Laslett family history

Frederick and Julia Lasslett of Hurlstone Park

Frederick Rook Lasslett was born on 9 November 1845 at Swalecliffe the second of twin sons born to William Lasslett, a cabinet maker and wheelwright of Swalecliffe, and Sarah Lasslett née Vevers (page 76). He was baptised with his twin brother Benjamin Wynn at St John the Baptist Church at Swalecliffe on 21 November 1845. Both 'Benjamin Wynn' and 'Frederick Rook' were not 'family' names so we can only surmise that William and Sarah followed what appears to be a practise at the time of, when twins were born, naming them after local worthies or persons of substance. Benjamin appears to have picked up his 'Benjamin Wynn' from the Wynn family who feature in the Swalecliffe Parish Churchwarden's Book as the local gentry and joint owners of the parish's major rateable property. We have still to find out from where 'Frederick Rook' came into the family although a builder's square in the writer's possession that belonged to Frederick is clearly marked 'F Rook'. This indicates that Frederick was probably named after a family friend who was a builder in the area.

On 18 January 1853 Frederick, his parents and brothers and sisters joined the 'Woodstock' of 967 tons and along with nearly 300 other passengers sailed for Melbourne in the colony of Victoria. After a voyage of 98 days the 'Woodstock' docked in Port Phillip Bay on 1 May 1853.

The family stayed in Melbourne for only a short time and by June 1854 had moved just south of Bendigo to the Kyneton district. They settled first at Carlsruhe then moved to Malmsbury where by 1868 Frederick had a carpentry business with his younger brother William. The 1868 edition of Bailliere's Victorian Directory shows F. & W. Lasslett, as carpenters of Mollison Street, Malmsbury. This listing continued until 1872 when we suppose that the brothers dissolved their partnership and went their different ways.

These years had also seen Frederick marry and start a family as on 23 February 1868 he had married Julia Mary Abbott of Melbourne, Victoria at the Lasslett family home in Malmsbury. Julia had been born in London in 1848 the daughter of Alfred Chapman Abbott and Harriet Jessica Abbott (née Bell) his wife. Additionally, on 4 February 1871, their first and only child, also called Frederick, was born.

The fortunes of Malmsbury were declining as the gold in the area ran out and Frederick, around 1880, decided to move up to Sydney. We do not know why he made this move so far away from his family but conjecture that his brother William's mother-in-law, whose maiden name was Clifford, may have introduced them to her relatives in Sydney. Whatever happened the name Clifford came in as a family name in the next generation. By 1880 Frederick was living at 17 Gowrie Street, Newtown. Sands 1880 Directory shows 9 residences on the west side of Gowrie from Harold to Erskinville Road. Fredicks was the fourth. In 1900 he moved to 101 Union Street, Newtown for a short time while building a new home called "Kyneton" at 22 Duntroon Street, Hurlstone Park.

The move to Hurlstone Park was prompted by the fact that the dairy farming area out there was being sub-divided for housing and Frederick, who was now in partnership with his son, decided that it was a good place for a Carpenter, or what in present day terms would be called a Builder, to live.

Unfortunately I have seen no photograph of Julia and hope for one to turn up one day as two of Frederick recently have. One shows him as a child of three or four while the other is a snapshot taken of him in his working clothes with his meerschaum in his mouth and his pug dog ‘Towser’ at his feet. He is bearded and is wearing a bowler hat. I understand also from my parents that 'old Mr. Lasslett', as he was called by them, was a small man who wore a smoking jacket and cap like Spike Milligan's "beachcomber" character. Many 19th century dresses and artifacts owned by Frederick and Julia survived up until the early-1950s when, because the family properties were sold on the death of Frederick jnr and storage space for them did not exist, these items were destroyed. A few carpenter's tools, a couple of which date back to the 18th century, were saved by my father and are now in my or my sister's possession.

Julia died at her home 'Kyneton' on 10 July 1914 and is buried in the Church of England section of Rookwood Cemetery. Frederick died at 'Kyneton' on 21 September 1925 and is buried with Julia.

Their home was let out for many years to the Colbornes, a very Irish family, and finally Jack Lasslett lived there from about the mid-1950s until he demolished the old place around 1960 and put up a block of home units on the site.

Family of William and Sarah Lasslett

FREDERICK ALFRED WILLIAM - born 4 February 1871 in Malmsbury. Trained as a Carpenter/Builder. Around 1880 moved to Sydney with his parents. Married Amy Sarah Hickey on 31 December 1896 in Newtown. Amy had been born at Pyrmont in 1873 the daughter of James Hickey a blacksmith and dredge master and Esther Hickey (née Thomson). Frederick died on 30 September 1947 at Hurlstone Park while Amy died on 5 June 1954 at her daughter Dorothy's house in Goulburn. They are both buried in the Church of England Section of Rookwood Cemetery.

See chapter Frederick and Amy Lasslett of Hurlstone Park on page 136.