Walter David Gillespie, Lilian Harrison,
& their Children

Walter Gillespie, with Margaret, Alison & John.

Probably at "Colinton", Melbourne, c1932.

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Lilian realises her ambition to pick heather in Scotland. With Alison, Margaret & John.

Photo: Walter, circa1929

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David Gillespie
Born: 1913, Melbourne
Died: 1918, Melbourne, prolonged childhood illness.
Margaret Gillespie
Born: 16 Nov 1916, Melbourne
Married: Arthur Martin, Mar 1945
Died: Feb 1990, Sydney, natural causes.
Alison Gillespie
Born: 1919, Melbourne
Married: Geoffrey Goding,
John Gillespie
Born: 1924, Melbourne
Died: Egypt, aircraft accident whilst serving in RAAF.
Walter David Gillespie 

1881 - 1948

By Alison Goding

Walter attended Scotch College, East Melbourne where Dr. Morrison was Principal. Some of his reports have survived with his teachers describing his work as "excellent" and his conduct as "exemplary". He used to say he considered studying Medicine but his father wanted him to enter the family business and he complied, with his brother Alex, becoming a partner in the Burnley Flour Mills.

My father was an early and enthusiastic motorist. He also had some artistic talent, made beaten copperware and always made the cards he gave my mother on anniversaries.

In 1907 Walter went overseas, partly for pleasure and partly on business. He was courting my mother, Lilian Harrison at the time and a number of his letters to her are in my possession. Writing about his plans for the trip from S.S. Mongolia he said "I do not intend to waste one day of it". He took a trip down the Rhine, visited Holland and went to Paris for a race "the big Motor event of the year in France". Walter much enjoyed exploring Edinburgh and its surroundings, but was saddened by the poverty of the children in the slums of ancient Canongate. He went twice to Colinton where his father had grown up, found the initials carved on a tree by his father and uncle in 1851 and photographed them with some difficulty as the tree overhung the stream. Travelling through the Highlands by boat and coach he developed a love of Scottish scenery which he was to pass on to his children.

Walter and Lilian were married in Kew in 1910 and spent their honeymoon motoring in Tasmania, their car having been hoisted onto the boat by crane. They settled in a house designed by Henry Kemp, Lilian's brother-in-law, and were delighted by the births of David in 1913 and Margaret in 1916. Tragedy came with David's long illness and death in 1918. I was born in 1919 and although my father must have wanted a son and heir he always made me feel cherished. About 1921 the Burnley Mill was sold; my grandfather was in his late eighties, Alex wanted to leave the business and my parents must have been attracted to the prospect of life in the country. They bought a fine sheep property, Cherry Mount, at Glenthompson, near the Grampians. Although they loved the country they did not stay long, probably because my grandfather had a stroke and became bedridden. It was a long trip to Melbourne by train and car.

Their car being hoisted onto the
boat for the trip to Tasmania.

Lilian in their two-seater
sports car, 1910.

John's birth in 1924 brought great happiness to my parents. They built a beautiful house, "Colinton", in Mont Albert Rd., Canterbury, and my father started in some sort of manufacturing business. In 1929 he fulfilled a long ambition to take the whole family to England and Scotland where we stayed for two years and travelled extensively by car, my father taking beautiful photographs. I remember the excitement when we first crossed the border into Scotland, with John standing in the front of the car to be the" first-footer".

We returned to Australia in 1931 to find the family's financial position drastically altered. Most of Walter's capital was invested in Noske Brothers which paid no dividends for many years. A couple of small business ventures failed and my parents were forced to sell their much loved house. The depression made it extremely difficult for a man of middle age to obtain a position but in the late thirties Walter was made manager of White Wings Mill in Redfern on the recommendation of his cousin, Robert. He worked extremely hard to build up the business and remained there till shortly before his death from cancer at the age of 67.

My father was a gentle, modest man, devoted to his family, relatives and close friends, with a strong religious faith. The death of John in an aircraft accident, while serving with the R.A.A.F., was a severe blow which he met with great courage.

Copyright 2000 Alison Goding

 

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