When Dorothy May Clingan was born on 24th May 1902, in Narrabri, New South Wales, her father, James, was 32 and her mother, Amelia, was 25. She married Frederick George Morris on 2nd April 1921, in Sydney, New South Wales. She had four children by the time she was 26. She died on 1st May 1967, in Ryde, New South Wales, at the age of 64, and was buried in New South Wales.
Photographic collage from the 1940s and 1950s showing Dorothy with some of her grandchildren
Clingan family in Narrabri
Ancestors of the Clingan family came to Australia from Scotland during the latter half of the 19th century. Some of the surnames included in the family were Clingin, Dick, Biggs and Campbell.
James William Clingan, Dorothy’s father, worked as a woolscourer in the Nyngan, Narrabri and Walgett regions of New South Wales.
His daughter Dorothy May Clingan was born on 24th May 1902 at Dangar Village, Narrabri, New South Wales. She was the fifth child of the marriage between James William Clingan and Amelia Biggs. Dorothy had five brothers and two sisters. Her siblings in birth order were: James William; Ernest Edward; Myrtle Lily; George Albert; Amelia Adelaide; David Ronald; and, Victor John.
Dorothy May Clingan’s ancestral fan chart
The move to Sydney
By 1907 the Clingan family had moved to the inner-city suburbs of Sydney where James continued to work as a labourer woolscourer. During the First World War (1914-1918) two brothers, James William and Ernest Edward, joined the Australian Infantry Force and served overseas in France. Little is known about Dorothy and the rest of the family until the end of the 1914-1918 world war.
Marriage, babies and desperation
In 1920, at the age of 18, Dorothy met Frederick George Morris a motor driver. It was just a few months later that she found herself pregnant. Dorothy who lived in Bayswater Road and Frederick in Riley Street, were married at St. James Church, Sydney, New South Wales on the 2nd April 1921 and their son Alfred George Morris was born five months later, in September 1921.
St. James Church, Sydney, New South Wales
Eighteen months later on 16th February 1923, Dorothy and Frederick had a second child, a daughter named Elsie Amelia. On 15th July 1923 Elsie was baptised as Dorothy Amelia. On 21st July 1924 another son, Frederick James was born. Dorothy, now aged 22, found herself looking after a new baby as well as two other children under the age of three.
Life with three young children aged three or less and a husband that was often absent, proved difficult and family relationships and emotions were becoming tense. Things became so desperate that in November 1925 Dorothy advised the Sydney Children’s Court that she and her children had been deserted by her husband. A warrant for wife desertion was issued by the Children’s Court that led to the arrest of Frederick in December 1925. The Court ordered him to pay £2 10s. per week for the support of his wife and children, and £2 10s. costs.
Four years, exactly to the day after Dorothy’s previous birth, Stella Constance, their fourth and last child was born on 21st July 1928.
Descendant chart for Dorothy Clingan and Frederick Morris showing their four children in birth order
Friends, separation, love & death
In the early 1930’s Frederick moved his wife Dorothy and their children to Illawarra Road, Marrickville. Their neighbours at Illawarra Road, Charles and Amelia Peachey, offered much needed friendship, stability and support to Dorothy and her four children. This support, especially by Charles, was to continue for 25 years.
From the mid 1930’s Dorothy and Frederick lived apart. Dorothy reverted to her maiden name of Clingan.
Photo of Dorothy May Clingan (Morris) with Charles Peachey at Circular Quay
Following the separation, Frederick moved around and often went home to his parents’. Previously he had lived with his father and mother (late 1920’s). In the mid 1930’s he moved in with his widowed mother, then in the 1940’s they both moved to his uncle’s property at St. Peters. At the same time, Dorothy enjoyed stability in her life through her friendships and the support of her children. From the late 1950’s she assisted Ron, her grandson and they lived together until her death in May 1967.
Dorothy died from Cerebral Thrombosis, Cerebral Arteriosclerosis and, Hypertension. She was buried on 3rd May 1967 at the Church of England Cemetery, Rookwood.