Thursday, 18 September 2014

52 Ancestors #49 Henry John (Reginald) Moses

Henry John Moses was born on 4 May 1889 at 35 Church Street, Newtown, New South Wales. His father was George Moses (1838-1908), a clerk working in the Parcels Office at Bathurst Railway Station, and his mother was Elizabeth Pendergast (1846-1942). He had four sisters (two died before he was born) - Letitia (1866-1928), Parthenia (1869-1872), Elsie (1879-1879), and Constance (1882-1974) - and one brother, George Victor (1871-1951).  Two of his surviving siblings, Letitia 23 and George 18 would have been adults (or almost adult) when he was born while Constance was seven years older than Henry.   
Although the birth record shows his name as Henry John Moses he was known for most of his life as Reginald John Henry (RJH Moses). One assumes that his family changed their mind about his name sometime after the registration of his birth as Reginald John Henry was the name used in 1904 when he sat for the Junior Examinations.

In May 1894 George Moses and his family left Bathurst to live in Sydney. Reg attended the Bligh Street State Public School
1898 Bligh Street SPS - Reg is in front row, fourth from right
and later the Fort Street School. His exam results show that he was a good student. At the Junior Public Examination in November 1904 his marks were first class category for French, algebra and geometry, second class for English and arithmetic and third class for Latin. At the Senior examination in 1906 his marks for French, English and algebra were first class, ancient history, Latin, geometry, trigonometry and conic sections were second class and third class for mechanics. He then attended the University of Sydney where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Reg started working as a journalist at the Sunday Times in 1911 and later became associate editor in 1913. In 1913 he also became editor of the Saturday Referee, a weekly sporting newspaper. From 1916-1917 Reg was the drama critic of the Daily Telegraph and from 1917-1919 he was publicity manager for J C Williamson's Ltd. In 1919 Reg joined the staff of Smith's Weekly as a journalist and became literary editor in 1921. By 1928 he was associate editor and was editor from 1932-1935. In November 1935 Reg joined the staff of a new publication, The Australian Women's Weekly as an editor. The management of the Australian Women's Weekly took over the Daily Telegraph Reg transferred to that publication as consultant editor. The first edition of the newspaper was published on 23 March 1936.    
On 29 January, 1914, Reg married Agnes Campbell Thom (1891-1974) at St James' Anglican Church, Sydney. They had two sons, Reginald (1915-1977) and Kenneth Campbell (1918-1984).

The family lived at a number of locations including Turramuarra, Milsons Point and Killara. From 1933 to 1936 the family lived at 69 Wood Street, Manly.
69 Wood Street, Manly in 1934
It was at Smith's Weekly that Reg (or Mo - his nom de plume) became well known, particularly for his humorous articles. In 1920 he became famous for a series of articles that he and two other journalists wrote purporting to be from the Prince of Wales, who was visiting Australia, to his parents. These articles were published on the front page of the newspaper. Although many of the articles he wrote were signed he also contributed to the general running commentary on affairs published.

Fortunately it is possible to find a number of descriptions of Reg. In the book, Remember Smith's Weekly, George Blaikie provided this description of Mo -
A short, round, man, Mo had a very large and distinctive head. Claude McKay had George Finney draw a caricature of Mo's cranium and printed it with the comment, 'A magnificent head for a brain. Offers c/- this office. Please hurry.' A happy little bit of trivia that delighted readers.
The obituary for Reg that appeared in Smith's Weekly stated -
On the personal side, no one could resist Mo's merry smile and his adroit quips. Essentially a good 'mixer', his friendships ranged from vice-royalty to the copy boy. He seemed to know everybody, and the wide world of his friendships was not any more marvellous than their wide diversity. He was as equally at home with the Archbishop as he was with a politician.
Colin Wills in the Daily Telegraph obituary  about Reg wrote -
But outside his acquaintances, and outside his profession, there are many thousands who will miss this man, and will be much the poorer for his passing. For Reg Moses contributed something to the pages of the Australian press that no one else can supply. He was completely individual. He was mature and mellow of mind. He knew men and he understood events. He had tolerance without indifference, humour without buffoonery, wit without superficiality. (4 April 1936)
Through his work on a variety of Sydney publications, Reg worked with Robert Clyde Packer, the founder of the Packer newspaper dynasty, and a friendship developed between the two families.

Mo loved playing golf and was a member of the Manly Golf Club and The Lakes Golf Club.  He also wrote a small humorous book about playing the game of golf - Fore! Pa Golf.
Reg Moses second from left
He was also a Freemason being a member of the Literature Lodge. An article written about Reg when he joined the Australian Women's Weekly mentions that he was one of the pioneer administrators of the Boy Scout movement in Australia. Reg was a regular after-dinner speaker at the New South Wales Police Force annual dinner and was generally popular with the police.

Reg Moses died from pneumonia in a private hospital in Manly on 3 April 1936. He was only 46. The funeral was held the following day and was attended not only by members of his family, but by representatives from the Sydney press, the Masonic craft, the police, theatre, golf and business. That so many people attended the theatre at such short notice is a tribute to Mo. The account of the funeral in the Daily Telegraph (6 April 1936) included this description -
Nearly 100 wreaths covered the hearse when the cortege, almost a mile in length and headed by a squad of police motor cyclists, left T Waugh & Co.'s parlours at Manly for the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.
The Sydney Morning Herald (6 April 1936) also had an article about the funeral, listing a selection of the attendees.

Henry John (Reginald) Moses was my grandfather.

George Blaikie. Remember Smith's Weekly: a biography of an uninhibited national Australian newspaper. Born 1 March 1919 Died 28 October 1950 (1966)

Who's Who in Australia (early 1930s)

Articles from Smith's Weekly, Australian Women's Weekly, Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 12 September 2014

52 Ancestors #48 Agnes Campbell Thom

Agnes Campbell Thom was born in Burwood, New South Wales, on 4 July 1891. Her father was James Campbell Thom and her mother was Annie Smith. Agnes had an older brother, Alec Osborne Thom (1888-1970), and sister, Nellie Lamrock Thom (1890-1955). Her younger sister was Enid Campbell Thom (1897-1979) while a younger brother, William died as a baby in 1898. Initially the Thom family lived in a house named, Dunoon, in Eurella Street Burwood. They later moved to a house named Camelot in Forest Road, Rockdale. When Agnes was married in 1914 the reference to her father was that he lived at Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains (possibly in another house named Dunoon).
Agnes' father was a solicitor and for ten years was the Solicitor for Railways for New South Wales before returning to private practice. We do not know anything about Agnes' early life but can surmise that the family was comfortably off and that the children would have had, at the least, a basic education. We know that Alec attended Sydney University and became a school teacher.

Agnes was not the name favoured by my grandmother so she was referred to by most people as Fairy and to her grandchildren she was always Granny Fairy. I understand that Dutchie was a name also used by some family members. In a letter written in 1982 to my father, the cartoonist and friend of my grandparents, Syd Miller, wrote about the fury that would follow if he referred to my grandmother as Agnes instead of Fairy. He commented, 'She refused to be called Agnes by anyone'.

On 29 January 1914 when Fairy was 22 she married Reginald John Henry Moses (born Henry John Moses). They were married at St James' Church in King Street Sydney. Reg was a journalist and at the time of their marriage was editor of a Sydney weekly sporting newspaper, Saturday Referee, published from 1912-1916, when it became The Arrow.

On 5 January 1915 Fairy and Reg's first son, Reginald Moses, was born at The Towers Private Hospital, Forest Road, Arncliffe.

On 4 September 1918 their second son, Kenneth Campbell Moses was born at Montrose Private Hospital, Gordon Street, Paddington.
At the foot of Paddy's Hill, Cobbity 1921
At one stage the family was living at 49 Carabella Street in Milsons Point and in 1930 they were living at 91 Springdale Road, Kallara. Family holidays were often spent at Cobbity and Woy Woy. During the Depression there was a dispute with a family member concerning the house in which they lived resulting in the loss of money and the house. Consequently from 1933 to 1936 the family lived at 69 Wood Street, Manly.
Syd Miller wrote about some of the excursions that he and his wife with my grandparents used to take in a 1927 Buick Roadster.
We thought frequently of the families back home but at least one of us would say or think, "All that has been arranged, they are being looked after by sensible and mostly (if not relatives) well-paid people - you know, you look after mine, I'll look after yours. It often depended on who got in first with the request. Still works that way, I suppose - later as the years progressed we'd say or think, "They're old enough to look after themselves." In modern parlance: "She'll be sweet, mate."
In the 1920s Reg, referred to as Mo in many of his articles, worked for the satirical newspaper, Smith's Weekly. In the book, The sea coast of Bohemia, Peter Kirkpatrick commented that not all of the Smith's Weekly staff were, of course, Bohemians. "Still the paper remained a focus for many of those who chose to be unconventional in whatever way, and commentators have continued to group its push of artists and poets under the Bohemian label." (page 115)

We do not know for certain the extent to which Mo and Fairy were involved in Sydney's Bohemian scene in the 1920s and early 1930s however the tone of Syd Miller's letter, including the statement that the 'Mos' and the Millers frequently journeyed together in the car and liked to go 'from pub to club,' plus the fact that Kirkpatrick listed Reg Moses in the list of biographical sketches at the end of his book suggests that there was some involvement. Kirkpatrick's book also describes the activities of Smith's Weekly staff at hotels, balls, parties and other functions. Friends of Mo, including the poet Kenneth Slessor, were among those listed with involvement in the Bohemian scene in Sydney. The annual Artists' Masquerade Ball held at the Sydney Town Hall to raise money for the Red Cross and other charities was a major social event and it is probable that Mo and Fairy would have attended one or two of them.
At home at 68 Wood Street, 1935
On 3 April 1936 Reg Moses died from pneumonia. Fairy, now 45, needed a job to support herself and was offered a position at the Daily Telegraph library by Frank Packer. She worked in the library for many years and, as the photo below shows, had a team of women working with her. In the pre-computer age keeping and organising copies of all articles published in the newspaper was an important task. The articles were a valuable reference source for newspaper staff.
Agnes Moses, front right, in the Daily Telegraph library 1948
Fairy later lived at two other addresses in Manly before moving to 4 Fairlight Crescent, Fairlight in the 1950s. Later she lived in a house at 89 Raglan Street Mossman with her sister, Enid. A later address was 39 Boyle Street Balgowlah.

Fairy always dressed well and I have been told that wherever she lived she always had a well kept garden. As we lived in Melbourne we only saw our Sydney family for a few days when we were travelling to visit my mother's family in Queensland. Although Fairy did not see her grandchildren often she was always interested in what we were doing and kept track of all the milestones. I remember receiving on each birthday and at Christmas a card with a ten shilling note from Granny Fairy. She also wrote a letter of congratulations to me when I received my matriculation results at the end of secondary school and again when I completed my librarianship training. At the end of 1972 I received another letter saying how pleased she was that I had completed a Bachelor of Arts degree. She explained that my grandfather had a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney and, at that stage, I was the only other member of the immediate family to have attended university.

Two years later on 8 November 1974 Fairy died . She was 83.

Agnes Campbell Thom was my grandmother.

Peter Kirkpatrick. The sea coast of Bohemia: literary life in Sydney's roaring twenties. 1992

Monday, 1 September 2014

Queenhithe family connections

Queenhithe is a section of the north bank of the Thames

Map 1561-1570
Map 1561-1570

Jewel Tower family connections

View of the Jewel Tower
Another view
The reading the Palace of Westminster official guide I came across this reference to the Jewel Tower and Edward III -
The Jewel Tower was built in the mid 14th century to house Edward III's treasures. At that time it was known as the King's Privy Wardrobe. It was later used to store parliamentary documents. It is not part of the parliamentary estate, but can be visited by the public and stands between the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

We went back the next morning to take photos.

Tower of London family connections

Panels around the fence provide a brief history of the tower.

Collapse at the Tower