AUS-NSW-Hunter-Valley-L ArchivesArchiver > AUS-NSW-Hunter-Valley > 2004-10 > 1098505150
From: "Diane Cole" <>
Subject: Re: Favourite Ancestor
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 14:19:10 +1000
My favourite ancestor is one of my great-grandfathers, who came to Australia
about 1883. Much has been found out about him, but there are still many
mysteries to unravel.
Reuben Edward PAGE was born 14 Apri l 1860 in Surrey England, his parents
Reuben Page and Elizabeth Nightingale. As far as I can get with the IGI etc,
Reuben had one sister Harriet born 1847 and one brother Albert Herny born
1867, and two half brothers, Thomas born about 1839 in America ??? and
Joseph L born about 1843 in Corley Warwickshire.
As the only reference I can find to Thomas and Joseph is the 1851 census, I
cannot prove their existence, other than when Reuben and Elizabeth married,
he was listed as a widower. No first marriage has been found.
The family stories about him are interesting. According to my dad, Reuben
wanted to be a doctor, but his father (Reuben snr) wanted him to study civil
engineering and/or enter the Army. Reuben snr would not pay for his son to
sit for the final medical exams. Did Reuben junior "take off" for the
colonies after the disagreement with his father ? He arrived in Bundaberg
Qld in 1883, and worked in the cane fields (timing is about right), and
after sometime, came south to Newcastle (legend has it that he and his mate
thought the ship was bound for Newcastle England !!).
In 1889, Reuben married Beatrice Mary DAWSON, daughter of Samuel and Mary
Ann Dawson, proprietors of the Windsor Castle Hotel at East Maitland. They
had two sons, Raymond Walter (1890) and Cleveland Edmund (1892) and one
daughter Edith (1894), before Beatrice died in 1894. Sometime during this
period Reuben joined the Royal Corps of Engineers and moved to Victoria
Barracks at Paddington. In 1896, he married Lily Dawson, sister of the late
Beatrice, and they had seven children, including my grandmother - Mabel
1897, Reuben (Jimmy), Clara, Cyril, Jack, Sam and Thomas. Great uncle Tom
died only this past year. About 1897, he purchased property at Macaquarie Rd
Auburn and built the house which still stands there (he was a carpenter by
trade, as was his father).
Early in 1907, he was went on paid sick leave from the Royal Australian
Engineers, at the rank of Lieutenant. Family history says that he fell off
his horse and broke his arm. Because of his early medical training, he set
the arm himself and it did not heal properly. My grandmother used to tell us
about travelling around in the Cobb and Co coaches with her father, while he
was "building" (supervising ?) Army Rifle Ranges. He was honorably
discharged from the RAE in 1908 with several hundred pounds compensation and
the rank of Honorary Captain. This must have been a very stressful time for
the whole family, as well as all this upheaval, his daughter Clara died.
Crook arm or not, he went back to being a builder and in 1911-12 served a
term as Alderman on Auburn Council.With the advent of WW1, he was seconded
to the Federal Govt Dept of Home Affairs, according to reports, supervising
military defences and targets. His two older sons enlisted for WW1,
Cleveland was killed on 25 April 1915, at Gallipolli and Raymond was wounded
in the Somme Battle of Polygon Wood.
One family story says that Reuben became "a bit of drinker" and that he died
after being involved in a pub brawl. Whatever the truth of that, it was not
recorded in his obituary in the local paper. His death certificate says he
died of a cerebral haemorrhage on 14 Jun 1924.
My father was born in the house "Zaretan" at Auburn in 1929. Dad says his
uncles used to ride their motorbikes up and down the long hall. His
grandmother Lily Page died in 1954.
It sounds like Reuben had a very difficult time as a young man, but came to
the colonies and made a new start, only to have it all "go pear shaped". I
suspect that he never recovered properly from having to leave the Army, and
losing his son during the War. Because of his poor treatment of the family
late in his life, he was not well remembered by his sons, and is buried
without a headstone at Rookwood.
----- Original Message -----
From: "MargM" <>
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2004 10:59 PM
Subject: Favourite Ancestor ?
> Dear Listers
> Many of you must have a favourite ancestor ? Who is your favourite and
> why ?
> Hunter Valley List Admin
|Re: Favourite Ancestor by "Diane Cole" <>|