Blanche Molenaar Hockings nee Tilbury (1882-1960)
- Blanche & Edwin
Blanche (Ban) Molenaar Tilbury (1882-1960)
Edwin Morton Hockings (1870-1942)
- Father: Albert J. Hockings (1826-1890)
- Mother: Elizabeth nee Bailey (1832-1901)
- Born: 17 Feb 1870, Brisbane
- Married: 21 Sep 1901, Blanche Molenaar Tilbury, Rockhampton
- Died: 1942
1870. Edward Morton Hockings (1870-1942), born 17 Feb, was the youngest son of leading Brisbane businessman, Albert John (1826-1890) and Elizabeth nee Bailey (1832-1901). His father, a seed merchant, was one of early Brisbane’s best known citizens, its Mayor in 1865 and 1867 and Member for South Brisbane in the Queensland Parliament.
1882. Born 9 Apr in Aramac, Blanche was known to her grandchildren as Marna and to her family and friends as Ban.
1890. Following his education at the Brisbane Grammar School, to the establishment of which his father was the first subscriber, Edwin became an articled pupil of the architect Richard Gailey. In 1890 he won a design competition for the new Girls' Grammar School at Rockhampton. The circumstances surrounding the design award were controversial. Of the 32 entries, Edwin’s received much favorable local reaction and in October 1890 a telegram was sent to him in Brisbane, congratulating him on his winning entry and advising that his prize of £75 was being forwarded. Gailey telegraphed the trustees that the prize was legally his because he was Edwin's employer, and Edwin agreed to the plans being acknowledged as Gailey's own. Gailey was subsequently retained as supervising architect of the School building and Gailey's office took over the documentation of the building while Edwin proceeded to Rockhampton as its clerk of works.
1895. Edwin was elected an Associate of the Queensland Institute of Architects and began his own architectural practice in Rockhampton, making his mark throughout central Queensland.
1899. During the Boer War (1899-1902) Edwin commanded a squadron of the Third Queensland Contingent (Mounted Infrantry) and although at one time seriously ill with enteric fever, continued to lead the advance.
1900. Edwin was practising architecture at 271 Victoria Pde, between Davis and Caroline Sts, adjacent to Bert M. Lilley, solicitor. Alfred Hutton joined Edwin in partnership and Hutton & Hockings set up business in the Fitzroy Chambers, 15 Denham St, next door to James Thompson Tilbury's business. With the prosperity that followed gold mining at Mt. Morgan and the pastoral development of the central west, the firm of Hutton & Hockings and their local competitors Eaton & Bates were very successful at the turn of the century. They remained in partnership until 1904.
1907. Edwin Morton Hockings shared the house adjacent to 'Grantham' with Robert Brown, the original partner of Rees R & Sydney Jones. Edwin proposed to Blanche, 'the girl next door', by fishing in his pocket and throwing the ring-box to her over the back fence, calling "Catch!" as he did so. She did and on 21 Sep Blanche (25) and Edwin (37) were married in Rockhampton. They had five children: Esther Elizabeth, Jane, Thomas, Edwin (Ted) Tilbury and George. All the children, with the exception of George, were born at the Hillcrest Hospital, Rockhampton. George was born at St.Faiths, Yapoon, Brisbane.
The Tilbury and Hockings families spent many long and exuberant holidays at 'Wahpobbera' (the aboriginal name of a native shrub), the Hockings' cottage at 59 Bright St, Emu Park. The holidays needed to be well planned and involved preparations for the household to move to the cottage for a two-month period. The family departed from Archer Park Station in Rockhampton and with each departure the train had to be delayed while all the luggage was loaded.
Although small, the cottage with resident horses, chooks and a cow (along with very good fishing spots and beaches in the area), provided an entertaining environment for the five children. The house, built by Edwin Morton Hockings between 1914 and 1920, was one of the few houses left undamaged after a cyclone ca1929, sustaining damage only to the water tanks. From the verandah of the house the view encompasses Great Keppel Island and the Capricorn Group of islands. At the time of my visit to the property the owners had plans to double the size of the house and remove the additions that were made after it was sold by Edwin Hockings.
1916. After serving again in World War I, Edwin formed other partnerships in Rockhampton with L.T. Palmer (from 1916 to 1938) and with his son Thomas (from 1939 until about 1940).
1936. The Rockhampton Council undertook to complete the Town Hall, the foundation stone of which had been laid in 1897. An Australia-wide competition was held and when suggested plans for the new building were displayed they ranged from classic styles with Corinthian columns to the ultimate choice of a solid brick structure designed by Hockings & Palmer to suit the climate. Each department was efficiently lighted and ventilated on all sides, with direct rays of the sun eliminated by verandahs and balconies. The city’s second foundation stone laying ceremony took place on 25 Mar 1939.
1942. From August the Town Hall contributed to the defence of Australia, becoming the headquarters for General Eichelberger and the 41st Division, US Army. Edwin died on 21 Dec, not long after the completion of the Rockhampton Town Hall (1931-41). Other works of Edwin's include the Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School (1890-92); cottages at Archer St. (1895) and at Kabratha (1895); alterations and additions to the Great Western Hotel at Stanley and Denison Sts. (1896); offices at Gladstone (1897); the Clergy House at Longreach (1897); additions to the Rockhampton Children’s Hospital (1898); the Carriers Arms Hotel at Barcaldine (1898); and St.Peter’s Church of England at Barcaldine (1898-99).
1960. Blanche died in Rockhampton. She had been troubled by a heart condition, which in all likelihood was not improved by the loss of her husband and two sons. Her three sons all joined the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II and all saw active service in the South Pacific area. Two were killed in action.
- Children of Blanche & Edwin
Esther Elizabeth Duncan nee Hockings (1908-1992)
Esther was born 16 Jul 1908 and entered the Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School (RGGS) at the age of six.
1937. In July Esther married Edward Wallace Duncan (-1988), who had moved to Queensland from Melbourne to work for the Department of Main Roads as an Engineer. Esther and Edward had two children, Alison and John Bruce.
Alison's first marriage was to John Garrett Clarke and they had three children: Peta Elizabeth, Christopher Thomas and Simon Garrett. Peta married Peter Michael Rogers and they had two children, Freya and and Nathan John, in Tasmania; Christopher married Mariela Astorga Ladetto of Argentina at the Gold Coast in 2008 and they had two children, Nicolas and Dimiti. Simon married Daniela (Dani) Aglio of Brazil in 2012.
Alison's second marriage was to Peter Wickham. Peter had three children and four grandchildren from a previous marriage and all lived in Brisbane, apart from a grandson attending the English National Ballet School in London.
John Bruce and his second wife Dianne Dorothy nee Russell had a son, Scott. Dianne had a daughter Martine from her first marriage. The family lived in Brisbane.
1988. Edward Duncan died at Emu Park.
1992. Esther died.
Jane Armstrong nee Hockings (1910-2004)
Jane was born in Rockhampton and entered the RGGS in 1915. She married John A.F. Armstrong and they had two daughters, Catherine and Pamela. The family lived at Graceville, near Taringa, Brisbane, and spent many hours with cousins Clive and Heather Tilbury and their children Lloyd and Sally.
Catherine married Brian Wood (1945-1995) and they had two children, Amity Jane and Nicholas. Brian died in 1995 when washed overboard while sailing. Catherine’s second marriage was to Peter Versi, they had twins Charles and Georgina and lived in Mosman, NSW with the four children.
Pamela married Jonathon Job and they had two children, Sebastian and Freya. Pamela died in a car accident when the children were quite young and Jonathon remarried. Jonathon also died at a young age and his new wife brought up the children. Freya married Michael Nielsen.
2004. Jane was living in a retirement home in Mosman at the time of her death in 2004.
Thomas Hockings (1912-1945 KIA)
Thomas was born at Rockhampton on April 5, 1912. He was educated at the RGS and Queensland Agricultural College. He later qualified as an architect and after some years with the Queensland Department of Works in Brisbane joined his father's practice in Denham St. Rockhampton. He married Margaret (Dearma) Bailey, of Rockhampton.
Tom trained as a navigator and was posted to No.24 Squadron (flying 4-engine 'Liberator' bombers). He flew in operations against the Japanese in the enemy-occupied islands north of Australia and died 2 Jul 1945, when his Liberator was hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target area on the day after the Australian landing at Balikpapan.
Edwin Tilbury (Ted) Hockings (1913-2005)
Ted was born at Rockhampton on 18 Dec 1913 and was educated at the RGS and The Southport School. He worked as a journalist with 'The Morning Bulletin' at Rockhampton and subsequently with 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 'The Newcastle Morning Herald' and 'The Toowoomba Chronicle'. After a period as editor of 'The Producers' Review' he was appointed editor of the 'Queensland Agricultural Journal' at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock. He was promoted to Editor of Publications and subsequently to Senior Information Officer.
Ted trained as a pilot in multi-engined aircraft and survived three tours of operations against the Japanese in the South Pacific area, the first two flying twin-engined Lockheed Hudsons, the third flying 4-engined B24s (USA Liberators). With his Liberator crew of 11 men, Ted also flew 100 operational hours against the Japanese in the islands north of Darwin while attached to No.529 Bomber Squadron (380th USA Heavy Bombardment Group). During his active service he was attached to the following squadrons: No.6 (twice), No.23 ('Composite'), No.32 and No.38.
1948. Ted married Shirley Coates (1913-2006), a lecturer at the University of Queensland and formerly of Rockhampton, at Brisbane in Nov 1948. Shirley was born 15 Sep 1913 in Rockhampton, Qld, the daughter of John Traherne (1876-1932) and Annie Eliza (1878-1969) Coates nee Wilson. Ted and Shirley had two sons, Edwin John (John) and Marcus (Marc) Tilbury and lived in Brisbane from 1950. John married Qing (Yang) Wei of Beijing and lives in Brisbane. Marc married Diane Faye Charles and they had two children, Thomas Charles and Georgina Catherine.
1975. Ted retired on January 11, 1975 and in their later years they lived at "Llantrisant", 8 Herbert St, Toowong until Ted died 9 Nov 2005 and Shirley 9 Aug 2006.
George Hockings (1915-1942 KIA)
1916. George was born 19 Jun 1916 in Brisbane.
George was educated at the Rockhampton High School. He was employed by the Bank of New South Wales in Rockhampton and served later in the bank's Southport branch, from which he enlisted in the RAAF. His mother recalled receiving a telegram from George stating "I'm in love George", which she assumed meant that he had fallen in love. But George had forgotten to include the work 'Stop' between 'in' and 'George'; he had been trying to join the air force for some time and had at last succeeded.
George trained as a pilot on single-engined aircraft (Wirraways) and was posted to No.4 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, equipped with the ?-moded Wirraways. He carried out all his active service operations in the New Guinea area, being based initially at Berry Strip, Port Moresby and operating later from jungle strips at Popendetta and Dobadura. He flew many times over enemy field guns, reporting their positions by W/T to Australian artillery, and it was on such a hazardous sortie at Dobadura on 22 Dec 1942, that his aeroplane was hit by intense anti-aircraft fire, setting his plane on fire. He managed to land in a small jungle clearing near the front lines of the American troops, who reported that the pilot had been incinerated while trying to rescue his observer, Major O'Hara.