Jim's genie jottings

Website of the Fleming, Jolliffe, Kessey and Murphy families of New South Wales - and their forebears

Biography: John James Flowerdew (1846-1910)

John James Flowerdew

Basic information about this person: \click here\

John James Flowerdew was born at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in about 1846, son of Benjamin Flowerdew and Elizabeth Tubby. John James Flowerdew was a mariner and, in his early twenties, was employed as an Able Seaman on ships operating out of England. For example, on 16 March 1866 he was discharged in London from the Ann Roydon (1,175 tons, Liverpool) after a voyage to Calcutta that had started five months earlier. Ten days later he signed on to the Brusselle (1,122 tons, Hull) for a return voyage to Quebec that took nearly four months.

Four years later, a few days before Christmas in 1870, he married Grace House in St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney. It is likely that John Flowerdew came out to Australia as a seaman either with his brother William or to join him in Australia. Will had married Elspet Donald (known as Elsie) in Sydney two years earlier. Will and Elsie lived a Millers Point (near where the southern pilon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge now stands). John and Grace lived a couple of miles away at Surry Hills.

John and Grace's first child came along two years later in 1873 and was named for his father and paternal grandfather (John Benjamin). There were two more sons (William Thomas, 1875 and Frederick Charles, 1877) before their first daughter came along in 1878: Mary G(race?) H(ouse?). Two more daughters followed in quick succession: Ellen Elizabeth (1880) and Ada Grace (born at 6 Sutton Street in Balmain on 21 October 1881). John was a labourer at this time.

John and Grace moved to 6 Sutton Street Balmain during 1881 and Will and Elsie moved to 2 Sutton Street at about the same time. William lived at 2 Sutton Street, Balmain from 1882 until at least 1904 and John lived at number 6 in the same street during all of those 22 years. Prior to that he lived at 4 Marshall Street, Surry Hills (near Moore Park) for at least 3 or four years while William lived at 42 Merriman Street, Millers Point (originally named Crown Road). During this time John worked as a gardener but it seems that William continued as a mariner for many years. 

Just before Ada Grace was born, tragedy struck the family with the death of the toddler, Mary, in her third year. John and Grace's last child (Henry) was born five years later but, unfortunately, he too died before his first birthday.

 At around 54 years of age, John James Flowerdew witnessed the marriage of his youngest surviving child, Ada, to Charles Taylor Fleming on 16 May 1900. He continued to live in his Sutton Street house for at least another 4 years until declining health forced a change in his living arrangements. He died on 6 August 1910 at Delwood in College Street Drummoyne. Will Flowerdew outlived his brother by 14 years.