Happy Birthday Mum…

Dedicating this to my beautiful mum, Kathleen Mary (Allan) Crout, on this …  the 87th Anniversary of her birth.  Love ya mum xxx

Thankyou Dick Eastman for featuring this song your blog and Kelly Leary for telling him about it.

Finding Christiana…

Ahhh… Christiana Ogilvie. We found you!!!

It’s such a joy to find a missing relative but the feelings that wash over me when finding a little child whose memory has become faded, or maybe even lost, in the mists of time are indescribable… and so it was when John and I found his Aunt, little Christiana.

John is my second cousin and Great Nephew of my Grandmother, Marie (Ogilvie) Crout.  Like Marie, he was born in Leeds, England but he migrated here to Australia, with his wife and family, in the mid 1960’s. We have only recently “found” each other through a joint interest in, and love of, Family History and it’s great fun to share our discoveries.  In a recent email he mentioned his mum saying that his dad had a sister who died as a child then shared her birth and death registration dates from his archives.

That was it and in no time, at all, we were off and away and soon found the relevant documents to put his Christiana Ogilvie firmly in her place on our shared Family Tree.

My Grandmother, Marie Ogilvie, was born the third of seven chilldren to Emma Chadwick and James Ogilvie in 1880, Leeds, England.  She had only two brothers and my cousin John’s Grandfather, also named John, was older than Marie by just three years.  I’m thinking they must have had warm feelings for each other as Marie had the honoured position as a witness at his Wedding when he married Lucy Ann Johnson in All Souls Church, Leeds, in 1897.

Buslingthorpe St Michael, Leeds, England

Later that year Lucy gave birth to their first child, a little girl, whom they named Christiana. The family were living at 4 Wharfdale Grove, Leeds on 27 Apr 1898, and John was working as a Leather Shaver, when Christiana was Baptised in St Michael Church, Buslingthorpe, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Sadly little Christiana died in her first year of life and just a few months after being baptised. 

East Yorkshire Badge

John and Lucy went on to have another 7 children, four boys and three girls. Their fifth child, Jack, is the father of my 2nd Cousin, John, who is sharing this delightful journey of discovery with me.  John and Lucy’s last child, Doris, was just 17 months old when her father enlisted in the “6th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment“, British Army “Short Service” for the duration of WW1. 

Sadly John Ogilvie was killed in action in Flanders, France on 13 Mar 1918 and never did return to England and his family.  Lucy was both mother and father to their children continuing to live in the home they had shared at 16 Barkley Avenue, Leeds, until she passed away there on 2 Nov 1961, a much loved and honoured mother, grandmother and great grandmother. 

Christiana was named after her Great Grandmother, Christiana (MacKenzie) Ogilvie who married John Ogilvie in Elgin, Scotland.  They had four children; Alexander, James, Margaret (Maggie) and Jean.  James took on the trade of “currier”, moved to Leeds, married Emma Chadwick and named their first child, a girl, Christiana after his mother.   Their son, John, did the same.

I agree with Cousin John that the death of his Grandfather’s baby daughter is probably the reason “why the name of his grandmother never occurred again.”

Rest In Peace … little Christiana Ogilvie

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family  

Whatever happened to you Rosa? …

Oh dear, Rosa Patience Crout … where are you??? … what happened to you after marrying my Great Grandfather Henry Eden Crout???  The last record I can find of you is in the 1881 England Census.  Did you die? … Did you divorce? … Did you re-marry? …


It was 2 Jun 1869 when 20 year old Rosa Patience Crout married Henry Eden Crout in the Camberwell Christ Church, Southwark London.  The London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 Record shows Henry to be a Bachelor, Clerk and son of Henry Edward Crout, Master in the Navy.  Rosa is registered as a Spinster and her father, John Thomas Crout, deceased.  There would appear to be some confusion here, or falsehoods told, as a number of other records show Henry Eden Crout’s father to be a Wood, Coal and Timber Merchant and Rosa’s father whilst certainly deceased had, in fact, been a Master in the Navy.

Rosa and Henry’s address is given as 4 Victoria Place, Green Hundred Road, Camberwell and there are no relatives recorded as witnesses.  This is maybe not surprising as both grew up in Portsea, Hampshire. Their families were still living in Hampshire at the time of the marriage which begs the question … why did they marry so far from family and far from home?

It is unknown, at present, if and how Rosa and Henry and related but it seems most likely they are, given the repetition of the same name in both families… particularly Patience which is not only Rosa’s second name but the name of her Grandmother Patience (Thomasen) Crout.  Her cousin, daughter of Uncle Frederick Orlando Crout, is also named Patience and one of Henry’s half sisters is named Ann Patience Crout.  Rosa also had a brother named Hery Edward Crout, the same as her husband’s father, and a sister Eliza with the same name as her husband’s half sister. Furthermore, they all lived close to one another, sometimes in the same street. 

Of course, the replication of names in the two families is no proof that they’re related but is a likely indicator.  Research is continuing.

Rosa Patience Crout was born at Portsea, Hampshire the second daughter, and fourth of seven children to Sarah Elizabeth Ohlfsen and John Thomas Crout.  Henry Eden Crout was the first, and only child, of Mary and Henry Edward Crout and born at Gosport, Hampshire.  Henry’s mother died when he was about 5 years old and his father’s second wife, Jane Ellen Child, then gave birth to two daughters Ann Patience and Eliza Louisa Crout. 

After their marriage, the next documentation we have of Rosa Patience and Henry Eden Crout is 2 years later where the 1871 England Census records them living, as husband and wife, in Speen Hamland, Speen, Berkshire, England.

Ten years later there is a whole different story and we can only guess at what happened to bring about the change.  The 1881 Census shows Henry Eden Crout with the occupation of carpenter, married and living at 102 Palmerstone Road, Wimbledon, Surrey, London. However Henry’s wife, Rosa Patience Crout, is not living with him instead he has a “visitor” named Annie Moody and her 1 year old son, Henry Eden Moody.  Henry Eden Moody’s Birth Certificate shows he was born 21 Mar 1880 at Wandsworth Union Infirmary, Surrey, London to Annie Moody (domestic servant), father un-named.

So, where was Henry’s wife?  He was not recorded as a Widower so it would seem that Rosa Patience had not died.  Further research finally located Rosa Patience Crout in the 1881 Census where she is described as a Widowed Servant working as a cook for Amy S. Law and her three daughters. Mrs Laws is “living on income from land” and Rosa is working and living with Mrs Laws, her daughters and other servants at 36 Outrams Road, Croydon, Surrey, England. Rosa was 32 years old. 

It seems quite clear that Rosa and Henry’s marriage “broke down”, for whatever reason, but what did Rosa do after 1881?  All searches have been fruitless, to date, but I will never give up trying to discover the fate of my Great Grandfather’s wife.  Hopefully Rosa Patience Crout went on to live a long, happy, healthy and prosperous life.

Henry’s life, after the marriage breakup, is well recorded.  He went on to live a stable family life with Annie Moody and her son Henry Eden Moody. No divorce record, nor remarriage documents, have been located but Annie Moody’s and Henry Eden Moody’s surnames had changed to Crout by the time of the next English Census. The family had moved to Hampton Road, Willesden, London, by 1891 where Annie and Henry Crout (sen) continued trading in Coal and possibly other provisions for at least another twenty years and maybe beyond. Their grandaughter, Annie Ruby Crout, lived with them for some time.

Henry Eden Moody/Crout was their only child. He became a Clarinet Player in the 2nd Dragoon Guards, married Marie Ogilvie and they had two children together … Annie Ruby and, eleven years later, my dad Harry Scarborough Crout but that is another story, for another time.  

Whatever happened to you, Rosa Patience Crout? … I hope your life was a happy one.


SOURCES:  UK Census:1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 & 1911 Census Books
                      London,England, Marriages and Banns,1754-1921
                      England & Wales Free BMD Birth Index 1837-1915
                      Birth Certificate for Henry Eden Moody

©  Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family 


13 Mar 1912 – Controlling mixed bathing on the beach.

The beach and foreshores committee of the Glenelg Town Council reported on Tuesday evening that consideration had been given to the best manner of controlling mixed bathing on the beach.

The Town Clerk (Mr A.I. Tait) had formulated a draft set of by-laws, which were undergoing revision before being submitted to the council for adoption.

It was recommended that the beach between the baths and the jetty be set apart for mixed bathing.


SOURCE:  “The Way We Were” compiled by CHRIS BRICE, The (Adelaide) Advertiser. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au

“The Dawn”, Louisa Lawson & Australian Female Suffrage.

“There has hitherto been no trumpet through which the concentrated voices of womankind could publish their grievances and their opinions.”

… wrote Louisa (Albury) Lawson in the early days of Australia’s first feminist journal, The Dawn (1888-1905).  She was the proprietress, printer and publisher, employing exclusively women in all aspects of the business.

The Dawn gave Australian women a voice for the first time and is now freely available through the National Library of Australia’s “Trove” website, thanks to a 2011 fundraising campaign by Melbourne businesswoman, Donna Benjamin, to digitise the publication. 


Louisa (Albury) Lawson was an independent and resourceful woman who fought for women’s rights during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Australia.

Born 17 Feb 1848 on Edwin Rouse’s station, Guntawang, near Mudgee, New South Wales she was the second of twelve children of Henry Albury, station-hand, and his wife Harriet (Winn), needlewoman.  Baptised an Anglican, Louisa was educated at Mudgee National School where J.W. Allpass proposed making her a pupil-teacher.  Instead she was kept home to help care for her younger siblings, which she resented.

At eighteen, 7 Jul 1866, at the Wesleyan parsonage, Mudgee, Louisa married Norwegian-born sailor Niels Hertzberg Larsen who called himself

Weddin Mountain, New South Wales.

Peter.  A handyman and gold digger, he was fluent in several European languages and teetotal.  They joined the Weddin Mountain gold rush and later selected forty acres (16ha) at Eurunderee.  By the time of the birth of her first child, Henry, they had anglicised the spelling to Larsen

Peter was often away gold mining or working with his father-in-law, leaving Louisa on her own to care for the property and raise four children – Henry 1867, Charles 1869, Peter 1873 and Gertrude 1877, the twin of Tegan who died at eight months.  Louisa grieved over the loss of Tegan for many years and left the care of her other children to the oldest child, Henry.  This led to ill feelings, on Henry’s part towards his mother, and the two often fought.  Henry became one of Australia’s most famous writers.

After her marriage ended, Louisa kept up the pretence of being separated from her husband, by misfortune.  Peter sent money irregularly to help support the children and she considered taking legal action.  Instead, in 1883, Louisa moved to Sydney and supported her family by doing washing, sewing and taking in boarders. 

In 1887, using the money she’d saved, Louisa purchased shares in the radical pro-federation newspaper, The Republican, which she and Henry edited and printed on an old press in her cottage.  The Republican called for an Australian republic uniting under “the flag of a Federated Australia, the Great Republic of the Southern Seas”.  The Republican was replaced by the Nationalist, but it lasted two issues.

The Dawn - 1st Edition

With her earnings, and experience working on The Republican, Louisa was able to edit and publish The Dawn the following year. With a strong feminist perspective, it fequently addressed issues such as women’s right to vote and assume public office, women’s education, women’s economic and legal rights domestic violence and temperance.  It was published monthly for 17 years and, at its height, employed 10 female staff.  Louisa’s son, Henry Lawson, also contributed poems and stories and, in 1894, The Dawn press printed Henry’s first book, Short Stories in Prose and Verse.

Louisa (Albury) Lawson launched the campaign for female suffrage in 1889 when announcing the formation of the Dawn Club where women met to discuss “every question of life, work and reform” and to gain experience in public speaking.  Louisa Lawson could claim success when, in 1902, women in New South Wales gained the suffrage. She was  described as “the Mother of New South Wales Suffrage”.

Retiring in 1905, but continuing to write for Sydney magazines, Louisa (Albury) Lawson died in Gladesville Mental Hospital on Thursday, 12 Aug 1920 aged 72, after a long and painful illness. On Saturday 14 Aug 1920 she was buried with her parents in the Church of England section of Rookwood Cemetery.

The small obituary in The Bulletin gave as much space to the fact that she was Henry Lawson’s mother as it did to her role in the achievement of votes for women.

Louisa (Albury) Lawson wrote:

“I have always loved my countrywomen, always admired them, and believed in them, and believed them to be the most patient, long suffering, generous and capable Women in the whole World.  I still think so.  It does not seem so odd now as it did years ago, when Australians male and female were not considered as they are now.  I had in my mind’s eye a big capable, strong, virtuous Woman as a Representative of Australia.  I saw her in my dreams when a little child, and when I grew up I wanted to fight every obstacle out of her way, and I fought, God knows I did with a persistence almost amounting to mania as long as health and means lasted.” 

Thanks to Donna Benjamin, and her supporters, we can now read the words of Louisa (Albury) Lawson, and others, thereby gaining a better understanding of the conditions of women’s lives at that time, their discontents and aspirations and the influences on the lives of our own Ancestors.  Just log onto:  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-title252  


SOURCES:  Australian Dictionary of Biography:

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family  

How were they cared for in the fledgling colony? …

Wondering how the health needs, particularly of women and children, were catered for in the fledgling Colony of South Australia, I did a spot of researching.


On a hot summers day, 28 Dec 1836, Captain John Hindmarsh, RN, the Governor, and the official party arrived at Holdfast Bay in Gulf St Vincent, in the old naval transport HMS Buffalo, to proclaim the Province of South Australia. The Emigration Agent was responsible for migrants’ welfare including providing rations and shelter if they were destitute or sick. As more and more began arriving who were elderly, poor or chronically ill it became a problem, as there was no infrastructure to support them.

The Colonial Surgeon, Dr Thomas Young Cotter, arrived on 12 Jan 1837. His appointment was the only evidence of any planning for medical services in the colony. His task was huge and it was only through his efforts that the Colonial Infirmary was established.  In approaching the authorities, Dr Cotter described how three of his newly acquired patients were camped under an old sail, with no protection from the weather and no food or attention.  Their surroundings were filthy and they depended on the charity of passers-by.  Whilst the authorities were not unsympathetic their resources, both physical and financial, were limited and all they could provide was a rented hut on, or adjacent, to North Terrace, close to where Holy Trinity Church now stands.

This interim arrangment ended 4 months later with the purchase of a  “small thatched cottage” which was also on North Terrace, towards its Western End.  Not only was this modest expenditure criticised as extravagant, but Dr Cotter complained it was also uninhablitable.  Public criticism, in The Register newspaper, led to the appointment of a Board of Management and the old Infirmary hut was abandoned.  In Dec 1839 it was moved to a building in Immigration Square, in the West Parklands close to where Adelaide High School now stands, and remained there until 1841 when the first Adelaide Hospital was ready for occupation.

The site chose for the hospital was in the parklands to the north of Botanic Road, near Hackney Road. On 15 July 1840 Lieuteant-Colonel George Gawler, Governor of South Australia, laid the foundation-stone of the first building to be called the Adelaide Hospital.  The stone bears the date, 10 July 1840, as the Governor changed the day at the last moment. 15 July 1840 has been regarded as the hospital’s Foundation Day, although the first patients were not admitted until Jan, or possibly Feb 1841. 

The motto on the Coat of Arms bears the words “Servire ac Docere” which describes succinctly the main functions of the institution; to succor the sick and to act as a place of instruction for nurses, medical students and others.

When completed the building provided accommodation for thirty patients in three wards, two rooms for staff and a central room which served as resquired; as front hall, dining room, boardroom and operating theatre. When this first Adelaide Hospital was opened, the authorities hoped that it would meet the needs of the community for many years, but by 1850 the growing population was already making it inadequate and so a site was chosen for a new hospital, at the front end of the extensive area which the Royal Adelaide Hospital occupies today.

The Victorian Gold rush of 1851, along with the huge exodus of males seeking their fortune, seriously affected the South Australian economy and the building of a second hospital delayed. Finally the central block and the west wing were completed in Sep 1856.  The west wing contained eight wards, four on each floor, and the central block, a surgery, a dispensary and quarters for the house surgeon.  The east wing was built in 1866-67 and provided for extra wards, two on each floor, some bedrooms, some padded rooms, and a nurses dining room, which also did duty as a chapel.  Addition continued over the years to cater for the needs of the growing Colony as well as advances in medicine, such as anaesthesia, discovery of X-rays etc.

Despite these improved facilities, there were still sectors facing serious health problems. Ten years later, in 1876, the newly formed Health Board investigated the horrendously poor quality of life and premature death of the destitute and poor children of South Australia.  Their findings led to the establishment of the Adelaide Children’s Hospital.  The board determined that a hospital for children was desperately needed, land was secured in North Adelaide (the current site of the WCH) and the foundation stone was laid on 20 June 1878.

The day the Hospital was declared open by Lady Jervois, wife of the Governor of SA and hospital patroness, the first in-patient was admitted and in less than two months 36 patients had been admitted.  By the end of the first year, the “little charity hospital for the poor” had five nurses and 168 admissions, which did not include children under the age of two as, at this stage, they were not accepted for admission.

By 1893 the hospital had appointed South Australia’s first female medical school graduate, Dr Laara Fowler, and four years later the first laboratory was built heralding in the beginnings of the hospital’s strong participation into paediatric research and development.  Research began in earnest in 1964 with one floor of the Rieger Building being occupied by the University of Adelaide Department of Paediatrics. 

The atmosphere of the hospital changed enormously during the second half of the century as parents were permitted to become more closely involved with the care, and comfort, of their hospitalised children.

In Nov 1900 Lady Tennyson, wife of the Governor, decided there was a need for a Lying-in Hospital for respectable women.  She organised a committee, which met in Government House on 6 December, to consider founding a maternity hospital for married women of the poorer class providing they were “worthy”.

Dr Allan Campbell, of the Children’s Hospital, had wished for a maternity home to be established and, after his death in 1898, two of his colleagues, Chief Justice Sir Samuel Way and the Hon. J.H. Gordon, believed that the proposed hospital should be built as a wing of the Children’s.  Lady Tennyson was strongly opposed to this idea and, in the end her wishes prevailed.  The Queen’s Home was constructed on a site at Rose Park, opposite the Victoria Park Racecourse.

The South Australian Company donated land in Rose Park and grants of £2550 were made to enable the building of the private maternity hospital. Intitially known as The Queen’s Home the hospital was officially opened on Queen Victoria’s 83rd birthday, the 24 May 1902, before 500 invited guests and another 1000 people who paid sixpence each for admission. 

The foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Cornwall (later King George V) on 13 July 1901 in almost perfect weather.

The four wards, which could each hold four beds, were named Victoria, Lady Tennyson, Princess May and Alexandra.  The southern wing was added in 1927.  Unmarried women were first admitted in 1917 in separate cottage but by 1918 were beubg cared for in the main building.  Three years later antenatal clinics began in the Queen’s Home.  The first medical registrar and resident medical officer were appointed in 1923.

The Queen’s Hospital was renamed the Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital in 1939 and was declared a public hospital seven years later under the provisions of the Hospital Benefits Act (1946).  The name was change again, in May 1966, to the Queen Victoria Hospital.

Other milestons include the installation of the first humidcribs in South Australia in 1952, the extension of services to include gynaecology in 1970 and the establishment of the State’s first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 1975.

Almost a quarter of a million South Australian began life at this hospital.  On 15 March 1989, the Queen Victoria Hospital amalgamated with the Adelaide Children’s Hospital to become the Adelaide Medical Centre of Women and Children. The hospital at Rose Park closed in 1995.

Initially known as the Adelaide Medical Centre for Women & Children, the hospital was formed through the amalgamation of the Queen Victoria Hospital and the Adelaide Children’s Hospital in March 1989. The new (in name) hospital occupies the site of the former Children’s Hospital on King William Road, North Adelaide, South Australia.

In practical terms the rebirth of the two hospitals was completed 8 May 1995 when the Women’s & Babies Division, housed in the new Queen Victoria Building at the North Adelaide site opened for business.  Over 150 patients, including very premature bbis, were carefully transported by ambulance and taxi to the new facility.  About 9.50am the same day little Ashlee Cossens made history becoming the first baby born in the new facility. Ashlee’s birth was all the more significant because heart problems were detected and she required surgery – carried out without the need for transport to another facility. 

The WCH was the first Australian hospital specialising in health services for women, children and young people.  The location of services in one complex enables continuity of care for babis and young children from conception to late adolescence.  The Hospital also provides extended women’s health care services.

It is one of the major hospitals in Adelaide and is a teaching hospital of the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University.  Currently some 19,000 children are admited to the Women & Children’s Hospital annually, not counting the 5000 children also born there each year.

South Australia was off to a shaky start in providing health care with the only resource  at the commencement of settlement being a Doctor. Thanks to the dedication of many gradually things improved.  In the early days other institutions were also created, such as the Destitute Asylum, the Lunatic Asylum, the German Hospital etc.  My intention is to investigate, some time in the not too distant future, how these institutions contributed to the health care of our courageous early pioneers and settlers.  


SOURCES:  http://www.sahistorians.org.au
                     Ian Forbes, The Queen Victoria Hospital Rose Park 1901-1986, Lutheran Press, 1988

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family


The Singer …

It was the late 1950’s and many thought mum (Kathleen Mary Allan Crout) rather odd. Why was Kathleen selling her sparkling “new fangled” electric sewing machine and replacing it with an old “treadlie”? …

“A method in her madness”, as they say.  Kathleen’s four children were growing and determined that they all learn to sew (including the three boys) a treadle machine was a necessity.  More manageable and far less dangerous, with the possibility of little fingers being pierced by sharp needles greatly reduced. 

Our sewing lessons began with an unthreaded machine and lined writing paper. Steadily following the lines, a smooth continuous movement, starting, stopping, lifting “the foot”, turning and repeating were the skills to be perfected … without drawing blood.

Next step:  filling the bobbin, inserting the spool, threading the machine, threading the needle, slowly lowering the needle and pulling the bottom thread up through the feeding hole, then triumpantly sliding the bottom plate shut … ahhh… such an achievement, such a delight!

The actual sewing almost paled into insignificance compared with the joy of mastering the required skills.

During our teenage years “stovepipe” jeans became the trend and two of my brothers became adept at “pegging” jeans… i.e. running another seam up the inside leg so they wrapped snugly around growing legs. “The boys” soon became famous for their “pegging skills” and it was not surprising, when wandering out through the lobby to the toilet, to come across one, or two, unknown hairy legged youths hanging around the sewing machine whilst one of my “bros” treadled busily away. A sight etched in my memory forever, probably only surpassed by that of my youngest brother lying in the bath, clad in his jeans to shrink them to the required degree of snugness, and dad nearly having an attack of apoplexy.

How I loved that sewing machine with it’s wrought iron treadle, oak cabinet, carving on the six drawers and a central drawer that tipped forward… along with precious memories.

When mum and dad sold the family home, and began getting rid of many of their belongings, I was living interstate and unable to lay claim to that beautiful machine.  My sister in law became the beneficiary and I’ve always had to avert my eyes when visiting.

Fossicking through “bits and bobs” last night I laughed out loud.  Missed out on the Singer, but have the “Instruction Book”.  Story of my life, it would seem … but laughing still, ‘cos just holding that little book in my hand brings all those childhood memories flooding back … far more precious than all the “Singers” in the world.

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel.  Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Familly

Oceana …

What’s in a name? … Such a beautiful name and so unusual … intrigued, I pursue the story of Oceana Charlotte Willshire.

It was 24 Oct 1857 and George and Jane (Morrant) Willshire, with George’s brother James and his wife Ann (Richards), stood on the Southampton dock amongst 215 Irish and 120 English “assisted migrants” all saying their final farewells and readying themselves to board the “SS Stamboul” for the long trip to South Australia.

Emigrants never knew how long the voyage would take.  It could be three months of enjoyment but more often it was a nightmare.  Only the wealthy could afford cabins, most travelled in steerage accommodation, between the upper deck and the cargo hold.  Shipowners had found emigrants a new source of profit and had built a flimsy, temporary floor beneath the main deck and on top of the cargo hold. The loss of life on these journeys was appalling particularly among the women and children.  At times the casualty rate was as high as ten per cent.

However, the 800 ton “SS Stamboul” captained by I.A. Smith was said to be lofty, well lit and ventilated.  It was well adapted for emigrants.  The provisions were good and abundant and the passengers expressed themselves satisfied for the way in which they had been treated.  Mr Henry Richards, the Surgeon-superintendent, appeared to have performed his duties efficiently, however, there were eleven deaths on this ship. This was more than three percent of the number embarked and a ratio of mortality far higher than the average.  Why this high loss of life? 

The Surgeon-superintendent’s journal shows that, just before entering the northern tropics, the weather was very wet and stormy producing inflammatoray colds, and the sudden transition to tropical heat produced low fever and diahorrhoea. There was much sickness throughout the ship. 

Often the steerage accommodation was so far down in the hold that water would seep up through the planking.  Ventilation and light were poor and came only from the hatches when they were open, however, during a storm access to the main deck was impossible as the hatches were battened down tightly. 

A storm could last from a few days up to a week, or longer, the hatches remained closed and the passengers kept below deck.  Furthermore, light could not be used durings storms because of the danger of fires.  The Surgeon-superintendent of the “SS Stamboul” complained that the fire-engine onboard  was useless, “breaking like a glass” after the first or second trial, so increasing the risks from fire aboard ship.

It would have been, in conditions just like this that Jane Willshire went into labour and, on 11 Dec 1857, George and Jane Wilshire’s first little babe was “born at sea off the coast of Brazil.”  They named her Oceana Charlotte Willshire – Charlotte being the name of her two Grandmothers.

Mary McMahon gave birth to her little boy five days earlier, on 6 December, aboard ship.  Nineteen days after Oceana’s birth, on 30 Dec 1857, a little girl was born to Thomasina Moynes.  Sadly her little boy John died, aged 3, the following month, on the 29 Jan 1857, just three days before making landfall.  The cause of John’s death was given as “marasmus”, a form of malnution in young children, often occurring after weaning, and largely due to infections and diahorrhea.  It is still a common cause of infant death in developing countries.

The “SS Stamboul” left Southampton, England on 24 Oct 1857 arriving at Port Adelaide on the 1st day of February 1858 with 336 immigrants for the 21 year old Colony of South Australia. Eleven people died and three new little souls were born at sea. So many brave and courageous people took great risks and faced incredible dangers leaving their family, friends and homeland to create a new and better life on the other side of the world.

Oceana Charlotte Willshire arrived in Australia, amongst the first group of assisted migrants to South Australia for 1858, wrapped in her mother’s arms … forever to be know as the little girl “born at sea off the coast of Brazil”.

As a child, Oceana lived with her parents and nine siblings around the Clare/Riverton area.  She married twice, gave birth to eight children (7 survived) and moved to Coal Creek in the Gippsland, Victoria where her husband, George Osborne, worked as a Coal Miner.  Oceana died at Millicent, South Australia at the age of 84, 28 Sep 1942, amidst a large extended family.  She is buried in the Millicent Cemetery.

Fascinated by her beautiful name, little did I know that the babe, who was “born at sea off the coast of Brazil” and named Oceana Charlotte Willshire, is the grand aunt of the wife of my grand uncle, Victor Alic Murray – Jessie McIntyre.

Discovering my relationship to Oceana through her sister Henrietta Willshire, who married William John Lester, was a huge surprise.  They had nine children and seven survived childhood.  William John Lester’s parents immigrated” aboard the “SS British Trident”  two years before the Willshires arrived on the “SS Stamboul” and he, like his wife, was the first generation of Australians in the family.


The Ships List:  http://www.theshipslist.com
Flinders  Ranges Research:  http://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au
South Australian Government Gazette, 13 May 1858
South East Family History Group:  http://www.sefhg.org

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family 

Introducing Decimal Currency

Was it really 46 years ago that Australia introduced Decimal Currency? … Yep, it was.  It was 14 Feb 1966 and I was 20 years old.

Remembering all the hooo haaa” that went on with the changeover, I thought it’d be fun to show the PR vid that played on our TV screens, seemingly endlessly. 

Enjoy 🙂 … but don’t laugh too loudly.  It might scare the chickens.

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

“Chrissie Pud” …

Every year mum would make the Christmas Pudding. All four of us would have a stir, make a wish, chuck in the coins and lick the bowl. Come Christmas Day we’d stuff ourselves full to get more “dosh”, then line the coins up for mum to count.  They’d be exchanged for “clean” money and the “Christmas Coins” would soak in a bowl ready for next year.

That came to an end and the fun went out of it when, on 14 Feb 1966, Australia changed to Decimal Currency.  No longer able to use the coins and finding the replacement charms not charming, at all, we began to lose interest in the rituals of the “Chrissie Pud”.

Yesterday, to my delight, I came across mum’s stash of the Christmas Pudding threepenny pieces.  They were disguised in an old Redheads Matchstick Box upon which mum had written “Thumb Tacks“.  Mmmm … did it once contain “Thumb Tacks” or was it my lovely mum’s way of keeping little children’s fingers at bay? …

Then the memories began to flow:
–  Grandpa’s pronunciation of “thruppence” …
–  The year mum made the “pud” in a cloth, instead of the basin, and “the boys” (my brothers) teasing her about it getting fly blown …
–  The year Grandpa must have swallowed his coins because mum and I put heaps in his serve …
–  My brother’s ideas for recovering Grandpa’s coins …
–  Mum actually starting to wonder if the “pud” might get flyblown hanging there in the lobby …

Some of our “Chrissie” threepenny pieces

Happy times… Happy memories… all conjured up by the sight of that old battered box, labelled “Thumb Tacks”.


(c) Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family