The Marcus Annesleys

 of Castlewellan

 

Williamson Family History

Introduction

The personal name William is a derivative of the Old German, Willihelm, and introduced into Britain by the Normans. It has given rise to a host of surnames including Williamson and Williams. Williams was never common in Scotland where the longer version ‘Williamson’ was adopted and is more common in the Lowlands. The family name Williamson is believed to be descended originally from the Strathclyde Britons. This ancient founding race was a mixture of Gaelic/Celts whose original territories ranged from Lancashire in the south and north to the south bank of the River Clyde in Scotland.

Tracing its ancient development, the name Williamson was first used in Peebles. This family was a recognised border clan with its own chief and acknowledged by the Scottish Parliament. In the 12th and 13th Centuries their influence on border life in northern England and Scotland was significant.

In 1603 the unified English and Scottish crowns under James 1st dispersed these unruly clans. Many of these clans, including the Williamsons, were settled in Northern Ireland between 1650 and 1700 and became known as the “Undertakers”. In Ireland the Williamsons settled almost exclusive in the county of Ulster but the name is common in counties Antrim, Derry, Armagh Tyrone and Down; most being of Scottish origin. Many became proudly Irish.

Life in Ireland was little more rewarding and many sought to better themselves in the “New World”. Michael Williamson was one of these who saw a better life for his family in the Colony of New South Wales, Australia, arriving in 1840.

Little is known about the Williamson family prior to their arrival in Australia. The repository of Irish records was destroyed during the Civil War for Irish independence from Britain in 1922. Unfortunately, very few records remain; while some may still be locked away in church records hopefully to surface in the future.

The Williamsons must have had some wealth and foresight to have left Ireland prior to the “Potato Famine” of the 1840’s and the turmoil of decades of conflict between the Monarchists and the Republicans. And, this is where our story begins….

Within a short time of their arrival in Australia, the Williamsons became a very influential family in Sydney. They became well educated with a penchant for the legal profession with more than ten becoming prominent lawyers. Political life followed with six mayors of various Sydney councils and a Member of the New South Wales Parliament. Success and wealth were followed by indiscretion on a number of occasions.

The wives of these prominent Williamsons included Anna Maria Annesley whose family history makes a most enthralling story from the 17th to the 19th century. The Annesley family held great titles, wealth and power in Ireland and Wales. Some also had an extremely dark side and demonstrated ruthlessness. The true story of James Annesley is a testimony to this and is well worth reading. Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped” is based on his real life.

The story of Sophia Annesley, while not connected directly to the Williamsons, shows the power and length the aristocracy would go to, to hold onto their titles and wealth. Her life story is intriguing and should be told at a later time in great length. This brings us to Marcus Annesley, tried with murder, conveniently convicted of manslaughter and transported to Australia for life, perhaps to remove him from the succession to the family title; he is the only visible convict in our history.

Other families interwoven with the Williamsons include the Balaams who have their own intriguing stories. The Drapers, Edwards and Scotts who are connected to the Williamsons through the marriage of Marjorie Grace Henderson to Raymond Bede Williamson gives the family claim to being related to the first settlers and pioneers in Western Australia.

Michael Williamson

Michael Williamson was born in November 1803 in Belfast, Ireland. His parents were listed as Edward and Anne (nee McDermott) Williamson on his immigration records for New South Wales. Michael married Anne (Ann/Annie) Owens on the 1st March 1824 at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Belfast (199 Donegall Street Belfast) in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Anne was born on the 25th October 1805, the daughter of Thomas (a clerk) and Anne Owens.

There are very few records of Michael and Anne in Ireland, or of their parents and siblings, other than a transcript of their marriage and a baptismal certificate for their daughter, Catherine.

On their immigration records, Michael was listed as a farm servant (probably a farm manager/labourer) and Anne a nurse (midwife). Both were Roman Catholics and could read and write even though they had relatively menial jobs.

Why the Williamson family emigrated to the Colony of New South Wales is unknown. Ireland, at the time, had a population of eight million people while Belfast had just 70,000 people. This was prior to the great famine of the late 1840’s so the Williamson family was lucky to escape the destitution and starvation which was to follow during the “potato famine”.

Michael and Anne had four children in Ireland and one in Australia: Catherine (1824 - 1877), William (1st June 1825 - 7th October 1881), Mary Anne (25th February 1829 – 1915), John (25th April 1836 – 1898) and Thomas Michael (17th August 1842 [Redfern-NSW] – 1842). 

 

Michael's immigration record-1840

The Williamsons departed Ireland in 1840 and arrived in Sydney on the 22nd December of that year travelling on the ship “Resource”. While the family were listed as unassisted immigrants, a document shows that they were sponsored by a Mr Marshall. This is feasible as at the time the Colony of New South Wales needed experienced farmers, plus the cost of transporting the family in today’s terms in would be well in excess of A$100,000.

 

Williamson family on the "Resource", 1840 (Catherine travelled as single woman).

 

Transcript of the Williamson immigration record on arrival in NSW.

There are very few records of the Williamson family during their early days in New South Wales but, it can be presumed that Michael worked for his sponsor, Mr Marshall, to repay his travel costs. The first record is the birth and baptism of their son Thomas, in 1842, who died before the end of the year. Their address was Cumberland Street, Sydney, which runs parallel to the southern off ramp of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and leads to the area call “The Rocks”. 

Interestingly, if Michael was working at this time as a farm employee, The Rocks was a strange location unless the family reside here while he was working away. This area of Sydney is now regarded as an upmarket central Sydney address but in the 1840’s it would have mainly consisted of workers cottages.

During the following year, 1843, Michael and Anne’s daughters Catherine and Mary Anne married, within a short walking distance of their Cumberland Street home but not in Catholic Churches. There were no other details of the family until 1849 when Michael was identified as the licensee of the Belfast Wine Vaults in Botany Road Chippendale. Seven years later in 1856 Michael transferred the licence to his son William.

In 1859 Michael was nominated for local government elections as an alderman of Redfern Municipality and was elected on the 15th September of that year and he was subsequently elected chairman and eventually Mayor of Redfern from 1860 to 1861. Michael died the following year on the 27th April 1862. His wife Annie died in Redfern on the 25th November 1871. While their time as immigrants in Australia was relatively short the legacy they left for the success of future generations was immense.

 

Children of Michael Williamson

William Williamson

William Williamson was born on the 1st June 1825 to Michael and Anne (nee Owen/s) Williamson in Belfast, Ireland. He arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, on the ship “Resource” on the 22nd December 1840 with his parents and siblings- Catherine, John and Mary.

It was reported in his travel documents that William could read and write and that is probably why his employment in his early years was as a typesetter.

In 1852 William married Anna (Ann/Annie) Maria Annesley (born in 1828) at St Matthew’s Catholic Church in Windsor, New South Wales. Anna was the eldest daughter of the late Marcus and Mary (Nee Chambers) Annesley of Castlewellan, Ireland. Marcus was also identified as a former resident of Castlewellan, County Down, Ireland, on Anna’s death certificate but her mother’s name was not recorded. Marcus was a convict transported to New South Wales in 1832. His wife Mary is believed to have followed him soon after with their children. Marcus died in 1836, aged 38 years, in NSW.  Mary died in 1888 in Redfern. Her death certificate has recently been corrected in the official NSW BDM records.  Anna Maria Williamson died on 12th August, 1862. See separate section on the Annesley Family History.

William and Anna had four sons. Michael Owens born in 1853 and died the following year, Thomas Michael born in 1854, Marcus Annesley born in 1856 and John Michael born in 1858.

In 1856 William took over his father’s business; Belfast Wine Vaults at 216 Regent Street, Redfern.

 

Siblings of William Williamson

Catherine (Catharine) Williamson was born in 1824 in Belfast, Ireland, the oldest child of Michael and Annie Williamson. She emigrated to Australia on the “Resource” with her parents and siblings and arrived on 22nd December 1840. Her occupation was listed as a dressmaker and it was noted that she was able to read and write indicating some form of formal education.

Record of Transport on the "Resource"

 

Copy of Catherine's Immigration Record (Note: name spelt Catharine)

At the age of 19 years Catherine married John Stone Lord in 1843. Catherine and John Lord had eleven children- Mary A (1844), Thomas W (1850), John (1851), Lucinda (1854), Alfred S (1855), Hannah (1857), John S (1860), Rosamond (1863), Rosanna (1865), Joseph (1868), Elizabeth A (1870).

Both Catherine and John died in 1877 in Sydney. Their residential address was given as Princess Street Canterbury, Sydney.

Mary Anne Williamson was born on the 25th February 1829 in Belfast, Ireland, the youngest daughter of Michael and Annie Williamson. She emigrated to Australia with her family on the “Resource” on the 22nd December 1840. Mary married Stephen Ferguson (sometime spelt Fergson) in 1843 at just 15 years of age. They had four children- Mary E (1845), John S A (1848), Catherine (1850) and Stephen V (1860).

Stephen Ferguson died in 1871 and Mary lived to until 1915.

John Williamson (senior) was born on the 25th April 1836 in Belfast, Ireland and was the youngest child to accompany the Williamson family to Australia. In 1861 John married Agnes Laing Millar the daughter of James and Georgina L Millar. In 1862 they were living in a house at 151 George Street Redfern. By 1867 they had moved to Maneno Cottage, 199 Cleveland Street Redfern. There is no record of Agnes’ birth but her death certificate shows she died in 1918.

By the age of 30, in 1866, John founded a legal firm (later to become Williamson and Sons, 163 King Street, Sydney); one of the oldest established legal businesses in Sydney. John died in Woollahra in 1898.

John and Agnes had seven children. The first two were twins Michael J Williamson and James M Williamson born in 1862 and both died two years later of scarlet fever in 1864.

George Fredrick Williamson was born in Chippendale on 26th June 1865 to John and Agnes. He was educated at Royston College and Sydney Grammar. George was admitted as a solicitor on the 7th June 1890 and practiced in his father’s law firm of John Williamson and Sons.

George was an alderman for the Inner Glebe Ward from 1898 and eventually elected Mayor of Glebe in 1904. He was on the committee of the Glebe Benevolent Society, patron of Glebe District Lacrosse Club and vice-president of the Glebe District Football Club. He was also the consul for Ecuador.

George married Florence Beatrice Woolfe (1870-1900) on 2nd November 1893 at St Patrick’s, Church Hill, Sydney. They had two daughters, Jean (1896-1951) who married Cecil R Traill in 1922, and Florence born in 1900 (both mother and daughter died in child birth in 1900). George died on 11th June 1919 in St Leonards, North Sydney.

Agnes J Williamson was born in 1867 and never married and died in Sydney in 1957.

John Williamson (junior) was born in Redfern in 1869. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and subsequently articled to his father whom he succeeded as senior partner. The partnership included John and his two brothers, George and Percy.

John was also a noted figure in cricketing, football, boxing and swimming. He was associated with the Tattersall’s Club, the Australian Jockey Club, the Royal Automobile Club, the New South Wales Club and various golf and yachting clubs. He was honorary solicitor and director of the Benevolent Society, the Hospital for Women and various other charitable organizations. John was also a director of a number of businesses and in particular those involved in the picture theatre industry.

John Williamson (1869-1930)

In 1902 John married Agnes D Wilson (no record of Agnes’ birth or death can be clearly identified). They had three children; Winifred Maria born in Quirindi, NSW in 1902 followed by Kathleen L in 1905 also born in Quirindi. Winifred married John (Jack) D Maude in 1925 and Kathleen married Francis C G Wade in 1926. Records of children post 1912 are not available and an absence of death records might indicate that they were both alive after 1982.

John and Agnes’ only son John Williamson was born after 1912 and was referred to in the obituary to his father in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 10th October, 1930 as “nearly completing his legal studies”. It is believed that John’s full name was David John Williamson as shown on his death certificate in 1975. It is presumed that John followed his father, John, and grandfather, John, into the legal profession, probably with Williamson and Sons. A record of his marriage cannot be clearly identified.

Florence May Williamson was born in 1872 in Redfern, the second daughter of John (senior) and Agnes. She married Harold L Oscar Backhouse in 1900 and they had one son, John, in 1902. Florence died in 1952 in Woollahra.

John (senior) and Agnes’ fifth son, Percy Leyden (Leyddon) Williamson was born in 1877 in Redfern. It is believed that Percy did not marry. After the completion of his legal studies he formed a partnership with his two brothers (John and George) after the death of their father John (senior) in 1896, in the legal firm of Williamson and Sons. Percy eventually branched out into his own legal firm of Williamson, Percy L & Co, which was still listed in 2013, at 89 York Street, Sydney. Percy died in 1975.

Children of William Williamson

Thomas Michael Williamson

Thomas Michael Williamson was born on the 12th November 1854 to William and Anna Maria (nee Annesley) Williamson in Redfern, NSW. His parents were born in Ireland and emigrated to Australia as children with their parents. He was the second of four sons; Michael Owen/s, Marcus Annesley, John Michael. Thomas was educated at Lyndhurst College in Glebe. At the age of 16 he entered the legal profession as an articles clerk and once he had passed his final examinations he rapidly advanced to the position of senior partner in the legal firm of Williamson and Williamson. Whether he was in partnership with his uncle, John Williamson, or younger brother Mark, or one of his cousins, is not known.

Thomas married Annie McNamara on the 8th October, 1873 and they had seven children- William Bede, b.1876, Mary (May), b. 1879, Thomas Michael, b. 1881, Annie Cecilia, b. 1884, Vincent de Paul, b. 1887, Bertha Helene, b. 1891, Arthur Martin, b. 1893. Little is known of Annie and her family. Annie (Ann) was the daughter of Martin and Mary (nee Cain) McNamara and born in Sydney in 1851. Her parents are believed to have been born outside Australia or in one of the other colonies. Records indicated that she had two brothers and a sister- John (born 1860), Joseph (born 1859), Hannah (born 1845). It is believe that her father was a coach driver for Cobb & Co. Annie died in Perth on 18th June 1916.

The first public record of Thomas Williamson was his application for a coal mining licence on the 19th July, 1875; for all roads and reserves within the Municipality of Balmain. His father, William, also applied for a coal mining licence within the eastern suburbs of Sydney at the same time. There are no records as to whether they actually mined these locations, sold the licences or used the licences to prevent others from mining in these areas.

On the death of his father, Thomas was elected in his place as alderman of the Redfern Municipality in 1881. Seven years later he was elected Mayor following in the footsteps of his father (William) and grandfather (Michael) who had also served terms as Mayors of Redfern. At the same time his younger brother Mark (Marcus Annesley) was Mayor of Five Docks.

In October of 1885 he was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly as an independent member. The Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 9th October 1885 describes Thomas’s address to an assembly of 350 people at the Railway View Hotel:

“Mr Williamson in his opening address pointed out his active part in promoting the interests of the working man. It was through his energetic efforts that wages were raised from 6s and 6d to 8s per day. He opposes increases in income taxes, supported the reduction in public house licence fees and is a ‘free-trader’. He is in favour of the eight hour day and compensation for overtime. Finally, he pointed out that he would not support any particularly party but would support measures that benefited the whole community.”

Thomas served one term but due to the pressure of business he did not seek re-election.

A newspaper article on the 7th July, 1888 describes his time as Alderman, Mayor and Member of Parliament:

“He is exceedingly energetic, and possessed good powers of organisation, coupled with a thorough knowledge of municipal matters. He was a strong advocate for capital works and raised substantial funds for the construction of a sewerage system within his Municipality of Redfern.”

In 1886, Thomas purchased a summer house in Rydalmere, near Parramatta, called Truganini; described by the Parramatta & District Historical Society in 1961 as:

The area of land of nearly 10 acres and there is, on the east side, adjacent to the river, a small dock for boats. On the east boundary there is a stone arch which was originally mounted with a statue of Phoenix. We understand that many years ago, the entrance to the cottage was from the wrought iron gates (in Park or Wharf Street) and then through the arches to the south side of the house, where there was a circular drive and a fountain in the centre”.

 

 

The cottage was originally build by William Schaffer in 1792 and sold to Hannibal MacArthur in 1822 (cousin of the famous John MacArthur). It passed through a number of hands before Thomas purchased it. Thomas left his Marcus by having his initials carved into the decorative entrance to the ball room. He also added a servents wing and undertook major renovations.

 

Truganini is now (2014) the board room for Jeld-Wen Australia and has been maintained in excellent condition.

The family moved permanently into Truganini in 1889 and soon after Thomas was elected as the first Mayor of Ermington and Rydalmere. During his time in Rydalmere he continued to work as a solicitor and wrote a law book titled “Small Debts Recovery Acts and other statutes, together with Supreme Court decisions affecting Petty Sessions Courts” which was published in July 1891. A newspaper article in The Cumberland Argus on the 18th July 1891 describes Thomas and his book:

Mr Williamson has the reputation of being one of the smartest and most indomitable solicitors in Sydney and his work should prove of immense value to business men who are compelled to resort rather frequently to the Small Debts Court”.

The assets of Truganini were sold off at public auction on 4th October 1893 and the property was forfeited to City Bank of Sydney. The Williamson family moved back to Redfern as it appears that Thomas was having financial difficulties, so much so, that it was reported in the South Australian Chronicle on the 17th March 1894 that Thomas had resorted to a criminal act:

The Full Court today dealt with the case of Thomas Michael Williamson, a solicitor, who had been called upon to show cause why he should not be struck off the rolls. The case against Williamson was that he had received 875 pounds on behalf of a client, the greater portion of which he had failed to account for or make good. Williamson’s name was ordered to be struck of the roll of the Supreme Court”.

By the 27th November 1896, Thomas applied for reinstatement as a solicitor and the case was reported in the Goulburn Evening Newspaper on the following day:

The Supreme Court on Friday gave Thomas Michael Williamson, formerly a solicitor of the court, leave to enter a solicitor’s office in a subordinate position. It appears from the affidavit filed that Mr T M Williamson had been off the role of solicitors for two years and nine months, and that he had made full restitution of the money retained from the client and paid interest and costs.

By 1898 Thomas and family, other than his oldest son William, moved to Western Australia and into a house at 117 Goderich Street, East Perth which they named Truganini. It is not known what his employment was in the early years in Western Australia but by 1903 he had a business listing of T M Williamson, Financial and General Agent at the Trustee Chambers, 29-31 Barrack Street, Perth. At about this time a family photo shows the whole family together, including Thomas his oldest son from Sydney.

 

Rear L-R:  Vincent, Thomas Jnr, Thomas Snr, William. Front: L-R Mary, Annie Snr, Annie Jnr, Bertha.

Front Seated: Arthur. Circa 1903

The Williamson family lived at Truganini until 1907 and then moved into a home in Lyle Street, South Perth. Bertha died in 1910 and it was about this time that William made another visit from Sydney. Also, about this time, the boys who had been working in the family business moved on. Many of the children had married and Thomas had another tilt at political life by being elected onto the South Perth Council. On 18th June 1916, Annie (his wife) died. By 1919 Thomas moved from Lyle Street and into the home of his daughter, Annie Bowen, in Hill Street, South Perth.

In 1921 Thomas, along with a number of other brokering agents were summoned to appear before a Royal Commission set up by the State Government. The Royal Commission was appointed to investigate methods adopted by financial agents and others regarding profiteering in the selling of war gratuity bonds for WWI returned soldiers of the AIF. The West Australian Newspaper on the 3rd December 1921 reported:

Thomas Michael Williamson said he was a general agent. He was unable to state how many war gratuity bonds he had cashed within the last 16 months. He was only an intermediary. He did not enter into any agreement for commission or compensation. He left it to the discretion of those for whom he acted and payment for the use of his office and running about. He got a guinea a case....”

It appears that Thomas had little to answer for at the Royal Commission but two weeks later he took his own life (16th December, 1921) which was reported in the West Australian Newspaper on the 17th December, 1921:

Williamson, house and land agent, collapsed in his office, in 41 Barrack Street, yesterday. He was removed to the Royal Perth Hospital where he expired shortly after admission. The police reported that a glass containing a small quantity of liquid, which was supposed to be cyanide, was found in Williamson’s office....”

The coroner’s report was published in The West Australian on the 14th January, 1922:

Mrs Annie Cecilia Bowen, daughter of the deceased, said that Williamson lived with her in South Perth......On the morning of his death he left home at 8.30 o’clock in good mental health and spirit. The Witness was not aware of any business worries and she knew of no reason which might have prompted him to take his life.......

.......Another Witness, James Howard, said that he saw the deceased about 9.30 am when he said he was going to put an end to the whole thing stating that he could not stand it any longer. He added that he had to appear in the Judges Chamber on the following Monday on summons but ‘I won’t be there’.....

......The Coroner registered a finding of death by cyanide, self administered.”

There were no findings against Thomas Michael Williamson in the Royal Commission report, published in 1922.

Siblings of Thomas Michael Williamson

Thomas’ oldest brother Michael Owens Williamson was born on the 23rd January, 1853 and died the following year, 1854.

Marcus Annesley Williamson

The first of his two younger brothers, Marcus (Mark) Annesley Williamson was born in Chippendale, NSW, in 1856 (although an article in the Australian Town and Country Journal on the 7 July 1888 lists his birth as 26 May 1857 but this date must be regarded as incorrect). Marcus was educated at Lyndhurst College and matriculated, providing him with the entry requirements to study at Sydney University where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1878. He entered the legal profession being articled to his brother, Thomas. He was admitted to practise as a solicitor on the 28th August, 1886, and in the following months entered into a partnership with his brother in Williamson and Williamson at 146 King Street, Redfern.

In 1882 Marcus married Minnie Edith Burt. Minnie was born in Liverpool, England in 1863 to John James Burt, a pawn broker, and Ann Jane Burt (nee Williams). They arrived in Australia in December 1865 on the “Queen of the South”. Marcus and Minnie had six children. Lily Burt Williamson was born in 1883. She never married and departed for England and arrived in the UK on the “Mooltan” on the 14th November 1914 and died unmarried on the 5th May, 1951. Her sister Violet Burt Williamson, born 1889 joined her on the journey and she married Alfred Lupton in England in 1940. It is believe both travelled to England to work as nurses during World War 1.

Walter Burt Williamson (senior) was born in 1884 in Petersham, NSW. He married Caroline May Fuggles in 1910 and they had a son Walter Annesley Burt Williamson (junior) in 1911. Walter senior joined the 53rd Battalion of the AIF in 1914 and served in France. He went missing in action on the 8th July 1916 and was reported as killed in action on the 19th July, 1916. He is buried in the Australian War Cemetery, VC Corner, Fromelles.

Marcus Burt Williamson was born in Drummoyne in 1892. He joined the AIF in 1914 and served in France where he received a fractured skull during battle. He was reported dangerously ill but survived and was repatriated to Australia in August 1916. In 1922 he married Bertha Arens in Ryde, NSW. He died at Concord in 1967. It is not known if Marcus and Bertha had children.

Marcus and Minnie had two more children, Hyacinth B Williamson born in 1894 and died 1895 and Montague J R Williamson born 1901 and died 1902.

In 1888, the Australian Town and Country Journal described Marcus Williamson’s time as councillor and mayor of Five Docks:

During the past four years he has resided in Drummoyne Park situated on the Parramatta River. In 1886 Mr Williamson seeing the necessity of some representation on the local council for his portion of the district and was elected. In conjunction with others he was instrumental in having the municipality lit with gas. He was elected as Mayor in February of 1887. Mr Williamson is a great supporter of sport of all kinds; more particularly football, cricket and rowing. In the game of football he was a particularly prominent member of the University 15.

 

Marcus Williamson died on the 1st June 1906 at his home, Lillydale in Drummoyne, NSW. An inquest into his death was held on the 5th June and reported in the Cumberland Argus on the 16th June 1906:

Percy Day, his bank officer, gave evidence that as far as he knew, Williamson had no financial or domestic troubles. He was ill a week or so before his death which was due to nervous derangement....

The Government Analyst stated that he had found strychnine in his stomach...

John Williamson, his brother, stated that his brother had complained of an injury he received during the Easter camping trip and had threatened to put a gun to his head. On being remonstrated with, he replied ‘You don’t know the worry and trouble I have at home’....

His doctor giving evidence described him as a man of highly-strung temperament suffering from hypochondria. On a visit to the deceased on the 1st June he found Williamson very much worried by business troubles....

A verdict of suicide was returned.

Minnie Edith Williamson died on the 19th June, 1908 at the age of 41. Her remaining children were brought up by their grandmother, Anne Jane Burt.

John Michael Williamson  

John Michael Williamson was born 1858 to William and Annie Williamson. Little is known of John. He married Emma Ann Ellery in 1886. Emma was the daughter of Mary and Valentine Ellery. She died in 1915.

John and Emma had six children:

Rose Mary Williamson was born in Glebe in 1887 and died in 1978, unmarried.

Teresa Mary Ann Williamson was born in Newtown in 1889 and died in 1947, unmarried.

Edward W E Williamson was born in 1891 in Newtown and died in 1899 at the age of 8 years.

John J F Williamson was born in Newtown in 1893. There are no records of his marriage or death up until 1982. He may have left the state at some time.

Phillip (Philip) Benedict Williamson was born in Newtown in 1895. A death certificate for Phillip in 1954 shows his name as Phillip Benedict (PJ) Williamson. (Note: He may have used the name of Phillip John Williamson. There is no birth record for a Phillip John Williamson up until 1912. Therefore, it is highly likely they are one in the same person.)

A Phillip John Williamson married Annie Jones in Yass in 1938.

Joseph B Williamson was born in Marrickville in 1898. There are no records of his marriage or death up until 1982. He may have left the state at some time.

The only record of John (senior) is his evidence given at the inquest into the death of his brother Marcus Williamson.

John Michael Williamson died Marrickville in 1925.

 

Children of Thomas Michael Williamson

Arthur Martin Williamson

Arthur was born on 29th January 1893 to Thomas Michael and Annie (nee McNamara) Williamson in the suburb of Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales. He had three brothers- William Bede Williamson (1876-1952), Thomas Michael Williamson (1881-1935) and Vincent de Paul Williamson (1887-1932). Arthur also had three sisters- Annie Cecilia Williamson (Bowen) (1884-1948), Mary (May) Williamson (Clough), (1879-1927) and Bertha Helene Williamson (1891-1910). 

      

Arthur’s family moved to Perth from New South Wales in 1898 and lived in a house (Truganini) at 117 Goderich Street, East Perth, located at the back of the Perth Mint. He attended Christian Brothers College in Adelaide Terrace and on leaving school he was employed as a clerk in the family firm of T M Williamson, at 29 Barrack Street Perth.  

The diminutive Arthur was a very keen sportsman and was regarded by many as the first fulltime sporting profession in Western Australia. He competed successfully in athletics, professional cycling, cricket at state level, football with the Perth Football Club but his major claim to fame was in the sport of swimming. As a member of the Perth Swimming Club, Arthur competed in the inaugural “Swim Through Perth” on the 6th January 1912 taking out first place and winning The Sunday Times Cup and prize money of twenty guineas. His feat grabbed the headlines in the Sunday Times on the following day and the race was reported as the biggest sporting event ever to be staged in Western Australia. The presentation was described in the Sunday Times on the following day-

As Mr Slocock called the names of the prizewinners the enormous crowd of enthusiasts which had gathered upon the balcony and float of the Western Australian Rowing Club surged forward so impetuously that the contestants had some trouble in pushing their way through. Williamson, who took the Sunday Times Cup, was as cool and collected as though he had just walked from the tram.

He was also reputed to be the first person to swim from Rottnest Island to Cottesloe. Arthur’s sporting successes provided much of his early income until he joined the AIF in World War 1. He also competed in the world swimming championships in England in 1919 achieving a second place.

 

Prior to the war the Williamson family moved to Lyle Street, South Perth. It was on his way home from work from the office that he met Laurina Amy Balaam while on the ferry from the Barrack Street jetty. The story goes that the ferry suddenly lurched and Laurina fell into his arms. They married on 15th April 1914 in Collie much too the disapproval of his parents, which saw him parting ways with the family firm. He and Laurina moved into a house at 56 Palmerston Street, Perth and Arthur took up a position with the Railways as a clerk. Their first two daughters were born here; Laurina (Joyce) and Veronica (Ron) in 1915 and 1917 respectively.

 

Early in 1918 Arthur joined the 89th Infantry of the AIF and after training at Blackboy Camp he departed Albany on the “Darwin” in May of that year for the war in Europe, via Egypt. During training at the Suez Camp he was kicked in the face by a camel and suffered trauma to the nose (septal deviation) which would see him hospitalised for more than six months; first in Alexandria then transferred to Faenza in northern Italy and by the end of the year in a military hospital in Fovant, Wiltshire, England. By February 1919 Arthur was deemed fit for active service even though the war had ended in November of the previous year. He was transferred to the 6th DUS, stationed in Cologne, Germany. Arthur returned to Perth in October of 1919 and discharged from the AIF on the 27th.

On his return to Western Australia, Arthur found it difficult settling in. He still suffered from his injury and finding work was difficult. The family moved into Hovia Street, South Perth where Arthur and Laurina’s first son Arthur M was born in 1921 but, he died a year later. Raymond, there only surviving son, was born in 1922.  Arthur found work with the Tramways as a conductor but the family struggled financially during this time and right up until the end of World War II. A third daughter, Patricia, was born in 1938.

After his war service in the navy, Raymond returned to Perth and purchased a small property in Bibra Lake, which became Arthur’s main residence until his death. Arthur finished up with the Tramways in the late 1940’s and after a short stint at a wool scours he became a shift foreman at the South Fremantle Power Station until his retirement a decade later.

In his retirement years, Arthur spent much of his time on the Abrolhos Islands with his son-in-law, Detlief Gedero, during the cray fishing season. He also had a great love for the outdoors and spent many years searching for gold in the Kalgoorlie region. Arthur was not a man of worldly goods; this is the reason none of his sporting trophies exist today. On his retirement Arthur and Laurina purchased a new Austin A30 (which he drove badly), to travel to various places throughout the state visiting family.

He had great respect for nature and even the most deadly of snakes was removed from harm’s way. He had an innate ability to tell a great “yarn” and play musical instruments even though he claimed to never have been taught. One of his greatest pleasures was going to the pub and having a drink with his mates. He was the quintessential Aussie bloke of the 20th Century.

Arthur Martin Williamson passed away in Geraldton on the 7th August, 1969.

Siblings of Arthur Martin Williamson

 

Back- Vincent, Arthur  Front- Thomas & William Circa 1910     

William Bede Williamson was born in Redfern, Sydney, in 1876. It is believed he worked in the family law firm in Redfern after leaving school. William remained in Sydney and did not accompany his parents to Perth in 1898. He married Margaret C Riley in 1900 in Marrickville. The wedding was described in great detail in the newspapers of the day:

The ceremony was performed by the Very Rev. Father Vincent and assisted by the Rev. Father Gerald. The bride was given away by her brother, Mr Thomas Riley, was dressed in ivory silk trimmed with chiffon and pearl embroidery, and the Leghorn hat had feathers and chiffon trimming. She carried a shower bouquet, and also wore a gold bangle set with diamonds, the gift from the bridegroom.......The presents were numerous and valuable, including a handsome cheque from the bridegroom’s employers.”

Margaret was born in Tumut, New Zealand in 1882 to Patrick and Margaret Riley and died in Petersham in 1952.

It is believe William practiced law, probably in one of the family law firms and he was quite successful in business. By 1931 William was a partner in the firm of Marshall and Dempster at 10 Castlereagh Street Sydney, estate agents, when he and another partner were charged with misappropriating client’s money. One report in a Sydney newspaper, at the time, described the theft as in excess of 7,000 pounds. The article described the sentencing-

 His Honour, Judge Curlewis, said ‘the accused had been consistently robbing their clients and trading on their reputation. I certainly shall not bind them over. They have been guilty of thefts on a very large scale, especially Williamson. But for the recommendation of the jury I would have sentenced Williamson to five years but I will commute this to three years imprisonment’.”

William must have visited Western Australia on a number of occasions and one such visit was recalled by Marjory Grace Williamson in the late 1940’s or early 50’s when he visited his brother Arthur. He is also present in a photograph with his three brothers which would have been taken around 1910 in Perth. William died in Petersham, NSW in 1952. 

William and Margaret had three children - a son, William Bede Williamson (junior) 1901 (Petersham)-1945 (Petersham). It is believe that William junior joined the Australian army in World War II. As yet, details of his service record are unavailable but his certificates of service show he joined the army twice. It is interesting to note that his date of birth on enlistment is recorded as 2nd June 1905 (his sister Marjorie’s birth date) which may be due to his not being accepted into the army at his true age (over 35 years).

No record of marriage or offspring can be found for William (junior). 

William and Margaret also had two daughters, Marjorie B C Williamson 2nd June 1905 (Marrickville)-1916 (Woollahra) and Kathleen M Williamson 1907 (Marrickville)-1969 (Sydney). Kathleen married William E Allsopp in 1930 in Orange (mother- Ellen, father- Edward). (Note: birth records are unavailable after 1912. Therefore siblings cannot be identified at this time).

Mary (May) Williamson was born in 1879 in Redfern, New South Wales. The family seem to have referred to Mary as May or her birth certificate may have had her name recorded incorrectly. She attended school at Subiaco Benedictine Girls Boarding School in Sydney near the family summer home of Truganini in the suburb of Rydalmere. May came to Perth with the family where she met and married Francis Clough in 1903. There are no records of their death or birth of children in Western Australia or New South Wales after this date. Some notes left by Dorothy Bowen (niece of Arthur Martin Williamson) indicated that they may have moved to New Zealand and had a son- Keith (married Jennie and had two sons- Alan and John).  However, there is a record of the death of a Mary Clough in Perth in 1927. Therefore, it is possible that Mary may have returned to Western Australia at some stage.

Thomas Michael Williamson was born in Redfern on the 20th May 1881. Very little is known about Thomas. It is believed he came to Perth with his parents and worked in the family firm T.M. Williamson in Barrack Street. By 1909 Thomas, junior, was the Clerk of the Supreme Court in Perth and his residential address was 54 Chatsworth Road, Highgate. The Argus News Paper (Melbourne) reported that on the 6th April 1922 that Thomas was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour on a charge of steeling the property of the Crown as a public servant. Records indicate that Thomas married May B Phillips in 1915 but they had no children. It is believed that he died in 1935 in Western Australia.

Annie Cecilia Williamson was born in Redfern, Sydney in 1884. She came to Perth with the family in 1898 and married Leonard Oswald Bowen (d. 1935) in 1905. They had four children- Dorothy Hampton born 1906 who did not marry, Viviene (Vivienne) Phyllis born in 1910 and married Watson Arthur Moss and had two children Vivienne and Arthur. Their third child Bruce was born in 1913 and died in 1923, followed by a fourth, Leonard Oswald in 1919. There are no records to indicate Leonard’s death or marriage in Western Australia.

Annie Cecilia Bowen (nee Williamson) died in 1948, in Perth.

Vincent de Paul Williamson was born in Redfern, Sydney, in 1887 and came to Perth with his family in 1898. On completion of his schooling at Christian Brother’s College in Adelaide Terrace, Perth, he worked for some time in the family business of T.M. Williamson in Barrack Street, Perth. Records of his life are scarce although a newspaper record showed him listed in a football team alongside his brother, Arthur. Vincent was awarded The Royal Humane Society Medal for Bravery on the 2nd November 1927 when at the time he was an employee of Caves House Yallingup. Vincent and four others attempted to rescue two people who were washed off Canal Rocks. A plaque with his name on it can be viewed at the entry to Caves House, Yallingup. Vincent did not marry and died on the 1st March, 1932. It is believe, injuries he received during the attempted rescues may have shortened his life.

 

 

 

Bertha Helene Williamson was born on 4th May 1891 in Rydalmere, New South Wales. She moved to Perth with her family in 1898. Her death was recorded in the West Australian Newspaper-

the youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs T M Williamson of Cravenhurst, Lyall Street South Perth, after a long and painful illness, at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Perth, on the 21st January 1910”.

 

Children of Arthur Martin Williamson

Raymond Bede Williamson

Raymond was born on the 27th September 1922 to Arthur Martin Williamson and Laurina Amy Williamson (nee Balaam). He was the only surviving son of five children. Ray was brought up in South Perth during the hard years of the “great depression”. During his younger years, when his father was out of work, the family would move to a bush area above Black Wall Reach to camp-out and live on fish, crabs and rabbits they caught.

On completion of his short schooling Ray entered the work force at Foy & Gibson’s Department Store in the city. It was during this time that he developed his love and skill for playing tennis.

            

Just after his 18th birthday, in 1941, he entered the Navy, training at Leeuwin in Western Australia followed by Kattabus in Sydney. In July he was transported on the Queen Mary to Port Said in the Middle East to join the crew on HMAS Napier as an Ordinary Seaman. The Napier was deployed off the east coast of Africa seeking out and destroying enemy submarines and cargo ships. This was followed by a stint in the Mediterranean escorting supply ships from Alexandria in Egypt to the embattled island of Malta. In 1942 Ray was transferred to the HMAS Nizam deployed in the defense of Ceylon and Burma and promoted to the rank of Able Seaman, Gunnery Officer. In 1943 he saw service on the HMAS Norman in the South East Asian theatre of war.

In 1944 he returned to Australia and while on leave in Perth he met the young Marjorie Henderson. Towards the end of the war Ray served on the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide, mopping up the remnants of the Japanese forces in the Pacific. Finally, on the 20th February 1946 he was de-mobbed in Sydney and returned to Perth as a 24 year old with a War Gratuity of 200 pounds.

With this War Gratuity and the assistance of his parents, Ray purchased a ten acre property with a very small fibro and iron house in an area south of Perth known as Bibra Lake (also known as North Lake). Bibra Lake was extremely remote with very few houses in the midst of a pine plantation. There was no public transport and the only utility available was electricity. Access to the city, Perth, was via a bicycle ride to Canning Highway a distance of 3 miles, followed by a long bus journey. 

Raymond returned to his position with Foy and Gibson but after 12 months he returned east to Melbourne to meet up again with Marjorie. They were married on the 21st January 1947 in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Later that year they returned to Perth and moved onto the property in Bibra Lake.

Ray started building chook sheds and setting up his poultry farm and by September 1948 his first son (Micheal) was born followed by a second (Peter) a year later. Things started going bad in the poultry business in the early 1950’s and Ray had to abandon his dream. He took on a job as a builder’s labourer on high rise buildings in Perth but had a bad fall off scaffolding and was laid off work (unpaid) for a number of months with a serious leg injury.

To subsidize the family living costs, Ray purchased a large number of rabbit traps and regularly ventured to Pinjarra with the family in an old Ford utility. He would set the traps over night while camping out, then deliver the catch next morning to Tom Friend’s Butcher Shop in Hilton. 

With the arrival of a third son (John) in 1952, Ray returned to the workforce as a brickie’s labourer followed by a stint as a truck driver for Brown and Angel, a lumber company. It was at this time he built a second home (three rooms - kitchen and two bedrooms) on the property from left over materials off building sites. By the middle of the 1950’s he sat the entrance exam to become a linesman with the PMG; a career that would last the rest of his working life.

A new house was built in the early 60’s, following the sale of the rear half of the property, which still exists at 1 Williamson Road, Kardinya. By the late 60’s much of the remaining property had been sold to the Bond Corporation for development of the suburb of Kardinya. With this development, a new road was put through the middle of what was the original property and named after Raymond - Williamson Road.

 

           

  

  Ray developed Alzheimer’s and passed away on the 27th May 2008.

 

Siblings of Raymond Bede Williamson

Laurina Joyce (Joy) Williamson was born in 1915 to Arthur Martin and Laurina Amy (nee Balaam) Williamson in Perth, Western Australia.

Arthur M Williamson was born in 1921 and died the following year 1922. He was the first of two sons of Laurina and Arthur Williamson.

Veronica (Ron) Anne Williamson was born on 2nd March 1917 to Arthur Martin and Laurina Williamson in Perth, Western Australia.

Patricia (Pat) Anne Williamson was born on the 15th February 1936, the youngest of five children of Laurina and Arthur Williamson.