b.17-2-1921 — d.12-9-2015
Monday October 12, 2015. Brick’s Funeral was held at St Joseph’s Catholic Church,
Edgecliff (near Waverley and Double Bay in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs).
Here is my Eulogy.
Brick Bradford/ Messenger was the Matriarch of our family.
My great-grandparents married in Gore Sr Fitzroy in Melbourne, a street I often drive down, on 30th November, in 1875. They were both 22 years of age. He was Charlie Messenger, the world class sportsman sculler, approaching the prime of his career. The Jordan Speith, Jarryd Hayne, or Nathan Fyfe of his day. Annie was his pregnant girlfriend.
In their innocence they would have had no idea that they were establishing a tribe, many of whom are gathered here today to close the page on another chapter of Messenger history. Charlie and Annie had eight children. The grandparents of many of us present. There were at least three famous sportsmen and one renowned sportswoman among the eight.
Most of those eight children had their own children. Ernest, one of those grandparents, had a son, Englebert, Boy, my father’s generation, my father’s first cousin. Boy had the good fortune to marry a marvellous woman, the beautiful young (have a look at her picture) Enid Bradford from Batlow, a country girl, whom most of us knew as Brick. She was nicknamed after a famous cartoon character of the time – Brick Bradford. Brick was fantasy character who could travel easily to exotic places and times, back to the dinosaurs or to the distant future.
I feel wonderfully privileged to be asked to represent the brothers and their partners and families in putting on record, in this ceremony, the love and admiration they had for their mother – and what a loving ever-attentive quietly achieving committed mother she was. I won’t go over her life story because you have it already in that excellent booklet you have – published by the brothers – an excellent keep-forever record.
It was Brick who, before Boy died, in the 1980s organised a series of family reunions which brought the generations together. In those days members of all generations were present. Uncle Charlie and Uncle Wally were still alive. Boy organised the boat trips on the harbour. It was quite gratifying – many of us came to know one another – our children understood more of their place in the universe – we absorbed a richer sense of own identity, we soaked in the larger circle of our own belonging, our interest in our historical inheritance was stimulated.
Brick, in her no fuss way, organised all these events. Apart from the fact that I liked her and she liked me – I came to regard her as the matriarch of our family, and that is how I will always think of her.
She took her leave of us slowly. For a long time in aged care she was never left lonely. Her sons and grandsons and the spouses and others visited her, and the rest of us via Paul’s ubiquitous mobile phone – she was in constant touch with her family. I think you can all take satisfaction from this.
Goodbye Brick Bradford – thank you for all you did for us.
(Dally Messenger III)
(Brick’s grave is in Waverley Cemetery. It is opposite 123 Boundary st – – in the same row as a prominent angel. She is in the same grave of Charles Amos Messenger.)
Here is her story from the Funeral Booklet issued by her sons.
After my birth we moved to Batlow N.S.W. where dad opened up a barber shop and snooker room, and would take the odd bet on the side. I grew up with a younger sister“Peggy”, and brother“William”. I went to the local Convent School, and worked at the local newsagent and Post Office on the switchboard.
When I came to Sydney I tried to get a job at the GPO, so as to use my skills that I learnt at home in the Post Office. Unfortunately there were not any positions available, so I went to work in the clothing department at Anthony Hordens. During the Second World War I gained a position with the GPO and was sent up to Katoomba to work. I was tasked with working on a switchboard connecting Australia, to overseas sites. After the War, I was moved back down to Sydney, and worked at the GPO in Martin Place, on the International Desk.
My cousin Myee “Toppy”, and her Husband Eric Hargraves, put me up at their place at Sunnyside St Gladesville. From there, ever Sunday I went to Villa Maria Hunters Hill. It became my favourite church.
Now, while I was working in Martin Place one of my co-workers said he knew someone who had a boat, and would a bunch of us like to go for a trip on Sydney Harbour. I agreed to go, and it just happened to be 1st April. When we got on the boat I sat in front of the man driving the boat. I later found out it was called a wheel house. While sitting there, the man driving the boat, reached over and scratched my head, I thought how cheeky he was. Later, I found out that when he got home, he told his parents, that he had just met the girl that he was going to marry. His name was Englebert Charles Messenger,“Boy”. He never did not really like the name Englebert. On the 23rd May 1953, at Villa Maria, Hunters Hill, we were married.
We then set up home at Messenger’s Marina Castra Place, Double Bay. I now had a new church to go to St. Joseph Edgecliff. After setting up home with Boy, we were presented with“The Books” to the family business. Boy and I continued with life at Double Bay until the Marina had to be sold in December of 1963.
On July 14th 1954, at St. Luke’s Hospital Darlinghurst, we had our first child, Paul Gerard, though there was some debate, over what his name would be, I wanted Ernest after“Boy’s father, Boy wanted Mervyn after my father, we both disagreed and settled on Paul. October 6th 1955, again at St. Luke’s, we had our second boy, Timothy Ian. February 23rd 1957, again at St. Luke’s, son number three, Christopher John. July 7th 1960, we like St. Luke’s, son number four, Peter Bernard. March 26th 1962, at St. Luke’s, we had our fifth and last son, Anthony Dominic. St. Luke’s had a lot of business from us, maybe I should have asked for a volume discount. We had many happy years, at Double Bay with the children.
After moving to Waverley we had to setup a new home with 5 young boys, and there was a new church to go to, Mary Immaculate Waverley. It did not take long for me to strike up new friendships with the local priests. Little did I know how long lasting one of them would be, over 51 years, Fr Pacificus OFM“Pax”. He has been a very dear friend and confidante for the rest of my life. Another new local and dear friend was Margaret Digby. We spent many an enjoyable afternoon sitting on the veranda, having lots of little drinks of whisky (Irish, I think), which she would bring with her.
The boys were all growing up, many girlfriends to keep an eye on. To fill some of the spare time in my life, I helped around at Mary Mac’s with flowers, and the“Brasswork”, these things brought back many memories of Batlow, when I was young. Now that the boys were grown up and leaving the nest, I started doing catechist work down at Waverley Public School, in the Kindergarten Classes. I am now a grandmother; Paul married Susan Rheinberger on the 5th May 1978, and gave me my first grandchild Adrian, born 11th January 1983. Then Lyndall, was born 16 August 1984. Along came James on the 13th August 1986. Timothy married Karen Boden on the 1st September 1979, and had Alexandra on 19th Nov 1985. Timothy married Karen Beggs on 7th September 2002, and had their first child Hayley on 11th August 2004, then cheeky little Kane came on the 9th May 2006. Christopher married Jaye Roberts on 22nd April 2001. Peter married Pamela“Pam”Fagence on 21st July 2005.
I have been able to spend many an enjoyable hour with all of my grandchildren, all of whom I love dearly. I lost“Boy”on 17th September 2003, and I have been missing him greatly, but now another new and exciting chapter in my existence has started, when I will meet with him again.
Brick is buried in the same grave as our great-grandfather and sculling champion, Charles Amos Messenger, at Waverley cemetery. The site is approximately opposite 123 Boundary St and there is an “angel grave” in the same cemetery pathway. Fr Pat, Brick’s friend of over 50 years, presided at the funeral service.