Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Trove Tuesday – An unexpected photograph and a sad death

When searching Trove for more information about my great grandmother, Constance Edith TERRY (1871-1925), I stumbled upon a couple of unexpected items.

I entered Frederick Fitts, the full name of her first husband who I knew had died.
Up came a photo of Frederick Ernest Henry FITTS, my Uncle Ricky (her eldest son by that marriage), a studio portrait taken just after he enlisted for WWI at the age of 21. 

It's an Australian War Memorial photo but these are also searchable in Trove - don't you just love it when everything is in one place!?
It confused me for a little while as we knew him as Frederick Ernest Terry Fitts. I’m not sure why the different name on his military records.

Uncle Ricky had been a ‘runner’ and repaired communications in WWI in the Somme, receiving a Military Medal for doing so a number of times under relentless shellfire. My brother used to love going to sit with him in his hostel and listen to his tales.

A great photo of a great man!
Uncle Ricky as I remember him with Auntie Doris
possibly taken on their 50th wedding anniversary

I also found a sad article about Uncle Ricky’s father – see transcription below - the faded print of the actual article was too hard to read (so not included here).

Frederick Arthur FITTS died when (great) Uncle Ricky was only eight and (great) Auntie Thel had just had her first birthday.
My great grandmother remarried in 1905 to my great grandfather Lewis Garrett and had another four children.

The Argus, Monday 10 March, 1902
General regret has been occasioned by the news of a sad accident which happened at Nagambie on Saturday morning, resulting in the drowning of Mr. Frederick Fitts, of the firm of Lloyd Tayler and Fitts, architects, of Melbourne.
Mr. T. Hewlett, M.R.C.S., and Mrs. Hewlett have been spending a short holiday at Nagambie, and were staying at the Valley Hotel, on the shores of the lake.
They were joined by Mr. Fitts (Mr. Hewlett's stepson) on Friday evening and at 11 o'clock on Saturday morning a party, consisting of Mr. Oliver Dolphin, proprietor of the hotel; Mr. and Mrs. Hewlett, Mr. R. M. K. Gollan, excise inspector; Mr. Fitts, and Mr. J. Leyden, left the landing-place opposite the hotel, and proceeded up the lake towards Tabilk in the steam-launch Merriwee. The launch belonged to Mr. Dolphin, and was in constant use for excursions of the kind. It was headed across the lake towards the river, but when about 30 chains from the starting-point it crashed into a stump a few inches below the surface, and almost instantly filled and sank.
A plaque inside a book that my mother has.
The occupants, who were totally unprepared for any such alarming contingency, were in a few moments struggling for their lives in the water. The lake at the spot where the accident happened is from 6ft. to 12ft. in depth. None of the occupants of the boat, with the exception of Mr. Leyden, were able to swim, and it appeared at one time as if they would all be drowned. The accident, however, was witnessed by a boy named Lodering from the bank, and, getting a boat, he rowed quickly to the spot, and with the assistance of Mr. Leyden, rescued the rest of the party, with the exception of Mr. Fitts, who sank before the   boat arrived. They pulled about in the vicinity of the spot for some time, but he did not reappear on the surface, and the rescues party, who were exhausted by their struggles, were rowed ashore, and taken to the hotel.
The lake on which the accident occurred was formed by the backing up of the water of the river by the Goulburn weir. The water completely inundated a large area which was occupied by farms, including a quantity of heavily-timbered land, and the bottom of the lake is covered with stumps of trees, some of which reach almost to the surface of the water. The recent dry season has caused the level of the lake to fall about 3ft., and has considerably added to the danger of boating on it.
Mr. Herbert Hewlett, M.R.C.P., received a number of telegrams from his father on Saturday, giving brief particulars of the occurrence, in one of which he described the escape of himself and Mrs. Hewlett as almost miraculous. It is expected that he will return to Melbourne to-day.
The body of the deceased was recovered yesterday in 8ft. of water. A magisterial inquiry was held before Messrs. John Gordon and E. W. Hill, J.P.'s, when a verdict of death from shock and drowning, the result of a boating accident, was recorded.
The untimely death of Mr. Fitts, who was in his 36th year, deprives Melbourne of one of its most prominent architects. He was associated with Mr. Lloyd Tayler for some years as partner in the firm of Lloyd Tayler and Fitts. Mr Lloyd Taylor died a little over a year ago, and since his death Mr. Fitts had been carrying on the business. He was born and educated in Melbourne, and the promise of success which he gave at the outset of his career was being early fulfilled at the time of his death. He was one of the architects who designed the Commercial Bank Buildings, and did a great deal of useful work in designing the wool stores of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, while the recent additions to the stands at Flemington have been carried out in accordance with his plans and those of Mr. Byron Moore. In the prize competition for the best design for the Melbourne Exhibition buildings Mr Fitts secured the second award of the judges. In connection with his death a melancholy interest attaches to the announcement which was made a few days ago that he would read a paper before the Amateur Photographic Association of Victoria on next Wednesday evening. Mr. Fitts, who lived at Hawthorn-grove, Hawthorn, leaves a widow and family of four young children. His two brothers, Messrs. H.A. Fitts and Ernest Fitts, are well known in the musical world.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sepia Saturday – Hattam’s Stores

Hattam's store, 33 Sackville St, Port Fairy, as depicted
on an advertising poster in an 1892 Almanac

My parents made their ‘sea-change’ to Port Fairy. Mum always knew she had links to this little seaside village – her great grandparents were one of the first couples to be married in the original St John’s Church in 1850.
Dad subsequently found his own family links to the town through Hattam & Hattam stores. His great great grandmother was Nanny HATTAM (1836-1915) who came to Australia with her husband James GRENFELL (1833-1896).

Almost all of Nanny’s siblings came to Australia from Cornwall in the 1850s and 1860s, and a number of cousins came too, including John HATTAM (c1824-1892).
From what I have discovered so far, John Hattam started Hattam stores and expanded his network with each of his sons moving to another town to start a store.

Store as it is today, showing the 2 small upstairs rooms
where the cash went via the overhead pulleys.
These are hidden by a false ceiling now.
His eldest son John HATTAM (c1853-1932) started a store in Sale (Gippsland, Victoria) in 1879.
William Thomas HATTAM (c1868-1929) moved to Port Fairy around 1890. 
His father died in May 1892 in Daylesford, and his mother was living with William and his growing family when she died in Nov 1892.

Hattam’s stores had a special feature – a cash railway system. This was a system of wires and pulleys that transported money around a shop. They were developed sometime in the 1880s and usually consisted of lidded pots or cups that were moved around by gravity or spring-loaded wire pulleys. 
You can see more about this system on this website.

Hattam's store as it is today - a sports store and real estate
There is still a room above the Hattam’s building in Port Fairy where apparently the system still ‘resides’. Dad is keen to get up and have a look – with his camera of course.

I believe there are still a couple of Hattam stores left in the Melbourne suburbs of Oakleigh and Elsternwick. One of them at least run by a descendant of John Hattam of Sale. I must try to visit next time I am in Melbourne.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Sepia Saturday - More of Pa’s Trucks

c1947 with AEC diesel truck

I was quite overwhelmed by all the comments on my recent Sepia Saturday blog about Pa’s trucks, so thought I should write a second post on this theme trying to answer some of the questions, and include more photos!

Yes, there are more!

Pa loved taking photos and had a movie camera too, although these aren’t digitised yet - not past putting on videos.

On the way to pick up yearlings in Mansfield
If you are interested in reading about ‘a day in the life’ of a racehorse transporter, then read the second half of my Melbourne Cup Day post where I ‘interviewed’ my Dad about what the day was like for him – very hectic and quite a different view than the fun I associate with going to the races.

Dad came back to me with some more info about the odd fronted truck from my first Sepia Saturday post on this theme:

“This truck was a 6 Horse float AEC diesel  "LH" and dates from about 1947.
c1941 first premises of Garrett & Griffiths
It had the same chassis as the old Sydney double-decker buses but the chassis was lengthened along the wheelbase to accommodate 3 horses all facing the front and with room for a strapper (attendant) for each horse on race day, or as a sleeping area for a relief driver on interstate trips. 
The chassis was also lengthened behind the wheels to allow for another 3 horses and seating for strappers. Each horse was in its own separate, padded compartment. Built in for each horse was a feed bin. These weren’t used for race days.”

post 1947, 911 Glenhuntly Rd, Glenhuntly, Vic.
business premises and residence
Pa worked for a company called Hardiman’s, then the large Chapman’s racehorse transport company before he started Garrett & Griffiths, so he already knew there was a growing need for this service.

He started out on his own in 1940-1941 in partnership with Jack Griffiths.

In 1947, he dissolved the partnership with Griffiths but kept the company name.
They moved premises then, and Mum has fond memories of living at 911 Glenhuntly Road, and not so fond ones of the smelly gas-producer truck in the backyard.

Dad thinks this is funny as there were only 2 or 3 companies
involved in this industry at the time.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Family Musicality

Composer: F A Pearson

I’m sitting here listening to ‘music from the grave’ but by no means morbid music. 
My nephew is playing a mazurka, composed by his 3x great grandfather, on his great great grandmother’s piano (now mine).

The composer: Frederick Augustus Pearson - my great great grandfather on my father’s side.

The original owner of the piano: Sarah Henrietta Long (nee Stonehouse) – my great grandmother on my mother’s side.

The piano was given to Sarah by her husband Edward Long in 1901 on the occasion of the birth of their first child. It was passed down to this child, my great aunt Jean, and then as she had no children, onto me.

Sarah was a beautiful pianist, with at least a couple of little awards (see below) before her marriage. 
My mother told me that she played often at family gatherings.
“Nanna was really good on the piano and played the organ at church.
The piano at Ballangeich in Ellerslie, Victoria c1920
She had a lovely voice – she sang at church, and at home when she played the piano.”

It was such an amazing find to discover two pieces of music Frederick composed (on Trove), and even better to have a nephew who has the skills to be able to play it.
And it’s really lovely music too – not to mention the skilled pianist, thanks Oliver.

I have written about Frederick twice already (and there are more photos there, and images of the front cover of the music):

My nephew and I agreed that Frederick's early death was a sad and tragic waste of talent.

An inscription in a book given to Sarah
when she was just 11 years old

The inscription in a book given to Sarah
when she was 17 years old

Sarah and Edward in 1901 with their first child Frances Jean McVey Long (Jean)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Sepia Saturday - So Many Trucks

My grandfather, John Garrett, the same one as my last Sepia Saturday post, had heaps of trucks – a whole warehouse full!

He owned and ran Garrett & Griffiths racehorse transport, see my post on Melbourne Cup Day.

My brothers and I would sometimes go to his 'work' and ‘play’ on the trucks, climbing all through them, often while our Dad did some paperwork there.

Sometimes we were allowed go to the races IN THE TRUCK with the horses! – well not in with the horse(s) but with the driver. 

One time I went with six police horses and had to sit on the policeman’s knee (I was much smaller then!).

I’m allergic to horses and would get awful hayfever and often asthma but that wasn’t enough to stem the excitement of ‘going in the truck’.

Here are some of Pa’s trucks through the years and a photo of him and my Nanna all dressed up going to the Trainer’s Ball in 1955. 

Pa would love it that he was getting so much attention / publicity on my blog!

There are more trucks on another blog post about my Pa


1955 All dolled up for the Trainer's Ball

1929 a Leyland motor vehicle demonstration

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sepia Saturday - A Love of the Beach

My first SepiaSaturday – a great idea and I’ll try to do more of these.
Dad has been digitising their extensive old photo collection for a few years and I spent a lot of the Christmas period at their place with my new Flip-Pal scanning some more.

My grandfather, John Raikes GARRETT (1908-1992) loved the beach. 
He often talked fondly about his family’s beach shack at Black Rock in Victoria.

Here are a couple of shots of him:

One as a dashing 20ish year old, not at the beach but wearing what I assume is his bathing costume (well, I hope it is).

The second is in very different attire – a suit! Playing with his daughters at the beach.