52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #25 Harry Docwra

Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014.  This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme. This week’s theme was: The Old Homestead: Have you visited an ancestral home? Do you have photos of an old family house? Do you have homesteading ancestors?

Wikipedia lists one of the “Concepts” for a Homestead as “Homestead (buildings), a single building, or collection of buildings grouped together on a large agricultural holding”.  Using this definition, I’ve decided to do this post about the farm that originally belonged to my great grandfather Harry Docwra, that my great-aunt was still farming until the late 1960s, early 1970s.

Harry Docwra was born 8 May 1866 in Dandenong Road, Keysborough.  His father, Alfred Docwra, was a farmer, and worked around the area of Moorabbin and Cheltenham.  It is not yet known if he worked for others, or owned his own land.  I also don’t know much about Harry prior to 1902, when he married my great grandmother Emily Alice Oliver, on 5 November 1902 at Sale.  I don’t know how Harry and Emily met, which may be an interesting story, since they grew up quite a distance away from each other.

The following article was found on the Trove website.  Lake Tyers is near Bairnsdale, so perhaps he met Emily on an earlier holiday.

Harry Docwra holiday
PERSONAL. (1924, September 10). Frankston and Somerville Standard (Vic. : 1921 – 1939), p. 5. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73501198

After their marriage, Harry and Emily settled at Baxter.  Their gravestone indicated Harry had first settled there in 1900.  Their farm was located on Warrandyte Road in Baxter.  Harry and Emily had four children:

  • my grandmother, Edith Meriden Docwra, born 1904, died 1948
  • George Henry Docwra, born 1906, died 1972
  • Annie Eileen Docwra, born 1909, died 1997
  • Ronald James Docwra, born 1917, died 1957.

Harry died at his home on 22 August 1934, and after his death, his children took over running the farm.

I never knew my grandmother, or Ronald, as they died before I was born.  I do remember Auntie Annie quite well, and remember staying on the farm at Baxter when I was a child.  I don’t have any photos of it though.  Her brother George would have been alive at the time, but I don’t remember him at all.  I have a vague memory of an elderly man on the farm, which I thought at the time was her husband, but it may have been her brother George.