Robert Evans has led me on quite a chase whilst trying to track down his origins. According to a letter he wrote, he was born on 25th January 1884 at Hay. His WW1 enlistment papers give his place of birth as Narrandera. According to details given at the time of his marriage, his father was Robert Evans a general labourer who was deceased by 1916. There was no birth registered with these details in 1884.
After much searching I found a reference to a Robert Charles Fletcher, alias Robert Evans in the Gaol Photographs index. This in turn led me to a birth record for Robert Charles Fletcher was born 25th January 1884, at Tupra Station, [situated on the Lachlan River near Hay] NSW. He was the second child of parents William Fletcher, a 39 year old labourer from Scotland and Eliza Mary White, aged 38 of Kilmore Victoria. At this point it is not know when or why Robert began using the 'Evans' surname, however it would appear that his older brother George Thomas Fletcher also went by 'Evans' as this is how Robert names him on his enlistment papers for WW1.
Robert lead a colourful life.
On 3rd March 1905, Robert was convicted in Camden Court of stealing and sentenced to 24 hours [imprisonment?]
On 13th January 1913, Robert was convicted in the Gunnadah Court of a breach of the Railway Act and appears to have been fined 10 shillings.
On 20th October 1913, Robert Charles Fletcher appeared in the Albury [Criminal?] Court along with Frank Charles Mason, charged with stealing from a dwelling and attempting to utter counterfeit coin. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 terms of 12 months to be run concurrently. [the Melbourne Argus]
20th July 1914 released from Bathurst Gaol.
It would appear that not long after his release from gaol, Robert enlisted as a Private in the 1st Battalion AIF, 4th Reinforcement on 4th January 1915 at Liverpool. At the time he stated he was 31 years old and single. His trade was listed as Hairdresser, although later on the birth certificate of his daughter Bessie he was recorded as being a Sheep Shearer. He lists his next of kin as Geo Evans c/- PO Toowoomba. Robert's unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 10 April 1915. His Regimental number is 1561  his Regimental number from Nominal Roll is 1561. Robert returned to Australia on 13th January 1919. Roberts army records held at the National Archives show he was still living in 1947. For more details of his army career click HERE coming soon
First Marriage: Her death certificate records that Emily was married twice, firstly in when she was 15 to Frank Rose. I have found no record of this marriage.
1911 Census: The 1911 census shows 19 year old Emily at home with widowed father James and her younger siblings, Charles aged 16, Jessie Hilda aged 7 and Lilian Winifred aged 4.
Marriage: Emily Beatrice Baxter and Robert Evans were married on 20th May 1916 at the Registry Office, Southwark, London. At the time of their wedding Emily was residing at 35 West Square, Southwark and Robert gives his residence as the Australian Hospital, Harefield Park. Emily's profession was 'preserve labeller'. She is shown as being 21 but it is more likely she was 24. Her father James is recorded as a master hairdresser. Robert is recorded as being a private in the 1st AIF and a Master hairdresser. His father is recorded as Robert Evans, deceased. The witnesses were A M Carter and Josephine Pitt. Emily is described as being a spinster, Robert a batchelor.
Robert and Emily had two confirmed children: Note - Roberts death certificate states two more daughters but no son, Emily's states no children.
Bessie Ivy Evans: born at 53 Cleveland Street, St Marylebone, London on 10th August 1916, less than three months after her parents wedding. The informant was Emily [mother] who gave her address as 53 Cleveland Street indicating that this was likely a home birth. Bessie would later to fostered with the Laffan family in Australia.
Robert Edward William Evans: Born 13th July 1919 at 53 Cleveland Street St Marylebone. Mother Emily gives her address as 750 George Street, Sydney NSW, Australia, although this child was born in London. Father Robert is recorded as a sheep shearer ex army. I believe that Robert was later fostered by the Lawrence family.
Ivy M Evans: born about 1919 - as per Robert's death cert [This may be Bessie Ivy]
Mary Evans: born about 1923 - as per Robert's death cert. [I have not traced this child]
Once back in Australia, Robert applied for his wife Emily to be brought out to Australia in July 1919. To date I have not found a definite record of their arrival, however Mrs E Evans and two children [1 female 1 male] arrived on the Zealandia in 1920.
It did not take Robert long to fall afoul of the Law once again.
1920 Robert Evans alias Robert Charles Fletcher alias Robert Fletcher aged 35 and Ernest Gladwell aged 30 charged with breaking and entering the dwelling house of Lorn Catherine Edwards and stealing good to the value of 12 pounds. Committed for trial at Goulburn sessions. They were found "Not Guilty" and discharged.
On 12th July 1922, Robert was charged with stealing [at possibly the Central Court Sydney?] and sentenced to pay 3 pound 3 and 6 or three weeks in prison.
On 9th June 1923 Robert was once again charged with stealing and sentenced to 3 months in prison. The Police gazette of September 1923 reports Robert Evans alias RobertFletcher alias Robert Charles Evans and Patrick Kain charged with stealing shoes to the value of 4 pounds. Robert was sentenced to s months hard labour. Kain was discharged.
In 1924, a woman named Emily Evans is assaulted by James Bourke/Burke, a hairdresser, after he attempted to bring stolen goods into their home. Emily states she had been living with Burke for about 18 months. It is not known if this is our Emily but the hairdresser connection is curious.
1926 Robert Evans alias Robert Charles Fletcher is arrested for assaulting Peter Oswald Jones with intent to rob. Committed to trial in the quarter sessions.
In 1929, Robert is residing in the State Hospital, George Street, Parramatta and writes to Officer in Charge of the Victoria barracks requesting a copy of his discharge papers from the AIF.
A possible sighting of Robert in the 1930 Electoral Roll is at George Street, Parramatta. Robert is a labourer. There is also an Emily Rose residing at the Newington State Hospital, Parramatta.
1933 Electoral Roll: Appears to show Robert and Emily residing together at Woodbine Ave, Hornsby. Roberts occupation is 'fitter' Emily's is home duties. This is the only time I have found them together in the Electoral Roll. Note: There is also an Emily Beatrice who married Frederick Guy Evans in 1924 - not to be confused with our Emily.
In 1940, Robert is at the State Hospital Liverpool where he once again requests a copy of his discharge papers.
Robert is residing at the Lidcombe State Hospital in 1943.
In 1947 Robert gives his address as the Waterfall Sanitarium, a hospital that dealt with Consumption/Tuberculosis cases, when he once again requests a copy of his discharge papers. It is now that Robert mentions a sister, Mrs M Doyle of White Hills, Victoria.
The 1949 Electoral roll shows Robert Evans, labourer, at the Liverpool State Hospital.
Death: Emily Evans [or Rose] - late of Orange Grove Road, Liverpool, died 29th December 1935 at Newington Hospital, Lidcombe. Cause of death was carcinoma of the cervix uteri. According to her death certificate she was 33 years of age, however her true age was 43. She had spent 14 years in Australia making her arrival about 1921. Her death certificates records two marriages. First in London at age of 15 to Frank Rose. Second in Sydney [note] to Robert Evans. Curiously both her marriages show no issue, meaning no children. Emily is buried at the Church of England [Anglican] section of the Rookwood cemetery, section NN grave 4699.
Robert Evans died on 13th June 1953 at State Hospital and Home Liverpool, NSW. There are several corrections that appear on Roberts death certificate and it was altered on 30th July and again on 7th August. I have included them here in case they may shed light on future research. Age was 68 later corrected to 71. Occupation, labourer. Conjugal Status: married [Robert was a widower unless he had remarried!] Father; Robert Evans, Mother; Eliza McCrae or Fletcher. Spouse; Emily Beatrice Baxter, place of marriage London age about 29 [altered from 31] Children of marriage Bessie G aged about 37 Ivy M 34 Mary 30 living, none deceased [altered from Jessie 7, May 4 and Herbert 2 living none deceased] Cause of death Epithelioma of nose [probably a skin cancer or tumour of the nose]. Date of burial 16th June 1953 Church of England Cemetery Botany now eastern Suburbs Memorial Park. A13A - Anglican FM 13A - Grave 5.