b. 3 August 1924, d. 9 August 1995
|Father||Thomas James Phillips b. 2 May 1897, d. 8 Dec 1980|
|Mother||Irene Gladys 'Sis' McDonald b. 4 Apr 1903, d. 17 Jul 1987|
Birth, Death, Marriage
|Reginald Phillips was born on 3 August 1924 in Ascot Vale, Victoria.1|
|He married Rosalind Madge Helmer, daughter of Nils Helmer, on 29 March 1948 in Mooroopna, Victoria.2,3|
|He died on 9 August 1995 in Heidelberg, Victoria, at age 71.4|
|Rosalind Madge Helmer b. 17 Dec 1924, d. 13 Oct 2016|
|Charts||Campbell, John, descendant chart|
McDonald, Archibald, descendant chart
O'Loughlin, Michael, descendant chart
Phillips, James, descendant chart
Steer, Edward, descendant chart
|Reg grew up in Shepparton and spent most of his life there. He was awarded the Philippine Liberation medal for his service in the Royal Australian Navy. He worked in a shipping company, grew tomatoes, worked in a pub and ran a menswear business, but was best known for his business City Dry Cleaners. Reg was a keen golfer and played over 100 games for the Shepparton Football Club, of which he was a president and life member. At the time of his death due to cancer at age 71, Reg had thirteen grandchildren.|
|Reginold was born in Ascot Vale, Melbourne on 3 August 1924. He was the second child of Irene and Thomas. He was known as Reg, but born as Reginold though with his name usually shown as Reginald.1|
|In July 1924, 62 Nixon St was offered for sale and Tom bought it. |
Second son Reg was born in Ascot Vale in Melbourne in August 1924. While it is not known why Reg was born in Melbourne, a possible reason he wasn't born in Shepparton is that the new house wasn't ready.
Third son, Laurence Lloyd arrived in 1925. At this time, according to the birth registration and electoral roll, the family was living at 7 Swallow St. As the rate books still show Tom as owner of the Nixon St house, perhaps it was being renovated for the new arrival, or expanded to accomodate the growing family at the time.5,6,7,8
Milk Arrowroot biscuits: Auntie Nene reckons Jack, Reg & Laurie were brought up on milk arrowroot biscuits and milk. The Simply Australia website says 'At the turn of the last century arrowroot was a common source of starch, so this biscuit was seen as a good food for young, growing children. Milk Arrowroot soon became the food of choice for Australian mothers and their children as it was easily digestible. It was often crushed and served with milk as a way to start babies on solids. Then as kids grew up, it was packed as a sandwich in school lunch boxes'.9,10
|With Jack, Reg and Laurie born in 1923, 1924 and 1925, stories of any of the boys' childhood escapades invariably featured all three. They grew up during the Great Depression, which was at its peak in Australia in the early 1930s. Particularly during this time, with money used for essentials only, the boys relied on their own resourcefulness and made their own fun.11|
The Parachute: Laurie reckoned that being the youngest of the three, he was usually the guinea pig when an operator or pilot was needed. Like the time they decided to make a parachute out of hession bags and rope. Jack and Reg did most of the design and construction. Laurie got to test it out. With the chute strapped to his back, Laurie was encouraged to climb to the highest point they could find. And jump. Unfortunately, the chute got tangled in a tree branch and when Laurie eventually hit the ground, he landed flat on his back. As he lay there winded and in pain, Jack and Reg stood over him laughing their heads off. When Laurie could eventually breathe, he joined in the laughing.
Decades later, when asked how they would top that, Laurie said that Jack and Reg had advanced plans to shoot him out of a cannon!12
|Jack, Reg and Laurie were not just close in age, they were best mates. While the boys would fight amongst themselves, if an outsider threatened one of them, they had better be prepared to take on all of them.13|
|Everyone loved visiting Grandma Phillips in Bacchus Marsh and the boys were no exception. They would visit for two to three weeks during the Christmas school holidays. A visit to the Marsh gave them even more ways to have fun, or get into mischief.14|
Those damn blue shirts: Auntie Eilie recalls lots of blue shirts. When Jack, Reg and Laurie stayed with their grandma during school holidays, they would bring their blue school shirts to wear. These got grubby and needed changing every day, and Eilie remembers 'an endless stream of those damn blue shirts to clean and iron'.15
Charlie's broken windscreen: Auntie Eilie recalls once when Auntie Bub was going out with a chap by the name of Charlie Britnall. Charlie was from Sydney and his step father was Sydney bookmaker and politician, Sir John Montgomery Dunningham. Charlie was a good dancer (the Charleston gets a mention) and drove a sports car. One weekend, Bub and Charlie drove to see her and mum (Ellen, Grandma Phillips) at the house on the hill in Bacchus Marsh. Unfortunately for them, Jack, Reg and Laurie were there for a holiday (they were maybe 8 to 10 years old). From the safety of the house, the boys threw stones at Charlie's sports car, breaking the windscreen.16,15
Bill Vallence's army regalia: After her husband Bill Vallence died following war service, Mary lived with Ellen in Bacchus Marsh. Bill was a Corporal in the army and received the Military Medal. On one occasion, nephews Jack, Reg & Laurie got into a trunk of Mary's mementos of Bill - full army regalia including jacket, medals, plume hat, and so on. Mary was quite upset.17
Eilie's harp (as told by Laurie Phillips): A few months after Tom and Eilie married, Reg and I were holidaying at Balliang for our Christmas holidays. Auntie Eilie was learning to play a small harp type instrument that was a wedding present. She wasn't making much headway with it. Uncle Tom got the giggles, and Reg and I joined in. Auntie Eilie did the melon and sent Reg and I off to bed, and I guess maybe uncle Tom's honeymoon was over.18
How fast will it go, Tom?: Tom Redden had a big car. With Tom and Eilie in the front, and the visiting Reg and Laurie in the back on their way to church, the boys would ask 'How fast will it go, Tom?' Tom would duly oblige by planting the foot, much to the delight of the two in the back. When they got back to school after the holidays and were asked 'what did you do for Christmas?', they would recount the story of how they went screaming along in their uncle's car at 60 miles an hour.14
The three oldest boys went to St Brendan's primary school in Shepparton. Enrolment records show that 'John' started in 1928, 'Reggie' in 1929, and 'Lawrence' in 1930.19,16,20
|Jack and Reg went to board at Assumption College in Kilmore in 1936. Laurie joined them in 1939, and all three were there until 1940. They all did Intermediate (Year 10) at Assumption College.16,21,22|
Jack in Assumption College uniform with Brian Phillips, Nixon St, Shepparton, 1936
Image: Catherine Wayman
|Nixon St Home Revisited|
|In March 1928, Tom put the Nixon St house up for sale. It was advertised as having six rooms (one more than when purchased in 1924), bathroom, washhouse and electric light. Terms were half cash, £100 in six months, balance in 30 months and 6½ per cent interest. It wasn't sold.|
Between 1924 and 1931, the address (in the Shepparton rates or electoral roll) is 62 Nixon St. From 1933 to 1937, it is 16 Nixon St. They didn't move, this was due to streets being renumbered.
The youngest three children, Rene, Don and Brian, were born while the family was in the Nixon St home. All six children spent some of their time growing up in Nixon St, though for the youngest Brian, not very long.23,24,7,25,26,27
|Pine Lodge Hotel|
|The family had their first taste of what life could be like while living in a pub, when they moved into the Pine Lodge Hotel in Shepparton East in 1938.|
The three older boys were boarding at Assumption College in Kilmore, returning three times a year during school holidays. At home they lived in an old cable car under the peppercorn tree. In summer the mosquitoes were so bad they burned cow pats to keep them away.28,29,30
|While at the hotel, Rene and Don went to the nearby Shepparton East school. Brian had not yet started school.|
While Tom was busy running the business, it was also a very busy time for Sis. As well as looking after the children and the usual domestic duties, she also worked the bar and kitchen. There was also a lot of night trading, which hotelkeepers had to do to survive in the days of six o'clock closing. Despite all this, Sis found time to be involved with the Shepparton East branch of the Country Women's Association.29,28
|Mum's Major Lung Operation|
|Around 1940, Sis had a major operation in which one lung was removed. It came about suddenly following a haemorrhage. Sis was taken from Shepparton to a hospital in East Melbourne, possibly St Vincents or St Ives, where the operation took place.|
The three eldest boys, Jack, Reg and Laurie were at Assumption College in Kilmore at the time. One day at morning rosary the Brothers announced to everyone that the boys' mother was about to have a serious operation and that they should all say a few prayers for them.
The family rallied around to help. Sis's mum came up from Melbourne to help look after Rene, Don & Brian. Sis spent time recovering at the home of her sister-in-law Tess in Essendon. And her sister Bub helped out with the kids and housework when Sis returned home.31,32,12
|Orr Street Home|
Tom bought the weatherboard residence at 77 Orr St from Mr Ben Seth in July 1941, though the family likely lived there earlier.33
|Between moving out of the Pine Lodge Hotel in early 1940 and into the Orr St home, the family lived in a house in Nixon St, near Harold St.|
Tom was then involved in a number of business ventures including the Court House Hotel, where Sis also worked for a while.
When they bought the Hotel Australia, they kept the Orr St house which the whole family called home for several more months. And years later, two sons lived there after they married.31,34,29
Back: Sis Phillips, Val Irwin; front: Brian, Don & Rene Phillips, 77 Orr St, Shepparton, c. 1942
Image: Laurie & Lorraine Phillips
|364 Albert Street, East Melbourne|
Following school, Jack, Reg and Laurie lived in a boarding house at 364 Albert Street, East Melbourne. The boarding house was run by four miss O'Briens. A couple of other mates were there, including Wally O'Dea and Ted Malloy. Jack worked for the Department of Defence in Maribyrnong, Reg worked for a shipping company in King Street, and Laurie worked on the railways.35,36,37
Reg reported for service in the Second World War with the Royal Australian Navy at HMAS Cerberus on 29 July 1942. This was just before his 18th birthday. Within two months he had qualified in gunnery and a month later in seamanship.
It wasn't until May 1944 that his association began with the HMAS Shropshire. Within months he was a 20 year old gun loader in the last major naval battle to take place in the Pacific.
On 20 October 1944 Australian ships were part of the massive Allied invasion fleet that landed American troops at Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines, enabling General Douglas MacArthur to honour his promise made two years earlier to return to liberate the Philippines. On 21 October Japanese aircraft attacked the Allied fleet, targeting Shropshire and Australia, the latter becoming the first Allied warship to be hit by a kamikaze aircraft. Four days later, Shropshire took part in an action that virtually finished the Imperial Japanese Navy as a fighting force.
In January 1945, the repaired Australia, together with Shropshire, Arunta and Warramunga, carried out bombardments while under heavy attack from enemy aircraft including kamikazes. Once again Australia became the victim of sustained air attacks with five aircraft hitting the ship. Just after midday on Saturday 6 January, Shropshire was attacked and near-missed by a kamikaze. After another attack on Australia, it was sent for repair in Sydney. Shropshire and the other RAN ships, including newly repaired Hobart, continued in the area until March 1945. The allied forces won the battles and the Philippines were liberated.
In 1995, fifty years after the event, Reg and his soldier mates were awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal by the Philippine government for the part they played in liberating the islands.
Reg was discharged in March 1946.1,4,38
|Jack and Reg enlisted and were discharged within a month of each other.|
Following the second world war, Reg returned home and went into a tomato growing venture at Stanhope with his mate, Murray Slee, with whom he played football at Shepparton.4
Jack, Reg and Laurie all played football in Shepparton. Jack played for Shepparton East, Reg played for Shepparton, and Laurie played one year with Shepparton then a year with SPC. They may have also played in combined Goulburn Valley teams.39
|Reg had a life long connection with the Shepparton Football Club. He started playing after returning from the war and eventually racked up 117 senior games.|
Reg was later involved with the running of the club, and served as president in 1976 and 1977. In recognition of his efforts, he was made a life member.40,41
Reg Phillips, possibly a combined Goulburn Valley team jersey, c. 1950
Image: Laurie & Lorraine Phillips
Shepparton Football Club, premiers 1951, Reg Phillips (back row, second from right), Murray Slee (back row, second from left), Bill Haddock (middle row, left)
Image: Madge Phillips
Back: Jack Gilbert, Barry ?, Eric Roscoe, ? De Figarato, ?, Ken Johnson, Meo Darveniza, Reg Phillips, Murray Slee, Wicky Harris, Max Gunnel; front: Allan Goodlett, Jack O'Brien, Puddy Ledwidge, Laurie Phillips, Ron Guy, Oakie McAuliffe, Rudd Williams, Vin O'Brien, Noel Hartin, possibly a combined Goulburn Valley team, c. 1950
Image: Laurie & Lorraine Phillips
|Hotel Australia Home|
For a more comprehensive account of the Phillips family's time at the Hotel Australia, see House of Phillips.
Although the family's official commencement at the Hotel Australia was November 1944, Tom and Sis still lived at Orr St for several months before moving. Sis was keen to move in but Tom insisted that her sister Bub would need to help out first.
At the time, Jack, Reg and Laurie were about 21, 20 and 19. Jack and Reg were serving in the Second World War and Laurie was about to do the same. Rene was about 15, Don 13 and Brian 8, and so were still at school.
Jack, Reg and Laurie moved into the hotel as they returned from the war, so Jack around February 1946, Reg March 1946 and Laurie January 1948.34,42
|The 'Cupboard' was a small room under the stairwell where after hours drinking would occur, often well into the night. Unfortunately for Sis, the stairwell was near their bedroom causing many a disrupted sleep.|
Time Gentlemen, Please!: At about 6:10 pm the head barman in the main bar would shout 'Time gentlemen, please!', meaning it was time to drink up as the bar was about to close. After everyone shuffled out, there would be a tap-tap-tap on the front door with a coin, and the hardier ones would sneak in again and meet in the 'Cupboard' to continue drinking. The drinkers would be from all walks of life, including cops. Tom recalls times when it seemed like there were a hundred blokes in there - it was packed and noisy.43
|The family's living arrangements changed as the children married. Reg was first to wed, marrying Madge in March 1948, and they lived in the Orr St home. In 1952 they returned to the hotel with baby Michael and stayed until soon after Susan was born in 1953, when they moved into their newly constructed home in Maude St.|
Rene was second to marry, and in 1952 moved to Warrnambool with new husband Keith Barnes. The couple's friendship developed when Keith was staying at the hotel while he was an announcer at nearby 3SR radio station.
Laurie closely followed Rene, when later in 1951 he married Lorraine and they moved into a home in Maude St.
Jack married Cass in 1952 and they moved into the Orr St home, prompting Reg and Madge to return to the hotel.42
|Marriage and Family|
Rosalind Madge Helmer and Reginald Phillips were married at St Mary's church in Mooroopna on Easter Monday, 29 March 1948. They had nine children.3,2
|When they were first married, Reg and Madge lived in the Hotel Australia in Shepparton where Reg was working. Most of their married life was spent at 40 Maude St in Shepparton and this is where their nine children grew up.|
The children attended St Brendan's primary school. For secondary school, the girls attended Sacred Heart College and the boys attended St Colman's College across the road. The eldest, Michael, attended Assumption College in Kilmore for a time.
|Lorraine and Laurie's Wedding|
Val was bridesmaid at her sister Lorraine's wedding and Reg was best man for his brother Laurie.
Val Williams (bridesmaid) & Reg Phillips (best man), Laurie & Lorraine Phillips wedding, St Mary's, Mooroopna, Sep 1951
Image: Val Williams
|The wedding party celebrated the occasion 40 years later.|
|Sport and Recreation|
Reg and Madge both enjoyed their golf and tennis.4,45
|Hotel Australia Work|
|All six children worked at the Hotel Australia, though probably only the five boys were paid. Jack, Reg and Laurie began working as they returned from the war, so Jack around February 1946, Reg March 1946 and Laurie January 1948. Tom had developed heart problems when serving in the war and so had limited physical abiliy. And Sis was limited having had a lung removed a few years earlier.|
Bill Condon, racing expert: The Phillips boys perpetrated many pranks on former Shepparton News reporter and later Sporting Globe racing expert Bill Condon. He raced to more hoax 'fatals' at his peril, and went out to see more gelded sires than any other newsman in known history. Yet for all his naivety, he was still a brilliant journalist, according to the boys.41
Tiny Moylan and the cellar: One night, locksmith genius, wag and trick cyclist Leo 'Tiny' Moylan, the only man who could ride a bike down Mt Major backwards mounted on the handlebars, rode into the cellar in the 'snake pit' before a crowd of patrons crying with laughter.41
In late 1954, Reg decided to leave the hotel and start his own business. He sold his share in the hotel and for a year or so, ran Mensland, a men's wear business.46
|TJ Phillips & Sons|
When Tom leased the Hotel Australia from Dunnes in November 1944 for £25 a week, there were no partners in the business.
Tom Phillips and his family purchased the Hotel Australia in mid-1948. The lease had included an option to purchase and by 1948 Dunnes were finally persuaded to sell. In August 1948, Tom's licence was transferred to the new partnership of TJ Phillips & Sons. This partnership consisted of Tom and the three eldest sons, Jack, Reg and Laurie.
All five boys have held shares in the business, but never all at the same time. The first half of 1955 saw major changes in the company structure. In April 1955, they formed a proprietary limited company consisting of Tom, Sis, Jack, Laurie, Don and 19 year old Brian. Reg took his share from the earlier partnership to persue other business ventures. Sis was now part of the company structure for the first time, as were Don and Brian. Between them, Tom and Sis had a small majority share holding. Tom was nominee in the new company and Jack was company secretary.
TJ Phillips & Sons was liquidated in November 1981.47
|City Dry Cleaners|
Of Reg's business ventures, his best known is City Dry Cleaners. His first bundle of clothing was processed in his High Street shop in 1956, and here he operated the business for about 20 years.
He built the business on quality and service, including a free delivery and repair service. The little Morris vans were seen throughout Shepparton picking up and delivering garments in the 1950s and 1960s.
The major changes to the business occured with the widespread introduction of the Perclean solvent (replacing white spirit), and movement of national cleaning businesses like Gouge and Spotless.
Reg sold the business in 1976 and it was still operating 20 years later.48
|The Twins' 80th Birthday Celebration|
|When twins Nene and Sis turned 80 in 1983, the family gathered to mark the occasion.|
Reg & Laurie Phillips, Rene Barnes, Jack, Sis, Don & Brian Phillips (one of few photos with all six siblings), Apr 1983
Image: Pete & Di Phillips
|Reginald Phillips died at Repatriation hospital in Heidelberg on 9 August 1995, six days after his 71st birthday.|
He was buried at Pine Lodge cemetery in Shepparton East on 12 August 1995.4
- [S256] 'Phillips Reginald', A6770 Service Cards for Petty Officers and Men, 1911-1970, control symbol 'Phillips R', service record, 1942-1946.
- [S270] Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, registry and index, Reginald Phillips and 'Rosalind Marge' Helmer entry, marriage registration no. 4296, 1948.
- [S201] 'Easter weddings celebrated: Bridal gown of Swiss organdie worn by Miss Madge Helmer', Shepparton Advertiser, 1914-1953, newspaper, Thomas Pettit and William Callender, 2 April 1948, p. 9, viewed 8 August 2017, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/169558527
- [S263] 'Farewell to one of nature's gentlemen', Shepparton News, 11 August 1995, p. 17.
- [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, Commonwealth division of Echuca, Victorian division of Goulburn Valley, subdivision of Shepparton, 1925.
- [S104] Laurence Lloyd Phillips, birth registration no. 35021, unknown date.
- [S233] Shepparton Shire & Town Rates Index, 1885-1939/1941, computer file, Shepparton Family History Group, Phillips entries.
- [S260] 'The greatest real estate sale ever held in Shepparton', Goulburn Valley Stock and Property Journal, 1910-1963, newspaper, Horan & Simpson, 9 July 1924, p. 2, viewed 31 July 2019, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/215110804
- [S52] Doris 'Nene' Courtie, personal communication, 30 December 1996.
- [S2] 'Arnotts Milk Arrowroot', Simply Australian, online, Cincinnati, Ohio, viewed 13 July 2014 https://www.simplyoz.com/products/australian_foods/…
- [S2] 'Great Depression in Australia', Wikipedia, online, Wikimedia Foundation, viewed 26 July 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression_in_Australia
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 10 December 2012.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 26 May 2014.
- [S31] Eileen Redden, personal communication, 25 February 1996.
- [S102] Jack Phillips, personal communication, 2 March 2013.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 1996.
- [S281] 'Phillips Family', Facebook, webpage, Facebook Inc., group created 25 June 2011, 8 January 2012 post by Laurie Phillips.
- [S165] History of St Brendan's Primary School 1891-1991, St Brendan's Centenary History Committee, 1991, pp. 69-70.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 2 March 2013.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 10 May 1996.
- [S201] 'Personal pars', Shepparton Advertiser, 1914-1953, newspaper, Thomas Pettit and William Callender, 29 August 1936, p. 4, viewed 8 September 2019, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/168150213
- [S201] 'Watch this: Shepparton town land sale', Shepparton Advertiser, 1914-1953, newspaper, Thomas Pettit and William Callender, 1 March 1928, p. 5, viewed 5 May 2019, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/179172549
- [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, Commonwealth division of Echuca, state division of Goulburn Valley, subdivision of Shepparton, 1931 & 1936.
- [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, division of Echuca, subdivision of Shepparton, 1934.
- [S392] Australia, Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, online, Commonwealth division of Indi, Victorian division of Goulburn Valley, subdivision of Shepparton, 1937.
- [S550] 'stage II: Heritage place datasheets, vol. 4 datasheets Murchison -Z, 2004', Greater Shepparton Heritage Studies, online, GSCC, 2001-, viewed September 2019, http://greatershepparton.com.au/bpi/planning/…
- [S15] Irene Barnes, personal communication, 5 December 2012.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 31 August 2019.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 27 July 2019.
- [S15] Irene Barnes, personal communication, 5 October 2012.
- [S58] Violet 'Bub' Williams, personal communication, 1 September and 30 December 1996.
- [S260] 'J McNamara & Co: Houses', Goulburn Valley Stock and Property Journal, 1910-1963, newspaper, Horan & Simpson, 23 July 1941, p. 4, viewed 4 May 2019, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/217932986
- [S58] Violet 'Bub' Williams, personal communication, 28 September 1996.
- [S102] Jack Phillips, personal communication, 27 December 1999.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 27 December 1999.
- [S254] 'Phillips John Lawrence', A9301 RAAF Personnel files of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and other ranks, 1921-1948, control symbol 58064, service record, 1942-1946.
- [S2] 'kamikaze', Australia's War 1939-1945, online, Australian Government, Department of Veterans' Affairs, viewed 28 July 2014. <http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/waratsea/kamikaze.html
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, 17 February 2015.
- [S282] History of the Shepparton Football Club, commemorative souvenir book, 1981.
- [S247] 'Mine host pulls his last glass', Shepparton News, 27 September 1979, p. 9.
- [S15] Irene Barnes, personal communication, 4 December 2013.
- [S214] Tom Carey, personal communication, May 2001.
- [S16] Catherine Wayman, personal communication, 2 March 2013.
- [S551] Madge Phillips, eulogy, document, 19 October 2016.
- [S32] Laurie Phillips, personal communication, conversation 27 October 2013.
- [S400] 'TJ Phillips & Sons', 1955-1981, company documents.
- [S283] 'Relic found', Shepparton News, 11 September 2002.