I have just had an eureka moment when scanning the Otranto passenger lists for 1953! Unfortunately the address given by my grandmother as a forwarding address was 28 Market Street in Melbourne which was the address for Frederick Tate & Co who handled passengers' luggage. They went out of business in the 60's and I am wondering if anyone has any knowledge of them or where their archives may be.  Also does ENSA ring any bells? My Aunt Joan was a member during the war but it seems most records were destroyed in the Blitz. Regards, Dinah

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Comment by Debra on August 4, 2015 at 12:25

It appears that Grace returned to England for a three month visit in Dec 1957 on the 'Canton' and came back to Australia in April 1958 on the 'Arcadia'. The age and date/s of birth do suit your Grace. When she came into Fremantle she gave her home address as 24 Blake Street, Rose Bay, Sydney and she appears on the electoral roll at that address in 1958.

I can’t see anything more until her death in 1980:

Father: George
Mother: Not Named


Her death notice is here (digital page 12, newspaper page 19)

Sister of Frank (is this Alfonso?), Lily and Edie, mother of Joanne BENCE.


The address in the death notice was the home of Ashley Ian and Joanne Isabel BENCE.

You can search for all three on the index here:


They had lived at Vaucluse up until 1970 and there are some good photos from the 70s here, especially the outfits:


Their house at Vaucluse sold for nearly $5million last year.

They moved to Drumalbyn Road in 1970 and there are articles here about the house.  Grace is mentioned in both articles.





Photos of the house today


Ashley had been married previously and if he did remarry to Joanne it was not before July 1965 in NSW as it does not appear in the indexes.  They are only together on electoral rolls after 1963.

One of the articles says of Joanne "a lady with the stage in her past", so perhaps that is a reference to ENSA.



Comment by Debra on August 4, 2015 at 12:54

I had a look at Ashley's death notice from 1986 and it only mentions Joanne.  Her notice

is not available online but you can try the 'Ask a Librarian' service and they may look it up for you.


Here are the details:

BENCE, Joanne Isabel (Bobbie)

Died 09MAR2007

late of Woollahra

Sydney Morning Herald

Published 12MAR2007

Death records in NSW are closed to the public for 30 years so you can only access Grace's certificate.  Transcription agents are given here and it will be emailed to you:


Hopefully there will be enough information on it to confirm her identity.


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