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|Mary Ellen Fairbairn (nee McNamara) 1881-1955 by Ann Rackstraw|
James and Bridget McNamara’s
Married 17 Oct 1917
Mildred May Margretta Freer
D. John McNamara was born on 1 Jan 1884 at Paris Creek, South Australia (CD, SA Births, 1842-1906, Book 317, page 430). He was baptized on 3 Feb 1884 at Mt Barker, South Australia, the sponsor was Patrick Keane (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 19 Nov 2008).
Around Mar 1888, James, Bridget and their children travelled to Round Hill, near Broken Hill NSW, where James worked at the Round Hill mine. Between 15 Sept and 8 Oct 1888, Kate and Lawrence died and Bridget, their last child was born. After this traumatic period Bridget suffered a decline in her mental health. The family later returned to Adelaide where James was admitted to Adelaide Hospital on 22 Jun 1890 with Plumbism (lead poisoning), he was discharged on 28 June. It appears that James later returned to Broken Hill to work, leaving Bridget and the children in Adelaide.
After their mother was admitted to the asylum on 10 Oct 1890, Thomas McNamara, brother of James, travelled from Goolwa to Adelaide and bought the children back to live with his family believing it would be a temporary arrangement. At the end of Feb 1891, Thomas appealed to the SA Children's Department for assistance as he could no longer support the children. He advised the authorities that James was in hospital in Broken Hill and Bridget was in Parkside Asylum (Correspondence contained in SA Children's Department, Series GRG27/1, copies supplied by Judy Smith, email dated 25 Nov 2008).
On 13 Mar 1891 all four children, were admitted to Magill Industrial School, they had been sentenced to one year as destitute children by T.W. Goode JP and J.T. Underwood JP (This sentence was to be later extended). On 4 Apr 1891 all four children were placed with Mrs Bridget Davoren/Daverns, Roman Catholic, wife, of Kapunda. Bridget's husband John died on 27 Dec 1891 and on 30 Jan 1892, after nearly nine months with Mrs Daverns, the children were removed from her home by Inspector Honigrave because of reported ill treatment and were returned to Magill. On 22 Feb 1892 John, aged eight, was then placed with Mrs Mary Cunningham, widow, of Stubb St Gawler. There is a gap in the records but a letter in the State Children's Department file received on 22 Jul 1896 from Mrs Casey of Macclesfield asks if John McNamara could be changed as he seemed rather unhappy, Mrs Casey thought the change would do him good as he was a good honest boy. On 2 Oct 1899 John was returned to Magill from the home of Mrs J Casey of Macclesfield, as she had been deemed an unfit guardian. On 16 Oct 1899 John, aged 13, was then placed with Michael D(?)ean of Inglewood, John's sentence had been extended to expire at the age of 16 years (Information extracted from SA State Archives Series GRG29/9, provided by Judy Smith, email dated 29 July 2008 and transcript of letter from Mrs Casey contained in SA State Children's Department Series GRG27/1, provided by Judy Smith, email dated 25 Nov 2008).
John later took up farming on the Eyre Peninsula and at John's request his sister Helena joined him as his housekeeper (Information from descendants of both John and Helena).
He married Mildred May Margretta Freer, daughter of Richard George Freer and Margrette Lucy Magers, on 17 Oct 1917 at the Residence of G. Mayers, Kolballa, South Australia, John was 33, Mildred 19 and they were both single (CD, SA Marriages, Registrations 1917-1937, book 273, page 161).
John worked at Streaky Bay on the Eyre Peninsular before buying a farm property of approximately 400 acres at Mt Damper; he also held more land nearby, probably leased. The land was cropped with wheat and oats, and John also ran sheep for wool and eating. There were a few horses used for farm work and transport, the milking cows, pigs and fowls were tended by John's wife, Mildred. John also worked as a blacksmith and was a handy sheep drover whenever there was a sheep sale, there being no trucks to take sheep to their new home. The house at Mt Damper was a big shed, divided into three rooms with a kitchen and laundry built under the verandah. John also built a few brush shade houses, the pergolas of yesteryear, for Mildred's few pot-plants. John also dug a cellar so that the food could be kept cool, as high summer temperatures were recorded. John also made a tennis court for Mildred as she loved to play, on weekends friends and neighbors would come to play tennis. Water was also scarce, John built two tanks and carted water from the Government Tank, this water was used for washing clothes and for the stock to drink. About 1940 the Mt Damper property was sold and the family moved to Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsular for a short time. The family then went to live in Adelaide in the suburb of Albert Park in shared accommodation and John was employed by Baulderstones. About 1944 John purchased a house in North Adelaide at 109-113 Stanley St, John and Mildred lived there until their deaths (Information provided by Rita Hull, letter dated 30 Nov 2008).
The dwelling at 109-113 Stanley St is registered on the Australian Heritage Database and consists of three attached cottages tied together by a balustraded parapet, built in stages over approximately 10 years from 1850 (Australian Heritage Database, environment.gov.au, website).
John died on 10 Jul 1971, aged 87, at North Adelaide, South Australia (CD, SA Deaths, Registrations 1916-1972, Book 131A, page 4775). His body was cremated and his ashes are located at Brinkworth Walls, Row W, Path 1, Site C023, Centennial Park, Adelaide, South Australia, (Centennial Park Cemetery, Burial & Memorial Search, website).
John's daughter, Rita Hull with her granddaughter, visited the family farm at Mt Damper in Sep 2008, although the house has vanished, the two water tanks built by John were still there. Much of the land has been cleared and canola and other cereal and pulse crops are now grown, the mallee scrub is all gone but the granite rocks were still the same (Information provided by Rita Hull, letter dated 30 Nov 2008).
Mildred May Margretta Freer
Mildred May Margretta Freer. Her married name was McNamara. She was born on 16 Feb 1898 at Calca, South Australia (SA Births, Index to Registrations 1842-1906, Book 620, page 322, provided by GSV). Mildred died on 25 Aug 1985, aged 87, at North Adelaide, South Australia. Her body was cremated and her ashes are located at Brinkworth Walls, Row W, Path 1, Site C024, Centennial Park, Adelaide, South Australia, (Centennial Park Cemetery, Burial & Memorial Search, website).
The children of John and Mildred McNamara
a. Richard John McNamara was born on 1 Nov 1919 at Elliston, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928, Book 45A, page 199). He died on 1 Nov 1919, aged nine hours, at Ellliston, South Australia (CD, SA Deaths, Registrations 1916-1972, Book 433, page 91).
b. Ethel May McNamara.
Her married name was Taylor. She was born on 9 Apr
1921 at Elliston, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928,
Book 75A, page 480).
William Henry Taylor
c. Reta/Rita Margaret McNamara.
Her married name was Hull. She was born on 2 Sep 1924
at Elliston, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928,
Page 142A, page 377).
Victor Clarence George Hull
Victor died on 14 Dec 1993 at Elliston, South Australia (Information provided by Rita Hull, correspondence dated 11 Nov 2008).
d. Leslie John McNamara was born on 3 Sep 1926 at Elliston, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928, Book 180A, page 282). He married Alice Doreen Stevenson in 1944 in Adelaide, South Australia (Information provided by Rita Hull, correspondence dated 11 Nov 2008).
Alice Doreen Stevenson
Alice Doreen Stevenson. Her married name is McNamara. She was born on 28 Jun 1925 in Northumberland, England (Information provided by Rita Hull, correspondence dated 11 Nov 2008).