14a — Christisons: My Scottish great-grandfather

Posted originally on January 27, 2017 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. This intermediate post is abridged.

My cousin Ray Christison has posted this on Facebook.

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January 25 was Burns Night (the night on which Scots celebrate the birthday of the poet Rabbie Burns). This has hit a chord with me this January as I have been busy editing the draft artwork for my biography of my enigmatic and shapeshifting great-grandfather John Hampton Christison. I know that this book has been eagerly awaited by my relatives and by Australian dance historians, and hopefully it will be published very soon.

His is a fascinating story…

The following was taken about 74 years ago at 61 Auburn Street Sutherland.  L-R: John H Christison Jr, Eric, John’s father, Sophia Jane Christison (my great-grandmother), Roy Christison Senior, and finally my brother Ian Whitfield.

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I note that CNN reports that “half of Donald Trump’s DNA is Scottish. His late mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born and raised on the remote and beautiful Scottish Isle of Lewis, before leaving as a 17-year-old for the United States to work as a domestic servant in 1930.” That is the nearest I get to having anything in common with Donald J Tweet, who gets worse and worse as the days go on.

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15 – 1895 — Whitfields

Posted originally on January 29, 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.

It is worth exploring the 1890s in Australia. See for example the My Place site. One aspect:

Depression

Between 1890 and1893, a severe economic depression caused the closure and collapse of many banks. The Federal Bank of Australia ran out of money and closed. In April 1893 the Commercial Bank of Australia, one of Australia’s largest banks, suspended operations. Twelve other banks soon followed. Those who had put their savings into building societies, as well as those who had borrowed heavily to fund their own speculative investments, found themselves in desperate straits. Businessmen, pastoralist farmers and land speculators weren’t able to pay their overdrafts, and thousands of small and large investors were ruined.

Is that why we have this from 18 August 1894?

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Sure looks like his business is going down the tubes. According to Australian biographical and genealogical record series 1, 1788-1841, with series 2 supplement, 1842-1899 / series 1 edited by John T. Spurway, assistant editor Allison Allen; series 2 edited by Kenneth J. Cable and Jane C. Marchant his Bluegum Saw Mill in the early 1890s employed 34 men. WJJ “during the Great Depression of 1893 … supplied timber for the building of Catholic Schools and piles for the construction of Sydney wharves.” I wonder, oh irony, if Bluegum Lifestyle Resort is anywhere near old William Joseph John’s mill?

Set amongst the shade of scattered eucalyptus trees, Bluegum Lifestyle Resort offers the convenience of retirement living with a touch of affordable luxury.

The resort is located in the beautiful country town of Thirlmere, Wollondilly Shire, nestled in the foothills of the Southern Highlands. In Thirlmere you will find everything you need for enjoyable and convenient day-to-day living, with nearby Picton and Tahmoor providing access to all major facilities.

Now more sadness, I’m afraid.

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View from Darling Point across Rushcutters Bay to the Elizabeth Bay mansions 1879

Hat tip Debbie Robson

Remember my great-great-grandfather William who arrived via the “Thames” in 1826, just 14? The sad story that follows I noted some time ago – see Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days.

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William Whitfield 1812-1897

William Joseph John’s father William (who lived in the 1830s in Elizabeth Street Strawberry Hills) ended sadly, it seems.

On 11 October 1897 in the waters of Port Jackson, Rushcutter’s Bay William Whitfield carpenter, took his own life and drowned aged 86 years. The informant for the death notice was E Whitfield his daughter of 42 Norton Street Leichhardt. William was buried on 13 October 1897 in the Church of England section, Rookwood cemetery – section CCC grave No. 2149 (no headstone) after being 71 years in the Colony.

Given his age, his wandering into Rushcutters Bay could have all sorts of reasons… Good heavens, he was 86 after all!

Now I find more detail.

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So sad. I know Yurong Street. It runs from behind the Museum and St Mary’s Cathedral up to Darlinghurst.

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See Struggle Streets of Old Sydney

On quite another note see some doings from Shellharbour in 1897 where my grandfather Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield had now settled.

I have found a nice court case from 1897. Henrietta II  is “Betty” there but that is obviously wrong. It concerns the proprietor of the Steam Packet Hotel, Abraham Winsor, who was accused of shooting at James Dennis Condon with intent to murder. Henrietta was a witness.

I now think that is “Hetty” (corrrect) rather than “Betty”…