My great aunt, Marjorie Lou Callcott, was born on 04-10-1895 in Strathfield/Canterbury and died on 18-05-1973, and is buried in Dapto. Marjorie married a miner’s son, John Tiernan in 1920, at St Columbkille’s RC in Corrimal, they lived a little north in Thirroul after the marriage. John’s family were of solidly Irish Catholic heritage whereas Marjorie’s heritage was English Protestant. Though there was some perception of Scottish heritage in there as well – I always understood that there was no Scots in that part of our Callcott – Midson family ?
Clearing up the First Fleet Mysteries – Convicts or Military /Naval Officers? Marjorie was the great great granddaughter of First Fleet Convicts John Small, Mary Parker, James Bradley and also of Third Fleet convict Sarah Barnes. Around the time of the death of her maternal grandmother Charlotte Midson nee Small, it was still believed that their family’s John Small was a military officer on the Sirius; and other suggestions from around 1935 that he was possibly an officer, Sergeant of the Black Watch, who had become the personal servant of NSW Governor Arthur Phillip . Indeed there was evidence that there were actually Small’s in the Black Watch who had Scottish ancestry – but not our Small’s who were from Birmingham. However some suggested there was Scots ancestry in there – but probably not. In fact Marjorie’s John Small did have a military background before his unsuccessful foray into crime as a Highwayman, conviction and transportation on the Charlotte to Australia on the First Fleet – see Youtube Clip. So it became very grey indeed – but finally with Mollie Gillen’s “The Search for John Small” clearing up some of the mysteries. John Small’s wife fellow First Fleet convict Mary Parker was a Londoner.
Likewise some early Australian newspapers also had Charlotte’s other grandfather James Bradley as being a Captain fighting on Nelson’s Flagship “Victory” at Trafalgar in 1805 – rather than another First Fleet Convict on the Scarborough ! James married a Bloomsbury based convict Sarah Barnes. Marjorie’s grandmother Charlotte had married William Midson who came to Australia on the Constitution as an assisted immigrant from England with his parents.
On Marjorie’s paternal side there was an English Londoner convict, Thomas Callcott and his Londoner wife Mary Freeman. Their son Thomas married Ada Avard, who was also descended from English emigrants from Kent who travelled to the Colony on an assisted passage. No Scots in Marjorie’s lot, nor in her husband John’s.
Marjorie’s husband, John Tiernan was born on 20-01-1871 in Braidwood and died on 08-04-1952 in Glen Innes. In 1932 he was a check weighman at Coalcliff Colliery further north of Thirroul, and about then their marriage broke down. He remained in the Thirroul – Austinmer area for at least 10 years – around 1946 he may taken out a workers compensation against Coalcliff Colliery. At the time of his passing in 1952 at Glen Innes, possibly John was living with or near his second son Kevin Francis Tiernan and daughter in law Freda Cecilia Mary Tiernan nee Scarf. John’s parents John Snr and Bridget (nee Torpey) were both Irish immigrants. Unsurprisingly they were active members of St Columbkille’s RC Parish, and likewise John was active in St Michael and Molua’s RC Parish in Thirroul, during the years of his marriage and afterwards.
Note – Augustus “Jock “O’Connor was Marjorie’s second partner after the breakdown of her marriage. He is listed as the father of her third child, David according to his NSW BDM Death certificate. They lived around La Perouse – Little Bay. On Augustus’ death, Marjorie returned to the NSW South Coast to live in Thirroul. During her time in Sydney she may have also been known as Margaret O’Connor, but on return to Thirroul, she was known as Marjorie Tiernan.
Marjorie’s three children were as follows :
- John Barrie Tiernan, b. 04-09-1921 in Thirroul – married (1) Beryl Joyce McLeod, in Frankston Methodist, b. 18-05-1920 in Ariah Park. Then married (pre 1988?) (2) Margaret Rogers, in St Andrews Uniting, Brisbane, b. 12-05-1931 in Buranda, QLD. Margaret: nee Gayford-Pipe. There were children & grandchildren.
- Barrie remained with his father in Thirroul after the breakup of his parents around 1932-33
- WW2 Service Barrie served in the RAAF as a military policeman in WW2, initially in Victoria but mostly in the Northern Territory. He was a Sergeant in the RAAF Police (possibly based Daly Waters, Batchelor, Darwin) at time of his first marriage. By 1952 he was still on the RAAF Active Reserve and his military record is one of the longest that I have seen at 209 pages !
- After the war, around about 1949, Barrie became a policeman in Special Branch based in Darwin and was very involved in Scottish Pipe Bands – although his heritage was in fact purely English on his maternal side and Irish on his father’s side. His policing career would have to be described as exceptional and takes a while to digest. Barrie was awarded MBE while a Detective Sergeant in Fannie Bay N.T. 1966 : 1 – 2). He was part of Squad Training in the NT Police in 1958 and appears to have had some involvement in the 1954 Petrov Affair at Darwin Airport (oral history interview held at State Library NSW) – also refer Biographical Cutting (Libraries). Although as cousins they were not close, due to the family fragmentations, nevertheless I do know that Mum was proud of her eldest male cousin, Barrie Tiernan. More links on Barrie’s career follow
He was often a Bugle Player at key occasions from his youth including at funerals of his colleagues.
- Kevin Francis Tiernan, b. 01-04-1923, d. 05-06-1957 Lambton – married in Glen Innes to Freda Cecelia Mary Scarf, b. 15-02-1926, d. ??-08-2010 in Newcastle. There were several children & grandchildren – I have met one of their children, who lived in Thirroul for a time. Freda was the daughter of Nicholas Eli Scarf and his wife Mary Jane Pegler.
- Kevin remained with his father in Thirroul after the breakup of his parents around 1932-33
- WW2 Service Kevin served in the 158 Light Anti Aircraft Battery of the 53rd Australian Composite Anti Aircraft Regiment (click for its brief history) and joining the Forestry Commission after the War. Initially the 158th were at Walgrove Camp in Sydney, Kalinga in Brisbane and Redlynch near Cairns they were sent to Milne Bay, Papua. The three photographs below are from the Australian War Memorial where copyright has expired.
They served at Tarakena and Jiropa near Buna – Cape Endaiadere during October 1943 – January 1944. This was after the main action of November 1942- January 1943. However the 158th did come under enemy fire in that period. Just over a year later, they had sailed from Moratai , and then on May 1 1945, they were part of the controversial Oboe One assault on Tarakan in Borneo – where they encountered stronger resistance than military intelligence anticipated and casualties were also higher. They remained at Tarakan for the duration of the war.
More details on Tarakan, Borneo. Victory at Tarakan liberated the local people from Japanese oppression, and was significant because “For the first time, all land and sea areas within the South West Pacific command came under Allied air superiority.” See also a critical review – notably done with the benefit of hindsight.
- David Geoffrey Tiernan, b. 04-02-1933 in Thirroul, d. 07-05-1967 in Little Bay. Changed name to Geoffrey David O’Connor – married Betty Joyce Cook, b. 25-10-1937. There were children – but there are no details.