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The Incredible Life of Hettie Bellingham #52 ancestors

September 22, 2020

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. I am happily taking up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, that will collate many years of research results. In most cases, the research for my ancestors is not complete, and possibly never will be complete, but I’m hoping to build a story of the lives they lived with the information I have to hand.

I hope to compile the posts published for the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge into a book.

Week 39: Should Be a Movie

Hettie Bellingham is my first cousin twice removed. She is the daughter of my great grandmothers sister. This relationship is on the maternal side of my family tree.

 Alberta Sarah Rachel LOVE, sister of Ada Louise, gave birth to two ex-nuptial children before her marriage to Samuel FORSYTHE. The first was Ernest LOVE who was born at Heathcote, Victoria,  in 1895. His father was given as being “unknown”. Ernest disappears from records at this stage and so it is assumed that he was probably adopted out, thus gaining a new identity. In 1897, a girl named Hetta LOVE was born at Carlton. Her mother was Albertus [sic] Sarah Rachel Love. Her father was “unknown”.  Hetta is often an abbreviation for Henrietta.

Newspaper reports from 1914 onwards tell of a woman named Ettie/Hettie/Hetty BELLINGHAM being in matters before the courts. This same woman is known to have been an adopted child and to have, at some stage, used the name Alberta LOVE which she claimed to be the name of her mother. It seems reasonable to assume that this Ms Bellingham might be the Hetta who was born to Alberta Sarah Rachel Love.

More information followed:

From: The Herald Melbourne, 08 October 1914, page 10

Alberta Love, alias Ettie Bellingham, 18, was charged .at the North Melbourne Court today with having broken Into the dwelling of Thomas Mitchell, Hotham Hill, on October 6, and stolen a woman’s raincoat and a gold ring, valued in all at £2/17/6, the property of Evelyn Mitchell. She was remanded till Monday.


 From: The Argus 13 October, 1914

Alberta Love, alias Hettie Bellingham was charged at the North Melbourne Court today, with having broken into the dwelling of Thomas Mitchell, Hotham Hill, on Oct 6, and stolen a woman’s raincoat and a gold ring, valued in all at £2/17/6, the property of Evelyn Mitchell. She was remanded till Monday.”

Mrs Mitchell said that the accused came to her home on a visit. During the day they parted, accused saying that she was going out to Broadmeadows. When witness returned in the evening, she found that the house had been entered, and that the articles mentioned were missing. She reported the matter to the police. Sergeant J Mulcahy said that he interviewed accused and she admitted taking the articles and took him to a room she had occupied the night previous in the Flagstaff Restaurant, Spencer Street, where he found the raincoat hanging up behind the door, with the ring in one of the pockets. Walter Bellingham said that he was the girl’s foster father and he had made arrangements to send her away for two years. She did not take the things with the intention of keeping them. The accused entered a plea of not guilty. Sub-inspector Slattery said that he would withdraw a charge of vagrancy that had been preferred against accused, who was then committed for trial.”

On 10 October 1914, The Truth newspaper, then published a sensational report under the following headline:

From: The Truth, Melbourne, Sat 10 October 1914, page 5

After last Sunday’s droves of visitors to the Broadmeadows camp had found their way home, there began to circulate throughout the city rumors of a happening whose circumstances-— as they were variously related by first one and then another sensation-monger —entitled it to be classed as anything from a saturnalia of salacity to an almost inconceivably diabolical outrage, compared with which THE MT. RENNIE HORROR was a comparatively mild affair. The first thing on Monday morning, business people taking up the week’s duties, were told by the gossips that on either Saturday or Sunday night a girl who had been visiting Broadmeadows camp had been the victim of a criminal assault in which nearly a score of soldiers had participated. This story flouted around, with variations in the numbers of men alleged to have been concerned in the affair, until people began to think there was no need to read any more European cables telling of German atrocities amongst the Belgians and French. It finally re-solved itself into the super-sensational rumor that A GIRL OF 16 had been plied with liquor and then, outraged by about thirty soldiers; that by the time she had passed through the hands of half that number she had lost consciousness: that she had since succumbed to the terrible treatment; and that eleven men were under arrest. There was a second story to the effect that a girl had been RAVISHED BY A SOLDIER, who had been arrested, while it seemed as though a mean were sought to be arrived at by the allegation that the female concerned was a comparatively aged strumpet, who had swooned as a result of the SEXUAL SAVAGERY.
The above is the first paragraph only of a very lengthy article which I found quite unpleasant to read. Click on the link, MILITARY CAMP SENSATION, in the source list at bottom of page, to read the entire article.


From: The Truth, Saturday, 10 October, 1914
“…….On Wednesday morning, however, she was located by Sergeant Mulcahy, of Hotham Hill, at a house in Abbotsford Street, North Melbourne, the home of a Thomas and Evelyn Mitchell, the latter being her foster mother’s niece. Earlier that morning, her foster father had arranged for the issue of a warrant in the city for her arrest on a charge of vagrancy, but when apprehended the charge laid against her was one of having broken into Mitchell’s house and of having stolen a raincoat and gold ring. On Thursday morning she was brought before the North Melbourne Court and remanded until Monday, without any evidence being taken …”
Again, the above is the first paragraph only of a very lengthy article which is quite unpleasant to read. Click on the second link, MILITARY CAMP SENSATION, in the source list at bottom of page, to read the entire article.

Hettie appeared before the court on Monday, as reported in The Truth, on 7 October 1914. The report also included a drawing of Hettie. The article is quite difficult to read, due to the blurred print. Below is the first paragraph.

“Housebreaking Charge reduced to Larceny. She goes to Army home to await trial. It was a very penitent looking Hettie who was the cynosure of all eyes in the North Melbourne Court on Monday morning, when in the name of Alberta Love – her own mother’s name was Love – she was charged with having on the 6th inst., broken and entered the house of Thomas Mitchell……..”


In November, the matter was resolved:

From: The Truth, Saturday, 7 November, 1914, Page 3

“……….His Honor directed that the girl should enter into a bond of £25 to be of good behaviour, and that she should remain in the custody of the Salvation Army at the Union
Street [Brunswick] Home, for 14 months, the authorities of the Home to furnish a report of her conduct to the Court every three months. The recognisance was entered into
and the girl departed in the company of the Salvation Army Officers”

In 1918, Hettie was back before the courts:

From: The Weekly Times, 31 August, 1918,
While Rose Jane Mason was attending a welcome home to soldiers in the Richmond Town Hall, her coat was stolen from the cloakroom. Charged with the theft of the coat,
Hetty Bellingham was sentenced at the City Court to a month’s imprisonment.”

In 1921 Hettie was again before the courts:

From: The Williamstown Chronicle, Saturday 28 May 1921, Page 2
A FEMALE THIEF GETS SIX MONTHS. “She has had numerous chances, remarked Policewoman Connor on Tuesday, at the close of a larceny case, in which Hetty Bellingham, a fresh-coloured girl, was before Messrs. Orr (chairman), Jewell and Blackstock, J’s P. Accused was presented on practically two charges. In one case it was alleged she had stolen a gold pendant, valued at £3. In the other information she was charged with having stolen a 10/- note. She admitted the first, but denied the second. Muriel Alice Maud Kryggor, married woman, of 82 Morris Street, said on Sunday, May 8, she placed her pendant in a drawer of the dressing table. She knew the accused as a housekeeper for Mr. Stewart, in the adjoining house. It was on May 13 she missed the pendant. On that day she was at her place. Said to her “Somebody robbed me of my pendant” To this accused made no reply. Witness likewise missed a 10/- note from her purse, which she had left on the kitchen dresser on the 13th. After she missed it she met the accused in Douglas-parade and told her of her loss. The reply of Bellingham had been “How awful!” On May 11 she had given accused the key of her front door to mind until her husband (Mr. Kryggor) came home. Subsequently witness reported the loss of her property to the police. She next saw it on May 16 in the possession of Constable Gleeson, and identified it. She valued the pendant at £3. She gave no person authority to remove them. When she left her house that day to go to Melbourne. the windows and doors were in perfect order. Arthur Edward Harris, pawnbroker, Bridge Road, Richmond, remembered May 11, when the accused came to his place. She pawned a red stone necklet. Witness gave her the pawn ticket (produced) and 10/-. Sub-inspector McKenzie read out two convictions against the accused one month for larceny in 1918, and six months in 1919 for being an idle and disorderly person. Chairman Orr: You are sentenced to six months imprisonment”

Hettie married Joseph Loxley in 1922. Her name was given as being Henrietta Love.

Hettie’s long-suffering foster father died in 1924:

From: The Argus, 5 January 1924, Page 11
“On the 21st December, at Melbourne, Walter, the dearly beloved husband of Martha, of 8 Thompson street, Abbotsford, loved father of Hetty (Mrs. Loxley), Blanche (Mrs. G. Ede), Albert, Mabel, Lillian (deceased), and Percy; loving grandfather of little Beryl, and fond uncle of Emma Stewart, aged 53 years. A patient sufferer at rest.

Walter Bellingham had married Martha Cleaves in 1896. After adopting Hettie, they were blessed with five children of their own.

In 1928 Hettie was at it again and this time as Hetty Loxley:

From: Geelong Advertiser, 7 March, 1928
“A brush took place between the judge and Mr. M. Lazarus during the hearing today at the Court of General Sessions of charges of larceny preferred against Hetty Loxley and Edgar James Leggett, railway employee, at Daylesford. His Honor accused Mr. Lazarus of pretending to quote from Taylor in his address to the jury. “You may give your own opinion on questions of fact, but you must not quote an authority inaccurately in support of what you say.” Mr. Lazarus said he had done the same thing before, and had never been pulled up. His Honor: I can hardly credit it. Mr. Lazarus: Am I to proceed or to down? His Honor: You will proceed when I allow you. Ultimately, the jury found the female prisoner guilty, and the male accused not guilty. Evidence was given that the couple engaged a room as Mr. and Mrs. Price, and certain articles were subsequently missed. The woman was remanded for sentence.


The information in this post was provided by fellow family researcher, Graham Sleeth. I have made a few small changes to suit the blog format.

GIRL CHARGED WITH THEFT (1914, October 8). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from

A MILITARY CAMP SENSATION. (1914, October 10). Truth (Melbourne ed.) (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 5 (SPORTS EDITION). Retrieved September 21, 2020, from

A MILITARY CAMP SENSATION. (1914, October 10). Truth (Melbourne ed.) (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 5 (SPORTS EDITION). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

HETTIE BEFORE THE COURT. (1914, October 17). Truth (Melbourne ed.) (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 5 (SPORTS EDITION). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

DISCIPLINING A WAYWARD DAMSEL. (1914, November 7). Truth (Melbourne ed.) (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 3 (SPORTS EDITION). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

A FEMALE THIEF. (1921, May 28). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

Family Notices (1924, January 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 11. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

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From → family history

  1. mollyscanopy permalink

    Quite an incredible story. Hettie seems to have had a difficult life in care which appears to have prompted her to act out in various ways. And you are right — the article about the military camp is difficult to read, particularly since it implies that as the female victim of a gang rape she was to blame for the horrific assault. Some difficult but eye opening research here. Well done.

  2. A sad story, but it needed to be collected and preserved. I had one young man on my family tree who featured in too many news stories as a bad character. I kept searching, in hopes that his life turned around but it didn’t happen.

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