Week 15 – Paternal Aunts & Uncles – Dolo, Margaret, Norma, Phyllis

This week, I’m blogging about my Father’s family of 2 uncles and 7 aunties and will continue over the next couple of blogs, so they are all included. Do you think the boys were a little outnumbered?

Dolo and Margaret Cripps

I knew all of them, having met each and every one of Dad’s family throughout their lifetime.

Annie Dolores or Dolo as she was affectionately known, was the eldest of 10 children and was born August 1917.

Dolo told me her story of her time on Mumby farm with great enthusiasm. When her mother and father and all the kids went by buggy to Northampton for shopping on Saturdays, she always had to sit behind her father to watch out for the kangaroos. She worked hard on the farm, being the eldest, to helped to provide for her younger siblings by doing the cooking and cleaning. Dolo also looked after my Dad, Charlie, when he was just a baby. They were very close, even in their senior years.

After leaving the farm, Dolo worked at the Northampton Hospital as a cook and general all trades for 6 months. She then worked for Fred Blood at the Murchison Station, as a cook during the shearing months.

Dolo left the farm at 21 and went to live in Perth where she worked as a housekeeper for Aileen and Fred Sleight, the local milkman. She lived in as a housekeeper caring for the children and doing the cooking and other house duties. Then she went to work for Mr and Mrs Leggo who worked for the WA Newspapers.

Dolo and her cousin Elsie Rayner and Aunt Elsie Normington used to go to the Karrakatta Army Barracks on Friday nights for dances. She met Shirl (Kingsley) Temple one evening in August of 1942 under the London Court clock at 7.30pm. (The time must have been important!) He turned up in his uniform to meet with Dolo, Cyril Quinn, Elsie Rayner, Ted Keyser, and Elsie Normington.

They married on Wednesday 6th January 1943 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Northampton and had six children, Marie, Lorraine, Cheryl, Dianne, Janice and Owen (twins).


Phyllis and Margaret Cripps on the front steps of Mumby homestead.

Aunty Margaret, who is also in the picture above with Dolo, is the second daughter of Tom and Norma Cripps nee Lymburner.

Margaret wrote out her story for me, which talks about how she and her sister Dolo used to love to play with their dolls in the pram. With few books to read, a lot of time was spent outside, going to their special places like the orchard or up to the chook pen. The two sisters had a huge amount of fun looking for hen’s eggs in the horse-manger, which was filled with chaff.

After finishing school, Margaret spent all her time at home helping care for her siblings. She helped keep all the yards raked and clean. Inside the house, her main duties were to do all the cleaning. Sheets were changed and on a Saturday, the copper was cleaned and filled with rainwater to soak the sheets on Sunday, with washday being on Monday. It was an early start, to light the copper, grate the soap into the copper and bring the sheets to the boil. The clothes were cleaned on a scrubbing board and ironing was all done on the same day, with pot irons on the stove to heat them (later using petrol irons).

Margaret made most of the girl’s clothes, including all the girl’s ball gowns and many clothes for Norma, who worked at Wesfarmers in Geraldton. Norma would sketch dresses she would see in the shops and bring home these sketches for Margaret to make for her. She also made dresses for Von Morgan for 2 shillings and walked 2 miles to Chilmony for the fittings. Patterns were used mostly from the Home Journal. Margaret also made the entire bridesmaid gowns and headpieces for her own wedding. Her 21st birthday present was a Singer Treadle Sewing Machine.

Margaret met Harold Johnson at his sister’s (Carmel and Ernie Mitchell) shop, in Northampton. After they were married in 1941, they lived for a time in Northampton before moving out to the Delta farm at east Ogilvie. They had six children, Alan, Helen, Paul, Ian, Maree and Wayne.


Norma Ada Cripps

Aunty Norma was born in 1921, and as I write this blog, she is still with us today at the age of 96. Norma lives in Melbourne and she would often go back to the farm to visit her family and never missed a family reunion. Even the one that was held in March 2015, although Norma couldn’t be present physically, we had her with us virtually on a video link to Melbourne, so she could talk and interact with her family. The use of technology was made for such momentous occasions.

Norma is also the family historian, in that she keeps the names of all her siblings, their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would have them all written down in her birthday book and never missed phoning or sending a card to us for our significant birthdays, wedding anniversaries and Christmas. When we came home after Christmas this year, there was a message on my answering machine. How special was that! She wrote quite extensively to me about her time on Mumby farm with her siblings.

At the age of four, Norma began correspondence lessons supervised by the housekeeper Ivy Elson, before boarding at the Presentation Convent in Northampton for four years. Then came the depression in 1929 and the girls went back to the farm and were taught by the Assisted School teachers. When she was about 15, Norma went back to the convent to board for six months before doing her Junior Examinations and stayed on for another year to complete her sub-leaving. On leaving school Norma went to work for Wesfarmers in Geraldton as a Junior Clerk/Typist. She received 22/6 (shillings a week) equivalent to $1.25 and out of this 15/- (fifteen shillings) was paid in weekly board. Every birthday there was a pay rise and she thought she had it made when she was on £1.50 a week. During the war years, Norma took over the accountant’s job and was given the princely sum of £3.50 a week.

Norma married Cyril Murray 7 May 1955 in Melbourne and they had two children, Julie and Greg.


Phyllis Cripps

Aunty Phyl (Phyllis Elsie Cripps) was born at the Geraldton Maternity Hospital in Gregory Street, in September 1922.

Phyl told me she loved to play cricket with the boys, Charlie, Ernie & Jim. She stayed at the convent in Northampton until she was eight years old then the depression came after the Second World War so she came home to the farm to finish her schooling until 8th grade. By this time she was about 14 or 15 years old. The teacher on Mumby was always a lad. Molly Burke was her favourite and she loved Sister Gabriel at the convent.

Phyllis’ first job was on the farm at Mumby and she earnt two shillings a week (20 cents). She knew no other job and stayed on to help her mother and father while the war was on. The only children home at this time were Margaret and the boys, the others were away working and the younger girls, Rita and Leah were at boarding school in Northampton. Phyllis lived on the farm for 23 years. She met Ray Whiting when he as stationed at Galena during the war. They married in Northampton on the 21st February 1946. Ray lived in Melbourne, so they returned there to live, travelling from Perth across the Nullarbor on the Trans-Continental steam train that took 4 days. Phyllis and Ray had 5 children, Margaret, John, Anne, Christine and Paul.


Next week I will introduce you to more of Dad’s family.



About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
This entry was posted in 52-Week-Challenge, Blog, Cripps. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Week 15 – Paternal Aunts & Uncles – Dolo, Margaret, Norma, Phyllis

  1. John & Noelene Lee says:

    Hello Jenny
    My Name is Noelene Lee (Bunter). The daughter of Brian William Bunter The granddaughter of Nora Susan O’brien (Bunter). I noted that Norma Ada Cripps was born in 1921 but Married in 1919?? Not sure that it is quite correct.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      Thank you so much Noelene, no one has picked that up before and I appreciate you pointing that out. It should read 7 May 1955. In fact, I was born 6 days later so I doubt mum was at the wedding and I wonder if dad attended.! Something I might not ever know now as Norma’s funeral was today, she passed last Sunday.

      • John & Noelene Lee says:

        I was born 7 May 1957

      • John & Noelene Lee says:

        Yes i did note that she passed away i was googling her name and that is when here death notice had come up. I am Very Sorry for her loss. I wish her family all the very best in the future.

  2. Kerry & Jim says:

    Looking forward to the next instalment Jenny….what a wonderful family we have!

  3. I’ll be ready for the next part of the series.. So many names that fit in with the Npton social structures.

  4. tstatton says:

    Jenny, once again you have outlined your extended family members beautifully. Now I can update my Cripps part of the family tree. You are amazing with your tenacity to get the family history out there. Well done.

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