February 2013 Edition 95 Jerrems Family Newsletter
Dear Donald,
 
In his quest for Jerrems news, Ray's research knows few boundaries. Below is his scoop from 1931, in case you missed it the first time around.

In Administrivia, we welcome new subscribers.

Enjoy. Keep the scoops coming.

Percy Hope First Article
Ray Jerrems, Our Genealogist, and Historian   Introduction
The first monthly edition of the Jerrems Journal was published in June 2005, and it has been published every month. Sometimes I wonder what I will write about next, casting around for ideas. Then someone, perhaps a reader or a person who has googled our website, contacts me with information that provides a new perspective, leading me to do further research and find a "story".

This was such a case for Percy Hope, a relative of one of our readers. He is somewhat unique in our Jerrems Journal annals on three interesting counts because he was a Presbyterian Minister, he served in France in the First World War as an Army Chaplain, and he was involved in a head-on collision. These aspects led me to write this article.

I will start with the stunning story of his head-on collision.

MOTOR ACCIDENTS - Six Persons Injured.
  IN HEAD-ON COLLISION 
BATHURST, Monday. Six persons were injured in a head-on collision between two motor cars on the Sydney road, near Bathurst, to-night. Those admitted to hospital were Jean Dobbie, aged 5, of Bribbaree, concussion and fracture of lower jaw; Mrs. Ellen Scotford, of Church-street, Lithgow, fractured left wrist, fractured jaw, scalp wounds and shock; Rev. Percival Hope, 52, of Church-street, Lithgow, concussion; Mrs. Bessie Carr, of Bribbaree, concussion, lacerations to jaw, and shock; Henry Macallister, 21, of Inch-street, Lithgow, facial lacerations and fractured collarbone; Roy Dobbie, 36, of Bribbaree, incised wound in leg. Mrs. Dobbie, wife of the last named, with a small son, Geoffrey, escaped with cuts and abrasions.

The occupants of one vehicle were Percy, his sister in law Ellen Scotford, and Henry Macallister. The five other people, in the second vehicle, were from Bribbaree, a village 50 km west of Young (to the north of Bathurst, near where the accident occurred).

It is likely that Percy was driving his car. In those days the Main Western Highway (as it is now known) would have been surfaced with gravel. It had hazardous narrow winding sections where it crossed creeks and climbed mountain ranges.

I doubt that either vehicle was travelling fast, for the reason that the cars in those days were low geared, they had narrow tyres and a high centre of gravity which made them unstable on gravel roads if they were driven fast, and of course if it was night time. My guess is that they collided on a sharp bend.

There is perhaps an irony that Percy had survived the dangers of the First World War (see later) unscathed but subsequently came to grief on a quiet country road.

Percy's early career
   
Percy was born at South Creek near St Marys, a village west of Sydney (now a suburb), in 1879. His father George was a one-legged bootmaker, which rather tickles one's sense of humour. If he made a pair of boots, he could only test one of them!

He was apprenticed as a baker to his uncle James Hope but apparently did not think much of that work because instead he studied to get into Uni whilst pounding the dough, subsequently winning a scholarship to Sydney University. This provided "dough" for his tertiary education.

Percy obviously planned to have a career with the Presbyterian Church because the ubiquitous Sydney Morning Herald of 22/7/1899 reported that

Mr. Percy Hope, a young gentleman from St. Marys, preached in the Presbyterian Church last Sunday afternoon to a fair congregation, and considering that it was this gentleman's first attempt he is to be congratulated on the skilful way he delivered his address.

Percy studied Arts at Sydney University, and, after completing his studies at the Presbyterian college, was appointed to the Cooma Church (near the Snowy Mountains in the south of NSW) from 1906-8. In 1906 he married Florence Scotford and they had their first son, Alec Hope (see later). He must have then decided to travel north because we find him next on the Clarence River on the far north coast of New South Wales, where the Sydney Morning Herald of 28/10/08 contained the following report:

UNIQUE MARRIAGE CEREMONIES.

SIX ABORIGINAL WEDDINGS.

CHATSWORTH ISLAND, Tuesday.

At the Aborigines' Home, Ungadi Island, the Rev.T.Scott Noll, assisted by the Rev. Percy Hope, of Sydney, celebrated six marriages among the blacks. A number of residents in the district attended to witness the proceedings, which were of a unique character
.

I am not quite sure what the enigmatic term "unique character" meant. Was it a euphemism for arcane heathen rituals? Obviously the Church authorities were not concerned because soon after he was appointed the Commissioner for Theological Professorship Endowment (whatever that was) for two years.

Campbell Town district
   
In 1910 Percy (with Florence and their son Alec and newborn daughter Margaret) forsook the joys of living in rural NSW and migrated to the Campbell Town district in central Tasmania. However I do not think that ministers were able to choose their parish, they were sent wherever the church wanted them to go, but perhaps they had the option of refusing.

Relying on brief church records supplied to me by second cousin, reader, historian and railway buff Graham Harmer (who knew Percy) I assumed that Percy had served as a minister in historic Campbell Town itself.

Having visited Campbell Town on a holiday last year I happily googled the town, to discover that (1) it was established in the 1820s by Governor Macquarie as one of the four garrison towns between Hobart and Launceston (2) it has the magnificent St. Andrew's Church, built in 1847 in the Victorian Gothic Revival style and (3) in addition to a number of historic buildings (there are over 100 buildings exceeding 100 years in age), the town is famous for its aptly named Red Bridge (1838), which I have seen described as the oldest surviving brick arch bridge in Australia. The bricks (more than one and a half million in number) were made in the town itself.

After I had assembled all this mouth-watering information, picturing in my mind Percy and his family happily esconced in the town, his relative informed me that he had in fact been assigned to the nearby diocese of Kirklands. What a bother! I consoled myself that Percy and his family would at least still have periodically spent time in the town, even if it was only to go shopping!
   
<=== Famous Red Bridge
Kirklands
 
Kirklands, appropriately named because in England the Presbyterians called their churches "kirks", is a modest hamlet 10 km (6 miles) west of Campbell Town.
Percy's church district covered Kirklands and surrounding farming communities, set in a beautiful valley, but he had landed on his feet because the manse was a striking building (see photo at head of the Journal), which can now be rented for holidays. It is described on the current owner's website as follows:

Kirklands Manse is a comfortable old Georgian house built around 1829 with convict and local labour by the Church of Scotland. The house was built as a manse and school for the Scottish settlers in the Macquarie River district of central Tasmania. Situated on 41 hectares (100 acres) of prime rural Tasmanian land it boasts a rich colonial history.

The hallmark of Georgian houses was their flat front with a door in the middle on the ground floor and an equal number of windows on each side of the door. The front verandah was a colonial addition. With its current complement of six bedrooms, a large dining and lounge area, library, kid's playroom, two bathrooms and a kitchen the house was obviously big on the inside as well as the outside. Inclusion of a number of fireplaces ensured that the residents kept warm in winter.

It is likely that it was Percy's wife who actually had the toughest life at Kirklands.

Percy and Florence had two more children (Lois and David) in Kirklands.The children (particularly Alec, who often spoke of it in later years) spent an idyllic childhood on the farm. They would have produced most of their own food at Kirklands as they had a vegetable garden, bottled their own fruit etc and they had sheep, cows and poultry. Percy was particularly fond of growing pink chrysanthemums. For the first ten years they did not own a car, just a horse named Poplar who pulled a sulky so it would have been quite a trek into Campbell Town to pick up the basics of flour, sugar, tea and other groceries. At a later stage Percy bought a sporty two-door Ford Roadster (see photo of a typical 1930s Roadster...Editors Note: Love the lime-colored wheel covers!).

Kirklands Chapel
   
Unlike the Manse, the Kirklands Chapel (see photo) was built along modest lines using a basic "box" design adopted throughout Australia. However in this instance it was comparatively large.

These chapels did not have a fireplace, so they were notoriously freezing in winter (sorting out the devoted sheep from the wayward goats), but no doubt the congregation hoped that Percy would warm them up with some fiery sermons! Music would have been provided in the Chapel by the traditional upright piano of indeterminate age, in contrast with the reknown 1847 pipe organ installed in the Campbell Town St. Andrews Church.

I believe that Percy was very canny, making sure that his family was comfortable all year round in the Manse, while he and his parishioners froze for a mere hour on winter Sundays in the austere Chapel. It is likely that Percy's diocese also included the hamlet of Cleveland (where he is reported to have carried out a marriage ceremony in 1910), on the MidlandsHighway, giving Percy a large diocese to administer.
Conclusion
 
Did I say that I would be telling you about Percy's career as a chaplain during the First World War in France? Goodness gracious me, somehow I have run out of space and will have to tell you about this in a later journal.

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