On our first trip to London, my sister & I came across a street name that was a perfect fit for our Great Grandfather.
George is my great-grandfather on my dad’s father’s side. When he was about 10 years old, his parents decided to take him and his 10 or so siblings from overcrowded Victorian London to a new life in Melbourne, Australia. When George was 22 years old, he married my great-grandmother, Eliza and they proceeded to have seven children, including my grandfather, Lesley.
There was a story in the family that George, who had become a policeman in Victoria, had helped capture the infamous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly. Upon further research, we found that George actually joined the police force a few years after Ned Kelly’s capture – maybe that story inspired him to become a cop.
George & Eliza moved around a bit. They moved to New Zealand, then back to Australia (including Sydney where my grandfather was born) and then back to New Zealand, finally settling in the Taranaki area, on the West Coast of the North Island. He was a policeman in New Zealand as well as Australia and he also had a grocery store of sorts, which unfortunately he had to file bankruptcy for. George died in New Plymouth, NZ in 1929 – at the age of 68.
When my sister & I found this street, we both automatically thought of Great Granddad George – who since that day has been known as ‘Great George’.
I would have liked to have met Great George. I feel connected to him more than any of my other ancestors. I imagine he would have had a few stories to tell. Plus he looks like quite the cheeky character.
Sadly there isn’t really anyone who can tell me more about what he was like. My dad, who is now deceased himself, was only a few years old when George died in 1929 and of course I wasn’t interested that much in family history when my father was alive.
To me, Great Granddad George is always going to be associated with that day in London in 2010 when my sister & I stumbled across Great George Street, in the eye line of Big Ben.
To me, he will always be Great George.