Harry James Corbin, first child of James & Margaret, was born on 8 April 1869. He was baptised in the old Catholic church at Concord where his parents were married, showing Margaret's Catholic influence on her young family.
The photo at left was in a locket that belonged to his mother. This could well be Harry. There are no other photos that we know of.
Until recent times Harry's story was completely unknown to the rest of the family, all they knew was that Harry had gone away, the parents never talked about him. Presumably there was a falling out of some kind. Even now, when we know something of his descendants (thanks to Ruth van Aaken), Harry is still largely a mystery.
In 1895, when Harry would have been 26, an 'H.J.Corbin' appears in the Sydney Directory, living at 130 Bridge Rd Forest Lodge. This is the suburb beside Glebe - it seems that when he 'went away' he didn't go very far at first! For the next two years H.J.Corbin is 'manager Selenite Block Co' 212 Bridge Rd Glebe, after which he no longer appears. If this is Harry, he is getting into the building game like his father, perhaps James set him up in it. But the depression was no time to be making a start in business, and James himself was in no position to support him, so it's no suprise to see the company disappear.
Another possible appearance of Harry in the records is that a Harry Corbin appears in lists of tramway employees for 1902 to 1908 as a lineman / labourer at the Car Shed, Ultimo. However, when his son was born in 1904 Harry was a 'machinist (clothiers)'. And on his death certificate Harry's occupation is given as joiner (i.e. carpenter) which suggests he stayed in the building game.
What we do know now is that Harry was married to a Barbara Woolacott (nee Ferrier) in 1901 in Redfern. They were living at 18 Pierson St Summer Hill, when their only son, Ernest, was born in 1904. But, for reasons unknown, Harry was not doing well. By 1907 he was in the Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm & Destitute. An asylum was a poor house where working-class people without any means of support would spend the end of their lives. Harry got sick and died there on 21 March 1908, aged just 38. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Liverpool Cemetery.
During Harry's decline a presumably desperate Barbara left with Ernest, married again before Harry died (for which she was prosecuted), and eventually made a new life in Queensland. She never hid the Corbin surname of her son, but told a story of her own about Harry to hide the distressing true story.
Ernest went on to marry and have three children. There are now 20 living descendants of Harry & Barbara.
|Barbara Ernest Corbin Ernest as a grandfather|