Person Sheet

Name Charles Henry PROSSER (SHARMAN)
Birth 27 May 1860, Heathcote, Victoria
Death 1930, Wonthaggi Hospital Age: 69
Burial Leongatha Cemetery
Father Charles Thomas SHARMAN (1827-1902)
Mother Sarah Ann CLARK (1832-1895)
1 Eliza Jane 'Lilly' HUTSON
Birth 19 May 1850, Hampshire, England
Death 1929, Heidelberg, Victoria Age: 78
Burial 11 Apr 1929, Leongatha Cemetery Age: 78
Occupation Home Maker / Midwife
Father Charles HOTSON (1821-)
Mother Anne MANLEY (1826-1898)
Children: Harry Hutson PROSSER (1895-1964)
Notes for Charles Henry PROSSER (SHARMAN)

BIO: During the research into the Prosser family name, we were unable to locate the record of the birth of Charles Henry Prosser.

 His marriage certificate states he was born in Heathcote in 1860 to parents Charles Henry Charman and Sarah Prosser. i.e. he was not born to a father named Prosser. Other information in this certificate includes the fact that his father was a butcher by profession.

Research in local papers and trade directories indicate the existence of a butcher in Heathcote at this time by the name Charles Sharman, who with his wife Sarah nee Clark, had a son born to them in 1860 called Charles Henry Sharman.

The birth certificate for Charles Henry Sharman states that his parents were married in Richmond, Victoria on the 28th of August 1856 and there was also a previous female child living. This child proved to be Isabella Louisa Sharman.

The birth certificate of Isabella Louisa Sharman states that her parents (Charles and Sarah Ann Sharman (formerly Clark) were married in Dudley, Staffordshire England 16th January 1853. We have been unable to locate this marriage, but another marriage for Sarah Clark on this date has been located, to John Prosser!

It is interesting to note that a witness to the marriage of Charles Henry Prosser to Eliza Jane Bredin was Isabel Louisa Thornton (formerly Prosser) Charles sister.
The marriage certificate of Isabella Luisa Prosser state's categorically that although she went by the name Prosser, she was previously known by the surname Sharman.

     The early life of Charles Henry Prosser is not yet known but at the age of almost 35 years (fifteen days short), Charles Henry Prosser, now living at Heatherton and working as a market gardener, married Eliza Jane Bredin of Tarwin, Gippsland on the

12th of May 1894 at 430 Bourke St Melbourne.


Only one child was born to Charles Henry Prosser, Harry Hutson at Cheltenham in 1895.

Cheltenham and Heatherton

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              In the magistrate's room at the Leongatha Court- house. on Tuesday last, an inquiry was conducted   by Major. T. P. McInerney concerning a charge laid against Alfred Austin Hitchiner of being disaffected and disloyal. Captain G Hurry was present on behalf of the Defence Department, and Mr R. Little appeared for Hitchener. The only other person present was Mr E. W. Johnson, who laid the information.   The case was opened by Captain Hurry, who gave a resume of the utterances alleged to have been made by Hitchiner at  Mr Prosser's house at Koonwarra.   E. W. Johnson, farmer, residing at Koonwarra, stated : He had known Hitchiner for 10 or 12 years, who was a farmer and contractor, and lived about 1 1/4 miles from witness. He was always on good terms with him till he made the remarks. Witness let him potato ground in preference to others. Witness was an active member of the rifle club, and did a little instructing on the Koonwarra range. He. was secretary of the patriotic committee at Koonwarra, and did a lot of work. He was also secretary of the Mechanics' Institute at Koonwarra and a trustee of the Koonwarra reserve. He was at Mr Prosser's house in April or May last. There were present Mr C. H. and Mrs Prosser, Mr H. Prosser, W. Mc- Ilwaine, Miss Prosser, and witness. A general conversation took place, and witness denounced the Germans strongly, and said he would put the lot under the sea if he had the opportunity. Hitchiner said he did not think they were worse than the others. Witness asked what he thought of the sacking of Louvain, and   Hitchiner said that he did not blame them for the sacking of Louvain, as the British would do the same if they had the chance. After a few more words,  Hitchiner asked "What did the British do at Rabaul ?" To that witness answered that they only did a bit of pillaging, but were court-martialed and severely  dealt with, and he thought he said the Labor Government was trying to let them off, but he was not quite certain that he said Labor  Government. Witness asked Hitchiner what he thought of the sinking of the Lusitania, to which he answered that he did not blame the Germans for the sinking of that vessel, as no notice  could be taken of the Press, which was only newspaper clap-trap.  Witness replied 'Your sympathies are with Germany, but mine are not, so you had better say no more about it." Witness went home about quarter-of-an hour afterwards. He heard after- wards that Hitchiner was enlisting, so witness thought he would be a traitor to his country if he did not do something in the matter.

               When in Melbourne witness called at the V.R.A. office to find the whereabouts of Mr Semmens,  whom he had known in connection with fisheries, and wanted his advice on the matter. He was informed that Colonel Semmens was away, and he them met Captain Fargher, who asked if he could be of any assistance to him. Witness told Fargher what he had heard re the remarks of Hitchiner, anrd Fargher said to leave the matter to him. Witness did not hear anything else for some time. He next heard that Hitchiner had been rejected because he was of German descent. Witness had never made a statement that Hitchiner was of  German descent When he met Hitchiner the next time it was in his own paddock. Hitchiner got excited, and said that witness had been talking about him, and witness said he had repeated his own words. Hitchiner said he would not argue with him,  and then left. In reference to onions for the Belgian fund, it was at a patriotic meeting. He was collecting onions for the Belgians in the Mechanics' hall at Koonwarra. Witness asked Gwyther for onions, and he gave six bags ; someone else gave two, and Hitchiner said the Melbourne unemployed were more  deserving than the Belgians, and he would not give any. Hitchiner tried to make out that the Belgians were not receiving what was sent to them, so witness got disgusted and left. That is all he (witness) knew in connection with the case. Witness had taken part in debates at the Koonwarra Society with Hitchiner. He was not of the same political opinions as Hitchiner, but it did not influence him in any way. He had been on the same side as Hitchiner in debates. Cross examined by Mr Little. He had told the whole truth. He did not tell anybody he would give Hitchiner a showing up. He did not see Mr Hewett that morning. Hitchiner was a member of the Koonwarra patriotic committee, of which witness was secretary. Hitchiner stoved out  a tree on the sports ground, which he did for nothing, and helped to clear the sports track, and he (witness) said it was well done. Re the onions, Hitchiner did not say that it was: no use sending to the Belgians as the Germans were getting them. Hitchiner did not say he would give his onions to the unemployed in Melbourne. He did not remember saying anything to Mrs Gwyther at Beilby's house about Hitchiner refusing to give onions to the Belgians. Mrs Gwyther did not say it was a lie. He may have mentioned the matter at Beilby's. He had written to the Department in answer to a letter  he received in September. (Letter read giving conversation at  Prosser's house.) He refused to answer who told him that Hitchiner was of German descent. Witness was not of German descent on either side. The people of Koonwarra took the matter up.

             Witness said at a public meeting that he would give it the lie direct that he prevented recruiting. He told the meeting that the conversation with Fargher was strictly confidential. He saw it in the " Argus " that evidience relating to such questions would not be disclosed. If theWoorayl Shire  Council could not get the letter sent no one else could. The  Defence Department would not reveal what was said in a letter. Witness only received one letter from the Department, but he had heard from an outside source that three letters had been sent he did not answer. Hitchiner said so, and also Mr Bailey. He  denied that he asked Bailey not to say anything about the matter. Witness was not afraid of Hitchiner hitting him when he rushed away hurriedly from Prosser's and broke a flower pot. The  Prossers are renting land from witness. He had been disfranchised from the Debating Society, and sent in his resignation. He would not say that he was not excitable. Witness asked Hitchiner what he thought of Rabaul. He did not say that the Government was trying to release one of the men guilty at Rabaul Hitchiner did not say that he blamed the officers more than the men at Louvain. Re the Lusitania, Hitchiner did not say, " We will wait till we get the papers before we condemn." At Prosser's he would not contradict that it was said that "AIf was right; he wants to show that there are good and bad in all armies." Witness was. getting. warm, but he did not lose his head, altogether, He would not swear 'that he had supper after. Witness had seen the Prossers casually since and be did say something about the inquiry coming in that morning, but he could not remember what he said. Witness swore he never mentioned facts. 'He never spoke to young Prosser about the case that morning. Witness did not accuse Miss Dunn at the post office of telling Hitchiner that he had received letters from the Defence Department. He did not mention Constable Thompson's name in connection with the letters. Witness had been at all the patriotic meetings, and Hitchiner had acted as chairman at one of them, after the words uttered were complained of. Witness had seen the doctor in connection with enlisting himself. At one of the meetings Mr Coote said that Hitchiner: considered that the Belgians were not getting the onions. Witness did not say that he had put a wrong construction upon the words. He knew the witnesses to be called, who were all decent young fellows as far as he knew. He was acting as a  delegate from Koonwarra at a meeting of the Woorayl War Fund, and when the wanted to speak in the matter he was ruled out of border. Mr Mesley as chairman did not say that he should apologise for what he had done.

              Harry H Prosser, residing at Koonwarra stated : He had  known Mr Johnson from child hood and Mr Hitchiner for about eight years. Witness was 21 years of age. He was present at his father's house when a discussion took place about the month of June. It was just before supper time that the discussion about the war took place. Hitchiner- .said that he did not blame the Germans for the sacking of Louvain,  as the British would do the same if they got the chance. Johnson said, "No they would not" and Hitchiner said "What did they do ar Rabaul."   Johnson said they were court- martialled, severely punished, and the Labor Government tried to let them off. Then there was some argument about the Lusitania, when Hitchiner said, " You can't blame the Germans and it was all clap trap in the papers about it.'' Johnson then said,  "If you have German sympathies I have not.'' Supper took place after, and Johnson went home, Hitchiner going about the same time. Johnson was in good arguing form. Witness had nothing against Johnson or Hitchiner but was good friends  with both. Cross-examined by Mr Little;   Only Hitchiner and Johnson took part in the conversation. The only remark his father made was that there was bad and good everywhere. Johnson did not refer to the evidence that was to be given that day. Not that he remembered did Johnson refer to what evidence was to be given. Witness did not say to Hitchiner or McIlwaine that his father said Johnson should apologise for what he said to Hitchiner. Witness was asked to sign the petition in favor of Hitchiner, but his mother did not ask him to sign it. He could not remember saying he could sign it because  of the situation he was in. He did not say at a dance that he could not sign the petition because he was under 21. He wrote with charcoal on McIlwaine's door that he would sign it, He saw people signing the petition at the dance. He did not know what led up to the Lusitania conversation. Witness did not remember Hitchiner saying " You have to get the facts before you can know." Myrtle Presser, brother of the previous witness, stated : She remembered the argument taking place at her father's house about the end of the month of May be tween Hitchiner and Johnson. Mr Hitchiner said, "What did they do at Rabaul ? " but she did not remember the answer. She did not recollect any reference to the Lusitania. Mr Hitchiner said that you could not rely on what was said in the papers. Mr Johnson sald, "if your sympathies are with the Germans mine are not. " Mr Hitchiner said that his sympathies were not with  the Germans.  Cross-examined by Mr Little : She did not hear her father make any remarks.  Charles Henry Prosser, father of the two previous witnesses stated: He had known Johnson for about 10 years and Hitchiner for about six years. He remembered a discussion at his house about May or June, when an argument took place between Hitchiner and Johnson. The atrocities of the Germans were discussed and. witness said that the Germans had been taught to do what they had done.

              Witness heard Hitchiner say "What about the Rabaul case ?" and  Johnson said "Yes; they were  court-martialled and punished, but the Labor Government tried to  get them off." Witness heard the Lusitania discussed, but could not   remember the remarks. Johnson   said that " If Hitchiner was of  German sympathies he was not."' Hitchiner had seen him since, and asked him if he would go as a witness, and he said he would go if he had to, but did not want to be mixed up in it. Cross-examined by Mr Little: Witness did not say that Johnson should apologise to Hitchiner. He did not sign the petition on account of the council and Defence Department having the  matter in hand, for he considered he had no right to sign a petition to get them to devulge anything. Witness said that there were good and bad in all armies, and the Germans were taught to do what they had done by their officers. Witness had found Hitchinier a decent hard working man. He would not say that Hitchiner was a pro-German by what he had said. :::   Ernest Charles Bailey, residing at Koonwarra, stated that he was working for Mr Johnson. He remembered a patriotic meeting at Koonwarra when the giving of onions to the Belgians was discussed. Hitchiner said, the unemployed were more deserving than the Belgians. Mrs Gwyther was present, and expressed surprise at Hitchiner's remarks.   Witness knew nothing against. Mr Hitchiner. Cross-examined by Mr Little :  Witness had heard people speak against Hitchiner in reference to his remarks about the sinking of the Lusitania including E. Johnson and McIlwaine. Witness  had heard nothing against Hitchiners private character. He had heard nothing else to his detriment than what was said about him re the sinking of the Lusitania.


                  Upon opening the case for the defence, Mr. Little referred to the manner in which Prosser junior evaded questions put, and was a most unsatisfactory witness. Alfred Austin Hitchiner, contractor and farmer, upon being sworn; put in a certificate of birth of both his parents, showing his mother was born in Manchester  and his father in Stockport, and he also produced the marriage certificate of his father and  mother. He knew Mr Johnson for about seven or eight years, who was a farmer at Koonwarra. They were both connected with the debating society. They were opposed as far as politics were concerned. They were not  friends at any time. There were several people present at the ball  when onions were asked for, and several promised to give bags. Witness said he knew of several out of work in Melbourne that he could not send onions to ; he had a poor crop, Mrs Gwyther asked  him to give onions, and he mentioned the unemployed deserving them. At Beilby's residence Johnson had made remarks that witness was pro-German. He tackled Johnson about what he had said at Beilby's, but Johnson refused to say anything. Witness never had said anything to make anyone think he was pro-German. What he said at Prosser's house had been colored.

               The first argument that came up was about enlisting, and Johnson criticised the Catholics for not enlisting, and was slinging off at McIlwaine because his girl was a Catholic. Then the inquiry into Rabaul was mentioned, and Johnson said the Minister of Defence had let a man free who had been found guilty. Then the soldiers at Gallipoli were talked about, and Johnson referred to.the bayonieting of  Turks mentioned .in the papers, where it was stated they were thrown over their shoulders by the men, 'and he (Johnson) would do the same if he were there. The atrocities in Belgium were mentioned and Johnson said that he would shoot the Germans as a dog or a rabbit. Witness said, " Do you not think that the officers are to blame, and not the men; it is the way of the military. "Witness then instanced the inquiry at Rabaul, and Johnson said that the British would not be allowed to do anything wrong, and witness said it would be difficult to stop them. Johnson mentioned discipline, and witness said, "' Don't be so narrow minded.", Johnson said, "If your sympathies are with the Germans. mine are not." Witness felt hurt at the constriction put upon his remarks, and felt like throwing a cup of tea he had in his-hand over him. Mr Prosser remarked that what Alf said was right, as it was the way the Germans were led.  Witness then said that it was ignorance on the part of anyone to think he was a German sympathiser. He asked, "What about the Hindus and Cossacks, for if they got into a town they are the cruelest in the world ?" Prosser said discipline will stop them; and witness replied that it was bad enough in peace times to stop all cases of atrocities with some nations. Johnson said, "'What about the sacking of  Louvaion," and witness said,   "you cannot believe all that is in the papers" and Johnson remarked, "What about the report in the papers of the Lusitania," and added, "you must not be- lieve, then, that Germans sank that boat." Witness replied,   "You cannot blame them till you know the facts, as.they are engaged in war." Johnson was excited and insulting. Witness went to enlist and was rejected. He asked Johnson to look after a filly while he was away; which he consented to do. Witness took the mare over to Johnson's, and let her go in the paddock. He arranged with McIlwaine to look after his place while he was away at the war. When he came back from the city after being rejected his friends took the matter up. Witness always took an active part in working for patriotic funds.. When the petition was started Johnson said that he would do all he could to get the matter cleared up; but said that he did not think it worth while as the Department would not disclose the name of the person who laid the charge. Witness told Johnson that he had been accused of stopping recruiting. Johnson said that he had never written to the Department about witness. He then concluded that Johnson had nothing to do with the letter sent to the Department. After the petition had been circulated the Department wrote to witness and stated that Johnson had laid the information.

                 Young Prosser had often spoken about the matter, and said that Johnson had denied preventing enlisting by writing to the Department. Witness had acted as chairman at a patriotic meeting on the evening, of the onion incident, being elected by the meeting. Johnson made no objection. Witness had never made any statement that could be construed into sympathies for the Germans and to show his loyalty he had offered to enlist. Cross-examined by Captain Hurry : It had got on his nerves when Johnson said  that the he would pitch the Turks over his shoulder when be would not enlist to go to the war himself. It was like the talk of a schoolboy. Witness was not excited. When Johnson said that  if witness' sympathies were with the Germans, his were not, he felt like throwing a cup of tea over him, which he would have done only for being in another person's house. Witness told Prosser it was Johnson's ignorance making out that his sympathies were with the Germans. The statements made about him by the witnesseses at the present inquiiry were incorrect. Johnson took an impossible view of his argument about the sacking of Louvain and the Lusitania incident. Witness denied that he said that the Germans were not to blame in sacking Louvain or that the British would do the  same. When he was thrown out from enlisting he thought out the whole thing. He could not imagine why he was rejected, and could not see that it was anything else than what was uttered at  Prossers. His remarks had been twisted. He had known the  Prosser family five or six years, and did not know why they should say anything false; nor did he know why Johnson should say anything against him. There  was no German blood in witness; his father told him that they were British.  To Major McInerney: The conversation at Prosser's house  lasted about 1 1/2 hours. Matters of general interest were discussed. It was almost solely between him and Johnson. Witness was president of the debating society, and president of the swimming club. Some people followed witness and some followed Johnson in general matters. The discussion at Prosser's occurred a few days after the sinking of the Lusitania· It was only after enlisting that he heard of the discussion at Prosser's being used against him. Working bees were held on the reserve for the purpose of raising money for patriotic funds, and he assisted in the snagging of the river for swimming matches in aid of patriotic funds, as well as clearing away a large tree near the running track. He was a member of the patriotic committee.

               W.A. McIlwaine, contractor,  residing at Koonwarra, stated   that he had known Johnson and Hitchiner about eight years. He was present at Mr Prosser's in May or June last, and heard discussion on war matters. The first subject mentioned was Catholics. Johnson also criticized the Minister of Defence for letting a man off in connection with the Rabaul inquiry, and then the conversation turned  upon the soldiers at Gallipoli and lifting Turks over the shoulder on bayonets. Hitchiner said that it was not the rank and file who were to blame with the German army, but the military officers. When speaking about Rabaul,  Hitchener said it was not possible to stop everything that took place there, and Johnson said to Hitchiner,- "If your sympathies are with the Germans mine are not." Mr Prosser then said that there were good and bad in all nations, and Hitchiner said that the Hindus and Cossacks were cruel in past wars. The sacking of Louvain and sinking of the Lusitania were referred to, and Hitchiner 'said that until the facts were disclosed they could not believe what was in the papers.

                 Hitchiner always took an active part in all patriotic matters, and he had never said anything that could make anyone believe he was not patriotic. At a meeting John- son said that he had nothing to say against Hitchiner, and that the petition would not do any good, as the Department would not divulge the name of the person who complained about Hitchiner. Cross examined by Captain Hurry : He had been working for Hitchiner. Sometimes he would have a contract and Hitchiner would have one, and they worked together. He knew the Prossers well, and did not think they would say anything false against Hitchiner. He would not place as much reliance upon young Prosser. Witness could not see why Johnson should say anything about Hitchiner. David Wm. Coote, residing at Koonwarra, stated that he had known Johnson for about twelve years, and Hitchiner for about 8 years. When Hitchiner came back, from Melbourne after enlisting he said that he had been refused. Hitchiner and Johnson   were both workers on the patriotic committee. A man named Moss  asked that a meeting be held to clear the defendant, as it had been said that he, was of German extraction. A resolution was  moved that a petition be circulated. Johnson said he was glad it had been brought up, as he had been accused of writing to the Department, although he had had nothing to do with it, and could give it the lie direct. Johnson said he would be pleased to see the matter cleared up, as he was blamed for sending a letter down and had had nothing to do with it. Hitchiner and Johnson were present at a patriotic meeting when an acknowledgment for eggs sent to the base hospital was received. After the meeting Johnson said that that was the letter that caused Hitchiner to talk so much. At the meeting Johnson gave the conversation at Prosser's house. In reference to onions, Johnson asked for donations, and said Hitchiner had a poor crop, but would sooner give them to the poor of Melbourne than let the Belgians and Servians get the benefit of them. Witness told Johnson that he had misconstrued Hitchiner's remarks.

                  Cross - Examined by Captain Hurry: He would believe what the Prossers had said, and always looked upon Johnson as a straight man, but thought he had a set on the defendant, but did not think he would treat him unfairly. To Major Mcnerney: He had found all the parties concerned to be reliable. J. M. Molloy, Chemist, Leongatha, stated that he had known Hitchiner for a number of years; he was of good character. Witness was a member of the patriotic committee, and the defendant had done good work for the patriotic funds at Koonwarra,and was not a man who would make unpatriotic statements. He told witness that he had enlisted and had been rejected, and was in a terrible state of distress. Cross-- examined by Captain Hurry:: Witness thought the Prossers were reliable people, and did not think Johnson would say anything false about Hitchiner, The whole body at Koonwarra had done good work. Charles Inwood, farmer, residing at Koonwarra. stated that he had known Hitchiner for about six years, and had always found him- to be an upright man. Wit ness had never heard anything from hm to make him believe he was not patriotic, but what he had uttered about the war was always in favor of Australia and the British, and no German sentiments.  Cross - examined by Captain Hurry : He could say that Mr Johnson was honest and upright; also the Prosser family. 'The evidence will be placed before the military authorities in Melbourne, when a decision will be given.

                  "MILITARY INQUIRY." Great Southern Star (Leongatha, Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 17 Dec 1915: 2. Web. 28 Nov 2013 <>.

Little else is yet known, but that latter in life, he suffered from debilitating arthritis and was remembered by his grandchildren as a very fine cook. Charles Henry Prosser (Sharman) spent the final years of his life with his son and family at Krowera before dying in the Wonthaggi Hospital in 1930. At the time of his death, his son Harry was in hospital with pneumonia. Charles Henry Prosser lies buried in an unmarked grave in the Leongatha cemetery next to his wife Eliza. The Prosser family at the time was unable to find the money for burial, so hard were the times of the depression. The money was eventually donated by a Rupert Morris, a friend of the family at Koonwarra from whom Harry had rented land for onion farming and began his family life in a tent.

Current research indicates that a Sarah Prosser nee Clark, did come to Australia as the wife of John PROSSER. She was indeed married on the 16th January 1853, St Edmunds Church, Dudley, Worcester.

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