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  • ID: I2651
  • Name: Raymond SINCLAIR
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 06 SEP 1893 in Guy Fawkes, NSW
  • Burial: 20 MAY 1971 Presberterian Cemetery, Coffs Harbour, NSW
  • Death: 17 MAY 1971 in Prince Alfred Hospital Sydney, NSW
  • Note:

    Written By his daughter Clarice Sinclair.

    Raymond SINCLAIR was born at Guy Fawkes, on 6th Sept 1893. He died 17th May 1971 and is buried in Coffs Harbour, NSW, next to his wife Angelina. Ray grew up in a very large family, where he recalled eighteen people at the dinner table as a normality in the household. Also, when they baked bread, a 25 lb. bag of flour was used. All hands were expected to work from an early age and at night the boys had to brush their sisters' long hair. The boys learned to fight with boxing gloves as soon as they were old enough to control their temper. Ray was one of the four brothers to enlist in the Great War (W.W.1.) along with his brother in law and several cousins (Edwards boys). He joined the A.I.F. on the 9th of August, 1915 and sailed from Woolloomooloo on the 7th of January, 1916 to Egypt on the "Medic". He was trained there and sailed to Marseilles, France, on the "Transilvania". In June, 1916. He spent three years in France, Belgium, etc. He returned home 13th June 1919 on the "China". He was Sports Officer on this trip. It was the 13th Quota homeward bound. He had three leaves of fourteen days to England during this period. He was 2nd Lieutenant Raymond Sinclair, M.M., D.C.M. Commissioned in the field, August, 1918. 4th Machine Gun Co. No. 1 section. 4th Brigade 4th Division, 13th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement.
    After returning home, he renewed his friendship with Angelina in the Dorrigo area, and they were married 15/2/1922. The early years of their marriage were lived in the Dorrigo-Bostobrick area, where they had their fair share of ups and downs. Their first daughter was born there and died at five days old. Their next two daughters were also born there. During their time in this area, the Depression was a cause of hardship for the family. In the early 30's, Ray took work on the Tick staff. As he was always a very good horseman and could handle cattle (like his kinfolk), he also had a great ability with dogs and livestock. Ray, having been a blacksmith as a young man, always shod his own horses and would often shoe horses for his work mates, that other blacksmiths couldn't handle, by throwing them. During his time with the Tick staff, he was stationed between Bowraville and the Queensland border. They moved to Bonville, Karangi (their fourth daughter, Gloria, was born in Coffs Harbour). Then they went on to Legume, Acacia Creek (Clarrice, their fifth daughter, being born in Killarney, Qld). After this, the family of six moved to Lionsville, then Copmanhurst, where Ray share farmed with Bob Davison for a short time. Then, with Raymond still on the Tick staff, they shifted to Jackadgery, and then on to Lawrence.

    When he was sent to Bowraville and parted from his family, they decided to leave the Tick staff and go into business. In Wooli they had mixed business; in Maclean they had the Dry Cleaners; and in Ulmarra, a cafe. For two people who'd had approximately three years formal schooling each, they were both very capable and held their own in whatever they took on and were most successful. They were highly respected wherever they went, and brought their children up in a most loving home, with a strict set of rules and high principles. Raymond and Angelina retired to Coffs Harbour, where Ray died at 78 years of age and Angelina lived for another 16 years. She died at the age of almost 88. They were pre deceased by their first infant child Angelina Victory, who died aged five days. The remaining children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are all alive April, 2001.

    Life of Raymond Sinclair & family compiled By Laurel Lee 2/7/2001

    My Dad, reared in a hard working pioneer home became an exceptional horseman, bushman, cattleman,
    Blacksmith and Farrier. He enlisted 13th Battalion AIF for the Great War, & served in Egypt France and England. He became a commissioned officer & was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal. He returned to Dorrigo and married there, on 15-2-1922, the tall slim raven haired beauty, accomplished horsewoman, seamstress and bookkeeper, popularly regarded as the "Princess of the Plateau" -- my mother, Angelina Mary Donoghue, born at Hillgrove - a thriving mining town on-, 5-3-1899, thence to Paddys' Plains and then Dorrigo with her widowed mother and only sister equally beautiful Amanda. Mothers ancestry in Australia began with Ann.Thornly who married a Simpson on the Hawkesbury River, her daughter Elizabeth married a Davis of the Hawkesbury, her daughter Mary Ann married a Sullivan of St Allbans, her daughter- my grandmother Angelina Victoria married my grandfather James Donoghue of Emerald and had 2 daughters, 5th generation Australians, Angelina and Amanda who married 2 handsome brothers Ray and Clair Sinclair.

    While Blacksmithing in Dorrigo - (there was very rare motorized transport there, in the twenties), their first child, Angelina Victory was born 22-1-1923 and due to incompetent birthing care died on 27-1-1923. Dad acquired a bakers cart delivery run, mother gradually recovered her health, meanwhile they lived with my Grandmother Donoghue behind her dressmakers shop on the site of the present RSL Club.

    Subsequently I - Laurel Rae - was born in Dorrigo 15-6-1927 on the coldest day on record there. My pram arrived by train and Dad wheeled it home a mile or so through snow and sleet. No electric heaters, no air conditioning those days; no wonder I've always loathed the cold and loved big logs in open fires. Sister Colleen Dawn was born there 24-12-1929 beautiful like her mother with masses of black curls contrasting with my bIond wisps. In 1930 moved, with repatriation assistance to our farm on the Little Nymboida River opposite Edwards place at Bostobrick.

    Slavery for Dad followed, hand milking the herd, hand powered separator, cream cans by horse and cart a mile or so to the roadside cream stand, falling timber, clearing ground, moleboard horse drawn ploughing of rough virgin land, silo digging and making hand made palings to fence the lucerne paddock, to keep out the kangaroos and wallabies, building log stalled pig sty's, I remember it clearly - but how did he do all that in the 'years it took Australia to fall into, the deepest depression this country has known.

    Our beloved Nan Donoghue who lived with us, died in Bellingen Hospital of pneumonia in 1931 through getting damp while fishing with friends. My first trip down the Dorrigo mountain in a sulky was to say goodbye.

    Butter was bringing four pence a pound, not worth its production costs. We lived on our own milk and butter, cracked corn porridge, eggs pigs you could not sell and kangaroo tail soup. Then the bank foreclosed, we left with nothing. By extreme good luck (and good references) Dad was hired by the Board of Tick control for three pounds odd a week. We moved by horse and sulky down the Dorrigo mountain to Bonville before my 6th birthday in 1933.

    Four months there on the boundary tick gate, and Dad was "promoted " to "field" work. It seems someone became aware of his horsemanship and cattle experience. 'They" "Johnny Government", moved us to Karangai to live in a shed and a tent, 5 shillings rise in pay and paltry horse allowance. 1 was riding the "spare" horse to work with Dad before 1 started school there at 7 years. Sister Gloria Olive with Shirley Temple golden ringlets was born 7 miles away in Coffs Harbour 25-5-1934. Grandfather James Donaghue visited us there very ill, and died at Emerald shortly after. A year later "They" moved us to Legume near the Queensland border, then to Acacia Creek closer still. Sister Clarrice Heather with lovely dark curls was born just over the boarder at Killarney on 27-10-1935. Mother was ill, probably, post natal depression etc, and I learned the joy of caring, for a small baby, and rode successfully in the Killarney show. Dawn and 1 walked 3 miles each way to the Legume school in 1936.

    Dad's work was daylight to often after dark (when did "they" invent the 8 hr, day) searching out every last horse or beast wild or tame, to dip in a trough of arsenic solution, or spray with the same, with absolute regularity to break the tick cycle in that area. Dad once fell into the dip, as he often had to straddle it to move stock or clean the silt, he swallowed some and expected to die as warned. He broke into an absent farmers home found some mustard and purged himself exhaustively and miraculously I lived to apologise profusely to the smiling farmer. Another time great friends on the Acacia Plateau rescued him when a young, horse fell on his foot and tore all the ligaments around the ankle, took him to the Doctor in Killarney and then brought him home, strapped up and off work for 3 weeks I think! Was there any pay for that time? Workers compensation hadn't been 'invented'. "They" shifted us after the designated 12 months to the wild and beautiful untamed mountain country 70 miles out blush from Grafton, head of the Washpool River; tributary of the Clarence River, to a deserted mining town called Lionsville. Once it held 7,000 people had 7 hotels but by then there were just 7 people and 3 buildings and lots of dangerous mine shafts. Dad and his brother Cyril (also with the Tick Board) housed 3 miles away, were chosen especially for this wild country on Claude Hienz cattle station, parts like the "Horseshoe" gorge country had never been mustered, wild cattle that had never seen a horsemen but must every one be found and yarded and dipped regularly. And they were! I went there thinking I could ride, but when we left a later I could.

    How lucky we girls were, loving and strict parents, no rough talk in our slab house, a "switchy" stick for a back answer or laziness, wood and kindling to gather, water to be carried from the well, milk from the neighbours, horses and dogs to feed and brush. Telling lies was 0.U.T. we may have been killed! Likewise for failure in responsibility and for secrets or deceit. Usually a stern word from Dad and the, fear of God from Mum and things ran smoothly. Some nights by the great open fire, Dad would take the smallest ones on his knees and sing, to us in his wonderful soft Baritone "The Rose of Tralee" and "Kathleen Mavorneen"

    With the rest of Australia starving, we thrived, cattlemen killed their own, and Dad's saddle bags were often filled. The Washpool was full of the sweetest, fresh water catfish; I've ever eaten, Catching them with Dad at dusk - a joy! Our generous old hermit neighbour fed us wonderful vegetables and peanuts galore from his garden. Mum occasionally made him a "Brownie", our camp oven cake. Just as well we. all had no trouble with schoolwork, Dawn and I whizzed through Blackfriars Correspondence course and continued to top our classes. Dad and Mums patchy bush schooling made them the best spellers and mathematicians in our family, even when 1 reached intermediate level. Our basic needs, flour, sugar, blue bottles of caster oil, Sloans liniment etc, came once a week by mail and supply truck from Baryulgil one general store 10 miles or, Copmanhurst with two, 50 miles or Grafton 70 miles of rough dirt corrugated road. Dad had acquired great stock horses by knowing one when he saw it, and buying cheaply ones no one else could break or mouth. So when the Washpool was in extended flood, and urgent supplies, mail and medicine were on the other side we watched in horror while he rode one and led another horse across that roaring river and back with packs wrapped in oil skin coats. Can the twenty first century breed men of such courage and honour? I learned another valuable lesson in Lionsville. I'd felt proud of my 4th and 6th generations in Australia until with Dads guidance I grew to appreciate the gentle kindness and wisdom of those that could claim thousands of Generations here. So after my tenth birthday in 1937, Dad rode the horses to Copmanhurst, came back as usual by tabletop truck to get us, great views riding, on the top of furniture! We were still at Copmanhurst, walking miles to school when World War 2 was declared.

    Despite our tears and terror our loyalist Dad immediately sought enlistment. Very fit and healthy Commissioned officer with 4 years active service behind him, at 46 he was deemed 2 years too old and was rejected entry. The blow to my Dads self-esteem and pride and his loss of respect for the decisions of those in charge was enormous. Probably loss of faith in government institutions and his first feeling of "getting old", made him leave the Board of Tick Control and try are farming, within a year, despite pleadings from the farm owner, for very personal reasons to protect his family he went back to the Tick Staff arid moved on to Jackadgery. At Copmanhurst, Mums skimping and scraping had finally brought us our first luxury. 75 pounds for a Whippet car, and our first holiday, a trip to Brisbane to stay a week with Dads brother and family - what a mind blowing experience for we kids. So when we left Copmanhurst the furniture went by truck, and Dawn (also a competent equestrian) and I, rode the horses 30 miles through Fineflour to Jackadgery with Dad in the car with Mum and "the kids" tagging along behind. I should mention our faithful cattle dogs, which Dad trained from pups, carefully selected, who and grazing with wonderful country folk. I had my 14th birthday there, did first year high school correspondence at the primary school - Neighbours prevailed on my reluctant and eager Mum and daughters to attend the monthly dances in the old brush hall with floor like glass. The piano accordion and violin in the hands of experts, good people who never allowed my mother or me to sit out a dance - excellent ballroom dancers who even taught the children to dance. Not that I thought that I at nearly 5 feet 8 inches tall was a child. Dad, never keen on dancing loved yarning with the oldies in the supper room amongst all the sleeping babies.

    Sadly we moved again 50 miles through Grafton to Lawrence. Dawn and I with the horses again. Stayed with an Aunt in South Grafton and took the horses and dog to cross the Grafton bridge just on daylight. The fog with 30 yard visibility the railway shunting yards right by, tooting and clattering the walled bridge with black tarmac the horses feared, and train noises they'd never heard created an experience Dawn and 1 will never forget but we succeeded and it provided me with a subject for an essay which my Maclean high school principal, Mr Bloomfield enthused about and read to the class. Dad was distressed when he realized he'd forgotten the proximity of the railway yards to the bridge. Lawrence on the northern side of the Clarence river above Maclean a pleasant little "one of every thing" dairy farming community, easier work for Dad but plenty of it. Next thing, German warships off the coast at Trial Bay, Japanese submarines in Sydney Harbour, our soldiers fighting a fierce and almost hopeless battle on the Kakoda trail. Plans fell into place for evacuating the whole of the East Coast. Not only the people but all stock stores and valuables. Who else could "they" put in charge of our area to move the stock on the northern side of the Clarence to the mountains? Who else knew the entire length of the river intimately? Who had the expertise, the confidence of all the cattle owners and their full co-operation? Long hours of meetings and plannings for my dear Dad who never knew how to shirk a responsibility and worried he must leave Mum and the younger girls to the official peoples evacuation scheme, but I was to go with the cattle and horses. Hiroshima and Nagasaki put and end to that.

    Gradually after 6 years of rationing and worry, we felt at peace again. Dad was moved to Bowraville by the Tick Board for a short stint but Mum was sick of 16 years of moving. She hounded the estate agents and by some miracle Dad came home and they were able to buy into one of the two General Stores at Wooli with the help of one of the "old fashioned" Bank managers, They did well there, sold and bought the dry cleaning business at Maclean.

    Meanwhile I had made an ill-fated marriage while working at Butchers General Store at Lawrence. At 18 married, 19 had my son and 20 separated and later divorced. As this is a poor attempt at a resume of my wonderful Dads life and not mine I will add for clarity when my son was 8 years old I married again a man with three darling daughters on a banana plantation at Korora near Coffs Harbour and now live alone at Woolgoolga. mainly to be with Dawn and Gloria for Dad developed severe dermatitis in his hands from the chemicals. Trips to Sydney specialists and lengthy treatments failed. He was reluctant to accept he could not work in the business. There was a roaring trade with migrant cane cutters alone at the time and they the only cleaners on the lower Clarence. Dad could have sat in an armchair at home and grown wealthy but he was not that kind of man. They sold that and bought a bus stop cafe in Ulmarra near to the hotel, sold thousands of hamburgers, pies, and ice creams etc. Imagine the footballers buses on short stops going home. Dad was never a drinking man and mother hated the smell of beer. They sold that and bought a home in Musten Pathway South Grafton. Dad worked at Rathgar gardening etc for a while. He always loved gardening arid finally had time for it.

    They subsequently bought a small crop farm adjoining my home property at Korora, he worked too hard of course and by the time he was seventy his heart was packing it in. They sold and bought a home on a quarter acre block at 46 High Street Coffs Harbour. But of course there he made a quarter acre garden, which kept us all and neighbours too, in beautiful vegetables. His great pride and joy from that
    garden were the masses of his Bromeliads, which were used at the foot of the stage for the formal welcome of her Majesty the Queen. His 3rd brush with royalty. The King shook his hand and gave him his DCM in England. He went to meet the Prince when his plane landed on the beach at Coffs Harbour to offer his beautifully mannered beautifully groomed mare "Fidget" for the Prince to ride to Sawtell for an official welcome there in 1934 and then to top it off, flowers for the Queen. We lost the best man I have ever known in Prince Alfred Hospital Sydney on 17.5.1971. 77 years old. He was buried in Coffs Harbour's old Presbyterian Cemetery. 2 years before their 50th wedding anniversary. Our dear mother never properly adjusted to her loss; gradually deteriorated till we lost her in Grafton hospital 21-1-1987 and she went to her rest beside Dad.

    Father: William James SINCLAIR b: 05 NOV 1844 in Sydney, NSW
    Mother: Jane HISCOX b: 25 OCT 1865 in McIntyre Flat near Armidale, NSW

    Marriage 1 Angelina Mary DONOGHUE b: 05 MAR 1899 in Hillgrove, NSW
    • Married: 15 FEB 1922 in Dorrigo, NSW
    • Note:

      NSW BDM 1922/327
    1. Has No Children Angelina Victoria SINCLAIR b: 22 JAN 1923 in Dorrigo, NSW
    2. Has Children Laurel Rae SINCLAIR b: 15 JUN 1927 in Dorrigo, NSW
    3. Has Children Colleen Dawn SINCLAIR b: 24 DEC 1929
    4. Has Children Living SINCLAIR
    5. Has Children Living SINCLAIR
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