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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Early Residents - Goddard Family

Henry Holt Goddard and Kathleen (nee Young) emigrated to Australia on the part sail and part steam ship called the Duke of Sutherland. They set out from Northern Ireland sailing via the Suez Canal and took on coal at Colombo. The journey took six months and they arrived in Australia in 1885. Their first home was in Maryborough, Queensland where Henry set up shop and prospered as a barber. By 1897 Kathleen had borne seven children, six boys and one girl.

In 1898 they decided to sell up and came to Sydney where Henry rented premises from a Mr Saunders who was a local quarry owner. From the Pyrmont premises Henry ran a newsagency along with a barbers shop. The children also attended school in Pyrmont. Tragedy struck the family twice before their move to Springwood when their eldest child Walter died of pneumonia and then son Bertie drowned accidentally in Black Wattle Bay. Kathleen bore another son thereafter.

These very sad events affected Henry and made him consider retirement. In 1909 the lives of the family changed when Henry saw 50 acres of land for sale advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald. The property was located at the end of Whitecross Road, adjoining land owned by St. Columba’s College. In 1910 they purchased the property, which contained the cottage Aberfeldy which had been built by H.C.L. Anderson. The Aberfeldy property contained an orchard with English Mulberry trees and persimmons, as well as a lovely flower garden. Henry sent to the Richmond River for Cecil, now the eldest son, and Stanley.

Cecil arrived in 1911 and took over the running of the Post Office until Henry moved to Springwood.  Each day Cecil took what was known as the ‘sociable’ into town and met the 10am train from Sydney. He sorted the North Springwood mail from the mailbags and delivered it on his homeward journey. Cecil was not averse to taking passengers on the ‘sociable’, and also carried the occasional message for residents who lived in the area. In 1912 Kathleen arrived in Springwood with Henry junior, her youngest child, followed eight months later by Henry senior. Following his arrival Henry took over from Cecil and remained as postmaster until 1932 when he was aged 72.

Postal Inspectors visited every month to check the records, which were then sent to Bathurst. Henry issued postal notes, stamps and so on, and at the end of every week the money was paid into Springwood Post Office where a receipt was issued. Henry Goddard senior died in 1948.

Around c1912–3, Cecil (then aged 22) and Stan (aged 18) started a firewood business. Stan purchased land from Hardman the biscuit manufacturer, near the Springwood subway, and the engine was kept there for cutting wood before it was loaded onto the train. They supplied wood to various bakers in the area, as well as to the Ritz at Leura. In 1916 the Goddard brothers expanded their enterprise by buying a timber mill and transporting the equipment from Camden to Springwood. Harry Keenan was employed as their manager. They purchased land near the then nine-hole golf course on Hawkesbury Road from J.T. Wall, who had a reputation for not handing over deeds to their respective purchasers. Percy Pickering and Mr Turnbull were locals employed by the Goddards.

The Goddard brothers used a bullock team, rather than horses, due to their prowess in the bush. The mill supplied timber for buildings locally and across the mountains, because the nearest mill in those early days was at Kingswood. An article in the Blue Mountains Echo (29 June 1917) reported that Messrs Lacey and Goddard had secured a number of repeat orders for firewood from the upper mountains. Fuel merchants in those regions said that the wood supplied by the Goddards was the finest burning timber. The article said that ‘bakers wood’ was a speciality, and the firm would also execute orders for ‘post and rail’ of standard quality. The Goddards operated the mill until 1923, and sold it to Eric Turnbull in 1927.

The 1927 Springwood telephone directory lists Goddard and Nichols as builders. The 1932 directory only listed Stan, with his address given as De Chair Avenue, Springwood. He married Nellie E. Mills, the daughter of George William and Martha Mills, in 1918. George Mills was the chief gardener for the Fels family. Stan and Nellie’s daughter Meryl was born in 1921 at Penrith, in a hospital run by a Mrs Pullman, who was related to the Ellison family. Meryl, who recorded her early memories on tapes held in the City Library Springwood, could remember being brought up in a close-knit family, and of the community spirit engendered when anyone needed help. She was taught to swim by her grandfather, who she said was a good breast-stroke swimmer, at Mahogany Swamp.

The family attended the Methodist or Presbyterian Churches for Sunday school, according to convenience, even though they were christened as Anglicans. Meryl attended the stone-built Springwood public school, located in the main street (now the northern car park). Mrs Farnsworth was one of her teachers. Later she went to high school in Penrith before attending Summerhayes Typing College. Meryl related that she was ‘horse mad’, and as a child used to ride one of the family cows around until her parents finally bought her a horse. She remembered going by horse and sulky every Saturday night, out to Aberfeldy where the younger members of the family would play grab with their grandfather. Later in the evening the adults would play a game of 7s and before making tea her grandmother would don a set of headphones to listen to the crystal wireless set. As children they were amused at the facial expressions she would pull and would not be content until she related what she had heard that night on the radio.

Henry and Kathleen Goddard’s only daughter Lillie (?) married Charlie Lacey who had the first taxi business in Springwood using a 1910 Oldsmobile. They bought the Whitecross property.

Cecil Goddard died in 1970 at the age of 80. He was survived by sons Cecil and Bruce and daughters Iris and Violet.

Pamela Smith - taken from The Making Of A Mountain Community, A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District 

Henry, Stan & Cecil Goddard



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