John Henry Moss (1874-1943) and Mary Alice Mohan Moss (1872 – 1939).

John Henry Moss The Early Years, Australia. 

John Henry Moss was born in Daylesford in rural Victoria on the 12th of May 1874. There were no nurses or doctors present only his mother and neighbourly friends Mrs. Malcolm and Mrs. Lane who helped bring him into the world. He was born in the Borough County of Talbot, Colony of Victoria. At this time Australia was not yet federated. John’s father was also named John Moss and his mother was Sarah Varcoe/Vercoe (different spelling variations have been located). Sarah had arrived from Cornwall, England only two years beforehand to try her fortune in the colony. On John’s registration, Sarah was listed as Vercoe. I found her many years ago listed in a Melbourne Genealogical Society record as Narcoe. So, take your pick but I’m pretty sure it’s Varcoe or Vercoe.    John’s BDM registration number at birth was 15185. His birth was registered by his mother. His father was aged thirty-one and gave his occupation as a Miner. He was not present at the registration.

Young John’s parents were married on the 31st of January 1865 in Ballarat.  I don’t think it is too far a stretch to consider his father was trying his luck in the ‘Goldrush’ that gripped Victoria. John’s father was not local to the area having been born and raised himself in Melbourne. John Snr’s father was Thomas Moss who had come from Manchester, Lancashire, England as a free settler in 1841 so being in Daylesford was not a historical home for the Moss family. Thomas had farmed at Brunswick in Melbourne.

John Henry’s registration on the 10th of July 1874 listed him being the youngest of his five siblings, Thomas, known as Tom, 8 and a half years, Alfred, known as Alife, 7 years, Mary Ellen, known as Nellie, 5 and 3/4 years, Arthur, 4 years, and Emma, known as Em, two years. John’s mother Sarah was twenty-nine at the time of his birth and had herself been born at St Stephens in Cornwall England. At the time of his birth, the family resided in Albert Street in Daylesford. Of particular interest, is that on the registration page/s on and around John Henry’s arrival are also the records of other babies born whose parents also hailed from Cornwall, England. Cornwall was a long-established area of quartz mining. Daylesford had mines of both gold and quartz. It would be entirely reasonable to conclude that many of these families could have known each other well from England and may have established mining communities at Daylesford.

Moss Family and siblings in inner south-east Melbourne

John’s parents would later buy a home and move to 102 Orrong Road Armadale (now Brighton). This would remain the family home for many years with son Thomas Richard Moss and daughter Mary Ellen Moss continuing to live there long after their parents passed and they themselves passed.  In 1931 Thomas would travel to England and come back to Australia via Canada and the United States.  He was 31 and retired, he was noted to be 5ft 9in tall with grey hair and blue eyes.  Thomas would die in 1944 and left Retired Railway Officer. In Will left 5822 pounds, and 12791 pounds in realty, “mainly to relations”. 24 Nov 1944 The Age.   Both Thomas and Mary Ellen would act as best men and bridesmaids to different siblings, they however remained unmarried throughout their lives.  Thomas and Mary Ellen would instead remain in and share the family home in Orrong Road. Thomas worked on the railways and Mary Ellen kept the house.  Mary Ellen was active in The Australian Women’s League. This was a conservative movement of politically and community-minded women who advocated for Victorian women’s right to vote, fair working arrangements for children and women, and safety for women and children in their homes and community. Emma died in 1947.

Their sister Emma Maud Moss married Charles Neil. They would continue to live in inner south Melbourne in close proximity to the family. Emma Maud and Charles Neil would own and lease commercial properties as appeared in 1932’s Victoria Australia Rate Book.  They lived on Burke Road East Malvern and owned shop properties at 231 (Grocers), 233 (Tobacconist), and 235 (Dairy Produce) Malvern Road Victoria Australia Rate Books.

In 1900 their brother Arthur married Gertrude Eleanor Bower a local girl from what was then known as Emerald Hill (which is now South Melbourne).  The wedding was reported in the society papers and appeared to have been something of a grand affair.  Arthur and Eleanor had lived at their home in Hawthorn Grove, Hawthorn in their later years. Arthur had joined what was then the Public Works Department and had worked as a public servant for around fifty years. He had risen to a position as Superintendent of the Public Works Department when he retired. He suffered from a long illness before his death in 1940.

In 1903 Alfred John (I think was mining gold or minerals but most likely gold), at Witwatersrand (South Africa) which is locally known as The Rand and is located near Johannesburg. He put in a claim for compensation (3653).  John Henry must have been working alongside his older brother at Witwatersrand because he also put in a claim for compensation (3654) at the same time. (Source NASA).

Alfred John (Alf) Moss would live overseas in South Africa however, would make return visits to Australia on different occasions.  On the 24th Dec 1937, Alfred was in court in Port Adelaide having been a victim once in the prior June (1937)  in Adelaide and remarkably was hit upon a second time by a confidence trickster who failed to recognise him the second time he tried to make him his mark. The first time James Marshall (66) had befriended Alfred while both were traveling by train and conned him into giving him five-pound and then disappeared with his money. When he tried the same thing months later he failed to recognise Alfred and this time Alfred was able to get the local police who arrested Marshall.  Whilst Marshall insisted in court that he was innocent it came out that he was a well-known conman and had been convicted previously for the same crimes in South Africa, New Zealand, and Melbourne.   Alfred was recorded as an Engineer whose home was South Africa and that he was back in Australia having arrived in June on the Ulysses steamship in Adelaide and was traveling to Melbourne.  At the time of this court case, he was again returning to South Africa. There is an indexed record for Alfred John Moss who died in 1945 in South Africa. I’m almost certain this is our fellow.

When John Henry died his brothers Tom and Alf and his sister Ellen put an obituary in the papers for him.  (1943) MOSS – On June 27, at St Andrew’s Hospital. John Newry, Dearly beloved husband of the late Alice, loving brother of Tom. Alf and Ellen.  Deeply regretted. Private funeral. (St Andrews Hospital was at 2 St Andrews Pl, East Melbourne.)

John Henry Moss & Annie Mary Mitchell – South Africa

John’s older brother by seven years, Alfred John Moss, known as Alf would move to South Africa as a young man.  John must have thought quite a bit of Alf as he not only followed him to South Africa but named his first son after him.  John married Annie Mary Mitchell and they had two of their three children there.  Their first child Doris was born in 1898 when he was 23 with Alfred following a few years later in 1902 when he was 27.  On the 5th August 1903, John Moss Snr died aged 60 in Melbourne.  In late 1905 John (31) and his older brother Alfred along with John’s two children and heavily pregnant wife boarded the almost new SS Miltiades at Cape Town.  The SS Miltiades was a fast, single funnel steamship, not long from the dockyards in Scotland where she’d been built. The family arrived in Melbourne on the 18th of December 1905 with an extra set of hands as Annie Mary (29) had given birth to their last child Thomas Bernard Miltiades Moss aboard the ship.  The shipping records reported them as English which wasn’t quite right as John was a native of Australia.  I was often told this story as a child of “Uncle Tom, who’d been born on a ship, with he himself joking along with his brother that he was neither from here nor there,” and it was always a good story.  The Captain ( T. F. Spalding) of the SS Miltiades had given Tom’s mother a silver cup to commemorate his birth aboard the ship.

ss miltiades single funnel

John, his older brother Alfred, Annie Mary, and the three children would not stay in Melbourne and were only there for a short time, perhaps as visitors to see out their late fathers’ affairs with their siblings and were back in South Africa by 1906.  The marriage of John and Annie Mary faltered at some point. The divorce was recorded (National Archives of South Africa) as Illiquid Case Divorce. Annie Mary Moss (born Mitchell) versus John Henry Moss.  As I understood it the children stayed with their mother Annie Mary and John went off on his own. They must have maintained contact because some years later John returned to Australia with his new family and he would take Tom with him reportedly at Annie Mary’s request whilst the other two children remained in South Africa with their mother.

Mary Alice Mohan, Ireland to South Africa to Australia.

Mary Alice Mohan was born on the 1st of July 1872 in the ancient town of Drogheda in County Louth to James Mohan and Bridget Duffy.  (My grandfather (Joseph Patrick Moss) used to pronounce it to us as ‘dro-ch-hu-da’ with an emphasis on the ‘hu,’ so I think that’s how his mother would have pronounced it to him.)

Drogheda at the time Mary’s was born was a Catholic town in what was still British controlled territory. Mary was born and lived her younger years in an Ireland that was hotly agitating if not for complete separation from England at any cost, then certainly for Home Rule. At various times I have found Mary recorded (and she did this herself also) as Mary or Mary Alice or Alice. Interestingly now I recall that we always referred to her as a family the same way my grandfather did was that her name was “Mary Alice”.

I’ve been able to establish through records that my branch of the Mohan’s were fiercely patriotic, proudly spoke both Irish and English, could read and write and supported each other through the good and the hard times.  My great-grandmother had implored my grandmother (her daughter in law) to keep the family to the Catholic faith that she had so earnestly raised her children in.  What I have learned through my research is probably not so much a devout adherence to religion but devout adherence to a set of values that guided how a family should be kept together no matter what.  Maybe that is what she meant? I know that one of the last things my grandfather told me before he died was and I quote “keep the family together, family is the most important thing.”  I have endeavoured to do that throughout my life and is indeed a tenet I have repeated to my own family. I have come to believe now that this cultural rule came from our Mohan ancestors.

Mary was baptised in the local family church of St Mary’s Drogheda. Her parents James Mohan of Drogheda and Bridget Duffy also of Drogheda. I will note here that both the Mohan and Duffy family names are connected historically with Drogheda and Dublin. James’s occupation was that of a blacksmith. James and Bridget had seven known children. I say that because there may be more. Mary Alice Mohan (b. 1872), Joseph Mohan (b. 1873), James Mohan (b. 1875), Francis Mohan (b. 1877), Peter Mohan (b. 1879), Isabella Mohan (b. 1884), Alphonsa Mohan (b. 1887). From what I can ascertain from records they lived mostly at Mill Mount Terrace in Drogheda in those earliest years. Later the family (and at the time of James death in 1898) were living in Coola Street in Drogheda. One of their neighbours in Coola Street would have been the Burke family. Tom Burke the famous Irish revolutionary and sportsman was only a little boy when the Mohan family were there. He would go on to form the Drogheda branch of the Ireland Volunteers. His little brother Christopher (also a revolutionary and hunger striker) was a baby when James Mohan died. Like the Mohan’s they would lose their comfortable early life on Coola Street with the death of their father in his forties and the loss of the family income and would have to move away to cheaper accommodation. The Mohan’s would have known of Tom and Christopher Burke and their family with it being probable that their sympathies ran alike.

On the 27th of July 1898 James Mohan, blacksmith, died at home in Coola Street having been acutely sick with pneumonia for five plus days. He was forty-six years of age. His son Francis reported his death. To say that life changed significantly for the family would be no understatement.

Far from being isolated in Drogheda. I believe it was more likely that Bridget (and the remaining at home family) did what most families who fell onto hard times did, they went and lived with other family members. In Bridget’s case I believe she took her four at home children and moved the twenty-eight miles south to Dublin city where her son James (25) was living with his wife Margaret O’Sullivan and their children at 58 Lower Gardiner Street, North Dock, Dublin North. His sister Mary Alice Mohan would be godmother to one of their children (her niece) Catherine Ethel Teresa Mohan (b. 1898 – d.1900) who died aged one year following two days of convulsions. James and Margaret’s home would be full to the brim with their own remaining little family of Matthew, Michael, James, Patrick and Winifreda. I imagine James and Margaret gave Bridget as much support as they reasonably could.

By the time of the 1901 census, Bridget Mohan and four of her children had relocated to 61.8 Lower Gardiner Street, North Dock in Dublin North (north of the river Liffey). This was an area that included tenement buildings. It was in one of these tenement buildings that the Mohan’s now resided. They rented two rooms with the five of them living there. Mary Alice was 25, Isabella was 17. Francis 23 had assumed head of house. Alphonsa 14 was a scholar. Bridget marked as married, 50 years of age. Francis gave his trade as blacksmith which had been the same as his father. They could all read and right and except for Bridget they spoke Irish and English. These were not the only family that Bridget had, the area of North Dublin which was well represented by Mohans. 28 October 1902, Thomas Mohan of 42 Lower Gardiner Street Dublin married Alice Byrne also of 42 Lower Gardiner St Dublin. Thomas gave his father’s name as Sylvester Mohan and his mother as Anne Coyle. Bernard Mohan and his family (daughter Catherine Mohan) at 44 Lower Gardiner Street. She married Hugh Jackson (Bookbinder) 14 February 1900 her father Bernard’s occupation was recorded as a Manager. I think Bernard might have been a brother to James Mohan Snr (Bridget’s late husband.)

  • The 1901 census revealed of Bridget and the children at 6.18 Lower Gardiner Street were:
  • Mohan  Isabella Lr. Gardiner Street  North Dock  Dublin  17  F  Drogheda  Traveller – Boots, Roman Catholic Read and write Irish and English Daughter Not Married
  • Mohan  Bridget Lr. Gardiner Street  North Dock  Dublin  50  F  Drogheda  No Business at Home Roman Catholic Read and write English Mother Married
  • Mohan  Alphonsus Lr. Gardiner Street  North Dock  Dublin  14  M  Drogheda  Scholar Roman Catholic Read and write Irish and English Son Not Married
  • Mohan  Mary Alice Lr. Gardiner Street  North Dock  Dublin  25  F  Drogheda  Traveller – Boots, Roman Catholic Read and write Irish and English Daughter Not Married
  • Mohan  Francis Lr. Gardiner Street  North Dock  Dublin  23  M  Drogheda Black – Smith Roman Catholic Read and write Irish and English Head of Family Not Married

With a note to the comment on both Mary Alice and Isabella being ‘traveller boots’. What this meant is that Mary Alice and her sister sold boots for their occupation.

Tragedy would strike again and in May 1902 16 & ½ year old Alphonsa Mohan was admitted to The Hospice Harold’s Cross in Dublin with phthisis of one month duration. This was tuberculosis. Almost every entry on the same page of death’s registered (with Alphons) wasa from the same or similar description of the same diagnosis of this highly contagious and terminal disease, rampant in the tenements.

From 1902 to 1911 Mary Alice had three known children of her own with husband George Harold or Harold George Cave. Evelyn Alice Cave b. 1909 in Ireland (per her death record), Harold George Cave b 1910, and George Alphonsus Cave (known during his life as Roger) b. 1911. Born in Ireland at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin with his father’s name recorded as Harry Cave a labourer. The understanding from the family was that Mary had married Harold George Cave who was a protestant and who had been lost in a snowstorm when the children were little. When Mary’s son George Alphonse Cave was born in 1911, she recorded her address as 25 Synnot Place. When her son James Henry Moss was born in 1915 at the Rotunda Hospital, Mary gave her address as 25 Synnot Place, Dublin and her spouse as John Henry Moss aged 41.

The 1911 Census showed Mrs. Bridget Mohan, aged 67, resided in a large, converted house at 25 Synnot Place. She was recorded as a widow. City of Dublin, North Dublin, Inns Quay, St George Parish, College Green.  Bridget reported that she could read and write and was a native of County Meath. That she had had eight children, two of whom were living (?) The building was recorded as a private house with sixteen windows and a permanent dwelling. What’s important to note is that this was tenement housing. Seven families lived in this house conversion. Mary Hamilton occupied one room with a family of three. Mary Reavey occupied one room, a family of one. Kate Hand occupied two rooms a family of two. James Collins occupied two rooms, a family of three. John Keane occupied three rooms, a family of three. Thomas F. Walton occupied one room, a family of two. Bridget Mohan occupied one room a family of one. Mary O’ Kelly occupied twelve rooms a family of three (?) Researching the history of Synnot Place, I’ve been able to locate some records detailing some of its residents during the years the Mohan family were associated with it.

  • 1899 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. Elizabeth O’Neill. Rated Occupier,
  • 1908 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. House and yard. Michael Sullivan. Rated Occupier,
  • 1910 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. John Kane. Rents top floor.
  • 1911 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. John Kane. Top floor inhabitant.
  • 1912 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. House and yard. Michael Sullivan. Rated Occupier.
  • 1913 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. House and yard. Michael Sullivan. Rated Occupier (crossed out),
  • 1913 25 Synnot Place, Dublin. James Collins inhabitant/householder. First Floor.
  • 1914  no entries for number 25.
  • 1915 no entries for number 25 – Mary Alice Mohan gave this address as her home address when her son James was born.

In the 1911 Census, Mary Alice’s younger brother Francis Mohan resided at a house (number 14) in Abercorn Road, Off Sheriff Street, Upper (North Dock, Dublin). Along with his wife Mary, aged 34 and also of County Louth. Their children, Mary Frances (aged 8) a scholar born in Dublin City. Their son William (aged 6) a scholar born in Dublin City. A son Francis aged 3 born in Dublin City a daughter Annie aged 2 born in Dublin City. They also had a boarder Patrick Curran aged 31 who resided with them.  Francis had three rooms and seven of them living there. He gave his occupation as a blacksmith. Below is a one hour simply amazing documentary from RTE Eire that you can watch on You Tube about the Dublin lockouts (not my work at all), that gives some insight to what was happening in Dublin at the time that Mary Alice Mohan and her family were there. .


Mary Alice Mohan – South Africa.

Around 1914 Mary Alice Cave (Mohan) came out to South Africa with her cousin a Mrs Duffy as a travelling companion.  On the way out her cousin died onboard the ship and was unceremoniously tipped over the ship along with her belongings due to her having a communicable disease which the captain of the ship feared would take down the whole of the population onboard. Mary was stuck in South Africa. She had left her three children with her mother in Drogheda in Ireland. A family story was that she answered a newspaper advertisement for a housekeeper for a Mr JH Moss.

Mary took a job as a housekeeper to John and looked after his three children. Why he had all three children in his custody, I don’t know but later when John and Mary left for Australia, two of them would remain in South Africa.  Mary and John got together and she went back to Ireland to collect her children from Drogheda. Whilst she was there in 1915 young James Henry or Jim as he was always known was born.  She came back to South Africa and a few years later in 1916 my grandfather, Joseph Patrick was born. (My side of the family always knew him as Patrick or Pat).  Whilst they were there John and Mary reportedly operated one of the first cinemas in Johannesburg and an ostrich farm in Pretoria. Ostrich feathers being highly sought after fashion accessories.

They returned to Australia aboard the Ascanius arriving on the 15th October 1917 with Mary’s eldest children, John’s son Tom and their two small boys James and Joseph. Doris and Alfred stayed behind in Africa with their mother. The family embarked from Durban in South Africa with John’s occupation given as Engineer aged 44 and with him and his wife aged 37 (Irish). Tom aged 10, Harry aged 8, Eva aged 7, Alphonsus aged 5, James aged 2 and Joseph aged 1.

In 1919 the family were living at  21 Murphy St Elsternwick South.  Occupation listed as a Traveller. Doubtful that the home currently on the property is the house that the Moss family lived in. He must have voted that year as he is ticked off the electoral roll.

Back in Australia Mary who was a tiny feisty woman was known for being able to take on big and small opponents. She would take the youngest of her children to the markets and put them outside the crowd with great baskets whilst she would slip in under elbows of her taller counterparts get to the front of the crowd haggle for what she needed and then slip back out filling up the baskets before going back into the foray again.

Her sparkling green eyes would also dash with anger if any accusations were made against her children whether true or false.  She was known to chase a policeman down the street with a broom after he made a claim against one of her boys.  At other times she was known to drop to her knees and start praying the Angelus whilst insisting the Policeman joined her, which gave her boys enough time to leap over the back fence and make a quick getaway.  They weren’t bad boys, in fact they were very clever and bright for the time  Harry a keen engineering mind knew how to unhook the mains electricity and re-route it to where he was conducting experiments etc.

Another time when they were operating a boarding house, there was a traveller who couldn’t pay his way so he gave up his gun in lieu of payment.  Mary waited until her husband was gone and had the boys go and throw it in the Yarra lest it turn up in the home.  The old man had a quick temper and a fondness for the bottle.  Subsequently the boys were not very old before they all cleared out of home to make their own way in the world.

Mary Alice Mohan. Taken around 1916.
Mary Alice Mohan. Taken around 1916.

Elsternwick – From 1924 through to 1928 the family resided at 21 Murphys Street Elsternwick (now Brighton).  The house is long gone, now replaced with a modern dwelling.  John was listed as a Traveller and for the first-time Mary appears at the same address with him as Mrs. Moss who is recorded with her occupation being home duties.  Mary was eligible to vote at this time. On the 28th March 1923 John was recorded in The Herald Sun as being a person listed with creditors for Insolvency Court. Whatever issues were being addressed they must have been settled as the family remained living at their home until 1928.

Moss 7 Murphy Street Elsternwick now Brighton

By 1931 the family had moved  to 39 Beaconsfield Parade St Kilda. John is listed as Proprietor and Mary as Home Duties. This may well have been the boarding house that they owned that my Grandfather used to talk about. The area is now known as Albert Park.  Whatever gracious old building stood there has been replaced by a monolithic charcoal box. Saved from complete beige appeal due to its position overlooking Port Phillip Bay.

Careers of John included Fitter and Turner, Hotel/boarding house Proprietor (advised by JP Moss) Lived areas from St Kilda down as far as Gardenvale.

The wedding of Mary’s daughter Eva in 1935 made the papers and must have brought some considerable happiness. Wedding; Evans-Cave. Deep creamy magnolias were carried by Miss Evelyn Cave at her marriage yesterday at Scots Church to Robert H., only son of Mr. Evan Evans, of Boston Manor, Middlesex, England. The bride is the only daughter of the late Mr. Harold Cave, of * Flatin Hill, (they mean’t Platten Hall but hey why quibble),  Drogheda, Ireland, and of Mrs. J. H. Moss, of Springvale. The Rev. Dr. W. Borland officiated at the ceremony, and the bride was given away by Mr. George Bowcher. The lovely bridal gown was of glimmering satin with the rich sheen of magnolia petals, and it was fashioned in clever draperies with a soft shirring of tulle across the front of the bodice. The skirt was cut with a square panel extending to a long train. From a half-circlet of orange blossom across the back of the head clouds of misty tulle fell to veil the satin train. Pale water-lily green satin, cut to the new inverted wine-glass silhouette, fashioned the dress worn by the matron-of-honour, Mrs. George D.Bowcher. Softness was given to the bodice by a filmy cape of pleated chiffon, caught at the throat with a lei of pink water lilies, and a posy of water lilies was car- ried. The best man was Mr. Laurie Strickland. The bride’s mother wore a graceful frock of deep blue chiffon relieved with touches of white, and she carried a posy of pansies. After the ceremony Mrs. G. D. Bowcher and Miss N. Merrix entertained a few intimate friends of the bride and bridegroom at Victoria Hall, St. Kilda Road.

Source . Trove NLA.  “The Argus”

* Not quite sure what connection Cave had to Platten Hall. Platten Hall was owned by the Gradwell family.  This was located in Drogheda, but the Mohan family had not connection to it unless they were tenants of the Gradwell family nearby?

By 1935 John had purchased a chicken farming property on Clark Road Springvale. John and Mary had moved to what was then the rural area of Melbourne’s fringes. This was not an oddity as much of Clarke Road in Springvale from the 1920’s through the 1930’s was a well known chicken and egg producing area for Melbourne.  John was listed as a Farmer and Mary as Home Duties.  Not long after this John left Mary on the farm and returned to Melbourne. He did however maintain workers to work the farm.  Mary at the time did not keep good health.

Mary died on the 5th June 1939 at Clark Road, Springvale her cause of death was Erysipelas, Coronary Thrombosis and Cardiac Failure. Length of illness 7 days.  Dr Luth attended. My certificate was obtained from BDM in 1998.

Mrs. Moss Snr., of Clarke Road, Springvale South, died suddenly on Monday afternoon, and deep sympathy is felt toward the bereaved. 7 June 1939, The Dandenong Journal.

Placed in the Argus & The Age on the 7th June.

MOSS – On the 5th June at her residence Clarke Road, Springvale, Mary Alice, dearly beloved wife of John Henry Moss, loving mother of Evelyn (Mrs Evans), Harold, George, James and Joseph (private funeral) Rest in Peace.

The Age 12 Jun 1939
MOSS- Mr. J. H. Moss and FAMILY wish to THANK all relatives ande friends for floral tributes, telegrams and letters, cards and personal expressions of sympathy in their recent sad bereavement. Would all please accept this as a personal expression of their sincere gratitude. Clark-road. Spring Vale South.

Mary was buried at the Springvale Cemetary (Necropolis) 6 June 1939 in perpetuity.  Unmarked grave.  Burial Site RC”A” Plot 8. Mary was 66 when she died.  I’ve been to visit my great grandmother’s grave. It is a peaceful place. I imagine her life was quite a journey as she traveled many countries before settling in a home in far away Australia.

Mary and John
Mary and John
A few months after Mary died John was in a serious accident.

MOTOR-CYCLIST INJURED, Mr Moss, well-known poultry farmer, of Clarke road, Spring Vale, suffered a painful accident last week when his motor cycle collided with a buggy. Mr Moss received a fractured jaw, injured leg and bodily bruises and is still confined to hospital. 27 September, 1939, The Dandenong Journal.

At the time John was said to have had a lady friend a  Mrs Ruffy (not sure of spelling) who was supposed to be his housekeeper.  What is known is that she cleaned out Mary’s home of most of her treasured antiques and collectibles before the family could finish paying their respects to their deceased mother.

By 1941 John was selling up the chicken farm at Clarke Road in Springvale as was recorded in the Frankston Standard.

Clearing Sale

Mr. J. H. Moss, of Springvale, and his four sons being engaged in specialised war work, his complete stock of 1,200 W.L. pullets, breeding hens and cockerels is to be sold unreserved at Parnham’s, Bentleigh, this Saturday, at 2 p:m. Buyers’ opportunity

30 May 1941

The Clark Road property went up for sale within two months of John having another motor vehicle accident which caused some significant injury.

The Dandenong Journal, Wed, 2 April 1941.
In trying to dodge another car near Mackay’s store at Spring Vale South on Monday afternoon, Mr J. Moss, of Clark Road., overturned his small Austin car and was pinned underneath until released. His ribs were crushed and he received bodily bruises, necessitating medical attention from Dr. Luth

(23rd August, 1943, The Argus).  JHM Formerly of 33 Warley Road Malvern, but late of 48 Burke Road, East Malvern, Engineer. Deceased. Who died on the 27th June, 1943. – Creditors, next-of-kin, and all other persons having claims against the estate of the deceased are required by the National Trustees, Executors and Agency Company of Australasia Limited, shose registered office is at 95 Queen Street, Melbourne and Harold Cave of 51 Kilby Road, North Kew, engineer who have made application to the registrar of Probates for a grant of probate of the will and codicil of the said deceased (they being the executros named in and applies by the said will to send particulars to the said company and the said Harold Cave will distribute the assets, having regard only to the claims of which they then have notice. Weigall & Crowther 459 Chancery Lane, Melbourne Solicitors for the applicant.  Harold Cave.

Purely as an interesting snippet, my grandfather had said that his father’s family motto had been ‘bricks and mortar’ as to what that meant or indicated I cannot say. Before my grandparents married my great-grandmother asked my grandmother to make sure her son always prayed and stayed a Catholic with a strong sense of faith and to be the good man she had raised him to be.  She did, and he did.

In 1943 John died. His registration no on Death Cert is 6348. Aged 69. His last address was given as East Melbourne. At this time there appears to be some question as to where he died.  However my grandfather remembered his funeral well and that he was buried at the Brighton cemetery.  29th June 1943. Buried in the Methodist Section Brighton Cemetary index number: 38793

One thought on “John Henry Moss (1874-1943) and Mary Alice Mohan Moss (1872 – 1939).

  1. Wow! This is impressive! I have figured out our relationship. Our great grandparents were brothers – your James and my Michael.

    This story has given me another piece in the puzzle. When your family Bridget Mohan nee Duffy from Drogheda were found in the 1901 Census, they were only a few houses away from my Micheal’s eldest son James in Gardiner Street Lower and a few streets away from Jame’s brother John in Talbot Place. Amazing!

    Well done on such a great website!

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