by George Simpson
Alexander Lilburn Simpson “Jock”. Born 1883 Scotland. Died 1965.
Jessie Ann Simpson nee Wood. Born 1885 Scotland. Died 1967.
Jock Snr was a Sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders and served in the Boxer Rebellion in China and the Boer War in South Africa.
Jessie came to Australia in about 1908. Jock followed in 1909 and they were married in 1910.
They went back to Scotland with two young children so Jock could re-enlist with the Seaforth Highlanders to serve in WWI. He was on active duty in France for most of the war.
They lived in Molong before the war and moved back there about 1919 when they returned from WWI. One daughter died in Scotland in 1914 and Jock Jnr was born in 1914. It is hard to comprehend how hard those long boat trips would be especially with two small children.
In 1920 they moved to Grange Avenue, Marsden Park for better schooling for their children.
In 1922 they bought 14 acres on the corner of Richmond Road and South Street, Marsden Park, which was the family home until Jock died in 1965 and Jessie in1967. Jock and Jessie paid £400 ($800) almost 100 years ago for the 14 acres, they would not believe the millions that it is worth now.
Jock Snr, together with Major McLean, Harry Whitehead and Harry Dobson, all old Riverstone names, were the four foundation members who pioneered the Riverstone-Schofields RSL. He was Returning Officer for Marsden Park and Secretary of the Presbyterian Church.
Jessie was a Foundation Member of the Riverstone CWA.
They had seven children, three dying young from diabetes.
- Jean born 1911 – died 1914.
- Grace born 1912 – died 1974.
- Alexander born 1914 – died 1968.
- Janet born 1920 – died 1993.
- George born 1924 – died 1931.
- Gordon born 1925 – died 1926.
- Mary born 1928 – still going strong in Denman.
Jock Snr worked at the meatworks all his life, riding a push bike to and from work. They never owned a car, it was bike or horse and sulky.
Power was not available until 1938 and water just after that.
Times would have been tough, but it was what they were used to, a wood stove, wood copper, meat safe and an ice box. Ice was delivered twice a week.
Jessie had chooks and cows, so eggs were a big part of the diet and she made her own butter from the milk.
- Grace Simpson worked for Dr Boag in Garfield Road.
- Alexander Lilburn Simpson (Jock Jnr) had a truck at the meatworks carting ashes and sawdust until they stopped using it on the floors. He had a sawmill at Marsden Park and then in 1951 bought the sawmill and weighbridge at Box Hill from Rod Terry. He was a very good woodchopper in his younger days, winning many ribbons at local shows. He had four children, eleven grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.
- Janet Williams (nee Simpson) lived at Narrabeen when first married and moved back to Marsden Park and finally Ballina. She had five children, eleven grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
- Mary Gibson (nee Simpson) lived at Plumpton when first married and moved to Baerami then to Denman. She has one child, one grandchild and one great grandchild.
CONNECTION TO RIVERSTONE RUGBY LEAGUE
We don’t think Jock Snr ever saw a rugby league game, definitely not live, but he left a lot of players down through the generations.
Jock Jnr’s Sons:
George – Captain Coach Riverstone Reserve Grade Premiers 1971.
David – Play in Penrith’s first President Cup side 1967. James (Jim) – Played 1971 Reserve and A Grade sides.
Scott and Glenn both played junior football for Riverstone, Scott winning two premierships. Glenn’s son Bailey plays in the Tamworth Competition.
George’s daughter – Belinda Rumsby has two sons. Jack played in the local Tamworth comp, playing in the winning Farrer Country Cup side, representing Group 4 in junior and senior years, also rep player for Greater Northern Tigers, a stint at Norths Devils Under 20’s QLD and now playing in the Newcastle comp for Central Butcher Boys. Henry plays Under 10’s in the local Tamworth Competition.
Jim’s son -Adam played junior football for Riverstone, Adam’s son Zac plays for Mount Druitt team.
Janet Williams (nee Simpson) daughter – Janet Montgomery (nee Williams) has two sons, Dillon and Kane. Dillon played Jersey Flegg for Manly going back to back for Ballina winning four premierships and still playing. Kane played junior rep football and won two premierships with Ballina.
Sadly I don’t think any more will wear the maroon and gold for Riverstone, but there will be more coming through to play the game elsewhere.
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs from George Simpson.