Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You: Grandparents Part B

This is Part B of Week 7 of a 15 month project inspired by Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest.

What were their names?

Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn't know them have you researched about them?

Paternal Grandfather

I only knew two of my grandparents - one from each side of the family.

I didn't know my paternal grandfather.  He died just before my parents were married and before I was born.

That must have been very very hard for all concerned.

All the photos of my paternal grandfather make me wish I had known him.  He always looks a lot of fun and as though he had a great sense of humour.  I remember my mother saying that he would play tricks at the dinner table.  You know the sort of thing...
"Look at that enormous spider !"...and then he'd steal some of your dinner when you weren't looking.

His name was Edwin Arthur James Conner and, yes, he was an emigrant.  He emigrated to Australia from England arriving 6 May 1912 on the "Omrah". Two years later this was used as a troop ship in WW1.

S.S. Omrah of the Orient Shipping Line. It was torpedoed and sunk off Cape Spartivento in 1918, while troop carrying. Copyright expired.  From Picture Queensland.
The family spent some time in Melbourne first and then relocated to Sydney in 1920.  

Ted was born 10th June 1900 at 32 Connaught Road North End Buckland, Portsmouth.  

View Larger Map

Edwin or Ted as he was called was the youngest of three children with two older sisters Constance (Connie) and Lilian (Lil).  

This is a photo of him taken in England as a small child.

This is one of him with his mother Eleanor Eliza (nee Cook).

And another one...

This is one of him with his two of his children.

He married my grandmother Ethel on 18th February 1924 at St Matthew's Bondi.  If I'm to believe a calendar found on the web, 18th February was a Monday.  I understand my grandmother's mother did not approve of the wedding.  My grandmother would have been 19 years of age.  Her father signed the certificate as a witness and gave his approval.

To my knowledge, there are no wedding photos. 

Here is a map of where the church is located.

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What did he do?  Well - don't laugh - but I have inherited a very fancy ice bucket which has engraved on it:

'Presented to Mr E.A. Conner 
On the occasion of
His Retirement from the service
With best wishes from his many Friends in 
The Electricity Commission of N.S.W.
21st November 1958'

So I know he worked at the Electricity Commission of N.S.W.

On his marriage certificate to my grandmother Ethel, it says that he was a Drafstman.

I think my father said recently that he studied at RMIT.

So, there's two things for me to chase up.

This photo is of Ted aged 45.  The back of the photo is interesting too....

So I wonder if he was a member of a photographic club.

The caption on this photo says "pulled out of bed to say goodbye to the Maloneys"

The Maloneys were very good friends of the Conners.

I like this photo the best - Ethel and Ted, relaxed and happy in their home.

Paternal Grandmother

Where do I even begin to talk about my gorgeous Gran?

This isn't an especially good photo of Gran but it gives you a sense of her style.

Gran was christened Ethel Eileen Carrett and born 10 November 1904 in Riverview Road Canterbury.  Funnily enough, if you look at her birth certificate, it says Ethel Irene but she always maintained that was a mistake.

This is a photo of the house where Gran says she was born at Flinders Road Undercliffe

Ethel was the second eldest of seven children - five girls and two boys.  Her father was described as a bricklayer on her birth certificate.  By the time she was married, he was described as a builder.

The story goes that she met her husband while travelling around in her father's pony trap collecting rent from all the tenants.  The Conners were renting one of the Carretts' properties.

Gran was quite short - probably not much more than 5 foot - maybe even smaller.  

She loved hats.

She was a very quick walker.  I was flat out keeping up with her no matter how old I was.

I spent a lot of time with her in my youth.  She was the best babysitter and we enjoyed our weekends together.  We would talk until the cows came home and solve all the problems of the world.

She taught me to knit.  She was very good at all crafts: crocheting, embroidery, tapestry.  She completed several huge tapestries. We have several in our home adorning the walls.

Memories include making pikelets or scones with her while my father mowed her lawn on weekends.  She spoiled me rotten with breakfast in bed - a boiled egg and brown bread toast.  She made delicious roast chicken in a sunbeam frypan like no one else I know.  She made me a special icecream and jelly dessert called a Knickerbocker Glory.

She gave me a string of pearls for my eighteenth birthday I think.  She bought them from the Burlington Arcade in London.

She was a great traveler and loved cruise ships - particularly the Royal Caribbean Line.

She took me to the opera.

She shopped for everything at David Jones - even chickens!

She was a very good swimmer and I have blogged about her prowess here.

She had much tragedy in life.  She outlived her siblings, her parents, her husband and three of her four children.

Ethel died 20 October 1996 at the age of 93

She had, as they say, a very good innings.


Kristin said...

Your grandfather look like quite the dresser, fromLittle Lord Fauntleroy onwards.

Jill Ball said...

Lovely post. Your love for Ethel shines through. You have reminded me that I didn't write about my Nana's sewing and crochet skills., I can see myself going back and adding to my post from time to time.

Alex Daw said...

The Conners do brush up nicely in a collar and tie :)

Alex Daw said...

Dear Jill - phew...thank you. You never feel you do them enough justice do you? It's very difficult.