Five Ways to Remember: Cousin Bill

Wep’s cousins; William (Bill) Edwin White at back and his brothers at front, Keith Edward (left) and Harry John (right) possibly at 290 Glenmore Rd, Paddington, c.1922

I had a cousin called Bill. He was three weeks younger than me and had two brothers even younger if that was possible in those immature years. He was the son of a long great uncle named Harry which I suppose is natural enough, him being my cousin, because Uncle Harry was my mother’s brother. Uncle Harry was very long perpendicularly and not very wide horizontally. His wife was a big girl – although at that time to me she seemed a woman of immense proportions.

Wep’s uncle Harry Edgar White and aunt Lillian Alma White (nee Thew), c.1935

Off hand I would say in recollection, she was 5’ 11 7/8“ tall and built like two Marilyn Monroes round. Bill, my junior, could give me, at any time, during our alleged childhood, a good 6 inches and a wheelbarrow or so of bicep. I cannot speak too freely about Bill because he is still alive like me, but bigger (which is a very modest under statement) and a policeman to boot.

Because he is policeman doesn’t make me immune to all the necessary laws of the land. I, being of a timid disposition, have not had much truck with the gendarmerie. A few peccadillos have earnt me a slight dossier [see Notes] and an honoured place in the finger-wiggle file – but nothing you could really boast about – or wear an old Paddingtonian tie for.

Four generations: Former Mayor of Paddington John White on right, son Harry Edgar on left, grandson William Edwin (Wep’s Cousin Bill) at back and great granddaughter Fay Estelle, c.1935

I’ve forgotten what I was really getting at about Bill. All I remember was that he was awful big and at the back of his place in Goodhope St. was the best mulberry tree in the whole of Paddo.

This tree supported without the help of any agricultural service or Forestry Departments more silk worms than any of old Joe Gardiner’s show boxes would hold. Cocoons by the million were boiled and chewed till even the most tenacious worms gave up. Not a square inch of kitchen was not found in silken thread. But the main thing was – that cousin Bill was big – now that I am older I might call him Gargantuan.

[W.E. Pidgeon c.1955]

Notes:
  • Cousin Bill initially qualified as a carpenter, joiner and labourer. He joined the NSW Police in March 1930 as a Probationary Constable. In July 1930 he was assigned to Metropolitan District No. 2. He was promoted to Police Ordinary Constable in March 1931 and was transferred to Mudgee from December 1931 till May 1936 when he was reassigned back to Sydney serving in various roles including general and traffic duties. By September 1939 he was a Police Constable 1st Class qualifying as a Motorcyclist in January 1943 where upon in August he completed his examination for Police Sergeant 3rd Class. He received a number of commendations and awards throughout his career, retiring in January 1969 as a Police Inspector 1st Class.

 

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