Four Mullans from Blossom Hill
Val Mullan and Dave Mullan
ColCom Press, 28/101 Red Beach Road, Hibiscus Coast, Aotearoa-New Zealand 0932
Copyright 2017, Val Mullan and Dave Mullan
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favourite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of these authors.
The authors are grateful to Lauren Gracie, a great-great-grand-daughter of Crawford Mullan for the cover design.
The front cover portraits, clockwise from right, are Crawford, Sam, Jennie and Rebecca. The locations of Blossom Hill and Fintona
Table of Contents
1 — Introduction
For about twenty-five years the writers have corresponded about the possibility of putting together some kind of record of the four Mullan siblings who emigrated from Blossom Hill in County Tyrone to the other end of the world.
A gathering of more than fifty interested family members in Redcliffe in May 2001 created a lot of interest. Pamphlets were offered and family stories shared. But the event did not produce a lot of new information. And the concentrated work needed to pull all the material together could not be done at that time.
A decade and a half later there may be enough time to collate some kind of coherent story with such facts and impressions as are still available. Most of what has been discovered has been Val’s work and her prodigious output of notes is continuing to be developed. Together with Dave’s personal record a major family resource has become available for future researchers and interested family members.
Meanwhile, between the two of us, we think it better to put together some kind of document now with what we know rather than to keep fossicking around for stories which may or may not still come through from family members.
So this account focuses on the four Mullans who left Blossom Hill and touches only lightly on their children and other descendants. Others’ stories can be assembled by other people. We are happy to record what we can for now about the four brothers and sisters who were born at Blossom Hill.
So our story begins at the family property. It goes on to introduce other relations who preceded our four out to Australia and New Zealand and whose lives became intermingled with the four. Then, as best we can, we tell the story of each of the four in turn.
Val Mullan, Brisbane
Dave Mullan, Auckland
2 — Blossom Hill
William and Mary
William Samuel Mullan was born in 1824 in Fintona, County Tyrone. He married Mary Hood in the Douglas Presbyterian Meeting House, Ardstraw Parish, Co. Tyrone on 13 Aug 1856. She was five years younger and had been born in Lisnafin. They had at least seven children, three of whom did not survive into adulthood—
Samuel Hood 1860
Anne Jane (Jennie) 1862
Blossom Hill was the name of the property William Samuel occupied from as early as 1853. When their first child, Margaret, was baptized in December 1856, the family address was recorded as Mullawinny, the local Townland. The name Blossom Hill is perpetuated on present-day maps and in the Blossom Hill Lodge, Fintona 415, which stands on part of what used to be the family property.
The present day house on Blossomhill Farm includes only some of the walls of the building described in the 1901 Census—
1901 Census and Building Return
William Mullan, land holder—nine Out-Offices and Farmsteadings; Stone or Brick walls; Roof of slate, iron or tiles; five or six rooms; four windows in front of house.
Various census returns seem to suggest that William was not the owner of the land, as some of us have thought—he is consistently described as “tenant”. This would be at variance with some family traditions which suggest that the family “lost” the property because William and his second son Crawford put all their time and energy into maintaining the church and the lodge. The implication was that the family walked away from an agricultural and property investment goldmine. This was never the case.
Karen Patterson, of Blossomhill Farm, in 2004, was the first to blast this theory out of the marsh. Personally interested in the story of her home, she undertook to track down some of the history of the property title. She found that a landlord or over-tenant was named in census documents, suggesting that William did not own the land. Andrew Crawford appears on transfer documents in 1853 and her commentary seems to suggest that at that time William Mullan was living and working on the property. However, other records in Griffiths Land Valuation Revision Books, show an Alexander aka Alex Crawford as lessee of William Mullan’s portions of the Mullawinny townland. A Crawford is also named as landlord in census documents. It is an intriguing thought that perhaps the landlord was the source of the rather unusual name for Crawford Mullan, the fourth surviving child of William and Mary. Margaret Dalkin, of Sydney, another family member who has done considerable research is inclined to this view.
Also, research by Robert Davison—commissioned by WA Mullan—uncovered the probability that the parents of William Samuel could have been James Mullan and Margaret Crawford, thus raising the interesting possibility that William might have been quite correctly described as “tenant” but might well have had a family interest in the property.
Furthermore, Karen Patterson unearthed a really significant document that made it clear that in 1891 William “bought” the property in “fee farm”—as distinct from “fee simple”. The word “fee” is derived from fief, meaning a feudal landholding, not uncommon in cities and towns. The word “farm” is the equivalent of “rent” so while William paid over £350 to purchase the property, he also had to pay about £6 a year and tithes and indemnities (presumably to Andrew Crawford or his successors) in perpetuity to maintain his ownership of it.
William would be aware of the importance of attending to these responsibilities since he had obtained the property through the insolvency of the previous owner/occupier. Crawford, as the entity to whom the rent was paid, was properly described as landlord—but this is a term that has rather different connotations today. A possible parallel for William’s situation might be a person who buys a house but pays a “ground rent” for the land which is not included in the purchase.
While it is true that William and Mary “walked off” the land, it seems they did not sacrifice their primary financial investment. Again, this is contra to the Mullan tradition that they were penniless. This record, located by Karen Patterson, is of particular interest:
ABSTRACT OF TITLE:
JJK Johnston to David White (Undated, but probably 1912)
This document recites the history of the property from 1852 and records that William Mullin held it in fee farm and handed it over to Hugh Johnston in 1903 in exchange for the price he had paid for it eleven years earlier, namely £350, plus £8 interest. Hugh Johnston, however, died. This document appears to transfer the property to JJK Johnston and on to David White.
White occupied the homestead from about this time and his son, Robert, was born there. When located in Fintona in 2002, the son, Bobbie White, proved to be a most enthusiastic and helpful informant on the Blossom Hill property and the Lodge.
Blossom Hill Lodge
William Mullan was undoubtedly a committed and passionate founder of the Blossom Hill Orange Lodge which met in the family home for several decades. It was normal for a farm homestead to include a large all-purpose barn at one end and it is thought that this was the first meeting place of the Lodge. William Samuel was Grand Master for many years, including 1870 when a surviving record shows there were 25 members. His address is given as Cavan which may be an old townland name as the farm is actually situated on present-day Cavan Rd. He is also Grand Master in 1882 when his address is given as Blossom Hill. In this report the membership has gone up to 51. His son Samuel was active in Lodge life, as was the younger son Crawford whose name appears in some of the annual statistical returns of the time.
Although the WA Mullan tradition was that Crawford and his father founded the Lodge, Lewis Anderson, 89, of Fintona, demonstrated that William and a brother began the Lodge. Crawford was certainly involved in it after 1885 when his older brother Samuel left for Australia. Indeed, Crawford may have felt a customary obligation not to marry but to keep the home fires burning until his father died.
When the family left the farm to move into Fintona sometime after disposing of their interest in it in 1903, we know the Lodge went into recess for a time. But when the farm changed hands again in 1911, the new owner (Wallace) accepted the Lodge along with the property and meetings resumed in the big end room. The property again changed hands when David White bought it and he also accepted responsibility for hosting the Lodge.
His son, Robbie White, 75, of Fintona, was born in the house and lived there for six years until they moved on in 1934. He has childhood memories of meetings in the large room at the end of the home and of dances being held in the barn. Men paid a shilling; ladies, sixpence.
But in 1926 the Lodge acquired some land at the edge of the farm—probably by way of gift—and built their own hall. The Lodge continued the name Blossom Hill at that time and this stands out boldly on the present-day hall. The original name is also shown on maps of both 1905 and present day, evidently deriving directly from the homestead. The 2004 owners of the farm called it Blossomhill Farm.
The Mullans were very involved in the local church. Crawford and Matilda Stewart were married in First Ballinahatty Presbyterian which later merged with Creevan. This was the family church for the Stewarts during her young adult years. In a denomination where organs were still not welcome Crawford led the choir and the congregational singing, setting the note with a pitch pipe or whistle. He was master of several instruments.
The original homestead building was two stories high but by the 1960s the top storey had been removed. Robbie White has provided a very good aerial picture from that era. This may have been done as early as Wallace’s time. More recently, the building is thought to have been damaged by fire. In the 1980s most of it was incorporated into a major rebuild resulting in the modern new bungalow for the present owner. The original walls are clearly evident in some places but the whole home presents a very attractive blend of traditional and modern structure and styling.
During the major alterations in the 1980s a foundation stone marked HM 1796 was revealed and this has been preserved in the low garden wall in front of where the original house stood. It may be incorporated into some future addition. No mention has been made of this stone and not even Robbie White, who lived in the house as a child for several years, was aware of its presence in the original building when the photo was shown to him in 2001.
The Mullan siblings
Of the Mullan children born at Blossom Hill, Margaret, Elizabeth and William James (was he given the name of the paternal grandfather?), appear to have died young. The other four children left Northern Ireland in succession over a period of 25 years.
Samuel went to Australia in 1885, sponsored by someone already there. He, in turn, saved up the money to bring out his sister, Rebecca, in 1887.
Rebecca married Joseph Campbell immediately before embarking on the voyage. Bella McFarland travelled out with Rebecca and Joseph and married Sam in Brisbane in 1888. The two young married couples lived together in Brisbane, Queensland. When Bella died of tuberculosis shortly afterwards and Sam later married Margaret Black those two couples shared a home again for a time.
About 1903, William Samuel Mullan and his wife Mary left Blossom Hill and were sharing a house in Fintona with Crawford and his wife Matilda. Mary died there in January 1905 and William died four years later in April 1909, aged 90 years.
Anne Jane (Jennie) married Henry Wilkinson Chittick of Clanabogan and left for Lower Hutt, New Zealand in April 1910. They were following Henry’s brother George who had gone out much earlier and made an unheralded—but memorable—return visit to Ireland full of good news about New Zealand.
As the last member of the Mullan family of Blossom Hill, Crawford had the responsibility for his father and was living in Fintona with him, Matilda and their three children. By the time the Chitticks had landed in Wellington and caught up on the news from home Crawford and family had moved to Rhode Island, USA.
So ends the last of our family’s links with Blossom Hill. However, several members of the family have visited the place over the last fifty years. Marcia Sargent and her mother Amy took photographs in the 1960s as did the Owen twins Dorrie and Gladys. Bev and Dave Mullan made two visits in the early 2000s. Others are known to have looked for the property but not made any contact. Blossom Hill is reasonably well known among the family as the key origin of the contemporary Mullans in the early part of the 20th Century.
The rest of this story is intended to be about the four siblings. Sam, Rebecca, Jennie and Crawford who all, in turn, left Blossom Hill and carved out new lives for themselves in the Antipodes. But some fascinating research has suggested why two of them chose Australia as their final home—there were many relations already living there. References to them are found in most of the family stories that have been handed down. Most notably, there is Cousin Roulston, who left a small fortune to be shared among nearly thirty family members in 1929.
We now turn to these more distant relations who preceded our young families in Australia. All these people can be identified as relatives of Mary Mullan née Hood, mother of Sam, Jennie, Rebecca and Crawford.
3 — The Predecessors
As the family of William Samuel Mullan and his wife Mary Hood were growing into adulthood and the pressures on the family farm and its limitations were making themselves felt, it was not at all surprising that some of them would think of Australia. Mary Hood’s siblings, a generation earlier, had succumbed to the same pressures and left for that country. Eliza, 31, James Alexander, 29, and Ann Jane, 27, each paid their £8 for an assisted passage and embarked on the Black Ball liner Sunda, in London, in July 1863 bound for Queensland, Australia. The Brisbane newspapers gave lengthy detailed accounts of the voyage from which we learn that of the 508 passengers a number were from the agricultural parts of England and Ireland and were fine specimens of their class.
The Sunda was a former American clipper and made the run to Brisbane in the almost record time of 76 days. When passing the Crozet Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean she encountered cyclones accompanied by a heavy fall of snow and severe frost. She also lost a large quantity of her canvas. She arrived at Brisbane on Saturday 26 September 1863. On debarkation, Eliza, James and Ann each received a Land Order (an entitlement to take up land outside Brisbane for the fare paid). Another Land Order was given to each of them in 1865 after they had fulfilled their obligation under the Immigration Act. There was a ready market for unwanted Land Orders and the Hood siblings may have sold theirs.
James Alexander Hood
James Alexander Hood was born in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland in March 1834 only son of Samuel and Eliza Hood née Roulston.
The passenger records from the Sunda have not survived so we do not know James’ education or calling. He received two Land Grants but it seems unlikely they were taken up.
In 1886 Rev W Hamilton from Ireland was a minister of the Free Methodist Church, appointed to a church at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. He placed an advertisement in The Telegraph in July 1886 –
If this should meet the eye of James Alexander Hood from Newtonstewart, County Tyrone, Ireland, or any of his sisters, they will hear of a relative by writing to the Rev. W Hamilton, Geelong street East Brisbane.
The Roulston family also lived in Newtonstewart. But, as we will find, this could have been a cry for help from another relative arriving in Australia in July 1886.
James Alexander Hood died in Brisbane, 31 Jan 1889. His funeral moved from the house of his brother-in-law, John Dunbar, for the Toowong Cemetery on Friday 1 February.
Eliza Forsyth née Hood
Eliza Hood married William Forsyth in Brisbane on 1 December 1864. He was a labourer aged 22, a son of John Forsyth and Catherine Keatly. He had sailed from Plymouth 26 August, arriving in Brisbane from Co. Tyrone, Ireland on the Norman Morrison 20 December 1863. Records show that he had been nominated for his passage by someone already in Brisbane.
William became a builder and contractor. In 1871 he and Eliza were living in George St Brisbane and about 1873 they moved to a more permanent residence in Anderson-Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
Eliza and William had a surviving family of three sons and a daughter.
Samuel Hood Forsyth 1865—1871
John Keatly Forsyth 1867—1928
William James Forsyth 1869—1875
Anne Jane Forsyth 1871—1902
The death of Samuel and the birth of Ann were only two days apart in May 1871. Samuel was aged 5 years and 8 months. He would have been buried in the local cemetery, which was closed by 1875. His brother, William James, is buried in Toowong Cemetery.
John became a clerk when he left school. Then he enlisted in the Queensland Mounted Infantry as a trooper in November 1885. He was appointed as a lieutenant on the headquarters staff of the permanent Queensland Defence Force in 1897.
An interesting advertisement involving the Forsyths can be seen in a notice that appeared in several Brisbane newspapers in December 1897—
On the 10th November, at the Valley Wesleyan Church, by the Rev. E. Youngman. John Keatly Forsyth, Captain Q.M.I., son of William Forsyth, builder, to Catherine (Kate) McMaster, third daughter of Alderman John McMaster, M.L.A., Mayor of Brisbane.
The wedding was an extravagant society event with a full military guard of honour. It was described at length in the Brisbane newspapers. The family was already making a significant mark on the social and national scene.
Ann Jane Forsyth, the only daughter of William and Eliza, died at her father’s residence, Anderson St, Fortitude Valley on 1 June 1902, aged 31 years. She is buried in Toowong Cemetery with her brother William.
Eliza Forsyth née Hood, died at Anderson St, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane on 8 November 1905. (In Northern Ireland, her sister, Mary Mullan had died at Fintona, Co. Tyrone, on 26 January the same year). Eliza is buried in Toowong Cemetery with her children. The Brisbane Courier reported on 9th November
The death of Mrs Forsyth, wife of Mr William Forsyth, contractor, took place yesterday morning at her residence, Anderson St, Fortitude Valley. She came to Queensland in 1863 and was well known to a wide circle of friends, who, with those who benefited so often from her kindly nature, will sincerely regret her death. Mrs Forsyth was associated for many years with the Valley Methodist Church, Mr Forsyth being superintendent of the Sunday School. Her only son is Captain J.K. Forsyth, of the Instructional Staff of the Commonwealth Military Forces.
In January 1907 Captain JK Forsyth, Staff Officer of Light Horse in Queensland was transferred to Melbourne to take up similar duties in February. He was entertained by various groups before his departure.
Kate and the children remained in Brisbane for several months.
John and Kate Forsyth had 3 daughters—
and two sons—
John Hood b.1900
Stanley William Roulston Forsyth,
The latter was born in Brisbane on 21st June 1907 and died of pneumonia on 27th September 1908 at Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria. Note the inclusion of the name Roulston. All the children were born in Queensland.
William Forsyth had moved his business to the corner of James and Annie Sts by September 1911. He put in a tender to build the new town hall at Sandgate in August of that year. He was a staunch member of the Valley Wesleyan Methodist Church and would have had many friends. William died on 24 January 1916. His funeral moved from the residence of Alderman John McMaster to the Toowong Cemetery. His nephew, Mr Dunbar, and a good few dignitaries attended and his noted Army Officer son, JK Forsyth, then serving overseas, sent a representative in his absence.
John Keatly Forsyth was a career soldier. He was posted to India in 1909/10 and was in command of 4th Light Horse Regiment in Egypt during World War I. His final rank was that of Brigadier General. He retired in 1925 with the honorary rank of Major General.
At the time of his death in November 1928 “Dad”, as Forsyth was affectionately called by soldiers in the 4th Light Horse, was president of the Light Horse Association and a devout member of the Auburn Methodist Church. He was survived by his wife, one of his two sons and three daughters. He was buried in Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, Victoria, with full military honours.
Another Forsyth who qualified for a substantial entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography 1953 (now online) was a nephew of William Senior. Samuel Forsyth came alone to Australia in 1901 and lived with his uncle for a time. He later entered the Methodist ministry and founded the Kuitpo colony in South Australia during the great depression, became Superintendent of Adelaide Central Mission, established Aldersgate Village and bought two radio stations. His story is told in a published book He came from Ireland.
Ann Jane Dunbar née Hood
Anne Jane Hood married John Dunbar on 22 January 1876. Their only child, John Hood Dunbar was born in July 1877. In 1884 they were living at the Petrie Terrace Fire Brigade Station, as John was a volunteer fireman and also the paid caretaker there. They had the use of four dwelling-rooms on the premises. This Fire Brigade Station, No 4, was on the corner of Petrie Terrace and Cricket St and the building was formerly The Cricketer’s Arms hotel. John Dunbar was a carpenter before the position of Fire Station caretaker became a paid job. John’s brother, James Dunbar, was in charge of the main station on the corner of Edward and Ann Sts; he was a bootmaker by trade and had been a volunteer fireman in Brisbane since 1862. The area around Petrie Terrace consists of very steep hills, so even though all the families lived fairly close, visiting on foot would have been good exercise. The Fire Stations needed to be on high land to help locate a blaze. Around 1894, Fire Station No 4, and the Dunbar family, were relocated to the top of the hill at the corner of Petrie Terrace and Musgrave Rd.
John Dunbar retired from the Fire Brigade in 1902 and moved to 36 Costin St, Fortitude Valley. In August 1903, their son, John Hood Dunbar, married Alice Elliott. John and Alice had a son, Elliott, in 1904 and this family continued to live in Costin St. John Snr and Ann moved to Walnut St, in the bayside suburb of Wynnum and John died there on 3 July 1907, aged 70. John is buried in Toowong Cemetery, sharing a grave with his brother-in-law, James Alexander Hood.
A first cousin of Mary Hood Mullan, John Roulston, from Co. Tyrone, made his way to Victoria around 1864. He spent a year working on a large property on the Campaspe River. Then he tried his luck on the goldfields at Dunnolly, but lack of significant success deterred him and he took up farming work.
His mother, Margaret Roulston, and his brother Andrew Thomas, 18, and sister Mary Jane, 20, came to Brisbane on the Wansfell arriving in Brisbane in June 1866. They settled in a home in Little Ipswich, Queensland, where Mary Jane was a school teacher. John took up land near there and started growing cotton.
Andrew Thomas, John’s brother, was an accountant; he died at his mother’s home at Little Ipswich on 3rd May 1868. He had been in Australia for only two years.
Mary Jane, their sister, having made a promising beginning at Brisbane Normal School in August 1866, became head teacher at Little Ipswich the following year. A residence was in the school grounds and it seems that she lived there with her mother and brother. In 1869, a successful and popular teacher, she was posted to Dalby, then to Toowoomba and then finally to Fernvale in 1878. Presumably her mother was with her in these various positions.
In about 1871 John had become established as owner/lessee of a large grazing block close to Fernvale. He named the property Calkill after their home in Fairy Water, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. But from about 1878 it is clear that John, his mother and his sister were living together at Calkill.
Mary resigned from teaching in 1883. We know that she had a drapery and dressmaking shop in George St, Brisbane, from perhaps April 1887. Advertisements were regularly placed in Brisbane newspapers seeking specialist employees. In November 1891 Mary Jane opened another business, a high-class registry office, for governesses and domestic servants, in Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley. She had also invested in real estate in Brisbane. In the early hours of Tuesday 27 September 1892 one of her houses burned to the ground. The insurance company wouldn’t pay up and she was in financial trouble with her drapery supplier. Mary Jane gave up her business interests and on 17 January 1894, she was adjudged insolvent. She returned to Fernvale to live with her mother and brother, John.
In November 1894 the Queensland Times newspaper, Ipswich, ran the following notice:
On the 11th November,
at her son’s residence, Fernvale,
Margaret, relict of the late Andrew Roulston,
Calkill, Fairy Water, Tyrone, Ireland, aged 94 years.
The funeral moved from the Ipswich Railway Station, for the Ipswich Cemetery, “on arrival of the Esk Train”, about 9.30 o’clock on Tuesday 13th.
Over the next decades John developed the Calkill property. He was in the right place at the right time and worked hard and prospered. At some point he acquired another large property further up the Brisbane valley and it is still identified by the name Runnymede. The young Bill Mullan, father of one of the authors and later, for clarity, referred to as “WA” Mullan, lived at Toogoolawah, on the road between the two properties. He remembered the passage of “Uncle” Roulston and other family members driving cattle to and fro from time to time.
Mary Jane would have been managing the homestead after the death of her mother. Her death in 1919 was the catalyst that prompted the move of the Samuel Hood Mullan family to Queensland from Dorrigo, NSW. Sam is known to have visited Calkill earlier and John seems to have had no hesitation in inviting him north. But a clear bonus for John was Sam’s wife, who would manage the household.
When John died in 1929, the estate consisting of two large properties was divided up in a way that provided for the resident families to have some property. But a total of some thirty relations in at least three countries also received financial bequests.
John Roulston’s story, as it affected the lives of the Mullans, was told in the book John Roulston—Grazier of Calkill and Runnymede by the current authors from whom it is still available in 2017.
A cousin of Mary Mullan née Hood, Mrs Anne Hickeson, with her son and daughters, came to Brisbane from Co. Tyrone, Ireland in August 1886. However they travelled on the Ionic from London to Hobart as a larger family. The Ionic passenger list includes “Mr and Mrs Hickson, Misses Hickson (3) and Mr R J Hickson as Second Saloon passengers” for Sydney. The Ionic went on to New Zealand and the people bound for northern ports boarded other vessels. After a few days in Hobart the Hicksons (Mrs, two Misses and a Mr) travelled by the Southern Cross to Sydney, then by the Eurimbla to Brisbane. What happened to Anne’s husband and daughter is a mystery. The Ionic’s voyage was described as uneventful—no deaths nor sickness on board. Was the message for James A Hood in the Brisbane newspaper from his cousin Anne, asking for support and is that why she came to Brisbane rather than Sydney as intended?
Her daughter, Isabella, 19, died soon after arrival in Brisbane and is buried in South Brisbane Cemetery. Her son, Robert James Hickeson, 26, was a school teacher and was posted to the Bundaberg district. He died at Gympie, Queensland, on Saturday 15 August 1891. His funeral was held the following Tuesday in Brisbane. He shares a grave with his sister Isabella in South Brisbane Cemetery.
Anne’s younger daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Hickeson, was also a teacher. On 20 December 1892 she married Samuel Rea at Brisbane. Samuel Rea, a teacher, came to Brisbane from Co. Down, Ireland about 1885 and also had relatives living in Brisbane. He was appointed to Roma, Queensland in 1890 and as assistant school teacher at the Central State School for boys in Brisbane in 1892. In September 1893 Samuel was transferred as head teacher to Mount Crosby school near Ipswich. Only two of the five children of Margaret and Sam Rea survived to adulthood:
Margaretta Hazlett b.1897 and
Florence Thelma b 1904.
The large Colinton estate in the Brisbane Valley was broken up to create dairy farms in 1904 and Samuel Rea purchased a block. Mrs Anne Hickeson lived at various addresses in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, during the years that followed the Rea’s transfer from Brisbane. She was presumably living with Rebecca and Joseph Campbell when she died, aged 72, on 26 May 1905, as her funeral left from their house in Jessie St. She is buried in South Brisbane Cemetery with her children.
George Chittick—Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Henry Chittick of Clanabogan, Northern Ireland is reported to have looked up the road outside his home one day and said “That’s my brother”. It was a remarkable event because his brother George had emigrated to New Zealand some years before and had not given any notice of his intention to revisit his homeland.
George is listed as a farmer in Lower Hutt in the electoral roll of 1880. A few years later his property in Waiwhetu Road was used for the annual picnic of the Orangemen of Wellington and members of the Protestant Alliance Society. There was a band, a street procession to the station and a busy programme of sports.
The following year, 1889, George married Mary Isabel de Rosa and they settled in Taita where he was engaged in local milk supply via Lower Hutt railway station. In the electoral rolls of 1896 and 1900 he is listed as farmer, in Waiwhetu Rd, Lower Hutt. In 1902 Mary died. They had no children.
A couple of years later George made the unannounced visit to his homeland. This visit was probably the event that encouraged Henry and his wife Ann Jane née Mullan to choose New Zealand instead of following her mother’s family to Australia.
Returning to New Zealand, George married the much younger Jane Whitaker and they had three sons, George, John and Robert. George Snr. established himself as a successful market gardener in the Stokes Valley area of the Hutt Valley. There is a photograph of extensive plantings of tomatoes on that farm and a street in the suburb is named after him. George died on 22 July 1929 after, said the Hutt News, a long illness.
The deceased was well known throughout the Valley and leaves a wife and three children to mourn their loss. Mr H. Chittock of Otaki is a brother. The late Mr Chittock was interred in the Anglican Church graveyard in the presence of a large number of friends.
George Snr had been a member of the Stokes Valley Defence Rifle Club and in 1934 his wife was publicly thanked for assisting with social events. Indeed, she was the first lady member of the Club. Their eldest son George William died at 26, in a farm accident in 1939. John and Robert probably continued the market gardening venture as Chittick Bros.
Jane died in 1947. George, his wives and eldest son are all buried in the old section of Taita Cemetery.
4 — Samuel Hood Mullan b.1860
Sam was born at Blossom Hill farm near the town of Fintona, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, on 15 September 1860, the eldest son of William Samuel Mullan and Mary Mullan née Hood.
In 1885 Samuel Hood Mullan emigrated to Australia on the ship Duke of Sutherland, arriving in Brisbane on 18 Oct 1885. He was a bounty passenger, that is to say that money was paid by the government to a recruiting agency or ship’s master for his safe delivery to the new land. He was probably met on the dock by one of his many relatives who had emigrated in 1863 and had been living in Brisbane since then.
One of Sam’s first jobs in Brisbane was driving a horse and buggy for his uncle, Mr John Dunbar, who lived in the Fire Station house on the corner of Cricket St on Petrie Terrace. But Sam’s address in 1887 was “Misterton St, Fortitude Valley—drayman”, (corner of Water St, near the Forsyths home in Anderson St). So he may have also done work for another uncle, William Forsyth, the builder.
Back in Ireland, Sam’s sister, Rebecca, married Joseph Campbell in Co. Tyrone on 6 Jan 1887 and a few days later boarded the Almora bound for Australia. They joined Sam in Brisbane, arriving on 8 Mar 1887. They lived, initially, with the Dunbars at the Fire Station in Cricket St, Petrie Terrace, before renting their own house, in Cricket St.
Another passenger on the Almora was Bella McFarland, 22, domestic servant, from Killynure, Co. Tyrone. Seventeen months after her arrival, Bella and Sam were married at the Presbyterian Church, Red Hill, Brisbane. The announcements in The Queenslander, and The Brisbane Courier, in August 1888 read—
Mullen-Macfarlane—On the 21st August, at Red Hill, Brisbane, by the Rev. Glasgow Crawford, Samuel H., eldest son of Mr William Mullen, of Blossom Hill, Fintona, County Tyrone, Ireland, to Isabella, second daughter of the late Mr David Macfarlane, of Killynure, Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland.
Both gave their address as Cricket St. Sam was recorded as a storeman and Bella was a dressmaker. Sam’s cousin, Ann Jane Forsyth, was a witness to their marriage.
Mary Jane Roulston, a cousin of Rebecca and Sam, had a dressmaking business in George St, near Roma St and Bella may have been employed there.
Bella suffered from tuberculosis for two years before she died at the home of Rebecca and Joseph Campbell in Cricket St on 13 May 1891. She was buried in Toowong Cemetery the following day. Rev Crawford read the service. Two notices of her funeral appeared, together, in The Telegraph—
The Friends of Mr Joseph Campbell are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his deceased Sister-in-law, Bella Mullin, to move from his residence, Cricket St, Petrie Terrace, Tomorrow (Thursday) Afternoon, at 1.30 o’clock, to the Towong Cemetery.
The second notice was similar—
The Friends of Samuel Hood Mullin are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his deceased wife, to move from the residence of Mr Joseph Campbell etc.
Bella’s death would have been a sorrowful, though not unexpected event for Sam, but more drama was to come and reported in the Brisbane Courier newspaper.—
An accident happened in Cricket-St, Petrie-Terrace, on Thursday afternoon, which was of an alarming nature, though happily no serious injury was done. A funeral was just about to start from the front of a house in the street, and the horses attached to the hearse, having moved it sufficiently to carry the wheels away from the blocks which had been put behind them, became somewhat restive. The front wheels of the hearse were pulled on to the footpath and the vehicle fell over on its side. However, the fall was not a serious one, for the driver and his companion on the box escaped without harm, and the coffin merely fell against the side of the hearse, breaking the glass but not sustaining the slightest damage. Another hearse was quickly obtained and the delay was not more than about half-an-hour. The street at this part is very steep and this was the cause of the accident.
Sam and Bella had no children.
A year later Sam was living at Fernvale with the Roulston family. Apparently he was recuperating there after an accident in Brisbane. This is suggested by a report in the Brisbane Courier on 16 February 1892, concerning a meeting of the Brisbane Municipal Council
From Sydney Pritchard (solicitor), claiming on behalf of SH Mullan, of Fernvale, near Ipswich, £20 damages for loss of horse and medical fees for attendance, brought about by alleged carelessness of council’s employees in leaving a heap of stones on Gregory-Terrace roadway.
Sam was awarded £10 in settlement of his claim, in April 1892.
After he left Fernvale Sam worked on a road building gang which took him to northern NSW. From early 1893 he successfully tendered for road work contracts in the Tweed River district. He also found farm work on James Black’s property at Murwillumbah. Here he met Margaret, daughter of local land-owner James Black and his wife Jean née Hindmarsh. Margaret was the third child in the family of four sons and four daughters. James Black JP was a pioneer settler on the Tweed and a prominent member of Murwillumbah society.
Sam and Margaret were married at her home, “Green Hills” Murwillumbah, NSW, on 18 July 1894. Sam gave his occupation as farmer and his residence as Murwillumbah, Tweed River. Witnesses of this marriage were Margaret’s brother, James and her sister, Elspeth.
Sam brought Margaret to Brisbane and they were living with Rebecca and Joseph Campbell and their three children when their first child, William Hood, was born. He only lived a few weeks and died on 17 Nov 1894 at Cricket St, Petrie Terrace. Baby William shares Bella’s grave in Toowong Cemetery.
Sam and Margaret then returned to northern NSW, where they lived for the next 25 years. In January 1895 Sam won a contract for work on the Tweed and Brunswick road via Mullumbimby to Byron Bay and they were living at Byron Bay in December of that year when Walter Crawford was born. It is thought that Rebecca was born in the railway cottage that is now the Information office in Byron Bay, as Sam was working on the railway at that time.
Margaret remained close to her family and would have taken her children to visit her parents whenever the opportunity arose. Her mother’s death in February 1900 at Murwillumbah, followed closely by that of her sister, Isabell—mother of two little ones—at Grafton, would have grieved her greatly.
Sam worked on roads around the Tweed and Lismore area for many years. Margaret said that “Dada” (Sam) couldn’t settle, so the family was often on the move. Some of the places they lived in were:—1899 Coorabell Creek; 1900 Bangalow then Knockrow.
In 1901 the Mullans were residing at Tunstall near Lismore, formerly of Mullumbinby and Myocum, when Sam got into financial difficulties and was declared bankrupt. In May 1905 Dr Duka sued eight patients in the Lismore District Court for unpaid professional services. S H Mullan owed him £11.0.6½.
During the 13 years after leaving Brisbane, Sam and Margaret had nine children, all born in NSW:-
Walter Crawford 1895, born at Byron Bay
Rebecca Jean 1897, born at Byron Bay
Margaret Hood 1899 (twin) born at Byron Bay
Samuel Hood 1899 (twin) born at Byron Bay
Henry James 1900, born at Marom
Mary Hood 1902, born at Lismore—Mary died in infancy.
Edward Robert 1903, born at Lismore
William Joseph 1906, born at Lismore
Arthur Leslie in 1907, born at Lismore.
In August 1910 Sam, Margaret and family rented a property known as Jay’s lease, at Woolgoolga on the coast, at £50 per year. As this land was a special lease that could not be sub-let, Sam and Margaret were later called as witnesses in a Land Board Inquiry. The agent was found to be not guilty. The land was sold in 1912 and the Mullan family moved to Dorrigo, in the highlands.
Sam then worked for the Dorrigo Shire Council and the family became involved in local events. Sam was a member of the Orange Lodge in Dorrigo, hosting visitors in 1915 and 1917. Their home at the time was called Blossom Hill. At the 1914 Orange Celebrations in Dorrigo we are told “Master Mullan” contributed to the entertainment.
The younger boys started school at Woolgoolga then transferred to Dorrigo school about 1913. They used to ride a horse to school each day. As three of them would be on the horse together, bareback, they had many mishaps. Bill told stories of the horse being frightened by a falling rock, or a noise and bolting through the bush, throwing the boys off left and right as it ran. This always resulted in them being in trouble, as well as battered and bruised. In the mornings, their teacher would punish them for being late. In the afternoons, if it happened on the ride home, their mother would do the same.
Bill described his early years as being quite happy. His father’s wage was minimal and the family did suffer some hard times. Although they never had luxuries, their basic needs were generally met. His father could be a hard man. He was a heavy drinker and used to chew tobacco.
Bill was much closer to his mother, who called him Willie. The area around their property at Dorrigo was steep and strewn with large rocks. One activity Bill and his friends engaged in that brought them into conflict with parents and neighbours, was to dislodge the bigger rocks in the paddock and watch them crash down the hill, causing mini-landslides.
Margaret’s father, James Black, died in September 1915 aged 81. He had sold his property on the Tweed and was living at Wondai, Queensland, with his son Walter. Margaret and her sisters received an inheritance from their father for their personal use.
Sam was doing well with the Dorrigo Shire Council and by 1914 he was in charge of a gang. His team was praised by the Council Engineer at the monthly council meetings for their excellent work. Sam’s gang also did road repair work around town and concreted footpaths and similar work.
In 1918 Sam became a contractor again. The Progress Association approached him to repair the dangerous Mountain Road from the coast to Dorrigo, in the highlands, as neither the Dorrigo nor Bellingen councils would undertake the work. He continued the project for some months with no payment until the Council was in funds. The job was well done but Sam had to wait for six months to be paid as neither council took responsibility. While this work was being done in 1920, Sam and Margaret lived at the top of the range at Whiskey Creek. Sam went to work from there with a dun-coloured horse and trap. It was on this job that he was encountered by his younger brother, Crawford, and family when they were arriving from the USA in 1920.
Crawford’s daughter, Margaret (Peg) August, said in the 1990s—
When we were in school we spelled our surname Mullen but when we went to Australia it was Uncle Sam who got Dad to change to “an” spelling, because—and wait for this—that was considered to be the Protestant spelling, “en” being Catholic. And what did this old reprobate care about religion?
And what, indeed, did Peg know about the spelling? Most of the very few (and unrelated) Mullans in New Zealand appear to be Catholic.
Sam Jnr Enlists
In July 1917 Sam Jnr enlisted in the 4th Infantry Battalion, Australian Infantry Force at Bellingen. He left Sydney in October on His Majesty’s Australian Transport Euripides for England and was sent to France in April 1918. In September, Sam was reported missing, having been taken prisoner by the German forces. He was repatriated to England in January 1919 and thence to Australia on Khyber in May, arriving home and discharged in June 1919. A newspaper reported—
Among the arrivals in town on Saturday afternoon last was Private Sam Mullan, son of Mr and Mrs Mullan of Dorrigo.
In March 1919 The Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advocate reported—
St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Dorrigo, was the scene of a very pretty wedding on Wednesday evening, last, when Rev Mr Herbert Mayer joined in the holy bonds of matrimony Rebecca Jean, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs S.H. Mullan, well-known residents of “Rocklyn”, Dorrigo to William Norman, eldest son of Mr and Mrs W. Owen, “Hurlstone Grange”, Dorrigo.
Norm Owen’s parents actually lived at Hurlstone Park, Sydney, but he and Rebecca lived at Dorrigo.
Invitation to Calkill
In 1920 Sam and Margaret received an invitation from “uncle” John Roulston of Fernvale, in Queensland, to share his home and to help work his farm and cattle properties. Roulston was a bachelor in his late 70s and his spinster sister, Mary Jane (a former headmistress of Fernvale school) who had been keeping house for him, had died the previous year. He probably felt the need for some help and company.
It is known that Sam had stayed with Roulston in the 1890s, so this invitation probably did not spring out of thin air. The plan was for Margaret to manage the house, while the men of her family would work on the property. Sam was now 60 and had been doing manual labour most of his life. He knew the Fernvale property and had no hesitation in accepting this offer.
The second daughter of Sam and Margaret, Margaret, was married to Anthony Ernest Walker at St Paul’s church, Dorrigo on Wednesday 20th October 1920. Soon after Maggie’s wedding, Sam Snr took Eddie, 17, and Bill, 14, to Fernvale. They travelled with Sam’s brother, Crawford, and his family, who had just arrived in Australia from America. They were on their way to visit their widowed sister, Rebecca Campbell, who now lived at Colinton, in the Brisbane Valley, Queensland.
Sam’s no-nonsense style is illustrated in this account from WA Mullan:
Dad (Crawford) went out rabbit shooting with Sam and was telling him how he had been head miller of the plant in Warren. Actually, he was the only miller, so, in a sense he was right. But Dad was shooting his mouth off and Sam just said, “Well, if you had a job as good as that what the hell did you come to Australia for?”
After World War I, some returned soldiers were granted leases on virgin bush blocks, which they tried to turn into farms. Sam Jnr was one of these battlers. His twin sister Maggie’s husband, Tony Walker, who had been an architect before the war, also had a selection on the same road as Sam’s. Tony’s selection was granted by the Local Land Board just prior to his re-enlistment in 1916. As he could provide discharge papers (he first enlisted in 1914 and was repatriated) the Board granted the land without the need for a ballot. Their settlements were in the Dorrigo area, but the land proved too tough for Sam. Rebecca and Norm Owen were at the opposite end of town on a better established farm. Harry was helping Sam Jnr on his selection. So these elder siblings remained in Dorrigo when their mother, Margaret, with Crawford and Arthur joined the Queensland party in Fernvale the following year, after Arthur had finished school.
In 2002 the twins Gladys and Dorrie recorded a video interview recalling the years in the Dorrigo region. Their mother came into the room one day to find them attempting to cut off their younger brother, Ray’s, head with a butcher’s knife.
The twins remembered visits to Calkill and were—
—very fond of grandad (Sam) who was always getting into trouble with grandma and the boys. His ducks came up the step and she was annoyed. He always had a duck egg for breakfast. They grew cotton; we used to climb over the buggy to where they baled the cotton and we got into trouble. Grandma used to make jam from the fruit rosella which we’d never seen.
They also confirmed Sam’s continuing connection with the Lodge—
Grandad was a great Orangeman. They went to Lodge picnics. Can’t remember where it was; (Dorrigo was just) a little one-horse town.
The homestead on Calkill, at Fernvale, had been built in 1899. It was a four-roomed cottage, with verandahs and a separate kitchen, sited on a hill overlooking the flat paddocks, creek and mountain range. The property was very steep apart from the home paddock and the cattle were kept in the hill paddocks. Margaret possibly brought some furniture with her, but John Roulston was not one for non-essential trappings, so there would have been just the basic household items in the house.
Life would have changed for everyone at Calkill once the Mullan family was installed there. Crawford and Arthur would have stayed with Margaret while Eddie and Bill worked the cattle with John Roulston. Arthur really took to life at Calkill and Uncle John taught him how to understand and handle cattle. There was also a good library and Arthur would spend Sunday afternoons reading on the verandah. Sam grew vegetables and corn in the creek paddock and started a dairy herd. A visitor from Dorrigo in June 1922 reported—
While at Ipswich I went out to see Mr S. Mullan (late of Dorrigo) who lives in the Brisbane Valley, 40 miles from Ipswich. Mr Mullan has 1000 acres out there, chiefly grazing land, but a large area of it is very rich black flats. He took me through a 60 acre paddock of corn. It was 12 feet high, the cobs 10 inches long and as even as a table top. There must have been 150 tons of cattle pumpkins in the corn. We had a job to get through, they were so thick and as big as wheelbarrows. He showed me 10 acres of potatoes he planted, but they were an absolute failure. He won’t get an acre off the lot. He said he had a splendid crop last year. He is fencing in some black flats and there will be a large area under crop next year. The ticks are very bad in the Brisbane Valley. They are compelled to dip the cattle regularly every month to keep the pest in check. We caught a calf and it had two on it. The cattle seemed in fair nick, though the grass was dry. Mr Mullan is going in for lucerne to feed the dairy cows. I was glad to meet our old Dorrigo friends and pleased to see they were getting on well. They were delighted to see Mrs Edwards and I, but we could only stay with them a few hours.
Sam registered his own cattle brand in 1924 and it was later passed on to Arthur.
John Roulston used to breed horses and the horse he rode in the 1920s was a big stallion named Stilts for its long legs. They were easily identifiable in a crowd. WA Mullan related that Margaret needed more room to hang out washing than was available and one day got Sam to rig up an extra line. When Uncle John rode home that evening on Stilts, the horse took the regular route into the yard, under the newly rigged clothes line, thus wiping Uncle John from his saddle.
John must have enjoyed the young company, though, as there were often young relatives invited to stay. He was now able to spend time away from Calkill, himself, visiting cousins at Redcliffe and Colinton.
As well as the homestead property Calkill at Fernvale, Roulston owned Runnymede, a large cattle property at Nanango (approximately 130kms directly NNW). It was used mainly for fattening the beasts for market. Moving cattle between the two properties was a regular job as young stock would be taken to Runnymede and those ready for market would be brought back. The boys would be away for about a month. Uncle John usually took Eddie and Bill on these droves but sometimes Sam accompanied them, or took Roulston’s place. A report in The Queensland Times, September 1924
Mr Mullans and his two sons have just arrived from Runnymede with 254 head of cattle for Mr J Roulston. The trip extended over a period of 10 days. While travelling along the route several mobs of cattle were encountered. Only one beast dropped out. This shows the good workmanship of the drovers.
The route, along the Brisbane Valley took them through Colinton, giving the opportunity to visit their Campbell relatives, and Toogoolawah, where the Crawford Mullans lived for a few years before moving on to New Zealand.
The social columns in the local newspaper report visitors to, and holidays from, Calkill so Margaret was not entirely isolated from her family. For instance, Ciss and Norm Owen brought the twins for a lengthy stay in October 1923. Harry travelled with them and they would have brought all the news of family and friends at home and of the recent wedding of Sam junior to Violet Braham in the Presbyterian Church, Dorrigo. There were also visits from Margaret’s nieces, daughters of Walter Black, who lived at Coorparoo in Brisbane. Crawford, at times, returned with them for a holiday.
Sam became involved in local activities. We are told he started a branch of the Loyal Orange Lodge, Blossom Hill, No 125, Fernvale, on 15 Dec 1922. He was advertised as Master. Crawford and Eddie were inaugural members and Bill and Arthur joined in 1924. This Lodge was still active in 1947. The lodge provided many social occasions for the community through the year and each July all the Loyal Orange Lodges in the district celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne with a large procession through the streets of Ipswich.
The family joined the local church and Sam was inducted as an Elder at the Wivenhoe Presbyterian Church on 2 May 1926.
A social event is recorded in The Queensland Times, October 1930.
On Sunday morning a riding party consisting of four girls and eleven men, (including Eddie and Bill Mullan) Mr Warren O’Reilly acting as pilot and Mr Rody Mahon as marshall, set out from Lucerne Park (Mr Shine’s property) at 8.45 am for Mount Glorious, a distance of 23 miles. The outing was organised by Miss Mary and Mr Leo Shine. Mount Glorious was reached at 1pm after a pleasant, strenuous ride. The day was ideal for the outing and the scenery was delightful. The gorges are filled with beautiful palms and ferns. From a height of 2250 feet the view was magnificent. Brisbane, with its glorious river, stood out in review and Nudgee College was plainly recognised. On the mount is a beautiful home flower garden and raspberries grow in abundance. While the horses were rested, a picnic lunch was enjoyed. After a ramble among the raspberries, horses were saddled and a start was made for home at 4.30pm. The party arrived back at 8.45pm and were entertained at supper by Mr and Mrs Shine. After a social chat the party dispersed.
When John Roulston died in 1929, he left a portion of Calkill to the cousins who worked the land for him, as well as monetary gifts to all his living relatives. The Queensland Times wrote—
The Late John Roulston.
In the death last week of John Roulston, there was broken a link with early Queensland. By his industry, he had raised himself from a small beginning to an established position in the district. A retiring and lovable man he did many acts of kindliness, unknown save to the recipients. It has been announced that he has bequeathed £1000 to the Ipswich General Hospital, £500 to St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, £500 to St. Paul’s Church of England and £300 to the Presbyterian Church at Wivenhoe Pocket. John Roulston was a good man in the true sense, a man of culture, a reader and thinker, and a kindly philosopher with a tolerant outlook towards all. The community is the poorer by his passing.
Some time later, on 24 October 1929, we read a short report of the auction of part of the Roulston estate:
The Fernvale portion of the Roulston Estate was submitted for public auction at McCamey’s Hotel… In the presence of a large gathering of prospective buyers, Mr Walker began operations by submitting block No 1, well known as the scrub paddock, which was ultimately knocked down to Mr S.H. Mullan. (four of the six blocks on offer were sold) The balance of cattle and horses was also submitted for sale and fair prices maintained for all lines on offer.
Block 1 was over 200 acres adjoining the land left to Sam, including the flat land around Prydes Creek where Sam grew lucerne and crops. An article in The Brisbane Courier in 1931 reported that Sam had an excellent herd of dairy cattle on England’s Creek and the growing quality of the flats is shown by the fact that in addition to feeding his large dairy herd Sam sent 100 tons of first quality lucerne to market from the 30 acres. That would be a most extraordinary crop today, so perhaps the paper got its basic facts somewhat wrong.
John Roulston may have had the best of intentions when he bequeathed his home to the Mullan family who worked it with him and cared for him over the last nine years of his life. But the firm executing his will was tough. Sam wasn’t the only one who had trouble with compensation and he also had to fight for his personal items such as furniture in the homestead. He was now nearing 70 and not experienced in legal fights. The will took years to be wound up and Sam’s hands were tied during this period.
Sam and Margaret and Crawford lived at Calkill for thirteen years. That was possibly the longest stay in the one house, for Sam, since he left his home in Ireland. In 1933 they retired to Redcliffe where their niece, Annie Higham, and her family owned a dairy farm in Griffith Road. Sam joined or started the new Tyrone True Blue Lodge at Redcliffe in December 1934.
Calkill was now divided between the boys, Eddie 30, Bill 27 and Arthur 26, on the understanding that they would each contribute to the support of their parents.
Sam, Margaret and Crawford moved to Ipswich in 1936. They lived first in Pine Mountain Rd, and eventually at 22 Park St, which was their home for many years. Bill’s wife, Betty, remembers visiting Sam and Margaret, pushing little Betty in the pram. Sam, sitting on the porch, would see them coming and call to Margaret “Mam, here comes the little woman and the wee one”. On 31 September 1937 Sam applied for a pension.
During World War II, people were encouraged to leave coastal cities and towns. A letter that Margaret wrote from 22 Park St, Ipswich in January 1942 has been preserved by her grand-daughter, Joan Cousens.
My dear Maggie,
It is your birthday today and I must write and wish you many happy returns. I was pleased to get your letter a few days ago—hope you are all well. Hasn’t it been very dry and hot. There has been terrible heat here—has been a very hot summer but I am thankful to say we are getting a little rain at last, the last couple of days has been showery and seems to be coming on heavier. It was needed badly, but from all accounts I think Sydney has faced more than here for water. I had a letter from Ciss today, they have had to buy one lot, they had a storm the day before she wrote. I am pleased that Maurice is able to go to see them of a weekend—she says he looks well—you have two of your boys in camp now. I hope they are not sent overseas. I think they will be needed here for Home Defence. The Japs seem to be making headway don’t they? They are making trenches here in every yard—everyone has to make their own. Arthur is supposed to come and take us up there if they come much closer. There are a lot of Americans here and their planes, it is to be hoped they can keep them back. I am not afraid, am trusting in the Lord. He will see us through. We have not heard from Eddie for some time before Xmas. He sent a card for Xmas but no letter. How is Aunt Jeannie, hope she is keeping well. How will she fare in the case of an invasion. I must try and write a few lines to Sam tonight to wish him Happy Returns, of course. I suppose you know he is up the north coast of N S Wales at a place called Mallangonie, near Casino. I think he is in the 2 Field Survey Coy so I suppose will not stop long in one place. I have had a letter from Violy and one from Heather which I must answer. I have such a lot of letters to answer don’t know how to get through them. Do you see anything of Harry? Have not heard from him for some time. I owe Margaret a letter too. I think I told you that Willie had left the Electric Light and is living in Sandgate, he is working in a produce store in Brisbane, he seemed to get very tired of the Electric Light but I think he was foolish—he expects to be called up the next age group—we miss them since they left here. We don’t see much of Arthur not since before Xmas. He has been having a rough time on the farm this dry weather, but should be better now. It looks as though it is going to be a (stormy) night. I hope he gets some of this lovely rain and that you all get your share. I must close now my dear Maggie and get to bed. Fond love to you all, from your loving Mother.
So in 1942 with the Pacific War getting closer, Sam, Margaret and Crawford went to live with Arthur and Mabel at Fernvale, and with Eddie’s wife, Ivy, at Esk. Eddie was serving overseas with the 2nd Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Margaret died at Esk on 16 June 1942, aged 75 years. An obituary in The Queensland Times read—
Mrs Margaret Mullan, wife of Mr S. H. Mullan, died on Monday and was buried in Ipswich. With her husband and family, the late Mrs Mullan lived for many years on the late Mr John Roulston’s estate. By her kindly, neighbourly disposition she won a large circle of friends. When the estate was subdivided and sold Mr and Mrs Mullan retired to live at Ipswich. A son, Mr A.L. Mullan, still lives on the property farming. Other members of the family are: Messrs W.C. Mullan and W.J. Mullan of Sandgate and Mr Edward Mullan, who recently returned from service overseas.
In 1943 Sam’s address was given as Sutton St, Sandgate, probably living with his daughter-in-law’s grandfather, Harry Woolacott. In June 1944, Eddie was in camp near Brisbane and Bill was in camp at Sydney, when Sam became ill. He was taken by ambulance to Brisbane hospital, from Sandgate and died a couple of days later, on 27 June 1944, aged 84. He had suffered from chronic bronchitis but died from a heart seizure. In a letter to Maggie, Ivy told how Sam said “I never felt better in my life” when she and Eddie visited him the evening before he collapsed. She also mentioned that they couldn’t get a wreath for his funeral (due to War restrictions) but bought arum lilies and fern to make their own. Sam is buried in Ipswich Cemetery beside Margaret.
The Queensland Times, 12 July, 1944
FERNVALE– Late Mr S. Mullan—Mr Samuel Mullan died in Brisbane recently, at the age of 84 years. He was born at Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and came to Australia at the age of 20 years. After working in Brisbane for a short time, he came to Fernvale, where he worked on the late John Raulston’s farm. Some years later he left for the Northern Rivers of NSW. Later he married Miss Margaret Black. In the year 1921 he and his wife returned to Fernvale and again took up residence with Mr J. Raulston. Mr Mullan remained at Fernvale up to two years ago, when his wife died. He then moved to Brisbane. The late Mr Mullan was highly respected in this district. He was a staunch supporter of the Loyal Orange Lodge and was a member for 67 years. He is survived by an adult family of six sons and two daughters. They are Edward (AIF), William (RAAF), Walter (Ipswich), Samuel (Bellinger, NSW), Harry (Sydney), Arthur (Fernvale), Mrs Walker (Sydney) and Mrs Owen (West Maitland). He also left 26 grandchildren. The funeral, which took place at Ipswich, was largely attended, representatives of the Orange Lodge being present from Fernvale and Ipswich. Rev W. Wilson-Smith officiated at the graveside and Mr J. Brockie of Loyal Orange Lodge, Ipswich, read the rituals of that lodge.
The Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advocate ran this announcement on Friday, 7th July 1944—
The death has been announced of Mr Samuel Mullans, senr., who was in the service of the Dorrigo Shire Council, between 20 and 30 years ago, and was well known in the district as an expert in road making. Mr. Mullans had reached his 87th year of his age.
Sam and Margaret were married for 48 years, and were survived by eight children and 29 grandchildren.
The children of Sam and Margaret
Walter Crawford Mullan was born at Byron Bay, NSW on Monday, 9th December 1895, the eldest surviving child of Margaret and Samuel Hood Mullan. He was named after his mother’s maternal grandfather, Walter Hindmarsh, who was a pioneer of the Northern Rivers district of NSW, having arrived in Australia from England in 1829. Crawford is a name given to several members of the Mullan family from Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland. From an early age, Walter Crawford was known as Crawford, except in official documents.
Crawford always needed adult guidance and lived with his parents for most of his life, carrying out many jobs around the home, for his mother and taking care of the garden, etc. After the move to Queensland, he joined the Loyal Orange Lodge, Blossom Hill 125, at Fernvale in 1922 and took part in other local events. Margaret’s nieces, Jean and Grace Black, daughters of her brother, Walter, often visited the family at Calkill. Crawford would sometimes return to Brisbane with them to spend a holiday with their family in Coorparoo. Crawford was a quiet, likeable man and his family, especially his mother, were protective of him. John Roulston left a specific amount of money to him in a codicil to his will in 1929 and Margaret left her inheritance from her father, to Crawford, under the supervision of his young brothers, Bill and Arthur.
Laurel remembers Crawford and Sam living with them, at Fernvale, for a time. When the family was living at Parks St, Ipswich, people would remark on the quality of the vegetable garden, tended by Crawford and Sam.
After his parents died, Crawford’s young brothers took over the monitoring of his affairs. He was shy and didn’t like a lot of rushing about, as would happen in a young household, so they found him a place, overseen by the Salvation Army, in Ipswich. Crawford was familiar with this district and could go about on his own. This worked well for some time, but when Bill was visiting one day, he discovered that Crawford was no longer being cared for as he should have been. Bill then took Crawford home to Sandgate, to live with his family. Des remembers being a little in awe of him. Crawford liked his own company and loved to listen to music, in his room, on his small radio. Most radio, or wireless sets, at that time were large pieces of furniture and Des was fascinated by the size and portability of this radio—which, of course he was not allowed to touch.
Eventually, Crawford went to live at the Eventide Aged Care Home, at Brighton near Sandgate. Bill and Arthur were able to visit him regularly and take him to family functions.
He died at Eventide on 25th November 1964. Crawford lived until just shy of his 69th birthday. His ashes are in a columbarium 3 in Albany Creek Memorial Park, Brisbane. His brothers, Eddie and Bill also rest there.
Rebecca Jean Mullan, eldest daughter of Sam and Margaret Mullan was born at Byron Bay on 14 September 1897. She was to be known in the family as Ciss. Her schooling was probably at Lismore and Woolgoolga.
On 5 March 1919 Rebecca married William Norman Owen, son of Mr and Mrs W Owen, Hurlstone Park, Sydney, in St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Dorrigo. The local newspaper recorded the event in detail. It is repeated here in part.
The bride, who was given away by her father, looked lovely in a pretty gown of ivory Japanese silk, trimmed with Malines lace and tiny tucks. She also wore a wedding veil and wreath of orange blossoms arranged in mob cap fashion and carried a beautiful shower bouquet of white roses and streamers of tulle with a gold bangle which was the gift of the bridegroom. Miss Maggie Mullan acted as bridesmaid and looked very nice in a dainty frock of white voile with touches of pink and white hat to match. Her bouquet was of pink roses and sweet peas and streamers of pink ribbon and she also wore a gold brooch, the gift of the bridegroom. Ex-Private, Field Owen attended his brother as best man. The church was prettily decorated by friends of the bride with greenery and white flowers and an archway was erected of ivy from which depended a wedding bell of white flowers and streamers of green and white ribbon—the battalion colours of the bride’s brother, Private Sam Mullan of the 4th Battalion. A reception was held in the Empire Hall, where about 30 guests sat down to a sumptuous repast. Quite a number of useful wedding presents were received, including a set of carvers given by the Sunday School teachers and a Bible from the scholars, the bride having been an active worker in Church matters and especially in the Sunday School, where she was held in very high esteem by her scholars and fellow-workers. Mr and Mrs Owen left later by car for Armidale.
Ciss and Norm farmed at Dorrigo until October 1928 when, it is reported,
Mr Norman Owen of Dorrigo purchased a farm at Luskintyre, Lochinvar, West Maitland, NSW consisting of a combined dairy and agricultural farm of 108 acres, together with a dairy herd of 50 cows, horses and dairy and farm implements. Norm sent his milk to the Raymond Terrace factory.
Their children were, twins Gladys and Doris, Ray, Edith, Edward and Kevin, who attended Lochinvar Public School and the Methodist Sunday School, winning prizes in at least 1932.
Norm was very involved in the local community, being a delegate for the Lochinvar-Dalwood branch of the Federated Milk Producers’ Association and an active member of the Lochinvar Agriculture Bureau. The Bureau ran an experimental program testing a wide variety of crops on his farm, under different conditions and methods over many years. He served on the Kersley Shire Council representing the A Riding that included Luskintyre and was a committee member of the School of Arts.
In September 1936 electric light came to Lochinvar. The family were directly involved in the celebration—
A pleasant function took place at Lochinvar last night, when the electric lighting system, recently installed in the district, was officially switched on by Mrs WN Owen. Brief addresses were given by the Mayor (and others). The sixth annual banquet of the Lochinvar Agricultural Bureau followed the switching on of the lights, the function being held in the School of Arts; The President (Mr WN Owen) presided over a large attendance.
The twin daughters, with some difficulty, gained their father’s permission to leave home. The Maitland Daily Mercury, Thurs 28 April 1938—
Lochinvar—Farewell Evening—The Misses Owen. Lochinvar, Thursday. A large gathering of friends from all parts of the district gathered at “Thornleigh,” Luskintyre, the residence of Cr and Mrs WN Owen, to farewell their twin daughters, Misses Gladys and Doris Owen, who are leaving the district to commence training as nurses at the Maitland Hospital.
Ray married Edna Green in Feb 1944 in Holy Trinity Church Lochinvar.
In the late 1940s the Owen family moved from their property, Thornleigh, at Luskintyre to Ashfield, Sydney. Later they moved to Lindfield Ave, Concord, where Norm was a painter. Ciss lived there for over 30 years.
William Norman Owen died in Sydney in 1974. Rebecca Jean Owen died in June 1987 at Sydney.
Margaret Hood Mullan (Maggie) and her twin brother Samuel (Sam) were born on 29 January 1899 in the Cottage Hospital, now a visitor’s centre, in Byron Bay NSW. Their parents, Sam and Margaret now had four children under four years of age.
Elspeth Black was the youngest of Margaret’s sisters. She married Frank Mitchell in December 1910 and they lived at Troy Station, in the Weemelah district near Moree. Elsie and Frank lost three infants and Maggie spent most of her childhood with them as her loved foster parents.
It is not known when Maggie returned to her own family, but when she was 21 she married Anthony Ernest Walker.
Tony enlisted in the AIF twice. He first joined as a 21-year-old Private in October 1914. He was repatriated to Australia after ear surgery and on return went to Dorrigo NSW and worked as a labourer. At 22, and immediately prior to his second enlistment in May 1916 he received a Land Board Grant of 147.5 acres of land at Dorrigo along Whiskey Creek Road. He was discharged from the army with the rank of Sergeant on 14 June 1919 and returned to Dorrigo where he married Maggie in October on the 20th of October 1920. The local paper reported—
On Wednesday evening of last week, a very pretty wedding was celebrated in St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Dorrigo, the contracting parties being Margaret Hood, second daughter of Mr and Mrs S.H. Mullan, of Dorrigo and Anthony Ernest, son of Mr and Mrs A. Walker, of Gosford. Mr Bradley, Minister, officiated. The bridegroom was attended by Mr S.H. Mullan junior, as best man. The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in a neat little frock of white silk insertion and carried a bouquet of white roses and asparagus fern. She wore the customary wreath and veil, also a diamond brooch—the gift of the bridegroom. She was attended by Miss May Fredericks as bridesmaid, who was prettily attired in a frock of white voile and insertion with pink silk sash and hat to match. She wore a gold brooch—the bridegroom’s gift—and carried a bouquet of sweet peas and fern. After the ceremony a reception was held at Mr Nash’s refreshment rooms, where a very dainty repast was set out on tastefully decorated tables. A number of guests sat down to breakfast and did full justice to the good things provided. The usual toasts were honoured and the bride and bridegroom were wished long life and happiness in most felicitous terms. Later, the happy young couple left for Sydney, where the honeymoon is being spent. The bride travelled in a costume of checked gabardine, with black hat and pink trimmings. Mr and Mrs Walker were the recipients of a number of handsome and useful presents.
Tony had qualified as an architect in Hobart where his parents resided but worked in an architect’s office in Inverell, northern NSW prior to the outbreak of the war.
Tony and Maggie Walker started their married life on Tony’s land grant where they farmed and had dairy cows. Maggie’s health suffered, and as a result of his war service, Tony’s mental and physical health was not robust so generally their life was difficult. Six children were born to the couple.
Arthur William was born on 25 July 1921,
Maurice Hood 27 May 1923,
Stanley Ernest 7 November 1924,
May Ruth 15 February 1926,
Albert Charles 12 June 1928 and
Joan Margaret 12 September 1931.
The children rode to school on Boney, a slow, gentle, old horse still remembered in 2016 by the three surviving children, Stan now 91, May 90 and Joan 85. May remembers learning to read from the local newspaper The Advocate (The Don Dorrigo and Guy Fawkes Advocate) and enjoying nature study lessons. They ran wild in the long grass, swam in Whisky Creek and climbed the apple trees planted in front of the house.
Tony had built a small home but oral testimony is that it had an earthen floor (perhaps not in all rooms) and was very cold in winter. Maggie’s sister Rebecca (Ciss) and her husband William (Norm) lived close by.
In about 1933, the family left Dorrigo and went for a short time to Newcastle where Tony had a milk run. Soon after, they moved to West Gosford near Narara Creek where they leased a farm and grew asparagus.
On 25 July 1938 Tony gained employment as a Clerk of Works in Sydney on a salary of £388 per annum. The family rented a home in Wybalena Ave, Hunter’s Hill and then moved to Makinson St, Gladesville where they lived during World War II. Sons Maurice and Bert joined the Army but did not see overseas service.
In the early 1950s Tony and Maggie relocated to Windsor and built a home on Richmond Road from where Tony went to work as a Clerk of Works at the Richmond Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base. Maggie was an enthusiastic volunteer at Windsor and District Hospital and a kind and loving grandmother to her 15 grandchildren. The vegetable garden and fruit trees are well remembered by the grandchildren.
Tony died of tetanus following gall bladder surgery in 1960, not long after he retired and Maggie moved to Northmead where Stan lived with her. Maggie’s last years at Northmead revolved around her children and grandchildren but she maintained her interest in charity work and was a “pink lady” volunteer at Parramatta Hospital, giving non-medical assistance to patients. Diabetes and dementia took their toll and she was resident for a short time in a nursing home at Pendle Hill before her death at Blacktown Hospital on 25th June 1985.
Samuel Hood Mullan and his twin sister Maggie were born on 29 January 1899 in the Cottage Hospital, in Byron Bay NSW. As the eldest able-bodied son in a family of eight children, Sam would have been supplementing the family income as soon as he left school, at age 13, by working on farms around Dorrigo, a small country town where his family were living.
During WWI nearly every eligible male in Dorrigo enlisted for active service. Many were under 21 years of age and some were even under 18. Sam asked his father many times to sign the papers allowing him to enlist in the Army when he turned 18, but it took six months to persuade his parents to let him go. He joined up at the Police Station at Bellingen on 17 July 1917, giving his occupation as dairy farmer. Sam and his mate, Alex Kirkland, sailed on the Euripides on 31 Oct 1917 to England, where they were sent separate ways. In France, Sam was with the 4th Battalion as No 3 in a heavy machine gun crew. He was said to be a good shot. He occasionally saw some Dorrigo boys and shared news from home.
On 11 September 1918, Sam and others were captured by German soldiers near the Hindenburg Line. On his eventual return home, the Tweed Daily, Murwillumbah, gave details of his capture—
Sat 9 August 1919
PRIVATE SAM MULLAN — HIS EXPERIENCES IN GERMANY AS A PRISONER OF WAR.
Private Sam Mullan returned to his parents’ home, “Rocklyne,” Dorrigo, a few days ago. He is a grandson of the late Mr. James Black, senr., one time owner of the “Green Hills” estate, South Murwillumbah. No doubt he must be made of the right stuff to have stood the hardships he experienced at the front and while a prisoner of war. He was only 20 years of age last January. The day he was captured a part of his company were led some 500 yards further (than) the objective by some mistake and were completely surrounded. They got into some little cover in shell holes, but their rifles got out of working order, being choked up with mud and when night came, Fritz, knowing just where they were, came on them suddenly; being unable in any way to defend themselves, they were captured. Two of his mates were taken with him, as well as a few out of another company …
Sam was held in a prison camp near Cassel in central Germany, where food was scarce, until he was liberated and returned to England in January 1919 just before his 20th birthday. He then had four weeks’ leave to recuperate. He spent this time in Glasgow with relatives of friends in Dorrigo before sailing home to Sydney on the Khyber 31 March to 14 May 1919.
In an interview when he was 89, Sam said that they were disgusted to have been captured just two months before peace was declared on 11 November 1918. He was very unsettled after returning from the war. He had travelled across the world and had experiences that he couldn’t really share with his family. Dorrigo must have seemed a dull place. He would have liked to go back to Sydney or Glasgow to be a carpenter, but he didn’t have the opportunity, so he stayed in Dorrigo and worked at farming, as before. At first he was on a Soldier Settlement block at Reddacliffs Farm, Bellingen and later at Paddy’s Plains.
24 September 1923 Sam married Violet Coralie Braham in St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Dorrigo. Harry was best man and Violet’s sister, Lorna, was bridesmaid. The young couple settled in Dorrigo. Their children were Keith 1927; Heather 1929; Arthur 1934; Edward 1944. They were dairy farmers and Sam registered his own stock brand in 1930. In August 1928 the local paper reported a visit to the Brisbane Show by the Walkers and Mullans. Perhaps they took the opportunity to also visit their family at Fernvale.
Sam looked forward to meetings with his old army mates and went to Sydney to march in the parade on Anzac Days. He enlisted again for WWII in Sep 1941 at Coffs Harbour Jetty. He was with the 2nd Field Survey Coy to 24 March 1943. Keith enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 3 Jan 1945 to 24 Sep 1945, training as a pilot in Victoria.
Sam and Violet moved to Raleigh, on the coast, in late 1940s and retired to Urunga in early 1960s. Sam applied for Repatriation benefits in 1967 and received a part pension. Sam was very resourceful. While he was visiting his brother, Bill, at Margate during the late 1960s, he wanted to look around Scarborough—another suburb of Redcliffe. Neither Bill nor Eddie had a car to take him, so Sam contacted a real estate agent and expressed an interest in Scarborough, thus getting a free guided tour of the place.
Sam and Violet celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary on 24 September 1973. Violet died six weeks later, aged 72; she is buried at Bellingen Cemetery, Bellingen, NSW.
Sam was living at Pacific Highway, Urunga when his brother Bill and family paid him a visit in 1974. He still kept a milking cow. His youngest son and his family lived there too and Heather lived at Raleigh. Sam was living in the Ex-Servicemen’s Home at Ballina when he was interviewed in March 1988, about his experiences in WWI. This was for a project of the National Australian Archives, entitled “Voices From the Front” and Sam’s memories of that time were quite clear. A CD preserves this record.
Sam outlived all his siblings. He died in November 1989, aged 90 and is buried at Bellingen Cemetery, Bellingen, NSW.
Henry James Mullan, known as Harry, was born in Marom, Northern NSW on 6 July 1900, the fifth surviving child of Sam and Margaret. Being only eighteen months younger than his brother, he and Sam seem to have been close companions, their three younger brothers being born after their sister, Mary Hood Mullan, born in 1902, died in infancy.
Like Sam, Harry probably worked on properties in the Dorrigo district once he left school to supplement the family income. He may have been working at Megan, near Dorrigo, in May 1919, as he was in the Megan team playing football against North Dorrigo. A local lodge joined with the Returned Soldiers’ Association in April 1920 to raise funds from a Sports Day. Harry and Eddie featured well in the foot race events.
Harry worked with Sam on his holding at Bellingen until Sam’s marriage in September 1923. The Queensland Times reported on 27 October 1923—
Mrs Norman Owens and family and Mr H Mullens have returned to Sydney after spending several weeks with Mrs S Mullens, Calkill.
In February 1930 Harry married Frances Mary Sutton, eldest daughter of Nathaniel and the late Mary Ellen Sutton, of Sydney. Harry, a labourer, and Mary lived at Auburn, western Sydney, then moved to Kogarah, near Botany Bay in 1937. Their children were Margaret 1930; Lyal 1933; William 1939 and Jean 1943. Later the family moved to Pasadena St, Ramsgate, that was rezoned as Monterey.
Harry died in Sydney in October 1968, possibly in a traffic accident. He was aged 68. Mary died in Sydney in June 1994, aged 89.
Edward Robert Mullan was born on 23 April 1903 in Lismore, the sixth surviving child of Sam and Margaret. His schooling was at Woolgoolga, on the coast, and then at Dorrigo, where he passed the Qualifying Certificate in 1918. Eddie became the elder brother when his father took him and Bill to live at Fernvale in Queensland in November 1920. He was 17½ years old and Bill was three years his junior. At Fernvale, Eddie spent most of his time working the cattle with John Roulston, with little time for socialising. He and Bill would go on the long cattle drives, with John, taking herds from Fernvale to Nanango for fattening and bringing others back for market. This was at least a three week return trip. The drove would camp each night along the way and the boys formed life-long friendships with their cousins at Colinton.
When the Loyal Orange Lodge began a branch in Fernvale, Eddie was installed as secretary. He was also a member of the Oddfellows Rose of Fernvale Lodge. He was a good sportsman and was on the local cricket team; he “gave an excellent display of clever boxing” in aid of the Lowood Ambulance fund in 1931 and won camp drafting events at the 1934 Easter sports day at Fernvale.
After John Roulston died in 1929, Sam, Margaret and the boys continued to work Calkill and to live in the main house. When Eddie married Ivy Goebel in 1932 they lived in a cottage on the property. Their daughters, Maureen and Aileen, were born at Lowood hospital. Calkill was divided into three blocks when Sam retired. Eddie and Ivy had the centre block, with the buildings, Bill’s block was on the northern boundary and Arthur’s was on the southern. Times were hard and the boys were expected to contribute to the support of their parents. By 1934 Eddie had found the unequal task too difficult. This advertisement appears in the Queensland Times advertisement in May—
Account E.R. Mullan, 75 acres, being portion of that well-known scrub paddock in John Roulston’s Estate, Fernvale, permanently watered by the Brisbane River and situated three miles from Fernvale Station;
However, it seems a private deal was negotiated. The Courier Mail 24 July 1935—
I hereby withdraw the sale of my farm at Fernvale from all agents’ hands. Sgd. ER Mullan.
Mr Tom Reid bought Eddie’s farm and the land remains in the Reid family today.
Bill sold his block as well and they both found work with the Ipswich Electric Supply Company, cutting and erecting poles, later running the power lines to many towns in the Brisbane Valley. Eddie moved his family to Esk, where they lived for many years. Ivy became involved in various local activities, once Maureen and Aileen started school, helping with fund raising events and playing vigaro. Eddie played cricket. The family had a lucky escape in July 1938 when their rented house burned to the ground. No one was at home at the time and a bucket brigade had to be organised to fight the blaze which was fanned by strong winds.
Eddie joined the 2nd AIF in July 1940, serving overseas in Egypt and New Guinea. Ivy and the girls moved to First St, Virginia near her sister Mrs Mackay in 1943. Like many wives of servicemen, Ivy got a job to supplement his income. She was the cleaner at Virginia school while Eddie was in camp near Brisbane.
Eddie was discharged from the army as Lance Corporal in September 1945 and the family soon moved to their permanent home at 125 Sutton St, Redcliffe. He was employed by the City Electric Light which later became the Southern Electric Authority of Queensland. Fishing was one of his favourite pastimes and he was also a keen football coach of the local team. In fact his daughter Aileen says that her whole life was football—
When we were kids Dad was a coach and Mum ran the canteen, then I married a footballer and my sons were players.
Edward Robert Mullan died on 12 September 1971 aged 68, at Redcliffe and his ashes were interred at Albany Creek Crematorium. Ivy Matilda Mullan died on 10 June 2003 aged 92, also at Redcliffe.
William Joseph Mullan, born at Lismore on 5 March 1906, always remembered his youthful days in Dorrigo with affection. He started school in 1911 at Woolgoolga, just north of Coffs Harbour and was there for two years before the family moved up the mountain to Dorrigo. In later years he would tell tales of his exploits with his mates and brothers, making their own fun and “copping it sweet” if caught in their pranks.
Bill would have left school when he turned 14 and nine months later his lifestyle changed, when he and Eddie went to Queensland with Sam. The Brisbane Valley was very different country from the mountains of Dorrigo and though life at Calkill may have been new and interesting, there would have been little in the way of comfort until his mother joined them the following year. The droving trips to Nanango introduced Bill and Eddie to their Campbell cousins of Colinton and, regardless of the age difference, the friendships they formed during those early years would last for their lifetimes.
When Sam retired in 1933, Calkill was divided up between the three boys. Bill’s allotment was 421 acres and 17 perches. Bill had to take a mortgage with The National Bank to acquire stock and equipment. He built a small timber hut on his block. It was sparsely furnished with a table, chairs and a bed, all made from bush timber. Conditions generally were fairly harsh and Bill had problems coping with all the work by himself, especially the milking. He couldn’t afford to attend any social activities, not even having a decent shirt to wear out. Australia was in the grip of the worst recession in history and Bill was barely scratching a living from the property. He, with Eddie and Arthur, were also contributing to their parents’ welfare, until Sam could get a pension.
In 1935 Bill sold his property to James Smallwood. Unfortunately the sale price barely covered the mortgage. Bill and Eddie cut scrub for other farmers around Fernvale before getting work with the Ipswich Electric Supply Company. While Bill was working near Esk he met Betty Woolacott, daughter of the Esk Railway Night Officer. Bill now had a Vauxhall car and that made courting and visiting family easier. Bill and Betty married in 1939, just after her 21st birthday. They lived in Ipswich where Bill was an electricity meter reader, then moved to Sandgate when he found work with a produce merchant in Brisbane.
When the Japanese entered the Second World War and Australia was under threat, Bill joined the RAAF in July 1942. He underwent training in Melbourne and later in Sydney. Because of his experience in the electricity industry he trained in the area of electrical maintenance. While in Sydney he used to visit his sisters, Ciss and Maggie and his brother, Harry, and their families. Bill’s company was posted to Borneo, where Australian troops landed at Tarakan to liberate the area from the Japanese. He was involved in the capture and rebuilding of airstrips at Tarakan and Balikpapan that were constantly attacked by Japanese aircraft and infantry. Bill had many harrowing experiences at this time but was always reluctant to talk about them in later years. When peace was declared Bill was transported home to Australia, from Borneo, on the aircraft carrier His Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Invincible.
He was officially discharged in December 1945 and found work almost immediately with the Post Master General’s department as a telephone technician, connecting phones to homes throughout the northern suburbs of Brisbane. As a returned serviceman he was entitled to financial assistance for housing so he and Betty purchased a block of land in Connaught St, Sandgate and had a weatherboard dwelling built. They moved into their new house in 1947 but Betty was not particularly settled in this house. Her grandfather, Harry Woolacott, had a cottage on the corner of Sutton Avenue and Wakefield St, Sandgate. He offered this house to Bill and Betty at a very good price, and they decided to sell their house and renovate the cottage. Arthur, who was quite a good carpenter, did some of this work and Betty and the children, “Little” Betty 1940, Des 1942 and Lynette 1948, spent some time with Mabel and family at Fernvale, while work on the house was carried out. The family lived at Wakefield St for 19 years.
In 1951 Bill joined the Government Railways as a cable jointer where he worked on the railway communications system. He was based at Mayne Junction (now Bowen Hills) and worked on all the Brisbane suburban railway lines. Bill enjoyed his years with the railways and worked there until he retired on grounds of ill health on 3 March 1969. His wartime experiences had a profound effect on his general well being and at the age of 63 he was awarded a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) pension.
Bill had a great sense of humour and a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances. No matter where the family went, Bill would always run into someone he knew. He was always stopping to talk to people. When on a train trip with the family to Inglewood, the train pulled into the small, isolated siding of Gore, late at night, and there was one person standing on the platform. Bill leaned out of the carriage window and exclaimed “my God, it’s Jack!” This was a man who had lived in Sandgate and who Bill had got to know several years previously. Bill also loved horse racing although he rarely went to the course. Saturday was a ritual for Bill. He would usually be dressed in a pair of khaki shorts and a singlet with a roll-your-own cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth, more often than not, unlit and half smoked. The kids would have to make themselves scarce, while he listened to the scratchings on the radio and studied the form in the Saturday paper.
In 1968 Bill and Betty sold the house at Sandgate and moved to 36 Hale St, Margate. Here he filled in some of his time by tending a large vegetable garden. Bill and Betty joined the Redcliffe Senior Citizens club and also an indoor bowling club, which used to meet in the church hall at the back of their house. Bill was able to purchase a second-hand car, a Holden Torana. That was the first car he had owned since before he and Betty got married. This enabled them, in 1974, to visit Sam in Urunga, among other trips. In September, 1972, Dorrigo was the venue for Pioneer Week. Bill and Arthur along with hundreds of others attended the festivities and met up with old mates and visited their old haunts.
Bill was a victim of cigarette smoking. He was one week short of his 70th birthday, when he died in Greenslopes Hospital, on 29 February 1976, of lung cancer. Betty lived at Hale St for another 29 years. She died at Redcliffe in May 2005, aged 87. Their ashes are in Albany Creek Memorial Park.
Arthur Leslie Mullan, born at Lismore on 3 August 1907, was the youngest child of Sam and Margaret. He rode to school at Dorrigo, sharing the horse and associated adventures with his big brothers. His leisure time was taken up with fishing, hunting rabbits and generally playing in the bush with his brothers and friends.
Soon after his 14th birthday, he finished school and left his home in the mountains at Dorrigo, to travel to Queensland with his mother and eldest brother. He was homesick for Dorrigo on his arrival in Fernvale and, to quote his own words,
The south westerly winds were blowing full force on that September day, the grass was brown and dry and I wondered why my family wanted to live here.
But he adapted to the new way of life and was soon keen to help with the mustering and droving. In the early years he was mostly involved in the farm and dairy with his father. Perhaps being the youngest he was the one most influenced by John Roulston’s philosophy on working with animals and life in general and enjoyed listening to the old man’s yarns. They both loved books and poetry, spending pleasant Sunday afternoons on the verandah at Calkill.
In 1924 Arthur joined the Loyal Orange Lodge, Blossom Hill, Fernvale 125. Sports days were held regularly by the Lodge with the Mullan family featuring in the organising and competitions.
In March 1932 Arthur married Mabel Dorothy Smallwood of “Delborough”, Glamorgan Vale. They had a house built on the 400 acres that became his share of Calkill. The Great Depression was causing heartbreak across the nation, so life for the newlyweds was not easy. Slowly they built up their herd of dairy cattle and planted pumpkins, maize, potatoes and lucerne and raised pigs for market.
While their children, Laurel, Adele and Lindsay, (born between 1934 and 1938) were young, Arthur and Mabel left the farm for about two years. A half-share farmer managed and worked the farm during this time while Arthur went to Jimna to cut timber for electricity poles and then to Bli Bli to erect them. After the family returned to the farm at Fernvale, their children continued to be educated by correspondence, with Mabel as their tutor. Laurel remembers listening to Arthur reciting long poems, as the cows were being milked, morning and evening.
During the week prior to Arthur’s enlistment in the 2nd AIF, the Government passed legislation decreeing that all primary producers must stay on the land to help feed the nation. He already had a tractor on order and the day he went to take delivery of it, the agent said “There it is, being driven away up the street.” The Government had commandeered all new tractors and commercial vehicles for the war effort. World War II brought with it many hardships for the farmer.
With brothers Eddie and Bill enlisted in the Defence Forces, Arthur and Mabel were the chief supporters of his parents and Crawford, visiting them whenever they could take time away from the farm. Margaret’s death in June 1942 was the first in a chain of family bereavements. Sam and Crawford stayed with them for a while, then Mabel’s mother died in July 1943. Sam died in June 1944 and Mabel’s father, who had been living with them since his wife died, passed away in December 1945.
Mabel’s family were local people and Arthur was often called upon to act as Master of Ceremonies at the private parties of relatives and neighbours. These occasions were rather formal in those days. He also officiated as chairman at some community events.
After the war, as restrictions were being lifted and life returned to normal, Arthur began to take an even more active part in community activities. He was already a trustee for the Church, a member of the Progress Association and in 1946 was a founding member of the Fernvale Camp Draft Association. He was President, then Secretary until 1954. This annual event was well attended, with good prize money for the competitors and a grand ball in the evening. It provided entertainment and income for the community and the preparatory work on the grounds and the organizing, done by the committee throughout the year, were much appreciated.
As their family were reaching adulthood and becoming independent, Arthur sold his farm in 1954 and moved to Camp Hill, Brisbane. Lindsay intended to pursue his interest in radio and eventually became an airline pilot. The Queensland Times reported on a farewell function—
Fernvale, April 29. A large and representative gathering attended the Fernvale Public Hall on Tuesday evening to farewell Mr and Mrs A Mullan and family. Mr Mullan, who has resided in the district for many years, had been engaged actively with the camp draft committee, the Methodist Church, the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation and was a cemetery trustee. On the arrival of the guests of honour, the people attending joined in a musical tribute to the family. Mr C.H. Phelps, chairman of the send-off committee, said he had great respect for the family and the guest of honour was an estimable citizen. Mr J. Schmidt, chairman of the Camp Draft Committee praised Mr Mullan for the work he had completed as secretary and on behalf of the committee, asked Mr Mullan to accept a mantel radio. On behalf of the people of Fernvale and district, he handed the Mullan family a chiming clock, a standard lamp and other gifts. Mr Mullan thanked the speakers and the people for their gifts.
Arthur was a man of many talents. He had already built houses in Fernvale, so decided to become a builder in Brisbane. As a sport he took up ten pin bowling and won a number of tournaments. By 1960 he had built a new home at Holland Park, Brisbane. Soon after moving in he developed asthma, then emphysema and had to give up full-time work. Needing a hobby, he joined the Mt Gravatt Lapidary Society. Fossicking for suitable semi-precious stones to cut and polish became an interest for both Arthur and Mabel. Arthur was so proficient at faceting and polishing gemstones that he won many trophies for his efforts and became an instructor for the junior class. The club created a memorial trophy in his honour. He and Mabel enjoyed their years of retirement, together.
The friendship developed with his Campbell cousins, during their youth, continued after the move to Brisbane and the family often visited Annie Higham and Bill Campbell at Margate. In September 1972, Arthur and Bill went back to Dorrigo for Pioneer Week. The boys had a great time, meeting up with their relatives and friends from their youth.
Arthur died of lung cancer on 9th April 1974. Mabel died suddenly at home on 16 Oct 1986. Their ashes are together at Mt Thompson Memorial Gardens, Holland Park, Brisbane.
4 — Rebecca b.1863
Rebecca was the youngest daughter of William Samuel Mullan and Mary Hood of Blossom Hill, Mullawinny, Co. Tyrone. She married Joseph Campbell, 23, son of James and Mary Campbell of Cavan, Co. Tyrone, on 6th January 1887 at the family church, 2nd Ballynahatty Presbyterian. The Mullan and Campbell family properties were adjacent to each other.
The impression is easily gained that Rebecca and Joseph planned to emigrate together as a single couple and that their parents, or most likely, her parents, put some pressure on them to be married before they commenced the journey to the other side of the world. Only five days after the wedding they were passengers onboard the Almora, out of London bound for Australia.
Rebecca and Joseph were remittance passengers, i.e. someone, presumably a relation already in Australia, provided warrants to cover the cost of their passage. They arrived in Brisbane on 8 March 1887. Rebecca had many relatives living in Brisbane, although, apart from her brother, Sam, she wouldn’t have met any of them previously. Her mother’s younger sister, Ann Jane Dunbar seems to have given the young couple hospitality initially, as the following notice appeared in birth notices of The Telegraph newspaper on Saturday 31 December 1887—
On the 22nd December, at Petrie Terrace Fire Station, the wife of Joseph Campbell, of a son.
This Fire Brigade Station, No 4, on the corner of Petrie Terrace and Cricket St, had been the home of John and Ann Dunbar since 1884. The building was formerly The Cricketer’s Arms hotel.
Joseph was a draymaster and ran a successful business in Brisbane. He was also a volunteer member of the local Fire Brigade. Joseph and Rebecca continued to live in Cricket St, after the Dunbar family had moved to Musgrave Road, leasing a cottage from a fellow drayman, John Donaldson, until Sept 1897, when they purchased their own home, 45 Jessie St, from Mrs Jane Bruce.
Joseph gave his occupation as carter on the 1901 electoral roll. They had a family of four sons and three daughters. All were born at Cricket or Jessie streets. They were—
John Samuel b.1887;
William James b.1889;
Joseph Hood, b.1891
Mary Jane b.1894;
Matthew Walter b.1896;
Annie Elizabeth b.1900 and
Thelma Nellie b.1905.
The children probably attended the Petrie Terrace State School for Boys and Petrie Terrace State School for Girls and Infants, in Moreton St.
Late in 1907, perhaps at the end of the school year, Joseph, Rebecca and the children, packed up and moved to a farm at Emu Creek, Colinton, Queensland. Samuel Rea, son-in-law of Anne Hickeson, had purchased this land at Emu Creek in about 1904, when part of Colinton Station was sold as selections for dairy farms. Samuel named his block Derrynell after his home in Northern Ireland. Samuel Rea was a school teacher and may have bought this land as an investment but he did not live on it himself, presumably employing managers, but retained ownership of it until his death in 1954 when it was left to his daughters. His wife Margaret, née Hickeson died in Brisbane in 1935.
The little township of Colinton, in the Brisbane river valley, was a service centre for local farmers. The school opened in 1907 and the milk condensing factory, on 15 February 1908. The factory was well situated on the north bank of Emu Creek beside the Main North Road, on land donated by Mr Moore of Colinton Station.
The nearby Nurinda railway station opened in December 1909. By 1911 the factory employed 55 men, boys and girls, processing milk from 53 farms in a ten mile radius. In 1914 there were about a dozen houses and two stores—Mrs Stapleton’s Cash Store and Mr Riddle’s butcher shop, in the main street. A School of Arts was located north of Emu Creek, opposite the condensery. The factory used wood-fired boilers, so large firewood contracts were let by the company. As a result the surrounding hills were quickly laid bare.
The Campbell family’s move to Derrynell farm may have been prompted by Joseph’s poor health—the country air may been thought to be good for him. However, it may not have been intended to be a permanent move as the Campbells retained ownership of their home in Jessie St. An advertisement in a Brisbane newspaper 14 November 1907 tells us—
45 Jessie St, Petrie Terrace,
Four rooms, kitchen, bath, painted throughout.
Apply at house.
Mary, Matthew and Annie Campbell were enrolled in Colinton school in January 1908. The school was situated on high ground on the road heading up from the present site of the War Memorial towards where Rea’s farm used to be.
Sadly, the move did not improve Joseph’s health and he died at Derrynell farm on 14 October 1911, of tuberculosis, aged 48 years. He is buried at Moore Cemetery in grave 440. His Queensland Times obituary, in part, read—
Mr. Joseph Campbell, farmer, of Emu Creek, died last Saturday morning. The deceased, who was held in high esteem, had been a sufferer for a long time. A severe cold, contracted a few years since, developed into a pulmonary complaint from which he never recovered. The deepest sympathy is felt for his bereaved widow and family. The funeral took place on Sunday last, and was largely attended, the remains being interred in the Moore Cemetery, where quite a number of mourners were in waiting to witness the interment. The burial service was read in a very impressive manner by the Rev Barkla, of Esk, who added a few sympathetic remarks and also made reference to the many good qualities of the deceased.
Rebecca and her younger children left Derrynell but stayed at Colinton. John and Bill probably stayed on the farm. Thelma was enrolled at Colinton school in October 1912 and her mother’s address was Household, Duke’s, Colinton. The Queensland Times explained this change with an announcement on Saturday 10 May 1913—
The building trade is booming brisk(ly) again in this district. Mrs J Campbell is having a large house erected in the Colinton township on an allotment which she recently purchased there. I am given to understand that it is her intention to start a boarding-house, which will be much welcomed by employees at the local factory, and also by travellers to the district.
The boarding house was called Blossom Hill, after her birthplace in Northern Ireland. It was a large red house, with rooms for boarders on the ground floor. It was situated on the northern side of Emu Creek, on the Main North Road.
Those who stayed at Blossom Hill boarding house at Colinton would have been well cared for. Rebecca was a cheerful person and a supporter of the local school and fund-raising ventures. She would order in a sack of seasonal rosellas (a bud-like fruit) to make the special jam for her boarders. There were often visits from relatives, too. She had a close friendship with her old cousin, John Roulston, who holidayed with her at times. Samuel Rea was Head Teacher at Moore so there would have been regular contact with that family, too. Rebecca would have benefitted from having her grown family nearby, after Joseph died, but would later return that support.
Some mishaps that were reported in the newspapers of the time—
A painful accident befell a well-known resident of this district on Friday last in the person of Mr J Campbell. From information to hand it appears that he was engaged in felling house-blocks, when he missed his mark and the axe, striking his foot, caused a fearful gash. He was immediately conveyed to Toogoolawah, where he was attended to by Dr Benham, the wound necessitating seven stitches.
Whilst riding between the Colinton store and her home, a young girl named Annie Campbell, met with a nasty fall, through her horse tripping and falling down. Luckily the rider was thrown clear and beyond a severe shaking and a few bruises she was none the worse for her mishap.
A somewhat sensational bolt was witnessed in the vicinity of Queen-St, Colinton, a few mornings ago, when a young horse attached to a cart driven by Mr Matt Campbell got beyond control and rushed madly about the road. Eventually willing hands came to the rescue and the frightened animal was brought to a standstill. The cart was little the worse for its fast trip.
While out driving last Sunday, Mr and Mrs W. Campbell had occasion to cross Possum Creek, which crossing is very ugly and dangerous. In ascending the bank one of the traces broke and consequently the other slipped off the swingle-bar, thus practically liberating the horse. Mr Campbell jumped out and by catching the wheel, turned the sulky obliquely across the track. The presence of mind displayed avoided what may have proved a very serious accident. Not many months since Mr and Mrs Nugent met with a sulky accident at the same spot, when Mrs Nugent had an arm fractured and Mr Nugent was very severely hurt.
Aunt Ann Jane Dunbar nèe Hood lived with Rebecca from at least 1916. She was still enrolled on the Wynnum Electoral Roll in 1908; after that there is no entry until she appears on the Colinton roll in 1917. She died on 16 April 1920 at Colinton. Her funeral took place, next day, at Moore Cemetery. Queensland Times reported—
There recently passed away at Colinton an old and respected resident, in the person of Mrs Dunbar. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Taylor of Esk, at the Moore Cemetery. Among those present at the graveside were Mr Dunbar (son) of Brisbane, and Brigadier-General Forsyth (nephew of the deceased) of Melbourne.
We found that she shared the grave of Joseph Campbell. This custom of sharing graves by non-relatives seems to have been a common trend—even though Moore Cemetery is not crowded. Readers will recall that Rebecca was very upset, 18 months later, when her daughter had to be buried not with her father, but in another plot nearby.
Rebecca’s brother, Crawford, and his family arrived in Colinton, around November 1920. They had lived in America for the past ten years, before deciding to join the Mullan families in Australia. Their first stop, after arriving in Sydney, was at Dorrigo, NSW to visit brother Sam. Sam and two of his sons were about to leave Dorrigo, to live at Fernvale, in the Brisbane Valley, so Crawford, his wife Matilda and three children travelled with them. Bill Campbell met the family, off the train at Nurinda station. Margaret Mullan, 14, and WA Mullan, 11, were enrolled at Colinton State School from November to December 1920. Crawford worked at the Colinton condensed milk factory owned by Standard Dairy Company.
However, due to dwindling milk supplies this factory would close within a few months and the district milk supply was to be sent by rail to the Nestlé Condensery at Toogoolawah. Qld Times 3 July 1920—
Last weekend a trial was made between Toogoolawah and Linville with a Napier rail motor in connection with the proposal to bring the Nurinda and district milk supply to Nestles Condensery, Toogoolawah. The motor pulled a heavy goods van—about 15 tons—and did the trip from Toogoolawah to Linville and back in record time and without a hitch.
It is understood that the trial was entirely satisfactory and it is expected that as soon as the Standard Dairy Coy ceases operations at Colinton the rail motor service will commence and that the Colinton supply will come to Toogoolawah.
Crawford and his family then made their home at Toogoolawah, although they only stayed for a few years before moving on to New Zealand to join another sister, Jennie Chittick, and her family.
In October 1929 Rebecca sold 45 Jessie St, Petrie Terrace to her son Bill, who continued to rent out the house.
After her children had married and moved away, Rebecca lived alone in Blossom Hill at Colinton. She enjoyed visiting with her children and often took her granddaughter, Colleen Gault, with her on little holidays.
Rebecca was a kind and fun-loving grandmother who often went to run the house for her children when a baby was born. Thelma used to drive Colleen and Dulcie in the sulky to visit her at Colinton. Her grandchildren enjoyed staying with her, too. They remember a large, red, two-storied house with a verandah all round. There was a nice flower garden of mainly roses, violets growing under the stairs and a fig tree by the back steps.
One day Rebecca was driving the horse and sulky, with Colleen beside her and somehow lost hold of the reins. She jumped off the sulky to retrieve them and was dragged along until the horse stopped. This happened between the Nurinda station and Harlin, on the way to Gregor’s Creek. The rail motor was pulling out and away from them. Possibly it was what startled the horse. Colleen was told not to tell her parents.
Dulcie remembers that Grandma made lovely dresses for her and her sisters. For some families Sunday was a day of rest and children weren’t allowed to dance, play or sing—except hymns!—on a Sunday. “But,” the youngsters said later, “Grandma Rebecca didn’t mind!”
Another sidelight is cast on Rebecca’s character in this comment from Peg August in the 1990s:
Did you know Mum (Matilda) didn’t have a wedding ring? It was—in her time (and family background anyway)—considered a pagan custom. When we went to Colinton Aunt Rebecca said it mattered terribly in Queensland to be married. I don’t think it mattered much if you were criminal, just respectably married. So Aunt Beck gave Mum the flat, wide wedding ring she wore to the grave.
We have noted that Rebecca and her homes played a part in the deaths of no less than eight family members. We presume that she would have had a hand in supporting every one of them.
J A Hood 1889
baby Joseph 1892;
baby Wm Mullan 1894;
Anne Hickeson 1905;
Aunt Ann Dunbar 1920;
In May 1935 Rebecca and Colleen were holidaying with Annie and Bill Higham at Scarborough when Rebecca became ill, the initial diagnosis being a twisted bowel. She died at Gregory Private Hospital, Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, on 30 May 1935, aged 72 years. She was diagnosed with bowel cancer only four days before her death. She was buried in Toowong Cemetery with her infant son, Joseph. The Courier Mail, Friday 31 May 1935
Campbell—The friends of Mr and Mrs J.S. Campbell (Kooralgin), Mr and Mrs W.J. Campbell (Colinton), Mr and Mrs M.W. Campbell (Moore), Mr and Mrs W.N. Higham (Redcliffe), Mr and Mrs S. Gault, jun. (Gregor’s Creek), and Families are invited to attend the Funeral of their deceased Mother, Mother-in-law and Grandmother, Mrs Rebecca Campbell, late of Colinton, to leave the Funeral Parlour, 45 Adelaide St, City, This (Friday) Morning, at 10 o’clock, for the Toowong Cemetery.
Cannon & Cripps, Funeral Directors.
Rebecca was survived by three sons and two daughters and thirteen grandchildren.
John Samuel Campbell married Florence Francis, daughter of Philip and Georgina Francis of Kiveton, Colinton, at Brisbane in January 1914. They had two sons, John b.1915 and Harold b.1920. John took over Mrs Stapleton’s Cash Store and, in April 1915, the Queensland Times reported—
On Sunday evening, soon after dusk, what looks like an attempted burglary was perpetrated at Mr. J.S. Campell’s store, but was frustrated by the return home of the proprietor and his wife, who live close by. The store is of galvanized iron, in the door of which a hole was cut, apparently by means of a lever tin-opener. Seemingly the object was to get at the draw bolt, but the would-be intruder vainly attacked the hinged side. Later the same evening, Porter G. Brown, relieving officer at the railway station, was awakened by someone trying the door handle. Startled at hearing someone talking business, the marauder decamped. This is the first occasion on which anything of this nature has happened in the district.
John and Florence sold the store to John’s brother, Bill, about 1916 and left Colinton to farm at Redcliffe. They were joined there by Bill and Annie Higham about 1922. Both of John’s sons started school at Colinton. In 1923 when son John enrolled at Colinton school, his father was described as a farmer at Redcliffe—we wonder if he lived with Rebecca. John had returned to Colinton as a carpenter when Harold started school there in January 1928. John then took up farming at Kooralgin, near Yarraman, in 1930. Around 1943 they were farming at The Bluff, Highfields, Toowoomba. Florence died at Toowoomba in August 1948, aged 58. John married a widow, Harriet Lillian Jones in the 1950s and they lived at 59 Holberton St, Toowoomba. John Samuel Campbell died at Toowoomba in August 1973 aged 85.
William James Campbell married Emily Bell, daughter of William and Margaret Bell of Brisbane in April 1914. Matthew and Mary Jane Campbell were attendants. Bill and Emily had four children; Emily b.1915; William b.1916; Jean b.1923 and Harold b.1927. Bill initially worked Rea’s farm, then had his own 155 acres on Emu Creek which was worked on shares by Morris Josey.
Bill bought the Colinton Store from his brother, John, and owned it for 30 years. His sister, Thelma, assisted him in the store, later aided by his children Emily and Bill Jnr. Emily’s mother was a frequent visitor from Brisbane.
Bill Campbell was a dairy and pig farmer, store-keeper and agent for many firms, through his store in Colinton. He lived there all his life and belonged to the Masonic Lodge; Progress Association and other local societies. His reputation for being a reliable source of goods and transport, petrol station and telephone exchange, was well known.
However, there was another problem of security in 1929. Under the dramatic headings of SHOP BROKEN INTO — EXCITEMENT AT COLINTON — TWO ARRESTS MADE. —Toogoolawah, Feb 25, the Queensland Times reported—
On Saturday night about 10.30 o’clock Mr. W.J. Campbell, Storekeeper, of Colinton, heard a noise in his business premises, some little distance from his house. Proceeding with a revolver in his hand, he came across a local farmer. He covered the man with a revolver and called to his wife to obtain assistance. Mrs. Campbell sent her little son to a lodge meeting, which was being held in the vicinity and a number of men came on the scene. The Police Constable at Moore was advised and later the man, with his 17-year-old son, was arrested and charged with having broken and entered the store. (The accused) and a youth appeared in Toogoolawah Police Court this morning. The lad was also charged with having broken into the store in October last and stolen a quantity of goods. Both defendants were remanded for eight days, bail being allowed.
Bill and Emily bought the Hawkins’ property Cooval, the big house on the hill, at Colinton and lived there in their retirement. John’s son, Harold, and Herbie Franz then took over the business. William James Campbell died in August 1960, aged 70, and his wife Emily died in March 1974, aged 82. Both are buried in Moore Cemetery.
At Colinton in 2001 WA Mullan and Betty Bayntun talked about her grandfather Bill’s entrepreneurial business affairs from shop, post office, telephone exchange to livestock transport and agencies of all kinds. WA said: “Bill was Colinton”. Betty agreed:
Bill was known from Kingaroy to Ipwsich by everybody: he could provide whatever was required, from a needle to an anchor.
But we get the impression a certain relaxed attitude characterised the family’s relationships with people. The younger generation were not above the occasional prank: WA Mullan, in a video interview in 2001, recalled an incident at Colinton involving the hitching up of someone’s light dray to a mare with the shafts through a fence. The owner returned to the vehicle somewhat the worse for liquid refreshment and much hilarity was enjoyed by the Campbells as he attempted to get moving.
Thelma, young Emily and Bill worked in the store. Bill owned at least two properties up the school road opposite the present-day Colinton shop. His son Bill became a prisoner of war and was held at Changi, Singapore. In the 1950s he owned a mixed business at Redcliffe in 1950s, next door to Higham’s fish and chip shop.
The highway was diverted around the Colinton township, in the late 1950s and the store was relocated. Few buildings of the town then remained. The Colinton General Store and petrol station is still in business, but is now on the western side of the D’Aguilar Highway. The War Memorial and park were also relocated there in the 1970s.
Joseph Hood Campbell was born 9 September 1891 and died on 14 June 1892 in his father’s house, Cricket St, Petrie Terrace. His funeral took place the same day and he was buried in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.
Mary Jane Campbell, “Cissie”, didn’t marry. She helped her mother and was part of the social scene at Colinton, although she did not enjoy good health. The social columns reported in April 1914—
Miss Cissie Campbell is slightly indisposed, suffering from a cold.
And in October 1914—
the many friends of Miss Cissie Campbell will regret to hear that she has been somewhat indisposed for the week or 10 days, suffering from a severe cold.
She also had the occasional holiday, in Brisbane, with friends. Cissie died at her mother’s residence, Blossom Hill, Colinton, on 12 October 1921, aged 27. She is buried in Moore Cemetery, grave 442.
Matthew Walter Campbell spent some time at Fernvale, with John Roulston, after he left school. He joined the AIF on 27 October 1915 aged 19. He embarked on HMAT Demosthenes, with 41st Battalion, in May 1916 for France. He was made Lance Corporal in 1918, was wounded in action by gas and returned to Australia from England on the Nestor, in May 1919 to be discharged in August. His name is engraved on the War Memorial monument at Colinton. He then worked on Rea’s farm, at Colinton. Matthew married Agnes Gault, daughter of James and Frances Gault, of Kiveton, Colinton, in August 1926, at St Andrew’s Church of England, Toogoolawah.
The Queensland Figaro of 21 August 1926 gives us a detailed description of a wedding of the time—
A very interesting wedding to a large circle of relatives and friends in the Toogoolawah and Colinton districts, took place at St Andrew’s Church of England, Toogoolawah, on August 5th, when Mr W.M. Campbell (youngest son of Mr and Mrs R. Campbell, Colinton, was married to Miss Agnes Gault (youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs James Gault, “Kiverton”, Colinton).
The Rev K.A. Watts officiated and Mrs Watts presided at the organ. The bride, who was given away by her father, was gowned in shell pink mariette, made on straight lines with flared skirt and heavily beaded. Her veil was arranged in cap fashion and she carried a bouquet of eucharist lilies and asparagus plumosus, caught with pink streamers, the gift of the bridegroom. The bride was attended by two bridesmaids, Miss Thelma Campbell and Daphne Elsner. The former was frocked in powder blue canvas voile inlet with panels of white silk lace and worn with a smart hat to match. The latter chose white satin with flounced skirt trimmed with blue silk. Her bandeau was of the same colour. The bridesmaids each wore a gold brooch, the gift of the bridegroom. Mrs James Gault (mother of the bride) wore a gown of silver grey Marocain and a hat to match. Mrs R. Campbell (mother of the bridegroom), was gowned in black Marocain, relieved with touches of gold. Mr Phil Caffey attended the bridegroom as best man. After the ceremony the party motored to Mr J.A. Menzies’ Café, where fifty guests were entertained to a wedding breakfast, by the mother of the bride. The tables were prettily decorated with bowls of sweet peas. Mr and Mrs Campbell subsequently left by train for Coolangatta, where the honeymoon was spent. Mrs Campbell wore a mastic Marocain ensemble suit with close fitting tagal straw hat to tone.
Mr and Mrs M.W. Campbell were the guests of honour at a kitchen and linen tea at Colinton on the previous Monday, when 150 people gathered to evince in many ways the esteem in which the couple were held. Mr and Mrs Campbell will make their future home at Colinton.
The children of Agnes and Matthew were:
Matthew senior worked/managed Sam Rea’s farm and also owned a Moore property called Moorelands, where the family lived from the 1930s. The children attended the Moore State School. Agnes and Thelma were visiting Dulcie at Kilcoy, when word came that Matthew was very ill in Kilcoy Hospital. Agnes and Thelma ran across the paddocks to the hospital to see him. He died at Kilcoy Hospital in October 1961, aged 65. Agnes died while visiting Lenore in Toowoomba, in May 1968, aged 71. Both are buried in Moore Cemetery. Matthew’s son, Des, still lives at Moorelands.
Annie Elizabeth Campbell married William Nathaniel Higham, son of William and Agnes, of Brisbane, in April 1919, at Esk. William Higham was a labourer at Colinton in 1919. Around 1922 they joined John Campbell at Redcliffe and established a dairy farm. The farm at Griffiths Rd, Scarborough, Redcliffe was called Glenlyon Dairy. Higham and Campbell won “Honey in Comb” at the 1923 Redcliffe show.
Bill Higham had a milk run as well as the dairy. He was elected as alderman on the Redcliffe town council in 1942. He was involved with the local football club and was also prominent in junior boxing, being a manager of his son’s team.
The Higham children are—
Cynthia and Clyde started school at Colinton and lived with Rebecca. Graham was born at Margate and at that time all the children attended Humpybong School, Redcliffe. Graham was a boxer in the 1948 Olympic Games and attributed his physique to his training, tossing pumpkins at his father’s farm. This land was developed into a canal housing estate in the 1970s, now known as Newport Waters.
William Higham died at Scarborough in March 1952, aged 54 and was buried in Redcliffe Cemetery. Annie owned a fish and chip shop on the corner of Marine Parade and Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe. She had another shop at Margate Beach, Redcliffe, where her nephew Bill Campbell owned a mixed business next door. Graham kept the farm going at Scarborough and also helped Annie in the shop.
In 1955 Annie married Jack Maden and lived on Bribie Island. She died there in December 1973, aged 73 and was buried in Redcliffe Cemetery.
Last at Home
Thelma Nellie Campbell was probably the last of Rebecca’s children to live at home. On Saturday 4 April 1925, Thelma, 19, was thrown from her horse while returning home from Moore with a party of friends. She sustained a broken collar bone and concussion and was taken by ambulance to Beleura Private hospital, Toogoolawah and was unconscious for six weeks. She was working in Bill’s shop at the time, practically running it and he was in great difficulty without her. Her shop experience naturally included work on the telephone exchange and that enabled her to get a job later. In July 1927 the Queensland Times reported:—
Moore—Thursday. Kitchen Tea.
The ladies of Colinton and District organised a kitchen and linen tea in honour of Miss Thelma Campbell and Mr S Gault, on the eve of their approaching marriage. The function, which was held in the School of Arts (Colinton), was well attended and the evening was spent in dancing, music, recitations and songs. The hall was nicely decorated. Mr W. Cliffe acted as MC.
Samuel was the son of James and Frances Gault, Kiveton, Colinton and the wedding was the first to take place in the new Toogoolawah Presbyterian Church. Thelma and Sam lived on Prairie Vale at Gregor’s Creek. Sam’s father, James, had taken up this property in about 1880. Their family consisted of—
All the children attended Gregor’s Creek School, but in times when there were fewer than nine pupils, the school would close and the children were taught by correspondence until the enrolment increased again, some children starting school a year early and others encouraged to remain past age 14. When the telephone line was put through the district, Thelma got the job of operating the exchange. This was installed in a room of the house so she could work from home. She held this position for 25 years. Dulcie was also trained to operate the exchange.
Samuel Gault died in Oct 1964 at Kilcoy Hospital, aged 61. Thelma died in Blue Waters Nursing Home at Sandgate, in Nov 1983, aged 78. Both are buried in Kilcoy Cemetery. Jim Gault lives at Prairie Vale today, but Thelma’s house has been removed, like so many of its time.
6 — Jennie (Ann Jane) b.1862
Anne Jane Mullan was always known as Jennie. She was born in 1862 the (third or elder surviving) daughter born to William Samuel Mullan and Mary (Hood) Mullan of Blossom Hill Farm. The farm is still marked on maps on Cavan Rd, a few miles from Fintona in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The Orange Lodge which her father commenced in the 1870s is still active in their own hall adjacent to the property the family lived on around 1900.
Her two siblings, Samuel and Rebecca left separately for Australia in 1885 and 1887 so Jennie would probably have assumed some fairly substantial responsibility in the family for some years. As a young adult she sang for family and church functions, accompanied by the remaining brother, Crawford, on one of the half dozen instruments he is thought to have played. Sometimes they sang duets.
The family was very devout and is thought to have been very active in the Presbyterian Church although local records have not so far revealed any sign of them. In any case, Jennie does not seem to have followed her parents’ example in later years.
On 9 April 1891 she married Henry Wilkinson Chittick, (b.1859) of Clanabogan in the Omagh Church of Ireland and they started a family. Their marriage certificate says he was resident at Aughadulla and Dromorne but WA Mullan understood the Chitticks were from Clanabogan which is rather closer to Blossom Hill. It is clear that they lived in the locality and kept in touch with her parents and her remaining brother. However, her parents were becoming aged for those times and the family farm was probably not receiving the attention it deserved. It certainly seems unlikely that the young Chitticks were supported by it. They did, however, get some assistance from the will of Henry’s father, George, who left an estate of nearly £500 in 1887.
The 1901 census taken on Sunday 31 March recorded that Jennie was the Head of Family at house 32 in Aughadulla, Clanabogan, Tyrone—Henry must have been away from home that night. Jennie and her children May 9 and George 8 could read and write, Maggie 5 could read, Amy 5 and Henry Hood 1 were not yet scholars. The family declared themselves as members of the Irish Church.
Jennie and Henry had eight children who were all born in Omagh—
Mary Lizzie 1892;
Emmeline Rebecca 1896;
William James 1898;
Henry Hood 1899;
Ann Jane 1904;
Charles Andrew 1908.
William lived only a few months.
Ann died in 1909 aged 4 years.
Henry’s brother, George, had emigrated to New Zealand about 1880 and early in the century he made an unannounced visit back to Ireland. It is said that Henry looked down the lane one day and saw a man coming towards him and said, “It’s my brother, George,” and it was. Besides spending time with his family, George marched with the Orangemen’s 14 July Parade and said he did it very proudly. He wore his very old Lodge Regalia which he must have brought back with him to the old country for this purpose!
From about this time it seems that Jennie and Henry made their own plans to leave Ireland for New Zealand. Her father, William Samuel, died on 7 April 1909 and their four year old daughter Ann Jane died later that year. Jennie and Henry then prepared to leave Co. Tyrone.
In March 1910 they made their way to London, England leaving her brother, Crawford, and his family in rented accommodation in Fintona. On 1 April 1910 they set sail on the White Star liner Corinthic.
The Corinthic called at Teneriffe, Capetown and Hobart before berthing in Wellington on 16 May. The Daily Telegraph, Tasmania reported on Friday 13 May—
Passengers by the RMS Corinthic had a most perfect view of the solar eclipse on Monday. Another interesting observation was Halley’s comet which has been visible each morning at about sunrise since leaving Cape Town, shining very distinctly and brightly. Some very good photographs of the eclipse were also obtained.
One of the Chittick children, May, said—
— on the way out we had magnificent views of Halley’s comet. It just seemed to sit there in the sky night after night.
One of May’s own children, Lorrima, later told Peg August that her mother had told her—.
The Corinthic was one of the first ships to be fitted with radio; there was great excitement on board when a radio message came through to say King Edward had died suddenly.
The Tasmanian News of Friday 13 May 1910 related details of the voyage—
RMS Corinthic left London on April 1 and experienced light winds, moderate sea and fine clear weather to the Cape, then strong to gale-force winds and rough to high seas across the South Indian Ocean before a fine patch of weather into Hobart on May 11.
The Launceston Examiner had commented a few months earlier on the numbers bound for New Zealand when the Corinthic then landed only 67 passengers at Hobart and noted that 650 were bound for Wellington—
The tide of immigration continues to flow to New Zealand despite the clouds of depression which, it is reported, overhang that country. The steamers that call at Hobart on their way from London to New Zealand via the Cape of Good Hope, carry a complement of immigrants every trip.
The paper also commented wryly that Hobart secured “a fair amount of capital” from the Corinthic’s visitors in the day or two they were ashore. And the question was asked—
Where does New Zealand stow all the immigrants who for years have been pouring into (that) Dominion? It must be a country of wonderful resources to provide for all those people as well as the native born. Would that Tasmania (were) similarly blessed!
A New Zealand paper The Auckland Star reported—
Hobart, May 11. “The Corinthic arrived at six o’clock this evening and sails at eight o’clock tomorrow morning for Wellington. She has 28 Australian and 254 New Zealand passengers.”
In New Zealand, The Intercolonial 19 May 1910 commented on the Corinthic’s arrival in Wellington.
The Corinthic from London brought 236 immigrants. The majority are women, 16 of whom have come to join their husbands. Assisted number 77 of whom 51 were nominated by relatives in the Dominion and 26 were approved by the High Commissioner.
We don’t know which category Jennie and Henry and their family were placed in. But we know they lived first with his brother, George, who had gone to Ireland to encourage them to make the move. He had a large holding of some 50 acres in Stokes Valley some kilometres up the Hutt Valley and in the eastern hills. Only a few years later he was one of only two or three remaining landholders in Stokes Valley. The school, begun in the 1880s, had closed for lack of pupils. In the 1950s, when the land was broken up for housing it was called the Chittick Estate and the family name survives on one of the streets.
However, George and Henry had a serious falling out and Henry sought his own place. At the 2001 family gathering in Brisbane, when Dave Mullan observed that the brothers had a difference of opinion, his father WA Mullan interrupted and said firmly, “They had a fight” and both them and their children “never spoke again”.
Henry and Jennie then moved to a substantial home at 141 Waiwhetu Road. In 1913 there was a newspaper advertisement for seven dairy cows which Henry wished to sell. And three years later the Evening Post reports on a breach of covenant case which went against Henry to the tune of £14.15s plus costs of £4 16s. The case involved two other parties and Henry was just the lessee of the contested land at the time but he was judged to have failed to return the land in the condition in which he had taken up the lease. Reading between the lines one can speculate that the weather defeated the efforts that he submitted he had made.
Their son Harry was a foundation pupil at Epuni School a mile or so up the valley on Waiwhetu Road. Children of the WA Mullan family went to the same school half a century later and the original two-room school building is still in use in 2016.
In spite of the alleged cool relationships between the two families it is interesting that George still kept some contact with the Crawford family, even to making his Stokes Valley property available for a short time when Crawford and Tillie were waiting to move up State Highway 1 to Otaki and Levin. But Henry and Jennie also kept in touch and of course had given the Crawford family hospitality when they first arrived from Australia.
Eventually Henry and Jennie acquired a substantial property with a large two-storey homestead, “The Oaks”, almost opposite the then Taita Hotel, a few kilometres north of central Lower Hutt. Near to the present-day Wingate Railway Station, this large property became the primary family home for the family’s expanding years. Here Jennie planted an Irish Yew tree which still may be seen to the rear of 3 Rainey Grove but also clearly visible from 1102 High St.
WA Mullan, who was in and out of the home from 1923 for three or four years wrote of the impression of a huge farm kitchen table with a large crowd sitting around it at mealtimes. Besides the large Chittick family there was Nellie Russell who was a live-in maid of all work and became to all intents and purposes a member of the family. She was later succeeded by Mary Taylor who, as we will find later, was probably a little less competent. As a child, young Sid Schuster sometimes stayed with his grandparents at The Oaks but he remembered it as a creaky—even spooky—old building. He especially didn’t like the upstairs bedroom where he was to sleep.
Henry was a bit of a rough diamond. He had a stallion or two and took them around whenever he could get them hired for serving mares. But the rather Puritanical Crawford thought that he was likely to finish up in a pub on most occasions.
Joe August worked for the Chitticks for £1 a week and accommodation in an outside sleepout or shack shared with young Harry. The escapades these two got up to are perhaps best left unchronicled but they were known to have been fairly active possum poachers in a day when these wretched creatures were still thought to have some potential for trade. On one occasion Joe was caught and prosecuted and fined what was in those days a very large amount.
But, contrary to the views of some of their descendants, the boys may also have had a more serious side. In 1924 The Evening Post reported that a Taita branch of the New Zealand Political Reform League was formed. Among the twenty people named for the executive Committee are “H. and G. Chittick and J. August”.
Both Harry and Joe had an eye for the girls and were soon “going” with the two daughters of Jennie’s brother, Crawford. Harry married Mary Elizabeth (Mollie—his first cousin) and Joe married Margaret (Peg). About the same time Bill North was conducting a serious romance with Amy and no doubt there were other suitors present for Amy or May from time to time.
The Oaks family had their own truck and made regular trips to the markets at Wellington. It was known as “the Butterbox” for its ungainly cab-over-engine design. While helping out on one of these trips Crawford’s son Bill Mullan nearly had the accident that would have put paid to any development of his line of the family. He was riding the footplate near the front wheel and lost his footing and was dragged along with one leg each side of the turning wheel.
By the late 1920s Jennie and Henry had married off their three daughters and moved to Otaki to a more modest property which would still be sufficient to support them. WA Mullan felt that it was Henry who was enthusiastic about the change; perhaps Jennie was more conscious of leaving her daughters behind in the Wellington region. Dave Mullan has ten-years-old memories of a large Edwardian villa and a darkened and impressively furnished sitting room full of people for a Christmas gathering. There was a harmonium which his very accomplished cousin Marcia North could play with aplomb but which totally defeated him when he was obliged to render a performance of Silent Night. Subsequently he became reasonably skilled at managing this kind of instrument. But that was a bad day for a ten-year-old.
Henry and Jennie were well known and respected. She was “the good lady”. They saw out their lives at Otaki.
The Evening Post 27 November 1944
On November 25 1944 at Wellington, Henry, loved husband of Anne Jane, loved father of Mrs S. Schuster, Mrs W. North, George and Charles, Otaki and Harry, Wanganui; in his 85th year. Born Northern Ireland. Interment at Otaki today.
Jennie died in 1947 and both were buried in Otaki Cemetery.
May Eileen b.1892 born in Co. Tyrone and emigrated to New Zealand with the rest of the family. She married Sidney Oswald Schuster, also of Lower Hutt in 1916. He was born in 1887 into a family in Germany where his grandfather manufactured musical instruments. His father taught violin and worked in a drapery store in Petone.
Sidney was a baker. In 1927 he had two shops in Miramar, one in Park road and the main business where the family lived, Broadway Bakery, at 327 Broadway, Miramar near where Wellington airport is now.
He was a member of the local Model Aircraft Club that used to fly controlled aircraft on Kilbirnie Green on Sunday mornings. We are told there were a few noise problems with the adjacent church. Dave Mullan recalls seeing some of these models hanging in the shop—he was only about eight and did not realise that they were actually flying models.
Sid retired about 1955 and he and May moved to 128 Pretoria St, Western Hutt, with their daughter and son-in-law, Lorrima and Ed Gilmour. Sidney died in 1960 and May died six years later. They are both buried in the old section of Taita Cemetery.
May Eileen and Sid had four children—
Lorrima Jeannie, b.1916. excelled at the piano and performed at a public recital given by school-age students of Miss Lilan Beere in Nimmo’s Hall, Lower Hutt in 1931. She married Edward Gilmour.
Henry (Harry) Oswald b.1918, married Jessie Compton.
Sidney Crawford, b.1921, married twice. By 1963 he and wife Rhoda were living next door to his brother, Harry, in Tannadyce St Miramar. Harry and Sid were both carpenters at this time.
Mary (May) Hood, b.1923, married Harry Thomas Stead and in recent years was able to provide most of the information that we have been able to find out about the Jennie family. She had some excellent photographs of Jennie and the homestead at Taita.
George Chittick b.1893
George lived at home with his parents at Taita and Otaki. He worked with his father on the Oaks property and drove the Butterbox with produce to the markets. He may have been the driver the day WA Mullan found himself hanging off the front of the truck with a leg each side of the rolling front wheel.
George was drawn in the ballot for service in World War I. He stated his birthday was 6 February 1895 and he was a market gardener employed by his father at Taita, Lower Hutt. He was only signed up in August 1917 and discharged in October 1917 on account of a duodenal ulcer.
Later, when his parents died at Otaki, George married the family housekeeper, Mary Taylor. In Peg August’s view it was probably thought more seemly to marry the housekeeper than to continue to live alone with her in the family home. Presumably Mary had now become more experienced than when she cooked up a meal for the combined family at The Oaks; WA Mullan remembered that she thought she was using onions but they were flower bulbs.
However, George and Mary had promised his parents that they would look after his brother, Charlie, in the Otaki family home. They probably did the best they could but in the end we will see that such a commitment would be impossible for them to maintain. George was in his late 70s when Charlie died.
George died in 1985 aged 89 years.
Margaretta b.1894. Margaret, as she was usually known in the family, was born in Northern Ireland. She married Ernest Brooker on 21 Jan 1920 at Knox Church, Lower Hutt. In the manner of the day that we have already seen demonstrated among the Australian members of the family, the papers reported—
The wedding of Miss Margaretta Chittick, second daughter of Mr and Mrs H Chittick, Taita, to Mr Edward Ernest Brooker, son of the late Mr and Mrs Brooker of the Lower Hutt, took place recently at the Knox Church, Lower Hutt. The Ceremony was performed by the Rev J McCaw. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of ivory satin charmeuse with an overdress of Brussels all-over lace and silver trimming; her veil being worn mob-cap fashion and fastened by a spray of orange blossom. She also carried a beautiful shower bouquet of cream cactus dahlias and maidenhair fern. The chief bridesmaid, Miss Amy Chittick was in pale heliotrope crepe de chine and georgette and wore a leghorn hat trimmed with heliotrope and lemon-coloured crepe de chine. She also carried a bouquet of heliotrope sweet-peas with streamers to match. The two small bridesmaids were Miss Eda Garner and Miss Lorrima Shuster, the former wearing pale blue crepe de chine and the latter cream crepe de chine and both carried posies of pink sweet peas. The chief bridesmaid received a gold pendant and the two small bridesmaids gold bar brooches from the bridegroom. Mr Loyal Brooker was best man, both he and the bridegroom being returned soldiers. After the ceremony a reception was held at “The Oaks” the residence of the bride’s parents. Later Mr and Mrs Brooker left for the South, the bride travelling in a fawn gabardine costume and hat to match.
Margaret and Ernie had one son, Frederick Henry, b.1925, who later married Marion Davies.
Ernie had been a driver for Carvers Ltd when he enlisted in the New Zealand Infantry in June 1917. He became a Prisoner of War in Germany in 1918. His married sister Mrs H Garner lived in White’s Line East, Lower Hutt and this was his address on discharge in May 1919. Ernie and his son later lived for many years in Copeland St, Hutt.
Margaret died in a private hospital in Wellington aged only 40 years in October 1935. Edward Ernest Brooker died in January 1969, aged 80. They are buried in the old section of Taita Cemetery.
Amelia Rebecca (Amy) b. 1896 commenced work as a book-keeper for a bespoke tailor in Lambton Quay. When the Prince of Wales visited New Zealand in May 1920 their firm was asked to check some of his clothing. In 1973, when she retired, she said to the Evening Post—
A chauffeur came in with several garments and they were spread all along the cutting boards. I didn’t say a word, but slipped down from my desk, picked up the Prince’s riding breeches and entered one of the fitting rooms. I slipped them on and came into the shop and did a couple of twirls.
Amy later had her own shop in Lambton Quay just opposite where she first started work. North Modes was primarily hats and accessories and Amy was always remembered as being impeccably turned out on every occasion.
In 1930, she married William (Billy) North who was an executive at Wellington Woollen Coy when Dave Mullan’s wife Bev worked for the same company in the early 1950s. Their daughter Marcia, b.1933, died in the present decade and is also remembered as a fine and gracious lady.
Harry Hood b.1899 worked for his father on the family property and lived at home with his parents and brothers until he married Mary (Mollie) Elizabeth Mullan on 27 March 1929 at Lower Hutt. They were first cousins and the match was not an easy one for at least one side of the family to accept.
Marry and Mollie moved to an excellent property on the left of the main highway at the top of St John’s Hill, Wanganui. They had about three hectares of black sandy loam. Here they grew flowers for the local florist trade and developed Harry’s passion for breeding lilies. He branched out into importation of Australian and South African plants as well as a wide range of cultivars of camellia and other species. He travelled widely and was an authority in the horticultural industry of his time. A number of new varieties of various plants were named after them.
About two years later their first home on the property was burned to the ground. For the rest of her life Mollie kept a china cat which someone had grabbed through a window; it was the only thing that was saved. Brother WA Mullan and others (with the nominal assistance of David, aged three) helped them build temporary accommodation in what later became the flower shed after a new art deco home was finished.
They nearly had another fire when Nell and WA were staying alone in their home and didn’t realise that the new electric immersion heater had to be switched off at the wall before being hung up—a quick paint-and-paper job was achieved before Harry and Mollie returned.
Apart from their shared interest in horticulture, their married life was never easy. Mollie and Harry were noticeably distant. She soon became aware that other women visited her home when she was absent. Demands of travel for flower and horticultural shows on either side created both opportunities and suspicion. At one stage in the 1950s, fearing for her future, she gave brother WA Mullan a sum of money which he was to hold secretly for her.
To a young niece or nephew like Marcia North or Dave Mullan, Harry was a fun person to be around. As Irish as Paddy’s pig, he always had a story or three and was a dab hand with a shotgun when out after rabbits. He lived life to the full in every possible way with plenty of lubrication. It was no great surprise to many in the family that his heart failed him massively on 1 June 1964, when he was only 65.
Charles b.1908. According to the family, Charlie was never “quite right”. Some family members understood that he had had an accident and become brain damaged as a child. But in the context of the age of his parents it is quite likely that his condition was related to some congenital problem such as Down’s syndrome. His brothers and their mates looked after him and in October 1921 the Evening Post records that two young men were each fined £1 with 2/6 costs in the Lower Hutt Magistrate’s Court for assaulting a boy of 12 years of age. The provocation alleged was that the boy taunted Chittick’s younger brother.
His parents looked after him as long as they lived and after they died, George and Mary accepted responsibility for him. This was thought to have been a condition of their having the use of the family home at Otaki for his lifetime. When they found themselves unable to continue, Charlie seems to have gone into the care of the state, eventually dying in that catch-all for every kind of awkward family problem, Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital in 1972. Some members of the family were critical that George and Mary appeared to have gone back on the promise they made to the old folk.
7 — Crawford b.1865
Crawford and the other three siblings of interest to us grew up on what is thought to be the rented holding at Blossom Hill, Cavan, Co Tyrone.
We know nothing of his childhood. But in his adult years he and his father were deeply involved with both church and Orange Lodge, which took the name of the farm where it first met. The Lodge is still active, in its own building on a corner of what was Blossom Hill farm. From records available it can be seen that the Mullans clearly played a major part in its life for a couple of decades or so.
But times were hard in the last two decades of the 19th century and the family of two boys and two girls was too large for the farm. Crawford’s brother Sam and their sister Rebecca had left for Australia in the mid 1880s. The other sister was married to Henry Chittick and was probably living at Aughadulla or Clanabogan with his family. Crawford remained on the family farm with his parents. He was still single at 36 when he married Matilda Jane Stewart of Plumbridge and Loughmuck in November 1902. They started a family and he continued to work the family farm and manage the local Lodge as his father became less able to be involved in either venture. Agriculturally, Blossom Hill was a totally uneconomic proposition.
In 1905 Crawford’s mother died some time after the family walked off the disastrous farm and moved into the nearby village of Fintona with their family. One of their children, Peg August, wrote in the 1980s that Crawford.—
—was the last to leave the family farm which he inherited along with the mortgage which ate up Mum’s inheritance…
This is the only hint that Matilda had brought some capital into the family. It may well be true. But by the time the Crawford family moved to Fintona it is fairly clear that finances were tight.
The New Zealand tradition around the years in the Fintona house spoke of the old man banging his walking stick on the floor upstairs for attention. He was evidently by then a semi-invalid. Peg remembered climbing the white-washed stairway to take him a cup of tea and being chided for “jibbling” it. Tillie looked after her ailing father-in-law and ran a modest tea shop in the main street. The children used to joke about the words and the accent with which she promoted a “nice cup of tea”.
It is not clear if Crawford had any work at Fintona. WA Mullan thought he was probably working with horses, as he did in his next three countries. But it is known that on one occasion he walked to Omagh to apply for a job in the constabulary. He was told that he was half an inch too short and if he had taken the horse-drawn tram on the spur line from near Fintona instead of walking to save the cost of the fare he probably would have been accepted. Extended impact exercise can be shown to reduce one’s height temporarily but probably not by as much as half an inch in a brisk two-hours’ walk. If work was not obtainable, life in Fintona must have been as difficult as the uneconomic farm.
Strangely, for such devout people, there are no records of any involvement with the church in Fintona. Perhaps they retained their links with the more distant Creevan church with which they had very positive involvement in worship and music life during the last of the Blossom Hill years. Creevan was the eventual successor to 1st Balinahatty where they had been married. Or, possibly, while in Fintona, they made a move to the Methodist Church which became Crawford’s denomination of choice in the USA and thereafter.
Their third child, William Alexander, was certainly born in Fintona, not on the farm.
It is clear that shortly after the old man died, Crawford made preparations to pack up his little family and leave the country. But he seems not to have told everyone what might have been in his mind. Indeed, his sister Jennie and Henry Chittick had left for New Zealand only a month earlier. Crawford’s family was settled in Rhode Island before Jennie in New Zealand knew he was thinking of leaving Northern Ireland. It would be in character for this decision and action to be taken in Crawford’s rather secretive and impulsive manner. WA Mullan later entitled his family story No Standing Stone because his father’s impetuous decisions to move on made him seem like a bit of a rolling stone.
The choice of America rather than Australia where he already had family seems to have been governed by Matilda’s relations in New England. She had many siblings who were settling there and one of them—cousin John Steen—otherwise unknown to the authors—is given as their contact on arrival at the Ellis Island reception centre for immigrants.
So Crawford’s family left Fintona and took the SS California from Londonderry, Ireland on 30 April 1910 to be checked through Ellis Island immigration centre for USA on 9 May. It seems they linked up with other Irish immigrants as they quickly became part of the Irish community and maintained their links with home. Here the very well organised Matilda could repudiate a duplicate invoice sent to them from the Fintona grocer; she had kept the receipt! In Fintona ninety years later a local resident confirmed to Dave Mullan that the grocer had a reputation for sending invoices out again after they had been paid.
The family lived first in Nayatt, where Crawford worked on a huge country estate—possibly now the Rhode Island Country Club—as a general factotum among a large outdoor staff. In the Business Directory of 1910 he is described as a gardener.
Then they moved to Water St and later Ferry Lane, Barrington where their two-storey home is still marked as an historic place. Here, according to the Bristol City Directory, Crawford worked with the horses at Bosworth’s Coal and Lumber Merchants. After another move to Falls River Road, they moved across the river to Warren where the 1910 Census confirms that Crawford took up work with the John D. Peck Mill and Grain Store. These buildings were still standing in 1990.
In Warren the family lived at about four addresses including Broad St, Water St and 11 Washington St. Some of these houses are also still standing as is First Methodist Church where Crawford held the office of sexton. The family became deeply involved with this Church and the children later spoke of it.
Young WA Mullan attended Miller St and Joy St Schools. He obtained after-school work and saved a substantial sum which later became very helpful for his unthinking father. He remembered being allowed to read Katzenjammer Kids comic strips in newspapers he begged from neighbours. Dave Mullan knew them in the 1940s and they were still being published in 2015.
WA also claimed to remember the youth group singing:
We are members of the legion,
We are loyal and are true;
We’re taught that alcohol’s a poison,
And that nicotine is too.
—but it is possible this group was in their next country rather than Rhode Island. The Temperance organisation that they signed up with was the International Order of Good Templars. The girls took it very seriously but Willie and his mates sometimes alluded to the IOGT as “I Often Get Tight”.
WA Mullan said of his father—
—if he had a few bob in his pocket and especially if he could smell the sea or saw a boat—he was off. By the time he got to Australia and got the job at Toogoolawah (at about a fifth of what he had been getting in Rhode Island) he must have been broke because holidays were just not our book at all.
Peg August wrote to WA Mullan about the birth of a child at Warren—
Do you remember George being born in 25 Broad St? It was a terrifying day. Two Maxwell kids and us, all sitting in the downstairs kitchen there, absolutely in the dark about what was going on in the bedroom except that it was a mystery and somehow hole-in-the-corner. Skirts disappeared through a doorway, with saucepans of boiling water. No questions asked or answered. The front door opened, later banged shut and George had arrived.
This baby was one of at least two who did not survive.
In 1979 Bill and Nell visited Jim Beattie, a childhood friend of Irish descent and they identified the drugstore, the school, the library and various other buildings. The Beatties had lived on Cavan road quite close to Blossom Hill and emigrated a little earlier than Crawford’s family. In Rhode Island the two families kept close contact. Dave and Bev also made this pilgrimage in 1983 and 1990 and obtained a contemporary map showing some of the significant places for the Mullan family. They found Warren largely unchanged, progress having passed it by.
WA Mullan said once that, in a good period, he was sure his father was going to buy a car. But one day in 1920 Crawford quit his job and announced out of the blue that the family was going to Australia to join Sam and Rebecca. They departed on 8 September 1920—Peg August remembered the date because she missed her 14th birthday crossing the Date Line. They travelled via Canadian Pacific Rail to Vancouver and then by RMS Niagara via Seattle, Suva—and possibly Wellington—to Sydney, Australia.
Disembarking, the family was met by a brother-in-law of Margaret Black, Sam’s second wife. He hosted them generously around the city and put them on the train for the north. From Raleigh, on the coast, they proceeded by Studebaker service car on the road up the escarpment to Whiskey Creek and Dorrigo NSW where Sam and his family lived. WA Mullan remembered being shoved through the rear window because passengers on the door sides wouldn’t move over for him. He also had clear memories of the surprise meeting with Sam and his dun-coloured horse and trap on the last part of the journey—he was managing the contract for the road works on the incline up to Dorrigo.
They remained at Whiskey Creek with Sam’s family for a couple of weeks or so, and after a family wedding (Maggie and Tony Walker), with Sam and two sons, set out for the Upper Brisbane Valley in Queensland. WA Mullan’s impression was that they travelled inland and north through Grafton, Lismore, Kyogle and Murwillumbah, where he noticed that Sam seemed familiar with the country. We know now that Sam had worked in this area earlier for the Black family. WA Mullan then recounted a lengthy trip on the Tweed River, probably downstream to the coast. From Brisbane a train took them all through to Fernvale where they were met by Cousin/Uncle Roulston. It is possible that they all stopped for a brief time at Calkill. The Crawford Mullans then moved further up the Brisbane valley by train and were collected by cousin Bill Campbell at Nurinda Railway Station. This was close to Colinton where they stayed in Rebecca’s guest house, Blossom Hill. It was the end of a journey of several weeks by all kinds of transport from Warren, Rhode Island.
While at Colinton, Crawford worked for a short time at the local condensed milk factory. The younger children, Margaret and William, were enrolled in the local school for a few weeks in November and December 1920. The problem was that the Standard Dairy Coy was to close its Colinton factory in 1921 and the milk supply from Colinton district was to be sent by rail motor to the Nestlé Condensery at Toogoolawah instead. Crawford and his family took the opportunity of following the chance of work and moving to this much more substantial town. Their elder daughter Mollie found live-in work as nursing assistant at the doctor’s consulting rooms in Drem St, opposite the home in which they probably spent most of the next few years. This, WA Mullan reckoned in 2000, when he visited it, was No 29.
WA Mullan initially found school very stressful because the Aussie kids teased the 12-year-old American about his dress and accent. Because the Americans were late entering World War I, even the Colinton teacher referred to Americans as “the dough boys” because they were “late in rising”. But in his life story WA records a number of anecdotes that suggest life in the small country town wasn’t all that bad.
The Temperance organisation that the children signed up with in Toogoolawah was the International Order of Good Templars. The girls took it very seriously and there is a newspaper report about Miss M Mullan being elected as an officer of that group. We don’t know which of the girls this refers to, but Mary Elizabeth (Mollie Chittick) is the more likely candidate for such a serious responsibility. Margaret (Peg August) would have definitely been a little more frivolous. Young WA and his Campbell cousins seem not to have been involved.
Unfortunately, dairy farming continued to be less than entirely successful in the region and when the Toogoolawah factory also reduced some of its production Crawford decided to move on again. He quit his job and left alone for New Zealand to meet his sister Jennie Chittick and to look at prospects in that country. He found work “looking after both ends of the horses” in Munt Cottrell’s stables. The chassis and wheels from one of their very large horse-drawn vehicles is thought to be preserved at Staglands, in the Akatarawa hills about 18km from Upper Hutt.
Once settled with a job, Crawford peremptorily sent for Tillie and the three adolescent children. They had to pack everything themselves, walk out of the house which had to be left to Bill Campbell to sell. That would be difficult, of course—Toogoolawah was a Nestlé town and the factory was already reducing its production. When it finally closed in 1929 it was a disaster for many families.
Tillie and her three teenagers made their way down the valley to Brisbane. Not without some adventures as to timetables and places, they took a ship for Sydney and then on to Wellington. Crawford had not received the telegram advising of their arrival and was spending his lunch hour on the wharf when they descended from the ship almost into his arms.
Jennie and Henry Chittick, with whom Crawford had been staying, gave them hospitality in The Oaks, at Taita. Fairly soon the Mullans moved into a rented flat and then a two-up two-down house—still to be seen at 222 Tinakori Rd, Wellington. Both were closer to Crawford’s work in Thorndon.
But Crawford was not satisfied to be a wage slave and—probably when some money came through for the Toogoolawah house—he established himself in a small market garden property which was immediately nicknamed by the family The Ranch. On the Eastern side of what is now Naenae Road, at the Taita Cemetery end, this was not easy land, though not unfamiliar to the Irish small farmer.
WA Mullan recalled that he and his father moved to the Ranch initially in 1924 and the family came a little later. He also said that at one point most of the property was down in potatoes and a bad flood washed out the entire crop. That was when he decided that life on the land was not for him.
While something of a rolling stone, Crawford nevertheless asserted a strong and undisputed authority within the family. On one occasion young WA Mullan was going to Bible Class in his cream sox and polished shoes and Margaret and Matilda were making a fuss over his clothes and he said “Oh, don’t make a damn fuss!” and he got reported to Crawford for swearing.
Tillie was also a very strong personality but knew her place and how to get around her lord and master when necessary. The children were not so successful. Among other perceived injustices Crawford had “taken care” of their personal savings during their travel from USA to Australia, ostensibly to care for their money as they were “only children”. WA recalled that Peg never had any money anyway but Mollie was older and had some savings and he himself, although only about 12, had worked after school and saved upwards of $100—a massive sum in those days. None of it was ever repaid.
Crawford was a very talented musician, being able to play half a dozen instruments. In Ireland he conducted an unaccompanied choir at church with, WA thought, only a “Jew’s harp” to set the pitch. Actually, he probably used a tuning fork as a Jew’s harp does not have inherent tone or pitch. But WA was adamant that his father could play the Jew’s harp. He demonstrated his own modest skills on it to Dave and his other children on at least one occasion. WA also had a very precise recollection of his father ingeniously swinging a gate on a rod turning in the hollow end of a large wine bottle buried in the ground.
Moving on Again
In 1940, Crawford and Tillie moved from Taita and for a time rented George Chittick’s house in Stokes Valley before shifting to Levin, some 90 km up State Highway 1 from Wellington. They stopped first for some time with his sister Jennie Chittick in Otaki, a little nearer to Wellington, and then settled at 34 Queenwood Rd. The Electoral Roll in 1938 shows him at this address. Here there was taken a much celebrated photo of grandchildren Dave and Barbara Mullan holding an egg in each hand. Barbara was only about three or so and didn’t realise you weren’t supposed to knock them together after the photo was taken.
In the late 1930s, Crawford and Tillie made their last move, to Wereroa Rd, Levin. Tillie died in 1943. The Evening Post 8 Nov 1943—
MULLAN – On November 7, 1943, at Palmerston North Hospital, Matilda Jane, loved wife of Crawford Mullan, Weraroa Rd, Levin, mother of Mary (Mrs H. H. Chittick, Wanganui), Margaret (Mrs Joseph August), and W. A. Mullan, Lower Hutt.
To the mild annoyance of his children, Crawford married again. At least son WA said he did. But when he predeceased Amy Maguire in 1946 the cemetery record did not specify a marital status for Amy—
1593 MULLAN, Crawford of Levin, Native of Ireland. Widower of Matilda Jane. Died 3rd Jan 1946 age 79 yrs. Buried 4th Jan 1946. Block 9 No. 66.
Perhaps this notice was submitted by Mollie, who might have had fairly strict views about these matters. Nevertheless, Amy received his entire estate under a proper will. For the second time the Mullan siblings were deprived of some modest amount that they might have expected to receive from the old man.
Crawford and Tillie are buried together in the Levin Cemetery. The headstone, easily located in Levin Cemetery, clearly states that Crawford had the middle name Roulston. Dave Mullan clearly remembers seeing CR Mullan on the letterbox at Wereroa Rd, Levin. But the middle name does not appear on his Baptism or other records and appears to have been adopted by Crawford at some stage. Daughter Peg later insisted that Mollie, who arranged the wording on the headstone, included the second name on her own initiative.
Peg also noted that Crawford’s birth certificate (which she held) was spelled “Mullin” and again hinted that this was so it wouldn’t look Catholic. In passing she noted that in the mid 1990s she had more respect for the Catholic faith than for her own—“not that that would be hard”. The family name seems to have been variously spelled from time to time.
The children of Crawford and Tillie were—
Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) b.1904
In Toogoolawah, Mollie worked for the local doctor at the house and surgery just over the road from the Mullans’ Drem St house. When she arrived in New Zealand with the rest of the family she is thought to have worked in Lower Hutt. With Peg and WA, she became active in the youth work of the Methodist Church in the Hutt Valley.
Mollie and Harry Chittick were first cousins and had met only when her family moved from Queensland to Lower Hutt. He was living at The Oaks when the Crawford family first arrived. When the Mullans moved to Taita they were very close and the two girls were no doubt intrigued by their cousin Harry Chittick and his rough mate Joe August. In no time it seems these two boys “went around” with the two Mullan sisters and then later married them.
After marrying in March 1929 Mollie and Harry moved to Otaki where they established a plant nursery, possibly by buying jointly with the Chittick seniors and later dividing the property.
In 1937 they had an opportunity to move on to their own place and transferred to Wanganui. The Evening Post correspondent at Otaki must have been on the ball—
Mrs Hopkins presided over a good attendance of members at the recent meeting of the Otaki Women’s Institute. The afternoon was of a social nature, all present taking the opportunity of bidding farewell to Mrs H Chittick jun., who has gone to Wanganui to live. Mrs Chittick was a foundation member of the Otaki Institute and worked hard for the advancement of the movement. As a token of their affection the members presented her with a copper firescreen. .
Their new property was at St John’s Hill, Wanganui, on about three hectares of black sandy loam where they grew flowers for the local florist trade and developed Harry’s passion for breeding lilies. As recounted earlier, they were completely burned out in 1939. Brother Bill and others (with the assistance of David, aged about three) helped them to build temporary accommodation in what later became the flower shed. No one who ever visited Mollie at work in the flower shed would ever forget the fragrant aroma of flowers she made up for the local market.
Not having children of her own, she was a bit of a martinet when the young nieces and nephews came to stay for a few days. But she was a wonderful and generous aunt. Dave remembers being allowed to travel alone for the three to four hour trip on the New Zealand Railways Road Services Mack service car for the holidays when he was still in primary school. He sat right in the front behind the bulldog on the radiator cap and marvelled at the narrow trestle bridges. Mollie picked him up at the depot near the old town bridge, driving their black 1934 Chevrolet. For the most part he had a wonderful time and helped a little in the fragrant flower shed packing poppies and hyacinths for the market.
There was one less than memorable moment when Mollie drew his attention to a lot of extra food spilled into the goldfish bowl in the show greenhouse. She showed him some sawdust that had been put into the fish food packet and said “I’m sure you wouldn’t do a thing like that.” But there wasn’t anyone else around and she clearly thought he’d done it. He hadn’t. Harry’s niece Marcia North had been the school holiday guest the previous week.
Perhaps in reaction against Harry’s flamboyant lifestyle, Mollie was a devout Methodist for her whole married life. Even in her 80s she was still picking up her “old ladies” for church every Sunday. Some of them were twenty years younger than she was. She always made visiting members of the family feel important and she took a lot of interest in the younger generations coming along. Mollie died at Wanganui in 1990.
Margaret (Peg) b.1906
Margaret was born in October 1906 after Mary died. From childhood she was the more exuberant of the two girls and made a great mate for their brother Willie.
Like Mollie, Peg did not make an exceptionally good marriage. The two men had perhaps been mates too long to settle down with girls that were actually reasonably well bred if not quite devout. With their brother Bill, variously also called Willie and William by different people at different times, the girls were active in the youth work of the Methodist Church. But he was probably more serious about it than even they were.
And the girls were certainly very active with the mates Joe and Harry. These two shared a rough sleep-out at The Oaks and found the independence helpful for escapades with possum poaching and other clandestine activities. The Mullan sisters were drawn into this little network and it was natural that they should all marry: Mollie was paired with her cousin Harry. Peg drew Joe and they married in March 1928
Peg and Joe ran August’s Dairy near the river end of White’s Line West for decades. Their rubber-tyred horse-drawn float milk deliveries were well known throughout the Hutt Valley. Dave remembers the stable loft near the road and the loose-boxes that stretched in a long line down their lane from White’s Line to the railway line. The adequate and comfortable house was just behind the main stable.
Later they ran a similar delivery business from 1 Manchester St, Ava and after selling the business and retiring they remained in the same house. This striking colonial villa was hired for a few weeks as a location for a 1980s TV series, Roche, complete with an instant garden of potted flowers of every conceivable kind.
Joe’s health was never good and he died in May 1981 and was buried from Petone Methodist Church in a service that was a very warm tribute to Peg. It was noticeable to members of the family that everyone else called her Margaret so she must have chosen her given name as her “church” name.
After Joe died she moved to Wainuiomata with her third son Barry and became progressively less involved in the church. Peg was very pluralist, open and accepting in her views. She had a lively sense of humour and most of the family remember her warm hospitality to relatives and friends in their home. No one would forget her waggish interaction with sister Mollie after Christine Mullan’s wedding in 1984; it was their last big family occasion and these two made it an absolute hoot.
Peg died in Wellington on 22 July 1996, just two months shy of her 90th birthday.
Peg’s parents Crawford and Tillie were conventionally religious to the point that when Peg’s pre-school boys came to stay with them at Levin they were forbidden to leave the house or play on Sunday. Don and Dick remembered for the rest of their lives that they were given a Methodist Hymnbook and a Bible to read on the back step. Probably neither could read at the time.
The Augusts had three surviving children: Don, Dick and Barry. Barry, of Levin, is the only one still living.
William Alexander, 27 Feb 1909
WA Mullan’s personal story has been extensively covered in his autobiography which details his childhood in Rhode Island, his adolescence in Toogoolawah, Queensland and his subsequent life in Lower Hutt.
He was an infant of ten months when the family left Northern Ireland for New England and a thorough-going American boy of ten when they arrived in Queensland. Indeed, his American dress and his American accent caused a good deal of derision in his first Australian School at Colinton. Visiting the school site in 2002, he was plainly upset at recalling the ridicule received from both students and staff.
The final family move to New Zealand came and he began to think about employment. He knew that Crawford’s expectation was that he would work at the Taita farm with his father. However, the loss of the entire potato crop gave the young man other ideas. He took the initiative and found himself a paid job as a brickie’s mate and just announced he was starting work.
His first job was on the 1926 construction of the Lower Hutt Methodist Church, with which he would become closely acquainted over the coming years. He reckoned he carried every brick used in the building. When the church was demolished to make way for a shopping precinct a few years ago one brick was salvaged by a friend and is in the possession of the Dave Mullan family.
Then he obtained a position as cadet in the trim section of General Motors and moved on to one or two other motor vehicle assembly plants in the region. After marrying Nellie Thomas in 1933 and working for a short time in a hosiery factory in Wellington, he moved to Ford Motor Co when it opened in 1935. The business was based on Government post-depression policy to provide labour for the country’s workforce using completely knocked down (CKD) car kits to be assembled in New Zealand.
Within months he was made Foreman of the Trim Dept where he remained for twenty-two years as the company expanded and transitioned into war service and back again. It was company policy around the world that executive positions were filled from Canada.
During World War II his department—Fuse 119—made complex fuses for shells for the ubiquitous 25 pound guns and the standard hand grenades of the day. The only vehicle assembly work was strictly for the war effort and there was plenty of it.
A footnote to this munitions work is that about a quarter of a century later his son, Dave Mullan, was Territorial Force Chaplain with the Army Unit which salvaged thousands of these grenades from long-term storage in the Belmont Magazines and delivered them to the Navy for burial in deep water in Cook Strait. A footnote to that story is that another quarter century later, they were being dredged up by deep-trawling fishing boats and had to be salvaged again and buried further out at sea.
After the rush of post-war vehicle manufacture, production work continued to expand and Fords looked to having some work done outside their own factory. In 1956 WA left Ford, moved to Levin and soon after established W A Mullan Ltd, providing motor trim to Ford. Although the business was badly set back by the 1958 “Black Budget” of the new Labour Government, it eventually supplied car trim sets to every motor assembly factory in the country. Employing up to 250 people at its peak, the business became a landmark in the small town and a feature of the lives of many of its citizens. One entire factory worked only from 9am to 3pm so all its staff could take their children to and from school. Innovations like this and closing all five factories at 3pm every Friday for family shopping earned WA the title of “Prince of Extortioners” from the local Union Secretary. But he visited every one of his workers at their machines every day. They all knew they could approach him if they had a problem. A couple of decades after he relinquished the business, some ex staff had developed a website to keep in touch with each other.
After some years of heavy involvement in the start-up years of the business, Nell found opportunity to assist with the establishment of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Levin. As New Zealand President of the Methodist Ladies Guild Nell gave leadership in the negotiations with the Methodist Women’s Mission Union to unite in the Methodist Women’s Fellowship of New Zealand.
Both were very active in the leadership of the local Methodist Church and in Wellington District Synod. WA was asked to accept the role of Vice-President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand but declined, feeling that he lacked some of the qualities required for such high office.
Change of Direction
In the early 1960s Bill (WA) and Nell established a small holiday home in Taupo. On Rainbow Drive, with a magnificent view of the lake, “Tiromoana” became a much-loved meeting place for the extended families of David, Barbara, Marion and Peter. When Peter took over management of the family business, Bill and Nell moved to Taupo and lived at Oregon Place, just around the corner from Tiromoana. They threw themselves into the life of the Taupo Union Church, Probus and Care and Craft. By the time of their 60th wedding anniversary they had broken in another garden in Isobel Place in Acacia Bay and it was here that Nell collapsed and was admitted to hospital with the illness that marked the end of her life in 1995.
Bill found himself a home at Hansen Court, where there was a lot less garden. Only a few years later he became the first resident of the new St John’s retirement community a couple of doors along the road. The family made a big celebration of his 90th birthday in 1999. His mobility and awareness were also greatly appreciated by 50 or more members of the distant family gathered at Brisbane in 2001. He was the only Mullan of his generation to be present.
Back in New Zealand family members were prepared for a big celebration for his 100th birthday in 2009 when he had a fall the very morning of the event and was admitted to hospital for an immediate hip replacement. The function went ahead anyway and was enjoyed by all except WA. He made a remarkable recovery from surgery but had to be more careful and deliberate in his movements for the next year or two. Mentally sharp to the end, he succumbed to a series of ailments and age-related maladies a few days before his 102nd birthday in February 2011. His remarkable life was widely celebrated by intimate friends as well as casual acquaintances in Taupo, Levin and Lower Hutt.
The children of Bill and Nell Mullan were—
David Stewart 1935, co-author of this and other family books. David originally declined to go to university—even on the generous conditions of the day—and worked in photography and forestry before offering for training in the Methodist ministry. He and Bev served in six appointments of various kinds in the church. Through this work he became involved in national leadership in ministry assessment, family budgeting; and the Uniting Congregations of Aotearoa New Zealand. Having a passion for small churches he headed up an innovative programme for training self-supporting church leaders for a decade. He retired in 1996 and he and Bev now live in Hibiscus Coast Residential Village in Red Beach, Auckland.
Barbara b.1933 married Bruce Smith and they served for some years in the Monad, Solomon Islands office of what was to become the Uniting Church of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Returning to New Zealand Barbara became involved in counselling and counsellor certification. She contributed significantly to national counsellor training programmes and later pioneered Emotional Freedom Technique in New Zealand and qualified as a World Master in the programme. Sadly, as she approaches 80 she is developing Alzhiemer’s disease.
Marion, b.1933 carved her way through her early life with aplomb and worked in the Child Welfare Division with a large rural territory based on Wanganui. She married Brian Jones, who was visiting from Australia to set up the first Methodist Stewardship programme. They worked together with Frontier Inc in Australia for several years, then founded Belfast, the first independent courier company in Canberra. Now divorced and retired, she enjoys volunteering with the Australian National Botanic Garden and taking care of her grandchildren and, yes, a gorgeous great-grandchild or two.
Peter Graham, b.1920 was another high-spirited member of this foursome. He went from school straight into the family business, married Jan and raised a family of three in Levin. He succeeded WA as general manager at the time it was becoming clear that the government was re-thinking the restrictive import policies of the early 1930s. Peter led the family through the difficult decision of selling the business before the motor assembly business was closed down by cheap secondhand imports. He was employed by the purchaser of the business for a short period but retired early. He and Jan ran motels and renovated houses and moved into an early and satisfying retirement. He died very suddenly at his home in Tauranga at only 62.
No Standing Stone
The story of the Crawford Mullan family, especially from the perspective of WA Mullan, is told in his book No Standing Stone, copies of which are still available from—
Dave Mullan, 28/101 Red Beach Rd,
Orewa, New Zealand, 0932
+649 426 7562
Valerie Adele Mullan b.1943
Val married Des, son of William Joseph Mullan. Her interests are their grandchildren, researching family history, gardening, travel and golf. They live in Brisbane, Queensland.
Contact Val at [email protected]
David Stewart Mullan b.1935
Dave trained for the Methodist Ministry at Trinity Theological College and eventually completed MA, and Dip Ed. He and Bev married just before his first appointment in Ngatea where their two children arrived. Dave served in three parishes and two administration/educational positions in the Church.
A crisis in their retirement adventure with prostate cancer brought them to the Hibiscus Coast Residential Village near Auckland in 2014 but in early 2017 his prospects seem somewhat improved.
Contact Dave at [email protected]
Also by Val and Dave
John Roulston, Grazier of Calkill & Runnymede. [Our early attempts to trace the life of the mysterious and very distant relation from the Upper Brisbane Valley. He left a fortune to family members in four countries when he died in 1929.
Most of them had never met him.]
A5. 122p. ISBN 1-877357-00-6
For about twenty-five years Val Mullan in Queensland and Dave Mullan in New Zealand have corresponded about the possibility of putting together some kind of record of the four Mullan siblings who emigrated from Blossom Hill in Co. Tyrone to the other end of the world. This collaboration initially was limited to the gathering of information for a Family Tree and was prompted in New Zealand by WA Mullan who was the last direct descendant of four brothers and sisters who left Northern Ireland for better lives in the Antipodes. A gathering of more than fifty interested family members—including the redoubtable WA Mullan in his nineties—in Redcliffe in May 2001 created a lot of interest. Pamphlets were offered and family stories shared. But the event did not produce a lot of new information. And the concentrated work needed to pull together all the material that was available could not be done at that time. A decade and a half later, with shared online drafting and editing, there has been enough time to collate some kind of coherent story with such facts and impressions as are still available. Most of what has been discovered has been Val’s work and her prodigious output of notes has continued and the writing has progressed. In early 2106 when Dave had already gained some experience of online publishing, we began to bring together our various notes. A major family resource was becoming available for future researchers, students, and interested family members. Obviously this process could go on for years. But we judged it better to put together some kind of document now with what we know rather than to keep fossicking around for stories which may or may not still come through from family members. So this account focuses on the four Mullans who left Blossom Hill and the first generation after them. We believe that their stories can be assembled by other people. We are happy to record what we can for now about the four brothers and sisters who were born at Blossom Hill. So our story begins at that modest property. It goes on to introduce other relations who preceded our four out to Australia and New Zealand and whose lives became intermingled with the four. Then, as best we can, we tell the story of each of the four in order of their age Samuel Hood. and his sister Rebecca Campbell emigrated to Queensland. They both had several surviving children and there is now a large community of Mullans and Campbells in Australia. Jennie Chittick and Crawford Mullan both moved to New Zealand but their small families did not result in a large continuing family in that country.