Smiley Family History
Bertha (Bid) Agnes Smiley 1913-1983
Francis Smylie/Smiley 1689 → Hugh Smiley 1723 → William Smiley 1757 → Hugh Smiley 1785 → Shepherd Parkman Smiley 1828 → Thomas Alexander Ward Smiley 1867 → Bertha Agnes Smiley 1913-1983.
Bertha (Bid) Smiley
Born: 6 July 1913, St Kilda, Vic
Died: 20 May 1983, Woolsthorpe, Vic, age 69
Occupation: Shop assistant, wife, mother
Married: Edwin (Ted) George White, 23 July 1938, St Kilda, Vic.
Bertha (Bid) Agnes Smiley was the youngest of the eleven children of Thomas Alexander Ward and Marion Harley (Bunn) Smiley.
As her father shifted the family often as he bought and sold houses, her childhood saw her living in a variety of locations and houses, mainly in the St Kilda area.
Along with others in her family, Bid attended Brighton Road State School at St Kilda. As with all her siblings, she enjoyed the water and was a very competent swimmer with numerous certificates. She and her sisters used to dive into the water at Black Rock from the sunken Cerberus warship and madly swim back in case of sharks.
Bid was extremely shy and conscious of her height. In an attempt to gain confidence, she worked in a store and also helped in the family butcher shop.
Bid told of travelling with her parents to the Mallee to visit her sister Doris and Harry Wilson and her brother Doug and Gertie Smiley. It was a long, slow trip with her father singing Onward Christian Soldiers most of the way!
It was while she was holidaying with Doris and Harry Wilson in Tempy that Bid met Edwin (Ted) George White. Ted was born on 15 February 1912 in Birchip and had lived most of his life at Tempy.
As a 25-year-old, Bid and Ted (26) married, on 23 July 1938 in St Kilda. [click on photo to see a larger image]
At the outbreak of World War Two, the couple was living at Sunshine where they were buying their own house. Ted was working as an assistant furnaceman at the H. V. McKay Massey Harris factory. He joined the RAAF in 1940 and served as a turner until discharge in 1945.
They lost their house in Sunshine when Ted joined the RAAF. Accommodation during the war was very scarce so when Bid learned of people moving out of 24 Stewart Street, Hawthorn, she moved in the same day. When the rent collector came he told her she didn't live there. Her reply was "I do now"! When the couple eventually moved to live in the Mallee, her sister-in-law Gertie and daughter Helen Smiley moved in.
In 1949 Ted and Bid moved to Tempy so that Ted could farm with his father George and brother Lindsay and gain more experience, so he could apply for a Soldier Settlement farm. This farm of two square miles was close to where Bid's sister Doris and her husband Harry Wilson had farmed and also close to where Doug and Gertie Smiley and family had lived. These were wheat-growing properties requiring dawn-to-dusk constant physical labour.
Coming from the relative comforts of the big city, the transition for Bid must have been traumatic - raising initially three and eventually four young children in a small four room cottage with no power, no running water, no sewerage, a party-line telephone service and an old 1928 Auburn motor car. The nearest doctor was 40km away over dusty tracks and the nearest dentist over 150km. She coped well but hated all the mice and vowed to leave if there was a plague.
In 1952 the Whites were finally balloted a Soldier Settlement farm at Woolsthorpe in Western Victoria, where Ted could realise his dream of being his own boss, and they lived there until 1983. It often seemed as they had more than their four children as many nieces, nephews and others spent happy times at the "Hillside" property, experiencing life on a farm. Bid spent a great deal of her time cooking, most meals based on home-grown produce and the sheep Ted killed and dressed.
Bid was a very popular and active member in community organisations including the Presbyterian Church, Country Women's Association (CWA), Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union (PWMU), Hospital Auxiliary and Red Cross.
She died at Woolsthorpe on 20 May 1983, aged 69; Ted died at Dandenong on 29 April 1987, aged 75.
Children of Edwin (Ted) and Bertha (Bid) (Smiley) White
- Robert (born 1940)
- Jock (born 1942)
- Marilyn (born 1945)
- Margaret (born 1951)