Dave Gillard passing by

David Michael Gillard (23 May 1905 - 4 October 1982)
[On the rear of the three photos above: THE FILMOGRAPH CO. (AUST.) 378 MURRAY ST., PERTH]

Davie and his older brother Willie (William Robert) held by their mother and father, Ethel May (Hill) and William Edgar Gillard, in 1905.

Davie and Willie, already fatherless.

I was delighted to be informed at last, in July 2009, as to the identities of the people here. My newly-discovered third cousin Adrian Spall believes this is the 1910 wedding photo of Dave's mother Ethel's second marriage. From the left he says they are Ethel May Hill, Fletcher William Hogarth, Ethel's father William Samuel Hill (aged 55) seated and holding his two grandsons, David and Willie, Ethel's brother, Leslie Lewis Hill who would have been aged 22, and Ethel's sister, Beatrice Harriet Mary Hill.
A photograph from about 1925 of Fletcher William Hogarth with his daughter Ethel Margaret, sent by another cousin who is a grand-daughter of Fletcher Hogarth, confirms that he is the man on our left in this photo.

David and Will in an exterior setting; the other childhood photographs were taken in the studio.

David and Willie are wearing black armbands. Their mother, Ethel May, died in March 1919; so David was an orphan before he was 14. This photo may have been taken shortly after that time. The other two children would be the twins Keith and Ethel, Ethel's children by Fletcher Hogarth, who were born 31 December 1910.

Will was drowned when yachting on the Swan River in 1927, when he was 22, not long after this was taken.

Dave spent much of his young life in the wheatbelt, in places like Trayning and Bencubbin: here he is at the bottom left of the team photo, in 1926, the year Dave turned 21.

Dave is dressed for the city here, but seems to be in the bush.

Three photos of the same outing. Unknown man on the left with Willie and Dave.
On the back of the photo these four cryptic lines appear:
Eileen X Thelma X Maggie X Nellie X

Perhaps the fourth young lady is taking the photo. Her shadow can be seen.

This must be Nell/Nellie with Dave, as she has written what follows on the back of the photo.
X (the one I didn't get on the station)
Oh! Don't be funny Brother But they are as good as could be expected. I think you and I look as if we have been stretched. From Nell

According to her grandson, Adrian Spall, Nell is Dave's first cousin Ellen Raftis (later Spall).

The photo has this stamp on the back:
H. SAXON LEE & SON. N.S.P.S.
DISPENSING CHEMISTS
66 BARRACK ST., PERTH

Even though the photo is over-exposed, it's still worth including to show Dave on a horse, although the saddle seems to leave something to be desired: no stirrups?

Dave with perhaps the Australian bushman's most important tool.

The dress code up in the bush was pretty liberal. Dave, on the right, has a bag on his head: a cheap and handy hat.

That truck again: dealing effectively with a sandtrack.

Bush luncheon. Looks like the same truck, sharing the space.

A domestic scene: I'm not sure which task Dave is performing; maybe he's doing his washing.

I don't who Bob was, nor why Dave finished up with the photo, instead of him. The date is 18 March 1929: Dave is still 23. Nice collar, tie, and pin!

Dave liked telling stories about his taxi-driving between Perth and Fremantle, and even wrote a parody of a popular song embellishing some of them.

There are a number of photos of Dave and taxi. Perhaps it's because he was stationed in central Perth where photographers were easily available. There's a date on the back of the print: 2 July 1935.

Dave and client, I guess. I have no idea who this sharp-looking guy might have been. What appears to be the date is on the back of the print: 15/7/36.

It would be easy for a specialist historian to date this photo from the cars: I'm guessing it was taken in the mid-1930s. Dave was at the top of his career as a taxi driver, and would be first off the rank outside the Perth Railway Station in Wellington St, opposite Forrest Place.
The facade of the Bairds building (1921) still existed in 2012 when it became the home of the Heritage Council. It's now part of the one40William development, where Dave's grand-daughter worked briefly at Screenwest.

Another of Dave's jobs was as a nightwatchman. He told me he was really scared sometimes. But despite the torch, this looks like Dave's taxi-driver's cap.

I think this is the taxi-driver waiting for a fare. Or a taxi.

Another of Dave's jobs around the 1930s was working as a photographer. It looks like he's enjoying this one, tho he's pretty thin! Looks like he's lurking outside a church waiting for the bride and groom to emerge.

I'm assuming Dave is on his honeymoon (1938) in this photo, as it is one of a pair of photographs with his wife in the other, in the same position. Perhaps they took each other's photo. I think I was told they honeymooned at Caves House Yalingup.

When he was still up in the bush, Dave bought a violin out of a mail order catalogue, together with instructions on how to play it. He got some lessons later when he came to Perth, and rose as far as the last desk of the violas in the WASO during WW2. This is the only photo in existence of him playing the fiddle. That's his wife, Mary Linda (Mollie) Robertson, playing piano: also a rare sight. They may (for example) be playing Gounod's Ave Maria, based on Bach's first Prelude. That would be Mollie's Volmer piano, the one I practised on during eleven years of piano lessons, in the lounge room at 98 Eighth Avenue Maylands. Note that Dave appears still to have the distal joint of the middle finger on his left hand, so the accident has not yet occurred. This is among my most precious photos.

With the Dalwallinu registration, this vehicle must be Uncle Frank's. (Dave's wife Mollie's sister Adie married Frank Reudavey and spent her life with him on their farm at Jibberding near Wubin in the shire of Dalwallinu.) But the photograph was taken in Perth, in what looks like the then vacant block next to 98 Eighth Avenue Maylands. Dave and Mollie were married in 1938, so I'm guessing this was about 1940. Also in the photo are James Need Robertson and Christina (Bennett) his wife, the parents of Dave's wife.

Dave lost the top of the middle finger on his left hand in an industrial accident of some kind, which is why he took up playing double bass (rather than continuing with violin or viola).

At the time of his death Dave owned two basses; the one in these two photos has only three strings.

Dave played with a number of jazz bands: one of his regular gigs was with the Jazstars. The personnel, as listed at the Jazz Jamboree of 19 July 1959 (the band is there called Jazz Stars) were: Len Roberts piano, Jim Priestman alto sax, Bob Blake drums, H. Phillips trumpet, J. Merton tenor sax, Dave Gillard bass, G. Smith trombone, J. Spilcker guitar. This photograph may possibly have been taken at the Maylands Town Hall. The tunes they played at the Jamboree in 1959 were Mailbox Boogie, Hey Taxi, and Bennie's Bugle.

This photograph is of historical interest for other than musical reasons. These are Jackie Sue's Rhythm Boys, but Jackie Sue (1925-2009) is much better known as a member of Z Force, the group which went behind enemy lines. Jack is on the right, Dave on the left. The date 1939 can be seen, and perhaps part of the word CHAMPIONS, and the oars, leading to the assumption that this was a celebration of the FRC winning the 1939 Championship, leaving only the Club unknown, and I'm guessing it was the Fremantle Rowing Club, which were the Champions in 1939.

When war broke out in 1939, Dave was 34. His contribution to the war effort was to be trained as a fitter and turner, making things like bomb sights. This photo may have been taken during that period, in Welshpool. Note the tie.

After the War, Dave continued to work at a lathe. This photo may have been taken at Wilderspin's Engineering in Scarborough Beach Road.

Dave played bass together with a pianist (often Bill Higgins) in a nightclub or two. Here he is as a customer in one, the San Remo, which was in Canning Highway, around the early 1950s.

Dave's last two occupations were piano-tuning/repairing - and playing solo organ for occasions like weddings. Here he is at work. The cassette tapes provided the rhythm, with a primitive drum effect.

Goodbye, Dave. Thanks for the music. And everything.


Garry Gillard | New: 18 August, 2006 | Now: 23 May, 2017