52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #28 Shirley Patricia Casey

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 “Road Trip”. Any epic “road trips” in your family tree? Which ancestor do you want to take a road trip to go research?

The ancestor I have chosen for this was my mother-in-law, Shirley Patricia Casey.

Shirley was born 7 November 1935 at Royal Women’s Hospital, Carlton, Victoria, Australia. She married Murray Irwin Willis on 5 November 1955 at the Wesley Church in Melbourne. Murray died in 1964, and Shirley then married Robert Benjamin Farrant on 5 December 1965 at the Wesley Church in Bendigo. Rob died in 1972.  Shirley died 2 October 2013.

Around 1952, Shirley was working at the Richmond Laundry in Dandenong. It was here she met an English girl called Sheila, who told Shirley she had been around Australia with a circus, and that it was easy to make a living on the road.

This led Shirley to join Sheila on a road trip around 1952. They left Melbourne with a few horses and a cart, and headed first to Bendigo. After the cart broke down in Bendigo, they left it there, and rode on to Swan Hill, where they worked fruit picking. They also camped with Aboriginals across the river (in New South Wales), and sold wool for a living.

She also rode horses at pony shows, and while doing this, she was offered a job by a man from Areegra, near Warracknabeal, to work with his show jumping team of horses for a year. She then returned to Northern Victoria, to Tresco, where she continued to work as a fruit picker. A friend she had met on her road trip in 1952 arranged for her horse to be kept on a farm where he worked.  This was the Willis farm. Her horse became ill and died and it was at this time that she got to know Murray. They started dating and then were married in 1955, and she spent 9 years at Mystic Park until Murray died in 1964.

Shirley road trip

When looking at her life, it seemed to have been pretty much one long road trip –
She started school at age 4 at Toorak
From age 5 to 9 she was at Lake Bolac
They were then at Cannons Creek until she finished school at age 13
After leaving school she lived at Cranbourne and then Dandenong
She was 17 when she went on the road trip to Swan Hill
She married Murray at age 20 and this was when she spent the longest time in one location, living for 9 years on the farm at Mystic Park
She married Rob when she was 30
The Electoral rolls show she lived in the following places
1957-1966 Willis Shirley Patricia, Mystic Park, home duties
1967-1969 Farrant Shirley Patricia, Allot 18c Tyntynder, –
1970 Farrant Shirley Patricia, Station St Inglewood, secondhand dealer
1972 Farrant Shirley Patricia, 3 Murray St Kerang, home duties
1973 Farrant Shirley Patricia, Scott St Cavendish, home duties
1974-1975 Farrant Shirley Patricia, Dunkeld, –
1977-1979 Farrant Shirley Patricia, 27 McGann Cres Kerang, –
1989-1993 Farrant Shirley Patricia, 20 Powlett Rd Inglewood
1995-1996 Farrant Shirley Patricia, 45 Gibson St Korong Vale
1999 Farrant Shirley Patricia, 8716 North St Inglewood
2004 Farrant Shirley Patricia, 8/2 Virginia St Eaglehawk