D is for Divorce

When I was a child I was told my grandfather Walter Sydney Hall died when my mother

myrtle 25
Myrtle aged 25

was eight.  This wasn’t true as my grandmother left Walter and took her only child with her to Sydney.  Interestingly this event coincides with the death of Myrtle’s mother Christina.  I am unable at this stage to find any records of a divorce although I was later told this took place.

Myrtle with her first husband and my grandfather Walter Sydney Hall

As a trained dressmaker Myrtle was able to support herself and her daughter but I am guessing when the Depression arrived around 1928 the demand for bespoke gowns declined considerably.  Myrtle next appears in Queensland at my mother’s wedding in 1936 but now her name is Dighton.  Walter Hall died in 1933 so whether she married after she became a widow is unknown. Like my other grandmother she worked on properties as a housekeeper so probably met her second husband in that capacity.

Frederick George Dighton was an overseer and in 1943 they were living at Gidyea Plains, Charleville.  The rare times his name was mentioned he was not remembered fondly.  frock shopSometime between 1946 and 1953 Myrtle married George Muir in Sydney, NSW, changed her name to Kay and opened a “Frock Shop”. I remember the apartment upstairs with its modern kitchen and bathroom, the dress shop  below and the large workroom behind with long cutting tables and sewing machines.

The love of Kay’s life was also called George but she never married him.

Kay and George
George, the man Kay should have married

She used to frequent fortune tellers and was told by one she would marry a man called George.  She happily replied that she was planning to marry a George.  The fortune teller warned that the man she was to marry she hadn’t yet met.  Did she marry George Muir for the prospect of being able to build and open her own dress shop?  It was an unhappy marriage.  As a small child I remember the tension in the air when I visited.  When Kay Muir Frocks was sold in 1963 my grandmother left her last marriage and men behind forever.

She avoided her last husband by living quietly at Bonnie Vale Beach near Bundeena, south of Sydney and later bought a unit on the beach at Cronulla.

I can’t find any records of the divorces.  I would like to know why she left the men she married.  She had such a charming, outgoing personality but seemed unable to find and keep a soul mate.

13 thoughts on “D is for Divorce

  1. So Walter married Myrtle in 1916 HALL Given namesWalter Sydney EventMarriage Father’s name / Spouse’s family nameLOCK Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given nameMyrtle May Reg. year1916 Reg. no8232 I have found a 1925 advertisement where Walter says he won’t be responsible for his wife’s debts Advertising (1925, September 5). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69516535

    Myrtle married Frederick George Dighton in 1938 and divorced him in 1947 LAW COURTS REPORTS (1947, January 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved April 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18011605

    thanks for dropping by my blog


    1. Thanks so much for that. The mystery is that my grandmother signed her daughter’s wedding certificate in 1936 as Myrtle Dighton. You would think she would be Myrtle Hall or even revert to her maiden name of Lock. You have done some great research. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps she was cohabiting with Frederick and they only married after they learned of Walter’s death. I can’t see an index record of the marriage in Vic, NSW or Queensland.



  2. I love family intrigue, Linda. I remember a quote I read in The Vivisector by Patrick White about the truth being what you overhear. Divorce cases often appeared in the newspaper in almost lurid detail and these cases have been particularly helpful for adding all sort of colour to my famly history. Indeed, you mind outt more about the “sinners”.
    I thought my 4 x Great Grandfather, John Johnston sailed from Glasow to Dunedon in NZ and married my 4 x Great Grandmother in Invercargill and they had children in NZ before immigrating to Australia. However, I was looking through NZ Newspapers Past and found out that he’d gone on quite a detour on his way out and had got married in Liverpool, England nad had children there. Yhe family sailed out to NZ but the marriage floundered and he left for the goldfields. He ended up in court and jailed for bigamy. Quite an exciting story, however, there was a lot of hardship and tragedy involved. There’s a post here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2018/07/08/a-shocking-case-of-bigamy/
    All of this research is much fun.
    Best wishes,


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