BEYOND THE TREE | Grandad Jack worked his farm while building two bridges in WWII

The Beyond the Tree exhibition at Liverpool Regional Museum includes a growing community tree to which you can add your own family history. Bring in photos of your family moments to be scanned, printed, mounted and added to the display. It's in conjunction with Liverpool Genealogy Society. Volunteers available Tuesdays to Saturdays to help with research and family enquiries. The Champion is running a series of local family stories in conjunction with the exhibition. Like everyone during the war, Peter Allen's grandad Jack worked twice as hard. Somehow he managed keep his farm running while helping to build two bridges.

My grandfather, JohnAndrewAllen, known as Jack, was born in 1881 at Tuppal Station, near Deniliquin, NSW. He was the fifth child of John and Emily (Keswick) Allen.

He attended school at Deniliquin before travelling to Sydney to find employment in the early 1900s. He got work as a farm labourer on the many orchards around Guildford.

It was here that Jack met his first wife AmeliaSwinfield and married her in 1908. He built a small home for his wife and two children. Their son, JohnMeredithAllen, was to be my father. Amelia was born in 1879, the great-granddaughter of Frederick Meredith who'd arrived in Sydney Cove aboard the convict ship Scarborough, part of the First Fleet commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip.

Sadly, Jack's marriage to Amelia was short-lived as she died suddenly in 1914 leaving him with two children under 4. They'd been members of the local tennis club and it was here he had met his second wife, Janie Allen, a good friend of Amelia's.

Jack married Janie in 1915 and they went on to have four more children. When the NSW Government introduced a scheme to encourage the public to move out of the city Jack and Janie applied for land in the country. They were allocated 870 acres at Four Corners at Tullibigeal, out past Condobolin, and moved their family there in 1917.

Jack and Janie called their property Guildford Farm after the Sydney suburb where they'd lived previously.

They worked very hard to make the farm profitable but it was lost during the 1930s Depression and he was paid off by the Commonwealth Bank on behalf of the Australian Government in 1937.

Jack searched unsuccessfully for land at Griffith but finally settled on 40 acres at Bensville in the Gosford shire.

While still working his farm during World War II he also worked as a labourer building the Hawkesbury River railway bridge and the Punt Road bridge until their completion in 1946.

Finally, he subdivided the farm into quarter-acre blocks along the road between Empire Bay and Gosford. He lived there until his sudden death at 82 in 1963 while visiting his daughter at Griffith.

This story BEYOND THE TREE | Grandad Jack worked his farm while building two bridges in WWII first appeared on Liverpool City Champion.