Janne’s story is about my mother Millicent Halma (nee Hurst) – preferred name Janne who was born in 1938 and died on January 24, 2019. It is written from stories she told me before she died combined with information in documents she wrote at various times during her life. I didn’t always appreciate her hoarding – but I feel blessed that it lead her to keeping so many documents and items that most people discard. Most were found when cleaning the house she lived in after she became sick and one was found on her computer after she died. I cared for her full time for 17 months in our house before she died and never had the strength to tell her that I had found them, read them and kept them.
I’m grateful the words she left behind that allowed me to understand my mum better and how it shaped who I am.
I was born in 1938 and spent the first 9 years of my life growing up on a farm, known as Sunnyhurst, in Bridgetown with my parents and grandparents.
My grandparents, Ern and Mollie Hill, great grandmother Emma Jane Day and great Aunt Millicent Day were part of E.Day and Co. registered by Emma Jane Day and Ern Hill. E. Day and Co owned a series of businesses including a general store and sawmills which were sold as the family developed their farm, Sunnyhurst, which included apple orchards and sheep.
My extended family were involved in numerous local organizations including the Bridgetown local health board, Bridgetown Fruit Grower’s Association, Bridgetown Road Board, Bridgetown Bowling club, Freemasons and Red Cross.
The family built Sunnyhurst Homestead in 1905 which was an impressive homestead for its time. Sunnyhurst had a substantial and impressive garden around the front of the house with views overlooking the valley. My grandparents were considered people of importance in Bridgetown when I was growing up. Bridge parties and tennis parties were often held at Sunnyhurst.
Farm had apples, pears and sheep and a few cows.
My parents Clarice and Charles Herbert Hurst married on Oct 26, 1936 when my mother Clarice was 33.
They lived in a small cottage next to the Sunnyhurst Homestead.
My mother adored my father who wanted a son to carry on the family name. My mother’s first pregnancy with me was when she was 34. She had no understanding of children and proceeded to provided a very hygienic unrealistic environment. Everything was sterilized and children were to be seen but not heard.
Between the age of 2-3 I developed a cyst that resulted in all of my hair being shaved off for surgery. Having my hair shaved off spoiled my doll like image.
War Years: 1939 to 1945
When World War II started I was just over a year old.
During this time I can remember getting a chocolate Easter egg surrounded with flavored centers coated in chocolate from my Uncle Jack (W.J Day from Albany) when I was about 3 years old. This was the last chocolate we saw during the war period and you couldn’t buy chocolate until long after World War II ended. My parents only gave me a small piece of chocolate because the doctor had put me on a special restricted diet as he thought some of my illnesses were related to diet.
My grandfather Ern Hill would use rations to buy licorice all-sorts which I hated! Ern was a typical self made man. Tough and respected those that stood up to him.
Only a few people like my Grandfather had a radio and I used to listen to the radio with my Grandfather. I remember having to sit very quietly with my Grandfather Ern inside Sunnyhurst listening to the war news on his radio. Other items that were rationed included teas, clothing and fabric. Fabric to make clothes was very hard to obtain.
During the war years petrol was rationed. People who needed to use a lot of fuel such as the doctor had gas producers attached to their car. Headlights were covered partly with black to reduce light for fear the Japanese would see.
Power often went off at night time. It was owned by a private power company. Windows in the houses had black out curtains and you would get a fine if a light could be seen from outside.
We had a twin tub washing machine at Sunnyhurst. Very few people had these types of washing machines in Australia; became more common later in the 1950’s. Ours was a America twin tub made before the war.
I remember my mum getting up early in the mornings to milk cows as part of our war effort was to provide milk and butter.
We had metal lined rooms next to the Smithy (used for shoeing horse) where there were feed chambers to protect the live stock food from pests.
During the war sheep killed on the farm were shared between four families – our family and the two Marshall families. We took turns as to which part of the sheep you go. Sugar and tea were limited during this time. Lots of things disappeared from the menu including lollies, ice cream.
I remember visiting my Grandmother Molly at the Mount Hospital in Perth when it was in Mount Street and outside in the park were trenches for air raids. I saw the Catalina amphibious aircraft in the Swan River.
During the war I used to sew up brown paper bags which were filled with items that the Red Cross sold to raise funds for their war effort. The Red Cross did a range of activities including a penny chain where you added a penny to the path to see how far the chain could stretch along the street. Money raised was used to send parcels to military personnel.
I can remember the celebration at the end of the War at the showgrounds and I remember after the war resentment towards returned soldiers as they got preferential treatment for jobs.
I always felt that I was the unwanted daughter of dysfunctional parents. They were not bad people and possibly never understood the hurt they inflicted. My father was a delightful man, a Peter Pan and my mother was very jealous and possessive of her “Boy” which is what she and his family called my father. My mother tolerated no other woman in his life, even a small daughter as she felt it distracted from her. During my early childhood my mother often spoke of how she wanted to have a boy for my father to carry on the family name.
My mother had many miscarriages before carrying my brother Richard to full term when she was 40 and I was 6. They finally got their son complete with the complications of pyloric stenois and until my brother had surgery no one could upset him or he would vomit. Ric was very sickly and wasn’t expected to survive.
I felt that I became a non-person from this time on in my parents’ eyes and by the time my brother was three my main role was looking after my brother when I was not at school. I didn’t realize but my mum was unwell during this period, gradually deteriorating, later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A terrible disease but I believe our relationship was destroyed long before she became sick.
As a consequence of my mother’s pregnancy, and my brother’s sickness, I wasn’t able to start school at the beginning of the school year. I didn’t start Grade 1 until August, 1944 in the last term of the school year. As a result I didn’t learn much. I was bullied by other students and as a result became violent to those that bullied me. I didn’t learn much during this time and so I was held back a year. When my father was 96 years old I learnt that he knew about the bullying but did nothing about it. I was taken back by why he never intervened.
My grandfather had given me a horse, Dartmoor pony. I became quite fearless with my pony which I adored. I hated attending Bridgetown Primary School and refused to return to school.
Kangaroo Gully School
My father realised I could attend Kangaroo Gully school which was close to our farm. He constructed a bush shelter near the school which I used as a stable for my pony which I would ride to school. I love Kangaroo Gully school. There were 9 other students, we all got on well, had fun and played well together.
Everything was great until we got a new teacher. The teacher was a local girl who also rode her horse to school. Her horse was bigger than my pony and would break out of the bush shelter taking my pony with it. I spent lots of time looking for her horse and my pony — which was disruptive for schooling.
My first teacher at Kangaroo Gully used to board with parents that lived across from the school. Part of their employment conditions was that local parents had to provide board and lodging for the teachers at the bush schools.
Very few people had motor vehicles. Often only the farmers had motor vehicles. The young teachers had no money to spend, no car which is why board and lodging was part of their employment conditions.
I did not wear a school uniform. In winter I wore skirts and jumper. In summer I wore cotton frocks. I don’t think shorts and pants would have been allowed. It wasn’t long after World War II which meant clothing options were limited.
Lunch for school was a normal cut lunch from home. Which was white bread and jam or vegemite, maybe cheese and fruit.
I used to ride to school from Sunnyhurst to Kangaroo Gully School. The ride would take about 30 minutes and my father fixed up the stable so my pony was left in the stable while I was at school.
The curriculum at Kangaroo Gully school was the same as what was taught at Bridgetown primary school but all the students from Grade one through to Grade six were in the one class so the teacher needed to provide work for each grade level. World War II history wasn’t taught as we lived through it.
Students wrote on paper using pen and pencil.
I can remember a few of the Gregory children, Moore children and Goodwin children. I think my best friends were Kathy and Laura Goodwin who I later meet up with a High school at Perth Girl’s and I used to visit their farm in Gosnells when I was a teenager.
The school had an open fire for winter and the students had to bring in the wood. Cooling wasn’t needed in summer.
Snakes were occasionally spotted when riding home from school but can’t remember seeing any snakes around the school.
School was from 9 to 3. Holidays were 2 weeks in May and August, 6 weeks over Christmas. Most of the public holidays are the same as what we celebrate today.
I remembers going to movies at the town hall with my school. Including the movie The Overlander, Lassie come home and My Friend Flicker.
I went to one circus with my parents. Friday was shopping day and there was often street stalls in the main street of Bridgetown.
My grandmother had a house maid. Her role was to clean the house and came several days a week.
The family had one car that was shared between the grandparents and my parents. Our car was completely enclosed where as our neighbors had canvas covered cars which weren’t completely enclosed with perplex windows.
The toilet was outside the house and my job was to empty the bed pans in the morning. Sunnyhurst may have had an internal toilet but our house had an outdoor toilet that was quite a distance from the property.
In 1947 when I was 9 years old my grandfather Ern Hill had a health crisis and decided to sell up and distribute the shares of the partnership within the family. I was sad to leave Bridgetown and my friends.
Pingelly and Popanyinning Years
We moved to a leased property west of Pingelly after leaving Sunnyhurst. We had a few milking cows, my pony and a bull sent to Pingelly on a train.
I had never been to Pingelly before. I didn’t know the farm and where it was because my father didn’t keep any riding horses for himself. I was given the job of droving the stock to the farm. I wasn’t very good at telling the difference between left and right so when my father gave me instructions I would put stickers on my hands to remember which was left and right.
I struggled living in Pingelly. It was a contrast to our life in Bridgetown. Our homes in Bridgetown had electricity and running water to a farm house in Pingelly that had neither electricity or running water. I had to walk a mile to catch the bus to school which was 8 miles away.
I often question the way my parents used me and came to the conclusion that children were regarded as a resource – to work around the farm. When we lived in Bridgetown we had several 14-16 year old boys (Fairbridge kids), one at a time, who worked on the property doing old jobs. The boy would live in the shed and weren’t allowed to eat with us.
In 1950 my family moved after purchasing a property east of Popanyinning.
When I was 12 my mother decided that I should go away to school even though the local school went up to what is now called Year 10. I was boarded with a succession of families in Perth where I attended school. After attending High School until Junior Year I gained entry to Business College. By the time I was 16 I was living in a boarding house working and paying a third of my small income in rent. In the years between 16 to 18 I worked, studied at night and dated an endless stream of males, all of which were kept at a certain distance because neither matrimony nor motherhood had any appeal.
I had gone home during the school holidays, usually to house keep when my mother was sick or in hospital, or to work on the farm but I was not permitted to come back to live or work in the district nor would my father allow me to continue my school so I could go to University as I wished.
When I was 17 I met my husband to be and we began living together when I was 18. This was a shocking thing to be doing in the 50’s and I had no intentions of getting married but when I told my parents that I was pregnant they suddenly remembered they had parental rights and insisted that we either get married or I cease living with my lover. Bill and I discussed this and decided that marriage would be acceptable. Bill wasn’t religious but my family insisted on a church wedding. We went through with the service but I found it ironic that the only wedding present I received from my parents was five pounds that was what the minister charged for marrying us. The maternal side of my family all told me how disgusting I was pregnant and to add insult to injury that I had married a New Australia – not very socially acceptable in the 50’s. My husband Bill had migrated from Holland with his family on the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt arriving in Perth on 29 April, 1954.
I had a difficult pregnancy complicated by pylonephritis and hypertension with never ending morning sickness. I weighed a stone less when I went to hospital to give birth than I had a year before. After very prolonged labour and further problems I was discharged 21 days later. The hospital was very short staffed and it was 3 days before I saw my baby. Helen went from the incubator to the isolation nursery due to a rash blamed on the humicrib.
I now believe the rash was probably thrush due to my earlier hospitalization and treatment. The rash I had resulted in me being returned to threater to be resutured under local, after I had failed to heal in 21 days.
During this time I had not seen Bill for almost 2 weeks because he had been sick and they thought he had the Asian Flu. Arriving home I was in shock to see he had faded to ~8 1/2 stone from ~ 12 1/2 stone; which was a lot of weight for someone who was ~ 6’4″.
We lived in a small flat and Bill tried to return to work but he kept on having severe abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhoea. I kept on insisting this wasn’t normal and after more than a year x-rays by a specialist diagnosed Ulcerative Colitis. Shortly after this the doctors also discovered that Bill had blood dyscrasia which left him with insufficient platelets to promote clotting and this caused the bleeding in the bowel.
The doctors were able to give us an explanation of Bill’s health – that he never had Asian flu but had developed a condition known as idiopathic thromobocytapaenia purpura. Occurs for no known reason and causes a platelet deficiency in the blood that means the person could bleed from any part of their mucus membrane. It often resolves spontaneously within two weeks but for some people there is no real solution – just trial and error to see what works. The doctors tried a range of cortisone treatments, diets and nothing worked. We had to give up our flat and live off social security benefits using up our savings until someone helped us apply for sickness benefits.
Bill’s parents were kind and let us live with them but it wasn’t easy for any of us as the house was over crowded and we had a teething baby. With assistance from the Almoners’ Department at Royal Perth Hospital we were able to move into our own State Housing home.
With limited financial resources we managed to purchase sufficient furniture for the new house. Our table was originally an ironing board and the only electrical appliances we had were a second hand fridge, a toaster and a blender (which was needed for Bill’s special diets). Bill’s health continued to deteriorate and the doctors recommended surgery. This brought us into conflict with his parents who blamed me, and my cooking, for his illness. Unfortunately when the specialists organized for a Dutch speaking doctor to discuss it with Bill’s parents the doctor did not explain it properly or his parent’s misinterpreted what they were told, and they decided that Ulcerative Colitis was an emotional disease and he needed to get his nerves under control. His parents wouldn’t consent to any surgery and not being over 21 meant that he needed his parents to consent to it.
Finally Bill and the doctors convinced his parents to agree to a splenectomy as they hoped removing his spleen would cure the blood disease and allow his bowel to heal. The delay meant his health had deteriorated further, the drugs had caused further complications and the operation was nearly fatal. Bill did recover and for 12 months it looked like Bill had won back his health.
Unfortunately the Ulcerative Colitis flared up again and his parents refused to allow further surgery which mean he had to have pints of blood on a regular basis. He had adverse reactions to blood he received and his quality of life diminished due to his need to take strong painkillers and to be near a toilet.
When Bill turned 21 he arranged to have the surgery. We were warned that he may not survive this surgery due to the delays, the drugs and his weight loss compromising his health. Bill told the doctors his quality of life was poor and have a bowel resection and ileostomy was better than the pain he was dealing with. Because of his health the operation was done in two stages although the doctor felt that it would be unlikely that his bowel could be rejoined.
Bill came home from hospital and built up strength to face the second operation to remove the rest of his bowel or rejoin. Life was wonderful, he was pain free except for some phantom bowel problems. He learnt what he could and couldn’t eat and looked forward to going back to work when it is all over. We talked about having another baby when he was better.
He had his second operation, the ileostomy was permanent. The wound would not heal properly and he had further surgery but a kind employer agreed to employ him despite hours spent at the hospital getting dressings changed. We were now a family of four, with our second daughter Margie born in 1962, and having all the problems every family has with an adventurous pre-schooler and a teething baby. He had complications but the pain was gone and he eventually started working again.
In 1962 my parents moved back to Bridgetown and Bill offered to give my father a hand with the move. Bill fell in love with the South West of Western Australia and asked my father to see if anyone was looking for an Electrician in the area.
Bill was offered a job and a house so we left Perth. I was surprised because I found it strange that a boy from Amsterdam should be keen to go bush but I had learnt to make myself at home wherever I went having no settled abode for 6 years. Bill loved living in the country. We built a hut in Windy Harbour on some leasehold land where we spent weekends and school holidays, while our children were going up, and later when equal wages for women came into being in the 70’s we saved and brought our own home in Manjmup.
After we had been living in Manjimup for about 8 months Bill became unwell and it turned out that he was at risk of getting peritonitis as part of his operation had not healed properly and an abscess was threatening to burst into his abdominal cavity. The doctors planned plastic surgery in Perth and thought he might be home in a fortnight. After his coccyx was removed and hearing started, seven months from the time he went into hospital, Bill returned home to us and our third daughter who was three months old. Manjimup is 3 1/2 hours from Perth. We discussed baby names while he was in hospital via letter and limited phone calls.
We lived a marvelous normal every day life. We explored the South West, went fishing, camping and bought our first vehicle. Bill had further surgery for a prolapsing stoma and bowel blockage due to adhesions and had complications with drug reactions.
Our children grew older and I decided to train as an enrolled nurse at the local hospital in Manjimup. The night before my final exams I came home to find him rolling around the bed in agony. I got him to hospital where the doctor thought one of the kidney’s had shut down.
Bill enjoyed his life in Manjimup but complications from his illness, surgery, pain and cardiac problems diminished his quality of life.
My great grandparents, Edward Ernest Hill and Mary Gertrude Hill (nee Day) were early Bridgetown pioneers. They lived together with Emma Jane Day (my 2nd Great Grand mother) and Millicent Day (my 2nd great Aunt) at Sunnyhurst in Bridgetown and together ran the family business called E. Day & Co.
The Day family were originally from Mount Gambier in South Australia and migrated to Western Australia in the late 1890’s. The following is a collection of information I’ve learnt about my Day family history.
This page is updated as I find new information and was last updated 7 May, 2018.
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 (nee Gardener) was born on 7 Feb, 1848 in Meerut, Bengal, India.
Her father John married Mary, a widower with a child, in Cawnpore, Bengal, India on 10 Oct, 1844 when John was 24 and Mary was 31. Mary’s child, Mary Maria whose father was William Cousins was born in 1843, was 5 years older than Emma.
The Shackamaxon left Liverpool on December 23, 1861 with 364 immigrants and arrived on March 16, 1862 into Melbourne, Victoria. The ship experienced fine weather through the passage and no deaths occurred. Most secured their passage under the immigration remittance system. The ship carried mostly females. There were 24 married couples, 268 single women, 1 single man and 29 children from 1 to 12 years.
The Shackaxon, Captain Toulan, was a Black Ball ship of 947 tons.
Charles George (George) (aka Charles Davis – Victoria) b 3 Sept, 1867 d 1953
William John (John) b 1869 d 1944
Joseph Henry Day b 1872
Mary Daisy Lillian (Mary) b 12 June, 1873 m Wilde
Millicent Mary Day b April 21, 1875 d Oct 13, 1936
Maud Brittania b 1876 died at 5 months
Mary Gertrude (Molly) b 1877 d 1955 m Hill
Leonard Mitchell (Sydney, NSW) b 19 Feb 1880 d 1953
Efflie Louisa Myrtle b 1882 died at 7 months
The family was originally from OB Flat near Mount Gambier, South Australia and 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.
The early years were tough on the family. Carl Day struggled with illness and was unable to work. He was charged several times for failing to send some of the children to school.
George and W.J Day left school to learn trades and went to night school.
Of the seven children that survived childhood, all of them married except for Millicent Mary Day and many of them immigrated from Mount Gambier to Western Australia.
Emma and her daughter Millicent lived at Sunnyhurst with Ern and her daughter Molly in Bridgetown, Western Australia.
Emma Jane Day was 86 years and 3 months when she died at Sunnyhurst on 8 May, 1934. Her daughter Millicent died at 61 on Oct 13, 1936.
Below is her obituary from Blackwood Times on
Late Emma J. Day.
Brief references was made in our last issue to the death of Mrs Emma J. Day in her 86th year. Known to her relatives and many friends as Grannie Day, deceased was born in Meerut, India, where her father, John Gardner, was an officer in the Indian Army. As a child she was sent to school in England and when 14 years old joined her parents, in the meantime, had removed to Australia. She married late Charles Day who was interested in mining on the Bendigo goldfields, work that was relinquished to reside in Mt Gambier, South Australia for 35 years. Four sons and five daughters were born, two of who died in early infancy. In 1897 Mrs. Day came on a visit to her son who had settled in Albany and following this visit a few months were spend in Bunbury. In 1898 she came to Bridgetown and immediately pinned her faith in the district, a faith that did not fail her for she saw the town grow and prosper. Often she was heard to remark, “I would not like to live elsewhere.”
In her quiet way Mrs Day was a great worker for charity and for about ten years a great deal of her time was given in making garments and rugs for the Parkerville Home and she never failed to “keep her birthday” by sending a parcel of new garments to the home. About 2 1/2 years ago her failing sight compelled her to relinquish this work. During the great war she was an outstanding worker for the Red Cross Society in providing comforts for the soldiers and went to a great deal of trouble in beading two pictures which netted a handsome sum for the funds of the society.
Older residents of the town and district will remember many years ago, during the serious illness of the medical office, the late Mrs Day gave a great deal of her time attending cases of sickness.
The remains were interred in the Anglican portion of the Bridgetown cemetery on May 9, when a large number of friends attended to pay their last respects, the service being conducted by Rev. Fred Davis. The pall bearers were Messrs H. and C. Blechynden, F. H Pearce and C.Hurst.
I haven’t found much information on Carl Day. He suffered ill health that affected his ability to work from at least July, 1881 and appeared to be ongoing until he died in 1894.
His illness meant there was periods where the older children weren’t sent to school and either had to work or help care for the younger children so Emma could work. Both George and W.J Day left school to learn trades and went to night school.
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.
Charles George Day, known as George, was Emma Jane Day’s oldest son and born in 1867. He married Jane Keating in 1894 when he was 26 years old and had the following children:
Lillian Gertrude b 1895 m Proctor
George Henry b 1896
Sydney b 1897
William James 1899
He met up with W.J Day in Mount Gambier in 1939 and the two brothers hadn’t seen each other for 51 years. George served an apprenticeship with Fred Hammer, blacksmith, Mount Gambier.
He died on 22 February, 1953 in Royal Melbourne Hospital when he was 85. His death certificate records his name as Charles George Day, known as Charles George Davis, and that he lived for 45 years in Victoria, 20 years in Tasmania and 20 years in South Australia.
Mary Daisy Lillian Day
Mary Daisy Lillian Day, known as Daisy, born in 1873 was Emma Jane Day’s oldest daughter. Daisy moved in Albany in May, 1896 where she was employed as a tailoress by Mr A. E Bailey for a number of years.
She married Richard Corke Wild in a double wedding at St Paul’s Church, Bridgetown on Dec 30, 1901 with Ern Hill and Mollie Day. Millicent Day was bridesmaid and John Day was best man.
Daisy and Richard Wild lived in Albany, Western Australia and had three children:
Richard was a livery stable proprietor and carrier.
Richard Corke Wild died on August 3, 1924 aged 58 years when he fell overboard for the steamer Dimboola while sailing from Albany to Port Adelaide as third class passengers. Daisy, Richard and one of their sons was having lunch when Richard felt sick. He went quickly to the rail and overbalanced. The ship had a 7 degree roll caused by ocean swell but the weather was calm.
A lfebuoy was thrown to Richard and within 10 minutes the rescue boat reached the lifebuoy but no trace of him was found.
William John Day (John) born in 1869 was Emma Jane Day’s second oldest son.
He was apprenticed into the baking trade when he was thirteen due to his father’s ill health and served three years. At sixteen he return to work on the family farm for the next four years dividing his time between farm work and working as a baker.
He migrated from Mount Gambier to Albany in Western Australia in 1892 when he was 23. He was originally sent to Western Australia with one of his brothers to investigate land settlement in the State. W.J Day was offered and accepted a position in an Albany bakery while his brother went on a tour of the Great Southern Districts and returned to South Australia to report that land wasn’t worth selecting.
He had his own successful bakery business, joined the Albany council in 1909 he held his seat for 8 years and was elected mayor of Albany in 1917, holding the position for four and a half years. He lived in Albany for 52 years until his death.
W.J Day married Maud Alice Tassell in 1896 and had seven children:
Harold Linsday Day b 1897 d 1963
John Leonard Day b 1899
Frederick William Day b 1903 d 1957
Grace Melva Day b 1906 d 1998 m Alan Kerr (UK)
Hazel Millicent Day
Phyllis Day m Douglas Wilkie
Maud Alice was born in Adelaide and moved with her parents to live in Albany in her teens. His wife, Maud Alice, died at 61 after suffering ill health in November 22, 1938. She was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery, Presbyterian section CC 0249.
During his term as Mayor, he had the honour of officially receiving and welcoming His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (Duke of Windsor), Lord Birdwood and Admiral and Lady Jellicoe and participating in important events.
On November 10, 1918 news of the signing of the armistice in Germany reached Albany and W.J. Day played a major role in the celebrations. When the news was announced all shops and businesses closed and the excited crowds filled the streets. Bands played and school children gathered.
The Mayor (Mr. W. J. Day) mounted a pedestal at noon outside the town hall and was accorded an ovation.
He said: “In a hurried and informal way we meet here this morning to express our gratitude and in some measure mark the close of the greatest and most tragic event in the world’s history – the close ol the terrible war – a war that will go down to the ages as the war of the ages, and a war that will have, we trust, the effect of putting an end to war. And this morning, with hearts full of thanksgiving and gratitude, we all join in fervently saying ‘Thank God’ that the long-looked for day – the day of victory – is here, and the arch conspirators against the world’s peace are smashed into impotency for all time. All of us have fresh in our memories that eventful fourth of August, 1914, when the British nation took the grandest and most momentous step ever taken in its history – the unsheathing of the sword in the cause of liberty and freedom and to protect right against might. We also remember how every branch of the Empire, through its head, dashed out the message to the Motherland that they were in with her to ‘the last man and the last shilling’ – a message that has been carried out in every sense of the words. We also remember how the Australian Government offered to the Imperial authorities 20,000 men – an offer that was accepted by the home Government, with gratitude and thanks, but which was, in some quarters, treated with contempt and derision. How far that contempt was warranted has time revealed. We are all proud to know that our Australian soldiers have proved themselves worthy of the best traditions of their forefathers, and carved a name for themselves that will go down to posterity as worthy of the British race. Today we realise that more than three times 20,000 men of Australia’s best will never return to these shores. They have made the great sacrifice and paid the price of our freedom, a fact that should have a restraining effect on us today when celebrating this glorious victory. Let us, out of respect to the memory of those lads – do nothing unseemly or befitting the occasion. And let us try, collectively and individually to so shape our lives to be, in a measure, worthy of the great sacrifices made on our behalf. Some people will tell you that it is grand to be British today, but I will tell you it is good to be British always, and in lands where the English tongue is seldom heard they will tell you that it is fine to be associated with the British nation. Britain has been responsible for bringing this war to a successful issue. Her determination and bulldog tenacity has time and again rallied the Allies when their spirits were low, which enabled them to fight on till victory was secured. This war was not a dispute between nations, but the outcome of a deep-laid plot between the Teuton nations, in which they conspired together for years to seize an opportune moment to fall upon an unprepared world and annihilate it at a blow, with a view to forcing their will and their autocracy on the rest of humanity. It was a question as to who should predominate – the Teuton or the Anglo-Saxon, and we are all proud to know that democracy has triumphed. And we are proud of the fact that Australia took her part in attaining this glorious triumph.”
W.J Day was also associated with what they believe was Albany’s first real introduction to aviation. Major Norman Brearly, after World War I, brought his Avro airplane to the Albany landing on Shelly Beach in 1919 where W.J Day was one of selected people who went up in the plane. This was part of Major Norman Brearly’s 16 months of doing exhibitions, joy riding, taxi-flights and aerobatics in country centres throughout WA. Brearley went on to form Western Australian Airways LTD in 1921.
As mayor, W.J. Day laid the foundation stone, with Rev Chaplain Milton Maley (Methodist Church), for the Soldiers’ Memorial which stands in York Street adjacent to St John’s Church in the presence of ~2,000 people on Anzac Day, April 25, 1921. A sealed bottle containing the day’s ceremony, a statement of the monument details, a collection of Australian coins struck during the reign of King George V and various press cuttings were place in a cavity hewn in the main stone. The silver trowel used in the ceremony was presented to W.J. Day.
The Soldier’s memorial is 25 ft. 6 in with a base of 5ft x 5ft x 2ft.
He travelled extensively after serving as Mayor visiting many parts of the World which isn’t something many Australian would have had opportunity to do in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Two of his daughter lived overseas in 1930’s – Melva Day traveled through the UK and Phyllis Day lived in Singapore.
His trips often lasted several months and he shared his travel experiences through newspaper articles and community lectures. He also continued to support the community through his work with numerous local community groups.
His trips included:
Northern Western Australia and Darwin in 1923
War Graves Pilgrimage in 1929 – Gallipolli, French and Belgium battlefields, Turkey, United Kingdom
Easter States and Norfolk Islands in 1935
Eastern States including Mount Gambier in 1935 and 1939
His participation in the Battlefields and War Graves Pilgrimage in 1929 was unique for the time. It was the first large scale organized visit of Australians to Turkey, the Middle East and the Western Front. The pilgrimage was originally proposed in 1928 but never eventuated. The 1929 pilgrimage was organized by private individuals and the total cost per person was £230 which was a large amount of money for its time. The group composed of 48 women and 38 men from around Australia and included bereaved relatives and people who survived in the war. W.J. Day participated to make inquiries on behalf of parents whose children died during the war.
W. J Day died in 1944 aged 76 and was buried in Albany Memorial Park Cemetery.
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.
Millicent Matilda Day, known as Millicent, born in 1875 was Emma Jane Day’s second oldest daughter. Millicent and her mother Emma Jane Day were business partners in E. Day and Co company with Ern Hill and her sister Molly. Emma and her daughter Millicent lived at Sunnyhurst with Ern and her daughter Molly in Bridgetown, Western Australia.
My mother, Millicent Halma (nee Hurst) was named after Millicent.
Millicent died at 61 on Oct 13, 1936.
Below is her obituary from Blackwood Times:
Bridgetown residents learned with regret on Tuesday morning of the death of Miss Millicent M Day at her home Sunnyhurst, Bridgetown. The late Miss Day who was 61 years of age was born at Mt Gambier, South Australia and came to this State in 1902, working in a business established by her mother. Two years later the late Mrs Day transferred her interests in the business to her daughter and the business was carried on under the name of Day and Co. The late Miss Day was particularly keen business woman and always working on sounds lines made a success of everything that came under her care.
Every movement for the betterment of the district could rely on her support and when it was decided to form a Red Cross Society in the early stages of the war it was to Mrs Day that the secretarial reins were handed. The work carried out by this body was something to be proud of and the hon. secretary always shouldered her full load. For 14 years, 1914-28 she carried out the duties of hon. secretary. In 1919 the members showed their appreciation of her great efforts by presenting her with an illuminated address and a gold cross. After resigning the position she was appointed to the position of treasurer, a position she held at the time of her death. Although she gave up the secretarial position her interest never waned for she was just as keen as ever to join in and help those who were in trouble. Right through her life that grand feeling was always uppermost in her mind, the joy of doing something to make others happy. As a member of St Paul’s Ladies Guild she played a big part being every ready to do her share and for a period was secretary of the Guild. In many other directions the Late Miss Day played a noble part and may there who will miss her great help that was so willing given. In 1929 the members of the sub branch of the RSL showed their appreciation of Miss Day’s unselfish services by presenting her with a certificate of merit and a badge in the shape of a brooch. The late Miss Day was also a member of the Women’s Auxiliary and took great interest in the movement.
For some years she has not enjoyed good health and had to undergo several operations. Until a fortnight ago she was able to remain out of doors. Despite her illness she still thought of others and only a week before her death kindly offered to donate several prizes for the children’s ball being held to raise funds for the hospital.
My great grandfather Thomas Ockerby Hurst was born in 1873 in West Yorkshire to Charlotte Ockerby, age 32, and Charles Hurst, age 35. Charles Hurst was the son of a coal porter who came from a farming family near Whitby. He married Charlotte Ockerby in April 1868 when he was 30 years old.
Charlotte’s father, Thomas Ockerby, and her brother, Featherstone Ockerby, owned a transport business in Dewsbury which consisted of carriages, hearses, mourning couches, wedding carriages, riding horses for hire, horse-drawn cabs and horse stables. They ran a service between Dewsbury and Bartley. Featherstone lived for awhile in the house where they had the yard and stables in Bartley.
Charles was originally a ship carpenter and became a grocer after marrying Charlotte. Charles carried on a grocery business at the top of Daisy Hill and later on Church street in Dewsbury.
According to the family tree compiled by Thomas Ockerby Hurst, in 1939, Charles and Charlotte had 5 children. Three of the children died in infancy and his older sister Annie Hurst born in 1971 died of TB in 1889 when she aged 18.
Featherstone Ockbery built a semi-detached house (two dwellings under the same roof) in Dewsbury in 1873 which was known as “The High Close”. Three generations and sixteen of the Ockerby family eventually lived under the same roof in ‘The High Close’ which was four storey high and lite by gas.
Charles and Charlotte Hurst moved into The High Close in 1875 when Annie Hurst was aged 4 and Thomas Ockerby Hurst was 2. By this stage Charles was ill and he died in 1878 of kidney disease at 39.
They shared the left hand side of the house with Charlotte’s parent’s Thomas and Ann Ockerby (nee Featherstone). Featherstone, his wife Mary and their children lived in the right side of the house.
Thomas Ockerby died in 1882, leaving his real estate to his son Featherstone Ockerby and his personal estate to his wife Ann Ockerby to be passed onto Charlotte Hurst and her children on Ann’s death.
Feather Ockerby sold his coaching business in 1887 and emigrated with his wife and children to Tasmania, Australia on the cargo steamer Tiverton on October 20, 1883.
Charlotte Hurst remained in England with her two children and moved with her mum Ann Ockerby into a well built terrace house just behind the High Close at 9 Clarke Street, Anroyd. Her daughter Annie Hurst died of TB in 1889.
The inheritance from Thomas Ockerby supported them and enabled Thomas Ockerby Hurst to graduate in a Bachelor of Arts with Honors to become an Anglican priest.
Charlotte stayed in the Clark Street house until Ann died aged 93 in 1904.
Thomas Ockerby Hurst married Mary Anne Hutchinson in 1905. Charlotte moved to Devon to live with them until her death on New Year’s Day 1908 at their home at 6 Brunswick Place, Devonport.
Mary Anne and Thomas Ockerby Hurst were related. Mary Anne and Thomas Ockerby Hurst grandfather were brothers. Charles Ockerby, the brother of Thomas Ockerby, was Mary Anne Hutchinson’s grandfather and Thomas Ockerby was Thomas Ockerby Hurst’s grandfather.
Mary Anne and Thomas Ockerby Hurst had three children:
Fanny Hurst b 1906 d 2000 m George M Edgecombe b 1902 d 1994
Charles Herbert Hurst b 1908 d 2006 m 1936 Clarice Emma Hill b July 19, 1903 d 1973 m Mollie
Sheila Hurst b 1916 d m Web Green
I don’t currently know much about the Hutchinson’s history other than the following sketch that was sent to my great grandfather or grandfather by one of their English relatives.
Migration to Australia
Featherstone Ockerby’s son Thomas Ockerby, who at the time was a successful flour miller in Western Australia, persuaded his cousin Thomas Ockerby Hurst to emigrate while on an English business trip with his wife on 1914.
Thomas Ockerby Hurst and Mary Ann Hurst (nee Hutchinson) emigrated to Western Australia departing March 13, 1914 on the Orient Steamship Company’s Orvieto with my grandfather Charles Herbert Hurst (aged 5) and his sister Fanny Hurst (aged 8).
From back row to front:
Back Row – Thomas Ockerby Hurst, William Hutchinson, Herbert Hutchinson, Charlie Hutchinson, Hamey Goodall
2nd Row – Aunt Edith & Alice, Aunt Mollie, Fanny Hurst, George Hanson Hutchinson (granddad), Charles Hurst, Fanny Hutchinson (Granny), Mary (me), my mother, Aunt Eleanor & Arthur
Front Row – Garnet, George & Dinnie
The ship arrived into Fremantle in May 1914.
The Orvieto was launched in July 6, 1909 and did the passenger service/mail run to Brisbane, Australia. The March 1914 was Orvieto last return trip to Australia before the outbreak of World War I. The Orvieto was requisitioned by the Admiralty as an armed merchant cruiser. She resumed London – Sydney – Brisbane service on Nov 1, 1919.
The family lived in the following locations as a result of Thomas Ockerby Hurst work:
1914 – 1918: Rector of Harvey Anglican Parish
1918 – 1923: St Barnabas Anglican Church, Greenbushes
1923- 1925?: temporary appointment at St Albans Church
1925 – 1930: Rector of Goolmaling Anglican Parish
1930 – 1938: St. Barnabas’s Anglican Church, Kalamunda
1938- 1947: St Aidan’s Anglican Church? East Victoria Park
The family lived in Greensbushes from 1918 to 1923.
St Barnabas Church, built in 1899, is the oldest standing Church in Greenbushes. The following postcard photos are from Thomas Ockerby Hurst’s album and were taken in 1919.
And this is what St Barnabas Church looks like in 2017. The interior of the church is amazing!
Thomas Ockerby (Featherstone Ockerby’s son) persuaded his cousin Thomas Ockerby Hurst to emigrate while on an English business trip with his wife on 1914. At the time Thomas Ockerby was a successful flour miller in Western Australia.
Thomas Ockerby migrated to Australia with his family when he was fifteen and initially lived in Tasmania. He moved to Perth, Western Australia, with his wife Edith in 1897.
When Thomas Ockerby arrived by the Great Western recently to answer charges of alleged fraud and embezzlement leveled against him in connection with the liquidation of Ockerby and Co, another stage was reached in one of the most sensational and meteoric business careers this State has recorded.
A Rapid Rise.
In 1906 Tom Ockerby commenced operations as a miller and started in a decidedly modest way. He formed a company, and it was capitalised at the comparatively small sum of £4,000.
Fifteen-years later the same business had a turnover of one million pounds sterling, and Tom Ockerby, the miller, was progressing splendidly towards becoming a millionaire.
But even as he entered upon the new year the Fates were, loading the dice against him, and the combination of plucky investing genius and business luck that had brought about his wonderful success in so restricted a sphere and so short a time were to encompass his undoing and bring crashing down the wonderful business structure he had built.
In his own words, if it had not been for the unfortunate purchase of ten thousands tons of second quality flour in Victoria and South Australia during May and June 1920 (which, although it showed a profit of £14,000 during those two months, resulted subsequently in a heavy loss), Ockerby and Company would still be one of the most prosperous milling concerns in Australia, and its chief would not now be returning to bis home city under escort after unsuccessfully fighting extradition in a foreign country
Perhaps even despite the unlucky deal in Victoria and South Australia the crash would have been averted had not illness stepped in and laid the presiding genius of the business aside. In June, 1920 Tom Ockerby had a nervous breakdown, and did not take an active part in the business for the rest of the year. For months he could not even dictate a letter, and all the vast business of the firm in its most critical hour had to be conducted by his sons or his staff.
It was during a health trip made to Java and Singapore the previous year that the transactions the subject of the present action were made, and when the crash came a year later and the liquidators were appointed the legal procedure followed.
To follow the fortunes of Ockerby: In April last the Company went into voluntary liquidation, and subsequently the head of the firm went to Adelaide and Melbourne. Though stili a sick man he determined to start again. He formulated a scheme for supplying wheat and flour to British firms and planned to leave for London via America to make the necessary arrangements and return to Australia in October or November of this year.
When the Sonoma left for her July trip to San Francisco the name of Thomas Oclcerby figured among the passengers, and those who traveled with him stated that he was popular with the crowd on board and mixed freely with his fellow travelers. The Souoma arrived at San Francisco on July 19, and to the miller’s surprise, immediately she berthed, a United States police officer informed him that he had a warrant for his detention. Explanations Were hopeless. On a charge of alleged fraud and embezzlement the man who nearly became a millionaire was marched from the steamer to the court.
With Murderers and Thieves.
Forthwith he was committed to the county goal and locked up until the following Friday. “My companions in the county goal,” he says, “were many. They were awaiting trial for murder, robbery, abduction, whisky-running, selling prohibited drugs, and all manner of other offences.”
I was placed in what appeared to be a large iron tank,’ he continues, “with bars in front of it. These tanks occupied the whole front of the building, and were in tiers one on top of the other right up to the roof.”
He was brought up again and remanded, and finally a friend from five hundred miles away arrived and bailed him out.
Followed a long legal fight, the result of which was the order by the American authorities that he be extradited. An escort was sent from Western Australia, and by a recent boat the defendant returned accompanied by Detective Dungey. He subsequently entrained for Perth and arrived here, as we stated, on a Sunday. Here the story of the present must stop.
The one bright spot in the whole of the affair for the central figure must have been the manner in which Mr Ockerby’s friends rallied around “him.—”The Call.”
Charles Herbert Hurst
Charles Hurst, my grandfather, was the middle child of Thomas Ockerby and Mary Anne Hurst. Born on 20 July, 1908 in Sheepwash, in Devon and died 23 Feb, 2006 aged 98 years.
Below is a copy of a letter sent by his father to announce his birth:
And his baptism:
The following is the eulogy from Charles Hurst’s funeral written by his son Ric Hurst.
Charlie to most but usually Charles to both his first wife, Clarice, and Molly his second. “Boy” to his sisters
Dad or “the ol’ man” or sometimes worse to his two children……usually when his notorious stubbornness, supposedly a Yorkshire trait, drove them to distraction !!!!!
And of course Granddad to the next generation…….despite his wishes to be called anything but by the first batch who couldn’t handle calling their Mum’s Dad “Charlie”.
From their viewpoint….tough if it made him feel old.
There is no doubt that Charlie was never an “old man” in his mind despite his years.
Regardless of where you fitted with Charlie, his willpower and tenacious determination were admired by all.
We all anticipated him getting the telegram from the Queen in 2008.
After losing a farm in the Great Depression, a hand in the ‘40’s to a sawmill, one wife in 1973, a second in 2000, and then a leg to circulation problems in 2003 one could assume that a man would give up, get sour and grumpy, then go into a nursing home to fade away.
Not Charlie….. who fiercely defended his right to live alone and care for himself despite a tin leg, failing eyesight and limited hearing.
More inspiring was the fact of his alertness and sense of humour, and continuing joie de vivre.
Many would see him tearing down the street on his shoprider, a hazard to all……when you can’t see the traffic…….or hear the traffic it can be interesting!
Only the day before his fall he told of practicing on the mouth organ as he was going to the shopping center to buy some flowers and play a few tunes for some of the girls there.
“They are very nice……often come and give me a kiss…………I am buying a lot of flowers lately !!!!!!!!”
Arriving in Australia in 1914 as the son of an Anglican parson, Charlie’s first taste of Australia was as a kid in Harvey.
When the Rev T O Hurst moved to the tin mining town of Greenbushes Charlie experienced the cruelty of the miners’ tough little Aussie bush kids who mercilessly bullied the little pommy boy.
The solution was to toughen up and become a bigger larrikin than the rest of them.
By all accounts this may well have been one of his greatest successes!!!!!
Gone are the days when size 10 coppers boots up the backside and the stern words “I will tell your Father” were enough to make the worst kid quake.
In today’s world it is likely Charlie would have been in juvenile detention.
Modern society is less tolerant of the stealing of mining detonators, the subsequent use as targets for pea rifle and ging as they sat in the holes laboriously hand bored through split fence posts.
I gather the result is further splitting of the post and a collapse of the fence wires!!!
We definitely disapprove of kids unchocking mining skips and riding them down the sloping tracks into slurry flooded mines…….just for a lark and a swim!!!
His unworldly Parson Father had even let him loose with a Stevens “Crackshot” .22 rifle as an eleven year old………despite the prior offence of shooting his older sister in the bum with an air rifle.
The raiding of orchards could not be considered stealing……..just boys being boys!!
All in all, Charlie as a kid may well have qualified, not as a delinquent…….but in this politically correct age…..as a dangerous armed terrorist !!!!!
From Greenbushes State School Charlie was sent to Guildford Grammar where he spent seven years as a boarder.
We are not sure that at 19 years of age he actually passed his Leaving.
We have learnt that his Masters commended his papers but protested that his handwriting was such that they could not properly mark him in the time available.
We do know that he loved history and the classical languages and was awarded prizes for his studies of Languages and Divinity.
That must have been when he wasn’t up to mischief.
Like the occasion when strings to the Master’s table legs resulted in an upturned table and a school master with an upturned inkpot on his head. Said Master’s glasses were certainly not rose-tinted as Charles was viewed through rivulets of black ink cascading over the lenses and dripping from the frames.
Charlie also developed as a fair cricketer and footballer.
It is likely that the tempting watermelons across the Swan may have improved his swimming too.
During those days Parson Hurst was at Wongan or Goomalling and “The Smiling Parson” as he was known became somewhat legendary for his fast trips between services in his “T” Model Ford.
A Father Son competition soon developed as Charlie, on holidays, would achieve better times.
Until his Dad had the whole of the next term to once again set the pace.
It is easy to see that Charlie’s “lead foot” developed early. He often claimed that he would put in his Will that there was a bottle of Scotch for the first to arrive at the cemetery after his church service, as he had no patience for the slow parade from church to grave.
Many a mourning crowd arrived at the grave to find Charlie there before them!!
Unfortunately that detail was overlooked in the Will.
He was also would to state that a funeral was too serious to be taken seriously………and welcomed any joke to ease the somber occasion.
On leaving Guildford Charlie went to the “Wallecup” property of Dr House to work and learn farming.
We believe he practised assiduously at football and beer drinking, driving the ubiquitous T Model on greasy clay roads………… and giving himself a lifetime abhorrence of Port wine!
We all know that feeling !!! It must have been quite a binge !!!!
His unworldly Parson father then set this youth up on a farm on the outskirts of Wongan Hills.
A combination of youthful diversions and the Depression were not long in sending Charlie on the road with nothing but meager possessions on his back and two horses.
Somewhere during this rather lean time in his life Charlie developed his ability as a boxer and we understand went close to becoming professional.
His pugilistic skills added to his confidence and the training mellowed a fiery temper.
After a spell in the Edgecombe vineyards working for his brother-in-law, Don, Charlie obtained a position on the E Day & Co property “Sunnyhurst” at Bridgetown.
Settling into that life he married the principal’s daughter, Miss Clarice Hill and became a partner.
The late ‘30’s saw the arrival of a daughter, Millicent Mary………better known now as Janne.
During 1941, whilst manpowered, the loss of most of a hand in a sawmill left Charlie frustrated by an inability to get an active service posting as the War situation deteriorated.
It is notable that despite the disabled hand, Charlie continued with everyday life on a farm.
His family accepted his situation as normal and apart from cufflinks and collar studs he never asked for help because of it.
This ability to cope was an inspiration to disabled youth over the years and his example sometimes provided that extra push others needed to get on with life after disabling injuries.
Help with cufflinks was a routine need as Charlie’s background and interests naturally led him into the Masonic Lodge. After joining in Bridgetown Charlie remained a member throughout his life. Although not active in his latter years Charlie had previously been most involved and had attained Grand Lodge Honours.
In 1944 Clarice added a son to the family, Richard…….better known as Ric.
1947 saw a health crisis for Father-in-law, Ern Hill who decided to sell up and distribute the shares of the partnership within the family.
The Hurst family moved to a leased property west of Pingelly and in 1950 moved again and purchased a property east of Popanyinning.
The “Popo” farm was home during Ric’s formative years and there are prized memories of both humour and amazing patience as Charlie was such a pleasure to work with.
What other boy survived, without abuse, driving the crawler tractor and header through a boundary fence on the first round of a new paddock at harvest??
It was easy to pull the wrong lever at only eleven years of age!!!
Imagine the patience to tolerate the youth who comments “It is time like this you need a sense of humour” as you trudge home some miles at sundown after that same youth has bogged not one…but two tractors with his stupidity.
With delight one recalls Millicent, when housekeeping as a 15 year old, running from the dunny screaming “SNAKE”!!! Charlie was never sure of his skills at identifying snakes …so after the .410 had blown a hole in the roof the poor innocent little Carpet Python crawled through to be dispatched.
Young brother will be eternally disappointed that the snake hadn’t just dropped instead of only looking at big Sis.
Dad believed in letting youth find out about drink and cigarettes at home with kindly supervision rather than furtively in less desirable situations. This tolerance led to an ironic situation where Charlie would be driving boys, including School Prefects, back to boarding school whilst one would be happily puffing away with impunity………until he got to school!!
Just prior to selling out at Popo Charlie purchased a harvester at a clearing sale. His blatant larrikinism was still present in 1962 so the unlicensed open tractor was despatched, in the early hours of a frosty August morning, to drive to East Wickepin. Permits?? You jest!!
Comb still on, no following escort, car in front with neither signs nor orange lights.. straight through Wickepin, on a busy golf day with fairways across the main road, and to the Popo back roads. A problem…the culvert rails were too high for the comb to clear and the roadways over them too narrow.
Easily fixed when one has a chainsaw in the boot !!!!!!!!!
Clarice had become afflicted by multiple sclerosis and had also never come to terms with leaving her hometown, Bridgetown.
Thus in 1962 the Charlies and Clarice sold out the farm in Popo and returned to a property east of Bridgetown on Tweed Road.
In the late ‘60’s the property was sold to Ric, who was then working up north, and Charlie lived on there in the dual role of carer for Clarice who had become bedridden with the MS and general farmhand / caretaker of the property.
When Clarice became too ill for home nursing Charlie continued his life on the farm but added the routine of twice-weekly visits to the Manjimup Hospital.
Upon the death of Clarice in 1973 Charlie’s Lodge friend, the late Ken Smith, urged him to get out and mix with younger people and live.
At about this time Charlie started casual work around to keep himself busy.
Pruning a neglected pine forest with long handled shears Charlie was, at 65, cutting limbs that a 30 year old could not manage.
This tough, fit, man did a little rouseabout work and left the youth of the team in open mouthed wonderment when two could not cope with the same shearers that Charlie had kept up to working alone.
A spell as a janitor in the Wapet Camp on the Barrow Island oilfield was probably Charlie’s last paid work. He likened Barrow to being in gaol as he got his work done in half a day, found it not to be strenuous, and with no interest in fishing had little to do for the balance of his time.
We hasten to add that, despite his misspent youth, there is no record of Charlie ever having been in the cells!!!
Barrow was a common thread in the extended family with Mollie’s grandson Malcolm, Ric, and later Ric’s stepson Jason all working there.
Another common thread for all of those, and younger Grandson, Matthew, was attendance at Guildford Grammar School.
As a result of Ken Smith’s urging Charlie became active in the Bridgetown Repertory Theater, and was to drive considerable activity within that organisation …….and became President for a time.
In 1980 Ric and his family, farming at Gairdner, needed to sell off the Bridgetown land and it appeared that for a while Charlie could be homeless.
Little did they know that Charlie had re-established contact with a widowed childhood sweetheart from his Greenbushes days !!!
What a delight…….and embarrassment……..to have two 70 year old teenagers !!!
After a trip to England, with his bride, Mollie, Charlie settled into life in Albany.
Outside interests saw him involved in the Cemetery Board and the vestry of St Johns…both groups gaining from his love of an argument and his diplomacy.
Charlie resumed a long neglected interest in timber and after attending TAFE took to milling sheoak and turning it into furniture.
Friends and family became recipients of his production, often a little rough, where enthusiasm surpassed both skill and eyesight, and definitely weighty…….usually with as many dovetails as could be used………..along with brass screws to be sure !!!
Article published when he was 80:
Article published when he was 93:
and when he was 95:
His 90th birthday celebrations:
The loss of his leg brought this to a halt….although he would use his saw bench to cut firewood when his shaky one-legged balance prevented an axe being safely used.
During this dangerous time of life in his nineties the sharp mind and ready wit were ever present.
At meeting a couple and after being firmly corrected on his assumptions as to the direction of their friendship he quickly responded to the man “I congratulate you on your taste” and to the lady “and you on your common sense”!!!
It is only a few months ago that he quoted Ecclesiastes Chapter 12 flawlessly to a friend.
One fall too many changed all of that.
We are confident that he would have been quite happy to have passed away with a fall into his saw rather than the slow decline that he endured with anaemia and a hip fracture.
It is certain that the epitaph of his favourite author Gene Rhodes is apt for a man whose passage through life has touched so many of us and left his mark in our hearts.
My great grandparents, Edward Ernest Hill and Mary Gertrude Hill (nee Day) were early Bridgetown pioneers. The family business was called E. Day & Co and they ran a series of different businesses during their time they lived in Bridgetown including E. Day & Co Universal Providers (corner of Henry Street and South Western Highway, formerly Hampton Street), saw mill, an orchard and sheep stud at Sunnyhurst farm. They built the Sunnyhurst homestead and were members of numerous local committees and organizations.
My mother, Millicent Mary Halma (nee Hurst) called Janne, grew up on the property in a cottage near Sunnyhurst Homstead until the age of 9.
The following is a collection of information I’ve learnt about our family history. It includes information about Bridgetown and the Sunnyhurst Homestead sourced for a range of resources combined with information provided by my mother Millicent Mary Hurst.
This page is updated as I find new information and was last updated 7 May, 2018.
I’m starting with some Bridgetown history as it provides context to what life was like for the Hill family 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 center for supplies and food produce for the State.
Convict transport ceased 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. Western Australia’s population was 35,000 in 1885 – had trebled to 101,000 by 1895 and was 239,000 by 1904. Most of the new arrivals came from the Eastern States and by 1901 less than a third of the population had been born in Western Australia.
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
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 drapers 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.”
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.
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 Codling 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.
Edward Ernest Hill (called Ern) was born in South Australia on Oct 25, 1878.
He was the youngest of Thomas and Charlotte Hill’s eight children and left home in Port Augusta at the age of sixteen. His father, Thomas Hill, migrated to South Australia from Ilminster in Somerset, England when he was 11 years old.
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.
Initially E. Day & Co leased some land in Bridgetown for 2 years near the Terminus Hotel on Steere Street where the first store was build.
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. Ern built the store on logs, rather than on stumps — so when the lease expired he towed the store onto their own land in 1899 on the south west corner of Hampton Street (renamed South Western Hwy) and Henry Street.
The following photos of E. Day & Co were derived from screenshots when zoomed in on the original photo 008250PD: Bridgetown, 1923 (State Library of Western Australia). This photo was taken around 1923 when the store was no longer owned by E. Day & Co.
E.Day & Co. also owned Gambia Sawmills which they sold in June 1905 when they purchased the Sunnyhurst property to develop their orchards.
From what I can work out the family’s grand residence Sunnyhurst was built from late 1905 and they most likely moved into the property in 1907 when they sold their store. Sunnyhurst Homestead is located to the east of Bridgetown at 18 Doust Street. 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. Joined the Health Board again in 1908 and was a member of the board until 1912.
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.
According to Fran Taylor’s Bridgetown the early years. Book two at times Ern used to stay in a boarding house in Bunbury run by Mollie’s mother (Emma Jane Day) and this is where he meet Mollie. I have’t been able to verify this information.
E. Day & Co was set up in 1897 when Ern was 19 and he didn’t marry Mollie until Dec 30, 1901 when he was 23.
Mollie’s maiden name was Mary Gertrude Day but she was called Mollie.
Ern Hill partnered with Emma Jane Day, mother-in-law; born in Meerut, Bengal, India, and Millicent Day, daughter of Emma Jane Day, to form E. Day & Co.
Ern and Mollie had three children:
Clarice Emma b July 19, 1903 d 1973 m Nov 10, 1936 Charles Hurst b 1908 d
Kenneth Roland b March 9, 1907 m April 29, 1933 Freda Charlott Byers
Sylvia Millicent b Sept 16, 1908 d 22 Mar, 1990 m Feb 14, 1935 John Richard Collins b 1904 d 22 July, 1979
Clarice married Charles Hurst on Nov 10, 1936 and had two children:
Millicent Mary (Jan) b 1938 m 1957 Willem Halma (Bill) b 1938 d 1984
Helen b 1957
Margaret 1962 m Bruce Dye divorced
Susan b 1964 m 1989 David Waters March b 1963
Sean Patrick b 1994
Liam James b 1998
Richard b June 1944 m Dorothy divorced m Ann
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.
Kenneth Roland married Freda Charlott Byers on April 29, 1933 and had two children.
Graham Kenneth b May 16, 1936
Sylvia married John Richard Collins on Feb 14, 1935 and had no children.
All Ern and Mollie’s children were given a farm in Bridgetown 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 used 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 Mollie 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.
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.
In 1947 Ern Hill had a health issue so he sold up and distributed the shares of the partnership within the family. Ern and Mollie Hill initially lived in Pingelly with Charles and Clarice before moving into their house in Wembley, 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.
Thomas and Charlotte Hill
Ern Hill was the the youngest of Thomas and Charlotte Hill’s eight children and left home in Port Augusta at the age of sixteen.
Thomas Hill was born in Ilminster, Somerset England on 29 April, 1841 and came to Australia with his family arriving at Port Adelaide on the wooden sailing ship “Taymouth Castle” in 1854 when he was 13. The ship left Plymouth on Feb 7, 1854 and arrived in Port Adelaide on May 3, 1854; taking 86 days (passenger list).
Immigration Office, Port Adelaide, July 12, 1854. Sir — I have the honour to transmit, for the information of his Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, the report of the immigration Department, for the quarter ended June 30, 1854. During that period of time, seven ships, chartered by the Land and Emigration Commissioners, have arrived, bringing to the colony an aggregate number of one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine souls.
The Taymouch Castle arrived from Ply mouth on the 3rd of May, after a passage of eighty-six day, with 295 emigrants ; eleven births and two deaths occurred at sea. The ship was in very good order. The arrangement of the berths in this vessel was on a different system from any hitherto employed. They were grouped together in blocks on the telescope principle, so that when not in use they might be reduced to half their size; and the tables were constructed in such a manner as to be allowed to occupy the vacant space during the day. I am not disposed to look on this system as being a desirable mode of berthing immigrant ships. When it becomes necessary to allow one emigrant to remain in bed during the day, the table in that group of berths cannot be used, and about eleven persons are put to great inconvenience tor the sake of one. Where no great amount of sickness prevails, such a system might not seriously interfere with the general comfort of the ship, as arrangements might be made to meet individual cases of temporary sickness ; but were any general epidemic to prevail, the inconvenience produced by the want of the tables would be excessive. The inner half of the bottom boards of the berths, constructed in the manner described, were fixtures ; this is decidedly objectionable, as it interferes with the proper cleaning of the ship. The surgeon superintendent recommend that the different beds should be numbered, as great disturbance was caused amongst the young women every time the beds were taken on deck by their disputes about ownership. In this ship there was put on board by the Commissioners an oven capable of baking about l60 lbs. of bread at a time, in order to afford the emigrants, especially the women and children, an occasional supply of soft bread; the supply of flour to the emigrants was, by this means, issued to them four times in the week, in the shape of soft bread. This is a great improvement, and, I think, if adopted on all ships, would not only add greatly to the comfort but also to the health of the people, if precautions were taken that means are used for properly leavening the bread, so as to make it light and digestible.
I have already referred to a new mode of constructing the berths in the Taymouth Castle; another system has been adopted in some ships, which I think a very great improvement; the berths in the cases to which I allude are built amidships. By this system the light and ventilation of the decks are greatly improved ; the port-holes can be kept open much longer than when the berths were constructed at the sides of the ship, and there is much less obstruction to light. There is one objection to the system, viz , that the vacant space below- for the use of the emigrants is divided into too small spaces and is less convenient, but I think this objection is trivial when contrasted with the advantages which are obtained. It is also stated, that when in the single women’s apartments the berths are placed amidships, that there is in creased difficulty in keeping them under proper surveillance. This objection is partially obviated by a small space being left so as to permit a passage between the double row of berths ; but this can be done only in ships of large size. More than one improvement has been attempted by the Commissioners in the construction of the water-closets, but these attempts have not thoroughly succeeded. It appears very improbable that any system can be adopted which will be found to succeed in all cases. The habits of the people, their previous ignorance of such conveniences, and the malicious pleasure which some of them seem to take in destroying that which is intended for their own comfort, renders it a matter nearly hopeless to expect that any system or improve ment will at all times succeed in accomplish ing the object intended. The Commissioners have lately authorized an additional number of constables to each ship, in the proportion of one constable to each three messes of single girls, for the special purpose of receiving the provisions of the single women’s messes and conveying them to and from the galleys. The object of this measure is to withdraw, as fa practicable, all opportunities for communication between the single women and that part of the vessel particularly set apart for the use of the crew, and to deprive the former of the excuse of which they frequently avail themselves, that they are in the fore part of the vessel for some purpose connected with the cooking of their provisions. This is, in deed, a valuable improvement, and has been found mosf beneficial ; and I cannot avoid this opportunity of giving my very humble testimony of the untiring zeal of the Commissioners in adopting all reasonable plans of improvement in the management of emigrant ships, which are from time to time suggested.
The Taymouth Castle, the Time and Truth, and the Fortune, which have arrived during the quarter, have not brought with them official papers detailing the counties from which the emigrants have been selected, or the occupations to which they have been accustomed, the official lists being nominal lists only. The want of these documents interferes in some respects with making up correct quarterly reports, as well as the different statistical annual returns. The proportion of the immigrants from the three kingdoms, so far as we have data to go upon, is as follows: — From England, 979; from Scotland, 308; from Ireland, 473. Emigrants regarding whom there is no return, 239; total, 1,999. I have, &c, H. Duncan, M.D., Immigration Agent. The Hon. the Colonial Secretary.
Immigration report from 1854 ‘The Register. ADELAIDE: TUESDAY, JULY 25, 1854.’, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), 25 July, p. 2. , viewed 28 Mar 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49198167
His father, James Hill was born in 1806 in North Petherton Somerset England married Sarah Stratton and had five children:
Mary Ann b 1836
James b 1836
Lucy b 1839
Thomas b 1841 d 1908
William b 1849
The family initially lived in Coromontal Valley on the Sturt in South Australia for about 3 years before moving further north.
Thomas’s first job was working for J.H Angus for a few years after which he did pastoral work until 1876.
Thomas married Charlotte Graham, who was born in 1846, on 26 Jan, 1863 when he was 22 and she was 17. Charlotte was the eldest daughter of Walter Graham, a dairyman of Stoney Creek, South Australia.
Thomas and Charlotte had eight children:
Charlotte b 1864 d 1930 m Edward Simpson Hill b 1860 d 1930
James b 1866 m Annie E Cooper
Walter Henry b 1870 d 1948 m 1896 Sarah Gertrude Andrews b 1877 d 1943 (see their children listed below)
Sarah b 1873 m George W Breemier
Mary Ann b 1 Jun, 1863 d 28 Aug, 1946 m 1907 George Howard Strieby b 1865 d 1936
Ernest Edward 25 Oct, 1878 d 7 Feb, 1951 m 1901 Mary Gertrude Day
Andrew Albert b 28 May 1883 d September 1883
Ada Johnson b 8 June, 1886 d m Edwin Lewis Mitchell b 1878 d 1970
All their children were born in South Australia.
Thomas Hill joined the Corporation of Port Augusta on Dec 9, 1876 and worked as a sanitary inspector for 27 years until Feb 28, 1904.
Thomas was involved in the following organizations during his time living in Port Augusta:
Port Augusta Fire Brigade – foreman
Manchester Unity Ancient Order of Oldfellows – became a member at the age of 18.
Several prominent positions in the Anglican Church of Port Augusta
Thomas and Charlotte Hill moved to Bridgetown, Western Australia in March 1904 on the S.S. Grantala. The rest of the family including Thomas and Charlotte moved to Western Australia. As far as I can work out Charlotte and James remained in South Australia and the rest of their family moved to Bridgetown. I’m not sure if Walter Henry Hill moved to Bridgetown with them in 1904 or he may have come in 1905.
Based on S.S Grantala passenger lists it looks like Ern Hill and Millicent Day may have traveled to South Australia in 1904 to help the family move to Western Australia.
Ern Hill lived in Bridgetown from 1897 until 1947.
Edward Ernest Hill, Mary Ann Hill and Ada Hill all married at St Paul’s Church, Bridgetown. Sarah Hill married George William Beermier in 1905 in Subiaco, Western Australia.
Mary Ann and George Strieby moved to Yundamindera in the Goldfields after their marriage. While Edward Ernest, Walter Henry and Ada lived in Bridgetown.
Thomas died on August 15, 1908 in Bridgetown when he was 67.
Thomas Hill was buried in the old Bridgetown Pioneer Cemetery which opened in 1878. The last burial in this cemetery was on March 23, 1926. The cemetery was converted to a scenic parkland, Pioneer Parkland, in 1988 as part of the bicentennial celebrations. Old headstones were recovered and placed at either side of the entrance to the park.
Charlotte died on Sept 24, 1931 in Perth aged 86 and was buried in the new Bridgetown cemetery.
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 Henry Hill was born 4 March, 1870 in South Australia and married Sarah Gertrude Andrews (b 1877 d 1943) in Adelaide, South Australia, on 27 April 1896 when he was 26 years old.
Walter and Sarah had five children:
Bertram Thomas b 1896 d Nov 21, 1916 (killed in action in France, World War I)
Clem Hill b 28 Feb 1898 d 19 July, 1935 m 1927 Dorothy Martha Dye b 1890 d 1974 Clem had two children: Kevin Sydney Hill b 19 Mar, 1929 and John Walter William Hill b 1 April 1932
Beryl Gertude b 19 Apr, 1900 – Bethesda Hospital in Perth was established by Matron Beryl Hill in 1943.
Gwenever May Augusta b 17 Aug, 1902 d 1976 m William George Albert Jones – died in Augusta WA.
Marjorie Ada b 1906 d 1966 m E.Brown
Beryl, Gwen and Marjorie lived in Western Australia. Clem Hill lived in NSW.
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.
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.
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.