PATFIELD: Alma… Chapter 7

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: …#35 ; 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 commences the stories of Alma's siblings.

Alma's siblings… part 1.

Harry Ernest (Joff) PATFIELD:

In chapter 2 it was noted that 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. Her death certificate gave the further details that she had died of cardiac failure following puerperal septicaemia of 2 months duration …i) … 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. …v)

Following her death, Alice's children were sent into the care of her husband Monty's various relations. Joff was fostered by Monty's elder sister Zerada Mary TAYLOR née PATFIELD (1870-1956) and her husband Albert (1867-1947).…vii), viii) The below photo is of the TAYLOR home at 36 William street Paterson.…viii)

Image of Joff Patfield’s home with the TAYLORs at William street Paterson. 36 William St Paterson, built abt 1920. Joff PATFIELD lived here with his foster parents, Albert TAYLOR & his wife Zerada (Ada) née PATFIELD.

Joff's foster father Albert TAYLOR “gave faithful service to St. Paul's Church of England, Paterson, being a vestryman and rector's warden for many years.”…x) As a result, Joff would have been a regular church-goer and met his sister and my mother Alma PATFIELD who was the church organist. A Miss TAYLOR subscribed to a farewell present to Alma when she left Paterson to marry.…xviii) See here.

The PATFIELD family kept in contact while Joff lived in Paterson. On 9 May 1925 Joff went to the funeral of his brother Wallace who was hit by a train on the Paterson bridge. The article said: "Amongst those present were Messrs. Sam, Monty and Joff PATFIELD (brothers), Miss Lydia PATFIELD (sister)"…ix)

Albert Taylor “was an enthusiastic cricketer in his early life, and organised matches throughout the district.  After giving up active participation, in the game he became an ardent supporter, and often helped the finances of the local club. He was also an excellent umpire, a duty which he performed to the last.”…x) Following Joff's foster father Albert’s and also his father Monty’s interest in cricket (see image…#35), it was no surprise that Joff followed this tradition. See Joff’s 1937 photo below.

Image of Joff Patfield with the Paterson Cricket A Reserve Grade Premiers 1936-37 team. Photo: Courtesy David Smith. Paterson Cricket A Reserve Grade Premiers 1936-37 team. Joff is far R, front row.

Several years later in 1939, Joff was employed as a shop assistant at the Paterson branch of the Blue Stores and had a succession of accidents.…xi), xii), xiii)

PATERSON MAN HURT Car and Truck Collide Harry Patfield (22), of Williamstreet, Paterson, was taken to Maitland Hospital on Saturday night with severe lacerated wounds to the forehead and top of the head. He was also suffering severely from shock. (Sat 28 Jan 1939). Patfield, who is employed at the Paterson branch of the Blue Stores, received his injuries when a utility truck in which he was riding, collided with a motor car between East Greta and Tester’s Hollow. The truck was badly damaged, but other occupants and the passengers in the car escaped injury. Maitland Ambulance, which was called to the scene of the accident to attend to Patfield, found difficulty in giving first aid, for rain was falling. After the bearers had treated his injuries, they took him to hospital. …xi)
Motor Cyclist Injured. Mr. Harry ('Joff') Patfield was riding a motor cycle near the Paterson- railway station last night he ran over a dog. (Thurs 23 Feb 1939). The motor cycle skidded and swerved against a fence and Patfield was thrown heavily to the roadway. He was given attention for abrasions and lacerations to the arms and legs by the Maitland Ambulance, which conveyed him to Maitland Hospital. . …xii)

In 1942 when Joff was 25, he married Merle Aileen STUCKINGS, …iii) daughter of Thomas STUCKINGS (-1 Jan 1951) & Maria SELLENS (1876-15 Jul 1951), in St Paul’s Paterson. Merle was born in 1918 in Allynbrook NSW.

The electoral rolls…xiv) tell us that the following year in 1943 the PATFIELDs had moved to 13 Rawson street, Mayfield and Joff worked as a munitions worker. After the war in 1949, 1954, 1958, Joff was at 25 Brett street, Waratah, working as a cleaner. Then he changed occupation to locomotive driver when he lived at Flat 1, Chapman street, Charlestown in 1963 until he died at 4 Fifth Street Cardiff in 1965.…iv)

Merle Aileen died at 4 Fifth Street Cardiff on 5 Sep 1965; she was 47. …xv), xvii) Joff had been diagnosed with heart problems (coronary atherosclerosis) in 1962…iv). It would appear that the stress from his wife's death added to his heart disease, caused his death a little over a month from his wife's death. The certificate said: “When and where died: About 10th October 1965 4 Fifth Street Cardiff”, which indicates he was found alone. His brother-in-law Abb WADE from distant 14 Lorna Street Pelican Flat was contacted to be the informant for his death.…iv) Joff's half brother Rev. Ken PATFIELD came from Walcha to help officiate at his cremation service on 14 Oct. Ken told me that my parents Alma (Joff's sister) and Robert STRONG were also at this service.…vi) The Coroner subsequently dispensed with an inquest on 1 Nov, and found he died of coronary atherosclerosis.…iv) The house where he died is shown below.

Image of 4 Fifth Street Cardiff. Joff PATFIELD and his wife lived here at the time of their deaths in 1965. 4 Fifth Street Cardiff. Joff PATFIELD and his wife lived here at the time of their deaths in 1965.


Sources… Chapter 7: Harry Ernest (Joff) Patfield
i)   Death of Alice Maud PATFIELD. Reg# 8166/1916. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
ii)   Birth of Harry E. PATFIELD Reg# 19576/1916. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
iii)   Marriage of Harry Ernest PATFIELD & Merle Aileen Stuckings. Reg# 6667/1942. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
iv)   Death of Harry Ernest PATFIELD . Reg# 33955/1965. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
v)  Obituary. Maitland Weekly Mercury. 10 Jun 1916; 8.
vi)  Ken PATFIELD. Pers. comm. 2000. Ken died in 2003.
vii) Olga Irene Mary (Olga) MARQUET (née WILSON) of Paterson. Pers. comm. from about 1997 until her death in 2013.
viii)  David SMITH. Pers. comm. 2015. David is the g-grandson of Zerada Mary (Ada) TAYLOR née PATFIELD.
ix)  Funeral of the late Wallace PATFIELD. Maitland Weekly Mercury; 9 May 1925:4.
x)  Obituary of Albert TAYLOR. Dungog Chronicle : Durham and Gloucester Advertiser; 8 Aug 1947: 5
xi)  Paterson man hurt. Maitland Daily Mercury; Monday 30 January 1939, page 4.
xii)  Motor Cyclist Injured. Maitland Daily Mercury; 24 Feb 1939: 6.
xiii)  Harvey Ernest PATFIELD. Australian Electoral Rolls. Residence in 1937 at William street, Paterson. Occupation: Shop Assistant. Name spelled incorrectly as “Harvey”
xiv)  Harry Ernest PATFIELD. Australian Electoral Rolls. Residence in 1943, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1963.
xv)   Death of Merle Aileen PATFIELD . Reg# 31110/1965. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
xvi)   John & Mary Small Descendants Association. The Small Family in Australia 1788- 1988. Birth of Merle Aileen Stuckings in 1918 at Allynbrook, NSW.
xvii)   Beresfield Crematorium records.
xviii)   Philip STRONG. Personal papers. (Alma PATFIELD's sheet music, confirmation certificate, and letters from Rev H.M.R. Rupp and his wife).
      Acknowledgements… Chapter 7: Harry Ernest (Joff) Patfield
I am grateful for the correspondence and contact with Ken Patfield, Olga Marquet, David Smith and Judy Soper. A photo of Joff's cricket team was kindly provided by David Smith.

Wallace Aldersley PATFIELD:

Wallace was born on 24 May 1906 at Paterson.…ii) In chapter 2 it was noted that 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.…i) Following her death, Alice’s children were sent into the care of her husband Monty's various relations. It is not known who looked after Wallace, who was aged 10 at the time of his mother's death. However, from Nov 1924 …v) recorded living in his father's house in "Brisbane Grove",…v), vi), x) just across the Paterson railway bridge from the village. See the below photo.

Image of Postcard of Paterson c1912. Postcard of Paterson c1912. Item PHS1070 from the the Paterson Historical Society Collection.
Commercial road and Keppie’s sawmill is in the foreground, village at R, orchard at Brisbane Grove across the Paterson river at L. Under the bridge at R is a river steamer moored at the Paterson Wharf. This is PATFIELD country! Wallace's father & also his uncle Herb worked on steamers from this wharf.
His grandfather Thomas SOPER lived on Commercial road. Aunt Victoria owned Brisbane Grove, sisters Alma & Lydia lived at Brisbane Grove homestead,
while his father Monty lived in an old weatherboard house on Brisbane Grove… Wallace stayed with Monty at least from Nov 1924.


Image of Wallace PATFIELD in his railway uniform. Photo: Alma STRONG. Wallace PATFIELD in his railway uniform. Photo: Alma STRONG

Wallace was employed for a brief time with the railways. He commenced as a Gatekeeper at age 14 on 10 October 1920 in the Newcastle district, and subsequently as a Junior Porter from 22 Nov 1920 to 11 Nov 1924. He was dismissed on 24 June 1924 for irregular use of his card pass to travel between Nooroo and Wauchope. Wallace appealed to the Board on 25 July, 1924 which was successful and Wallace was restored to his former grade and rate of pay. Presumable in connection with this appeal a voucher for 18/- was passed for witnesses’ expenses to Mrs R.L. Hicks, paid from the petty cash a/c of the district Superintendent at Lismore. He was finally dismissed on 11 Nov 1924, no reason was given on his staff history card.…v) See the photo on the left of Wallace in his railway uniform.

On the 28 Apr 1925, Wallace (almost 19 years old) had been drinking in Paterson village and was returning to his father's house in “Brisbane Grove”. He was making the dangerous crossing over the Paterson bridge, made even more dangerous due to his drinking. He had reached the other side when the midnight train struck him. The coroner's verdict was: “Verdict: Effects of injuries accidentally received through being struck by a passing train. Remarks: Intemperance. Post mortem: No.”…xi)


More detail is given in the newspaper report:

—PATERSON Tuesday.    The body of Wallace Patfield, 18 years of age was found near the railway line on the northern side of the railway bridge this morning. The body was decapitated. The gruesome discovery was made by the engine driver on a special goods train, who found the body on the side of the line about 18 inches from the rails. The young man was in town during the evening, and it is surmised that he was on his way home, and was walking along the line when the midnight train struck him. Patfield was the second son of Mr. Montague Patfield, and until recently, he was employed with the Railway Department. He had been residing with his father since he left the service. An inquiry will be held. The funeral will leave the Church of England portion of the general cemetery at Paterson. …vi)

The newspaper also gave great detail of attendance at Wallace’s funeral:

The funeral of the late Wallace Patfield, second son of Mr. Montagu Patfield, of ‘Brisbane Grove’, Paterson, took place on 29th ult., the remains being interred in the local C. of E. cemetery (writes our Paterson correspondent). The   Rev. Mr. Rupp officiated both at the   church and graveside. There was a  very representative attendance of residents of the town and district, the expressions of sympathy with the   relatives being very numerous. The father was unable to be present, on   account of having recently undergone an operation at the local hospital. The pall-bearers were Messrs. W. Tucker, J. Tucker, and C. Smith (cousins), C. Keppie, G. Hinds, and   R. Rooney. Amongst those present were Messrs. Sam, Monty and Joff Patfield (brothers), Miss Lydia Patfield (sister), Mrs. W. Tucker (aunt), J. Patfield (great-uncle), Miss. E. Taylor, Messrs. H. Patfield, V. Taylor (cousins), and Mr. Cyril Harding. A beautiful collection of floral , tributes was sent by the following: Father, sisters Alma and Lydia, brothers Sam and Monty, Auntie Vic. Bill, Jack and Mary, grandma, all at 'Bona Vista' Uncle Albert, Auntie Emily and Joffre, Mr. and Mrs. Patfield and family, Mr. and Mrs. P. Keppie and family, Mr. and Mrs. E. O'Connor, Minnie, Myrtle, Roy and George Bevan, Mr. and Mrs. Harding, Cyril and Doris, Mrs. Call and family, Mr. A. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Keppie, Mr. and Mrs. T. Jordan, Min and Rene, Mr. and Mrs. Clerke, Cecil and Dulcie, Gordon and Dick, Mr, and Mrs. A. E. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. McGill and family,  Mr. and Mrs. Rooney and family, Mrs. R. Tucker and family, Mr. and Mrs. J. Reinhard, Mr and Mrs. T. A. Mate. …ix)

The inscription on his headstone (photo below) reads: “In loving memory of • Our dear brother • Wallace A. Patfield • Died 28th April 1925 • aged 19 years.”. Why is his father not mentioned? He was buried in the Anglican section 6 of the Paterson Cemetery on 29 Apr 1925.

Image of Wallace PATFIELD’s headstone. Photo: Judy Soper. Wallace PATFIELD’s headstone. Photo: Judy Soper.


How many accidents like this happened on the Paterson bridge? Was there much effort made in preventing people using the bridge as a shortcut? By coincidence, 15 years later Monty's nephew Victor TAYLOR died in similar circumstances, which also involved the coroner's comment of "intemperance'.…xi) Victor was Monty's sister Zerada TAYLOR née PATFIELD's son. Zerada (Ada) is mentioned above as Joff PATFIELD's foster mother.

Run Down by Train. Tragedy near Paterson.
With the top of his head severed, the body of Victor Taylor, about 45, dairy farmer of Martin's Creek, was found floating in the river under Paterson railway bridge on Thursday morning last.
He is believed to have been struck by a train while crossing the bridge about 2.44 a.m. Wilbur Arthur Cox, relieving gatekeeper at Paterson, informed the police that he had seen the figure of a man in the glare of the headlight of the Kempsey mail as it was crossing the bridge on Thursday morning. After the train had passed he dashed to the spot, but found nothing. The police made a search and after daylight found Taylor's body floating in the water. It is thought that Taylor, after visiting relatives across the river, was walking across the bridge towards Paterson when he was struck by the train. He leaves a widow and three children. …xii)

Sources… Chapter 7: Walter Aldersley PATFIELD
i)   Death of Alice Maud PATFIELD. Reg# 8166/1916. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
ii)  John & Mary Small Descendants Association. The Small Family in Australia 1788- 1988.
iii)   Birth of Wallace A. PATFIELD Reg# 27670/1906. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
iv)   Death of Wallace A. PATFIELD. Reg# 9576/1925. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
v)  Wallace A. PATFIELD record. Railway Staff History Card. NSW State Rail Authority Archives, GPO Box 29, Sydney, NSW 2001.
vi)  Fatality at Paterson. Maitland Weekly Mercury. Maitland. 28 Apr 192: 5.
vii) Oral history given by Alma STRONG to her son Philip.
viii) Headstone inscription. Paterson Cemetery NSW. Section 6.
ix) Funeral of the late Wallace PATFIELD. Maitland Weekly Mercury; 9 May 1925:4.
x)  Cottage destroyed. Sydney Morning Herald. 27 Dec 1932; 6. 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.
xi) Registers of Coroners’ Inquests and Magisterial Inquiries, 1834–1942 (microfilm, NRS 343, rolls 2921–2925, 2225, 2763–2769). State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, NSW.
xii)  Run Down by Train. Tragedy near Paterson. Gloucester Advocate. 27 Aug 1940: 2.  
      Acknowledgements: Walter Aldersley PATFIELD
I am grateful to the Paterson Historical Society for the use of their 1912 Paterson rail bridge photo (PHS1070). Judy Soper kindly forwarded her photo of Wallace’s headstone.


It would be great if descendants of Alma's siblings might contact me. See the e-mail link at the bottom of this page.


The Story Continues