|Country of Origin||England|
|Date of Birth||1862|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1897|
|Submitted by||Thelma Whitehurst|
My grandfather George Fathers, born 1862, Somerset, England; died 1934 Geraldton, WA.
In 1882 at his first marriage in Sydney NSW, he was described as a carpenter, and also in 1891 at his second marriage in Victoria. He lived NSW and Victoria for 20 years and in West Australia for 37 years after arrival from Somerset with his parents and his family in 1877 in Sydney NSW at the age of 15 years. When he and his second wife Ada (Haigh) came to Geraldton, West Australia in 1897, George became involved with a sawmill there, doing carpentry and joiner work, around town. He shifted the mill to 2 different areas in town, later took a Glazier, Mr. Harry Easther as partner. He was a favourite with the local aborigines also. On Friday night all the sawdust off mills floors (spotlessly clean by Saturday Mornings) would be taken just out of town for their Corroboree grounds to stomp on.
George is purported to have made the huge doors and other wood items for the big R.C.Church in Geraldton and Mr. Easther all the stain glass windows. George and some of his sons were involved in the town rowing, cricket, & football. He even built yachts to race, made models first , then became First Commodore of Geraldton\’s yacht club, after he had the building built. His photo and his younger son Lloyd\’s, (later on) too hang over the club\’s bar area with the others. He only rented houses, in various streets – a couple of them still around in 2009. In 1919 he sold the mill: and 1924 worked for himself and was carpenter for the local wharf.
His carpentry skills were passed on to his family. One son Malcolm built a huge fishing boat (later sold it) to the fleet. Also son Lloyd built all his own furniture, plus his daughter Dawn\’s (still in her place in 2009, some 60 years old now), also her sister Ruth\’s bedroom suite.
For a boy of 15 on 10 August 1877, could not read or write then, he achieved quite a lot to be left behind him in Geraldton, and in our homes now. One of the yachts he built, and eighteen footer was named it ‘Ada’ after his 2nd wife. He gave it to one of his eldest sons, Eugene after World War 1.
Another small item of his history is, he had nos. 1, 2, 3 sons all the away in World War 1, and the 4th one joined up just before the War had ended, (he didn\’t get to go away). Walter and Eugene on Gallipoli landing 1915, and Ernest went 1916, (he was a POW in Belgium) Eugene also transferred to the Australian Flying Corps at the end of the War. Luckily they all came home, must have been terrifying for my grandparents. I was only 3 when he died in 1934.
Eugene also went in to World War 2 – Signals AIF. POW 3 years after the fall of Singapore, in Japan, Manchuria. Came home and lived to 99 years 2 weeks of age, dying in 1995, Perth WA.
Walter and Ernie moved to South Australia after World War 1, died both in 1980. My dad Lloyd died 1990, aged 88 years. He had polio in 1933, while in a Fire Brigade job and survived it in Geraldton, West Australia. He also was involved in Cricket, Football, Yachting, Jobs, Cycle Club, Senior\’s Club and the Presbyterian Church.
Dawn Whitehurst, Lathlain, WA.
Great granddaughter of George Fathers.