DESCENDANTS OF FRANCIS SYLVESTER CROWE

Descendants of Francis Sylvester Crowe alias John White

John White and Clara Mulley had a family of five children, three daughters and two sons. In the 1990's their descendants numbered over 331, 447 including spouses.

Catherine Ann White was born an the 15th March 1894 in Canberra ACT. She was christened at St. John the Baptist Church, Canberra, and was later re christened at St. Raphael's Catholic Church, Queanbeyan NSW, on the 4th September 1904 when her mother, Clara became a Catholic.

Catherine White was known as Kitty. She grew up on her parents dairy farm at Acton, ACT. Kitty and her sister Clara attended the school attached to St. John's Church. St. John's school house is now a museum in the Canberra suburb of Reid

Later Kitty boarded at the Catholic school in Queanbeyan. There she studied music, learning to play the piano and violin. In 1906 the White family moved to the Bowral area, then to Wyong NSW, and they finally settled at Gobbagombalin station near Wagga Wagga NSW in 1908 when Kitty was fourteen years old. Kitty's ambition was to be a school teacher but because Kitty had poor eyesight her mother suggested she become a music teacher. At Wagga Wagga she attended the Mt. Erin convent and continued her music studies.

In 1914 Kitty's mother, Clara died. Her father gave up the farm and returned to droving so the White children moved into Wagga Wagga to live. Kitty was 20 years old and she had four younger brothers and sister to look after. Kitty and her sister, Clara ran the family home in Wagga and earned a living from teaching music.

Kitty was married on the 20th of March 1918 at St. Michael's Church, Wagga Wagga, to William Leonard Gestier.


Catherine Ann White & William Gestier
Married Wagga Wagga 1918


Their first home was on a property about three miles from Wagga Wagga. Her son John (Jack) Gestier recalls;

My first recollections of home was a little house near the Ag College. It was called Heddictches Place. He was a friend of grandfather's.

Kitty continued to teach music until they moved to 'Hillview' Dhulura about twelve miles from Wagga Wagga in about 1924. Her son Jack recalls;

The house only two proper rooms at first. The rest was wattle and daub, pine posts plastered with mud to fill up the cracks, and the inside covered with heshian and a dirt floor. Such was life in 1924.

Kitty now had four children so she gave up teaching. Her daughter Mollie Lloyd recalls;

The house was small, two bedrooms, lounge and kitchen. Dad built a sleep out down the side and across the front of the house. He worked at night while Mum held the lantern for light. In about 1931 water was laid to the inside of the house and a dam was dug for water for the stock and to grow vegetables. Washing was hard and hot work with a fuel copper and irons that had to be heated on a fuel stove, later Mum had a petrol iron. Lights were run on kerosene and they were not lit until it was nearly dark. Hot water was boiled on top of the fuel stove in a tin for baths, a chip heater was used later. Electricity was connected about 1953.


The House at Dhulura around 1925


Farming was hard work with horses and long hours before tractors took over. Dad would leave home at 3 am to drive his horses and wagon loaded with wool into Wagga Wagga so that they would be in the cool of the day.

Dad's parents had a tennis court and we went there sometimes, mainly to watch. We also had musical evenings at their house. Mum played the piano, Dad the violin or mouth organ and his brother played the accordion and spoons. Dad was one of ten children so these parties were large and we made lots of noise singing. Mum and Dad often had people at weekends for musical evenings followed by a lovely supper which Mum would cook in the morning. Music was a great part of our lives.

Their son Jack recalls;

In 1929 Mum and Dad, Clare and I went to Sydney by car. We passed through Yass and stopped outside the Crowe family shop. I remember overhearing Mum and Dad discussing how grandfather White had changed his name from Crowe. We then came to Canberra to visit the Kaye family. Parliament House had been opened in 1927. I remember seeing the rows of pine trees about three feet tall. The old house where Mum had lived and the school near the church were still there.

Kitty and William lived at 'Hillview' until William passed away on the 4th July 1969. Kitty then moved into town and lived in a house next door to her daughter, Neita. Her youngest son William still lives on the property though the original house burnt down several years ago.

Kitty died on the 29th April 1974 in Wagga Wagga and she is buried in the Wagga Wagga Cemetery. William and Kitty had a family of seven children. John born 1919, Clare born 1920, Mary (Mollie) born 1922, Neita born 1924, Roy born 1926, Coral (Corrie) born 1929 and William born 1930.


Gestier Family 1943 (left to right)
Back - Bill, Clare, Jack Flynn, Mollie & George Lloyd, Neita, Roy, Marie Sutherland
Front - Shirley Sutherland, Kathleen White & Corrie