Monday, 27 July 2015

Death at sea of Walter Wilkes Plaisted (1836 - 1871)

Walter Wilkes Plaisted (1836 - 1871), my 3rd great grand uncle, died of phthisis (tuberculosis) on board the SS Geelong during the passage from Singapore to Melbourne. His probate file, held by the Public Records Office of Victoria, includes an inventory of his effects, a fascinating insight into the possessions of a traveller of 1871.

death notice for Walter Wilkes Plaisted in the Melbourne Argus of 27 February 1871

Walter was the son of John Plaisted (1800 - 1858) and  Ann nee Green (1801 - 1882).  He was the fifth of eight children. Walter's father, John, also died of tuberculosis and in fact the family quite possibly emigrated to Australia for the sake of John Plaisted's health.

The Plaisted family arrived in Adelaide on the Rajah in April 1850.  Walter was then fourteen years old.  In 1856, aged 19,  he was witness in a court case about a forged check. He was a clerk of the South Australian Banking Company.  According to his father's death certificate, John Plaisted had moved to Melbourne five years before his death, about 1853. Walter had obviously stayed in Adelaide, at least until 1856, after his parents moved to Victoria.

At the time of his death Walter was unmarried. He had made a will and left his possessions to be divided between his five living siblings.  At probate he was declared to be a gentleman usually residing at Gipps Street, Richmond. Walter's property amounted to less than forty pounds. His brother Thomas was sworn to administer the estate.


Public Records Office of Victoria: probate file for Walter Wilkes Plaisted, gentleman, usual residence Richmond, who died 7 February 1871, file number 8/804; VPRS 28/P2, unit 1
Inventory of effects of the late W W Plaisted a first class passenger from Singapore to Melbourne. Died on board S. S. 'Geelong' at sea 7th February 1871.

1 small parcel containing

1 gold watch & key (in case)
1 gold guard with appendages
1 set Gold studs
I pr gold sleeve links
1 gold scarf pin
2 pencil cases
Cash 6 Sovereigns 1 Rupee
1 Bunch Keys
.....

1 Black Box No 1 containing

7 prs Cloth Trousers
8 No    "      Coats
9 No    "      Vests
1 No Worsted Jacket
7 No Crimean Shirts [defined by oxforddictionaries.com as a coloured flannel shirt as worn by workers in the bush]
19 No White      "
18 prs     "        Trousers
13 No     "        Vests
11  "        "         Coats
7    "   Chamber Towels
4    "   Cotton Sheets
9    "   Pillow Cases
4    "  Sleeping Jackets
4    "  Singlets
9 prs Socks
8   "  Pyjamas
3 No Hat Covers
1   "  Large Scrap Book
1 Book of Photographic Sketches
1 Portfolio containing papers
2 Albums containing Photographs
1 small Medicine Box
1 Packet Stationery
1 Masonic Apron (in tin case)
1 Flask
1 small Carpet Rug

-----------------

1 Black Portmanteau No 2 containing

1 Bundle Magazines &c
1      "      Books
3 Portraits (framed)
8 Pieces Prints (cotton)
2 Scarfs
2 Sashes
44 Neckties
2 doz Linen Collars
1 Book mark
1 pr Braces
1  "  Kid Gloves
4 Cups
1 dressing Gown
3 White Handkerchiefs
1 Comb 2 hairbrushes
1 Tooth brush
1 Sponge
1 bath Scrubber
1 China basket of sundries

-----------------

1 Black Portmanteau No 3 containing

3 prs Slippers
4   "  Boots & Shoes
1 Red Blanket

-----------------

1 Canvas Bag No 4
containing soiled linen &c viz
1 White Blanket
7 Sleeping Shirts
3 Prs Pyjamas
9 Linen Collars
1 pr White Trousers
5 White Handkerchiefs
3 prs Socks
4 Flannel Waistbands
1 Singlet
3 Bath Towels
4 White Vests
6     "      Shirts
1 Felt Hat

-----------------

Loose Articles

1 Rattan Chair
1 Silk Umbrella 1 Pith Hat

add Japan'd box & tray & Japanese Sword
3 Paper Kites
2 Malacca Canes



Sources
  •  POLICE COURTS. (1856, January 3). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 4. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49746638
  • Public Records Office of Victoria: will and probate files for Walter Wilkes Plaisted, gentleman, usual residence Richmond, who died 7 February 1871, file number 8/804; VPRS 28/P0, unit 99; VPRS 28/P2, unit 1; VPRS 7591/P2, unit 1

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