PATFIELD: Alma… Chapter 2

The "Patfield" section of this site will only have a few chapters in this early stage of preparation. This is in memory of my mother, Alma Maud STRONG (née PATFIELD). It is not intended to be a full account of the PATFIELDs, since this is covered by other publications. My narrow focus is on our part of this family. Please read in sequence by following the links at the bottom of each page or use the "Quick Nav" at top right. If you wish to select individual chapters, please click on the top left link to the "Sitemap" page. Note that it is intended that the chapters develop the story of our family and appendices will contain supporting data. The section is integrated with the Photo Gallery: “Alma PATFIELD… her father's & mother's lines.” This gallery illustrates Alma's early German heritage, her grandparents, parents & siblings, and her own life. Note the styles: links to individual images: …#2 ; citation of sources: …ix)

Do you have information, opinion or a question relating to either this site’s contents or its copyright? Please use the e-mail link available at the bottom of each page. I look forward to corresponding with you.

This chapter describes my grandfather, Ernest Montague (Monty) PATFIELD, his marriages, and lists his children.

Image of Alice Maud  PATFIELD (née ROSE), first wife of Ernest Montague  PATFIELD Alice Maud PATFIELD (née ROSE), first wife of Monty PATFIELD.

Ernest Montague (Monty) PATFIELD

Ernest Montague (Monty) PATFIELD was born on 10 Dec 1876 in Paterson NSW, the son of Samuel PATFIELD (1834-1910) & Sarah Australia GILES (1835-1926). He died in Casino Memorial Hospital, on 18 May 1952 at the age of 75 and was buried on 21 May 1952 in Casino Cemetery. His funeral was at St Mark’s C of E Casino. sources …i), ii)

Monty started hard work early, in common with the boys of his time. In 1893 when he was aged 16, the local newspaper reported:

Montague PATFIELD, son of Mr S. PATFIELD, met a nasty accident last week, while drawing a load of gravel. The wheel of the cart passed over the toes of one foot, crushing them very badly. He is still unable to get about. Paterson, Tuesday, 14th February. …iii)

On 17 Jan 1899 when Ernest Montague (Monty) was 22, he lived in Paterson and first married Alice Maud ROSE photo …#34 in the “House of Samuel Patfield” at Paterson, NSW. Alice was said to be the daughter of a LINDEMAN (first name unknown) …#26 & Dorothea (Dora) ROSE (1859-1898) …v), …vi). Alice married as Alice Maud Rose, also known as Alice Maud Soper. Alice lived at Vacy at the time of her marriage, possibly with her foster father Thomas SOPER photo …#31. The marriage was “according to the rites of the C of E” by the minister, John Shaw. The witnesses were Monty's sister Victoria PATFIELD and his brother-in-law Albert TAYLOR. iv)

Alice Maud ROSE was born on 16 Jan 1878 in Orindinna, (near Gresford) NSW on 18 Feb, 1878 …vii) with her twin sister Minnie …viii) to their mother Dorothea (Dora) ROSE(. Their mother married Thomas SOPER (1857-1937) on 30 May 1879 …xxx) and the twins were raised within the SOPER family. Alice Maud died in Paterson, NSW, on 6 Jun 1916 at the age of 38 and was buried in St Paul’s Paterson, NSW ix). …#39 & …#40.

In the first year of their marriage, Monty and Alice's first child Evelyn was born on 17 Nov 1899 and died one year later on 28 Nov 1900. Their second daughter Alma was born in Paterson on 26 Mar 1901 in a 2 storey house at edge of the Paterson River near the bridge from Paterson …v), …xxix). …#44 & …#45. In 1903 Monty lived at Paterson as a gardener, presumably working in the business of his father Samuel, who was also recorded as a gardener xxvi). Alice lived as a domestic at “Clarendon” on the opposite side of the Paterson River to Paterson xxvi). Perhaps this was the time that the legend about Monty arose which described him rowing across the Paterson in a metal water tank …x), …xxviii) ? Throughout Monty's life he obtained work or accommodation through his extended PATFIELD family. In these early years of his marriage, my mother Alma said Monty was a stoker on his brother Herb PATFIELD’s paddle steamer the “Marie”. The “Marie” sailed from Morpeth to Paterson and Vacy which was at the uppermost navigable limit.

Herb & Monty PATFIELD played for Paterson Cricket Club and Herb became vice president in 1909 …xiii). Monty is mentioned in the scores for Paterson in 1904 …xi), xii). The 1910 photo #35 of Monty in the Ironclads Newcastle cricket team suggests a link between Monty and the Ironclads captain Walter Edwin Bramble Snr. W.E. Bramble was involved with river transport and Monty worked on a river steamer. Bramble was the founder of the transport company W.E Bramble & Sons (Walter junior, Alan and Milton)… two sons are also shown in the photo.

In 1907 Monty filed for bankruptcy which revealed a sad story about the family and my grandmother. Where were the social workers and the state support in those days? Monty stated in his "Debtor's Remarks" which were submitted in Jun 1908:

(1)  Debtor’s Remarks…
My bankruptcy is caused by my wife having contracted rheumatic fever in August 1907 and she has been ill ever since.  I have had to employ a servant ever since my wife was taken ill at 8/- per week and board besides paying bills to the Maitland Hospital and Nurse Soper (??) for professional services and someone to attend to my wife when she was at home for about 2 months amounting to £9:14:0. Before the rheumatic fever my wife was ill with an internal complaint for 2 years previously and had to be operated upon about May last year. For the past 4 years my wife has been ailing and not able to work.  I have 4 children the eldest being nearly 7 years age.  I was ill for about 6 weeks myself last June and last Winter my children had croup the same being in the house for about (?) months necessitating getting help in. I attribute my Bankrupt condition to all the illness in my family.  I don’t bet and very seldom have any strong drink. xiv), …xv)

Monty's story about "very seldom have any strong drink" sounds very doubtful. Correspondence with other PATFIELDs elicits the frequent information that Monty was a heavy drinker throughout his adult life. He was said to be a good worker when sober …xvi), but a violent drunk at home with horrifying episodes involving at different times, knife …v), axe …xvi) and even attempted drownings in the Paterson River …xvii).

On 23 May 1908 a list of unsecured creditors was presented to the Bankruptcy registrar. There was list of 14 creditors, the principal creditors being Dr F.A. Bennett (Morpeth) £39, J. & F.W. Cann (storekeepers Paterson) £26:16:8.  Total £126:14:3.

Monty was then examined on 17 Jun 1908 at West Maitland by the Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy.

Q. Is the sickness in your family contracted during the last 12 month?
A. She has been ill for the past 3 or four years as far as I can recollect.
Q. What amount have you paid away during the last 6 months for doctors expenses.
A. I haven’t paid any doctor.
Q. If you haven’t paid any away how do you account for having no assets.
A. Keeping servants and keeping children and nourishments under doctors orders.
Q. You have earned fairly good wages during the last 6 months.
A. Nine pounds a month, not much over, not as much as eleven pound a month.
Q. Has the whole of 9 pound been expended in nourishment for your wife and household expenses.
A. Yes and paying off other bills.
Q. Have you instructions to get warm clothing for your wife.
A. Yes and she has been ordered away to the Convalescent Home near Sydney.
  …xiv), …xv).

Alma told me that in 1911 the family moved to Lostock NSW to a farm ("East View") owned by a Mr Horn and her father built a tennis court on his property. The family boarded the teacher from the Lostock school v). All hints were followed up… being conscious that I should have asked Alma detailed questions while she was still alive!

John (Johann) HORN (Snr) owned "East View" Lostock in 1911 #36. At that time John (Snr) was living at the HORN's other farm at “Cory Vale”, Vacy …viii). John (Snr) had emigrated on the same ship and from the same German town Eichel …#18 as Monty's wife Alice's grandfather Leonard ROSE (ROOS) …xix). John (Jnr) also lived at “Cory Vale” …xviii) and had just married Monty's widowed aunt Hannah Patfield in 1911 …xx). It is most likely that the "East View" homestead was unoccupied by the HORNs in 1911 and the PATFIELDs stayed there… 2 adults, 5 children and one teacher boarder could have been accommodated. These family links would have explained the kindness shown by the HORN family to the PATFIELDs. Alma said that in 1913 Monty got a job with a Mr Bird of Strathisla which is now located on the northern section of the Lostock dam and its catchment …#46. It would not be lengthy horseback ride from "East View" to "Strathisla". See the next chapter for more details of Alma's life at Lostock.

Alice Maud PATFIELD died on 6 Jun 1916 in Maitland Hospital shortly after the birth of her son Harry Ernest (Joff) on 30 Mar 1916. My mother told me it was from septicaemia. Note that rheumatic fever is an auto-immune complication of streptococcal infections… nowadays antibiotics are administered as a preventive measure against subsequent streptococcal infections to people who have had rheumatic fever. My grandmother died in the times before antibiotics! Her death certificate gave the further details that she had died of cardiac failure following puerperal septicaemia of 2 months duration …ix) … which would be complications following the birth of her son Harry Ernest (Joff) PATFIELD.

Obituary. The death occurred in the Maitland Hospital on Tuesday of Mrs Alice Patfield, a resident of Gloucester. Deceased, who was 37 years of age, had been an inmate of the institution for three weeks. …xxi)

Perhaps Alice went to a convalescent hospital in Gloucester after the birth of her son?

Monty paid nothing to his creditors following his sequestration in 1908. Notwithstanding, he applied for discharge from Bankruptcy in 1920 and received a certificate of discharge on 25 Jun 1920.
Following his examination in 1920 it was mentioned that Monty's statement 1908 that he was a labourer working on a steamer.   It was stated that:

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 14 April 1920, page 8. In Bankruptcy.-Before the Registrar, at the Supreme Court-buildlngs, Elizabeth-street.-At 10 a.m.-Application for a certificate of discharge: re Ernest Montague Patfield

the bankrupt’s largest creditor is Doctor Frank Albert Bennett £40.8.0 for medical attendance, extending over 6 years.  The bankrupt does not appear to have ever paid the Doctor anything.  The bankrupt also owed Dr R.G. Alcorn the sum of £10.10.0 for medical attendance.  In view of no dividend having been paid in this estate, the bankrupt should I submit satisfy the Court… etc etc. …xiv)

Monty’s statement in 1920 addressed presumed questioning about his assets, income and housing:

My wife died about four years ago and was not in possession of any property at the time of her decease.
I am at present employed by the Trustees of the Will of William Cann TUCKER late of Paterson in erecting fencing, and in respect of such employment I receive a remuneration of approximately Two pounds per week and am permitted to reside in a two roomed cottage on a dairy farm the property of the deceased. …xiv)
Note: William Cann TUCKER was the late husband of Monty’s sister Victoria TUCKER (née PATFIELD) and the house was on “Brisbane Grove” …#18.

Monty received a certificate of discharge from bankruptcy on 25 Jun 1920.

In 1921 when Ernest Montague was 44, he second married Alice Mary (Mary) TOWNS (née WARR), daughter of Thomas WARR (1843-21 Dec 1898) & Mary A. GREEN (27 Aug 1849-30 Aug 1942), in Paterson NSW xxii). The witnesses were Monty's nephew William Victor TUCKER (1905-1979) and his daughter Alma PATFIELD. Alice Mary was born on 28 Feb 1885 in Eccleston NSW …xxiii) and died in Maitland Hospital, Maitland NSW, on 2 Jun 1932 at the age of 47. The informant of Alice Mary’s death was her son, Thomas James (Jim) TOWNS. She was buried on 4 Jun 1932 in C of E Section, Campbell's Hill Cemetery, West Maitland, NSW. Her cause of death was typhoid fever for 21 days following floods …xxiv).

Alice Mary's first husband Ernest George TOWNS (1878-1920) had died on 18 Aug 1920 in Grant's Creek from skin cancer. Alice Mary brought 5 TOWNS children to her marriage with Monty and then had a further 3 children together… all listed at the end of this chapter. The blended family lived in Paterson… perhaps at “Brisbane Grove” since this was the address given by Monty as informant for the birth of his son Ron PATFIELD. Monty worked a lot as an itinerant crop picker and domestic violence was a continuing problem. A local policeman advised Alice Mary to leave (while Monty was away crop picking?). Alice Mary left Monty in 1929 and moved to Horsehoe Bend near West Maitland with her three children from Monty and her five children from her previous marriage to Ernest George TOWNS (dec.). Ron says that the family lived in very poor circumstances and the children did not wear shoes and they slept in beds made of poles and hessian. Food was very basic and Alice Mary used to get corn from the edge of the fields to grind up for food. At school, Ron says there were large Lilly Pilly trees which had fruit which was distributed by the teachers to the “poor children” (including Ron) together with raisins …xvii). This was the period of the Great Depression. The great flood of 16 Jun 1930 ruined their home at the "Bend". Ron remembers:

… as our house at the Bend was slowly covered by water we climbed onto the metal roof. At last row boats came and Mother and her large family were taken to safety. Later inspection showed- and I remember it well- broken windows, hopeless furniture, stenching animals and mud, mud, mud. After the flood we lived in an old two storey weatherboard house in St Andrew's street just behind St Mary's Church. The street ended at the side fence of the church property- we climbed it often to watch departing funerals. …xvii)

Alice Mary’s eldest son was Thomas James (Jim) TOWNS (1910-1996.) At age 16 on 28 May 1926, Jim was gazetted as a junior clerk with an annual salary of £90 per annum, at the West Maitland Petty Sessions Branch of the Dept of Justice …xxxiv). He worked his through the Public Service to become a magistrate and finally the Chief Coroner in NSW. He was concerned at the threat of violence from Monty to the family and took out a restraining order …xvi) under the ground breaking Magistrates Court Act 1930 which would correspond to modern day apprehended violence orders.

The blended family remained at 47 St Andrew street West Maitland xxiv) until Alice Mary's death. …xvii)

Annie WELLS (née WARR) …#38 arranged the fostering of Monty's children Alf, Ron and Ken PATFIELD when their mother Alice Mary died in 1932 …xvii). Annie was sister to Alice Mary. Annie fostered her nephew Alf, Alma STRONG (née PATFIELD) fostered her half brother Ron, and Dorrie LAMBERT (née TOWNS) fostered her step brother Ken.

Note the precise use of half and step brother. When I was young, I didn't know if Ron was my half uncle or my brother… and since he was never formally adopted, this was never settled. Ron at different times called himself Ron STRONG and also Ron PATFIELD.

When Alice Mary left Monty in 1929, Monty may have remained in his house at Brisbane Grove. This was his home in 1920… see his 1920 statement to the Bankruptcy Registrar quoted above …xiv). It was also his home in 1924 when his son Ron PATFIELD was born. …xvii)

… this house was destroyed in 1932:

An old weatherboard residence on the Brisbane Grove Estate, Paterson, and most of its contents, were destroyed by fire. The occupier was Mr M. Patfield. There was no insurance on the place. xxv)

… or alternately he may have lived on his sister Lydia SMITH (née PATFIELD)'s property “Bona Vista” at Paterson …xxxiii), according to the 1930 electoral rolls. These rolls continue to show his residence at “Bona Vista” in 1936 and 1937 …xxvi). See the image of Monty at “Bona Vista” in image #37.  Perhaps the more likely origin of the legend about Monty rowing across the Paterson in a metal water tank is when he worked at “Bona Vista” and returned home to “Brisbane Grove” …x), …xxviii) ?

My mother took me to meet my grandfather Monty for the first time in 1946 at my uncle Samuel Montague PATFIELD's home at Swan St Morpeth. Monty was supposed to be living in a shed at the back of his property. However, to our surprise, we found he had left to stay at his other son's home at Tatham NSW… Claremont Lawton (Monty) PATFIELD …xxvi)… 1946, 1949. He was living in a shed behind his son's house at Tatham ("near the grape vine") …xxxi).

Monty died in Casino Hospital on 18 May 1952 at the age of 75. He was buried on 21 May 1952 at Casino West Cemetery in the New Anglican section, row H, plot 6.

His funeral notice said:

PATFIELD.—The funeral of the late MR. ERNEST PATFIELD,beloved father of Montague L. PATFIELD, is appointed to leave Casino St Mark's Church of England TOMORROW (THURSDAY), following a service commencing at 2.30 p.m. for the Casino Cemetery. Trevor D. Bevan, Funeral Director. xxvii)

I never met my grandfather. Probably a sad reflection on our family. My mother was traumatised by the events of her childhood and she was fearful of me drinking, even at Christmas. It is possible to suggest that other descendants have also been affected in various ways. I had put my mother's story in the too hard basket. As you will see in my website I have published all the other parts of my family, but not my mother's story. Now I feel that her story should be told, since all of Monty's children and stepchildren are dead.

Ernest Montague (Monty) PATFIELD’s Children

Monty & Alice Maud had
the following children:
# First Names Birth-Death
1 Evelyn Dora Myrl 1899-1900
2 Alma Maud 1901-1988
3 Lydia Victoria


4 Samuel Montague 1904-1971
5 Wallace Aldersley 1906-1925
6 Claremont Lawton (Monty) 1909-1961
7 Harry Ernest (Joff) 1916-1965
Alice Mary brought the following TOWNS children to her marriage with Monty:
# First Names Birth-Death
1 Thomas James (Jim) 1910-1996
2 Dorothy Annie (Dorrie) 1911-1983
3 Clarence George


6 Frederick William 1915-1962
7 Leslie Raymond 1917-1986
Monty & Alice Mary had the following children:
# First Names Birth-Death
1 Alfred William 1922-1971
2 Ronald 1924-2013
3 Kenneth Allan



Sources… Chapter 2:
i)   Birth of Ernest Montague PATFIELD. Reg# 18646/1877 . Registrar of BDM, NSW.
ii)   Death of Ernest Montague PATFIELD. Reg# Reg# 13465/1952 . Registrar of BDM, NSW.
iii)Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser. 16 Feb 1893; 3.
iv)   Marriage of Alice Maud ROSE / SOPER & Ernest Montague PATFIELD. Reg# 1689/1899. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
v)   Oral history given by Alma STRONG to her son Philip
vi)   Robert Soper. The Dorset Sopers. Pompacalie; 2012; 186.
vii ) Birth of Alice Maud ROSE. Reg# 20013/1878. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
viii) Birth of Minnie ROSE. Reg# 20014/1878. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
ix)   Death of Alice Maud PATFIELD. Reg# 8166/1916. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
x)   Olga Marquet. Pers. comm.
xi)   Cricket. Maitland Daily Mercury. 5 Oct 1904; 3.
xii)  Cricket. Maitland Daily Mercury. 24 Oct 1904; 7.
xiii)   Paterson.Maitland Weekly Mercury. 18 Sept 1909; 11
xiv) Bankruptcy: Ernest Montague PATFIELD. NSW State Archives; Series: 13658; Container: 10/23555; Item: 17763; Title: Ernest Montague PATFIELD, bankruptcy 1908.
xv)  Bankruptcy Court, Voluntary Sequestration.  Evening  News. 27 May 1908; 7. (Ernest Montague Patfield of Paterson, labourer.  Mr W.H. Palmer, official assignee.)
xvi) Joan Cox. Pers. com.; 2015.
xvii) Ron Patfield. The time of his life. Unpublished autobiography; 2002.
xviii)  Colin Horn. Pers.comm. 2015.
xix)  State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood New South Wales, Australia; Persons on bounty ships to Sydney, Newcastle, and Moreton Bay (Board's Immigrant Lists); Series: 5317; Reel: 2469; Item: [4/4946]. Voyage of ‘Cateaux Wattel’.
xx)   Marriage of Hannah PATFIELD & John HORN. Reg# 13241/1911. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xxi)  Obituary. Maitland Weekly Mercury. 10 Jun 1916; 8.
xxii) Marriage of Alice Mary TOWNS & Ernest Montague PATFIELD. Reg# 7245/1921. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xxiii)  Birth of Alice Mary WARR. Reg# 18755/1885. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xxiv) Death of Alice Mary PATFIELD. Reg# 9558/1932. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xxv)  Cottage destroyed. Sydney Morning Herald. 27 Dec 1932; 6.
xxvi)   Electoral rolls. 1930, 1936, 1937, 1946, 1949.
xxvii)  Northern Star 19 May 1952.
xxviii) David Smith. Pers. comm. 2015
xxix)  Birth of Alma Maud PATFIELD. Reg# 15880/1901. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xxx)   Marriage of Dora ROSE & Thomas SOPER. Reg# 4443/1879. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xxxi) John Patfield. Pers. comm. 2015
xxxii)  Strong family records.
xxxiii) Shirley Threlfo. James Phillips and Bona Vista, Paterson river. Paterson historical society; 1999.
xxxiv) State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia; Returns of the Colony; Series: NRS 1286; File: Public Service Lists (Blue Books). Book year 1926.
      Acknowledgements… chapter 2:
I am grateful for the correspondence and contact with Fay Alexander, Joan Cox, Brett Cumming, Colin Horn, Mary Horn, Barbara Horn, John Patfield, Valma & Wayne Patfield, John Patfield, David Smith, Judy Soper, Jack Sullivan, Shirley Threlfo, Brian Walsh. Particular thanks to Olga Irene Mary MARQUET (née WILSON), who died on 20 Dec 2013. Her encyclopaedic friendly assistance is really missed. Photos were kindly provided by Fay Alexander: Thomas Soper and sons; Colin Horn: “Sussex House”; David Smith: Monty Patfield & “Bona Vista”; Judy Soper: Alice Maud Pafield's grave; Jack Sullivan: Lindeman sons.


It would be great if descendants of the PATFIELDs, or people with knowledge of this family, could make contact with me. See the e-mail link at the bottom of this page.


The Story Continues