The Campbells of Cromla

Copyright Carol Baxter 2012
Prepared for Campbell descendant Jeanette Bradley

Bruce McGregor Campbell and Lilian Grace Walter

Bruce McGregor Campbell was the son of John Campbell and his wife Elizabeth Peat and was born on 3 May 1867 at Little Coogee Bay in Randwick near Sydney, NSW.[1]

On 13 January 1898, Bruce married Lilian Grace Walter at his bride’s local church, St John’s Church of England, Ashfield. The witnesses were Lilian’s brother William Gilbert Walter, and Bruce’s sisters Frances and Marjorie.[2]

Lilian was born around the year 1871 in Dulwich, London, England to John Spencer Walter and Elizabeth Hindley nee Grainger.[3] John was listed as a “Gentleman” at the time of Lilian’s marriage, and the family lived in Ashfield.[4]

Bruce described himself as a grain salesman, both at the time of his marriage in 1898 and two years later when their daughter Lili was born,[5] and his family described him as a produce merchant at the time of his death in 1911.[6] He was residing at Chatswood in 1898,[7] and with his wife at Albert Street, Willoughby in 1900.[8]

Their daughter, Lili Muire Granger Winney (nee Campbell), later wrote that her “father Bruce McGregor Campbell was in the Lancers and I have a photograph of him on his stead [sic]”.[9] According to the records of the Royal NSW Lancers (the appellation “Royal” having been bestowed upon the regiment in 1935), Bruce joined the NSW Cavalry Regiment Lancers on 6 June 1890 and was assigned to the “A” Troop. He resigned on 24 March 1891.[10]

A regimental history reports:[11]

The regiment dates from the raising of the Sydney Light Horse and other cavalry troops in 1885. This was before Federation and the raising of these units sprang entirely from a public-spirited with to give voluntarily service completely unsponsored or directed by the Government of the day.

Bruce continued the family tradition of an association with St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, North Sydney, and was inducted a deacon in 1899.[12]

Bruce died on 6 August 1911 at his residence “Dachaigh” in Boundary Street, Roseville. Although only 44 years of age, his cause of death was recorded as double pneumonia and heart failure from which he had suffered for about 5 weeks. He was buried two days later in the Presbyterian section of Gore Hill Cemetery at St Leonard’s. His father-in-law John Spencer Walter of 61 Parramatta Road, Ashfield, acted as the informant for the death certificate.[13]

The Sydney Morning Herald published the following death and funeral notices:[14]

Campbell – August 6, at Dachaigh, Roseville, Bruce McGregor, dearly beloved husband of Lilian Grace Campbell, and fourth son of the late John Campbell, and of Mrs Elizabeth Campbell, of Cromla, Middle Harbour.

The Funeral of the late Bruce McGregor Campbell, will leave Dachaigh, Boundary-street, Roseville, today, Tuesday at 11am, and is timed to reach the Gore Hill Cemetery at 12 noon.

An obituary for Bruce recorded the following:[15]

The funeral of the late Mr Bruce McGregor Campbell, whose death occurred at Dachaigh, Boundary-street, Roseville, on Sunday last, took place yesterday, the interment being made in the Presbyterian section of the Gore Hill Cemetery. The Rev. John Ferguson conducted the service at the graveside, assisted by the Rev. A. Mackinlay and H.G.J. Howe. Among those present were Messrs. Bruce Campbell (son), Lorne Campbell, Archie Campbell and George Campbell (brothers), J.S. Walter (father-in-law), W. Walter, H. Chandler, R. Baker, J. Higgins, W. White, R. Archbold, J. White, R.J. Letcher (Prescotts, Ltd), F [?], F. Felton, W. Edwards, G. Gillespie (Gillespie Bros.), A.H. Russon, Davidson, T. Murphy, O’Brien, T. McHugh, W. Mashman (Mashman Bros. Ltd), Mayne, J. Baker, J. Hardy, Polser, E. Wells (Wells and Smith) and L. Clarke. The deceased was a highly esteemed and popular figure in commercial circles, having for many years been engaged in the produce trade, where he conducted the business of John Campbell and Co. of Sussex-street.

Another newspaper reported:[16]

Auctioneers and buyers at the Railway Saleyards will miss the familiar figure of Mr Bruce McGregor Campbell at future sales. Mr Campbell, who succumbed to pneumonia on Sunday night, after a short illness, was probably the most popular man in the railway “yard”. He was a member of the firm of John Campbell and Co., produce merchants, Sussex-street. It was decided by the frequenters of the auction sales – sellers and buyers – to express sympathy with Mrs Campbell in her bereavement, and to forward two wreaths as a slight token of the esteem in which deceased was held in “the yard”.

Bruce McGregor Campbell and his wife Lilian Grace (nee Walter)

Bruce McGregor Campbell and his wife Lilian Grace (nee Walter)

Bruce and Lilian had the following children:

1. Bruce Ian Spencer Campbell
- Born 1899.
- Married in USA a woman named Helen (surname unknown).
- Residing in New York in 1927.
- No issue.

[Source: Handwritten family information held by Ken Winney; Will of Lilian Grace Campbell at SRNSW ref: 20/4215 No.131445]

2. Lili Muire Granger Campbell (see Winney Family)
- Born 28 January 1900, Albert Street, Willoughby, NSW
- Married 11 July 1925, St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Sydney to Ivor Victor Winney.
- Died 13 February 1980, Shirley Road, Roseville, NSW.

[Source: Lili M.G. Campbell: Birth Certificate at RBDM-NSW ref: 1900/7214]; Family information]

3. Norman Bethune Peat Campbell
- Born c1902
- Tramway employee of Hurstville in 1927.

[Source: Family information; Will of Lilian Grace Campbell at SRNSW ref: 20/4215 No.131445]


Two weeks before his death, Bruce had signed his last will and testament leaving his estate to his wife and appointing her as executor. An inventory reveals that at the time of his death Bruce left an estate worth ₤670. Bruce assets at this time were valued at ₤1277 and comprised his Roseville property worth ₤800, his partnership interest ₤400, furniture ₤75, jewellery &c ₤2 and cash ₤4. His debts were valued at ₤607 and comprised three mortgages and interest payments worth ₤524, medical expenses including doctors, nurses and chemist bills ₤35, wages ₤12, grocer, baker, dairy, butcher &c ₤30, coal & gas ₤3, newsagent ₤1, and tuition expenses for his children ₤2.[17]

Lilian outlived her husband by nearly forty years. She was residing at Rose Street, Chatswood, when she died on 14 September 1948 leaving a duty-payable estate valued at ₤2918.10. In her will signed in September 1927, she appointed her brother William Gilbert Walter, an engineer of Strathfield, and her daughter Lili to be the executors of her will. She left her daughter all her furniture, plate, jewellery and personal effects and the remainder was to be shared equally between her three ‘dear children’: Bruce, at present in New York, Lili, the wife of Ivor Victor Winney, Civil Servant, and Norman, tramway employee of Hurstville.[18]