Alfred Andrew Rouvray (1849 - 1906)

View Life History for Alfred Andrew Rouvray

Alfred Andrew Rouvray was born 23rd October 1849, Westminster, London. He is the son of James and Fanny who emigrated to Melbourne, Australia from London, England in 1854. Alfred was 5 years old at the time and the second youngest of the 8 children who survived the voyage.

Four of Alfred's siblings died in infancy including one during the journey to Australia. Most of the children were born in the vicinity of St Pancras and were registered there although, in various documents, brother James Alexander claimed Clerkenwell and sister Agnes claimed Regent's Park.

Alfred Andrew Rouvray, abt. 1872

Alfred Andrew Family, 1892

Alfred married Betsy Beall on 20 February 1874 in St Kilda, Melbourne. Betsy Beall (known when she moved to Echuca as Bessy), was born on 2nd March 1848. She was the daughter of William Marcus Beall and Mary Anne Carter. Alfred and Betsy resided at 44 Hanover Street, Windsor, Melbourne and had a total of 10 children between 1874 and 1891, 8 of whom survived into old age.

Alfred Marcus			b. 30th October 1874	d.  7th December 1965
Elsie Mabel Sophia		b. 26th June 1876		d. 9th February 1952
Daisy Stella			b. 30th May 1878		d. 25th January  1961
						married:	15 June 1918 to William Richardson
						children:	one daughter	
Ivy Grace				b. 8th November 1879	d. 12th September 1948
						children: Betsy b. 1920
Percy Beall			b. 8th January 1882		d. 18th September 1888
Norman Gray 			b. 20th October 1883	d. 3rd October 1965
Leslie Gordon			b  9th February 1885	d. 6th November 1968
Stanley Louis			b. 23rd February 1888	d. 30th November 1972
Austin Clarence		b. 21st Aug 1889		d. 31st Mar 1890
Pearl Gladys			b. 27th Dec 1891		d. 11th Sep 1972
						married:	1929 to Frank Rivers
						children:	Frank Rouvray Rivers

The births of Alfred's children were registered at a range of offices, suggesting that he moved frequently.

The Riverina Herald
4 June 1906

The Riverina Herald 1906

At a young age, about 1864, Alfred became a printer's compositor in Prahran, Melbourne and had an honourable career in that capacity. Around 1872, after hard study, he obtained a position in the Customs Office at the age of 22.

The Melbourne "Argus" of 18 September 1880 records that Mr A Rouvray was to be appointed the deputy superintendent of the Mercantile Marine office in Melbourne, having been the acting deputy superintendent. Then, eight years later, on 27 November 1888, it was reported that
“A resolution was carried to address a letter to Mr. A A Rouvray late deputy shipping master, expressing the regret of the members of the Seamen's Union at his removal from the mercantile marine office, with which he has been connected for the past 16 years, and congratulating him on his new appointment.”

It may have been at this time that he was transferred to Echuca although no date is recorded for that move. Also during that decade of his life, his health began to fail, although he was still in his forties, and it became impossible for him to continue with his church work.

The Geelong Advertiser on 30 December 1896 reports a very severe accident happened on Monday forenoon to Mr Alfred Andrew Rouvray, Collector of Customs at Geelong, and who resides in Aphrasia-street, Newtown.

He was taking his sister, Mrs Bundy, and her husband, Mr James Bundy, who reside at South Yarra, for a drive to Barwon Heads in his phaeton, and when about 10 miles from Geelong the pony attached to the vehicle suddenly increased its pace to a gallop. Mr Bundy proceeded to give Mr Rouvray assistance in checking the animal's speed, but in an instant the pony swerved to one side of the road and the phaeton capsized.

Mr Rouvray and Mr Bundy were violently thrown out of the conveyance. Mrs Bundy, who was also thrown out, was pinned to the ground by the side of the phaeton. It was quickly discovered by Mr Rouvray that his right leg had been broken and he was powerless to rise. Mr Bundy, with the assistance of a passing woodcarter, righted the overturned vehicle and released Mrs Bundy, who was lying unconscious on the roadway.

Mr Langhome, manager of the Bank of Victoria, who was driving to Barwon Heads shortly afterwards, rendered what assistance he could to the disabled party, and subsequently took a message to Cobb's stables at the Heads for a vehicle to be sent to the scene of the accident for the purpose of removing Mr Rouvray and his friends to Geelong for medical and surgical aid.

The vehicle sent was not, however, suitable for the comfortable removal of the injured, and a passing bicyclist proceeded to the residence of Mr Pittock, and acquainted him of the accident and the need of assistance. Mr Pittock at once got a conveyance and mattress, and had the party brought into Geelong.

Dr Small was at once summoned to attend to the injured travellers. It was found that Mr Rouvray had sustained a very bad break of the ankle of the right foot, the injury being known professionally as Pott's fracture. The fracture was temporarily attended to by Dr Small, and yesterday morning the patient was put under chloroform by Dr Small, and the injured foot dressed and bandaged, the fracture being a most painful one.

Mrs Bandy was found to be suffering from concussion of the brain, besides very severe bruises and contusions of the body, but the lady was on the fair road to recovery yesterday afternoon. Mr Bundy sustained slight concussion of the brain and a number of bruises abont the body. He was, however, sufficiently recovered yesterday to leave for Melbourne, he having to resume his office duties in the metropolis.

It is expected that the severe injury received by Mr Rouvray will incapacitate that gentleman from his duties at the Geelong Custom House for the next three months, and Dr Wollaston, Secretary of Customs, has been notified to that effect. Very great sympathy has been expressed in all quarters for Mr Rouvray in his most distressful accident.

The Echuca "Riverina Herald" of 4 June 1906 reported that Alfred Andrew became one of Echuca's most respected citizens and a popular public officer. He progressed to become the Chief Collector of Customs at Echuca, having that position for some years.

Alfred also held the position of Grand Master of the Independent Order of Oddfellows (I.O.O.F.) of the Grand Lodge of Victoria and was a life governor of the Melbourne and Homoepathic hospitals. Throughout his life he was very active in the church, perhaps Methodist, holding, at various times, the positions of Sunday school superintendent, choirmaster, Lay preacher and Deacon.

He was successful in these endeavours due largely to his unreproachable character and honesty towards all men. He was always happy when engaged in religious work, and missed this very much during his last ten years, when he became unable to actively follow the work he loved so dearly on account of failing health. He was the personification of patience. His Obituary reads "a patient sufferer gone to rest".

In 1904 he suffered a stroke, which left him partly paralysed. His health deteriorated rapidly from then on.

According to his son Alfred Marcus, Alfred Andrew managed to travel in 1905 with his son Leslie and Don's father  Stanley Louis to visit his father's uncle Louis one last time in England. He returned to Australia in July via New York on the passenger ship "Celtic".

In 1906 he had another stroke on Saturday 2nd June 1906. He died early the next morning at his residence called "Lauriston", interestingly like his father at the age of 56. He left a family of eight sons and daughters to mourn their loss. His obtiuary states: A patient sufferer gone home to rest.

His wife Betsy lived on another eighteen years, perhaps at the home of her son  Alfred Marcus, at 96 Asling St, Gardenvale. She passed away there on 19th December 1933.

1905 Arrival New York 1906 Alfred Death Certificate
Census 1851 1906 Death Certificate

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