Earlier this year long-time Canley Vale resident Harold Charles Munro died peacefully at Port Macquarie Base Hospital. He was 92 years old. Daughter Kay O'Brien has penned a tribute to her father.
Harold Charles Munro was born on July 2, 1924 at his parents’ home at Chancery Street, Canley Vale and was the son of Charles Albert and Essie Beatrice Munro. Charles was the son of Henry Allan and Eva Lydia Munro who were pioneers of the district.
Henry Allan Munro came to the district from Newtown with his wife Eva in about 1898. His father, Henry Albert Munro, had been the Mayor of Newtown in 1865 and 1868. Henry Allan was a bridge builder by trade and came to the district to assist his cousin build the first bridge over the creek near Canley Vale station. He was employed by the Public Works Department for over 40 years and was 70 years of age when he retired as foreman. He was in charge of operations when Liverpool Bridge was completely overhauled and renovated in the 1930's. His residence in Chancery Street, Canley Vale was practically the Labor Party headquarters of Lansvale district. His daughter, Elizabeth (Donnie) Frogley took an active part in hosting and catering for fund raising parties at the Chancery Street residence on a monthly basis.
The residence was set on 2 1/5 acres and had a tennis court and cricket pitch. It was the social centre for the district hosting not only the Labor Party functions but tennis matches, euchre parties and cricket games for the local Younger Set Social Club. These functions were mentioned on a regular basis during the 1930s and 1940s in the Fairfield Biz newspaper.
In 1961 some of this land was subdivided and one of the new Streets created is now called Munro Street.
Henry and Eva had 11 children and Charles was the second eldest. Charles and his wife Essie built their family home on the corner of Chancery Street and Vale Street, in about 1918. Charles was also a bridge builder like his father and eventually worked with Fairfield Council until his retirement.
Charles and Essie had four children, Allen, Essie, Harold and Merle. Allen, Harold and Merle all made their homes in Chancery Street and Vale Street.
Harold and his wife Betty built their house at Vale Street in 1949 and lived there until 1987 when they moved to Laurieton on the mid north coast. Betty passed away in July, 2015.
Harold went to school at Cabramatta Public School and then on to Liverpool High School. When he left school he first worked at Bradmills at Newtown and then worked at ICI at Villawood from 1951 until his retirement in 1983. During his years with ICI he was often known as “Darb” or “Darby”. He was an Industrial Work Study Engineer.
In his younger days Harold was a keen bicycle rider and took part in many bike rides with the Fairfield and District Amateur Cycling Club. Later on, from 1960 until 1970 he was coach and manager of his son John’s soccer team with Lansvale United Soccer Club. He was also Secretary of the Parks Committee of Hartley’s Oval in Lansdowne Road, Canley Vale. The whole family became involved in the smooth running of the Soccer Club and fundraising events, including running the canteen at Hartley’s Oval.
During the 1970s and 80s Harold and Betty were members of the Cabra-Vale RSL Club and together with Harold’s brother Allen, his wife Lily, and Harold’s sister Merle and her husband Lenny, they would often attend the Club for various meals and functions.
Harold was community minded and public spirited, but above all he was a family man, like his father before him and his father before that.
His children and their families were the most important things to him.
Harold and Betty had three children – John, Kay and Sharyn, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
His children, family and friends held a Memorial for Harold on July 3 at the Uniting Church, Laurieton.
Harold was loved and respected by his family and is greatly missed.