Sunday, March 18, 2018

Some info on Roy Ewer

The most popular post my blog - based on both VIEWS and COMMENTS, was not written by me. It's a 'history' of the small coastal (Lower Hawkesbury) town of Patonga NSW - really a set of reminiscences and memories - by Roy Ewer, who spent time there as a boy on family holidays and has family connections to the town also. Roy was the son of Joseph Clyde Ewer (

Roy's post can be found here:

And it was also published afterwards by a local paper called the 'Peninsula News'.

Roy and I became connected because he found me via my blog and helped me in many ways in understanding my recent EWER family tree - he was my grandmother's cousin.

In 2005 when having leg troubles, Roy "decided to write a pre-war (World War 2) history of Patonga where we always spent our holidays and grew up with the few local children - my sister married one". I asked Roy if I could post this on my blog, for the benefit of others and as I say it has has been extremely popular.

Amazingly, the post actually led to the return of a small medallion belonging to Roy:

Roy has since passed away, and I realized that I have never commented on his passing, or adding any biographical information.

Roy was born at home on Priddy's Road, Bexley, NSW on 20th December 1925. His father was Joseph Clyde Ewer (31, born Wellington NSW) and Mabel Kate Lawrance (29, born Fulham, England).

He served in the militia during WW2, and lived in Papua New Guinea afterwards, then Queensland, as Roy described himself to me:

"My first appointment was to the War Damage Commission 1949 assessing the agricultural damage for compensation. Mostly it was coconuts and cocoa and my interests were stimulated by the latter and I joined a research programme to develop new cocoa strains as the original crops were diseased and inbred. This was funded by Cadbury's and Rowntrees from their West African headquarters (at that time).

In 1964, the granting of freedom to alcohol to the locals made this work in the South Pacific untenable, and I returned to Australia and joined an agricultural consultancy with two other plant breeders which was taken over by Yates Seeds.  One of these joined Carlton United Breweries as hop breeder and the other as principal of an Ag College in Victoria. 

I stayed and retired in 1982 after completing a sunflower programme for a suitable oil for the margarine industry. Veterans Affairs insisted I retire to have treatment for damage to my legs in world war 2. Since retiring, Yates have been taken over five times. I am afraid things have passed me by. I attended Uni of Central Queensland in 2003 to bone up on modern tissue culture work as this had changed the whole concept of importing quarantined genetic material and was in it's infancy when I retired."

In about 1979, Roy married  Mary Bridget nee HAY (Roy would have been about 50) and they did not have children, and lived in Bundaberg QLD.  Mary died in 2010 in Bundaberg, and Roy passed away in 2012:

For me, the highlight in meeting Roy was that my dad met his mother's cousin. They were somewhat estranged from the 30s onwards, and my father had never had any connection with Roy's family. Seeing a photo of them together after Roy and I made contact. Roy and I emailed each other fairly regularly until he passed away.

The above photo was provided by Roy's family - Roy is standing, presumably taken at Patonga.

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