Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Alexander Urquhart C1858 - 1941

 Alexander married two sisters.

As I drove past the house in Peakhurst for the umpteenth time, I wondered again when did Alexander Urquhart come to Australia?

I have been searching for the answer to that question for some time.  So far there is no result, partly because Urquhart is actually quite a common name.  There are Urquhart's from Scotland and Urquhart's from England who immigrated here in the 1800's, and I cannot sort them out.

The first I know of Alexander for sure is when he married Hannah Maria HOOLE  in Orange, NSW, AUS in 1885.   Hannah and her sister Sarah Ellen HOOLE  where servant girls from Sheffield, Yorkshire, England who immigrated to Australia in 1884, aboard the Texan.

Alexander and Hannah had one son, James Alexander Urquhart, who was born at Orange.  Sadly, two years after James was born, and after only 3 years of marriage, Hannah died, aged just 24 years.  At this time the family seem to be living at St Peters, NSW.

This is one of the odd questions about this family - what is the connection to Orange?  Why did Hannah die in St Peters?

It seems likely that Hannah's sister Sarah jumped into the gap left by Hannah's death, because 5 years later, in 1891, Alexander married Sarah at Orange NSW.  I have not been able to find out anything about the family in Orange, or why they were there.  They went on to have seven more children, and that is where the story gets interesting for me.  Edith was born in Forbes, then the rest of the children were born in the Sydney area.

By 1930, we can see from the NSW Electoral Rolls, that Alexander, Sarah with two children,  Edith, and David, were all living in a house in Bonds Road, Peakhurst, NSW.  Alexander, who by this time is aged 64, is listed as a Tailor  "Home duties" is listed as the occupation for the girls, and then David, who is a moulder.

By 1933, Alexander has no occupation, and is living with Sarah, and his daughters Edith, Marjorie (all home duties) and  Mary Jane who is a dressmaker.  Mary Jane was a dressmaker up until at least 1980 when she was 69 years old.  By this time they were living in Romilly Street, Peakhurst.

The house they lived in is not far from me and  I have been past it many times.  I wonder if the girls ran the dressmaking business from the house?  It seems likely as this was quite common in those days. I can just imagine the parade of ladies in hats and brides-to-be coming and going for fittings. What were the fashions like in 1933?  These examples from the Australian Womens Weekly give us some idea of what they may have been making.

1933 cover showing an good example of a typical bridal gown of the day.

 They must have made a living at dressmaking, as this seems the only profession they had.
This is what the house looks like today:

12 Romily Street, Peakhurst where the family lived.  This is a typical fibro house, although bigger than most, that was built in the area, built Circa 1920.

Alexander died in 1941, aged 83, and was cremated and interned  at Woronora Cemetery with his second wife Sarah who died 12 years later.  His daughters continued to live and work in the Peakhurst house until at least 1980.

The cremation memorials of Alexander and Sarah Urquhart.

Who Alexander Urquhart's parents were, where he was born, how he cam to Australia are all unsolved mysteries in my family history to be solved at some later date.

More Information? If you are researching
Alexander Urquhart, Hannah Hoole or Sarah Hoole
 and would like the sources for this story, 
please contact me or comment below.  I would be happy to collaborate with you.

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