Joseph Robley and and Ellen Melton's third child, Ellen Robley, was born shortly after them death of her father at Bungadore. Her father died on 8 January 1854 and Ellen was born on 10 February of the same year.
In 1848, 30 people populated the seven buildings in the town of Bungendore. When the railway arrived on 4 March 1885, the town began to grow more quickly. New buildings appeared rapidly, such as churches, the courthouse/police station, two schools and the post office. By 1851, the population was 63. In 1866, local crops grown were recorded as being wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. The 1880s proved a boom period for the town and the population increased from 270 in 1881, to 700 by 1885. In 1894, gold was discovered at Bywong. By 1909 rabbit trapping had become an extremely valuable industry in the area. The town itself had a rabbit-freezing plant that employed 14 workers and over 250 trappers. In the year ending July 31, 1909, over 1.5 million rabbits were frozen at the plant.
In 1871, at the age of 17, Ellen married William George McDeed at Collector. He was a native of Liverpool and was described at the birth of their first child as being a labourer and later as a miner of Currawang.
The former copper mining town of Currawang is located about fourteen kilometres south of Collector and straddles both sides of the Spring Valley road. The main period of mining operations was from 1865 to 1882, although the mines were reopened briefly in 1897 and 1907. During the period 1866-1872 Currawang was the largest copper producer in New South Wales and the mining and smelting operations had a substantial social and environmental impact on the surrounding district.
William George McDeed
The couple had eight children. Mary Ann,1868-1930; Denis Joseph, 1871-1948; Margaret Elizabeth, 1873-1951; Sarah Ellen,1874-1944; William George, 1875-1951; Charlotte Catherine, 1876-1946; Isabella Esther, 1880-1894 and Louisa Adelaide, 1883-1950.
Although born into a Protestant family, Ellen 's husband, William was a Catholic and their children were raised in that faith. Ellen spent the early part of her married life in the Lake George District, afterwards removing to Reno, in the Gundagai district and later, in 1914, she and her husband moved to live in Mt. Druit.
Collector, where the couple married in 1871, is located 228 km from Sydney via the Hume Highway. The town takes its name from an Aboriginal word 'colegdar'.
Collector's history is the history of the roads which passed through it. When horse and bullock were the main means of transportation the town prospered as it was a day's journey from Goulburn. It was during this time that it had five inns and a number of stores. The Bushranger Hotel is now the only one left. It was built in 1860 out of ironstone and named Kimberley's. Its true moment of fame came five years later when, on 26 January 1865 the bushranger Ben Hall and his gang held up the publican. At the time most of the police and able-bodied men in the town were out searching for Hall and his gang. They arrived and made so much noise (they fired on a horseman who was passing by) that they attracted the attention of the town's constable, the 38-year-old Samuel Nelson, a father of eight, who put on his uniform and went up the street to investigate. One of the gang, John Dunn, had been left outside to guard the pub. When confronted by the constable he shot him dead with a shotgun and a pistol. Dunn was finally captured on Christmas Day, 1865 and hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol on 19 March 1866.
Ellen was very well known and respected, and was a most popular figure in a wide circle of friends. She was affectionately known to many as "Gran," and took an active part in movements that interested her. In such a long life she naturally saw many phases of early colonial life. At the time of her death she had 48 grandchildren, 78 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren.
She died in February 1944 and following her husband's faith is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, St. Mary's, Goulburn.
Written by John Robley, from the research of Eileen S. Young. Photographs from Ancestry.