MORGAN LIFE 2: The 1900s in Australia
by Tony Harrison

(This account is largely based on information provided by Glenda Rowse who is a granddaughter of Alfred Charles Morgan 1883-1959 with additional information from Robert Eldridge)


The eldest son of Alfred Morgan and Matilda Zimmer, Alfred Charles, was the first to emigrate. In March 1904 he had married Emily Elizabeth Isaacs the eldest daughter of Walter and Lily Blanche Marguerite Hughes and lived in High St. Walthamstowe. That is about 5 miles west of the Morgans London neighbourhood. (Emily had a colourful Irish aunt Elizabeth who spent much of her life in Russia as governess to the sons of Count and Countess Zoudoff. She died shortly after the Revolution in 1919.)

Their first son, Alfred Walter was born in 1906 and daughter, Emily a little later but she died as an infant.

Alfred Charles Morgan and Emily (nee Isaacs) with baby Alfred Walter in London 1910.

The 1911 Census was taken in April and it recordedAlfred Charles Morgan as a 27 year old house painter living with his wife Emily, a’blouse machinist’, and their four year-old son Alfred. they occupied three rooms at 22 Vernon Rd Walthamstow. occupying another three rooms in the house wereEmily’s parents Walter and Lily Blanche Isaacs , her 24 year-old sister Lily Florence, and her 8 year old brother Leonard Tomas. walter was an itinerant costermonger and lily was a blouse machinist like Emily. the sisters worked at home as piece workers.
Their brother Walter. then 21, was beginning a career as an electrical engineer and boarding with Mrs marie Schenkel in Aston, Warwickshire. Although the Isaacs were not Jewish Walter had already changed his name to Eldrige. By October 1916 he had returned to London and married Edith Rosina (Grace) Elliott in St Johns at Walthamstow. His brother Thomas also adopted the name Eldridge but his father did not.
The Morgans had another daughter, Margaret Eileen, who was born 16 October 1913. Soon after the birth Alfred Charles Morgan took passage as a kitchen hand in the galley of the ship Norseman, and after it diverted to avoid the German raider Emden, found himself in Townsville, Queensland. Nine months after her husband left England Emily and her children boarded the Waipura to join him in Townsville. On the ship the stewards re-christened the baby Margaret, and she was known as Rita ever after. Emily’s sister Lily, now Mrs Stout emigrated with them.
The family, including daughter Margaret Eileen(Rita), in 1916 two years after arriving in Townsville.
In 1920 the Isaac parents, Walter and Lily Blanche (nee Hughes) and their youngest child Leonard, joined their children in Australia and lived in Townsville.with Alf Morgan and Emily. In january 1924Walter and Grace Eldridge also emigrated to Australia on the Sophocles , and settled a couple of miles from Walter and Lily, there they had two children, Grace and Ernest.
Leonard Eldridge lived with his parents in Grosvenor St Pimlico and stayed with them after he married Jane Heron in 1927.


Alfred C and Emily Morgan in 1927

Walter Isaacs was deaf and this led to his tragic death in 1933 when he failed to hear a Hermit Park bus in the Townsville traffic and was knocked down and killed.


Emily and her mother, with Dorothy Morgan, and Lily Stout in 1936
.Lily Isaacs in 1940

In London in 1912 Lily Florence had married a colourful character called Kedgwin Stout. It is believed that Stout had come to Australia with Alfred Morgan. He may have previously served in the Royal Navy under the name Michael Conway.
On the eve of World WarIi Walter and Grace Eldridge returned to England with their Australian born children. When the War was over they returned to Townsville on the Ormonde in late 1947. After their parents died both walter and Leonrad Eldridge took their families to live in Mt. Isa.
Alf Morgan found a good life in Townsville as a taxi operator. He loved singing and tap dancing and Emily had a business as a dressmaker. They first lived in a house that was brought from Charters Towers and relocated at 57 Alexander Street in Townsville's North Ward. By 1930 they had moved to Grosvenor St Pimlico. Alf’s son Alfred Walter married Dorothy O’Donoghue/Laufer in Townsville in June 1925. Their first son Alfred William had been in 1925 and Leonard Frederick arrived in July 1927. Shirley Doreen was born in 1933. Dorothy died in the late 1960s and Walter then married Olive.



Top Len and Alf in 1930 Below The family in 1945 and Shirley in 1950

Alf senior certainly returned to England with his family just once. Accompanied by Elizabeth and Rita they went to see his brother Albert Joseph marry Elizabeth Miller at Bethnal Green in London's East End on 21 July 1928. Rita was Elizabeth's bridesmaid. Eight years later, when she was twenty-one Rita married Russell Tevlin, a librarian born in Charters Towers. They lived with her parents and the house was eventually bought by Rita's daughter Glenda who was born there in 1941. Rita died in Villa Vincent Nursing Home in Townsville on Christmas Day 1986.



Top Rita in 1933 and Rita and Russell in 1964
Below Rita and daughter Glenda in 1919 and Glenda with her grandmother and mother in 1954