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Kiwis were once as Aussie as you are

Chapel at Shore Grammar School, Sydney
Chapel at Shore Grammar School, Sydney

ONE area of Australian history, after white settlement, which we tend to forget is the fact that originally all the states of Australia were separate colonies and that New Zealand was a separate colony close to Australia.

When Federation was suggested some of the states were not at first interested, but New Zealand was very interested.

The current makeup of the Commonwealth of Australia would have been quite different if New Zealand had joined Australia in 1901.

When looking for ancestors we should keep this in mind.

Many people went to and from New Zealand as easily as they did between the Australian colonies.

In the late 1800s Alfred and Hannah Hill, and Louis and Marianne DuRieu, took their rather large families to New Zealand.

In 1889 two of their children, George Edmond Hill and Louisa DuRieu married in New Zealand and then moved to Sydney.

Many young couples moved from one colony to another in this way, especially when starting out.

George was employed by the AMP Society which had been formed as a Friendly Society in 1849.

It is not certain whether he joined the Society in New Zealand or later in Australia but George soon found himself the Society's Representative in Grafton.

Over the years he and Louisa had two sons, Edmund Adrian DuRieu Hill, born in 1892, and Esmond Fenwick DuRieu Hill, born in 1893. To complete their education both boys were sent to the prestigious Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore).

Edmund went on to become a surveyor while Esmond became a bank clerk. Both enlisted in the Army in 1915 and they soon found themselves overseas.

Because of his surveyor skills Edmund Hill joined the Engineers.

He quickly made a name for himself as a very fearless and brave soldier and was promoted to Lieutenant.

He worked on building communication lines (and destroying enemy communication lines) and supervising the formation and building of trenches.

Esmond Hill joined the 3rd Infantry Battalion and became a Lance Corporal.

It would seem that he became ill soon after arriving at the Front and may have contracted one of the many illnesses which dogged the armed forces at that time.

Some time later he was transferred to his brother's unit, the 7th Field Company Engineers.

This seems unlikely to have been a coincidence and possibly Edmund was trying to look after his younger brother. They both returned to Australia in April 1919.

Edmund Hill set up as a surveyor in Grafton but later went to Sydney.

He married Hilda M. Broome in 1923.

The ceremony was held in his old school chapel at Shore Grammar School. Edmund and Hilda had one daughter, Adrienne Pamela, who became a pathologist.

Edmund was successful in his profession and the family lived on the North Shore at Neutral Bay and later at Roseville. He died in 1967.

His brother, Esmond, had returned home a sick man.

No doubt his time in the trenches had involved contact with mustard gas as well as other illnesses.

He had returned to Grafton and he married Marjorie Alma Lovell Baldock there in 1922.

The marriage was short-lived, however, as Esmond died later that year of meningitis.

Topics:  editors picks history new zealand


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