Our connection to the Winter Family is through my father Albert Henry Winter

John (Jack) Winter

On the 19th of November 1870, in  Hunstanworth co. Durham Mary Jane Price (daughter of William and Margaret Price of Hunstanworth) married Joseph Winter (son of Thomas and Margaret Winter of Hunstanworth.)They settled in Crook and Billy Row where they had two daughters, Margaret Jane b.1874 and Mary Hannah b.1877.In February 1878 Joseph aged 28, a coal hewer  at the Cold  Knot coal mine, suffered a severe back injury and as a result of that he died the following October. Mary remained in Crook living on the miners relief fund and working as a housekeeper. During this time, John was born. On the 3rd December 1881 (John now 18mths)  Mary Jane married William Pattinson (son of Joseph and Mary Pattinson ), a widower and limestone quarryman of Stanhope. William may be John’s father or he may have been the boarder that Mary took in after Joseph died. His name was Thomas Braithwaite of Yorkshire. I can remember Grandad Winter telling us that we should have been Pattinson’s and not Winter. His mother must have had her reasons to name him a Winter and not take the name of his stepfather. It is also possible that his biological father was a member of the household where Mary Jane worked, he may have been the “Lord  of the Manor” or the “Labourer“. These would have been very hard times for Mary Jane, three children and living on the miners relief fund. She would have been a very vulnerable woman.John and his two half sisters lived in Stanhope with their mother and William where she had several more children. According to the 1891 census, John was a scholar aged 10, and in the same year his older sister Margaret Jane married a John Allison of Stanhope.

In 1901 at the age of 20, he was employed as a Limestone Quarryman living at Union Square, Stanhope with his mother and family. The year before, in 1900 his sister Mary Hannah died of serious heart and lung problems, Mary was 24. On 1st December 1910, at the age of 30, he married Emma Forrest, age 29, daughter of John and Mary Forrest of Shittlehope Burn Farm, Stanhope co. Durham (formally of Allendale, Northumberland) They emigrated to Australia, sailing on the MS Ophir, arriving in Sydney via Melbourne late January 1911. They settled in Rosebank, near Lismore, The Northern Rivers  area of New South Wales, where John  became a dairy farmer. In 1911 Doris Mary was born followed by Madge in 1915 and my father Albert Henry in 1916.

During the early 1940’s they sell the farm at Rosebank and move to Mascot in Sydney where he operated a convenience store and later ran a residential hotel close to Kings Cross called Roslyn Gardens. From what we can recall the owner of the hotel also owned the home where they retired, this being 43  Albert Parade, Ashfield.

He was a very staunch Methodist and teetotaller. We are to this day Winter by name, by bloodline we may never know,  by marriage we are Pattinson.

The Surname of Winter.

Recorded as Winter, Wynter, and the patronymics Winters and Winterson, this is a “European” surname. It was originally a nickname or byname for someone of a frosty or gloomy temperament, the derivation being from the pre 7th century Olde English, Middle High German, or Danish-Viking word “wintr”, meaning winter. It may also be an Ashkenazic “ornamental” surname denoting the season, which were distributed by German government officials in the 18th century, to immigrants from other countries. Finally it may be of Irish origin deriving from the pre 10th century Gaelic Mac Giolla Gheimhridh, meaning the “son of the servant of Geimhreadh”, itself a byname also meaning “Winter”. The surname in England dates back to the late 12th Century, whilst early examples of church recordings taken from the diocese of Greater London include William Wynter, who was christened on November 14th 1571 at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, John, the son of John and Elizabeth Winters, who was christened on January 1st 1633 at St. Mary’s, Whitechapel, Stepney, and Georgii Winterson, a witness at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on August 5th 1677. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Winter, which was dated 1185, in the Knight Templars Roll for the county of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1159 – 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Albert Henry Winter

Son of John & Emma Forrest dairy farmers of Rosebank via Lismore NSW, formerly of Stanhope, co.Durham. England. Named after his mother’s nephew, Albert Forrest. I know very little of my fathers early years , only that he was required to work along with his two sisters Doris & Madge, on the family farm at Rosebank and attended school at Repentants Creek. He learnt to drive his fathers Morris Cowely at an early age thus begun his liking for motor vehicles and motorcycles. One of his first jobs after leaving school was driving the local co-op cream truck picking up milk and cream from local farmers. He was very much an under age driver. I remember him telling me that the local police sergeant knew of this but turned a blind eye. He also worked the banana plantations in the Northern Rivers area. The workers, being mainly Italian nicknamed him Antonio, hence the name Tony. He wore this name the rest of his life, with the occasional Harry thrown in. In his late teens he began an apprenticeship as a Fitter & Turner with DJ McKee (Engineers) of Lismore. At the outbreak of WW2, in 1939, and being the only son, he was required to work on the family dairy farm, but joined the AIF as a reservist. His two best mates at this time were John Codrington (ex POW) and Roy Quirk. They all loved motor bikes, Indian and BSA were the bikes of the day. John Codrington remained a life long friend.

In April 1942, he married my mother Betty Augusta Cowen, daughter of Joseph & Ruby Cowen of Mullimbimby. In 1943 their first child Gaye was born (christened Barbara Gaye). Their first home was a flat in Ashfield, Sydney but in a short time settled in Lismore. They built their  home at No.1 Simes Street, Lismore Heights, on the corner of The New Ballina Cutting, three doors up lived Mums sister Nancy and her family. Then in 1949 their second child (which is me) was born, Maxwell Henry John Winter. My father was now working back with DJ Mckee’s in South Lismore as a fitter, mainly doing precision grinding.

1955 was not a good year for our family, my sister Gaye was fatally injured in a bicycle accident. It took along time for all our family and friends to recover from their loss. However, 1959 saw the arrival of our adopted daughter and sister, Vickye Francine. 1960 saw a career change for Dad, off came the overalls and on went the coat and tie as he became a salesman/mechanic for Singer Sewing Machines in Lismore. In a short time he was transferred to Glen Innes where Singer wanted to establish a new agency. We  all acclimatised very quickly to the snow and ice. Glen Innes was a great place for us, many a weekend was spent out gathering firewood and shooting rabbits, which we ate at least once a week. Again Singer moved us on, and in 1961 we relocated  to Tamworth. Not the place that Glen was, so Dad resigned from Singers after being asked to join a Business Broker firm by the name of Biesley & Brown. So we were off to Sydney this time, living with my Grandfather, Aunty Doris and cousin Helen at 43 Albert Parade, Ashfield.

Living in Sydney was so different to Tamworth, however we got used it. Dad was very busy with his work, Mum was back working at AWA, Vickye had begun school at Croydon Public and I was in 1st year at Ashfield Boys High. Dad became unhappy in the business brokerage field so decided to get into his own business. He bought a Contract Cleaning business situated on the Upper North Shore of Sydney. With Mum working it wasn’t long before they purchased a block of land at 7 Willow Tree Street, Normanhurst, built a home and moved away from Ashfield. Dad’s business was growing, he needed an extra worker, so my Uncle Bill (Mums brother) joined the business. Dad enjoyed what he did and received enormous respect from his clients (who were mainly banks). Business was still growing, so in 1974 after leaving the Navy, I joined Dad as a partner. We were both working at least 6 days a week, but also enjoying the rewards.

In 1980 Dad at 64 became very sick , to a stage where he couldn’t work. So we decided to sell the business and he would retire.  He slowly became well enough to take the big trip around Australia, and Mum & Dad packed up their new Franklin Caravan and short base Nissan Patrol and travelled the country. Returning home after 3months it was decided to sell the Normanhurst home and return back to the Northern Rivers and settle in Lennox Head.

Lennox Head was a special place to our family. Quite a number of years ago my Grandmother, Ruby Cowen, had a  cottage on the south end of Lennox where we would all spend holidays and weekends. Aunties and uncles, cousins and friends would all pile into this small “home away from home” and have  such great times, this meant a great deal to both Mum & Dad that they were “moving back” home. My father enjoyed his life at 4 Foster Street, loved his time repairing lawn mowers and sewing machines for his friends or just to sell, he really didn’t get involved with anything else, would go beach fishing now and then but it was his garage that you would find him in. He loved to come to Warwick where Robyn and I had a motel. I would make a list of repairs needed and we would both have them fixed to his high standard in no time. He was a person who would use two screws rather than just the one, when one was all that was needed. He was a perfectionist in all that he did. We had only been in Warwick a short time when Dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. This was a shock to all of us. However, he stood up to it with great courage and under the care of Dr. Smith of Brisbane, he underwent surgery at Princess Alexandria Hospital. Dad went back home to Lennox Head and recovered quite well, back to his garage, lawn mowers and sewing machines, knowing he had quality and not quantity of life.

In twelve short months he passed away in St.Vincents Hospital Lismore on the 10th April 1997. He will always be remembered as a loving father a great work mate and an all round great bloke.




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