Chapter 8: WILLIAM ALEXANDER BALCOMBE (1855 – 1939)

William Alexander Balcombe was born to Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe and his wife Lydia (nee Stuckey) in 1855.

BIRTHS. At Paddington, on 1st instant, Mrs Thomas T. Balcombe, of a son.[1]

No doubt there was much celebration as he had three older sisters and his birth was some 15 or so years after his parent’s marriage in 1840. [2] His baptism in St Andrews was 5 weeks later, on 6th October performed by G King. [3]

Young William had three sisters to ‘spoil’ him but life would not have been all that pleasant as his oldest sister Jane died just a short time after his third birthday. [4] His father became increasingly melancholy, erratic and violent, the result of gradual deterioration from the serious head injury he suffered many years before,  and took his own life just after young William’s sixth birthday. [5] What traumatic events for a young boy to face.

We have some idea how the family survived financially – there could have been income from the sale of Thomas’ prints or illustrations in books. Later on some Stuckey family members stayed with Lydia, did they make some monetary contribution? Lydia was advertising for servants, suggesting she had some income. In 1864 she wanted a “thorough General Servant” [6] and she was looking for a “respectable middle aged English woman who was a good cook and laundress” for two people at Camden in 1865.[7] It appears that young William was a pupil at Paddington House School, presumably a fee paying establishment, as he won the prize for French in the junior Division, second section in the Point Piper Road Annual Examinations.[8]

A family rumour has it that Thomas had been having an affair despite writing in his suicide note to Lydia that “I die blessing you”. When the lady in question died, she left her home to Lydia and the children.[9] This has not been confirmed as without the lady’s name and date of death it is difficult to research for a will or probate records.

In 1868 the family had obviously lost their pet dog as an advertisement was placed in the newspaper “Lost from Napoleon Cottage, Woollahra, a Poodle, answers to the names of Floss[10] and a couple of years later a black and tan toy terrier with “WH Hargraves, Napoleon Cottage, Woollahra” on the collar had gone missing.[11] This suggested that Lydia was taking in paying lodgers. Ten years later, in 1880, WH Hargreaves was still living there, the Linnean Society on NSW listing him at the address in 1880.[12] So the family of Edward Hammond Hargraves, the gold discoverer, appears to have remained a friend to the Balcombe family. Young William Alexander was friendly with Hargraves’ son William Henry and the friendship continued throughout their working life in the Equity Office.[13]

The 1870 copy of Sands directory lists Mrs L Balcombe of Old South Head Road, Woollahra and the various newspaper advertisements has Napoleon Cottage, Woollahra or Upper Paddington. It is somewhat confusing as there was another Napoleon Cottage in Sydney at the time, owned by the family of Gregory Board who retired here in 1849 after working in the Hotel trade. This was at 52 Brisbane Street on the corner with Goulburn Street. [14]

The Balcombe home of ‘Napoleon Cottage’ was in the Paddington area and there was an interesting history of the local municipality in a newspaper article in 1914


The municipal history of Paddington is perhaps the most important from the standpoint of the district’s progress. It was in September, 1859, that a petition signed by 172 persons residing in Paddington was presented to the Government, and duly gazetted. The prayer of the petition set forth a request for the Incorporation of the district. The proposed municipality was said to contain 1000 houses, with 3000 inhabitants. The area was not mentioned, but the boundaries set forth excluded the Victoria Barracks and all that I now densely populated area between Oxford street and Park-road, but it took in Darling Point and a large portion of Double Bay. Yet   the residents were not pleased over the pro- posed boundaries. They did not want included anybody but democrats, and when one excited orator at a public meeting declared that “they did not want them ‘ere geebungs of Darling Point,” he found he had quite a following in his ideas; so when the municipality was proclaimed in 1860 the boundaries were so fixed that the southern line was the Sydney Common and the northern boundary New South Head-road but in 1866 the Sydney Common Act was passed, and the control of the water reserve was vested in the City Council. Lachlan swamp and a portion of the adjoining land had been previously included in the Borough of Randwick, and when that was taken away it left a corner of that municipality completely isolated. This corner contained St. Matthias’ Church, half the Roman Catholic school and grounds, the building itself being half in Randwick, and half in Paddington. About 40 or 50 houses were in a similar position. Confusion arose, and people very often came to Paddington Town Hall on municipal business, only to find that they would have to journey to Randwick. They had the city boundary between them. In fact, the city, Paddington, and Randwick boundaries all converged to a point St. Matthias’ Church, at the Junction of Park and New South Head roads (now Oxford street). The confusion continued until 30 years ago, Paddington then paid the Randwick Council £500, and took over the  isolated corner.

It was not long after the issue of the proclamation creating Paddington a municipality under the first Local Government Act that the first council was elected. It consisted of the following nine councillors:-Messrs. Alston, Blumer, Lynch, Perry, Reddy, Steel, Taylor, Underwood, and Westaway. The first meeting of the council was held on Friday, May 25, 1860, in the Paddington Inn, when Councillor W. Perry was elected chairman, for under the first Municipal Act the term councillor and chairman were used; but when the Municipalities Act of 1867 was enacted, the   forms were changed to alderman and Mayor. At its second meeting, the council decided to rent Mr. Logan’s house for council’s offices for 12 months at 15s per week, and to advertise for a council clerk at a salary of £100 per year. Mr. Mortimer was appointed first town clerk, but he did not occupy the position for more than a week or two. He resigned, and Mr. Meyers was elected to the  position, and acted in the dual capacity of clerk and borough surveyor. The council was without funds, but acting on the authority of the Government, a cash credit to the extent of £400 was obtained from the Bank of New South Wales, on the Joint and several bonds of members of the council. Messrs. W. and E. Bradridge’s tender for valuation for £70 was accepted. The council had not been elected more than a month when Councillor Underwood was forced to resign, and his place was filled by the election of Mr. J. P. Smith. The estimated expenditure for the first year was set down at £2000, and to meet this, when the valuer’s returns were handed in, it was decided to levy a shilling rate. The first municipal work recorded was in May, 1860, that five men were repairing Underwood street, which would cost £30. The first letter of complaint from a ratepayer was from Mr. Kenneth Stewart, drawing attention to dangerous holes in front of his residence in Gordon-street; but the council searched in vain on the official plan for Gordon-Street, and at last decided to inform Mr. Stewart that there was no Gordon-street, as far as they know. To-day Gordon-street is one of the leading streets in the North Ward. The bus proprietors then petitioned for a stand to be appointed, and the council fixed the first bus stand on the south side of Old South Head-road, just within the boundary of the municipality, near Point Piper-road (now Jersey-road).

The following year three of the councillors, in accordance with the Act, had to submit themselves for re-election. They were the three lowest on the poll at the first election. The following year the next three on the poll had to face the electors, and the third year the remaining three went through the same ordeal. That meant that an alderman was elected for three years, and that a third of the council of nine aldermen retired each year, but were eligible for re-election. That system prevailed right up to three years ago, when the present Local Government Act was brought into operation, and now, at the end of every three years, the whole council retires in a body. Councillor Humphrey was elected chairman of the council for the second year. At this time Mr. John Sutherland, “Honest John,” as he was familiarly called, was the member for the hamlet of Paddington in the Legislative Assembly.

The council was thus fairly under way, but there was much to be done in the pioneering work, which lay before the residents. The municipality was in darkness, roads were wanted in all directions, a water service was, needed – no Water Board in those days – estates had to be cut up, and the land sold for building purposes, in order to meet the demands of the increasing population. Money, had to be borrowed in large sums to meet such a big, but necessary, undertaking on the part of the council. Twelve months after the first council was elected (1861) gas lamps for street lighting cost £12 per annum each. The council resolved on erecting 10 on the Old South Head road, if so many were necessary, and five on the New South Head-road. This meant £180 for 15 lamps for 12 months. Today they would not cost a fourth of that amount, but it had to be done, and the expenditure for the second year of the existence of the Paddington Council was £1802 10s. The first piece of kerb and guttering was laid on Old South Head-road, by contract, at 11s per yard. During the third year of the existence of the first council the question of a water supply from the Lachlan swamps, or otherwise, was considered. To get a plan of this work £220 was paid, and several months later the work of laying the pipes was commenced, and Paddington people finally discarded their wells and the purchase of water by the bucket, and were delighted to see it flowing from the taps in their back yards. From that period onward Paddington made  good progress. The pioneering days were over. Estates were subdivided and sold. Houses were erected in all parts of the municipality, and the population increased rapidly. In fact, Paddington became a suburb which was immensely popular. The income of the council increased. Much work was undertaken, some of which in those days was looked upon as almost beyond the scope and anticipations of the aldermen, for in 1867 the district was created a borough, the chairman of council became Mayor, and the councillors wore termed aldermen. But the work was heavy. Great sand-hills had to be removed. One of these extended from Dowling-street to the Barrack wall, and was bounded by Old South Head and Park roads. From this immense sandhill hundreds of tons of beautiful yellow sand were carted to the buildings in course of erection throughout the metropolitan area. In fact, it was from this hill that most of the sand used in building was obtained. The filling-in and levelling of Moore Park also took a large quantity  of the sand. Finally this immense sandhill disappeared, and to-day the land is covered with houses and well-metalled roads are running through the area. But it was not only sandhills which had to be levelled, but, immense quarries from which the building stone of Sydney had been obtained had to be filled in. In fact. Paddington in the sixties was composed of sandhills, gullies, huge rocks, and hills, where the geebung and five-corner flourished. Those abounded on all sides, and as a consequence road-making became a costly item, but to the credit of the aldermen of the past these features have been removed, and the streets, footpaths, and necessary drainage works of to-day bear evidence of the care and attention which have been bestowed upon them for the comfort, convenience, and healthfulness of the people.  

One of the early subdivisions in Paddington was the Underwood Estate. It was in the Seventies that Messrs. Richardson and Wrench brought the first subdivision of this immense paddock, full of quarries, under the hammer. The best of the land brought £3 per foot; worth £20 to-day. Under the present Act the owner of an estate must make the roads and footpaths before the council will take them over. But when the Underwood Estate was sold the council made Windsor-street, Cascade-street, and the other roads which now give access to the hundreds of houses that have since been built upon every portion of this wide area, and which to-day houses an immense population.

So it was with the Gurner Estate and other subdivisions, which were in big demand at good prices, for the means of transit to Paddington by the introduction of the tramway system had so much improved; but Paddington, like the rest of the eastern – suburbs, will be better served when the much-talked-of railway is an accomplished fact.

The first council-chambers for Paddington were erected In 1866 on the site of the old pound yard in Oxford-street. The land cost £226. The building was erected by Messrs. Cripps and Stoddart. Mr. T. Rowe was the architect. To-day this old Town Hall forms part of the Women’s Hospital. The present Town Hall, at the corner of Oatley-road, is the largest hall outside the city. It is noted for its handsome appearance, its commodious halls, offices, vestibule, balconies, lodge   rooms, etc., and, for social functions it ranks next to the Sydney Town Hall. It was built in 1891. The cost of the hall and furniture was £13,000, and it has proved a good investment for the municipality.

When the borough had been 50 years in existence (1909) Mr. Vialoux, the present Town Clerk, prepared a return showing-what had   been accomplished in Paddington in 60 years. In 1860 (the first year of the council) the borough contained 600 houses, and a population of 2500. The income of the council was £439, and the expenditure £493. Thirty years later (1890) there were over 1000 houses and a population of 20,000. The income of the council had increased to £12,732. This brought the position of the borough, as far as revenue was concerned, next to Balmain, which ranked the highest amongst the suburban municipalities. In 1910 after 50 years  the population had risen to 26,000. There   were then 4800 houses in the borough, which  had 35 miles of well-made streets, and nearly  1800 names on the ratepayers’ roll. The receipts of the council were £18,011, and the expenditure £21,000. The difference was met by a temporary loan of £3500.  

To-day the population is much greater, and the revenue more. In fact, there is hardly a vacant allotment in the whole of Paddington, and a walk through the streets reveals an absence of “To Let” and “Land for Sale” notices. Paddington is surrounded by parks and recreation grounds. It has its free Public Library, and in every way it is a progressive municipality. Its strides, from the days of the gee-bung and the five-corner have been marvellous. Its only drawback is the presence of that unsightly building, the Victoria Barracks, which it is sincerely hoped will shortly be removed, and the immense area which the barracks occupies will  be subdivided and sold. It would mean housing accommodation for a few thousand people, and would be the finishing stroke towards  making Paddington one of the largest and most flourishing municipalities around Sydney, a position it practically already occupies, notwithstanding that it was one of the most costly to form.[15]

No doubt young William Alexander and his friends would collect wild flowers to take home to their mothers, and there would be plenty of fights over ‘geebungs’ or ‘five corners’ as recounted in this story:-


Five corners and geebungs – what varied recollections do they convey to the minds of many of the old Sydney boys of 50 years ago!

Now, I suppose, there are very few of the present generation of Sydney boys who know anything about five corners and geebungs, but to the lads of long ago they were regarded as toothsome delicacies, and I believe, were prized as much as the choicest peach or pear. The five corner (Styphelia incarnata) is a small greenish berry, which grows on a shrub, principally in sandy soil The fruit is enclosed in a capsule, or cup composed of five small leaves, hence the name of five corner. The geebung, or gee bong (Persoonia lanceolata), is also a greenish berry, larger, but not so pleasant to the taste as the five corner, if that quality can really be applied to either. It was quite a common thing to see five corners exposed for sale in the fruit shops of that time, and also in the old George-street Market stalls They were sold at the rate of one penny for a wineglass full It is many years ago now since I saw five corners exposed for sale. One of the most favoured spots visited by the gangs of boys who went gathering fives (as they were commonly called) was the vicinity of Double Bay and Rose Bay, the route taken to reach those places being more generally by way of William-street and the New South Head-road, the highway to South Head. Fifty years ago there were very few houses, comparatively, on the line of route, and after leaving the top of William-street it was pretty lonely. The road is now known as Bayswater-road

There were several large residences on the way before reaching West’s bush. I recollect there was Kellett House, Mr (afterwards Sir SA) Donaldson’s residence, Goderich Lodge, then occupied by Dr Broughton, Bishop of Sydney, Waratah House, the residence of Robert Campbell, Tertius, a Sydney merchant, and Mr (afterwards Sir Edward) Knox’s residence. All these houses were surrounded with large grounds

On the left-hand side of the road, after leaving the grounds of Kellett House, there was a small street, or lane, called Princes-road. It was a very lonely place at night, and I have a distinct recollection of several persons being waylaid and robbed there. One man, a market gardener, living at Double Bay, was so savagely treated that he had to have one leg amputated

But to come back to the five corners, as I previously observed the bush in the vicinity of Double Bay and Rose Bay was the happy hunting-ground and as a rule Saturdays and Sundays were the days selected for the sport   and troops of boys of all ages and sizes could always be met with on these days on their way out to gather the luscious fruit but let me observe, in passing that the going out for ‘fives’ was not restricted on the part of all boys to the Saturday and Sunday, for  some of us occasionally wagged it from school, in order to gratify our appetites for “fives and gees”. The gathering of the fruit was not unattended with danger, as several instances occurred of boys being bitten by snakes and death-adders, but the greatest trouble the boys had to contend with was the fear and dread of being waylaid on their return homewards, laden with their bags of  “fives”. It was customary for gangs of youths, who were too lazy to go out themselves to lie in wait on the Sydney side of the Rushcutter Bay bridge, where there was no means of escape, and like true highway- men of old rob the returning boys of the fruits of their days pleasure. This was called ‘spicing’ and invariably led to some severe fighting. Many a battle have I seen on the road between the contending parties I think the “pushes” of those days were called “the Forties”. The term “larrikin” is of a more recent date. The happy hunting grounds where the five corners grow are, alas, now things of the past the bush has given place to large private residences with their surrounding pleasure grounds, and one hardly recognises Rushcutter Bay, Double Bay, and Rose Bay, as they were 50 years ago These places had also another attraction for me on account of the wealth of wild flowers which grew there in profusion- boronias, epacrids etc Rose Bay was a particularly favoured place for Christmas bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) the name given to the Christmas bush by the blacks was “Mooli ” And talking of wild flowers reminds me that probably Rose Bay derived its name from the large quantity of native roses (Boronia serrulata) which grew in the vicinity. The native name of Rose Bay, according to Collins, was “Pan-ner-rong which signified blood: this was a favourite fighting place of the blacks in the days of the first settlement in the country. The last of the blacks that I have any recollection of in  connection with Rose Bay was “Ricketty Dick”. This was an old blackfellow whose lower extremities were paralysed. He had a gunyah erected for him on the side of the road near Rose Bay Lodge, and sat there daily soliciting pennies from passers-by.S.[16]

According to his daughter Vera, family friend and Judge Sir William Owen help William Alexander Balcombe to find a position the the Equity Office[17], no doubt helped by the fact that the Hargreaves family also worked there. Just before his nineteenth birthday in 1874, young William and two friends who worked in the Equity Office were lucky to escape with their lives when their boat was wrecked in a storm. The Australian Town and Country Journal and the Maitland Mercury both reported the incident:


ON Monday last, Mr. W. H. Hargraves, son of Mr. Hargraves, the gold discoverer, and Mr. C. J. Burns, son of the member for the Hunter, both clerks in the Equity Court, accompanied by a a young man named W. A. Balcombe, started in a boat for Broken Bay to spend their “vacation holiday” in procuring conchological specimens (Mollusc shells). [18]

They took provisions for a fortnight, and an equipment of everything necessary, their principal object being to dredge in Broken Bay. The party left in the morning, the wind being west, and about 2 in the afternoon they were a little to the southward of Barrenjoey.

At that time a sudden squall, from the south-west struck the boat, heeling her over till the sea went over, and she lay with her sail in the water. Fortunately, Mr. Hargraves had the presence of mind to cut away the mast, when she righted, but in a water-logged and helpless condition. The wind then rose considerably, and a heavy sea got up. The party were two miles from land, and that land a rocky, ironbound coast. By keeping the boat’s head to wind they managed to pull towards the ” hole in the wall” but upon nearing the coast their situation became even more inconveniently dangerous. The sea raised by the south-west wind broke with great violence upon the rocks, and in the sandy bay higher up the surf broke half a mile from the beach.

They were now close to the rocks, with apparently no chance of getting on shore. The young men, however, displayed a presence of mind that accounts for their being alive to narrate their escape. Tying the dredge rope to a cooking stove, weighted with all the other iron they had in the boat, Mr. Hargraves hove this novel anchor in to the sea, while his companions backed the boat cautiously towards the rocks. The dredge rope was not long enough, and after it gave out, a tent line was added to it, and then a doubled schnapper line, which, with the painter, just allowed the boat’s stern to go close to the rocks.

Burns and Balcombe waited their opportunity, and jumped ; but in trying to hold the boat while Hargraves joined them, they slipped and were dashed with much violence on the rocks beneath. When Hargraves jumped out of the boat on the top of Burns and Balcombe, a wave then came up and left the party sprawling upon a sunken rock, and when the sea receded they were enabled with great activity to reach a more elevated rock.

A big sea soon after lifted the boat up, and carried her against the rock. It must be remembered that this occurred during the heavy gale on Monday, which was felt severely here, and it is marvellous that the three escaped as they did, as the coast upon which they were cast ashore is as rocky and almost as high as the South Head.

After getting onto higher ground, bruised and bleeding, and wet through, the party found a track round the cliff, and got to the farm of Mr. Collins, who lent Mr. Hargraves a horse to go on to Broken Bay, and treated his companions with the greatest kindness. The party returned to town yesterday evening, thankful for their escape. Their loss is considerable, as the boat cost nearly £50, without her stores and dredging, and other tackle.

The ketches Uncle Tom and Star of the East, which were both caught in the same squall, had different parts of their gear carried away. The former dropped anchor, flying signals of distress; the latter bore away for Terrigal.[19]

As well as his aquatic activities, William became involved in cricket, playing for Carlingford Seconds in 1877 and their Firsts in 1888

Cricket Notices

2ND CARLINGFORD v. P.O. School, Parramatta. ‘Meet railway station, 1.35. W. A. Balcombe, hon. sec.  [20]

1st CARLINGFORD v 1st GLADESVILLE.-Meet King-street Wharf, 1 p.m. sharp. W. A. Balcombe [21]

In 1880 “W. A. Balcombe, Napoleon Cottage, Paddington” was included in a long list of gentlemen who wanted to return W J Trickett in the election for Paddington. [22]

In March 1882

APPOINTMENTS-Mr. William Balcombe, to be third clerk in the office of the Master in Equity, [23]

and in December 1883 the following notification appear in the Government Gazette:-

Appointments, – Mr. William Alexander Balcombe to be second clerk in the office of the Master in Equity; and Mr Edward Baly to be third clerk in that office. [24]

He rose through the ranks to eventually become Deputy Registrar in Equity.[25]

On 1 July 1884 William Alexander Balcombe and Jessie Edith Griffin, ten years his junior, had been married[26] by the Rev. S Simm at St John’s Church, Raymond Terrace, home to the magnificent, beautifully painted organ made by ‘J W Walker of London’ installed in 1862.[27]

St JohnsSt John’s Church, Raymond Terrace[28]

William ALexander Balcombe0001   William Alexander Balcombe

Jessie was the daughter of Capt. Francis Henry Griffin and Lydia (Liddy) Elizabeth Williams who had 14 children of which just 4 were boys and a couple of the babies died as infants.

Family rumour said she met William Balcombe when he was on a hunting trip with a friend and they called into the farm where they met all these beautiful girls! The only sister thought to have been known to the Balcombe family was Lydia who came to Sydney with Jessie.

A story within the family was that Jessie was brought up by the older girls as her parents died young. She had a hard time as the older girls were cruel but she would not leave without Lydia, the youngest one. However Lydia, the second child, was the eldest daughter and Jessie was the ninth child, born 8 December 1864 at Port Stephens, so the story does not seem to be correct, a typical family rumour?[29] The youngest daughter was Octavia Caroline born on 29 June 1875 at Limeburners’ Creek

GRIFFlN.-June 29, at Tarean, Limeburners’ Creek, Mrs. F. H. Griffin, of a daughter.[30]

The first child born to William and Jessie was Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe, at the home of William’s widowed mother Lydia, Napoleon Cottage, Woollhara in 1885. [31] Their first daughter Vera Lydia was born at Heathcot, Kogarah in October 1887. [32] They were living at Webbers Road, Kogarah in 1888 [33] and when daughter Doris Miriam was born in November 1890 they were listed as living at Karnah, Kogarah. Their second son William Gould Balcombe was born here in May 1894, just a few days after the death of his great-uncle Henry Gould Stuckey, [34] who we think may have been the ‘Mr Stuckey’ involved with the development of Willeroo Station in the Northern Territory.[35]


William was involved in local civic affairs. He was a signatory for the formation of the Kogarah Municipality

Sydney, 15th July, 1885 – KOGARAH


His Excellency the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, directs the publication in accordance with the Municipalities Act of 1867, of the substance and prayer of a Petition addressed to His Excellency and signed by 300 persons, praying that their locality therein described may be erected, into a Municipality under the name of the ‘ Municipal District of Kogarah “


The Petitioners state that they are persons who, upon incorporation, would be liable to be assessed for Municipal rates in respect of property or household residence.

That the population of the proposed Municipality is at least 1100, and the area thereof is about 6 miles.

That the following are the boundaries proposed, viz. : Commencing at the intersection of the Illawarra Railway Line with George’s River on the northern bank of the said river ; and bounded thence by the said railway line to a point between Arncliffe and Rockdale Stations where the said railway line meets the Gannon’s Forest-road : thence north-easterly by the south-eastern   side of the said road to the western boundary line of the West Botany municipality ; thence bounded on the east by the said western boundary line of the West Botany municipality to the waters of Botany Bay ; and thence on the south by the waters of Botany Bay and George’s River, to the point of commencement.

And the Petitioners therefore humbly pray that his  Excellency will be pleased to deal favourably with the fore- going. [36]


William was obviously keen on sporting activities and was part of the group of Kogarah men looking to establish a rowing club.

A meeting was held in Kogarah on Saturday evening last, with the view of starting a rowing club in that district. Owing to the inclement state of the weather, there was not a very large attendance; but those present were strongly in favor of a club being formed. A committee was appointed, with Mr. G. S. Hodgkinson as hon. sec. pro. tem., to obtain all necessary information, and to arrange for a meeting of gentlemen willing to join the club, on an early date. Mr. W. A. Balcombe occupied the chair. A rowing club would be a great acquisition to the district, and it is hoped that it will be speedily and successfully started. [37]

The Balcombe’s second child and first daughter, Vera Lydia Balcombe, was born in 1887.

BALCOMBE.—October 19, at her residence, Heathcot, Kogarah, the wife of W. A. Balcombe, of a daughter. [38]

More meetings were held to establish the Kogarah Rowing Club with WA Balcombe elected to be Captain.


The adjourned meeting of the above was held in the Kogarah School of Arts on June 27. The proposed rules were read and adopted seriatim. The treasurer reported that the cash and promises of subscriptions totalled £110. Mr. Pritchard reported that he had received contributions amounting to £16, and Dr. Lamrock stated that he had several sums promised. The offer of Mr. Pritchard to lend the sum of £100 for two years at 6 per cent., returning the interest every year as a donation, conditionally on £150 being first raised, was accepted, and a vote of thanks tendered for the offer. The offer of Mr. C. Bull to draw up the legal document was also accepted with thanks. The design and specification of the proposed boathouse, as prepared by Mr. I. B. Wellings, were submitted for approval. A flag was reported to have been promised by some lady  friends of the club. The names of the office-bearers are as follows:-Patron, J. H. Carruthers, M.L.A.; president, F. E. Holt; vice-presidents, the Mayors of Rockdale, Kogarah, and Hurstville, with Alderman J. B. Carroll, Dr. Lamrock, and Mr. C. Bull; committee—J. C. Thom, P. Lacey, H. Kinsela, W. Pritchard, J. English, J. H. McPherson ; captain, W. A. Balcombe ; vice-captain, C. Bull ; hon. treasurer and secretary, W. H. Lippmann and W. Duesbury; auditors, G. Hogben and J. T. Kerr.               [39]

Was William the ‘Mr Balcombe’ mentioned in this article? He could have been on another hunting trip in the Maitland area and found the child…..

Lost in the Bush.-An incident which might have ended seriously occurred on Friday last. It seems that a little boy of some seven or eight years, the son of Mr. S. L. Peyton, of this town, strayed from a picnic party near Buttai, the locus of several previous similar mishaps, and after traversing the bush circuitously for some eight miles, the little fellow succeeded in striking the Sugarloaf Road, when he was taken up and driven home to West Maitland by Mr. Balcombe, who happened to be passing. Meantime, with commendable humanity, nearly all the males in the locality turned out, and having formed search parties scoured the bush until late into the night; and it speaks volumes for the skill with which the search was conducted when it is stated that it was mainly prosecuted by the aid of torches made of lighted stringy bark, and that it had nearly reached the spot where the boy was found when the news of his recovery became known. The services of the searchers are acknowledged in our advertising columns by Mr Peyton, who expresses his sincere thanks to all who took part in the search. [40]

Meanwhile the activities of the Rowing Club had no doubt been occupying some of William’s time when you look at what they had achieved during their first year of operation.


The first annual meeting of the Kogarah Bay Rowing Club was held on the 19th instant ; the Mayor of Kogarah (Dr. Read) occupying the chair. There was a fair attendance of members. The annual report disclosed the fact that a boathouse had been erected at a cost of £136, and that there are at present six boats ready for use. Owing to the funds of the club not being sufficient to stand this expenditure, Mr. A. Pritchard, one of its members, had liberally promised to advance the sum of £100 for two years, and moreover making a donation to the club of the interest at 6 per cent. It was also pointed out that the success of the undertaking depended largely on the extent of the list of members, and strongly impressed all to work shoulder to shoulder with a view of bringing   this about. The committee regretted that the late hon. sec, Mr. Duesbury, had been compelled, through pressure of business, to relinquish his position, and that great credit was due to that gentleman for the manner in which he had worked for the welfare of the club. Other matters of minor importance were referred to. The report was unanimously adopted, as was also the treasurer’s balance-sheet, which showed a debit balance of £2 1s 6d, and that during the last six months £175 6s had been received as subscriptions and donations, which amount has been disbursed in the purchase of boats, erection of shed, &c. Mr. F. S. E. Holt’s promise of several trophies for the opening regatta was received with thanks. The officers for the ensuing year were then declared elected as follows : — Patron, Mr. J. H. Carruthers, M.L.A. ; president, Mr. E. S. E. Holt ; vice-presidents, Dr. Bead. W. G. Judd, Js.P., Messrs. J. Cormack, C. Bull, J.B. Carroll, and J. W. Duesbury ; committee, Messrs. P. J. Lacey. H. McPherson, M. Murray, W. Pritchard, J. English, and H. Crane ; captain, Mr. W. A. Balcombe ; vice-captain, Mr. C. Ball; hon. treasurer, Mr. C. H. Lippmann : joint hon. secretaries, Messrs. G. Leeder and J. S. Hodgkinson ; trustees, Messrs. W. E. Rust and J. B. Carroll. Votes of thanks to retiring officers and to the chairman concluded an enthusiastic meeting. It is intended to hold an afternoon racing at Kogarah Bay on the 2nd March next, for members only. [41]


Kogarah Bay Rowing Club.

A successful meeting was held on Saturday afternoon, at Kogarah Bay, in connection with the above club. There was a fair attendance of ladies and gentlemen, among whom were the president (Mr. F. S. E. Holt), Messrs. S. Cook, J. W. Duesbury, W. Pritchard, 0. Bull, and the officers of the club, consisting of starter, Mr. W. C. H. Lippmann; timekeeper, Mr. Gus. Ord; captain, Mr. W. A. Balcombe; referee, Mr. Chas. Bull. Messrs. Balcombe and Pritchard acted as handicappers.

The weather was fine and the water smooth, but the times were not fast in consequence of a strong tide flowing in near the Starting-boat. The results of the races were as follows, the course being about one mile:-1st heat, won by Geo. Hughes: 2nd heat, E. Douglas; 3rd heat, E. Emerson. Final, E. Douglas; time, 4 minutes 36 3-5 seconds. [42]


In January 1890 William and his wife Jessie were invited to a reception given by the Mayoress of Sydney. Civic receptions in those days were obviously lavish affairs as shown by this description of the decorations and entertainment.


A reception was given by the Mayoress of Sydney (Mrs. Sydney Burdekin) in the Exhibition Building yesterday afternoon. The gathering was a large and brilliant one, and everything passed off with éclat. The reception is the first of the kind that has been held for three years. The doors were opened at 3 o’clock, and the proceedings were carried on until 6 o’clock. The room was very quickly filled with visitors. It was handsomely decorated. Festoons of evergreens were carried from each pillar, and the pillars were further decorated with trophies of flags and evergreens. Flags, banners, and bannerets were ranged round the room, and there were also other ornamentations. Chairs were grouped for the convenience of the guests. The entrance was at the southern end of the building, where a large space was reserved for the visitors to assemble in. The Mayor and Mayoress occupied a carpeted square, which was partitioned off with a silken rope, and provided with an elegant drawing-room suite. A very pretty effect was given to the whole by a number of choice ferns, which were sunk in white earthen ware vases. The visitors were announced by Mr. Bradley, the Mayor’s private secretary, and by the assistant town clerk, Mr. Palmer. At the northern end of the room there were five clerks, whose duty it was to record the names of the visitors. The proceedings were necessarily of the most formal description, and only a favoured few were accorded more than the ordinary ceremonial welcome. The large building afforded convenience for promenading, and the time passed in the most agreeable manner. There were two bands. Need’s string band was on the eastern and the Vernon band on the western side. Refreshment tables were ranged on either side of the room, and also in the galleries. In “select circles” matters municipals were discussed over champagne by the gentlemen, and the pleasantness of the general arrangements was admitted by the ladies, who were provided with tea and light refreshments. Nothing but praise was heard on every side, and the health of the Mayor was again and again toasted. So large was the assembly that the room was soon almost inconveniently filled. Sir Henry and Lady Parkes were amongst the early arrivals; several members of the Ministry were to be noticed, and nearly all the prominent people of the town were present. For the first hour outside there was a string of carriages arriving, and shortly afterwards the departures began. The decorations were by Messrs, Sale and Dare, and they were carried out under the direction of Mr. E. P. Bradley. The caterer was Mr. Baumann, of Hunter-street. Mr and Mrs WA Balcombe were among the names of the visitors. [43]

It was not long after this reception, which was no doubt quite “the place to be seen,” that William was promoted to the position of Chief Clerk when his great friend WH Hargraves was promoted to the Registrar and Taxation office.

APPOINTMENTS.- Mr. William Henry Hargraves, chief clerk, Equity Office, to be deputy registrar and assistant taxing officer; Mr. William Alexander Balcombe, second clerk, to be chief clerk, vice Hargraves ; and Mr. Lindsay Darlington Deane, fourth clerk, to be second clerk, vice Balcombe. [44]

The position of Chief Clerk in Equity was a role in the NSW Supreme Court. This operates two divisions, the Common Law Division and the Equity Division which deals with the concepts of conscience and fairness in courts of law. It was a clerical position, albeit fairly powerful and may have dealt with lesser legal issues cropping up in the preparation of matters to come before the court and performed duties similar to those of registrar.[45]

Salary list Equity Office. -Deputy registrar and assistant taxing officer: W.H. Hargraves, £600. Chief clerk W.A. Balcombe, £380. Accountant and second clerk: A Newmarch £276. Clerks: L. D. Deane £218, H.A.N. Smith, £175; F.Fancker, £150; O.S.White, £140; R. C. Tarrant £50. [46]

The Balcombe’s second daughter Doris was born in November of 1890.

BALCOMBE November 17 at her residence, Karuah, Kogarah, wife of W. A. Balcombe, of daughter.  [47]

A couple of years later William had been elected to be an Alderman on the Kogarah Council

KOGARAH This council met on Thursday evening, when there were present Aldermen P. J. Lacey (Mayor), H. McPherson, A. O. Butler, M. McRae, P. Herrmann, W. A. Balcombe, English, Sale, and Halstead. [48]

and attended functions as part of his duties-

Arbor Day – Arbor day was celebrated at the Kogarah Superior Public School on Friday, when trees were planted by Mr. J. H. Carruthers, M.L.A., and Mrs. Carruthers, the Mayor and Mayoress of Kogarah, Alderman and Mrs. Sale, Aldermen W. A. Balcombe, A. O. Butler, and P. Hermann, & Dr. Bucknell…… Addresses were delivered by Messrs. Carruthers and Lacey, and the school children rendered some songs in an admirable manner. The children were afterwards regaled at Moore field by the Mayor of Kogarah. [49]

and became even more involved in local affairs –

SCHOOL OF ARTS, KOGARAH – The ninth annual meeting of this institution was held in the large room upstairs on Tuesday evening. Mr. J. Sale presided. There were also present W. A. Balcombe, H. McPherson, J.P.,……Scrutineers were appointed to conduct the ballot for the election of office-bearers for the ensuing 12 months and on their return the following were announced as winning -President, J. Sales, unopposed, vice-presidents, H. McPherson and W. A. Balcombe [50]

William attended his last Kogarah Council meeting in 1894, after just one term.


The council met 5th February, when there were present.-The Mayor (C. H. Halstead), with Aldermen Herrmann, Sale, McPherson, Humphrey, Balcombe, and English.

Motion by Alderman Herrmann,-“That Inspector-General of Police be requested to arm the local police with revolvers.” Carried. By Alderman Sale,-“That the site offered in Regent-street for a fire station be accepted.” Carried. Through the Mayor and Alderman Herrmann, the Water and Sewerage Board is to be asked to extend water mains along Woniora-road and to Planthurst Estate.

This being the last meeting of the council during the present municipal year, Alderman English moved a vote of thanks to the retiring aldermen. Aldermen McPherson and Sale supported the motion, and spoke in eulogistic terms of the services rendered to the municipality by the Mayor and Alderman W. A. Balcombe, and general regret was expressed that they could not see their way clear to remain. [51]

However the move north was still some months away, and William remained involved in ‘southside’ activities, being a Vice President of the Hurstville Horticultural Show.

The second annual meeting, combined with the monthly flower show of the St. George’s Horticultural Society, was held at Hudson’s Hall, Hurstville, on Tuesday evening. The exhibits were few, but seemed to be the more perfect for their paucity. The hall was fairly filled. The chair was taken by Mr. John Sproule, president of the society. Reports showed a congratulatory state or affairs. Financially, receipts showed a small amount over payments for the year, and there is a total balance of assets of £100 10s 6d. The following were elected members of the council for the ensuing year : Messrs. Jno. Sproule (president), Vice presidents are Messrs. W. G. Judd, J. H. Clayton, Hunter McPherson, W. A. Balcombe, T. McMahon. [52]

Whilst William was at that meeting his wife was nursing their second son, a fourth child born just a few weeks earlier.

BALCOMBE.-May 27. At her residence. Karuah, Kogarah, the wife of W. A. Balcombe, of a son. [53]

The Balcombe’s built The Briars in Woonona Avenue, Wahroonga in 1895, one of the first houses in the suburb. A rumour within the family (which came from “Aunt Nancy” who was youngest sister to a future son-in-law of William and Jessie) was that Jessie, nicknamed “Gratie,” owned lots of land in Wahroonga and The Briars was built on a section of it; she was very wealthy and owned Hunter Street. When the children married they were given apparently given part of it.[54]

The house was designed by architect Charles H Halstead, a Hurstville architect who designed the Kogorah municipal offices [55] so would have been known by William from his days on the local Council. The house has similar architectural features to the Balcombe home called ‘The Briars’ on the island of St Helena. [56]

Briars from tennis courtThe Briars from the tennis court

IMG_3874 The front door [57]




The Balcombe’s had four small children when they moved to their new home on the north side of the harbour. William’s mother Lydia remained in Napoleon Cottage, Paddington so would be unable to help in any way. With a young family it is not surprising that Jessie advertised for some assistance in the family home:

GENERAL SERVANT wanted, good laundress, as other kept. Apply Mrs. W A BALCOMBE, 10 minutes’ walk from Wahroonga railway station  [58]

WANTED, Nursery Housemaid. Apply personally or by letter. Mrs W A Balcombe, Wahroonga [59]

In her later years, daughter Vera Balcombe wrote a memoir of her childhood. (It was written when she was still living at her home, 11 Milton Avenue, Mosman – she refers to reheating bread in her oven. As a new member of the family, having married her grandson Bob, I remember meeting her during her final few months in the Mosman Community Hospital, an acute care facility on Sydney’s North Shore where she died on 23 June 1974. Her Funeral was held on 25 June and the Death Notice appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of 26 June with an obituary in the Scone Advocate on 30 July 1974.[60] )

These notes were taken from a photocopy of Vera’s writings in an exercise book – we think it may have originally been given to her daughter Gwynneth (Susan) Keeling who passed away in April 1983. The book then went to Vera’s other daughter Elizabeth MacDougal. Our branch of the family received a copy from David MacDougal in 1985.

Vera’s handwriting is quite difficult to read, for example her lower case R’s are like the symbols for white or pink ribbon day, the lower case K is like 19 and the words are very stretched out (close to 70 pages of her writing have condensed to these few). As an example, we eventually worked out that “Wiley James Amsterush” was really “very Jane Austinish”. These memoirs have been deciphered by Bob and Caroline Gaden, in April-May 2014. We’ve done the best we can with the transcription and have added a few notes of additional information, in this font, where appropriate.

My grandmother lived in “Napoleon Cottage”, an old colonial cottage [on Waverley Road] Woollahara, opposite Centennial Park in which our Aunt Mary used to take my sister Doris and me to bowl our hoops and feed the ducks on the pond there.

We loved staying at Grannies and looked with awe at a flat rock in the garden that father had cut his initials on, WAB, when a schoolboy. Granny said he hated going to school, and the pet parrot took up the cry “Go to school Willy” and one day she heard a great commotion. The parrot was screaming and the cage was rolling down the hill, father had lost his temper and kicked the lot as far as he could – his temper was his only fault. He never tried to control it, and caused untold amusement to men on the golf links as he would throw his club down and jump up and down, ‘damning’ and ‘blasting’ everything in sight. He never said any other swear words, ‘God Almighty’ and ‘Damn’ and ‘Blast’ did for everything.

Uncle Henry, Granny’s brother, was someone we loved. [He was Henry Gould Stuckey born December 1840, so nearly 20 years younger than Lydia.] He was a bachelor, very good looking and half the women in Sydney, both married and single, were in love with him. He was showered with expensive, heavy gold jewelry in the form of tie pins, plain gold lockets with his [initials/insignia?] on them and having languishing[?] ladies photos inside.

Men wore gold watch chains across their stomachs in those days, sovereign cases, full, in pocket on one side, and watch in pocket on other side. All this loot came to our family after their deaths and Mother and I sold them as gold was bringing big prices during the Second World War.

Father had three sisters all together. There was Jane who died of a fever of some sort when she was about sixteen [she died 26 December 1858 aged 17] then Mary [Mary Newcombe Balcombe] and ‘Tiny’ whose proper name was Annie Rebecca Chisholm Balcombe.

She was small with twinkling brown eyes and always got herself up like a Xmas tree on Xmas eve. She loved bright colours, sparkling jewelry etc and she married a Doctor called Tayler and everyone knew ‘Tiny’ Tayler and were kept in hysterics by her naughty conversation. The Doctor developed a skin trouble and eventually died, to his relief. Someone gave her a little fox terrier to keep her company. One day the dog started to scratch itself on the hearth rug. She gave a yell of rage and said, “I put up with a husband who scratched himself for years and I’m dammed if I am going to put up with a dog.” She put her boot under him and shot him out the door so he was eventually given away to console someone else.

When Granny died, Aunt Tiny had the mahogany sideboard and dessert service which Elizabeth has now, also the big dining room table which I had in Scone. She spoilt some of the leaves of the table by using them as ironing boards and burning them beyond repair. She gave a lot of things away too, including some Napoleonic gifts.

When father left school Sir William Owen, a judge and friend of the family, arranged for him to go into the Equity Office as a junior clerk, there he remained until his retirement many years later. He rose to the top of his profession which was Deputy Registrar in Equity. His job was to examine all legal bills pertaining to law suits in Equity, which in many cases went into thousands of pounds. He decided what should be paid and what should be penciled out and was proud of the fact that none of his decisions had ever been questioned. He received great respect from all the legal profession.

When he was feeling well and happy he used to warble songs from Gilbert and Sullivan and Music Hall ditties. One we never heard more than [the first line] “Never trust a sailor boy an inch above the knee.” Mother would say firmly “Be quiet Will”, and he was!!

This is one version of ‘Never trust a sailor boy an inch above the knee’ – no wonder he was not allowed to sing it in front of the children! [61]

‘Tis of a servant girl in Saxon Street did dwell,
Unknown to her master or mistress as well,
She took a sailor boy home with her to tea,
And this was the beginning over all this misery.

Singing home, dearest, home and there let it be,
Far far away from me own country.
The oak and the ash and the bonny elum tree,
They’re all growing green in the North Country.

She jumped into bed without the least alarm,
Never thinking that the sailor boy would do her any harm,
Oh, he huddled her and cuddled her all the night long,
And many a time they wished it had been ten times as long.

Now if it be a girl she’d have to wear a ring,
And if it be a boy he must fight for his king,
With his high top boots and jackets all in blue,
He must walk the quarter deck as his daddy used to do.

Now, all you servant girls, a warning take from me,
And never trust a sailor boy an inch above your knee,
For I trusted one and he rewarded me,
For he left me with a pair o’ twins to dangle on me knee.


Breakfast was a lovely meal with Granny. Emily, the faithful maid of lifelong standing, would get up at crack of dawn and light the fuel stove, and then put yesterday’s loaf of bread in a wet towel and put it in the hot oven, after a while she would take off the dry towel and make the crust all crisp and lovely. We would eat and eat the lovely hot bread with raspberry jam. I do it now but wet the bread and wrap it in Al-foil instead of cloth, just as lovely.

Aunt Mary was a delightful person and many stories are told of her saying the wrong thing when she was trying to be very Jane Austinish!!

Example: The Gilchrists, our Irish relatives, had a carriage and coachman in gorgeous livery. His name was Partridge and when Granny and Aunt Mary went to visit them the carriage took them and brought them home. On the return journey Aunt Mary put Dear MaMa in, arranged the rug round her then sat back herself and leant back and said grandly “Home Pheasant“!!!!

Partridge turned round and said “With great respect Miss Balcombe, the name is Partridge”, “Oh” said Aunt Mary “I am so sorry, WRONG BIRD, Partridge.”

The Gilchrists fit into the family on the Stuckey side (Willam’s mother was Lydia Stuckey) … Mr. and Mrs. John Gilchrist (his wife was Emily Clara Chisholm, Lydia’s niece) and Miss Claire Gilchrist, and Mr. and Mrs. W. Balcombe and Miss Vera Balcombe, attended the wedding in 1907 of Violet Stuckey, (youngest daughter of Lydia’s brother, Mr. George Hamilton Stuckey, of Tintaldra, Upper Murray) and Mr. William Frederick Jackson, son of the late Very Rev. Dean Jackson, County Mayo, Ireland.[62] The earliest reference found for ‘John Gilchrist’ in the Colony was for John Gilchrist, a soldier, and his wife Mary from Wicklow, Ireland, arriving in 1832. He was one of the soldiers in charge of a gang of convicts and John and Mary had 5 daughters and 3 sons.[63]

Another time Aunt Mary handed a shilling to the Conductor on an old steam train. He inspected the money then bit it and finally said “This shilling is no good Missus.” Aunt drew herself up and said “My good man I hope you are not trying to infer that I would knowingly tender you a spurious coin of the realm?” He nearly fell off the running board and said “I don’t know what you are talking about, but the shillin’ is bad.” “Kindly return” said Aunt in a freezing tone “and I will replace it.” I think the conductor felt he might get the sack any minute.

We children, Gordon, Doris and I (Bill [William Gould Balcombe] was a little boy then) were taken in to Macquarie Street to the Chisholm’s house to see the Light Horse regiment riding down to Woolloomooloo to embark for the Boer war in South Africa. We were very thrilled at this sight.

The Australians took part in the Second Boer War which was from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902. It was reported on 28 October 1899 that The Sydney contingent will sail for South Africa on Saturday next and advised it consisted of 75 Officers, 1441 men and 1144 horses.[64]

The ‘Macquarie Street Chisholms’ were Stuckey relatives, the family of Doctor William Chisholm whose son was the first Australian to be killed in WWI. Officials in France say the first Australian to die in the Great War was Sydney man Lieutenant William Malcolm Chisholm who died some weeks earlier than those in German New Guinea. Chisholm died in the Battle of Le Cateau – the first clash of Allied soldiers on French soil. [65]

He [Bill] used to prance around the lawn at “The Briars” dressed up in a life guards uniform with plumes dripping from his helmet ([the plumes] all bought on a big card.) He was all for going to the war until he found out that men got killed so he changed his mind and decided to be a cricketer instead. He little knew he would be in the Kaiser’s War later and lose his son in the Second World War. Cricketers are much safer.

After the first World War he married Annie Laurie Robertson of “Jandra” Bourke and died in 1969 as a result of war ulcers and cancer. He had a property at Binnaway for years but later lived at Manly as Laurie, who was a chronic asthmatic, was better there. She died about 6 weeks before he died. [ALB died 31 May 1956, WGB died 14 Feb 1957 [66]] In spite of illness they were a delightful pair, both having a great sense of humour and loved a good story, the naughtier the better.

My elder brother Gordon was a solicitor. His firm was Abbott, Tout and Balcombe. He left the law and joined Union Theatres with Stuart Doyle & Co. He became a wealthy man and put his money into south coast properties and lost a lot of it, because of dishonest managers.

It is also likely Gordon lost money with the theatres. In 1921 Doyle had launched Union Theatres on large-scale modernization of old cinemas, pioneering new standards of comfort. In 1927 he opened Australia’s first ‘atmospheric’ theatre in Sydney, the Capitol, based on an American design, and in 1929 the elaborate State Theatre, followed by the 3000-seat State Theatre, Melbourne. His ambition was partly fired by a desire to outclass his rival Francis Thring.

The financial failure of the new picture palaces in the Depression forced the liquidation of Union Theatres in 1931. Doyle set up a new company, Greater Union Theatres Ltd, to buy its assets for some £400,000, the amount of its overdraft. The new overdraft lasted until 1942.[67]

Gordon died in 1964 [68] leaving a reputation behind him of being one of Australia’s best known amateur golfers, being a member of Royal Sydney and captain of their ‘A’ team.

Doris married Hugh Grant of “Bairnkinie” Collarenebri and died after a long illness in 1951.[69]

We had a happy childhood at “Karuah” Kogarah. A large two-storied home with lots of garden, tennis courts and paddocks and ponies. Very famous men played tennis on the court every weekend including Horace Rice, [Sydney Champion 1907 and many time finalist] Percy Colohoun [Sydney Champion 1889, who refereed the first Davis Cup tie in Australia] who played in the first Davis Cup Team here.

Another famous player was Gaden, a great uncle of my children.

David Leslie Gaden, and his partner Horace Rice won the Sydney Lawn Tennis doubles in 1898, 1899 and were beaten finalists in 1900 and, according to the Australian Town and Country Journal of 19 May 1900, Gaden and Mrs Carter were mixed doubles champions in 1899. He also was selected to play against New Zealand in 1904. Leslie Gaden was brother to Edward Ainsworth Gaden, the father of Edward Noel Gaden, Vera’s husband. [70]

When [in Sydney?] Norman Brooks who was the world’s best player then, always stayed with the Gaden family at “Belvidere” in Rushcutter’s Bay.

The first Davis Cup match was played on unpretentious courts in Double Bay with forms for seats and screen enclosing the arena. Later the White City site was bought and the present setup begun much later.

The American players were Long [Melville Hamond Long] and MacLachlan [Maurice McLoughlin] and we saw power serving for the first time. Norman Brooks won by strategy. He always worked his opponent out of position by such well-placed returns and then came in for the kill. He played with poker face and was only once seen to smile. He was playing in a mixed double and returned a shot to the lady who confidently went to take it but it had such spin on it it shot off in the opposite direction, and she looked so astonished he couldn’t control his grim look.

Read Mabel Brooks “Crowded Galleries” in which Norman has written about his years of international tennis.

When we were children Chinese were common sights walking round with a wooden yoke across their shoulders from which hung two large round baskets full of vegetables or other things. Our parents were so wrong, they told us the baskets were to put little boys and girls in to be taken away if they were naughty! Uncle Henry was awful. We would be playing happily at the side of the house and he would sneak around the other and say in a Chinese voice, ‘Any little boys and girls for me today?’ We would freeze with terror and then rush inside and shut all the doors – while he shook with laughter.

The ponies were a delight to us, we put bridles on them and then climb on their backs off a two railed fence. The small paddock they were in had a clothes line across one end. The game was to put the pegs on the line upside down, ˥˥˥˥˥˥˥˥˥˥˥˥ we then took it in turns to ride as fast as we could make the ponies go, and holding a stick, would see how many pegs we could sweep off as we rushed underneath the line. Gordon always won as he was so much bigger than Doris and me.

We played an interesting game at Grannies, Doris and I would sit at one of the big front windows opposite the park on Waverley Road, armed with counters which were dear little white Cowrie shells used for card games etc. We would each put a counter on the window sill and then guess what the next thing that passed the house would be.

So many things passed it was a good game. Many funerals on their way to the Waverley and South Head cemeteries. Handsome cabs galore, vans and carts and horse drawn trams on their way to Bondi, men, women or children walking, or a smart carriage and pair with coachman in uniform like the Gilchrists.

The funerals were most spectacular. The hearse was drawn by 2, 4 or six horses, black, and sticking up from their collars were black plumes attached to sticks or like pampas grass heads dyed black.

The drivers wore high, black hats with black cap bands round them and ties hanging down the back – Mourning coaches would follow, just one or two or lots more, according to the importance of the deceased. They were like ‘sociables’ but entirely encased in black leather curtains, only the door to get in and steps up the side were visible.

If we could see people crying inside then that was worth another shell.

Grannie never knew we were indulging in “gambling”. She would have been horrified.

Sunday was a very quiet, dull day, no cards or sewing but Bill’s story books and old ladies who were always invited to the big Sunday dinner.

One was hated, she rejoiced in the names of Leopoldine Perrott. She was so like a parrot with hooked nose, beady black eyes and tufts of wadding sticking out of each ear.

PERROTT.–September 2, 1904, at the residence of her sister, Mrs Beatty, Windsor Lodge, North Sydney, Leopoldine Georgina, daughter of the late Thomas M. Perrott, Esq., surgeon, H.M. 41st Regiment, Foot. The funeral will leave St. Thomas’ Church,  N. Sydney, this afternoon, at 3.15, for St. Thomas’  Cemetery.[71]

Then there was Nannie McKenzie a sweet old lady quite pretty and the widow of some important military man – we loved her – then there was Aunt Annie, a plain horsey person and sister of Grannies, needless to say a spinster and we rather gathered she had a past that was never discussed. We never found out, only suspected.

We never knew our grandfather, he had died when father was a small boy.

He had been called after Admiral Sir Thomas Tyrrwhitt, pronounced “Turrett”.

His father commanded a ship and had gone down with it in the “Battle of the Nile” in the Napoleonic Wars serving under Admiral Tyrwhitt. He and his brother John, were looked after by the Prince Regent and the Admiral & John became a colonel in the army and the Prince’s Aide de Camp and William Alexander’s great-grandfather, followed the navy.

After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and Napoleon was captured and sent to St Helena in exile, William was appointed as war agent there to look after the ships that came there to refuel and stock up in food etc. He took his wife and two sons and two daughters with him.

See Dame Mabel Brookes’ book “St Helena Story”.

He rented a home in a lovely garden from the East India Company.

The house had a guest cottage in the garden where important guests to the island stayed.

The accommodation in Jamestown, the township of St Helena, very primitive and unclean. It was in this cottage, or pavilion as it was called, Napoleon lived while a home called “Longwood” was being built for his accommodation.

Strangely enough the Duke of Wellington had stayed there before him, but he was not the Duke then, just Gen Arthur Wellesly. He was created Duke of Wellington after the defeat of Napoleon. Napoleon grew very fond of the Balcombe family especially Betsy the youngest daughter and Mrs Balcombe whom he said was so like Josephine to look at.

He had divorced Josephine whom he loved because she couldn’t give him an heir, and married an Austrian princess who produced a son, whom Napoleon made King of Rome. He didn’t live longer than adolescence, but Napoleon had died on St Helena long before that.

[Napoleon died 1821, his son the King of Rome died aged 21 in 1832.[72]]

He was accompanied into exile by La [sic] Cas is private secretary and Gen. Bertrand.

La Cas when there wrote the history of Napoleon’s career, and the set of books are in Bill Gaden’s care. I looked after them when father died, also the whole series of “Waverley Novels” by Sir Walter Scott and many of these valuable books – some were sold for want of space.

The ‘Waverly Novels’ were a long series of books, around 27 in number, taking their name from the first one, published in 1814, with subsequent ones being penned by the “Author of Waverley” who was finally revealed to be Sir Walter Scott in 1827. They were the most popular books in Europe for many decades. ‘Waverley’, ‘Guy Mannering’, ‘The Antiquary’, ‘The Black Dwarf’, ‘The Tale of Old Mortality’, ‘Rob Roy’, ‘The heart of Midlothian’, ‘The Bride of Lammermoor’, ‘A legend of Montrose’, ‘Ivanhoe’, ‘The Monastery’, ‘The Abbott’ were the first dozen.[73]

The books to read about the family and St Helena have been written by Dame Mabel Brookes.

‘Crowded Galleries’ (1956) Heinemann,

‘St Helena Story’ (1960) Heinemann,

‘Riders of Time’ (1967) MacMillan.


At this time we were living in Kogarah, which was a new residential place with a good train service from Central though to Sutherland. It was called the Illawarra line and still is. We had this big 2 storey house with a bow window up and down stairs and a verandah and balcony with wrought iron fences across each one. A plan very fashionable at the time there are still plenty of them about today and greatly sought after. The wrought iron brings a big price if sold.

People called Dalgleish lived in a small cottage next door and one morning Gordon, Doris and myself were taken in to spend the morning with them, a most unusual thing, but one we enjoyed very much. After a while Gordon was collected, but we didn’t mind but later Doris and I were called for. We found Gordon all dressed up in a clean white suit and I can see him now pulling on navy and white striped sox and becoming very superior. He had a secret and would only let out exciting bits – such as “I can tell you it’s alive.”

Of course we thought of a new batch of kittens only to get a scornful NO, much bigger than that, we guessed a new dog!!! again NO.

Well we were washed and dressed and then taken into mother’s bedroom, there we were shown the new member of the family, Bill. Doris looked at him and said “it’s just like a Newfoundland pup and can we keep it?” thinking of lovely kittens who mysteriously disappeared, and was delighted when they said yes. We had him for over 70 years, when he died from effects left over from the 1st world war.

We lived at Kogarah where we went to school at Rothsay College, a nice school at the top of the road we lived in. It was called Webbers Road but changed to English Street after the first world war. Webber was a German who was a perfectly good citizen but a German!


On Friday evening a large number of ladies and gentlemen accepted the invitation of Mrs. Wilson and the pupils of Rothsay School, Carlton, to the annual distribution of prizes. An enjoyable programme of pianoforte pieces, songs, and recitations was presented by the pupils, assisted by Mrs. Bokenham Jones and Miss A. Biden. The choruses were warmly received, and also the efforts of Miss Vera Balcombe and Master J. Wilson, two of the   youngest pupils in the school, whose recitations were well rendered. The distribution of prizes was made by Mr. Charles Bull. The prizes were numerous and beautiful. The largest share went to Miss Mary Jones, the dux of the school. She was also presented by Mrs. Wilson with a gold brooch, having won the tennis championship.[74]

At the end of English Street is the Canterbury Race Course and off our home is a big park where football and cricket were played.

Race horses were led past our house to and from the race course and sometimes they would be covered in a blue and white and plumaged dust rug or something. They terrified me, they looked like medieval monsters. Big round holes were cut so their eyes could see. Their ears came through slots cut for them and every bit of the horse was covered, may have their feet showing as they walked.

Gordon by this time had learnt at school all about years, dates etc and he informed me in a very superior way that it was 1895. I was very impressed but had no idea what he meant.

About this time father was thinking of leaving Kogarah and going up the North Shore line to live. It had just been opened up and the trains left from Milson’s Point and went to Hornsby. One went by ferry from Circular Quay to Milson’s Point for the sum of one penny. He bought 3 acres of land at Wahroonga. We fronted Woonoona Avenue in front and Bundarra Avenue at the back.

We had a tennis court, lots of flower gardens in front, other big lawns, an orchard and veg garden behind the house, the big paddocks for the ponies joining Bundarra Av. There was a big stable, gardener’s bed room, loft and laundry and clothes house etc.

Doris & I went to school at Abbotsleigh but later she went to the girls Church of England Grammar school at Forbes Street, Darlinghurst as a boarder as she wanted to be with country friends who were there.

The Grant girls were Agnes and Edith from Collarenebri were her special friends and often spending holidays at “Bairnkine” with them, became engaged to Hugh their brother and they was married in due course.

On Sundays out came the carriage and ponies and we were driven to spend the afternoon with the Monro’s at Dolls Point, on George’s River.

Dolls Point [now part of city of Rockdale, St George area] was where a lot of well known legal people also Joseph Carruthers, afterwards Sir Joseph, Premier of NSW, with his son and daughter Julian and Ida who went to school with us.

The Monro’s had about 10 or 12 children. A game we played was to recite all their names in order without a break to breathe. It went this way Hector, Cecil, Eric, Roy, Madeline, Dorothy, Earl, ‘Dutchy’, can’t remember another ones.

Hector would have been the oldest one, named after his father and it looks as if he was born either interstate or before arriving in NSW. Here are 9 of the others from the NSW Birth, Death and Marriage register … Vera had an amazing memory!

Registration No & Year  Name                  Father        Mother     District


Doris and I really didn’t enjoy the visit much because we were always given a big slice of caraway seed cake which we didn’t like but were too well brought up to refuse and ate it all as quickly as possible to get it over. At meal times there would be large plates of bread and butter all along the table. We could spread jam on it ourselves. No maid waited on us which seemed strange to us as we were used to them at home.

When the ferry pulled into Milson’s Point Wharf old blind Billy, who stayed on the wharf all day, started playing an old harmonium and most people dropped a penny into the tin mug beside him. It was found out later that he owned terraces of houses at North Sydney but I feel he deserved all the pennies I dropped into it.

After everyone was on board the train the whistle blew and off it puffed on its way to Hornsby, which took about ¾ of an hour. There were only half the stations in those days, Woollstonecraft was one of the first new ones, then Artarmon – Roseville came later, then Killara and Warrawee – Wahronga station was like a country siding, very small, built of thick timbers all crossed over each other with cinders on top to walk on when we got in or out of the train. There were only 3 or 4 trains a day except at business hours when they went every ½ hour for a short time. The boats and ferries went at hourly intervals after peak hour and if one went to a Ball in Sydney we had to spend the night in town or have a special train put on from Milson’s Point to Hornsby. It only stopped at stations that people wanted to get out – if there were enough people it didn’t cost too much.

Our home at Wahroonga was called “The Briars” after the St Helena home. It was a big bungalow type of house, with very large rooms, and the verandahs were lovely – very wide and plenty of easy cane chairs and lounges on them. Our pets shared all those with us. We had two magpies very tame called Adam and Eve. Eve was such a cosy little thing she got on ones lap and cuddled in and wanted her head stroked which sent her to sleep. She always woke up to give a tiny whistle when the train passed not far from us and always whistled because of a level crossing before it reached the station.

We also had a spur winged plover which we called Cecil, we thought this suited him as he always looked so beautifully groomed and dignified. Mother brought him home from Parkes where he was caught very young on Coradgery, the Balcombe’s station. When Plovers are excited they make a loud rattling noise which often frightened strangers trying to come in through the front gate. As well as Cecil, Adam and Eve kept saying ‘Hullo’ and squawking and Barney the little Sydney Silky would ‘woof woof’ so they often changed their minds and went away.

At ‘The Briars’ we kept a gardener, cook and house and parlour maid. I will explain what these people did as these times very few people employ them.

The Gardener I remember most was called Brown, just Brown (no Mister). He was a funny old thing and he mowed lawns, pruned trees and roses, planted vegetables and kept everything in wonderful order. It would take three of the modern gardeners to do what Brown happily did. I forgot to say we had 2 seagulls for a short time.

Mother went out the backdoor one morning and there was Brown waiting for her. He looked worried and stricken as he loved drama. The first thing he said was “Yer seagulls r et Mum.”

Mother said “Oh Brown, how dreadful the cats must have got at them.”

“Yes” said Brown, “only their little red feet left and lots of feathers.” No more seagulls after that.

Another morning he came to Mother with a grubby note in his hand and told her a boy had brought it to him. He asked her to read it to him. It read “Mr Brown come at once your wife is very ill and improving worse if anything.” I don’t think Mrs Brown died, I would have remembered the aroma if she had.

Now about the house and parlour maid. She helped make beds, tidied and dusted rooms in the mornings, before lunch she washed and changed her plain apron and dress and put on a black or sometimes in the summer, white frock and pretty apron with a little frill round it and a white cap like nurses wear and looking so nice. She then set the table in the dining room for lunch while the cook did some special dish like macaroni cheese and we would have bread and butter, some fruit, and waited on ourselves.

Dinner at eight was a very formal meal, no bell or gong ever rung. The maid would come to the sitting room and say “Dinner is served Madam” and we would all go into the dining room and take our places. The maid stood beside Father at the end of the table and take the plates of meat he had carved one at a time and put them in front of us in turn, standing on our left hand side. Then she would pick up two vegetable dishes full of vegetables still on our left hand side and offer them to us and we helped ourselves then she would go out of the room. When we had finished our first course Mother would ring a little bell and she would come in and take our plates away from our right hand side just one in each hand and put them quietly on a big tray on a table outside the dining room door.

The same procedure would follow with the sweet course. Mother helped that one. Sugar, cream would be put on the table, not usually passed round by the maid.

After all the meat plates had been taken away the maid walked round the table putting the salt and pepper shakers and salt cellars on a small silver tray, then she would take a small brush and tray and sweep all crumbs of bread off the cloth before passing the sweet plates around.

After dinner we would go back to the sitting room and a tray of small coffee cups and coffee pot with sugar and cream would be brought in and put in front of Mother when we all had that, and it was all taken away and dinner was over.

The maid never spoke while waiting at table unless spoken to, then allowed very briefly.

In those days most homes only had one family bathroom with a hand basin in it, but all bedrooms had washstands in them with chambers in a cupboard and two large basins and jugs standing in them full of water, a soap dish and a larger dish with holes in the top in which the big sponge sat and could drip into the basin under it. Mostly the china jugs and basins were very pretty, very rarely plain white.

The housemaid had to take a white enamel bucket with a lid on it round to each bedroom. She emptied the chambers and basins into it, then dried them well on a clean cloth and put them back in their places. Late in the afternoon she would take 2 brass and copper jugs round with boiling water in them and stood them on the marble top washstand, cover them with a folded hand towel, so everyone could wash their hands and face before dinner. Dinner was a very formal meal at our house. We always used dessert knives and forks and plates and finger bowls and the maid waited on us as I have described. We children all had a little wine at dinner so we knew exactly how to behave when we were invited to others similar houses to meals. I never thought we had enough wine and one Sunday morning when Mother was at Church, Father playing golf, I helped myself to about half a tumbler of port wine. I stood on the side verandah happily supping it when to my horror the verandah started heaving up and down. I saw a chair in the distance and thought I must reach that chair and sit still until I feel better. How I reached it I don’t know but I did and sat with a glazed look on my face until the spinning stopped. I knew I must be drunk and was horrified. It passed off in time and no one was any the wiser.

The next and only time I had too much was when I was just grown up and went to a Champagne luncheon at Randwick. I was hot and thirsty and lapped up all that was offered. When I stood up after lunch the only thing that saved me was a strip of coir matting leading to the door. I kept my eyes firmly on it and walked like a puppet and then sat under a tree until all was well again. Again no one knew so I must be a naturally sly sort of person?? but we were always taught it was ill bred to make scenes of any sort and embarrass other people.

We used to love going to stay on sheep station properties. There was riding and tennis and all sorts of interesting things to see and do. On “Castlestead”, a Humes property [near Burrowa] Edith Minter and I spent a lot of holidays.

Edith and Vera were good friends as indicated by Vera being a bridesmaid when Edith was married to Mr. Norman George Pilcher who was the son of Mr. George de Vere Pilcher, of Orange, and his bride was Miss Edith Minter, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Minter, of Elystan, Woollahra. The wedding took place on March 12 at St. Matthias, Paddington, by the Rev. S. G. Fielding. The bride wore a lovely gown of white tulle over satin, draped with Limerick lace, and having a court train. The Limerick lace, which also composed the veil, had been worn by her mother at her wedding. Miss Vera Balcombe, Miss Daisy Carter, and Miss Vera McPhillamy acted as bridesmaids, wearing mauve ninon draped over satin, with shadow lace on the left side. Fichus of shadow lace were caught with deep red roses. Their hats were of mauve satin, edged with mink fur, with a touch of dark red. They carried fans of mauve asters tied with tulle streamers, and wore flexible gold bangles, the bridegroom’s gifts. Mr. J. Simpson was best man, Mr. Lance Addison and Mr. Clifford Minter being groomsmen. A marquee, gaily decorated, was placed on the lawn at   Elystan for the wedding tea. Mrs. Minter wore grey crepe de Chine, with aluminum embroidery, and hat to match, and carried a bouquet of asters. Mrs. de Vere Pilcher wore amethyst crepe de Chine, inlet with point de gaze, and a toque to match. [75] It was noted that Mr and Mrs E Gaden and the Misses Gaden were guests at this wedding, [76] so the Gaden and Balcombe families obviously moved within the same circle of friends.

The Humes were cousins of Fathers. I used to ride a white pony which was very quiet and we used to go off every afternoon, hoping to see a fox when we would all chase it which was very dangerous because the paddocks were full of rabbit burrows and our horses could have easily stepped in one and fallen. Luckily that never happened.

On the Traills station which was called “Llangollen” [near Cassilis] I was put on a big tall horse, I was scared and when it playfully stood on its hind legs and I slipped off it on the side and refused to get on it again. I told the family about it in a letter and this limerick came back to me in the next post.

            There was a young lady called Vera

            Who got on a horse that was a rearer.

            She slipped down its side and when

            They said “won’t you ride?”

            She said “get on again? – NO damn fearer!”

The Traill’s cook, a Mrs Rosie, had been in service at lots of society houses in Sydney and she saw a photo of some socialites in the paper, she would say “Oh there’s that Mrs — and their — Far be it from me to talk about my fellow creatures, God knows we are all sometimes alike, BUT Mrs Dorothy if you could see the filthy underclothes that woman wears under those Paris models you would be sick.” When she started on “far be it for me”, we always knew that something awful was coming and most likely quite untrue.

One of the boundary riders on the property got married and Col. Traill went to the church to watch proceedings. When the parson said, “will you take this woman to be your wedded wife?” he said “that’s what we was here for Rev,” and when he had been asked the usual things, like sickness and health, richer and poorer etc, he got sick of it and tapped the parson on the shoulder and said, “Just as she stands Rev, just as she stands,” and thought that was enough to clear up everything, and was most indignant when he had to take each item separately.

The bush people were always suspicious that something is being put over them so are always on the defensive. Of course today they are much better educated and know how to conform to most ceremonies.

The country about ‘Llangollen’ is mountainous and stony and the sheep dogs had to have little leather boots laced up on their four little feet, before leaving home to work on the hills. The sharp stones would cut their feet and put them out of action for some time. They didn’t [like] having to work in their boots but they looked so funny.

All the creek beds in these part are full of near precious and precious stones which are now eagerly sought after, and cut and polished and made into jewelry. No diamonds, but sapphires, emeralds and other stones which polish up so beautifully.

Opals are different and have to be mined for in certain places in Australia, Lightning Ridge is one of the best places. It is between Walgett and Moree and some Collarenebri etc. Some wonderful opals have been found there. They are now cut out of the soil with ? big lump, then taken to a dam and the soil all washed away and the stones are not damaged at all. The old way of using a pick often damaged good stones.

An enterprising man designed a walk-into mine – so people could see it all. One walked down a stair and then thro’ various passages with glass cases fixed to the walls with opal jewelry and loose stones on shelves with glass doors, and the owner gave a lecture on opals and how they became what they are etc. while lots of tourists stand & listen , it costs a little to go in but one certainly sees and hears a lot of interesting things.

Anyone can take out a miners licence and mark out a claim and start digging and if they are lucky it is possible to get a stone or two quite near the surface. Of course the stones would have to be cut and polished.


William Balcombe’s mother Lydia died on 17 August 1900 at the grand old age of 80. She had been a widow for close to 40 years but she did live to see in the new Century.

BALCOMBE-August 17, at her residence, Napoleon Cottage, Waverley-road, Woollahra, Lydia Balcombe widow of the late Thomas Tyrwhitt Balcombe, in her 81st year.[77]

Both Lydia and her brother Henry Gould Stuckey who had pre-deceased her in 1894, died intestate, so it was left to William to sort out their affairs. Application to administer the estate of both was sought by William, with adjacent advertisements in the Legal Notices published in the Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday 21 August 1900.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES – Probate jurisdiction -In the Estate of LYDIA BALCOMBE, late of Woollhara, near Sydney, in the colony of New South Wales, Widow, deceased , intestate -Application will after fourteen days from the publication hereof that Administration of the Estate of the above named deceased may be granted to WILLIAM ALEXANDER BALCOMBE, the Son of the said deceased And all Notices may be served at the offices of the undersigned, and all claims against the Estate must be sent to the undersigned within fourteen days from the   publication hereof F W O’BRIAN and THORNTON, Proctors for Applicant, Barristers Court, 78 Elizabeth street Sydney.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES – Probate jurisdiction -In the Estate of HENRY GOULD STUCKEY, late of Paddington, near Sydney, in the colony of New South Wales, Gentleman, deceased, intestate -Application will be made after fourteen days from the publication hereof that Admimstiution de bonis non administratis of the Estate of the above named deceased may be granted to WILLIAM ALEXANDER BALCOMBE, the son of Lydia Balcombe of Woollahra, widow, deceased, the Administratrix of the Estate   of the the above named deceased And all Notices may be served at the offices of the undersigned FW O BRIEN and THORNTON, Proctors for Applicant, Barristers Court, 78 Elizabeth street, Sydney.[78]

As part of his duties as a local Councillor, Mr and Mrs WA Balcombe were called upon to perform some civic duties, for example they attended a school presentation day in Hornsby and WAB was asked to award a cricket bat prize.

Distribution of Prizes at Crofton College – The prizes at Crofton College were on Thursday distributed by Colonel McKenzie. The Colonel, who was accompanied by Mrs. McKenzie, was received by a guard of honor, composed of the combined cadet corps of Crofton and Barker colleges. Mr. J. St. Vincent Welch presided.[79]

WA Balcombe was a very keen golfer. He played many times at Wollongong Golf Club, probably staying at the Pimister’ s Hotel as indicated by an advertisement his wife placed in the local newspaper:

WANTED, GENERAL for Wahronga, near Sydney. No washing. Wages 18s per week. Apply before Saturday personally or by letter. MRS. W. A. BALCOMBE, Pimister’s Hotel, Wollongong   [80]

He played in the Cadogan Cup at the Australian Golf Club and was a founding member of the Elanora Country Club. A search of the Sydney Morning Herald records has many references to his placement in a range of golf competitions, for example.

GOLF – Suburban links were occupied with competitions on Saturday…. The silver putter competition at Killara was won by Mr. W. A. Balcombe.[81]

The official opening of the extension to the Killara course saw both WA Balcombe (handicap 8) and T Gaden (handicap 15) in the draw of players.[82]

In March 1914 the following article about William’s aunt, Betsy Balcombe, appeared in some local newspapers, keeping the Balcombe – Bonaparte connection before the public eye.


On October 183, 1815, Napoleon   Bonaparte (yesterday arbiter of Europe, now a captive “general”, condemned to lifelong exile) arrived at the lonely island of St. Helena. ‘ The strange stories told of the ‘Corsican Ogre’ had led some simple folk to imagine him as something more fiendish than human, and when he rode up to Briars Cottage, on his way into the interior of the island, two pretty girls who had been watching the cavalcade beat a precipitate retreat. Their father checked their foolish fears, and fourteen-year-old Betsy Balcombe saw a pale, but still dignified, man descend from his horse and enter the garden. Finding the girl knew some French, Napoleon amused himself by questioning her, and in ten minutes Betsy and the ‘ogre’ were the best of friends. The acquaintance ripened during Napoleon’s temporary residence at the “Briars”, and before a week was over the tyrant of Europe bowed beneath the yoke of a tyranny heavier and more complete than any he had ever inflicted on others.

Betsy would burst into the Emperor’s sitting-room, without invitation, interrupt his conversation with Las Cases and others, displace his papers and documents, chatter incessantly, and compel him to come into the garden to walk whenever he wished to rest, to talk when he wished to be silent. Heartily detested, as one may easily imagine, by the whole of his suite, this insupportable “Flapper” of a century ago (for she was nothing else) was adored by the Emperor himself. He was, whatever his faults, an indulgent husband and a doting father, and in his present painful position had but one wish— to be forced to forget, in her prattle, his past glories and present downfall. Such, doubtless, was the secret of his failing weakness for Betsy, of which she took full advantage.   When her Newfoundland dog one morning entered the garden pond, she called him to where Napoleon was sitting writing, and screamed with laughter as the huge beast shook himself, and paper and writer were alike drenched. For this her father shut her up in the cellar , but her victim came to chat with her at the grating, and whiled away the weary hours of her captivity as she had whiled away his own.

Their friendship lasted till the Emperor was transferred to Longwood and Betsy , growing into maidenhood, transferred her caprices and flirtations to the officers of the English garrison. She subsequently left St Helena, married, and wrote  the memoirs from which these notes are compiled – one of the most curious and unique pages of Napoleon’s singularly unique history.[83]

So it is not surprising that a couple of months later, in May 1914, when WA Balcombe was promoted to be Deputy Registrar in Equity, an article about the Bonaparte connection appeared in more local newspapers:


An interesting page of history is interwoven with the family of Mr. William Alexander Balcombe, who was recently appointed to succeed Mr Hargreaves as Deputy-Registrar in Equity. Mr. Balcombe entered the Equity Office in 1882 as junior clerk; was made chief clerk in 1890; and Deputy-Registrar in 1914.

In October, 1815, William Balcombe grandfather of the Deputy-Registrar in Equity, who started life in the Imperial Navy, was filling a post under the British Government at St. Helena. He occupied a picturesque house, known as “The Briars.” There also resided Miss Betsy Balcombe, who was then a girl, and she also figures prominently.

After the second abdication, in consequence of the rout at Waterloo, and the march of the Allies upon Paris Napoleon was transhipped from the Bellerophon to the Northumberland and after a voyage of over seventy days the Northumberland deposited its prisoner at St. Helena. “The Briars” was where Napoleon, accompanied by the members of the Imperial household who were allowed to share his exile, took up his quarters. Mr. Balcombe and Miss Betsy Balcombe received the fallen Emperor with hospitality. After Napoleon had been at “The Briars” for some time prior to going to Longwood, the playfulness and vivacity of little Miss Betsy Balcombe greatly pleased the prisoner, and, in after years, when he was dead and buried at St. Helena, she, as Mrs. Abel, then in England, wrote memoirs of Napoleon at St. Helena, with special reference to his demeanour, his characteristics, and his extraordinary personal magnetism.

Napoleon had not been long at “The Briars,” when Sir Hudson Lowe, who had fought as a colonel with the Al lies against the Emperor at the battles of Dresden and Leipsig, before the first abdication at Fontainebleau, in 1814, was sent to St. Helena as governor of the island. From the first day that he was ushered into the presence of Napoleon at St. Helena, till May, 1821, when the conqueror of Europe died, there existed between them implacable hostility. Sir Hudson Lowe was annoyed at the friendliness of the relations which were subsisting between the Balcombe family and Napoleon, and when the great man took up his residence at Longwood House and away from “The Briars,” the displeasure of the governor towards the Balcombe family was in no way appeased. Mr. Balcombe and Miss Balcombe were kindhearted people, and they considered that it was in no way treasonable to show ordinary acts of kindness and courtesy to a man who had made and unmade kings. Mr. Balcombe would not forego his friendship for Napoleon, nor would Miss Balcombe, and the wrath of Sir Hudson Lowe grew. A dispatch was forwarded by him to the British Government, and in reply, the governor of the island was instructed to exercise greater vigilance than ever over Napoleon. The kindly Mr. Balcombe. was recalled to England, but was in no way censured by the British Government.

Whilst Mr. Balcombe was in England the hostility between Napoleon and Sir Hudson Lowe continued, and Mr. Balcombe was much sought after by adherents of the Napoleonic dynasty and others. Being aware that he was a man of undoubted capacity and administrative ability, the British Government determined to send him to New South Wales in an official capacity, and he had the distinction of being the first Colonial Treasurer of “New South Wales and its Dependencies.” That was in 1823, and before Victoria and Queensland were under separate Governments, Mr. Balcombe, after having served the British Government at two ends of the earth, died in 1829 at Sydney. His remains were interred in the old Devonshire-street Cemetery, and subsequently disinterred and buried in the La Perouse cemetery.

The Deputy-Registrar in Equity lives at Wahroonga, and, to perpetuate his grandfather’s association with Napoleon at St. Helena, his residence is called “The Briars.” Mr. Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe, a member of the Sydney firm of solicitors, Abbott, Tout, and Balcombe, and one of the best golfers in Australia, is a son of the Deputy-Registrar; as it also Mr. William Gould Balcombe, who is on a station 65 miles from the Queensland border, gaining experience. These, of course, are great-grandchildren of the man who befriended Napoleon.[84]

William remained in the office of Deputy Registrar until he was succeeded by Colin Ernest Clark in 1920. He’d been a Public Servant for close to 40 years. [85]

No doubt in retirement William Balcombe continued to play golf when he could,and his love of golf was passed onto the next generation, with both Vera and her brother WG ‘Billy’ Balcombe playing Competition golf, no doubt with their father taking a close interest.[86] A Miss Balcombe (Vera or Doris?) played in the NSW State Championship meeting in both the Championship and Challenge cup, and W G Balcombe played in the Championship Mixed Foursomes with Miss Meares, on the Rose Bay links on 16 June 1913.[87]

Son  WILLIAM GOULD BALCOMBE was a keen golfer. During the Great War, WWI, he enlisted in the Army on 8 September 1915. He was aged 21, religion C of E, his father was his next of kin. His trade was ‘Station Manager’. He became a Driver in the 5 FAB [Field Artillery Brigade] of the Army. His Service Number was 7348. He left Sydney on 18 November 1815 on the troopship HMAT Persic. The ship’s number was A34, tonnage 12,042 tons. 13 knots. Oceanic SN Co Ltd Liverpool. [88]

It was subsequently reported that Bmdr W G BALCOMBE 14 FA Bty, Wahroonga, was ill in hospital in Heliopolis [89] and, following his promotion to Second Lieutenant William Gould Balcombe of Wahroonga was listed named on the Wounded List. [90] His mother and sister were involved in raising money for the Comfort’s Fund. [91]

Following his discharge at the end of the war Billy Balcombe applied for a soldier’s settlement block. He was awarded one near Scone where sister Vera and her husband Noel Gaden and their children were then living. He called the property Terrell (pronounced Teh-reel) and it is about 50 km from Scone, on very hilly country along the Dartbrook-Kars Springs Road between Scone and Merriwa.

In the photograph Mt Terrell is the more distant (but actually taller ) mountain (very faint) in the centre.

Terrell →IMG_9780

Billy Balcombe was also a good player of golf, [92] a game enjoyed by his sister Vera so no doubt they would have enjoyed a few games when he came to live in the Scone area.

In 1920 he married Annie Laurie Roberston of Bourke. Had he met her when he was gaining experience by working on a Station out there – had she been living in Sydney – her father was listed as ‘of Manly’ as well as Bourke? [93] Had they met through golf?


The Rev. Thomas Morgan, assisted by Rev. McLean, officiated at the marriage of Mr. Billy Balcombe, of Terrell, Scone, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Balcombe, of The Briars, Wahroonga, and Annie Laurie Robertson, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Robertson, of Jandra, Bourke, at the Presbyterian Church, Bourke, on September 21. The church was decorated with pink and mauve stocks and sweet peas, and pink tulle and palms. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a frock of pink satin and silver lace. The square court train was suspended from the shoulders, and caught with silver roses and tassels. Her tulle veil was made with a latticed crown, and silver tissue bands and chin strap, and she carried a dainty bouquet of pink carnations, swathed in blue tulle, with ribbon streamers of blue, pink, and mauve. Miss Isla Robertson, in a frock of blue and silver, with trails of pink and mauve flowers, worn with a blue tulle veil, fastened with silver butterflies, was the only bridesmaid. Mr. Keith Robertson was best man. A reception was afterwards held at the Hall, Bourke, which was decorated with pink and white flowers and silver horseshoes hanging with long ribbon streamers. Mrs. Malcolm Robertson received the guests in a gown of black satin and embroidered tulle. The bridegroom’s mother, Mrs. W. A. Balcombe, wore a gown of blue taffeta and figured Georgette. The bride travelled in a frock of pigeon blue taffeta, worn with a hat of Chenille and black lace, and a smoked blue wolf fur. [94]

Vera and Noel’s names do not appear as guests in the newspaper report, but Vera had two small children at home so may not have been able to travel out to Bourke.

On 12 August 1925 Billy and Annie became parents to their first son at private hospital in Scone. Now called Brancaster, it is on the east side of Park Street, at the Muswellbrook end of town.[95]

In 1943 Billy was listed on the electoral roll of Gwydir and in 1949 Annie Laurie was listed in Mackellar NSW. [96]

Golf continued to be an important part of Billy Balcombe’s life.


Fifty one entries were received for the tournament, but owing to the wet weather 10 players could not attend. The Edinglassi Cup (presented by the Hon. J. C. White) and the replica (presented by Hon. R. G. D. Fitz Gerald) were won by B. Deramore Denver (Maitland) with a score of 185 for the 36 holes. A. W. Swaddling (Muswellbrook) was second with 188: W. G. Balcombe (Scone). Chave, King Warburton (Singleton) third with 189, and W. R. Nowland (Muswellbrook) fourth with 190. In the 18-hole stroke handicap in the morning four players tied with a nett 78-W. G. Balcombe, P. McDonald, (Singleton). B. D. Denver and A. Swaddling. The play-off was won by A. W. Swaddling, the prize being a trophy donated by Mr J. H. Keys; second prize, a trophy presented by Mr. P. Truscott, was won by W. G. Balcombe. The afternoon stroke handicap resulted in a tie between E. J. Harvey (96-22-74) and A. W. Swadd ling (92-18-74). A feature of the round was the very fine score of 45 I for 9 holes by E. J. Harvey under adverse conditions. Trophies, donated by Messrs. A. H. McClymont and J. O’Niell, were divided between the   two players. A. W. Swaddling’s excellent form accounted for the 36- holes aggregate stroke handicap (188 36-152). W. G. Balcombe– (189-36-153) was second. One of the best performances of the day was put up by Master Peter McDonald (Single ton), who was one of the first four in the stroke handicap in the morning. He proved himself to be a cap able player, and a thorough sport.

Afterwards, the trophies were handed over to the winners by Mr. W. R. Nowland, captain of the Muswellbrook Club. The committee desires to thank the associates for their services at afternoon tea, and also the donors of the cups.[97]

Meanwhile back in Sydney, an Elanora Golf Club membership certificate number 23 was issued to William Alexander Balcombe on 23 May 1930, he was listed as a ‘Gentleman of The Briars Woonona Avenue, Wahroonga’ and had to sign the receipt for his certificate.

Horse Racing was also part of the social scene for the Balcombe family, as recalled by Vera in her delightful memoir, this newspaper reported Jessie attending Randwick Races in January 1931.

Dowdy and Dull Frocks – RANDWICK DRESSES – Few Bright Colors Worn – WEATHER THREAT

Dull and dowdy best describes the frocking at Randwick today. Any chance of summery frocks was spoilt by the threatening weather, and the dressing was distinctly sombre. Here and there one saw a red frock or a green frock, with an occasional figured ensemble, which brightened up the otherwise neutral tones.   Blacks, navys and browns predominated, with hats in the same shade. Medium-sized hats were just as popular as the ‘oil the face’ beret. One of the most attractive frocks was worn by Mrs. G. R. Hyde, wife of Rear-Admiral Hyde. It was of brown and white checked crepe-de-chine with a cream collar, the same colored ribbon appearing in her brown baku hat. Spotted and checked material was the prevailing vogue, the spots ranging from pin size to large. Mrs. W.H. Mackay’s black crepe de chine frock had a large white spot, and she added a black and white ‘off-the-face’ hat. Mrs. W. A. Balcombe was with her wearing mushroom brown crepe-de-chine, with a large brown hat, showing a beige camellia under the brim.[98]

In 1934 both Billy, his wife and his father attended the Sydney funeral of Annie’s father:

M. ROBERTSON – The funeral of the late Mr. Malcolm Robertson, of Jandra Station and Manly, took place yesterday afternoon to the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. The Rev. A. M. Stevenson conducted a short service. The chief mourners were Mrs. Robertson (widow), Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Balcombe, and Lady Hyde (daughters), Messrs. Keith and Frank Robertson (sons), Mr. W. G. Balcombe (son-in-law), and   Mr. L. R. Kerr (nephew).

Others present were:-Messrs, D. U. Felton, W.   Marsden, G. Henry, and F. R. Pascoe (representing New Zealand Loan and M.A. Co., Ltd.), D. J. O’Dea and C. C. Capper (Farmers and Graziers’ Co-op, G.T. and A. Co., Ltd. ), T. Waddell, S. Moxham, E. Millett, J. Tait, Gordon Welch (Commonwealth Wool and Produce Co., Ltd.), A. Norris,   F. E. Jones, Commander Moyes, Commander C. Bridge, Messrs. Colin Hudson (Loveridge and Hudson, Ltd.), Donald Perry, J. W. Laildlaw (Chief Stipendiary Magistrate), J. A. Laidlaw, J. S. Flynn,   R. Sutter, S. Smith, W. C. Gale, A. Williams, A. Lanagan, Dr. Moncrieff Barron, the Rev. S. G. Drummond (Far West Children’s Mission), Messrs. J. V. Strong, J. Tait, E. Baker, W. A. Balcombe, C. Lane, Halse Minnett, E. Todd (Messrs. Vigars and Sky), and Douglas Waddell.[99]

William Alexander Balcombe enjoyed retirement for almost two decades until he died in May 1939, [100] a few months before the War which was to engulf his family

BALCOMBE-May 7 1939 at his residence ‘The Briars’ Wahroonga, William Alexander Balcombe [101]

MR W A BALCOMBE – Mr William Alexander Balcombe who died recently at his residence at Wahroonga was Deputy-Registrar in Equity until his retirement about 18 years ago. Mr Balcombe belonged to one of the pioneer families of Australia. His grandfather William Balcombe who came from Sussex England in 1824 was Australia’s first Colonial Treasurer. Mrs Balcombe, two daughters and two sons survive.[102]

His Will was dated 2 September 1935 and he was listed as William Alexander Balcombe, Wahroonga – his address was ‘The Briars’, 14 Woonona Avenue, Wahroonga. He left money on Trust for his wife Jessie until she died, then any residual was to go to his children, Doris Miriam Grant, Vera Lydia Gaden and William Gould Balcombe. He arranged that the two daughters should receive £1000 more than their brother. On their deaths any residual was to go to their living children. At the time of William Alexander’s death in 1939, all of his four children, Gordon, Vera, Doris and William Balcombe were still alive. Three of the four had children of their own, but Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe, a solicitor, did not, which is perhaps why Gordon was not a beneficiary of his father’s Will.

William Alexander’s grandchildren were Vera’s children Edward William (Bill), Gwynneth Mary (Sue) and Elizabeth Balcombe (Ginge) Gaden, Doris’s children were Hugh Balcombe, Barbara Mary and Nancy June Grant and William Gould Balcombe’s sons Gordon Robertson and Hugh Robertson Balcombe.

Gordon Roberston Balcombe (born 1 September 1921) attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) from 1934-1938. He played in the 3rd XI in 1937, the year he did the intermediate certificate, and the 2nd XV in 1938. He was Register number 5453, his father was listed as WG Balcombe Esq of Yeulba, Binnaway.[103] GR Balcombe was killed flying over Berlin in 1944.[104]

Part of William Alexander Balcombe’s estate was land he owned including 25 acres in Erina Ward, valuation number 3737, Wallarah Estate, County of Northumberland, Portion 43, in the Tuggerah Lake area. The unimproved value was £150, Improved value also £150 and Assessed Annual value £8.

Other land was 321 acres in Eurobodalla Shire called Cooper’s Island, near Bodalla, bounded on three sides by Tuross Lakes. It’s total improved value in 1939 was £2995.

He also held stocks and shares, five pounds invested in Bodalla Cooperative Cheese Society, ten £1 shares in Wollongong Golf Links and five thousand shares of £1 in Union Theatre Investments. There was over £13,350 worth of Australian Consolidated Inscribed Stock. His share certificate number 23 in Elanora Country Club had a face value of £50. The total amount of Stocks and Shareholdings was £16804.12.6. [105]

The Briars was subsequently sold by his wife Jessie in 1941. Both the large house and extensive grounds would have been difficult and expensive to maintain on her own. At the time there was a mortgage on the house, so it’s possible that money had been lost with the share market falls in war time. Jessie sold the house to Winifred Laura Phipps, the wife of Joseph John Flower Phipps of Chatswood. They owned the estate until 1959 when they sold off ‘Lot A’ to Joseph Victor Howes (that lot is now known as 12 and 14 Woonona Avenue.)[106]

The front tennis court was subdivided off and a home built on it…. this was eventually bought by Ku-ring-gai Council who then demolished the house and developed the land into Balcombe Park. The official opening was held on 27 November 2012 when the author gave some Balcombe history to the people present.

We know a bit about Jessie Balcombe from family letters. She had the nickname Gratie. She cared for one grand-daughter so she could attend Abbotsleigh in the early 1930s. Another grand-daughter recalled she was always very kind to her. There was a painting called Nicholas behind the dining room door, from the description we think ‘poor rude Nicholas’ must have been a small boy with no clothes on!

Gratie loved horse racing and usually had her ear to the wireless listening to the races at Randwick and she was knowledgeable about the runners in all the big races like the Epsom, Metropolitan and Melbourne Cup. She turned over in her mind which horses to bet on and family and friends sought her opinion on the best horses. In their early years here we suspect she would have had a good riding or carriage horse or two housed in the stables at the back of the garden.

During the war she regularly sent copies of The Bulletin to her grandsons serving overseas and she was delighted to send one a newspaper cutting about the American garbage carrier ship Tahoe ramming and sinking a Japanese submarine during the hostilities. She was overjoyed when she heard her grandson had survived the long years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

She was known for the ‘devilish glint in her eyes’ and on VP day at the end of the Second World War, one granddaughter wrote to her soldier brother, “On VP day, when we soberly stayed at home, Gran tore into town where seething masses celebrated and danced in the streets, and stayed there all day without a bite to eat and had a wonderful time, and she’s eighty if she’s a day!”[107]

Jessie Edith Balcombe wrote her Will in 1941 with her son Gordon and son-in-law Hugh Grant as Executors. She left everything to her four surviving grand-daughters. When she died in 1948, the estate was valued at just £645..16..0.[108]

Four of Jessie’s grandchildren, Bill Gaden, Sue Keeling, Elizabeth MacDougal and Hugh Robertson Balcombe executed a deed in 1949 so that Vera Gaden and William Gould Balcombe were both to be provided with an income until their death and then Vera’s share of residual was to go to her three children and William Gould’s share would pass to his son Hugh, (his other son Gordon Robertson Balcombe had been KIA in WWII but had in fact, unbeknown to the family, left behind a son who was adopted. He has since made contact with the family as fortunately his birth mother had passed on his father’s name to his adopting mother.)[109]



Doris Miriam Balcombe was born in late 1890, her birth being noted in the Sydney Morning Herald

BALCOMBE November 17, at her residence, Karnah, Kogorah, wife of W. A. Balcombe, of daughter. [110]

She had a brother Gordon, older by 5 years and a sister Vera older by 3 years. Her younger brother Billy would be around three years her junior.

In 1995 the family moved to the spacious grounds of The Briars in Wahroonga and both the girls attended the nearby Abbotsleigh School.[111]

The Balcombe boys were both excellent golfers and no doubt the girls played too with both Vera and her brother WG (Billy) Balcombe playing Competition golf. WG Balcombe played in the Championship Mixed Foursomes with Miss Meares, on the Rose Bay links on 16 June 1913 and a Miss Balcombe played in the NSW State Championship meeting in both the Championship and Challenge cup in 1913.[112] Which Miss Balcombe was it, Vera or Doris?

Doris was married close to Christmas in 1915,

GRANT – BALCOMBE. -December 20, 1915, at St. Paul’s Church, Wahroonga, by the Rev. Donald Haultane, Hugh Donald Grant, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Grant of Bairnkine, Collarenebri to Doris Miriam youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Balcombe of The Briars, Wahroonga. Home papers please copy.[113]

and her first child, a son Hugh Balcombe (Bob) Grant, was born a just over a year later at The Briars, Wahroonga [114] no doubt a better place to have your first baby than out on the isolated Collarenebri property. Her daughters were also born at The Briars

GRANT.-June 22, at The Briars, Wahroonga, the wife of Hugh Grant, Bairnkine, Collarenebri-a daughter.[115]

Doris was involved with local activities in the Collarenebri area, for example ‘Mrs Hugh Grant’ of the CWA organised a ‘Battle of the Roses’ competition to raise money for the purchase of an X-ray machine. [116]

The comings and goings of Doris and her daughters was often listed in the social pages of the newspapers.

Mrs Hugh Grant with her two daughters the Misses Nancy and Barbara Grant who are pupils at Frensham have been staying at No 9 Springfield-avenue for a few days They will depart tomorrow for their station home in the Collarenebri district where the girls   will enjoy their school holidays. [117]

Mrs. Hugh Grant of Collarenebri is staying at No 9 Springfield-Avenue She came down with her two daughters the Misses Nancy and Barbara Grant who having spent their holidays at home have now returned to Frensham Mrs. Grant will be joined by her husband who will arrive In Sydney this week. [118]

After spending several weeks in Sydney, Mrs. Hugh Grant and Mrs. Brown, of Collarenebri, have returned to their homes for Christmas. [119]

Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarina, Collarenebri, will arrive in town to-day to spend a few weeks at No. 9 Springfield-avenue, Darlinghurst. [120]

During the school vacation the Misses Nancy and Barbara Grant are down from Frensham with their mother, Mrs. Hugh Grant, and are staying at No. 9 Springfield-avenue, Darlinghurst. Later they will go to their station home, Bundabarina, Collarenebri, for the remainder of their holiday. [121]

Mrs. Hugh Grant, who has been staying at No, 9 Springfield-avenue for two weeks, returned, during the week-end, to her home, Bundabarina, Collarenebri. Mrs. Grant will be in town again within the next few weeks for her Christmas shopping, after which she will take her daughters, Nancy and Barbara, who are at Frensham, home for their holidays. [122]

Even medical issues were not immune from publication and one can only speculate the origin of such information.

Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarina Station left on Saturday for Sydney with her daughter, who will undergo an operation for antrum.  [123]

(The ‘operation for antrum’ in those days was specifically for nasal sinus. [124])

At the Macquarie Club – Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarina, Collarenebri, is staying at the Macquarie Club. She has just returned from Mittagong with her daughter, Miss Barbara Grant, who is a student at Hopewood House. Together they spent Easter with Miss Nancy Grant, who is a student at Frensham.[125]

Hopewood House was a finishing school for girls founded in 1934 by Nancy Jobson, a former headmistress of Fairholme Presbyterian Girls’ College, Toowoomba, and later principal of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Pymble, Sydney.

Part of a new wave of Australian headmistresses, Miss Jobson partly abandoned the traditional goals of academic attainments and examination success, and hoped to interest her girls in ‘excellence’ in home management and the cultivation of refined manners and artistic sense. Emphasizing the differences between the schooling of boys and girls and the importance of ‘woman’s sphere’ in the family and home life, she introduced courses in domestic science and music. She tried to instill a female ethic of service to the community: the school supported welfare work in hospitals and most senior girls joined the Christian-based Toc H. In November 1924 she outlined her views in an article, ‘The education of girls’, in the Australian Teacher. She visited Italy, ‘that land of art, history and beauty’ in 1928. She resigned from PLC in mid 1933. The next year Miss Jobson founded Hopewood House, a finishing school for girls which concentrated on homecraft and secretarial studies; it closed in 1943. [126]

MISS JOAN MILLS daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G A Mills of Wellington New Zealand who is a student at Hopewood Home with Miss Dorothy Nott, of Adelaide. Miss Mills will spend the coming vacation with Miss Barbara Grant, at Bundabarina Collarenebri. Mrs. Hugh Grant who has been in town for some time, returned home on Tuesday.[127]

Doris’ mother-in-law died in February 1937 so it would fall on Doris to become the hostess out on the property.

OBITUARY – ANN MARGARET GRANT – The death occurred recently at the Walton Private Hospital, Sydney, of Mrs. Ann Margaret Grant, of ‘Bairnkine,’ Walgett, wife of Mr. Donald Grant. Mrs. Grant was a widely known and respected member of a pioneer family of the north-western districts. Deceased leaves a husband, one son, Hugh (Collarenebri) and four daughters, namely Mrs. Buchanan, Mrs. Colin Sinclair, Mrs. H Mc Donald, and Mrs. Giblin. Mr. Hugh Grant was called to Sydney on the sad mission. Mrs. Colin Sinclair had only recently returned from a tour. The late Mrs. Grant in her last hours was surrounded by her family. The funeral service was held at St. Stevens Church, Sydney.  [128]

THERE’S news of some young buds of Hopewood House. Barbara Grant, the eldest of the Hugh Grant family of Bundabarina, Collarenebri, has gone off to Kosciusko for some snow revelling, and with her is Pam Lloyd, and her young brother Brian. Pam’s father, who is managing director of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries Company, and his wife are returning to England next month, and they want the family to see Australia in as many moods as possible before the sailing date.[129]

The Grant family continued to feature in the Social Pages of the newspapers but the Gaden family did not. In those days did a local correspondent talk to the locals to ask what they were doing or did they collect the local news and pass it on to the Sydney Morning Herald?

First Colonial Treasurer.

A great-great-great-granddaughter of Australia’s first Colonial Treasurer, Mr. William Balcombe, will be one of the debutantes at the Queen’s Club Ball, which will be held at the Town Hall on February 3. She is Miss Barbara Grant, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarrina, Collarenebri, and granddaughter of Mrs. W Balcombe, of Wahroonga. Miss Grant will arrive in town to-day with her mother, and will stay at Dalkeith, Edgecliff. [130]

Barbara’s cousin Susan Gaden was also to make her debut at this ball, but there was no mention of her connection with the Colonial Treasurer.

DEBUT AT BALL – MISS BARBARA GRANT, daughter  of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Grant of Bundabarrina Station, Collarenebri, who arrived in town yesterday, and is staying  at Dalkeith, Edgecliff. Miss Grant will be a debutante at the Queen’s Club Ball.[131]

Following the debut season there were a number of weddings where Barbara Grant was bridesmaid:

Wedding on Thursday – Miss Molly Williamson of Gleneda, Warrumbungle, has chosen three attendants for her wedding to Mr. Francis Sutton, of Glencoe, Rowena, which will take place at St. Mark’s Church, Darling Point, on Thursday night. Mrs. Clifford Ward, who was formerly Miss Marcia Cordeaux, of Bowral, will be matron-of-honour, and Misses Barbara Grant, of Collarenebri, and Joan McDonald, of Singleton, will be bridesmaids. The bride-to-be is the guest of Miss Grant’s mother, Mrs. Hugh Grant, who has a flat at Dalkeith, Edgecliff, but who will probably return to her country home next month.[132]

Two family heirlooms were worn by Miss Molly Williamson, of Warrumbungle, for her wedding to Mr. Francis Bathurst Suttor, of Glencoe, Rowena, at St. Mark’s Church, Darling Point, last night.

WHITE COBWEB LACE – Mrs. Clifford Ward, of Denman, Miss Barbara Grant (Collarenebri), and Miss Joan McDonald (Singleton) attended the bride. They wore full-skirted gowns of white cob- web lace mounted over satin, with shirred bodices forming square necklines and short pulled sleeves. Their coronets of white flowers matched their bouquets.[133]

An unusual amount of interest was taken both in the city and country in the marriage last week of Miss Mollie Williamson, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Williamson. of Gleneda, Warrumbungle, and Mr. Frances Bathurst Suttor, of Glencoe, Rowena, elder son of the late Mr. P. W. Suttor and Mrs. Suttor, of Spring Creek, Cargo. Canon Howard Lea officiated at the ceremony, which took place at St. Mark’s, Darling Point. The bride’s gown was of white satin, cut on tailored lines, with a low square neckline and long sleeves. Her veil, which was, lent by her sister-in-law, Mrs. V. J. Williamson, of Brewarrina, was of cut tulle, and held in place by a coronet of tiny net leaves, outlined with seed pearls. Her bouquet of white tiger lilies was edged with a beautiful piece of old. lace which formed a bouquet holder. It had bean, worn by the bride’s grandfather, the late Sir Francis Suttor, when he was president of the Legislative Assembly. She also wore a family heir loom — a diamond and turquoise pendant—lent by her aunt, Miss Mary Suttor, which had been given by the late Sir Francis Suttor to his wife, when he was knighted. Wearing gowns of white lace over satin, the attendants of the bride, Mrs. Clifford   Ward, of Denman, Miss Barbara Grant, of Collarenebri, and Miss Joan Mc   Donald, Singleton, added coronets of white flowers and matching white posies. Mr. John Church was best man, and Messrs. Phillip Suttor and Sydney Black groomsmen. Later about 70. guests were . entertained at Elizabeth’ Bay House, by the parents  of the bride.[134]

Race meetings were also important places where people could socialise and show off the latest fashions. Doris attended both Warwick Farm and Randwick races in the pre-war years.

Dressing at Warwick Farm – On Saturday, at Warwick Farm, a small effort of imagination would have led people to believe that they were at a race meeting in Singapore or some other tropical place So great was the  heat that even the bookmakers wore pith helmets in preference to their usual felt hats and the dressing of the women present was of the most summery variety…Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Collarenebri, had a white and china blue frock of reversible crepe. Her hat of ballibuntal straw was in the same colour [135]

Returning Home – Mrs. Hugh Grant will spend a few days at the Macquarie Club before returning later in the week to her home Bundabarina, Collarenebri. Mrs. Grant will not be in town for Easter.[136]

A.J.C. MEETING – Many new types of frocks and hats were worn at Randwick races on Saturday, and as the day was dull and cool the majority of the women present chose’ the lightweight woollen materials for their frocks and suits. Mrs. Hugh Grant (Collarenebri) chose a lightweight, woollen frock which had for trimming three large wooden buttons in the design of rustic cottages placed on a motif of felt flowers. Her small hat was of black velour. [137]

However sometimes Doris was so ill when she was ‘in town’ that she needed to be hospitalised:

Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarrina Station. Collarenebri, who has been ill in Wootton hospital, and has since been staying at the Macquarie Club, has left for Newcastle, where she will meet her son and daughter, Mr. Hugh Grant and Miss Barbara Grant, who will motor home with her. [138]

The family also escaped from the extreme summer heat of Collarenebri by holidaying in the welcome sea breezes of the coast.

Mrs. Hugh Grant of Collarenebri and her daughters Misses Barbara and Nancy Grant are spending January at Terrigal. They were driven down from their station home by Mrs. Grants son Mr. Bob Grant who will come down at the end of the month to drive them  home [139] (Bob Grant’s full name Hugh Balcombe Grant but he was always known as Bob.)

In early 1939 Doris and daughter Barbara took a holiday in Singapore, a place that cousin Bill Gaden would soon get to know well.

Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Collarenebri and her daughter, Miss Barbara Grant who are staying at Hampton Court will sail on the Stratheden on Saturday for Colombo and Singapore, where they will spend a short holiday. [140]

Doris’ father William Alexander Balcombe died in early May that year and she was executrix, along with public trustee, for his Will. [141] It seems a little unusual that as a woman in those days, she was given that task especially when he had 2 sons, one of whom was a solicitor.

The next month her daughter Barbara attended the Town and Country Ball at Moree where she was a house guest of Mrs. Rowly Munro, president of the Ball Committee [142]

Later in the year Barbara was busy again, this time as bridesmaid at wedding of Jeanette Campbell Avern, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Avern, of Inverell and Toronto, to Mr. John Hugh Cameron, only son of Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Cameron, of Potts Point. The bridesmaids wore frocks of hyacinth blue marquisette made in old world style. Their head-dresses were blue marquisette bows and pink hyacinths, and they carried posies of the same flowers. [143]

Despite the outbreak of war, or perhaps induced by it, thousands flocked to holiday on the coast in December 1939. The Grants again escaped the inland heat by joining the throngs on the coast:

50,000 AT TERRIGAL AND THE ENTRANCE Gay Holiday-makers From All Parts

A RECORD holiday season is being experienced at The Entrance and Terrigal. It is estimated that more than 50,000 persons visited these centres during the Christmas vacation. A recurrence of the rush is expected this week end, when many who returned to work during the week will rejoin their friends for the last days of the festivities.

Sir Frederick McMaster of “Dalkeith,” Cassilis, is at Terrigal, where he occupies the cottage just vacated by the Monte Walkers (Sydney). Other country holiday-makers there are the J. H. Cullips (Piallamore), the George Paulo (Moree), the Bryan Carsons (Boggabri), Mrs. Hugh Grant (Collarenebri), Mrs. Hugh Munro (Moree), also F. F. Williams (Jhelum Plains), and Messrs. Peter and Ken Binnie (Quirindi).[144]

By the middle of 1940 the war was in full flight. The Germans occupied northern Europe. Paris had fallen. The Italians had joined the Germans as partners. The evacuation at Dunkirk had brought as many Allied men as possible off French soil and back to England. The Australian Government was worried that Japan would see her ideological allies winning in Europe and she would in turn be tempted to strike in the Pacific. Australia knew the naval base in Singapore would not be strengthened and she was on her own in terms of defence. [145]

There was no more talk of a ‘phoney war’ and many young Australians decided it was time to join the Army and support the Allies. They were looking to help the Mother Country and fight the Germans. Those who had enlisted early in the war were sometimes labelled ‘economic conscripts’; some were looking for an income, many were looking for adventure. However when the young men saw the fall of France, it proved to be the signal to act and they made a considered decision to serve, many because of their British heritage. In 1936 the number of Australian residents coming from British stock was 97%.[146] Enlistment in the Australian Army jumped from 8,000 in May 1940 to 48,500 in June. [147]

Doris’ nephew Edward William (Bill) Gaden volunteered for the Australian Imperial Forces, (AIF) on 1 June 1940. His service number was NX12543 and his story is told in Pounding Along to Singapore, a history of the 2/20 Battalion AIF written by his daughter-in-law.[148]

No doubt many young men were inspired by the words of Winston Churchill. On June 4th 1940 Churchill spoke to the British Parliament.

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender: and even if, which I do not for one moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the old. [149]

It was that same day that Hugh Balcombe Grant also enlisted in the Australian Army. His army number was NX28293 and he was a Lance Corporal in the 2/202 General Transport Company.[150] He was initially posted to the AIF camp at Greta in the Hunter Valley of NSW and it was here in June that his mother and sister came to visit him.

From Collarenebri. Mrs. Hugh Grant of Collarenebri and her daughter Miss Nancy Grant are staying at the Macquarie Club. Mrs. Grant came to Sydney to see her son Mr. Bob Grant who is in camp with the AIF at Greta. [151]

and only a few days after this visit, that Barbara announced her engagement to Richard Young, NX12799, of the 2/1 Field Regiment, also in the Greta Camp.

MISS BARBARA GRANT, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Grant of Bundabarrina, Collarenebri whose engagement to Mr. Richard Gowland Young, elder son of the late Mr. Charles Young and of Mrs. Young, of Clairvaux, Road Rose Bay, is announced. Mr. Young is a member of the A.I.F. in camp  at Greta.  [152]

Later that year, in November

Mr. Donald Grant. Senr, of Bundabarrina station, in the Collarenebri district, stayed at the Royal Hotel when he visited Dubbo to see his nephews, who are in camp here. Mr. Grant left on Tuesday night for Sydney. [153]

In April the following year Doris was back in town with her daughters for Easter but this time she spent three of her holiday weeks in hospital and it was June before she was fit enough to return home.

Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Collarenebri, and her daughters, Misses Barbara and Nancy Grant, are in town for Easter. Mrs. Grant is at the Macquarie Club and her daughters are staying at Gladswood Gardens. [154]

Convalescent – Mrs. Hugh Grant, who has been a patient in St. Luke’s hospital for about three weeks, is now nearly convalescent. Her daughter, Miss Barbara Grant, is in town and is staying at the Macquarie Club. Miss Nancy Grant has returned to their home, Bundabarina, Collarenebri.[155]

Having recovered from her recent illness, Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarina, Collarenebri, has returned home. Her daughters, Misses Barbara and Nancy Grant, who have been in Sydney for several weeks, accompanied her. [156]

On 22 July 1943 Lance Corporal HB (Bob) Grant was discharged from the Army and the next day he immediately enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force. His Service Number was 435552. Eventually the horrific war ended and Bob Grant was eventually discharged from the RAAF on 29 August 1947 as a Flight Sergeant at the 5 Service Training School. [157] He must have been given an early mark as he was able to be a groomsman at his sister’s wedding at Collarenebri on 27 August!

HEARD FROM Sydney yesterday that the marriage of Commander Arnold Green, DSC and Bar, RAN, youngest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Green, formerly of Camberwell, to Nancy June Grant, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarrina, Collarenebri, NSW, will take place at the home of the bride’s’ parents on August 27. [158]

Wedding At Collarenebri – The marriage of Miss Nancy Grant, the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarina, Collarenebri, to Commander Arnold Green, D.S.C. and Bar. R.A.N.. the youngest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Green, of Camberwell Victoria, took place at Bundabarina yesterday. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr. Williams, of Collarenebri. Mesdames Richard Young and Noel Ure attended the bride. Lieutenant Geoffrey Phillips.   R.A.N.R., was best man and Mr. Hugh Grant, junior, was grooms-man. Among more than 100 interstate and country guests was Commander Green’s sister, Miss Isobel M. Green, of Melbourne.

Commander and Mrs. Green will stay at the Australia Hotel. Sydney, until next Wednesday, when they will fly to New Guinea, where Commander Green is stationed in H.M.A.S. Parangau, Finschhafen.[159]

HONEYMOONERS. Commander Arnold Green, D.S.C. and Bar, R.A.N., and his pretty bride, formerly Nancy Grant, who were recently married at home of Nancy’s parents, the Hugh Grants, of Bundabarrina, Collaryenebri. Couple honeymoon in Sydney and stay at Australia Hotel, then fly to New Guinea, where Commander Green is stationed in H.M.A.S. Parangau, Finschhafen. [160]

Arnold Holbrook Green was born on 23 Mar 1906 in Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia and he became a cadet in the Royal Australian Navy on 1 January 1920. He graduated to Midshipman in May 1924, and over the next few years rose through the various levels of Sub-Lieutenant to be promoted to Lieutenant on 30 October 1929. [161] He became a legend in his own lifetime in the RAN and Nancy June Grant was his second wife .

Before the Second World War, in October 1937, he had married in Hong Kong into a Naval family, his wife Naomi Meares was daughter of an Engineer Commander in the Royal Australian Navy. (Was there any connection with the Miss Meares who had played competition golf at a high level, in 1913 winning the NSW Championship Mixed foursomes at the Rose Bay links on 16 June 1913 with G T Balcombe , Doris (Balcombe) Grant’s brother?[162])

MARRIED IN HONG KONG: MRS. ARNOLD GREEN, who before her marriage in Hong Kong last Saturday to Lieut. Arnold Holbrook Green, R.A.N., was Miss Naomi Mears, elder daughter of Engineer-Commander A. C. W. Mears, R.A.N., and Mrs. Mears, of Toorak. Lieut. Green, who is the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Green, of of Florence, Florence street, Surrey Hills, Melbourne, is at present on exchange with the Royal Navy in H.M.S. Daring on the China Station. Mrs. Green has been spending a holiday with, her mother in Hong Kong. Mrs. Mears will remain in Hong Kong, where she will be joined by her younger daughter, Miss Margaret Mears, who left Melbourne in the Taiping yesterday. [163]

We can only speculate what had happened to his wife and her family in Hong Kong once the Japanese had captured the island during the war. Did they escape to England or to Australia or had they been subject to Japanese brutality as happened in Singapore?

Sadly after the war he found that he and his wife Sylvia Naomi Isabel Green, aged 27, who had married in 1937 and produced 2 children, were no longer together and he applied for a divorce on the issue of Desertion. The divorce was noted in newspapers in April 1947.[164]

Arnold Green was quite a character and his war time history is well documented. He served on these ships during wartime:

Ship                                                     Rank                Type                From                To

HMAS Warrego (L 73 / U 73)           Lt.Cdr.           Sloop               27 May 1942   22 Aug 1942

HMAS Napier (G 97)                         Lt.Cdr.             Destroyer         7 Nov 1942    15 Sep 1944

HMAS Norman (G 49)                       A/Cdr.             Destroyer        3 Sep 1945     28 Oct 1945

He was at Tobruk when the siege was on and captured many Italian Prisoners and was awarded the DSC in July 1942 and bar to the DSC in 1945 for his efforts in taking the prisoners. [165]

This delightful biography comes from <>

The late Commander Arnold Holbrook Green, O.B.E., D.S.C. and Bar, R.A.N. became a legend in the Royal Australian Navy in his own lifetime. During the war a British Admiral informed his Australian officers that the Australian Navy was too small for a man of Arnold’s talents, but in the Royal Navy he would have eventually reached flag rank. Arnold Green was in that great company of exceptional characters in the service who appeared to have no fear of the enemy or higher authority. He could be both ruthless and autocratic and also very kind, but in all circumstances he remained the one and only Arnold Green.

THERE ARE MANY STORIES to his legend and many concern his battles with higher authority. The story that follows gives an idea of his kindness and sense of humour.

A senior officer still serving remembers writing to Arnold Green for assistance in a matter of accommodation at the port at which he was the Naval Officer in Charge. ‘Accommodation’, wrote Green in reply, ‘is as scarce as hen’s teeth, and even when available is at exorbitant rates for even the most lowly hovels. I have searched and investigated (leaving no stones unexplored or avenue unturned) and am afraid that what you ask is impossible. The writer then continued with odd bits of news and then after finishing his letter to his friend added a postscript. In the postscript Arnold Green wrote that he would like to ask a favour. One of the Naval married quarters, he wrote, was becoming vacant and therefore open to intrusion by the locals. Could his friend possibly find his way clear to providing someone to live in it as a caretaker. Green could not of course pay any reimbursement for this arduous duty, but he hoped that, as the dates of vacancy coincided with the visit of this friend’s ship, he might be able to help.

While serving in Captain Waller’s flotilla leader Stuart, Arnold Green was lent to HMS Nile as liaison officer with the Western Desert Force in September 1940. He enjoyed life in besieged Tobruk and in the day to day struggle for the amenities of life soon became known as ‘Hydraulic Jack’, because he could lift anything. As a scrounger he had no equal. He also loved to play soldiers and wangled himself a place in many a patrol into the enemy’s lines. So it was with hardly a moment’s hesitation that the Colonel allowed him to take command of one such patrol whose designated commander, a Major, went sick at the last moment.

Foraging for prisoners and loot far into the enemy’s lines, Arnold Green’s patrol came to a cave in the hillside. He marched up to the entrance hoping to find hidden stores, and peered into the darkness. In his best quarterdeck voice he demanded to know whether there was anyone inside. Very much to Green’s surprise there was an immediate response to his demands. In the grey light of dawn came a shuffling line of Italian soldiers, each with one arm raised and the other waiting only to drop a rifle at Green’s feet. The line of men grew into a stream and then into a torrent as the rifles piled up higher and higher.

The total number of prisoners Arnold Green led back into the Fortress of Tobruk has been variously estimated at anything between fifty and five hundred. In any case the patrol had been most successful and the immediate award of the Military Cross was made to the patrol commander. There was however one problem that worried the General. Clearly the MC could not be awarded to a naval officer, nor once awarded could it be retracted. In the end the War office consulted the Admiralty and the Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to Arnold Green and the Military Cross to the sick Major, who must have felt a trifle embarrassed at receiving it. The Army had no intention of allowing such a highly irregular occurrence to be repeated, so back Green went to sea.

Towards the end of the war Arnold Green found himself an acting Commander and once again playing soldiers, this time in Borneo, where he won a second DSC. But this time the announcement of the award took considerably longer and he was back in command of a destroyer when it came through. The signal about the DSC arrived just before Green returned from a trip ashore and as he stepped onto the quarterdeck the First Lieutenant moved forward to greet him.

‘Let me, Sir, be the first to congratulate you.’

‘Congratulate me, what on earth for?’

‘Your decoration Sir. A signal has just come in.’

‘Oh, what did I get?’

‘A bar to your DSC, Sir.’

‘The baskets! They promised me a DSO.”

Commander Green then stomped below in disgust. He was probably pleased when he read the citation for his DSC – ‘For courage and devotion to duty whilst serving as Liaison Officer with the Allied Forces in the Far East. On ten occasions Acting Commander Green landed with the first wave of infantry assault troops and thus secured information which proved of great value in subsequent assaults.’

He did not always emerge the winner of all his escapades and in some cases he must have known that retribution was inevitable. But on the whole he generally won his battles with higher authority, but was not always quite so successful with the Lower Deck.

As a Division Officer in a destroyer before the war he paused while making his rounds to watch an Able Seaman leisurely chipping the rust off the steel deck. ‘What are you doing?’ Green demanded. ‘Chipping the deck! Can’t you see?’, responded the seaman without pausing in his work. ‘Stand up’ ordered Green. ‘Don’t you know how to act when an officer speaks to you? Here, give the hammer to me, and you come up and ask me what I’m doing. I’ll show you what you should have done.”

The exchange of jobs was made and Green squatted down to chip. The seaman walked off a few paces and then came back again. ‘What are you doing?’ the seaman demanded. ‘Chipping the deck Sir’, answered Green, at the same time rising smartly to attention and saluting. ‘All right’, replied the seaman. ‘Just carry on. I’m going aft for a gin.’

(Another sailor from the Lower deck, Allan Desmond Lawson, L34130, obviously did not like Green. He was at Finchhaven (one of the many ways it was spelt). “The big boss there was FOIC (NG), Captain Claude Brecks, a great bloke. The Exec was Commander Arnold Green, an absolute shocker, with his Stupid dog ‘Bomber’.” [166]

Arnold Green had no fear of Admirals and many stories refer to his clashes with higher naval authority. One Sunday during the war the destroyer he was commanding spent a few days in harbour in company with the ship flying the flag of the Rear Admiral, Destroyers. RAD noted with annoyance that whereas the rest of his ships were mustered for Divine Service, the men of Arnold Green’s destroyer were busy washing the ship’s side. A signal was promptly despatched by the Admiral: ‘Please explain why I do not observe your ship’s company at prayers.’ The reply was quick. ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness. We prayed last week.’

Possibly the most outrageous and autocratic story concerning Arnold Green occurred at the time of the Olympic Games in 1956 when Melbourne was inundated with visitors from overseas. At the time Arnold Green was Resident Naval Officer, Tasmania and it was his last appointment before retiring. Four American destroyers were in Hobart on their way to Melbourne for the Games. Parties, excursions and hospitality had been lavished on the Americans who could be seen all over the city.

Green was driving past a group of American sailors and noticed they looked rather lost. He stopped and enquired if he could help, only to learn that they were off on a trip to visit some beauty spot, but their bus had not turned up. This was enough for Commander Green. At this moment a municipal bus was passing, filled with passengers on their way to the city. Green stepped imperiously into its path and raised his hand in a stop signal no driver could ignore. He then stepped into the bus and ordered ‘Everybody disembark’. His Quarterdeck tone brooked no refusal and the bewildered passengers promptly obeyed the order. Turning to the startled American sailors Green gave another order, ‘Now, Gentlemen, would you please embus’. The sailors then filed aboard in amazement. When the driver had time to recover from his shock he could only say, ‘ ‘ere, wait a minute, mate. What’s all this about?’ ‘My man, these men are due at the top of Mount Lookout in half an hour. Drive there, wait while they are shown the sights, and return them to their ships on completion’, instructed Green. The poor driver was shocked to the core. ‘But I’m on me regular run. The Transport Commissioner’ll be onto me over this. I’m due at the depot in ten minutes and anyway, who’s going to pay for all this?’ ‘The account is to be sent to the Premier by direction of the Resident Naval Officer’, announced Green, who then turned to the new passengers. ‘Well gentlemen, I hope you enjoy your trip. The Commonwealth of Australia and the citizens of this city are proud to have you with us.’

Green watched the bus draw away and then strode to his car through the bewildered group of evicted passengers. What the American sailors thought of the whole business is not known. But a few weeks later Green received a summons to visit the Premier. This gentleman waved under his visitor’s nose the large bill for the unauthorised bus ride, and demanded an explanation, ‘Mr. Premier’, replied Green, ‘I saw these esteemed maritime visitors – guests, Sir, of you and your State – standing forsaken on the footpath. I felt, Sir, that the good name of the State was at stake, so I asked myself, Sir, what you would do in similar circumstances. Knowing you to be a man of direct action, the answer, Sir, was obvious, so I acted accordingly. ‘Well done Green. Have a gin’, replied the Premier.[167]

Commander Arnold Green transferred to the Emergency List on 23 March 1951 and he finally retired from the Navy on 23 March 1966.[168]

After the war he had divorced his first wife and married Nancy June Grant, the younger daughter of Doris (Balcombe) and Hugh Grant in Walgett district. [169]

And soon it was the turn of Nancy’s older brother Hugh Balcombe Grant to announce his engagement

MISS GEANETTE MAKEIG, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Makeig, of Dungalear, Walgett and MR. HUGH B. GRANT, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Grant, of Bundabarrina, Collarenebri, who have announced their engagement, lunched at Romano’s yesterday. [170]

Mr and MRS. HUGH B.  GRANT, who were married at St. Columba’s Church, Woollahra, yesterday. The bride was formerly Miss Gwen Makeig, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Makeig, of Walgett, and the bride- groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Grant, of Bundabarina Collarenebri. [171]

Sadly it was only 4 months later that Doris died

GRANT, Doris Miriam -March 28 1951, at a Sydney hospital, beloved wife of Hugh D. Grant, of Bundabareena Collarenebri. For funeral notice see Friday’s Herald.  [172]

GRANT -The Relatives and Friends of Mr. Hugh D Grant of Bundabareena, Collarenebri, New South Wales are invited to attend the Funeral of his beloved Wife DORIS MIRIAM to leave St Augustines Church, Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay This Morning at 9 45 o clock for the Northern Suburbs Crematorium A service will commence at 9 30 a m MOTOR FUNERALS LIMITED (A F D A ) 389 Pacific Highway Crow’s Nest  Tele XB4015 6 [173]

with the probate application being advertised just a few days later

IN the Will of DORIS MIRIAM GRANT late of Collarenebri in the State   of New South Wales Married Woman deceased Application will be made after 14 days from the publication hereof that Probate of the last Will and Testament dated the 1st December 1948 of the abovenamed deceased may be granted to Hugh Donald Grant and Hugh Balcombe Grant the Executors named in the said Will and all notices may be served at the undermentioned address. All creditors in the Estate of the deceased are hereby required to send in particulars of their claims to the undersigned _ REMINGTON & CO Proctors 17 O Connell Street, Sydney [174]

So Doris was the first of William Alexander and Jessie Balcombe’s children to pass away. Her line continued through her son Hugh Balcombe Grant (two daughters and one son) and two daughters Barbara Mary Young (three daughters) and Nancy June Green.



Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe was born at the home of his grandmother Lydia.

Births – BALCOMBE.-May 5, at Napoleon Cottage, Woollahra, the wife of W. A. Balcombe, of a son.[175]

He was named Tyrwhitt after his grandfather Thomas.

Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe attended Shore, starting in 1896 when his register number was 371. His parents were listed as living at The Briars in Wahroonga. [176]

He became a solicitor, being admitted 27 August 1910 and joined Abbott, Tout and Balcombe, based in Sydney. The NSW State records Register of Firms lists Abbot, Tout and Balcombe, solicitors, Ocean House, Moore Street and Marsden Street, Burrowa, Registered 1 Feb 1912, Abbott, McCartney and Balcombe, Gordon Tyrwhitt, Number 21328, Item number [2/8542]

In the mid 1920s he withdrew to practice alone in the suburbs. He did not marry until later in life and had no children.

Gordon Balcombe moved in the best of circles! He was Best Man at the wedding of Dr Hordern and Norah White from Belltrees.

A very pretty wedding of general interest in Australia was celebrated in the private Church of England, Bell trees Station, Scone, New South Wales, on Tuesday, April 22, when Dr. Herbert V. Hordern, Sydney, was married to Norah, younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. White, of Belltrees Station (writes a Sydney lady). The church had been artistically decorated by some of the bride’s relations, and the ceremony was performed by the Rev. B. C, Wilson, the service being choral. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a charming gown of rich white Liberty satin, gracefully draped with some lovely Limerick lace, which was caught with sprays of orange blossom;. her veil was also of beautiful Limerick lace — it having been worked at a convent in Ireland, and was sent from there by an aunt of the bride— a sheaf of lilies was carried, and, the bridegroom’s gifts— a diamond and     pearl pendant and earrings—completed the attire. The only bridesmaid was the bride’s sister Dorothy, who was frocked in pale blue Charmeuse, veiled in a tunics of ivory lace; her black hat was clustered with pale blue ostrich feathers, and she wore the bridegroom’s gift, a diamond and aquamarine pendant. Mr. Gordon Balcombe, of Sydney, was best man. At the conclusion of the ceremony the guests were received at the homestead by Mr. and Mrs. White, and when congratulations had been given to the bride and bride groom, a move was made to the dining room, where wedding luncheon was served. Subsequently Dr. and Mrs. Hordern left for their honeymoon, which is being spent in Melbourne. The bride travelled in a white and black striped tweed coat and skirt, and a black hat trimmed with ostrich feathers and pink kid roses. [177]


GT Balcombe was obviously an excellent player of golf, reaching the status of NSW State Champion in 1928. He appears to have started off playing in the A team for Killara Club in 1907 when in his early twenties.


Killara.-A team, at Killara: A. E. L. Apperley, I. A. W. Padficld, G T. Balcombe, G. C Owen, J. Kidd, N. V. Pockley, P. W. Pope, E. Springthorpe.[178]

By 1811 he was playing for Championship games



The principal item on Wednesday’s programme, at Rose Bay was the semi final round for the amateur championship of Australia The weather was somewhat disagreeable, as it was showery throughout the day with a fairly strong northerly breeze. It must not be thought, however, that golfers are in any way deterred by wet weather, as it is one of the chief attractions of the game that it can be played in any weather-wet or fine. In fact, it has been truly said golf knows neither season nor weather, and this is where it has a pull, so to speak, over many other games, as the cricketer has to sit in the pavilion on wet days, the lawn tennis players have to allow their racquets to lie idle when there is not much more than a drizzle. Football of a sort-can, of course, be played in the wet, but with golf some of the best games have been put up in the wet; in fact, some courses are much better in wet weather than in dry, and the player who is dexterous with his lofted approach shots reaps a just and true reward for his ability in playing the ball right up to the hole, whereas the man who can only play the run-up shot often finds him- self hampered by the soft ground. No wonder, then, that golf has become so popular with cricketers and lawn tennis players, for as soon as they take up golf they have no more idle Saturday afternoons or holidays, and they are out on the links in sunshine and rain.

Of the four players who reached the semi-final rounds of the championship, three of them, viz.. J, D. Howden, N. E Brookes, and C. Pelstoad, hail from Victoria, whilst only one. viz., G. T. Balcombe, came from Now South Wales. The matches were again over 36 holes.

D. HOWDEN (VIC.) and G. T. BALCOMBE (N.S.W.) – Howden and Balcombe were the first players to start. Howden got a good drive, but Balcombe skied his tee shot, and it found the cross ditch. He recovered nicely, and was well on the green with his third. Howden, however, reached the green with two good shots, and Balcombe was fortunate in securing a half in four, as he holed a long 24 ft putt.

At the second hole Balcombe again skied his drive, and played his second short of the cross bunker, Howden being nicely on the green with his second Balcombe made a nice approach on to the green, and the hole was halved in fives, as Howden took three putts to his opponent’s two.

At the short third, Howden reached the edge of the green from the toe, and Balcombe got a beautiful shot to within 6 ft of the pin. Howden’s approach putt lay dead, but Balcombe holed his putt, and became 1 up by winning this hole in 2 to 3.

At the fourth hole, for the third time during the match, Balcombe skied his tee shot, and the ball landed in the second bunker, about 50 yards in front of the tee, and he took three to get out, and did not reach the green until his sixth. He then picked up, as Howden was on the green in three. Howden’s second shot to this hole was a very low one, and it went slap into the bunker, and stayed there, but he made a fine approach there from on to the green.

At the fifth Balcombe was hole-high, with his second, but to the left of the green, whereas Howden was just off the green to the right, and as they each took three more to hole out, the hole was divided in fives.

At the short sixth hole Howden reached the green from the tee, but Balcombe was short, and the Victorian took the lead for the first time in the match by winning the hole in 3 to 4.

At the long seventh Howden got a nice drive, but Balcombe pulled his into the rough. He made a nice recovery. Both men then topped their third shots into the bunker. Balcombe got out nicely and on to the green, whereas Howden was a bit too strong, and overran the green. He, how- ever, made full amends therefore by making a beautiful approach shot to within two feet of the flag, and the hole was halved in sixes.

The eighth was well halved in fours.

At the ninth hole both got fair drives. Howden, however, got into the cross bunker with his second shot, and Balcombe was still worse off, as he pulled his second into the Chinamen’s gardens, which is “out of bounds.” He had then to drop another ball, but he lost the hole, as Howden was out in 5 to his 6. The Victorian thus turned for home 2 up.

At the tenth Howden got a nice drive, but Balcombe pulled his ball into the ditch. He had to pick out, with the loss of a stroke, and he played his third across the green. Howden played a beautiful second shot to within 10 feet of the hole, and as Balcombe was again too strong with his fourth, he picked up, and Howden won the hole in an approximate 4 to 6, and became 3 up for the first time during the match.

At the eleventh Howden topped his tee shot, but recovered well, and was on the edge of the green in 3. Balcombe, however, got two fine shots at this hole, and was quite close to the hole with his second. He then approached to within two feet of the hole. Howden was a bit short with his approach, and left himself a dead stymie. He took a mashie (5 iron [179]), and lofted over his opponent’s ball, but did not hole out, and Balcombe won the hole in 4 to 6.

At the twelfth Balcombe topped his tee shot into the bunker, whilst Howden took his cleek, (number 2 iron) and put his ball nicely on the green, and the latter won the hole in 3 to 4, and was thus 3 up once more

At the thirteenth both got fair drives and good second shots, and were well on the green with their thirds, and the hole was nicely halved in fives.

At the short fourteenth Howden played a fine shot to within 15 feet of the flag, whilst Balcombe was bunkered, and then got out a bit too strong, and Howden became 4 up winning this hole in 3 to 5.

At the 15th Howden got a very fine drive, whereas Balcombe pulled into the rough, and he also pulled his second shot just short of the left-hand bunker guarding the green. Howden then played the best shot of the day, getting a beautiful iron shot to within six feet of the flag, and he became 5 up by winning this hole in a brilliant 3 to 5.

At the 16th both men got fine drives against the wind, and were well across the bunker, and they also got good second shots. Balcombe, however, then played three very careless, half- hearted sort of shots, and Howden won the hole in 5 to 7, and thus became 6 up.

At the 17th Howden was put across the ditch with his second, whilst Balcombe was short, having topped his brassie (2 Wood). He was just on the green with his third, but then took three putts , and Howden became 7 up by winning this hole 5 to 8

At the home hole both got good drives, and they were on the green with their second shots, Howden being a bit short of the hole, whilst Balcombe was hole-high to the right Howden approached on to the tin, whilst Balcombe’s putt was a bit weak. He however, holed out at his next attempt, and the hole was halved in four, and Howden thus went to lunch with the very substantial lead of 7 holes.

In the afternoon, notwithstanding his big deficiency, Balcombe started off in a most re- assuring fashion by winning the first hole in a brilliant 3 to 4, as the New South Wales man holed a fine putt from 10 ft. At the second hole Balcombe skied his drive, and played his second short of the cross bunker, and his third on to the green. Howden however reached the green with two fine shots, and he won the hole in 4 to 6, as Balcombe took three putts. At the short third Howden was on the edge of the green from the tee whilst Balcombe was in the pot hole to the left of the green. He got put well to with- in 10 ft of the flag; Howden’s approach putt was short, and he took two more putts to get out, whilst Balcombe ran down a fine 10 ft putt, and won the hole in 3 to 4.

The fourth was nicely halved in the regulation fives, and the fifth in fours. Balcombe almost secured a three, as his putt hit the back of the tin.

At the short sixth Balcombe was in the pot hole to “the left of the green, whilst Howden pulled his tee shot to the left of the bunkers, but he pitched on to the green and putted out, and won the hole in 3 to 4. The long seventh was halved in sixes. Both men here got good drives, and also good second shots, but they each played their third shot into the bunker, and after getting out, required-two putts. At the eighth hole Howden was nicely on the green with his second, whereas Balcombe’s approach was too strong, and it overran the green into the bunker be- yond, and he required three more to hole out, and Howden became 8 up by winning this hole in 4 to 5

The ninth hole was well played, and halved in fours, thus Howden turned for home 8 up.   The end came at the tenth, where both got good drives and good second shots on to the green, Balcombe just missed a 14 ft putt for   a three, but his opponent was not to be denied, and holing out a fine 8 ft putt, won this hole in 3 to 4, and with it the match by 9 up and 8.

The winner played splendidly throughout the match, and his mistakes were not worth mentioning. Balcombe, however, was not in his best form by any means, as he was off his drive for the better part of the day, and the rest of his game was a bit slack. In fact, he played as though he were a bit stale through a surfeit of golf. [180]

By 1920 he was still competing but this year was beaten by Sturrock


At Kensington yesterday the first round of match play for the State amateur championship was decided. T.E. Howard, holder of the title, was beaten by K. L. Apperly by one hole.

Clive Boyce, the ex-Queensland champion, played very finely. He put up a splendid finish after being square at the 27th, and he was four up on bogey for the last six holes of the match. H. W. McLelland beat O. H. O’Brien with rounds of 72 for 17 holes and 76. G. T. Balcombe was beaten by W. C. Sturrock on the 37 the green.[181]

Inter-state competition was on the agenda in 1921.


By winning their matches in the first round of the Amateur Golf Championships of Australia,   T.E Howard (NSW), C Leigh Winser (S A ), Bruce Pearce, and C. H Fawcett (Victoria) have qualified for the semi finals, which will be played tomorrow. Howard, Winser, and Fawcett are state champions, while Pearce was a runner up. Howard will meet Winser and Fawcett will meet Pearce in the semi finals.

T E Howard had very little difficulty in defeating G. T Balcombe, of the Royal Australian Golf Club, Sydney. He was 6 up at the end of the first round, and Balcombe was eventually beaten by 9 up and 6 to play. Howard played perfectly, seldom failing with his long drives and accurate approach shots. In the morning at the 12th hole he was outside the green for three, and he holed his chip shot for a four. Balcombe was also nicely on the green with his third, but missed with his fourth and lost the hole, Howard won the 13th in four to his opponent’s five. The next was halved in three. Howard won, and the remaining two holes were halved in 5 and 4 respectively. In the afternoon Howard was again in splendid form. He was out in 3 d, and 3 up on bogey. [182]

Finally G T Balcombe won the 1924 NSW Championship in the Foursome, teaming with a formidable veteran RT Armstrong.

GOLF – Foursome Championship – ARMSTRONG AND BALCOMBE WIN.

In partnership with G. T. Balcombe, R. T. Armstrong, the Australian Club veteran, sustained his reputation as the best foursome player in the State, and possibly in Australia, by winning the foursome championship of New South Wales at the Kensington links on Saturday. E. Apperly and E. Pope tied with H. W. McLolland and P. S. Jones for second place.

Armstrong has established the record of having been one of the foursome champions of the State twice in succession, and of having won foursome championships in three successive years. Last year, partnered by F. Q. Murdoch, the State singles champion, he won the foursome championship, and in the previous year the same pair were the winners of the Australian championship.

Saturday was anything but an ideal day for scoring, and the performance of the winners was therefore all the more meritorious. A bleak sou’westor swept over the links all day. In the morning it was particularly chilly and severe and those players who were unwise enough to stand round the first tee waiting for the start, found to their cost that their hands were too cold to grip their clubs effectively. Their game suffered accordingly, many of them falling to warm up to play for the first half-dozen holes. This was evident from the scores, which were almost invariably much, higher in the first than in the second half. Those players who did take the precaution to indulge in practice swinging and warming exercises before commencing play had a tremendous advantage over their less provident opponents.

It was essentially a day on which experience and consistency were bound to show out. No brilliant scores wore expected, and the fact that only two pairs broke 80 for a round was sufficient evidence of the severity of the conditions. Faultily-hit shots were mercilessly punished. The high wind caught any ball with a suspicion of a slice or a pull, and it was a lucky player indeed who escaped the full penalty of a miss-hit ball. On the fairways and greens alike the utmost care was required, and any disposition to take risks had to be resolutely curbed. Indifferent putting was largely responsible for high scoring. With the wind behind them, competitors were afraid to putt boldly; against it, they often under-estimated its strength, and were again short. It was also difficult to gauge exactly the effect of the wind blowing cross-wise. This placed inexperienced players in a dilemma, from which they emerged nervous and shaken, and it sorely tried the veterans. Conditions were better in the afternoon, but the wind, which abated in force, was still tricky. In the majority of cases the second round was several strokes the better. [183]

GTB was heading towards a trophy in 1925 when he was just beaten for 16th place in the Australian Championships and he withdrew from the 1926 NSW championship due to ill health.


The tie for sixteenth place in the amateur championship of Australia was decided during the weekend, Lindsay Craig beating G. T. Balcombe. Craig was round in 79 and Balcombe in 80. [184]

GOLF N.S.W. AMATEUR CHAMPION SHIP. Sydney. May 31 Drizzling rain set in at Kensington this morning when the opening round of the State amateur golf championship (36 holes) was decided. H. Morrison, a former Australian champion was in great form. In his match against A. M. Thorn he won with great ease. E L. Apperley was ten up on G. T. Balcombe at the close of the morning’s play, when Balcombe retired unwell: Apperley’s round was a splendid 72.[185]

By 1928 Balcombe was playing well. In the Hampden Cup he was one of the principal cards but he came into his own a month later when he played well in the NSW Championship.


H. Fawcett was in remarkable form on Saturday, when, at Rose Bay, he won the historic Hampden Cup, a 36 hole scratch event open to members of the Royal Sydney and Australian Golf Clubs. He was 11 up on bogey. Fawcett was five up at the end of the morning round. At the turn in the afternoon he was one up and gained five up on bogey in the home journey,

Included in the principal cards were: G. T. Balcombe, 3 down, 3 up- square[186]


SYDNEY, Monday –G T Balcombe of Royal Sydney club, made an astonishing recovery in the play today for the amateur golf championship of New South Wales at the Australian club links at Kensington. After being seven down at the end of the morning round he eliminated H Morrison at the 38th hole. EL Apperley, the champion, was one of those eliminated in the morning. The greens were faster than on Saturday and this disconcerted some of the competitors. In the afternoon bitterly cold, sleety rain drove across the links at times, and made conditions uncomfortable.

Balcombe’s victory was the more amazing as Morrison showed superb form in the morning Morrison was five up at the turn and continued to sink long putts in the home journey. Had he   not taken three putts on the bumpy 18th green his stroke round would have been 78. He began the afternoon round seven up. After much erratic play he turned for home four up still playing indifferently and in nothing like his form of the morning or on Saturday when he topped the list of those who qualified.

Balcombe had been playing soundly, but had four holes still to recover. He won three holes but his opponent was down one one. At the 36th Morrison was outdriven. His second went into the rough, and he was barely on the green in four whereas Balcombe’s approach was within 6 ft of the pin. Morrison picked up and the game was all square. The duel continued to the 37th which was halved and the 38th where Balcombe won. Morrison’s game had gone to pieces.   [187]



As the result of yesterday’s play in the amateur golf championship of New South Wales at Kensington links, four are left in to contest the semi-finals on Thursday K. Lee Brown, of the Australian Club, will play C. C. Buwald, of Killara, and two Royal Sydney members, C. H, Fawcett and G. T. Balcombe will meet in the other. After an excellent morning round. Lee Brown had still to play fine, golf to beat the Victorian, E. G. Schlapp. Remarkable putts enabled Buwald to eliminate Hattersly. Fawcett was always in command against A. N. Brown, and Balcombe’s steadiness prevailed in a keen struggle with C. Nigel Smith.

In pleasing contrast with the conditions on Saturday and Monday; the weather was ideal. Players appreciated the sun, and the dry going, which, however, was on the heavy side. In the afternoon the green were faster. Neither Balcombe nor Nigel Smith was in top form during the morning round, which ended all square after Balcombe had missed one or two fairly easy putts. In the afternoon Balcombe began resolutely, and was three up at the 24th. Nigel Smith returned to the lead at the next, after laying his chip shot from the tee dead on the pin He won the 30th to square, but thereafter lost three holes, and the match ended at the 34th hole. Results: G. T. Balcombe beat C. Nigel Smith, 3 and 2. [188]


FOURSOMES TITLE. Royal Sydney Pair Wins.

The Australian Championship meeting under the auspices of the Australian Golf Union was continued at the Royal Sydney Club’s links, Rose Bay, yesterday. The event was the foursomes amateur championship, which was won by B.C. J. Benington and J. Hunter, members of the Royal Sydney Club .

Yesterday’s event was played in warm, sunny weather. Early there was a strong, hot north wind, which afterwards changed to a westerly. Reaction from the strain of last week’s open championships was apparent, for the standard of golf was not high. Furthermore, the intensity that accompanies a singles contest was absent, although interest remained until the last pair holed out. The event was a 36-holes stroke competition, and at the end of the morning round G. T. Balcombe (Royal Sydney) and R. T. Armstrong (Australia) led the field of 41 pairs, with 75. Their card read:- Out: 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 3, 5, G, 5-35.   In: 4, 5, 4, 5. 3, 4, 6, 4, 5- 40

The next best card was that of the two young players, J. S. McQueen (Cammeray) and W. R. Smith (Manly). Their 78 included a two at the first hole. but, like Balcombe and Armstrong, they finished badly, taking 6 4 6 over the last three holes.

REVERSAL OF FORM   Balcombe and Armstrong failed in the afternoon round, and R. Wilson and George Thompson, and J. F. McGuinness and R. T Brown, each of whom had returned a 77 in the morning, likewise fell from grace. McQueen and Smith took five at the first hole. Sixes at the seventh and sixteenth contributed to a round of ag 41 out and 41 in. On the other hand, J. R. Davidson and I.K. Harrison maintained their consistency, and, with 155, held pride of place until the winning card was returned.

The scores were G. T. Balcombe and R. T. Armstrong, 75, 87-102. [189]

Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe had certificate no 20 as a member of Elanora Golf Club. He was listed as a solicitor who lived at 5 Darnley Hall, Onslow Ave, Elizabeth Bay. He was a golf playing member. However he resigned on May 23rd 1930. He was in his mid fifties. Did he stop playing golf at this time?


As well as a keen interest in golf Gordon Balcombe was involved in the film industry, in fact his father had five thousand shares of £1 in Union Theatre Investments listed in his assets when he died in 1939.[190] Gordon was a Director of Union Theatres and also of Elite Picture Theatres plus a new company, with a capital of £100,000, Australasian Films (New Zealand) Ltd. By 1927 he was Managing Director of Union Theatres.


Elite Picture Theatres Ltd., has declared an interim dividend (the second) of /3 per share, payable on May 16. The annual meeting of shareholders of West’s, Ltd., was held yesterday, Mr. Geo. W. Tallis presiding. The report and balance sheet for the year ended March 31, 1924, particulars of which have already been published, were unanimously adopted. Messrs. F. W. Thring and G. T. Balcombe were re-elected to the directorate, and Messrs. Deane, Vick, and Co, were reappointed auditors.[191]



The new company in the picture film industry which was announced last week was referred to to-day by the managing director of Union Theatres Ltd. (Mr. S. F. Doyle), who said that the formation of the new company of Australasian Films (New Zealand) Ltd., would have a capital of £100,000 for importing films into Australia and New Zealand, and for producing pictures in the Commonwealth and New Zealand. The parties in this merger were the Union Theatres Ltd., with their associated Australian companies, control- ling in all more than 100 theatres, and the New Zealand group, which includes Hayward’s Pictures Ltd. (N.Z.) Picture Supplies Ltd., and Fuller’s Theatres Ltd., which controls 30 theatres.

All the capital, said Mr. Doyle, is drawn from New Zealand and Australia, and this applies also to the £3,000,000 involved in the transaction. The aim of the company was to raise the standard of the picture business, and to prevent the inroads of the foreigner. This merger, added Mr. Doyle, would allow the company to show the most attractive pictures at reasonable prices. The directors of the new company, in addition to Mr. Doyle, are Mr. W. A, Gibson (managing director of Australasian Films Ltd.) Sir Benjamin Fuller, and Mr. John Fuller, Messrs. G. T. Balcombe, F. J. McDonald, H. Hayward, and E. J. Righton.[192]

Messrs Gordon Balcombe and F J MacDonald of Sydney, who are directors of Union Theatres, Ltd which is a partner in Wintergarden Theatres Ltd and Haymarket Theatres Ltd arrived in   Brisbane on Saturday evening. They will remain in Brisbane about a week, and will inspect the Wintergarden Theatre and the alterations to the Tivoli Theatre. Mr Balcombe stated that Union Theatres Ltd had completed arrangements to build a big theatre in Sydney and another in Melbourne and two other directors of the company Messrs Stewart Doyle and WA Gibson were   now finalising matters in connection with these theatres. He also stated that he had noticed Brisbane had grown considerably since he was in the city a few years ago.[193]




Mr. Gordon Balcombe (managing director of Union Theatres, Ltd.) stated on Saturday, before the Federal Government inquiry into the film industry in Australia, that, with one exception, the shareholders of his organisation were Australian, and no American money was in the firm, which had no connection whatever with the producers. No efforts had been made to control pictures in such a manner as to be inimical to the small theatres. It would be wise to enact special legislation to build up the film industry in Australia, but everything depended upon the quality of the film. Union Theatres’ profits on turnover were very small, and if the attendances were less, or the conditions of release were restricted by legislation, that profit might then be turned into a loss. It was possible to build up the industry without throwing the burden on exhibitors.


He felt certain that if England and Australia produced films equal to those of America, they would be given every chance of success. He did not think a protective tariff on films would stimulate production. During the past two years his organisation had spent in the vicinity of £100,000 on films in Australia. They intended to continue their efforts if they found a market in other parts of the world.

In reply to Mr. Gregory the witness said that he thought that the Films Association should give consideration to presenting educational films in the schools.

Referring to the proposal to exclude children from picture shows after 9 p.m., Mr. Balcombe said that a fairer amendment would be to have parents accompany children after that hour. The Australian picture, “Those Who Love,” was a good production for an Australian effort, but in his opinion it should not have cost over £1000. His firm handled the film, not having done so for profit, but to help an Australian work. The earnings of American films in Australia varied from a few hundred pounds to £100,000. Union Theatres. Ltd. was a large importer of foreign films, but they were prepared to give the Australian production every chance, and there had been Australian films which had proved box office attractions.

The committee will continue its inquiry in Melbourne on Tuesday next.[194]

Obviously used to dealing with large amounts of money, Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe was named in a Melbourne Argus newspaper in an advertisement published on 16 February 1929 in which he was a Director in a Company Prospectus for the Union Theatre (Victoria) Ltd. They were aiming to raise £1,000,000, a huge amount of money in those days. However they must have run into some difficulties as the Directors sued the Melbourne Argus.


Messrs. Hedderwick, Fookes, and Alston, solicitors, to-day issued a Supreme Court writ on behalf of Stuart Frank Doyle, Edwin Geach, Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe, Francis John McDonald, and John Williamson, all of Pitt Street, Sydney, directors of Union Theatres Ltd., against the “Argus,” each claiming £3,000 damages for alleged libel. The writ is directed individually against those holding a. proprietary interest as well as the various trustees of certain interests. The words complained of are those which form the basis of the claim by Union Theatres Ltd., of Film House, Pitt Street, Sydney, for £10,000 damages for alleged libel. That writ was issued on Saturday last. Plaintiffs ask for the trial of the action by a judge with-out a jury, and ask for pleadings.[195]

Another Director of the Union Theatre was Edwin Geach who wrote in 1931 –

Memories And Present Times   EDWIN Geach, managing director Union Theatres, Limited,. Sydney, writes :-‘Like you, I find it very nice to look back on the old days when ‘hearts were young,’ and it always gives me a very great amount of pleasure to glance back on days spent in Adelaide. We had a great joke here with one of my co-directors – Gordon Balcombe when I told him of the Sunday Jack Lohr and I visited Brighton. We stayed most of the day at the pub, but finished up in town. Those were the days when Adelaide was pretty well open on the Sabbath. One always remembers Inverloch in connection with Daddy Lohr. Unfortunately, the old man was born too soon by a life-time. Now people run up and down from Melbourne in the motor, and were it not for the present depressed conditions, this beautiful seaside resort would have grown to very great popularity. Glad to know you are speaking over the air. ‘ I will see if I can tune in on Friday night to 5CL, and if I have any luck will let you know the result of your musical voice on the ‘sands of Sydney.’[196]

In 1934 Gordon married Phyllis Veronique Wheldon [197] in North Sydney when he was close to fifty years old. They had no children.

His father William Alexander Balcombe had died in 1939 and Gordon was not a beneficiary, but his siblings Vera, Doris and Billy were. In 1948 he was executor of his mother’s Will as was his brother-in-law Hugh Grant.

IN the Will of JESSIE EDITH BALCOMBE late of Neutral Bay In the State of New South Wales Widow deceased Application will be made after 14 days from publication hereof that Probate of the Will of the above-named, deceased dated 5th November 1941 may be granted to Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe and Hugh Donald Grant the Executors named in the said Will and all persons having any claim against the Estate of the said deceased are required to forward particulars thereof to the under, signed within the said period and all notices may be served at the undermentioned address MACARTNEY ABBOTT &, CO Proctors for the Executors. 67 Castlereagh Street Sydney [198]

Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe died in 1964 in Burwood and his widow Phyllis died in 1968 in Ryde.[199] Doris Miriam Grant died in 1951, William Gould Balcombe died in 1957, but their sister Vera lived on until 1974. These four children of William Alexander Balcombe and his wife Jessie all lived through the worry of their youngest sibling, William Gould (Billy) Balcombe fighting in the Great War I, [200] the subsequent the world stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting economic Depression of the 1930’s. They then had to face the trauma of another war when their own children, nephews and nieces were heavily involved.

Doris, Vera and Billy were all parents to serving members of the Australian Armed Forces. [201] Hugh Balcombe Grant served in both the Army and RAAF.[202] Edward William Gaden of 2/20 Battalion AIF became a Prisoner of the Japanese following the fall of Singapore. [203] Gordon Robertson Balcombe was a Flying Officer who was Killed in Action over Berlin. [204]

We salute their sacrifice.


Link to Opening of Balcombe Park, Sydney


© Caroline Gaden


[1]Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), 5 Sept 1855 and NSW BDM Birth registration V1855112342A/1855 .

[2] NSW BDM Registration V1840529 24B/1840.

[3] Baptisms Administered in the Parish of Saint Andrew’s Sydney. County of Cumberland in the Year 86, number 107, Repository:Genealogical Society of Queensland

[4] SMH, 26 Dec 1858.

[5] SMH, 15 Oct 1861.

[6] SMH, 17 August 1864.

[7] SMH, 20 November 1865.

[8] SMH, 21 December 1866.

[9] Family rumour within the descendants of TTB.

[10] SMH, 8 October 1868.

[11] SMH, 5 October 1870.

[12] Linneann-Society-of-New-South-Wales-1880-Volume-4/849539/1

[13] SMH, 22 March 1882 and 15 March 1890.

[14] SMH, 8 April 1863, 21 September 1863, 12 December 1864, 3 June 1865, 19 July 1866, 19 October 1868, 24 October 1868, 7 June 1870 and

[15] SMH, 31 January 1914.

[16] SMH, 19 Nov 1904.

[17] Vera Balcombe’s memoir, transcribed by R & C Gaden.


[19] The Australian Town and Country Journal, 11 July 1874 and Maitland Mercury,11 July 1874

[20] SMH, 30 November 1877.

[21] SMH, 5 April 1878.

[22] SMH, 18 Nov 1880.

[23] SMH, 22 March 1882.

[24] SMH, 12 Dec 1883.

[25] SMH, 15 March 1890 and 18 June 1896.

[26] Marriage registration [NSW 4849/1884] Jessie was born in Port Stephens, [Birth Registration NSW 14133/1865].

[27] SMH, 16 July 1884, NSW Birth Death and Marriage index < > , Register number 4849/1884and<;

[28] Image of church taken from <;

[29] Jessie was born in Port Stephens in Dec 1864, Birth Registration number was 1865 [NSW 14133/1865].

[30] SMH, 17 July 1875.

[31] SMH, 12 May 1885.

[32] SMH, 25 October 1887

[33] Sands Directory 1888 at

[34] SMH, 18 May 1894 and 4 June 1894.

[35] Darrell Lewis, A wild History, Life and death on the Victoria River Frontiers, Monash University Press, Victoria, 2012

[36] SMH, 17 July 1885.

[37] Evening News, 3 Nov 1885.

[38] SMH, 25 Oct 1887.

[39] SMH, 30 June 1888.

[40] Maitland Mercury, 13 Nov 1888.

[41] Evening News, 28 Feb 1889

[42] SMH, 5 March 1889

[43] SMH, 25 Jan 1890.

[44] SMH, 15 March 1890.

[45] Information provided by Grahame Hellyer, LLB.

[46] SMH, 18 June 1896

[47] SMH, 22 Nov 1890.

[48] Evening News, 13 April 1892.

[49] Evening News, 29 Aug 1892.

[50] SMH, 9 Feb 1894

[51] SMH, 9 Feb 1894.

[52] Evening News, 21 June 1894.

[53] SMH, 4 June 1894.

[54] Notes taken by the author following conversations with ‘Aunt Nancy’, Gwendoline CM Gaden c1973-80.

[55];place_id=100978 and SMH, 23 Jan 1912.

[56] North Shore Times, 2 November 2007 and information to the author from current owner John Fuller.

[57] Colour photographs taken by Bob Gaden, November 2007, courtesy of the owner of The Briars John and Libby Fuller.

[58] SMH, 25 March 1897.

[59] SMH, 2 April 1897.

[60] NSW BDM register number 7410/1974 and Ryerson Index,


[62] Stuckey family tree researched by the author and Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), 28 September 1907.

[63] The Yackandandah Times, 1 April 1898.

[64] Cobar Herald, Saturday 28 October 1899 and Muswellbrook Chronicle, 8 November 1899.

[65], accessed 22 March 2014.

[66] Ryerson Index and NSW BDM Registrations 10459/1956 for ALB and 2825/1957 for WGB


[68] Ryerson Index and NSW BDM registrations: Gordon Tyrwhitt Balcombe died 14 November 1964 and NSW BDM 19337/1964, his wife Phyllis Veronique Balcombe died 5 December 1968, NSW BDM 42041/1968

[69] Ryerson Index, 25 March 1951 and NSW BDM registrations 1544/1951

[70] Tennis references all from various pages of Wikipedia, e.g. players names, Davis Cup, Sydney Championships.

[71] SMH, 3 September 1904.

[72] Wikipedia search for ‘Napoleon’ and ‘Prince of Rome’

[73] Wikipedia

[74] SMH, 17 December 1894

[75] Newcastle Morning Herald and Miner’s Advocate, 21 March 1913

[76] SMH, 15 March 1913

[77] SMH, 18 August 1900.

[78] SMH, 21 August 1900.

[79] Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 4 May 1901.

[80] Illawarra Mercury, 2 July 1907.

[81] SMH, 28 Nov 1904

[82] SMH, 28 April 1905.

[83] The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate, 18 March 1914.

[84] Western Champion (Parkes), 28 May 1914, Richmond River Herald & Northern District Advertiser, 5 June 1914.

[85] Maitland Mercury , 29 May 1920.

[86] Newspaper reports of Scone competitions are listed later.

[87] SMH, 18 June 1913.

[88] WWI Nominal Roll at

[89] SMH, 28 March 1916.

[90] SMH, 11 Dec 1917.

[91] SMH, 1 July 1916.

[92] Musswellbrook Chronicle, 8 June 1826.

[93] SMH, 24 May 1934.

[94] SMH, 29 Sept 1920

[95] Information from Denise Bell, Treasurer, Scone & Upper Hunter Historical Society, and SMH 2 September 1925.

[96] NSW Electoral Rolls on Ancestry.

[97] Musswellbrook Chronicle 8 June 1926

[98] Evening News 24 January 1931

[99] SMH, 24 May 1934

[100] NSW BDM Indexes and Death registration 1939/9643 0.

[101] SMH, 10 May 1939

[102] SMH, 17 May 1939

[103] Sydney Church of England Grammar School Register 1889-1994, published 1994 by the Old Boys Union, p.263.

[104] SMH, 24 March 1945

[105] Information from State Records Office re the Will of WA Balcombe.

[106] Information from John Fuller, then owner of The Briars, on 18 November 2008.

[107] Caroline Gaden, Pounding Along to Singapore, the story of the 2/20 Bn AIF, 2012

[108] Information from State Records Office re the Will of JE Balcombe

[109] Information known by some members of the family, not for public circulation.

[110] SMH, 22 Nov 1890.

[111] Information from the archivist at Abbotsleigh November 2012.

[112] SHM, 18 June 1913.

[113] SMH, 26 Jan 1916 NSW BDM 15995/1915.

[114] SMH, 13 Jan 1917.

[115] SMH, 4 July 1923.

[116] Barrier Miner (Broken Hill), 23 June 1934.

[117] SMH, 1 Sept 1934.

[118] SMH, 24 Sept 1934.

[119] SMH, 26 Dec 1934.

[120] SMH, 15 Aug 1935.

[121] SMH, 29 Aug 1935.

[122] SMH, 18 Nov 1935.

[123] The Maitland Mercury, 12 December 1935

[124] Dr. Edward Cecil Sewall, The Antrum Operation, The Laryngoscope, July 1936 , Volume XLVI, Number 7, available online at

[125] SMH, 23 April 1936


[127] SMH, 20 Aug 1936

[128] Northwestern Courier, Narrabri, 25 Feb 1937

[129] The Australian Women’s Weekly 4 Sept 1937

[130] SMH, 18 Jan 1938

[131] SMH, 20 Jan 1938

[132] SMH, 15 Feb 1938

[133] SMH, 18 Feb 1938

[134] Maitland Daily Mercury 26 Feb 1938

[135] SMH, 14 March 1938

[136] SMH, 28 March 1938

[137] SMH, 11 April 1938

[138] SMH, 2 Aug 1938

[139] SMH, 10 January 1939

[140] SMH, 13 Feb 1939

[141] SMH, 19 May 1939

[142] SMH, 1 July 1939.

[143] SMH, 30 Aug 1939.

[144] Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 29 Dec 1939.

[145] Molony, John, The Penguin History of Australia, Ringwood, Victoria, 1988, p. 282.

[146] Mackay, Hugh, Turning Point – Australians choosing their future, Sydney, Macmillan, 1999, p.37.

[147] Elliott, Di and Silver, Lynette, A history of 2/18th Battalion, Pennant Hills, NSW, 2/18Bn Assoc, 2006, p. 15.

[148] Caroline Gaden, Pounding Along to Singapore, a history of the 2/20 Battalion AIF, Brisbane, Copyright, , 2012.

[149] Pitkin Pictorials, The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, a pictorial memorial, London, Pitkin, no date, p.15.

[150] DVA Nominal Roll

[151] SMH, 21 June 1940

[152] SMH, 24 June 1940

[153] Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 7 Nov 1940.

[154] SMH, 9 April 1941.

[155] SMH, 14 May 1941.

[156] SMH, 26 June 1941.

[157] DVA Nominal Roll,

[158] The Argus, 19 Aug 1947.

[159] SMH, 28 August 1947

[160] Australian Women’s Weekly, 13 Sept 1947 (includes photo)

[161] Ranks: 1 Jan 1920 Cadet; 15 May 1924 Midshipman; 15 Sep 1926 A/Sub Lieutenant.; 30 Jun 1927 Sub.Lieutenant.; 30 Oct 1929 Lieutenant.; 30 Oct 1937 Lieutenant Commander.; 15 Sep 1944 A/Cdr.

[162] SMH, 18 June 1913.

[163]SMH, 14 Oct 1937 and The Argus, 14 Oct 1937

[164] The Argus, 30 April 1947


[166] Royal Australian Navy Writers Association, Issue 29, November 2010.

[167] Alan Payne, The Legend of Arnold Green, Naval Historical Review at

[168] and

[169] NSW BDM, marriage register 21594/1947.

[170] SMH, 15 June 1950

[171] Sydney Herald 26 Nov 1950 (Includes photo)

[172] Death NSW 1544/1951 and SMH 29 March 1951

[173] SMH, 30 March 1951

[174] SMH, 3 April 1951

[175] SMH, 12 May 1885.

[176] Sydney Church of England Grammar School Register 1889-1994, Sydney, Shore Old Boys Union, 1994.

[177] Daily News, Perth, 9 May 1913

[178] SMH, 12 July 1907

[179] Obsolete golf clubs

Brassie: 2-Wood, Spoon: Higher-Lofted Wood, Baffing Spoon: Approach Wood, Driving Iron: 1 Iron, Cleek: 2 Iron, Mid Mashie: 3 Iron, Mashie Iron: 4 Iron, Mashie: 5 Iron, Spade Mashie: 6 Iron, Mashie Niblick: 7 Iron, Pitching Niblick: 8 Iron, Niblick: 9 Iron, Jigger: Very low lofted iron, shortened shaft.

[180] SMH, 21 Sept 1911

[181] SMH, 9 June 1920

[182] Brisbane Courier, 20 Sept 1921

[183] SMH, 26 May 1924

[184] SMH, 27 July 1925

[185] Western Argus, Kalgoolie, 8 June 1926

[186] SMH, 28 May 1928.

[187] Melbourne Argus, 19 June 1928.

[188] SMH, 20 June 1928

[189] SMH, 11 Sept 1928

[190] Will of WA Balcombe – list of assets.

[191] SMH, 10 May 1924.

[192] Hobart Mercury, 21 May 1925

[193] Brisbane Courier, 22 June 1925

[194] Brisbane Courier, 26 April 1927

[195] Hobart Mercury, 12 Oct 1929

[196] The Register News Pictorial Adelaide, 20 Jan 1931

[197] NSW BDM Register – Marriage 12075/1934 and Electoral Roll 1949

[198] SMH, 31 Jan 1948

[199] Deaths NSW BDM 19337/1964, Burwood (GTB) ; 42041/1968 Ryde (PVB)

[200] Australian War Memorial war service record for William Gould Balcombe, Service Number 7348

[201] DVA Nominal Roll and Caroline Gaden, Pounding Along to Singapore, a story of the 2/20 Battalion AIF, Copyright, Brisbane, 2012 available from the author.

[202] DVA Nominal Roll

[203] SMH, 24 March 1945 and Caroline Gaden, Pounding Along to Singapore.

[204] DVA Nominal Roll.