JAMES ANDREW CROWE

John and Anne Crow's third child, James Andrew was born at Wheeo on the 20th October 1864. The registers at St Peter and Paul's Goulburn record his baptism on the 20th of December 1864. James grew up at 'Spring Creek' Wheeo and he went on to establish himself as a land owner and farmer. He became actively involved in the social, sporting and community aspects of life in the Crookwell district.

On the 9th of February 1887 James Andrew married Catherine O'Brien at the Lost River residence of her father, Denis O'Brien. Catherine was born on the 28th of November 1866 at Spring Valley, near Goulburn. Her father was Denis O'Brien was born at Carrigaholt, County Clare, Ireland in 1830. He arrived in Sydney aboard the ship 'Annie Wilson' on the 8th of April 1862. Her mother was Margaret nee McInerney. She arrived in Sydney aboard the ship 'Emperor' on the 6th June 1857 when she was ten years old. Margaret had been christened on the 20th of October 1843 at Lisdeen, County Clare Ireland.


James Andrew Crowe

In 1885 James Andrew Crowe was recorded as having a property of 420 acres at Lost River near Wheeo. He had one horse and no other stock. In 1886 the Atlas of Australia described Wheeo as follows;

Wheeo is situated on a small creek of the same name, which empties its water into the Crookwell River, and lies about 40 miles north west from Goulburn. The country around is largely cultivated and produces wheat, and other cereals. English fruits, and flowers grow readily. The climate is bracing, and healthy. Population 188.

James was successful as a farmer and his potato yield in 1884 was reported by the Crookwell Gazette on the 6th of June 1894;

Potato digging is almost over and the yield has been declared most satisfactory. Mr Jim Crowe of Lost River obtained eight and one third tons of magnificent tubers from three quarters of an acre of land, which speaks well for the richness of the soil.

In 1988 Mr Tom McCormack, who now owns the property that James farmed, said that his father initially bought the property for the paddock where those potatoes were grown. That was in the days before superphosphate.

Not all the newspaper reports on James Andrew Crowe were good news, as this report in 1894 illustrates;

On Sunday afternoon the 26th of August a terrific cyclone passed through the district. It traveled from north west towards the south east with a velocity of fully 100 miles an hour, and was about 4 chains wide. Mr J. A. Crowe's homestead on the Lost River narrowly escaped being laid in ruins. His kitchen which joins the house was unroofed, and sheds and outhouses were damaged considerably, one shed being lifted bodily, and carried clean away. Fences were carried away, and large trees swept away like chaff. It is to be hoped that we will not have a recurrence of the sight, which was grand but a terrible one.

The home that was damaged was the original house that James built by the creek when he first settled on the property. In the days before tanks and running water it was necessary to live close to a reliable water supply. Today there is a magnificent copse of elm trees that marks the position of the original Crowe home. They were planted by James and Catherine to shade their home.


Site of James & Catherine Crow's original home, Wheeo.
Photograph taken in 1988 and again in 2017


James built a new homestead on the hill overlooking the original house with a view out over the Lost River. His property was called 'Glenfernie'. The Crookwell Gazette on the 4th of September 1985 reported that a well attended meeting of the Lost River Cricket Club was held at Mr J. A. Crowe's new residence, 'Glenfernie'. At that meeting James was elected as vice president of the Cricket Club and it was decided to change the name of the club to the Dandaloo Cricket Club. Cricket had been played in the Crookwell district from the 1860's. It was a game that had a large following for the sport as well as the social events after the game. The Goulburn Herald of the 6th May 1896 reported an end of season cricket match at 'Glenfernie'.

Consequent of the fine weather prevailing the Dandaloo's Cricket Club decided to have one more match between North and South Wheeo members of the club before finally closing the season. The match came off on Saturday on the oval at Glenfernie, and this time the South's succeeded in giving their opponents a decided beating... The game created a deal of interest, was most friendly throughout, and not withstanding some heavy showers a crowd of spectators, in which fair sex was strongly represented rolled up to witness the closing match of the season. Thanks to the kindness of Mr. J. A. Crowe in placing a first class room at their disposal, the visitors spent a most enjoyable day tripping the light fantastic to excellent violin music supplied by Messers D. O'Brien , W. E. Frost and others. At the close of the day the usual cheers for the cricketers and the ladies were given thus terminating a most enjoyable day and a most successful season.


Site of James & Catherine Crow's second homestead on the Lost River
Photographs taken first in 1988 and again in 2017
Latitude -34.439859 Longitude 149.300754


Today all that remains of the 'Glenfernie' homestead is a large fireplace and chimney.


Site of James & Catherine Crow's second homestead on the Lost River
Photograph taken in 2017
Latitude -34.437997 Longitude 149.295891


James and Catherine sold up 'Glenfernie' and moved to another local property, 'Roscommon'. It is not known when this move took place or why, but by 1910 they were living at 'Roscommon'.


Roscommon homestead, off Boorowa rd. Wheeo 2017
Property still inhabited by the third owner since the Crowe family
Latitude -34.463077 Longitude 149.340779


Over the years James Crowe held several positions on sporting and community bodies;

- 1894 Treasurer Lost River Cricket Club
- 1895 Vice President Dandloo Cricket Club
- 1901 Vice President Wheeo Ruby Union Club
- 1903-4 Vice President North Wheeo Cricket Club
- 1907 Vice President Wheeo & Jerrara Progress Assoc. and
- 1912 Vice President Liberal Assoc.

James and Catherine Crow had a family of five sons and one daughter. In 1910 their eldest son John William was killed in a sulky accident and they lost another son, Francis Stanislaus on the 21st March 1924. Their daughter Ann Irene entered the convent.

It is remembered that James Andrew was bitterly opposed to any of his sons joining the army during World War I and he tried to ensure that none of them did. Old timers from the Crookwell district can recall several 'weather feather' incidents involving the Crowe boys. James Andrew's grandson Peter Crowe recalls;

My late father (Bernard Vincent) once told me that James Andrew and some of his allies disguised themselves and 'arrested' the chief protagonist of conscription and tossed him head first into the local gents toilet - an old thunder box at Crookwell.

James Andrew Crowe is listed in the 1918 NSW Pastoral Directory a owning 2,200 acres stocked with 10 horses, 15 cows and 1700 sheep. By 1919 this had been reduced to 1400 acres, 14 horses, 2 cows and 410 sheep. The reduction is probably due to the fact that the Crowe family moved from the property 'Roscommon', into the township of Crookwell. After the death of her son Catherine Crowe found it difficult to remain on the property so James bought her a lovely two storied house on the outskirts of Crookwell, near Wade's Hill, a mile west of the village.

James Andrew did not expect his sons to work the family property or to acquire properties of the own. Instead he encouraged and sponsored them to work in retail businesses in NSW country towns. These businesses were owned by James and operated by his sons, Dennis, Austin, Francis and Bernard.

In 1924 James and Catherine left the Crookwell district. James Crowe and sons were recorded as operating the General Store in Bethunga NSW and the store and the bake house at Illabo.

James' grandson, Peter Crowe of Tamworth recalls;

About 1925-1926 grandfather bought two brand new Studi Baker cars. One he gave to his son Austin, the other he took the back seat out and used it for transporting pigs.

From 1928 James and Catherine lived in Cowra. He is listed as a J.P and store keeper. After Cowra they moved to Eugowra, Peter Crowe recalls:

During the 1930's grandfather was living in a two storied cafe/bakehouse. He had twelve ton of wood to chop to fire the bakehouse ovens. A swaggie came looking for a job. James Andrew asked him to cut the wood offering him, three meals a day and a bed on the flour bags at the rear of the bakehouse plus a packet of cigarettes a day and he would take him up the pub at the end of the day for two beers. When the job was completed he would pay him thirty shillings. When the job was finished James Andrew took him down to the pub to settle his wages. He offered him the money or he could take an old Model T Ford with three months registration. The swaggie took the old Model T Ford.

For years my father (Bernard Vincent Crowe) carted a tin trunk around NSW. It contained items such as ledgers which showed that the Crowe's were owed thousands of pounds by farmers etc who could not pay when the great depression struck. It was accentuated by Jack Lang's moratorium act which precluded creditors from taking over properties owned by such farmers. The trunk also had in it the Hibernian Lodge regalia of James Andrew, such regalia being mainly green in colour. There was also a rug, sewn together by my grandmother, of show ribbons, about a yard long by about six inches wide. The ribbons had been won by a trotter raced by my grandfather at the shows around the central west of NSW. The horse met an untimely demise as they took it to a registered meeting somewhere and James Andrew put two hundred pounds on it and the driver 'pulled it'. The old fellow shot the horse. I thought his priorities somewhat out of order and that the driver should have been shot.

The trunk also contained newspaper cuttings related to the win sometime in the twenties of a horse called Blackie Miller in the Grand National Hurdle or Steeplechase in Melbourne. Someone had given James Andrew the horse in acuittance of a debt but it was a dud on the flat so he sold it for virtually nothing and the new owner sent it to Melbourne where it won one of the above mentioned races.

After my father died my mother burnt the contents of the tin trunk. It also contained a photo of my father in an army uniform. I imagine he must have been conscripted for the the army only a few months when the first World War ended.

James died in Eugowra on the 12th January 1935. He is buried in the Eugowra Cemetery. Catherine, Granny Crowe, left Eugowra after James died and moved to Goulburn to live with her son Dennis and his wife Ada. Her grand daughter Joyce McCarthy recalls;

I never heard my father call his mother, mum or mother, he always called her 'the mater' even when talking to her. My grandmother arrived in Goulburn immediately after my grandfather's funeral. She had with her two tin trunks and a suitcase that her daughter Irene had packed for her. She left all her furniture, china, glassware and other personal effects behind in Eugowra.

Catherine died in Goulburn on the 30th of October 1943 and is buried in St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery Goulburn.


James Andrew Crowe's Headstone, Eugowra Cemetery 1987


Descendants of James Andrew Crowe and Catherine O'Brien