01. Russ

Louis Russell Freeman Callcott (1903-1985) was the only son of Lucy and Alf Callcott,  who also had two daughters,  Marjorie Lou and Clarice. Russ, like his father Alf,  became a railway man, ultimately working on Thirroul Railway Station in later years until his retirement.

He had become, for a time, part of the extended Thirroul Hicks – Joy families, on his marriage to Mary Constance (Molly) Joy in 1929.

Wedding of Russell Callcott and Mary Constance Joy 1929 at St Augustine’s Bulli

Russ and Molly Callcott seemed to have moved around with his railway employment – Hornsby, LambtonHowever ultimately they returned to Thirroul in the mid-late 1930′s and lived across the road from his mother, Lucy, in Harbord Street.

Along the way they were to have five children, Ian McKenzie, Joan Lois (Adams), Enid Josephine (Gorton), John Alfred and Joy (Parks). Russ and Molly’s marriage was fairly short-lived and he moved to his mother’s home, across the road in Harbord Street Thirroul. This created hardship for Molly and her five children during the 1930′s-1950′s. Unsurprisingly, there was estrangement between Russ and his four older children for many years.

Only the youngest, Joy, maintained close contact with her father for many years.

Wedding of Joy Parks nee Callcott – with father Russ Callcott

In the later years, another  daughter, Enid, became reconciled with Russ, prior to his death in 1985.

Russ’s children did recall  friendly and affectionate visits from their paternal aunts, Russ’s sisters, Marjorie and Clarice. Sadly, most of them did not have a warm relationship with their paternal grandmother, Lucy Callcott, who was indeed a respected organist of the St David’s Church of England in Thirroul. However perhaps it was to do with Lucy being the eldest of 10 children, and in such cases, sometimes it can be hard on the eldest daughter. They can often end up bringing up some of the younger siblings – which can impact their feelings about children generally.

Lucy Callcott nee Midson and Alf Callcott – source “The Small Family in the Illawarra 1788-1988”

Russ owned a number of properties and was regarded as a tough landlord by at least one tenant in the 1960’s – although it is not known if this was a fair criticism or not.

Thirroul identities, The Hon Laurie Kelly, MP, and LG (Peter) Chamberlain, had grown up in Harbord St Thirroul – and so had clear memories of him.

To some degree Russ was regarded as a bit of an eccentric around Thirroul. He had dug out an air raid shelter in the backyard during the World War II years. It promptly filled up with water. This caused some amusement in the neighbourhood, as that part of Thirroul around Harbord Street has been known for its poor drainage and natural springs. Russ was a health fanatic – often seen riding his bike around the town, and also raised goats, attributing his miracle recovery from cancer to drinking goats’ milk.

Over the years, Russ was a keen fisherman often spotted throwing out a line down near McCauley’s Beach.

Later in life Russ developed an appreciation of local Illawarra history, and had built up quite a collection of old photographs of the area.

Whilst there rumours of another relationship for a time, Russ never remarried. He is buried at the Bulli General Cemetery.

Louis Russell Freeman Callcott – Gravestone at Bulli General Cemetery


2 Responses to 01. Russ

  1. Jennifer Yvonne Moore says:

    Hi I am excited that I read your Callcott Family in Illawarra as your Alfred Freeman Callcott is my great grandfather William Thomas Callcott’s brother.
    Wonder if you may have photos of Alfred’s ancestry family & more details of Thomas Calcott (convict) & Mary Freeman??? as I have a lot trouble to find their background.
    I will be appreciate to hear from you soon
    Regards Jennifer Moore (nee Callcott)

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