1893 Brisbane flood photo by John Jackson Hogg

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Alfred Raper of Toowoomba

Alf Raper was born Alfred Alexander Thomas George Raper in 1875 in Parsons Green, Fulham, London. He was the son of Alfred Raper, a sculptor and Mary Jane Harriet Hodges (aka Ada Mira Jane Harriet). The family were at 24 Thistle Grove, Kensington in the 1871 census and Alfred snr's occupation is given as merchant clerk. Alfred jnr. is noted in the 1881 census living at 9 King St Brighton with his older sister Florence and the head of the household is a Nina Ellis aged 38 born in Madras. It is uncertain why he wasn't with his parents.

The Raper family migrated to Australian aboard the Quetta departing London on 24 July 1889 and arriving in Brisbane on 15 September. Alfred departed Brisbane 15 January 1891 aboard the Greta for New Zealand followed by his mother later that year and they settled in Christchurch. Ada Marie Jane Raper died there aged 61 on 25 August 1898 (The Star 26 August 1898 p.2). Alfred married a local girl Maud Colenso on 15 February 1900 and they had their first child Ada Florence in Christchurch. The family then moved to Brisbane late in 1900. The were residing in St. George St, Woolloongabba by 1903. Alfred is first noted a photographer in that year's electoral roll. The family remained in Brisbane until at least 1907 then moved to Toowomba. His grand daughter says Alfred was as a travelling photographer working from a horse drawn van (pictured below). He was never listed with a studio under is own name.

Alfred added the name Colonel at front of his christian name and is sometimes noted as C. Alfred Raper. He gave this name to his 5th born child who died in infancy. Alfred Raper died 6 May 1921 aged just 48. Alfred's son Alfred James Leslie Raper who was born 15 May 1905 in Brisbane. He is listed as a labourer living in Bay Terrace, Wynnum in the 1936 electoral roll. An A. Raper is listed as a photographer in Townsville in 1923 but it is unclear who this is.

Elizabeth Jane Colenso (nee Moyle) beside her son in law's travelling van

Family Tree:

1. Alfred Raper b. 21 Apr 1832, bap. 20 May 1832, Saint James, Westminster, London, m. 7 Oct 1858, St. Pancras Church, St. Pancras, Middlesex, to Mary Jane Harriet Hodges b. c.1837, Middlesex, d. 25 Aug 1898, Christchurch, New Zealand.
i Florence Raper b. c.1863, St. George, Pimlico, London.
ii Ada Raper b. c.1865, St. George, Pimlico, London.
2.iii Alfred Alexander Thomas George RAPER b. 1875, Parsons Green, Fulham, London

Second Generation

2. Colonel Alfred Alexander Thomas George RAPER b. 1875, Parsons Green, Fulham, London, d. 6 May 1921, Queensland, m. 15 Feb 1900, Christchurch, New Zealand to Maud COLENSO b. 28 Dec 1877, New Zealand (daughter of James Robert COLENSO and Elizabeth Jane MOYLE).
i Ada Florence Maud RAPER b. 19 JUN 1900, Christchurch, New Zealand.
ii Ivy Evelyn RAPER b. 19 APR 1903, Brisbane, Queensland.
iii Alfred James Leslie RAPER b. 15 MAY 1905, Brisbane, Queensland.
iv Myrtle Adeline RAPER b. 22 MAR 1907, Brisbane, Queensland.
v Colonel Alexander Thomas George RAPER b. 1914, Queensland, d. 1914, Queensland.
vi Douglas Archie RAPER b. 31 DEC 1917, Toowoomba, Queensland.
vii Coral Vada Beryl RAPER b. 30 MAR 1920, Toowoomba, Queensland.
viii Bernice Joyce RAPER b. 22 APR 1921, Toowoomba, Queensland.

Marcel Safier © 2010, revised 9 April 2001

(Thank you to Merrill James for the above photographs and information about her grandfather. If you can add anything to the above story please get in touch)

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