Name: Catherine Eliza Blechynden
Date of Birth: 13 July 1914
Birth Location: Bridgetown, Western Australia
Maiden Name: Awcock
Also Known As: Kit or Kitty
Age at Burial: 84 years
Date of Death: 5 October 1998
Death Location: Busselton, Western Australia
Date of Burial: 12 October 1998
Denomination: Anglican – Section C
Row/Grave: Row 1 Grave #4
HIS BELOVED WIFE
PASSED AWAY 5 TH OCTOBER 1998
AGED 84 YEARS
TOGETHER AT REST
Father: Peter Herbert “Bertie” Awcock, born 1880. Died 22 September 1932, Perth, Western Australia. Buried Karrakatta Cemetery, Anglican Section “WA” grave 0497.
Married: 19 th April 1911, Roman Catholic Church, Bridgetown, Western Australia.
Mother: Cecilia May “Cill” Scott, born 7 February 1888, Norlup, Boyup Brook, Western Australia. Died 11 October 1973, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Buried Bridgetown Cemetery
Peter Awcock, born 1853, England. Died 17 June 1927, Fremantle, Western Australia. Buried Fremantle Cemetery, Anglican Section MON A3, Grave 0164
Married 1878, England
Eliza Goodman, born 1841, England. Died 9 April 1895, East Sussex, England. Burial Location, Steyning Sussex, England.
James William Scott, born 24 June 1855, Albany, Western Australia. Died 9 January 1910, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Buried Bridgetown Cemetery
Married 1887, St Brigid’s Church, Bridgetown, Western Australia
Catherine Agnes (Kate) McAlinden, born 1860, Perth, Western Australia. Died 5 August 1935, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Buried Bridgetown Cemetery
James Peter Awcock (Jim), born 23 January 1912, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Died 1993, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Married Agnes “Nan” Wheatley in 1942.
Scott Awcock, born 8 January 1917, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Died 24 th July 1920, aged 3 1/2 years, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Buried Bridgetown Cemetery
Terence Lansdowne Awcock (Terry), born 19 January 1918, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Died 12 September 1944, Roxheim, Germany, K.I.A. Service number: 406988, Warrant Officer with the Royal Australian Air force. Commemorated at Runnymede Memorial, Panel 259, United Kingdom
Spouse: Maurice “Pope” Green Blechynden
Married: 7th January 1947, Bridgetown, Western Australia. St Brigid’s Church
Terence Alfred Blechynden, born 1947 – married Kerry Morley, second marriage Maureen Reilly
Sally Maree Blechynden, born 1949 – married George Turner
Dixie Anne Blechynden, born 1951 – married Robert Butler
Occupation: Publican, drapery assistant, housewife, mother
Military Service: N/A
Catherine Eliza Awcock or “Kit” as she was known, was the second child born to parents Peter Herbert Awcock and Cecilia May Scott on Monday 13 th July 1914 at Bridgetown, Western Australia.
Her parents Peter and Cecilia had married three years earlier on the 19 th April 1911, and according to the newspaper article published by the Western Mail on the 20 th May it was the prettiest wedding ever seen in Bridgetown. Cecilia entered the Church on the arm of her mother Catherine or Kate as she was known, as her father James Scott had passed away the year before. The bridegroom Peter was supported by best man Mr C. R. Doust and after the wedding the bridal party and guests adjourned to Farmers Home Hotel banqueting hall.
Cecilia’s father James William Scott had died in January of the year 1910 after feeling unwell for a few weeks with a kidney complaint, he was described as “Publican Scott” the most popular man in the pretty rural retreat of Bridgetown. Born and bred in the district, he knew everyone, and the Farmer’s Arms Hotel was a popular place for the majority of residents and visitors. He always refrained from taking part in public affairs, though frequently asked to do so, but his hand was forever in his pocket, to do a kindly action. Many a good deep will be written in his favour by the recording angel and engraven in the memory of those he helped.
Peter Herbert “Bert” Awcock arrived from England some years earlier in 1896 on board the ship “Port Melbourne” which arrived at Albany. Peter arrived at Albany along with his sister Florence. Florence was 171/2 years of age and Peter was 16, they were listed as “Lady” and “Gentleman” on the ship manifest and arrived as cabin passengers. Peter resided in both Perth and the Goldfields before settling in Bridgetown. Peter set up a business on Steere Street with Mr A. Waddington called Waddington and Awcock.
Cecilia “Cill” as she was known, was born and grew up with her large family of seven siblings in the town of Bridgetown. Cill’s father James Scott was the local publican at “Farmers Home Hotel” this Hotel later changed its names in about 1939 to the “Scotts Hotel” and was located at 78 Hampton Street, Bridgetown, which he has leased since 1890.
It wasn’t long before Bert and Cill welcomed their first child James on the 23rd of January 1912.
The following year in November 1913, a newspaper advertisement states that Peter Herbert Awcock would from this date solely trade as shopkeeper under the name Waddington and Awcock, as the original partnership had now dissolved by mutual consent.
After now owning his own business as shopkeeper in the town of Bridgetown, It would have been a delight to then welcome the arrival of a second child and little girl Catherine who they nicknamed “kit” on the 13 July 1914.
In 1915, Cill’s mother Catherine Scott (Kate) purchased the “Farmers Home Hotel” when it came up for sale following the death of Mr Doust.
In 1917 Bert and Cill would once again welcome a second son called Scott on the 8th of January.
And lastly their last child and son Terence was born on the 19 January 1918.
Tragedy struck the family when Scott became unwell and died after a short illness of tonsillitis at only 31/2 years of age. He is buried in the Bridgetown cemetery. Young Kit would have been eight years of age and must have missed her younger sibling.
Bert and Cill left Bridgetown in June 1924 and moved to Perth, most likely due to Bert’s illness, they were not allowed to depart without the good wishes of their friends and community, as the below newspaper article suggests. Bert had been a vital part of the Bridgetown community during his time and can be found as the secretary to many local sporting groups and other town organisations. They went to live at 3 Bennett Street, East Fremantle, where Bert was employed as an accountant.
Kit remained in Bridgetown at the Bridgetown Convent where she received her education, along with her honours in Music. Kit also enjoyed her sport and was very good at hockey. There is a picture below of the Bridgetown Women’s Hockey team.
Kitty can be found in many articles were her musical talent is recorded along with playing at events in the town of Bridgetown. In 1932 an article appeared in the Nelson Advocate describing what a talented pupil she was. She finished her education at Mercy College, Victoria Square in Perth.
On the 22nd of September 1932, Peter Herbert Awcock died in Perth from tuberculosis, he was ill for some time prior to his death, and his wife Cill stayed with him in Perth during his illness, he died at the early age of 52 years. He was buried in the Anglican Section of the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth. Cill returned to Bridgetown after his death.
After finishing her education Kitty worked at a drapery store in Bridgetown and lived on Gifford Road with Cecilia and her brothers. (photo below of home). She also helped her grandmother’s estate manage The Scott’s Hotel. The Scott family had managed the Hotel since 1890 and would continue as its owners until 1950, it transferred to an estate after Catherine’s death in 1935 until 1937, when it was put up for sale and transferred ownership to F. Scott until it finally left the family in 1950.
Kitty’s grandmother Catherine Scott (Kate) had died in 1935, the hotel was managed by family after her death, she was described as always having a happy smile, and her main objective was the happiness of others. Her hotel was regarded as one of the homeliest hotels in the state. Kitty would have been 21 years old when her grandmother passed, surely a missed presence in her life.
Even though Kitty and her brothers were only children when WW1 began, her brothers were both of enlistment age as WW2 loomed as a threat for Australians. Many young men from the town of Bridgetown enlisted in WW2, and those who were left behind would spend the next years worrying about their loved ones at war and so far from home , to have to wait patiently for news.
Kitty’s youngest brother Terence enlisted in WW2. His rank was Warrant Officer – Navigator with the 44th Squadron, Bomber Command, RAAF, Service Number 406988. Sadly, on 12 September 1944 was killed in action when he crashed near Bodenheim-Roxheim 4 Miles south of Worms During a raid on Darmstadt. He is memorialised at Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. It was some time before family had confirmation of his death as his plane was not found.
Kitty’s eldest brother James (Jim) also enlisted in WW2. His position was a Flight Lieutenant, RAAF Officer, Service Number 415109. He was presumed missing in action, until it was confirmed he had become a prisoner of war. He was captured in France by the Germans on the 17th of August 1944 and released from Stalag Luft 1 by the Russians on 1st May 1945. His record of service can be found in the NAA link below.
The 7th of January 1947 was a happy day for Kitty as she married Maurice “Pope” Green Blechynden at St Brigid’s Church in Bridgetown. Jim Awcock, Kitty’s brother, escorted her down the aisle. After the ceremony the wedding party along with 60 guests were entertained with a sherry party at Scott’s Hotel. It is most likely this couple knew of each other most of their lives as their families had both lived in Bridgetown and had close connections.
The couple would go on to live for a few years at the Scott’s Hotel, and in March 1947 Catherine Eliza Blechynden formally Awcock made a formal application to transfer her rights and privileges of her Publican’s General Licence to her husband Maurice.
In 1947 Kitty and Pope also welcomed their first child, a son they named Terence, named after his uncle, the young family remained living together at the hotel as Pope ran the Hotel at the time. It wasn’t long before they welcomed a second child and first daughter Sally in 1949.
On the 23rd August 1950 an afternoon tea was held at the residence of Mrs J. J. McAlinden to farewell Mrs Blechynden. The afternoon was held because the Inn had sold to new owners and so Kitty and Pope were to leave Bridgetown and extended families to start a new chapter farming.
Kitty and Pope left Bridgetown in 1950 with their two children Terry and Sally and bought a farm in the Ferguson Valley. The farm was next to where St Aidan’s church stands today. Sally has memories of playing in the creek that ran through the farm and felt as a child that it was a large area, as we all do as children, but now as an adult realises it was a much smaller mixed farm, that her parents had at the time. This is when their last child and daughter Dixie was born in Bunbury on the 7th March 1951.
After a few years living on the farm at Ferguson Valley, Pope and Kit sold and moved to Perth for about 12 months, where Pope worked at a Club on St. George’s Terrace to gain some added experience in the trade. Whilst in Perth Pope and Kit looked for opportunities as to where they might go next, and it wasn’t long before an opportunity arose, and this young family was onto its next adventure.
In 1958 they took a hotel lease at Lancelin at a place called the Lancelin Inn. Today it is called the Lancelin Beach Hotel. The town of Lancelin had only been established in 1950, and the Inn built in 1954, so Lancelin was only a small mainly fishing town and holiday location at the time they went to live there. Sally described her time living here as wonderful, they played on the beach and in the dunes behind the Inn, they had a carefree lifestyle. Terry was sent to Aquinas College in Perth to attend school, as there was no school in Lancelin when they arrived. Kit home-schooled the younger children when they first arrived in town and eventually Sally and Dixie became the foundation students at the Lancelin Government School when it opened and had a fantastic Headmaster called Mr Martin Brandreth, who was straight out of teacher college. He also taught the students swimming, and they did all their swimming medals with him at the local beach. The family leased the Inn for three years and were sad to say goodbye to Lancelin. Pope and Kit’s children still have fond memories of their time there.
Sally’s Memories of Lancelin 1958-1961
We moved to Lancelin when Mum and Dad took a 3 year lease on the “Lancelin Inn”. In those days the electricity came from a big generator. Later on power was connected to the fishing village. The roads were only sand and there were no street lights. All of the food supplies came by road as did the beer! Mum taught us by correspondence (distance education) until the first primary school was opened. My brother went to boarding school in Perth. My sister and I loved our small school and the many interesting activities offered. We learnt so much about nature, exploring the desert behind the town and visiting the islands not far offshore, and of course we loved being able to swim in safe waters most of the year. The lifestyle was so free and safe. I have many happy memories to look back on.
After leasing the Lancelin Inn, the family moved to the suburb Como in Perth, while looking for a Hotel to buy. Soon an opportunity became available to lease and purchase the Capel Inn in the year 1962 from Mr. Percy Payne of Bunbury.
Sally’s memories of this time:
When we moved to the Capel Inn in September 1962, Mum set about re-organising the Hotel house and Staff. My sister and I were enrolled into St. Joseph’s Convent School in Bunbury. Then mum tackled the Hotel garden. She also had to help serve in the bar. Kit was feared by the bar drunks when she was brandishing a bucket of water late at night. She would hurl the water over them to make them go home. If Pope wasn’t quick enough he would cop some too! True Story! At Christmas Kit and the cook would bake cakes to give away to those same drunks.
Kit became very involved in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and she attended regularly, sometimes with my sister and I wearing hats, which was the way in those days. The Hotel life was very busy and Mum and Dad became well known throughout the South West.
Kit was a capable loving mother, children well dressed, cared for, education needs met, schooled in good manners.
Both Kit and Pope were well known as hard working and well respected in the Hotel Industry.
Kitty’s mother Cecilia or Cill died 11 October 1973 in Bridgetown.
Sally’s memories of my Grandmother – Cecilia May Awcock
My Grandma lived in Bridgetown. She was my only living grandparent and was a very large influence in my life. My sister and I spent many happy holidays at Grandma’s lovely home which had been built by her family. One of the best things we did was to play dress up with her collection of old dresses and hats. When it was very hot we went swimming in uncle Jim’s dam with our cousins. We walked everywhere because Grandma didn’t drive. She indulged our love of books and reading which I am so thankful for. I still have some of the books she gave me. There was no television then so the radio was important, especially Grandma’s favourite “Drama” “Blue Hills”. No talking while that was on! Grandma and mum were great cooks and I am so glad I have carried that tradition on. My Grandma was loved and respected by all who knew her. I thank her for showing me the importance of family, respect and courage. Always gracious and kind, a wonderful legacy to leave us.
Pope and Kit retired from running the Capel Inn to Bunbury 1980, and their son Terry took over.
Pope passed away aged 72 years in 1987 and is buried at the Capel Cemetery.
Kit died in 1998 at Busselton aged 84 and is buried with Pope at Capel Cemetery.
Information photos and story compiled by Sally Turner, the daughter of Catherine Blechynden.
Researcher PP (CDCP Team Member)
Links to other websites with additional information included in the story.
© Capel District Cemeteries Project 27/06/2023
Awcock Family – Peter, Terence, Catherine, Cecilia, James
Catherine Blechynden with son Terence (Terry)
Catherine and Maurice at Sally and George Turner’s Wedding