Name: Thomas Leonard Griffiths
Date of Birth: 1881
Birth Location: Gwalla, Western Australia.
Also Known As: Leonard
Age at Burial: 81years
Date of Death: 2 January 1963
Death Location: Mr E. Nortons’ Farm, Capel, Western Australia
Date of Burial: 4 January 1963
Denomination: Anglican A
Row/Grave: Row 2 Grave #18
Grave Transcription: No Headstone – Grave Unmarked
CDCP Grave Marker: Grave Marker with Plaque, placed by CDCP volunteers, 5 April 2023 (image below).
Father: Thomas George Griffiths born 1852 in Bilston, Staffordshire, England. Died 28 November 1939 and buried at Karrakatta Cemetery Perth. Wesleyan Section FC Grave 0059
Mother: Elizabeth Tench born 1852 in Coalbrookdale, Madeley, Stropshire, England. Died 8 October 1942 and buried at the Karrakatta Cemetery Perth with her husband.
Charles Albert Griffiths born 1878 in Northhampton and died 1903, Northhampton.
George Herbert Griffiths born 1879 in Wheal Ellen near Northhampton and died 1962 in Perth.
Mabel Elizabeth Griffiths born 1883 in Northhampton and died 1951 in Geraldton.
Clement Alfred Griffiths born 1885 in Gwalla and died 1919 in Geraldton.
Edgar Arthur Griffiths born 1888 in Geraldton and died 1942 Perth.
Thomas Leonard Griffiths married in Geraldton during 1910 to Lavinia May Kelly the daughter of James Kelly and Christina Moore she was born in 1892 in Northhampton.
Thomas Albert Griffiths born 1911 in Geraldton. Died 1966 in Perth – Willagee
Harold Leslie Griffiths born 1912 in Geraldton. Died 1987 in Capel.
Elva May Griffiths born 1915 in Geraldton. Died 4 April 1983 in Perth
Muriel Jean Griffiths born 1917 in Geraldton. Died 22 June 1992
Clement Carmel Griffiths born 1919 in Geraldton. Died 1936 in Quairading, WA
Norman David Griffiths born 1920 in Geraldton. Died 1977 in Katanning.
Mabel Elizabeth Griffiths born 1922 in Geraldton. Died 11 September 2008
Mona Eugenie Griffiths born 1926 in Geraldton. Died 4 Jan 2012
Occupation: Labourer, Railways, Main Roads, Gardener
Military Service: Application only to join.
Thomas Leonard Griffiths was the third child to parents Thomas George Griffiths and Elizabeth Trench. His father, Thomas George Griffiths born 1852 in Bilston, Staffordshire, England, married Elizabeth Tench on 1 May 1876, in the same town. She was born in 1852 in Coalbrookdale, Madeley, Stropshire, England.
Thomas and Elizabeth emigrated to Australia from Gravesend on 12 December 1876 aboard the Lady Louisa and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 13 May 1877. They subsequently had six children born in Western Australia, all in the Midwest around the towns of Northampton/Geraldton.
Thomas George Griffiths died 28 November 1939 and is buried at the Wesleyan section at Karrakatta cemetery in Perth. His notice in the paper indicates that he lived in Northhampton, at Myrtle Cottage for many years and was employed by the railways.
Elizabeth Tench (Griffiths) died 8 October 1942 and is buried in the Wesleyan section grave 0059 with her husband at the Karrakatta Cemetery.
Thomas Leonard Griffiths started work on 5 November 1896 at age 14, with the West Australian Government Railways as a clerk. Most likely his father helped him obtain the position, as he also worked with the WAGR as a train examiner. At this time, Thomas is living with his family on Sandune Road in Geraldton and was employed with the WAGR until 31 May 1907, when he resigned.
Thomas Leonard Griffiths married Lavinia May Kelly the daughter of James Kelly and Christina Moore in 1910, in Geraldton. Thomas was 28 years of age and Lavinia was 18. They had eight children together between 1911 and 1926. They lived on Fitzgerald Street in Geraldton during their marriage.
Thomas’s name appears in the Police Court in 1913 for obscene language and alcohol.
It can be assumed due to many newspaper articles that Thomas and Lavinia had a difficult marriage. They lived on Fitzgerald Street, Geraldton and the marriage may have come to an end in 1930 when Lavinia made application in the police court for a separation and maintenance from her husband. From this time, in early 1930 the family seems to be living apart. The family appears once again in the Geraldton Court at the end of October 1930, where the judge, listening to the case declared that in future the police where to bring “the lot of them” before the court. This included their son Harold, who had also become involved in disturbances on Fitzgerald Street. There where many witnesses to the disturbances.
After 1930 Lavinia can be found on the census living in Fremantle, first at 24 Short Street in 1931, then at 7 Burt Street in 1936 and lastly at 10 Collie Street. She lived there until her death in 1950, she was 59 years old.
Thomas Leonard Griffiths continued to find trouble with the law and was before the courts again in January 1931 for being drunk on Fitzgerald Street, Geraldton. Then again in June 1931 for fighting in the front bar of the Club Hotel. Thomas was found guilty of instigating the disturbance. Once again, both Thomas and son were in trouble with police in March 1932 for disorderly conduct and obscene language. In August of 1932 Thomas found himself in the courtroom on a stealing charge, again he had been drinking and was fined. The judge this time declared “the sooner you give up the drink the better”. Perhaps Thomas took his advice as no further court cases can be found.
In 1936 Thomas and Lavinia lost their son Clem in an accident at Quairading, Western Australia, he was on 17 years old at the time.
There remaining children went on to marry and in 1937 two sisters married. Elva married John Aloysius Burke in Fremantle, where they continued to live and Muriel (Jean) married Kenneth Elliott Williamson.
In 1939 Harold (Les) married Linda Jesse Williams, a lass from Capel. They married in Fremantle.
In 1947 Mona married Robert Antoney Scarfe in Fremantle, they had two children before his early death at age 30. Mona married once again in 1956 to Robert John Rummer
In 1948 Norman weds to Beulah Louise Ellen Garstone in Katanning, where they remained living. And lastly Thomas marries in 1955 to Alice Veronica Rice and they live in Fremantle.
In 1943 Thomas Leonard Griffiths can be found on the census living in Three Springs as a labourer. Then in 1949 he is in Northhampton working for the Main Roads Department as a ganger. It is believed he later moved to Capel and worked as a gardener. Perhaps the move was to be closer to his son Harold who lived there with his wife Linda and child. It does not appear that he and his wife lived together after 1930, though he is mentioned in her obituary.
Thomas Leonard Griffiths died 2 January 1963 and is buried at the Capel Cemetery.
Information and Story Compiled by Researcher PP (CDCP Team Member)
Links to other websites and family members with additional information included in story.
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© Capel District Cemeteries Project 05/07/2021