My great grandparents, Eward Ernest Hill and Mary Gertrude Hill (nee Day) were early Bridgetown pioneers who built the first Emporium set of shops, Sunnyhurst homestead (c. 1896), and were members of numerous local committees and organizations. My mother, Millicent Mary Hurst (nee Hill) called Janne, grew up on the property in a cottage near Sunnyhurst until the age of 9. and the family company was E. Day & Co.
The following is a collection of information I’ve learnt about our family history in relation to Bridgetown and the Sunnyhurst Homestead including information provided by my mother Millicent Mary Hurst.
But lets begin first with some Bridgetown history as it provides context to what life was like for them in the early days in the region.
Bridgetown is a town in the South West of Western Australia, located approximately 270 km from Perth. Named as it is at a bridge and the “Bridgetown” was the first ship to put in at Bunbury for the wool from the districts.
With a population around 4,000 in 2014, it is one of the oldest inland town in the south west. In 2000 Bridgetown became the eighth town in Western Australia to be granted Historic Town Status by the National Trust.
Bridgetown was once the only town between Australind and Albany; and was an important centre for supplies and food produce for the State.
Convict transport cessed in 1868 which contributed to a slow down in the economy leading to slow population growth in 1870’s and 1880’s in Bridgetown and other parts of Western Australia.
The late 1880’s and early 1890’s saw a population upsurge in the State with the discovery of gold. Many of those who became disillusioned by their lack of success in the goldfields turned to other work and opportunities in other regions of the State.
The Bridgetown region developed as an important farming area, especially for fruit growing, and timber region.
Summary of some key events from Bridgetown’s History:
- It was gazetted as a town on 9th June, 1868 and officially re-named Bridgetown.
- Railway came to Bridgetown in 7th October, 1898.
- Roads were gravel or dirt roads until sometime in the early 1900’s
- First cars arrived in 1905
- Mechanics Institute built in 1877 as community meeting place located on the corner of Hampton and Steere. Expanded in 1908; it was used for community meetings, social events and eventually included a library.
- The site of the current Shire buildings is located on the original Mechanics Institute site. My great-grandfather Ern Hill was kicked off the Bridgetown Road Board because he opposed building it on the original Mechanics Institute site
- Gas street lighting was used from 1895 from 1920s.
- Power station building was built in 1924. and power was officially turned on 7th May, 1924. It initially ran from 4 PM to midnight and as demand increased the hours became longer.
- In 1924 It had 5 banks, 4 hotels, 2 coffee places. 4 drappers 1 tailer, 1 milliner, 1 hairdresser, 2 saddlemakers, 1 blacksmith, 1 cordial manufacturer, 1 shoemaker, 5 general stores, 1 pharmacy, 2 motor garages, 1 plumber, 2 butchers, 1 newspaper, 2 newsagents, 2 cafes, 1 watchmaker, 2 general merchants, 1 taxi and 1 baker from Gaines, C 1970, Bridgetown : one hundred years of history, The author, [Perth]
- In 1920 there was only 35 telephones in the District which had grown to 140 by 1926.
Local Governments were established in 1871 in Western Australia and many were initially referred to as Road boards since their primary function was to create and maintain road networks in their local area.
The Hill Family was involved in the Road board in the early 1900’s and here is a summary of the Road Board name changes in the region:
- Bunbury Road Board: 1874 – 1887
- Nelson Road Board: 1887 – 1917
- Bridgetown Road Board: 1917 – 1961
- Shire of Bridgetown: 1961 merged to become Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes in 1970.
Introduction to Hill Family History
I’m starting with the following article ‘Farewell Old Pioneers‘ article published 4 July, 1947 in The Blackwood Times as it provides a good overview of the family’s history in the region. I’ve added photos to help readers visualize the history better.
Farewell Old Pioneers
Fifty years ago, to be exact, in 1897, a young man arrived in Bridgetown and this week he and his good wife and daughter and ‘ son-in-law (Mr. and Mrs. C. Hurst) leave the scenes of their, life’s labour remembered by their friends “For what they have done” during their half a century’s residence in Bridgetown district.
The young man was Mr. E. E. Hill and his wife was formerly a Miss Day who, when on that day in the late nineties she arrived by coach from Donnybrook and was met at Bridgetown by Mr. Hill asked: “Where is Bridgetown?” She received the answer, “the bridge is down there (pointing south) but Bridgetown is coming.”
- 229177PD: Bridge over the Blackwood River, Bridgetown, 1912 State Library of Western Australia
- Gore, Stuart 022963PD Steam Locomotive, Bridgetown, 1930s State Library of Western Australia.
They have seen the town come and grow and had some hand in its development — proved themselves good neighbours, ideal citizens — and many were the good deeds credited them at a farewell gathering tendered them by the people of the Matta Mattup at the lesser town hall, Bridgetown, on Tuesday of last week. Acting chairman of the road board (Mr. H. 0. Moore) presided, and there were present many stalwarts of those early days — George Bartlett, “Pop” Henderson, A. W. James, the Mays and other well-known families, also representatives of organisations like the Bridgetown Fruitgrowers’ Association, the tennis and the bowling clubs.
To appreciate Mr. Hill’s long association with the district is to visualise those early days before the railway had arrived, when Hampton-street was only a bridle path in the bush ; a cow yard where now stands J. F. Smith’s commodious stores and next to it Daw’s Hotel, a structure of wood, brick and stone, since replaced by the commodious Bridgetown Hotel.
- Farmers Home Hotel, Bridgetown ca. 1905 State Library of Western Australia. It was called the Farmers’ Home until 1939 when its name changed to Scott’s Hotel and later Scott’s Tavern/
- Bridgetown main street Bmorey licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
A man of progressive- ideas and courageous convictions, young Mr. Hill erected a building near the Terminus Hotel on a piece of land he got from Mr. J. Smith at a ground rent of six shillings per week. By this time the railway construction had reached as far as Hester. Driving out there one day Mr. Hill was pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of the men working on the construction were fellows he had known on the goldfields. They insisted upon him having tea, promising to see him safely along the track for home,- and before he left had induced him to start a store in Bridgetown, undertaking to “stick by him.”
“Stick by me, they did,” said Mr. Hill on Friday last during a conversation with the writer.
Mr. Hill opened a store in his new building near the Terminus, remained there for two years, and then bought a piece of land (which he cleared) and erected a shop on the spot on which today stands Mr. Wilson’s Bon Marche.
- 008250PD: Bridgetown, 1923 State Library of Western Australia. E. Day & Co derived from a screenshot taken when zoomed in on the original photo.
He ran a sawmill on the Balbarrup road and also one at the rifle range, supplying paving blocks for Barrack and Hay streets, Perth, at 45/ a load on rails. Scantlings in those days were 30/ f per load and seasoned flooring £3 per load. The working hours per day were 8 hours 35 minutes, highest wages 10/ a day, other rates 7/6.
After about 11 years he sold the business and purchased the Sunnyhurst property which he developed into a highly productive farm overlooking some of the finest scenery of ‘ the beautiful Matta Mattup country.
“No Better Neighbours”
Presenting the toast of their guests — Mr. Harry Moore said better neighbours he never knew. He mentioned , that during World War I, Sunnyhurst was the headquarters for the local Red Cross. He referred to Mr. Hill’s achievement in eradicating an outbreak of Codlin Moth in one year and his outstanding services in regard to the number of cattle he had saved for various settlers. He thanked the family for all the help that its folk had given Bridgetown, especially in the early days.
Mr. J. P. Henderson quoted the immortal Bard of Avon that “each man in his time plays many parts, each, having his entry and exit,” and said that unfortunately they were gathered there that evening to see Mr. and Mrs. Hill and family make their exit’ from the scene of their activities, which “were our activities.”
To appreciate how good a cow doctor Mr. Hill was one must be a cow cocky, said Mr. Henderson. What Mr. Hill had done for the district for stock was more than they could express their thanks for. The district had never had the. service of a “vet.” and what it would have done without Mr. Hill, he did not know, for Mr. Hill had carried out work that many a vet. would have hesitated doing, and he had done it successfully. They owed him a debt of gratitude.
Referring to Mr. Hill’s ability as a diviner, he said no one would dream of looking now for gold in the district, for had any been there Mr. Hill would have found it long ago from the many bores he put down, but said Mr. Henderson, he gave us something better than gold; he gave many of us water.
Mr. Henderson then went on to say that Mr. Hill was the first man to introduce mechanised farming to Bridgetown and had brought to the district its first tractor.
“It Had, To Be Good”
In the fruit industry he had always been a “good opposition” and opposition was good for any community. Going back to the year 1914 Mr. Henderson said that any proposition brought before fruitgrowers by gentlemen from Perth had to be good to get by Mr. Hill for if there were any weaknesses in it Mr. Hill would find them.
The Granny Smith apple made the Bridgetown fruit industry, said Mr. Henderson, and it was, Mr. Hill who introduced the Granny Smith to the Bridgetown district. He had been a member of the road board and also a manager of the Westralian Farmers.
They had a little school at Kangaroo Gully, which during the years had had a hard battle, ‘sometime open, sometimes closed, but year in and year out the Hills never failed to attend the annual break-up, taking with them presents for the children, and there were many in the room that night who would never forget that kindness.
Mr. A. Flintoff, president of the Fruitgrowers’ Association, endorsed the reference made to Mr. Hill’s work for the fruit industry and said that the district was an important one from the fruitgrowing angle, producing one-fifth of the fruit grown in the State and the. Matta Mattup Valley one-third of the fruit produced in Bridgetown.
Mr. Hill had dominated that valley by virtue of the fact that he lived at Sunnyhurst with its predominant over-looking view. Mr. Hill, said Mr. Flintoff, had made a success of his farming operations and had done a lot of good work for the fruitgrowers in the early days.
Mr. Flintoff referred to the services rendered by the Hill family to the tennis club. In the club’s reconstruction period they had worked very hard and were it not for their efforts the club would not be in the position it is today. Wherever they lived tney would find that the sentiments they had built up in Bridgetown district would be treasured as honoured memories in the minds of those they left behind.
Over Forty-four Years
Mr. W. Toyer said his memory of the Hills went back 44 years. He wished to pay tribute to the late Mrs. Day, for when he came here, said Mr. Toyer, he had a young wife not in the best of health. He went to Mrs. Day and from that day to this he held her name in reverence for what she did for his wife and himself. Bridgetown never had a better ambassador than Mr. Hill and the bowling club and croquet club ‘were deeply indebted to them.
Mr. Arthur James, one of the oldest residents and a near neighbour of Sunnyhurst then presented Mrs-Hill, Mr. Hill, Mrs. C. Hurst and Mr, Hurst with mementos of the residents’ esteem and expressed their best wishes for their future happiness.
Responding, Mr. Hill recounted some of his experiences from the time he came to Bridgetown as a young man, started in business and then ultimately purchased Sunnyhurst.
Referring to the Granny Smith apple he said it was Mr. Despeissis of the Agricultural Department who advised him to try the Granny Smith.
“Still In Its Infancy”
In 1929 they boxed 1,800 cases for which they received 12/6 a case on Bridgetown station and 9/ a case for two inch Yates, so there was some prosperity in those days. The industry was still in its infancy but when export came again it should go ahead.
“We have lived to see the town grow,” said Mr. Hill, “have played our part in its development and it has also developed us., I have had my good times and my bad times but it was just a matter of sticking-to it.”
He referred to the fact that he had got “thrown off” the road board, because he did not want the town hall built where it is.
Mr. Hill said he deeply regretted leaving the district but hoped to make frequent visits to it in the future.
During the evening Mrs. Hill said she felt very much leaving Bridgetown and parting with so many of the friends she had made during her lifetime’s residence, but she would always remember them. Later in the evening, Mrs. Hill was obviously moved as the evening came to a close with the singing of Auld Lang Syne. They go to Pingelly taking with them the best wishes of a host of friends they had won during them 50 years in Bridgetown.
Dancing was interspersed with items by Mrs. T. Hurley (solo), Mr. L. Sussmell (saxophone), Miss Tess Webster (solo), Miss Mary Walker (solo and piano) with Mrs. Tomelty providing the main accompaniment. Mrs. Gray rendered a recitation, I “My Neighbours,” and the Kangaroo Gully Glee Singers provided some very entertaining items. They were so weirdly . and humorously dressed that it was impossible to tell the characters, who later were revealed to be “Pop” Henderson, Mrs. Gregor, Miss Mavis Johnston, Miss Jean Evans, Major Gordon Bennett, Mr. R. Johnson, Mr. L. Faulkiner and Mr. Graham Henderson. It was an entertaining burlesque thoroughly enjoyed by all.
1947 ‘Matta Mattup Residents’, The Blackwood Times (Bunbury, WA : 1905 – 1920; 1945 – 1954), 4 July, p. 8. , viewed 18 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article211571790
Eward Ernest Hill (Ern)
Eward Ernest Hill (called Ern) was born in South Australia from parents who migrated from Cornwell. He was the youngest of Thomas Hill’s seven children and left home in Port Augusta at the age of sixteen. He ended up initially on the goldfields in Kalgoorlie where he was almost hung for stealing a horse. The stolen horse was tracked to his camp but he was able to convince them that he hadn’t stolen the horse.
Ern moved to the South West and set up a business in Bridgetown in 1897. Initially he leased some land in Bridgetown for 2 years near the Terminus Hotel on Steere Street where he built his first store.
The person who owned the land thought he would end up with the store when the lease ran out but Ern Hill had been clever. He built the store on logs, rather than on stumps — so when the lease expired he towed the store onto his own land.
He built a more substantial general store complex on his own land in 1896 on the south west corner of Hampton and Steere Street. He build his grand residence Sunnyhurst, around 1908, to the east of Bridgetown where he established an orchard. The homestead and store were constructed from stone by an Italian stonemason.
Ern was involved with numerous local organizations including:
- Bridgetown Local Board of Health – tended his resignation in Oct 1903 if the meetings of the board could not be held on Saturdays. Resignation accepted in Nov, 1903.
- Bridgetown Fruit Growers’ Association – Early mentions of involvement are articles from 1913 through to when he left Bridgetown in 1947. He was a life time member.
- Bridgetown Road Board – earliest mention in articles from 1918. Disagreed with the location of the proposed new town hall and was thrown off the board.
- Bridgetown Bowling club.
Ern Hill married Molly Day in 1901. Apparently at times he used to stay in a boarding house in Bunbury run by Molly’s mother (Emma Jane Day) and this is where he meet Molly.
Molly’s maiden name was Mary Gertrude Day but she was called Mary.
Ern Hill partnered with Emma Jane Day, mother-in-law; born in Madras, India, and Millicent Day, daughter of Emma Jane Day, to form E. Day & Co.
Ern and Molly had three children:
- Clarice Emma b July 19, 1903 m Charles Hurst Nov 10, 1936
- Kenneth Roland b March 9, 1907 m Freda Charlott Byers April 29, 1933
- Sylvia b Sept 17, 1908 Richard Collins Feb 14, 1935
Clarice married Charles Hurst on Nov 10, 1936 and had two children:
- Millicent Mary (Jan) b 14 May, 1938 m William Halma (Bill) 1957
- Helen Elizabeth b 1957
- Margaret Anne 1962 m Bruce Dye
- Heidi Jane
- Susan Patricia b 1964 m David Allen Waters March 1989
- Sean Patrick b 1994
- Liam James b 1998
- Richard b 15 June 1944
- Jason (step son)
Charles Hurst met Clarice while working for E.Day & Co. Charles and Clarice lived in a cottage next to Sunnyhurst Homestead where the tennis courts were located until my mum was nine. My mum Janne used to ride her horse to school in Kangaroo Gully from the Sunnyhurst homestead.
Ken married Freda Charlott Byers on April 29, 1933 and had two children.
Sylvia married John Richard Collins on Feb 14, 1935 and had no children.
All Ern and Molly’s children were given a farm when they married except for Clarice because she lived on a cottage on the main farm at Sunnyhurst.
Sunnyhurst was the family home built by Ern Hill. One suggestion was to call it Sunnyhill but Ern did not like this name because he was worried if he had a son that he might be teased. They wanted to include the name Sunny and Hurst is an ancient English meaning for wooded hill.
There use to be a picket fence at the front of the Sunnyhurst homestead but it was long gone when my mother was a child. Sunnyhurst had a substantial and impressive garden around the front of the house.
The back of the house faced the road and most people came in through the back entrance. This may be due to the fact that the road was a problem due to Morton Bay figs that had grown very large when she was a child.
The back entry led into the dining room which my mother Janne remembers as being very large with a table, fireplace and some lounge chairs where her grandfather Ern used to listen to the war news on the radio.
The main bedroom was originally occupied by her Grandmother Day (Emma Jane Day).
There was a study on the side of the house filled with National Geographic’s and a billiard room. It also had a room that Ern Hill used as his study.
There was a central passage from the back dining room to the front. On the kitchen side of the house there was a sleepout running the length of the house from the dining room to the front.
It was a house that held bridge parties and tennis parties. Ern and Molly Hill were considered a person of importance in Bridgetown when my mother was growing up.
The Sunnyhurst farm extended down to Ern’s brother Walter’s property near the river and was divided by a road near East Moore. It included a packing shed and orchard separated by the road.
The family was regularly mentioned in the newspaper. My mother remembers the family being mentioned in the local paper when she went to Perth with Ern Hill to visit her grandmother Mrs Hill who was in hospital in Perth. She remembers seeing Catalina landing on the Swan and trying to explore the trenches in the park near Hospital.
Ern’s sister Ada Hill married E.L Mitchell (Teddy) and farmed an orchard in Bridgetown.
Around the farm
Mr. E. E. Hill, of Bridgetown, received about a week ago an unwelcome reminder that gelignite is not quite so simple and harmless a compound as some would have us believe.
He was lighting a fuse to a charge which had been duly prepared when it failed to ignite and in order to secure success he caught hold of the fuse to steady it with his hand while he applied the match. As he did so, the charge went off.
At the time Mr. Hill congratulated himself that he had had a remarkable escape from injury, but since then he has found out to his cost that he was not so fortunate as was at first supposed and on Tuesday left for Perth for treatment* to his nose , and ayes which had been injured. If warning is necessary, this should tend to make people locally careful in the handling of high explosives.
- 1911 ‘Personal.’, Southern Times (Bunbury, WA : 1888 – 1916), 25 March, p. 3. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158888554
Sunnyhurst Corridales (Flock No. 225)
A Successful Bridgetown Stud.
The well known and successful Corriedale stud “Sunnyhurst,” owned by E. Day and Co., is situated just outside Bridgetown, in the 30-inch rainfall area..
The property comprises three separate smaller farms-the homestead property, consisting of 80 acres, including 27 acres of orchard, is subdivided into small paddocks of from one to seven acres; a second farm of the same acreage about two miles from the homestead and 900 acres of bush country which is not yet carrying stock and which is five miles from the home farm.
Both the developed farms are under pasture, mainly sub clover, rye-grasses, genarium, barley grass, Phalaris tuberosa and three small paddocks are under lucerne which does very well in this area and provides a valuable feed for the stud.
The flock was established in 1929 by the purchase of 30 stud ewes from registered flock of Mr. P. N. Collins, Pewsey Vale, Lyndock, S.A. (Flock No. 169) and in the following year a further 34 ewes were purchased from the same source.
Mr. Collins’s flock was founded mainly on that of Mr. T. C. Eilis, Mt. Gambier, S.A., which was formed in 1898 by the mating of inbred Lincoln-Merino rams with ewes of the same breeding. A strain of both Guthrie and Moody bloods was also introduced by Mr. Ellis so that Sunnyhurst blood is in direct line from the foundations of the present Corriedale as now known.
Rams introduced since the foundation of the stud are:-In 1930 one ram from Mr. J. J. Sullivan (Flock No. 100). which was never used, and one ram from Mr Leslie Craig’s Princep Park stud; in 1931 stud rams were purchased from Mr. W. J. Pederick, Corrylyn, Wagin (a good ram which was used extensively) ; Messrs. J. A. Sloane and Co., Ltd., Wulwala, N.S.W., and Mr. Craig again. These two were used only as flock rams. In 1932 another ram came from Messrs. Sloane and Co. and then no further purchases occurred until 1937 when the ram Dallveen No, J.60 was procured from Mr. S. C. Dall’s stud at Quairading, and in December of that year a ram bred by Senator Guthrie was purchased with 65 ewes from the estate of the late W. W. Hedges, Hamel, W.A. These last two rams were not retained in the stud.
Of these last 65 ewes purchased, 33 were sold to Mr. K. R. Hill, of Bridge-town to found his stud, some to Mr. Barton Langridge of Donnybrook and the balance after, careful culling were passed into the Sunnyhurst flock.
In spite of the number of rams purchased, the general policy has been to adherent the use of rams bred in the stud wherever this was possible and except where they find an out-cross absolutely necessary Messrs. Day and Co. intend to maintain this policy.
Every year they dispose of many ewes, with the intention of maintaining a high equality stud of small numbers and the success of this policy ls proved by the fact that since 1932 when they commenced exhibiting sheep they have acquired.
One championship and two reserve championships for rams, one reserve championship with a ewe, seven first awards, ? nine second awards, five third awards : and have been twice highly commended.
The sheep in the stud are all of excellent conformation, with good heads and deep, -well sprung bodies. The backs are all of good length and breadth, and they carry good even fleeces of 50’s-60’s quality wool. The ewes cut as high as 141b. of wool and one ram in particular (CA), a 1936 drop ram by Pride of Sunnyhurst A.22 (Perth champion in 1934), was sold to Mr. B. L. Spedding Smith, of Coolgardie and, according to a letter received by Messrs. Day and Co. from the purchaser, cut 211b. of wool.
- 1940 ‘AROUND THE STUDS’, Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), 4 July, p. 32. , viewed 26 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38414784
Sale of E. Day & Co
In 1947 Ern Hill had a health issue so he sold up and distributed the shares of the partnership within the family. Ern Hill moved to Perth.
Charles and Clarice Hurst moved to Pingelly and then in 1950’s Popanyinning. In 1962, Charles and Clarice Hurst returned to Bridgetown buying a farm on Tweed Road. Clarice Hurst died from multiple sclerosis in Manjimup Hospital in 1973. Charles Hurst was well known in Bridgetown and left the area in 1980.
Walter Henry Hill
Walter Hill (Wally), the brother of Ern, moved to Bridgetown in 1905 and helped with the business. Wally originally worked in Kalgoorlie with Ern.
Walter had four children:
- Bertram Thomas b 1896 d Nov 21, 1916 (killed in action in France, World War I)
- Beryl – Bethesda Hospital in Perth was established by Matron Beryl Hill in 1943.
- Gwen m E. Brown
- Majorie m W.G Jones (Bill)
The Late Walter , Henry Hill
The death of Mr. Walter Henry Hill marks the passing of yet another old and very respected resident of the Bridgetown district.
He was born in Melrose, S.A., in 1870 and came to W.A. in 1905 with his wife and family and made his home in Bridgetown where he developed the well-known Dorrington property in the Mattup area, on which, until a few years ago he and his family resided.
Originally Dorrington was virgin bush but Mr. Hill developed it to a very high standard. He was very interested in the activities of the Bridgetown Fruitgrowers Association and was noted for the high quality fruit that he produced in his orchard. He was of a particularly quiet nature and it was only natural that a gentleman of his type has left behind a wide host of friends to mourn his passing.
It is also recalled that for very many years his wife was president of the Bridgetown Red Cross.
His death took place at his daughter’s hospital, Bethesda, in Claremont, for during the last three years he has been living at Mount Lawley. He was a very keen orchardist, always helping others and many outstanding, orchards today owe their position to the work of Mr. Hill in reconstructing them and directing their growth for he was an expert pruner.
He leaves behind to mourn his passing his wife, and three daughters, Beryl (matron of Bethesda Hospital), Gwen (Mrs. W. G. Jones), Marjorie (Mrs. E. Brown), to whom the sympathy of the whole district is extended in their irreparable loss.
- 1948 ‘The Late Walter Henry Hill’, The Blackwood Times (Bunbury, WA : 1905 – 1920; 1945 – 1954), 15 October, p. 6. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210699256
Bertram Thomas Hill
Bertram Thomas Hill, Walter Hill’s son, was killed in action in 1916.
The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hill, of Bridgetown, expressed their deepest sympathy with the bereaved family when the news of their son’s death was cabled through.
Bertram Thomas Hill had just’ passed his 20th year and had a decided a liking for military life. He joined the cadets at Bridgetown and quickly worked up to Sergeant. He enlisted in the A.I.F. on 3rd January this year, and soon worked up to corporal, his youth preventing him getting Sergeant’s rank.
Deceased sailed for Egypt on 31st March, and reached France some time in June. He was then attached to 16th Reinforcement 16th Battalion, but in France was transferred to “D” Company 4Sth Battalion 12th Brigade, and having been passed through the school, held the position of Gunner.
He gave his life for his country on 23rd November, being killed in action.
- 1916 ‘Personal’, The Blackwood Times (Bunbury, WA : 1905 – 1920; 1945 – 1954), 22 December, p. 2. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210278742
In sad and loving memory of our dear son and brother, Bert. late 48’1 Brigade killed in action at Flees on November 21, 1916. Although two years have passed away, Our grief is just as deep. Inserted by his loving father, mother, sisters, and brother, Bridgetown.
In sad but proud remembrance of Gunner Bertram Thomas Hill, killed in action somewhere in France November 23,’ 1916. Your death was not in rain, Bert. Inserted by his loving uncle and aunt. E. and M. HiII, and cousins, Clarice. Kenneth, and Sylvia, Sunnyhurst, Bridgetown.
In loving memory of Bert, killed In action November 23, 1916 Inserted by his loving aunts and uncles. Mr. and Mrs. O. T. Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Wood.
- 1918 ‘Family Notices’, The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), 23 November, p. 1. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27496780
Emma Jane Day
Much of the family’s Bridgetown history I’ve read focuses on Ern Hill however Ern’s mother-in-law, Emma Jane Day, and her family were a crucial part. Emma Jane Day, her daughter Millicent were business partners in E. Day and Co company; and some of her children were influential in other locations in Western Australia.
Emma Jane Day had seven children:
- William John (John) b 1869 d 1944
- Henry b 1872
- Daisy m Wilde
- Millicent Mary Day b April 21, 1875 d Oct 13, 1936
- Mary Gertrude (Molly)
- Leonard (Sydney, NSW)
Emma and her daughter Millicent Mary lived at Sunnyhurst with Ern and her daughter Molly. Emma Jane Day was 86 years and 3 months when she died at Sunnyhurst on 8 May, 1934. Her daughter Millicent died of breast cancer at 61 on Oct 13, 1936.
Her Life in South Australia
Emma Jane Day, a widower, was originally from OB Flat near Mount Gambier, South Australia. Her husband Carl Day died in Mount Gambier hospital of bronchitis and heart disease at 65 in Jan, 1894. According to his death notice he had suffered from illness for a long time.
Days Hill in South Australia, on section 92, Hundred of Blanche, remembers Emma Jane Day, ‘wife of Carl Day, O.B. Flat’, who purchased the land from Alexander McLean on 29 April 1874.
In June, 1882 Carl Day was charged with neglecting to send his son to school.
Carl Day, of O.B, flat was charged with having neglected to send his son Henry to school 35 days during the quarter ended March 31. He pleaded guilty, and said he had been under Dr. Jackson’s care since last July and was unable to do any hard work. The boy had been earning 6s. or 7s. a week. Both he and his mother had to go out working as he (defendant) could not work. He had two sons in the town learning trades, and they went to a night school. The boy Henry was ten years of age last birthday. Was sending him to school now, and purposed continuing to. do so. Case to stand over until next visit of the Inspector.
1882 ‘MOUNT GAMBIER POLICE COURT.’, Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), 28 June, p. 2. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77566814
Emma and Carl’s house in OB Flat was destroyed by fire in March, 1887. The house wasn’t insured and the loss was estimated at over £100. The local community donated goods and helped raise money to rebuild their house in April, 1887.
In July 1896 Emma’s brother Joseph Gardiner was charge with being deemed to be a lunatic.
MOUNT GAMBIER POLICE COURT.
Friday, July 17.
Before Messrs. John Ingleby and E. J. French, Justices.
Joseph Gardiner was charged, on the information of Emma Jane Day, with being deemed to be a lunatic, and not under proper care and control. Emma Jane Day, widow, and sister of the accused, stated that he was subject to such uncontrollable bursts of ill-temper and ill treated his mother so much that she had been led to lay the information. He was always out at night, and used the vilest Language to anyone who came near the place, and she considered his brain was excited with insufficient sleep. He imagined all his relations ill-treated him, but they did not; they did all they could for him. He never did any work, but could get plenty if he liked to take it.
He had been under Dr. Jermyn for some time. When he was young he met with accident, which Dr. Jackson, who attended him at that time, had stated would lead to madness. To accused witness said it was not on his mother’s responsibility she had laid the information. Accused asked that his mother might be called to give evidence of what Dr. Jackson had stated.
Mary Maria Hartley, wife of Edward Hartley, stated that she was at present on a visit to her mother, Mrs. Gardiner, and that the accused was her half-brother. Last Wednesday night her mother went to take Joseph a cap of cocoa, but came back with it a few minutes after with accused following her. He went to go out, but his mother refused to let him, and he caught hold of her and gave her a good shaking. His mother still refused to let him out, and he pushed her back, and in falling she cut her head deeply. Accused then went out, but came book shortly after and denied having hurt his mother.
Since she had been there he had often come home at all hours of the night and made a great row, and on one occasion he had threatened to break her neck.
Mounted constable South deposed to having arrested the prisoner the previous afternoon on warrant. To accused he said he had known him good long time and had never noticed anything peculiar about him.
Frederick David Jermyn, medical practitioner, stated that he had been attending the accused and had always considered him a most eccentric individual. He had no delusions, but rambled about the street at night and suffered greatly from insomnia, which was a sign of insipient lunacy. He had not control of his temper, and he might have killed his mother by the way in which he had been told he threw her down.
Accused appeared to consider that his family were all against him, and he should say that he was not quite right in his mind. When in a state of melancholia he had been told that he had threatened to commit suicide, and he would advise his being committed for a time to see if it would do him good.
The accused asked that the case might be adjourned to allow of his being examined by the Assistant – Colonial Surgeon. At that time be would like to contradict some of the evidence of Dr. Jermyn; he had never threatened to commit suicide. In reply to Dr. Jermyn Constable South stated that on one occasion accused had told him that he was nearly putting his head on the rails once, but he had made no direct threat. The case was adjourned to 10 a.m. the following morning.
1896 ‘MOUNT GAMBIER POLICE COURT.’, Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), 18 July, p. 2. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77536633
Saturday, July 18.
Before Messrs. Ingleby and French, Justices.
Joseph Gardiner, on remand, charged with lunacy, was brought up, but as Dr. Johnson had been unable to examine him, and the accused expressed a strong desire that he should the case was adjourned till Monday.
Monday, July 20,
Before Messrs. Ingleby and French, Justices.
Joseph Gardner, on remand, was brought forward. The accused asked to be allowed to give evidence in contradiction of the testimony of Mrs. Hartley and Dr. Jermyn, and being allowed denied that he assaulted his mother, although when she tried to push him out of the house he caught her by the hands.
He strongly denied Dr. Jermyn’s statement that he was subject to delusions, He worked when he could get it to do. He admitted wandering about at night. Dr. Johnson said he had examined the accused, and in his opinion he was not insane. He was a delicate man, and appeared to suffer from chronic infirmity and was troubled by insomnia and when intolerable in those conditions he went for walks at night and very early in the morning to pass the time. Through want of sleep and pain he thought his temper was made very irritable. He did not think it necessary to lock him up, and it would be no sense sending him to Adelaide, as he would be turned adrift again. If he assaulted his mother of course he should be punished like anybody else. The information was dismissed, and the accused liberated with a caution.
1896 ‘MOUNT GAMBIER POLICE COURT.’, Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), 22 July, p. 3. , viewed 24 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77536690
William John Day
William John Day (John) born in 1869 was one of Emma Jane Day’s son.
Below is a copy of his obituary:
The late Mr. William John Day, who passed to the Great Beyond last week at the age of 76 years, had been a resident of this town for a period of 52 years, and had been one of its finest citizens.
The late Mr. Day was born at Mount Gambier, South Australia, in 1869, having been a son of the late Mr Carl Day, a well-known resident of the Central State. After attending school in his native town, he became apprenticed to the bakery trade in the same place.
On completion of his apprenticeship, he turned his attention for a short time to agricultural pursuits on his father’s farm, but after a couple of years relinquished this occupation in favour of the trade,
He worked for some little time as journeyman, then went to Victoria for the sake of acquiring further experience and to acquaint himself with a knowledge of conditions prevailing in other parts.
In July of 1892 he migrated to Western Australia, his intention being to go to the Goldfields; but, landing at Albany, he came into contact with the late Mr. F. C Greeve, who was conducting a bakery in Stirling Terrace (the same place where his son Mr. Harold Day is now operating), and at the request of that gentleman took up the position of foreman, and for nearly five years the work of the factory was under his supervision. Resigning from this position, he threw him
self into the project of building up a similar business, in partnerships with Ma. Phillips. Mr. Day bought out his partner five years later, and carried on the business afterwards with conspicuous success.
He always availed himself of every opportunity to assist in the improvement of the social conditions of the community of which he formed a part, and of the town which he had made his adopted home; but the claims of his rapidly expanding business prevented him from taking an active part in public affairs until 1909, when for the first time he permitted himself to be nominated for a seat on the Municipal Council.
He was then elected as a representative of the East Ward, and until 1917 proved himself worthy of the continued confidence of the ratepayers. In the last-named year he was elected to the Mayoral chair and occupied that honourable position until 1921, and at the conclusion of that period he retired from civic life.
During his term as Mayor, the late Mr. Day had the honour of officially receiving and welcoming His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (now Duke of Windsor),Lord Birdwood and Admiral and Lady Jellicoe.
After this he travelled extensively, and visited most parts of the world, notable exceptions being China, Japan and South America.
In 1938 he finally gave up business (his son Harold since carrying on) and retired to live quietly.
The deceased was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity and had received all the honours at the disposal of the local Plantagenet Lodge. He also had the credit of founding the local Court of the Ancient Order of Foresters. He passed through all the chairs and became its oldest Past Chief Ranger.
As an elder of the Presbyterian Church he had a long and active association with the local Church, of which he was a valued member. In his younger days he was an enthusiastic rifleman, and was on the committee of the Albany Club for a lengthy period. He was the possessor of a marksman’s badge of efficiency. He married in 1896, but his wife predeceased him in 1938. Of the union there survive sons Harold (Albany), John and Fred (Perth), and daughters Melva (Mrs. Alan Kerr, Liverpool, England), Phyllis (Mrs. Douglas Wilkie, ex-Malay States, now Perth), and Hazel (Mrs. J. Higgins, Perth).
Deceased remarried in 1941, his second wife being Miss Bessie Mills, of Albany, who
also survives him.
The remains were interred in the Presbyterian portion of the Albany Cemetery on Saturday afternoon last, in the presence of a large and representative gathering, the Rev. J. W. Eddleston performing the last rites. The chief mourners were Harold, John and Fred (sons), and Lindsay (eldest grandson).
The pall bearers were: Messrs. L. L. Hill, MLA, and H. Wiley (Plantagenet Lodge), A. G. Hill (Hiram Chapter), C. Carpenter (AOF), Hon. C. H. Wittenoom, Mayor, and Cr. T. H. Nesbitt (Albany Municipal Council. Messrs. Max O’Neill and Alan Harper were present representing the Albany Brass Band. Many beautiful floral tributes were placed on the mound. The funeral arrangements were conducted by Mr. H. C. Prior.
1944 ‘Late W. J. Day.’, Albany Advertiser (WA : 1897 – 1950), 20 July, p. 7. , viewed 22 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70449770