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John Spark

Gaol book photo 1885 provided by Peter Spark



Photo provided by Peter Spark, obtained from Harper family in WA
John SPARK m1. 1859 Catherine SHUMACK
1. John SPARK born 1838-39 Ballingry, Fife, Scotland s/o John SPARK and Ann WHITEHILL
In 1852 as a child he emigrated from Scotland aboard the fever ship Ticonderoga with his mother Ann, stepfather Edward MANGAN (as MANNION) and his 4 siblings.
John SPARK died 18 Apr 1917 aged 79 yrs at Clunes s/o John SPARK, Factor, and Ann ms WHITEHILL [Vic 4391]

Land Grant
Ascot Schedule, Parish of Ascot No 129 J(ohn) & W(illiam) SPARK, 21.61ha, Date of Grant: 27 Aug 1855, File No CA 7216, Plan No -
No 130 W COGHILL Snr, 39.49ha, 27 Aug 1855, File No 1855-57, Plan No A65.
Nos 131-133 also grants to W COGHILL Snr of 41.17ha, 40.83ha, 40.60.
Section D 2A J SPARKS, 1.292ha, 26 Jan 1872, File No 71/2-252, Plan No A 69F

Marriage 1859
Register entry No. 24, John SPARK, Bachelor, Farmer, aged 20, Birth Place: Balligery, Fifeshire, Scotland, Father: John SPARK, Farmer, Mother: Ann WHITEHILL, married 4 November 1859, Catherine SHOEMACK, Spinster, aged 16, Birth Place: Melbourne, Victoria, Father: Amos SHOEMACK, Publican, Mother: Mary SHEA, at the temporary Parsonage, Creswick by Minister George POLLARD according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England. Present and Usual Residence of both was Ascot. Both signed in the presence of John MURBERRY and Jane WOODS [Vic cert 3599]

2. (Kate) Catherine SHUMACK born 25 Jun 1843, bap 29 Sep 1843 St James C of E Melbourne d/o Amos SHUMACK and Mary (SHIER/SHIRE/SHEA) [Vic 13443, NSW Vol 27/3135 No 1214] Her parents were of German Palatine stock who married in Rathkeale, County Limerick Ireland and emigrated to Port Phillip on the barque Royal Saxon in 1841.
Catherine died 26 Jul 1919 aged 75 yrs in Kalgoorlie, WA (which is a long story).

At the time of his marriage to Kate, John SPARK was a farmer at Ascot, about 15 km north of Ballarat. On an 1870s parish map of Ascot he is shown as the owner of a block of 28 acres and a joint owner with his brother William SPARK of another 63 acres. The place names of Back Creek, Long Point, Clunes and Creswick have all been used to describe the general locality.
On 26 June 1860 John SPARK was granted the publican's license for the Moorookyle Hotel at Smeaton. According to rate books, in 1868 he was the publican of the Hotel Eglinton at Back Creek and ten years later he had the Wheatsheaf Hotel at Ascot. He seemed to be quite an enterprising businessman and was involved in horse and cattle dealing but not always on the right side of the law. In 1885 John SPARK described his occupation as clerk. Insights into his life can be gained by numerous incidents recorded in the Creswick & Clunes Advertiser and the Creswick Petty Sessions Court Registers.
Extracts from Creswick & Clunes Advertiser and Creswick Petty Sessions Court Registers 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863

John SPARK and his younger brothers also built up quite a history in the Victorian Police Gazette.
SPARK - Victoria Police Gazette Consolidated Index 1859-1863

Children of John SPARK and Catherine SHUMACK:
1. John SPARK (unnamed male) b 1 Jul 1860 Smeaton s/o of John SPARK/Catherine SHOMACK [Vic 14092] Unnamed male SPARKS d 1860 aged 14 days bp not stated s/o John SPARK/Catherine [Vic 8282] John SPARKS bur 16 Jul 1860 Creswick Cemetery.
2. George SPARK b 29 May 1861 Long Point s/o of John SPARK/Catherine SHOMACK [Vic 7997] George SPARK d 13 Jun 1861 aged 3 weeks, Long Point s/o John SPARK/Ann [Vic 4656] George SPARKS bur 14 Jun 1861 aged 2 weeks Creswick Cemetery C of E.

This marriage came to an abrupt end when on 17 Sep 1861 at Maryborough Assizes John SPARK was convicted of cattle stealing and received a prison sentence of 5 years hard labor. If he served the full sentence he would not have been released before September 1866.

Catherine then formed a de facto marriage with James SPARK (brother of John) which produced nine children born 1863-1876 at Ascot.

James SPARK and Catherine SHUMACK

John SPARK formed a relationship with Elizabeth TAYLOR who gave birth to 3 of his children 1871-75 in Clunes. He married bigamously in 1880 in a registry office in Stawell, stating falsely that he was widowed in 1868. The authorities took a while to catch up with John but in 1885 he was found guilty of bigamy and served another 18 months in the Ballarat Gaol. Fortunately for the family historians his gaol book record with an 1885 photo survives.

Gaol Book details
John SPARK m2. 1880 Elizabeth TAYLOR
Children of John SPARK m2. 1837 Ann WHITEHILL

Children of Amos SHUMACK m 1841 Mary SHIER

© Created : 15 October 2000
© Last Modified : 5 May 2011
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