I offer this extrapolation: Melinda, then twenty years old and not legally allowed to marry without parental permission, and Basil meet at a dance in Sussex Street, Sydney in 1835. They are both fond of a drink and so, under the heavy influence of alcohol they challenge the nineteenth-century taboos associated with sex outside of marriage. A possible consequence of this premarital dalliance is a stillborn daughter, Melinda, born prematurely eight months later. Melinda and Basil wake up next morning and, realizing their transgression through the haze of two mighty hangovers, I hazard to guess, or still intoxicated from drinking all night, head for the nearest church that will marry them with the least amount of formality or documentation. Somewhere in the midst of this haste, Melinda produces a string of fictitious names and parentage, perhaps so her real parents (or the Reverend Hill) can’t be notified. Basil is none the wiser about the deception, as he’s met this woman only the night before. It’s also possible, because Melinda was raised by the Hill family, that in her alcohol-affected state she couldn’t remember her real parents’ names and so concocted a new identity on the spot. The scenario cannot be borne out by evidence, but it is a logical extrapolation from the available clues. Certainly it is no less likely than the Armidale Family History Group’s claim that, of the Kendall twins’ births on April 18, 1839 (see below), one occurred in Ulladulla and the other in Auckland, New Zealand. By the legal standards of today and the nineteenth century, the marriage certificate is not a bona fide document, and the resultant seventeen-year de facto relationship would also not have been recognised as a legal marriage in the nineteenth century, though no comment is made about it by Henry’s biographers.
St Andrews was the first Scots Church built in Sydney. For further details see CHURCHES.
Melinda and Basil are recorded as being married in the 2nd Scots Church by Rev John McGarvie.


  1. Hi, doing my own research on my great great grandparents marriage, ie Catherine McAllan (surname spelt several different ways and even shown with 3 different spellings on marriage certificate) & Richard Drinkwater, I came across your story. Which one of the couple is the MacAllan, could there be a connection to my McAllan? I was looking for a sketch of the old St Andrews Scots Church, Sydney which I found but have also stumbled on to another clue. Please get back to me if you have information about other family members.
    regards Virginia Dye

  2. Virginia – My research indicates that the surname MacAllan used by Melinda when she married Basil Kendall, was false. Her real birth name was McNally, as clarified by other parts of my research. If you have any information via your family tree that indicates otherwise, I’d be happy to have a new look at my research. (The paragraph above was an early extrapolation from available evidence).
    Peter Knox
    PS: I’m writing Melinda’s critical biography, tentatively titled ‘The Life And Writings of Melinda Kendall’.

  3. My research indicates St Andrew’s (second Scot Church) opened for service 13 September 1835. If this is so they could not have been married there. Unless they were conducting services before hand.

  4. Hello Paula, Bit rusty at the moment but Somewhere I have the details. Another building was being used as the church while the 2nd Scots was being completed and they were married there. As you would know, the Presbyterians were one of the churches which did not consider the building to be ‘ the church’ per se. I shall look through the papers and see which building it was. Yrs L.

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19th-century Australian writer, pioneer, teacher. The site of the rambling research of Mr Knox's offsider.

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