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Any Australians on board Titanic

Discussion in 'Passenger Research' started by Tarn Stephanos, Sep 12, 2002.

  1. Anyone know if there were any Australian passengers or crew on Titanic; or any survivors who later settled in Australia?

    Tarn Stephanos
  2. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Passengers were-

    Arthur Gordon MacRae.
    Charles Dahl.

    Evelyn Marsden, Stewardess.
    Alfred Nichols, Boatswain.
    Donald Campbell, Purser's Clerk.
    L White, First Class Steward.

    Evelyn Marsden and Charles Dahl were the only Aussie survivors.

    Very little is known about these people, except for Evelyn Marsden and Arthur MacRae.

    Others would know more than I do about passengers who settled in Australia. The best-known is Edith Haisman but there may be more.

    Andrew Rogers has been working on the Aussies, but when last I heard from him he was making slow progress. I have personally researched Evelyn Marsden and have photos of her birthplace, school and so forth. Contact me if you like. I'm always stuck by the contrast between her early life in the countryside and her life on Olympic and Titanic.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2015
  3. I believe Eva Hart made her home in Australia for many years until returning to the UK. I remember her saying she had a career as a professional singer.


  4. Dave and Ian, thanks very much for the information!


    Tarn Stephanos
  5. Mike Herbold

    Mike Herbold Member

    Don't forget Sir James Bissett of Carpathia fame. He retired in Oz and lectured extensively about the Titanic. See the last few pages of his book "Commodore."
  6. We're forgetting fireman William Murdoch. He was an Aussie, survived and lived in Australia as well. Andrew and I met his granddaughters.

    Apparently Winnie Troutt came to Australia on a cruise in the 80's. Once again, Andrew Rogers would be the best person for this info, but he only logs onto ET once a month or so, probably less now as he's busy.


  7. Nigel Bryant

    Nigel Bryant Member

    Not to distract the topic of this thread but I was wondering also if there were any New Zealanders, I suspect not though.


  8. There's a marvellous photo of ex-Fireman William Murdoch clowning in an Oz suburban backyard in Stephen Cameron's Titanic: Belfast's Own, so I've often wondered if he had a good sense of humour. Thanks for that info on his grand daughters, Daniel. Was it interesting talking to them?

    I'm sure there's a couple of others that had Australian links or settled here but until I've sorted out what's what and who's who from my notes, I'll let those as have done the hard yards on them put up the names. And there's always Lightoller's Oz and NZ connections. happy.gif

    (As an aside - just in case anyone's got any suggestions (or has achieved it themselves), I've been unable to locate Boatswain Nichols' birth certificate or any other relevant record to date.)
  9. Fiona,

    Visiting them was a ball! We had an extremely great time chatting to them. Actually, it was just the one grand daughter. She made the nicest scones with jam and cream and I had quite a few over the several hours we spent talking to them! happy.gif

    Andrew originally found William's grave, and we went to visit it. We missed at first and spent longer looking for it than we had to, as it was literally a few meters from where he parked the car. Anyway, there was a dried up flower at the grave which could not have been there for decades, so we knew that someone had visited the grave in the few months before we did.

    Old records for the grave did not produce any addresses where relatives could be tracked down. Luckily Andrew was approached by someone during one of his speeches on Titanic, and that person happened to know the granddaughters. Thus contact was made and we visited one of them (I think the other one was on holiday at that time). We should probably try and pay them another visit in these coming up summer (for us here in Oz) holidays.

    Also, Fr. Browne had an Aussie tour.

  10. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    I've managed to sort out the place of birth of William Murdoch, which is not quite right on this site. He was born in Clifton, which is a small town about 21 miles south of Carlisle, in what was then Cumberland county. That's why his death certificate has Cumberland and the crew list has Clifton. I'm also convinced that his name was spelled Murdoch. I can't make Murdock out of his signature on the crew list.
  11. Chris Dohany

    Chris Dohany Member

    Though not an infallible source, the family name is spelled "Murdock" in the 1881 census (the census also lists William's birthplace as Great Clifton, Cumberland). It appears to me his signature in the sign on sheets reads "Murdoch" and this same spelling is used on his seaman's registration.
  12. Arne Mjåland

    Arne Mjåland Member

    In the Advertiser (The South Australian daily paper) there was an article 29/12/70 issue entitled "They sang as their ship sank".
    The article described the funeral of a Mr. John Beattie Butler who was described as the last Australian survivor.
    He was born in Rosewater 24/3/1887, died 25/12 1970 asd was cremated at Centennial Park 30/12/70. His occupation was listed as Boiler Attendant. There is supposed to be a grave in the cementery at Aldinga, a small coastal town in South Australia that had an inscription that mentioned the Titanic. However the grave in question was that of Mary Janet and Colin McRae. But the headstone also recorded the fates of their children, and third on the list was this inscription:

    Alan 1889 - 1912 (Missing SS Titanic)
    Neither of the above names appear on either the passenger or the crew lists.
    Source: Titanic in the classroom. Investigation 7 The Titanic Some Australian mysteries.
  13. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Arne, both those frauds are listed on this site with other unlisted passengers and crew. There's also a picture of the Aldinga grave. There was also another Adelaide fraud called Thomas Bell, who was supposedly a 'cabin boy'. I've never bothered to pass on his story to ET, because it's so pointless. We South Aussies can tell tall stories with the best of them!

    I wonder whether the article you mention was lifted from ET.
  14. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Chris, you are right about the birthplace of Murdoch and the crew list is wrong. Apparently Cliftons come in three sizes, Little, Ordinary and Great. The map I used did not show Great Clifton, which by now must be very close to being on the edge of Workington. That's why I assumed the Clifton south of Carlisle.

    I've noticed that the crew list is not always correct on the birthplace. Sometimes it gives a district rather than a town. It even has Aussie stewardess, Evelyn Marsden, born in England, but I've seen the local records and visited her real birthplace in the middle of nowhere.
  15. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Digging deeper, I found that Great Clifton is still a little village, as in Murdoch's time. Aerial photography shows that it's still a couple of miles from the edge of Workington.
  16. Im now in Melbourne...Lovely city!! Any Titanic memorials here for the Australians that sailed Titanic?

  17. You might have to go bush for that one. The only one I know of is in Broken Hill, about as far from the ocean as you can get.

    It was dedicated to the band members by the local musicians.
  18. Tarn,

    To the best of my knowledge there are no specific Titanic memorials in Melbourne, including in the CBD or Melbourne General Cemetery. However, if you're interested in that sort of thing, the Cemetery is a grand day out - just make sure you take a picnic lunch (and you can't miss the Elvis Grotto, literally and metaphorically...)

    There is a Titanic memorial you could visit and while it's not in Melbourne, it's considerably closer than Broken Hill. It's a memorial bandstand in Ballarat, in Sturt Street (the main drag), quite near the tourism information centre. It's rather a nice bandstand as bandstands go (particularly the roof), but unfortunately I've not scanned my photos so can't post a picture. I'm sure there's a few squillion pictures out on people's Titanic web sites though. Also, it's not a memorial for the handful of Australians aboard Titanic, but for the valiant but doomed band (as is the memorial in Broken Hill that Robert mentioned above). Anyway, if you're interested in popping up to Ballarat some time, there you go - not that there's any hurry as neither the bandstand or Ballarat are going anywhere soon.

    Glad you're liking Melbourne. I'm rather fond of it myself.
  19. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Both the Ballarat and Broken Hill monuments are on the net, but don't ask the URL. A Google image search should find them. There used to be a memorial plaque on the bandstand in Kadina, SA, but some careless coot lost it. The Ballarat one is rather cute, with a profile of Titanic on its windvane.

    Thanks to Andrew Rogers, there is now a monument on the grave of stewardess Evelyn Marsden in Waverley Cemetery, Sydney. In Adelaide, I know where her parents' very modest grave is. I have quite a bit of material on her, if you are interested.

    In SA we have a memorial to a phoney Titanic victim called Alan McRae. That remains a mystery. Its on this site.

    Andrew Rogers has been researching the Aussies for some years and may have material that he's never shown me. A possibility for some kind of monument might be Donald Campbell, who came from Geelong. With the exception of Arthur McCrae, Charles Dahl and Evelyn Marsden, the Aussies are pretty obscure people.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2015
  20. Hi All,

    As I read things, I come across more references to people coming out and settling in Australia. Recently I read about the Turkish Bath stewardess, (Caton -- I think) who came out to live in Australia in her later life. Or are we counting Aussies who had pre-Titanic Australia connection?

    I've not heard from Andrew in a while, but las I heard he was busy, and wasn't doing anything Titanic. I've not seen him in ages either, but hopefully would be able to meet up with him and Inger this Christmas.