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Elizabeth Wicks (1821–1916)

March 11 1916, at Grand View, Ryde, at the residence of her son-in law, S. A. Benson, Elizabeth Wicks, wife of the late Robert Wicks, in her 95th year. Buried at Field of Mars Cemetery on Saturday, the 11th March. At Rest.

A little over a year ago, referring to the wonderful vitality of old Mrs. Wicks, the following appeared in "The Argus":—

"Opportunity was taken by the Rector of St. Anne's, on behalf of the parishioners, of extending to this wonderful old lady hearty congratulations and prayerful wishes. The old lady was still so well as to be able to join in the prayers and praises offered in the home of her daughter, Mrs. S. A. Benson, of 'Grand View,' Lane Cove-road. Mrs. Wicks could then read and sew without the aid of glasses, and her memory was wonderfully good.

"It is not generally known, perhaps, that Mrs. Wicks is a native of Ryde, where she was born on the 24th November, 1821, or that her father, the late William Small, was also a native of Ryde. Her father died at the extraordinarily old age of 95, in October, 1891, his remains being laid to rest in St. Anne's cemetery, Ryde. Mrs. Wick's recollections of early Ryde, as also of early Sydney, were interesting. She remembers gathering wild berries with other 'kiddies' on the site where Anthony Hordern's great emporium now stands, and when a large portion of the gay metropolis consisted of tents. Ryde, of course was mostly bush then. She remembered much about the convicts, many of whom were hired out to various masters. It was common then for a convict who misbehaved himself to be threatened to be 'sent to Parramatta to get his back scratched' (i.e., beaten with the cat-o'-nine-tails).

"It was on the 22nd December, 1841, at St. Anne's Church, Ryde, that the subject of this sketch married the late Robert Wicks, the issue of the marriage being: Robert Wicks (Grafton), Elizabeth Wicks (deceased), William Henry Wicks (farmer, North Ryde), Thomas Wicks (Ryde), Mrs. Susannah Best (Ryde), Rebecca Best (wife of James Best, West Australia), Mary Jane Wicks (deceased), John George Wicks (deceased), Charlotte Sarah Cowell (wife of John Cowell Gladesville), and Evaline Martha Benson (wife of Mr. Sid Benson, North Ryde). She has about 74 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great-grandchildren.

"As an instance of her wonderful power of memory, a woman, christened at the same church in Parramatta as she had six Christian names. Mrs. Wicks remembered them all up to the last.

"It is interesting to note also in connection with Mrs. Wicks, that her father's sister, the late Mrs. Oakes, of Parramatta, was the first white baby born in Australia. Her husband was one of the first butchers to commence operations in Ryde. Next he took to blacksmithing and wheel wrighting, and finally to orcharding, which he followed to within two days of his death. Fruit-growing paid well in those day, it being no uncommon thing for Lisbon lemons to bring £2/10/- a case."

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 March 1916, p 10

Citation details

'Wicks, Elizabeth (1821–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Small, Elizabeth

24 November, 1821
Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


11 March, 1916 (aged 94)
Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (skin)

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.