G5 2 Gertrude Ida White (nee Sullivan)

Gertrude Ida Sullivan was a great grand-daughter of Timothy Sullivan through her grandfather Richard Wearne Sullivan and her father Arthur Rowland Sullivan.

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G5     TS/RWS/ARS/ GERTRUDE IDA WHITE (nee SULLIVAN) (1907 - 1991)

Gertrude Ida Sullivan was the first daughter born to Arthur Rowland Sullivan and wife Edith (nee    ), on 23/06/1907. A sister Marjorie was born in 1909 but died in infancy that same year.

Around 1916 the family moved from the grocery business in Perth to Wyndham where Arthur eventually became manager of the local meatworks. In 1921 they left Wyndham to move to Wyalkatchem in the central wheat belt development some 300 kms north east of Perth. Arthur was a district pioneer and took over the general store, running the grocery, insurance and GMH agency which he developed whilst Edith managed the drapery section. Gertrude Ida was sent to convent school in Perth as a 15 year old to complete her education, and returning to Wyalkatchem helped her mother in the drapery store.

As father Arthur’s Wyalketchem business expanded, he decided to hire a fulltime accountant/store manager. He settled on Fremantle born Thomas Alphonsus White who at the time was working in the Nungarin store a few kilometres to the east. Sharing both age and interests with Gertrude, romance flourished, Thomas proposed, and were married, both aged 22, in St Mary’s Roman Catholic cathedral in Perth on 27/0/1930.

IdaWhiteA son, Barry Arthur White, was born to Tom and Ida on 05/06/1937. The birth took place in Subiaco Perth owing to lack of facilities in country West Australia.

In 1938 Tom and Ida left Wyalkatchem for Perth, where Tom became the store manager at the Woolworths chain store in Hay St. Gertrude remained at home at their house in Mt Lawly bringing up their young son.

 Thomas enlisted in the Army during World War 2. Son Barry was sent to his grandparents at Wyalkatchem in anticipation of a Japanese invasion, where his mother travelled frequently by train to visit. Ida would meet Thomas at Northam barracks, an important army training base.

           Picture of Ida and Barrie White courtesy Barry White

After the War many returning servicemen were given government appointed work, and Thomas was given prices control commissioner responsibilities in Pt Moresby. The Government had instituted price controls after the war as an anti-inflationary measure. Around 1952 Thomas was transferred to Adelaide as assistant commissioner, where they purchased the 14 North Terrace Highgate home from the Painters, who then moved to the next street north to 1 Winchester St. Around 1953 the White family moved again, this time to to 53 Mitcham Avenue, Lower Mitcham.

After Ida’s mother Edith's death at Mitcham Avenue in 1954 on a visit to Adelaide from Perth, her father Arthur sold up his property in Perth and moved to Adelaide to live with the family. After Arthur’s death in 1962 Tom and Ida by then aged near 60 moved to a unit at 7 Alpha St Kensington Park. They remained at Alpha St until eventually moving to the Phillip Kennedy Centre in Largs Bay where both died within months of each other in 1991. They are buried together in the Enfield Cemetery.