Matt's Grandparents and Parents

From Federation — My grandparents and parents

1960 - 1901
1900 - 1851
1850 - 1587

'Growing', a memoir my father wrote between 1992 and 2002 contains more details about years in this period.

John Henry ('Harry', my mum's father) Dean born 1903 in Chiltern, Victoria. His father, John Henry, is Head Teacher in the north-east Victorian town.

Joao Luis da Silva (b. 20 April 1904 in Lisbon, d. 1977 in Melbourne) grows up in Lourenco Marques, Portuguese East Africa.

John Henry Dean and his wife Alice move the family to Melbourne in 1914 "to enable the family to be closer to Arthur [(b. 1893, d. 1970)], who was in training to join the army" (Allen, op cit, p 18). John Henry takes up the position of Head Teacher at Napier Street (Fitzroy).


Robert James Kewish is a journalist working, since 1920, with The Weekly Times (an agricultural paper founded in 1869), which is located on Flinders Street in Melbourne. He is a senior figure in the city's Masonic Lodge.

John Henry Dean, Head Teacher at Elsternwick Primary School, dies in September 1922.

Joao Luis emigrates to Australia in 1924, nobody knows why. "Self taught to speak and read English and proud of it," writes my father in his memoir. "I understand that my father’s view of the world was that the British knew the best way to govern and both he and Maria Nazaré (his sister) desired to have English spouses and live in English speaking countries," he recalls.

Joao Luis marries Phyllis Elsie Pearl Caldicott on 15 December 1924.

In 1926 John Henry Dean's son, John Henry ('Harry', d. 1954), marries Beatrice Kewish (b. 1901, d. 1978). My maternal grandparents meet through the church and worship in a Melbourne Presbyterian congregation. In 1926 he buys Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.


Some time toward the end of the 1920s, an acquaintance whose husband is having an affair consults Robert Kewish, believing he can put matters right. He is successful and in 1930 himself runs off with the woman. Beatrice, his daughter, and her sister Reba never forgive their father, as my mother will later explain:

"I wish I had had the opportunity to know him beyond the slight, plump, balding figure who made rare visits on some Sundays, in the front room of Glen Eira Rd., never offered a seat or refreshment."

Harry is a member of the Presbyterian Church before switching to Socialism. He is a pharmacist. His first child is my mother.


Joao Luis and Phyllis have another son, John Paul, who is born on October 1946.

In December 1946, Peter da Silva, my father, breaks his neck while diving into the Parramatta River at Gladesville, a suburb of Sydney, on a visit to his maternal grandfather, William Henry Caldicott.

In 1949, Harry's older brother Arthur becomes a judge of the Victorian Supreme Court.

In 1948, Harry's sister Madge (b. 1910 in Daylesford, Victoria, d. 1983 in Auckland, New Zealand) goes to Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (B.C.O.F.).

One album covering Hong Kong and Singapore is prefaced: "Tony, to whom I owe these pictures, my camera, and any skill I possess. He came from Michigan, USA and was an Army photographer." She returns to Sydney in February 1951(?), having spent four years and one month, by her count, in Japan.

When I spoke with Andrew Jack at the Australian War Memorial, whom I'd been put onto after contacting them through the Web site, he said that my observation -- that although Madge was very anti-Japanese at the start of her sojourn she became very attached to the country and its people by the end -- was typical of the experience of B.C.O.F. members.


My great-grandmother, Alice Dean dies, aged 80.

In 1951, Carrie Maria (Sally) da Silva, my aunt, (b. 1926 in Melbourne, d. 2003 in Murray Bridge, South Australia) marries John Victor Cromwell (b. 1927 in Murray Bridge, South Australia).

Noel Kewish (b. 1908, d. 1977), Beatrice's younger brother, enters photographs in various exhibitions (1952, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964) in Melbourne.

In 1954 Joao Luis da Silva is naturalised. Harry dies. Peter da Silva is engaged to marry Judith Dean.

Phyllis is devastated when their youngest son Paul, 11, is killed by a car while riding his bicycle in 1956. She comes with us when my parents relocate to Sydney. She is a devout Anglican and attends church on Sunday. She never divorces Joao Luis.

Joao Luis writes to tell his family about Paul's death.

In 1956 Madge (schoolteacher) marries Borge Elmer Johansen (stevedore). Elmer collects German erotica from the 1930s. On the suggestion of a staffer at the Art Gallery of NSW, I contact Andersen Shaw & Associates (53 Nelson Street, Annandale) who quote me just under $190 per unit for restoration, mounting and framing. They use UV-protecting perspex not glass as it reduces discoloration due to age.

The town of Edgbaston is made a ward of Birmingham.