In response to our article in the October Nurungi, we received the following note from one of our members.

I enjoyed your article on HMAS Sobraon, giving me more details of the ship and its final purpose.

My great uncle Reginald Wallgate (last of 8 children) ended up as a boy committed to that ship in 1904 for being uncontrollable at the age of 12.  I have this written on my ancestry files:

“Was sent to an all-boys public industrial school, the Sobraon (a 3-masted ship in Sydney Harbour 1867-1911).  This was the result of being arrested on 20 July 1904 for wandering the streets at all hours of the night.  His mother Rebecca had no control over him and he was keeping bad company and indulging in petty theft. His son, Reg William, recalls being told his father, when young, used to run errands for the razor gangs in Sydney, like getting them the daily paper.  Once he said that Reg was caught up in one of the fights and the gang stuck him in a chest because he was so little and told him not to come out of it until someone came and released him.  He spent the night in the chest without moving and sure enough one of the guys released him the next day when it was safe to come out”.

This article was printed in The Australian Star – Fri 22 July 1904 (Trove):’

The experience must have had some effect as he progressed in telegraph offices and died of an accident in 1914.

I also enjoyed your piece on the Flavelles.

In 2019 I assisted my wife clearing her 92-year-old father’s property at Rose, where he was, amongst other things, a watchmaker and jeweller.  He was from the old school and collected bits and pieces, including old silverware, which got me involved in tracing the Hallmarks on them.  One piece, a velvet photo frame with silver edgings, I traced to the Flavelles of Sydney which, of course, I recognised as the Flavelle family of Concord.   A small world!

John Younie

(Ed.  Thank you, John, for sharing your little bit of history.)


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