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.

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Tombstone Tuesday: Your tombstone stands among the rest…

Lonely gravesites

“Your tombstone stands among the rest,
Neglected and alone.
The name and the date are chiselled out,
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who cares,
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist,
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you,
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled,
One hundred years ago,
Spreads out among, the ones you left.
Who would have loved you so?
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.”

Author Unknown.

(Many Thanks to Sandra Playle for the poem & photo)

~~~~~~~~~

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray - (c) C.Crout-Habel

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray – (c) C.Crout-Habel

It took a great many years for me to eventually track down the final resting place of my Great Grandmother, Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray in the Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia. A desolate, lonely, abandoned place… caving in and with just a weathered flower pot bearing her name…. but as I stood there, claimed her as my own and took steps to stop her gravesite being re-cycled and desecrated, I knew that she recognised me and was pleased…We must not allow the sanctity of our old gravesites to be defiled…

Please sign this Petition so that, in time, the descendants of the Pioneers in those Graveyards which are now controlled by the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia , will be able to find them when they come… for they will come.

To sign, please just click HERE … many thanks, Catherine.

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel 

Reconciling Black & White Australia

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray - (c) C.Crout-Habel

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray – (c) C.Crout-Habel

I well remember the sob in mum’s voice as she spoke about how her Grandmother was abused and often called a “filthy Irish bitch” as she walked through the streets of her country town on the way to do the washing for the local hotel… with a child in tow and one on her hip.

My Great Grandmother Eliza Jane was a first born Australian with an Irish mother who had immigrated, at the age of 18, to escape the aftermath of the “Irish Potato Famine” into which she’d been born and had managed to survive. The family story is that her parents were told, by their Landlord, that at least one of their children had to emigrate or they would be evicted and so my Susan Kelleher, and her sister Bridget, headed for South Australia under an “assisted passengers” scheme.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the following may contain names, images or voices of the deceased.

Part of my Family History narrative is also about the problems my pioneering ancestors had with “the Blacks“. Stories of how, as Eliza Jane would sit on the verandah of their modest homestead, whilst her husband was working away, with a babe in arms to try and escape the cloying nightime heat  and being terrified by the eerie sounds of “the Blacks having a corroboree” in the nearby creek. Added to this was her fear, when she was home alone, and aboriginal women would come knocking on the door for “tea and baccy” whilst their men were standing further back with spears in their hands.

So many similar stories peppered my childhood. Added to this is that my very first personal experience was when I was about 10 years of age an Aboriginal family moved in nearby. It was not a positive one. However, what is also very clear in my memory is mum talking about the Aboriginal families, who shopped in the Port Adelaide branch of David Murrays where she worked, and how they were the best “payers” and the most honest of their shoppers.

Inspired to paint the Playground equipment in Aborignal colours. (c) C.A.Crout-Habel

Inspired to paint the Playground equipment in Aborignal colours. (c) C.A.Crout-Habel

Of course it’s not surprising, given my family background, that matters of Social Justice were always at the forefront of my professional life and so was delighted to join with others in agreeing to “pilot” the draft Aboriginal Education programme in our South Australian school. The “lightbulb moment” came unexpectedly and I burst forth with copious tears on the realisation that my GGGrandmother, who fled her home-land because colonisation had dispossesed her Ancestors of their land, then became an instrument for our Indigenous Australians to also have their land taken from them.

We were taught how our Aboriginal people passed on their Family History in dance (c) C.Crout-Habel

We were taught how our Aboriginal people passed on their Family History in dance (c) C.Crout-Habel

It’s such a joy to remember back to those years when we happily worked to educate the new generation about the culture, the spiritual “dreamtime” and customs of our “First Australians”. We read their “dreamtime” stories, sang songs, cooked their food, experimented with their art work

How wonderful it was to have teachers and students from the nearby “Kaurna” kindergarten come join us and teach some of their language. e.g. the well known “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes” ditty but sang in the language of the Kaurna people. What a privilege!

To read more about this programme please click HERE

There’s been a bit of “blah blah blah” circulating and some very blatant racist comments hitting the airwaves, and social media, recently as a result of Australia Day 2013 which is so expected it just about bores me “to smithereens”… but am delighted that the Reconciliation Australia Blog clearly  describes how there has been a huge change in attitude with younger Australians which gives such hope and points the way forward for the continuing healing of our peoples.

Music and song has always been a wonderful way of reaching through differences, making connections and healing pain so, in closing, must share one of my most favourite songs… “My Island Home”. This is the original version by the renowned, and celebrated, Warumpi Band.

Cheerio… Catherine.

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Mothers, daughters and loss…

Today is the 60th Anniversary of the death of my maternal Grandmother, Elizabeth Mary (Murray, Evan) Allan, but it’s more than that. It’s about the love of a daughter for her mother and a deep sense of loss and grief, when her mum died, which never passed.

My mum... and her mum 2 years before Nana died (c) 2013. C.Crout-Habel

My mum… and her mum 2 years before Nana died (c) 2013. C.Crout-Habel

Growing up, my mum’s “Birthday Book” held great fascination. How I loved thumbing through, reading the poems about “Friendship” and asking about people whose names appeared but were a complete mystery. This is how I came to learn that mum had a brother, named Norman… although he was actually a half brother, and opened up a whole part of my Nana’s life which was previously unknown to me.

Copyright (c) 2013. Catherine Crout-Habel

Copyright (c) 2013. Catherine Crout-Habel

The “flyleaf”  was particularly fascinating for in the hand of her Grandmother, Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray, is the dedication which reads:

“to Kath
from
Granmother
1939″

under that, in my mum’s teenage hand, is written:

“14 years” and as a mature woman she added the word “old”

(c) Copyright. 2013. C.Crout-Habel

(c) Copyright. 2013. C.Crout-Habel

It was, and still is,  wonderful to see my great granmother’s writing but the stories which were prompted by this entry are the real treasures.

Often when thumbing through mum’s Birthday Book I would pause to read her writing, on the back pages, which all related to the death of her mum. I have vague memories of my Nana in a BIG bed just off from our kitchen, which is where she died. She had been very ill for many years so she, and Grandpa, came to live with us. Mum nursed, and cared for, her beloved mum until her dying day.

Interesting that this room later became named “the living room”,  was where in later years  the “tellie” was located and mum, dad, grandpa, my three brothers and I  “lived” out our family indoor leisure time… mmmhhh… but I digress.

All I can remember of that day was being sent down the street to spend the day with Mrs Edith Love whom we named “Lovebird”. She was a dear friend of both my Nana and mum and I spent lots of happy times in her kitchen, chatting, cooking and eating. The next I remember is dad coming over to “fetch us” and my youngest bro, and I, were last in the line as we trooped back home. I kept saying “Nana’s dead, I know it!!!” Malcolm kept crying and saying, “No, she isn’t!!!”.  This remembrance saddens me but, there you have it…

A few minutes later we were home, traipsed through the kitchen where  the “rellies” were sitting around drinking tea and eating ??? … and on into the “living room” where we were taken to this huge “box” on stilts which I later learnt is called “a coffin“. We were then told to say “goodbye” to our Nana. My last memory of Nana is that she looked very young and the six year old me decided that, like magic, death suddenly makes you young again. Now I realise that all that time we were away, the Undertaker must have been busy at work for mum writes that her beloved Mum died at 9.30p.m… which must have been the previous night.

It wasn’t until after sitting with my daughter by my own mum’s death bed, and trying to  comfort her during her dying hours, that the significance of those writings in her Birthday Book really hit home. Whilst my three brothers and sister-in-law were off making funeral arrangements, and “forgetting” to include me, I read and re-read and cried and cried again at mum’s anguish over the death of her own dear mother.  She wrote, just 4 days after Nana’s death:

Copyright (c) 2013. C. Crout-Habel

Copyright (c) 2013. C. Crout-Habel

“Mum died 7th Jan. 1953. She passed away approx 9.30pm. Just passed away quietly in her sleep. I cannot believe she is gone forever. I miss her so – every where I look or turn I am reminded of her in so many ways. I try not to cry now, but my sorrow is so deep. I am crying inside, I do not want her back to suffer as she did in her last days but then I think of how lonely I am and then with all my heart & soul I cry out for just one more word to hear mum say my name or just to hold her hand or Kiss her dear face. Will this sorrow lesssen as time goes by or will I always feel so heavy hearted – Jan 11th 1953”

So Nana and Mum… the story is told. Trusting that you are both happy with my telling of it and are off having a “rollicking” good time with Jarren Vaughan, and “Silver”…

~~~~~~~~~

My mum was only 28 years old when her mum died and I was 61. Mum had four young children at the time, the youngest being only four, whilst my three were all grown up and with children of their own yet still I cry out, at night, just to feel her arms around me and to “chew the fat” one more time.

Luvya mum and still miss you more than I can even begin to say but happy that you are now re-united with your own dear mum.

4 Generations - Front: me & my great granmother. Back: mum and her mum (c) C.Crout-Habel

4 Generations – Front: me & my great granmother. Back: mum and her mum (c) C.Crout-Habel

  ~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Memories of New Year Celebrations Past…

Semaphore, South Australia  - War Memorial clock. Wikipedia.

Semaphore, South Australia – War Memorial clock. Wikipedia.

As the year 2012 was coming to a close my mum’s beautiful eyes danced before me as, once again, she related those childhood memories of the 1930’s when each New Year was brought in, on the foreshore of Semaphore beach here in South Australia, surrounded by her mum’s HUGE Murray family.

She loved to tell how on the stroke of midnight, and as regular as that big old clock kept ticking away, Uncle Stan would chuck his ‘baccy pouch in the gutter and declare:

“That’s it, I’m giving up the smokes!!!”

Auntie Hilda, one of my Nana’s younger sisters, would just as regularly quietly reach down and tuck her hubbie’s “baccy pouch” into her handbag to give back the following morning when he’d be raging around the house demanding to know what had happened to his tobacco.

It seems that every year the whole family would wait for this scenario to be played out and, as the clock struck twelve, they were never disappointed.

Seeing in the New Year - 2013, on the Semaphore foreshore.

Seeing in the New Year – 2013, on the Semaphore foreshore.

The New Year continues to be heralded in, on that same foreshore. Nowdays it’s not so much the tick of the clock which announces that a bright new year has begun but a magnificent display of fireworks previously unimagined.

May the New Year bring much joy to you, your loved ones, and all whom inhabit this world of ours. 

New Year 2013

~~~~~~~~~

Many thanks to the South Australian Advertiser: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au for these last two photos.

To take a walk through Semaphore’s Historic Precinct just click HERE

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine A. Crout-Habel

Ll is for – Life on the Laura Blocks

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

“Be damned the rain… be damned my bad back… I have to know!” muttered mum as she tottered up the long steep driveway. It was the winter of 1986 and we’d driven 240 miles from Adelaide, the Capital of South Australia, to the small mid-north town of Laura in search of my Nana’s childhood home on the “Laura Blocks”. Mum last saw “the cottage” 40 years before, had a picture of it in her mind, knew it was being used to store hay but we couldn’t find it. This “Gould Family History Through the Alphabet” post is dedicated to the courage and perseverance of my Murrays, and the other 12 families of the “Laura Blocks”, who pushed on through the frontier, battling to eke a living from an inhospitable land, whilst facing the wrath of the original inhabitants, the Ngadjuri and Nukunu peoples, whose own lifestyle and livelihoods were being destroyed by the new settlers.

The land in the mid north of South Australia was settled by Europeans in the early 1840’s, some 4 years after the first landing at Glenelg in 1836. In 1843 the brothers Bristow Herbert Hughes and Herbert Bristow Hughes open up the county along the Rocky River. The town of Laura was founded on their “Booyoolie Station” land in 1872, as a staging post on the Main North Road from Adelaide, and named after Herbert Hughes’ wife, Laura White, who migrated with her family from Dorset, England, in 1843.

“Until 1894, the area that is now the Laura Blocks, was a property of 52 hectares (130 acres) situated 5 Kms (3miles) north of Laura. The Rocky River and a tributary creek ran through it and there was a three roomed stone house in the centre of the farm. The land was purchased by the Crown (Government) and surveyed into 13 Homestead Blocks with each block having access to the then permanent water supply of the Rocky River. Working Men’s leases were granted on the 1st April 1895 and thirteen ‘pioneer’ families began new chapters in their lives.”  (1)

Laura Block 22 marked with *

My Great Grandfather 18 year old Peter Murray, born in County Cork, Ireland, arrived in South Australia aboard the “Berar” in 1883. Three years later, on 3 Jan 1886, he married Eliza Jane Rowan at St Peters Church, Gladstone. 

Eliza Jane is the 5th child of “my Susan”, Susan (Kelleher) Nicholls from Country Clare, Ireland, and her second husband Timothy Rowen who also migrated from County Clare but not alone. Timothy came with his two brothers and a sister-in-law.  Eliza Jane was born in Armagh, just outside of Clare, South Australia, and moved to Laura with her mother and siblings after a family scandal and court case, in 1875.

The early years of Peter and Eliza Jane’s marriage were spent in Broken Hill, New South Wales, where the discovery of silver offered them a number of opportunities. Peter worked in the mines whilst Eliza Jane ran one of the first boarding establishments, under canvas, to cater for the huge influx of miners. Intitially Eliza Jane and Peter lived in a tent and provided accommodation, for two others, in another small tent. Shift worked enabled these sleeping quarters to be shared and, before long, Eliza Jane purchased a marquee from Flavels in Rundle Street, Adelaide, and expanded into a very successful business. A fire led to the move into a rented weather-board cottage and the business continued to flourish.

These successes were marred by great sadness with the death of their first two children, Peter Murray and Walter Murray, which you can read about here. On 19 Sep 1892, 20 months after the death of Walter my Nana, Mary Elizabeth Murray, was also born at Broken Hill. The high infant mortality rate there, at this time, may have led to their decision to leave “the Hill”. In 1888 there were 358 deaths per 1000 and over a quarter of these were under 1 year old.

The most prevalent causes of death were Typhoid or Enteric Fever (Barrier Fever) followed closely by pneumonia and other lung complaints. (2)

Eliza Jane and Peter returned to Stone Hut, South Australia, a small town north of Laura where their fourth child Daphne Murray was born on 30 Dec 1893. Sadly Daphne lived only 3 days and is buried in the Laura Cemetery, Catholic Section, Grave 0833.

Beatrice May Murray, their fifth child, was born at Stone Hut on 12 Mar 1895 and just a few weeks later, on 1 Apr 1895, Peter took up the lease on Section 22 of the Laura Blocks. 

As the first European occupiers Peter and Eliza Jane built their home using local materials and, in particular, rocks brought up from the Rocky River which ran nearby. Family members described it as a typical, and very small, Irish cottage with a thatched roof which was later found, by the Gill family, when the galvanised iron was removed. It had a window on each side of the door and a chimney, jutting out to one side, with the inside hearth flush with the wall. Initially Eliza Jane cooked on a grate with hobs on either side and a hook from which to hang the boiler. The luxury of a wood stove came much later.

Six more children were born to the family during difficult times:

Andrew Patrick Murray (1879 – 1972)
Walter Henry (Harry) Murray (1901 – 1968)
Hilda Jane Murray (1903 – 1972)
Margaret Helen Murray (1905 – 1973)
Victor Alic Murray (1907 – 1982)
Dorothy Grace Murray (1909 – ? )

My Grandmother (Elizabeth Mary Murray) passed onto her daughter, who passed onto me, her experiences from the age of 8 growing up on the Laura Blocks. She told of the harshness of life on a land which was rocky, barren and infertile. Without the benefits of the fertilizers and soil improvers, which came later, it was an ongoing battle to eke out even a modest living from the barren soil. Eliza Jane, and the children, worked the land whilst Peter worked away for extended periods of time.

Eliza Jane grew onions as a cash crop. The water was bucketed from the creek. She kept geese, ducks and chooks and sold the eggs at the hotel. During the day the geese, ducks and chooks had the run of the farmyard and it was the responsibility of the children to ensure they were locked away, from the foxes, at night.

My grandmother told how eventually her mum saved enough money to buy a cow to provide milk for the children, although she never drank milk or consumed dairy products herself. The story is that, having worked as a dairymaid before marriage, the though of milk repulsed her but she was determined to provide this nourishment for her children so they would have “strong bones”. Each morning, before school, it was the children’s responsibility to take the cow across the swing footbridge to the other side of the river to graze and to return it before nightfall. One night the cow was forgotten and it met with an unfortunate “accident” in the creek, breaking it’s neck. My nana talked about her fear and trepidation, as a small child, in bringing the cow back across that swinging bridge.

Peter’s wages, and the money earned from the block’s produce, was often not sufficient to live on and make the lease payments so Eliza Jane found other ways to earn money. For many years she further supplemented the family income by walking into Laura weekly, with a baby on her hip and a toddler “at the skirts”, to do the washing for the local hotel and to sell her eggs. The legacy she carried, for the remainder of her life, was a displacement of the hips. It was heavy work. In addition to the clothing of the hotelier’s family, Eliza Jane also washed heavy items such as the bed linen, tablecloths and towels used by the hotel patrons. This was done in a galvanised iron tub with a washing board. The “whites” were boiled in a copper and the heavy linen was put through a mangle before being hung to dry. Peter Murray visited the hotel regularly to collect his wife’s pay… he and the Hotelier had “an arrangement”. 

Fettlers, like Peter Murray, laboured on building and repairing the Railroad and coming home to supervise the family’s work on “the pumper”.  Vit Tobin, late of Laura, married a child of the “Laura Blocks” and remembered the Murray family well. It was a delight to spend time with her and hearing her confirm the family stories. She described the gang of Railroad workers, stationed at Stone Hut,  and the women working the blocks to pay the Government Lease with the hope of eventualy owning the land… and yes, the Railroad workers did travel the track on “the pumper” both to supervise work on the block and to collect their pay from the “Pay car” pulled into the Laura station for this purpose. I was told that “the pumper” was also used, by the children, to bring “the father” home when he was “too taken with the drink.”      

They had no electricity, in their little cottage, and Eliza Jane made candles by rendering down fat purchased from the butcher. They also had “slush lamps” which was a lump of fat, with a piece of cotton flux which would melt the fat and provide a little light. They were very smoky and smelly and candles were much preferred.  Family talk included the whitewashing of the cottage, inside and out, every Christmas so that it sparkled. This was the task of the two older boys, Andrew and Harry. It was remembered, with delight, how when Andrew was old enough to go working as a labourer, for a little cash, he would sometimes come home with the luxury of a bought candle for his beloved mother.

Andrew also planted a Mulberry bush, for his mother to hang her washing from, and a fig tree because she so loved fig and almond jam. Hanging washing to dry on hedges was an Irish tradition, for the working class, and a practice continued in rural areas, in Australia, right into the middle of the 20th Century. A strongly held to belief was that the washing must be brought in by nightfall. If, however, it was inadventently left out then it must remain until morning so as not to disturb “the faeries” who may be sheltering there.

Life on the Block was not an easy one for the Murray family. With their father working away, for extended periods of time, the children worked hard alongside their mother to meet the lease payments and ensure their family home could be kept. A closeness was forged, between the children and their mother, with a sense of protectivess growing as they shared the grim reality of a harsh life. The stories and memories have been passed onto following generations as a celebration of the courage and fortitude of these early settlers… our Ancestors.

~~~~~~~~~

My mum displayed these same qualities all her life and were certainly apparent back in 1986 when, despite ill health and bad weather, she determinedly pushed on and finally her belief was confirmed. Yes, she had the correct property!!! The reason she couldn’t find her mum’s childhood home was because time, and the elements, had reduced it to a slab and a few scattered rocks in a barren field.

~~~~~~~~~

PRINTED RESOURCES:
(1) Rhonda Pech, Box 89, Laura, South Australia, 5480. Original research.
(2) Kennedy, Brian, SILVER, SIN, AND SIXPENNY ALE: A Social History of Broken Hill, 1883-1921. Melbourne, University Press, 1978. ISBN 0 522 84141 4.

FURTHER INTERNET RESOURCES:
Northern Areas Council: http://www.nacouncil.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=191
Australia for Everyone: http://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/places_laura.htm
Map: http://www.planbooktravel.com.au/australia/sa/laura
Laura Cemetery and photo, as shown above: http://austcemindex.com/cemetery.php?id=624

Rocky River Historic & Art Society Inc. PO Box 18, Laura, South Australia, 5480

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

Gg – is for Grave concerns…

Family History Through the Alphabet

Ever tried to stop your great grannie from being dug up, her bones squeezed into a tiny box, being replaced and a stranger plonked on top?… a matter for grave concern indeed and my topic for this week’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge.

~~~~~~~~~

It took many, many long years to locate the “final resting place” of Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray born at Armagh (near Clare), South Australia, on 1 May 1867 and died in Adelaide, South Australia, on 26 Jul 1955. She was the fifth daughter of “my Susan” – Susan Kelleher from County Clare, Ireland whose “Bride Ship”, the “Nashwauk”, was wrecked off the coast of South Australia, 13 May 1855. Her father was Timothy Rowen who arrived at Port Adelaide, aboard the Utopia on 9 Jul 1858, with his two brothers, and sister-in-law. Timothy was Susan’s 2nd husband also from County Clare, Ireland.

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray – (c) C.Crout-Habel

On 3 Jan 1886, at St Peters Catholic Church, Gladstone (near Laura), South Australia, Eliza Jane married Peter Murray, a new arrived Irishman from County Cork. Shortly after marrying, the newly-weds moved to Broken Hill, New South Wales, where Peter, Walter and Elizabeth Mary Murray (my Nana) were born. Nana was the first of their children to survive. Six years later the family moved back to Laura and 8 more children were born. Eliza Jane finished her days living happily with her youngest son Vic, his wife Jessie and their 4 children; Dulcie, Peter, Helen and Suzanne at Cheltenham, South Australia.

4 Generations. Bottom: Catherine & Eliza Jane. Top: Kathleen & Elizabeth (c) C.A.Crout-Habel

After a long and productive life, my Great Grandmother died at the home of her daughter, Hilda (Murray, Mundy) Steinle, in Clapham, South Australia. It was 26 Jul 1955 and just 2 short years after the death of her eldest daughter (my Nana) when Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray was “laid to rest” at Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia, Australia. Her gravesite featured strongly in my chilhood and loomed large in mum’s memories… why?  Her voice would thicken, and tears would fall, as she spoke of the behaviour of the priest;

“It was terrible Catherine… it started to rain… that man jabbered and he raced through it and he jumped over her open grave to get out of the  rain”.

So distraught, and distressed, was mum over this lack of respect for “such a devout and pious woman”, I can only guess at what she would be thinking now, 56 years later, as I do battle to stop this very same grave, finally located only just last year, from being desecrated.

The problem is that the 50 year lease expired 7 years ago and, if it’s no re-newed, the grave will be reused. However, the “grant holder” is my great Uncle Andy who died in 1972. My present task is to go through the designated list of HIS direct/ blood rellies to determine who is now entitled to exercise his “rights” and either;

*  pay the $3025 to renew the lease, or
*  sign grannie’s gravesite over to me so I can do so

This will ensure that Eliza Jane’s grave is not desecrated, she can remain buried and not have strangers plonked on top.

To enable this “Grave concern…” to be put to rest, please contact me if you are a blood relation, or know the whereabout of a blood relation, of:

Andrew Patrick MURRAY – (c) C. Crout-Habel

Andrew Patrick MURRAY
BORN:  14 Dec 1897, Laura, South Australia, Australia
PARENTS:  Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray & Peter Murray
MILITARY SERVICE:  World War II; 20 Jul 1940 – 20 Nov 1945 
OCCUPATION:  Baker
DIED: 26 Feb 1972, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
CREMATED & INTERRED:  Enfield Memoria Park
FORMER ADDRESS:  Woodville Gardens, South Australia, Australia

Mum loved her Uncle Andy and he adored his mother. Her grave must not be desecrated.

My other “Grave concern” is to renew the lease on the burial site of my beloved son, Jarren Vaughan Habel, at Midland Cemetery, Western Australia, which expires on 2 Jul 2012.

Do you have, or have you also had, any “Grave concerns”?…

    ~~~~~~~~~  

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

Cc – is for Cousin Lizzie

FAMILY HISTORY THROUGH THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE

Cc was always going to be about cousins. I have a rather interesting bunch. Some I never knew existed, like the “Crout half-cousins” in Canada and the “Crout full-cousins” in the United States. Then there are the “Ogilvie cousins” I’m now in contact with via the internet; one still living in the “old country”, Leeds, England and his Uncle who migrated down here to the “antipodes” in the 1960’s. The seafaring “Hampshire Crout cousins” make an interesting read with a couple of “kissing cousins” thrown into the mix and there are the “Murray cousins”, here in South Australia, with whom I’ve just re-connected after near on 60 years.

However, it’s “Cousin Lizzie” who has “taken the yellow jersey” and for three reasons:

     *  The Last Will & Testament of my Susan features her prominently
     *  She’s been on my mind since writing about Baby Crout last week
     *  It’s become apparent that many relatives are not clear about where “Cousin Lizzie” fits into the family, nor what it is that made her “different/ special”

~~~~~~~~~

Cousin Lizzie is the Grand-daughter of Susan Kelleher and an integral part of my Family History.

On 13 May 1855 Susan, aged 18, arrived in South Australia from County Clare, Ireland, aboard the ill-fated “Nashwauk”. She and her sister, Bridget, took up service in the Mid-North of the state – the Clare Valley – and on 13 Jan 1856 Susan married Edward Nicholls.  They had three daughters;

Catherine Ann Nicholls – abt 1856
Mary Ann Nicholls – 29 Oct 1858 
Margaret Nicholls – 5 Aug 1860

Sadly Edward died of pneumonia, just 4 years after marrying, and is buried at his workplace, Bungaree Station, Clare, South Australia.

Bungaree Homestead – 1863

Four years after the death of Edward, Susan married Timothy Rowen at St Michaels Church, Clare, South Australia. They had 4 daughters and 1 son;

Bridget Rowen – 22 Dec 1864
Eliza Jane Rowen – 1 May 1867
Andrew Rowen – 19 Feb 1870
Susan Rowen – 23 Jul 1872
Mary Ellen Rowen – 6 Oct 1874

I’m related through Susan and Timothy’s second daughter, Eliza Jane Rowen, who is my Great Grandmother. Cousin Lizzie is from Susan’s first marriage to Edward Nicholls. Her mother is their youngest child, Margaret.

Only two of Susan’s three daughters, from her first marriage, survived childhood.  Their second daughter, Mary Ann died of “Heart Disease” on 12 Sep 1874, aged 15, just one month before her mother gave birth to the youngest child, Mary Ellen. Their eldest daughter, Catherine Ann, married William Walsh. They had 5 children, 4 survived childhood and went on to create a long line of Walsh/Nicholls descendants.

By all accounts Cousin Lizzie’s mother, Margaret Nicholls, had a sad and traumatic life. On 9 Mar 1875 , at the age of 15, Margaret was the plaintiff in a Court Case against her step-father Timothy Rowen. My Grandmother, Eliza Jane Rowen, was just 8 years old and a witness. The “Northern Argus, March 23, 1875” reports,

“Timothy Rewin (sic), who was indicted of an offence against the person at Armagh, on February 7, pleaded not guilty, and as the evidence of the prosecutrix did not agree with the medical testimony, the jury were directed to acquit the prisoner which was accordingly done.”

 The court document reads,

“Plea Not Guilty – Verdict by direction of His Hon. the Chief Justice, Not Guilty”.

It seems that, after the Court Case, my Grandfather became estranged from the family. Their home at Armagh (outside of Clare) was sold and Susan moved, with her children, to Laura where they remained until 1887 when she moved to Broken Hill, New South Wales taking the youngest children with her. Over the years, many of the older children also settled in Broken Hill.

Shortly after Susan and the children moved to Laura her daughter, Margaret, married Scottish Immigrant, John William Tait, at St Johns Catholic Church, Laura, South Australia. Margaret and John had 5 children,

Catherine Jane Tait – 25 Jul 1880
Elizabeth Ann (Cousin Lizzie) Tait – 10 Jul 1882
John Edward Tait – 29 Aug 1884
Agnes Melinda Tait – 12 Oct 1886
Margaret Ellen Tait – 19 May 1889

Only Cousin Lizzie and her sisters, Catherine Jane and Margaret Ellen, survived childhood. John died at the age of 18 months and Agnes when she was 6.

Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

As all of their children were born at Laura, it seems that Margaret and John continued to live there until 1889-1892 when they moved to Broken Hill. I believe they moved to “the Silver City” because this is where Agnes Melinda died but this needs to be verified as they may have been visiting her mother/ family at the time.

What happened next in Cousin Lizzie’s life is open to conjecture. She would have been about 7-10 years old when the family re-settled and it seems her life would have been quite difficult for, on 17 Mar 1989, my mother wrote,

“… They had a daughter named Elizabeth but who within the family was always called “Cousin Lizzie”. She was rather deaf but understood if you spoke loudly. I rather think she lip-read, she had a speech impediment due to the mid-wife who delivered her deciding to snip under her tongue believing other-wise the baby would be tongue-tied. (this practice I believe was not unusual in those days)”

To read about “ankytoglossia”, the problems it can cause and the ways in which it’s treated, even today, just click here.

Mum talked, and wrote, about how it was said that Cousin Lizzie’s father rejected her because of this impediment. Also that he deserted the family and divorced Cousin Lizzie’s mother who then took her own life. I was told how Susan took custody of her Grand-daughter, caring for, loving her and leaving her well provided for so she would never be “without a roof over her head.”

Aware that there are always “two sides” to any story, I’m always reluctant to pass on negative “family stories”  but this one needs to be told, given the contents of Susan Rowen’s “Last Will & Testament” which arrived in my “Dropbox” just last week. Susan did indeed leave all her worldly goods to her Grand-daughter and makes it very clear that she had “issue” with Cousin Lizzie’s father when she writes that the legacy is,

“… for her use and benefit absolutely and I desire that she shall have no dealings whatever with her father or sisters, and if the said Elizabeth Ann Tait cannot make her home with her Aunt Susan I desire that she be placed in a Catholic Home in Adelaide. I want a quiet respectable burial.”

Cousin Lizzie did go on living with Aunt Susan for many years after her Grandmother’s death. They arranged her gravesite memorial and, I have it on good authority, they both continued to tend Susan Kelleher Nicholls Rowen’s grave, in the Broken Hill Cemetery, for many years to come …  along with Aunt Susan’s daughter, Ann.

I have yet to discover when Aunt Susan died and when Cousin Lizzie moved from Broken Hill to the Port Adelaide district, in South Australia. What I do know is that she was a strong minded woman, living on her own means and in her own home at 6 Denman Place, Exeter in April 1934 because this is when my dad and his first wife, Connie, were living with her. My understanding is that she continued to lived contentedly and independently, with family nearby, until her death at the age of 60 on 15 May 1943 in South Australia.

Although Cousin Lizzie faced many challenges, especially as a young child, she certainly was not a “dunce” or a “dummy”, as many seem to think. It appears that her father did indeed have difficulty coming to terms with his second daughter’s “impediments” but her mother’s family gathered her to themselves … loving, caring and supporting her till the end of her days.

Elizabeth Ann Tait’s feelings for her Grandmother are very clear in the Memorium Notices she placed in newspapers, both in Broken Hill and Adelaide, for many years. The notice below is but one example.

Barrier Miner- 9 April 1934, page 2

 MEMORIAM

ROWEN – In loving memory of my
dear grandmother, Susan Rowen, 
who passed away on April 9, 1922, at
Broken Hill.

Always deep down in my heart,
Where love burns bright and true;
There’s a light that will burn forever,
In memory, dear grandmother of you.

Inserted by her loving grand
daughter L.Tait 
~~~~~~~~~ 

FURTHER RESOURCES: http://www.trove.nla.gov.au

Copyright (c) 2012. C.A.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.

~~~~~~~~~

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.

 ~~~~~~~~~ 

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

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.

~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES:  
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