MCCRAITH'S (father's side)

Grandfather (Michael) McCraith was Inspector of the Powder Magazine in Castlemaine Victoria. He had a wife and family of 9 children - 5 boys and 4 girls - Margaret (born 1865), Michael, Kate, Annie, Alice, Jack, Peter, William and Andy. (According to Phillip Dwyer's research, they actually had fourteen children, not nine. But at least two of them had already died before Ethel was born in 1895, which would at least partly explain the discrepancy.)

  • Margaret married William Dwyer who died when their 2 children - Andrew (my future husband) and Mary (Sis) - were about 13 & 11 years old. She re-married again - to a William Bedford.

  • Michael was Station Master of Spencer St. (Melbourne) then of Bendigo. He could have been Superintendent of Railways if he turned Freemason, but he was a devout Catholic. He died of a stroke when he booked in to go overseas after his retirement. (He died 15 March 1930 - see the following)

    Victoria Government Gazette No. 46
    Wednesday May 21, 1930
    PURSUANT to the Trustee Act 1928, notice is hereby given that all creditors and persons having any claims against the estate of Michael McCraith, late of Hopetoun Hotel, Mitchell-street, Bendigo, in the State of Victoria, station-master in Victorian Railways, deceased (who died on the fifteenth day of March, 1930, and probate of whose will was granted ... the rest is legal gibberish.

  • Kate married Jim Marsh and they had about 3 butcher's shops in Kew, a very posh suburb of Melbourne. They were pretty well off being able to give their children £1,000 each as they reached their 21st birthday. (Our grandfather Andrew Dwyer bought a dairy and cottage in Melbourne around the 1920s for £800, so £1,000 was a lot of money in those days.) One of the Marsh's, Eileen, was head woman at Snow's, a big drapery store in Sydney, on the corner of Pitt and Liverpool Streets.

    There is a Leslie Marsh who did an interview for the Australia 1938 oral history project. The summary reads:

    "Marsh speaks of his family background; father's business as a butcher; childhood memories; school memories; employment experiences as a clerk and a butcher; family life in Kew, Melbourne; family home; marriage and lifestyle after marriage". (This is most likely one of their children - it says he was born in 1902).

  • Annie married George Anderson. He was Staff Manager of Wirth's circus and they used to have their own suite on the circus train. Your mother (Margaret Aitken, nee Dwyer - this was written for Margaret's sons) and I, and your Grandfather, used to get free tickets for the best seats at the circus whenever it came to Sydney. George Anderson had been manager for 40 years when he died. Aunt Annie was taken into the Wirth family and looked after for the rest of her life.

    Gerorge Anderson's desk
    This photo was sent to us by Judith Lanigan. It is George Anderson's travelling desk - in the form of a wooden box with metal handles, hooks, locks and other parts. The doors open to reveal three drawers and pigeon holes of various sizes and compartments for filing documents. This item is in Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, along with a lot of other Wirth's Circus memorabilia.

    (More about Wirth's Circus; and Photos of the circus in 1941)

  • Jack (birth name was John) was licencee of a big hotel in Spring St., Melbourne and met with a tragic death by a gas explosion in the bar of the hotel. The chandelier was left down, and on, and when he struck a match the whole place went up. His little daughter Eileen was saved by the lino being wrapped around her; she used to be at his heels everywhere he went. Read more about Jack.

  • Peter met with a tragic death in Sydney. He slipped on a banana skin on the balcony of Peterkin Chambers and was found dead in bed.

    (There was a Peterkin Chambers at 233 Elizabeth Street Sydney, 6 stories tall with a pharmacy and Chambers owned by a Mrs. Fanny Peterkin. Source: City of Sydney archives (PDF - 3.7mb).)

  • Andy met his death by parking his grocery van on an incline and, when he stepped up, the van overturned on him and crushed him to death.

  • Alice and William I didn't know much about, but 2 McCraith boys - (William and Vincent) had good positions. One was in the Pensions Office and the other was a clerk in the Patents Office in Canberra. I don't know whose sons they were, they may have been Peter's or Andy's.

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