Arthur Shorthouse

Arthur Shorthouse was born in the spring of 1887 at Easington Lane Hetton Le Hole. He was baptised 24 Feb 1887 at Lyons Parish Church Hetton le Hole, Co. Durham. This was a joint baptism with his siblings Tom, Ellen and Jane. The family moved to Trimdon around about 1891- 1892 so Arthur would have started school in Trimdon at the Trimdon Foundry Boys School, at the time of the move.

Arthur would have attended school until he was 14 years old. Very few children went on for higher education, there was none provided locally in the community, it was fairly expensive and very few parents could afford this. Most boys had only one choice and that was to work at the local coal mine. Deaf Hill pit was the local mine which employed about 800 men of which 650 were underground. The pit opened in 1877 and closed in1967. The shaft was about 1000ft. deep and produced coal for making town gas, steam boilers and domestic fires. His father and older brothers worked in this mine at laboring type jobs. Only a handful of the workers were in skilled trades and getting an apprenticeship was very difficult. Arthur managed to get one of these positions as a blacksmith/fitter. In 1911 he was working as a brakesman on the Electric Hauler which pulled the coal tubs to and from the mine face. This would have included maintenance of the equipment and was a responsible job for someone who was only 24 years old.

He immigrated to Australia 1912 on the S.S. Rangatira. He married Lillias Pontifex 4 April 1914 St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia. They had two children, Enid Marion born 30 Sep 1918 and Ruth Eason Pontifex Shorthouse born 10 Aug 1915.

Ruth Married Charles Joseph Malden Allbon in 1945 and had one child Ailsa in 1946. Marion married Lewis Walmsley, a sheep farmer, in 1945 and had three children, Stephen Lewis, Faye Hazel, and Mark.

Arthur died in 1956 and Lillias in 1960, both at Chatswood, they are buried at Macquarie Park Cemetery, North Ryde, NSW

When Arthur emigrated he was probably unaware that he already had some distant relatives in New South Wales. His grandfather John’s older brother Abraham’s eldest son William and his wife Susannah (ages 25 and 22) arrived in Sydney in 1853 on the “ Beejapore”. They had nine children who lived in the Sydney area and some of their descendants are still in this region.

Marion and husband Lewis visited the Trimdon area and kept in contact with Billy Robinson and his wife Peggy in Trimdon Village. In 2006, Billy’s brother John in Canada made contact with Marion and was able to send a collection of old Shorthouse family photographs and copies of some of the historical documents contained in this book. Contact was made with son Mark and cousin Ailsa, unfortunately they were not able to provide any historical documents or photographs  of Arthur and Lillias.


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