mother became too old to manage the hotel (his father had died in 1911) and he stepped in?  In 1931, Frank and Nellie were living at Model Farm, outside Kerang[20].

Nellie died in 1933 in Kerang and sometime later, Frank left the farm at Kerang.  He died in Hawthorn, Victoria in 1951.

Frank and Nellie had two children:-

4.1  Ernest Harold Pay was born in 1900 in Kerang but died very young in 1901[3].

4.2  Horace Eric Pay was born in 1901 in Kerang and died in 1966 in Elwood, a Melbourne suburb.  In 1923 he married Thelma Omara.  Thelma was born ca 1907 and died in Melbourne in 1966[3].

In 1924, Horace lived at the Commercial Hotel with his grandparents and worked as a Barman.  In 1931 he was Farming at Model Farm with his parents[20].

Children of Mary Lucy Pay and John Joseph Cadusch

1.  Carlotta Louisa Cadusch (Lottie) was born in 1886 in Kerang.  She married Allen Charles Tye in 1919[3].  Allen Charles Tye was born in 1891 in the Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy, Victoria.  His parents were George Tye and Alicia Florinda McMillan[3].

2.  James John Cadusch was born in 1887 in Kerang[3].  James was always known as Jim and was a Farmer in Kerang.  He married Annie Marriiman in 1912 and they had 3 children:-

2.1  Sheilah Cadusch was born in 1913 in Kerang[3].

2.2  Elizabeth Cadusch was born in 1915 in Kerang[3].

2.3  Frances Mary Cadusch was born in 1917 in Kerang[3].  

James enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) on 5 February 1916[13].  He was assigned to the 38th Battalion with his half-brother, Charles Alexander Pay.  Jim was killed-in-action on 7 or 9 June 1917 by shell-fire during the Battle of Messines in Belgium.  He was buried on the battlefield.  During his service, he had been promoted to Sergent and later Lieutenant.

3.  Walter Henry Cadusch was born in 1890 in Kerang but died in infancy[3].  

  1. All Saints, Poplar parish records,
  2. Kerang Cemetery records
  3. Victorian BMD indexes
  4. Kerang Times & Swan Hill Gazette
  5. Charles Alexander Punch b1832 Probate
  6. Charles Alexander Punch b1832 Last Will
  7. Google Earth, streetview
  8. National Archives of Australia
  9. Swan Hill Memorial Park records
  10. Bendigo Cemetery Trust records
  11. Mary Lucy Pay death notice, The Argus, 31 July 1933
  12. Charles Alexander Pay b1871 military record, National Archives of Australia
  13. James John Cadusch b1887 military record, National Archives of Australia
  14. Bendigo Advertiser death notices, 9 September 1893
  15. Bendigo Advertiser death notices, 4 January 1859
  16. Bendigo Advertiser marriage notices, 2 April 1890
  17. Bendigo Advertiser marriage notices, 27 October 1906
  18. Bendigo Advertiser death notices, 19 July 1904
  19. Sue Coghill personal correspondence
  20. Victorian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980 via
  21. Charles Alexander Punch b1832 death certificate
  22. David Charles Pay personal communication 24 July 2013
  23. Mary Ann Fisher b1833 death certificate