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 Sir Samuel WAY - his ancestors and descendants

Sinclair BLUE

Sinclair BLUE

Male 1875 - 1914  (39 years)

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  • Name Sinclair BLUE 
    Born 31 May 1875  Strathalbyn, SA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Education * Strathalbyn School: He would have attended primary schooling in Strathalbyn because it seems that the family didn't leave this town until about 1887 (when Sinclair was in his teens)
    * Hahndorf College : Sinclair was a day student rather than a boarder.
    * St Peter's College in Adelaide.
    Military service BOER WAR
    * Sinclair fought in the Boer War. He enlisted in Penola. His service number was 91.
    FIRST TOUR - Jan 1900 to Nov 1900 (ten months)
    * "Just before the contingent sailed, Sinclair and two other ex-Hahndorf College boys (Bob Webb and Allen Wright) attended an evening on 25th January 1900 arranged for the fourteen Saints [St Peter's College?] old scholars who had enlisted in the Second Contingent. Supreme Court Master Alex Buchanan [he would have been a colleague of Sir Samuel who was Sinclair's step-father], chairman of the Saints Old Boys Association wrote next day of the farewell festivities : "One of the most enthusiastically patriotic gatherings it has been my good fortune to take part in was brought to a most appropriate conclusion by Trooper Webb's spirited rendition of 'Soldiers of the Queen', the company rising en masse at the close of each verse lifting the troopers present shoulder high and joining frantically in the chorus" (ref: Butler, p154).
    * He left for South Africa on the 'Surrey' on 21st January 1900. (The dates of the farewell on 25th and departure on 21st are not compatible.)
    * He was a trooper, initially with the 2nd South Australian Mounted Rifles which consisted of 119 men, among whom was Lance Corporal Harry 'The Breaker' Morant. Also in the same contingent were some fellow ex-Hahndorf Academy boys (Bob Webb and Allen Wright) and also Sinclair's step-cousin James Way (Jimmy's father was Samuel's brother, Edward). We do not know if Jimmy and Sinclair knew that they were related.
    * From March 1900 to October 1900 he was in northwest Cape Colony, Free State, and east Transvaal.
    * "Disembarking in Cape Town, the contingent entrained to the north and assisted in the relief of Prieska before crossing the Orange River and uniting with the First SA Contingent on 13th March, which included James MacGillivray. They participated in the relief of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and campaigned throughout the Transvaal" (ref: p194, 'Penola & Coonawarra' by Peter Rymill, 2017).
    * Sailed home in the 'Tongariro' on 3rd November 1900.
    * Back in Adelaide on 30th November, Sinclair was awarded the Queen's Medal with four campaign clasps.
    SECOND TOUR - April 1901 to April 1902 (twelve months)
    * "Sinclair Blue, who is well-known in the South-East, and who was a member of the Second Contingent that went to South-Africa, has been appointed a Lieutenant in the Sixth Contingent [Imperial Bushmen]. Sinclair Blue is a son of Lady Way" (ref: Naracoorte Herald, 22nd March 1901).
    * After 5 months at 'home', Lieutenant Blue "joined the 6th Contingent and sailed again for Africa on 6th April 1901 in the 'Warringal', with 10 officers, 126 other ranks and 146 horses. Arriving in Durban, his force combined with the 5th SA Contingent that included Sergeant-Major MacGillivray on his second tour, and another Penola compatriot, Trooper Bert Peake. Details of their movements [elsewhere in the Penola book] similarly describe those of Sinclair, with Colonel Henry de Lisle's Column from May 1901 to May 1902, the highlights of which were the attacks on Graspan in June, and on General Smut's Commando at Grootvallier near Blomfontein in July that accounted for 16 Boers killed, 51 captured and wagons destroyed. Colonel de Lisle said of them: "The very dashing night attack at Grootvallier was worthy of the best traditions of Australian troops in the war" (ref: p194 'Penola & Coonawarra' by Peter Rymill, 2017).
    * From May 1901 to March 1902 he was under de Lisle in Free State including defence of Graspan (6th June 1901) and charge at Grootvlei (2nd Aug 1901).
    * His contingent crossed the Orange River and entered Bloemfontein (ref: Butler, p 154)
    * They returned to Adelaide on the 'Manchester Merchant' on 27th April 1902.
    * This time he was awarded the South African Medal depicting the new King Edward Vll and two battle clasps for his service in Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast, Cape Colony and Orange Free State.
    * He was invalided when he returned home from the Boer.
    Notes for biography ADC
    * Sinclair had the position of aide de camp (ADC) to Sir Samuel who was the Lieut Gov at that time. He is mentioned in this role on many occasions for about a year - from Aug 1902 to July 1903.
    * He attended a meeting of the Society of Arts as part of the official party with Samuel and Kitty. (ref: Advertiser, 12th Aug 1902, p 7)
    * A luncheon for the Royal Agricultural Show (ref: Adelaide Advertiser, 12th Sept 1902, p 9)
    * Another official occasion (ref : Advertiser, 17th Oct , p 4)
    * "THE ADMIRAL. The Lieutenant-Governor, attended by Mr. Sinclair Blue, A.D.C., and Mr. Neil Campbell, extra A.D.C., returned his Excellency the Admiral's official call on Friday morning on board H.M.S. Mildura. Sir Lewis Beaumont received the Lieutenant Governor on board the Mildura in order to prevent his having the inconvenience of going off to the flagship. On Sir Samuel Way leaving a salute of 17 guns was fired. After the visit the Admiral returned to town. In the evening Sir Samuel and Lady Way entertained the Admiral at dinner at Montefiore. There were also present, beside the house party, the Attorney General and Mrs. Gordon [[maybe she was the wife on unrelated lawyer John Gordon]], the President of the Legislative Council and Lady Stirling, the Commandant of Military Forces of South Australia and Mrs. Lyster, Flag-Captain T. P. Walker, R.N., Lieutenant-Commander G. E. Corbett, R.N., Flag-Lieutenant Pratt Barlow, R.N., and other guests. To-day the Lieutenant-Governor and Lady Way are to give the Admiral a drag picnic to Marble Hill. On Monday and Friday next they will entertain his Excellency at dinner at Montefiore, and invitations have been issued for an evening" (ref: Adelaide Advertiser, 18th October 1902, p6).
    * And again (ref : Advertiser, 21st Oct 1902, p 4)
    * And again (ref: Advertiser, 3rd Nov 1902, p 4)
    * And at speech night at Way College (ref : Advertiser, 18th Dec 1902, p 7)
    * And finally, ADC Sinclair was present when the new governor, Sir George la Hunt, took over. This is the last report about Sinclair as ADC which was in the social notes in the SA Register on 2nd July 1903 (ref: Peter Rymill).
    Notes for biography BREAKER MORANT
    * Sinclair would have known 'The Breaker' (Harry Morant) because they were in a both in the 2nd South Australian Mounted Rifles. This was a small group of about 100 men living and fighting closely together. In order to discover how their paths crossed we need to consider the following (ref : Wikipedia):-
    * Morant was a lance corporal and was promoted to sergeant with the Rifles whereas Sinclair remained a trooper while he was with that contingent.
    * Morant was with the Rifles for 9 months (ie January until about August 1900).
    * During this time the Rifles were in northwest Cape Colony, Free State, and east Transvaal.
    * During at least part of this time, Morant was absent on other duties as he was a dispatch rider and war correspondent as well as combatant. In March 1900 he carried dispatches for the Flying Column to Prieska, under Colonel Lowe, 7th D.G., who was in the general advance to Bloemfontein and took part in the engagements of Karee Siding and Kroonstadt, and other engagements with Lord Roberts until the entry into Pretoria. Morant was at Diamond Hill and was then attached to General French's staff, Cavalry Brigade, as war correspondent with Bennet Burleigh of the London Daily Telegraph. He accompanied that column through Middelburg and Belfast to the occupation of Barberto. All this was before September 1900.
    * About September 1900 Morant went to England (Devon)
    * Either before or after this, Sinclair transferred out of the Rifles, to the Bushman.
    * Morant was in England for 6 months before returning to South Africa.
    * In April 1901 Morant joined the Bushvelt Carbibeers as a lieutenant.
    * Sinclair may not have heard anything more about Morant after either of them left the Rifles, until March 1902 when it became public knowledge that he and five others had been accused of murdering 20 people between July and Sept 1901. The court marshall was in January 1902 and Morant was executed in February. Among the accused was Alfred Taylor and there had been a soldier by this name with Sinclair in the Rifles but it may not have been the same person. No others of the accused were from the Rifles.
    * There was great public interest when this became known in March 1902. We do not know Sinclair's reaction. It was at the same time as his fellow soldiers were preparing to leave for Australia. So the two events occurring together would have heightened the reactions.
    * Another possible indirect connection is through the bush poet Will H Ogilvie. Sinclair's uncle, Hugh Gordon (brother of Sinclair's mother), was managing Adavale Station where he became associated with Ogilvie with whom 'an affectionate friendship was formed', and Ogilvie's first book of poems, 'Fair Girls and Grey Horses' was 'dedicated in sincere admiration to Hugh Gordon'. Ogilive was a well known poet. Wikipedia states "Ogilvie was part of the trio of Australian bush poets, with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson. His Fair Girls and Gray horses (1896) was considered second only to Banjo Paterson's Man from Snowy River (1895). A reader ballot in 1914 saw him placed seventh of Australia's twelve most favourite poets." He acknowledged the influence of Adam Lindsay Gordon (not a relative of course). The relevance of all this is that Ogilvie was friends with Breaker Morant. Just an intriguing coincidence? However we have no indications that the Breaker ever talked to Sinclair about Hugh and Ogilvie - or that Hugh even saw the connection. 
    Notes for biography DEATH:
    * 5th October 1914 in Capetown - a few months after he had returned to South Africa from South Australia.
    * He was only 39 years when he died.
    * Cause of death was pneumonia.
    * Buried in South Africa - we have not located his burial site.
    * His mother died 5 months before him. His uncle John Forbes Gordon died 7 weeks after him. And his youngest brother, William, died 12 months after Sinclair. And Sir Samuel died 15 months after him. It is not known how Shylie and Archibald reacted to Sinclair's death. William was away at the war and might never have heard that Sinclair had died before William died 12 months after Sinclair.
    * "Death of Mr Sinclair Blue: A cablegram has been received announcing the death, from pneumonia, of Mr. Sinclair Blue, eldest son of the late Lady Way and Dr WAS Blue. Mr. Blue, who was unmarried, went to South Africa in June. He died in Capetown on October 5 and in his 39th year (states the "Register.") Mr. Blue was a splendid bushman and horseman, and had travelled over the a great part of the interior of Australia. He served with the 2nd and the 6th Contingents in the South African war, and received a commission on the second occasion. Col de Lisle, in whose column he served, wrote to his mother in terms of high commendation of his qualities as a soldier. Mr. Blue resided off and on in the South-East, and was well-known to many throughout the District." (ref: Naracoorte Herald, 10th Nov 1914) 
    Notes for biography FAMILY
    * Sinclair was never married.
    * There is only one mention of a Mrs Sinclair Blue in 1909 - but this might be a reporting error (ref: Peter Rymill).
    * On many social events after his return from South Africa, he was partnered by his sister, Shylie (ref: Peter Rymill).
    * He was reported as 'unmarried' at the time of his death.  
    Notes for biography HORSEMAN :
    * Sinclair loved exploration and was an intrepid bushman and horseman through much of Australia's interior. (ref : Butler p265)
    * He rode in the races, shows and hunts in Penola district in the 1890s (ref: Peter Rymill)
    * Sinclair is mentioned in the social notes in the Advertiser - playing polo in Adelaide in January 1905 and hunting in July 1905 (ref: Peter Rymill). 
    Notes for biography In 1900, in a fund raising appeal for the Naracoorte Hospital, there were Glenroy/Coonawarra subscriptions from JF Gordon 10 shillings, and 2s 6d each from S Blue, AG Blue and Miss Gordon (ref: Naracoorte Herald, 4th May 1900). There is a question about this because Sinclair left for service in the Boer War in January 1900.

    Notes for biography PENOLA
    Sinclair Blue was very much a part of the Penola scene from at least 1894 to 1899.
    * Relatives: His two brothers and his uncle John Forbes Gordon were also in the area at that time.
    * Horseman: In 1984, he rode in the Penola Races (ref: Naracoorte Herald, 27th Feb 1894). In 1895, he rode 'Charlie' (John Riddoch's horse) in the Naracoorte Show (NH, 20th Sept 1895) In 1898, he broke a collarbone at the Adelaide Hunt races (Border Watch, 28th Sept 1988)
    * Hunting: He killed a fox in the Hundred of Comaum ie Glenroy (BW 19th Dec 1895) and he was hunting in the south east in 1897.
    * Sport: He played football for Penola in 1896 and cricket for Penola in 1897. Sinclair played with his brothers, William and Archibald, in the first Coonawarra cricket match (BW, 9th Feb 1898).
    * Singing: In 1897 he sang in public social events (also his brother, Archibald). He was referred to as 'a favourite' when he sung The Bowery. (BW, 6th Oct 1897). In 1899, he again sang in Penola (BW, 1st Nov 1899). Mrs JF Gordon and Messrs S & A Blue were singing in a Penola concert (ref: Peter Rymill, Border Watch, 1st Nov 1899).
    * Off to the Boer War: "Special interest was felt here is the announcement that Mr. Sinclair Blue had become a member of the second contingent. Mr Blue was well known here, having spent some years in this district. Anyone who has seen him riding could not help remarking upon his good horsemanship, for he always seemed properly at home on a horse. He will be missed from amongst us, for he was ever at hand to assist at our entertainments with his comic songs, which were more than popular. Our heartiest wishes for his safe return will go with him. (BW, 3.2.1900)  [1
    Notes for biography Sir SAMUEL WAY
    * What was Sinclair's relationship with Sir Samuel?
    * ADC in 1902.
    * Samuel Way's will : How names have appeared in Samuel's will have given clues about his relationship with them. I notice Kitty's children are treated differently with both Shylie & Archibald being left 2000 pounds, William 'just' 500 pounds and Sinclair did not get a mention. Shylie had probably been close to Kitty. Archibald might have managed Samuel's property in Noarlunga (for a while, before the war). It so happened that William died before Samuel - Samuel signed his will in July 1914, William died on active service in the war in Oct 1915, and Samuel died in January 1916. And it is surprising that Sinclair was not mentioned because he had been Samuel's aide de camp in support of at least one of Samuel's times of service as Lieutenant Governor. Anyway, as it happened, Sinclair also died (Oct 1914 in South Africa) before Samuel died. It is not known when Samuel heard about Sinclair's death but Sinclair was still alive when Samuel signed his will - so why was he not mentioned? Maybe because he was in South Africa at that time.  
    Notes for biography Sources :
    * Members of the 2nd Rifles
    * Service in the Boer War
    * Awards in the Boer War
    * Promotion to Lieutenant
    Notes for biography SOUTH AFRICA
    * Sinclair was 24 years old when he went to South Africa to serve in the Boer War from 1900 to 1902.
    * He returned to South Australia after his service in South Africa but then went back again a couple of times (ref : Butler p265). The last time was on the 'Ballarat' in 25th July 1914 - this was reported in the Chronicle on 4th July 1914 (ref: Peter Rymill)
    * "Sinclair Blue found Boer boxing so stimulating, that he volunteered twice more after his first effort. .... Powerful officials in the South African Civil Service and influential businessmen such as Cecil Rhodes desperately tried to lure as many Australian volunteers as possible to settle permanently in the country. A dearth of skilled labour existed to run a rapidly modernising peacetime economy. Any number of outdoor-loving, practical Australians was worth campaigning for" (Butler,p 160).
    * Butler names three ex-Hahndorf boys who settled in South Africa - but does not mention Sinclair - so maybe he didn't settle even though he went back a few times.
    * It is not clear why he went back in 1914 - twelve years after he was there for the Boer war. He died only a few months after getting back there but what were his intentions? In that short time, where did he live and what sort of work did he do? What sort of life style was he seeking? What interactions did he have with the local community? Undoubtedly he had made quite a connection with life in South Africa but apparently did not establish a family there.
    * Whatever the reason, he eventually died of pneumonia in Capetown at the age of 39 years in 1914 - just a few months after he went back there, and 12 years after the war had ended.
    Notes for biography TRAVELS
    * Sinclair was in North Queensland from late 1905 to mid 1906. It was reported in the Chronicle on 14th Oct 1905: 'Mr Sinclair Blue left for North Queensland on Monday 9th October' He was back in Adelaide in July 1906 (ref: Peter Rymill).
    * Sinclair and Alan Bowman returned from a trip to eastern states and New Zealand - reported in the Chronicle on 25th Jan 1908 (ref: Peter Rymill).  
    Notes for biography WATCH: An odd aside is that on 9th Dec 1902, thieves stole a chronograph from the home of Walter J Gollin, Quambi in Albert Street Woollahra, NSW. It was the property of Sinclair Blue. It was a gents gold hunting keyless chronograph inscribed on the inside back of case 'W P Dunk to W A S Blue, in kind remembrance 1887'. It had a gold curb albert and fine links attached. (ref : NSW Police Gazette, 10th Dec 1902, p 481).
    It must have been Sinclair's father's watch. He had died 4 years before Sinclair left for South Africa and maybe Sinclair, as eldest son had inherited it and later lodged it for safe keeping with Mr Gollin before leaving Australia. Was Mr Gollin an uncle (although Donald Gollan spelled his surname differently), or was he a pawn broker because there were so many other items stolen at the same time and there were unusually detailed records kept of all these items.
    We are left wondering how the watch got to Walter in NSW when we only know of Sinclair being in the two SAs - South Australia and South Africa - and no connections with NSW.  
    Residence * Strathalbyn as a child
    * Hahndorf in his teens
    * Penola - He was in Penola in his late teens and gave his address as Penola when he registered for the Boer War in 1900 when he was 24 years old. He might have been living on Glenroy Station which his uncle John Forbes Gordon was managing. (ref: Peter Rymill)
    * South Africa - served in the Boer War in 1900, 1901 & 1902 (10 months, then home for 5 months and then back again for 12 months)
    * He was in Adelaide when he was ADC for Sir Samuel (1902 & 1903), polo & hunting (1905) Shylie's wedding (1906) and Kitty's funeral (1914) (ref: Adelaide Advertiser, 23rd May 1914).
    * He made trips Queensland and New Zealand.
    * He might have been on various farming properties.
    * He went back to South Africa in 1914 and died in Cape Town a few months later.
    Died 5 Oct 1914  Capetown, South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I23  Samuel WAY
    Last Modified 16 Jan 2019 

    Father William Archibald Sinclair ('Billy') BLUE,   b. 10 Jan 1846, Poplar, London, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Sep 1896, Hahndorf, SA, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 50 years) 
    Mother Catherine Gillon ('Kitty') GORDON,   b. 8 Apr 1854, Larbert, Stirling, Scotland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 May 1914, 'Montefiore', North Adelaide, SA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years) 
    Married 24 Oct 1872  Residence of Donald Gollan in Point Sturt, SA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F7  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Sinclair Blue - sketch
    Sinclair Blue - sketch

  • Sources 
    1. [S21] Peter Rymill.