21 – Christisons — 1905

Posted originally on February 5, 2015 by Neil

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

Here is shapeshifting John H Christison in South Africa in 1900.


I borrow the term “shapeshifter” from my cousin Ray Christison’s book on our great-grandfather. See also his ABC Open item Private Christison’s bandolier.  I have told the story of J H Christison’s transformation into soldier at the age of 42 before – see below. Here are a couple of news items from 1900.



See also my 2011 posts South African War and my family… and John Hampton Christison in South Africa.

In 1905 J H Christison’s father, and thus my great-great-grandfather, David died in Mittagong NSW.


See also my post from 2011 Scans worth preserving–5: Christisons 1–my mother’s family.

See also: Scans worth preserving–2: re Sophia Jane Christison 1858-1952; Being Australian 16: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 9 – my tribes; Family matters.

In that last post I reviewed “Leonie Knapman’s Joadja Creek, which I [had] just borrowed from Wollongong Library, [including] some excellent pics of my great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather.”


David and Catherine Christison – my great-great-grandparents.

Back in Sydney in 1899 my grandfather Roy Christison had the accident that caused one of his distinguishing features: in my childhood an eye patch.


As I remember him!

Then in 1908:

More at Mainly family. Roy took his new bride to the tiny Hawkesbury River settlement of Spencer, NSW, where he had started his fully fledged teaching career in 1906. In my mother’s words:

Dad [Roy Christison Snr] completed his training at the age of 20 and his first school was then a very small place called Spencer on the Hawkesbury River. It was eleven miles down or up river from Brooklyn Railway Station. In those days it was only accessible by water so Dad was met at the station and rowed by the mother of a fisherman to his place of work.

sjlHe was perhaps one of the luckier ones because he had his mother (right) who at a very young age had been left to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up her family alone. To do this she took in boarders and she herself, a very refined lady, went out to work starting at 3 am to scrub and clean office buildings in the city. With two of her children married and the youngest daughter able to stay with her married sister, Gran was left free to go with Dad to become his Housekeeper. He felt he owed her his help and care now he was in a position to give it to her. I think his wage was about nine pounds a month.

He was able to rent a sort of cottage — slab built — which had belonged to a fisherman or an orange orchardist who had found life just too hard. In front of the house was a bush track which led to the school building — also slab built; and here a very dedicated and ambitious young man started his career as a teacher….

My mother was born there in 1911.