The story of Margaret Knight and Richard Clement - Geelong

Some of the information below was compiled from information provided by Ian Starling and Margaret Tyler in early 2015, and from documents found at my mother (Pam Warland, nee Robertson)'s house in December 2011.

Read the histories of Margaret Knight and Richard Clement before reading this section.

Sometime before mid 1871, the young widow Margaret Knight, with three young step-children from her late husband's first marriage, met the twice widowed and now childless Richard Clement. Richard was still living in Little Londsale Street, Melbourne, at this time. Margaret and the three Bushell children were probably still in Geelong, quite likely with Margaret's parents.

Margaret Ann Clement 'as a young woman'.

The original of this photograph has notes written by her dauhter Margaret Knight Aikman that states 'Mother, when she was a young woman', and, beneath the photograph 'Margaret-Ann Clement taken as a young woman'.

There was (apparently) a brief courtship and, on 25 July 1871, Richard Clement married Margaret Ann Bushell (nee Knight) in the home of her father, Thomas Edward Knight, on Western Road (or Street), Geelong. The wedding was performed by the Rev F P Strickland according to the rites of the Church of England.

Margaret's mother Jane Knight (nee Bish) died in Geelong on 28 March 1873 aged 55 from syphilitic laryngitis. Thomas then lived with his newly married daughter Margaret and her husband Richard Clement.

Richard and Margaret's children

Richard and Margaret had the following children:

The birth registration for the three younger children show the father's name as 'James Downs Clement'. This suggests that Richard was known as James for some years.

Hannah Bushell, Margaret's step daughter from her previous marriage to Tom Bushell, is remembered as helping her step-mother look after the children. Hannah, her sister Mary Ann, and brother Tom feature in several of the family photographs. For details of the fate of the Bushell children, see this page.

Richard Clement - Butcher

Richard Clement operated his butcher shop in Spring Street, Geelong West, for many years. The first shop was at 38 Spring Street, owned by a Mr Hobbs, and described in the rate book as 'a weatherboard shop of 4 rooms and a stable'. The rates were 19/6 plus 8/8 for lighting.

'Little Scotland', Geelong

The area where Richard lived and worked was apparently known locally as 'Little Scotland' because of the number of Scottish emigrants who settled there. In those days, shops and houses were interspersed and people lived closed to shops, hotels and churches. A creek, known as Western Gully, ran behind the butchery in Spring Street.

Richard moves shop

Some time later, Richard moved to premises four doors east, at 30 Spring Street, behind Kelly's bakery. The book The Ashby Story by Gladys Seaton notes that Richard owned this land before building in 1876 - 1877. However, the Geelong Advertiser of 29 January 1887 stated that 'Mr R D Clement of Spring Street Geelong West, announces that he has started a cash butchery shop, a few doors from the Castle Culloden Hotel', on the corner of Latrobe Terrace and Spring Street.

Richard and Margaret Clement and their twins Margaret and Isabella in a pram outside their shop in Geelong in 1874. The elderly gentleman next to Margaret is her father Thomas Knight, born in the late 1820s.

Margaret Knight Clement in 1881. The original photograph is smaller than a stamp.

Margaret's father Thomas Knight died on 20 December 1883 aged 73. His death certificate states that he died of haemophysis.

On 25 January 1887, Richard Clement put the following advertisement in the Geelong Advertiser:


The public will find it to their advantage to give R D Clement, Butcher, Spring Street, Geelong West, a trial. He has reduced his prices for cash. Good quality kept.

Another advertisement gave the prices per pound of his meat.

The building housing Richard Clement's butcher store survived until 1982 when it was vandalised and burned to the ground.

The life of Richard and Margaret Clement

Since 1874, Richard and Margaret Knight had attended the Baptist Church on Aberdeen Street which was quite close to their house in Spring Street. It is believed that whilst attending this church, they became keen Christians. Although the twins Margaret and Isabella had been christened in the Church of England, the children all attended the Baptist Church.

A photograph of Margaret Ann Clement with her four daughters taken in 1894.

Margaret Ann Clement (nee Knight) aged 43, her daughter Margaret Knight Aikman (nee Clement) aged 22, and Margaret Dorothy Aikman (later Robertson) aged 16 months, taken August 1897. Rear of photo is written 'To Maude with Love from M A Clement Aug 6th 1897'.

Richard Clement and his grandchildren Dorothy (aged 4) and Clement (aged 2) taken in 1901.

The rear of the photograph has the following written by Margaret Knight Aikman: 'Dot thought she was [th?] with the feather on her bonnet, I made all their clothes. Later, [th?] would cash a lot to make these things now. 1896 (crossed out and 1900 put on top), my children were always well dressed on small weekly allowance. M.K.A.'

A photograph with the caption 'Picnic at Queenscliff', believed to have been taken in 1907.

There are several copies of this photograph, two with slightly different descriptions (but in the same handwriting): (1) 'A picnic at Queenscliff. Mother, Bert Clement, Margaret with Wallace a baby. Isobel with short hair. Mina and Edith Clement. Dorothy standing, Clem in sailor suit, Mabel and Hadley'. (2) 'A picnic party taken Dec 1907 at Queenscliff. M A CLement sitting with Bonnet. Bert standing. Dorothy next. M K Aikman with Wallace. Mina nursing Edith. Mabel sitting next to Mina. Hadley Fagg (standing?) up his (?). Clem in sailor suit holding book. Isobel in pinafore with (two words), all the (?) was Mina's (?) and relations.

The lives of the children of Richard and Margaret Clement (without separate pages on this site)

Isabella Clement

Some time before 1896, Belle Clement became engaged to George Weber. Unfortunately for Belle, George was diagnosed with TB in 1896 and he died in May 1898. The Geelong Advertiser of 9 May 1898 reported his death as follows. 'On the 7th May, at his mother's residence, "Helvetia", Laurel Bank parade, George, youngest beloved son of Jessie and the late Jacob Weber, aged 30 years. The funeral will leave the residence of his mother, "Helvetia", Laurel Bank-parade, this day (Monday) 9th inst, at 12 o'clock, for the Bannockburn Cemetery.'

The rear of this photograph has the following comment 'Ernie Day, George Weber engaged to Belle and Alex in their boxer hats'. It is believed that the man on the left of the photograph is George Weber. Alex Aikman is standing at the rear.

Caption: 'A picnic at Queens Park taken before Belle's marriage'.

It is not yet completely clear if the photograph above was taken before the original proposed marriage to George Weber some time in 1896 (and if that is George Weber at the front of the photograph in the suit), or if was taken before her marriage to William Strong in 1906/9. However, based on what appears to be Margaret Aikman (nee Clement) holding a baby at the left of the photograph and the fairly strong resemblance of the man in the suit at the left to George Weber in the photograph above, it seems more likely that that this photograph was taken in 1896. Perhaps the wedding was cancelled after George was diagnosed?

William (Bill) Baker Strong - who Belle either already knew or would later meet - had married Ada Dawson Clerverdon/Cleveston Evers (born in Hawthorn on 21 March 1872 (VIC BDM Ref 9420)), the daughter of Ann Smith and Benjamin Evers, in 1894 (VIC BDM Ref 408). Bill and Ada Strong had three children:

  • Alice Strong (13 January 1895, St Kilda (VIC BDM Ref 7372) - 8 July 1974). Later a nun, Sister Mary Flora, in Honolulu.
  • Reginald John William Strong (6 May 1897, St Kilda (VIC BDM Ref 14772) - 28 October 1946, Caulfield (VIC BDM Ref 11541)). Wounded in action in World War 2. Married Louisa Maude Heron in 1923 (VIC BDM Ref 2871).
  • Herbert Edgar Strong (21 October 1900 (VIC BDM Ref 30000) - 16 September 1963 (VIC BDM Ref 19533). Married Jean Gould Smith in 1921 (VIC BDM Ref 12312)

Ada Strong (nee Smith) died in on 6 February 1901 at her home, 32 Malakoff Street, St Kilda (The Argus, 7 February 1901).

Sometime after George's death, Belle travelled to the UK with her brother Bert Clement. On her return, she married William (Bill) Baker Strong on 11 November (or September?) 1909 (VIC BDM Ref 6587). The following is a photograph taken on their wedding day.

Isabella and William Strong on their wedding day.

William and Isabella Strong had three children together:

  • Gwendolyne (Gwen) Strong (1910 - )
  • Clement (Clem) William Strong (1912 - ). Married Margaret Ford Thomas in 1942 (VIC BDM Ref 13173)
  • Leslie (Les) Norman Strong (1914 (VIC BDM Ref 35584) - ). Married Joan Marjorie Cross in 1940 (VIC BDM Ref 1940)

Herbert (Bert) Percy Clement (1877 - 1914)

Bert Clement in 1902. Mina Clement (nee Thornton) in 1924

Herbert Percy Clement was born in 1877. These names appear to have been new to both sides of the family. (However Richard's brother Thomas, in England, named his youngest child Herbert in 1883.) The picture above was taken at his sister Mabel's wedding in 1902.

Bert married Wilhelmina (Mina) Victoria Thornton in 1904 in Geelong West. Mina was born in 1881 (VIC BDM Ref 25280) to Hannah White and Thomas Plea Thornton. At the time of their marriage, Bert and his younger brother, Richard Norman Leslie Clement operated the family butcher shop under the name of Clement Bros., Butchers.

The following picture is captioned 'Bert died a few years later' and has the following text on the rear: 'Alex Aikman at the wheel in the motor relay race on Melbourne Road. With Mr Griffiths and the runner Mr Lowe. Mr Griffiths was the President. Very few could drive a car in these early days, the Melb road was full of pot holes'. It is not known if Bert is the gentleman with the suit.

Bert and Mina Clement had three children:

  • Edith Margaret Clement (1906 - June 2004, Gold Coast (Ryerson Index)). Announced her engagement to John William Hastie (born Werribee in 1896) in the Shepparton Advertiser of 10 March 1927. Married John William Hastie on 4 February 1932 in the Cairns Memorial Church in Melbourne. Their wedding notice in the Shepparton Advertiser of 11 February 1932 indicates that Edith had taken on her step-father's surname: 'The Rev J.P. Schussler, uncle of the bride, was the officiating clergyman at the wedding ... of John William, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Hastie, of Toolamba and Edith Margaret, only daughter of Mrs W Hepworth of Toolamba, and the late Mr H.P. [sic] Clement of Geelong' Her bridesmaids were Misses Bertha Hill (of Tatura), Muriel Hastie (sister of the groom), Ruth Schussler (cousin of the bride) and Myra Hepworth. The best man was Allan Hastie (brother of the groom) while the groomsman was Dick Clement (brother of the bride). Edith and John Hastie had at least one child, Ross Clement Hastie (born in Tatura in 1936, died Merrigum in 1942 (Vic BDM Ref 28552). John William Hastie died at Tatura in 1945 (VIC BDM Ref 17425). Edith subsequently married ? Vigar (possibly not in Victoria) and lived on the Gold Coast in Queensland where she died in 2004.
  • Richard Thornton (Dick) Clement (1907 - 16 June 1975 in Tatura, Victoria). Married Bertha Hill and lived in Toolamba. They had one son, announced in the Shepparton Advertister on 19 September 1941.
  • Herbert Randall Clement (1910 - 5 April 1970 (VIC BDM Ref 8144)). Married Annie Christina O'Brien in 1936 (VIC BDM Ref 10531). They had at least one child, a daughter born on 20 January 1944, announced in The Argus of 31 January 1944. Randall was noted in the Shepparton Advertiser on 4 October 1946 with his brother Dick, performing in a local play.

Bert Clement was working for Clement Bros (butchers) in Spring Street Geelong West in 1914 when he suffered an untimely death, aged 37. According to the Geelong Advertiser of 7 October 1914, The glass casket hearse was preceded on foot by 12 members of the Sunday School class of the Aberdeen Street Baptist Church, and was followed by two mourning coaches and 45 public and private vehicles to the Aberdeen Street Baptist Church, of which the deceased was a deacon and active member.

Following Bert's death the butcher shop passed down to his younger brother, Richard Norman Leslie Clement (30 January 1883 - 1957) who in 1910 had married Jessie Ronald Ferguson (born 1882 - 1 July 1931).

Mina Clement (nee Thornton) remarried William Hepworth in 1925 (VIC BDM Ref 8803). William Hepworth was a widower with two children from his marriage to Mary Jane Jones:

  • Gordon Hepworth (born 1916, Donald (VIC BDM Ref 11225)
  • Myra Agnes Hepworth (born 1918, Donald (VIC BDM Ref 10565).

Mina and her children appear in several photographs taken after the death of Bert.

Wilhelmina Victoria Hepworth (nee Thornton) died suddenly in Stawell in May 1962 (VIC BDM Ref 8935). She was at the time living in Hampton in south-east Melbourne. Her son Randall died in 1970. Son Dick died in 1975.

Richard Norman Leslie (Les) Clement (30 January 1883 - 1957)

Les Clement in the UK in 1907.

Richard Norman Leslie Clement married Jessie Ronald Ferguson ( - 1 July 1931) in 1910. They were Baptists, attending the Aberdeen Street church, near to the family home in Spring Street. Les joined his father in the butcher shop and it was he who took over the business, following his father's retirement and his brother's death in 1914. At one time Leslie owned three butcher shops.

Les and Jessie's wedding photograph in 1910. Les' niece Dorothy Aikman (later Robertson) is the flower girl on the left hand side.

Les and Jessie Clement had three children:

  • Richard (Dick) Donovan Clement (1911 (VIC BDM Ref 3714) - 1983). Married Doris Gough in 1938 (VIC BDM Ref 2960) and had children.
  • Ian Ferguson Clement (1913 (VIC BDM Ref 22219 - 2006, Goulburn (Ryerson Index)). Married Margaret (Peg) Miller (possibly not in Victoria) and had one son.
  • Leslie Robin (Rob) Clement (1917 (VIC BDM Ref 21027) - ). Married Janet Lesley Pattie in 1940 (VIC BDM Ref 12099) and had children.

In 1920, Les acquired a vacant block of land at 9 Gertrude St, Geelong West (one of the few vacant blocks in a very early Geelong West street), and in 1921 he began to build a house from 'concrete and weatherboard'. The house was completed and the family moved in in 1922. The house remained in Les’s family until it was sold in 1986.

Jessie Clement (nee Ferguson) died on 31 July 1931 at the family home 'Mossgrey', in Gertrude St, West Geelong, aged 50. The newspaper notice carried the words 'At rest in the Palace of the King'.

Les re-married on 16 April 1932 to Edna Gladys West, who had been born about 1900, and was thus about 17 years younger than Les. From this marriage twin boys were born:

  • John McCauley Clement, twin with Ross
  • Ross Clement (died a few days after birth)
  • Neil McCauley Clement (3 October 1935 - )

Les Clement and his son Robin Leslie Clement continued to run the business known as 'R.L. Clement & Son' butchers at 19 Elizabeth Street, Geelong West, until August 1950 when the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent. The Argus of 2 August 1950 also noted that 'Robin Leslie Clement ... will continue to carry on the business at the same place under the name of R.L. Clement & Son'.

Les was also involved in the Aberdeen St, Baptist Church, and is listed in the centenary booklet in 1952 as the Church's only life deacon at that time. He died in Geelong in 1957 at the age of 74. Edna lived to the age of 82 and died in Geelong in February 1982.

Captain Tom Clement - Richard's nephew - visits Geelong

Captain Tom Clement appears in several photographs taken in 1912 when he visited Geelong as the Captain of a cargo ship.

Captain Tom Clement's ship in Geelong harbour in 1912.

Tom was Richard's nephew, Thomas Forster Clement (abt February 1872 - 1951). (See this page for details of the Clement family)

Photographs taken in 1912 during Tom Clement's visit. Left: Captain Tom Clement with Dorothy and Clem Aikman. Right: Captain Tom 'with some of the grandchildren. Named children in the album are: Gladys Fagg, Clem (Aikman), Dorothy (Aikman), Dorothy, Isobel, Edith, Don, Wallace (Aikman), Ruth, Jean, Hadley, Randall, Dick.

Clement family with Captain Tom Clement in 1912. (ALL NAMES TO BE CONFIRMED) Rear: Alex Aikman (kneeling), (possibly) Harry Denmead holding baby, (possibly) Mabel Fagg, Clement Aikman. Front: M A Clement, Richard Clement, (possibly) Belle Strong, Tom Clement, (possibly) Bill Strong, ?, (possibly) Jessie Clement, (possibly) Les Clement, Dorothy Aikman, Mina Clement, (possibly) Bert Clement.

Richard and Margaret Clement's later life

In the early 1920's, Richard (then in his 80s) and Margaret Clement moved into a house at 4 Victoria Street, Geelong which they named 'Patterdale' (after one of the Lakes in the Lake District in England). Their daughter Margaret and her husband Alexander Aikman, lived in a home nearby.

On their 60th wedding anniversary in 1924, the family took a photograph in the rear garden of their house (possibly 4 Victoria Street, Geelong West). This photograph shows all their children and grandchildren.

In the latter years of his life, Richard stayed in a 'holiday house' at Barwon Heads owned by his daughter Florence (Florrie) Denmead (born 1875) and husband Harry Nathaniel Denmead, apparently to help with his health. The house may be the one described on this page at 5 Noble Street, Barwon Heads. Richard wrote the following letter to his wife:

My Dear Margaret, I got your letter to day I am pleased you are well and all things are right I feel the rest is dowing me good I am getting so strong I have a splendid apetite and so hungery at times So you may tell the Doctor the Sea Air is better than all the Medicen about Florry Cottage is verry nice Country so green the trees out in blossom and birds are singin so sweetly Yes I feel like singing all the time So I may say it is good for me to be here in this quiet Rest a nice warm Bead at night Sleep well night and day and I have few pains I have some pain in one week it is Wonderful It is not Cold here it is rarther Stormy some times it puts me in mind of Ship at Sea to hear the Sea and the rain on the Roof when am Snug and warm in my Bead I am never lonely for I have the Best Company whith me My Dear Lord as promised to be with me So me Dear Margaret keep your at rest about me and the weather I wish you the same experance in Life Yes Life His worth Living (Praise the Lord) You tell me to stay as I like and as the Garden is getting Rain and all his well I need not come in for the Rads (roads) are bad and the Motor shake me up it is nessery So if you See the Doctor on Munday to get the Certificit of Clearence of Sick list tell im how I am much Better and please give it to Mr. O'Leal tell im the Sane about my Health I might come Home some time Next week I will let you know I dont require anything to be sent I have a good supply on hand Meat Fish Bacon Eggs good Butter fresh from the Farm Splendid Milk and good Bread and good Fire wood So now I will conclud whith Love to you all Richard (and in a PS on the side: glad you have the 9 chickens)

Richard Clement taken in February and March 1925.

Richard Clement and his great-grandson Alexander John (Jock) Robertson) taken 1927.

Four generations: Margaret Knight Clement, her daughter Margart Ann Aikman, her daughter Margaret Dorothy Robertson, and Dorothy's son Alexander John (Jock) Robertson taken 1927.

1929 - Death of Richard Downes Clement

Richard was 90 when he died on 11 November 1929. His death certificate states that he died 'from old age and heart failure', a condition that had lasted for six months. The Geelong Advertiser carried the following notice:

The private funeral of the late Mr. Richard Downes Clement, of 4 Victoria Street, Geelong West - an old and respected resident of Geelong for 60 years - took place on Tuesday morning, November 12th, from his late residence. His remains were buried in the Baptist portion of the New General Cemetery, in the presence of his immediate relatives and friends. The casket was born to the grave by his grandsons, Messrs. Clement Aikman, Hadley Fagg, Wallace Aikman, Dick Clement, Bill Denmead, and Don Clement. The pall-bearers were messrs. Ian Clement, Randal Clement, Reg Fagg, Robin Clement (grandsons), and Messrs. F. Shrimpton, Reg Rix, Alex McCaskill, and J.C. Robertson. The services at the house and grave were conducted by the Rev. E.C. Burleigh, of the Aberdeen Street Baptist Church.

1935 - Death of Margaret Ann Clement

Margaret Clement died on 22 June 1935, aged 84, with the same ailments and duration as her husband. At the time of her death she was a patient in the Pineville Rest Home on the corner of Pakington and Gertrude Streets, just opposite the western end of Spring Street. The Geelong Advertiser carried the following notice:

Mrs. Margaret Ann Clement, widow of the late Mr. R.D. Clement, of 4 Victoria Street, Geelong West, a well known and respected resident of Geelong for over 80 years passed peacefully away after a short illness at a private hospital on Saturday, June 22. The cortege moved from the residence of her son, Mr. R.L. Clement, 9 Gertrude Street, West. Her remains were interred in the Baptist portion of the New General Cemetery in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends. The casket was borne to the grave by six of her grandsons, each representing a member of her family (Messrs. Leslie Strong, Wallace Aikman, Bill Denmead, Dick Clement, Hadley Fagg and Ian Clement). The services at the house and grave were conducted by the Rev. Chapman Harris, of Belmont Baptist Church, and the Rev. Mr. Carne, of Manifold Heights Baptist Church. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Alex McDonald, of 17 Melbourne Road, Drumcondra, and 68 Ryrie Street, Geelong (phones 2510 and 3114.)

After her death, Richard and Margaret's house 'Patterdale' was sold at auction. It was described in the sale notice as follows: 'W.B. RESIDENCE on brick and stone foundations, contains 5 rooms, plastered throughout, large lobby, pantry, bathroom, wash-house with copper, troughs and gas stove: fowl pens, wood shed etc. Erected on land having a frontage of 66 feet to VICTORIA ST. by a depth of 130 feet through to VIRGINIA TERRACE at rear.

1940s - Clement Siblings

The five remaining Clement siblings were together in this photograph, which appears to be at a funeral in Geelong the 1940s.

The Clement siblings in the 1940s.

Page created 5 January 2012, updated 31 July 2019. Copyright Andrew Warland. email: andrewwarland(at)