Appendices to "The WEDEMEYERs of Eastern Australia."
… section 6. Maggie's nephew Hedley GATES.
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The appendices are as follows:
… note that this page contains section 6 (Hedley GATES), and that there is a separate page for each section of the appendix.
- Appendices Section 1: Your family is my family (?) …early origins of WEDEMEYER families
- Appendices Section 2: Court Cases
- Appendices Section 2: Rates
- Appendices Section 3: Inquiry into Hotel Fire, 1885
- Appendices Section 3: JWH (Harry) WEDEMEYER’s Documents
- Appendices Section 4: DAVIS documents
- Appendices Section 5: WEDEMEYER name
- Appendices Section 5: Descendancy Report of German born WEDEMEYERs
- Appendices Section 6: Maggie's nephew Hedley GATES
Section 6: Hedley GATES.
Hedley Charles Frederick GATES was a most interesting character, becoming relevant to the WEDEMEYER and STRONG families. Note… much detail of his life story was obtained from a set of interviews he gave to Wendy Lowenstein…ii), which has been augmented by information on the public record. See sources at the end of this report.
Hedley was born on 2 Mar 1911 at 23 Lillie St, Glebe, Hobart, Tasmania, to Frederick Charles William GATES (1881-1959) & Lucy Lavinia COOPER-SMITH (1882-1963)…v), viii).
Hedley left school at the age of 13 to be apprenticed in the printing trade. He finished his apprenticeship at 18 and was employed as a journeyman linotype operator for a year. At 19 he was employed on a "week on, week off" basis during The Great Depression... job sharing with a married man. When he was not working he led a busy sporting life. He held the Tasmanian State middleweight amateur championship in boxing and was also a versatile swimmer and diver. He won several open freestyle championships, and was the recognised backstroke and diving champion of Tasmania for several years…ii), xii).
In 1930 (aged 19) he became restive, resigned his job in favour of a family man, and set off with a friend to carry his swag to Launceston and get to the mainland. By 1931 he was in Melbourne and his swag was stolen. He kept going and slept rough on the road, getting work where he could. He aimed to eventually get to Queensland. When he reached Sydney, he found "an aunt at Leichardt" …ii). Hedley's aunt Maggie GATES (née WEDEMEYER) lived at 9 Carlisle St, Leichardt in 1930 and 1933 …iii). Maggie had married Hedley's uncle Percy David (Perce) GATES in 1912 at Auckland NZ, when Perce was a marine fireman…iv). He spent several days with Maggie and Perce, and then set off to Penrith to stay with another aunt for 10 days…ii).
He reached Yeppoon, Gladstone and Rockhampton in Qld. He did general farm work, burning the spikes off prickly pear to use it as cattle feed in the drought, catching, training and selling wild horses, and selling honey, and working for Jimmy Sharman's boxing troupe in the Rockhampton Show…ii).
Hedley moved south, train jumping, begging for food, taking sheep and poultry for food, living on his wits and working for food. He finally returned to Tasmania, and resumed work in the printing trade. Then worked on a fishing trawler, still keeping fit by often swimming ashore for exercise. In 1932 Hedley joined the Naval Reserve, and worked at odd jobs when they came up…ii), xv). He enlisted in the RAN on 13 Aug 1934 for a period of 12 years. He then went for training to Flinders Naval Depot, Melbourne and qualified as a steward…xii), xv). Swimming was still central to his life. The Tasmanian Swimming Association said in 1935: "Hedley Gates, who will represent the State in the medley race and 100yds back stroke, is in excellent condition, and negotiations are being made with the Naval authorities in order to secure leave of absence for him."…vii), xii)
Hedley's significance to Tasmanian swimming was demonstrated by the donation of the Hedley Gates Shield in 1937 for competition of Tasmanian swimming clubs for the club gaining the most points for places in the championship events …xii). This shield was in use at least until 1946, but is not currently awarded. It looks as if this shield was superseded by the “Warren Cure Memorial Trophy” with the selection criterion of award to the club that gains the most points at the Tasmanian Championships.
The South Australia Police Gazette records Hedley deserting from H.M.A.S. Sydney, at Sydney, NSW on 2nd January, 1939. The Gazette describes Hedley: "HEDLEY CHARLES FREDERICK GATES, steward, native of Tasmania, born 1913, 5ft.8½in. high, fresh complexion, dark brown hair, greenish eyes, rather solid type of man, and a pugilistic some repute. Reward not exceeding £3. Warrant filed C.I. Branch Adelaide."…xvii) His military file was endorsed “Approved not to be claimed for further service in R.A.N.", and this entry was stamped 6/3/39…xv). Hedley had gone gold mining in the backcountry near Alice Springs!…ii) Hedley’s prospecting was mentioned by Frederick George Godfrey Rose…xxi): “The following is an observation of Mr Hedley Gates, one time prospector in Central Australia, on the use and ownership of camels by Aborigines. He said that he met an Aborigine with a cow and calf camel at Brooke's Soak near Mt. Doreen in February 1937.” The date 1937 may be incorrect?
Subsequently the authorities caught up with Hedley. The Police Gazette listed Hedley under "Deserters recovered" with the date 16 Jun 1943.…xviii) Hedley must have done a deal with the military, since he had enlisted with the RAAF on 27 Feb 1943.…xvi) At that time the electoral rolls…iii) show him at Bondi Beach in 1943: "Hedley Charles Frederick Gates (Linotype operator), 144 Warner's Avenue, Bondi Beach with Ellie GATES (home duties)."
Hedley's 1943 RAAF enlistment in Sydney named his next of kin as Elwick GATES.…xvi) Elwick PARSEY and Hedley GATES had married in the Canberra Registry Office on 23 Dec 1941.…x) Elwick PARSEY was an assumed name due to lack of identification papers in war time. Ellie had a number of names, but settled on Ellie Gitta GATES when she married.…viI)
Hedley was discharged from the RAAF on 2 Jul 1945. He had been promoted to Temporary Sergeant on 4/6/44.…xvi) Note Hedley in his Sgt's uniform below, together with his wife Ellie Gitta.
After the war, Electoral rolls…iii) in Sydney NSW show these records: 1949: Hedley Charles Frederick Gates (compositor), 103A Ebley St Bondi Junction with Ellie Gates (home duties).
1954: Ditto. 1958: Ditto. 1963: Ditto.
All these addresses were near his uncle and aunt Perce and Maggie GATES who lived at “Kia Ora”, 106 Ebley St., Bondi Junction, NSW. Note that Maggie died on 4 May 1946, and Perce died on 9 Feb 1957, continuing to live at 106 Ebley St, Bondi Junction until at least 1954…iv).
How was Hedley connected to Maggie? Two photos of Perce and Maggie and a man originally believed to Hedley, were been placed in my website photogallery here. Maggie was a young woman in one photo and a middle-aged woman in the other. However, photos of Hedley on this page do not match the unknown man in my photogallery. The photogallery photos came to me from Minnie STRONG (née WEDEMEYER) (my grandmother).
Hedley must have made an impression on Maggie GATES, since her Will dated 7 Mar 1945 bequeathed her house and furniture to him at 106 Ebley St, Bondi Junction, held in Trust until Perce died. Note that the association with the STRONG family was that on the occasion of Percy's death the Trusts expired and Maggie left a house apiece to each of her nephews Robert and Edward STRONG and Hedley GATES and to great nephews Philip and Barry STRONG (5 houses in all) with the residue of her estate to her nephews above. In addition, Hedley's sister Leila GATES received the furniture in 106 Ebley St, if Hedley died before the Maggie's Estate was distributed.…iv) What happened to Hedley and Ellie GATES after Hedley received 106 Ebley St.? The distribution of Maggie’s Estate was completed in 1960…iv). However Hedley remained in 103A Ebley St in 1963 and did not move into 106 Ebley St which he now owned…iii). Perhaps there was a protected tenant in 106 and Hedley could not gain vacant possession? Perhaps he sold 106 and moved elsewhere? Now in 2022, Maggie's 106 Ebley St is a Japanese restaurant, the Suki Ramen! See Hedley's possible 103a Ebley St now numbered in 2019 as 2/103 Ebley St in below photo.
At the stage that Perce's niece Leila GATES was mentioned in the Will, she had married Thomas Bertram FRIER on 7 Nov 1939…v), thus Maggie was out of date with her information when she named her as a beneficiary in 1945.…iv) What was Leila’s connection with Maggie? Leila May FRIER (née GATES) died on 11th January, 1990…v) and was living at 47 King street, Bellerive, Tasmania at the time…iii). At the time of her marriage she lived at 6 Pillinger St, Sandy Bay and remained there until at least 1954 …iii). Tom Frier was standing just to the right of Hedley in the Sandy Bay swimming photo above. Was Tom the man standing with Perce and Maggie in the photogallery images? See here.
Hedley’s niece Gaylene (daughter of his sister Leila) said…v): “Hedley ran the Bondi Baths from about the mid 1960's until about 1977 living on the premises. He then retired and moved to Western Australia to be near his son Anthony.”
Gaylene was right about Hedley's association with Bondi Baths... found two references... one had a photo with Hedley holding a block of ice in the pool in the middle of winter…xxii) .
Then an on-line biography referred to a Ron Nothman…xxiii) who said he
“swam at Bondi Baths in the 60's and loved the power of being in the "BOGY HOLE" in big swells with the then caretaker of the baths Mr Hedley Gates”. Finally Hedley's declared occupation in the 1972 electoral roll said "lessee" of "1 Notts Ave Bondi Beach" which was the address of the Bondi Pool. This shows he was the private operator of the Pool and not just the caretaker.…iii)
It is possible that Hedley ran into legal problems in NSW in 1955. The Sydney Morning Herald reports Thursday, September 01, 1955 Page: 10 …. Law Courts Notice … mentions a “Hedley Gates” who was to appear at the Bankruptcy Court with an application for a substitute service of bankruptcy noice…xix).
Another SMH report Saturday, April 23, 1955 Page: 7 of the “Tuesday's Law Notices”, mentions a “Hedley Gates” due to appear at a hearing at the Balmain sitting of the Quarter Sessions…xx).
Frank Graham’s archived correspondence…xiii), showed that Hedley and Gitta may have associated with left wing activists ix), which may have even given them an ASIO file. The people mentioned in this correspondence were members of the CPA (Communist Party of Australia), the Australia- USSR Society and the far left of the Labor Party. (Personal note… I knew some of these people when I was a member of the NSW Teachers Federation.)
Hedley even got a mention in Beverley Symons (Ed). Communism in Australia: A Resource Bibliography…xiv. I have not sighted this reference.
The next records of Hedley and Ellie were in Western Australia…iii):
1977: Hedley Charles Gates (no occupation), 171 Kalamunda Rd, Kalamunda W.A. with Elwick Gitta Gates (no occupation). 1980: Ditto.
Hedley died on 1 Apr 1990 at Kalamunda District Hospital at the age of 79, and was cremated at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA…ix), xi). He had progressive heart ischaemic problems at the end of his life starting in 1984…xi)… regrettably too early for stents which were first used world-wide in 1986.…xi)-a
Ellie died on 20 Oct 1999 at Mosman Park at the age of 88, and was also cremated at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth WA …ix).
i) Wendy Lowenstein. Weevils in the Flour: An Oral Record of the 1930's Depression in Australia. Hyland House; Melbourne; 1978:120-127.
ii) Hedley Gates interviewed by Wendy Lowenstein for the Wendy Lowenstein 1930's Depression collection. 2 sound tape reels (ca. 97 min.). National Library Australia. See here.
iii) Australian Electoral Rolls.
iv) Maggie and Percy GATES' story, with details of Hedley’s bequest from Maggie’s Will. See here.
v) Pers. com. Pat Prior; 2011.
v)a Pers. com. Pauleen Gates; 2022.
vi) Powder cocktail bar introduced to Perth by Mademoiselle Gitta Adlee (overseas representative of Paul Duval of Paris and Vienna). Sunday Times (Perth, WA); 31 May 1936: 30.
vii) Pers. comm. Pauleen and Tony Gates; 2017.
viii) Announcement of Hedley’s birth on 2 Mar 1911 to FW Gates. The Mercury; 4 Mar 1911.
ix) WA Metropolitan Cemeteries Board database. See here.
x) Marriage of Hedley Charles Frederick GATES & Elwick PARSEY, 23 Dec 1941. Registry office, Canberra ACT. Reg# 1941/30030413.
xi) Death of Hedley Gates, 16 Apr 1990, Kalamunda District Hospital, WA. Reg# 1990/1400205.
xi)-a Stent; Wikipedia. See here.
xii)…a The Mercury; 16 Aug 1934: 9.
xii)…b The Mercury Sat 16 Dec 1933 page 7
xii)…c The Mercury Frid 11 Oct 1946
xii)…d The Mercury Tues 9 Feb 1937, pg 11
xii)…e The Mercury Thurs 17 Jan 1935, pg 12.
Association with left wing activists:
xiii) Frank Graham - photographs, with correspondence, ca. 1907-ca. 1985, together with explanatory notes by Pat Graham, 1996. NSW State Library. See here.
xiv) Beverley Symons (Ed). Communism in Australia: A Resource Bibliography. National Library of Australia; 1994.
National Archives: Go to http://www.naa.gov.au/ and search for Hedley Gates. The relevant records are:
xv) Naval reserve: entered service: 27/10/1925 service# 1282. Exemption 2/11/1929. Navy entered service 13 Aug 1934 for period of 12 years, service# 20292…final note in file: 2/1/1939 and…
xvi) Air force:Enlisted 27/2/1943 service# 433258. Discharged 2 Jul 1945 . Promoted Temp Sgt 4/6/44.
Police Gazette records for desertion:
xvii) Initial desertion… South Australia Police Gazette 1939, page 23.
xviii) Deserter recovered… South Australia Police Gazette 1939. Jun 16 1943, page 203.
Legal Problems… see Sydney Morning Herald Law Court Notices:
xix) Thurs September 01, 1955 Page: 10 …. Bankruptcy Court.
xx) Sat April 23, 1955 Page: 7 …..Balmain sitting of the Quarter Sessions
Prospecting in Central Australia:
xxi) Frederick George Godfrey Rose. The Wind of Change in Central Australia. Akademie Verlag; Berlin: 1965.
xxii) Bondi Icebergs. Sydney Morning Herald 19 Jul 1970
xxiii) On-line biography of Ron Nothman. Link captured in 2011, now a broken link in 2022.
The Story Continues
Please browse the research that has been done on families that are related to the WEDEMEYERs, all contained on this web site: