Leopold Henry (also Henry Leopold) Gielis was born about 1833, or 1834 (based on his age as given on marriage), the son of Maria Irvine De Mulinare and Francois Henri Gielis. It is not known for sure where he was born, but the last name "Gielis" seems to have its origins in Belgium.
Although not himself born in England, several of his siblings were. Nine in all, three sisters and a brother all born before the family ended up in the Liverpool area; and the other five, three more sisters and two more brothers, all born Lancashire. It was presumably from that part of England that Leopold Henry emigrated to Australia, at some stage ending up in Van Diemen's Land. (A ship has yet to be found.)
It is not known just how, or where, he met Bridget Corbett (one of several hundred young, single women brought from Ireland to bring a little more balance than had existed between males and females in Van Diemen's Land), but on the 1st February 1855, in St Joseph's, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, by the Rites and Ceremonies of the Catholic Church, they were married by Thomas Batton (or Button). They were both listed as "Free", and the marriage was by license. Leopold was married as "Henry", and his last name was rendered as "Giles".
Not long after Mary Jane was born the family moved to the mainland, to Victoria.
Very shortly after Edmond was born, the family packed up and moved all the way north to Queensland, eventually ending up in the Thornborough area inland from Cairns, after a stop or two along the way.
In 1883 Bridget died and was buried in the West End Cemetery, Townsville (son Achille is also buried there).
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