Tag Archives: Mitcham Australia

In 1927 a Saxon relic was sent to Mitcham Australia

From Norwood News – Saturday 18th June 1927, via the British Newspaper Archives.


The Mitcham school managers met on Monday night under the chairmanship of Ald. A. Mizen. It was reported that Miss A. D. Milne, mistress at Gorringe Park School, was visiting Australia, and the managers decided to ask her to convey a signed letter from them of cordial greetings from Mitcham, England, to Mitcham, Australia. The letter recalled that a flag was sent from Mitcham, Australia, to Mitcham, England, some years ago, and that more recently Mrs. Howard visited them in England, and conveyed fraternal greetings from Mitcham, Australia.

The chairman mentioned that Colonel Harold Bidder was sending to Mitcham, Australia, a relic from the Saxon burial grounds of Mitcham, England.

1910 Antipodean Visitors to Lower Mitcham School


Two interesting visitors on Tuesday were Councillor and Mrs. Walker, of Mitcham, in the State of Victoria, Australia, who came to have a look at the day schools and receive a Union Jack and a case of essences, with which they were officially presented on Empire Day. That ceremony was reported in the “Advertiser.” but it may be well to recall the principal facts. On that day the school children gathered at Park-place to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Walker, who came the authorised representatives the State school of Mitcham, Victoria, to present an Australian flag, a sprig of eucalyptus, and photographs to the managers. It was an interesting event, and the visitors were favourably impressed with what they saw. But they had no opportunity then of inspecting the schools with the children at work, and they were invited to return later on.

So it came about that on Tuesday morning they were met at Mitcham Junction Station by Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Chart, with whom they drove to the Lower Mitcham School, after short stay the way at the Roman Catholic School facing the Green. They arrived at lower Mitcham as the scholars were at play, and were able to see them under the most natural conditions. While Mr. Walker expressed himself as delighted with the discipline he could hardly fail to notice the miserable way many of the boys were shod. Several, in fact, were not shod at all, and were running about with bare feet and the most ragged of clothes.

At the end of play time the boys filed into the large hall of their department, where the headmaster, Mr. Clarke, introduced to them Mr. Walker and his wife, mentioning the circumstances under which they paid their previous visit.

Mr. Walker, in the course of a few words to the audience, said he was delighted to be present and to renew his acquaintance with the teachers and scholars. He was glad to find the school in such splendid condition, and the scholars with such a happy and healthy appearance. Particularly was he pleased to see them at play, and to notice the attention they paid to the headmaster’s whistle. As they grew up he hoped they would always be regardful in the same manner of the authority that they might serve. It was a credit to the headmaster to find them so well trained, as it was to the boys themselves. As he looked round he was inclined to think that they had not all equal opportunities, but during his journeys in England he had come to understand that everybody had an equal chance, and it depended upon them as to what they would do with the opportunities that were given to them. He knew what boys’ difficulties were and what they had to do; but now was the greatest opportunity of their lives, and they should make the most it. Then he told them that they belonged to a great Empire, and would have their place in it when they grew up; and, in conclusion, he wished them all happy future and hoped that the district would have reason to be proud to know that some of them had risen to fill high positions in the commercial and political world.

The boys responded to these sentiments with three ringing cheers.

Mr. Clarke declined to take himself all the credit for the discipline the school, which he said was largely due to his assistants. They thanked Mr. Walker very much for coming, and hoped that the boys would bear in mind something of what he had said.

Shortly afterwards the party left for the Singlegate Schools, where the Union Jack in an oak box and the case of distilled essences of lavender, peppermint, and other products of Mitcham, given by Mr. R. A. Bush’s firm, were presented to Mr. Walker. He and Mrs. Walker had lunch with Mr. R. M. Chart, and later in the day returned to London. They expect to leave for Australia next week by way of New York and Vancouver, arriving home at the beginning of December.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 17 September 1910 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Twin Towns


Compliments Between Surrey and Australian Communities.

The most interesting incident in the Empire Day celebrations at Mitcham was the breaking of a large Australian flag presented to the Surrey town by Mitcham, Australia.

The ceremony took place at Lower Mitcham School in the presence of a crowd that included visitors from the Commonwealth township. Telegrams were exchanged between the two places. Mitcham, Australia, was settled near Melbourne by a Surrey Mitchamite, named Slater, 40 years ago, and is now a thriving fruit-growing centre.

In 1908 Mitcham, Surrey, presented its namesake with a Union Jack, a cricket bat, and a bunch of lavender.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 25 May 1920 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1859 Suicide of Harriet Slater

From the South Eastern Gazette of Tuesday April 5th, 1859


An inquest was held last week at the Nag’s Head public-house, before W. Carter, Esq., touching the death of Harriet Slater, aged 27. The enquiry was a lengthened one, and has excited considerable interest in the neighbourhood. The chief facts are as follow : —

Deceased is the wife of one William Henry Slater, who worked in what are called the “physic grounds” here. Before she was married she lived in the service of Mr. Abel Garraway, at Glebelands House, whose service she left when she got married. Towards the latter end of last August her husband formed an intimacy with the daughter of a beer-house keeper named Cresswell, and went away with her, and from enquiries made by the officers of the Odd Fellows Society at Mitcham, it is believed they went to Australia, he thereby deserting his wife and an infant child. Mr. Garraway again took deceased into his service, and with the exception of occasionally deploring tbe absence of her husband, and expressing a hope that she should once more see him, she appeared to be very happy. On Tuesday morning last a young woman named Mary Gould went with some milk to Glebelands House, as usual, shortly before eight o’clock, and rang the bell, but could not make any one hear. She went again about nine o’clock, and afterwards about half-past nine, but was unsuccessful in obtaining admission, and she then went and told Mrs. Slater (deceased’s husband’s mother) of the circumstance. Ultimately, by dint of throwing dirt up at one of the windows, Miss Garraway, who resides with her father, was aroused, and came to enquire what was the matter. Mary Gould, Miss Garraway, and another female, went into the bedroom of deceased, where they found the bed-clothes much disturbed, but deceased was not there. Upon looking in a passage which led to another part of the house, however, they discovered her lying dead, in her night clothes. Mr. Crouch, surgeon, was immediately sent for, and upon searching the bed-room, discovered a cup and spoon upon the table, the former haring a white sediment at the bottom. There was also a paper, without any label, containing a white powder. Under the pillow of deceased’s bed were found two sealed envelopes, the superscription of each being in deceased’s handwriting, and a portrait of her husband.

A woman named Susannah Spencer deposed that she went to Mr. Garrawav’s on Monday evening, to pay her rent. When deceased let her in at the gate, she was crying, and witness asked her what was the matter? The reply was that she was in trouble about her husband, and should like to see him once more. Witness stopped in the kitchen with deceased for nearly an hour, during which time deceased three times said “ she hoped if she went to bed that night, she should never get up any more and afterwards that if she did get up alive she would make away with herself in some way or another. Witness told her to cheer up, and think of her dear child ; and when she left the house she appeared to be in much better spirits.

Mr. Crouch, having, under the direction of the coroner, made a post mortem examination, proved that deceased’s death was caused by arsenic, and that the cup found upon the table in her dressing-room contained a solution of the same poison.

The Coroner said he was unwilling to cause any interference in private family matters, unless absolutely necessary. He therefore left it to the jury whether he should open the letters that were found under the pillow. The jury were unanimously of opinion that they should be opened. One envelope was directed “ For my dearly be loved husband, from his poor wife.” The enclosure was very closely written, and breathed a spirit of the most ardent affection of deceased for her husband. It was dated March 27th, and commenced by stating that her dear child was born that day twelve months, from which time its unhappy mother had scarcely known one minute’s peace of mind. She, however, had been a good mother to her dear child, a good wife to her husband, and she thanked God for it. She did hope to see her husband once more, and to live with him in a little cottage of their own, with their dear child by their side. If such should never be the case, she would never marry again, as she had given her heart to her husband, and she would never give her hand to another. Under the fold of the envelope was written “ Pray God protect my child.” On the other envelope was written “ From my dear husband.” Its contents were a brief letter from her husband, which it appeared had been forwarded by him to his mother, and thence to deceased. It was as follows:—“ Give my love to my mother, brothers, and sisters, and accept the same from your very wicked, cruel husband, Wm, Henry Slater.” It was headed Jersey Islands, and dated September.

Neither Mr. Garraway nor his daughter had the slightest idea of deceased contemplating self-destruction, nor could it be ascertained where the arsenic was obtained; The only assumption being that as deceased’s husband had been in the habit of stuffing birds, and as she had treasured up everything that belonged to him, the arsenic might thus have come into her possession.

The room having been cleared, the jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict that deceased destroyed herself whilst suffering under “ Temporary derangement.”

Eric Montague wrote on page 128 of “Mitcham Histories 14 : Upper Mitcham and Western Road”, that William Slater emigrated to Australia and

on the banks of the Koonung Creek a few miles out of Melbourne, he set up on his own as a physic gardener, and became one of the founding fathers of the township of Mitcham, district in the City of Nunawading. With pride he called the single story house with a corrugated iron roof in which he lived Mitcham Grove, inspired no doubt for the memory of banker Henry Hoare’s house on the banks of the Wandle back home in Mitcham, Surrey.