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Henry Reudavey

Excerpt from Prepared to Pioneer

REUDAVEY, Henry Richard

Henry was born 8 January 1870 in Sussex, UK, as Henry Davey. His mother’s maiden name was Rewell and Henry attached this to his own surname to make Rewell-Davey, which became Rew-Davey and then Reudavey. Henry arrived in Australia in 1898, living first on the Goldfields. For several years he lived in North Perth and Osborne Park. A professional gardener, he was responsible for laying out Queens Gardens in Perth.

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1936 photo. Henry R. Reudavey centre back. Frank and Adie Reudavey are left back, with James Need Robertson (Adie's father) back right holding Phillis Reudavey [Dolling] (born Nov 1935). Front: Cerceda Reudavey and Christina Robertson, James's wife and Adie's mother.

On 1.7.1902 Henry Reudavey married Cerceda Grace HOCKING (b. 1.7.1881), at Wesley Church in Perth. For the first few years of their marriage, they lived in a converted shed in Queens Gardens grounds, and in 1906 a small cottage was built for them in the gardens. The contract for the building of the cottage was £298.

Reudavey Occupation Certificate

In 1908, Henry took up virgin land in Jibberding, near the rabbit proof fence — Victoria Loc. 4450 of 1,000 acres and Loc. 3868 the homestead block. Grace and their two children joined him in 1909. Their first home was of plaited bush with a hessian lining. All stores had to be tinned or dehydrated as the nearest railway siding was at Gunyidi, a three and a half-day trip by horse and cart.

Mail arrived once a month by camel, later by horse. Grace was a very hospitable woman and was said to have been like a second mother to lonely British migrants brought out to clear the bush, having as many as twenty to Sunday tea followed by music and hymn singing. She was Postmistress, first appearing in the 1915 Post Office Directory, and ran the Jibberding telephone exchange for 32 years. She was a founder member of the local CWA and also acted as midwife to two other mothers in the area.

They named the property 'Bouganville', a feature being plantings of bougainvillea covering a high wire fence. At one time Henry took on seven migrants (Scots, Irish and English) to help with the clearing of the land; most of the clearing was done using axes. There was no water on the property, it all had to be carted from the government dam on the Jibberding reserve. The first year Henry took it out of the boundary rider’s tank and got into trouble. Later he sank a dam by hand, using a pick and shovel. Unfortunately the dam stored only milky water caused by the high clay content in the soil and the water had to be cleared by adding alum to the wooden barrels in which the drinking water was stored.

Cerceda Grace Reudavey (seated) with her nine children. Left to right: Alan, Eunice, Joyce, Dorrie, Nancy, Marj, Frank, Jack, and Eric.

In 1914 they built a new home and such was the couple's friendliness to other settlers and itinerant bush clearers that they set aside a room for monthly church services, weddings and dances. It once also served as a polling booth presided over by Henry. The couple had nine children: Francis Edward b. 16.10.1904; Dorothy (CHISHOLM) b. 6.5.1907; Marjory Lillian (McKENZIE) b. 18.1.1910; Eric Wilfred b. 20.10.1912; Alan Charles b. 28.1.1916; Nancy Isobel (BARKER) b. 12.4.1918; twins Joyce (NOLAN) and Eunice (ROBERTSON) b. 4.8.1920; and John Henry (Jack) b. 24.6.1924.

Nancy married in Adelaide and has lived in Port Pirie ever since. Joyce a nurse, married Michael Joseph (Danny) Nolan 1948 at Jibberding and has lived in Perth since then. Eunice married John Stanley (Jack) Robertson in Jibberding in 1941. Jack was a shearer and farmed a property on Wasley Road, East Buntine, leaving the farm to retire to Northam in 1970s. Jack Reudavey continued to farm the home property, retiring to Safety Bay, leaving his son Trevor as third generation owner. Henry died in Dalwallinu hospital 25 July 1946 and is buried in Dalwallinu Cemetery. Grace continued to live on the Jibberding property until 1952 when she moved to Perth and then later to Capel to live with daughter Marj. In 1972 Grace was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community. Grace died 25 May 1979 at the Rowethorpe homes, Bentley, and her ashes are interred with Henry's.

Excerpts from A History of Dalwallinu

The [school] building was later moved to a site near Mr. A. Wasley’s land at Jibberding and named the Wubin school. A teacher began giving lessons there on 9th September, 1918. The place was shifted a second time to a location on the main road, and in 1921 was given the name of Jibberding.
A Miss U. Showell, who was the first teacher at Jibberding, boarded with the Richards family. There had been a tiny house school at one stage on this property which was not far from the Wubin dam. Mrs. Richards ran a small wayside shop for travellers, selling teas, home made bread, buns, cakes etc. Her husband’s family had a cartage contracting business in the city. Horses which needed a spell from their work of drawing loads were sent to the Wubin farm.

Image from Crake: 117, no source given

While several Reudavey boys and girls were taught the three Rs with Stan [Anderton], some of the other members of this family of nine learned their letters at the school near the Wubin dam. The children’s mother [Grace Reudavey] was one of the outstanding women who pioneered the various districts in the shire. As well as being the Jibberding postmistress, a position she took up in 1914, she ran the local telephone exchange for many years from 1920.
The “front” room of Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Reudaveys’ home was used for church services — their daughter Dorothy being married there — meetings, dances, socials and card parties. Sumptuous meals were served to the many guests who were invited to lunch, afternoon tea or supper. Mrs. [Grace] Reudavey became a mother figure to a number of lonely young bachelors and new brides, and acted as midwife to neighbouring women. Some years later she was awarded a B.E.M. for service to the community.
A beautiful garden surrounded the homestead. Every so often mothers, daughters and babies sat in the sun among the flowers, watching while their menfolk played cricket in the horse paddock nearby. Tennis parties were also held on a court beside the farmhouse. (pages 116-7)

Thia (Cynthia) Reudavey Wright between her two grandmothers, Grace Reudavey on the left and Christine Robertson on the right. Photo taken on 17 November 1956, when Grace was 65 and Teen 66, on the occasion of Phillis Reudavey's 21st birthday.

REUDAVEY, Henry Richard.
Cecilia [Cerceda] Grace BEM [British Empire Medal]
Henry Richard Reudavey left his home in Sussex about 1900 and sailed for Western Australia. A professional gardener, he helped lay out Queens Gardens in Perth. About 1902 he married Cecilia [Cerceda] Grace Hocking. Seven years later the couple and their children moved to a 1160 acre farm block they had taken up at Jibberding near the Rabbit Proof Fence.
Mrs. Reudavey acted as the Jibberding Post-mistress for many years. A most hospitable woman she was always ready to invite anyone in need of company, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to share their joy with into her home for a meal or a cuppa. An excellent cook and gardener, she also found time to run the Jibberding telephone exchange. Her service to the community was recognised when she was awarded a B.E.M.
Francis Edward Reudavey and John Henry Reudavey still farm in the region. The family now has 12,000 acres. (page 228)

[In 2019, there are no longer any Reudaveys farming.
Frank died in 1994.
Cerceda was always known by her second given name, Grace.]

References and Links

See also: Henry's sons, Frank Reudavey, Alan Reudavey, Eric Reudavey, and his mother-in-law, Mary Ann Hocking.

Cail, Bert et al. 2005?, Prepared to Pioneer: A History of Wubin 1908 to 1939, Wubin Progress Association.

Crake, Hellen Antonio 1985, A History of Dalwallinu ‘A Place to Wait a While’ 1846-1979, Shire of Dalwallinu.

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