Farming

James Hicks was a farmer from 1842 in Russell Vale and North Bulli (later called Austinmer).

Eldest son Henry Thomas Hicks Snr was involved in farming in Austinmer,  Towradgi and Thirroul.

What happened to the family farms in Russell Vale, Austinmer and Thirroul ?

The Russell Vale property was sold to FP McCabe, in the 1850’s (?), ie well before the death of James Hicks. He also sold off some of the “family farm”- subdividing the land he bought in Austinmer from Westmacott into 40 acre Orchard lots.

Contrary to common belief, Henry Thomas Hicks Snr was not his father’s heir, instead father James Hicks left all to wife Margaret Hicks (nee Brayne-Brain-Daly).

Margaret in turn left all to youngest daughter, Minnie Margaret Blundell (nee Hicks), who had cared for her widowed mother from 1885 for 14 years before marrying in 1899, six years before Margaret’s death. Margaret is believed to have been living with son Henry Thomas Hicks, and his wife, Mary Ann Hicks, at the time of her death in 1905.

In 1922, Minnie then predeceased her husband Archibald Blundell, who inherited her property, and so on his death in 1934,  James Hicks’ property, and/or its proceeds, would have passed through to Minnie’s four step children – Oliver Blundell, Harry Blundell, Josephine Benson (nee Blundell – wife of David W Benson) and Winifred Cook (nee Blundell – wife of Basil Cook).

On his death in 1909, Henry Thomas Hicks Snr left equal shares to his 10 surviving children, specifying that his daughters’ inheritances were for them and not their husbands – further that his wife, Mary Ann Hicks, could occupy the family property until her death, and then it would be passed onto their 10 children – Mary Ann survived him by 21 years – passing away in 1930. By then most of Henry Thomas and Mary Ann Hicks’ children had left the area, son Alexander Henry Hicks had stayed and become a miner; widowed daughter Edith Florence Joy (nee Hicks) had returned and cared for her mother near her death.

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