Saturday, 5 July 2014

52 Ancestors #37 Alfred Percy Lord

Alfred Percy Lord was born at Avoca in Tasmania on 26 October 1852. Alfred was the youngest son of Simeon Lord and Sarah Birch. He had six brothers - Francis, William, George, Frederick, Robert and Simeon - and two sisters -  Louisa and Emma. Another brother, Edward, had died as a young child.

The family lived on their property, Bona Vista, near Avoca . Initially the children had a governess for their early education but then records show that at least two, probably all, of the older boys returned to England for their education - Frederick and Robert attended Kings College School. In the book, Victoria Downs, Mary Roberts noted that Alfred was educated in Tasmania but she did not know where.

Mary Roberts, in the introduction to her book, provides a summary of Alfred's early career. At the age of 17 he left Tasmania for Queensland to go to his father's property, Brookstead.  From there he spent a short time at Wilde Bay before joining his brother, Robert and Frederick at Ravenswood in North Queensland. The three brothers with Mr H E King formed a partnership - The Gympie Quartz Crushing Company. They had two crushing plants and decided to take one to the Normanby goldfields and sold the second to a company in Chartres Towers. Unfortunately for the Lord Brothers, Normanby was not successful while Chartres Towers proved to be a profitable area for mining.

Returning to Gympie the partnership purchased a property in the Wilde Bay region - Woolooga - while maintaining interests in other goldming areas including Pioneer, Lady Mary and Caledonia Reefs and the Emperor Mine along with interests in Southfield Limited and Caledonia Pub.

On 11 April 1877 Alfred married Catherine Anna Louisa Hillcoat at the Memorial Church, Hale Street, Milton. The official name of the church is Christ Church and the stone building with shingle roof, in which Alfred and Catherine were married, was destroyed in a storm in 1890. A new building was subsequently built on the site.
Memorial Church - Image held John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Towards the end of the 1870s there was a series of droughts and the price of cattle fell and Alfred left the property in 1880. It is said that he had only a £5 note in his pocket and he had a wife and two children to support. At first he worked as a time-keeper on the railway line between Maryborough and Gympie but he was then able to obtain a job in the Maryborough Branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank as a junior employee. In a short time he became manager of the branch and then tranferred to Gympie where he was manager of the Gympie branch of the bank. All was looking good until the economic depression between 1890 and 1893 caused the closure and collapse of many banks. Fortunately Alfred's investments in goldminig companies meant that he still had some economic stability for his family.

Alfred decided to try his luck once more on the land and he purchased a property, Kiah Lake, near Cooma in the Monaro district of New South Wales. The homestead was a stone building. Apparently the Sydney Mail in November 1897 wrote an illustrated story on Alfred Lord and his Kiah Lake homestead. Deciding that the property was unsuitable, in February 1898 Alfred sold the property to a Mr Rogers from Dubbo. He then managed a sheep station out of Narrabri for a number of years.

The Sands Directories record that Alfred had a house in Mary Street Lane Cove. In her book Mary Roberts recounts a story about Alfred's two youngest sons playing in the Lane Cove River.  In 1903 he was living at Ferdinand Street, Hunters Hill as in November 1903 his name, at that address, appeared in a list of new JPs. In 1903 produce was still being sold under his name at Narrabri and the property, Oceanic View, was listed in his name in the Sands Directories until 1907, so probably one or more of his sons worked on the property while Alfred and Catherine, with the younger members of the family, lived in Sydney. They later moved to a new house, Eskdale, 8 Ferry Street in Hunters Hill.
Eskdale 8 Ferry Street, Hunters Hill
In 1902 there had been a bad drought in southern Queensland and by 1904 many properties were available for sale for low prices. Alfred wanted to make sure that his sons were established on the land. He purchased a property, Maryvale, south of Morvern in Western Queensland but soon needed additional land for his sheep so he purchased Victoria Downs, initially for agistment, in 1906. Deciding to make Victoria Downs the main property, Maryvale was sold. The directories show him still with a house at Hunters Hill in 1907 and from 1912 the directories show that he was living at Manly.

Alfred's wife, Catherine died on 1 January 1907. She had not been well for a number of years and would have stayed in Sydney while Victoria Downs was being purchased.

Alfred continued to purchase properties in Queensland for his sons to manage including Chatham and Biddenham in 1909 and Dunstan in 1915. The house in Quinton Road, Manly, named Bona Vista after the family property in Tasmania where he was born, was put in the name of his two daughters. According to heritage walk notes produced by Manly Library, stone for the villa Bona Vista at no 20 Quinton Road may have been quarried on site and from the imposing cliff face opposite.
20 Quinton Road, Manly
In 1920 Alfred married Amy Katherine Waring and his new wife and her mother moved into the Manly house. According to family stories Amy and her mother did not get along with the new family and things became so bad that Alfred's daughters had a brick wall built in the house ensuring that Amy and her mother lived in a separate section. One assumes, therefore, that the final years of his life were not the happiest for Alfred.

Alfred enjoyed sport and in his later years was a member of the Manly Bowling Club. According to the Advertiser (Adelaide) 21 November 1905 page 7) Alfred represented NSW (or Sydney) in lawn bowls including playing in Adelaide in 1905. One of his team mates was Harry Moses.

Alfred Percy Lord died at Bona Vista on 18 May 1927 and the funeral was held at the Rookwood Crematorium. He was 74.

Alfred Percy Lord was my great grandfather.

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