The Griffiths Family Home Page - Thomas Bowen Griffiths:Information about Wilfred John Griffiths
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Wilfred John Griffiths (b. 22 Jan 1907, d. 21 Feb 1961)Wilfred John Griffiths (son of Henry Isaac Griffiths and Esther Parry) was born 22 Jan 1907 in Yeungroon Vic Victoria, and died 21 Feb 1961 in St Arnaud Victoria(St Arnaud Hospital).He married Margaret McLeod Gordon on 07 Aug 1937 in Cobden Vic, daughter of Joseph Gordon and Margaret McLeod.
Notes for Wilfred John Griffiths:
1907 22/1 Born at Yeungroon, Cooonooer Bridge, Victoria
After leaving school, Wilf assisted his Uncles John and Ivor on properties at Yawong, Natte Yallock, Melton and in Gippsland.
1909 Grandfather Thomas Bowen Griffiths who had emigrated to Australia from Wales in 1856 died (83yo) and was buried at St Arnaud.Thomas originally purchased the Yawong property - Coonooer Estate and now Willed this to his wife Mary and eldest son John. (H Isaac, 2nd son now had a property at Meredith and 3rd son Ivor had property at Moyreisk)
1910 Wilf (3yo) brother David Parry was born to H Isaac and Esther at Ballarat
1911 Grandmother Mary, also an emigrant from Wales, died and was buried at St Arnaud.
1912 Wilf (5yo) second sister Jessie Mary was born to H Isaac and Esther at Geelong
1914 Wilf's (7yo) parents H Isaac and Esther were resident at Meredith (1914 Electoral Roll) together with their children Gwladys, Tom, Ivor, David and Jessie.
Wilf attended Meredith Primary School with his brothers and sister - the school still exists but has an added extension and play grounds today. There were 80 students in the composite Grades 1-8.
Wilf walked 3 miles to school each day and back with the other children, crossing paddocks and the creek, unless the creek was flooded when they needed to walk the longer way round, following the roads.
1915 Wilf (8yo) younger brother Mervyn was born in Ballarat.
1917 Tom's older sister Gwladys left Meredith to attend boarding school PLC in Melbourne, returning home every three months traveling by train to Meredith.
1919 Father and mother Isaac and Esther voted at Meredith, resident at the Chestervale property, while Uncle John was a Grazier at the Yawong/Coonooer property and Uncle Ivor a grazier at the Natte Yallock property jointly owned by John and Ivor.
Wilf,before and after school, no doubt helped with the farm chores and attending to the merino fine wool sheep for which the Griffiths family and the Meredith property was becoming well known.
1921? Wilf (14yo) Grade 8 -Secondary school ?
1924 (Wilf 17yo) Elections indicate H Isaac and Esther, sister Gwladys (24yo) and brother Tom (22yo) voted at Meredith, with Ivor (20yo), Wilf (17yo), David (14yo), Jessie (12yo) and Mervyn (9yo) being too young to vote (voting age 21 years)
1924 Wilf's 12 year old sister Jessie was admitted to Geelong hospital at 9pm for an appendix operation from which she never recovered and died at 12 midnight.She was buried at the Meredith Cemetery - a sad day for the Griffiths family.
1926 Late in the year - H Isaac and Esther left Chestervale, retiring to a town property at 61 The Esplanade Drumcondra/West Geelong and moved to live in this stately home overlooking Corio Bay. The Griffiths boys Tom, Ivor, Wilf and David stayed on at Chestervale Meredith to work the property, with sister Gwladys undertaking all care for the boys, while youngest child Mervyn moved to Geelong to attend a wool classing class at the Gordon Technical College.
1926 August Gwladys (26yo) married Hugh McNaughton (Ewan Duncan) and moved to Oakhurst property at Ceres with her new husband.In October 1926,only a few weeks after the wedding,Hugh contracted pneumonia from which he did not recover. He died on 4 October 1926, leaving a devastated wife and families.
1929 Brother Tom married Mary Weddell at St Georges and Tom took is new wife to the family property at Chestervale Meredith.
1929 Sister Gwladys moved in with her parents at 61 The Esplanade leaving Tom's wife Mary to care for her husband and the other 3 Griffiths boys - Ivor, Wilf and David.
1930 Wilf's (23yo) older brother Tom and Mary give birth to Jean Esther, the first of many grandchildren for H Isaac and Esther
1931 Elections indicate H Isaac, Esther an Gwladys live at Drumcondra.Tom, Ivor, Wilfred (24yo) live and vote at Meredith, but David (30yo) has moved to Uncle Ivor's 3,000 acre Mirboo North, Gippsland South dairy farming property. Uncle Ivor himself was living and working the Natte Yallock property and Uncle John, still at Yawong.
1935, Brother Ivor married Alberta Rowe ain Melbourne and at H Isaac's request, they moved to live at Uncles Ivor and John's Natte Yallock property.Here Ivor and Berta built a small house, the intention being that this property would be left to Ivor, eventually.
1936 Elections indicate Wilf (29yo) was Labouring on the Natte Yallock property with his brother Ivor and wife Berta (and baby Elaine who was born in this year) and Uncle Ivor. Uncle John still at Yawong and brother David atMirboo North.
Parents H Isaac and Esther and sister Gwladys at Drumcondra (brother Mervyn (21yo) did not vote). Tom and Mary at Meredith (with young daughter Jean)
1937Uncle John (81yo) died at Yawong and was buried at St Arnaud.He Willed the Yawong property to his brothers H Isaac (75yo) and Ivor (73yo).
1937 Brother Ivor and his wife Berta and baby daughter Elaine moved to Yawong, the Coonooer property at the request of his father H Isaac.
1937 7/8Wilfred married Margaret Gordon at Cobden.
Tom's property ownership was changed to Meredith and Wilfred was allocated a section of the Yawong/Coonooer property when he married. Wilf and Ivor entered into a partnership to work the Yawong property,
Wilf and his new bride, Margaret moved into the house on Lot 19 of the Yawong Griffiths property.Wilf subsequently built a new brick house on the site where the older house had stood.
1937 October, brother David at age 27 died tragically in a shooting accident on the Mirboo North property. He was buried alongside his sister Jessie at Meredith Cemetery.
1937/8/9 ? Sophia Griffiths, Uncle John's estranged daughter made claim to John's share of the Yawong property and John's estate, claiming she was entitled to 50% of all cash and assets. Isaac eventually bought her out and then had Title to the entire Yawong property which he transferred to sons Tom and Ivor.
1939 Uncle Ivor (75yo) dropped dead in Collins Street Melbourne on his way to see his Solicitor to make his Will,now having interests in Yawong, Natte Yallock and Mirboo North properties.With his dying intestate, the Natte Yallock and Mirboo North properties had to be sold, with H Isaac buying Ivor's share of Yawong. (Facts and sequence needs checking)
1939 The flooded Avoca River destroyed the majority of the fences at the Coonooer property which Ivor and Wilf replaced by hand with shovel and crow-bar.
1940 11/9 Gillian the first child for Wilf and Margaret was born and died at 9 months later. She was buried in St Arnaud.
1941 Wilf completed his new brick home on the site where an older house had been previously. Was this older home perhaps where Thomas and Mary had lived? The new brick house had phone, septic, electricity to the property.
1941 Brother Ivor built a new wool shed on the Charlton Road, which Wilf and he used jointly. The shed was 70' x 40' with a sheep dip to hold 30 sheep.
1942 22/4 (Olwyn) Joy was born at St Arnaud
1944 17/3 (Dorothy) Lynette was born at Charlton
1944 Youngest brother Mervyn married Mavis Pettitt at Geelong.
1944 was the start of a 4 year drought.Neighbouring farmers worked with Wilf and Ivor on a share-farming basis and close neighbour, Mick Cadzow took on responsibility for feeding the 2,000 sheep. In Sept of this year, 1,000 acres of wheat generated 30 bags of wheat which was shared between the 5 share-farmers.
Due to the severity of the drought, brother Ivor set about to build a huge dam on property alongside Wilf's property, shifting 3,000 yards of soil by tractor and horse drawn cart. 16,607 yards of soil was removed in all. The dam is 18' deep and took 6 weeks to fill from the nearby channel.
1944 Sister Gwladys provides home care at Drumcondra for Wilf's ill father who had had bowl cancer surgery.
1946 10/5 Nancy Isobel was born at St Arnaud
1948 Wilf's (41yo) father Henry Isaac died (88yo) and was buried at Meredith Cemetery.
1949 to 1961 Wilf (42yo - 54yo) built a range of outbuildings on his property during the following 12 years, including a modern galvanised iron shearing shed with yards to hold 1,500 sheep, a sheep dip, galvanised iron mouse proof barn, a machinery shed and a double garage.
1951 Brother Ivor (Wilf 44yo) decided to lease and then sell his portion of Yawong/Coonooer and move to Geelong to be nearer his ageing Mother and so that his children could attend Colleges there.
1961 21/2 Wilf (54yo) died in St Arnaud hospital after a sudden collapse and was buried at St Arnaud Cemetery.
1965 Wilf's property at Coonooer was sold, bringing to an end some 82 years of excellent management of these lands by the Griffiths 'boys.' It must have been somewhat disappointing for Wilf that he did not have a son to pass the property on to,like his forebears had done, and noting the spill of so many skills and so much farming knowledge acquired over a number of years with al the uncles and then all the brothers working together on the various properties.
At the time of the sale of the property, it was noted that the home, built in 1941, now 24 years old, required "some repairs."
Like his father before him,Wilf was a staunch member of the Lodge - the Stewart Masonic Lodge St Arnaud and Gladstone Mark Lodge, Charlton.
Wilf was a quiet man.He did not enter into community life but devoted himself to his family and the successful working of his property.
Wilf was an excellent farm manager as can be seen from the improvements he was responsible for particularly on his Coonooer property.
Extract from The St Arnaud Mercury, Friday Feb 5, 1965:
$53/pounds An Acre!
YAWONG PROPERTY REALIZES NEARLY $68,000/pounds
At Charlton on Wednesday, a 1,278 acre property at Yawong, was sold at auction on behalf of the Estateof the late W.J.Griffiths.It was bought by H Watts and Sons, adjoining owners for $53 acre.
The $67,700 sale - one of the biggest auction sales at Charlton in recent years - was attended by aboutthreehundred people. Bidding opened at $40 and in less than a minute had increased to $45. ... andin less than 3 minutes,$51 an acre was being offered. Two further bids were received taking the price to
The feature of the sale was the whirlwind manner in which bidding opened. The big crowd appearedsurprised at the opening bid of $40. At least four different groups took part in the early bidding.
People from all parts of the Charlton and St Arnaud district were present, including a particularly strongcontingent from St Arnaud. People from the Goulburn Valley, Ballarat and even Murray Bridge in SouthAustralia, also attended. Those present included many retired farmers and women were also conspicuous.The sale was conducted by a well-known Northern auctioneer, Mr J Rooney who was engaged by theselling agent, Chas. McKinley of Charlton.
PART OF ORIGINAL HOLDING
Introducing the sale, Mr McKinley said that the property had been in the hands of the Griffiths family forabout 80 years.It had formed part of the family's original holdings of nearly 15,000 acres in different partsof Victoria, including Natte Yallock. Mr McKinley said that 800 acres of the property could be confidentlydescribed as someof the best dual purpose (sheep and wheat) land in the area, which had an annualrainfall of about 18 inches.
More About Wilfred John Griffiths:
Burial: 23 Feb 1961, St Arnaud Cemetery.69
Electoral Roll 1: 1936, C'w Wimmera, State Kara Kara & Burung, SubDiv St Arnaud, Labourer (Ref 1367).
Electoral Roll 2: 1931, C'w Corio, State Grant, SubDiv Meredith, Labourer (Ref 239).
Residence 1: 1931, 'Chestervale' Meredith Vic on father's property.
Residence 2: 1936, Natte Yallock - Uncle Ivor's property.
More About Wilfred John Griffiths and Margaret McLeod Gordon:
Marriage: 07 Aug 1937, Cobden Vic.
Children of Wilfred John Griffiths and Margaret McLeod Gordon are:
- Margaret Gillian Griffiths, b. 11 Sep 1940, St Arnaud Vic, d. 05 Jun 1941, St Arnaud Vic70.
- +Olwyn Joy (Joy) Griffiths, b. 22 Apr 1942, St Arnaud Vic.
- +Dorothy Lynette (Lyn) Griffiths, b. 17 Mar 1944, Charlton Vic.
- +Nancy Isobel Griffiths, b. 10 May 1946, St Arnaud Vic.