Heidelberg Historical Society home page
Main quilts page

Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt, 1895-96

Square N13

Quilt square N13


Arthur Sill.


This square mostly likely represents Henry Arthur Davidson Sill (1875-1949), youngest of 10 children of Heidelberg farmer, orchardist and market gardener Mark Sill (1818-1885) and his wife Elizabeth née Davidson (1833-1903).

Further information

The Sills were an early pioneering family in the district. Mark Sill was born in Cartmell, Cumbria and migrated to Australia under the ‘mutual cooperation system’ arriving on board Anna in the Port Phillip District in 1849. He acquired land on both the river and in the village of Warringal. He held several allotments along what is now Cartmell Street and also purchased allotments in the southwest corner of Hawdon’s Banyule Estate. The Sill family held the land until 1926 when the Heidelberg Shire Council bought it for £1,793. Known as ‘Sills Bend’, the land now forms part of the Warringal Parklands and contains remnant oaks and at least one decrepit pear tree dating back to the Sill era.

In 1899, Arthur (as he appears to have been known) moved from Heidelberg to Leongatha, South Gippsland, where he had purchased a farm, Syllmere Park, with his eldest brother John Sill (1854-1903). Arthur died in Bonbeach near Frankston in 1949.

He was clearly a generous young man. In 1898 while still living with his mother and sister Amy at Kharra, Cape Street, Heidelberg, he donated the proceeds of a large cod he had caught in the local Yarra River to the Austin Hospital. Later, in 1902, he offered free grazing on land he owned at Waratah Bay, South Gippsland to ‘distressed farmers of the north’.

In 1903, Arthur married Mabel Martin (1882-1952) from Leongatha. One of his groomsmen was Mabel’s brother, William Henry Martin (1865-1937). Two years later William married Arthur’s sister Amy Phoebe (1871-1918) who contributed square [N7]. The ‘train bearer’ at that wedding was eight-year-old Master Neville Rollason; see [B3]. Neville’s mother Edith Sill (1869-1958) was Amy and Arthur’s older sister. She had married the local physician Dr Abel Rollason (1865-1923) in 1893.

1903 must have been a year of mixed emotions for the Sill family. The eldest son John, in partnership with Arthur on the farm, died suddenly at his mother’s home in Cape Street, Heidelberg. He had served as a Heidelberg Shire Councillor 1892-93. Elizabeth, the matriarch, also died in 1903, just a few weeks before Arthur’s wedding. At the time of her funeral, only four of her ten children were still alive.


Henry Arthur Davidson Sill: BDMV 9682/1875, 7017/1903, 18233/1949

Mabel Martin BDMV 632/1882, 16538/1952

Ancestry.com ‘Mark Sill Facts’ Kathryn Ulbrich Family Tree, viewed 20 September 2019

https://www.portphillipdistrict.info/Liverpool_Passenger_Lists_1839-51_114.htm Viewed 20 September 2019.

Mark Sill: BDMV 1230/1885

HJ Price: Heidelberg Shire Council 1915-1932, typed notes, in HHS data collection. Also Occupation 13099 (SILL Mark, 1818-1885)

‘Death of Mrs Sill’, Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record, Friday 2 October 1903, p. 5.

‘Orange blossom at Heidelberg: Rollason Sill’, Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thursday 19 October 1893, p. 3.

Amy Phoebe Sill: BDMV 16785/1871, 2230/1905, 9468/1918

William Henry Martin: BDMV 21456/1865, 9198/1937

HA Sill, ‘Angling at Heidelberg and Abbotsford’, Mercury and Weekly Courier, Friday 14 January 1898, p. 3.

HA Sill, ‘Offers of grazing to the editor of the Argus’, Argus, Tuesday 21 October 1902, p. 5.

John Sill: BDMV 1369/1855, 5988/1903

‘Send off to Ex-Cr. J. Sill: Smoke night and presentation’, Mercury and Weekly Courier, Friday 28 July 1899, p. 2.

‘Deaths Sill’ Argus Tuesday 2 July 1903, p. 1.

No comments submitted for this page.

Comments are solicited

If you can provide information about the item on this page, please do so. This is a community effort, and your input is valued.

Comment submission not activated at this PC.

If you wish to comment on this information please activate the ability to comment by submitting your email address here. An email with an activation link will immediately be sent to you.

Check your spam folder if you don’t receive it within a couple of minutes.

Click on that link to activate submission of comments. You can activate multiple PCs (eg. desktop and laptop) with the same email address.

We value your privacy. Your email address will not be displayed (except to you and our moderators), given away, or sold to any third parties. Note that a cookie is used to store the activation code on this PC.

We may send an email to you requesting further clarification of the comment you made.

Your email address:

(This may take a few seconds, please wait after pressing the button)

Return to quilts page
Choose one quilt at random

Heidelberg Historical Society home page

Heidelberg Historical Society home page