The Whaite Family History

From Coddington to Sydney NSW via Manchester

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Frederick Whaite

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Though at his 1911  marriage Fred says he was born in Manchester, England, Frederick Henry Whaite, universally known as "Fred", was according to his mother born on 26 September 1885 at 161 West Spencer Street Melbourne Victoria. It was not until nearly 3 months later that his birth was registered in NSW, by written declaration, given by his mother Alice nee Blakeney then living at Picton Arms Hotel Campbell St Sydney.

Fred was only 6 years old, when in October 1891 in Fitzroy Vic his mother Alice Actress married her long time Irish dancing partner Michael Patrick John Meagher Actor presumably leaving her young son with his father. In 1896 Alice and Michael went to live in Christchurch NZ, where Alice died in 1942 and Michael in 1946.

On 1 March 1892 Harry married Sarah Agnes Grant, a country girl from a farm near Braidwood, who he had probably engaged to look after Fred. 

According to Sands Directories, Harry was living in Sydney from 1897 onwards and it must have been during this time that young Fred was taking lessons in piano and composition, possibly from private tutors. Many years later, in an ABC Staff Application, Fred said he had been educated privately and had attended Fort Street Boys High School. He also said he had sat for and passed Trinity College of Music London examinations, though all the records are lost, adding " but never qualified for higher honors, as a great deal of my time has been spent in travelling."

Fred's first professional appearance as a pianist was an Australian Natives concert in 1902, when he played his own work "Grand Galope" in honour of Edward VII's coronation. The family have a pamphlet printed for the occasion, showing Fred at the piano, in his Sunday best suit, with a beautiful lace collar.

The Electoral Roll for 1906 shows Fred was living with Harry and Daisy at 18 Comber St Paddington and his occupation was Clerk. This was the year he mentioned he had been on a boat going to San Francisco at the time of the great earthquake.

There are ads in "Maitland Mercury" in 1910 reporting Fred as leader of orchestra etc and it was probably at an after performance party that he met Lilian Stevens said to be one of "The beautiful Maitland sisters".

For some reason or other, they went to Cessnock to get married in 1911 by Victor Duff-Cooper, later Moderator of Presbyterian Assembly. Later in life, Lilian implied it was because she was still a minor, but as she was born in 1886 this was not so. She was always coy about her age and on various certificates she often made out that she was about five years younger than was true.

Lilian May was one of the daughters of Thomas Place Stevens, a cabinet maker living at Hunter St Maitland, son of a Nottingham Lacemaker, who had settled there in 1848. He had married in 1879 Mary Ann O'Brien, daughter of an Irish soldier James O'Brien late of 12th Regiment in Tasmania and NZ, who was a warder at East Maitland Gaol.

Sadly Lilian's mother died in 1897 from Phthisis, a name in those days for Tuberculosis. She left behind a family of two sons and five daughters while another daughter Essie had died in 1884 when only three years old.

This disease had taken a terrible toll of the Stevens and O'Brien families: Mary Ann's father in 1888, her daughter Maggie A in 1904, her husband in 1907 and her daughter Lena Sams in 1910.

After Mary Ann died, Thomas engaged a housekeeper to care for the children and Lilian always had fond memories of her saying she kept the children beautifully dressed even down to always ironing their panties. Lilian implied that she was "mother" to the family, even though there was an elder sister Maggie, but maybe even then she was ill with Tuberculosis.

After their marriage, there is an ad in Maitland Mercury June 1911 stating Fred would take "Pupils for Tuition in Pianoforte, Theory, Harmony,Counterpoint, Orchestration etc etc.Manuscripts Arranged", his address being care of "Arcadia" Theatre.

They were not in Maitland for the birth of their first son Harry Maitland which was registered at St Leonards near Sydney in May 1912 and their second son Richard "Dick" was also registered  there in December 1914.

Fred and Lily are on Electoral Roll for 1913, living at 1 Paul St Milsons Point, but in 1915 and 1916 they were at "Claremont" Bayview St McMahons Point, so maybe it was after then that Fred got a job with the theatrical entrepreneur Benjamin Fuller as Musical Arranger/Director.

For the next 15 or so years, Fred worked with the Fuller Company, travelling with them up and down the eastern coast of Australia, wherever the company was performing. Lilian said they always went on a special train and the whole company - management, stars and even chorus girls all travelled together on it. She remembers that the chorus girls filled in time making clothes on their little Singer sewing machines, worked by hand. Wherever she could, Lilian said she tried to find a house to rent, so they did not have to live in hotels, but I think it was easier to have a party in a house, and Lilian was a very social person.

There are ads for the Fuller Company in Brisbane during 1919, and Fred and family were there also, because that is where Thomas "Tom" was born in December 1919 in a private hospital in Vulture St South Brisbane since burnt down. Fred was the informant on the certificate and gave his address as "Lyndhurst" Stanley St South Brisbane.

The family left Brisbane in 1922 or 3 and went to live in Melbourne, and here their last son, Jack Maitland was born on 4 August 1924 at North Carlton. He died at Palace Hotel in Bourke St Melbourne only 2 weeks later on 19 August from Bronchitis Debility and Heart Failure. His burial on 20 August at Brighton Cemetery was attended by Tom and his father who were the only mourners and according to Tom they went to the funeral in a little buggy. Later on, the family moved to Wellington Parade East Melbourne.

It was sometime before they left Melbourne around 1928 that Fred's mother Alice Meagher and her husband Michael came up from Christchurch NZ to see the family, probably the last time she ever saw her son.

The family came to Sydney before May 1928, when Harry started at Sydney Boys High School and at that time Fred was conductor of the orchestra for Benjamin Fuller's Theatrical Company. In  1929 John Fuller became one of the directors of the old Australian Broadcasting Company which took over Radio Station 2FC previously owned by Farmer and Co. Fred joined ABC on 1 July as Musical Arranger and stayed with them in various capacities until his retirement on 2 November 1962.


In Sydney, the family first lived in half a house with Lilian's sister Ivy Davies in Dolphin St Coogee near Coogee Aquarium. Before November 1931, they went to live in Farrell St Kings Cross, where Fred is in Telephone Directory until May 1934.  Sometime before November 1939, Fred and Lilian rented a large ground floor flat at "Eastcourt" Holdsworth Avenue, Elizabeth Bay overlooking Rushcutters Bay Park.

Here Lilian was in her element and entertained a great deal - there were parties and musical evenings and the place was a sort of hotel for any of the Stevens family who happened to be in Sydney. After Dick married Janet Argent in 1937, they lived at Holdsworth Avenue together with their first child Richard, born in 1940 while Harry and Olive Cato lived there from 1943 onwards.

By the time I knew the family in 1947, there was only Tom at home and Lilian had become enamoured of bridge parties, and held many of them at the flat.

With all their children married and living away from home, Fred and Lilian bought themselves a small unit in Cronulla near Shelley Beach around 1960. Sadly soon after they went to Cronulla, it had become evident that Lilian was in the early stages of what is now known as Alzheimers Disease, and for a while she was in a private hospital nearby. When the disease progressed, Lilian was taken in to the Reception Centre at Gladesville, where she died in May 1962 and was cremated at  Northen Suburbs Crematorium.

Fred retired from ABC on 2 November 1962, and in reply to a letter from General Manager Charles Moses dated 31 December, 1962, said he had been in a private hospital with a heart complaint , though he was gradually getting back to normal.

On 19 February 1963, Fred had a letter from Charles Moses requesting he be at Broadcast House on 27 Febuary to accept a medal for 30 years service with ABC.The Director of Music, Herbert Cannon, wrote a sort of precis of his career with ABC, which was published in November 1962 issue of Radio Active [the staff journal of ABC] together with a photo to mark the occasion.

Though Fred stayed on at the Cronulla unit, he was in poor health and on 16 October 1964 he died in hospital at Caringbah from Gastro Enteritis, having had Mitral Incompetence and Congestive Heart Failure for years. He was cremated on 19 October 1964 also at Northern Suburbs Crematorium.

Tom's children have fond memories of their "Papa", especially when he did magic tricks for them, like pulling pennies out of his ears. They were quite intrigued when he played the piano for them with pennies on the lower joints of all his fingers, which stayed there while he played. He told them all good pianists could do this, because they only used the top two finger joints to play.

Despite his full time muscial duties.Fred never stopped composing ballads, orchestral suites, even operattas and details are in a lengthy list compiled by his grandson Philip Whaite which is available on request.

Seventh Generation      From Manchester Families

7A.12 ex 6.8.1b Family of John Harry WHAITE and Alice (Blakeney) 

1.Ann/ie b ? c 1880 England but left with in England relatives when Harry & Alice  sailed to Melbourne Vic m ?? HARWOOD  pre 1931? Liverpool - got in touch with Frederick Whaite through NSW Police sometime after death Harry 1931, but no record available

2.George b 29 June 1882 entry 47 at 93 Hatherton St Walsall reg Sep qtr 6b.694* Staffs [Father shown as John Harry Artist] Informant A Whaite Mother d Sep qtr 1882 Walsall 6b.376 age 0 NO ISSUE

3.George b Feb 1884 reg June qtr 1884 Walsall 6b.741 d 27 Oct 1884 at sea on SS "Kildare" [2 days after boat left Plymouth] reg 15 Dec 1884.2043* Hobart Tas Australia age 8 months Informant: Master of S S Kildare [only details say "Parents passengers on S S Kildare"] NO ISSUE

4.Frederick Henry b 26 Sept at 161 Spencer St  West Melbourne Vic reg 15 Dec 1885.3690* Sydney NSW by Declaration of Mother living Picton Arms Hotel Campbell St. [Alice had arrived in Sydney on 11 Dec 1885 on "Gunya"] d 16 Oct 1964.5444* Sutherland District Hospital Caringbah Cause: Gastro Enteritis days Mitral Incompetence years Congestive Cardiac Failure years age 78 years crem 19 October 1964 Northern Subs Crem NSW [M Alicia Boule] late of 5/55 Ewos Parade Cronulla Informant R Whaite son Probate 1965/585002 NSW Musician m 5 June   1911.5121* entry 113 residence of Rev Victor Clark-Duff Cessnock (Witnesses: Jean Stevens, Lilly Bussell) Lilian May (Stevens) b 17 Feb 1886.25787 Maitland d as Lillian May 15 May 1962.14480* entry 321 Metal Hospital Rydalmere late of Unit 5 Huntingdale Court Ewos Parade Cronulla reg Chatswood [F Charles Stevens Furniture Mfrer] Cause: Auricular Fibrillation years, Myocardial Degeneration years, Cerebral Thrombosis years crem 17 May 1962 Northern Suburbs Crem Informant Jas Carlton Manager Mental Hospital Rydalmere see SF and 8A.1


Eighth Generation

8A.1 ex 7A.12.4 Family of Frederick Henry WHAITE and Lilian May (Stevens)

1.Living male b 9 May 1912.34549 St. Leonards NSW m 14 Dec 1943 reg 1944.72 St Phillips Church Hill reg Sydney NSW Olive (Cato) b 30 Apr 1920.55A.79 Adelaide SA d 18 Aug 2008 Oatley see SF and 9A.1

2.Frederick Richard "Dick" b 14 Dec 1914.50300 Alfred St North Sydney reg St. Leonards d 21 June 1974.10966* in the street Sydney Cause:Myocardial Degeneration with Valvular disease 6 Years, Sub Acute Bacterial Endocarditis 6 years Probate 1974/783553 Shipping Clerk  m 22 Oct 1937.16895 St. Phillips Church Sydney Janet Argent (Aitken) b 11 June 1919 Manly d 17 Dec 1996 Beecroft Nursing Home see SF and 9A.2

3.Thomas Maitland b 23 Dec 1919.58299* Vulture St South Bris Qld Informant father then living "Lyndhurst" Stanley St South Brisbane Qld d 24 Apr 1986.103274* Port Macquarie Hospital Cause: Renal Failure 48 hours, Metastatic Carcinomna rectum 6 months Chronic Obstructive airways disease 18 yrs crem 28 Apr 1986 Port Macquarie late of Cowal Creek Road Bellangry NSW Letters of Admin ??? NSW m 24 Nov 1948.3236 Sydney (Witnesses: Daniel Bailey, F Whaite, Lilian May Whaite, Rose Caroline Bailey)  Joy Lilian (Bailey) b 19 May 1922 entry 370 at 8 Glenville Ave Enfield reg June qtr RD Edmonton 3a.1272* Mdx [M Rose C Paynter on cert but Painter in index] Enfield M'sex England arrived Sydney NSW 26 Aug 1926 on "Ballaarat" see SF and 9A.3

4.Jack Maitland b 4 Aug 1924.19878* North Carlton Vic d 19 Aug 1924.10983* Palace Hotel Bourke St Melbourne Cause: Bronchitis Debility Heart Failure 3-4 days age 2 weeks bu 20 Aug 1924 Brighton Cem Vic NO ISSUE


8A.1.1 Living (Cato) Precis only for full family tree see Cato Revision

Father Leonard Frederick CATO b 7 June 1895 Kapunda SA

m Mar qrtr 1917? Lewisham 1d.2244* England

Mother Louisa Rennie (Pace) b 30 Apr 1888 Pencaithland Edinburgh Scot d 1968.41214 Kogarah NSW [F Robert Ferrier M Catherine]

Paternal Line

PGF Thomas William CATO b 12 Nov 1853 Richmond Vic m 16 June 1877 Stawell Vic

PGM Elizabeth (Walker) b 15 Apr 1854 Bendigo Vic

 Maternal Line

Father Robert Ferrier PACE b c 1856 Kirk Newton Edinburgh d pre 1917 Farmer

m pre 1888

Mother Catherine (Howden) b c 1857

This family lived c 1888 near Edinburgh Scotland

Census 3 April 1881 Scotland East Lothian Parish Ormiston 1881-315 ed 2 Line 24 Sched 19 Reg No. 715 at House of Muir Village: Robert Pace 25 b Kirknewton Edinburgh Farm Steward Head, Catherine 24, Clara 1

Census 5 April 1891 Scotland East Lothian Parish Pencaitland 1891-373 ed 3 Line 18 Sched 49 Reg No 716 at Wester Pencaitland: Robert Pace 36, Catherine Pace 35, Clara 11, Rosalina 7, Annie 4, Louisa 2 b Haddington Pencaitland, Robert J Pace 7 Mths, Mary McFarlane 21



8A.1.2 Janet Argent (Aitken) Precis only see AITKEN Group 

Father James Hudson AITKEN b 7 Aug 1891 Invercargill NZ (c 1893 MC) d c 1974 Sydney

m 2 May 1914.2485* Presb Ch Randwick (Witnesses: Martha Cosgrove, John Olson)

Mother Elizabeth Ruth (Argent) b 1882 Havershill Essex England d 7 Jul 1963 ?? All Saints Hospital Women crem 5 Jul 1963 North Subs Crem

Sibling of Janet Argent Aitken: Thomas Herbert b 13 Mar 1915 Waverley d c 1991 Sydney m 1940.19579 Mosman Ida Mary (Glover) b 15 Jan 1918.10912 Merungle Private Hospital Leeton reg Narrandera d bet 9 - 12 Nov 1965.3018* at Bantry Bay Rd Frenchs Forest late of 5 Bay St Mosman crem 16 Nov 1965 Northern Subs Crem

Paternal Line

PGF Thomas (Hudson) AITKEN b 4 Dec 1867 * Greenhills Invercargill Ironmoulder d 26 Mar 1935.4739 Liverpool NSW bu 27 Mar 1935 Presb Cem Rookwood NSW came to Sydney c 1913

m 18 Dec 1889.3506 Ellis Road Prim Meth Inverness NZ

PGM Emily Beatrice (Hart) b 1864 Inverness Tailoress d 13 Nov 1907.1083 Hereford St Linwood (? near Invercargill) bu 16 Nov 1907


8A.1.3 Joy Lilian (Bailey) Precis only for full family tree of Bailey see and for Painter and Holdsworth see BAILEY Group

Father Daniel BAILEY b 27 Oct 1897 Albion Qld d 26 Jul 1958 Sydney NSW

m 30 Apr 1921 Enfield Mdx England

Mother Rose Caroline (Painter) b 22 Sep 1890 Tottenham Msx d 26 Jan 1979 Stanmore NSW

Paternal Line

PGF Walter BAILEY b 27 Oct 1853 Little Dean Glos England d 5 Mar 1936 b Brisbane Qld

m (2) ?12 Apr 1896 Aden Arabia

PGM Lily (Lewis)  b ? 1873 Swansea Glam Wales d 30 June 1934 Brisbane

Maternal Line

MGF Henry Charles PAINTER b 22 Jul 1851 St Giles Msx

m 17 Nov 1873 St James Shoreditch Mdx

MGM Sarah (Holdsworth) b 30 Jan 1855 St Giles Cripplegate London d 6 June 1935 Enfield Mdx

Sibling of Joy Lilian Bailey: Irene Mary b 13 Dec 1924 Edmonton Msx England m 21 Sep 1946 Campsie Ronald Eric GILLARD b 21 Nov 1924 Undercliffe d 25 June 1993 Canberra ACT