Currie Ancestry

Andrew Currie (ca 1790-1862)

Andrew was the son of Andrew and Lydia Currie, reputedly the third. He was born at Newtownstewart, County Tyrone, and married Anne Barr who had a beautiful singing voice. Their six children were born in different parts of the county, as their father apparently travelled around looking for work or they may all have been born at Gortlogher, the townland, a little village, given as Strabane, the parish and Ardstraw, the poor law union on different forms. He was known to be able to weave, also worked as a teacher, probably untrained, perhaps at Inisclan near Gortlogher, the birthplace of their third son, another Andrew. By 1842 Ann had died and the last daughter was eight years old. Ireland was suffering a great economic downturn due to a severe potato famine. Andrew senior came to Australia in 1849 on the "Sea" with his youngest child to join the other four who had made the voyage as subsidised passengers in 1842 on the "Margaret". He brought school rolls with him. In 1852 he married Catherine Gamble, the widowed mother-in-law of his eldest son. Two weeks before the marriage she had arrived with her two young sons, from the same part of Ireland. They lived for a while at Plenty River, north of Melbourne, then at North Winton, where Andrew's sons had selected land. Andrew and Catherine had no children. When he died in 1862 at the age of seventy-three after a short illness he had fifteen grandchildren. Catherine lived until 1891.

Of his descendants eight joined the AIF in WWI. Four would be killed fighting for the "Motherland"; Lionel and Ordo Clarke, Hubert Currie and Herbert Andrew Smythe.

Children of Andrew & Ann (Barr) Currie

Of the five Currie siblings who came to Australia in the 1840s, nothing is known of Lydia except that she went to the Immigration Barracks. Of the boys, Robert did not marry. So the only cousins for Annie we know of are the children of Annie (Currie) and Edmund Clarke and James and Mary (Gamble).

Ann Clarke (Annie Currie) (1820-1902)

Annie came to Australia in 1842 on the "Margaret" in the "protective custody " of her nineteen-year-old brother James. She went to work as a dairymaid on South Head Road, Sydney. She met Edmund Clarke and they had nine children, Pauline, Psyche, Nancy, Fanny and Lydia (twins), Bonus, William, Letitia, Ivy (died infant) and Justos. Around the area of the farm at Bondi on which they lived are Nancy, Bonus and Justos Streets . Edmund died in 1883 and was buried at South Head Cemetery. When Annie died in 1902 an inscription was added to the gravestone “Ann relict of the above”.

Two grandsons, (Hercules) Lionel and (Julius) Ordo, sons of Bonus and Mary (East) fought in WW1. Ordo lost his life on the same day and in the same battle as Bert Smythe, Lionel, also in the same battle died of wounds the next day. It is not known if Granny Smythe made any contact with her cousins but she did have a son Lionel, born in Jerilderie which suggests a link to Lord Belmore and the Corry family.

Lydia Currie (1822- ? )

Lydia was apparently named after her paternal grandmother in Ireland. Nothing is known of her after her arrival in Australia, also in the "protective custody" of her brother, except that she went to the Immigration Barracks. Her brothers James and Andrew and her sister Annie each had a child named Lydia.

James Roulstone Currie (1824-1905)

James went to Goulburn on arrival in Australia to work for James Marsden. As part of his duties he visited Myrrhee in north east Victoria. In 1851 he camped at nearby Greta on Black Thursday, the day of severe bushfires and never went back to NSW. He married Mary Gamble whom he may have known in Ireland and may have sponsored. They went to the Bendigo gold rush with a fair measure of success and two years later to Beechworth. He had teams and carted for Samuel Shaw of Beechworth which became the Administrative Centre for the district with a gaol and the only hospital and mental hospital between Melbourne and Goulburn. Both these hospitals were beneficiaries in Samuel Shaw’s will. James farmed at Whittlesea while carting, but sold the farm and selected at North Winton about 1855 and after a few years sold it and bought 550 acres at Greta.

Their nine children were born in places between Melbourne and Greta.

Of the children:

Catherine Jane married John Samuel Rule and had five children, the oldest being James Oliver Roulstone Rule, the only child to survive. The other sons died of consumption as young adults and their daughter died of diptheria aged five.

James Rule married Sarah Berry and had Lilias who died as an infant, Alice who survived to the age of 94, Geoffrey who was with PMG i/c of heavy machinery, laying undersea cables and was awarded a medal from International Standards Organisation, Sheila and Lesley.

William John married Margaret Shade and had five children, Myrtle, Ivy, Charles who enlisted in AIF, Lillian and Colin.

Thomas Arnold married Elizabeth Docking and had 4 children, Mernda, Lorna and Hannah who both died of TB, and Lyndon. He returned to Winton to the anniversary of the church.

James Roulstone became a vicar, married Mary Jane Patterson and had five children the eldest of whom, Hubert Roulstone was killed in WW1, Ena, Gertrude, Gwenda and Rita.

Robert Harold became a farmer at Greta, married Eliza Thompson, had three children, Sylvia, Alma and Robert. He died of consumption in 1900.

Annie, Lydia, Matilda and Frances died as young unmarried women.

It is interesting to note the number of descendants with the name James Roulstone , or a variation.

Mary died in 1891 within days of the death of her mother. James died at the age of eighty-three in Wangaratta after eight years with hip problems from a fall and a year's illness. Of his sons, four married and all had sons of their own.

Robert John Currie (1825-1877)

On arrival in Australia Robert went with his brother to Goulburn and later to Laceby, near Winton, where he selected land under the name John Currie and died unmarried.

Andrew Currie (1827-1906)

Like his brothers and father, Andrew settled in the Winton district. He married Maria Lawlor who had also been born in Ireland. When Maria was nineteen she came to Australia from Dublin on the "Ocean Home". She was met on arrival as she was "making her own arrangements", probably sponsored. She was listed as literate and Church of England. At first she worked for Reverend Hurst in Geelong before going to Benalla as a general servant, living in Benalla Street. Maria met Andrew Currie junior who admired her lively spirit. Two years after her arrival in Australia, Maria aged twenty-two and thirty-five-year-old Andrew, who had now been in the Colony for twelve years, were married at the home of his brother James at Simson's Road, North Winton.

They lived in very primitive conditions in an area which was flat and swampy. Among their problems was flooding on the land they had bought, which Andrew believed was exacerbated by the council digging a drain and made worse when the railway from Melbourne went through. For many years litigation was continued. They had ten children, two of whom died as infants, one was drowned at the age of thirty, another had a swimming accident as a boy and suffered retardation and severe epilepsy, as well as four healthy daughters and two healthy sons. Not long before he died, Andrew changed his will, leaving the property to his two youngest daughters who were to look after Maria and Rollie, the handicapped son. The other two daughters were to get £100 when it was convenient, the sons were excluded.


Children Of Andrew & Maria (Lawlor) Currie

Annie (Currie) Smythe (1862-1936)

Annie was the eldest child of Andrew Currie and Maria Lawlor. She grew up in very primitive conditions at Winton, a strong-minded girl with a strong-minded mother. She had basic schooling, having to do chores before walking the several miles to school. Sometimes she was so tired she fell asleep in class and the teacher did not wake her. She preferred working with her father in the fields to helping her mother. At the time this was “Ned Kelly Country” and their games and stories reflected this. Annie developed skills as a raconteur.

She went to Melbourne and became a servant until she met and married Edward Smith (Ted), a boot maker born in Tasmania of convict ancestry. They had eleven children, two of whom died as infants, the first six being boys, then there were three girls and two more boys. They lived first in Melbourne, then for a while at North Winton, then Jerilderie, NSW. They set very high standards of behaviour for themselves and the children and Annie was determined to keep up these standards. In 1884 they took the name of Smythe. In hard times Annie made and sold pies to supplement Ted’s income. She had an accident, falling down steps and leaving her leg permanently injured.

As the boys grew up they joined the PMG.

In 1912 the family moved to Sydney for the younger children to get an education, and were able to buy a house at Ramsgate with the help of the older boys and by investing in the Starr-Bowkett Society.

With the outbreak of WW1 the four older boys enlisted and went overseas. Annie received £100 from her father’s will and they were able to add a bathroom/ laundry and enclose the back veranda where the two youngest boys slept.

Their eldest son lost his life in France. “Poor Mum, it must have been a terrible blow to her, but she is a very brave and good mother, and her faith in our God and our Saviour will bear her up through the time of trial”. Soon after the war Ted was killed in a motor accident. When the family had all married, Annie continued to live at Ramsgate, providing a home for any of her family who needed it. She began teaching herself to play the piano and was very proud of her efforts. She was pleased when Perce bought her a wireless and she was able to listen to the news, current affairs and music and kept herself informed. Two of her grandchildren stayed with her for a long period when they were five and six and again later so that they could attend High School. During the year she died suddenly aged seventy-three.

Lydia Currie (1864-1929)

Lydia Currie was engaged to be married but went to the aid of her brother who lost his wife Gussie in childbirth at Myrrhee. She lived with her brother Robert and his three children for twenty-five years. Lydia was considered a near saint by her family as her engagement was broken off. She was a lovely, kind, thoughtful person, and was much loved by her nieces and nephew to whom she was a mother. In 1915 she invested £100 from her inheritance from her father and steadily drew out amounts. This gave her some independence. About 1923 they all went to Benalla (to Cunningham St) until she died of cancer, six years later, aged sixty-four, £58 remaining in her account.

Robert Ireland Currie (1868-1956)

Robert bought land at Myrrhee, in the hills above Winton in the 1890s. He married Augusta (Helms) who died in childbirth at the birth of her third child. Robert's sister went immediately to assist although her brother was considered not easy to live with. He was a big strong man, and very clever but not very sociable. He made good progress on the property and after some time committed himself to the building of a grand new house.

About 1922 he got into financial difficulties and was advised to sell. Some time later the house burnt down. After twenty years at "Macrorhyncha", Myrrhee, Robert, Lydia and the girls went to Benalla. The girls got work in Benalla and their father had no trouble getting work as a good "home-grown" carpenter. He went for a while to Mildura where he was involved with the Chaffey Bros in their irrigation scheme to grow hops. Later he worked in Benalla in VicRail, living with his sister Lydia and later with his bachelor brother Arthur in an austere weatherboard colonial cottage in Cunningham St near the railway station.

He had a good vegetable garden and of course a tool shed, as he still liked to potter. He enjoyed making wooden gifts including wheelbarrows out of second-hand materials. Unfortunately the design was not good as the handles were too close to the legs, but they lasted well. Robert who was considered by Walter Conquest, his son-in-law to be a "difficult fellow", strong-minded. He lived to a ripe old age, dying in 1956 aged eighty-eight, the longest lived of the family.


Robert's son Bobby did not get on with his father, so he left home to work in a saw-mill. He finally bought land and became very successful in a tiny town Grong Grong, near Narrandera. Sometimes he went to visit Myrrhee with a pony and jinker. When he became engaged to a local Grong Grong girl he built a house with unusual features and bought a ring. He did not approve of the modern habit of wearing lipstick. When Bobby found her wearing lipstick he walked away. The engagement was broken off. Later he expressed regret. He never married but was regarded as a stalwart of Grong Grong, where he grew wheat and bred and painted pictures of prize-winning Palomino horses and was the president of the gymkhana committee. Regarded as a gifted person, he was able to turn his hand to many things from building to drawing, and was well liked as a "pleasure to deal with". Bobby was not an active sportsman himself was encouraged young people, transporting local boys to play sport. His reading included Burns and the classics. He took a fancy to his nephew, Fred, and gave him a little old camera and the engagement ring which he had bought years before. Fred later had the ring done up as a dress ring for his wife. Bobby continued to write to his school-friend Austin Evans of Myrrhee for many years. About 1940 he came back to Myrrhee in a utility, as usual of good quality. The Evans baby who had been premature, was ill and Bobby took them to Benalla to the doctor. He told Austin Evans that his sisters (Flora and Eileen) living in Benalla would not want to see him. Later when he made his will he said his sisters would not want his money. He left his late model Jaguar to a friend, his house to an employee and his money to the Myrrhee and Grong Grong districts. He suddenly stopped writing to Austin who was rather mystified as to how he had upset him.

In 1970 Bobby had to have an operation for a malignant growth. He got jaundice and became very ill. His sister Flora went to visit him at Grong Grong. A month later he died. After his death Myrrhee district received a generous legacy from his estate. Bobby had suggested building a swimming pool for the school but this was not feasible. Two tennis courts were built of flexi-pave to be usable in all weathers and at night. Water was brought from Fifteen Mile Creek to the school, the school residence and the reserve, and many other improvements made. The money was handled carefully and there remains a large amount for further facilities. Grong Grong also received a legacy for the benefit of the young people, enabling the tennis and golf clubs to build a club house.


When her family left Myrrhee, Flora soon got a job in Benalla and in time began making curtains and blinds for Stolz Furnishings. She was always good at running sports, was in the town hockey competition and played regional competition tennis.

In 1943, at the age of thirty-nine, she married a man who had been married before, and had a grown up family, Frederick Albert Cook (Albert). Flora's aunts on the farm had been for a long time in dispute with the council, and Albert, who had been a councillor, had had to take a broad view of the situation. This was awkward when he later married a Currie.

Flora and Albert had two children, Dorothy and Fred and lived at the village of Baddaginnie, about seven miles south of Benalla (a stage in the Cobb and Co days). They had a country store, open at all hours, but Albert was away a lot as he was the MP for the Myrrhee district for many years since 1931. He had got into parliament originally on preferences, but at the next election got in on his merit. Later he joined the Country Party. He was down to earth, wrote his own speeches, did his own correspondence etc. The Cooks regarded themselves as successful members of the community and thought that the remaining Curries had little or no input into Community affairs. Viv Smythe, Flora's cousin, visited him at Benalla and they had a common interest in politics, although Viv did not succeed where Albert did for twenty-five years until retiring at the age of 79.

Albert was popular and obliging and was always in demand at district functions. People often found it surprising that they had two little children, as they were no longer young. Whenever prizes or gifts were being given out, something was always found to present to the little ones. Flora's sister Eileen often minded the children. Albert remained a councillor until 1967, completing forty years of service.

In her sixties, Flora made an attempt to learn to drive, but lacking good teaching, she failed her test and gave up. She was widowed in 1971, but continued an active life in Benalla.

Her daughter Dorothy married Wayne Hodges, State Electricity Commission employee and went to live near Mildura. They had four children, Richard, Andrew, Caroline and Rowena.

Her son Fred attended Benalla High School and later Brisbane University. He became a geologist, went to NG where he had contact with Viv (his mother's cousin) and later married a Swiss girl, Caroline Maag, and had four daughters, Christina, Kathy, Rowena and Jemma Bronwyn.


Eileen had never been a robust child and was frail as an adult. In Benalla, Eileen, after a time became bookkeeper at the Gas Office. She had a happy marriage to Walter Conquest and had one daughter Lesley who became a teacher, married a doctor and had four children, David, Graeme, Kirsty and Fiona, two being adopted because of Lesley's diabetes. She lost her vision and died in 1979 from kidney trouble. Eileen died in 1971 and Walter in 1991.

Andrew Currie (Andy) (1870-1899)

Andy was named after his father and grandfather and great grandfather and maybe others of the Currie lineage in Ireland and Scotland. Little is known of his life except that he probably had little schooling. He wrote to Viv in an immature hand and soon afterwards took a contract timber getting near Cobram, reputedly working for money to fight the Benalla Council. On a hot day he tried to swim across the Murray River but apparently hit a whirlpool and was drowned within sight of his mates.

Edmund Arthur Currie (Arthur) (1871-1952)

Arthur was a well-liked man in the Benalla area. He is remembered as a very big man, about six feet three or four inches, a gentle giant. He worked at many things including the property at North Winton in 1800s his brother's place at Myrrhee in 1900s. After his father's death he went his own way for a long time, and was on the electoral roll at Myrrhee. He also went around on a chaff-cutter with a team doing seasonal work. When setting up one cold morning, the wheels were being jacked up and chocks put under them. Someone let the jack down too soon and flattened Arthur's thumb. They gave him some brandy and after a while he got back to work for the day.

Finally he went to live with his widowed brother Robert and sister Lydia. He had never married but was loved by all. He died in Wangaratta aged eighty.

Alice Maria Currie (Allie) (1874-1954)

Alice was always known in the family as Allie. It was believed that she was the gentler of the two younger sisters, both of whom were considered to be eccentric. "Fanny made the bullets and Allie fired them". They both belonged to Gospel Temperance, promoting women's causes.

After their father died, Allie helped to run the farm but things were falling to pieces. They had a couple of old horses and milked a few cows. They watched every penny, did not buy new clothes, even calculated the cost of a stamp.

The sisters were taken to court for £50 which they owed a farmer. It was stated that they had a surplus of assets over liabilities of £1500. Some years before, the women had lost all their cows because of poisoning in the vicinity of Winton Swamp in an attempt to get rid of possums. Trappers mixed cyanide into pollard and daubed it on the bark and at the base of trees to kill possums, the skins of which brought a good price. The baits were palatable to cows and many died. Irresponsible use led to the practice being stopped.

In 1938 they went broke as the property had been mortgaged, and they were evicted. So they camped outside the fence with a placard proclaiming their indignation. "This is our property." They erected an iron lean-to under some gum trees, against the fence, near the family graves, put bark over the iron for extra protection against heat and noise and lived there for years, carrying water from the creek. Everything they still owned was in the hut, including some furniture. They had to stoop to move around. Allie supported Fanny in her litigation with the council, and lived with her in the humpy with the chooks.

The case against her was adjourned as she stated she had no knowledge of their business affairs, although it would appear she did spend some time in gaol. She died in 1954 at Beechworth, the last of her family.

Catherine Francis Currie (Fanny) (1879-1946)

Fanny led the fight with the Council. The local newspaper report stated:- "They had also had to put in a very costly pumping plant, and after the herd had diminished they were not able to make up their loss. Now however if given time, they could improve their position, as they had a considerable number of poultry, which would shortly be ready for sale. At present there were two mortgages on the property and one on the stock. Several firms had been pressing the women and their position would be hopeless if a sale were forced.

Alice Currie told the Court that there was a first mortgage on the property of £1300 at 6%. At present she owed £90 by way of interest. There was also a second mortgage of £367 at 10%. Altogether she had to pay £124 a year interest. Last year they put in a crop, but the harvest was a failure. They had about sixty or seventy acres of land, and hoped to put in a crop and some tobacco. The poisoning of their cattle was the beginning of their losses. The Police Magistrate granted the applicants a certificate for twelve months."

By 1939 they had been evicted and were living in a humpy near their property. In May they sued the council for £18,000 damages alleging that their farm had been flooded by a drain. A jury gave the verdict against them and costs were set at £949. In December they brought perjury proceedings against eight of the witnesses called by the shire.

Always known in the family as Fanny, she became known as Catherine in the report of the court case, taking the role of prosecutor and likened to Portia in "The Merchant of Venice". After their eviction, Fanny, then aged sixty-two obtained the shorthand transcripts of the case, also copies of Parish maps and interviewed friendly neighbours.

"Benalla was startled and then tickled to hear that eight of its most respectable and venerable citizens were faced with a perjury charge... Laden with brief-cases, Catherine Currie entered the court with her sister. Spectacles were poised on her nose. She clutched her gown like a legal tyro."

The Police Magistrate advised her to seek Crown aid but she declined. All day and far into the night, she worked and resumed next morning with both old spinsters looking fresh as daisies. Repeated hints to call off the proceedings were ignored. She left the bar table for the witness box and outlined questions and answers which the consulting engineer had previously given in the Supreme Court. She stated that the Shire evidence was lies from start to finish. After four hours in the box, she showed no signs of fatigue.

She stated that her brother Andrew had drowned at the turn of the century, trying to get money to carry on the fight her father had begun last century. Her idea was to convict several witnesses of perjury in their recent action, and get a re-hearing of the case. It was the cheapest way of gaining their ends.

As the prosecutor, Catherine asked Alice if she had anything to add.

She said that old friends swore about things they didn't remember. She called some other witnesses to testify that water flowed over their land after every flood, although the council employees had denied this. The summing up by the magistrate was that the "sisters might have suffered damage...but they had failed to prove their case."

People believed that they would have won their case if they had had a lawyer.

According to the Benalla Standard of December 1940, Catherine was committed to gaol as she refused to give any information whatsoever about their financial affairs in a bankruptcy court in Melbourne. She was charged with contempt of court, refused to give evidence, was returned to gaol, the judge pleading with her to get legal advice. Her reply was "she would be staying in gaol till they took her out in a coffin."

In fact she died in 1947 in the Community Hospital, Wangaratta, where she had been a patient for a few days while still serving her sentence. She was survived by Robert, Allie and Arthur.

James Roulstone (Rollie) (1880-1914)

James Roulstone was also a family traditional name coming from Ireland. The youngest son of the Currie family of North Winton, he was protected and kept away from strangers. He suffered from epilepsy after a swimming accident. He died very soon after his mother.


Smith Ancestry

Samuel Edward Smith (Ca 1799-1879)

Brothers Samuel and James Smith, cutlers, were born in Worcester, England, during the Industrial Revolution. It is known that Samuel was literate and had been accepted into the elite Rifle Corps. They were charged with different crimes in 1824 in Gloucestershire, tried in Gloucester Assizes and both sentenced to death. Having a useful trade they were transported on the "Princess Charlotte" to Van Diemen's Land but neither was a docile prisoner and both were further punished. Samuel worked as a cutler, blacksmith, labourer and locksmith in the Launceston area at various times. He met Mary Ann Payne (nee Raffell), a young diminutive convict widow who had arrived in 1829 from London on the "Harmony" aged eighteen. In 1835 they married and their first son, also Samuel Edward was born in 1837 in Launceston and other children followed. Samuel senior had a chequered fourteen-year servitude in the Launceston area before gaining a conditional pardon on 27th February 1838. A conditional pardon meant he could not return to his homeland had he wanted to or been able to afford it. Having gained his pardon, he had to support himself and family, including step-children, although times were very hard.

In the following year Samuel and Mary had other children, James when his father was working at his trade of cutler, and Mary when he was labouring. In 1847, living in George St they had a daughter Rebecca who died at the age of four. They also had a son who about the same time died of a scalding at sixteen months.

Transportation to New South Wales ceased, resulting in more convicts being sent to Van Diemen's Land which caused an oversupply of labour during a depression. Samuel had three step-children as well as his own to support. He lived to the age of eighty dying of erysipelas. Mary died the next year of cancer of the tongue. His brother James married Mary Duffy a widow when he was fifty-seven.

John Staniforth (1806-1857)

John Staniforth, born in Sheffield, England was convicted of “combination” (trade union activity) and later of stealing. He was transported to Van Diemen's Land on the "Augusta Jessie" in 1835 and in 1838 married Mary Brain who was the sister of a convict and the daughter of a stonemason with some capital. Mary arrived on the 'Charles Kerr" in 1835 with the rest of her family. She was the only ancestor of Edward Albert and Clara Smith who came as a free migrant. John and Mary had two daughters Lucy and Isabella. John died of consumption at a young age.

Samuel Edward Smith married Lucy Staniforth and had two children, Edward Albert (Ted) and Clara Louisa. Both their grandmothers and the three known great-grandmothers were all called Mary!

Edward Albert Smith (1859-1919)

When Ted was nearly six and Clara four, their mother like their grandfather died of consumption. After their mother died, Ted and Clara were apparently cared for by the extended family until their father aged thirty-one married Louisa Sophia Breadon, aged twenty-seven.

In the following years, young Ted and Clara had half brothers and sisters including James, Herbert, Percy and Samuel Louis. Ted was reputed to be difficult as a boy. He was slow and fastidious and this may have annoyed his step-mother. He attended Launceston Grammar School for a while and enjoyed science in particular. His name is not on the roll, only the note from 1873 “Smith not recorded”. In spite of a lack of formal education he developed a mature handwriting and an interest in improving his knowledge. Clara attended Miss Windeatte’s School. Later the family moved to Ringarooma. It seems their father got a job on the nearby railway as he was listed as a porter and storeman at different times.

When Ted was eighteen and Clara sixteen their father, Samuel was admitted to the Royal Derwent Hospital. He was described as a porter at Westbury (near Launceston) an active, strong, well-built man aged forty-one, in good health. His problem was not diagnosed and apparently he went home.

Ted’s father was later re-admitted to hospital, suffering from religious mania, sometimes feeling quite desperate. In 1881 he died of stroke.

After his father died his step-mother remarried. As Ted did not get on with his step-mother he went to Melbourne aged about twenty-one and became a boot maker. Here he met Annie Currie who was born at North Winton near Benalla where they married. Their first three sons were born in Melbourne, the eldest dying as an infant. The next son was born at North Winton, followed by two more at Jerilderie NSW, one of whom also died. There were two other Smith families living nearby at the time, and the confusion caused was stated to the children as a reason for changing their name. Annie was due to have another baby so she and Ted registered him as Smythe and simply adopted the name in 1894.

There followed three daughters and two more sons. Ted found his earnings as a bootmaker were not large. There was no dole or welfare and a severe prolonged drought caused a depression. The older boys left school early and worked at various jobs before joining the PMG. In 1912 the family moved to Sydney so that the eldest daughter could attend Fort Street High School.

The working members of the family contributed to the Starr-Bowkett Society so that they would be able to buy a home when money became available. Annie and Ted planned a simple four-roomed bungalow to cost £400. It was built on a cement foundation, cavity brick with an iron roof. There were two bedrooms in front with a hall down the middle, the front windows and front door having squares of coloured glass. The hall led to the living-room and kitchen which had a fuel stove with a mantel-piece and a pantry. There was gas lighting and a gas iron as a very modern touch. There was a veranda front and back, the latter used as a sleepout by the boys. In the backyard was the lavatory, with a pan service. They bathed in a tub in the kitchen and did the washing at a fuel copper in the back yard, both once a week.

The home at Ramsgate was called "Koppin Yarratt" or KY. They planted two camphor laurel trees, a loquat tree down near the back shed, a fig tree, as well as nasturtiums, maiden hair and violets and a tree fern. In time the house was nearly covered in passion vines.

The four older boys all enlisted in the Great War, the eldest was killed in action in 1917. The Smythes had to come to terms with his loss. Ted began going “fairly regularly” to the City Temple which pleased church-going members of the family.

Ted was very ill, suffering with acute dyspepsia, and the doctor said he must give up the trade, otherwise it would be impossible to cure him. However he could not see his way clear to do so.

Ted took his daughter, Ida on a trip to Tasmania, visiting his relatives whom he had not seen for many years. His sister Clara and his Aunt Isabella each had large families. Clara and her daughters sent three soft pure gold brooches for the three Smythe girls.

The war ended and repatriation began. One son arrived home with a young Irish bride. Before the other two arrived Ted met with an accident. In the habit of getting off the tram on the wrong side in King St Newtown, near where he worked, he apparently did not notice an ambulance going past stationary vehicles. It struck him and knocked him unconscious. After the accident his pay, containing his week’s takings was missing and his family suspected the ambulance officers.

At nearby Prince Alfred hospital, Camperdown, meningitis set in. The family took it in turns to sit with him. Five days after the accident he died, aged sixty, and was buried at Woronora cemetery. At the inquest the next week it was found Ted had died of accidental injuries after being “knocked down by a motor ambulance wagon”.

Clara Louisa (Smith) Graham (1861-1943)

Ted's sister Clara was very diminutive in height (4'9" 145cm) like her ancestor Mary Ann Raffell/ Payne/ Smith. Apparently she got on with her step-mother and later her step-father. She married William Graham, the son of a convict from Glasgow and had ten children. They lived at Derby, Tasmania. Clara was widowed in 1910. Two of her sons enlisted in the Great War, had contact with the Smythe boys in France, both returned to Tasmania, married sisters, took up Soldier Settler Blocks and had one child each. The marriages both ended in divorce. Clara could not manage the farm alone, so she went back to live in Launceston. She died in 1943 at the age of 82 years. Four sons and two daughters survived her.

Members of the family kept in touch with their cousins in NSW. Ted took one of his daughters to visit them in Tasmania.

In recording the history of the family, contact was made in 1991 at a Brain/ Smith/ Staniforth/Graham reunion in Tasmania. The Smiths had known of a son of Samuel Edward, brother of Clara, born in Launceston in 1859 who "disappeared". The mystery was solved with the arrival of Ted Smythe, grandson of Edward Albert Smith.

NEXT    >>

Advertise with us