TROVE TUESDAY: On the day of my Nana’s birth…

Elizabeth Mary Allan (nee Murray)My Nana, Elizabeth Mary (Murray/ Evans) Allan was born in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, on 19 Sep 1892.  Nana was the third child of Eliza Jane Rowen, and Peter Murray, and the first to survive the terrible living conditions in Broken Hill at that time…so, as the 121st Anniversary of her birth is fast approaching I decided to check with TROVE to have a look at the reported events on the actual day she was born.

Through the wonders of TROVE I’d already discovered that there was huge Industrial unrest, and a  miner’s strike, in which my Nana’s Uncle Andrew was involved a month after her birth. You can read about this in my “Scabs and Riots” post by clicking here.

Banners. The Barrier Miner

The Barrier Miner, on the day Nana was born, reported that the Miner’s Strike in Broken Hill was being supported as far away as Sydney with some 10,000 people protesting and demonstrating.

TROVE. The strike. 19Sep1892

Advertisements, on that some day, show how some retailers were supporting the striking workers in helping them feed their families.

Trove. The Strike. Walsh

I have clear indications that “Walsh & Son” are most likely related, via marriage, to one of my Nana’s Aunts but need to research further…

Trove The strike. same page advert

Thankyou TROVE for providing the information to help me re- construct the lives of my Ancestors, confirming some family stories whilst dispelling some of the myths.

TROVE

Many thanks also to Amy Houston, of Branches, Leaves & Pollen, for initiating the TROVE TUESDAY Theme.  Please click HERE to visit Amy’s Blog and HERE to read the contributions of others.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Bb – is for Baby Crout

FAMILY HISTORY THROUGH THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE

It’s a crisp Autumn morning in Adelaide, South Australia and I wake with the memory of “Baby Crout” nudging through my sleep be-fuddled brain.  No more dithering, no more doubting, no more questioning for clearly “the little man” is the Bb for my “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”. His story is rather sad, as are many, but always reminds me of the care and com-passion which so often resides in the hearts of strangers.

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Over 41 years ago, through the anguish and confusion of my baby boy’s unexpected death, I glimpsed a side of my father never seen before. He was grief stricken and inconsolable. Many years later, when mum told me the story of “Baby Crout”, I understood.

It was April 1934 and the “Great Depression” continued to cause great hardship but Harry Scarborough Crout and Constance Elsie Evans, married 13 Jul the previous year, were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child – a new life, a new beginning and re-newed hope for the future. Connie, sufferring from “pre-eclampsia”, was being treated by Dr Porter at the Port Adelaide Casualty, which was the only medical care available to the wife of a long term unemployed worker when, on the 21st April she went into labour and was delivered of a stillborn baby boy at the Queen’s Home, Rose Park, South Australia.

Harry Crout, riding pillion, with Sammy – NSW 1929. Copyright (c) C.Crout-Habel

Mum was ony 9 years old, Connie, her beloved half-sister, was 20 and Dad had just turned 22 when this tragedy struck. He’d only been in Australia for 6 years and most of this was spent in New South Wales, or “humping the bluey” around this wide brown land and sometimes “jumping the rattlers” and/or coastal steamers searching for work and to avoid being sent to a “work camp” in the bush. 

The Queen’s Home – 1914

So, as he was leaving the hospital and the nurse handed him a shoebox telling him to  “take it to West Terrace” he had no idea of the significance of those words. Trudging the 14kms home to 6 Denman Street, Exeter, where they were living with “Cousin Lizzie” she certainly knew the significance of the shoebox dad had placed on the kitchen table and put out the call, “Get Fred!”… Grandpa, Connie’s loved Step- father, harnessed the horse & buggy and took Dad and “Baby Crout” to the West Terrace Cemetery where our precious little boy was interred in a “pauper’s mass grave”, under the name “Baby Crout”. To add to Dad grief his beloved wife took her own life, in an excrutiating way two months later, by swallowing Lysol.

No doubt the unexpected death of his baby Grandson, Jarren Vaughan Habel, 36 years later brought many of those horrific memories flooding back.

Sunday Mail, 10 April 1934

Mum and I often lamented that “Baby Crout” had no grave or memorial then, one day in 1995, there was the newspaper article – Mr David McGowan, the West Terrace Cemetery Manager, announced the creation of a “Baby Memorial”,

“…to acknowledge the 30,000 children who died at birth, or soon after, and their parents who grieved in silence for so long.”    

Following the instructions, I soon located “Baby Crout’s” burial site at “Cemetery Extension, Path 4, Plot 6”. The “Cemetery Extension” a field at the rear of the cemetery which had been used as a site for mass graves from the 1920’s up to the 1980’s. This link will take you to the West Terrace Cemetery website where you can access the map, view the position of the “Baby Memorial” and the Photo Gallery. The mass burial site (Cemetery Extension) is marked “Road 5”, adjacent to the “Light Oval A.I.F.” 

On Thursday 7 Mar 1996, at 7.30pm and assisted by Mr McGowan, I quietly laid a bronze leaf engraved;

BABY CROUT
21 April 1934
SON OF CONNIE (NEE EVANS) AND HARRY CROUT
CEM EXT. PATH 4. PLOT 6

Although invited to the Formal Dedication Ceremony, the following Sunday, I had no need to attend. My heart, and mum’s, were at peace knowing our little boy had been claimed and acknowledged. This “heart’s ease” was only possible because of the work of David McGowan, and his supporters who were distressed by over 30,000 little bodies who lay in the forgotten fields at West Terrace Cemetery. Below is his description of the Baby Memorial they created.

David McGowan assisting in the laying of a memorial leaf – 7 Mar 1966

Thankyou Mr David McGowan
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Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family  

Aa – is for ALLAN, Frederick Alexander

FAMILY HISTORY THROUGH THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE

Pauline’s “Merry Month of May Musical Meme” was so enjoyable that I’ve decided to take up Gould Genealogy’s “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”, and what a challenge it’s been simply choosing the first topic and getting started. Whenever I think of the letter Aa, and my Family History, it’s precious memories of my maternal Grandpa, Frederick Alexander Allan, which leap to my mind leaving no room for any other thoughts. This is his story.

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As the “Crout-Habel” Family Tree” spreads its roots, is nourished, loved and tended there remains a huge gap right there at the base.  How embarrassing to confess that I know so little about my maternal Grandpa’s origins, despite him living with us throughout my childhood and me with a host of memories to continue writing.

The only documentary evidence located, so far, is Grandpa’s Death Certificate.  However, as with many Death Certificates, some information is incorrect.

   DISTRICT OF NORWOOD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

NAME: Robert Alexander ALLEN, also known as Frederick Alexander Allen
AGE:  78 years
DIED:  12 Jan 1966 at Wodonga Hospital, Kent Town, South Australia
CAUSE OF DEATH:  Coronary Thrombosis – sudden, and mycarditis – 2 years
BURIED:  13 Jan 1966, Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia
CONJUGAL STATUS:  Widower
OCCUPATION:  Retired Waterside Worker
USUAL RESIDENCE:  34 New Street, Queenstown, South Australia
BIRTHPLACE:  London, England.  Resident in Commonwealth for 50 years
AGE AT MARRIAGE:  Not known
INFORMANT:  W.S.Taylor, Funeral Director, Port Road, Queenstown, South Australia
REGISTERED:  17 Jan 1966 by A.Evans
ENTERED INTO DISTRICT REGISTRY OFFICE:  20 Jan 1966 by A.Evans, District Register

Clearly the Funeral Director did not get this information from my mother for she never would have given her father’s name as “Robert Alexander Allen”. I remember how this new name came into my Grandpa’s life. For

Frederick Alexander Allan

years mum had been trying to persuade him to apply for the Aged Pension and finally he agreed. The Waterside Workers Union Secretary wrote to “Catherine House”, in the UK, for his birth certificate but they sent the certificate for his brother “Robert Arthur Allan”. Grandpa objected and said Robert was 4 years older and had emigrated to the USA. Wanting no further delays mum lodged the application, using this birth certificate, and every time the cheque arrived the arguments would start up again – Grandpa quietly refusing to sign “R.A.Allan”, saying “That is not my name, Kathleen!”

There is no Marriage Certificate to provide information as Nana and Grandpa never married. My Nana, “Mary Elizabeth Murray”, remained legally married to Alfred Evans and it seems that Mum’s Birth Certificate names her as “Kathleen Mary Evans” with Alfred Evans as her father. Apparently this was done to ensure that she was not labelled “a

Grandpa and his stepson Eric Evans

 bastard”. Mum told of the shock, when first sighting her Birth Certificate, whilst preparing for her marriage to “Harry Scarborough Crout”. She knew of her mother’s previous marriage and was very fond of her three older half siblings; “Eric, Norman and Connie Evans”, knew she was Frederick Allan’s daughter and had always been known as “Kathleen Mary Allan”.

Incidentally mum’s name for her father was “Olpell”. That always intrigued me and was told she thought it came about because her mother had always called her husband “the old fella” and mum’s baby language had interpreted it as “Olpell“. What a disappointment that was – I’d fancied a far more exotic explanation.

The other questionable information on Grandpa’s Death Certificate is his age. Was that based on the Birth Certificate of his brother, “Robert Arthur Allan” who was, according to Grandpa, 4 years older? Also, had he really been “a resident in Commonwealth for 50 years”? If this is correct, and not just an estimation, he would have arrived in Australian about 1917. Well, at least we know that he was here before 31 Mar 1925 because that is the day his daughter, my mother, was born 🙂

“SS Edwardes” at Port Pirie

Grandpa told us he was a sailor and first went to sea as a “cabin boy”. For some reason I have the age of 7, in my head, but I don’t know that he actually said that… possibly I dreamt it. Some of my siblings think this was just a “tall story” but, for a variety of reasons, I tend to believe it’s true. Firstly he constantly used expressions such as, “Aye, Aye”, “Shiver m’ Timbers” and “Batten Down the Hatches”… not that you have to be a seafarer to utter these words… Furthermore, a meal that Grandpa would cook and was his specialty was “Scouse”. It was delicious. I knew no-one else who ate “Scouse” and it was many years later that I discovered it was first taken to Liverpool, England, by Northern European sailors, was originally called Labskause” and later adopted by other seamen.

Another factor with suggests my Grandfather was indeed a sailor is that Nana was living in Port Pirie, the second largest seaport in South

Fred Allan middle back behind his “beloved” Lizzie (Murray) Allan

Australia,when they met, fell in love and ran away to Port Adelaide. I’ve often wondered if he was a “deserter” and “jumped ship” in Port Pirie. A good reason to not hang around the port, I reckon. Mum said that her dad had promised to take his beloved on a ship to explore wild and wonderful places and is why, when she left her husband and three children, they headed to Port Adelaide. However, he took sick , she nursed him back to health, mum was born, the “Great Depression” hit and nobody was going anywhere. True or not? … I don’t know. That’s for others to decide. My job is to pass the family story on to my children, and grandchildren, for them to pass onto their descendants.

Was Frederick Alexander Allan born in London, England, as stated on his Death Certificate? I think he most probably was. According to Grandpa he was a true Cockney born within the sound of the Bow Bells”. I now know what that expression means but, as a child, I had no idea what he was talking about. Also, meeting with some of my mum’s elderly cousins just last week (for the first time in about 50 years) they talked fondly of Grandpa and mentioned his “strong cockney accent”. Me, the child, heard no accent.

Grandpa had a strong dislike of the British Royal Family and spoke about being a child and seeing Queen Victoria riding along in her carriage with her fingers, “like big fat sausages”, covered in jewels whilst people were starving and dying in the streets. He said his mother was a “Midwife” and saved to pay for “reading and writing” lessons for her children. He did say how much she paid per lesson which I think was a farthing, but I’m not sure.

Well, those are some of the memories of my dearly loved Grandpa and serve as “clues” when seeking documented facts. So far I’ve had no luck discovering his origins but recently a newspaper article, in “Trove”, caught my eye and has given another avenue to explore. Mum had told me about Grandpa’s terrible accident, on the wharf, and why the Union was SO important in improving working conditions. 

Now I know the date and place he was treated, a trip to the South Australian State Records” to access the “Adelaide Hospital” patient records for Tuesday 25 Aug 1936 might just give me a little more valuable information and bring me closer to discovering my “Allan” ancestry.  

May you always Rest in Peace, Frederick Alexander Allan and know you are loved and remembered.

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