Collage Rhoades Family

Collage Rhoades Family

mardi 9 décembre 2014

Photo 6, 7, 8 and 9 of 100: Young Frederick Ashton Rhoades

The 3 brothers 1910
Gordon Pegus, Frederick Ashton, Edison Rankin
Frederick Ashton was the oldest son of Frederick Rhoades and Josephine Isabella Victoria Rhoades (nee Rankin). He was born in 1895  and was known by many names and nicknames during his lifetime. To the family he was known as Ashton or Ack or Acky. Later in life, in the Soloman Islands and New Guinea he was always addressed as Snow or Snowy.

Ashton grew up in a privileged environment in a huge house, 'Haddon' in Chatswood, complete with servants, cooks and gardeners. He attended a private school, Sydney High School, graduating on to Sydney University and Hawkesbury Agriculture College. Regardless of his privileged upbringing he seemed indifferent to his father's attempts to indoctrinate him with his elitist attitudes. He was not a good student and preferred sport, excelling in rifle shooting, boxing, surfing and, above all, cricket. Ashton did not finish his studies at either university or agriculture college, giving up both to "go bush". He worked as a jackeroo at various sheep and cattle stations in northern NSW and QLD, until, very much against his father's wishes, he enlisted as a Private in the 41st Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces, in 1916. Of course with his education and father's influence he could have obtained a Commission with little effort.

WWI Embarkation Rolls. From the Australian War Memorial website

He was 20 years old when he was shipped to Suez on the SS Mooltan, disembarking on 21 September, 1916. The Army soon discovered, with the combination of his experience with horses and his marksmanship skills, that he was more suited as a mounted soldier than as an infantry man. On 20 November, 1916 he was transferred to the elite outfit of the AIF, the First Light Horse Regiment. During his 3 years in Palestine, Ashton took part in many actions against the Turks, was twice wounded in action and eventually spent a lot of time in hospital with malaria.

The highlight of his service in Palestine was the taking of Beersheba (now in Israel) on 31 October, 1917. A huge British Force of 60,000 men had fought all day to take the town without success. 600 Australian Light Horse Troopers over ran the Turks within hours.

The Australian losses were 31 dead, 36 wounded (including Ashton) and 70 horses killed or destroyed. It was a remarkable cavalry victory for a force trained as mounted infantry, against an enemy of 4000 Turk Infantry equipped with field and machine guns in fortified positions.

Private Frederick Ashton Rhoades 1916
Private Frederick Ashton Rhoades 1916

Ashton became seriously ill with cerebral malaria and was embarked on the hospital ship Demosthenes, departing Cairo, for Australia on the 4 February, 1919. He was lucky to get home alive. After the war he spent 4 years as a jackeroo on various stations in QLD. Another 7 years passed as a soldier settler without much success. He walked off his block almost broke in 1933; these were Depression years and things were bad.

Ted Rhoades (excerpts from his book Taim bolong Masta) 

The full description of the "Taking of Beersheba" can be found in Dad's book. Really gripping stuff!

Phil Rhoades' website also has information on Frederick Ashton Rhoades. Click on the link of related websites.

Check out the Australian War Memorial website at

Your grandfather's brother or great grandfather's brother or even uncle in the case of (Auntie Jill Greeves) was a war hero.

More to come on WW2, his medals and his later years in the Soloman Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Linda Blochet 7 December, 2014

Acky was such as wonderful man. I remember he used to visit us at Terrigal just after the war and tell us these amazing stories of his experiences during the war. He used to sing his little "ditties" that he had composed …. I'm sure Ted would remember some of them!

Jill Greeves via Facebook 9 December 2014

lundi 1 décembre 2014

Photo 2 of 100 - 1910 Freddie and Josephine Isabella Mary Victoria Rhoades (nee Rankin)

Frederick was the third child of seven born to William J. Rhoades and his wife Elizabeth in 1857 in Manchester, UK. Fred, aged 23, was a tall, slim lad who, despite his respiratory troubles, excelled in many sports including athletics, boxing, fencing, rifle shooting, hunting and swimming. He preferred individual sports and was not keen on cricket or rugby.

Of Anglo-Norse ancestry, he was very fair with almost white hair, large bushy eyebrows, very pale blue eyes and a decisive hawkish nose that continues to appear in further generations of the family to this day.

At school and university, Fred had acquired a reputation for being rather outspoken and having a certain antagonism for authority (sounds like at least half of the Rhoades' that I know!!). His early ambition was to become a priest of the Church of England, however, at the age of 23 his career had a change of direction.

Frederick had been studying Theology and Manchester University for almost 2 years when he came to the conclusion he was no longer a Christian; he simply could not accept the teachings of the church. He therefore decided to quit university and look for another career path. Fred had suffered a great deal as a child and a young adult from serious lung infections and his doctor advised he should leave the cold, damp climate of Northern England and head for Australia or perhaps the South Pacific Islands.

Fred finally decided on the sugar industry in Fiji. He arrived at Suva on Viti Levu in the Fijian Islands in late 1880 to start a new career as a plantation bookkeeper. Frederick held a number of administrative positions with companies operating in the South Pacific culminating in the position of island manager and director of Lever Bros. Australia based in Sydney.

Frederick was convinced that he was "top drawer" and, in line with this perceived genetic excellence, he met, fell in love with and married, in 1894, a young lady of noble lineage in County Cork, Ireland, while visiting Europe on business.

Josephine Isabella Victoria Rankin was a beautiful young lady and a member of the Gordon Clan, with family connections to the Marquis of Huntley and the Count of Lonsdale.

Frederick and Isabella (as she was known) returned to live in Sydney where they had 3 sons, Frederick Ashton (born 1895), Edison Rankin (born 1896) and Gordon Pegus (born 1901).

By the early 1900's, Frederick had become moderately wealthy and had purchased a substantial property in Chatswood, Sydney. His acquisitions included "Haddon" the family mansion, a large majestic house which still stands today, set in an acre of garden on the corner of Archer Street and Mowbray Road, and a row of properties on Archer Street.

Ted Rhoades (from his book Taim bolong Masta) 1 December, 2014

Apparently Freddie and Josephine had a fourth child, a daughter who died around 5 days after birth from a heart problem, probably in about 1910 when this photo was taken. She was very likely buried in Crows Nest, Sydney.

Dorothy Rhoades via Jocelyn Bates on Facebook (1 December, 2014)

mercredi 26 novembre 2014

Photos 3, 4 and 5 of 100 - 1920's, 30's and 40's: Old Freddy

Frederick Rhoades (aged approx. 68), Isabelle (a friend of Doreen),
Jessie Doreen Rhoades (nee Whittet) and Edison Rankin Rhoades circa 1925

Old Freddy was a remarkable man. He firmly believed that he and his family were a superior breed, an attitude which was passed on to his three sons. He was the original male chauvinist despite being a very well-educated man. He wrote 2 books and had many of his short stories published during his lifetime. He was also an accomplished cartoonist and counted among his friends many of the leading artists and authors of the day including the brothers Norman and Lionel Lindsay.

The old man in his late sixties, acquired a mistress half his age.
Old Fred at Terrigal (note Skillon)
Date unknown.

In his eighties and nineties, with his great mop of white hair, bushy eyebrows, large moustache, deeply tanned hawk-like face and cultured English voice he was indeed an impressive figure. Even at the age of 81 he was an expert swimmer, boxer, fencer and a competitive rifle shooter. I can recall him at the age of 88 - tall, slim, suntanned and remarkably fit, his long white hair and handle-bar moustache streaming in the breeze as he sprinted along the beach at Terrigal with few in the family able to keep pace with him.

Ted Rhoades - son of Edison and Jessie Doreen pictured above (excerpts taken from his book "Taim Bolong Masta" 2012)

Freddie, after his wife died in 1932, employed a minder for Gordon. Winifred Cuthbert was half his age however they got together and it lasted until he died. "He was a virile old bugger". They used to come to Terrigal and stay in a little hut called "The Cabin" which was quite near "The Fibro". 

Ted Rhoades via Tara Copeland Rhoades on Facebook (1 December, 2014)

Raymond Edward (Ted), Freddy, Brian Ashton,
Gerald Frederick, Winnifred Cuthbert Gordon (son of Gordon Pegus)
Photo taken circa 1936 making Freddy 79.

"Winifred was very nice to us kids, she used to take us to the beach".
Story has it that Freddy was still chopping down trees when he was 91. He apparently taught Gerald to build radios when he was a kid and later got him his first job at Ludo's where he helped research the leather products and alternatives to replace the tannery at Lane Cove.

Dorothy and Gerald Rhoades via Jocelyn Bates on Facebook (1 December 2014)

samedi 22 novembre 2014

Photo 1 of 100 - 1935 The Fibro at Terrigal

The Fibro - taken from the Scenic Highway, Terrigal 1935

The Fibro

This photo was taken in 1935, probably by Frederick Rhoades (Grandfather of Gerald, Ted, Brian and Jill) as he was probably the only person to have a camera in those days.

Taken from the road that is known today as the Scenic Highway, a busy road that runs along the cliffs around the back of Terrigal leading up to the Skilllon.

This is the original tiny house before the extensions were built on. The family had moved from Oakwood near Inverell in 1934 after a catastrophic 5 year stint on an allocated soldier settlement-farming block of 320 acres.  After a fire burnt the wheat crop, Edison sold the farm and moved his flat-broke family (wife, Jessie Doreen and the 3 boys, Gerald, Ted and Brian) to this little shack. Known as "The Fibro", the house had been borrowed from Grandfather Freddy who later gave the house to Granny Rhoades (not his son and in her name only).

According to my father, Ted, "it was an old, battered, fibre-ciment holiday house with a water supply from two 1000-gallon tanks". Extensions were added on when the fourth child, Jill, arrived in 1936. The house remained rather rudimentary until the day it was sold.

For all those years Granny Rhoades (Jessie Doreen) lived in this house until she became too ill and old to live on her own. In the 1970's she moved into a retirement village, Wesley Gardens, in Belrose, Sydney where she died in 1982.

During this time the house was lived in by Alan Rhoades, my cousin and son of Gerald and Dot, for a while and was eventually sold when Granny Rhoades passed away.

Today, with the improvement of the highway and the cost of real-estate in Sydney, Terrigal has become very populated and expensive. The Scenic Highway is a now a road with million dollar mansions. This house was torn down in order to construct a massive modern home. (I stand corrected - see Alan's comments below).

Linda Blochet (nee Rhoades) 1 December 2014

This was the little house we all lived in....I'm not sure when it was built, but I'm sure Ted would know! 

I think the family moved from the farm out of Inverell just before I was born - in 1936! I think shortly after that it was added to....a verandah, another bedroom and a bathroom, also 3 big tanks, our only water supply, an outdoor "loo" down the hill a bit, and near by a bar where my father and the three boys (and sometimes me!) would hang like monkeys....the boys performed all sorts of tricks on that bar! Ted would be able to describe them better! 

Just beside the house was a big copper where my mother boiled up the clothes! I remember how she had to stoke up the fire...the wind whistling round our ears, and then the clothes were hung on the line....a rope between two poles. Later, my father built a chook house, so we had fresh eggs, and a smoke house where he smoked fish that he caught - absolutely delicious!  I think we had a very happy life, although there was certainly a lack of money. We seemed not to need much though, my mother made sure we were all well fed and looked after. She sewed a lot ... For me anyway!

Jillian Greeves (nee Rhoades) 20 November 2014

What a great photo!
I have a lot of happy memories from the time I spent at the "Fibro" beginning when we were growing up and having regular summer holidays with the family right through to the time that I had permanently moved to the Central Coast and lived in the home from 1979 to 1985.
I loved our holidays and catching up with all of our aunts, uncles, cousins and Granny while we were there. I remember Jill teaching me to swim and taking me in the surf for the first time and I vividly remember having to manually pump the water from the tanks to be able to shower etc. The structure of the house remained basically the same throughout the time that I knew it and I am pleased to inform you, Linda, that the house was not torn down to be replaced by a new home. The new owners had renovated the old house and added rooms, a second story and garage etc. but the "fibro" is still the heart of it. It remains one of my biggest regrets that i did not buy it when I had the chance.

Alan Rhoades (son of Gerald and Dorothy Rhoades) 26 November, 2014