Ralph Chelmsford Davis 

Ralph is the eldest son of Charlie and Mabel.

Ralph married Dulcie Draper.  They had two sons and two daughters whose stories are below.


These pictures are of Ralph, his wife Dulcie and their children, grandchildren etc.


Around 1975, the Anglican newspaper ‘Church Scene’ that I was associated with, moved offices to the then Park Lake Building in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda (#171 Fitzroy St if mymemory is correct).

My father, Ralph Davis, had just moved his own office from the Mayne Nickless place to the nearby corner of Fitzroy St and Barkly St (at St Kilda Junction).

He toddled down the few blocks to see where we were, reacting when he saw it: ‘I’ve been here before!’.

He said that JB Davis (our g-grandfather) had contracted to rent the premises – then an apartment – for the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne in the later 1930s.

When ‘Church Scene’ held it, it still had the remnants of a kitchen and bathroom, but was by then subdivided as an office: we weren’t the first (or last) to rent it for a few years.

The building is long gone now, the whole area re-developed.


Gerald married Margaret Long.  They had a son and daughter.  


Gerald's eldest is Sarah.  She married Colin Gent and had a son and daughter.

Elizabeth (Libby)

Stories about Ralph

Libby and Russell Conway (Libby is Charlie's granddaughter, via Ralph) have written some stories; most are based on Ralph's own writings, recollections and photos.  Click here to read them.

Bombs away

There was a bomb shelter in the middle of the backyard at Charlie and Mabel's house at 13 Linacre Road, Hampton.  Let me know if anyone can recall it. 

Ralph's name and career

Libby's dad, Ralph had a second name, Chelmsford, taken from the (then) Governor-General of Australia. 

Ralph studied accounting at Hemmingway and Robertson and joined his father at Mayne Nickless, becoming Managing-Director and then, in later years, Chairman.


Sheila spotted this photo in the local Brighton newspaper about 1989 with the caption “Russell Conway’s “Freddie Freeloader” leads the bunch to the mark” and cut it out and sent it to us. That’s Libby on the foredeck (7 on the sail) early in her racing career, taking down the spinnaker pole.


Pictures of Libby.

Priscilla (Scilla)

Priscilla has sent some wonderful photos and comments about the time they spent in the UK, particularly when the Conways and Ralph and Dulcie visited.  Click here to open.

There is also a wonderful photo and commentary about the Churchwoods.  The Churchwood, Ralph Davis and Sheila Waddell families all lived in Wolseley Grove, Brighton.

BELOW:  Note how 'Scilla is always smiling. 

  • In Ballarat, circa 1985
  • On becoming engaged to Tony 
  • On the bonnet with Libby, Bruce and Ruth
  • Ralph, Libby, Gerald, Rob, Priscilla and Dulcie
  • Bruce, Jenny, Libby, Ruth, Suzanne and Scilla
  • REAR: Rob, Jen, Tony Cathie, Jen, Libby, Russ FRONT: Mary Jo, Margie, 2017


1. Waiting for our fathers to come to Flinders during the summer holidays

There would be a bunch of us from some or all of the 4 families staying at Flinders in the summer holidays and our fathers would come from the city in the late evening.

We would sit on the top of the veranda rail of the old house, swinging our legs and wait for them to arrive. When we could see a car coming in to Flinders we would all call out “Here he comes!” and then as the car passed the end of Barker Street call out, “False alarm!”

BELOW: This is a photo I took of the old house in 2018 with a rebuilt veranda.

2. “You are only to use this to buy bread”

Our Grandmother, Mabel, lived with us in an upstairs room in our house at 30 Grange Road during the 1960s.

I was about 15 years and had started a coin collection.

One day “Gram” came to me and said to me that she would give me a gold sovereign on the condition that “You are only to use this to buy bread”.

BELOW: The sovereigns

3. William Ricketts

In the 1950s our grandfather, Charles, got to know William Ricketts.

William Ricketts was a rather eccentric sculptor who lived with his mother in the Dandenongs. His property is still there as the “William Ricketts Sanctuary”. It is now owned and managed by the Government of Victoria in some way.

William Ricketts was interested in living with Aboriginal people in Central Australia. He let this be known to Charles, so Charles loaned him a retired Mayne Nickless truck in 1954 (I think).

Some years later, after Charles had died and when the truck had not been returned (and was probably forgotten), my father and mother (Ralph and Dulcie) were driving to Adelaide when they passed an old truck that my father recognised as “one of ours”.

When my father returned to the York Street depot after the Adelaide trip, the old truck was there in excellent condition.

William Ricketts left two of his sculptures with the returned truck.

BELOW: William Ricketts' sculptures.

BELOW: Quote from William Ricketts' biography 

BELOW: Nothing like a good game of 'Saddle Me Nag'.  For details, see Libby's document


Dulcie Davis' father, DJ Draper, was an active member of Were Street church and a mentor for Ralph.  

Contribution from Jen Schroder (nee Waddell)

"I loved Auntie Dulce, we became quite close after her healing from depression.  She  had such a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit, she loved to share about it.

I loved talking with her about the Holy Spirit and how He was touching people all over the earth  at that time."