Monday, September 3, 2012


I have been seeing many posts about Father's Day and dads in general and it got me to thinking about my wonderful dad.

Harry was 46 and his wife 34, when they received the bundle of joy that was me.  Not sure a couple that 'old' would be able to adopt these days but back then I think there were so many babies whose unwed mothers were not allowed to keep their babies that possibly age didn't matter as long as they were going to a good home.

Dad was of course born in the Victorian era (1885) and was quite Victorian in many of his ways.  I know little of his family as for some reason he had no contact with any of them after he and mum emigrated from England to Australia in the early 1920s.  I don't think even Mum knew anything of his family history so was he the black sheep perhaps?  We will never know but back then things were very different to today.

I know that dad had been married before and he and his first wife had a son born in 1911 and that the poor lady had died when only 32 years old leaving him with a little boy of 5 to care for.  Mum and dad met during World War 1 while working for the Sugar Commission in London and were married in 1917.  I am convinced that mum fell head over heels in love with him and I think he with her as well.

It was certainly fortuitous for me that they did decide to emigrate.  They lived on a farm in our south-west when I arrived on the scene so it was a farming life till I was nearly 6 when they moved up to the big smoke because of mums ill health.

Getting back to dad....he was a tall, good looking chap with reddish hair (when young) and freckles.  He seemed to get on with everyone, especially the ladies, and little children loved him and the tricks he would do for them.  Simples things but perhaps back then small things really did amuse small minds.  Everything was so different without television and computers and the like.

He loved cricket (would listen to the Test matches on the radio) and soccer (he had played for Tottenham Hotspurs) and eventually came to enjoy Aussie Rules football too and like myself barracked for East Perth.

Dad loved Charlie Chaplin (mum didn't) and I remember when I was older that Saturday night was picture night regardless of what was showing but Charlie was dad's favourite.  We had permanent bookings in the front row upstairs at the local picture theatre in North Perth and mum went along just because it was the right thing to do.  I think I stopped going with them when I was about 16 as boys had entered my life so I would quite often be out dancing on Saturdays.  Poor old mum though still would go along, because she should.

Dad really did have a great sense of humour, a real sense of the ridiculous and I think I inherited this from him for which I am very thankful.  I remember him telling me that if you saw a man slip on a banana skin it was so funny to see that you would laugh first and then ask him if he had hurt himself afterwards!!  I know that sounds a bit hard but I can understand exactly what he meant.

I know that dad never hit me, not even a smack, and that it was mum that had to keep me in line.  He would tell her what the rules were and she would have to administer them.  Dad was strict and during week nights I had to be in by 10pm even up until I was 18 years old.  It was different if I was going to a ball with friends but otherwise 10pm it was.  I then went to work in Melbourne for 6 months and things were different when I was back at home again.  Perhaps he realised I had actually grown up.

There's not a lot more I can tell about this man who became my father but I remember him with a great fondness and regardless of what he may have done when young that separated him from his family I am ever thankful that I knew him and even today (41 years since he died) I miss him very much.


  1. This is a lovely portrait. Thank you. My mother came out from the UK with her first husband and their three sons (my half brothers) in 1952. Her husband died not long after they arrived and she was widowed in a strange country with three sons aged under six. It must have been unbelievably hard for her. At some stage she fell out with the families left in the UK - hers and her huband's and we will never know why. Which I find sad and frustrating.

    1. How sad for your mum and what a battle she would have had with 3 young children. It's the not knowing what happened that caused the break from family and as dad never spoke about his family all that family history is lost. I have found out who they were through genealogy but it's not quite the same as first hand knowledge.

  2. I loved reading this story about your dad! And my dad (who passed away in 1999) had a great sense of humour as well.