Changes afoot…

Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer (Photo credit: janten)

Well, here I am with a new computer, “Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9” and am trying out “Windows Live Writer”, as an alternative way of writing and publishing my blog.

I wonder how it will go?


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel

Take me or leave me…

David Grayson describes beautifully the realisation that freed me, some 40 years ago, from all those doubts, insecurities and worries of childhood. The time when my motto became… “To Thine Own Self be True” which I had engraved on a bracelet. For many years this bracelet never came off my wrist and helped with the remembering, and gave courage, to always be myself and to love the person that I am.    


The sense of wishing to be known only for what one really is is like putting on and old, easy, comfortable garment. You are no longer afraid of anybody or anything. You say to yourself, ‘Here I am — just so ugly, dull, poor, beautiful, rich, interesting, amusing, ridiculous — take me or leave me.’ And how absolutely beautiful it is to be doing only what lies within your own capabilities and is part of your own nature. It is like a great burden rolled off a man’s back when he comes to want to appear nothing that he is not, to take out of his life only what is truly his own.

 David Grayson, journalist and author. (1870-1946) 


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.

Father Christmas Has Come to Town!!!

Source: The Advertiser, 18 Nov 1938, page 1.

The jolly fat man with the white whiskers, and dressed in red, arrived in Adelaide, South Australia today, much to the delight of young and old. This is the 80th year that “Johnnie’s Pageant” has wound it’s way around 3.35kms of Adelaide city streets with clowns, jugglers, dancing girls, brass band, highland pipes a myriad of “floats”, and so much more, with the joyful task of escorting Father Christmas to “The Magic Cave”. There he will remain, until the night before Christmas, and meet with the children of Adelaide for them to whisper their requests into his ear.

For 80years now the children of Adelaide have been enthralled and delighted by the vision of one man, Edward Hayward, who was the owner/  Chairman of the Board of the John Martin’s Department store. With the effects of the Great Depression biting hard, and people’s spirits so low, Edward Hayward convinced the Board to stage a Christmas Pageant to cheer up the people of Adelaide. For some 30 years Father Christmas had set up residence in the “Magic Cave”, inside John Martin’s Department Store, so the Christmas Pageant was established as an extension of this.

My mum, Kathleen Mary (Allan) Crout grew up as “a child of the depression” and was 11years old when, on 18 Nov 1933, John Martin’s held the first Christmas Pageant. As a child, I re-member mum telling me that it seemed like magic and what she most wanted to do was to ride “Nipper”, the Chestnut Rocking Horse, which is still the dream of many a young girl.

After a lifetime of deprivation, and still many years of hardship to endure, my mum’s little girl’s heart was filled with happiness. The dream kept her going, enlivened her spirit and she never forgot the kindness of Edward Hayward, later to become Sir Edward Hayward.  

NIPPER – Source: Sampaguita Quilts

As for me, horses terrified me and what I most wanted was to have a ride on “Nellie” the mechanical elephant 🙂 … To watch a wonderful video of the story of Nellie, who kept breaking down and was finally “put out to pasture”, but then revived and re-invigourated, just click HERE.

Clown at the 2008, Adelaide Christmas Pageant

Clown at the 2008, Adelaide Christmas Pageant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although the John Martin’s Department Stores closed down in 1998 the tradition carries on and is now organised by South Australian Credit Unions. For more information on this, just click HERE.

Swagman float at the Adelaide Christmas Pageant.

Swagman float at the Adelaide Christmas Pageant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Adelaide Christmas Pageant always begins with the beautiful “greys” of the South Australian Mounted Police.  

South Australian Mounted Police head the Pageant. Source: The Herald Sun

… and always ends with the person the children most want to see… FATHER CHRISTMAS!!!

Father Christmas arrives, 2012. Source: Sunday Mail via Adelaide Now.

May Christmas 2012 be a time of much joy and happiness for all.


Historical photos from the South Australian State Library:

Gallery of Pageant photos:

Gallery of 2012 Pageant photos:

Photo of Nipper:

1938 Advertiser Advertisement:


Copyright © 2012. Catherine A. Crout-Habel

Zz is for – Zippidy Doo Dah…

Well, here we are at the end of the Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” Challenge and I made it! Many thanks to those who’ve read my posts and wrote encouraging words to help keep my “nose to the grind-stone” and “shoulder to the wheel.” A most un-comfortable position indeed. 🙂

Congrats to those who took up the challenge and have made it all the way through, from A to Z.  For those who can see the end in sight… know that I’m right there with you and cheering you on.

If you’ve had to pause, or stop, because personal circumstances have changed, and made it impossible to continue, I send lots of positive/ healing energy your way. Hopefully you may be able to pick up the challenge later when matters improve.

Last, but by no means least, thanks heaps to you Alona for setting up this Challenge, for commenting on everyone’s posts and also finding time in your busy life to write your own most interesting posts.

In closing, all I can think about right now is a favourite childhood song of mine which I hope you enjoy too. It’s title is:


Yy is for – Yesterdays in Windhill, Yorkshire.

He died 5 years ago, in his 95th year, but my dad’s words, “I’m BRITISH and proud of it!”, still ring in my ears. In this post to Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet” Challenge I’ll share just a snippet of his story and dedicate this post to my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout (1912-2007) and his beloved “mam” Marie (Ogilvie) Crout (1880-1931).

Harry Scarborough Crout aged 29years. (c) C.Crout-Habel

Those who are not family members might also like to join me, and mine, in this remembering of my dad’s “Yesterdays in Windhill, Yorkshire”.


First matter I want to address is why would my dad be so vehemently proclaiming such pride in his heritage? … Easy answer to that is that, after being lured to Australia, as a 16 year old lad in 1928 …  a “Dreadnought Boy”, he was constantly battling the put-down names of cocky little pommie bastard” etc. Just click here to read about his experiences as part of the “Dreadnought Scheme.”

My memory is that dad started loudly proclaiming, “I’m BRITISH and proud of it!” when we, his Ozzie children, picked up the derogatory terminology… i.e.  “pommie” to describe someone born in England.  It was then that dad began to slowly give us his side of the story and, over time, I’ve researched and come to truly appreciate this wonderfully unique part of my Heritage which I’m now passing on to my children/ grand-children and all of dad’s descendants via this blog.

My dad, Harry Scarborough Crout, was indeed  a “Yorkshire lad” , born in Leeds on 4 Mar 1912 to Marie (Ogilvie) Crout and Henry Eden Crout (Jun). You can read about this HERE.  His mum, Marie, was a “Yorkshire lass” who was born to another “Yorkshire lass” Emma Chadwick (1854-1919) whose parents were also Yorkshire born.

Dreadnought Boys arriving in Sydney on the “SS Ballarat” – 1928

Dad came to Australia as a 16 year old and never intended to stay. His intention was to make lots of money to take back home to his beloved “mam”. He steamed into Sydney Harbour, Australia, with other “Dreadnought Boys” aboard the “Ballarat” on 13 Jun 1928 just as the inconic Sydney Harbour Bridge was in it’s final stages of completion and, unfortunately, the Great Depression was starting to take it’s toll.

Nab Wood Cemetery, Shipley, Yorkshire, England

Australia was not the Utopia dad had imagined and his beloved “mam” died in the North Brierley Workhouse and buried in a Pauper’s Grave in Nab Wood Cemetery, just 3 years after dad left his homeland. He was just 19 years old, adrift in a foreign land and orphaned. Well, I’ve since learnt that his dad was still living but that’s another story for another time.

So, that’s the background and now moving onto Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England. 🙂


As I wrote in ABOUT, on this blog … as dad’s health & senses were declining he became more and more agitated that no-one in the family had been able to find his childhood home. On my return to Ireland, in 1995, I just HAD to take the trip across the Irish Sea to check out this matter, in Yorkshire, which was causing dad such anguish.

“Shipley” can be seen just above “Bradford” on this West Yorkshire County map from Wikipedia.

A ferry trip from Dublin, Ireland to Holyhead, Wales. A  bus trip across England to Leeds and the train to Shipley, soon had me close to dad’s childhood home However it soon  began to seem like a HUGE “wild goose chase” and still remember how much my hips began to ache as the “backpack” was weighing me down … then almost like magic the most amazing of people came to my aid.

Map showing 42 Mossman Street, Windhill before the re-development of the 1960’s.

The young woman in the B&B said how her Aunt knew all about Mossman Street. I was sent to the Library and given maps to show how the re-development had removed the street of dad’s childhood home. It now became clear why nobody had been able to find 42 Mossman Street (off Crag Road) Windhill, Yorkshire, England.

Crag Road Methodist Church, Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England

Crag Road Methodist Church

This same map also shows the location of dad’s school, Crag Road Primary School, as well as the Methodist Church where he attended Sunday School and the empty field he used as a short cut.

Dad’s Sunday School teacher, Miss Murgatroyd, continued writing to him until way into the early 1960’s.

Windhill Community Centre

I visited the “Windhill Community Centre”… met with some people from the  “Memories Group” and was told that one of their friends remembered my dad who had gone to Australia, but it didn’t end there.  On my return home, I began receiving letters full of information from other members of the “Memories Group” which is how I located my Grand -mother’s burial spot.  

As a child dad loved books, reading and writing, and was proud of winning an essay competition at school.  He spoke often about his weekly visit to the library, down the hill, and his battle up Crag Road laden with books.

Carnegie Library – 1900 (

I would to laugh when he’d speak about how on very windy days he’d get blown over. Well, I never knew what a long contuinuous haul it was up that Crag Road until trekking it myself. What a delight it was to turn right off Briggate and almost in front of me was the Carnegie Library, with Carr Lane forking off to the left and Crag Road to the right, just as dad had described it. 

I saw the remaining “back to backs”,  like dad’s home in Mossman Street, and remembered his stories about the washing stretched across the road, on washing day. The walled middens at the front, which were emptied weekly and his frustration that “mam” would not allow him to wear “hob nailed boots”, like those of “the Mill children.” How he envied them making sparks as they scraped their boots across the street which I seem to remember dad described as “cobbled.”  He also laughed when talking about how his Auntie would often say … “You could eat your dinner  off Marie’s doorstep!” It seems my Grandmother was seen to be extremely house proud.

Well, I came home with a pile of photographs and maps to share with dad. I’ll never forget the look of wonder on his aged faced as he smiled, pointed at the photos and shared so many memories that came flooding back along with those pictures of his childhood. e.g he actually remembered his mother’s number which she used at the Co-op on Briggate.

As I’ve already written,  I am sure it was the spirit of dad’s beloved “mam” which kept me going as I struggled up that seemingly endless hill. Maybe she knew that it was only a short time before the dementia would over take her little boy and his memories would be lost forever? 

Dad aged 17, riding pillion, with Sammy on their first Australian adventure – NSW 1929 (C)2012.C.A.Crout-Habel

Dad was delighted with the booklet I made for him with the photos, and his words, which not only brought many of his memories back but helped keep them alive. Eventually, Mum advised that it was probably time for me to take the book back as dad had lost interest and other family had their eyes on it. Well, I didn’t because I figured that maybe he still needed it and it did disappear, which is pretty sad, however no-one can take away the joyous rememberings of that special time with my dad. 

I can still hear his proud, young, strong voice loudly declaring,
“I’m BRITISH and proud of it!!!”
May you always RIP, Harry Scarborough Crout
© 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel