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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


"Jack" William Lawrence PONTON

Born 27 April 1877 at Balladonia or Fraser Range in Western Australia [451]
Son of English convict Stephen PONTON and half-Indian woman Ann WHITE [239: Tree 26] [451] [519]
He was variously known as Lawrence PONTON, Jack LAWRENCE and William Lawrence PONTON [P1]
At the age of ten years his father sent him to the Benedictine Mission in New Norcia, where he was educated [451]
     He was taken to the mission under the guardianship of Campbell TAYLOR and admitted as Billy PONTON on 4 June 1886 [519]
     The mission's records described him as being "of mixed descent" and also recorded his surname as PONTO [519]
     In 1893 he was one of 23 boys living without their family at the mission in New Norcia [321]
At the age of about 19 years he left New Norcia and worked at saw mills in Sawyers Valley and Mundaring [451]
He then worked driving a lorry from Perth to Claremont for about three years [451]
Later shifted back to around New Norcia and Moora, where he worked for farmers in addition to shearing in the Murchison [451]
Over the following 30 years he resided around New Norcia, Moora, Carnamah, Mingenew and Three Springs [9] [86]
Married (1) "Susan" Susanna INDICH on 26 October 1903 at Holy Trinity Church in New Norcia [519]
     His wife was born in 1887 and had been taken to the Benedictine Mission in New Norcia by her father in 1891 [519]
     They had at least six children who grew to adulthood - Mary Ellen, Maud Theresa, Patrick Leslie, Thomas, Arthur and Eva [15] [243]
     The eight month old William James Lawrence PONTON of Moora who died on 9 October 1910 is believed to be their son [116]
     Most of his children used his original surname of PONTON, however, his son Thomas was known as Thomas LAWRENCE [15] [243]
Member of the New Norcia Mission Cricket Club in 1906 [120: 10-Feb-1906]
Member of a New Norcia cricket team of Aboriginal men who visited Perth in March 1906 to play three matches [81: 18-Mar-1906]
Member of the Moora Cricket Club in 1908-09 [9: 19-Feb-1909]
Captained "a team of natives" who visited Moora on 1 May 1909 to play a cricket match against the Moora Cricket Club [9: 7-May-1909]
Member of the Mogumber Football Club and the Elsternwick Football Club in Moora in 1909 [9: 25-Jun-1909, 13-Aug-1909]
Member of the Warrengabbie Cricket Club in Moora in 1909-10 [9: 10-Dec-1909]
In 1910-11 he played for four different cricket clubs near Moora and New Norcia [9: 13-Jan-1911, 13-Jan-1911, 20-Jan-1911, 31-Mar-1911]
     Member of the Victoria Plains Cricket Club, West End Cricket Club, Wanderers Cricket Club and New Norcia Cricket Club [9]
His elder two daughters Helen and Maud were admitted to the Benedictine Mission in New Norcia in December 1911 [466]
     Helen and Maud were again admitted to the mission in May 1916 and his son Leslie in November 1916 [466]
His address in early 1912 was care of the Post Office in New Norcia [452]
From New Norcia he wrote to the Colonial Secretary in Perth on 8 January 1912 on behalf of himself and 12 other men [452]
     He requested to know why they weren't allowed a beer or to "go into a hotel like any other respectable man" [452]
     He pointed out that most of them worked hard, didn't associate with Aboriginal camps and were the sons of white men [452]
     Under the provisions of the Aborigines Act 1905 it was illegal for Aboriginal people to consume alcohol [P1]
     He went on to say "It is not altogether fair to treat us as dogs for it is nothing but like dogs that we are treated" [452]
     The letter was dealt with as a request for certificates of exemption from the provisions of the Aborigines Act [452]
     Two police constables recommended the request not be granted as they had caused trouble drinking seven years earlier [452]
     The Chief Protector of Aborigines advised him by letter on 15 March 1912 that their request could not be granted [452]
Member of the Carnamah Cricket Club in 1912 [9: 29-Nov-1912]
In 1914 he played for both the New Norcia Mission Cricket Club and the Carnamah Cricket Club [9: 26-Jun-1914] [10: 20-Feb-1914]
Member of the Koojan Cricket Club in 1916 [9: 21-Jan-1916]
He went before the Police Court in Moora on 4 July 1917 charged with receiving intoxicating liquor from George L. CROSS [10]
     He pleased guilty to the charge and was sentenced to one month's imprisonment at Fremantle Prison in Perth [10: 6-Jul-1917]
After being forced to live at the Native Camp in Moora he again applied for exemption from the Aborigines Act on 1 April 1918 [451]
     At the time of the application his wife and their three younger children were living with him at the Native Camp [451]
     Their elder three children were living and being educated at the Benedictine Mission in New Norcia [451]
     The police constable in Moora described him as a "very hard working industrious man" who was "fairly well educated" [451]
     After assessing his case it was advised that due to his parentage he did not in fact come under the Aborigines Act [451]
Member of the New Norcia Mission Cricket Club in 1918 [390: 11-May-1918]
Member of the Wanderers Cricket Club in Moora in 1919-20 [9: 3-Jan-1920] [10: 26-Dec-1919]
Member of the Carnamah Cricket Club in 1922-23 [9: 15-Dec-1922, 2-Mar-1923]
On 10 September 1923 he purchased the vacant quarter acre block at 30 Boojerabba Street in the Carnamah townsite [27]
     He purchased the block, which was surveyed as Lot 60 of Victoria Location 1936, from the Midland Railway Company for £10 [27]
     When he purchased the block his address was "C/- Donald MACPHERSON, Carnamah" who was probably his employer [34]
Central Umpire of the football match between Arrino and Carnamah in Carnamah on Thursday 18 August 1921 [9: 26-Aug-1921]
     "both teams expressed their... satisfaction of the umpire's decisions... as being absolutely... the best umpire in the Association" [9]
Contract cleared 80 chains of South Dudawa Road in Dudawa, East Arrino for the Mingenew Road Board in mid 1925 [9: 26-Jun-1925]
He was living in Mingenew in 1927 and in Three Springs in 1929 [4: 17-Dec-1927] [91]
In late 1927 it was reported that he was "considerably more crafty than a fox" having trapped 17 of them in three weeks [4: 17-Dec-1927]
     He received a vermin bonus of £2 per fox and sold the skins through Robert R. IRONSIDE who was an agent for Dalgety & Co [4]
Partner of (2) Emelia BROCKMAN [91]
     His and Emelia's son John Stephen PONTON was baptised by the priest from Three Springs on 14 December 1929 [91]
Went before the Local Court in Mingenew on 25 June 1930 over £18/8/11 he owed Three Springs storekeeper William G. JORDAN [86]
     He was taken to court under the name of 'Jack LAWRENCE' but told the court his surname was PONTON [86]
     He revealed he had been twice married, with a grown-up family from his first wife and three children by his second [86]
     As he thought he could pay back £2 per month, the Magistrate ordered that he do so with the first payment on 11 July [86: 28-Jun-1930]
By mid 1932 he had sold his block at 30 Boojerabba Street in Carnamah to Mingenew storekeeper Percy T. BRIDGE [3]
Resided in Three Springs until his death in 1936 [24]
Died 19 January 1936 in Three Springs; buried Three Springs General Cemetery, Three Springs (Roman Catholic, Plot 20) [24]
Following his death his first partner Susanna married Oliver Thomas John WATSON in 1937 [66]

From The Irwin Index newspaper, Saturday 25 January 1936:
Obituary - Mr Jack Lawrence - Death at Three Springs
"At the North Midlands District Hospital at Three Springs on Sunday last there passed away another of the pioneers of the North Midlands in the person of Mr Jack Lawrence at the age of 67 years. The deceased gentleman was well and favourably known in and around Mingenew and Three Springs, and his death will be regretted by any friends at those centres. The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, when the remains were interred in the Roman Catholic portion of the Three Springs Cemetery, the last burial rites being read by the Rev. Father Lynch."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'William Lawrence Ponton' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 18 August 2022 from [reference list]

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