Harvey and Nell Sevil.

Lyn Hall, or better known as "Topsy", sent me this great story on Harvey and Nell Sevil.

James Seville. 1808-1868.


The Sevil story as land holders in the Willow Tree district had started long before Harvey Sevil and his brother Nelson drew Farms 79 and 63 respectively in the Warrah Subdivision 1912 ballot.


Harvey's great grandfather James Seville (an Englishman) came to the district in about 1840 from Patrick Plains (Singleton) via the Mooki and Pine Ridge, squatting with his wife, Mary Ann (nee Holme) and their three sons William, James Holmes, John and daughter Mary Ann on land in the McDonalds Creek area just outside the AA Company’s boundary. He accumulated about 10,000 acres, named the area McDonalds Creek Station, and set about breading merino sheep.



The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW: 1843 - 1893), Thursday 13 February 1868, page 3

"DEATH OF MR. JAMES SEVILLE, SEN., OF M'DONALD'S CREEK.-For a considerable time, eighteen months, Mr. Seville has been a great sufferer through paralysis; but during the past three months it was quite perceptible to his large family and friends that his end was drawing near. On Thursday last he took a change for the worse, where medical advice was again called in, but Mr. Seville expired on Friday night, surrounded by his family, and a great number of friends and acquaintances, who had congregated together on the occasion. Mr. Seville, from a useful and industrious life, raised himself to a position of great respect; it is not believed he had an enemy. By great perseverance, he has amassed large means for his family to enjoy. Scores of "old hands," decrepid and unable to work, will miss his continued charity. His remains were brought to Murrurundi, and followed by a large concourse of people. We shall not see his like again on Liverpool"

John Sevil (1838-1903)


After the death of James Snr at McDonalds Creek Station, in 1868 and his wife (who had remarried a Holmes) in 1881, his son John (Harvey’s Grandfather) acquired the property and continued to work the land with his wife Annie (Hussey) and their eleven children.

Annie Sevil (Hussey) (1843-1916)


On his death in 1903, John’s body was taken from McDonalds Creek over the Swinging Ridges Road to the family plot in the Murrurundi Church of England Cemetery. Annie moved to Bobadil House and spent the next thirteen years in Murrurundi.

John’s eldest son, James Hussey (Jim) Sevil (Harvey’s father), took over the running of the property at McDonalds Creek for 20 years for his siblings after John’s death, before the property was subdivided. Jim and his wife Catherine (Cate) (nee Clay) moved to Willow Tree. Jim and Cate had nine children, including three boys, Nelson, Harvey and Augustus who all spent their lives at McDonalds Creek – Nelson at "Kyeema" with his wife Marion Winnett (the daughter of another Farm owner and the first to be married in the Warrah Creek Church), Harvey at "Hillview" and Gus at "Curragundi" with his wife Elsie Devine the daughter of the store owner in Willow Tree.

Two of Jim and Cate’s girls died young whilst Mabel (Bibby) married Victor Heyman a Murrurundi Shire Councillor and first President of the Willow Tree Bowling Club among other things, Bertha looked after her father and mother and married Bill Considine the local barber, and Lillian (Clifton) and Emily (Duffy) married and moved to Sydney and Newcastle respectively.

Jim and Gus Sevil at Hillview
Jim and Cate Sevil
Samuel John Ward (1876-1925) Butcher Warrah Creek

Harvey born in 1892, Jim and Cate’s 5th child spent, all his life at "Hillview" McDonalds Creek and married Ellen (Nell) Ward the daughter of Sam Ward the butcher at Old Warrah. Sam's shop was a small building built between what was to be the Bingham's Store and John Coombes workshop. Sam’s wife Amelia (Toomey) was a Werris Creek girl.

Robina (Ruby) Shuttlewood (nee Ward)

Nell's elder sister Robina (Ruby) married the Englishman, Charlie Shuttlewood, who brought the steam engine to Warrah 1912

(refer separate article on Charlie Shuttlewood)

Harvey Sevil and Ellen Ward’s Wedding 21st January 1919

Nell's other siblings were Mary, Florence, Samuel John (Jack who married Quirindi girl, Myrtle Sullings), Francis (Frank), Leo, Elizabeth, and Amelia (Millie). Of interest, Jack’s daughter Barbara married Joe Jorgenson who captained the Australian Rugby League Test side in 1946. Leo disappeared from Willow Tree and many years later (1963) was found to have died in a flooded creek in Queensland.

Jack Ward & Nell’s mother Amelia Ward (Toomey) in the 40’s
Bertha Sevil and Nell Sevil, tennis at Murrurundi.

Nell was schooled at the Convent in Quirindi leaving at age thirteen to help her father with his stock. She was an outdoor person and a very keen tennis player, representing the district in tennis at Country Week.

Harvey, on the other hand, also was into tennis, cricket, a lover of horses with a keen interest in racing and all sporting events, taking after his father, Jim.

Amy, Lois, Nell and Jack Caption on back.”Nell & Co just before we set out to set the traps”

After their marriage Harvey and Nell resided in a timber house on "Levondale" (Farm 79) until they sold to Alan Barwick in 1924. They moved to the family’s old slab home on the hill at "Hillview" McDonalds Creek and raised a family. Amy, Lois and John (Jack) were all delivered by a mid wife in Loder Street Quirindi.

The girls were firstly educated at home by a governess, Miss McDonald, a former Catholic Nun who became the first school teacher at the "Seville" School in the shearer’s huts at "Bobadil". In 1936 a new school house was built and named Bobadil School. Jack was at school then and Norman Graham a schoolteacher from Ulmarra near Grafton arrived in 1938 and boarded with Harvey and Nell.

The first “Bobadil’ school at the shearer’s huts. Back: Rowland Sevil, Ken Sevil, Jack Sevil and Peter Martin. Front: Lois Sevil, Amy Sevil and Patsy Martin.
Bobadil School . Back: Trevor Sevil, Ronald Hall, Jack Sevil, Peter Martin Middle: June Hall, Patsy Martin, Ivy Partridge, Naomi Sevil Front: Jim Partridge, Wanda Sevil, Wally Martin, Anne Sevil, Leonie Sevil and Frank Sevil.
Jack, Amy, Harvey and Lois at “Hillview” before the fire.

The family home on the hill was abandoned and a new house was built further down the creek, but some twelve months later burnt down. Another home rose from the ashes and was built by Ernie Shoobert (this house, by the way, has since been moved to "Kyeema" following the original "Kyeema" house being burnt whilst Jim and Ruth Sevil owned the property).

Amy married Norman Graham and had two sons, John and Ronald whilst Lois married Earl Hall, the son of Farm 44 owner "Bunty" Hall, and had two daughters Lynette (Topsy) and Stephanie. Jack didn’t have time to get married and became a legend in his own lifetime, "The Lizard".

Sport was always a big part of the family life, with tennis predominating, so, like many of the homes in the district, there was a tennis court and friendlies were played between the families on the creek. Lois and Jack followed in the footsteps of Harvey and Nellie being A Grade tennis players. Lois teamed with ‘Tossi’ Vigers and Jack, with his cousin, Jill Heyman to win many tournaments.

Jill Heyman, Bertha Considine, Nell Sevil, Lois Hall, Joan Ison, Nance Perkins, Elsie Sevil and Clare Sevil at Quirindi.

Harvey and Nell in Sydney for the Royal Easter Show.

Life wasn’t easy, although they were probably better off than some. Electricity was supplied by a generator; washing boiled in a copper, the dunny was out the back with newspaper hanging on a string and a bottle of Phenol in the corner. Mail was delivered a couple of times a week by the Howards and Harry Buckmaster; supplies ordered at Bingham’s Store on the way to town and picked up out of a big box at the front of the store on the way home in the evening; Red belly black snakes abound along the creek and Harvey did his best to eradicate them; Summer days were spent finding a cool spot and listen to the Australians defeat the USA in the Davis Cup or listen to Alan McGilvray broadcast the cricket; at Christmas, soft drinks (Tinsons) and beer were put into a hessian bag and lowered into the well for a couple of days to cool; sheep’s knuckle bones were collected and cleaned up so the kids could play "Knuckles"; yellow powder was mixed with water to dip the sheep at "Bobadil" (no protection from chemicals in those days).

The country was pretty rugged, and sheep the mainstay. There was always prickly pear to eradicate, Bathurst burrs to cut and rabbits an ongoing problem. Shearing was always in September when Amy and Norman and their two boys John and Ronald would return from Sydney to help out. It was always lambing season and any black lambs became the property of the grandchildren. The black wool was bagged and taken to Sam Coleman in Quirindi for his best price and the money saved and spent on Christmas presents.

Harvey was a rev head and loved cars owning one of the first motor vehicles in the district.

In 1950/51 when, due to the American demand following the Korean War, wool reached the dizzy heights of a pound for a pound. Harvey bought an Austin A90 convertible. This was a vehicle where a button was pushed and the top rolled back and the windows rolled up and down. It was really fast. A Fund Raising day was held around this time at Old Warrah. There was Clay Pigeon Shooting in the front paddock of the Schofields home of Plain View, other activities at Old Warrah and a speed trial from Plain View gates to Warrah gates. Reggie Sevil drove the A90, getting a run up from around 26 corner and clocked in at over 100 mph!

Harvey lost his life in a car accident at the corner of the (old) New England Highway and the Merriwa Road in 1962. Nell and Jack continued to live at "Hillview" until 1969 before moving to Willow Tree.

Nell and Jack winners of the Patsy Povey Trophy 1974

Jack, like his father Harvey, became a foundation member of the Willow Tree Bowling Club helping with the building of the club and greens. After working on "Hillview" and around McDonalds Creek, he then worked with Bernard's and finally driving the buses for Howard's until his death in 1990.

After Jack’s death, Nell continued to live in Henry Street Willow Tree until moving to "Elmswood" in Quirindi before passing on at the good age of ninety two in 1992.

Jack working for Bernard’s

Amy, after living in Sydney the best part of her life, moved to Port Macquarie and died in a car accident in 1999 and Lois who lived in the district all her life, except for the last ten years, died in Sydney in 2009.

Lois and Amy 1995

The surviving ancestors of Harvey and Nell Sevil, Lynette (Topsy) and Stephanie Hall, were proud and delighted to attend the Warrah Subdivision 1912 Centenary celebrations.

Topsy and Harvey
Stephanie, John Graham (Amy’s son) and Jack @ Hill View

 Extended Sevil Family @Willow Tree School Celebrations 1982.

Back: Jack Sevil, Campbell Sevil, Lois Hall, Richard ?, Bryce Sevil, Robert Sevil, Amy Graham, Ronald Graham, Topsy Hall, Jim Sevil.

Middle: Miles Sevil, Dagmar Sevil, Ruth Sevil, Kingsley Sevil, ? Jill Walter, Joan Abberton, Ann Batterham, Nancy Dowd, Betty Balmer, ?,Ken Sevil, Leonie Dawes, ?.

Front: Gael Alsop, Judy Swain, Elsie Sevil, Ashley Graham, Bibby Heyman, Nell Sevil, Amy Sevil, Bertha Considine, Ted Sevil and children.

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Maree Moon | Reply 23.06.2019 12:49

what a fantastic job has been done here. My daughter in Law's grandmother was a Sevil and this page has been passed on to her. Many thanks

Charlie Carter | Reply 29.03.2019 19:26

I have vague memories of the somewhat legendary 'Time Trial' on what was known as 'Schoies Straight'. I think someone (one of the Heymans?) had a Jag

Gus Sevil | Reply 21.02.2019 19:30

wow never knew our place is so old im relate to ken sevil dagmar sevil and miles sevil but my dad wasn't in don't think he was born

Lynne Richardson nee Eggleton | Reply 26.01.2018 13:29

I am related to Elsie Sevil nee Elsie Devine and would love to know about Leonie Sevil's children, Prudence, janelle and sharman.

Heather Milton | Reply 23.05.2017 18:08

Hi I found some old photos of my grandma working as a nanny at Curragundi Willow Tree in Feb 1934 One is of a little girl namedLionie Sevil

Geoff Barwick 23.05.2017 21:21

G'day Heather. If you'd be able to email me the photos with a little bit of info I'd love to put them on here.

Francis Sevil | Reply 29.08.2016 21:34

Frank Sevil was my grandfather and he passed away when i was about 4

Mary Sevil 19.08.2020 08:35

Frank Sevil was also my Grandfather and he passed away when I was 3 months old.

Ross Pengilley | Reply 18.06.2016 13:23

Thank you for the information on Peter and Wally Martin.Mr late brother,Alan,knew them fairly well.

Ross Pengilley | Reply 15.06.2016 00:48

In the photos of the first school k I think I have seen two young boys who may have been my cousins,who I never met -Peter and Wally Martin .

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Latest comments

25.09 | 09:36

Absolutely delighted to come across a part of my direct ancestors history about which I knew very little and shall endeavour to find out more
Thank you Prof. A.

23.09 | 22:23

Very interesting Kelaher family history. Impressive number of trained nursing sisters. Jack lent the Copelands a cream horse, Playboy, in 1950's, ridden by Kate

09.09 | 17:58

Wonderfully informative. Thank goodness for Jane and John Atchison's work

06.09 | 14:33

I am Jack Kelaher and I am proud of my pop, dad and ancestors.

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