William Henry Prior 1864 -1949

William Henry Prior. 9.7.1864 - 7.5.1949

Mary "Seenie" PriorWilliam was the youngest surviving child of Jonathan and Sarah. We know little of his early life except that his parents were in a position to send him to England for four years of schooling. . I believe he was sent to England to train for The Methodist Ministry. Although this plan did not eventuate, when he returned from England a young Methodist Minister Tom Flood came to Australia with him and later married his sister Elizabeth.

William was married to Mary Asenath Medlin Jones at the Prior homestead on 25 July 1889. Her photo is on this page.

He went into farming on his own account on Sections 67 and 133 of the Hundred of Booyoolie, but in 1898 greener pastures beckoned. William and "Seenie", with their three children William, Hilda and Jonathan (a daughter Hazel had died earlier at the age of eight months), shifted to Fish Creek in Victoria. While here Seenie was stricken with tuberculosis. She died in the Prince Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, on 16 September 1899. Seenie's remains were brought back to South Australia and interred alongside those of her daughter Hazel. The two children pictured on this page are her son William and daugther Hilda.William and Hilda, Seenie's children

William remarried on 9 September 1903 at the Punt Road Methodist Church, South Yarra, Melbourne. His bride was Bernice Ripper.

William rarely settled for long. Following his second marriage he moved to a farm at Oakleigh. Here the couple's first daughter, Mercia, was born. The house in which they lived is now the clubhouse of the Oakleigh Golf Club.

Then came a move to a dairy farm at Ashburton. In 1907 this was the birthplace of their second daughter, Mernita. Shortly afterwards came a move to a farm at Dandenong and then to another dairy farm, this time at Yering. The family then shifted to "Violet Grove," Hawthorn, where the third daughter, Zootha, was born. Six weeks after Zootha's birth William took his family to Lancefield. A brief stop here, and then a move to Caulfield. A short stop at a property at Numurka was followed by a longer period on a sheep farm at Monea. In 1920 the family left Monea and moved to East
Street, St. Kilda and Elsternwick.

From 1922 until the late 1930s William worked alone in Drouin where he had bought two farms.

In 1938 he spent six months in South Australia; this was at the time of the deaths of his brother Thomas and sister Elizabeth. He returned to Melbourne.

In 1940 William moved to a dairy and sheep farm south of Traralgon. He stayed here for four years with his daughter Mercia, son-in-law Jim, and their two sons.

When his daughter Mernita was married in 1942 the reception was held in a house at Caulfield purchased especially for the occasion. it was sold again within a fortnight of the wedding. (On one occasion Mum told me that he went through two fortunes during his lifetime. How he came by these is unknown. I suspect it was through land dealing as he owned many properties in Victoria .)

The two older girls had a very disjointed education through having to change schools during the year. About 1922 Bernice settled into a house in Melbourne so that the girls would have a more settled life. So from the early 1920s Bernice spent most of her time In Melbourne, but in the mid 1940s she moved to Carrum Downs with William. She died there in September 1948. William died In May 1949.

© Mel Prior

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