John Kirkpatrick(?)

John and Mary Kirkpatrick

John and Mary Kirkpatrick

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Memorial Card – John Kirkpatrick

Mary Mewett’s mother was born Veronica Mary Kirkpatrick, daughter of John Kirkpatrick and his wife Mary (maiden name McNamara), on 15 October 1899

Now it turns out that there is some doubt as to the real identity of our Mary’s grandfather, John Kirkpatrick. When researching Mary’s family history back in 1973, I wrote away to the registry of births, deaths and marriages in Melbourne for John Kirkpatrick’s birth certificate. What they sent me was a photocopy of the birth registration of James Kirkpatrick born on 1 April 1871 at 23 Coote Street, Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne), son of James, laborer, aged 33, born in Scotland, and Euphemia (maiden name Gordon) aged 28, born in Scotland. There was listed an older son Thomas, aged 4, and a daughter Euphemia, aged 18 months.

At the time I assumed that the son James later adopted the given name of John because there was confusion between father and son, or some other reason.

The above information ties in with grandfather John’s marriage certificate when he was married to Mary McNamara on 6 November 1893 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, West Melbourne. He gave his birthplace as Buckhurst Street, South Melbourne, occupation wheat smelterman, aged 23, parents: James Kirkpatrick and Euphemia Gordon.

Going back further, a photocopy of John’s parents’ marriage certificate shows they were married at the Geelong registry office 22 December, 1865. He was James Ferguson KILPATRICK, laborer, aged 28, born in Scotland, son of Thomas Kilpatrick and his wife Jane (maiden name Ferguson). James’ wife Euphemia Gordon was a servant, aged 21, born in Scotland, daughter of William Gordon, cotton spinner, and Jane Gordon (maiden name Smith).

The names Kilpatrick and Kirkpatrick are interchangeable. There is no problem there.

Now the revelation: there is doubt that John was the son of James and Euphemia Kirkpatrick. The Victoria registry has a website on which I have searched the historical indexes and obtained for a fee, “images” of the original registration documents. But there is no registration record of the birth of John Kirkpatrick to James and Euphemia.

John died on 26 August 1900 when riding his bicycle down Spencer Street, Melbourne, and details of the death registration were: occupation: miller; aged: 29; son of James Kirkpatrick, mother “unknown”, married to Mary McNamara, children: Euphemia Mary 5 years (Kitty), James Joseph 4 years (Jim), Ann Eileen (Lanna – Sister Aurea SJ) 2 years, Veronica Mary (Mary’s mother) 10 months. A copy of the inquest into John’s sudden death gives no clue as to his real identity.

Now, Kitty (Euphemia Mary) was seemingly named after John’s mother, and Jim (James Joseph) was named after John’s father, strange when you think that they were not his natural or legal parents. How do I know this?

When John died in 1900 a remembrance card was printed (see photo) and it gave his birthdate as 15 December, 1870.  Remember that baby James was born 1 April 1871, which means that the mother was already pregnant with baby James when John was supposed to have been born in December 1870. A shock for this researcher came when it was found that the baby James Kirkpatrick died on the day he was born, after 5 hours. So my thought back in 1973 that John was actually James was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Remember that James’ birth registration for 1 April, 1871, included the names of previous children Thomas and Euphemia but there was no mention of John.

When another daughter, Jane, was born 23 February 1873 at Buckhurst Street, Emerald Hill, to James and Euphemia, listed on the registration were Thomas 7 years, Euphemia 3 years, James deceased, but no mention of John.

When a second James Kirkpatrick was born 2 November, 1876, at 172 Buckhurst Street, Emerald Hill, to James and Euphemia, other children listed in the registration were Thomas 8 years, Euphemia 5 years, James deceased, Jane 2 years, but no mention of John.

The mother Euphemia Kirkpatrick died under tragic circumstances (there is a copy of the inquest) at Scotia Street, Hotham (North Melbourne) on 9 February 1889. Her death registration listed her children: Euphemia 20 years, Jane 16, Thomas deceased, James 14. Here again, no mention of John.

The father James remarried 24 December, 1890, to Elizabeth Bennie, at Gipps Street, East Melbourne, and the marriage registration gave his children as three living, two dead (they would have been Euphemia, Jane and James, living, and Thomas and baby James dead).

When father James died 2 December 1919, the death registration listed Thomas dead, Euphemia 49, Jane 44 and James 32 . Again, no mention of John.

Any suggestion that the second James (born 1876) might have been John is erroneous. He would have turned 17 just four days before the date of John’s marriage and the age difference between Mary McNamara, aged 23, and the teenager James would have been obvious.  James survived beyond 15 December 1870, date of John’s death, and lived on until 1958.

It is interesting to note that on his marriage certificate John’s birthplace is listed as Buckhurst Street, South Melbourne, and that is where Jane and James were born (see above). How did John come by this misinformation that he was born in Buckhurst Street.  If John were innocent/ignorant of his true identity then the place of his birth might have been on the say-so of father James. If John was aware of his true identity but did not wish to reveal it, then I guess that he knew by word of mouth young James’ and Jane’s birthplace and assumed it for himself.

Why did he name his daughter Euphemia Mary after the mother and his son James after the father if he was aware that he himself was not their son?

And, why did the father James come to Mary the widow after John’s death and urge her not to bring the Kirkpatrick children up as Catholics? She showed him the door as any good Catholic would have done! Why would the father show concern for their religious upbringing when he knew the children were not really his grandchildren?

Does the marriage register at St Marys Catholic Church in West Melbourne carry any marginal note referring to the absence of a birth certificate for John Kirkpatrick or lack of a baptism certificate in his name?

Why was John Kirkpatrick buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery on 28 August 1900 in a Church of England section, compartment GG, “private” grave 715 where Thomas O’Brien, aged 25, had already been buried on 22 January 1890. Was John, in fact, related to Thomas O’Brien? Why was John not buried with his supposed mother Euphemia who was buried in the Presbyterian section, compartment O, grave 1395 on 10 February 1889, aged 42.

If I am persuaded that John Kirkpatrick believed that he was a son of father James and mother Euphemia, then I can only conclude that he was adopted or taken in by the Kirkpatricks when a young child and that they did not reveal his true identity to him. I assume that they were poor working class and not really financially able to feed another mouth at that time.  That they were prompted by the loss of their baby James in 1871 to take in somebody else’s baby when they already had Thomas and Euphemia seems unlikely unless John’s mother was an unmarried mother, possibly a relative or close friend of James and Euphemia. Or an unmarried girl friend of father James!

If John knew his true identity but did not wish to reveal it to Mary McNamara and her family, then he might have adopted the family name of his friends Jane and James Kirkpatrick, their parents’ names and the birthplace of Buckhurst Street. At the time of John’s marriage, Jane was 20 years of age, James just 17; it is possible that Jane was a close friend. But how did John convince the priest at St Mary’s Church that he was John Kirkpatrick without a birth certificate or baptism certificate to show.

So many questions, so few answered.

John Kirkpatrick remained so named, his bride, later his widow, carried the name, and so did the four children. His grandchild, Jim Kirkpatrick of Hurstbridge, still carries the name. We accept that the man known as John Kirkpatrick was the husband of Mary McNamara, father of children Euphemia Mary, James Joseph, Ann Eileen and Veronica Mary, and grandfather of Jimmy Kirkpatrick and John and Mary Walsh.

Until we know who his true parents were, we will have to be satisfied that the family tree stops there with John, Mary Mewett’s grandfather.

Alan Mewett.

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Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  

The Manager, Col Mewett

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Colin and Helen, newly-married.

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Centre photo: The Mewett brothers 1983; Col (viewers left), Geoff, Alan, Max.

Photo below: Col with first-born, Graeme.

The Mansfield Courier of Friday, August 17, 1973, in the section, Business Of The Week, featured an article on Mansfield’s newest building, that of Bill Luck and Co., and it is partly quoted hereunder:

The Manager, Col Mewett, has had twenty-five years experience in the bulk petrol business. Col and his wife Helen came to Bonnie Doon more than twenty-five years ago. Both had family connections in the town. Col’s mother was a member of the Pollock family, and Helen’s mother was postmistress there.

Col was a North Riding patrolman with the Mansfield Shire Council and also ran a school bus between Bonnie Doon and Mansfield. He joined T. S. Powell and Co., as a driver and when this company was bought out by Mansfield Merchandising Agency Co. Ltd., he continued on with the new company.

In 1966 Bill Luck and Co., a Benalla company, bought the Mobil Agency from Mansfield Merchandising and appointed Col as their manager. His wife joined him in the office and worked there full time until some eighteen months ago, when she became a part-time employee.

Col was a foundation Flag Officer of the Mansfield Boat Club and has held many executive positions in that club. He is at present the Rear Commodore.  Col said that one of the highlights of his term as Commodore was to play host to the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe and Lady Delacombe when they were guests of the Mansfield Boat Club. Col’s other interest, when not boating, is in Rotary where he is at present a Community Services Director.

The Mansfield Courier of Wednesday, September 2,1992, included the Obituary of Mr Colin D Mewett, and it is quoted hereunder:

Although a number of years have passed since Mr Colin David Mewett was forced by illness and failing eyesight to limit his public activities, it was evident that he was fondly remembered by innumerable friends at the service of thanksgiving following his death at the Mansfield District Hosptal on August 24. The service at St Andrews Uniting Church on Thursday was conducted by Rev. Jim Hazeldine.

Colin had a life-long association with the Bonnie Doon and Mansfield areas, although a little less than half his lifetime of 75 years was actually spent in this district. His earlier association was through his mother, Margaret, a member of the Pollock family of Woodfield.

Colin was born in Melbourne, the eldest of four sons of Perce and Margaret Mewett. Schooldays were spent at the Yarraville Primary and Footscray Technical Schools. For his first job he rode his bicycle to South Melbourne each day to work at Swallow & Ariell’s biscuit factory. From there he transferred to Warren & Browne Engineering at Footscray and settled in to learn his trade as an automobile mechanic (diesels). There he worked with his cousin, Bob Black, and together they never missed an opportunity to visit their Pollock relations at Ancona.

It was on one such visit that he met Miss Helen Snook, his future wife. They were married at the Congregational Church, Prahran, during World War II. Although Col had enlisted for service he failed to meet the eyesight standard required and so continued to work for Warren & Browne. Col and Helen came to Bonnie Doon in 1948, and moved to Mansfield three years later. Initially, Col  used his own truck, working for the shire council. For two years in those early days he also drove a school bus.

Employment with Mansfield Merchandising & Agency Co. brought him into contact with most residents of the district, who appreciated his unassuming and friendly approach. When Bill Luck & Co. took over the petrol depot the company recognised these qualities. The business developed considerably over the 25 years that it was managed by Col with the unfailing support of his wife.

The couple had three sons, Graham [Graeme] (dec.), Gary and Joe [Ian] and daughter Glenda [now deceased 2016]. Outside his daily activities Col loved the outdoor life, with nothing better than sailing, camping and fishing. One of the highlights occurred when, as commodore of the Mansfield Boat Club, he was called upon to host a visit from Sir Rohan Delacombe, then Governor of Victoria. Another memorable moment was attending a Rotary conference in South Australia, when he was seated next to and able to chat to his cricket hero, Sir Donald Bradman.

Jamieson naturally was a special place in which to engage in his favourite pastimes, and he retired there with his caravan to spend the last few years of his life.

– almewett

Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 6:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dreadful Railway Mishap

The young Perce Mewett                Buckrabanyule, Victoria

The Bendigo Advertiser (Victoria) carried the headline of – Dreadful Railway Mishap – in its issue dated Monday, 25 March 1912. The byline was from Charlton, 23 March:

A painful accident happened at the Buckrabanyule railway station this morning. A young man named Hewitt (sic), a cleaner, was employed at shunting operations, when he missed his footing. The wheels of the truck passed over both feet, badly crushing one and causing a compound of the ankle of the other foot. The sufferer, who was hurried to Charlton, was attended by Dr …….. and then ordered to the Wycheproof Hospital.

The Argus (Melbourne) of Wednesday, 3 April 1912, carried a paragraph headed WYCHEPROOF:

The young man, Percy Mewitt (sic), who was injured in a railway accident at Buckrabanyule, has had one foot amputated at the ankle, also several toes that were crushed to a pulp. He now lies in the Inglewood Hospital.

Buckrabanyule (population now app. 14) was a small town on the Bendigo-Charlton-Wycheproof railway line, approximately 40 km south-east of Wycheproof.

Alan’s comment: The unfortunate young man was 19-year-old Percy Edwin Mewett who became my father 17 years later. In our family circle his accident was never discussed but I do remember my mother saying that he was a fireman on a locomotive when he slipped on the wet steps as he climbed back after retrieving his cap from the track and fell under a wheel of the slowly moving steam engine. I now believe that her version to have been romanticised; it was possible that she was not aware of the full facts of the accident.

More light on the accident was given about 40 years ago when I visited Wycheproof, by Mrs Doye who had been a neighbour of the Mewett family in the town. She doubted that Perce had been a fireman on locomotives; she insisted that he had been a cleaner (of the locomotives stationed at Wycheproof). Her husband had been a guard there and they were recalled from their honeymoon for the newly-wed husband to take over from the injured Perce.

It appears to me that Perce was a cleaner at Wycheproof but was probably standing in for Mr Doye as guard on the train that had stopped at Buckrabanyule to leave or pick up a truck in a shunting manouevre. I can only guess that Perce was inexperienced in the procedure and as a result of a misunderstanding of the loco driver’s intention, found himself between trucks as the shunted truck bore down on him; my guess is that he missed his footing as he dashed to be clear.

Shunting of rolling stock (carriages or trucks) was always dangerous; the locomotive, with much chuffing and puffing, would push an uncoupled truck a short distance leaving it to roll unassisted and silently towards or away from the train. In the incident Perce would have been coupling or uncoupling trucks and anticipating the driver’s intentions. Little wonder that a railway company in England kept an ambulance wagon permanently stationed at a busy railway yard to give treatment to injured shunters.

Perce Mewett was rehabilitated to the Victorian Railways workshops at Newport, Victoria, as a telephone-switchboard operator. It was there that he met Margaret Pollock, employed at the  workshop canteen, when she came to order supplies by telephone. They were married in 1915 and their eldest son, Colin, was born at Footscray in 1917. Perce left the VR to become a private hire car driver with South Yarra Motors, and later in 1934 he drove for Harry Parker’s Chatsworth Motors in East Prahran. His amputated ankle and foot were replaced with a wooden prosthesis (with its straps and metal fittings) which had to be fitted daily, leaving him with a clumping gait, a far cry from the modern-day prostheses which allow wearers to engage in athletic sports.

My thanks to Darryl Mewett for drawing my attention to the two newspaper reports quoted above. Photo of the young Perce Mewett from Ruby Weaver scrapbook. Photo of Buckrabunyule railway from Google Earth.

Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Uncle Dave

In memory of David Hendry Pollock, “Uncle Dave” to the families of his sisters Lily Black, Margaret Mewett, Alice Boyd, Martha Brace, and his brother Robert Pollock. Dave joined the A.I.F. in July 1915 when he was 21 years old, after having served with the 15th Australian Light Horse (militia unit) Victorian Mounted Rifles at Mansfield for three years. His photograph shows the A.L.H. uniform of that time. In the A.I.F. he was enlisted as a rifleman in the 22rd Battalion, later transferred to 7th Battalion. In 1917 he was promoted to Lance-Corporal and later that year wounded, gassed (chlorine) on active service in France, then shipped to hospital at Norwich, England. After transfer to Australian Corps School in France in 1918, he embarked for Australia in 1919 and later was discharged in August. As a returned soldier he travelled down to Melbourne from Bonnie Doon and then Mansfield each year to march with his fellow Anzacs on 25 April. He died in 1979, aged 85, unmarried, and was buried with his sister Marion at Mansfield Cemetery. We remember him.

Uncle Dave956

David Hendry Pollock before joining 1st AIF. He fought in France

Published in: on April 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jesse and Rhoda Mewett’s Family Bible Entries

Jesse's family bible entries

Jesse’s family bible entries

Family Bible Entries 2 239

Published in: on September 25, 2015 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Trestrail Connection

The postings on this blog on August 28 included photos from Jesse and Rhoda Mewett’s photo album showing the wedding party of Martha (Matty) Mewett and Jonathan Dover at the Jesse Mewett farmhouse. What I had forgotten then and later remembered on a prompt from Sue Stevens (nee Trestrail) that the scene of the photos was the property known as “Trevale”. There is quite a connection between the Mewett and Trestrail families and includes Trevale.

For me, the story begins with the marriage of Jesse’s daughter Sarah Ann (born 1859 at Park Farm) to Albert Edwin Trestrail in 1881 at the Wesleyan Church, Williamstown S.A.  Jesse’s son David and Sarah Giddings, Rhoda’s youngest sister, signed the marriage certificate as witnesses.

In 1883 Jesse purchased from James Trestrail, storeman of Gawler, and Albert Edwin Trestrail, farmer of Williamstown, the 163-acre property known as “Trevale”. It comprised Sections 1529 and 1535 and was located to the left of the road on the way from Kersbrook before crossing the South Para river to Williamstown. Jesse paid 500 pounds cash and mortgaged the balance of 396.5 pounds with interest of 7.5%, paying 5.5 pounds per acre. When the writer visited the site about 35 years ago (circa 1980) the ruins of the house were situated in a pine forest in the vicinity of the South Para Dam.

In 1888 Jesse’s eldest son, David William, married Eva Emma Louisa Trestrail at the Wesleyan Parsonage at Gawler S.A. Albert Edwin Trestrail, beefarmer, and Martha (Matty) Mewett, clerk, were witnesses. There were six daughters and four sons born to David and Eva.

Sadly, Sarah Ann Trestrail died of tuberculosis at Wangolere in 1885. Her daughter Annie Mabel Trestrail was born in 1883.
Eff Trestrail354_2                                                                                       Effie Trestrail
From dates of birth certificates it would appear that Jesse and his family worked and lived on Wangolere up until the purchase of Trevale. It would also appear that the Trestrail family worked and lived on Wangolere after their sale of Trevale to Jesse.

In Jesse and Rhoda’s photo album there is only one photo identified as a Trestrail, that of “Effie”.  I do not know her relationship to the Trestrails described above but she was obviously a close friend or relative of the Mewetts to be included in the album. The photo is included in this post.

– almewett

Published in: on September 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm  Comments (1)  

The Jesse Mewett Photo Album – Wongalere or Wangolere?

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The labour force at Wangolere photographed along with three dogs, a horse, large barrels, and not forgetting the young lady at your left!  Jesse Mewett is said to be the man at the viewer’s left in the front row, still wearing his wide-awake hat, waistcoat and jacket. I had thought for years that the tall man at centre front was a Mewett, but …..?  A boy at the viewer’s right, at the back, could be a Mewett. I believe that members of the Trestrail family could be present in this photo. The Trestrails were residing at Wangolere later than the Mewetts. Lucy Trestrail was born here in 1890, Adeline in 1894. More about the Trestrails and their farm Trevale in another posting. Wangolere was situated on the South Para River and was flooded when the South Para Reservoir was built 1949 – 1958.

Published in: on September 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm  Comments (6)  

The Jesse Mewett Photo Album – Wongalere

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This photo was not taken from the Jesse Mewett album but was obtained separately. It was taken on the wine-growing property known as Wongalere, owned by Joseph Gilbert. It was here that Gilbert married Anna Browne in 1848. Gilbert also owned the Pewsey Vale property which lent its name to a brand well known to wine lovers. It has been pointed out to me that Jesse Mewett is at the back of the group, wearing a wide-awake hat, that is, with upturned front brim; he is the only adult wearing a waistcoat and jacket and growing a grey beard. The appearance of the boy at the front centre wearing a cap and shoulder pads prompts me to suggest he could be a Mewett. It seems that the property name was spelled Wangolere when Jesse and Rhoda resided there. Birth certificates of Anne Marie (1868), Rhoda Ann (1874), Catherine May (1877), and death certificate of Anne Marie (1873), list Wangolere as the usual residence.

Published in: on September 4, 2015 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jesse and Rhoda Mewett’s Photo Album

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This photo which follows on from the previous posting appears to have been taken as the bride, Martha Mewett, and the groom, Jonathan Dover, prepare to depart the scene: the bride wears a hat, Jesse and Rhoda and some of the guests have donned their hats. Kneeling in front of Jesse is a woman I now think might be another sister of the bride, Catherine May. The setting of the photo in 1902 was the Jesse Mewett farm near Williamstown, South Australia. I visited this site about 35 years ago and found the ruins of the farmhouse in what was at the time a pine plantation near the South Para Dam. A close study of the guests reveals rural fashions of the day.

Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 11:09 am  Comments (1)  

Jesse and Rhoda’s Photo Album

Wedding Party0119This photo was not included in the Jesse Mewett photo album originally but was found separately.

It shows the wedding party comprising Martha (Matty) Mewett as bride, Jonathan Dover as groom, parents Rhoda and Jesse seated, Rhoda Ann Mewett at Jesse’s shoulder, and possibly Catherine May Mewett to the viewer’s right. Unknown lady possibly groom’s mother. Taken at Mewett farmhouse near Williamstown, South Australia – 1902. Witnesses who signed the Marriage Certificate were Rhoda Ann and D.H.Parker; we cannot be sure that the best man shown in the photo was D.H.Parker. And the dog; we might suppose that he was called Spot?

– almewett

Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment