Frederick Hickson
Frederick Hickson was born 22nd January 1877 at Glenmore Road, Paddington [ref
4909/1877], son of
Peter Hickson and Matilda Ann Sheppard. He was the younger born twin
brother of Edward and the brother to my Great Grandfather
George Hickson. Present at the
birth were F Milford and Mrs McDowall. His birth was registered on 8th March 1877.

Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children :
On 10th March 1880 Walter, Ada, William [Peter] George, Edward and Frederick were admitted
to the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children by their mother, Matilda. Baby Benjamin is not
listed. It appears her address at the time was Maitland Place off Parramatta Street, Sydney. The
reasons given for the admittance of the children were mistreatment [?], neglect and desertion
by father. Their admission was noted 'To pay two pounds six per week for each child'. This
probably applied to Matilda as she later says she was the one who placed the children in the
facility.  On 14th April 1880 all of the children except Edward were discharged to their father,
Peter, who gave the address 8 Glenmore Rd Paddington. What followed then was recorded in
The Sydney Morning Herald dated 18th May 1880 under the headline
"Shocking Destitution":

The truth of the aphorism that one-half the world has no idea how the other half lives was fully
exemplified at the Water Police Court yesterday morning, when a case was brought under the
notice of the magistrates which dis closed a state of misery and wretchedness seldom heard of in
this community. Peter Hickson, a middle-aged man, described as a sawyer, together with a
woman named Mary Jane Mackay, was charged with having no lawful means of support,
while five children-four boys, whose ages ranged from 2 years to 11 years, and a girl-were also
brought before the Court as destitute children, having been found on Saturday night sleeping out
in the open air. From the statement of senior-sergeant Bremner, it appeared that he discovered
the five children on Saturday night at about 8 o'clock lying in the scrub at the water reserve,
Moore Park, in company with the father and a woman of the vagrant class. The children, who
were lying asleep on the bare ground, were in a most filthy and pitiable condition. They were
wretchedly clad, what little clothing they had on being in a state of rags, and the unfortunate
waifs were shivering bitterly with the cold. One of the children, a girl about 11 years of age, told
the constable that she was sent out begging by her father every day, and whenever she came
home without either money or food she was flogged. Whatever money she obtained by begging
she always gave to her father, who invariably spent it in drink. The children were not only
disgustingly dirty, but also more or less afflicted with blight in the eyes, the result of exposure
and want. The constable had the children forthwith conveyed to the police station, where they
were washed and fed. The father and the woman who was found lying in the scrub with the
children were also taken to the station, and were charged with having no lawful means of
support. Matilda Hickson, the mother of the children, informed the Bench that she was in service,
and received a sum of 12s per week, out of which she had to pay 10s for the support of one of
her children two years of age. In March last she got five of the children into the Randwick
Asylum, where they were in good health and quite contented ; but the father took them out
against her wishes and without her consent, and since then they had been going about the streets
begging. The father stated that he was turned out of his house with his children lately because
he could not pay the rent, and that he took them out of the asylum to provide for them himself,
but had since been unable to obtain work. Mr. Marsh, in commenting on the case, said that it
was very painful to see an able-bodied healthy man like the prisoner living in such degradation
and abject misery, and allowing his children to suffer such horrible privations through his own
laziness. His personal appearance was sufficient to inspire any one with disgust, and he was
nothing better than a disgrace to humanity. Hickson was sentenced to six months' imprisonment,
with hard labour, in Darlinghurst gaol ; and the woman who was found in his company, and
who said that she had been " hired by Mr. Hickson to mind the children," was sent to gaol for two
months. The children were ordered to be sent to the Industrial School.

Benevolent Society: Frederick, aged 2 1/2, was admitted to the Benevolent Society on 17th
May 1880, by order of the Sec Governor, WP [Water Police] Office. The journal entry states:
father in custody, mother in service.  He was eventually discharged to his parents over four
years later on 2nd July 1884 [twin brother Edward was discharged from the Randwick Asylum
a week later]

Training Ship Vernon: On 27th June 1892, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that
Frederick aged 15 1/2 was charged by warrant with having been found wandering about the
streets in no lawful visible occupation and was ordered to be sent to the training ship Vernon.
Records from the Veron report the following:
Warrant: Being a child under the age of 16 years to wit of the age of 15 years and 6 months;
has been found habitually wandering about the street in no ostensible lawful occupation. Inmate
of the benevolent asylum for 3 years. Has had three brothers on the Vernon.
Nature and Evidence of foregoing: Mothers statement.
Education: Fair. Paddington public school
Religion: church of England
Character: Never before magistrates court before. Associates with known thieves.
Circumstances leading to the child being sent to Industrial school: Mother has no control
over him, sleeps out at night and wanders about the streets.
Parents full names occupations, number of children: Peter Hickson whereabouts unknown,
Matilda Ann Hickson, washing 8/6 per week, 5 children 4 boys 1 girl, girl now married, 3 boys
were on Vernon, girl in industrial school Parramatta.
Parents Character: Mother of good character. Father's character bad. Arrested by warrant and
evidence of mother.
Further Evidence: Is the companion of reputed thieves and sleeps out at night. Mother is willing
to pay 2/6 per week.
Health: Good
Appearance: Dirty, neglected - light hair and eyes -fairly developed for age - sore inflammed
Remarks: Comes from a bad family. 3 brothers have at various times been here. See previous
book for family history.
Boys Statement: I have had three brothers here and my sister has been in the girls school. My
father was locked up for hammering my mother and fore bing drunk. I used to sell whiteline [?]
and my mother beat me if I went home with not enough money.

An unconfirmed account in the SMH reports on 17th January 1900, Frederick Hickson and
Aubury Thornton were each charged with having wantonly thrown missiles to the common
danger of persons passing in Abercrombie Street, Redfern. A fine of 5 shillings and costs was
imposed in each case, in default 5 hours in cells.   

Wollongong Gaol 1902: Frederick Hickson 7th Class ex-Sobran boy, aged 24 is admitted to
Wollongong gaol on 19th April 1902 for indecent language and assault. He spends 12 days
there and undergoes medical observation. He is described as being a labourer, church of
England, 5 foot 41/2 inches tall, brown hair, grey eyes,with a tattoo of a female standing on a
globe on right forearm. He could read and write.
Shoalhaven Telegraph dated 23rd April 1902 reported:
Friday, 18th March. (Before the P.M.)
Frederick Hickson, for using indecent language, was 20s or ten days; and for unlawfully
assaulting his brother, Walter Hickson, he was fined 5s or two days. Defendant was ordered to
be sent to Wollongong goal for medical observation.

The Shoalhaven Telegraph dated 23rd April 1905 reported:
Friday, 18th March. (Before the P.M.)
Frederick Hickaon, for using indecent language, was 20s or ten days; and for unlawfully
assaulting his brother, Walter Hickson, he was fined 5s or two days. Defendant was ordered to
be sent to Wollongong goal for medical observation.

Marriage: Frederick Hickson bachelor aged 27 of Wilson Street, Wollongong, a coal trimmer
Mary Ann McNamara spinster aged 25 of Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, domestic
duties, on 11th November 1905 at St Michael's church of England, Sydney. Witnesses were
John Harrington and Edward Hickson.

Mary Ann McNamara was born in Adelaide South Australia in 1880 to parents Patrick
McNamara and Mary Quinn.
Patrick was a stone mason who was deceased by the time Mary


Matilda Mary Hickson
born 1906. Matilda was admitted to the Randwick Asylum for Destitute
Children on 7th August 1911 by her father Frederick of 38 Marlborough Street, Sydney.
Matilda is aged 4 3/4 and is Church of England. On 9th October 1915 she is discharged to the
Boarding Out Office. Matilda next appears in the Electoral Roll for 1930 residing at 17 Byron
Street, Randwick. Her occupation is Home Duties. She appears at this address until 1937. This
is the residence of Reginald Theodore Powell and his [second] wife Florence Edith nee Payne.  
By 1949 Matilda is also using the surname Powell although there is no record of her marriage.
She is recorded as being a 'finisher'. Matilda Mary Powell died on 29th April 1992 aged 85.

Walter Hickson born 1908.  Walter died on 9th July 1909 at State Infants Home, 11 Hargrave
Street, Paddington, aged 14 months. He is recorded as being late of Woollarha. Cause of death
was Oedema of Glottis which he had suffered from for two days and cardiac valvular disease and
numerous local oedemas which he had suffered from birth. He is buried in the Rookwood
cemetery, Anglican section AN, Section MM grave number 1438. Father Frederick Hickson a
labourer of Fanny Place off Marshall Street, Surrey Hills was the informant. Again, Frederick
appears to give a different residence to Mary.

Elizabeth May/May Elizabeth Hickson born about 18th June 1910. Baby May Elizabeth died
on 28th June 1910 at 1 Providence Lane Sydney aged 21 days. Cause of death was asphyxia by
being overlain by  mother, this being the finding following an autopsy at an Inquiry by Stephen
Murphy JP on 4th July 1910. May was buried on 2nd July 19010 at the Roman Catholic
cemetery Rookwood, section M2 P 103.  Father Frederick Hickson, wharf labourer of 14 Rose
Terrace Off Dowling Street, Stydney was the Informant. NOTE: Frederick gives a different
address to where baby May died. Were Frederick and Mary living apart?

Police Gazette dated 26th October 1910 reports: Missing since 20th Ultimo [September]
when she left Newington asylum in the company with her husband, Mary Hickson age 29
about 5 foot high, thin build, fair hair and complexion,
suffers from fits. Frederick Hickson is
described as about 37 years of age, medium height and build, fair moustache only. Had a tent
with them and stated their intention of going to the country. Inquiry at the instance of her
mother Mary McNamara 126 Oxford Street, Paddington.

Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children: Daughter Matilda Mary was admitted to the
Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children on 7th August 1911 by her father Frederick, address
38 Marlborough Street, Sydney. She remained there until her discharge to the Boarding Out
Office on 11th October 1915.

World War 1:  Frederick aged 40 of Darlinghurst  applied to join the AIF during WW1 but was
either rejected,discharged while still in training, or went on to serve within Australia only
[usually as depot troops or camp guards]. The most common reason for rejection is on medical
grounds. [research continues] 'Fred' was listed as next of kin on brother Edward's enlistment
papers. Fred's address at the time was 184 Campbell Street Surrey Hills.   

Police gazette dated 7th June 1916 reports: Missing since 22nd ultimo [May] from his home
at the rear of 100 Oxford Street, Woollarah, Frederick Hickson 39 years of age 5 foot 6 inches
high, medium build, fair complexion, brown hair and moustache, a defect in left eye; wearing a
dark shabby suit and a brown soft felt hat; a wharf labourer. Fears are entertained for his
safety as he left a note expressing his intention of committing suicide. Information to his
mother Matilda A Hickson 238 Oxford Street, Woollarha.  

Death:  Mary Ann Hickson aged 39 died on  5th April 1922 at the Mental Hospital Gladesville.
Cause of death was epilepsy. Her brother Patrick was one of the informants. She is buried in
the Roman Catholic section of the Rookwood cemetery SEC*M2*3**780. John McNamara
[perhaps her brother] is buried in the same grave. Beside her is the grave of her mother Mary.
The Sydney Morning Hereald dated 6th April 1922 carried the following:
Hickson April 5 1922 at Gladesville. Mary, beloved wife of Frederick Hickson aged 42. RIP

Second Marriage: Frederick, a widower aged 72 married Ada Fitzgerald on 22nd September
1949 at the District Registrar's Office Paddington, NSW.  Frederick was a coal trimmer of 22
Little Riley Street, Surry Hills. Ada was a spinster, aged 39 of 143 Resevoir Street, Surry Hills.
Witnesses were Winifred Binn and Norah Patten.

Known addresses:
1930: 61 Wells Street, Redfern labourer.
1933: Brown’s Hill, Nowra, labourer [possible]
1936: 3 James Place, Darlinghurst West. No occupation.
1937: 657 Burke Street, Surry Hills, no occupation.
1943: 17 Martin Street, Paddington, no occupation.
1949:  22 Little Riley Street, King [West Sydney], no occupation.
1954: 82a Harris Street, Fairfield, with Ada, no occupation.

Death: Frederick Hickson aged 79 died on 23rd February 1956 at 82A Harris Street, Fairfield.
His occupation is shown as seaman. The informant was W E Alchin of 55 Harris Street, no
relation. Cause of death was myocardial degeneration, arterio sclerosis and senility. He is
buried in the Church of England cemetery Liverpool on 24th February 1956.
Last Update 24th September 2013