My grandfather was known by my sister and me as ‘George’. Grandmother was always Grandma. George was actually named Walter Corden with no middle name and herewith begins the tale. Around about the the first decade of the 20th century flush toilets were becoming more common and were generally referred to as a Water Closet. The initials ‘WC’ were soon in general usage. Grandpa wasn’t happy to share the same initials and he mentioned, one day, to his very new wife that he was thinking of taking a middle name. “What name did you have in mind?” he was asked. He had not thought that far ahead and began to flip idly through the morning paper. Suddenly his eyes alight on a popular cartoon strip featuring a mischievous mouse. Montague Mouse. And so he became Walter Montague from then on. The initials WMC became official through common usage and are carried on by one of my brothers, Michael, who uses the middle name and Michael’s daughter Melora who is also a WMC.
Grandfather was a theological student and became an Anglican Minister. He visited Australia from England in 1902 and there met my Grandmother. He only stayed in Australia for about two months. They became engaged either then or later. He returned to England and then went to Canada and was one of the foundation students of the Emmanuel College Saskatoon Saskatchewan in 1907. The photos that show native American Indians were taken during that time. They are on glass plates and some are cracked as you can see. He left Canada and came to Australia in 1910 where he married my Grandmother. He returned to Canada to take her for a honeymoon but came back to Australia where he lived the rest of his life.
The photograph of him going through the Suez Canal on board the RMS Ormuz is when he came to Australia the first time in 1902. Grandma can be see resting on board the SS Moana on the way from Sydney to Vancouver in 1910 on their honeymoon. She can also be seen looking over the edge of the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. It was on this bridge, I have been told, that a heavy fog came and she was completely hidden from view and became a little frightened.
All the photographs of the “Plains Indians” were taken by him.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Grandfather’s Boxing Club.