Jonathon Wyatt Prior 1897 - 1972

Jonathan Wyatt Prior 10.1.1897-10.8.1972.

JW (Don) Prior and Olive Masterman's Wedding PhotoJonathon was the youngest of William and Seenie's family and would have been just over 2 and a 1/2 years old when his mother died, and 6 and a 1/2 when his father remarried. Although he spent some time with his father and stepmother, it was his grandparents, Jonathan and Sarah, who were responsible for most of his upbringing. Perhaps it was the confusion generated by having two Jonathans in the house that led to the younger being known as "Don."

It appears that most of his schooling was at Hughes' Gap and Gladstone Primary Schools. According to Beulah Gravestock (nee Boulton) he rode a pony to Hughes' Gap and there was many a day that he played truant.

I have no doubt that he suffered a lot after his mother died and more so after his father remarried because it appears that his stepmother did not want any thing to do with him , and he in many ways felt that his father had deserted him.  


I don't doubt for one minute he felt that he owed a lot to his grandparents for bringing him up. He was 15 years old when his grandfather died. He was quite close to his Uncle Tom and Aunt Elizabeth. Whenever he was in Adelaide he always stayed with his aunty and always accompanied her to church of a Sunday morning.

To me he did not appear to keep in touch with his brother and sister although I believe that Mum used to occasionally keep in touch with his sister, mainly at Christmas time. Again, there appeared to be no contact with his father and he rarely referred to him, but in January 1936 he, with mum and some of the younger members of the family, made a trip to Melbourne to see his father, stepmother and family. Also later that year two of his half-sisters Mernita and Zootha came over for a holiday.

His father and stepmother came over in 1938 just before Uncle Tom died and stayed until Aunty Flood died in July.

From his youth Don worked with his Uncle Thomas and, on Thomas's death in 1938, he took over the property­Sections 58 and 1 28 were left to him and Sections 63, 131 and 352N to his brother William. He purchased these sections from his brother in the early 1940's.

Nanna and Grandpop Prior
Don carried on the traditions of farming set by his grandfather and uncle. He won many crop competitions during the 1930s and 40s. During World War II he initiated the growing of flax in the district for the production of linen and linseed oil. He also experimented with the growing of other crops (eg. blue boiler peas) for food production for the military. During this period he served on many committees concerned with wartime labour management and fuel supplies.

In 1945 Don was elected to the Gladstone District Council and in 1947 he was elected Chairman, a position he held until 1952. Don also was very active in agricultural politics. He was the South Australian Treasurer of the Australian Primary Producers' Union. and was one of only two life members of the organisation at the time of its amalgamation with another primary producers' union.

In February 1921 Don  married Olive Isabella Masterman of Little Spring Creek, south of Wilmington. Don and Olive moved to Adelaide in early 1953. He resided at Cumberland Park until his death an 10 August 1972. He is buried in the Laura cemetery.

Don was a keen sportsman, his early love of cricket no doubt encouraged by his Uncle Thomas. For many years he was captain of the local club. He was also patron of the local football club for a number of years. in his final years at Gladstone he became a keen lawn bowler, an interest he maintained upon his retirement to Adelaide. At Gladstone he served a term as club president and on one occasion was the club's singles champion. While living in Adelaide he served a period as the greenkeeper of the Clarence Gardens Club.

Don's wife, Olive, was the inaugural president of the Gladstone Primary School Welfare Club. She was very active in the Women's Agricultural Bureau before the war and the Country Women's Association following the war. Like her husband Olive was an enthusiastic lawn bowler at Gladstone.

Mel, Ken, Hilda, Brian, Nanna, Lynette, Des, BillOn her retirement to Adelaide Olive lived very much for her family and her door was always open to the family and their friends when they visited Adelaide. For grandchildren she was a dependable source of ginger-nut biscuits and cool drink.  A number of them boarded with her and Don while finishing school.

Olive died on 24 May 1986 and is buried in the Laura cemetery alongside her husband.

 The picture shows Mel, Ken, Hilda, Brian, Olive (Mum or Nana), Lynette, Des, Bill. 

© Mel Prior


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