Clement William Hemery

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Clement William Hemery as a boy, photo by Henry Mullins
Clement William as a young man in Jersey, aged about 20, photographed by Henry Mullins

Clement William Hemery, son of Peter Hemery was born on 10 August 1847 in Jersey. He attended Radley College Oxford, where he was a keen rower.

Marriage

He married the widow Elizabeth Pendered (née Williams) on 7 February 1868 in Liverpool. It is not known why he was in Liverpool, but he stayed in lodgings and became involved with his landlady’s widowed daughter, who was ten years his senior. The marriage was never referred to among the family in Jersey, so was probably considered unsuitable. Apparently he was deeply hurt by his separation from the family. Considering what he achieved later in life, and his numerous community interests, it is worth wondering what he would have contributed to the Island and the Hemery family business had he stayed on Jersey.

There is some question why he left Jersey, and why he was not married there. There was a rumour of a scandal with a young lady, or perhaps it was another family disagreement. They sailed for Melbourne Australia on 1 October 1869. They had three children, William Clement Hemery born 7 December 1868, Alfred Charles Hemery born 31 January 1873, died 18 March 1873 Melbourne, and Charles Jersey Hemery born 19 October 1874 Melbourne. The announcement in the Argus records their address as Maymont House, Keppell Street, Carlton. In 1872 he bagan a long career with the Australian Mutual Provident (AMP) an insurance company. His first appointment was as a cashier in the Melbourne branch.

Clement William's father Peter Hemery died in 1873. He apparently left no will, and his brother Clement was given power of attorney to act for Clement William. Under Jersey law he was left a commercial property in Mont Millais and some land in Grouville. There was a partage of the property and Clement William received a portion allotted by the court.

Church appointments

On Thursday 14 December 1876 he was re-elected secretary of the Parochial Committee of St Jude’s Church, Carlton. He was elected a vestryman there 27 December 1877. He missed a presentation meeting at the Church on 25 November 1880 through illness. In 1877 his uncle Clement died, and there is a document dated 9 June 1877 in French, which is between Fanny Maria Hunt acting for Clement William Hemery, and John Hemery, Charles Hemery, Miss Anne Margaret Hemery acting for Edward Hemery, Miss Julia Jane Hemery, Miss Ellen Mary wife of Thomas Angell Lindon, and Charles Hemery, Miss Anne Margaret Hemery and executor, and Fanny Hunt widow of Peter Hemery and their only son Clement William Hemery of Carlton in the city of Melbourne in Australia. Concerning the property known as Plaisance they pay Clement William Hemery £6000, and he renounces all claims on the property. By January 1883 he was the Honorary Secretary of the Church of England Mission to the Aborigines, writing a letter in the Argus thanking those who gave to the Christmas presents appeal. He writes another letter in the 9 July 1883 copy of the newspaper, seeking to exonerate the aborigines of Lake Tyers Station from the charges of laziness made in another report.

New Zealand

In 1884 the Melbourne Directory lists Clement William as the Secretary of the Aborigines Mission, living at Punt Road Windsor. Mrs Hemery and her two sons are recorded as passengers on the express bound for Sydney at Albury, 26 December 1883. It was around this time that the family moved to New Zealand, settling in Auckland, as Clement William was district secretary of the Auckland branch of the AMP for 21 years. He also became honorary treasurer of the Auckland YMCA. The Sydney Morning Herald records a visit from him, with his wife and son Charles Jersey, in the 11 December 1897 issue, recording him as a frequent visitor to the rooms, and taking part in the Sunday evening service. Charles Jersey addressed the men, and spoke again the next day. Clement William sailed for Auckland on 12 January 1898.

Clement William and his wife are also recorded as sailing from Sydney on 17 December 1901 on the RMS Ventura, bound for Auckland. In September 1902, Charles Jersey visited New Zealand on a holiday trip, ‘on account of slight failure of health’.

Clement William moved to Hobart in Tasmania in 1904, having travelled from Wellington, New Zealand to Sydney on the ship Moeraki.

Clement William

Business career

He was named as the resident secretary of the AMP on 26 December 1904. He took a tour of the Tasmanian offices with Richard Teece, the Actuary. They were at Launceston on 15 April 1907, leaving on the next day for Devonport and Zeehan, and returning to Hobart on 20 April. In 1909 he invited the leading commercial men of Hobart to witness a demonstration at the AMP buildings of the Edison business phonograph, which recorded documents for typing.

On 14 June 1909 there was a meeting of prominent businessmen to consider the new telephone rates. Clement William said 'The telephone is not a luxury but a necessity' and suggested the Chamber of Commerce join with others to enter a protest against the extra charges.

On 18 June 1909 there was a branch outing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the AMP. It is recorded that Clement William 'spared neither time, trouble nor expense in making arrangements for the outing'. The SS Dover left Hobart with 60 guests, with Taylors Bay as its destination. Clement William made a speech.

He attended the monthly meetings of the Tourist Association, being elected to the committee on 16 August 1909. He attended the opening of their new offices in 28 February 1912. At the Tourist Association meeting on 15 July 1912 he raised the question of the preservation of the Tasmanian fauna. On 8 September 1913 he was re-elected a committee member of the Tourist Association, and alluded to the reported wanton destruction of wattle in connection with the recent Wattle Day celebration.

On 21 September 1909 He commented on the Chamber of Commerce trade report. He 'emphasised the need for the unsettled lands of the State being opened up in order that the large quantities of foodstuffs that are at present being imported might be produced within the State'.

After the outbreak of the First World War, in October 1914, he proposed to the Chamber of Commerce to form a league to boycott German goods and trade for the duration of the war and for five years afterwards.

In July 1917 Clement William retired from the Australian Mutual Provident after 45 years service, aged 70.

Youth work

He quickly became involved with the YMCA again, and was interested in young people's work all his life. In those days the YMCA was one of the worlds most popular youth groups. The Mercury records him as ‘lately taken up his residence in Hobart’ and he ‘made a happy contribution to the evening’s enjoyment’ at the YMCA. On 21 February 1905 he presided over a Bible lecture given by Canon Jones at the Masonic Hall. He also presided over the Sunday meeting of the YMCA at the Masonic Hall on 5 March 1905. He addressed a gospel meeting at the Masonic Hall on Sunday 23 April 1905, and the newspaper frequently names him as present at various meetings, such as being chairman of the literary and debating society of the YMCA. After a visit to Melbourne he was back in Hobart by 13 June 1906, as president of the YMCA, delivering the presidential address at the 24th Anniversary meeting at the Town Hall.

Clement William joined the Scouts for an excursion to Tinder Box Bay on the SS Nabeena, providing refreshments on the return journey. By May 1910 he was the Treasurer for the Scouts. On 17 September 1910, at Government House, there was a demonstration and sporting event for the Scouts, and he presented the Governor with a Tasmanian blackwood walking stick. He was voted treasurer of the Boy Scouts on 7 Novembbe1910.

In 1911 he attended a meeting which discussed the setting up of the Girl Guide movement. He supported the name 'Girl Guides' as opposed to other suggestions made – such as 'Girls of the Empire' Not everyone at the meeting supported the idea of the Girl Guides, some saying that the girls could be taught everything they needed at home.

On 6 June 1912, as organiser of the Boy Scout movement in Hobart, Clement William was among the party welcoming Lieutenant General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the famous founder of the Scouting movement, during his visit to Australia.

Clement William

Charity and church Work

On 17 November 1905 he joined the Citizens Moral and Social Reform League to take part in the work of the social purity section, being appointed a member of the committee of management. As a member of the AMP staff he gave money for the Hobart Regatta in 1906 and 1907.

Mrs Hemery gave parcels of clothing to the Central Hobart Mission in October 1905 and December 1907, and he gave 10 shillings to the same cause in December 1909.

He was a committee member in 1908 for the Interdenominational Missionary Depot.

A talented local singer, Miss Lucie Atkins, needed finances for travelling to Europe for musical training. With other locals Clement William promised assistance. This was on 21 October 1909. He gave £1 in November, and at the meeting of the Lucie Atkins Testimonial Committee on 3 December 1909 we find him in the chair, responding for Lucie.

On 23 October 1910, he was elected to the committee of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Society.

In April 1910 he was elected onto the committee of the Consumptives Sanatorium. He is recorded as Secretary in March 1911 and Honorary Treasurer in May 1911. He supported proposals for a new sanatorium in July 1910, and together with his wife attended the opening of the new sanatorium on 11 February 1911, where Mrs Hemery helped run a fancy stall.

During a strike Clement William asked the strikers to build the road needed by the Consumptive Sanatorium. He said 'if they do the work their efforts will be highly appreciated by the public, many of whom, I think, have a great deal of sympathy with their claims'. The strikers did not build the road, as on 5 August 1911, Mrs Hemery is helping give refreshments to prominent citizens who had volunteered to build the road themselves.

In 1910 he attended a meeting about erecting a memorial to the late King Edward VII. He was a member of the general committee to consider the form the statue would take. There was also talk of a charitable institution to commemorate the King, but Clement William considered the costs would be prohibitive. He is quoted as saying about a statue 'The contemplation of a beautiful statue by rising generations would be educative'

Private Life

In May 1905 he is recorded as loaning a valuable and striking watercolour painting of Mount Earnslaw in New Zealand, painted by the late Mr Gifford, to a local gallery.

Elizabeth Hemery died 24 May 1908 at St Kilda after a long and painful illness borne 'with Christian fortitude' She was 65, and was buried at a private interment.

After her death Clement William is recorded as sailing on the SS Moeraki on 5 June 1908 to 'enjoy a well earned seven month holiday'. The Mercury for that date further records 'His intention is, after visiting his son in New Zealand, to revisit his birthplace in Jersey, Channel Islands, and subsequently to renew his acquaintance with England and the Continent. He hopes to resume duty at the branch in January of next year. During his stay in Tasmania Mr Hemery has made many friends, who will wish him 'bon voyage' and a safe return at the end of his holiday'.

For years afterwards he entertained the people of Tasmania with lantern slide shows of his tour. The reports on the lectures in the Mercury, record the extent of Clement William's world tour – New Zealand, New Britain, New Guinea, Manila, Hong Kong, Canton, China, Japan, Canada, Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, Niagara, America, cities of America, United Kingdom, London and its notable buildings, France, Paris and its architecture, Switzerland, Italy, Milan, Venice, Rome, Naples, the Holy Land, return via the Suez canal, India, Colombo, and Calcutta as well as Australian views.

On Thurday 28 October 1909 at the Synod Hall in Hobart he gave a talk entitled 'A Tour Round the World' illustrated with 170 coloured lantern slides. He repeated the lecture on 30 October at Taroona.

Another facet of his world tour was an awareness of the political situation in Europe. A newspaper article reporting the lantern lecture of 12 August 1909, said that Clement William 'was very much struck with the spirit of unrest which prevailed, the spread of socialism, and the struggle that was going on between capital and labour. He was afraid that England would be driven to war with Germany.' He was proved right five years later. After the First World War started he adapted his lecture, entertaining the Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club on 29 October 1914 with a lantern lecture entitled 'Places of Interest during the Present War'.

Clement William

Second marriage

Clement William Hemery married Roberta McDonnell on 30 March 1910. She was the daughter of the late F McDonnell, a solicitor from Benalla, Victoria. She was known as 'Mum-Cat' in the family, and was a nice person, much loved by her daughter-in-law Norma. The wedding was conducted by the Rev Edward Fethers, at St Alban's, Armidale, Melbourne. They had two children, Clement John Peter Hemery born 26 April 1913 at Colomberie, Sandy Bay, Hobart Tasmania, and Alys Marie Hemery born 4 September 1915, also at Colomberie.

In June 1916 Clement William put his house up for sale, and an advert for it appears in the paper. The house, 113 High Street, Sandy Bay, is described as three years old, brick built, and finished 'in the most modern manner'. The grounds had a frontage of 65 feet on the High Street and extended to the river. It must have been built in 1913, but it is not known if Clement William had it built or moved there.

Sporting interests

While Clement William lived in New Zealand, he was an umpire in first class cricket matches, for example on 22 February 1896 the Auckland v Wellington match at Auckland.

Auckland YMCA Cricket Club 1900, Clement William back row extreme left

On 25 September 1906 he was elected president of the Derwent Cricket Association. In 1907 he was elected one of the Vice Presidents of the Queenborough Harrier Club. In 1912 he attended a cricket meeting which considered the state of affairs of cricket in Australia.

Public roles

He was also playing a more important role in the public sphere, as the newspaper first notes him as a Justice of the Peace at Hobart City Police Court on 12 October 1906. Several cases he presided over during the years were reported in the newspaper. He sat on the Court of General Sessions on 4 April 1910. He was also a JP at Queenborough Police Court, in 1912.

On 25 July 1912 he was appointed a committee member of the Queenborough Progress Association, which aimed to link the suburbs with the metropolitan drainage scheme. Progress was slow however, and there was still no drainage when he was elected Honorary Treasurer of the Association on 13 June 1917.

Depression

Some details can be filled in thanks to Rowan Shann, who knew Norma, his daughter-in-law, and Viva, the second wife of William Clement, Clement William's eldest son. She told Norma that Clement William used to suffer from terrible depression at being cast off by his family. One day he gathered up all the family papers and things that he had, made a bonfire and walked off. As soon as he'd gone Viva rushed out and rescued almost everything, without ever letting him know.

Clement William became involved in some sort of sect, possibly strict Plymouth Brethren. Gladys Kernaghan went to see them and told Rowan about it years later. Clement William was not at home - it was his turn to sweep out the Meeting Hall and do some odd jobs there, and that's what he was doing. Gladys would have liked to have stayed and met him but Mrs Hemery, and both the children, made it very clear to her that it was highly undesirable that she waited, so she left.

Charles Jersey seems rather keen to take money from the family. It is not clear exactly what happened, but some of Clement William's grandchildren escaped from the sect and went to America, and were shunned by other family members. Whatever the events were, it is clear, sadly, that many of Clement Williams descendants have a dim view of Christianity, even though the sect, and some of Charles Jersey's behaviour, were actually not very Christian! Alys was so anti-religion she wouldn't even allow her three girls to join the Girl Guides because she thought it had church leanings.

Clement William

Apparently towards the end of his life his son Charles Jersey asked for a short-term loan to sieze an opportunity to buy some land and Clement William took out all his savings and whatever sort of deposit account he had with his former employer and gave Charles Jersey the money. It was not repaid before he died, in debt. Mrs. Hemery took in boarders to keep them afloat, and his son Peter had to leave school at 14 - to the great regret of his headmaster who wrote him a very nice reference - and got a job. By the time he was 17 Peter had paid off his father's debts.

Clement William Hemery dies

Clement William died on 29 October 1929 at Colomberie, East Malvern, Victoria.

Charles Jersey had a very nice home with a swimming pool in Sydney by this time and did invite Peter and Pop to visit on one occasion. The contrast between the way he lived and the way they lived was more than they could bear. A couple of times he sent Mrs Hemery a small amount of money.

Later Viva Hemery was in a nursing home in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney and Norma used to visit her from time to time and liked her very much. Norma herself is described as 'a darling'. She took Rowan with her on one occasion. Viva told us that Charles Jersey 'Charlie' used to write to her husband William Clement, known as 'Bill' in the family, and described as 'a very decent nice chap' and tell him that he was helping support their stepmother and her children, and he always sent whatever he could. At that time it is believed they were living in New Zealand.

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