Murray, Andrew (b 1853)

Andrew Murray was born in Galashiels, Scotland, in 1853, son of Andrew and Euphemia Murray. In 1878, when he was living in Ladhope, he married 23-year-old Isabella Paisley of Galashiels. Isabella’s father was a corn merchant and connected with the Paisley family who owned large woollen mills. In 1884 Andrew and Isabella together with their four-year-old daughter Isabella (known as Bella) migrated to New South Wales and in the following year their second daughter, Euphemia, was born.

In 1886 Andrew purchased nine acres of land in Murray Farm Road where he and his family lived and worked on their orchard. His neighbour was Charles Churchill Tucker and in 1888 Andrew Murray took a position as accountant in the firm Tucker & Co., Wine and Spirit merchants, in the City, later becoming Chief Accountant.[1]

The land purchased in Murray Farm Road was part of a subdivision of the large estate owned by an earlier Andrew Murray (1793-1858) who had come to Sydney from Scotland in 1817. The similarity of names and birth places of both men suggests a family relationship, but this cannot be verified.

In 1904 Andrew Murray purchased a house facing the main road on about half an acre of land in the north-western corner of Beecroft Parade and Hannah Street, and the family moved there to live. Possibly this move was made for Andrew’s daily travelling by train to the city office as Murray Farm Road was notorious for its rough state, and the creek running across it was difficult to negotiate. In 1913 the Murrays built a new home on their land, facing Hannah Street. Designed by William Nixon and his son Charles, the house was a striking white stuccoed cottage in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ style set back from the street in a terraced garden. This house and the previous one in Beecroft Road were named ‘Corrie’.[2]

Andrew Murray was an active member of the Beecroft Progress Association from its earliest days. He was also on the School of Arts committee, a Vice-President of the Literary and Dramatic Society and on the foundation committee of the Parents’ and Residents’ Association. He played the violin with the Beecroft Orchestral Society at a concert to raise funds for the School of Arts in 1906.[3]

In 1909 Isabella (Bella) Murray, aged 29 years, married Dewdney Ellis of Singleton at her parents’ home. The Presbyterian Minister, the Rev A.M. Ogilvie, officiated and Oswald Seale was the best man.[4] Dewdney Ellis had been involved in Beecroft affairs prior to his marriage, being the first treasurer of the School of Arts in 1904. The couple made their home at 51 Malton Road, this house being subsequently demolished.

In 1917 whilst holidaying at Collaroy with his wife and Bella, Andrew Murray had a heart attack and died whilst walking on the beach. He was 63 years old.[5]

Isabella Murray lived in ‘Corrie’, Hannah Street, for many years and was regarded with much respect by the local people who remembered her strong Scottish accent and charming manners. She died in 1938 at the age of 82 years and was buried with her husband in St Paul’s Cemetery, Carlingford.[6]

[1] Land Titles Office (Old System) 352/546.

[2] Land Titles Office 1318/120; Cumberland Argus, 30 August 1913. The house in Hannah Street is now No. 30.

[3] Cumberland Argus, 2 May 1896, 17 June 1899, 14 August 1909, 12 November 1904, 16 August 1914, 30 June 1906, 22 December 1906, 27 February 1909, 7 April 1906.

[4] Cumberland Argus, 1 May 1909.

[5] Cumberland Argus, 3 March 1917.

[6]. St Paul’s Cemetery records. Information from Andrew Ellis of Collaroy.