Edwin Blackmore – to South Africa

Edwin Ord Blackmore (1879 – 1956)

Edwin Ord Blackmore, the 4th son of Edwin Gordon and Eleanora Elizabeth Blackmore (nee Farr), was born at Semaphore, Adelaide on the 19th August 1879.

From June to November 1895, Edwin, as a 6 year old, joined his grandfather Archdeacon George Farr and grandmother Julia Warren Farr and Aunty Gertrude Margaret Farr on a visit to Norfolk Island where his Aunt Julia Coleridge Farr was a missionary nurse and teacher at St Barnabas Melanesian Mission.

Miss Julia Colridge Farr, Mrs Comins, Miss Gertrude Margaret Farr, Mrs Julia Warren Farr (nee Ord), Master Edwin Ord Blackmore, Archdeacon George Farr at Norfolk Island.

Edwin and his brothers, George and Jimmy were all promising St Peter’s College footballers who had brief senior careers. (Photo above is from St Peters Intercollegiate Team 1896.)

In 1897 Edwin played football for North Adelaide and was private assistant to his father at the Australasian Federal Convention.

He attended the School of Mines and Industries in NSW in 1902 and studied Assaying.

He was a keen horseman and on the 11th October 1902 Edwin trained and rode his own horse “Lightfoot” to a win in the Adelaide Hunt Club Cup with a time of 9 minutes and 5 seconds.

Edwin Blackmore on “Whitefoot” at the Adelaide Hunt Club 1902
Adelaide Hunt Club Cup on left. On the right is The Drag Cup ridden over 3 miles and won by a horse of E G Blackmore

In 1903. Edwin emigrated to South Africa, aboard the ship “Commonwealth”, on the advice of his older brother George, to work in the mining industry. His brother’s George and James also moved to South Africa. He became a surveyor/assayer for the Van Ryn Estate Gold Mines Ltd.

At the outset of the First World War, he made several attempts to join the fighting forces, but owing to an accident to his throat when playing football, he was declared medically unfit. Finally paying his own fare to Great Britain, he left on the ship “Llanstephan” in October 1916, hoping to take up arms in the struggle there but he was again declared medically unfit. He remained in England until the end of the war employed as operating staff, possibly as a Surveyor, in a large munitions factory near Carlisle. (The H M Factory at Gretna manufactured Cordite, also known as Devil’s Porridge, a mixture of gun cotton and nitroglycerin used as a shell propellant. See another blog post on this page titled “The Devil’s Porridge”)

Returning to South Africa in 1917, aboard the ship “Inanda”, he again became a surveyor/assayer with the Van Ryn Estate Gold Mines Ltd. He was very interested in cricket and horse racing as well as other sports.

Edwin married Ada Louisa Sylvia Wooding (born 1st Sept 1897, Cape Province, South Africa and 18 years younger than Edwin) on 13th February 1920 at Transvaal, South Africa. Ada had been orphaned at a very early age and was looked after by an elderly couple at the diamond diggings.

There were two daughters, Eleanora Louise (b 26/2/1921) and Joan Gordon (b 11/1/1923)

When his father, Edwin, died in 1909, Edwin and his brother Jimmy, were both working as assayers in the Transvaal, where their brother George, who had served in the Boer War, had settled as a farmer.

Edwin continued to work with the Van Ryn Estate Gold Mines for many years and after his retirement he acted as caretaker to the mine until his death on the 5th May 1956 in Transvaal, South Africa.

4 thoughts on “Edwin Blackmore – to South Africa

  1. I have been searching for answers concerning the blackmore on the African side. I am African American and my name is Blackmore and me and other relatives that are African American have been trying to figure out how did we as black people came about to have the last name Blackmore is there any information that you might can give me to better understand how my father my grandfather my great grandfather great great great grandfather ended up with the last name Blackmore. The only thing that comes to our mind is through slavery would you happen to have any information concerning.. thank you very much I would appreciate your reply

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    1. Hi Barry, Your family name, as you say, goes back a lot of generations, and further than we have any information, even on our ancestors. The only connection to slavery is the Gordons and Gairdners from Florida. A Jane Gairdner married a Blackmore from Bath in England. He eventually emigrated to New Zealand after his wife died and from there his sons came to Australia. If we come across any information will let you know. There would be many other branches of Blackmores we have no information on. Cheers Greg

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    2. Hi Barry, Your family name, as you say, goes back a lot of generations, and further than we have any information, even on our ancestors. The only connection to slavery is the Gordons and Gairdners from Florida. A Jane Gairdner married a Blackmore from Bath in England. He eventually emigrated to New Zealand after his wife died and from there his sons came to Australia. If we come across any information will let you know. There would be many other branches of Blackmores we have no information on. Cheers Greg

      On Wed, 21 Oct 2020 at 6:41 am, Struth it's Blackmores wrote:

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