Now to my paternal grandparents.

Percy Leonard Edward Kercher was the eldest of four boys and two girls, born on 3 June 1895 in George Street,  Goulburn, NSW, to Edward and Lavinia.  His siblings were Stanley, Myree, Lewis, Leila, and A(l)lan.

Goulburn is an inland town, proclaimed Australia’s first inland city in 1863.  It was named after Under-secretary for War and the Colonies, Henry Goulburn and originally surveyed in the 1820s.


I don’t know a great deal about Percy, as he died when I was two years old.  The Kercher family lived in several streets at various times: George St, Ruby St, Park St, Citizen St and Bradley St.  The brothers built several houses, perhaps in Park Street.


I’m not sure which exact address in George Street that Percy was born.  My father took a photo in the 70s of their “first house” in George Street.  In his (now discoloured) photo below he notes that it’s second from right.


Here’s the modern Google street view of the same as far as I can make out.


That would make it this house below on the left (also from Google).


Percy was a carpenter by trade and in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post I found this.


Newspapers always make mistakes.  It should read Percy L. E. Kercher.

The following year, Percy enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force in the Field Companies Engineers on 19 June.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post

His brother, Stanley, also signed up (in October 1916).  The unit departed from Sydney on 31 October aboard the Euripedes.  His parents were living in Ruby Street at the time.  At the time of enlisting he was working as a carpenter at the New South Wales Railways.  He was a short man, just 5’4 1/2, with blue eyes and brown hair.  I was only recently shown a copy of the photo below by a cousin.


I find a lot of the writing in his military record hard to read or decipher.  He seems to have been ill from December 1917 to June 1918, in London, Dartford, Colchester and Brightlingsea, with rheumatism, laryngitis, and influenza. Stanley, it seems, was also ill.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post

(Stanley was discharged in March 1919 as medically unfit.)  Percy was on leave in Glasgow in February 1918 and this was when he met Jean Sutherland (his future wife).  He went to France in January 1919 then transferred to the 5th AI battalion from the 2nd Field Company Engineers in March.  In September 1919 he returned to Australia aboard the Persic.

A welcome was given in Goulburn for returned soldiers.

Welcome1 Welcome2


Goulburn Evening Penny Post

It was only after he returned, that Percy proposed to Jean Sutherland (still in Glasgow).  According to the National Archives of Australia, Percy (as a returned soldier) applied for a passage for his fiancée.  At present I don’t have details of her passage but my aunt tells me it was in April 1920.

They married in Goulburn on 15 June 1920, and honeymooned in Katoomba.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post

At first they lived with Percy’s parents in Ruby Street before renting in George Street.

In the early 1920s my aunt was born, followed by my father then younger brother.

Percy played in the A.L.H. brass band, as mentioned in the newspaper clipping above, and my brother, I think, still has his cornet.  (There was also a clarinet which got lost on its way to a cousin.)  The band used to play at the band rotunda in Goulburn.


In the 1930s the family lived in Ruby Street and Percy worked with his father as a carpenter.  His father died in 1936.  In about 1940 Percy got promotion to Petersham works in Sydney and it may be at this time that they moved to 1 Napier Street in Westmead.  Certainly they were there by the 1949 electoral roll.  It looks exactly the same as I remember it (Google street view below).  It was here that we used to visit my grandmother who lived there for many years after my grandfather died.

1 Napier St

And here he is at the doorway with two of his nine grandchildren.


My cousins remember him as a kind, sweet man.

He died on 22 September 1963, at age 68.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a death certificate but his plaque is at the Northern Suburbs memorial gardens.



Sources: Trove digitised newspapers, Wikipedia, Google, family archives, Joyce Stuart,