Tale of Two Families.

Meet Emily Raisbeck (nee Chamberlain) my paternal great grandmother and “Willie”.

1800’s Raisbeck family arrivals:

My great grandfather Edwin Sheffield Raisbeck was born in London in 1844, his parents, Edward Charles Raisbeck and Catherine Swan were poor and were married 9/1/1831 at St. Andrew’s Holborn, London. 

Edwin came to Australia in 1881 and lived at 113 Humffray St., North Ballaarat. He was a talented carpenter.

On 4/ 11/1883 Edwin married Emily Chamberlain (1861-1934), daughter of Robert Chamberlain (1808-1841) and Louisa Fildes (1827-1874). The Chamberlains arrived in Port Phillip, Australia on 18/08/1841 aboard “Cheapside”. Robert Chamberlain was a China manufacturer in Worcester, England.

Emily gave birth to my grandfather Thomas Edwin in 1884. He was a sign writer and cabinet maker. The climate in Ballaarat was not suitable for his asthma, so he moved to Maitland.

All families have stories, some are true and others are myths.

How do we know the difference? I set out to find the proof of our family history.

Belmont Resident Dies at 85 

      (Newcastle Morning Herald Tuesday Feb.10, 1970)

Funeral services will be held at Broadmeadow today for Mr. Thomas Edwin Raisbeck, a descendant of Charles Dickens.

Mr. Raisbeck died at his home in Belmont at the age of 85.
He was the son of Charles Dickens’ eldest daughter, Catherine.

 His father, Edwin Sheffield Raisbeck, migrated to Australia in the 1800’s and settled in Ballarat (Vic.) during the goldrush of 1851.

Mr. Raisbeck was born in Ballarat in 1884 and became a champion gymnast.

He married Miss Violet Fandoni Davey in Sydney in 1908. 

Her grandmother was Italian opera singer Rosina Fandoni.

A signwriter all his life, Mr. Raisbeck moved to Maitland in 1922 where he established a business. He retired to Belmont in 1960.


Mr. Raisbeck is the father of 6 children, one of whom is the famous singer, Rosina Raisbeck.
The others are Charles Raisbeck of Cessnock, Ted and Alan, of Newcastle, Harry of Wollongong and Connie of Gosford.
Mr. Raisbeck had 19 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

As the eldest daughter of the eldest son of Thomas Edwin Raisbeck, I have attempted to establish our illustrious family tree. Alas, all I have found is the truth.

We are not related to Charles Dickens at all.

Pictured from left: Joyce Raisbeck, Charles Raisbeck (my parents), Janice Macpherson with son David, Rosina Raisbeck, Violet Fandony and Thomas Edwin Raisbeck.

Photo commemorates 50th. Wedding Anniversary 21st.  September 1958.

             Raisbeck Family at Ballarat.

Back: Ned Raisbeck, Mary,unknown, Edwin.Front: Edward, Emily, Willie unknown, unknown.


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