Markham Shops Historic Site 1927 & Family

Markham Shops Historic Site 1927 & Family
Until recently, a building constructed in 1927 for Lilian May Markham, the wife of Captain Alfred John Markham, stood on this site.

The Markhams were of British nationality and settled in the district in the 1910s.

They lived at a property known as World’s End on Third Street, Harvey.

The couple were financially comfortable taking regular trips overseas and interstate and, in 1927, Mrs Markham invested in the construction of this building.

In September of that year, the building was complete and Lilian Markham advertised it as ‘a modern double-fronted shop with a five-roomed dwelling attached’. Archival photographs also indicate that the original building had a double verandah.

Occupants of the building have included JC Malone, which was a tailor shop and Lesley O’Brien’s hair salon. The Malone’s lived above their shop.

It was recently demolished.

Meet Captain Alfred Markham

Even as a lad, Alfred John Markham yearned for an exciting life. In his late teens, Alfred Markham joined the 5th. Border Regiment, a militia battalion. He stayed with this regiment for three years in which time he studied hard to gain a commission, so that in 1897, 2nd Lieutenant Markham was ordered to go to Malta.

Alfred contracted typhoid fever and for a week was on the verge of death. Six months later, when he had completely recovered, Alfred Markham joined up again, and was assigned to a regiment in Crete. From Crete, the regiment went to Durban in South Africa.

It was not long before the regiment was on the move and they went to Ladysmith and served under Sir George White in the Siege of Ladysmith. Here Alfred got typhoid fever again and had to go back to England for a further six months to recuperate. All sickness gone, he was back to soldiering again and served in Transvaal during the Boer War. When this war ended, Alfred, now a Captain, joined the Rifle Brigade and went to Egypt.

With no wars in sight for many years to come, Alfred began to get restless and his adventurous spirit did not mix with ordinary barrack soldiering, so in 1903 he gave up the Army.

Alfred’s younger brother was a mining engineer and persuaded him to come to Western Australia and take up the same profession. Alfred stayed at this occupation for several years and then decided to go prospecting for his own gold. During the three years he was prospecting he and his partner struck a particularly “good find” near Southern Cross.

The craving for adventure was still flowing warmly in Alfred’s veins and he and his brother decided to go to Peru in South America and continue prospecting there. Not long after this, they arrived in Peru, all ready to put their plans into operation. Financially, they did not do as well as they had hoped, but the trip more than made up for it. Up the upper waters of the Amazon into dense jungle they travelled. There they saw many amazing tropical plants and flowers, beautifully coloured butterflies, snakes, birds and many things that would hold an untold attraction for most people. Alfred and his brother also travelled up the Pacific coastline and saw the Panama Canal under construction.

Alfred Markham then decided to come back to Western Australia and go to the Goldfields. On his arrival in Perth he met the then curator of the museum [Bernard H Woodward] who talked him into coming down to Harvey and seeing his orcharding property. When they arrived in Harvey, Alfred was so taken with the place that he took up land and has been here in Harvey ever since. He and his wife now live in Young Street in one of the town’s most fashionable residences. So next time you see this dignified old gentleman tending to his well-kept garden and lawns at his home, I’m sure you’ll glance at him with an envious feeling, wishing that you could have the exciting life that he has lived.

Know Your Neighbour series in the Harvey Murray Times on 24 December 1948 by BJF

Markham Shops Historic Site 1927 & Family

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