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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Surname

James UNDERWOOD

Born 1878 in Walthamstow, Essex, England [20] [21]
Son of gardener Amos UNDERWOOD and Mary WALDOCK [20] [21]
In 1881 was living with his parents and siblings Charles, Esther, Martha and Joseph in Marsh Street, Walthamstow, Essex, England [20]
Ten years later he was the only child at home with his parents, by which time they were living in Norwood, Middlesex, England [20]
Married (1) Elizabeth Gilbert LOWE in 1900 in Middlesex, England [21]
In 1901 he was working as a Saddler and Harness Maker and was living with his wife at 3 The Cedars in Harlington, Middlesex [20]
His wife Elizabeth passed away at the age of 31 years in Middlesex, England in 1907 [21]
He was living with his children and sister Esther in the ten-roomed Dower House in Harlington, Middlesex, England in 1911 [20]
     In 1911 he employed a gardener, who lived with them in addition to three boarders [20]
     On the night of the 1911 census also staying with them was a visitor, Kate TAYSON, who would later be his second wife [20]
Leaving his children in England, he departed from Liverpool on the steamship Persic on 4 May 1912 [203]
     After a voyage of just over a month he arrived on the Persic in Albany, Western Australia on 11 June 1912 [372: 15-Jun-1912]
     Soon after arriving he established a saddlery and blacksmithing business in Mount Barker [P333]
     His children departed London with Kate TAYSOM on the steamship Australind on 19 July 1913 to join him in Western Australia [203]
Married (2) Kate Louisa TAYSOM in 1913 [66]
Exhibited his trade at the Mount Barker Rural Association's 11th Annual Show in Mount Barker on Thursday 13 November 1913 [372]
     He won 1st prize for Collection of Saddlery & Harness made in the Great Southern District [372: 15-Nov-1913]
Saddler in Latham, Western Australia in 1921 and 1922 [19]
Farmer of Hill Crest Farm in Coorow, Western Australia 1923-1944 [6] [19] [44]
     He and Percy H. RICHARDS purchased James L. LAWSON and Thomas P. HANNAFORD's 1,231 acre farm in Coorow [44]
     The 1,231 acres consisted of Lots M964, M966, M1234 and M1235 of Victoria Location 2023 [44]
     Farmed in Coorow in 1923 in partnership with Percy Heaton RICHARDS as "Underwood & Richards" [44]
     Following his partner's departure from the district he appears to have become the sole owner of the 1,231 acres in Coorow [3] [19]
     On 8 February 1924 he purchased a further 577 acres of farmland in Coorow from the Midland Railway Company for £656/19/8 [27]
     The 577 acres consisted of Lots M967 and M1237 of Victoria Location 2023 on the north side of the Coorow-Latham Road [27]
     Undertook clearing on the farm with the assistance of his sons Gilbert and Eric [P333]
Despite his farm being in Coorow his postal address in 1924 was Winchester [44]
6UX was his registered horse and cattle firebrand in 1924, at which time his farm name was spelt Hillcrest (one word) [80: 28-Oct-1925]
In 1926 his "fine property" was classified as being in Waddy Forest [81: 24-Oct-1926]
Extended his farm to an approximate total of 2,800 acres with a further two purchases of land from the Midland Railway Company [27]
     On 21 October 1925 purchased the 595 acre Lot M1440 of Victoria Location 2023 for £327/13/7 (11/- per acre) [27]
     On 1 July 1926 purchased the 393 acre Lot M1650 of Victoria Location 2023 for £197/5/11 (10/- per acre) [27]
Purchased in the name of his son Gilbert the farm of J. Norman LEACH before Norman returned to England in 1927 [3] [39: 6-Sep-1927]
     The property was 1,175 acres in size and consisted of Lots M970, M1055 and M1333 of Victoria Location 2023 [3] [27]
Had tough times on the farm and during some of the early years they lived off rabbits and boiled wheat [P333]
His son Eric later studied at the University of Cambridge in England and sent home money from his scholarship [P333]
     Eric later worked for the Department of Agriculture and was Professor of Agriculture at the University of Western Australia [200]
From 1927 until at least 1932 had an Oakland car licensed with the Carnamah District Road Board with plate CA-110 [4: 12-Nov-1932] [325]
He met with Joseph J. POYNTON, Manager of Midland Railway Company, at Coorow on 20 November 1928 [39: 30-Nov-1928]
     He and fellow local farmer Charles C. BOTHE motored Mr POYNTON on a tour throughout the district in the morning [39]
     At noon he chaired the meeting with farmers at which a number of requests were made from the Midland Railway Company [39]
     Local farmers wanted better facilities for handling wheat and stock, a goods shed and a crane [39]
A fire, probably caused by a spark from a tractor, burnt a small bit of his crop and several bags of wheat in January 1930 [39: 17-Jan-1930]
Master of Ceremonies at the Show Ball following the Coorow-Waddy Agricultural Show on Thursday 7 September 1933 [5: 15-Sep-1933]
Sold twelve bales of wool at 17¾d. per pound in Perth at the fourth wool sale of the season in December 1933 [5: 8-Dec-1933]
Travelled to Perth on the morning of Friday 22 June 1934 to attend the wedding of his son Eric UNDERWOOD [5: 29-Jun-1934]
Member of the Waddy Forest Group of the Adult Education Scheme - hosted some of their meetings in 1935 [5: 12-Jul-1935]
Sold 75 wethers and hoggets on 13 May 1936 - received 19/8 per head for the wethers and 18/3 per head for the hoggets [5: 15-May-1936]
Sold 65 hoggets at 16/- per head through Westralian Farmers Ltd at the Midland Market on Wednesday 27 May 1936 [5: 29-May-1936]
Attended the Surprise Linen Tea for Miss Mary E. GREENWOOD at Maryland Farm in Waddy Forest on 22 July 1937 [5: 23-Jul-1937]
Said to have been the last farmer in the district to give away farming with horses when his son purchased a tractor [P333]
Father of Gilbert, Marjorie and Eric [P333]
Died 29 August 1944; ashes scattered over the Rose Garden at the Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA [2]
Following his death his son Gilbert became the owner of his 2,800 acre farm in Coorow [3]
His younger son, Professor Eric UNDERWOOD, visited Coorow and was highly regarded by local farmers [P8]
His wife Kate, late of the Perth suburb of Bentley, passed away at the age of 107 years on 28 August 1994 [2]


From The West Australian newspaper, Wednesday 30 August 1944:
Deaths
"UNDERWOOD. – On August 29, 1944, at Perth, James Underwood, of Coorow, loved husband of Katie, and loved father of Gilbert, Marjorie (Mrs H. Edwards), and Eric (of 2 Wattle Avenue, Dalkeith)."


Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'James Underwood' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 6 December 2019 from www.carnamah.com.au/bio/james-underwood  [ sources ]




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