Fred & Susan Bamkin

Trevor's Maternal Grandparents

Frederick John Bamkin was born on 11th January 1905 to parents, Frederick John Bamkin (b.1869 d.1915) and Florence Meyler Pellett (b.1871 d.1925). He was a baker.Fred & Susan Bamkin

Susan Woodend Dogherty (aka Dougherty) was born 30th November 1900 at Garvagh, Coleraine, Nth. Ireland to parents, James and Sarah (nee Woodend) Dogherty. She had three sisters, Eliza Jane, Ruth and Mary, and three brothers, James, Alexander and Samuel. Her Father was a farmer and the family lived on a farm at a place called Gortacloughlan. Susan and her brothers and sisters were all orphaned at a young age and it is believed they were cared for separately.

Susan worked as a domestic and nanny and was living with her eldest sister, Elizabeth (Eliza Jane) Davidson, her husband and young family, when Susan had a child. Her daughter, Lizzie Dogherty, was born on the 23rd March 1920. The father's name was George McCandless.  Susan and George did not marry. Being an orphan with no parental support and because of her employment, Susan probably had little option but to arrange for her older sister, Eliza Jane, to foster Lizzie and raise the child as her own daughter. From that time Lizzie was known as Ida Davidson.

Young Lizzie remained in her Aunt Eliza Jane's household but Susan eventually returned to work in town. Susan continued to visit her daughter until, with assistance from the Salvation Army, Susan immigrated alone to Western Australia.

Shipping records show that she traveled as Miss S. Dougherty, a domestic, on the "Balranald" arriving at Fremantle on 11th December 1922 at age 21. In fact, Susan would have been 21 when she joined the ship in London and celebrated her 22 birthday en-route on 30th November 1922.

SS Balranald

                                                                                     “SS BALRANALD”  -  Built 1922 for UK - Australia service.


She arrived alone and arrived at Fremantle to start a new life.  She found work as a domestic working at Monrepose Nursing home, then later at Fremantle Public Hospital. She first met Frederick John Bamkin whilst they both were listening to a band playing somewhere in Fremantle. After marrying in Fremantle on 31st March 1924, they built a home at Beaconsfield.

Their only daughter, Phyllis Meyler Bamkin, was born 21st September 1924 at the Hillcrest Hospital in North Fremantle. Fred took his family to Geraldton where he again found work as a Baker.  Approx two years later they moved to Mullewa not far from Geraldton where he bought his own Bakery and grocery shop.

Two years after Phyllis was born they had a son who tragically was stillborn. Some years later they were to foster a young baby boy, Robert Thill.  Although they had hoped to adopt Bobby he was to live with them for about ten years.

It must have been about this time that Grandma's daughter in North Ireland made the first of two attempts to make contact with her mother and, as a young girl at the time, she wrote to her Aunt Susan. Lizzie referred to her mother as Aunt Susan  in her letter because she thought it likely that her mother's family was not aware that Susan had a child in Ireland and Lizzie didn't want to cause her mother any embarrassment. She had a reply to her letter, which was written by Granddad, Fred Bamkin, who wrote that Aunt Susan and Phyllis were both well.. Lizzie realized from that letter that she had a sister and longed to know her.

Many years later, whilst a woman in her 50s, Lizzie again wrote to her mother but the letter was returned address unknown. After that attempt she rejected her daughter's encouragement to keep trying, and gave up trying to contact her Mother. I feel most the disappointment for my own Mother who died in 2000 not knowing that she had an older sister.

The family met hard times during a prolonged drought and approx three years later Fred volunteered to join the army as a cook in 1939, shortly after the outbreak of Second World War, and he was with the 9th Division when they sailed on the Queen Mary to fight in the Middle East. Fred was awarded the following medals:
Frederick (Fred) John Bamkin (1905-1968)

  - 39-45 Star
  - Africa Star
  - 39-45 War Medal
  - 39-45 Australian Services Medal

He returned to civilian life on 30th September 1943, returning to live with his family now in Perth where he again worked as a baker. Not long after he and Susan divorced, Fred married Beatrice Violet POLLARD (Aunty Vi). He bought the Spearwood Bakery and built the business up successfully.

Although a young child at about that time, I remember Granddad's bakery as a rather large concern. My two brothers and I loved to visit Granddad at the Spearwood Bakery. My early memories were of accompanying Granddad on his horse and cart doing deliveries. In later years he had a small fleet of small vans. I recall once, when I was left in the van while Granddad did a delivery, I experimented with attempting to start the vehicle. It surged forward and came to rest against the building and gave me quite a scare.

The huge oven was heated by wood fire and there was always a large woodpile of 4' long lengths of timber for the fire, stacked out the back. Every visit to the bakery, my brothers and I would love to "steal" a warm, freshly baked loaf of bread from the bakery and we'd break it up to eat at the rear of the bakery where the old stables still stood. An interesting part of the bakery was a couple of large water towers, having water continuously tumbling down the central coils. They must have been part of a large refrigerate assembly.

Granddad was a hard worker who worked long hours and enjoyed a drink. He was obviously an innovative businessman who, long before the age of take-away foods, would bake up baskets of hot pies and pasties and take them around to the pubs and they were very popular with the drinkers.

Fred died 3rd August 1968 and is buried in the Guildford Cemetery together with Aunty Vi, who died earlier, on 4th May 1965. The inscription on the headstone was never altered to reflect Granddads internment.

Following their divorce, my grandmother married Alexander Scheikowsky and an attempt to document their life together can be found in the section titled Alexander Scheikowsky..

Children of Susan Bamkin (nee Dogherty):

Lizzie Dogherty aka Ida Davidson (1920 -1983)
Phyllis Meyler Bamkin (1924-2000)

Note: You can click on Susan's children's names to link to their sections