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My Great Grandfather Ernest Welfare Waters

August 23, 2021

August is Family History Month in Australia and New Zealand, and to celebrate, Alex from Family Tree Frog has come up with a really great blogging challenge. The Challenge is to blog each week in August. This is my 7th post for National Family History Month.

Ernest Welfare Waters

Ernest WATERS was born in 1878, at Rochester, Victoria, Australia. His parents were Thomas WATERS and Elizabeth COX, who came to Australia from England, and married in South Australia. He was the second youngest of twelve children. Just two of his siblings died soon after birth, the others all living long lives.

I knew my great grandfather, as a child, as he lived until I was 17 years old. We called him Grandpa.  I remember as a child, thinking of him as hard and just a bit scary, but I’m not really sure why. I did think he was very, very old. He passed away when he was 93, so I suppose any child would have thought he was ancient. I remember being a little fearful of him, but not because of anything he ever did. Again, I think it was a small child’s fear of someone of such a great age.

Ernest married Bessie MACROW at Rochester, in 1899, when he was 21. Unfortunately Bessie became ill and died a little less that two years later, in January 1901. Her cause of death was tuberculosis, and on reading her obituary, it would seem that she had a very long period of illness prior to her death.

On 29 January 1902, Ernest married Hilda Mary Beatrice GILMOUR at Fitzroy. They were members of the Salvation Army when they met, and this continued for their entire lives. I can well remember my grandparents wearing their Salvation Army uniforms at all times. They were both very active members and very highly respected by all at their Salvation Army corps. As a young person, most times when I came into contact with a Salvation Army elder they would want to talk to me about my great grandparents.

Ernest and Hilda went on to have eight children. It definitely was not easy raising a large family in the early 20th century, particularly during WW1 and WW2 and the depression. Ernest had a number of occupations. It appears that when work may have become scarce, he could always turn his hand to something else that was needed in the community. He worked in carpentry for many years and then went on to be a butcher, owning his own butchery, for most of his working life. Some of his other jobs were – Coffin making, working in a co-op and in a pottery, as a labourer.

WW1 brought sorrow, as the sad news from the front, continued to arrived. Three nephews of Ernest passed away during World War 1 – David WATERS of Rochester in 1917, age 18, and his cousins, brothers, Albert William MANCER in 1917, age 25 and Ernest Charles MANCER in 1917, age 19.

Ernest’s wife, Hilda passed away at age 81, four years prior to his death. For many years before her death, she had needed constant care, due to health issues, caused by a severe stroke.

Ernest Welfare Waters passed away at age 93, on 28 July1971, at the Salvation Army’s Bethesda Aged Care Centre, at Blackburn South. He was buried with his wife at the Shepparton Cemetery.


from ‘War Cry’, February 22, 1902
SALVATION BRIDES AND BRIDEGROOMS: Brother Ernest Waters and Sister Beatrice Gilmour, Fitzroy 11. (Vic).
A wedding at Fitzroy 11, is a rarity, therefore a good deal of interest was manifested in the wedding which took place at the barracks on Thursday night. Brother Waters and Sister Gilmour were the parties most nearly concerned.
The esteem in which they are held by comrades and friends of both Fitzroy 1 and 11 corps was evidenced by the number present. Major Albiston, our genial D.O. securely tied the ‘knot’.
The platform was nicely decorated, and the ceremony took place under a draped canopy, the work of the comrades. The ‘I wills’, were said distinctly and determinedly, the ring was brought forth and adjusted, and the major GODS BLESSING on the union.
The speakers for the evening were Ensign Blake, Captain Anstice, Brother Williams (best man) and Sister Considine (bridesmaid) and the bride and bridegroom, who both assured us the step was taken only after much prayer and for God’s glory.
A company of junior girls sang very prettily a song appropriate to the occasion, and each presented the bride with a bouquet. The major did not forget the main object of all our gatherings, and earnestly exhorted the unsaved to come and seek God. No one responded, but we trust eternal good has been done to some soul. CAPTAIN ANSTICE

Golden Anniversary

Golden Anniversary
To celebrate 50 years of marriage Mr and Mrs E. W. Waters, of 199 Skene street, held their golden wedding at the Salvation Army Hall on Monday night.

The hall was decorated with gladioli and hydrangea and with a large gold 50 at the back of the stage.
Mrs A. MacDougall gave a pianoforte solo; Mr Stan Chenery a cornet solo, Mr Albert Kellock and Mr Aberle piano accordian solos, and Lieut and Mrs German, a duet.
Congratulations were offered by Cr. A. Rigg, the chairman, Lieut German, Sergeant-Major Albert Wright, Mrs Bautivitch, on behalf of the Home League; Mrs Aberle, on behalf of the young people.
Little Leola MacDougall presented her godmother with a bouquet of flowers.
Baskets were also presented to Mrs Waters by Irene Livens, on behalf pf the Young People’s Corps; by her grandson, Leonard Waters, on behalf the Bernard Waters family, and by little Joy Chenery, on behalf of the Chenery family. Shepparton Corps presented the couple with a leather-bound Bible. They were also the recipients of many other lovely gifts.
Messages of congratulation were received from the Premier (Mr McDonald), State Commissioner of the Salvation Army, Mr Evan Smith; Divisional Officer, Mr Roy Darlow; Divisional Officer when Mr and Mrs Waters were living in Echuca, Mr R. Henry; Major A. Ahkow, and Sergeant-Major and Mrs Wright.
A delicious supper was served. The two-tiered golden cake was given pride of place.
Mr and Mrs Waters were married in Fitzroy Salvation Army Hall on January 29, 1902. Major Aldcrstone was the celebrant. Mrs Waters was formerly Miss Hilda Gilmore.
Mr Waters was a native of Rochester. He and his wife came to Shepparton 25 years ago. He was a butcher in High street for many years.

The couple are proud of their 15 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. They have three sons and four daughters all except one of which attended their golden wedding.

Diamond Anniversary

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_5137.jpg
Note: The girl behind the couch on the left is me.

Surrounded by members of their family on their diamond wedding are Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Waters of St. Georges Road. Mr. Waters holds his most prized personal possession, a cornet given to him as a youth, which he still plays. With them are (front) Ross and Leanne with Mrs. Smith and Mrs. T. Jones with baby Kristen and Lynette Smith. (Back row) Merna McDougall, Cheryl Sly, Jennifer Jones, Leona McDougall, Mrs. T. Morrisa, Mrs. A. McDougall, Chris and Ian McDougall.

*note some of the names in the above article have been spelled incorrectly in the newspaper.

Ernest’s wife, Hilda passed away at age 81, four years prior to his death. For many years before her death, she had needed constant care, due to health issues, caused by a severe stroke.

Ernest Waters & Hilda Gilmour on their Wedding Day
Ernest Waters and wife, Hilda Mary Beatrice Gilmour
on the occasion of their engagement
Ernest Welfare Waters with his son Bernard in their Salvation Army uniforms
Ernest Waters with his son, Bernard.
Ernest Welfare Waters as an older man. This is how I remember him
Ernest Waters, still wearing his Salvation Army uniform.

War Cry, Salvation Army, February 22, 1902
Golden Anniversary (1952, January 11). Shepparton Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1953), p. 5. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from
Sixty Years Wed, Shepparton News, February 1962

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From → family history

  1. How fortunate you were to know your great-grandfather for so long, Even if you were a bit scared of him your love comes through in this post.

    I’m also wondering if you are one of the little girls in the Diamond Anniversary photo?

    • Yes I was in the newspaperJill. The girl behind the couch on the left is me. I didn’t think to say that but will now add it to the post.

  2. guylainespencer permalink

    Hilda looks like a fun person from that smile!

  3. Oh what a fantastic photo of Ernest and his wife Hilda. She looks pleased as punch and he looks very handsome. I am interested in the name Waters. My great-grandmother’s surname was Waters I think – or it was her adopted name. I need to research this more if I possibly can although female ancestors are notoriously difficult to research. I am just a wee bit fascinated though because I think my grandmother and her husband were married by a Salvation Army minister and I want to find out why. Perhaps my grandmother’s mother knew someone. Interesting interesting interesting…..

    • Hi Alex, there’s something weird happening with my blog that I will have to suss out. I’ve just found a heap of comments from the past few weeks in spam and yours was one of them. So this is why I’m so late in replying. I’m intrigued about you Waters person, especially with the Salvation Army connection. Let me know if you find anything. I agree, it’s very interesting.

  4. Fancy knowing your great-grandfather until you were in your teens. I can imagine as a young child you’d find such an elderly person rather intimidating. Also interesting to read the different phraseology in the Salvation Army wedding notice. How wonderful to have that great family photo! Such a treasure.

    • I didn’t realise it at the time but I was very lucky. How I wish I’d asked him all the questions about the family

    Thank you, Chris
    I envy you knowing your great grandfather.. we all have questions we never thought to ask, over at least one or two generations… we can’t change that. However, we can leave our research and the information we’ve found, to our children and grandchildren… even if it is’ just online’.

    • Thanks for including my blog Chris. Trying to get as many stories as I can on the blog, as I have nobody in the family to take it on. Getting it out there for anyone who’s interested

  6. A lady with a mission…
    I’m not sure any of mine will follow on either, hence my stories are on WP, urungamaiden and in a few of my other blogs.

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