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Ellenor (Ellen) Parkes (1861–1943)

by Chris Cunneen

Ellenor [or Eleanor] Parkes née Estell (1861-1943) coalminers’ daughter and wife, Red Cross stalwart 

Birth: 12 April 1861 in New Hartley, Northumberland, England, daughter of Joseph Estell, coalminer, and Eleanor, née Hodgson. Her father signed the certificate with a mark. Marriage: 2 November 1877 at Wallsend, Newcastle, NSW, to Edward Parkes, miner. They had five daughters and four sons. Death: 31 July 1943 at Wallsend district hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Ellen arrived in Sydney with her parents and two sisters as an assisted immigrant aboard the Samuel Plimsoll on 22 October 1872. The passenger list indicates that she and her father could read and write, but her mother and sisters could do neither. The family’s migration had been sponsored by her uncle Robert Estell, coalminer, later railway contractor and publican, the father of coalminer and Labor politician John Estell.
  • Ellen bore nine children to Edward Parkes between 1877 and 1910 when living in Plattsburg, Wallsend.
  • In 1914 she was a foundation member of the Wallsend and Plattsburg branch of the Red Cross Society, and received the society’s long-service award.
  • Two sons, John and Hedley, served in the Australian Imperial Force in France in World War I. The older of the two, Jack, was killed at Bullecourt on 5 May 1917, aged 21. In May each year for many years Edward, Ellen and their family inserted in the local press memorial notices to their son, with verses recording their loss.
  • Ellen was also predeceased by two daughters. One, Eleanor Hopkins (1880-1934) was notable for being “among the oldest members of the Southern Cross Temple, Grand United Order of Oddfellows, in which she had held office”.

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Parkes, Ellenor (Ellen) (1861–1943)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Parkes, Eleanor
  • Estell, Ellenor

12 April, 1861
New Hartley, Northumberland, England


31 July, 1943 (aged 82)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.

Passenger Ship