Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I have decided for my own sake I am going to write a series of blogs as I remember members of my family I have known and perhaps eventually those I've never known but only learnt about.

My dad (the one that adopted me) was born in London in 1885 during the reign of Queen Victoria. He was one of 7 children one of whom died when she was less than one year old.

Dad was about 5'11" and had red hair although I only really ever remember his hair being grey and eventually white when he was much older. He was 46 when I arrived in his life so by the time I was concerned with hair colour and the like I'd probably missed the red hair stage. I do know he had to be careful when out in the sun and he did freckle very easily.

He was very upright and one may have thought he had been in the armed services. He did try and enlist during WW! but had hearing problems and was also employed in what was termed a 'reserved occupation' and therefore needed in the civilian workforce.

His father had his own business and was by trade a coach maker/wheelwright who employed several men so obviously was doing quite well. I knew nothing of his mother.

Dad never spoke of his family and I never unfortunately found out why this was. Mum said that when they married none of his family came to the wedding so whether he was the black sheep of the family or not I have no idea. He held an excellent position as Chief Clerk with the Sugar Commission in London.

He attended Buckingham Palace where he was presented with the MBE by King George VI (I have never known exactly what for but obviously for work done during WW1). I don't have his medal as it would have been given to his son who was a child of a previous marriage. Dad's first wife had died when only 32 years of age.

I know that Dad played soccer and was a goalie for Tottenham Hotspurs at a time when the players were all amateurs. He once told me that being amateurs they couldn't be paid but when they returned to their change rooms after a match they would find a one pound note tucked into one of their shoes. This would have been early in the 20th century.

I believe he also played for the England team but as all his medals, newspaper cuttings etc were burnt when their house was destroyed by fire prior to my birth I was never able to see or read anything relating to his football career. I do know he broke an ankle while playing for Spurs and many years later he broke a little finger.

We lived opposite a park in North Perth where the local soccer team used to practice and one day Dad wandered across to give them some tips on keeping goal. He apparently put his hand up to stop a ball and crack went a bone in a little finger. I guess when in his 60s his bones were perhaps a little too brittle for that type of treatment.

He was a great salesman and for a number of years was a Rawleighs dealer (went door to door selling their products and had quite a huge clientele). Mum helped him by making up pretty packages of cosmetics and the like and I believe she kept his books for him as well. He was awarded salesman of the year several times.

When I was about 12 he bought a corner shop in Swanbourne which they ran for a couple of years (this during the later years of WW2 with coupons and everything to deal with) and then in 1947 he suddenly decided it was time to retire so he sold the shop and we moved to a rental house in North Perth.

Dad enjoyed playing lawn bowls and belonged to the North Perth Bowling Club for a number of years. He smoked, but only a few cigarettes a day, and was never a drinker athough would occasionally have a shandy at the bowling club. He said he had seen too many problems caused by drink when he was younger and so there was never any alcohol in our house unil I was 20 and then only for my birthday party. I had to almost beg to have half a dozen bottles of beer for the young men coming to that party but finally mum and dad agreed. I don't think any of my female friends drank anything alcoholic back then. I certainly didn't.

Unfortunately in 1953 Mum took it into her head that she and Dad should separate and they both went their own ways. Dad eventually lived in a nursing home in East Fremantle where he died following a stroke in 1971 at the age of 85.

I remember him so well...he was a kindly man, loved by children 'cos he could make them laugh and his pet name for me when I was little was Tiddlywinks. One must remember he was born during the Victorian era and some of his ideas were perhaps just that....a trifle Victorian but all in all he was a father to be very proud of. I still love you Dad.

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