Arthur Edward (Dick) Helmrich (1888 – 1953)

Right from the get go Arthur was flash

Arthur Edward or as he was also known in my family circles, Dick Helmrich was born to Alexander Burnett Helmrich and Florence MacGill Glendinning Gay on the 11th July 1888 in Woollahra.  A fashionable suburb of inner Sydney.

He was born at the family home “Cooma”  a picturesque white brick terrace house that faces onto other pretty Victorian style fashioned homes.  Even in those days the area was quite respectable.  Now it’s just downright posh!

Arthur’s father was gainfully employed in business and from the sounds of things their upbringing was comfortable.

Right from the get go Arthur was reputedly flash. He wore flash clothes, mixed in flash circles and lived a life where opportunities were sought not stumbled over. He would have had a good education by most standards and probably some good connections through his father’s business dealings.  A handsome fellow I can just imagine Sydney city being the pearl in his oyster.

Arthur Helmrich

Arthur Edward Helmrich

He was the second youngest child in a family of six children.  George Alexander Helmrich b. 1880, Henry Albert Helmrich b. 1882, Herbert Charles Helmrich b. 1884, Florence Alexandra Helmrich b. 1886, and Frederick William Helmrich b.1892.

Of these children only three survived childhood.  George, his sister Florence and himself.

The Sydney Morning Herald Births Notices 21 July 1888.    Helmrich – July 11, at her residence, Point Piper-road, Woollahra, the wife of A. Helmrich, of a son.  Born at Point Piper Road whose name is later changed to Jersey Road.  

The Helmrich family did know hard times with the tragic loss of these three young children over the years. When Arthur was 18 the unbelievable happened.  Arthur’s father suicided in a most horrendous manner by cutting his own throat with a razor in his bedroom in the family home.  I would think this would have had a significant impact on Arthur who was no doubt still living with his mother at the house at 15 Jersey Road, Woollahara. Six years later in 1912 at the age of 24, Arthur has met and promptly marries 21 year old Priscilla Georgina London from the rural climes of Richmond in the Hawkesbury.  The marriage is conducted at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

St Marys Cathedral Sydney

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney 2014

Now whilst Arthur and Priscilla were getting settled and making their social acquaintances about town it probably didn’t hurt that Arthur was first cousin to rising and well known singing artist, Dorothy Helmrich.  Dorothy goes on to be quite famous in Australia’s who’s who.  I wonder did they every share a shandy in those days.  Both being from Sydney. The year after their marriage in 1912 Arthur and Priscilla welcome their first child, Audrey Florence Helmrich born at Randwick.

Baby Audrey 9 months

Baby Audrey 9 months

Baby Neva 11 months

Baby Neva 11 months

Baby Edward Helmrich

Baby Edward four months













On the 15 January 1914  the Morning Bulletin – Rockhampton Queensland reports,  Arthur Helmrich, aged twenty five years living in Hull Street and working in the Mount Morgan mine, had his left wrist badly lacerated when barring down this afternoon. The ambulance bearers rendered first aid and took the sufferer to hospital. I don’t know that the injury affected his long term career over much.

The same year Arthur and Priscilla welcome their second child, a son – Edward Burnett Helmrich. Throughout his life he will be known as Ned. On the 5th April 1914 a second daughter is born at Mt Morgan in Queensland.  Neva Irene Helmrich. On the electoral roll in 1919 Arthur is listed as living in Duaringa, Capricornia, Qld and employed as a Miner.

On the 1st October 1922 twins are born but do not live for long.  Given his own family history I wonder how Arthur handled this loss of two little boys?

Arthur Helmrich -  1923

Arthur Helmrich – 1923

On the 18th August 1924 Arthur finds himself (and his wife) in front of the courts for selling Sly Grog.  ( I did say he was flash right) Both he and Priscilla end up with a conviction and a fine to be paid.  The story ends up in The Brisbane Courier.

  SLY GROG CASE.  £ 50 FINE IMPOSED.  ROCKHAMPTON, August 18. 1924 In the Police Court this morning, Arthur Edward Helmrich was charged with unlawfully selling a bottle of port wine, and also for having kept liquor for sale in an unlicensed house in Mt. Morgan.

Two other defendants had pleaded guilty, and were fined £50 each, while liquor worth over £300 was confiscated.  Inspector O’Connor prosecuted, and Mr. J. Pattison appealed for defendant who pleaded not guilty. The  Police Magistrateo convicted, and fined defendant £50, and ordered the liquor seized to be confiscated. It was intimated the fine will be paid.

In the 1925 electoral rolls Arthur and Priscilla are both living in the electorate of Baralba and Arthur is listed as a Miner and Priscilla as Home Duties.

In the Morning Bulletin Rockhamptom Queensland. 5 Jan 1927, Arthur applies to select 15-16 square miles at 5 pound (per ?) at a place called Alberta.  The application is heard in the monthly sitting of the  Rockhampton Commissioner’s Court presided over by tho Land Com missioner, Mr. W. J. Hooper. The application was approved.

Given a photograph I have recently had forwarded to me by a very kind distant relation it would appear that Arthur and Priscilla do indeed move onto this selection. At some point in time however they do dispose of this land, as to how? I’m not quite sure. The same year in Waverley, NSW, Arthur’s mother Florence dies at the age of 72.  She names her three surviving children as her adminstrators of her affairs.

Grey Scroll2

Somewhere along the track Arthur has come across a great opportunity and by the 27th June 1929 he has the family aboard the ship Marella and they are saying goodbye to Queensland and moving to Malim Nawar in Malaya.

Arthur has got work in the tin mines. Their arrival is announced in the local social pages and the Helmrich’s begin a life as colonial expats.  Life is completely different to what they have known but it suits the Helmrich family and they embrace the new lifestyle enthusiastically.

Arthur, Priscilla and their overseer.

Arthur, Priscilla and their overseer.

In 1929 Arthur finds himself in court again. This time he is cautioned, fined $100 and discharged by the Magistrate for giving the Police false information regarding an incident that is heard in the Perak Appeal Court, where a European,  Thomas Hurst “has caused the death of a Chinese at Bidor by rashly and negligently driving his car.

” On the 18th February, 1930, Arthur and Priscilla’s daughter Audrey, becomes engaged to Thomas Welch a Mining Engineer with the tin mines from England.  The engagement appears in the local papers.

The Straits Times 18 February 1930 The engagement is announced between Miss Audrey Florence, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Helmrich of Malim Nawar, and Mr. Thomas C. Welch of Ipoh The couple will later marry and eventually move back to Thomas’ home in Poole, Dorset, England.

 Audrey will visit Australia from time to time but will live out her life in England. By 1933 Arthur and Priscilla have moved back to Australia and are living at  139 Nelson Bay Road, Waverley.

 Arthur is listed as an Engineer and Priscilla as Home Duties. On the 7th March 1936 Arthur is in the social pages as being back in Malay for visit.

It is likely that he was visiting his daughter Neva who lived in Ipoh.  7 March 1936 – The Straits Times  Mr. A.E. Helmrich an Australian Engineer has arrived in Malaya, after paying a visit to Siam.  He is spending some time in Ipoh at present and will return to Australia shortly.

The following year on the 1st April 1937, Arthur is back in Ipoh again for the wedding of Neva to Brian Miles.

 Mr. B.D. Miles and Miss N.I. Helmeich

  •   (from our own correspondent) Ipoh, April 1.
  • The wedding took place at the Presbyterian Church yesterday of Mr. Brian Daniel Miles.  Son of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Miles of Australia to Miss Neva Irene Helmeich, daughter of Mr. E.A Helmeich of Yukon Gold, Kampar who gave her away.
  • The Rev. Hamilton Aikin took the service.
  •   Mr. H.G. Oates was the best man, and Mrs Stanley Miles the matron of honoour.  The father of the bridegroom who was on his way to Siam, broke journey to attend his son’s wedding.  Following the service at the Church, a reception was held at Chez Luthy, where the customary toasts were appropriately honoured.  The reception was attended by Australian mining (friends in the district). The bridegroom is employed by Jelapang Tin.
  • Appeared in the Singapore Free Press, Friday April 2nd 1937.

The same article appeared the following day in The Straits Times.

1937 wasn’t all a good year for Arthur.  By the 17th December his marriage to Priscilla was officially ended in divorce.  Seems he got caught out with a L Peterson.  Like all papers in those days, it made the news! Helmrich V Helmrich, Priscilla Georgina Helmrich (formerly London) v Arthur Edward Helmrich. Marriage December 1911, at Sydney. Issue respondent’s adultery with one L. Peterson. Decree nisi.  Mr Jack Richards instructed by Mr. John M. Hellmrich) for petitioner.Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Thursday 17th December 1936. At this time, Priscilla told the judge that she didn’t need want any financial support from her ex-husband and would look after herself!

Grey Scroll2

Arthur must have changed his business interests somewhat as in 1943 at 55 years Arthur is the owner of The Ritz Private Hotel in Elizabeth Street Sydney.  What had been known as a disorderly house (a nice way of saying brothel and gambling/flop house), has had the order rescinded and is now a respectable boarding house.   (Sydney Morning Herald)

An order, made by Mr. Reed. C.S.M., on January l8, declaring The Ritz private hotel. Elizabeth Street, Sydney, a disorderly house, was rescinded yesterday by Mr. Hardwick, 5.M.,  Central Summons Court. Yesterday’s application was made by James Alfred Parker, of Kanimbla Hall, Tusculum Street, Potts Point, who stated that he had sold his interest in the business to Arthur Edward Helmrich, of Simpson Street, Bondi, who for the past 15 years had been a mining engineer in Malaya. Inspector Courtney said that since the order was made the place had been well conducted. The rescinding order was made subject to the completion of the transfer from Parker to Helmrich within 28 days. Arthur must have been’ delighted’, the original newspaper story didn’t paint a pretty picture at all.


The Ritz Private Hotel, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, on the application of the police on Monday was declared a disorderly house by Mr Reed, S.M. The declaration was made under the National Security Regulations on the ground that disorderly and in decent conduct had taken place on the premises and was likely to take place again, and that liquor had been unlawfully supplied.

According to a police affidavit, police had visited the premises several times and on each visit they had found young girls nude or nearly nude in the company with Allied sailors. In most instances all were under the influence of liquor.

* Other family members remember visiting the Ritz Private Hotel at 700 George Street Sydney, so whether the newspaper got it wrong in their reportings?  Either way sounds like a dodgy sort of place and apparently remained so.

In 1943 whilst WWII rages around, Arthur is living at 55 Simpson Street Bondi and his employment is given as Proprietor.  His daughter Neva and grandson made it out of Singapore before it fell to the Japanese and are back in Australia.

Ned marries Eva Baker in 1937 and is working as a barber in Sydney.

Audrey is in England raising her young.  In the same year Priscilla marries John Vesperman, they lived at 52 Crystal Street in Petersham, NSW. Grey Scroll2 On the 14th November, 1953 Arthur is at Saratoga.  He has been unwell for some time.  Possibly with cancer.

He is being looked after by his daughter Neva who has brought at least one of her children  (from Bronte) with her.

I know this because my father who was a child at the time remembers sleeping in the bed next to his grandfather and being woken by his mother early in the morning and being taken out of the bedroom and put to sleep in another bed.

His grandfather had died in his sleep next to him and obviously Neva didn’t want to frighten a small child. He was told later in the morning that his grandfather had passed but did not know for some years later the actual circumstances.

The newspaper notices read:- Helmrich. Arthur Edward (Dick) – November 14. 1953. Of Saratoga, beloved father of Audrey (Mrs Welsh, Bournemouth, England). Edward (Ned). Canterbury, and Neva (Mrs E. Whitehead, Bronte), Aged 65 years. At rest.   Sydney Morning Herald 16 November 1953       Helmrich-The Funeral of the late Arthur Edward (Dick) Helmrich of Saratoga. will take place at Eastern Suburbs Crematorium this day at 10 a.m. R.H. Creighton Central Coast Funeral Service p/l Gosford  Helmrich – In loving memory of our dear father, father-in-law, and grandfather, Arthur (Dick) who was called to rest November 14 1953. Sadly missed by his daughter, Doll. Arthur is laid to rest, cremated and buried in the Matraville Cemetary in the Methodist Section.

Grey Scroll2

Outcome of probate :- In the Sydney Morning Herald on the 31st March 1954 an announcement is made regarding the last will and testament of Arthur. In the will of Arthur Edward Helmrich late of Saratoga but formerly of Bondi in the State of New South Wales Retired Mining Engineer deceased – Application will be made after 14 days from the publication hereof that Letters of Administration with the Will dated 1st March, 1943, annexed of the Estate of the abovenamed deceased may be granted to Priscilla Georgina Vesperman the Attorney for Audrey Florence Welch, the sole beneficiary named in the said Will for the use and benefit of the said Audrey Florence Welch limited until she shall apply for a grant; George Alexander Helmrich the executor therein name having predeceased the deceased. And all notices and claims may be served at the undermentioned address and creditors and all others having any claim against the Estate of the said deceased are required to forward particulars thereof to the undersigned. HENRY DAVID AND SONS, Proctors for the Applicant, 44 Martin Place, Sydney.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s