Category Archives: Childs

Soldiers of the Queen

10th Hussars at Waterloo

Our ancestors have played their part in every major British conflict for over two centuries. Loyalty to Queen and Empire throughout Queen Victoria’s 63 year reign is evident, particularly in several rural families with northern Irish roots. Predating that period, John Fowler was a professional soldier enlisting in the 10th Royal Hussars, the ‘Prince of Wales Own’ at Leeds, Yorkshire in 1802. He rose to Sergeant Major, serving in England, Ireland and on the Continent through the war with France, specifically in the Peninsula Wars and at the Battle of Waterloo under the Duke of Wellington. Having served under two Hanoverian kings, George 111 and the Prince Regent, later George 1v, he retired in 1826 but trained reservists at Harwood. Edmund Childs also served in the British Army in the same period, enlisting in Ireland in 1806, fighting in the major battles of the Peninsula Wars between 1808 and 1814 as well as at New Orleans and was discharged in 1821. He then married and reared his family in Newtownards, County Down. Archibald McCallum, brother of John McCallum in Mittagong, was also a professional soldier. After enlisting in the 42nd Royal Highlanders Regiment at Glasgow about 1831 he served in Ireland, Corfu, Malta, Bermuda, Scotland, England and in the Crimean War. As a sergeant, he was a drill master at Alyth before retiring in 1861.

Adam & David McAllister, Archie Campbell, J F Thomas & others, Hutton Shield winners Randwick 1893

Our first Australian soldier was Edward Scrivener, a member of the NSW Volunteer Corps (Artillery) from 1855. Hugh Gilmore Campbell, his brother Archibald Campbell and brother-in-law Adam McAllister enlisted in Harry Chauvel’s Upper Clarence Light Horse at Tabulum in 1885. The Campbell and McAllister boys then trained under J F Thomas (later solicitor for Breaker Morant) at Tenterfield and competed in military events with distinction. Adam McAllister and Archibald Campbell travelled to England for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1898 and were her personal bodyguards in the procession through London, Adam being one of 10 from NSW presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Adam and his brother David McAllister served in the Boer War and both families were represented in the 1st AIF serving at Gallipoli, in the desert war and on the battlefields of France. By then a professional soldier and promoted to Major, Adam McAllister died from wounds in Palestine in 1917. His nephew David Henry McAllister died in France in 1917.

Adam McAllister 1890

Of the 17 Campbells and McAllisters who enlisted in the First World War, seven were killed and a further six young men were wounded and maimed. Hugh Campbell’s son Warren McAllister Campbell died of disease at Gallipoli,  his cousins Archibald McPherson and  Henry Campbell Harper  died in France as did his nephews Thomas Campbell and Hampton Willis. Other family members who enlisted in World War One were Oswald Adam  and  Alex Montgomery from Newcastle, Harold Childs who served in the Light Horse in Palestine and brothers  Hector Archibald McCallum and Lindsay Stuart McCallum from Mittagong as well as their cousin John Archibald McCallum. The McCallum boys all served on the Western Front. Hector and Lindsay were killed in action. The next generation served in volunteer militias and in World War Two in great numbers, some also serving in Korea and Vietnam. One who served with great distinction was Mary Ann Adams’  great nephew Major Rex Blow, ‘one of the Australian Army’s most daring and colourful heroes of World War 11’. William Bruce McAllister was a prisoner of war in Thailand for three and a half years.

Ernest Blow takes the flag, Nowra Post Office 1915

In 1915, Mary Ann Adams’ cousin Ernest Blow of Kiama led the famous Waratah recruitment march from Nowra to Sydney. Like the Campbells and McAllisters, Ernest was a Light Horse soldier. He joined the Illawarra Light Horse in the 1890s, the Berry Half Squadron of the NSW Lancers in 1897, trained in England and from there his regiment went to the Boer War, the first overseas troops to reach Cape Town. Ernest was promoted to Captain. Back on the South Coast he was area officer in charge of cadets between Milton and Helensburgh. In 1915 he was in charge of recruitment  and as a result led the Waratah March.

Moving the Goods

Sailing ships, railway and vehicular traffic at Newcastle NSW

At the core of any economic system is the transfer of goods and availability of labour. Our ancestors played their part in developing colonial Australia where great distances and difficult terrain limited apparent boundless opportunities. Duthie, Whitfield and Montgomery ancestors sailed and piloted ships which carried goods to Australia and in the coastal trade. Some constructed vessels in Newcastle and Port Melbourne and several ran vehicular ferries on major rivers. In the vital railway industry, Childs, Rumble, Adam, Boyd, Adams, Whitfield, Campbell and Scrivener  men laid the iron rails, drove the locomotives, were engineers in railway workshops, carriage builders, guards, signallers, station masters and worked in the Enfield and Darling Harbour goods yards as well as locomotive construction (such as 3801) at Everleigh in Sydney. The McCallums built the drays and other horse drawn vehicles that connected people with the railways and ports. Campbells and McAllisters were carriers in the horse drawn transport era in Queensland and northern NSW. Men of the McCallum, Scrivener and Campbell families, shod horses and manufactured goods and vital components for vehicles. All contributed to the national as well as their local economies.

Establishing Schools

Alstonville School 1874

Advantaged by literacy and with an understanding of the value of education, our pioneering ancestors were prominent in supporting education in their communities.  In time, a number of their descendants became teachers. Thomas Adam as a patron helped to establish the first non-vested school in Newcastle in 1857 when there were only 62 in NSW. He was Secretary of the local school board from 1858 and shared personal responsibility for accumulated debts  when the first National School was completed in 1862. In 1872, John Adams and his neighbours petitioned for a National School at Alstonville. He cleared the land and with John Perry, contracted to build the school which was completed in 1874. Close by, Benjamin Edwards was a member of the Gundurimba local school board from 1874 and Frederick Scrivener was a trustee of the School of Arts site. In Mittagong, Hugh Childs, a local magistrate was also chairman of the school board and vice-president of the School of Arts. Jennett McAllister, like other pioneers in the family, successfully educated her own children on her isolated Mole River property.

Accidental Deaths

John Adams

Mary Ann Adams

Jane and Margaret, two sisters of William Whitfield drowned in the Derwent River at Workington, England in 1854 and 1856. John Rumble, working on constructing the  new railway line between Liverpool and Campbelltown, died in an horrific accident in 1858. A railway worker failed to signal an approaching train. Two trucks were derailed and with a load of sleepers, John fell to his death. Mary Ann Adams (nee McIntyre) fell into the kitchen fire while boiling water for tea at her Cambewarra home in 1870.  Her son John Adams was killed when a winch handle struck his head after a CSR barge fouled the line of the ferry he was operating on the Richmond River near the Broadwater Mill. Other accidents were prolific and even serious but not fatal.

Cricketers

Jack Chegwyn and W.A. Brown, Combined NSW Cricket Clubs’ Team versus GPS XI, Sydney Cricket Ground 1934

Inevitably, given Australians’ love of the game, their are some enthusiastic and notable cricketers in the ranks. Jack Chegwyn had a  proud record, making 11 943 runs and 20 centuries for Randwick and the NSW team and was for a time  Randwick’s first grade captain. He is also renowned for his voluntary work in cricket promotion and discovering talent such as Doug Walters in 1962. Bruce Francis  made his Test debut against England at Manchester in 1972. He went on to be a hard hitting opening bat for Essex, the County from which his Rumble ancestors migrated in 1857.  He was a key mover in the establishment of World Series Cricket in 1977 and the rebel Australian tour to South Africa in 1984-1985. The Rainbow family achieved fame in the Fairfield district. William Rainbow was a prominent athlete in his early days and practised cricket with Charles Bannerman who played in the first test match in 1882. William and four of his five sons played with distinction in the Wetherill Park A Grade team  winning many a match. The family also produced tennis players who have excelled over generations. David Childs, a keen first grade cricketer and cousin of the Rainbow boys passed on his skills to his grandson Bryan Preen who went on to play first grade cricket. Many other individuals in the Adam, Bowden, Adams, Campbell, Edwards and Scrivener families enthusiastically played with their local sides from pioneering days in rural districts though not always with distinction. Ted Whitfield was one who played in a city team, winning a trophy or two in the 1930s.

Bankruptcy

William Whitfield’s 1894 promissory note

Australian immigrants have generally been enterprising but opportunities were always associated with risks which led to economic failure and all the attendant consequences. Some ancestors survived more than one insolvency but others were ruined for life. Insolvency in 1845 did not hinder Thomas Adam‘s building interests in Newcastle and while a subsequent bankruptcy in 1874 through investment in tin mining near Tingha was a setback, he started a profitable saw milling venture at Raymond Terrace.  John Adams was far less fortunate. Being a pioneer of the Alstonville district meant that despite successful clearing of the Big Scrub on his property, sugar growing was in its infancy and processing was primitive and costly. Bankruptcy in 1876 cost him his conditional land purchase. The family fortunes never recovered and a second bankruptcy in 1899 was the last straw. Edward Scrivener, initially a successful draper in George Street Sydney succumbed to economic failure in 1865 and 1869. He never operated his own business again but unlike John Adams’ sons, Edward’s son Frederick Scrivener became a comparatively wealthy man after he moved north to the Richmond River as a storekeeper. Hugh Childs, as a railway construction contractor on the Southern Line, was so mortified that he could not pay his workers in 1863 that he encouraged his sons to become railway employees rather than entrepreneurs. It was advice that sustained the family through the bad times of the 1890s and 1930s Depression. William Whitfield, already a broken man through losing his Pilotage Certificate, escaped his creditors in 1894 by returning to England after the failure of his investment in a Parkes hotel. He died in Hull just six weeks later. His family was left to fend for themselves.

On the Rails

Ancestors & Descendants of Edward Childs & Catherine Rumble

First published as ‘From Newtownards to Newtown’ in 1996 Second edition 2007

ISBN 0 9578 150 34

Escaping the poverty of rural England, the Rumble family left Clavering, Essex and took up the opportunities offered by the construction of railways in NSW in the 1850s, as did Hugh and Edward Childs from Newtownards, County Down in Ulster, Ireland. Hugh Childs’ son, Edward, drove locomotives on the western and southern lines from 1872 until 1911 and the same industry  provided secure employment for some of his descendants when rail travel was the primary form of transportation .