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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Arresting ancestors

This week's Sepia Saturday photo prompt features three Tasmanian policemen in Hobart in 1900. The title of the photograph is the name of the chemist whose shop is seen in the background, but it is hardly the main subject of the photograph. I have Scottish relatives whose family have run a chemist shop in Turriff Aberdeenshire for several generations, have shown their shop previously. Just click here to see three photographs of it at the end of my blog about doorsteps. 

Instead I offer this newspaper photograph of five brothers, three of whom were serving policemen, one a former policeman and one who had never been in the Force. They are not actually direct ancestors, but I thought the title was a good one all the same! 

 In October 1938 Senior Sergeant Davis Lewis Calwell (1885-1956) visited Australia on holiday from New Zealand and while in Melbourne he took the opportunity to catch up briefly with four of his Australian brothers, whom he had not seen fo rmany years. The other brothers in the photograph are Constable Allen George Calwell (1891-1959), Charles Percival Calwell (1887-1947), Henry Edward Calwell (1890-1956) and Senior Constable Archibald Frank Calwell (1898-1963).
Davis would no doubt also have caught up with various other members of his large family, including his sisters Grace Eleanor Featherston (1896-1975) and Edith Mary O'Connor (1900-1973), known to the family as Aunty Dulce. A third sister, Florence Alice Everleigh, had died in 1933.

As the article says, Charles Calwell, aka Charl, had previously been a policeman but had subsequently become a warder in a mental asylum, and Henry, aka Harry, was an osteopath. Uncle Harry gave my mother-in-law away on her marriage to his nephew Robert Featherston, because she was a war bride with none of her own family able to be present at the wedding. 

As is often the case with newspaper reports, there were a few inaccuracies in the articles. For example, only four of the brothers in the photograph had ever been in the force, but there was a fifth policeman in the family who was not present at the reunion, namely the eldest brother, William Arthur Calwell (1883-1972), who also lived in New Zealand. 

 The seventh and second youngest brother, Robert Oliver Calwell (1894-1917) was killed in World War 1, in which his brothers William, Charles and Harry had also served. 

The two uncles who were also on the Force, as mentioned in the first article, were their father Dan Hogue Calwell's brother George Lewis Calwell (1861-1955) and their mother Annie's brother Robert Corrie (1868-1922).

Photo above and article below, published in The Sun Pictorial, October 19, 1938

Article from the Argus, 18 November 1938

Davis Lewis Calwell, second son of Dan Hogue Calwell and Annie Corrie, was named for his grandfather Davis Calwell and grandmother Elizabeth Lewis. They were American and Welsh immigrants who had both arrived in Australia in 1853 and had met and married in Melbourne in 1856 at St John's church in La Trobe St, which was only a block or two away from where their grandsons held their reunion some eighty years later. Their son Dan Hogue Calwell died in 1903 aged 44 of rheumatic heart disease, leaving his widow Annie to bring up her large brood of 10, the youngest of whom was only 3 at the time.

Davis Lewis followed his brother Will to NZ in the early 1900s, where he married and brought up a family of three children. He joined the police force and before he retired after 42 years' service he became Superintendent in Charge of the police district of Dunedin.  Here is a photograph taken from his obituary.

Davis Lewis Calwell

William Arthur Calwell 
 Unfortunately I don't have any identified photographs of William in police uniform. Together with his wife and their children Dan and Roa, William had in fact visited the wider Australian Calwell family just a little earlier than Will, in January 1938, travelling to both Melbourne and Sydney, and he wrote afterwards that he had met 80 relatives on the trip. His son Dan turned 100 last year.

The Calwell siblings, photographed in the Botannical Gardens when William and family came to visit. Will is on the left, Grace is 3rd from left. All present apart from Davis in NZ , and Robert and Florence (both deceased), so there would be three serving policemen in this photo too. The other four men are a bit hard to identify from this photocopy, but it is all I have, and I think the men on either side of Grace are Charl and Harry. Clearly the other two are minus their helmets and are enjoying a family day off. 

The following two shots snipped from Google Street View show the corner on which the Calwell brothers met. In 1938 numerous other older buildings would have stood between the Town Hall on the left and St Paul's Cathedral on the right, but sadly a lot of demolition occurred in the 1960s and 1970s and they have since been replaced by a city square and a Westin Hotel. In the second shot you can even see a chemist opposite the Town Hall, which is hidden behind a passing tram.

For more police matters, chemist shops or anything else that fellow Sepians may be prompted to discuss, just button up your jacket, smarten up and plod on over to Sepia Saturday #251 - but  please, no J-walking, because you know, they can book you for that!

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