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this is page 1 of The HUNT family of South Australia
... see page 2 of The HUNT family for the continuance of story
The HUNT Family of South Australia (formerly of Northamptonshire, U.K.)
By way of introduction to this genealogical study we may consider the question; why do we wish to embark on such an enterprise in the first place? Some of the answers may be couched in prosaic terms, others poetic; but surely, however we couch them, the foremost drive is curiosity about our forebears; who they were, what they did, the times and conditions under which they lived and the challenges they faced.
Curiosity seems part of the human condition and in general terms may be considered the reason why we survive as a species. We seek answers to problems that threaten our existence and discover and preserve those features which enhance or prolong it.
Curiosity may lead us to study objects/subjects allied to matters which touch upon our own existence, our place in the world, our niche in the continua of time and family. The study of family is therefore possibly the most personal and absorbing of studies when seeking answers to the intriguing question: “Who am I?” This curiosity should not be regarded as self-indulgent, self-obsessed, a luxury, but a valid motivation for study, particularly of family and the conditions under which they lived and indeed shaped the family’s destiny.
There is a thought that goes something like this:
"A family will always have history whether we choose to heed it or not".
Should it remain as hazy recollections, anecdotes, faded names on gravestones, entries in official registers, blurring images in photographs, artefacts? I think not.
However, much worse pertains when that history is never part of one’s consciousness and worst of all when it exemplifies a lack of interest in one’s heritage. The family deserves more than these remnants, lack of curiosity or manifest indifference.
By studying them we honour their memory and contribution to the making of family. Insofar as we accept strengths and failings in ourselves we accept their strengths and failings. As we research and recall their existence we grant them a degree of immortality as we may understand that term. In our imaginations they live again. Some of their contributions will bring a smile to our faces, will allow us to exalt in their victories, sometimes heroic ones. Others we will find distressing, embarrassing and saddening but we can’t change any of these, they all remain in the immutable pages we call “history”.
On a more poetic, perhaps trifle twee level, we can say that family leave their footprints in the drifting sands we call “time”; waiting for us to brush away that sand and retrace those steps; discover, absorb and relive in our imaginations their lives and times. In this way we offer them a degree of respect, immortality and a presence in our day-to-day existence.
House of Names.com records that HUNT is an Anglo-Saxon name.
The name was originally given to a hunter. The HUNT surname is derived from the Old English word hunta, which means hunter.
First found in Shropshire the Hunts held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D. Early records of the name include Humphrey le Hunte, who was the Feat of Fines of
Sussex in 1203; and Ralphe Hunte, listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire of 1219.
I/ The Saxons were an aggregate of Germanic tribes which occupied the north of Germany and along with the Angles, a neighbouring or perhaps overlapping German tribe, entered Britannia during the period called the Dark or Middle Ages from about the fifth century onwards (the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire; the saeculum obscurum). Paradoxically the modern province of Saxony, not to be confused with Old Saxony, was not a Saxon homeland but assumed its title through being ruled at one point by a Saxon duchy.
II/ One relatively recent invention that did much to standardise English spelling was the printing press. Before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name HUNT has appeared include Hunt, Hunter, Huntar.
III/ Feat of Fines or perhaps Feet of Fines was an early form of conveyancing. Initially it appears to have been a form of resolving civil disputes but became a method of transferring freehold property. The agreements were the final accord or fine. The term feet was derived from an agreement being prepared in triplicate on parchment when two replications of the agreement were prepared side-by-side and a third was written underneath hence at the feet of the other two. The three original statements were then separated. The third copy or feet was very likely filed with the Feat of Fines.
(cf., web page “Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy”).
IV/ Assize Rolls were a hand list for the king and were evident around the time of Kings, John and Richard I. (to help with raising revenue or conscription for military service? It possibly saw, if not the beginnings, an accelerated growth of a civil service?)
George HUNT (1806-1874) married Elizabeth PRATT (1814-1881) in December 1833. They arrived in South Australia on 21.11.1849 on the barque, “Ascendant” from London via Plymouth, starting their voyage on the 18.8.1849
(family history sa.info; SA passenger lists).
The couple appears to have had seven children with the first five born in the U.K. The names of the children, in descending order of age: William Thomas, Elizabeth, John Chapman, George, James Edward Yeomans, Martha Ann and George Harry (this last “George” presents as a bit of a mystery in that it gives two of the children the same first name. However from the sketchy records there appears to be some support for this assertion and for the time being this name remains as an unresolved matter in the family history. Perhaps it should have been “Harry George” in the official records).
A number of the above are interred, including the migrant parents, at Magill Cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia. They are buried under the names of HUNT, CAMPION, COLLIVER, EMERY, LAPTHORNE, and PEARCE.
(author’s note: the area now known as Magill was founded by two Scots who subdivided the land in 1838 naming it the village of “Magkill” which included the cemetery and a chapel as part of the development. The chapel was never built but the cemetery eventuated and was donated to the Methodist Church in 1878 (City of Burnside Resident Information).
Speculating further on the second George in the family list, consultation was sought with genealogist, Graham Journay who is adamant that George Harry was the son of George HUNT and Elizabeth PRATT and has suggested a number of explanations why there may have been two children of the same name. He advised that while it was uncommon, this was not so in northern Scotland; secondly, sometimes a sickly child’s name would be repeated down the line but this was not so common; a third possibility is that one of the two Georges was someone else’s child taken up by the family. For example exnuptial children of daughters were sometimes taken on by their mothers and often shared a same first name with other children.
Adding to the mystery here, none of the possibilities raised by Graham would appear to apply because the family was not from northern Scotland, at least directly; all the children appear to have been healthy including the first George in the family list; and the one daughter, Elizabeth, who came close to fitting the exnuptial birth theory was hardly old enough to have conceived (given when menses usually started in girls during the 1800s she would have been merely eleven or twelve years). This latter theory cannot be ruled out however.
There is some suggestion, relayed by Claude HUNT to his daughters that the HUNT family did come from Scotland originally because Inverness was mentioned as a geographical location of this line of the HUNT family. However it is difficult to accept that this early possible Scottish link would have carried the northern Scotland practice of repeating forenames.
It seems that the older George was certainly the son of George HUNT and Elizabeth PRATT in that he is mentioned as the fourth of the family born in the United Kingdom and his name appears in the passenger manifest of the "Ascendant" along with the older, and one younger, HUNT children.
The HUNTS settled in the Adelaide hills.
The Adelaide Hills Council Historical Town Information (AHCHTI) cites the following: “In 1868 (Wikipedia nominates 1858 and this date seems the more likely) George Hunt, senior, subdivided his land and created the township of Ashton in the Adelaide hills. The district’s early population was sparse and most probably centred on the South Australia Company, judging from the early name of Company’s Tiers.”
(Wikipedia suggests that “Ashton” is derived from the word “aesctun” which means ash free town.)
Continuing the AHCHTI quote: "How many George Hunts, at this period, hailed from the same area of Northamptonshire?" There was the one who farmed at Third Creek and was responsible for Ashton’s genesis (named after his origins in an English country town). (author’s note: Third Creek drains through Magill, Tranmere, St Morris, St Peters etc into the Torrens catchment and the Adelaide plain towards the coast. These suburbs are significant for the HUNT family.)
There was his son, George, who prospered as a draper and in the 1880s bought the impressive Tranmere House which stands near the Tranmere Bowling Club.”
(author’s note: the bowling club stands upon land which was once part of the Tranmere estate which according to the Adelaide newspaper “The Advertiser” of Monday 5 June 1916 covered about 67 acres and was originally selected under land grant by Mr. David Wylie … who arrived in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1838 and named it Tranmere after a place of the same name near Liverpool - “Trans” (across), “Mere” (a sea) … Later the property was acquired by the late Mr. G. Hunt who planted it as a garden and built the large residence, “Tranmere”.)
Incidentally “The Advertiser” played a significant role in the life of George as it was the primary vehicle for advertising his drapery business of Hunt, Corry and Co., and reporting on other matters pertaining to the family. For instance, “The Advertiser” of Monday 15 May 1911, reports that Mr. George Hunt who was well known as senior partner in the firm of Hunt, Corry and Co., drapers, died at his residence, “Tranmere”, Magill on Saturday evening. He was 65 years of age… and was in business latterly with the late Mr. Corry opposite the Arcade. Mr. Hunt retired in 1897.
“The Observer, Adelaide” May 20, 1911 p.39 printed an obituary which reads:
Mr. George Hunt, of Tranmere, Magill, died at his residence on Saturday evening at the age of 65 years. He was born at Ashton, Northamptonshire, and arrived with his parents when he was only three years old. His father took up land, and subdivided and named Ashton, in the Mount Lofty Ranges. The son assisted him for several years, but before he had attained his majority he entered into the drapery business in Adelaide. Forty years ago he launched out on his own account, and afterwards went into partnership with the late Mr. Corry. The firm of Hunt, Corry and Co., had four large shops opposite to the Adelaide Arcade, and was one of the most prosperous in Rundle street (sic). Mr. Corry died in 1895, and Mr. Hunt carried the business on for another two years, when he retired and built the mansion at Magill known as Tranmere, which is surrounded by a magnificent garden.
The deceased enjoyed a spotless reputation for business integrity, and his enterprise extended to branches in Northam, Albany, Esperance Bay, and Perth, Western Australia. He was a prominent Methodist. For 20 years he was an office bearer in the Pirie street (sic) church, and was associated with the choir, and for the last 29 years had been identified with the Kent Town church, of which he was a trustee.
Mr. Hunt was twice married, and a widow survives him. The children of the first marriage now living are: Mrs. A. Scrymgour and Mrs E. Cocking, and the surviving members of his second family are Mrs. F. Wilson, Mrs A. Campion, Miss Hunt (author’s note: probably Mabel Gladys), and Master Claude Hunt.”
[author’s note: it would appear that George HUNT “acquired” Tranmere in the early 1890s (c.f., the date above with the AHCHTI which cites 1880s) as his daughter, Edith Guthrie HUNT on the occasion of her wedding in 1890 (see newspaper article on pp 7-8) returned to her parents’ residence at “Hazelholme”, St Peters which is thought to be at 89 Payneham Road. (Number 89 is now called “Dechert House” and is the consulting rooms for four surgeons and a dietitian: source; Denise Schumann, Cultural Heritage Adviser for the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters). “Acquisition” therefore of “Tranmere” would have been in the 1890s. From the above we can deduce that George built the house known as “Tranmere” rather than acquired it as suggested by the AHCHTI.]
Attention is drawn to 1891 as being the point at which Tranmere, the estate, was acquired. There is an advertisement (actually appearing over several weeks) which seems to assist with dates and its acquisition. In “The Advertiser” of 14.12.1891 for instance, there is notification of the auction of Tranmere to be held on the 17.12.1891. The advertisement lists 53 acres for auction. (It is thought that Tranmere was closer to 67 acres. The discrepancy between the two figures remains unresolved at this stage). Peter Matthews, a family researcher, offers that the big land boom of speculative activity was at an end and so the sale was probably the result of someone having to liquidate assets including Tranmere to meet debts. In all likelihood it was bought by George at a bargain price.
AHCHTI, delving into English history, reports that there was another George. “In London, Benjamin Disraeli’s Chancellor of the Exchequer was George Hunt from a well-known family at Wadenhoe, a stone’s throw across the River Nene from the village of Ashton. It poses intriguing questions about the family background of the man who started the Adelaide Hill’s town. By the early 1880s there was a store, post office, church, Rechabite Hall and scattering of homes. Now Ashton, a small hamlet, relies largely on apples and pears for its livelihood…”
George HUNT, the draper, the fourth child of George and Elizabeth, is of particular interest to my wife’s family. He married twice, first to Elizabeth Fea GUTHRIE (1846-1875) and subsequent to her death, Eliza Ann BRUSEY (1854-1912). (Elizabeth seems to have died from complications arising from the birth of her son, Clarence and Eliza possibly from a cerebral haemorrhage).
He had eleven children by his two wives and his youngest child, Claude Leslie HUNT was my wife’s grandfather.
Claude was born in 1894 coincidentally the year that Mary Lee, a campaigner for women’s rights obtained the vote for women in South Australia.
Claude in turn had three daughters by his wife, Mabel Annie RAGGATT.
They were: Zadel Claudia, Patricia Laurel and Claudia Barbara. (Mabel Annie appears to have had five, possibly six children by her first husband, Herbert (Bert) CONWAY: Herbert Charles Archibald ?? (died five days after birth), Mabs (Mabel Teresa Alice) who may have died from a botched induced abortion, Mia (Marie Genevieve), Herbert Vincent ?? (died within the first five days of birth), Desmond and Bonnie (Bonaventure).
More detail is furnished about Mabel Annie in the RAGGATT family history.
(N.B. Bert CONWAY died in 1921, possibly from tuberculosis).
Incidentally 1912, the year of Eliza Ann’s death, was the year that Sir Douglas Mawson led his first Antarctic expedition.
George’s and Elizabeth Fea’s first child was Edith Guthrie HUNT and there is a record of her wedding cited in a document held by the author suggesting that it was reported in a local newspaper called the “Quiz and Lantern” dated 21 November 1890. It reads as follows:
“Miss Edith Hunt, eldest daughter of George Hunt of St Peters married to A.G. Scrymgour (author’s note: Albert George S.) of the Public Works Department. The wedding took place at the Kent Town Wesleyan Church on Wednesday (19 November 1890). (Whoopza daizi, Rootschat source questions this date and records the wedding as occurring a week earlier on the 12.11.1890 which appears to be the correct one. The date of 12.11.1890 was later confirmed in a copy of the couple’s marriage certificate).
The church was very tastefully decorated with flowers and arches. The bride looked charming in a lovely dress of white pongee silk, profusely trimmed with inches of the same material and with orange blossom. She carried a beautiful bouquet.
Bridesmaids were Misses Lily (author’s note: Lillian), Ethel, Blanch (sic) and Hilda Hunt (author’s note: two sisters and a two half-sisters of the bride) and Miss Smith, who were prettily attired in dresses of cream and coral pink nun’s veiling and carried baskets of flowers and floral designs in the shape of horseshoes. Mr Fred Leak was best man, with Mr Wm Gunn and Master Arthur Hunt (author’s note: Edith’s half brother who died aged 26 years in 1906) as groomsmen. Curiously it seems that there were four bridesmaids and three groomsmen.
After the ceremony the bridal party and guests returned to the bride’s residence, Hazelholme, St Peters, where the breakfast was laid out.
After disposing of the usual toasts, the party adjourned to the St Peters Town Hall, where they were joined by a large number of friends, and the small hours of the morning were reached before the company dispersed. (author’s note: the St Peters Town Hall’s foundation stone was laid in 1885 so the hall was a mere five years old when Edith and Albert had their post wedding party there).
A large number of beautiful presents were laid out, including a handsome clock from the old members of the Austral Cricket Club, with whom the bridegroom was for many years associated. The happy couple leaves for a trip to Melbourne and Sydney.”
(There was a publication called The Lantern in the mid to late 1800s.
And South Australia, past and present for the future reports that in 1882 the Adelaide Punch was taken over by the Lantern. Quiz founded in 1889 was a satirical, social and sporting journal which absorbed the Lantern and continued to 1930.)
This marriage was not to last. Unlike contemporary “no fault” divorce laws, the laws at that time required “grounds” for divorce; desertion and adultery being two prominent “grounds”. It seems that Albert George violated his legal and moral commitments on both counts although the deed of separation that the couple signed seems to have clouded judgement in the matter.
Michael Barber, a Scrymgour family researcher, has uncovered some divorce court reports in the “West Australian” newspaper in the years 1914 and 1915. It appears that the marriage had failed before 1906 at which point the couple parted under a deed of separation. The deed appears to have become a legal bone of contention in subsequent proceedings.
The reports in the “West Australian” are quoted here in chronological order:
Wednesday 13 May 1914: DIVORCE COURT, UNDEFENDED CASES.
Several petitions for divorce were dealt with by Mr Justice Northmore in the Supreme Court yesterday and in each case there was no appearance for the respondent. Edith Guthrie Scrymgour applied for the dissolution of her marriage with Albert George Scrymgour on the grounds of desertion and adultery. Sir Walter James, K.C. who appeared for the petitioner, stated, that the parties were married on November 18 1891 at Kent Town South Australia and there were two children, a girl and a boy, now aged about 18 years and 15 years respectively. In July, 1906, the husband and wife, who were then living in Western Australia, parted under a deed of separation, the respondent agreeing to make certain payments. These were continued until August 1909, since when no money had been received by the petitioner. Evidence was given by the petitioner in support of the application and she stated that at the “time the deed of separation was drawn up the respondent was living in adultery with another woman”. His Honour said that the circumstances surrounding the separation were somewhat peculiar in as much as the relationship of the respondent with the other woman seemed to have been connived at by both parties. The hearing of the petition was adjourned till the following morning.
The second to last sentence in the above report quoted from His Honour is cause for some surprise. One would have thought that adultery was clear cut whether or not the petitioner was aware and “connived”, as alleged so read on.
Thursday 14 May 1914: DIVORCE COURT.
In the Divorce Court yesterday morning Mr Justice Northmore dealt further with two petitions for dissolution of marriage, the hearing of which had been adjourned on the previous day. In the case of Edith Guthrie Scrymgour against Albert George Scrymgour, the application was dismissed on the ground that the petitioner had, when she had become party to a deed of separation and agreed to accept maintenance money, connived at the adultery which she had alleged against the respondent. His Honour’s ruling seems somewhat strange in that, deed of separation aside, Albert George had disregarded and contravened the conditions of the marriage contract when he had chosen to live with a woman not his wife. He was also in breach of his marriage vows although this is likely to be more a moral issue than a legal one. But not being familiar with the Marriage Act or its equivalent in Western Australia at the time I am not able to question the judgement further. It would appear from the judgement that the deed took precedence over other factors that might be thought relevant to apportioning responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage and issuing a divorce decree. Any actions subsequent to the split, such as the deed of separation, appear to have reduced the onus on the court to attribute or apportion responsibility for the separation and in fact to make any further determination in the matter. This situation obviously worked against the petitioner seeking to conclude the matter, with the court claiming that in accepting maintenance payments, she was conniving in the adultery. One would hardly have thought that Edith was doing anything of the sort but merely trying to ameliorate the impact of the marriage breakdown on herself and the children by being party to the deed and accepting maintenance payments.
However the following year the matter again came before the court.
Friday 14 May 1915: DIVORCE COURT, UNFINISHED CASES.
The May sittings of the Divorce Court were continued yesterday before Mr Justice Rooth. Scrymgour vs Scrymgour. Edith Guthrie Scrymgour petitioned for a divorce from Albert George Scrymgour on the ground of desertion. She was represented by Sir Walter James K.C. The petitioner stated that she married the respondent in 1890 in South Australia. There were two children of the marriage. At one time her husband admitted misconduct with a Mrs Green. Witness tried to put an end to this relationship, but did not succeed, and in 1906 a deed of separation was drawn up. The respondent had practically deserted her, simply visiting her occasionally for meals. For a time the respondent was keeping a home for Mrs Green, in North Perth. In 1907 the petitioner returned to South Australia. The respondent in August 1909, stopped his payments under the deed of separation. He was still living with Mrs Green, and since 1909 witness and her children had been kept by her parents. Since the death of the parents she had been living on a legacy.
Sir Walter stated that the petitioner brought an action for divorce in May last year on the ground of adultery, but Mr Justice Northmore held that the separation deed was a bar. The decision, however, was without prejudice to the petitioner’s right to apply for a divorce on the ground of desertion. He maintained that desertion had taken place in 1909, when the respondent refused to pay maintenance. The respondent had disregarded the deed by living with the petitioner after the execution of the deed, and the Court should therefore disregard it.
His Honour: “it seems that the respondent, by paying maintenance, had set the deed up again.” The hearing was then adjourned to enable further witnesses to be called.
An unusual situation to say the least. However by December of 1915 the matter was resolved in the sense that a divorce was granted.
Wednesday 8 December 1915: DECREES ABSOLUTE.
Applications for decrees absolute were granted in respect of the following suits…Edith Guthrie Scrymgour (petitioner), Albert George Scrymgour (respondent)…
It is not possible to assess what went awry with the marriage and it would be easy to label Albert George a cad but relationships are complex matters so a fair judgement cannot be reached. We have the armchair opportunity of looking back over events that occurred 100 years ago but given that there were five years between the marriage and the birth of the first child we are left with the question of whether intimacy in the relationship was wanting or there was an issue of fecundity. Given that we are not aware of any miscarriages before the birth of their son, Leslie, a lack of intimacy seems the more likely and could have been a significant issue, the reasons for which are not for us to know.
However there is a little more to Albert George than just this matter and these tend to suggest that he was subject to temptations in the presence of which he suspended the usual scruples that regulate behaviours within a civil society. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement in 1892, not long after he married. “The Advertiser” newspaper reported on some sittings in the criminal jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in which Albert was implicated. His case is reported as follows:
Friday 5 August 1892: SUPREME COURT - CRIMINAL SITTINGS.
Mr Justice Bundey presiding: on Thursday Albert George Scrymgour pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzling 26 pounds, the property of Her Majesty’s Government. The Hon. C.C. Kingston Q.C., appeared to defend.
Mr. Kingston called evidence as to the character borne by the prisoner. His Worship the Mayor of Adelaide, said that he had known prisoner for 20 years and he had always borne the very highest character. Similar testimony was given by the Rev. F.W. Cox, Mr. H. Hampton, and Mr. G. Hunt the last-named being his father-in-law. He said he was an honest young man and a kind and loving husband. Mr Kingston said he invited his Honour’s most careful consideration of the prisoner’s case. No sadder case had occupied the attention of the court for a long time past than that in which his Honour was now asked to perform the concluding act. Prisoner was a young man under 30 years of age, only lately married, whose exemplary conduct was testified to by witnesses with whom he was brought into daily contact during his official life. He did not call the latter because his honour had their evidence on the depositions, but their evidence in brief was that Scrymgour had been 14 years in the public service, was a faithful clerk , and he regretted to have to add who in a moment of temptation had yielded and had applied to his own ends money which should have been handed over to the government. Mr. Peter Whitington, who gave evidence in the court below, stated that prisoner had always been correct in his accounts up to this unfortunate lache. Then Mr. John Mann, Secretary to the Commissioner of Public Works, had stated that the amount of the deficiency was left at the office by the prisoner on the day following that on which it was taken. As against the yielding to a sudden temptation he asked his Honour to set, 14 years of faithful service to the employers whom he had wronged in a weak moment, the fact that there was no attempt at concealment, and that reparation was made within 12 hours of the time the deficiency being discovered. The money was returned on the following morning and prisoner had left the colony under the impression that nothing more would be heard of the matter. When he found that this was not the case he returned of his own free will and gave himself up to the police in order that his case might be considered by the proper authorities. He asked that the provisions of the Act dealing with first offenders might be applied in this case and he left the matter in the hands of his Honour.
His Honour said Mr. Kingston had made an earnest appeal and with much of what he had said he agreed, because Mr. Kingston was warranted in giving utterance to what he had by the evidence. He, however had a public duty to perform and the difficulty that beset him was the fact that prisoner was in the public service. Of course he had the power to apply the Act, but he had to remember he was in the public service, and he had to be careful as regarded making a precedent. Of course were it a private prosecution the case would be different. He would however consult his learned colleague the Chief Justice to see if he agreed with the view of the case he took. It was a question as to whether he could allow public servants to take advantage of the Act. He would sentence the prisoner on Tuesday next.
Tuesday 10 August 1892, page 3:
The adjourned matter of Albert George Scrymgour was disposed of. In short his Honour said he felt that he could not apply the Act to this case, but under common law he found that he had the power to postpone sentence, and that was the course he had decided to follow. He would therefore order prisoner to procure one surety and to enter into his own recognizance to come up for sentence when called upon. It would therefore be prisoner’s own fault if he appeared before the court again.
Scrymgour then entered into the customary bond and was released.
We can conclude that Albert George’s career in the public service was now ended and that a move to Western Australia was “offered” to him for a fresh start. It is not possible to assess what effect this episode had on Albert’s and Edith’s marital relationship but certainly the issue of trust would have weighed in there somewhere as well as the public embarrassment that the HUNTS and SCRYMGOURS would have felt having their names appear on page 3 of “The Advertiser” for the worst of reasons and the need to put the matter (and the perpetrator) out of sight and out of mind as quickly as possible.
It could be that Albert George harboured some resentment at having become the recipient of gratuitous “charity” from anxious HUNTS and SCRYMGOURS which made him feel a little indebted and demeaned. This could also have coloured his relationship with Edith Guthrie. What Albert was employed doing in Western Australia is not known but he may have been employed at Hunt, Corry and Co. There is no certainty regarding this. What is known is that his son Leslie George was born there in 1895.
It seems that the marriage openly faltered around 1905. Albert George developed a relationship with Mrs Green and we can speculate that this extramarital relationship commenced before going “public” in1905. The marriage as indicated was finally dissolved in 1915 when the decree absolute was granted by the court.
It would appear that Edith and the children returned to South Australia in 1909 and moved into Tranmere with her parents and half brother Claude Leslie.
It seems that any image or reference to Albert George was expunged from the family records and all that can be offered at this stage are photos of his father and grandfather.
V/ Michael Barber relays some interesting connections with respect to the Woods’ name. Helen Catherine’s father was John Joseph Aloysius Woods. John Joseph was three times mayor of Norwood. He was very active in municipal life for some 32 years in Payneham and Norwood retiring in 1939. He was president of the National Football Council, secretary of the Norwood Football club for 20 years, played for Norwood between 1881 and 1893, was an umpire for six years, metropolitan commissioner for Boy Scouts and state commissioner for 12 months. For 29 years he was treasurer of the Norwood branch of the District and Bush Nursing Society, chairman of the Norwood High School Committee and The East Torrens Destructor Trust. John Joseph died in 1952
John Joseph’s uncle was Father Julian Edmund Tenison Woods who along with Sr (now Saint Mary of the Cross) Mary McKillop founded the Sisters of St Joseph. Fr Woods’ lesser well known interests were as a distinguished amateur scientist, explorer and writer. To learn more about Fr Woods read the book Quiet Women by T.R. Boland which is about him and the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
More about the Scrymgours on Barber’s website. Link The Scrymgours
Michael continues with a number of personal coincidences which have him living in Bonython, ACT, (a SA connection through the suburb’s name) for a period, living near Tenison Woods Crescent and both of his sons attended Mary MacKillop Catholic College.
A photo of herself was in the form of a postcard sent to Leslie George by his mother, Edith Guthrie 5.5.1914. She seems to be wearing a ring on her ring finger. Could this be her wedding ring? Her divorce was not absolute until December 1915 and Edith remarried in 1917.
In 1917 Edith Guthrie married Henry Charles Wilson PEARCE at Unley Baptist Church 16.4.1917. They were both 46 years. Edith’s and Albert’s children, Leslie and Lillian would have been 22 and 17 years respectively when Edith remarried. She had no further issue.
The memorandum was forwarded by Edith Guthrie (now Pearce) to the military authorities while her son, Leslie was a serving in an artillery brigade/regiment. Edith died in 1920 and Albert in Rosanna, Victoria, aged 89 years in 1946 (whoopza daizi: Rootschat;Vic. registration number 2332). Edith was buried under the name of PEARCE at Magill cemetery.
A second marriage for Edith at this time, in a church or perhaps in the minister’s study, raises some interesting questions. Mainstream churches usually frowned upon divorcees marrying and some churches observed a code whereby they would refuse to undertake solemnisation. Only in exceptional circumstances would a religious officiate. The exceptional circumstance in Edith’s case could have been that the grounds for the divorce were not attributable to her. This issue of circumstances has been canvassed already.
I depart from the HUNT family story briefly to explore the SCRYMGOUR connections and particularly Albert’s and Edith’s children and grandchildren. The main sources for this information are whoopzi daizi: Rootschat and Mike Barber.
Albert’s parents were George (William?) and Barber states mother was Charlotte Juliana Poole although my records suggest that William married a Mary (surname unknown). Albert’s and Edith’s first child was Leslie George born 3.11.1895 in Western Australia. He died 3.1.1973 in South Australia.
Leslie George (b. 3.11.1895 d. 3.1.1973) married (21.1.1922) Helen Catherine Sybil WOODS (b. 18.11.1897 d. 18.8.1970 in South Australia). The couple had a daughter, Shirley Helen born 30.9.1928, Maylands SA.
Shirley married Harold Raymond BARBER, born 20.9.1925 and had three children, Carolyn Helen, Michael David and Kerry Ann.
Albert’s and Edith’s second child was Lillian Hilda Marguerite born 5.5.1900, died 9.7.1952 possibly in Victoria. Lillian married Archibald Edway HEATH (born about 1898) on the 23.8.1922 at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Kent Town, SA. They had one child, Elaine Edith Patricia born 6.3.1927, (Evandale?) but more likely Burnside, SA (ibid). Elaine married twice: first to Norman Henry MOSS by whom she had one child, Cheryl Elaine born 31.5.1947 in Victoria and secondly to Dean Pearce SMITH by whom she had Deanne Rosemary, born 18.4.1949 also in Victoria.
Returning to the HUNT history and George’s business, “The Advertiser” of Monday April 1 1889 lists an advertisement by Hunt, Corry & Company. Wholesale Drapers and Importers 112, 114, 116 Rundle Street and LONDON. A later advertisement in “The Advertiser” adds 118 to the business address and later still lists business branches at Perth, Esperance Bay, Albany and Northam, Western Australia (“The Advertiser”: George HUNT’S death notice in the PERSONAL column; 15 May 1911).
In the last decade of the nineteenth century Hunt, Corry and Co., expanded significantly in WA. “The Western Australian” newspaper of 24 April 1897, on page 6, reports the calling of tenders to build two shops at Northam for Messrs Hunt, Corry and Co., of Adelaide. This expansion into WA may well have been a shrewd move on the part of the company. A number of drapery and clothing businesses has set up in the central business district and inner suburbs of Adelaide and regularly advertised on page one of “The Advertiser”. Notwithstanding Adelaide’s and South Australia’s increasing population and vibrant rural sector the competition among businesses would likely have been keen.
As “The Advertiser” archives have become readily accessible through its digital format storage, the newspapers from 1889 have facilitated the search of a number of drapery company names during the decade 1889-1900. A few of these companies traded well into the twentieth century. Some of the larger companies in 1894 were: James Marshall and Co., Chas. Birk and Co., Peter Smith and Co. (late R.N. Gault and Co.), Chas. Moore and Co., Craven and Armstrong’s, J.T. Fitch, Hunt, Corry and Co., Shierlaw and Co., Martin Bros., J. Miller Anderson and Co., F. Smith and Co.
The Aldine History of South Australia Illustrated (in two volumes1890) by W. Frederic Morrison M.A., M.D. Vol II “Sydney and Adelaide” by the Aldine publishing Company (archived in the Mortlock Library of SA) provides a biographical sketch of George HUNT and his drapery business. Page 745 records the following:
"HUNT, CORRY & CO., Wholesale and Retail Drapery Warehouse, 112-114-116-118 Rundle Street, Adelaide".
This business was established by Mr. George Hunt in June 1871. He was a native of Northamptonshire, England, and arrived in the colony as early as 1845, when only three years old, so that it will be seen he is not only an old colonist but one of the successful men of South Australia. He has resided in this city ever since his arrival, with the exception of a trip to the old country, some eight years ago, when he visited some of the principal cities and historic places, combining business with pleasure. He visited some of the best manufacturing establishments of the old world, specially some of the lace and glove factories, in which the firm deal largely. From a small beginning this business has grown to be one of the principal houses in South Australia. Owing to the increase of business Mr. Hunt took one of his old employees, Mr. Samuel Corry, into partnership some four years ago, since which time the business has been known in connection with the firm’s name we mention above. The prominent feature of this house is that the firm buy and sell for cash only. The premises are centrally situated, and are lofty, well let, and comprises four separate shops, joined by archways, and, to give some idea of the business, about fifty or sixty hands are employed in all branches in connection with which a drapery house is taken up, such as tailoring, dressmaking, etc. While Mr. Hunt was home he established a business connection in London, which is now being carried on in Moorfield Chambers, Finsbury Pavement, E.C., and through which all his importations now come. During Mr. Hunt’s visit abroad he had the pleasure of taking a cup of coffee with Arabi Pasha in Ceylon.”
The premises of Hunt, Corry and Co., occupied the area bounded by Charles Street and almost to the arcade known these days as the Renaissance Arcade which is adjacent to and east of the Richmond Hotel. (this hotel was known as the “Plough and Harrow” during the days of George’s drapery business). On old site maps of the CBD of Adelaide the drapery business occupied “acres 40 and 41”.
Two historical notes are: first that horse drawn trams were in use in Adelaide in the 1890s and one branch line extended into Rundle Street past the Hunt, Corry and Co., premises and secondly in 1894 the state parliament extended the vote to woman. It is left for us to wonder how women’s suffrage and the emergence of a workers’ party would have changed the mood in the retail industry given that many employees would have been women and were now given a legitimate voice all the way to the parliament.
Another aside to this account is that two Adelaide companies, mentioned in the family history, trade to this day: Jackman and Treloar; property developers who developed the Tranmere estate into a residential and light commercial suburb have a real estate agency at Unley and Messrs Pengelly and Knabe; funeral directors who arranged the funeral of Mrs John LAPTHORNE (Lillian Maude HUNT). (Pengelly and Knabe are now part of the Blackwell Funeral Provider Group). (author’s note: Mr. Treloar was a trustee of the Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church at the same time as George).
It is worthwhile recounting Lillian’s funeral. There is an article in “The Advertiser” 19 February 1895 concerning the funeral which provides some hints into the social standing of the family. It is clear the HUNTS were a well-known, if not prominent Adelaide family although it is also the case that they would not have been considered one of the “establishment” families (more on this theme later). A number of factors about the funeral attest to the HUNTS’ prominence which adds to the comments cited previously from newpapers and journals.
First, the cortege is recorded as comprising a very large number of vehicles and that they proceeded from George’s home at St Peters (the move to Tranmere had not yet been made). Secondly, that among the many tributes of affection was a beautiful wreath from the assistants of Messrs. Hunt, Corry and Co., by whom she was much esteemed (given that many of these assistants would have had only a fleeting personal association with Lillian we can assume their tribute and turn-of-phrase was code for acknowledging someone considered very important socially). Thirdly, there were two officiating clergy, The Revs. J. Haslam and T. Lloyd. Fourthly, apologies were received from many who were unable to attend. Fifthly, there is a considerable list identifying chief mourners and a further list identifying many who gathered around the grave.
Some of the people who attended the funeral are listed in the newspaper article. Chief mourners included Lillian’s husband John, the Hunt family, Mrs. Lapthorne (mother-in-law), Mrs. Leaver and Miss Lapthorne sisters-in-law), N. Leaver (niece), Mr. D. Fea sen., (probably Lillian’s maternal grandfather), Messrs. John, David and James Fea (probably cousins), Joseph and S. Emery (uncles?). Other people mentioned are Messrs. S. Corry (the partner in Hunt, Corry and Co.), R. Knowles, E. Briston, C. Hannan, F. Ochernal, R. Daws, G. Crocker Smith, V.O. and R. Cheek, R. Rowe, P. Barlow, E. Glover, W. Lapthorne, C. Ernst, Haynes and Witty, Mesdames Daws, Johnston, Rowe, Haynes, Booker and Lloyd and the Misses Thomas and Rowe.
An observation can be made with regard to the terminology and role of those involved in the funereal business compared with the same service industry today and the public expectations during and for the period following the funeral. Pengelly and Knabe at the time of Lillian’s funeral advertised their services as those of “Undertakers and Embalmers”. The term “undertaker” is probably now considered archaic and obsolete and one notes that this service industry nowadays seems to prefer the name and descriptor “Funeral Directors”. While I have not made a detailed comparative study it is my guess that in earlier times undertakers collected the body and prepared it for burial, embalmed it, provided the coffin and hearse. The funeral service would be held in a church with a religious conducting the service. The coffin would often leave from their former place of residence to the place of interment. The coffin would travel, leading a procession, to the place of burial. A “wake” at the deceased’s home or that of a close relative may follow. The family would be responsible for making the ancillary arrangements. Burial would occur within a short period following death.
Funeral directors on the other hand seem to have assumed a much wider role and will organise the funeral’s every detail if called upon. Some of the changes have been driven by occupational health and safety requirements while others have been driven by changes in client expectations and marketing considerations.
Funeral premises have cold rooms where bodies may be held, sterile rooms with stainless steel benches upon which bodies are prepared. Bereaved families are offered a range of coffins and caskets which vary in price, construction materials and elaboration. Some coffins are now made of wickerwork or even a form of cardboard.
With the advances in storage technology, bodies may be held for weeks before interment/cremation. The funeral company’s premises usually incorporate a chapel, viewing rooms and a parlour or lounge where light refreshments are served following the service. The service may be conducted by a celebrant other than a religious and indeed often by one of the funeral company’s own celebrants. At the conclusion of the service the coffin/casket may be lowered “interred” in a cavity in the chapel created by having a shallow walled section at the front or the coffin/casket is received into a hole in the front wall of the chapel screened with a curtain until the “interment” takes place with the coffin being conveyed on a moving belt.
The coffin may not be accompanied to the place of burial or increasingly, cremation. Funeral directors may also supply a bereavement counselling service.
Of significance is the shift in emphasis in the funeral service itself. In current times the service is more focussed on the celebration of a life rather than a sombre occasion with a formal liturgy, lamenting a loss and beseeching the Almighty to receive the soul of the departed. Blackwell Funerals, for instance, presently advertises in the following vein: “Slow down. Take time to celebrate a loved one’s life. We will give you that time.” (advertisement on the rear of a Torrens Transit bus, 2011).
The formal dress of funeral directors has also shifted from the days of “morning suits” and the wearing of black or dark clothing at the funeral. For example, note the White Lady Funerals (having women in the industry is a major shift in itself and with women now members of institutes or societies of embalmers) where the celebrants wear white clothing and brown Akubra hats.
A formal period of mourning has also been dispensed with when in earlier times it was expected that “widow’s weeds” or dark clothing in some cultures would be worn for a period following the death of a family member.
Who attends funerals nowadays also reflects a change in that children once would routinely be excluded from the funeral. It was thought perhaps emotionally harmful for children to be confronted so starkly with the prospect of death.
Subsequent to the above entries, an article has appeared in “The Advertiser” weekend magazine of the 28.8.2010 entitled “Till Death Us Do Party” which validates much of the above comment and adds more perspective on current practice.
A droll entry in “The Advertiser” cartoon section (2010) has a person asking a funeral director what the most important thing is he’s learned in all his years in the business. The funeral director’s reply is that life is truly priceless, death however is usually around six to seven grand (Wizard of Id).
Nothing is known about how George met and courted his two wives. To understand how he may have met Elizabeth Fea Guthrie and Eliza Ann Brusey we would need to be privy to where the respective families lived in relation to each other, who the neighbours were, the friendship group, what religious and other affiliations they had in common and so on. Given that South Australia was probably influenced by the standards and practices of Victorian Britain, courtship would likely have been a supervised affair, either with an adult chaperone or the constant presence of children from the respective families.
In the case of the courtship of Eliza Ann, the courtship would probably not have followed formal practice given that George was a mature aged widower with children.
Morbidity and mortality rates are also issues of interest, particularly when considering them against today’s corresponding data. It will be noted that death by the age of sixty or younger was common. Women were exposed to the relatively hazardous experiences associated with pregnancy, perinatal and postnatal periods. Infant and early childhood morbidity and mortality rates were also much higher than are evident these days. Many men were subject to problems which would today be regarded as lifestyle related (over indulgence in rich food/poor diet, liquor and tobacco smoking).
The HUNTS were exposed to the same pathological conditions that other people of the time faced. George’s first wife died at the age of 29 years and his son Clarence at just four months. His daughters, Lillian and Maude, seem to have died within the first year or so of marriage, possibly through complications during pregnancy or perinatal misadventure.
William Thomas HUNT’S wife Mary Ann died before the age of 30 and Chapina Elizabeth Lucy COLLIVER (nee HUNT), George’s niece, died at the age of 23 years. Her infant son, Alfred had died three months earlier.
Much could be recounted about the tragedies that beset the early colonists but the dates and comments on their epitaphs testify as eloquently as any other statements to the realities of life and death during the first 80 years or so of settlement.
Tim Lloyd writing in The Advertiser p. 67, 7.1.2012 noted that the population of South Australia in 1912 was 430,000 which was 9% of Australia’s population; in 2012 it was 7.3%. Tim further noted that deaths were 4300 but outstripped by the 12,000 births. However the first five years of life in SA were dangerous for newborns-345 didn’t make the first month and nearly 1000 didn’t make it to five years. An aside is that of the 12,000 births, 572 were exnuptial. Conception outside of marriage was probably much higher but hasty marriages were likely arranged to minimise the scandal and family embarrassment.
Another aside that Tim Lloyd adds is that older men up to the age of 68 sired children from much younger mothers, down to the age of 13.
What were the risks that people faced during this time and what has changed that has allowed us to enjoy longer life expectancies? Infections such as diphtheria, measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis, tetanus were ever present. Care for women during pregnancy and following birth was limited by the medical knowledge of the day.
What changed the mortality and morbidity rates were a combination of factors such as a vastly increased knowledge of human physiology, pathogens, pathologies which translated to more effective public health measures such as access to clean water, better disposal of human waste, vaccination campaigns, public education on diet, hygiene, the importance of exercise, the risks of tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
Added to this knowledge were improved surgical and pharmacological interventions.
These factors gave rise to more effective medical diagnosis and treatments, efficient sterilisation of surgical instruments, better antiseptic conditions in homes and hospitals, the advent of antibiotics, better knowledge of diet/nutrition, risk factors to health generally; some focus on disease and accident prevention in addition to those already mentioned such as screening for early diagnosis of preventable or formerly fatal conditions (such as cancers, cardio vascular disease), blood pressure checks, better understanding of food storage and preparation, an understanding of the need to maintain oral hygiene (including regular dental check-ups) to reduce periodontal infections which up until that point put people at risk of septicaemia and kidney failure if not treated. A better management of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and so on.
A greater emphasis on safety in working environments also emerged and enshrined in legislation. This reduced markedly the risks in the workplace of injury and mortality.
Returning to the HUNTS’ story a further quote may attest to two factors; the HUNT’S standing in the community and that some of the HUNT family still occupied Tranmere in 1913. “The Advertiser” 10 March 1913 in the PERSONAL COLUMN reports that Mr. Claud (sic) L. Hunt of “Tranmere” Magill, returned by the express on Sunday, after a holiday in Sydney. It is reasonable to infer that to rate a mention in the personal column indicated that there was some community interest in the comings and goings of the HUNT family and in this instance, the teenager, Claude. A second inference is that some of George HUNT’S children continued to reside at Tranmere; these probably being Claude, his half-sister Edith Guthrie SCRYMGOUR and her two children after the death of their parents.
As we probably identify many of the phases of our lives through the people intimately associated with us, the occupations we pursue and the homes we live in this is an appropriate juncture to sketch a little more about George’s homes, Hazelholme and Tranmere House and estate.
These two homes are referred to because they are recorded as residences of George and his family. Other addresses of George, his parents and siblings are unknown at this stage although suburbs are mentioned in both South Australia and Victoria where family members were, and are, located.
As indicated on page 6, Denise Schumann, Cultural Heritage Advisor for the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters has suggested that number 89 Payneham Road was Hazelholme.
Hazelholme is typical of the villa style that later became known as federation architecture. The style was around in the late Victorian era from about 1890 onwards. The lounge occupies a front room off the central passage and has a bay window which supplies a wide view of what would once have been the front garden probably laid out in a set of formal garden beds. The verandah shelters the front door and the window that would have looked out from the householder’s bedroom.
Hazelholme is quite large by villa standards but it is not hard to deduce that it would have been somewhat cramped given the number of children that the HUNTS had with the first, Edith Guthrie, only moving out when she married in 1890. Given these conditions plus the HUNTS increasing prosperity and the acquisition of Tranmere estate there would have been the scope and incentive to build something a little more spacious and so the planning, construction and move to Tranmere in the middle to late 1990s.
HUNT descendants have maintained an interest in Tranmere, born perhaps of proprietorial feelings, a curiosity about what happened (the dynamic) within the HUNT family in the first two decades of the twentieth century that appears to have had a contingent impact on the destiny of Tranmere. This interest extends to its changing ownership, its phases of interior reconstruction (eg. multiple living areas ie, flats) and the subdivision of the estate.
The evidence of this continuing interest lies in the family collection of photographs, newspaper articles, interior development plans, real estate sales notices, visits by contemporary members of the HUNT family to the property (with accompanying photographs) and reference books which describe the grandeur of Tranmere.
Zadel HOWELL-PRICE (nee HUNT, Claude Leslie’s daughter) has a collection of newspaper cuttings and photographs. A Louise Chappell water colour of Tranmere and a framed photograph are hanging on the study wall. The photograph provides an excellent view of Tranmere’s frontage; the approach from Magill Road with its tree-lined path. (the picture would have been taken about 1912-13).
Claudia HOWELL-PRICE (nee HUNT, N.B. sisters married brothers) has a watercolour of Tranmere hanging on the wall of her passage way; it is of Tranmere in the late evening silhouetted against the night sky from the south west (from Kings Grove) and is portrayed with lights shining from some of the rooms.
Of particular interest is a copy of the original Jackman and Treloar pamphlet held by Zadel outlining the proposal for four superior flats to be constructed within the mansion.
Mention of Tranmere can also be found in the following references:
“The Advertiser” Friday December 30 page 14, 1983 an article by Nigel Hopkins entitled: “Homes ‘loves labours to a former glory’”. This article describes Tranmere’s restoration by one dedicated individual.
“The Advertiser” circa 1955 advertises that “Historic Home to be Sold - auction on September 29 - 62 years old house owned by Mrs. J. A. Clarke of Reynella – bought 1917 by Jackman and Treloar.
“Australia’s Yesterdays”: A Look at Our Recent Past’, Readers Digest Services Pty. Ltd., 1974. (the feature photograph in this article is of Tranmere)
“The Weekend Australian” April 27-28, p 21, 2002, article by Peter Ward entitled “The Top 100 Homes, Australia’s Most Expensive Houses: 100 Top Sales since January 2001”.
“Weekend Australian” June 28 1997, article titled “Where’s the maid?” in a column called Home Truths by Maurice Dunlevy. The article describes Tranmere shortly for sale.
Mike Barber has quoted the following which appears to be an official listing drawing upon a number of sources:
Tranmere House, 3-5 Kings Grove, Tranmere, SA
List: Register of the National Estate
Legal Status: Indicative Place
Place ID: 17186
Place File No: 3/03/004/0005
Nominator’s Statement of Significance: Historically, Tranmere House is significant as it is an excellent example of the mansions built by wealthy Adelaide businessmen in the 1880s and 1890s during the expansion of the residential suburbs of the city. Architecturally, the item is important because it represents the peak of late nineteenth century mansion architecture. Stylistically it is a transition from the Italianate to the Queen Anne styles. Environmentally, Tranmere House is important because it establishes and maintains the turn of the century character of the area. It is a major landmark on the eastern side of Adelaide.
Official Values: Not available
Description: This exuberant design for a mansion was obviously designed to impress and its designer appears to have been unrestrained with his choice of styles and application of embellishment. The front façade is dominated by a centre square, three level tower and with two level octagonal ones at the ends. All towers are capped by ornamental domes and spires. Constructed of rendered masonry with skilfully executed joinery and sheet metal work to spires. The interior is grand and spacious ornamentation more austere than outside. Its representation is an excellent example of the grand mansion design. A hallmark for the transition period between Italianate and Queen Anne styles.
History: not available (author’s note: this narrative provides some history)
Condition and Integrity: In need of general maintenance and repair but structurally sound.
Location: 3-5 Kings Grove, Tranmere.
Bibliography: J.T. Leaney “Campbelltown 1868-1968” Corporation of Campbelltown 1968
SAA: MRG 53/1 Assessment Books, Corporation of Campbelltown, Hectorville Ward. Boothby’s South Australian Directories 1891-2-3 E & R Jensen:“Colonial Architecture in South Australia” (Adelaide 1980)
According to Mary Broughton, Tranmere House at 3 Kings Grove was colloquially known as “Hunt’s Castle” (“The Chronicle”, July 5, 1974, p.35). It had 18 main rooms plus basement rooms and was considered one of South Australia’s biggest and most ornate residences. The veranda facings had magnificent wrought iron lacework. The house had three levels, marble fireplaces, a sweeping cast iron staircase, stained glass and five metre high ceilings. The area it covered was 3,650 square metres (this being the total floor area?).
It would appear that Broughton’s dimensions of Tranmere are at variance with one other description. “The Advertiser” Real Estate section of Saturday June 28, 1997 p.9 has an advertisement by Bernard H. Booth, real estate agent which invites enquiries. The feature article is entitled “Tranmere Mansion passes the test of time” in a column called Open House by Marie Sulda who says the property was divided into ten flats in the early 1900s but later restored. (The original plan was for four “superior residential flats” and the pamphlet, mentioned previously, was issued for that development) The “…wide sweeping cedar staircase over three levels has iron lacework panels and ceilings seven metres high…” Given that real estate agents would need to be careful with specifications this latter description is probably closer to the mark.
An advertisement for the sale of Tranmere (late 1961) which gives some idea of its size.
The surrounding grounds occupied 67 acres (or 53 acres cf. p.6). It was a substantial property by any measure and was laid out in gardens and orchards tended by a team of gardeners. The source of the following is believed to come from Eric Gunton in a publication “Gracious Homes of Adelaide”, 1983. Brookside, (the neighbouring property to Tranmere) dates back to 1841 and was bought by George HUNT in 1897. Eric writes that George later bought the neighbouring property and built the mansion called Tranmere. Eric seems to have faltered here with his facts as the evidence suggests that George owned and built the mansion well before the purchase of Brookside. Upon George’s death Brookside was sold to Joseph Guidi who was a breeder of race horses.
Before quoting further from Mary Broughton’s regular column in “The Chronicle” we examine who she was. “Mary Broughton” was the pen name of Alison Mary Dolling (1917-2006). She was a teacher and journalist who edited the women’s pages of “The Chronicle” from 1966. Dolling was also “Aunty Dorothy”, editor of the children’s pages of “The Chronicle” from 1970 until the paper closed in 1975.
It seems that Broughton in 1974 was writing or editing a series of articles on the stately homes of Adelaide. In examining these mansions she was also referencing their owners who represented in many cases the “establishment families” who arrived when, or soon after, the colony was founded in 1836.
The first of her articles in the column “Mary Broughton’s Pages for Women Readers” is dated May 17, 1974 p.28: “Australia’s Yesterdays. Colonial Mansions Then and Now”. The second article appeared on July 5, 1974: “People and Places”. However what is more enlightening is that the articles attracted some readers’ responses and they supplied first hand accounts of Tranmere, Brookside and the HUNTS.
There is a response dated October 25, 1974 p.35 to Broughton’s July 5 article by a reader who signed herself “Brigadoon”. “My dear old father died last year (1973) at age 85 years. He was the grandson of David Wylie who was first granted the 67 acres (section 273) and named it after Tranmere, Birkenhead, England where he lived (author’s note: across the Mersey River from Liverpool). Wylie’s uncle, Captain William Scott, MLC. was granted section 274 of 80 acres where he built Brookside.” Brigadoon stated that George HUNT bought Brookside as well which confirms the statement attributed to Eric Gunton.
Brigadoon proceeds to provide a literary sketch of David Wylie. “He was an M.A. graduate of Glasgow University and started one of South Australia’s first schools.” At the time of Brigadoon’s commentary (1974) the school was still standing (and still is at the time of writing this history) in the grounds of Tranmere House and her father would look over the side fence and compare it with the painting that the family held of the “Academy of Learning” which she suggested was a rather grandiose title for the little school with its wooden shingle roof. Brigadoon concluded her correspondence by saying that many of South Australia’s leading men received their training at the academy and that the school flourished from 1837 till 1852 when David Wylie died leaving a widow and large family.
A correspondent signing herself “Marion”, August 16, 1974, p.188 commented that her father was the head gardener at Tranmere and added that the HUNTS kept a jersey stud and took a lot of prizes at the Adelaide Royal Show. Marion also makes reference to a magnolia tree that grew near the house and clearly was quite spectacular.
Broughton’s reply to Marion in “The Chronicle” August 16, 1974 reveals two things about herself: the perfunctory research for her articles on mansions and her lack of personal knowledge upon which to draw conclusions about Tranmere and George HUNT. Broughton writes: “…I had no idea that it’s boundaries (Tranmere’s) extended beyond the creek…Nor do I ever remember as a child seeing the magnolia tree.”
(the following section needs to be reworked/reordered to get a better flow. Also further research is required to either support or refute some of the assertions that have been made (eg search The Chronicle of 1974). Two themes have been attempted here: an outline, particularly of the political, social structure of Adelaide/SA and the use of language by various writers to reinforce the class/social structure in which the HUNT family were raised and also to compare Tranmere with some of the other mansions in the early days of the colony and I guess looking particularly at the language that Broughton used when describing these houses and their owners)
Broughton’s response to Brigadoon on page 35 is intriguing for two reasons; its descriptive content where she compares the two houses, Brookside and Tranmere and secondly her choice of language when describing its owner. Broughton says, “How different in architecture is Brookside with its plain functional lines from the fanciful style of Tranmere House. I believe the latter owed its existence to the successful business enterprise and no doubt grandiose pretensions (author’s italics) of Mr Hunt who ran a city store.”
Broughton did not appear to take the trouble to investigate the extent of George’s business interests and appears to have adopted, at least in part, a title for her series of articles on homes that was in the Readers Digest Services edition of the same year.
The dismissive/pejorative nature of Broughton’s comments in terms of the architecture of Tranmere, its owner, his occupation, his success (his beginnings were humble when he and his family first arrived in the colony i.e., his family did not arrive in the colony with any wealth), and the failure to mention that his “city store” was one of a number, not only in this state but Western Australia and had two, possibly three, storeys plus a ground floor and basement, and covered two city sections, make explicit, the undercurrent of social stratification and the language used to reinforce that stratification.
This stratification characterised Adelaide from its earliest colonial beginnings, even, one might suggest, up to the time that Broughton wrote her column. This topic will be expanded upon later but suffice to say at this point Broughton does not appear to have applied the terms “fanciful” and “grandiose” when referring to the “establishment families” (the people who travelled to the new colony in the relative comfort of a ship’s cabin and were wealthy) and to the mansions they built.
That Tranmere was ornate and grandiose could be regarded as fair comment; “pretentious” and “fanciful”, possibly, but we would have to know more about the character of George or what was in his head at the time to justifiably apply these terms. Would these terms fit other grand homes? Possibly.
Was George ignorant of the establishment families? Very unlikely.
Was George indifferent to the establishment families and their attitudes? Quite possibly. Or was George more openly and deliberately “cocking a snook” to the establishment families? Well, maybe, and if he was, it was with a flourish and like Sir Thomas Lipton mentioned later in this narrative was “going places”.
The author must reveal a prejudice at this point. The view is that architecturally, Tranmere is interesting rather than appealing. The Readers Digest Services book of 1974 (Griffin Press) says of Tranmere House that it was an elaborately turreted Edwardian pile…now divided into flats.
However this author suggests that its spires and frontage would appear to owe as much to the architecture of the Indian subcontinent than to other sources of inspiration (although not discounting the influence of British architecture on buildings on the subcontinent). If it is possible to be so, the house looks somewhat incongruous in its setting. Perhaps George was impressed with the buildings around him when he took coffee with Arabi Pasha in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In terms of mansions its exterior bears little resemblance to anything else that was constructed then or since although the interior design would have been found in most gracious homes of the period with its central staircase, rooms radiating off the entrance hallway, wrought iron lacework and stained glass windows.
The Readers Digest Services book of 1974 in the citing above had a chapter “House and Home” and a section called “Mansions of Yesteryear” and subtitled “some castles crumble, others are converted”. As indicated earlier the feature photograph was of Tranmere in its earliest years when the grounds were still being established.
In terms of unique style it could be compared with Adare “Castle” which is situated on the banks of the Hindmarsh River at Victor Harbor. Daniel Cudmore bought the property which was once owned by Governor Hindmarsh’ family and has towers and turrets which may be said to add little to the aesthetic appearance but apparently derived its inspiration from a hotel at which Daniel stayed in Scotland.
Tranmere today and externally speaking is a shabby shadow of its first state. The grounds are unkempt and the external facades are screaming out for a coat of paint. The south face which was the front of the house with its long impressive carriage-way lined with gardens now has the Tranmere Bowling Club and tennis courts sited there. The two main gates to Tranmere off Magill Road are still to be seen and are incorporated into the southern fence of the bowling club.
Near the northern boundary of the property is an old stone and mortar building with a rusting corrugated iron roof which is probably the academy building constructed by David Wylie, the first owner of Tranmere.
Now seems a suitable point to examine what the HUNT family faced when they arrived in South Australia (SA), what enterprises the first HUNTS engaged in (where such information is available) through succeeding generations, the settlement of SA by Europeans (principally British) and more generally the social and political history of the colony during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and how these may have impacted on the HUNT family.
George and Elizabeth were not the first HUNTS to disembark in Adelaide there being a number of other families with that name from about 1838 onwards. Whether some or all the HUNTS were related the author does not know but quite possibly they were and sent reports home to family about the opportunities available in the new colony.
What follows is a somewhat loose analysis of South Australia’s European settlement when the HUNTS took up residence, with undoubted errors of fact, inference, and significant omissions.
When George and Elizabeth HUNT and their five children disembarked the “Ascendant” the colony was thirteen years old, being formally proclaimed a colony by Governor Hindmarsh in 1836. The HUNTS may rightly be considered one of the founding families. It would have been the close of spring and the beginning of summer. It is likely that they would have been impressed by the bright blue skies as opposed to the often grey skies of Britain. They may have noticed that the weather was a little warmer than they had been used to in their former homeland and the humidity a little less in SA.
They would have arrived with the palpable hope that their new home would offer opportunities that were not available to them in Britain. Visions of wealth commensurate with effort would have spurred their thinking and planning. Freedom from the strictures of Victorian Britain and the class system perhaps also would have been part of the subliminal thinking.
Landfall would have been very welcome after having spent three months at sea in what would have been the cramped conditions of steerage and indifferent food. The “Ascendant” was the twenty third ship to dock in South Australia with “government passengers”. Like many other voyages at the time, death in transit was common and seven people are recorded as dying en route to SA on the HUNT’S ship.
“Government passengers” were probably those who had assisted passage or were granted free passage because of the skill shortage in the new colony.
It can be inferred that the HUNTS arrived with little by way of possessions or finance. It would also appear that they quickly moved into the hills above Adelaide and took up land there. Given that produce was a major need for the colony and that the hills provided excellent growing conditions we can assume that the HUNTS planted orchards and possibly grew vegetables for market and prospered in a modest way.
The HUNT children soon dispersed through marriage and relocation but to this author the young George HUNT is the only child of that generation where occupation and some glimpses of home and family life seem clearly recorded.
Other family names appearing during the colony’s early development follow. These people would in the main not have travelled steerage but cabin in the ships bringing the early colonisers.
These individuals and families have been chosen because of their place in the first 15-30 years of development of the colony and particularly their shaping influences ...
... see page 2 of The HUNT family for the continuance of story
this is page 2 of The HUNT family of South Australia
... see page 1 of The HUNT family for the story so far
The HUNT Family of South Australia (formerly of Northamptonshire, U.K.)
... Other family names appearing during the colony’s early development follow. These people would in the main not have travelled steerage but cabin in the ships bringing the early colonisers.
These individuals and families have been chosen because of their place in the first 15-30 years of development of the colony and particularly their shaping influences:
ANGAS, George Fife: a banker and entrepreneur who was influential in the early period of the colony, forming the SA Banking Co., and developing mercantile interests. He became, amongst other things, a pastoralist and very prominent in the development of SA.
AYERS, Sir Henry: originally a lawyer, Ayers became wealthy through mining interests and his business acumen saw him enter the Legislative Council at a young age. He served as premier on a couple of occasions and was a prominent public figure serving on boards of directors, charitable trusts and governing bodies. He was a leading figure in the Anglican Church and benefactor through charities.
BARR SMITH, Robert: businessman and philanthropist; he replaced George Elder in the mercantile and pastoral firm of Elder and Co. He married Joanna, sister of the Elders (William, Alexander Lang, George and Sir Thomas). In 1863 he and Thos. Elder became sole partners in Elder Smith and Co. The firm held considerable pastoral leases in other states as well as SA. Barr Smith was prominent in many business areas which formed the foundations of SA’s emerging economy. He refused a knighthood and was considered a quiet unassuming man.
BONYTHON, Sir John Langdon (an unusual name that appears to have had its origins in Cornwall): although perhaps not one of the first settlers he was influential in the colony in the last half of the 1800s. In terms of age he was a close contemporary of George HUNT. Bonython accumulated wealth through successful mining speculation but it is his involvement with “The Advertiser” newspaper that his name is most closely linked. He started as a reporter but eventually bought the paper becoming its editor and proprietor. He amassed a considerable fortune which was probably only rivalled by those of Thomas Elder and Barr Smith. He understood the need to maintain some independence from the social and political elite and only joined the Adelaide Club when he retired.
BRAY, Sir John Cox: a barrister and later a politician in the later 1800s and was the first native born premier of SA. Sir John Downer was an attorney-general in his cabinet.
CUDMORE: there are two Cudmores of note in the late 1800s, James Francis and Daniel Henry. They had varying successes and failures as pastoralists and James was linked in business with Sir Thomas Elder and Robert Barr Smith.
ELDER, Sir Thomas: there were in fact four Elders of note but Thomas was the one that remained in South Australia and formed the successful pastoral company of Elder, Smith and Co. Thomas was said to be a person who lived quietly and never married but his sister, Joanna, on the other hand was a noted hostess of the period. Thomas was a significant benefactor in life and also in his bequests and there are a number of institutions which bear his name.
DOWNER, Henry: was the first Downer of this SA political dynasty, coming to SA in 1838 but it is his descendants who have become notable on the SA scene. Sir John William Downer was a successful barrister and politician being at one time an attorney-general and premier in SA before entering federal politics. He was one of the inaugural senators for SA. The Downers have supported a conservative politics. John William was defeated in 1893 by an alliance of C.C Kingston and the new Labor Party led by John McPherson. He was something of a wit and was heard to say upon his defeat: “They are very clever fellows. I have great respect for the way they use either side for their purposes with absolute impartiality.” There was also Henry Edward Downer, another of Henry’s sons, who entered SA parliament in 1881 and was also attorney-general.
DUTTON, William Hampden; Frederick Hansborough; Francis Stacker: the first two Duttons were pastoralists while the third was a politician. Frederick and Francis were probably the more successful financially with Fred investing in copper mines with Alexander Lang Elder and Francis a successful politician and public official.
HARDY, Arthur: listed as a pastoralist, barrister and quarry-owner, Arthur was thought to be one of the richest men in Adelaide at one stage but when the depression struck in 1886 he was found to be living beyond his means and his debts amounted to 40,000 pounds and his estate was assigned to a trustee for his creditors. Not one to languish in his fate but unable to regain his financial independence he kept up his appearances as a doyen of the legal profession, even in his nineties riding his tricycle to the Glenelg station to catch the train to his Adelaide office.
HARDY, Thomas: vigneron; was very successful and expanded his interests in wine to the extent that he took his sons into partnership to become Thos. Hardy and Sons. He served on a number of wine and agricultural committees in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
HAYWARD, Sir Edward Waterfield: described as a businessman and philanthropist. While a twentieth century man it is perhaps significant to note his family links. He married Ursula Barr Smith who was the daughter of Tom Elder Barr Smith who was the son of Robert Barr Smith and Joanna Lang (nee Elder). He, with his brother, became joint managing directors of John Martin’s, a department store. But his master stroke was acquiring the franchise for Coca-Cola and founding Coca-Cola Bottlers (Adelaide).
SMITH, Samuel; the Hill Smiths are fifth generation vignerons with Samuel, the first Smith working for a period as a gardener for George Fife Angas. He purchased some land which he called “Yalumba” and the rest is well known to us as a famous wine brand. How they became known as the Hill Smiths is still unknown to me. The first Smith to be known by the name Hill Smith was Sidney who along with Thos. Hardy, Hugo Gramp and Charles Hawker was on the ill-fated flight that crashed taking their lives in 1938.
KIDMAN, Sir Sidney: George and Elizabeth Kidman had a son, Sidney (born mid 1800s) who established the largest pastoral empire the world has ever known. It is hard to estimate what influence Sidney had on the growing colony but a rodeo staged in 1932 to celebrate his 75th birthday was attended by nearly 50,000 people so he must have had some celebrity status in the SA community.
KINGSTON, Charles Cameron: was the younger son of Sir George Strickland Kingston. Charles was a barrister and politician and premier of South Australia and played a part in the establishment of federation. He was something of a contradiction in his public stance on issues. He was a strong advocate of the White Australia policy and an opponent of Chinese immigration but sought the extension of the franchise to women, introduced an arbitration and conciliation Act, and progressive land and income taxation although these would have made him rather unpopular with the cluster that gathered around John Downer. Charles had something of a notorious private life. The brother of Lucy May McCarthy (Lucy later became Charles’ wife) opposed Charles’ admission to the bar on the grounds that Charles had seduced Lucy (author’s note: he probably had bedded Lucy as claimed). Charles and Lucy had no natural children but adopted a son who it is believed was an exnuptial son of Charles.
MAGAREY, Thomas: miller and pastoralist. A severe man he served in both the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council. He was a joint proprietor of the “Observer” and the “Register”.
MICHELL, George Henry: a fifth generation wool processing and exporting company which George founded in 1870. The company later became known as G.H. Michell and Sons.
MORPHETT, John: was a land agent who could be considered one of the first people to take up land in the new colony. He was one of the original promoters of the South Australian Jockey Club along with Henry Ayers, Thomas Elder, H.B. Hughes, Philip Levi, John Crozier and R.C. Baker. He served as Local Colonial Representative for the Secondary Towns Association. He purchased some choice blocks of land and returned a good profit for himself. He was also elected a director of the SA Railway Company.
MORTLOCK, William Ranson: grazier and with purchases and leases he established Yalluna station which his family were to hold for 100 years. He was to build a large fortune. He entered public life and represented Flinders in the House of Assembly. His son William Tennant succeeded to his father’s estates and represented Flinders also.
PENFOLD, Dr Christopher Rawson: physician who set up practice at Magill. He was a believer in the medicinal benefits of wine and when he came to Australia he planted vines in 1844. Initially he produced fortified wines such as port and sherry. It is uncertain what else he contributed to the developing colony.
RYMILL, Henry Way: it is uncertain what influence Henry had on SA politics and social history but his grandmother married Sir Samuel Way who was Chief Justice in SA and historic Rymill House still stands resplendent in East Terrace.
WAY, Sir Samuel James: he came to SA in 1853 where the rest of his family were residing. He was admitted to the Bar in 1861. He was elected to the House of Assembly in 1875 and became attorney-general in Boucaut’s ministry. When Chief Justice, Sir Richard Hanson died suddenly in 1876 Samuel replaced him. Three of his colleagues disapproved of such a move and he was ostracised at least in private by two of them. In his own way he was a reformer with his support of the Destitutes Act in alleviating the plight of boys on a rotting hulk that was used as a reformatory training ship and the servitude of unmarried mothers forced to work over washtubs and mangles. He served in many public roles such as vice-chancellor and later chancellor of the University of Adelaide despite holding no tertiary qualifications. He was a prominent Methodist and Freemason. He married at the age of 62 years a widow, Katherine Gollan formerly Blue, nee Gordon, Henry Rymill’s grandmother.
WYATT, Dr William: arrived in SA shortly after it was proclaimed a colony. He was a surgeon, public servant and something of a naturalist. He was also called a botanist in some historical accounts and his interest in plants may have had something to do with matters that would assist his medical practice. He took significant roles in the scientific community of SA, in education and aboriginal welfare although in the latter two roles he faced much frustration and was pleased to relinquish these responsibilities eventually. He acquired much land in the course of his life and at his death with no successors he left his widow in comfortable circumstances. Much of the estate was left in various annuities and trusts. However the greater part of his city and suburban property was invested in the Wyatt Benevolent Trust which exists to this day to “benefit people above the labouring class who may be in poor or reduced circumstances”. This may be considered an unusual specification by today’s standards but at the time it was probably felt that these were the deserving poor who through no fault of their own had fallen on hard times.
There are other names that could be added to this list such as John Reynell and Edmund Bowman but what is supplied above will suffice to give a flavour of the society of the colony from its beginnings and early development.
The families that could be said to have made a small smudge on the page of SA history by comparison include of course those of Hunt, Brusey, Raggatt, Scrymgour and some other family names mentioned in this narrative.
Quite a number of those listed formed the “agristocracy” eg. Angas, Dutton, Elder, Barr Smith and Michell families. The accumulation or addition of wealth was land-based, agricultural and the industries allied to those pursuits.
It could also be said that the influence of families and wealth were assisted through business alliances, marriages (Elder and Barr Smith; Wilson [political dynasty of Sir Keith a son of Elizabeth Bonython followed by his son Ian]; Hayward and Barr Smith). These served to reinforce/maintain/cohere the social status and alliances of succeeding generations of these families into the twentieth century. It could be said that Ian Bonython Cameron Wilson along with Alexander John Gosse Downer are the last in the line of the political dynastic families.
Other ways of securing and insulating the social and political elite were through Adelaide Club membership, schools attended, certain suburbs, church/religious affiliations and probably locations of particular churches at that, membership of particular sports clubs and associations and probably through exclusive societies such as freemasonry.
As can be seen from the thumbnail sketches above not all individuals were unqualified successes in the accumulation of wealth and influence, Arthur Hardy being a case in point. James Francis Cudmore also came unstuck even though at various points he took on as partners in his pastoral pursuits Thos. Elder and Robert Barr Smith.
The legacy of these families lives on in the names of streets, suburbs, parks, towns, statues/busts, wineries, public buildings, buildings and institutions attached to the University of Adelaide eg Bonython Hall, Elder Conservatorium and Barr Smith Library and even steam locomotives. More generally there is the Mortlock Library, Rymill Park and township of Angaston. A number of these families were to build or inhabit mansions which were built in particular suburbs such as North Adelaide, Walkerville, Gilberton, Medindie, Unley Park, Myrtlebank, the Adelaide hills, but more on this later.
One is left guessing as to the position and influence that other family names might represent in SA and particularly those that built their wealth from scratch in the new colony. Names such as Cooper, Harris, Scarfe, warrant further investigation though it would appear for instance that George HUNT showed little interest in public life or joining the establishment families e.g., through seeking membership of the Adelaide Club etc or place himself in a position to enter public life which probably would have involved hob-knobbing with the influential people of the time to get himself recognised and building a backing amongst the voting elite. He seemed to confine his attention to the business, the Methodist Church, his family and the development of Tranmere.
As suggested earlier George would have been conscious of the names cited above and their influence in the community. However it is not clear that he sought their society or even wished to be part of it. It is noted however that his son-in-law engaged C.C. Kingston as his barrister when he was accused of malfeasance/defalcation and his daughter Edith retained Sir Walter James to submit her petition to the divorce courts. Both these lawyers were prominent and influential in their respective communities of South Australia and Western Australia.
The Adelaide Club warrants some further mention. A number of the establishment families listed above founded this club in 1863 although it is difficult to discover which ones. However we can be reasonably certain that some of the names above featured significantly in its founding. The club was modelled after the exclusive gentlemen’s clubs of Britain where a kind of honour system was used not requiring the members to sign any chits but requiring staff to know the members. The club is reckoned to have a membership of about a 1000 at present but it is not known what size the membership was in its earliest days.
It would be reasonable to say that the club membership once rivalled and perhaps exceeded the power and authority of the parliament which was located diagonally opposite on North Tce. Actually one suspects that the personnel in both spheres were interchangeable and that the club was the unofficial parliament where many of the decisions were made and later ratified in the “people’s house”.
While the club membership’s historical influence on political matters has been diminished with the advent of a better educated community and the proliferation of pressure groups representing a range of sectional interests demanding a stake in the state’s development and wealth, it is still probably the case that prominent locals use the venue to cut deals in the world of business and finance.
There is a stark reminder that establishment families and those they have permitted to join the Adelaide Club still hold some sway in South Australia and that the classless society is not yet with us. Albert Bensimon, a well-known businessman owning the Shiels jewellery store chain, the face of the company in advertisements announcing “No Hoo Haa!” and a prominent member of the Jewish community applied for membership of the Adelaide Club in 2005 and 2006. He was asked to withdraw his application, a diplomatic way of saying your application will not be successful. On the face of it Albert’s credentials would seem to meet this exclusive men’s club’s membership criteria (whatever they are). However as the club has no accountability to the public, the reasons for Albert’s rejection is not known to the wider community.
Albert is believed to have applied a second time with the same result.
I guess there is a question here: why would Albert seek to become a member of a club which didn’t want him as a member?
Would George HUNT applying for membership of the club be dealt a similar fate? Quite possibly.
However there is reason to look more widely at gentlemen’s clubs or exclusive associations and what they represented by way of the British class system and its importation to South Australia.
There is a tale told which perfectly exemplifies the British way of “managing” families and individuals who threw up challenges to the class system which up to that point was based upon nobility, birth, landholdings and the class barriers that supposedly should not be crossed.
A functionary at the court of Edward VII was asked where the king was. The haughty courtier replied that he was out sailing with his grocer. At first glance one might deduce that the monarch had the common touch (a man of the people) but not necessarily so. The grocer was Sir Thomas Lipton who had a beautifully appointed yacht “Erin” and an even more beautifully appointed fortune from his tea and grocery chain. Even for Lipton, so Wikipedia suggests, as a self-made man he was no natural member of the British upper class and the Royal Yacht Squadron only admitted him shortly before his death despite (or perhaps because of) him enjoying the favour of both Edward and George V.
A footnote to the Lipton tale is that he was a man who understood the power of attention-grabbing advertising. His modern parallels are Richard Branson of the Virgin Brand and on a smaller scale, Albert Bensimon. Flamboyant, ostentatious, grandiose Lipton may have been but it took him places while probably offending the upper classes who would have regarded his antics as crass and vulgar even as their agrarian based incomes were gradually becoming insufficient to sustain their lifestyles and the middle-classes was being given a healthy free kick at the class and wealth system courtesy of the accelerating industrial revolution.
Actually the middle-class was itself stratified into upper and lower with the professions, industrialists and merchants occupying the upper and shopkeepers, other small time merchants and trades the lower. One suspects the stratification was based largely on one’s wealth and the perceived status of one’s occupation.
The early colonists brought some interesting features unique to the social development of South Australia and Adelaide in particular. Particularly, the founding “parents” of the colony imported a society which soon developed a stratified system along with class barriers as suggested by other authors such as Peter Ward of the “Weekend Australian”. There is no sense that any of the British aristocracy actually arrived here, at least not by choice or with heraldry and so the social structure was based more on wealth, land holdings and political influence than on noble titles.
However it seems that the lack of titled families was quickly rectified with South Australian society soon populated with knights of the realm and the occasional life peerage (baronetcy) eg. Samuel Way.
The founding families which could be called the “establishment” came mostly from the wealthy sections of the middle class of Britain and either had wealth derived from large land holdings or had skills necessary for the development of the new colony. They arrived in South Australia and proceeded to prodigiously augment their wealth through agricultural pursuits or as young professionals obtaining land grants which gave them some strategic advantages and of course utilising their specialist skills in surveying, law, medicine etc.
These families would possibly have been regarded by the British establishment as nouveau riche and possibly treated if not with some disdain, some suspicion perhaps in similar vein to Lipton’s treatment. Having been treated as such, the establishment families of the new colony would therefore have felt that they knew how to deal with the emerging nouveau riche in the colony, such as George HUNT.
Peter Ward in his “Weekend Australian” article, entitled “The Top 100 Homes, Australia’s Most Expensive Houses; 100 Top Sales since January 2001” which mentions Tranmere House, states that in the first European century 1836-1936, Adelaide had a highly stratified society in which sarcasms such as “The Duttons spoke only to Barr Smiths and Barr Smiths spoke only to God” had meaning. When old families didn’t live in North and South Adelaide, summering in the hills and settled in Medindie and Gilberton to the North and Unley Park to the South.
Some acknowledgement of a stratified society still exists. When Kym Bonython died in 2011. The Advertiser in reporting on his life and contribution to the community of Adelaide described him as being born into the “gentry” of Adelaide.
Ward continues: “North and South Adelaide continue their 166 year, two urbane “urbs” as distinct from suburbs with some 50 houses well within the million dollar club.” (The accompanying photo to the article is of Tranmere taken, it would appear, in the 1980s)
It would seem that a “born to rule” mentality had entered the colony.
To those addresses in the 1930s were added the eastern foothills garden suburb of Springfield, overlooking the plains. That pattern continues there and their satellites.
While there may be some debate with Ward about which suburbs rated in the first 100 years the general sentiment expressed plucks a resonant chord.
Did the stratified society of South Australia rely for its existence on more than one’s wealth and essential skills in the development of the colony? Well, quite possibly. Without having done a thorough search of the religious affiliations of the establishment families one suspects that they had links to the mainstream protestant faiths, particularly Church of England and these affiliations would have added respectability to the families.
Furthermore attendance at particular suburban churches, attending certain church schools would have given new generations a network of personal contacts, and grounding in the expectations of the status and roles that they would be called upon to occupy and perform in society. These venues along with others would have offered the opportunity to establish relationships which would later translate into business partnerships, marriages etc. Adding to and reinforcing these relationships would be membership of the Adelaide Club, the South Australian Cricket Association.
As indicated by how people travelled to the colony, the social stratification was firmly established before people left Britain with the establishment families travelling in cabins, the hoi polloi in steerage. It is quite possible that the wealthy colonists recruited employees who travelled on the same ship.
It could be said that the social stratification of the first 100 years still exists in a milder form to this day. While many of the establishment families have vacated their mansions along with their perceived standing in the community a new set of nouveau riche have moved into the desirable suburbs and filled the physical and social vacuum. Contemporary comments such as “eastern suburbanites get a nose-bleed if they travel further west than David Jones” remind us that class is not dead. (David Jones is a department store in Rundle Mall once purveying superior and exotic merchandise).
Broughton’s comments on the HUNTS and Tranmere could be construed as indirectly acknowledging the class system of Adelaide. The reference to grandiose pretensions and running a city store could be, as indicated previously, a bit of a putdown. Merchants or as I understand it, the term was “in trade” probably meant no matter how financially successful you were, owning and operating a city store did not elevate one in the eyes of those who were regarded as the arbiters or more exactly the founders of the social class system in South Australia.
On the face of it there seems to be something of a contradiction or inconsistency in how the unwritten rules applied. For instance Robert Barr Smith was a merchant, although being a merchant of primary produce seems to indicate that farming and industries allied to it held a pre-eminent status and were something that “gentlemen” did. His wife was an Elder and hence a member of the agristocracy (families who made, sustained and added to their fortunes through primary production/agriculture [animal husbandry or horticulture] or services to it). Their son Tom Elder Barr Smith later joined the firm of Elder, Smith and Co., in the 1880s.
The Reader’s Digest 1974 article p.80 is quoted here:
“Australians first began to build mansions in the 1850s, when gold brought sudden wealth, but most of Australia’s large houses were built in 1870s and 1880s. In the country the wool kings competed to construct lavish homes. In the cities, the mansions were built by merchants who wanted to entertain their new rich friends on an extravagant scale.”
While the article refers principally to Victoria, South Australia was no different in this respect.
Did Broughton apply terms such as “grandiose”, “fanciful” to places such as Carclew, Carrick Hill, Avenel House, Birksgate, Woodley, Mount Lofty House etc. It seems not.
Would Broughton have applied such terms to Martindale Hall which reputedly was completed in 1879 for the astonishing sum, for the time of $72,000? Almost all tradesman who worked on the hall came from England and returned when it was finished (Flinders Ranges Research page). Or Carrick Hill where the young Edward Hayward and Ursula Barr Smith during their year long honeymoon acquired much of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteen century panelling, doors, staircases and windows from the demolition sale of Beaudesert, a Tudor mansion in Staffordshire, England (Government of SA, Arts SA publication). An innovative architect and family friend, James Irwin, incorporated these pieces into the design of Carrick Hill.
However some of the homes Broughton covered in her series of articles add to the history of local families. In fact we are further offered a snooper’s guide into the social and political structure of Adelaide and more generally South Australia.
Birksgate was built by Arthur Hardy and was later the home of Sir Thomas Elder. Thomas never married and the house passed into the Barr Smith family (Tom’s sister, Joanna, married Robert Barr Smith). This house was subsequently demolished and replaced with a housing estate. Woodley was once called Glen Osmond Villa, taking its name from Osmond Gilles, its first owner and the first colonial treasurer and subsequently the home of Sir Cedric Stanton Hicks (1892-1976) professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Adelaide in the middle of the twentieth century. He was a non-commissioned officer in WWI and held the rank of brigadier during WWII. Finnisbrook was home to the first premier of South Australia, Boyle Travers Finnis and was believed to be designed by Sir George Kingston, father to a later premier of South Australia and lawyer, Charles Cameron Kingston. Carclew was built in North Adelaide by the Bonython family and today houses an art centre. Mount Lofty House was also another of Arthur Hardy’s residences. It is now part of the Mecure hotel chain.
Carrick Hill was owned by Edward Hayward and first wife, Ursula. The land was given to the couple by Ursula’s father, Thomas Elder Barr Smith. It is an imposing residence and was bequeathed to the people of South Australia. It is now used for community activities and weddings.
Martindale Hall and Avenel House were the homes of various members of the Mortlock family with the former resembling an English manor house and the latter a very substantial residence at Medindie. Charles Cameron Kingston deserves a paragraph or two in his own right as his antics and reputation would have been the subject of gossip around the time of the George HUNT family and would be of added interest to the family because he was the defending counsel in Albert George SCRYMGOUR’S embezzlement case. Charles Cameron was, as they say, a colourful character. He is, and perhaps was then known, as the promiscuous premier and with some justification it seems. Apart from the suggestion that his adopted son was in fact his biological son by an illicit affair, in 2010 Charles’ remains were exhumed and samples of tissue taken for DNA analysis to prove a point. The results of the analysis confirmed what the family requesting the disinterment had long suspected, that Charles had illegitimately fathered a grandmother of their branch of the family. There is a record of a famous riposte that Kingston made to Sir Richard Baker MLC who had described him as a coward, a bully and a disgrace to the legal profession. Kingston’s reply was that Baker was false as a friend, treacherous as a colleague, mendacious as a man, and utterly untrustworthy in every relationship of public life and promptly challenged him to a duel with pistols in Victoria Square. The duel never took place because although Kingston turned up at the appointed time so did the constabulary having been tipped off by Baker. Victoria Square was later to see Kingston receive a beating with a horse whip drawing blood when the manager of the South Australia Co., took offence at some remark that Kingston made. Ever one with the smart remark, the theatrical flourish and never missing an opportunity to put himself in the public eye Kingston told the press ‘Who can now say that I have not shed my blood for South Australia? “What a pity”, my capitalistic friends will say, “that there was not more of it”’.
Returning to the HUNT theme and particularly Hunt, Corry and Co. As you would expect, the company was the occasional victims of felons and the “West Australian”, 9 April 1896 reports that “three well-dressed men from the steamer “Bulimba” made a determined effort at ‘shop-lifting’… While one of the men went in on a pretence of buying something, the others lifted some coats which were hanging outside and ran off, Mr. Wheeldon, the manager of the store, saw the theft and gave chase, and ultimately secured the coats. Mr. Wheeldon gave one man into custody, and he is charged with being concerned with the theft.”
The business of Hunt, Corry and Co., was sold at the time that George retired. Mr. CORRY had died in 1895 and George retired in 1897. (author’s note: CORRY may have been Samuel CORRY, draper, who lived at (Rodolph? Adelphi?) Tce., Glenelg [Findmypast “South Australian Commercial and Traders Directory 1882-1883 ed. Morris, Hayter, Barry].
A little bit more about the Corry family. In “The Advertiser” 12.2.1896 p.4 is the notice of the death of Mr. James Gibson Corry aged 26 years after a short illness. On p.7 is an account of the funeral: “He was a prominent member of a number societies in North Adelaide and was universally esteemed…Mr. G. HUNT representing the firm of Hunt, Corry and Co., Messrs W.H. Sharland jun., and P. LeCornu (superintendents of the Archer Street Wesleyan Sunday School… Among those around the grave were Mrs. S. CORRY (presumably the widow of Samuel), at the North Road Cemetery.” Mr. CORRY was a nephew of Mr Samuel CORRY. Also present at the funeral were J. Craven, R. (W?) Armstrong and J. Ryan (representing the firm of Craven and Armstrong a large drapery and furniture firm in Adelaide).
The cemetery is situated at Nailsworth which is just off the Main North Road and was established in 1853.
Other members of the CORRY family are buried at the Nailsworth including Samuel, Annie Maria (probably Samuel’s wife), Thomas Edison S., Stella Havergal, Ruth Dawkins and Annie Eliza (probably children of Samuel and Annie).
The business of Hunt, Corry and Co., was sold to Wilson, Brice and Co., in early 1897.
“The Advertiser” Thursday 29 April 1897 p.1 has the following advertisement:
Your Stockings will give you greater satisfaction and cost you less if you purchase from WILSON, BRICE & CO. PLEASE NOTE THE ADDRESS — WILSON, BRICE & CO., LATE HUNT, CORRY & CO., OPPOSITE ADELAIDE ARCADE, 114, 116, 118 RUNDLESTREET
It will be noted that the address of 112 Rundle Street is not included in the business address of Wilson, Brice and Co., so there is a possibility that Hunt, Corry and Co., retained that site for a period. However “The Advertiser” 30.1.1905 has an advertisement for “Town and Country Stores” operating out of 112 Rundle Street which probably marked the end of Hunt, Corry and Co., as a business name in Adelaide.
The Charles Street frontage of the shop seems to have been taken over by an electrician. In the column “Houses and Land to Rent” “The Advertiser” Friday 28 January 1898 p.2 the following advertisement reads:
CHARLES STREET, SHOP PREMISES now occupied by Schluter, Electrician opposite John Martin’s – Hunt, Corry & Company, Charles Street
It seems that Hunt, Corry and Co., had become property leasing agents at this stage operating out of Charles Street. There were quite a number of Charles Streets extant in Adelaide but the address most likely attached to George’s leasing business was that in the central business district (off Rundle Street) which had formed the most westerly site of his drapery premises. An advertisement in “The Advertiser” 3.8.1901 seems to confirm the existence of this latest enterprise.
By 1900-1904 some of the more prominent names in drapery were Jas. Marshall and Co., J. Miller Anderson and Co., Foale’s, John Martins, Craven and Armstrong’s and The Coliseum along with other drapery firms listed in this narrative.
It is noted at this point that the larger drapery companies’ advertisements used more column inches, bolder type face, larger lettering, more artistic layout, used more openly competitive language in their presentations when nominating price and quality as compared with other drapers.
It is interesting that in Adelaide Hunt, Corry and Co., altered to become property managers while in Western Australia they seemed amongst other things to be expanding their drapery operations. The “West Australian” 19.3.1897 p.5 reports the sale of land by the National Bank at Albany to Messrs Hunt, Corry and Co., for 3000 pounds. The purpose of the purchase was to erect shops and offices including a place of business for themselves. It would appear from this article that Hunt, Corry and Co., was also becoming a property developer and owner for the purposes of leasing to other businesses even in Western Australia.
Peter Matthews (HUNT family researcher) suggests that the business was deliberately scaled back in South Australia to focus on the W.A. branches as the goldfields were producing great wealth. An alternative explanation is that there was a significant depression in the early 1890s (bank crash in 1893) which impacted on undercapitalised businesses. Industrial unrest was also developing as the depression impacted on the community as a whole. Drapery businesses would have become victims along with other merchandising operations so George may have decided it was time to leave that part of the commercial scene in Adelaide.
By the 1980s all the prominent names in drapery of the past century had disappeared. The last to go were Chas. Moore and Co., of Victoria Square, John Martins of Rundle Mall and J. Miller Anderson of Hindley Street. It seems that the days of the large drapery stores had come to an end with the advent of small “boutique” stores and large establishments like Myers and David Jones offering a more diversified range of commodities such as Manchester, furnishings, kitchen appliances, music in the forms of tapes, records and compact discs, costume jewellery, cosmetics etc under one roof.
Adding to the woes of the old style stores was the fact that tastes in apparel had changed and places like London, Paris etc were no longer the hubs of quality and fashion that they had once been. Also English, American and continental products couldn’t compete with the prices that attached to goods manufactured in countries such as Japan in the immediate post WWII era which were now being sold through new retail outlets.
From a general assessment of global, national and local trends as they may have impacted on George HUNT and other members of the HUNT family we return to the more personal accounts within the HUNT family.
One of the intimate family stories alludes to Claude Leslie HUNT being one of the first owners of an automobile (as they seemed to be called in the early part of the twentieth century) in Adelaide and that he volunteered his vehicle to the local constabulary when they needed to travel some distance, reach a particular site quickly or chase a felon (with Claude at the wheel of course).
To state that Claude was one of the first owners of an automobile may be stretching it a bit. The Advertiser p.3, 8.12.2011 reports that registration numbers for vehicles were introduced in 1906 and that, for instance, Tom Elder Barr Smith, obtained the number 17 on the day numbers were first issued. Incidentally the number 17 has remained with the Barr Smiths for over 100 years. It is not known what registration number was issued to Claude.
There certainly was a light, humorous even mischievous side to Claude Leslie. An anecdote relayed by Zadel Claudia (his eldest daughter with Mabel) exemplifies this. When Claude and Mabs were managing an hotel in Burra there was a marsupial, probably a species of kangaroo, which was tame and ambled about the large property. Claude named it “Rossy” to which it learned to respond when called. On the occasion of visitors Claude would call “Rossy” which would hop up to him, he would reach into its pouch, take out a box of matches, light his pipe and return the matches to the pouch all the while nonchalantly carrying on his conversation with his gaping visitors.
Guggie was the nickname for Leslie Scrymgour although the basis for this nickname is lost to us. Perhaps it was derived in some way from his second name, George. It would appear that Leslie was the person who penned this card as reference is made to “Uncle Claude” although the reference to ”Uncle Arthur” is a little puzzling. The reference to a 3 and half Triumph probably refers to the engine capacity of 350cc.
The Dandies were a travelling entertainment company and it seems that Claude and Leslie were quite the young men around town. More on the Dandies in Appendix A Dandies
Claude Leslie attended Prince Alfred College at Kent Town for some two and a half years in the first decade of the 1900s. The headmaster at the time was Frederic Chapple, a distinguished teacher and visionary in curriculum development and is credited with establishing Prince Alfred College’s credentials as a premier college. He was made a C.M.G. (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) for his services to education and his insignia is displayed in the entrance foyer of the college.
Another family anecdote relates to Claude and his stepdaughter, Bonnie, driving past Tranmere House and Bonnie not unsurprisingly asking Claude if they could stop and look inside to satisfy a child’s curiosity about such a splendid place, it being once the family home. Claude’s response was vehement to the effect that he never wanted to set foot in the place again. Claude’s response suggests that the place evoked some painful, distressing or hostile memories.
It is the above anecdote which has given rise to the following theories about the reasons for Claude’s attitude towards Tranmere House.
One not so strong possibility is that as George’s children descended from two mothers some sibling friction may have existed between the two family sets. Or perhaps among all the siblings irrespective of mother, which may have “cut a little deep” in the young Claude’s case, being the youngest and not being able to defend himself so readily against the older children. Claude lived his formative years at Tranmere so this association with Tranmere and family friction remains a remote possibility.
A counter to that part of the friction theory involving children of two mothers and affecting Claude, in particular, is that nearly all the children of Elizabeth Fea had married and moved away before Claude was born although his half-sister, Ethel, probably still resided there until 1907 and it is likely that his half-sister Edith and her two children resided there after the breakdown of her marriage to Albert George Scrymgour from about 1909 till Tranmere was sold. Claude’s half-sister, Lillian, had died a few months after he was born. If friction did exist it would therefore have been more likely with the children of George and Eliza Ann, in other words, Claude’s full siblings.
A footnote to the above theory is that Claude appears to have enjoyed a loving relationship with Edith and it is possible that she became his guardian after the death of George and Eliza and served as a de facto mother to him as he was of similar age to Leslie, his nephew, Edith’s elder child.
As it can only be speculated as to what emotion was aroused in Claude on the occasion of his stepdaughter’s request (the stepchildren adopted the name HUNT) there are other more likely possibilities. Given the value of Claude’s parents’ estate, the large family he had by two wives (George’s widow dying in 1912 less than a year after he did), six children living at this point, complications arising from the execution of the wills may have arisen. Further indications of difficulties with the settling of the estate was the four year gap between the death of his mother and the announcement of the development of the real estate into the suburb now known as Tranmere. It is conjecture of course but a number of possibilities present themselves.
The execution of wills especially where the estate is large, can be a lengthy process at best. A further complication exists when that part of the estate which is “real” is to be liquidated for the purposes of distributing the proceeds. This may involve not only the sale but subdivision and redevelopment with all the legal/bureaucratic requirements that need to be met. There is a possibility however that the developers, Jackman and Treloar bought the property outright. This would have saved the HUNT family the difficulties cited with respect to developing the property. On the other hand there may have been some dispute over the amount that the property fetched if Jackman and Treloar did purchase the property.
Notwithstanding these issues, four years does appear to be a rather long time for resolution suggesting the following: difficulties at probate; executors having difficulty interpreting/actioning the respective wills of George and Eliza; the possible absence of a will in Eliza’s case; executors in conflict over interpretation, particularly if family members had been appointed although in this case such appointment would seem to have been unlikely; the wills being contested by beneficiaries, particularly by family members who may have disputed their share of the inheritance.
Any or all of these factors could have caused concern, conflicting views, irritation among the family members, ncluding the eighteen year old Claude.
A third theory stems from the fact that Claude, still a teenager, possibly having just left school, was living at Tranmere after his parents’ deaths and at least up until 1913. With the disposition of the estate he may have seen what was a lovely estate being dismembered and himself being forced to move elsewhere. This situation of change may have been an irritation or disturbant for him as he would have perceived that he was about to lose what was once his home (knowing no other), with its memories, a very comfortable residence at that, with an accompanying privileged lifestyle for an existence that was less certain.
Additionally at this stage it is not known where Claude next took up residence and indeed who, from his immediate family, kept an eye out for his welfare seeing that he had not yet attained his majority. It has previously been suggested that his half sister, Edith, may have filled the role of guardian.
Another theory proposed by two of Claude’s daughters that may have engendered painful associations for Claude at Tranmere is that one of his brothers is thought to have died following ingestion of creek water on the property. It is thought that the creek had been contaminated by sheep drench. This brother could have been Harold who was one year older than Claude and died in 1902 aged nine years.
A fifth theory is that Claude may have seen the plans drawn up for the internal reconstruction (destruction?) of Tranmere House with four flats being proposed by Jackman and Treloar and felt that the last vestiges of his home were being violated.
A more parsimonious theory is that Claude would have been reminded of the comfort and privilege that he had lost and that re-entering the premises would have prompted him to reflect on what he and the HUNT family had once been and enjoyed and now lost with no hope of recovery. All this would have been a little disconcerting to accept and to explain to his stepdaughter.
There is a seventh view for Claude’s seeming antipathy towards Tranmere, advanced by a contemporary family member, although less compelling given what is known. Nevertheless the theory is interesting because it reminds us of some of the taboos or prejudices existing at the time, fuelled inter alia, by religious sectarian differences, notions of class distinctions albeit subtle to the point where their existence may have been hotly debated and denied in open discussion.
Claude, at least nominally, was a protestant (his father was an office bearer of the Methodist Church, being a trustee of the Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church for 29 years), (as stated earlier Claude attended Prince Alfred College, a prestigious Methodist school, for part of his education) and the family would have been viewed as being of substance and holding some prominence in the Adelaide community. However he married Mabel Conway (nee Raggatt) who was a Roman Catholic (so-called mixed marriages were frowned upon), already had four children, was older than him by some seven years and may not have been perceived as meeting the subtle “class criteria” that prevailed at the time.
Counter to this theory is the fact that both of Claude’s parents were dead when he married (at about 28 years), Tranmere had long passed out of the family’s hands and at least six out of ten siblings and half siblings were dead so opposition to the marriage would have been fairly limited.
It should be restated that all these are theories and none may have hit the mark.
However from the family recollections Claude’s and Mabel’s relationship was a love-match and the grandchildren that had the benefit of their grandparents’ presence, recall them with great affection.
It seems that Mabel brought much to the relationship besides companionship and further motherhood. She was both industrious and skilful, being adept at preserving produce, dressmaking (turning the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse eg., drapes into an elegant evening gown for her daughter), millinery and needlecraft.
Her daughter, Zadel, recalls that her mother (Mabs) during WWII, while Zadel was at work, sewed an elegant off-the-shoulder evening gown out of pink dyed mosquito netting and calico for her to attend a ball that evening.
The family photo albums have pictures from the weddings of her daughters, with accompanying bridesmaids in beautifully and intricately crafted gowns. Some of these gowns produced by Mabs, displayed a high level of skill in needlecraft and particularly dressmaking.
Daughter, Patricia’s gown is noteworthy. It is tastefully draped with bunches of grapes manufactured from satin draped from the left shoulder down the front requiring intricate stitching and the shaping of each grape reflecting many hours of painstaking work.
Claude for his part pursued a career as an hotelier and was the licensee at hotels in Burra, Belair, Wilmington, Burra and the Edinburgh Castle at Mitcham.
It is perhaps of some relevance to the defiance theory to note that Claude and Mabs are interred together in the Roman Catholic section of the North Brighton Cemetery marking perhaps Claude’s final statement of severance from his family’s religious heritage; preferring to be interred with his wife who died some 22 years earlier of colon cancer.
It is thought that the ashes of daughter/stepdaughter Mia (Marie Genevieve) are interred with them.
Another family story which may or may not have a bearing on the state of the family relationships (i.e., time rather than family friction causing the attenuation of the family relationships) is the report that Claude attended the funeral of a family member and only two people were present; Claude and the former family coachman, apart from the officiating parties. The report adds that the deceased relative was quite elderly and may in fact, have outlived most other family members and contemporaries. Four people more or less fit this description, although Claude’s aunt, Martha Ann JOHNSTONE is the most likely. Claude’s Aunt Martha (nee HUNT) died in 1937 at the age of 86 years. The more remote possibilities are three of Claude’s sisters: Blanche (died 1931, aged 54 years); Hilda (died 1939, aged 58 years); Mabel (died 1946, aged 60 years). Blanche is the second most likely, dying without issue.
(Martha married William Craig JOHNSTONE 11.12.1870 and they had three children; Elsie, Percy and Waldo. William died 21.8.1894. Percy married Constance Alweine Augusta DEGENHARDT. I make mention of this link because Constance’s family may have a descendent (James DEGENHARDT) who was part of the ground crew of 3 Squadron, RAAF, in North Africa during WWII. Zadel’s husband, Sqd. Ldr., John Frederick HOWELL-PRICE was a pilot in 3 squadron).
Matthews reports that reference is made to Percy Emerson JOHNSTONE in the execution of wills and probate. The “West Australian” of 19.1.1912 under the heading Probates and Administration states “George Hunt, late of Magill, South Australia, gentleman to Eliza Ann Hunt and Percy Emerson Johnstone 2003 pounds 10 shillings.” Why this notice is in the “West Australian” and an amount bequeathed to Percy gives reason to speculate that Percy was involved in the expansion of Hunt, Corry and Co., in W.A. and was accordingly recognised by George in his will, being not only George’s nephew but also involved in the business.
The HUNT family grave sites and those related by marriage at the Magill Cemetery include the following with inscriptions on the headstones starting more or less with the earliest interments (inscriptions are quoted here because of the quaint style redolent or the time):
Affectionate Remembrance of
JAMES E. Y. HUNT
WHO AFTER A TIME OF INTENSE SUFFERING WAS KINDLY REMOVED BY THE ANGEL MESSENGER APRIL 7TH 1869
Also MARY ANN
wife of WILLIAM HUNT WHO IN OBEDIENCE TO THE HEAVENLY SUMMONS, BADE US GOOD BYE May 8th 1871 aged 29 years
(author’s note: Mary Ann nee THOMPSON, first wife of William Thomas HUNT, the eldest child of George and Elizabeth of Northamptonshire)
The HUNTS that were the original settlers (George and Elizabeth) are in graves 627-628.
The headstones record the following:
THIS TABLET IS ERECTED IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF GEORGE HUNT WHOSE SPIRIT WINGED ITS FLIGHT FOR A HAPPIER SPHERE AUGUST 22 1874
ELIZABETH HIS WIFE WHO FIRM IN THE FAITH PEACEFULLY RESIGNED THIS LIFE,April 30th 1881 aged 67 years
Although this whimsical style of inscription was continued with Elizabeth Guthrie HUNT’S, Clarence’s, Lillian’s, Eliza Ann HUNT’S (which reads, “GOD’S FINGER TOUCHED HER AND SHE SLEPT) and George’s epitaphs the subsequent family inscriptions tended to record just the name of the deceased and the date of death. This change may have reflected a wider change in the community towards having less elaborate statements; cost may also have influenced the preference for briefer statements.
Actually George’s (the draper) epitaph is interesting in that it departs from the messages of optimism, the acceptance of life after death and in James Edward Yeomans HUNT'S case, an expression of relief from suffering.
George’s inscription quotes two lines of verse attributed to Longfellow: “Oh for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still”. These lines tend to provoke a profound sadness at the loss of a close companion and the wish for a return to life as it once was.
Note: a curious occurrence is a second James Edward Yeomans HUNT [the son of John Chapman HUNT and Elizabeth (nee Emery)] with the same first names as the son, James of George and Elizabeth is recorded as being born in 1870, a year after the first James Edward Yeomans HUNT died in 1869. This second James Edward Yeomans moved to Victoria. The family records in South Australia have no further account of him except that he married Louisa LYONS in 1891. However recently the Victorian branch of the HUNT family, having seen this narrative on familytreecircles have offered some further information about him and his father John Chapman HUNT from whom they are descended.
In another site are buried ELIZABETH HUNT (nee Emery) who died at Norwood April 28th 1889 aged 48 years and Lucy [author’s note: CHAPINA ELIZABETH LUCY nee HUNT, George’s (the draper) niece] the beloved wife of A.G. COLLIVER died May 30 1887 also ALFRED GEORGE infant son of above Feb. 22 1887. It is reasonable to infer that complications of the birth e.g., infections of which there were many varieties proved fatal to Lucy and Alfred.
A third site is quite large measuring 5.6m x 4m. The epitaph inscriptions bear the names of eleven HUNTS:
ELIZABETH HUNT (nee GUTHRIE); CLARENCE GEORGE HUNT (infant son of ELIZABETH and GEORGE HUNT (the draper). It is
deduced that perinatal complications eg infection proved fatal to mother and son; LILLIAN MAUDE LAPTHORNE (nee HUNT, aged 22 years); ELIZA ANN HUNT (nee BRUSEY), second wife of George); MAUDE WINIFRED JARVIS (nee HUNT aged 19 years); GORDON ALFRED JARVIS (infant son of MAUDE and ALFRED PERCIVAL JARVIS) again perinatal complications? HAROLD GORDON HUNT; ARTHUR GEORGE HUNT (son of GEORGE and ELIZA); HILDA FLORENCE CAMPION (nee HUNT); EDITH GUTHRIE PEARCE (nee HUNT previously married to ALBERT GEORGE SCRYMGOUR). (plots/graves/niches 415-416). GEORGE HUNT.
While George HUNT’S name appears on the same headstone as those of his wives, children and grandchildren, he is interred in (plot/grave/niche 381). But plot 381 backs on to plots 415-416 rendering the site a large one as indicated by the measurement mentioned in the previous paragraph.
His death was reported in the PERSONAL column of “The Advertiser” on the 15.5.1911 two days after his death at his home at Tranmere. His name is listed alongside that of his second wife, Eliza Ann in the cemetery interment list gathered by Faithe Jones (cemetery archivist) although I don’t believe this should indicate that they occupy exactly the same site as the depths of the first burials are not known. The inscriptions at the sites 415-416 while severely weathered can be deciphered with a little perseverance.
There is a question of whether George actually died at his residence notwithstanding what has been written previously in this narrative. Shanko, a Rootschat veteran, has on a CD of recorded deaths that George died in a hospital in North Adelaide. The only hospital fitting the description at the time of George’s death would be the Calvary Hospital established by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. This hospital was founded in 1900.
Another curious thing about the record of George’s death in Shanko’s CD is that in the section marked “Relative” no name is given although it would, one assumes, have been customary to have had his wife’s name entered in this section. In contrast to this is, at the time of Eliza Ann’s death in 1912, in the “Relative” section, George’s name is entered and that he was her deceased husband.
The Burnside Council records suggest that George was buried on the 15.5.1911 which is a mere two days after his death. While this is possible it does seem a rather hasty interment. Given George’s prominence in the business and Methodist communities one would have thought that, commensurate with his standing, some days would have elapsed while suitable preparations for his funeral were made.
These differences in the Shanko CD record, newspaper account and apparent speed of interment raise a series of questions including about the accuracy or completeness of the records to hand, or perhaps that George was known to have had a terminal illness or at least a serious health condition (and there seems some suggestion of this as he was absent due to illness from meetings of the church trust in the year before his death) which led to funeral preparations being substantially concluded prior to his death or perhaps reflecting some tension within the family at the time about how the funeral should be conducted.
On another site near the elder HUNT graves and the large HUNT site are the graves of the EMERY family with the following interred: JOSPEH EMERY and ELIZABETH EMERY (nee HUNT); MARY ELIZABETH EMERY (nee SCOTT, wife of WALTER SIDNEY); WALTER SIDNEY (son of JOSEPH AND ELIZABETH, father of CLEMENT); CLEMENT JOHN EMERY; ALICE ADA EMERY (nee GRAHAM wife of CLEMENT).
Returning to the conundrum of the “George Harry or Harry George”. The genealogical researcher, Graham Jaunay
states that a George N? HUNT married Louisa LING and this George’s father was also George.
Louisa LING is the name given in another family record as being the spouse of George Harry HUNT. The marriage certificate of George and Louisa identifies George as being a carpenter, that his father was also George and that the marriage took place at the residence of Mr. LING in Gilbert Street, Adelaide. Graham states that the nitial, “H”, looks like a lower case, “n”, on the certificate and adds that this George’s mother was Elizabeth PRATT.
However I’m still not convinced about this second George being part of the same family without the weight of additional evidence.
George’s wife, Louisa, was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. LING is the family name linked with to the South Australian Company, Hills Industries. This company is most notable for the Hills hoist rotary clothesline and the company became exceedingly large from the middle of the 20th century onwards diversifying into a number of fields related to prefabricated steel construction, sheet metal products and other enterprises such as security installations.
Little is known about Louisa and George beyond that they married and that Louisa was a minor (19 years) at the time. It seems that they moved to Western Australia and it is possible that George died there although the date and place of death are uncertain. George’s presence in Western Australia may have had something to do with the expansion of Hunt, Corry and Co., that is if he was part of the HUNT family that forms the focus of this narrative.
The narrative now turns to Ethel who was the third daughter of George and Elizabeth Fea and another mystifying set of circumstances. “The Advertiser” 9 April 1904 has a death notice placed in it announcing that on the 8th April, at Rundle Street, Adelaide, Mary (Sissie), dearly loved wife of John Eldred COCKING, and only daughter of Mary and the late Charles PASCOE aged 39 years had died. It seems possible that this was the same John COCKING who married Ethel HUNT in 1907. However there is confusion over dates of marriage as the next paragraph outlines.
In one set of records John Eldred COCKING is stated as marrying Ethel HUNT on the 15.1.1889. However a column in “The Advertiser” 22 May 1907 reports the marriage at “Tranmere” of Ethel to John Eldred COCKING on the 25 April 1907, the Rev. Williams officiating.
Given Ethel’s birth on 21.11.1872 this would make her just sixteen if she married John in 1889. Further casting doubt on this marriage date, it is recorded that at the wedding of her sister, Edith, in 1890 the bridesmaids were named as the “Misses Lily, Ethel, Blanch (sic) and Hilda Hunt…”
Further in George HUNT’S funeral notice of 1911, Mrs A. Scrymgour and Mrs. E. Cocking are mentioned, inter alia, as family surviving. A question arises as to whether the “E” stands for Ethel or Eldred. The custom was, and still is in some quarters, where the wife assumes the full title of her husband eg. their sister, Lillian was named as Mrs. John Lapthorne in her funeral notice and the “A” in Edith Scrymgour’s name stood for Albert thus Mrs. Albert Scrymgour so in Ethel’s case above the “E” could stand for Eldred (assuming that John Eldred was addressed as Eldred).
There are good reasons for treating old records with care. Ethel is stated as having six children between 1890 and 1902. It now seems more likely that these children were the issue of John’s first marriage and were therefore Ethel’s stepchildren. Ethel, it would appear, was 35 years when she married John. She would have been regarded as an ageing spinster at the time and possibly past any expectation of receiving an offer of marriage.
John’s birth date is not listed among the records I hold but given that his first wife was 39 years at the time of her death we can assume that John was well into his forties when he married Ethel.
Adding to the theory that Ethel’s children were in fact her stepchildren it is noted that one set of family records has the Cocking children struck out with red ink which suggests that some previous researcher did not view them as being part of the HUNT family.
The church with which George had a long association viz. the Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church has a bronze plaque to the left of the main entrance which describes its construction:
Kent Town Wesley Uniting Church Built 1864 As Wesleyan Methodist Church, Tapley’s Hill Bluestone Construction, Transepts Added 1867, Vestries and Classrooms 1869, Lecture Hall 1874, Opening Service July 1865. First Pastor Rev. S. Ironside, Church pioneers Include Michael Kingsborough, Mayor 1870-71. Originally the Collegiate Church of Prince Alfred College
As indicated the church had the foundation stone laid for the transepts in the southern wall in 1867.
The stone reads as follows:
This Stone Was Laid, By Mrs Thomas Greaves Waterhouse, In The Year Of Our Lord 1867
George HUNT (draper) as a trustee of the Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church was party to the approval and purchase of the J. E. Dodd pipe organ 112 years ago (about 1898) which has recently been restored (“The Advertiser” Monday June 7, 2010).
George was a subscriber to the organ fund for the amount of 15 pounds and ten shillings which was the fifth highest amount in a lengthy list of subscribers. The largest amount was 53 pounds donated by Jas. Gartrell (who eventually had a church named after him “Gartrell Memorial Uniting Church” at Toorak Gardens). The list of subscribers made up part of the 33rd anniversary report of the Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church.
George and his nephew by marriage, Alfred G. COLLIVER, widower of Lucy COLLIVER (Chapina Elizabeth Lucy HUNT) are mentioned in the list of subscribers in 1889-90 to reduce the Kent Town Wesleyan Church Trust debt.
George donated two pounds eight shillings and Alfred, a guinea (one pound one shilling).
Incidentally the church records are held in the Mortlock library, Adelaide, and include minutes of the board of trustees.
A search of the trust meeting minutes for the stated length of George’s trusteeship of 29 years would place him in that office from about 1883 onwards. However there appears to be no record of his attending any meetings (or sending apologies) until 1895. Given that he was busy establishing his business in Adelaide and Western Australia and involved in at least one overseas trip his apparent absences are not surprising. A note on the 5 December 1894 has George’s name added to the trust. It seems that the efficiency of the secretariat may have been a little suspect. A typed list of people dated 1917 belatedly mentioned a number of people who were no longer to receive copies of the trust minutes as they were deceased, George’s name being one of them six years after his death.
The following list of some of the dates of meetings, George’s attendance or apologies and in some instances agenda items of special interest. (the bulk of the minutes dealt with routine payments to various functionaries of the church and building upkeep).
* 7 May 1895, George attended
* 11 February 1896, apology
* 14 April 1896, attended
* 12 June 1897, attended
* 6 August 1897, specifications for an enlargement of the organ outlined
* 21 October 1897 the new organ scheme is minuted
* 14 December Mr J. E. Dodd was requested to submit a fresh price given that many important alterations had been made to the tender of 23 July 1897
* 11 July 1898 a report on the delay in the construction of the organ being due to the fact that some of the pipes had arrived but others had not
* 3 May 1899 incandescent burners being investigated
* 11 August 1900 it was agreed to accept Mr. Dodd’s quote for organ tuning to be done on a weekly basis at a cost of 25 pounds per annum
George attended about one to two meetings a year which were held on a monthly basis from about 1899 onwards till 1908. In 1909 George attended four meetings in September and October 1909.
Stained glass windows were an agenda item with donors being acknowledged. Significant to mention that from 9 December 1909 to 17 May 1910 it was noted in the minutes that George was too ill to attend meetings. It is suspected that he had developed serious health problems which probably contributed, in part, if not totally, to his death the following year at the age of 64 years.
The next phase of this study is to identify the current generation(s) of HUNT descendents and this will be undertaken in due course.
Other names that appear in the Hunt lineage are Pratt, Bice, Brusey, Fea and Guthrie.
Names that appear through marriage to George’s, Elizabeth’s and Eliza’s children and George’s siblings: Emery, Colliver, Cocking, Jarvis, Lapthorne, Thompson, Cole, Johnstone, Scrymgour, Pearce, Wilson, Campion, Brown, Degenhardt, Hoffman, Harold Priest (to distinguish from other unrelated Priests who entered the lineage much later), Raggatt, Groves, Heath, Jackman, McNab.
This ends my contribution of facts and conjecture on the HUNTS up to the present day. What is really curious is that there are no images either photographic or painted of George (the draper) and only three of his children appear in photographs and one of his second wife. Of George’s parents and siblings there are no images that I have been able to discover. Given that photographs, particularly family portraits, may have been thought a luxury, the financial outlay would have been a bit of a disincentive. It wasn’t till George Eastman, inventor of the roll film and the ultimate easy “snapper”, the Kodak Box Brownie camera and its black and white 620 film came along that photography was placed in the hands of ordinary people and “candid” photos were taken ie. photos taken outside of the studio or formal settings.
A bit of information about the Adelaide the HUNTS were part of will provide some insight as to the nature of the place that had become their new home. The “Insight” magazine section of the “Sunday Mail”, May 8, 2011 pp.33, 40 and 41 includes a report by Liz Walsh who drew upon in large part the doctoral thesis of Lee Hammond who covered the fascinating history of the West End of Adelaide.
The section states that there was a bizarre mixture of opposites: poverty and extreme wealth, filth and cleanliness, laughter-filled parties and all-out despair. By the 1880s the City of Churches had the unsavoury reputation of having more prostitutes and opium dens per capita than anywhere else in Australia.
Figures from colonial newspapers show that by 1870 there were about 300 and 400 prostitutes working in Adelaide. That number had swelled to an estimated 700 by 1871, staggering considering the total population was 27,200. These figures placed Adelaide as the prostitution capital of Australia. Hindley, Currie, Waymouth, Franklin, Grote and Gilbert Streets were notorious for their brothels and Rosina Street was almost entirely brothels.
Author, actor and social commentator Mrs Herbert Fisher, a prickly person by accounts who wrote under the pseudonym “Thistle Anderson” published a book called Arcadian Adelaide in 1905 and claimed Adelaide had more opium dens than anywhere else in Australia. She said Adelaide with a population of 162,261 had eight opium dens.
It would be impossible for the HUNT family not to have been aware of the seamy side of Adelaide.
Hammond in her thesis attempts an explanation as to why Adelaide seemed to possess the duality of the free settlers in the City of Churches (indicating high morality) on the one hand and the subculture of booze, sex and drugs on the other.
Amongst Hammond’s range of reasons is that some middle-class women (we could suggest those that also had the benefits of an education) were considering the advantages of limiting their family sizes and in the absence of reliable contraception were severely curtailing their conjugal activity as a means of birth control. This in turn could propel some of the less scrupulous spouses into the arms of prostitutes and the concomitant subculture of grog, gambling and other “vices”.
Dr. Richard Penney in 1842 blamed a number of factors for the city’s immorality. These included “lower class of women” arriving from neighbouring colonies, the large numbers of single men in country areas and that mechanics and labourers were earning wages “beyond what was necessary”.
Mrs Louisa Clarke Wells of Semaphore, an educated woman who could play piano, speak French, enjoyed reading poetry and wrote books and pamphlets between 1887 and 1888 about her experiences after arriving in the colony in 1883. She wrote that she became a prostitute and brothel keeper when she struggled to find work and had to feed her three children and herself. She describes “I saw my poor little ones’ faces looking pale and pinched and their dear little toes sticking out of their shoes and when a man offered to supply their wants, I was the price of the barter.”
Wells wrote about her clients (although without naming them it would appear) from judges to magistrates, Members of Parliament, barristers, lawyers, merchants, doctors, butchers, bakers, bushmen down to common thieves.
However it appears that many of the prostitutes (some 42%) were from a group of 5000 Irish orphans brought to Adelaide after 1848 to cover the domestic servant shortage. But many were found to be unsuitable and were consequently left destitute and had to fend for themselves. They soon became mothers with domestic violence an accepted part of the subculture with many girls sporting black eyes and bruised cheeks when they went out on the “beat”.
This migration of orphans occurred contemporaneously with the arrival in the colony of the HUNTS.
We shall give Wells the last word on this unsavoury aspect of early Adelaide. “I protest against the pitiful injustices heaped upon the sisterhood by so-called respectable people. Freedom is the birthright of every Englishman and we as women claim it.” This narrative must be considered inchoate, so other Hunt descendents are invited to edit this narrative; correct errors, add anecdotes, in short, fill in the blanks of which there are many.
A story of family is never complete as new generations add to the saga, family members question the inclusion or omission of information and anecdotes, challenge opinions and details expressed and so on.
In the meantime I, Phillip A Priest, accept full responsibility for this account in the year 2013.
Appendix A Dandies
The lineage of the Thomas family of Palmerston North, New Zealand: Audrey, Arnold, Neville, Jean, Claude
The Thomas family were fostered by the Mills family of Palmerston North probably in the late 1920s or 1930s
Sorry not enough info in the first post:. The names of William Mills parents in Gloucestershire 1815
WILLIAM was baptised 26 February 1815 in Hampnett, Gloucestershire, England. He married ANN HARRIS and the pair migrated to New Zealand on the Grasmere in 1855 with 5 children disembarking at Lyttelton.
Who am I?
Who am I that peers out through these eyes upon substance, space and time?
Who am I that is aware of my own existence, of being in a particular place and era?
Who am I that is conscious of being unique and distinct from every other object past, present and future?
Who am I that is this mortal state defined by shape and feature with capabilities and limitations?
Who am I that with another contributes to the heritage of generations?
Who am I that is the combination and distillation of generations: the names of some I bear?
Who am I that is aware of a past that has preceded me and a future of which I shall be not be a part, save for a fragment of memory, a photo, a letter in a shoe box, an intimate artefact in a drawer?
Who am I that can imagine an existence beyond this existence?
Who am I? What is my purpose here? Is it more than to fill my belly and propagate?
What is that part of who I am that drives a curiosity to know the past and guess at the future?
Who am I?
Aspects of I.(Ira?) A. Cohen's semi-poetic reflection (possibly even an entreaty) on the nature and substance of self is in my mind a reasonable starting point to consider the question of "Who am I and where did I come from?"
Most of the questions that Cohen poses are unanswerable in an empirical sense. These questions drift towards the discipline of philosophy and perhaps even metaphysics so this is not the place to explore them. At an abstract level the best these questions can hope for is to be translated to the more tentative question of "Who do I think I am?" which relies on the internal process of thinking, the products of which may be less amenable to direct verification.
At a more tangible level "Who do I think I am?" is an apt starting point for a genealogical study so Cohen's questions that do resonate well with the study of family are those relating to the "...combination and distillation of generations: the names of some we bear" and "... with other contributes to the heritage of generations?"
Part of the answer to Cohen's question "Who am I?" can be found in the study of family and the narratives we build although applying the research and parsimony that sound study demands we proceed with caution because we did not experience their times or observed their lives directly or find the means to verify some of the official and unofficial records they left us.
Our ancestors will also have felt their uniqueness and possibly pondered the question of "Who am I?" and I'm sure our successors will do likewise. In one sense with memories, artefacts and DNA our ancestors are with us still. Their legacy lies within our cellular makeup, in the photographs they leave, the family anecdotes, official records, newspaper cuttings and so on.
On the 18 January 1943 a boy was born in a nursing home operated by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, Christchurch, New Zealand. The boy was named Phillip Alan PRIEST (Certificate of Birth issued by the Order of Sisters). His given name of Phillip was from his father Stanley Philip William PRIEST who in turn may have been named Philip after his step grandfather Philip Coffin, (ref.,"The Wake of the Steadfast", a family history volume 1981, contents organiser, Jenni Pashby). The name Alan was from his maternal uncle, Alan Mills.
Departing for awhile from a straight genealogical account I pondered the birth that placed this boy within a particular family, at this time and in that place. I found it interesting to consider the series of "accidents" which gave rise to this boy in a certain family line and vaguely considered the statistical probabilities associated with these accidents which I am unable to calculate except to say that they would be infinitesimal. To put it another way the challenges to viability starting at the cellular level on the way to birth and life as a separate and distinct being named "Phillip" would compare with the world's largest lotteries.
Consider that each of us exists, biologically speaking, as the result of an amazing and magnificent "lottery" where a couple of people meet at random and one gamete from a female from among thousands that she will produce in her lifetime is fertilised by a single gamete from a male from amongst millions. This meeting of gametes progresses from zygote, embryo, foetus to neonate. But this progression may not be straightforward or without mishap.
The lottery of life continues when one considers that even in the western world the viability of the organism may be challenged by agents as it develops e.g., chromosomal anomalies and the invasions that can occur within, say, the foetus's environment. The statistics regarding miscarriage may vary according to who is being cited but amazing pregnancy.com gives the following guides. "Almost 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, with the majority occurring during the first twelve weeks." These figures analysed more closely suggest that there is a 75% chance of miscarriage in the first two weeks from conception, a 10% chance in weeks three to six dropping to 5% during weeks six to twelve. After twelve weeks the chance drops to 3%. From 20 weeks onwards it is no longer considered a miscarriage but a spontaneous abortion.
The lottery doesn't stop at this point either because where you live in the world may be considered a product of chance. The fortunate few, relatively speaking, are the ones born in societies with comparative affluence, accessible sources of energy to operate appliances, accessible education to an advanced level, efficient public health measures, modern acute remedial health practices and facilities, efficient transport and communication infrastructure, the production and access to fresh produce.
The lottery continues in terms of the temporal dimension (being born in the twentieth century offers a longer life expectancy than say being born in the sixteenth century) and where we lodge in the birth order.
The final stage in this lottery are the family lines/names we assume as part of our birthright. Even then we are unique in that gamete pairings from the same sources produce different physical results. We only need to observe our siblings to ascertain this from their sex to skin and hair colouring.
So each of us is here, the outcome of an amazing lottery, having conquered enormous odds just to be born; and that one step further, within a particular family line.
In Phillip the combination and distillation of DNA and names stretch back through his paternal side from Stanley Philip William(father), Stanley Evered Priest and Selina Isabella Jarden (grandparents), William Priest and Catherine Ellen Hammond (great grandparents), Philip Coffin (step great grandfather, [Catherine married twice]), Elizabeth Anne Harris and James Hammond (great great grandparents), Robert Harris and Mary Anne [also known as Mary Elizabeth] Hall (g/g/g/grandparents).
Elizabeth Anne was the eldest child of Robert and Mary Harris.
Robert and Mary Harris seem to have lived in Middlesex and more specifically South Hackney. The fact that their last child born in London, Richard, was born in a workhouse indicates a family of very humble means. And typical of the times they were illiterate. The Harris family migrated to the Banks Peninsula, New Zealand in 1851 on board the "Steadfast" which anchored off Lyttleton on the 9 June,1851. Robert is buried at Governor's Bay and Mary at Little River. Both graves have been restored through family subscription.
It is interesting to note that James Hammond and Elizabeth Anne Harris had the banns of marriage published for the last time on board the "Steadfast" on the 25 May 1851. The ship's surgeon, Dr Gundry kept a journal and amongst his duties was to read the morning service in steerage at 1100 a.m. It seems that when Dr Gundry was approached about the possibility of marrying the loving couple he refused. His journal reads "... I must refuse to do so , as if I read the service it would mean no marriage in the light (author's note: could this be "sight") of God and, having no legal authority by man to do so, the marriage would itself not be legal, and would be causing two people to sin."
A steerage passenger by the name of Smith but dubbed "Commodore" and something of an eccentric, albeit an educated one, wrote the following verses which may have summed up life as experienced on the "Steadfast" at least by those who travelled in steerage:
FAREWELL TO THE STEADFAST
Farewell to the Steadfast, for ever farewell!
I leave with pleasure, that no tongue can tell;
In the new homes we seek, may we all happy be,
From malice, and slander, and misery free.
They say there is pleasure, on land and on sea,
But on sea, such has not been allotted to me,
But, the petty tyrants we've met, will soon be on shore,
Where I hope they and I, shall never meet more.
The wile of kind Providence, ordained I should roam,
In a far foreign land, to seek a new home;
With pleasure I hail it, and the truth I will tell,
Farewell to the Steadfast, for ever farewell.
It should be added that the "Commodore" often asserted that Captain Spencer was sailing in the wrong direction and made his own calculations as to their position and once was found by them to be sailing across Central Africa and at another time somewhere near the South Pole.
Know very little about William Priest at this stage but it is thought that "Whittaker" and perhaps "Leslie" were names that were passed down and it is believed, but by no means confirmed, that a Francis Whittaker Priest, mariner of Yorkshire, was an ancestor.
Researching into Phillip's paternal grandmother's line starting with Selina Isabel (as spelt in a copy of the marriage certificate, "Isobel" in the family history "The Wake of the Steadfast" and "Isabella" on a copy of her birth certificate) Jarden was the daughter of James Jarden and Catherine Elizabeth Rogers. Catherine was born in Kent, England and James in Christchurch, New Zealand.
I know little of this side of the family at present but there are some Jarden family researchers who also subscribe to Family Tree Circles and I shall be following their efforts.
A footnote is that one of the Jarden researchers cites Catherine and Isabella as names in the family tree so it could be that "Isabella" is the correct spelling of Selina's second name.
The maternal family lines of Phillip are Rita Muriel Mills (mother), Frank Henry Mills and Effie Muriel Scadden (grandparents).
Following the Mills line and their spouses from Frank Henry are George Mills and Alice Maria Smart (great grandparents), Charlie Pope (step great grandfather [Alice Maria married twice]), William Mills (born abt 26.2.1815; died 27.10.1904) and Anne Harris (born abt.8.2.1918;died 7.10.1890)(great great grandparents).
William and Anne Mills arrived at Lyttleton on the "Grasmere" in 1855 and George was born in Christchurch and Frank Henry at Styx, north of Christchurch.
Following Frank Henry's mother's line viz. the Smart line, Alice Maria was the daughter of Edmund Smart and Sarah Jane Cox (great great grandparents), Frances (Meek) Pentecost (step great great grandmother [Edmund married twice]), William Smart and Sarah Willson (g/g/g grandparents), William Smart and Sarah Page (g/g/g/g grandparents).
There is a little puzzle here as it seems that Edmund's second wife's son (a Pentecost) married a Smart, possibly one of Edmund's daughters.
William Smart (g/g/g grandparent) born about 1805 in the town of Moulton, Northamptonshire is coincidentally the county where the Hunt line of my wife's family came from, in Ashton. Moulton is on the outskirts of Northampton to the north and Ashton is a few kilometres to the south of the same city.
Following the maternal grandmother's (Effie Muriel's) line on her father's side and their spouses are George William Scadden and Phoebe Hutching (Hutchins? The spelling of the name appears to have changed over time) (great grandparents), George William Chard Scadden and Elizabeth Hodges (great great grandparents), William Warren Scadden and Elizabeth Chard (g/g/g grandparents), Robert Scadden and Sheba Warren (g/g/g/g grandparents).
George William Chard and Elizabeth landed at Wellington on the "Forfarshire" in 1873 as part of an assisted immigration scheme, moved to Masterson to live and where they are buried.
Tracing Effie Muriel's family on her mother's side is Stephen Hutching and Maria ? (parents of Phoebe) (great great grandparents), William Hutching (mispelling of Hutchins probably) and Anne Brown (g/g/g grandparents). William and Anne were illiterate and their marriage certificate is marked with crosses in place of signatures.
Phoebe and her family sailed to New Zealand on the "Helen Denny".
The above family names will appear in different family chapters but they are listed here to provide a sense of Phillip's ancestry. the rest of this chapter will focus more on the Priest, Hammond and Harris lines.
The following is Phillip, the author's, version of the family narrative.
First, the etymology of the name "Priest". The Penguin Book of Surnames...
One of the certainties of life is there are no certainties; just probabilities and some may say that we aren't even certain about that. This observation seems particularly apt when considering the BRUSEY family for this narrative. Little that is related here is done with any certainty or confidence in the veracity of the material presented.
The BRUSEY and HUNT families became linked when Eliza Ann BRUSEY became the second wife of George HUNT, widower, father of four (one deceased) and senior partner in the drapery firm of Hunt, Corry and Co., Adelaide, with branches in Western Australia.
First, the name BRUSEY is uncommon in this region to the extent that it is not listed in the Adelaide telephone directory of 2010. It has been suggested that the name originates in Devon, U.K., and more precisely, Brixham, (Yorvick, RootsChat) a coastal town with its major commerce split between fishing and farming with tourism being a more recent addition.
Eliza's parents were likely to have been Samuel BRUSEY and Mary Ann BICE. Samuel was born about 1826 and Mary about 1831.
Samuel and Mary Ann were married at St Pauls Church, St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide on the 31.5.1852. Samuel was 26 years and Mary Ann 21 years. It seems the couple had a son, John, in 1852 and Eliza in 1854. Since neither John's nor Eliza's births seem to have been registered there could have been other children similarly unregistered and possibly a brother called Samuel for reasons that will be clearer later in this narrative. Mary Ann is listed as BRICE in the Kindred Konnections website at the marriage of her and Samuel.
There is the possibility that Samuel and Mary Ann were not the parents of the Eliza Ann who married George HUNT.
The records that I hold indicate that Eliza Ann was born in Balhannah, a small village in the hills above Adelaide, South Australia.
While Samuel's occupation was stated as being a mariner domiciled in Port Adelaide there is a question of what his occupation would have been if he was living in Balhannah, this being a rural community with primary production and ancillary services being the major occupations on offer. The less likely possibility would have been that Samuel remained in Port Adelaide to pursue his occupation while Mary entered domestic service in Balhannah.
Being a mariner would probably have equipped Samuel for manual or semiskilled work in a rural community if he had chosen to live in Balhannah and where his wife could also find work if need be.
The records contain little of Samuel's origins. His parents' names appear to have been Thomas and Mary (maiden name unknown) and that he was born in Devonshire. When he arrived in South Australia is unclear. As he probably arrived in Adelaide as a seaman his name would not appear in the ships' passenger manifests of the time.
There is a Samuel BRUSEY recorded in the census, year of registration 1849, in the district of Newton Abbot in the county of Devon (vol 10 page 10). Newton Abbot is a market town and civil parish in the Teignbridge District of Devon on the River Teign. If this is the Samuel BRUSEY who is the father of Eliza Ann it would suggest that he came to South Australia at about the same time as Mary Ann (1849) perhaps even on the same ship where he possibly served as a seaman and after his name was entered on the census of 1849 in Devon.
As for Samuel's forebears and taking a rather long shot there is a Thomas BRUSEY who appears to have been the son of Richard BRUSEY (b. abt. 1805) and married to Mary (b. abt.1804) and listed in the civil parish of East Ogwell, Devon (census of abt . Richard and Mary had a number of children James 18 yrs, Thomas, 11 yrs, Arriot, 5 yrs (disregard this para for the time being need to find out if Richard and Mary were 46 and 47 respectively in 1805 or were born about that time).
However this Samuel BRUSEY may not be the Samuel BRUSEY who married Mary Ann. There is a Samuel BRUSEY in Victorian records of deaths (specifically in Springdallah) who was listed as a miner and died as the result of an accident 24 May 1867. He is reported as being the son of Thomas and Mary of Devonshire, married to Elizabeth Bryce in Adelaide at the age of 28 years and with a child whose name and age is unknown.
Now it is thought that Eliza's mother was Mary Ann not Elizabeth which could suggest a number of alternative explanations: that this was not the Sam BRUSEY who fathered Eliza; that the Victorian records were not accurate when it came to recording family details and had mistakenly entered Elizabeth and not Mary Ann; similarly the name Bryce was entered instead of Bice and the lack of certainty about any children and their names.
If this is the Samuel BRUSEY who was Mary Ann's husband it would appear that he left his family in South Australia. In the Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, U.K., N.Z., and Foreign Ports 1852-1901 there is a listing in the name of BRUSEY, S. 27 years, on the "Cleopatra II" departed Melbourne April 1853 for Adelaide. Samuel BRUSEY also appears to have spent some time in hospital (Ballarat Hospital Admissions Register 1856-1913)from the 12 July 1860 aged 37 years, labourer.
Intriguingly, "The Argus" Melbourne 2 May 1855 lists under the heading "List of non-returnable letters detained for postage, to be applied for at the Dead Letter Office" item 3386 a letter "Brusey, Saml, Ballarat 6d". This would indicate that Samuel spent periods in Victoria working, perhaps mining, in Ballarat and commuting to Adelaide periodically.
The dead letter is tantalising. We can apply our imaginations here and suggest that the letter commenced with interspousal pleasantries, endearments and an indication that the distance between them was painful and then moving on to news such as confirming a pregnancy or announcing a birth, a request for money or a plea to return to Adelaide or there may have been a less pleasant exchange as it may have been the case that Mary and Samuel had separated.
Peter Matthews, a family researcher, informs that Samuel was buried at Smythesdale cemetery.
The mines around Springdallah were deep lead mines i.e., the mining of ancient deeply buried river beds. It involved sinking a shaft till it hit the old riverbed gravels and the gravels were mined horizontally until the distance from the verical shaft made the mining too difficult whereupon a new vertical shaft would be sunk and the mining recommenced. The work was carried out in wet conditions as these were old riverbeds and often the rock would be soft and hence falls of earth would be common.
The following is supplied Joan E. Hunt, Councillor, Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Amongst providing detail it also indicates the altered spellings of names entered on records and hence the difficulty in tracking records of individuals.
"Samuel BRUSEY is entered in the index to burials at Smythesdale cemetery as Samuel Brusy. He is 42 years of age, and lived at Piggoreet. He was a miner, and his religion was Church of England. He is buried in section 1 which is the Church of England section in grave number 121. The date of burial was 26 May 1867. His parents were Thomas and Mary Bruty (sic) according to the Burials CD compiled by the Smythsdale Cemetery Trust last year (2009). So that's the entry in the index which was taken from the burial register, with reference to the Pioneer Index for his parent's names which also shows that he was born in Devonshire (reg. no. 7079).
In the index to coroner's inquests, Samuels' inquest is entered as Samuel BENSEY. He died from a fall of earth at Piggoreet (ref. 388).
Piggoreet and Springdallah are one and the same. In 1860 the names were often interchangeable. Piggoreet no longer exists and the site is about midway between Scarsdale and Cape Clear. The general district is now known as Springdallah, although there is not now or ever has been an actual township called Springdallah except for a few years in the early 1860s when Piggoreet was called that. The townships in the Springdallah area were Golden Lake, Happy Valley, Lucky Woman's, Grand Trunk, Derwent Jacks, Piggoreet and Dreamer's Hill."
It appears that Mary Ann was a widow at 39 years and married Thomas LEITCH, aged 52 years at the residence of James CRAWFORD, Port Adelaide, 25 December 1869.
Mary Ann's origins seem a little clearer. A Mary Ann and Johanna "BRICE" appear in the steerage passenger list of the "Himalaya" which left London on the 1.8.1849 arriving at Port Adelaide on the 16.11.1849. It seems probable that the name "BRICE" was a misspelling of "Bice" and given that illiteracy was a common feature of the time it therefore would not have been noted and corrected by the young ladies in question. It is further noted that Johanna's first names were Johanna Dorothea Christiana.
Johanna BICE'S name appears in the Cornwall baptism records of 1830/31, 30 May as being the daughter of Archelaus and Mary Ann. Her sister, Mary Ann's name, appears in the baptism records of 5 June 1832 although there seems to be a change in the father's name to Hercules (Gwennap-opc.com). Whether Archelaus and Hercules were one and the same is unclear but in either event the parents must have had a heightened sense of the heroic, applying names that attached to one of the Herods of Judea in the former name and a part-god of Greco-Roman mythology in the latter.
It seems that the girls' father was deceased by 1851 and their mother remarried in 1869.
The sisters had older brothers: Hercules baptised 10.10.1824; John baptised 20.11.1825.
It is surprising to consider that two teenage girls would set out, leave family, travel unescorted, knowing that, in all likelihood, they were on a one-way trip to the Antipodes but this does appear to be the case. They must be regarded as having resolve, a sense of adventure, self-assurance and possession of competent life skills. One could draw an expansive comparison with other precocious teenagers such as Jessica Watson who sailed single-handedly nonstop around the world at age 16 years.
What is known is that during the time of the girls' migration there were big campaigns featured in newpapers encouraging people to migrate. Free passage or reduced fares were offered to able-bodied young people. Often certain occupations were targeted. As South Australia was not a penal colony it was a sought after destination and people jumped at the chance of a better life. Johanna and Mary Ann more than likely answered one of these advertisements. Female servants were always in demand (krisesjoint, Rootschat).
Upon disembarkation in Port Adelaide reference to Johanna seems to fade from view although this could alter upon further investigation.
The conundrums around The BRUSEY family have not yet been exhausted. Eliza Ann BRUSEY is recorded as marrying George HUNT at the residence of Samuel BRUSEY, Adelaide on the 13.4.1876. This is nine years after the death of Samuel BRUSEY in Springdallah and seven years after Samuel's widow married Thomas LEITCH.
Now the residence of a deceased Samuel would not still be known as the residence of Samuel BRUSEY. The most compelling theory would be that there was a son, Samuel, of Mary Ann and Samuel snr. If for instance there was a son, Samuel, it could be speculated that he was born around 1855-57 and hence would have been around 20 years of age at the time of his sister, Eliza Ann's, wedding. He may have had property at this stage and in particular the property where the marriage took place.
It may have also been the case that Thomas LEITCH had died by this time and the property bought by the young Samuel or willed to him by his stepfather with provision for Mary Ann to have a life interest in the property.
A further possibility is that both Thomas and Mary Ann were dead at the time of Eliza's wedding and the property passed into a young Samuel's possession.
At this point, the life of Eliza Ann becomes linked with the HUNT family of South Australia (formerly of Northamptonshire, U.K.). The outcomes of this relationship can be explored through entering "The HUNT family of South Australia (formerly of Northamptonshire, U.K.)" in a search engine.
Selina Isabel (Isabella? Isobel?) JARDEN was my paternal grandmother's maiden name. She married STANLEY EVERED PRIEST and they had six children: my father STANLEY PHILIP WILLIAM, NEIL, EDNA, OLA, QUONA, SHIRLEY. The family were resident in Christchurch, NZ, for a significant part of their lives, with STANLEY EVERED and SELINA ISABEL living just off St Andrews Hill Road, Mount Pleasant before gravitating to the North Island of New Zealand, principally Tauranga.
I know very little about the JARDEN side of the family. The only JARDEN known to me is RONALD, my father's cousin, who was an All Black winger in the late 1940s and early 1950s and founded a stockbroking house in Wellington in the late 1960s early 1970s.
Anyone who can advance my knowledge of the JARDENS I would be grateful to hear from
When nostalgia takes hold, it bites hard and invites slow rumination as the past is recommitted for contemplation and redigestion. (a note to myself: never let an ageing psychologist with novelistic pretensions write the family narrative.)
On a warm Saturday in midsummer, being the 14 January 1922, a couple were married and a new family line was begun. The bride was a widow and mother of three daughters and a son; the groom, a bachelor and man-about-town whose comings and goings were noted in the personal pages of "The Advertiser" newspaper, Adelaide, from time to time.
What was the mutual attraction against a background that would have possibly imposed some difficulties/obstacles during the courtship and probable family opposition to the marriage? (more on this later).
First it seems that the woman played the straight and serious character against the comic spirit of the man. Secondly, first hand accounts and observations describe a woman who was a competent home manager and organiser and, one suspects, a person of determined nature once her mind was set on something. The man on the other hand was perhaps less committed by force of circumstances to be too serious about anything regarding the unfolding of his life.
Remarkably however by the accounts I have received it was the start of a very contented union perhaps spiced a little by the "attraction of opposites". The one a little mysterious, shaped in the school of harsh realities, perhaps an adept schemer/planner and serious, the other carefree, open and humourous.
The bride was Mabel Annie CONWAY (nee RAGGATT) and the groom, Claude Leslie HUNT, the place; the residence of a Baptist minister, the Rev. W.G. Clarke at Unley Park (reg #290/98)(a posh suburb of Adelaide). It is recorded that the groom was 26 years and the bride 31 years although there may be some challenge to the accuracy of these ages as indeed to other points that will arise in this narrative.
Why marry in a Baptist manse when the bride was Roman Catholic and the groom a Methodist? Well, apart from some churches' reluctance or downright opposition to solemnise so-called "mixed marriages" and then only under very strict conditions as to where the ceremony could take place; the commitment to the particular faith the church required with respect to children of the marriage, this act of Mabs and Claude was possibly made necessary by family opposition, or was their own declaration of independence from any family constraints.
While Claude's background in summary can be found in the pages of the HUNT family history and appears straightforward, Mabel's (Mabs) is a little more tortuous and will require some delicate handling around a number of points.
But first it is thought useful to digress and sketch in some background about Mabs and her first husband, Herbert Ignatius CONWAY.
Bert and Mabs married on the 24 May 1906, when the groom was given as 20 years and the bride 19 years, at St Francis Xaviour Cathedral, Adelaide. The groom's parents were named as Patrick John CONWAY and Theresa (nee GOTTWATTZ). The bride's parents were named as Herbert Daniel RAGGATT and Alice Mary Gertrude (nee CONNOLLY).
The young couple appear to have had three children in South Australia ?? before moving to Victoria. The South Australian children born ?? in birth order were Mabel Teresa Alice, born 25 December 1906, Marie Genevieve born, 19 November 1908, and Herbert Vincent, 2 December 1910. The extended family seems to have no knowledge of Herbert Vincent who appears to have died on 7 December 1910 after five days.
Bert and Mabs moved to Victoria where according to electoral rolls they were living successively at Maribyrnong, Ascot Vale 1914; Maribyrnong, Newmarket 1919; 14 Wellington Street, Flemington, Victoria, also 1919. Bert died in Heidelberg, Victoria in a military hospital aged 36 years in 1921. It is quite probable that Bert did not leave a will.
While in Victoria the couple had two more children?? Desmond and Bonaventure (Bonnie). Some dates and places of birth for these last two children are yet to be confirmed.
Having come this far the family history becomes a little puzzling on a number of fronts.
First, Mabs' forenames. It seems that she was christened Sophia Annie Mabel RAGGATT. However when Mabs came to marry Bert she was titled Mabel Sophia RAGGATT; at her wedding to Claude she was Mabel Annie CONWAY, widow. There are a number of possible reasons why there are changes across these events.
It is very likely her parents wished to incorporate some of the names common to the families involved hence the three first names.
On the other hand Mabs may have thought that three forenames was a bit of a mouthful, even pretentious so shortened it to two. It seems that she liked the name Mabel which lent itself to the warm-sounding Mabs, so retained this as her preferred form of address. Her taste for the name Sophia over Annie appears to have diminished over time and she opted for Annie as her second forename in later life.
It, of course, may also have been a symbolic gesture to change to Annie when she married Claude effectively to mark the beginning of her new life with him. There are other reasons for name changes which are more subtle and would impute a degree of calculation of which Mabs may not have been capable, conscious of, or interested in performing.
Secondly, there is a little confusion over the issue of age in the official records. It would appear that Mabs was born 24 September 1887. It was recorded that she was 19 years when she married Bert CONWAY. While this birthdate loosely corresponds with that event it would be more accurate to say that she was 18 years.
When Mabs marries Claude in 1922 her age is stated as 31 and Claude's 26. Given that her birthdate is 1887 her age would be closer to 35 and Claude's, 28, suggesting a seven year gap rather than five.
I guess these anomalies around age were understandable at the time to soften the age gap between herself and Claude. In any event the age gap didn't seem to matter to Claude and that was all that was really important.
Thirdly, and this is the most puzzling of all, there is the birth registered of Herbert Charles Archibald CONWAY (29.11.1905) died 4.12.1905. The parents seem to be have been Mabel Sophie and Herbert Ignatius. Mabel would have just turned 18 years at the time.
The birth and death of Herbert Charles after five days and the apparent birth and death of Herbert Vincent in 1910 after five days must have seemed eerily disconcerting and distressing for the young couple.
Gathering the information about Mabs from first hand accounts and anecdotes reveals a woman with a quite remarkable bunch of qualities: mental strength, stoicism, loyalty, energy, artistic, inventive, creative, strong work ethic to name a few. A genuine "roll your sleeves up and get down to work" type of person.
These qualities seem to stand in contrast to the physicality of the woman. Mabs was of diminutive stature who blossomed into a more robust figure in later life partly due to the number of children she bore, the attentive support of a devoted Claude and her own skills in the area of food preparation.
One touching account which provides a summary attestation of her qualities resides in the anecdote about the young Mabs with four children, immediate post WWI years, her husband in hospital (presumably in the terminal stages of his condition) herself being forced to earn the family income which she did as a barmaid and only being able to afford to buy an orange to take to the stricken Bert. She also endeavoured to keep Bert supplied with cigarettes and tobacco.
To describe Mab's finanical situation as dire during this period seems to accurately describe the challenges she faced. One of her daughters outlines Mab's sewing a "twopenny" blouse for the purposes of being presentable in her workplace.
The occasion of Mabs' and Claude's meeting is uncertain but it appears that a mutual friend introduced them.
While we, two generations later, cannot know precisely the occasion of their meeting, what the courtship constituted and how they formed their decision to marry, we can speculate about what the nature of the mutual attraction may have been. These assessments being based on the sort of people they were.
We can look at the factors in Mabs' and Claude's backgrounds which would have shaped them and their lives i.e., their life experiences, behaviour, decisions, preferences, attitudes. It is possible to describe what each of them would have seen at the first meeting and gathered at subsequent meetings, what each of them assessed as the needs and qualities in the other as the relationship progressed and how these may have been calculated to complement their own. Granted, to you, the reader, the following owes more to the methods and imagination of a novelist than objectivity and parsimony of a scientist but this does not totally invalidate the commentary in my view.
Claude was comfortably placed financially, the seventh child of a second marriage, the son of Methodist parents (his father being a trustee of the Kent Town Wesleyan Methodist Church), had attended a private Methodist boys' school (Prince Alfred College), owned an automobile, had been orphaned at the age of 17 years (it is not known at the moment where he lived from about 19 years onwards or who acted as a guardian/protector until he reached 21 and perhaps beyond [possibly his half sister, Edith Guthrie fulfilled this function] or what his occupation(s) were/was), had experienced the commodious family estate being sold and subdivided, was a member of the South Australian Cricket Association (a reasonably prestigious body).
What is less clear is the nature of Claude's relationship with other members of his family (siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, particularly). (I am uncertain what the Methodist form of Protestantism meant in terms of taboos and expectations in Claude's day apart from attending services and Sunday School).
With regard to his ambitions in the area of occupation there is a suggestion that he expressed interest in wool-classing. He may have studied in this area and practised at it. Such occupation was not, I understand, a family-approved venture and this could have been a cause of friction with other members of the family who may have thought that his Prince Alfred College education was not being put to best use, amongst other reasons, such as the standing of said occupation in the community and perhaps the implications for the rest of the family in the opinions of others.
However wool-classing would have been an occupation with a future given that much of South Australia's economy was based on agriculture and particularly sheep husbandry. The firms of Elder Smith and Michell were two that would have provided scope.
Claude at 27 years (about the age Claude met Mabs) may have become a little jaded by the social scene, preoccupations of his contemporaries and the young women who formed the set from which marital selection would be expected to be made. (It is probable that when Claude finally decided on his marital partner there would have been a few disappointed women amongst his social set or to put it another way a few dispirited maidens/women when he exited the single life). (There appears to be no knowledge about any previous love interests that Claude may have had).
Mabs was possibly the fourth child of six of Herbert and Alice. It seems that she was one of two daughters of this union. Her sister, Millicent was known as "Mil" (listed in the family tree). At some point Herbert and Alice divorced and Herbert married Myrtle and had another six children. At this stage it is not known what effects these circumstances had on Mabs but it has been suggested that the relationship with the stepmother was a little taut.
An aside is that Aunty Mil, according to two of her nieces, was a bit of a rough diamond, extremely forthright and with a colouful vocabulary and with little patience for those who populated her world.
Mabs' family was Roman Catholic and so divorce of her parents, if they had been faithful adherents, would have been viewed as a major catastrophe and remarriage unthinkable. It seems therefore that Catholicism would have been a nominal faith in this family circle given that priests had significant sway among the faithful and only muted (if any) influence among the less committed.
Mabs married at a young age, 18 years (perhaps not so unusual for the time). She appears to have had six children with four surviving infancy. Her husband, Bert, seems to have contracted tuberculosis which at that period was largely a terminal condition and so the burden of care and raising four children would have been great. Mabs would have been very much fashioned by these grave difficulties. In addition to these responsibilities she needed to have employment to sustain her family and provide a modicum of support for Bert who eventually entered a hospital towards the end of his life.
Mabs at the time of meeting Claude would have been recently widowed and may be described as being in poor financial circumstances to the point of being labelled impecunious or indigent. However her creativeness, flair and style probably would have allowed her to cover her circumstances with a resolute grace and distinction.
At the first sighting of Claude, Mabs would have observed a tall young man (well over six feet by reports), perhaps coming across as not being too hard-pressed by life's exigencies. A young man who enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle. Perhaps a little bored by his social milieau, standing on this occasion a little apart from the social group. Perhaps he was puffing on his pipe and the aromatic smell of Arcadia tobacco wafted around the vicinity where he stood. There may have been something of the "lost boy" about him which aroused some nurturing feelings. This is not to say that Mabs was looking to add another child to her family.
Anyway Mabs was impressed by this young fellow at first sight and asked a friend who Claude was. Apparently this question was followed up with the friend, who was a mutual friend, obliging Mabs with an introduction.
Claude, for his part, would have seen a diminutive woman. Not necessarily classed as a physical beauty but imbued with an attractiveness and vivaciouness which made her interesting. Upon opening up conversation with her, he would have detected a woman perhaps quite a bit different from the ladies who usually populated his set.
He would have noted a woman with a considerable life experience behind her and one who could tackle life's challenges as they came, whereas the women who populated his set would not have been confronted with anywhere near, if any, of the same challenges or hardening experiences that life could throw at them (these days we refer to such experiences as "character building"). These differences in the woman that stood before him could have been a little tantalising to the young Claude. Perhaps there was a little bit of the "mothering" about her which Claude may have warmed to and of which he may well have been in need as his older half sister to whom he seemed close i.e., Edith Guthrie HUNT (m.1 Albert George Scrymgour; m.2 Henry Charles Wilson Pearce) had died some years earlier in 1920.
Claude possibly became aware that Mabs was recently widowed with four children, the eldest being about 16 years. He also may have realised that she was a bit older than he. It is thought that these details may not have emerged during the occasion of their first meeting but on the other hand Mabs may well have been game enough to risk it by revealing these details.
Moving from the physical aspects of each which would have impressed at first meeting, one can speculate about what each was looking for, maybe subconsciously, as part of any future personal scheme. And further it is possible to estimate or suggest what financial and other physical resources, skills and attitudes each had and thus assemble a picture of what each brought to the relationship. That is to say what these attributes would have encouraged in each.
Mabs could have been looking for a partner who would bring security or certainty to her own circumstances as a widow and mother of four, as well as being a congenial companion for her. Claude would have received ticks on both counts.
Claude's reaction to Mabs' circumstances may have been along the lines of a small woman who could use some protection and support; a situation with which he could relate from his own history but at the same time the perception of a resilient "tough" woman who knew her mind and could supply a steady supportive home environment and a kind of security that Claude could well have been looking for at this stage of his bachelorhood.
What each of them brought to the relationship is already implicit, if not explicit, in the narrative so far. A very telling point recalled by one of their grandchildren is that they were both "warm" people and this above all else may have been the essence for their successful relationship which spanned 36 years and ended when Mabs died of colorectal cancer in 1958.
Mabs would have brought a steadiness and practicality; she had already managed a household, cared for a sick and dying husband. These qualities would have offset the somewhat rarified atmosphere, easy going and if not directionless lifestyle that we suspect Claude and his cohort lived in. Claude we guess was ready for a change.
Claude for his part was attracted to Mabs and brought some physical security and by the age of 27 some masculine companionship and personal maturity.
The fanciful picture as painted above of Mabs and Claude aside, they seemed to have come to a rapid conclusion about their compatibility. Given that there was less than a year from the death of Bert to Mabs marrying Claude we can assume that from their first meeting they soon became engaged and set a date to be married.
The family myths manifest themselves in anecdotes but one is worth mentioning at this point: Claude's marriage proposal. One family member recalled that Mabs related that Claude asked her to marry him one afternoon. Mabs, ever the practical one; not one to become "dewy-eyed" at the proposal and deducing that Claude may have been affected by a little more than the woman that was holding his interest, suggested that he go home and phone her in the morning if he still felt the same way and repeat the proposal. Claude with a clearer head in the morning did indeed phone and repeated the proposal whereupon Mabs accepted.
Now for another presumptuous departure into the realms of the novel not knowing any of the parties mentioned here first hand; relying on guesswork about the conventions, mores that operated at the time of Mabs and Claude's meeting; the moods and feelings they may have personally experienced and those of their families and friends.
Two aspects may have added a further note of irritation to the families, particularly Claude's. First that Mabs had proceeded with what, some at the time, would have considered disrespectful/undue haste following the death of Bert and secondly that the courtship with Claude was indecently short, not allowing Claude time to properly evaluate his suit. That Mabs had, as the older, more experienced person in the relationship, somehow schemed, beguiled and "trapped" Claude into the marriage. Even the less charitable amongst the observers, of course behind closed hands and in whispers, may have suggested that lust over sound judgement had been exercised. And the least charitable may have suggested that she was just gold digging and stepping out of her allotted place in life. This is all pure conjecture of course. (There is some evidence that the RAGGATTS or least some branches of the family were also very comfortably placed in terms of their material wealth).
It seems that whatever wealth had come Claude's way had attenuated after the first few years of marriage. It is hard to fathom whether it was dissipated through an extravagant lifestyle, unsound investments but the family circumstances did require that Claude seek employment.
What did become of Claude's undoubted considerable inheritance is a question that must often pose itself in the minds of the family. Upon marrying Mabs it would appear that he did invest some of this in his stepchildren's and children's education.
(There is a saying that is descriptive in nature rather than explanatory: The first generation of a family starts an enterprise, the second generation expands and consolidates it and the third generation dissipates it. Claude would not have known hardship in his early years and would have perhaps taken his fortunate circumstances for granted.)
Desmond attended Prince Alfred College as did his stepfather and the girls attended Cabra College (a Dominican school).
An interesting aside here is that in the case of so-called mixed marriages an unwritten convention seems to have been that the boys of the marriage would attend schools nominated by their protestant fathers while the girls would be enrolled in schools aligned to their mother's Roman Catholic faith, in this case Prince Alfred College and Cabra, respectively. The converse may have been true where fathers were RC and mothers protestant.
For most of their life together Claude and Mabs managed hotels in various parts of the state. It is not certain at this stage whether they owned the licensed premises they managed or not.
The list of hotels that they called "home" at various stages and roughly in chronological sequence are
In the 1950s Claude worked at "City Holden", a new car dealership owned and managed by the Clutterbuck family. By this time Mabs and Claude would have been classed as elderly and I guess had reached the stage where managing hotels was felt too physically demanding. It may have also been the case that Mabs was experiencing the early stages of the cancer that eventually ended her life.
Claude's duties at "City Holden" seem to have ranged from chaffeuring Mr Clutterbuck and occasionally his wife to sweeping the showroom floor. Despite their different stations in the business, Claude and the Clutterbucks seem to have been on first name terms. One can only imagine that there was some "old school tie" connection between them and that in frequently occupying the same vehicle (Claude as driver and Clutterbuck as passenger) that an intimacy developed. They would have had the opportunity to discuss, compare and comment on their personal circumstances and life in general. I suspect also that Claude was very congenial company.
One family member has suggested that Claude's work ethic was not as well-honed as it might have been and this may account for the diminution of his inheritance over time and the need to engage in steady employment to maintain an income. Claude's attitude to wealth and work is understandable seeing that his early years were spent in an affluent household where there were servants and gardeners and that there seemed little need for constraint on his spending.
There is a family story that reflects the love and respect that Claude had for Mabs and for Mabs' part the loving leverage that she applied to Claude on occasions. There was an instance when he considerably overindulged in the matter of liquor and transported himself and the children home in the car. Mabs chastened him for being irresponsible and from that time onwards he did not touch alcohol despite managing hotels for most of his life. On the other hand there is also the version that she threatened to leave him, taking the children, if he ever did that again. If this is the case he more than complied with her non-negotiable request.
Claude's sense of humour comes to the fore in one account although looking back one wonders whether he was employing a pun or there was a hint of disdain in his tone. He apparently refered to the RAGGATTS occasionally as RABBITS presumably because of that family's fecundity but there may have been a little more to it than that.
It would appear that the many of the succeeding generations of HUNTS and RAGGATTS have not formed close family ties. One HUNT descendent incorrectly suggested that RAGLESS was Mabs' maiden name and hence her relatives were RAGLESSES.
Moving into the RAGGATT family history it is possible to trace them to the early eighteenth century when Richard RAGGOT b. 1730 in Chipping Sodbury U.K. married Ann (shall proceed with this later)
For a more detailed account than this journal provides and with photos I can be contacted through this web site and I can furnish a PDF copy.
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