Mary Sophia Day  (m. Axup), sister-in-law

DESCENDANTS of Mary Sophia DAY and Hector Charles AXUP, Australia
NEVIN family daughters and their AXUP cousins 1930s

From left to right:
Minnie Drew (nee Mary Ann Nevin) Thomas & Elizabeth Nevin’s youngest daughter
Mary Sophia Axup nee Day, sister of Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day and aunt of Minnie and May
Eva Baldwin nee Axup,Mary Sophia Axup’s eldest daughter
and May (Mary Florence Elizabeth) Nevin, Thomas and Elizabeth’s Nevin’s eldest daughter
Taken ca. 1939. Copyright © KLW NFC Private Collections 2009 and 2020 ARR.

Verso inscribed by a grand niece of Mary Sophia Axup, who was always called simply Auntie Axup, by the children of her Nevin nieces and nephews, rather than the technically correct “Great Aunt Axup”;

Auntie Minnie youngest
Auntie Axup, [sic, she was the great aunt Mary Sophia Axup
Auntie Eva, Uncle Sid’s wife
Auntie May, eldest NEVIN”

This much-handled photograph shows Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s youngest daughter, Minnie Drew nee Nevin on left (b. 1884, so she would have been 55 yrs old here ), and their eldest daughter May Nevin on right (b.1872, so she would have 67 yrs old here) – a difference of twelve years separated their births. Their cousin Eva Baldwin nee Axup second from right was six years younger than May Nevin (b. 1878, so she would have been 61 yrs old here) and six years older than Minnie Nevin. Their aunt Mary Sophia Axup was born in 1853 and died in 1942, shortly after this photograph was taken. She would have been 86 yrs old on this occasion, which was possibly the wedding of Eva Baldwin’s daughter Ella to Glynn Davis (1939). The Nevin sisters, who would have attended the wedding, posed here with their cousin Eva Baldwin and “Aunt Axup” as she was known, at the railway station on their way back to Hobart from Launceston.

Parents, sister and paternal uncle
Mary Sophia Day was born on 9th March 1853 at Hobart, Tasmania to mariner Captain James Day and Rachel Pocock. She was the younger sister of Elizabeth Rachel Day who married Thomas Nevin on 11th July 1871, and the youngest daughter of Rachel Pocock and master mariner Captain James Day who were married at St. David’s Church, Hobart on 6th January 1841, witnessed by James Day’s brother-in-law Captain Edward Goldsmith. She died in Melbourne on 18th June 1942, aged 89 years. Unnamed at birth, she was later registered as Sophia Mary Day on April 11th, 1853, and known thereafter as Mary Sophia Day:

1853 Births in the District of Hobart
Detail: Reg: 2187 March 9th – birth of female to James Day Master Mariner and Rachael Day formerly Pocock. registered by James Day, father Brisbane Street [Hobart] April 11th . Remarks: Sophia Mary.
Archives Office of Tasmania
Names Index: Ref: RGD33-1-4-P551

Although Mary Sophia Day’s elder sister Elizabeth Rachel Day was born and baptised at Rotherhithe, London UK in 1847, she was born in Hobart in 1853. The address of their parents by 1854 was listed in the General Directory for Hobart, as “DAY, James, mariner, Bathurst Street” (NLA Ref: MCN 872). Their father, Captain James Day (1804-1882), was brother-in-law to Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869), also a master mariner, with whom he served as First Mate and Navigator on early voyages to the Australian colonies. Captain James Day’s sister, Elizabeth Day (1802-1875) after whom her niece Elizabeth Rachel Day was named, married Captain Edward Goldsmith at Liverpool, England in 1829.

Marriage: Edward Goldsmith mater mariner to Elizabeth Day 24 June 1829, Liverpool UK
Source: Marriages at St George Derby Square in the City of Liverpool
Marriages recorded in the Register for the years 1813 – 1837

Captain Edward Goldsmith was a signatory witness to the marriage of his brother-in-law Captain James Day to Rachel Pocock (ca. 1812-1857) at St David’s Church Hobart on January 6, 1841:

St David’s Hobarton
6th January 1841
James Day, 34yrs, Master Mariner
Rachel Pocock, 29 years, Spinster
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Uniting Church of England and Ireland, William Bedford, Senior Chaplain,
In the presence of Edward Goldsmith and Margaret Fuller

Day v. Goldsmith in Chancery 1872
On the death of Mary Sophia and Elizabeth Rachel Day’s paternal uncle Captain Edward Goldsmith in 1869 at Gadshill, Kent, UK, his son Edward Goldsmith jnr contested the will in 1871 in a Chancery suit against his mother Elizabeth Goldsmith, widow, and his father’s executors, William Bell Bentley and Alfred Bentley. He also contested his father’s legacy as the plaintiff against his Tasmanian cousins, annuants and legatees Mary Sophia Day and Elizabeth Rachel Day. But in a cruel twist, in 1872 both Elizabeth Nevin and her husband, photographer Thomas Nevin, were named in a Chancery suit as defendants, along with Edward jnr and his mother, this time lodged in the name of Elizabeth’s younger sister, Mary Sophia Day as the plaintiff (Ref: National Archives UK C16/781 C546012). Captain Goldsmith had wished to leave to his two Tasmanian nieces a row of eleven cottages in Higham, Kent, per this statement on page 4 of his will:

… the said will should convey and assure the testator’s eleven cottages and hereditaments known as Vicarage Row Higham in the county of Kent unto the said Elizabeth Rachel Nevin and the plaintiff Mary Sophia Day their respective heirs and assigns as tenants in common …

Page 4:
Cause number: 1872 D50. Ref:C 16/781/D50
Short title: Day v Goldsmith. Documents: Bill only. Plaintiffs:…
Reference:C 16/781/D50 Description:
Cause number: 1872 D50.
Source: National Archives UK

Was Mary Sophia Day successful in her claim against the will of Captain Edward Goldsmith? It appears not, at least in terms of the original will, since Page 12 was stuck through. Two factors mitigated against her claim proceeding further: first, she turned 21 years old in 1874, and second, she married Captain Hector Axup in 1878. By law she was no longer an “infant” – the term applied to a woman under 21 years old – and as a married woman she was precluded from claiming the annuity under the terms of Captain Goldsmith’s will. The same two exclusions had already precluded her sister Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day from filing a claim as a plaintiff.

The eleven houses at Vicarage Row which Captain Edward Goldsmith had specifically requested be set apart as a benefit for these two nieces, the daughters of his wife’s brother Captain James Day, were on offer at the auction of the estate in 1870, and presumably were sold, the proceeds to pay funeral expenses and testamentary debts (Page 10 of the Will), the residue to be apportioned between the two nieces which would have been neglible by the time a dozen more claimants filed as defendants in the matter of the estate after the untimely death of the primary beneficiary (apart from his mother who died in 1875), his only son Edward Goldsmith jnr who died young in 1883.

Marriage and children 1878
Captain James Day’s younger daughter Mary Sophia Day married Captain Hector Charles James Horatio Axup (1843-1927) on May 1st, 1878 at the Wesleyan Church, Kangaroo Valley (renamed Lenah Valley in 1922) where John Nevin snr had settled his family on property in trust to the Wesleyan Church adjacent to the Lady Franklin Museum in 1854 and established a school. He taught night class to adult males there in 1875 and his daughter Mary Ann Nevin taught local children at the schoolhouse before her marriage (1877). As father-in-law to Captain James Day’s eldest daughter Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day, John Nevin snr gave witness at her sister Mary Sophia Day’s marriage to Captain Hector Axup alongside Captain James Day.

It was Hector Axup’s second marriage. Born on 7th March 1843, at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, he arrived in Tasmania in 1876. He was registered on their marriage certificate as a widower and mariner, 34 years old. Mary Sophia Day was registered as a mariner’s daughter and spinster, 25 years old. Witnesses were her father Captain James Day, her sister’s father-in-law John Nevin snr, and Margaret McGuigan (the spelling of her name is not clear nor her role in Mary Sophia’s life). They were married by the officiating minister Nathaniel Bennett according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Wesleyan Curch by virtue of Act 23 Vict No. 11.

Australia, Tasmania, Civil Registration, 1803-1933, RGD 37/37.
Marriages, 1878, image 9 of 224; Archives Office of Tasmania, Hobart.

By 1885, Hector and Mary Axup had moved to northern Tasmania and were based at the Pilot Station, Low Head. Hector Axup was a harbour pilot and leading tower assistant at George Town, Tasmania. Shortly before he died in Launceston in 1927, he published a “unique booklet” titled “The Reminiscences of an ‘Old Salt’ of 83 Years by H. C. Axup,” (Launceston, ca. 1926). The unattributed photograph below appears on the front cover.

Hector Charles Horatio Axup ca. 1880s

Read more about Hector Axup’s background and career here on this site.

Hector and Mary Sophia Axup had five children between 1878 and 1891. The names by which they were commonly known are indicated in heavy type.

  1. Rachel Frances Eva Axup b. 1878 at Hobart, Tasmania
  2. Sidney James Vernon Axup b.1882 at Hobart, Tasmania
  3. Edward Harold Leslie Axup b.1885 at Georgetown, Tasmania
  4. Patience Ella Mary Axup b.1889 at Georgetown, Tasmania
  5. Olive Lilian Ethel Axup b.1891 at Georgetown, Tasmania

First cousins of the Axup family, children of Elizabeth Rachel and Thomas Nevin:

  1. Mary Florence Elizabeth (May) Nevin (1872-1955)
  2. Thomas James (Sonny) Nevin (1874-1948)
  3. Sydney John Nevin (1876-1877)
  4. William John Nevin (1878-1927)
  5. George Ernest Nevin (1880-1957)
  6. Mary Ann (Minnie) Nevin (1884-1974)
  7. Albert Edward Nevin (1888-1955)

First Cousins
All five children born to Mary Sophia and Hector Axup shared family life events with their first cousins, the six surviving children of Elizabeth and Thomas Nevin. The Axups were frequent visitors to the Nevin property at 23-29 Newdate St. North Hobart from the 1920s. When Mary Sophia’s fourth child Patience Ella Mary Axup, known as Ella, died of tuberculosis in 1913, her aunt Elizabeth Rachel Nevin and her Nevin cousins would have attended the funeral. This rare photograph of Ella, taken at the Vandyck Studios in Launcestion, Tasmania possibly on her 21st birthday (ca, 1911), was recently recovered from a deceased Nevin family estate (now held in the KLW NFC Private Collections):

Studio portrait of Ella Axup (Patience Ella Mary Axup, 1889 -1913)
Taken at the VANDYCK Studios, Launceston, Tasmania ca. 1911.
Postcard format. Verso inscribed: “Cousin Ella Axup”
Copyright © KLW NFC Group Private Collections 2020

Verso: Studio portrait of Ella Axup (Patience Ella Mary Axup, 1889 -1913)
Taken at the VANDYCK Studios, Launceston, Tasmania ca. 1911.
Postcard format. Verso inscribed: “Cousin Ella Axup”
Copyright © KLW NFC Group Private Collections 2020

When Ella Axup was born at George Town in 1889, her father’s occupation was recorded as boatman employed by the Marine Board.

1889 Births in the District of George Town [Tasmania]
Reg. 447. 19 June 1889.  Patience Ella Mary. Female. Father’s name Hector Axup. Mother’s name Mary Axup formerly Day. Father’s occupation Marine Board boatman. Registered by Herbet K. Harris Storekeeper, George Town, 26 July 1889.
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania Ref:  RGD33-1-4-P551

Ella Axup had passed the Commonwealth Public Service exam to take a job as a telephonist in 1912 but died suddenly on 24th June, 1913. The notice of Ella’s success in passing the exam was gazetted on 7th September 1912:

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 – 1973), 7 September, p. 1912.

Ella’s death was published in the Examiner on 26 June 1913:

1913 ‘Family Notices’,
Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), 26 June, p. 1. (DAILY),

Death of Patience Ella Mary Axup
Source: Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) Thu 26 Jun 1913 Page 1 Family Notices


AXUP. – on the 25th June, at her brother’s residence, 54 Elizabeth-street. Patience Ella Mary, beloved second daughter of Hector and Mary Axup, aged 24 years.
So loved, so mourned.

Within a few months of her daughter Ella’s death in June 1913, Mary Sophia Axup chaired a meeting of the Tasmanian Workers’ Political League, the forerunner of the Australian Labor Party, seeking nominations for Labor candidates to stand for the seat of Bass in the forthcoming Federal election:

The Mercury 22 August 1913


Bass Divisional Council of the T.W.P.L. [Tasmanian Workers’ Political League] met last week at the A.W.C. office, Launceston, Mrs Axup being in the chair. It was decided to invite nominations for Bass of those willing to stand in the Labour interests in the Federal campaign which may shortly be entered upon. The secretary Mr. J. Mooney was also instructed to advise all country branches to be in readiness for the campaign.

The late 1930s to 1942
May Nevin (second from right in fur jacket) was photographed on the steps of St John’s on the occasion of the wedding of Eva Baldwin’s daughter Ella Baldwin to Glynn Davis on 15th July 1939. Her aunt Mary Sophia Axup is second from left, her cousin Eva Baldwin on extreme right, her cousin Sidney Axup on extreme left and his wife Emily Axup nee Tyson in background.

From left: Mary Sophia Axup’s son Sidney Axup; behind him is his wife Emily Axup nee Tyson; in front of her is Sidney’s mother Mary Sophia Axup nee Day; next in the fur is Mary Sophia Axup’s niece May Nevin, (Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s eldest daughter),and extreme right is Eva Baldwin nee Axup, Mary Sophia Axup’s eldest daughter.
Taken on the steps of St. John’s 15.07.1939 at the wedding of Ella Baldwin to Glynn (David) Davis.

Above: Four generations, photographed in 1940
Top left: Eva Baldwin nee Axup, daughter of Mary Sophia Axup
Top right; Ella Davis nee Baldwin, daughter of Eva Baldwin nee Axup
Lower right: baby Barbara Davis, daughter of Ella Davis nee Baldwin
Centre: mother of Eva Baldwin, grandmother of Ella Davis and great grandmother of Barbara,Davis, matriarch Mary Sophia Axup nee Day (1853-1942).
Copyright © Private Collections of Davis and Axup descendants 2007 ARR.

Extreme left: Rev. Percy Baldwin, son-in-law of Mary Sophia Axup nee Day, married to her daughter Eva Baldwin nee Axup
Middle: Emily Axup nee Tyson her daughter-in-law, married to Sid Axup
Extreme right: Sidney Axup, husband of Emily Axup, brother-in-law of the Rev. Percy Baldwin
Photos courtesy © John Davis and Axup descendants 2007 ARR.

Great grandmother Mary Sophia Axup nee Day: four generations at the beach ca. 1940
Two daughters, one daughter-in-law, one granddaughter and one great grandchild
Photos courtesy of © John Davis and © Axup descendants 2007 ARR.

Obituary 1942
Mary Sophia Axup (nee Day) died in Melbourne on 18th June 1942, aged 89 years. Elizabeth Rachel Day, her elder sister by five years who married Thomas Nevin in 1871, died in Hobart on 29 June, 1914, aged just 67.

Obituary, Mrs M.S. Axup, The Mercury 30 June 1942
Courtesy Narelle Ogden © KLW NFC 2011


An old Hobart resident, Mrs. M. S. Axup, died in Northcote, Victoria, recently while on a visit to her son. She was in her 90th year, having been born at Lenah Valley in 1853. A daughter of the late Capt. James Day who sailed his own vessel, trading between Hobart and the Mainland before the advent of steam, she married a seafaring man, Capt. H. C. Axup, well known in shipping circles and the Launceston pilot until his death some years ago.
The deceased was interested in church and charity organisations until a few months ago. She left two sons and two daughters, and a great number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A feature of the funeral service was that the coffin was carried by four of her grandsons, all in uniform, representing the three services. The services at the church and graveside were conducted by her son-in-law, the Rev. P.W Baldwin. Toc H padre.

Mary Sophia Axup (nee Day) outside the Bank of NSW (Sydney?) ca. 1939
Photograph strip cut from the original, now lost.
Copyright © KLW NFC Private Collections 2020 ARR.

Descendants of the Nevin, Axup and Davis families have kindly supplied these photographs. Copyright on all these images must be strictly observed to protect works in progress.

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