What a difference a visit makes
Included in the divorce papers is a copy of her marriage certificate, and Sidney is listed as a Brass finisher from Marrickville and Elsie as being from St Peters. That was significant, as Sidney is listed in all the documents online as an 'engineer'. I bit of wishful thinking? The marriage certificate had a lot of family information, but there was more to learn.
In this statement the children are more clearly listed with their DOB as follows:
Frederick Gordon 18/8/12, died 16/4/1913
Papers were served on Clara Gibbs at a Dairy in Queen Street Waterloo where she worked on 5/11/1919. The Dowling Street address is her parents residence. As I turned the photo over, it was of a young woman, I would say in her 20's. Sidney would have been nearly 30 at the time, and here she is, the other woman.
The next thing I know about Sidney Colyer is that he is on the Electoral Roll in Prahran, Victoria in 1928 again as an engineer, with his wife Lily. Then Victoria holds a body card from the coroner for him in 1959. Now it is important to realise that not every body that went to the coroner was autopsied, nor was there an inquest. There does not appear to be one in this case.
His wife Elsie lived with her brother in Petersham for many years, and in 1922 had another child, Nancy Colyer. (known to my brother in law as Aunty Nance)
The next packet I got was my mother's divorce from her first husband, David McBay. As I read through them I came across a small letter folded up. I knew at once it was in my mother's handwriting, even through the folds. She wrote very neatly.
A began to read the letter, which was to 'Davey', I was quite surprised by that, as she always referred to him quite formaly as David when she told me about him. As I read the letter, my surprise turned to something else, shock I think. She told him she had been having a relationship with a married man and was pregnant to him! And I knew it was not my father. She made it clear in the letter that their marriage was over. The letter was written in 1946, and I could hear my mothers voice in it.
After some research on the NSW BDM I found my mother had a son who died in 1947, maybe it was a premature birth, I will never know. I do remember my mother always saying to my sister and I that boys were not strong as tiny babies, it was a belief she seemed to hold.
It was quite a revelation to see these original papers, and I found a wealth of information. It has prompted me to work out when my next trip to the archives is going to be - I have a few probate packets I need to look through!