Philip John Pinel's journal 1879-1927

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The adventures of John Pinel 1849-1930 Part four

1879 - 1880

Dockers unloading tea in 1880

The 1879-80 tea season opened disappointingly in London and until the middle of August, there were many bad losses, then a cry of short supply was raised and the market went up by leaps and bounds. Enormous profits were made and Oliver in Foochow commenced buying largely on his own and clients’ accounts; some Teas made as much as fifty percent profit and twenty to thirty percent was quite common. I know nothing about tea and the market, but I could hardly go wrong and before the end of the season, George Oliver had about 40,000 pounds.

I had to get an extra clerk to enable me to cope with the office work, and as the firm for whom my friend Edmund Penn was working, had failed, I took him on and he was with me for about two months, then he had a chance of a good permanent job and left and I took on Reginald Young, a man I had met at the house of my friends, the Hawleys and he was about nine years in our employ, in fact, until the firm came to grief in the beginning of 1889.


During the year 1879, I was a frequent visitor at the Cremer’s house and in the latter end of the year I became engaged to Emily, the eldest daughter. About this time, I was getting some unpleasant letters from George Oliver. I had misunderstood some telegrams and as regards the sale of tea, had acted contrary to his wishes. This is a thing that can occur with telegrams which are not sufficiently explicit. These letters made me feel very uneasy about the future and I asked Mr Cremer to keep my engagement to his daughter private for a time; however, I soon found out that he told all his friends and relatives, as much to my disgust the news of the engagement was public property; my reasons for wanting it kept private were my uncertain prospects, which might have made a marriage unwise as much for Emily’s sake as my own. However all turned out right and we were married in May 1880.

George Oliver came home about New Year 1880 and very soon developed an attack of typhoid fever; he was staying with some friends and they looked after him well. He was very seriously ill and a nurse had to be got for him, but in the spite of his illness, he never ceased to take an interest in his business and I had to make frequent visits to him and report how thing were going on. At length he recovered and decided he would remain in England for a year and send me out to Foochow to take charge of his business in China. To this I was quite agreeable, but Emily (my fiancee) said I must either take her out with me or our engagement must be called off. I had to explain this difficulty to George Oliver, and he finally decided not to send me out, but to place Crocker, his assistant, in Foochow in charge.

The Isle of Wight in the 1880s

My marriage took place in May 1880 in St Luke’s Church, Lower Norwood. An old China friend, Nicholas Murton, was my best man, and Edmond Penn and Mr Oliver were also at the wedding. Niether Murton nor I had ever been at a wedding so we had to rely upon what Penn could tell me. He had once acted as best man and was something of an authority. The marriage went off all right; we had a wedding breakfast with a gathering of Emily’s relations and friends at her father’s house and left by the afternoon train for Southampton and stayed the night at the South Western Hotel. In the morning, we took a steamer to Cowes in the Isle of Wight and crossed to Newtown and stayed a hotel there for about a week, making excursions; amongst other places, we visited Freshwater, Black Gang and Shanklin Chines and Bouchneck, then we went on to Jersey and stopped a week with my father and mother at Grenville, then back to London and work.


We lived for a time at my old lodgings in Osmey Crescent, Kentish Towny. We were there for about three months and then rented a house in Union Road, Tufnell Park. While living there, we kept on the lookout for a house to buy and make a permanent home, and inspected several in different directions. Mr Cremer (my father-in-law) recommended one to me next door but one to where we live, but I thought it too large and expensive for our income; however, later on my wife got in a low state of health and I thought she was lonely living in the North of London, so far from her friends, that I suddenly resolved to buy the house and told Mr Cremer to close with the owner, and so we became possessed of No 11 Lancaster Road, a semi-detached brick house containing nine rooms and an attic, a large garden for the suburbs of London, the ground measuring 40 by 300 feet. We bought the house in autumn of 1882 but did not take possession until March 1883, then we moved into it and in that house we lived six years.

Now I must go back a little. A cousin of my wife’s came over from America, and his relations in London got him employment with a leather or boot manufacturer in Northampton named Oppenheim. The proprietor got into bad health and the young man, who was smart, got put in charge of the business. In the end Mr Oppenheim died, leaving a wife and two children. His executors wished Mr Frank to manage and carry on the business and he demanded partnership. They gave him a one-third interest; he was energetic and increased the business and after a time married the widow and so obtained complete control. For some years he did a large and prosperous business, but he went ahead too fast and got involved in difficulties and had not the courage to face them, but bolted to America taking his wife and her two children with him; also a large sum of money; as his firm was not supposed to be in difficulties, his absence was not noticed for some days and he got clean away via France. Then there was a warrant issued for his arrest and I believe eventually the trustees got some of the money back.

Bergen in the 1880s

About six months later, Mrs Frank came back to England, and when about to return to America where she had no settled home, she wished to leave her two children behind and found a home for the boy who was the elder with his godmother, a Mrs McKay at Wyvern in Somersetshire; then she was casting about for a home for the girl, Jesse about 10 years old. My wife proposed that we should take her, but I was not anxious to increase my liabilities just then; however, I thought she would be a nice companion for my wife, as we had no children of our own, and agreed to take Jessie for a time, and to look after her education while she is with us. Her mother said she would come and claim her in six months, but I doubted her ability to do so and thought the child would be on our hands for good; as it turned out, she was with us six years until business troubles caused our leaving England for the Australian colonies; during that time, we fed and clothed her and sent her to school and had her taught music, thinking that it might some day day provide her with a living. This was before we moved into our new house in Lancaster Road. Now it so happened that about the time we moved into it, Mr Cremer’s business affairs began to get into a bad state and he began to think of selling out and emigrating with his family, which he actually did in 1884.

Norway holiday

Soon after moving into our new house, we began to think about taking a trip to America, to see a great uncle of my wife, who had settled in Philadelphia, but it got put off so long and the time at my disposal was so short, that we had to give up the idea, and substitute a trip to Norway instead, so we engaged passages by the North Cape steamer leaving Bergen early in July. It was originally our intention to leave Jesse at home with Mrs Cremer, but her health was a bit run down owing to the strain of studying for an examination and Emily proposed to take her to the seaside for two or three weeks before we started for Norway, but I said: “Why not take her with us?” We had to take three passages in the North Cape steamer in order to secure a cabin to ourselves and the additional cost of taking Jessie would be small. This was finally decided on and we three went by train to Hull and embarked on the Wilson line steamer Domino for Burgess. It was about two days passage and the sea was smooth as a friend.

On the morning of the second day, in the early hours, we reached Stavanger where we stayed about a couple of hours and had time to walk through the town and to see the old church; then we went on to Bergen reaching there in the afternoon. On arrival there a porter came on board and offered to take our baggage to the hotel and I, thinking he had a truck on the wharf, arranged with him and I was astounded when he produced a rope so that he could sling the portmanteaux and boxes and carry them some on his back, some before him and then take a couple, one in each hand; the load was enough for a horse let alone a man; I thought the poor man would break down under it. However on he marched to the hotel some half-mile distant, we after him and all got safely to our destination. When we got to the hotel, we found that they had no spare rooms, but they sent us around to a house close by where we obtained a decent room for my wife and I and a small attic room for Jessie. We were to have meals at the hotel.



The next day, we spent walking about the town and neighbourhood. It was a quaint old-fashioned seaport town but not especially interesting. As we had about four days to wait for the North Cape steamer, we planned a trip up the Hardanger fjord to Eide, up one day and back the next. Accordingly we started the next morning and had a pleasant trip on the fiord; beautiful scenery, the banks on both sides were covered with verdene and it was good luck to meet on board some of our fellow passengers on the Domino, the gentleman of the family interested himself in our movements and planned not to return to Bergen other than that by the Nardanger fjord, this avoiding going over the same ground twice.

We took his advice and stopped at Eide for the night, and the next day got a carriage to take into Vonbergen on the lake of that name; stayed a night there and then went on to Levanger. We had made the acquaintance of a young man travelling the same way as ourselves for this stage of the journey and engaged two stolkins (a kind of country cart holding two passengers). My wife and the young friend in one and Jessie and I in the other; this part of the journey was not very interesting. We arrived at Lavanger in the afternoon and found comfortable quarters at the inn. It was an out of the way place where tourist rarely went and the accommodation was plain and cheap. The next morning we took a boat and went across the lake and then by road to the head of the fjord where there was a jetty, and we sat down and waited for the steamer, which was so long in coming that we began to fear that something had delayed it and that we might not reach Bergen in time to catch the North Cape steamer which was to start at midnight. However at last the little steamer turned up, and she was a little one.

The Captain was a talkative chap and was delighted to come across someone who had been in China, where he had spent some time on the coast as mate of a small Norwegian vessel; our trip down the lock was rather a long one, as we had to go out of our way to put some Englishmen ashore who had sailed fishing for a season. We reached Bergen about 10 o’clock and had just time to go up to the hotel to pay our bill; get our baggage and get on board the North Cape steamer Ole Bull shortly before she started; then we began the most delightful journey up the coast of Norway.

North Cap, where visitors can see the midnight sun

North Cape

The steamer was one of those regularly trading to Hammerfest and among the passengers were a few English clergyman, Mr Hopkins and his wife. Mr and Mrs Hopkins had been in the habit of spending there holidays in Norway and had a great wish to get to the North Cape, but the steamers only went as far as Hammerfest, sixty miles short of the cape. Mr Hopkins some years previously, had approached the Steam Ship Company and asked what they would charge to take him and his wife to the Cape and land them for a sufficient time to get to the top and back. The Steamer Company considered his request and decided to take them to the Cape free of charge on condition that on his return to England he would publish in one of the Magazines an account of his trip; the result of this trip was a number of tourists going in the Company’s steamers to the North Cape and the owners were so pleased that they gave him and his wife free passages in their steamers whenever they liked to avail themselves of these. Mr Hopkins was as good as a guide; he could and would point out all the interesting places on the coast. We called at the Tronheim, Trumere and Hammerfest besides numerous small spots on the Coast where cargo and passengers were picked up and landed.

Sometimes we had a full complement of local passengers and the other times, only the tourists. We put into harbours at all times of the day and night and it was always daylight. At Hammerfest (the most northerly town in the world) one of our passengers at midnight burnt a hole in his hat with the rays of the sun concentrated through a lens from his binoculars. The tours in Norway are most quaint; old-fashioned places especially Trondheim, the ancient capital of Norway with its quaint old Cathedral. Built at different periods and in a diversity of styles of Architecture. In this building, the Kings of Norway are still crowned.

On the way back from the North Cape, we went over to the Lofoten Islands, and visited the fish glue factory, the smelliest place one can imagine, besides which their several piles of dead and decaying cod fish poisoning the atmosphere but the natives did not seem to notice these strong odours and looked well and healthy, so we come to the conclusion that bad smells do not kill. We left the Lofoten Islands late at night and had a glorious sunset while we were crossing over to the mainland - brilliant colours in the sky constantly changing, not lasting only for a few minutes but for hours in the long Northern twilight.


Tromso in 1880

On our way down the coast, we called at Tromso and spent nearly a day there. We had dinner at the Grand Hotel - a somewhat roomy place built of rough logs, but the place was clean and the meals good. We got off the “Ole Bull” at Trondheim and took passage by the steamer New to Hull, a two-day trip. We just got into the open sea when lunch was put on the table and my wife felt a bit squeamish and wanted to retire to her room, but I persuaded her to make an attempt to eat lunch and she succeeded and she felt better; there were several other ladies on board, but she was the only one that put in an appearance at meals. The passage took two days. We arrived at Hull on Sunday morning and took the train to London arriving at home about bedtime.

Sister-in-law's engagement

The next morning, my wife’s sister Edith, came to see us before breakfast in order to communicate the information that she was engaged to marry Mr Walter Cole, a man from New Zealand who had, we were told, come to England to see his old mother and was remaining in London to see his two sisters established in a school, preparing to return to New Zealand when that was accomplished. When I first heard of Edith’s engagement, I thought it was a good thing but in the end it turned out very badly.Walter Cole was a mere adventurer and had no money. He gave out that he was an architect, and to a certain extent this is true, but he had no business and, as we discovered, he worked his passage home in a ship as a carpenter and had no money to pay his passage out again.

He had done some work for the Governor of Dulwick College, and there was a little money due to him, and he was depending on this to pay his and his wife’s passage out; a poor look-out. All this, of course, came to our knowledge bit by bit, and at last a rumour got about that he was not only in debt but that he had left a wife in New Zealand. I did not put much credence in the rumour, but I told Mr Cremer that it furnished him a good excuse to ask Walter Cole to give him some definite information about his financial position, and that he could not allow his daughter to marry him until he was in possession of such information.

Mr Cremer took my advice and questioned his intending son-in-law; then there was a rumour - Walter Cole was indignant and kept away from the house and Edith dissolved into tears; the upshot being that after two or three days, Cole was taken back in favour without having given any satisfaction as to his position - all we knew was that he had no money. He wanted to take his wife out in the steerage, but here Mr Cremer put down his foot, and positively refused to consent to the marriage until Cole could find the money for a second-class passage. Now Edith had a St Bernard’s dog which her father had given her as a pup, and this coming of a prize breed was sold for 100 pounds. They wanted to use this money for the passage, but here again Mr Cremer was firm and said he would hold it till they had started and remit to them so that they could have it on arrival in New Zealand. At last Cole somehow managed to raise the passage money and they were married and started in the beginning of 1884.

Drinking tea

Business problems

Mr Cremer’s business for some years had been in an unsatisfactory state; about the year 1882, he began to find himself short of money; this trouble increased until in 1883, he determined to emigrate with his family to New Zealand. In the meantime, he had taken a partner who had been an articled clerk and whose father, at the termination of his articles, had paid Mr Cremer 500 pounds for a partnership. It was Mr Cremer’s need for money that induced him to take this partner, and also the promises of the father who was a government architect that he would influence business to the firm.

The young partner took to drinking and was useless, and the father never introduced any business and things went from bad to worse. At last, in the summer of 1884, Mr Cremer sold off his furniture and made all arrangements for leaving England. Desiring to sell his business and feeling that he could not do so with a drunken partner attached to it, he gave notice to terminate the partnership in the deed of which there was a clause enabling him to terminate it by giving six months notice. But if such a notice terminated before expiration of three years from its commencement, a portion of the 500 pounds that had been paid for the partnership must be returned; this much was not disputed but the question was, what proportion, and on this point Mr Cremer and the father of the partner could not agree. They got within 50 pounds of one another and there stuck; the consequence of which was that his partner brought an action against him claiming compensation. This was defended by Mr Cremer and as he was making preparations to emigrate to New Zealand, he made all preparations to have the actions defended in his absence and left with me his power of attorney.

He left in England sufficient property to be realised which would pay any claim there might be, should he lose his case, and got a legal opinion as to whether he could be stopped going ahead. He was told that he was quite free to go and made his arrangements openly; made a sale of his household furniture etc. and said goodbye to all his friends. He and his family was to leave London on Wednesday morning, and in the previous Monday evening he was arrested at the instance of his former partner who had gone before the Judge and sworn that he was leaving England and taken all his property with him.

Of course he was in a pretty predicament: all his baggage already on board the steamer and only one clear day between his arrest and she leaving. It was a cruel and unnecessary thing to have done, for the partner could easily have found out that Mr Cremer was leaving sufficient property behind to settle any claim and had made all necessary arrangements with regard to the conduct of the law suit, leaving me, his son-in-law, a power of attorney to act for him. Fortunately, Mr Cremer, in spite of the advice of his lawyer that as he was free to leave England, had a sort of fear that some troubles might arise and had waited till the last day to get a draft on New Zealand for the cash he had in here was about 800 pounds. It took his lawyer nearly all day to see the Judge and get Mr Cremer released by paying into the court the amount of the claim and costs. He got out about 4 pm and on Wednesday morning, he and his family went by train to Tilbury and joined the outgoing steamer. I went down to Tilbury with them and saw them off.I afterwards learned that the plaintiff’s lawyer wanted to delay serving the warrant until the steamer reached Plymouth, but the plaintiff would not consent to so extreme and cruel a measure. Mr Cremer and his family left London for New Zealand about the middle of 1884 and returned to England for a short visit in the summer in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. When they went out the second time, they took with them Mrs Leeke, my wife’s grandmother, an old lady of 77. She had been living with us for some two or three years previously.

Tea being unloaded in London in 1888


Mr Oliver’s business, in which I was a salaried partner, had not been going at all well. I have already written about the good year in 1879 - this was followed by several unsatisfactory seasons and Oliver’s capital rapidly drifted away until in the beginning of 1889, the end came. Mr Oliver was able to make a private arrangement with his creditors, the banks and insurance companies and did not go through the bankruptcy. In 1881 Oliver offered me a partnership, guaranteeing me 700 pounds per annum. I did not care anything of it as I saw that he was speculating too largely, importing on his own account, and letting his good and safe commission business slip away. In fact, he lost his head after his increase in 1879 and was always under the impression that some year he would make 100,000 pounds.

However, I was in this position; he wanted a partner, and if I declined he would have put someone over my head; things went from bad to worse after this time and in only two years during the partnership, which was for seven years, did we make a profit, and there was a big debit against me all the time. Although there was a clause in the partnership deed by which either partner could withdraw by giving six months notice, I hesitated to avail myself of it as it might have affected Oliver’s credit, but two years before the termination, that is in 1886, I wrote and told Oliver that I would not remain in the partnership when it opened in 1888. Oliver then said that he would take in Joseph Allen as a partner when I left, but I doubt whether Joseph Allen would have accepted a partnership in the then state of business, and nothing was done until just before the expiration of my time, when Oliver asked me if I would go back to my position in as London manager at 500 pounds per annum. This I declined and he finally raised the offer to 600 pounds per annum, which I accepted and at the end of April 1888, I was gazetted out of the firm and appointed manager with authority to sign the firm's papers.

Out of the seven years in which I was a partner, there were only two in which the business showed a profit, and it was weary work channelling losses week after week and feeling as I did, that the business was carried on, could only end up in bankruptcy. When a business was at a distance, it can only be successful by having good men at the branches and leaving them to do the best they can, merely by laying down general lines on which business is to be conducted. Soon Oliver wanted to sit in his office in London and to buy tea in China. If one of the branches was a bit slack in buying, he would get impatient and send a telegram urging them to buy, just at the time when the manager of that branch sees that by holding off a little, he would be able to do business at more favourable rates. Another fault Oliver had was that he bought largely of common tea at the latter end of the season; that is, he sent orders to buy at the extent of 40,000 pounds per month, irrespective of the quality of the tea; now 40,000 pounds per month was moderate with teas at 1/6d and 2/6d per lb, but when prices came down to about 6d per lb, it represented too large a proportion of the tea available and our men in China acting under such instructions put up the prices on themselves. Nearly every year we lost money on common teas at the end of the season, and in the beginning of 1887, things looked bad; in fact, when my wife and I went for a few days to Hastings at Easter, it looked as if failure was imminent, but Oliver got unexpected help from a friend and we were able to tide over our immediate difficulties and start the season 1887-1888.


This proved one in which the result was a small profit, about 5,000 pounds. Oliver had promised a bonus to his men out of profits, and they got one at the end of this season. I, of course, got nothing being a partner. The season 1888-1889 began well, and up to October moderate profits were made, but then we got on to common teas and the losses commenced. At the end of October 1888 all looked well but before Christmas the position was hopeless; in fact, at one time it looked as if we should not get through the year, but we managed to struggle through until the middle of February 1889, and then Oliver had to hand over unsold teas to the banks; they and other creditors behaved liberally to him and he was able to save a little out of the wreck.

Tasmania in the late 19th century


Foreseeing trouble before the end of 1888, my wife and I foreseeing that it would be impossible for me to get any occupation that would yield a salary like my then income, decided to emigrate to the Australian colonies and practically chose Tasmania as our future home.

The first thing to decide what was to be done with Jessie Oppenheim, who had been with us for six years. Emily wrote to her mother, who, in reply, came over from America and paid us a visit. She did not like the idea of Jessie going so far away as Australia and, for some time it remained undecided as to whether the girl should go with us or go back with her mother to America. Emily did not want to take her unless the mother would consent to give her to us permanently. Eventually it was decided that she should return to America with her mother, then when this decision became known, our friend, Mr William Pound, asked me if we would take his daughter Louise with us instead of Jessie. At first I was inclined to say no, as I did not feel I was justified in taking upon myself fresh responsibilities, but as I thought it over, it seemed to me that Louise would be a nice companion for my wife, should I leave her and have to travel about in search of employment or otherwise; also, I thought that a young healthy girl of twenty would not be a bad asset in a new country, and that I might set her and my wife up in a small fancy business while I earned a salary in an office.

Having come to this decision, and with my wife’s consent, I told Mr Pound that if he could find the money for Louise’s passage to Sydney, we would take her and she would share our future in the new country. Mr Pound managed to raise the necessary money, and so I took three cabin passengers in the good shipRodney to Sydney. We were the first to book on this vessel and on looking at the cabin plan, I saw that there was one extra large stateroom for which five pounds each was charged. I did not feel that I was justified in paying an extra ten pounds for my wife and self, but I made the agents of the ship promise me that if no one else was willing to pay the extra money, that cabin should be allotted to me, and about three weeks later, a clerk from the agents came to our office to tell me that the large cabin had been marked off for me, the consequence was that during the three months passage, we had in our cabin a chest of draws, a table, two easy chairs and all our trunks, so that we had all our cloths at hand, instead of having to get them from time to time when the boxes were got up from the hold once a fortnight

We started on 24 May, having paid farewell visits to Olbury and Jersey. We had sold off our furniture by auction a couple of months before. Our sale of furniture was a poor one and only realised about 150 pounds. It was a poor price, but I was glad to get rid of it, for it gave us more money with which to start for the new country. We had in all about 800 pounds with which to land and endeavour to make our futures.

The house sold, we had nothing to do except to make our preparations for the voyage and pay goodbye visits to our friends; these I have already mentioned. When we left our own house, we took up our abode temporarily in the same boarding house in Bloomsbury where my friend Edmund Penn lived; it was very comfortable and in a handy position. Penn told me that now I was going abroad, I must learn to smoke a pipe and he provided me with a pipe and tobacco, so I smoked a pipe with him every evening after dinner though I can’t say I enjoyed it. I kept this up all the passage out, a pipe on deck every evening, and on arrival at Sydney, I kept it up for three or four days and then gave it up as a bad job, and I have never smoked a pipe ever since, confining myself to an occasional cigar when I have a friend to keep me company.

Sydney in 1900


Having decided that Sydney was our destination, I set out to get as many letters of introduction as I could and as my father was well known in the Sydney trade, I had no difficulty in getting letters to some of the best merchants, among to Gilchrist Watts and Co, James Watts and Co, and other merchants - I had also a letter to the Sydney manager of the Union Bank.

Our departure from London was made on 29 May 1889 and from that date, my regular diary commences so I only need now to note here a few of the most important events and changes which have taken place.

After a fine passage, we arrived in Sydney on 22 August 1889 and four days later, took up our quarters at No 27 York Street, Wynyard Square, Sydney. I went round and presented my letters of introduction; was politely received all round, but no results, so that on 3 September, we decided to move on to Hobart. One introduction from Mr Davis (whose son-in-law was in our London office) I had not presented. It was to Mr Lloyd Jones of David Jones and Co, the leading drapers in Sydney; this I had neglected, drapery not being in my line. However, I thought it would be only courtesy to pay Mr Jones a visit and called on him. He received me very nicely and when I told him we had decided to go to Hobart he said he knew no one there, but he had a friend who hailed from that town and he would take me round and introduce me to him. This was a Mr Hawkins, a solicitor, who asked me and Emily to dine with him so that he might say he knew us and gave me some letters to Mr Sailier, a merchant, Mr Cam, an ironmonger, Mr Walch, a bookseller, Mr fisher, anager of the Tasmanian steam navigation Co, and the Rev Mr Clarke of the Davey Street church, all of them Congregationalists.

On 13 September 1889 we, Emily, I and Louise Pound, left Sydney by the SS Oonah for Hobart, where we arrived after a smooth passage on the 16th in the morning. We arranged to board at 64 Davey Street. The next day I saw an advertissment in the Mercury and Examiner for a bookkeeper and answered it, offering my services. It turned out to be from the Examiner, a Launceston newspaper, and on the 19th I received a reply asking me to state my qualifications for the post. I thought that a personal interview would be preferable to writing and decided to go up to Launceston by the night train. I did so and saw the proprietor Mr Henry Button, but did not arrange anything definitely with him. However I returned to Hobart by the express that same day and the next morning, received a letter appointing me to the situation. We left Hobart on the Monday morning and took up my duties at the the Examiner office the following day. I took a small house in French Street at 16 shillings per week.

Wife's death

From this time as the principle events are recorded in my diary, I am only going to give a brief outline of my movements. We lived in French Street until the end of the year when my wife took ill with typhoid fever and after nearly four weeks’ illness, died on 26 January 1890.


I stayed on there for some time longer with Louise Pound, and about Easter time decided on going to my late wife’s family at Wanganin, New Zealand. I gave a month’s notice to my employers and in May, Louise Pound and I left Launceston by the ss Flinders for Melbourne, having decided to go that way in order to see her brother Frank who lived there. We put up at Victoria Coffee Palace and after about three days, we left Melbourne for Sydney by the steamer Elingomite, arriving at the latter place after a two days passage. We found quarters at the Metropole coffee palace, where we stopped for six days, seeing what we could of Sydney and the surroundings, and renewing acquaintance with Mr and Mrs Ashbirton and family who were our fellow passengers from England in the Rodney. We found Mr Ashbirton a complete wreck; he obtained a good position in one of the Sydney banks but had had to give it up on account of his health.

Launceston at the turn of the century

On 20 May 1890 Louise Pound and I left Sydney per ss Tekapo for Wellington, New Zealand, and on 26 May we arrived at Auckland; the next day we saw something of the town, went up Mount Eden and left for Wellington at noon. We arrived at Wellington on 29 May, and were met by my father-in law, Mr Cremer, and took up our quarters at Mrs Miller’s boarding house Whitehall. We left Wellington by train for Wanganin, arriving there shortly after 3 pm ,and received a warm welcome from Mr Cremer and family. We stayed at their house Egmont Villa where we remained until 17 August, then we left for Wellington, having in the meantime arranged with Mr Cremer to operate a branch of a fancy goods business there. We had taken a shop in Lambton, Teray and Annie Cremer was to open business there in the name of Pinel and Cremer.

The business proved a failure and after some months I decided to close it and seek a situation. Could get nothing in New Zealand and at last got, through Mr Alfred Field, an offer from Alfred Harrup and Son, Launceston, Tasmania, to enter their office at 4 pounds per week. I accepted, and leaving Miss Cremer to wind up the business, I, on 18 May 1891 Left per ss Neunoto for Hobart. We called at Oamaru, where I had a few hours with my brother, Oswald, at Port Chalmers, and the Bluff, arriving at Hobart on 28 May in the morning.

I took the train for Launceston, and on arrival there in the evening, found Mr Alfred Field waiting for me; he took me to his house, Beacon Lodge, in Hillside Crescent, and the next morning, introduced me to Mr George Haugh and I, at once, commenced my duties in his office.


I managed to board with Mr and Mrs Field and later on in December, became engaged to his daughter, Ada, whom I married on 22 June 1892. After a week honeymoon spent in Hobart, we took up our abode at Devon Cottage, Howick Street, Launceston, and there our first son Philip was born on 14 July 1893.We lived in Devon Cottage until 28thMay 1894, when we moved toAlice Cottag, 305 Brisbane Street, where Bertha and Bernard were born. We lived at Alice Cottage for nine years until 27 May 1903 when we moved to “Como”, 61 Lyttleton Street, East Launceston, a house which was purchased from Archie Gaunt where Geoffrey and Norman were Born.

1903 - 1929

In this house our two youngest children, Geoffrey and Norman, were born and their mother died in January 1921. We lived in the Lyttleton Street for 23 years, and only moved from it when failing health compelled me to give up work.

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