Tompsett Percy

Research by Gordon Freegard

Percy Tompsett, born on the 8th January 1879 in Wadhurst, Sussex. He worked as a farmer on the family property “Wendans” in Wadhurst, Sussex, with his brother Newton. It is believed the property was later used by the ill-fated future monarch Edward VIII for romantic liaisons with married American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

The estate was owned by the Tompsetts until 1923. But when the Marquess of Cholmondeley took possession of it, he gave access to his friend Edward, the playboy Prince of Wales, who entertained a string of older, married women. London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper revealed in 2001 that the prince had dug and planted a secret heart-shaped garden, possibly for Wallis Simpson.

A local told the paper that few knew of Edward’s trysts until one foggy night when he drove into a ditch and was helped out. Edward’s connection with Wenbans ended when he married for love and lost his throne.

"SS DEMOSTHENES" PASSENGER LIST #4

With World War I approaching, Percy disliked the uncertain political climate in Europe and sold his share in the dairy farm to his brother Newton. In early 1914, sensing that all was still not well in Europe, Percy decided to emigrate from England.

Although Australia was to be the Family’s destination, Percy’s wife Annie (nee Paul) – up until embarkation – believed that the family were migrating to Canada! However, the family, including eight children. They Were:

Mary Elizabeth (May) born 13th June 1902

Kathleen Emma (Kate) born 13th August 1903

Charles Owen (Charlie) born 31st March 1905

Harold Percy born 22nd July 1907

William Dennis (Bill) born ? ? 1909

Richard Newton (Dick) born 1st November 1910

Lewis Frank (Frank) born 3rd January 1912

John Henry (Jack) born 30th July 1913

They arrived in Fremantle aboard the SS Demosthenes on 12th February 1914.

He rented a small house in Fremantle for the family but, having only 50 pounds ($100) remaining after having paid for passage from England, securing employment was a priority. He noticed a job advertised in Albany, and not having any idea of the distance involved (Albany is about 400km (250 Miles) from Fremantle ), purchased a train ticket and set off to apply. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived, the position was no longer available. Having no money, Percy was forced to return to Fremantle on foot. Walking and obtaining some assistance from other travelers, the journey took him a week.

He finally secured employment as a engine driver for the motor that powered the cool room at Illawarra Orchard at Karragullen, about 20km (12 miles) from Perth. He was given the job on the basis that he had enough children to keep the local school open! An additional two children were born while the family were at Karragullen. They were:

Edith Ellen (Ede) born 3rd March 1915

Gordon Thomas born 1918

KARRAGULLEN SCHOOL 1914 Teacher: Miss MAGGIE FERGUSON Back Row (L-R): HARRY HUNTER, PERCY FELTS, HECTOR PRICE, HARRIET HUNTER, TOMPSETT BABY, KATE TOMPSETT, MAY TOMPSETT Middle Row (L-R): CHARLIE TOMPSETT, FLOSSIE FELTS, ? , ? , DICK TOMPSETT Front Row (L-R): ? HANBURY, WILFRED PRICE , ALLICE PRICE? , PERCY TOMPSETT, BILL TOMPSETT #5
THE PERCY TOMPSETT FAMILY AT KARRAGULLEN (c1918) #6 Standing: BILL, HAROLD, CHARLIE, DICK Seated: KATE, ANNIE, EDE, PERCY, MAY Front: FRANK, JACK

When the job in the orchard came to a end, Percy found a position as a teamster at a vineyard at Armadale, about 32km (20 miles) south of Perth. The family moved to Armadale for about six months before Percy found his next opportunity. In 1922, Percy became one of the first group settlers in the south west of Western Australia. Under Premier Sir James Mitchell’s Group Settlement Scheme, settlers worked in small groups to develop dairy farms to address the colony’s dependence on imported dairy products.

THE POST OFFICE AND TELEPHONE EXCHANGE GORDON MAYLAM, WILL MAYLAM, MAY MAYLAM(nee Tompsett), MARGARET MAYLAM, FRANK TOMPSETT AND BOB WILSON OUTSIDE THE POST OFFICE , LOCATED ON THE VERANDAH OF THE TOMPSETT FAMILY HOME AT TUTUNUP c1952 #7

He rented a small house in Fremantle for the family but, having only 50 pounds ($100) remaining after having paid for passage from England, securing employment was a priority. He noticed a job advertised in Albany, and not having any idea of the distance involved (Albany is about 400km (250 Miles) from Fremantle ), purchased a train ticket and set off to apply. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived, the position was no longer available. Having no money, Percy was forced to return to Fremantle on foot. Walking and obtaining some assistance from other travelers, the journey took him a week.

He finally secured employment as a engine driver for the motor that powered the cool room at Illawarra Orchard at Karragullen, about 20km (12 miles) from Perth. He was given the job on the basis that he had enough children to keep the local school open! An additional two children were born while the family were at Karragullen. They were:

Edith Ellen (Ede) born 3rd March 1915

Gordon Thomas born 1918

Every endeavour has been made to accurately record the details however if you would like to provide additional images and/or newer information we are pleased to update the details on this site. Please click here to email us at info@pickeringbrookheritagegroup.com We appreciate your involvement in recording the history of our area.

References: Article: Rowley Tompsett
The West Australian

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 Rowlley Tompsett
5 Tom Price