Farraher Family of the Northern Illawarra – Questions

In 1918, Russ Callcott’s older sister, Clarice (1899-1974), the younger daughter of Alf and Lucy Callcott, married Wilfred Victor Farraher (1892-1985). Victor was a member of the Farraher’s, another of the older European families in the Northern Illawarra, like the  Hicks-McKenzie side of our Callcott family. Then when James Hicks‘ great granddaughter, “Molly” Mary Joy, married Clarice‘s younger brother, Russ Callcott in 1929, a Hicks “girl” became the in-law of a Farraher “son”. Clarice and Victor Farraher lived in Ocean St Thirroul with their two daughters, Marie Winifred Farraher and Dorothy Clare Farraher. Russ returned to live in Harbord St Thirroul, with his family in 1937 – very close by to Clarice & Victor in Ocean St.

From Kerrie Christian“I remember Mum, Joan Adams (nee Callcott), mentioning that we were related to some Farraher’s, but back then, years ago, it didn’t mean a lot to me to be honest. Nor did she mention that they were her Irish Catholic cousins either. Mum’s parents had divorced so we didn’t have a lot to do with her father’s side of the family – but Mum did say that her Callcott aunts, Clarice Farraher and Marjorie Lou Tiernan did used to visit them at Harbord St Thirroul, even after the break-up.

Then, when Joe Davis was researching DH Lawrence in Thirroul, it came out that Clarice Callcott’s husband, Victor Farraher, had written a letter supporting Captain De Groote who had rode in and cut the ribbon for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, ahead of NSW Premier Jack Lang, in 1932. Joe was indicating that Victor Farraher might have been connected into the New Guard. Joe also wrote about the family connections between the Farraher’s and J S Kirton, who had owned Excelsior Mine.

Victor Farraher‘s daughters were still around and had never married, and were maybe just a bit eccentric, according to Mum – but they had all moved further south to somewhere around Balgownie she thought. I remember seeing Victor‘s name on the Board at Thirroul Surf Club – he’d been Club President years ago.  There was Farraghar’s Creek along the Northern Distributor – it seemed that the spelling of Farraher had evolved from Farraghar and Farragher over the years too. No surprise there – our family’s Callcott name had been spelled as Calcott and Callcot in the 19th Century. So I was joining the dots of some connections that existed between the Farraher’s and the Callcott side of our family in the early decades of the 20th Century –  mentally pigeon-holing the Farraher‘s with the Callcott side of our family, but not the Hicks-McKenzie side.

During my Wollongong Councillor years (1991-2004), I represented the northern Ward 1, from Helensburgh down as far as Bellambi Lane, basically covering the old Bulli Shire Council territory. I’d door-knock the then fairly new Hollymount Estate, and dealt with emerging “hotspots” off Rixons Pass Road in Woonona –  but I never really thought much about who had owned the land years before – nor even imagined that it had belonged to the relatives of my mother’s Farraher cousins.

And when I started doing the Hicks Family history, the Farraher’s came up too. They had been lobbying for the same issues, alongside my great great grandfather, Henry Thomas Hicks – back in the last couple of decades in the 19th Century – for Public Schools and Bulli Shire Council to be set up. So I wasn’t surprised when Michael Adams, of “Beyond Bulli” fame, was writing about Farraher’s being really early pioneers further south, and who had lived around Woonona. When I started looking a bit further into that, well, it was clear that the Farraher’s were a very, very old Illawarra family, coming to the Southern Illawarra in 1837, the same year that our McKenzie side of our Callcott family had arrived in Ellengowan Fairy Meadow. And then they settled in the Woonona area in 1842 – the same year that the Hicks side of the Callcott’s  had moved down to Russell Vale. So parallel it all seemed very surreal to be honest.

Mum had said that Victor Farraher had died in 1985 in Balgownie, and recently my cousin Mary Callcott mentioned that Victor and Clarice Farraher‘s daughters had died a few years back. They had been living further south too. Mary had personal memories of seeing them in some of the shopping centres, and I think that Mum did too.

But how did Clarice Callcott and Victor Farraher ever get together, and how did Clarice‘s mother, Lucy Callcott, deal with it ? My mother, and her older brother Ian Callcott, remembered their grandmother Lucy Callcott as being very fierce and not someone to be crossed. And the Callcott’s were very very ProtestantLucy would play the organ at St David’s C of  E in Thirroul for years – there was even a plaque in the church honouring her years of devoted service. Lucy‘s father, William Midson, had been a Preacher in the Methodist Church, and her maternal great grandfather, James Bradley, was a 1st Fleet Convict turned Methodist Preacher. James Bradley reputedly tussled with Reverend Samuel Marsden in competing to attract children to their respective churches.  And the Farraher’s, well, they were a very, very committed Irish Catholic Family. That sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen – unless Lucy decided it was good for business, to have a son-in-law, who was not only a Farraher, but one who was a nephew of JS Kirton, Bulli Shire Council President and owner of Excelsior Mine ? “

So a few questions – who were the Farraher’s – where did they come from – where did they live – what did they do – how were they related to the Kirton’s, Collaery’s, Cawley’s Cromack’s, Crowe’s, Downie’s  and even to our Callcott’s  – not to mention their interactions with the HicksWebb’s & Jones – how could Clarice & Victor have been permitted to marry by their families – and where are the Farraher’s  today ? A few, but certainly not all, the answers to these questions … click here

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