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)