Fremantle Stuff > People > Albert Grigg

Albert Grigg

Albert GriggAlbert Grigg was a Municipal Councillor 1920-3 and 1927-9, and a member of the first Town Council, 1929. He was largely responsible for the creation of Fremantle's modern sewerage system and the development of Fremantle hospital.

Biography

Albert Grigg was a Fremantle Town and City Councillor between 1919 and 1935. He was an early Secretary of the Fremantle branch of the Ugly Men's Association, a member of the Fremantle Hospital Board and secretary of the Fremantle Bowling Club. He was a member of, then chairman of, the health committee for the Fremantle Council, initiating such schemes as the modernising of Fremantle's sewerage system in the 1930s and the improvement of workers housing in the city. He lobbied for affordable housing during the depths of the depression in the suburbs of Hilton and Beaconsfield. A street in Hilton is named in his honour. His ongoing interest in health matters eventually saw him appointed the secretary of a movement to construct a new infectious diseases hospital for the metropolitan area. He concluded this project to great acclaim by the time he retired from council life in 1935. 1
Albert Grigg was born in Hotham, a suburb in northern Melbourne on 30 April 1877. He was the sixth child of eleven children born to James Grigg and Elizabeth Jane nee Rooke. James Grigg was a hatter who owned a small factory in the centre of Melbourne. Early one morning during the great economic depression that engulfed the eastern states in the last decade of the ninteenth century, Albert (aged 13) and his younger brother Charles (aged 11) were sent to the factory on Little Bourke Street by their mother to find out why their father had not come home last night. There they discovered their father's blood-soaked body. Grigg had taken his own life sometime during the night. 2

Grigg family

Albert and Carrie Grigg and extended family

As a young man, Albert Grigg migrated to Western Australia about 1900. He found employment as a shipping clerk for the Fremantle import firm of Glassford, a company that was later absorbed by H. J. Wigmore & Co., later Wigmores Ltd. Grigg rose to be Shipping Manager for that company, a position he occupied until his death. He married Caroline Davies in the Wesleyan Church in Kalgoorlie on 1 March 1905. Caroline, or "Carrie," came from a very large mining family originating near Ballarat in Victoria. Her widowed sister's children would grow up in Albert and Carrie's home in Hampton Street (later Ord Street), Fremantle, as if they were Carrie and Albert's own. The Grigg household from the late 1920s till the 1940s became a centre of activity on the Fremantle social scene. Carrie's bridge evenings were regularly reported in the social pages. 3
Their first child, Jack, was born 9 April 1906. He became a bank clerk for the Commonwealth bank and later rose to the rank of branch manager. He married Joy, the youngest daughter of Arthur Turton, on 6 September 1932. It was a contentious union for Joy's family. She had been expected to remain a spinster, to stay home and look after her mother. Also her new father-in-law, as a Fremantle City councillor, had once advocated the abolition of the disparate regional councils to form a unified Greater Fremantle. Her father was a North Fremantle councillor and was soon to be elected Mayor of the North Fremantle. 4

Grigg then and now

The Daily News Wednesday 31 October 1934 p5

Albert Grigg had the reputation as a 'live-wire; and ideas man during his civic career. His intensity made him a favourite with the local press, especially the Sunday Times, when fiery exchanges with his fellow councillors made excellent newspaper copy. He was tall, blonde, thin, with piercing blue eyes. A newspaper feature on him in October 1934 published photographs depicting the extent to which he had aged while in office. He did not seek re-election to the Fremantle Council the following year for health reasons. 5
A second son and final child was born to the couple on the eve of the first world war. Colin Davies Grigg was the baby of the family, and growing up later in the 1930s had the benefit of a university education and opportunities denied to his older brother. Colin Grigg worked for the Perth Road Board as an engineer and on the outbreak of the second world war joined a militia unit, then transferred to the air force under the Empire Training Scheme. He was seconded to the RAF and was posted overseas to Egypt, Kenya and India. On the 23 May 1942 his aircraft disappeared in a storm somewhere on the India/Burma border. He was twenty seven — and the Grigg family's world collapsed. 6

Colin Grigg

Colin Grigg and Eric Pearse in Egypt: they died in the same plane

Two days after Colin Grigg was reported missing to his parents, Albert Grigg was involved in a traffic accident on the Fremantle Docks near D Shed on Victoria Quay. He had turned into the path of a naval truck. A legend arose that the truck was driven by an American serviceman driving on the the wrong side of the road. The subsequent inquest does not support this. Albert Grigg died in the Fremantle Hospital, which he had worked so hard to support, two days later, on 18 June 1942. Nearly three months later, Carrie Grigg also went into hospital in West Perth for an operation. She died there on 14 September 1942. A further month later came the official notification that Colin Grigg was dead. Jack Grigg was the sole surviving member of his family. 7

Jack Grigg

Jack Grigg, his wife Joy, and their youngest daughter

Footnotes

1. Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 15 July 1928 p3S
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Monday 22 August 1921 p6
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Thursday 21 November 1935 p16
Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 9 July 1933 p8S
Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 30 April 1933 p12s

2. The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) Saturday 2 August 1890 p10

3. The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) Wednesday 31 October 1934 p5
Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954) Thursday 6 March 1930 p4
Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 27 June 1909 p6s
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Saturday 11 July 1936 p11

4. The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Friday 9 September 1932 p10
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Tuesday 6 September 1927 p14

5. Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 16 June 1929 p3s
The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) Wednesday 8 November 1922 p7
Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) Sunday 4 October 1931 p12

6. The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) Tuesday 16 June 1942 p2

7. The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) Friday 19 June 1942 p6
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Friday 31 July 1942 p3
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Wednesday 16 September 1942 p1
The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) Tuesday 13 October 1942 p1

The above biography was researched and written by family member, Alan Thompson, to whom many thanks.

Links and Acknowledgements

FHC photo (CM Nixon, nd) #124 (top)

NLA scans (Trove) as noted above

Alan Thompson (personal communication)


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