|Boston Clark Bartlett and Sarah Higgins
- my Great Grandparents -
Continued from Page 1
The Forbes Advocate Newspaper dated 22nd October 1915 carried the following curious
news item in a column titles Jottings:
Latest recruits to offer their services are Messers L A Haylings, G T J Turner who are now in
Dubbo Camp and Boston Bartlett.
This refers to recruiting for the army during WW1 but is a full 2 years before Boston
attempted to join the AIF or volunteered as a war worker.
Enlistment in the AIF: on 24th September 1917, enlisted in the AIF. He gave his age as 42
years and 1 month and his date of birth as 6th August 1875. He was, in fact, 46 at the time
the correct year 1871. His occupation was recorded as horse breaker. Sarah was his next of
kin residing at 181 Bridge Road Forest Lodge Glebe. He was 5 foot 7 inches tall and
weighted 11 stone. His eyes were blue his hair was brown and his complexion fair. His
application was rejected on medical grounds being he was physically over age and had an
emphasematous [sic] chest.
On 13th October 1917, Boston volunteered as an Australian War Worker in England.
Records held at the National Archives show that Boston was a Munitions Worker Number
1627. He gives his address as 181 Bridge Road, Forest Lodge, Sydney. Son Leslie Bartlett
may have also applied to be a war worker at this time. His qualifications are recorded as
'concrete foreman in railway construction works', although he leaves 'current occupation'
blank suggesting he may have been out of work. Part of the document is faded but it
appears he says he was 'turned down' from enlisting in the AIF. At the time of his
application, Boston was 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighed 11 stone. Of interest is the fact he
gives his religion as Roman Catholic. Had wife Sarah converted him? He also claims to be 43
whilst his correct age is 46. He claims only two dependents so son Leslie and daughter
Thelma were already employed. A medical certificate by Dr Rudolph Borhsman of Glebe
dated 9th October 1918 states Boston is of good health and sound condition and is suitable
as a heavy manual labourer.
On 3rd January 1918 Boston embarked aboard the 'Borda' in Sydney with other Australian
War Workers in 3rd Class berths. His age is recorded as 46 in the shipping manifest. The
'Borda' sailed from Adelaide on 5th January 1918 and arrived at Plymouth on 4th March
Employment in England:
7th March 1918: Messrs Trollope & Colls, Aintree, Liverpool as Labourer
24th June 1918: Messrs Willett & Co London Aerodrome, Hendon
According to his record, Boston left the employ of Mr Willett about the beginning of
September 1918. The record does not list his subsequent employers.
Boston suffered from several illnesses and accidents whilst in England.
13th April 1918 - 6th May 1918 - In jury to shoulder and arm - Dr Park
3rd July 1918 - Influenza - Dr J.C.Craig
16th September 1918 - Contusions and wound to face [Accident through lifting. Blow on
head with stick]
25th February 1919 to 3rd March 1919 - Influenza - Dr J.E.Craig
Boston embarked on the Irishman on 8th May 1919 at Avonmouth and arrived back in
Australia on 8th July 1919. He was formally discharged the same day. His address at that
time was 162 Bridge Road, Forest Lodge, Glebe, however this could be an error on his part
as another documents that he signs at the same time gives the previous address of 181
Bridge Road. His discharge states that his record during the agreement was 'satisfactory'.
1919: The Sydney Morning Herald dated 10th December 1919 reported the following:
Herbert Bailey and Jane Bailey, his wife, were charged with having on August 9, at
the Glebe, stolen from the house of Boston Clarke Bartlett clothing valued at £5.
There was a second count of receiving. Both accused were found guilty of receiving
stolen property, with a strong recommendation, to mercy. His Honor, in remanding
them for sentence till the morning, stated that he would release Jane Bailey as a first
In September 1921, Boston was working on the railway at Griffith and camping out with his
son, Leslie Higgins Hammond Bartlett when their tent was set on fire. Leslie died, and
Boston had his hair burnt off and suffered burns to his hands. He was bald from then on
and would wear a teapot cosy on his head to cover his scalp. Read an account of the accident
as printed in the Murrumbidgee Irrigator Newspaper dated Tuesday 20th September 1921:
Burning Tragedy at Griffith.
About 2.00am on Saturday morning a two roomed camp [in Davis' camp] occupied by
Boston Bartlett [aged 50], his son Leslie Higgins Hammond Bartlett [aged 22] and
John Clark, was destroyed by fire. Young Bartlett was burned to death, his father
was seriously burned. Clark escaped without injury. It appears the party retired
about midnight. Clark was a visitor and was only staying the night. At 2 am he
awoke to find the place in flames and the atmosphere chocking with smoke. He
managed after some trouble to get Mr Bartlett snr., out of the tent. Young Bartlett
could not be seen. It appears he voluntary gave up his bed when retiring to Clark and
made a bunk on the floor between the two beds. An appeal for help issued forth from
the tent after the two had made their escape. Although frantic efforts were made to
rescue the unfortunate young man they were of no avail. The flames had a complete
hold on the premises and in the course of a short time it was totally destroyed. The
police and doctor were communicated with. Mr Bartlett snr., was conveyed to a local
field hospital and has since been pronounced out of danger. Young Bartlett's remains
were conveyed to the hospital morgue and interred in the Griffith cemetery on
Sunday. The funeral was a very large one. Deceased was a member of the A.L.P* and
members marched before the hearse to the burial ground. The Rev. Father O,Dea
officiated at the graveside and the funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs.
Collier and Trenerry. Mr Jno. Jacobs, J.P., and District Coroner, will hold an inquiry
as soon as Mr Bartlett snr. is sufficiently well enough to attend.
* A.L.P: Australia Labour Party
Known Addresses: From 1925 until 1929 the Sands directory shows Boston residing at 55
Kensington Road, Summer Hill. The 1930 Electoral Roll shows Sarah twice; Bent Street
Chester Hill and 10 Cromwell Street Croydon. I have been unable to find Boston in the
1930 Electoral Roll, however the 1930 Sands Directory shows him residing at 10 Cromwell
Street Croydon. The 1933, 1936 & 1937 Electoral Rolls show Boston residing at the
Lidcombe State Hospital. 1933, 1936 and 1937 electoral rolls show Sarah residing with her
daughter Thelma at Campbell Hill Road. The 1949 & 1954 Electoral Rolls show Boston, a
labourer, residing at the State Hospital, Liverpool. 1943& 1949 Electoral Rolls show Sarah
at 112 Railway Ave Annandale South
Illawarra Mercury dated 24th October 1930 reported that Boston Bartlett was one of
several men 'dealt with' for having been found drunk.
Death: Boston died at Liverpool in the Old Men's Home on 3rd January 1955. [ref 2190]
Probate ref 34A PT . He was buried on 5th January 1955 in the Catholic Section of
Rookwood Cemetery [Mortuary 2 Area 18 Grave 1756] the same grave as his brother-in-law
Martin Joseph Higgins.
Sarah died at the home of daughter Thelma, following a stroke on Monday 29th August
1955 at about 5.00pm. She had been bedridden for 8 years with arthritis. [ref 21007] She is
buried at Rookwood Cemetery in the same grave as her twin sister Mary.
Above Left: Unmarked grave of Boston Clark Bartlett and brother-in-law Martin Joseph Higgins.
Above Right: Unmarked grave of Sarah Bartlett and her twin sister Mary Higgins.