The Sad Story of a Clyde Blacksmith

Alexander Stewart  Kennedy

Port Adelaide,1893 - Cranbourne 1922

Time in Clyde
Port Adelaide born Alex Stewart Kennedy, a farrier/blacksmith moved from Cranbourne with his young wife, Nellie, to their new home on the corner of Ballarto and Twyford Roads, Clyde. Their house was right near the railway bridge (Now probably 1585 Ballarto Rd). It was about 1912. Nellie, born as Ellen Quinn Thorpe, came from a Cranbourne Presbyterian family her father being one the bakers in the town.

The young blacksmith showed interest in local events, the ANA in Cranbourne, was known in the Presbyterian church, met many farmers through his trade and was a member of the Tooradin Rifles Club. Twins, Alex junior and Jessie were born to them in 1914.

In March 1916, at 31, Alexander Stewart Kennedy, signed up for overseas military service and spent that time mostly in France. Both the Cranbourne Presbyterian Church and the Clyde North  School honor boards list his name as a WW1 soldier.
If it was any comfort to him Henry Kennett (40),also from Clyde travelled overseas with him on the Wandilla that sailed on  June 6th 1916. After two years and nine months of active service he returned in January 1919, moved to
Cranbourne and in August that year, his 5 year old daughter Jessie died.

During the war and afterwards it seems that his wife, Nellie, was overcome by stress and needed special psychiatric care. Nellie was committed to a mental asylum and her name was never again listed on the electoral roll. Her death was recorded as  having died in Ballarat in 1970, aged 87. Was Nellie shattered and unable to cope with the war absence of her husband and the death of her daughter?

Move to Cranbourne
Possibly due to war injury, gun shot wound to his right shoulder, Alex gave up his blacksmithing work and took up a Rangers job with the Cranbourne Shire Council.

In April 1922, the next year, Alexander Kennedy, was tragically killed in a car accident leaving  Alex his  eight year old son, to live with his grandmother and Nellie's older sister, Miss Thorpe. Following the death of Alexander senior, Miss Sarah Thorpe, assumed to be his guardian, took up the challenge to obtain the war medals for her nephew Alexander Kennedy junior.

What happened to Alex junior?
Young Alex eventually trained as a baker a trade that he most likely learnt  from his grandfather John Thomas Thorpe. In 1938 Alex junior, 24,  married a very attractive young lady with notable musical skills also from Cranbourne, linked with the Presbyterian church. Her name was Annie Davida Joan Campbell. She was better known to all as Joan and was in demand to play the piano at concerts. About 6 years following her marriage to Alex Jnr we find Joan Kennedy running her own orchestra and doing the rounds of the local dance halls including Clyde until the late 1950’s.
Alex Kennedy died in 1988 aged about 74.

Editor’s Note
Much later in the 1950's, at dances in the Clyde Hall, as a primary school child I was intrigued by her piano skills, her flare and style. Often standing near her on the stage, I would look on adoringly at the way she played the keys. Alex and Joan Kennedy had two children, a  son and  daughter. The daughter  born in 1943 much later attended Dandenong High School.
Joan Kennedy died in 2012.
Does anyone recall Kennedy's Orchestra?

Four WW1 Clyde Men Who Died Overseas

 
Thomas Henry Williams  (27)
17 Nov 1889- 18 Apr 1917
The first Clyde resident to die on an overseas battle field
It is uncertain when the telegram arrived at Sarah Ridgway’s home on Ballarto Road in 1917. A few weeks before about mid April 1917 she knew that her son Thomas was wounded and missing. No one in Clyde knew that he had been shot in the chest, suffered serious lung damage and was a German POW.
   Just less than a year before Thomas Henry Williams, 26 years 8 months, had embarked aboard the Ayrshire heading for the Western Front. Short in stature standing 5ft 3in (161.2 cm) he was a farm labourer and lived with his mother Sarah Ridgway (nee Hall) and step father, Thomas “Corrie” Ridgway in Clyde. (Now known as  No 1 Ballarto Road)
    Tragedy had struck Sarah before in 1892. When her son Tom was two years old, his father, Tommy Williams Snr, a jockey, was killed in a race track meeting near Dandenong. At the time Tommy (Snr) and Sarah Williams owned the first Clyde store then situated at Ballarto Road. Eighteen months later, widow Sarah Williams married Thomas Ridgway, son of early settler, Anthony Ridgway.
    Unbeknown to the Clyde community, Tommy Williams Jnr. had actually died on April 18th and was buried in Hamburg  Cemetery, Ohlsdorf, Germany. The news of his death was sent by telegram to his mother and later announced in the Herald newspaper in August 1917.
    A memorial scroll and plaque were sent to Sarah recognising her loss. The Clyde community remembered Tom by listing his name on the Clyde North and District WW1 Honor Roll. The Cranbourne Patriotic Association posthumously awarded him a Certificate of appreciation for fighting over seas.
A year following his death, Mrs Sarah Ridgway presented a photograph of her son Thomas Henry Williams to the newly built Clyde Primary school opened on May 30, 1918.

   Just at the time Clyde folk had heard the news that Tommy Williams (May 1917) was missing and believed injured, none knew that 21 year old Stan Allars from the corner of Muddy Gates lane and Pound Road had been killed. He’d embarked for overseas just a year earlier, May 1916 with his brother Syd. 
 
  Stan, a very slim and tall lad at 5ft.10in (177.8cm), 132lbs (59.9kg) had been in Clyde for 5 years working on his father’s “Clydesdale” dairy farm. Daily trips carting milk to the Clyde Railway station brought the Allars in contact with other Clyde farmers.
    With their home closer to the Cardinia social life rather that the Clyde Railway Station town activities, the Allars were viewed as being Cardinia people. Son of Alfred Charles and Emily Allars, Stan was one of seven children
Like many soldiers, Stan had trouble with health problems in the Army. While in training he suffered  with influenza and tonsillitis before embarkment.
    Later, while overseas, pneumonia took him out of battle for a month, before returning to France. In Belgium during the Northern Spring, he was wounded on the same day as his brother. Stan had gun shot wounds to both legs, arms and left foot. Older brother Syd was evacuated to England. Stan died the next day, 2nd May 1917.
    His family received a Scroll of Honor from the King along with the memorial plaque known as the  ‘Dead Man’s Penny”
    After serving in France as a ‘ bomb  thrower’ Hedley Howard Thomas answered the call for  stretcher bearers and was accepted. In October, 1917, whilst doing his duty, he was wounded and sent to England. On his return to France, he again volunteered as a stretcher bearer.   
    Being of a sensitive and sympathetic nature, his experiences in attending to the injuries of his broken and shattered companions, imposed a great strain upon him.  While binding the wounds of a comrade he was shot by a sniper and died.
    In his life he demonstrated loyalty, integrity of character, determination to do the right thing with or without the approval of others. He won the respect of fellow soldiers who had many opportunities of testing his worth.  
They said of him' ‘Everyone that knew him respected him. He played his part as one of the best of soldiers and a man’.    'We and many more have reason to be grateful’.

    In 1906 Hedley Howard Thomas, one of seven children, moved with his family from Oakleigh to the south eastern corner of Tuckers and Pattersons Roads.
At 19 Hedley decided in his heart to obey God in all of his life. While this was a public declaration among the Methodist church folk, Hedley expressed this decision better through his life’s actions rather talking about it. 
   Hedley enlisted in September 1915.  At 5ft 8in (172.7cm) he was slightly taller than the average Clyde man, also the heaviest weighing 12 stone (76.2kg). The local newspaper of  22 Aug 1918, reported “The seating accommodation at the Methodist Church was taxed, on Sunday evening, when a large gathering met to do honor to the memory of the late Private Hedley Thomas aged 26“.
    Clyde Methodists relied on visiting preachers for their afternoon services but also attended morning worship in Cranbourne.  Hedley’s name is also recorded on the Cranbourne  Presbyterian’s  Honor Board.

    Better known as George, the only adult son of George Snr and Martha Churchill (nee Ridgway), he was the grandson of Anthony Ridgway, an early Clyde settler. George Churchill (Jnr) worked as a chaff cutter and lived with his parents on 2 acres of Block 41 near to the corner of Hardys and Cranbourne Berwick Road.
    Before enlisting on 16 July 1915 he had the reputation of being brilliant cricket player,
a bonny manly lad’, with a sunny disposition, one who loved clean sport on the football and cricket grounds. It was said of him that he should make a sturdy active soldier and that ‘may he win a V.C.’ (Victoria Cross).
    This man who stood at 5ft 4 in tall (162.5 cm) was the first native born Clyde man to pass all the tests in the training camp. On the battle field he commanded such respect that he was promoted to Corporal on the 25th Oct 1917.
    Tragically he was killed in action on the 1st September 1918 at Mont St Quentin, France, a little more than two months before the end of the War, November 11th, 1918, Armistice Day. Clyde cricketers were deeply shocked and grieved to hear of the death of one of their most promising players.
    On Sunday evening, 22 Sept 1918,  the Clyde North Church of England, was not big enough to hold the large gathering which met to do honor to the memory of the late Cpl. George Churchill, who made the supreme sacrifice in France. 

At the Clyde North School Empire Day celebration, May 1919, his photo was unveiled by his former school teacher,  Mr Twyford  who referred to the many fine qualities of George Churchill. He impressed upon the children how proud they should be to have such a splendid memorial in the school of a scholar and soldier like George.
  His family grieved deeply over his death.
 

Royal Melbourne Show

CLYDE MAN FOUNDATION MEMBER OF THE FIRST ROYAL MELBOURNE SHOW.

Improving the quality of local produce and bringing together a community motivated our first rural agricultural societies. Cranbourne, Berwick, and Mornington attracted Clyde people to attend and participate in the competitions.

 Mr Alexander Patterson, of St Germains Station, Clyde was a member of the committee of the old Port Phillip Agricultural society, instituted in 1848. The society preceded the Royal Melbourne Show.
In 1836 Mr. Patterson established the Mornington Agricultural and Pastoral Society as a branch of the original central society, with headquarters at Cranbourne. He was made honorary secretary and treasurer, and afterwards became president. He was also one of the founders and a member of the first council of tho National Society founded in 1871

       In 1873 Mr Thomas Patterson, his son, was appointed honorary secretary of the Mornington society and continued in this capacity until he was elected secretary of the National (now the Royal) Agricultural Societv of Victoria in 1880.  He held this appointment for 30 years during which time he saw many changes and advancements made in the Show and in the rural life of the country. (Source:Melbourne Argus 27 Sept 1928).

Alexander Patterson was also one of the first five on the Council of the Board of Agriculture and for sixteen years he was the councillor of the National (Royal) Agricultural Society of Victoria.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.



Two Clyde men, a father and son, had influential roles in the establishment of the original Royal Melbourne Show.
Next time you attend the RMS don't forget to recall the historical link that Clyde has with Melbourne's largest public event.


More about Alexander Patterson can be found at
https://clydehistory.000webhostapp.com/html/0401pattersonalex.html

Clyde Railway Station

Enjoy the photos and stories being posted on the facebook page
  Clyde 3978- History News

It all started with someone discovering the station building photo prior to its being demolished.
(Brett Leslie photograph)

 Comments started to roll in so I searched my files for one offered by Mrs Lurline McDonald, daughter of Clyde Station Master (her mother) and railway linesman (her dad, Mr Stuart)

July 1970 Steam engine approaches Clyde from direction of Cranbourne.
Looks something like an impressionist painting.



If you have any Clyde railway stories or photos then please contact the website editor
clydehistory@gmail.com
Frank Jones photo 1978 



1969 




World War 1 Nurses

Daughters of George Lehman (former Dandenong Bridge Hotel owner) were nursing in Tallangata prior to enlisting for the  Australian Army Nursing Service.  Nora Blanche and Aileen Lehman sometimes stayed with their parents at "Springmeadows" on Thompsons Road, Clyde North. The Clyde Honour Board and local newspapers recognised the nurses as being a part of our community. Beginning with duty in Egypt, Nora and Aileen stayed together with the 2nd AGH to later work in Wimereux, France.

The ABC TV series "Anzac Girls" give an excellent insight into saving lives under difficult conditions. Nora and Aileen experienced all of this.
The editor is preparing an article on the lives of Clyde WW1 nurses. If you have any WW1 or WW2  stories of Clyde people then please contact the editor. Anyone know of Nurse Kirkpatrick, a Red Cross nurse from the Clyde/Cranbourne area who worked in France?




 Lehman sisters on their days off from duty in Egypt.
(Photo: Courtesy of Lehman family)


Editor: clydehistory@gmail.com
Website: https://clydehistory.000webhostapp.com/

(Photos provided by Dr James D Best, grandson of Aileen Best, nee Lehman)

2AGH - Second Australian General Hospital


Bailey's Estate - Ballarto Road

Did your family live on the Bailey Estate?
William Valentine Bailey,  Lord Mayor of Malvern (1903-1904), purchased 1195 acres (484 hectares) of land south of Ballarto Road. Subdividing this into smaller blocks this enabled many farmers to own their own dairy farms. Thirty-five allotments were eventually sold.
A map obtained from Ern Marriot gave me the initial idea of the extent of the estate in Sherwood Riding, Cranbourne Shire.




(Click to enlarge the image)
Did your family live in the Bailey Estate? From whom did your family buy this land?
Our family bought land originally from this estate. We bought it from the Bullock family. 
Please forward such information to the editor  clydehistory@gmail.com

For a larger version of this map https://app.box.com/s/guzy108bj5igdgkb22sc


The Story of Clyde in Maps

Beginning with the time of squatters, first land sales, followed by  the building of the railway this slide presentation gives an over-view of the development of Clyde



Power Point : The Story of Clyde



Using maps to tell the  Story of Clyde 

The story continues with urban development in North Clyde which will soon swallow up Clyde as we know it. 

Want to know more?
Look at the History Walking Tour of Clyde Township