‘Father was a country gentleman.’

October 31, 2010 at 5:38 am (Commentary) (, , , , )

Mary Mason nee McCauliffe

Thomas Mason

Thomas Mason married Mary McCauliffe in Melbourne at St Francis Catholic Church; my great grandparents. Mary it seems was a young woman of some means as she arrived from Ireland on a ship with her cargo of household furniture. She is responsible for the Catholicism in our family, one family member said she has a lot to answer for because of this.

It’s a bit of a mystery how she managed to get Thomas to marry her in the Catholic Church as he was said to be a diehard Protestant.

Thomas aquired or had land in Christchurch, New Zealand when he married, and the family lived there for years until he sold up and left to follow a daughter who had eloped with someone and gone to Melbourne. Whether he planned to stay there or not is not known, but he and the family did in fact stay, a decision largely made after winning a considerable amount of money by backing Carbine in the Melbourne Cup.

I once asked my grandmother, Alice, what her father did, she replied, ‘he was a country gentleman.’ One other member of the family found a document describing Thomas’ occuption as a carrier. He said to our grandmother that this didn’t seem to square with him being a country gentleman, to which my grandmother replied: ‘but he only carried blood stock.’

Such was my grandmother’s Victorian genteel class demarcation values.

Thomas Mason’s death


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