28 May, 2022
Mortimer family takes trip down memory lane
Rugby league supporters are quick to associate the Mortimer name with Wagga Wagga, however their story actually starts in Gilgandra.
“Our family is very proud of the fact to,” said Ian
Earlier this month, members of the Mortimer family travelled from across Australia to Gilgandra, in celebra- tion of Kevin Mortimer’s 92nd birthday.
Ian’s great great grandparents Alfred and Catherine Louisa Mortimer came to Gilgandra in the 1880s. Their original property was ‘Lockwood’, now owned by the Howard family. The Mortimers had six children, one being Ian’s great grandfather Jack. Jack served in the first lighthouse during WWI, and upon his return was allocated a soldier settlers block in Balladoran, named Warriwilliah.
After the War, Jack was working with his brother Gilbert in the front paddock at ‘Homewood’, now owned by the Keough family, where he met Florence Gribble.
Florence was a young nurse from Victoria who moved up to work at the Idaleigh hospital, now Chinnock B and B. They married and had six boys who all lived and worked ‘Warriwillah’.
“My grandfather was the youngest, Ian Mortimer who was his closest sibling in age and the last surviving son is Kevin, who’s 92nd birthday it was,” said Ian.
“We had family in attendance from Newcastle, Bellingen, Armidale, Wagga and the Gold Coast.”
Kevin’s daughter, Eileen, organised the event in Gilgandra, including a trip to Uncle Ralph Naden at his cultural camp in Balladoran.
“It was a great opportunity to not only celebrate Kevin but also to share stories, swap photos and visit the places that are the foundation of our family.”
Currently residing in Armidale, Kevin had a won- derful time revisiting old places and reconnecting with friends and family in Gilgandra. Ian was blown away by his great uncle Kevin’s memory, and the stories he remembered from his time in Gilgandra.
“He would tell us about all the neighbours and the friends of theirs that were around, and the types of trac- tors they used to have. His memory spans between the time of farming with horses and getting a tractor, how they put a telephone line in themselves and it took them six months. So many great stories,” said Ian.
“But being able to stand on that property with him, with him being the last remaining child of that family, was just a really, really nice experience.”