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Victorian Naval Forces Muster

for the Colony of Victoria. (muster range 1853-1910)*


Last Name:Frogley
First Name:Joseph John William
Birth Date: 01-10-1829
Branch:Victorian Navy

Joseph John William Frogley


(1829 - 1905)

By Geoffrey Frogley

Frodesley alias Frogley originated in name south-west of the City of Oxford, with a branch of the family settling in Hertfordshire sometime after the English Civil War. It is to this line that Joseph appears to have descended. His father Joseph Frogley was born at Shenley, Hertfordshire Jul. 19th. 1796, and first went to sea in 1818. At St. Mary's Anglican church, Portsea Island (Portsmouth), Hampshire, Joseph married Alice nee Degee, Feb. 18th. 1826. Serving with the British Navy as a cook, at age 48 Marine in a similar capacity Joseph joined the Merchant with the issuing of a seaman's ticket from the British Board of Trade, Dec. 18th. 1848. The entry describes him as 5ft. 6 ½ inches, dark complexion, with brown hair, hazel eyes, and a tattoo with a heart pierced with J.F. on his right arm.

Joseph John William the eldest of the family was born at Gosport (Portsmouth), in Oct. 1829, and baptised nearby at Alverstoke Feb. 13th. 1831. There were at least five other children from the family: Alice Isabella (c.1831 - ) who married James Falkner, Sarah Quick (c.1836 - ) who married Jabez Leach, Alfred James George Frogley (c.1838 - ) who married Ellen Tucker, Isabella Margaret (c.1841 - ), who married John Wall Roberts, and Carolina Aurelia (c.1844 - 1870) who died young in London. There was also a brother James Frogley born in 1831?, who served as a captain primarily on voyages to the United States.

It would appear Joseph who served jointly on HMVS Nelson and HMVS Cerberus arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, aboard the (HMS?) Pelonis sometime before October 1861. At the Presbyterian church, Palmer street, Wooloomooloo, Joseph firstly married Sarah Jane Osbourne, May. 13th. 1862. The daughter of builder John Osbourne and his wife Jane Eleanor, Sarah was born circa 1843. In Jul. 1862 their daughter Bella Frogley was born, but she died at Bank street, Sydney, later that year on Dec. 12th.

Under Commander Payne, on the maiden voyage of HMVS Nelson as boatswain Joseph arrived at Williamstown, Victoria, from Portsmouth, England, Feb. 4th. 1868. Directly he transferred to the colonial Victorian Naval Service along with other crew, among them: First Lieutenant Turner, Gunner Pounds, Chief Gunner's Mate of the starboard watch John Prideaux, and James Tubb Chief Gunner's Mate of the starboard watch.

At Williamstown Joseph's first wife Sarah Jane his wife died of Phthisis Oct. 14th. 1871, and was buried at Williamstown Cemetery. Along with Lieutenants Turner & Heathcote, in 1875 Joseph was appointed to serve on a board on enquiry into the misconduct of seaman John O'Halloran of HMVS Cerberus.

Residing aboard HMV Nelson, at the Registry Office at Sandridge, Melbourne, Joseph secondly married Selina Christian Senior, Sep. 2nd. 1876. The daughter of lighthouse engineer John Senior and his wife Susan nee Reynolds, Selina was born in Birmingham, England, circa 1854. In 1878 their daughter Isabella was born at Williamstown, and from c.1879 - 1881 the family were residing on Douglas Parade. Around 1882 they moved to "Nelson Villa" Liddard street, Hawthorne, Melbourne, where on Aug. 9th. 1889 Joseph's second wife died. Selina was buried following at Boroodara Cemetery, Melbourne, on Aug. 11th. In 1901 Joseph was photographed with the Small Holdings Branch of the Lands Office, and around 1904 left for Western Australia.

His only surviving daughter Isabella Selina married in Melbourne Gerald Edmund Hester, in 1903. The son of Edmund Godfrey Hester and Theodosia nee Hall, Gerald was born at "Blackwood Park", Bridgetown, Western Australia, circa 1858. Gerald's father Edmund was born in Warwickshire, England, and came to Western Australia in 1829. After residing at Canning, as one of the first pioneer settlers he took up land at Bridgetown and established a sheep run. Joseph Frogley was to live with his daughter and son-in-law at "Blackwood Park", where he died Jan. 13th. 1905. He was buried at Bridgetown Cemetery the following day.


Evans, W. "Deeds, not Words", pp. 76-77. CRS B5522/4 National Archives (Melbourne), Victorian "Chief Secretaries Office", Jan. 22nd. 1875, Ref. 794/1305 book 152, entry 231 of 1875. Melbourne "Age" newspaper Aug. 1889. "The Cyclopaedia of Western Australia", pp. 461 - 463. Civil Registration certificates UK and Australia, research documents of the late Ralph Frogley MD, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, British Board of Trade and Naval Records, PRO (London ) (researchers Janice O'Brien and Norman Stanley, London). Contributor Fay Walker, Castlemaine, Victoria © Geoffrey Frogley, Adelaide, South Australia (2003).


When Lieutenant Frogley retired in 1893 it was reported that he had served for 50 years in the Imperial and Colonial navies. The Argus, 15 July 1893



Listed in the Victorian Defence Forces List, Naval Branch, 1 January 1890 as Vic Navy (retired Boatswain R.N.).


Joseph FROGLEY. Date born: 1 Oct 1829. Place born: Gosport, Hampshire, England. Year volunteered: 1853. Comments: Served in the Royal Navy since 1848. Source 
Described in the Argus on 11 April 1882 as, Chief Boatswain J. Frogley (RN). Promoted to Lieutenant on retirement. 

Name inscribed on the Silver Soup Tureen presented to Paymaster James Arthur Thompson by members of the crew of HMAS Cerberus and the Naval Torpedo Corps connected with the Torpedo Accident in 1881.

photograph courtesy of Shirley & David Joy.
Mystery of the Silver Soup Tureen

* 1853 is given as the commencement date for the Victorian Navy as this is the year that Commander Lockyer (RN) went to Britain to superintend the building of HMCS Victoria.
Although the Victorian Navy ended in 1901 the career of Cerbeus etc continued. In 1910 the new ships started arriving & manning levels increased.

Information & photographs of men who served in the Victorian Naval Forces is eagerly sought. Please contact the webmaster.