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Elizabeth Wray, Melbourne 1860

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Georgina Report 14 Feb 2013 19:26

Hi Kerri,
Can you find anything on my great, great grandmother Elizabeth and her husband William Beresford Wray, who went toMelbourne, Australia with their children in 1860, husband William died in April 1861, and I don't know if Elizabeth returned to England or stayed in Australia. I only know the names of two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Agnes, and son Walter William. There were five sisters, who were a singing group called the Little Nightingales, under the direction of their father who was a professor of music. I'd really appreciate anything you can find.
Thanks, Georgina


jax Report 14 Feb 2013 19:29



alviegal Report 14 Feb 2013 21:17

For reference.

Liverpool, England, Baptisms, 1813-1906 about Walter William Wray
Name: Walter William Wray
Birth Date: 5 Aug 1848
Baptism Date: 13 Sep 1848
Parish: Liverpool St Peter
Father's Name: William Berisford Wray
Mother's Name: Elizabeth Wray

1851 census transcription details for: 2, Austin Street, Birkenhead
Print Close

National Archive Reference:
RG number: HO107
Piece: 2175
Folio: 261
Page: 24
Reg. District: Wirral
Sub District: Birkenhead
Parish: Birkenhead
Enum. District: 1I
Ecclesiastical District: Holy Trinity
City/Municipal Borough:
Address: 2, Austin Street, Birkenhead
County: Cheshire
Name Relation Condition Sex Age Birth Year Occupation , Disability Where Born
WRAY, W B Head Married F 24 1827 Teacher Of Music
Alfreton, Derbyshire
WRAY, Elizabeth Wife Married F 26 1825
Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire
WRAY, Elizabeth Daughter F 5 1846 Scholar
Everton, Lancashire
WRAY, Mary Daughter F 3 1848
Everton, Lancashire
WRAY, Walter Son M 2 1849
Everton, Lancashire
BAINBRIDGE, E Mother In Law Widow F 61 1790
Flintham, Nottinghamshire
BAINBRIDGE, William Brother In Law Unmarried M 21 1830 French Polisher
Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire
PRESCOTT, Sarah Servant Unmarried F 18 1833 General Servant


BeverleyW Report 14 Feb 2013 21:43

From the Melbourne Argus, 8th April 1861:

We regret to have to announce the death at 6 o'clock yesterday morning of Mr. W.B. Wray a gentleman well known to the musical world as an accomplished organist and to the public generally as the father of 'the Little Nightingales'. Mr. Wray was formerly organist at the Blind Asylum in Liverpool but was compelled to resign his appointment by the state of his health, to ameliorate when he resided for some years at Torquay on the coast of Devonshire. The peculiar nature of his complaint, consumption, subsequently induced him to visit this colony nearly three years ago. Many will remember with pleasure his performances upon the organ during his short stay and while he held the post of organist of Brighton church,
He returned to England for the sake of advancing the professional interests of his young family but was again compelled to emigrate and once more chose Victoria as his home. On his arrival he gave several concerts which met with a liberal share of public patronage and was to the gratification of his friends reinstated in his old position. He was to have commenced his duties on the very day on which his career was terminated by the hand of death.
On Thursday last, the deceased gentleman was suddenly seized with a coughing fit while in the railway and broke a blood vessel. this acident terminated in his death. He has left a widow and seven children to deplore his loss.

So the family had two stays in Australia.


BeverleyW Report 14 Feb 2013 21:50

Rather sadly:

20th April 1861

The Melbourne Philharmonic Society have announced a repetition on Tuesday evening next of their recent performance of 'The Creation' for the benefit of the widow and children (the latter known as the Little Nightingales) of the late Mr. W.B. Wray who are totally unprovided for...... It is hoped that the public support to be accorded will be of that liberal character which this cause unquestionably deserves.


alviegal Report 14 Feb 2013 21:57

Mary's marriage?

Liverpool, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921 about Mary Agnes Wray
Name: Mary Agnes Wray of 44 Toxteth Street, Toxteth park
Birth Year: abt 1848
Age: 21
Marriage Date: 30 May 1869
Parish: Toxteth Park St John the Baptist
Spouse's Name: William Knowles, victualler
Father's Name: William Wray, professor of music
Spouse Father's Name: Thomas Knowles

Thomas Bamber And Eliza harris were witnesses.


BeverleyW Report 14 Feb 2013 22:00

13th September 1862:

Since the death of Mr. Wray, the father of the talented children, they have rarely come before the public but now they have commenced a series of farewell concerts at the termination of which they are to leave us for England.


Georgina Report 14 Feb 2013 22:05

Thank you everyone,, that's really helpful, it fills in a lot of detail that answers some other questions as well.
Many thanks.


MarieCeleste Report 14 Feb 2013 23:36



Vanessa Report 15 Feb 2013 03:57


There are quite a few newspaper articles on the Little Nightingales and their family in Australian newspapers.

You can view these on this link:

Good luck with your research.



Georgina Report 15 Feb 2013 09:05

Once again, thank you, this is fantastic information!