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William Walford

1821 – 1896

Francis William Barnard Walford (1821–1896), businessman and landowner, was born in Hobart, the son of Barnard Walford (1801–1846), a publican and victualler; and the grandson of Barnard Walford senior (c. 1765–1828), a Vienna-born ex-convict who had been transported for seven years in 1791, his crime being the theft of a bolt of cloth. Barnard Walford senior was presumably among the convicts transferred from Norfolk Island to Van Diemen’s Land in the early nineteenth century. By the early 1840s, his grandson William Barnard Walford was in Sydney, and there in 1842 married Elizabeth Tovey Symonds (1824–1912). Elizabeth, also born in Hobart, was the daughter of an ex-convict named John Tovey Symonds, who was transported to New South Wales for burglary in 1815. Symonds spent ten years in Van Diemen’s Land, marrying Elizabeth’s mother, Mary Walford, in Hobart in 1819; Symonds returned to Sydney in 1826 and established a pub called the Waterloo Tavern, in Kent Street. Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, William Barnard Walford developed a number of business interests, investing in real estate, mining and other ventures, and later serving as a director of companies such as the Australian Gaslight Company. William and Elizabeth Walford lived at ‘Waratah’, in Rushcutters Bay and had eleven children, of whom only five survived to adulthood. Their youngest son, Leslie Nichol Walford, (1869–1928) married Dora Olive Marguerite Alexander (1895–1972). Dora was the fourth child of Doretta and Stuart Alexander, her father the owner of a farming property near Albury, New South Wales. Dora married Leslie Nichol Walford in Sydney in 1917; their only child, Leslie Nichol Walford junior was born in 1927. Following her husband’s death in 1929, Dora became increasingly involved in charity and fundraising work. In 1936, as Dora Sheller (and a widow for the second time), she helped establish the Black & White Committee of the Royal Blind Society of NSW, and served as the Committee’s first president. In 1938, Dora left Sydney for England accompanied by Leslie and her third husband, Ben Knowles-Davies (who died in the course of the journey). In England during the war, Dora worked as a salvage officer for Winchester County Council. She married again in 1944, her fourth husband, Lawrence Byrne, was then serving with the British army. They remained in London until 1951, when they returned to Australia and settled at Burradoo in the Southern Highlands. Dora Byrne died in Sydney in 1972

Updated 2018