from Redhill to Gympie

A tribute to Michael Christian Daly & Eileen Gertrude Green,to their descendants and to their ancestors and to the many cousins

Brendan John Holdcroft

This is a short, informal biography of Brendan John Holdcroft contained in two email messages. Presented in his memory.

Born 1943 in Adelaide. Educated by the Jesuits at St Ignatius, Norwood, South Australia and continued his education at Adelaide University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Economics degree. Early career as an economist at Shell Oil, Ford Australia and Seppelts Wines in the 1960's. Later he joined the South Australian Education Department as a lecturer in economics at TAFE level. Married Jennifer Daly and later remarried (name unknown). Died 2002 in Adelaide.

An email to Brendan's Children - 29 April 2013

Dear Holdcroft Kids,

This afternoon I was bottling off a home brew batch when I remembered a story of your dad. Steph said to me quite rightly that I should tell you about it. I grew up without knowing either of my grandfathers nor anything about them, so I reckon your kids and you might appreciate some family "stories". I will come to the home brew story soon.

I first met your dad in the mid-1960's. It was definitely before the introduction of decimal currency as I recall on that on the first day of the currency transition on the 14th February 1966, my brothers and I exchanged the new one and two cent coins your dad had got during the day for the old pennies we had. When your mum and dad announced their engagement your grandad and grandma Holdcroft had a family party for them in their home on Kensington Road (Norwood). Grandma Holdcroft was an audacious cook and even prepared a pizza for the evening. I had never heard of it and it was the first time I had ever tried it! I have been sold on pizza ever since.

Brendan was nicknamed Tim by his family. I don't know why and recently when emailing your uncle (see below), I queried him about the name and even he couldn't recall its background. Tim was a gregarious person. He loved kids and got on really well with your mum's sisters and more especially the 3 boys in the Daly family. He was an excellent sportsman. As a cricketer he was a good bowler. He taught us how to spin the ball and hit it over the fence. At football he was a tiger. Being new to Adelaide, after the Daly family moved from Brisbane in December 1963, Tim coached us in the finer points of the game of Aussie Rules which I didn't even know existed. I remember marking the ball and then your dad jumping up and down in front of me to put me off my kick. I failed, as he intended, as I was laughing so much at his antics. This was in the backyard of the Daly family home in Dulwich. Your Dad had access to a squash court at a university residence and introduced me to the game which I played for many years later on. He even got a key for me to access the courts and I was able to make my own bookings. Nobody ever questioned our arrangements. Those were the days.

Tim had a terrific little sports car. A Singer Tourer built in about 1937. It was painted British racing green. Your mum and dad would drive us down to Maslin's Beach and other coastal picnic spots. Driving on the sand at Moana was a new experience. On one picnic Tim packed some cold roast rabbit - a meat I'd never had before. I was persuaded to try a bit but was not persuaded enough to finish it off. Your dad was very generous with his time and thoughts. One day he drove Aunty Phil (Grandma Daly's sister) to mass in the Singer with the top down. Luckily A. Phil had a scarf for her hair. I reckon it must have put a few years back into her life as she was really thrilled by the drive; she came home to our place, we were living in Fullarton Road, Dulwich at the time, and she was recalling the drive in the open top car excitedly. Even your uncle Greg Daly was given a glowing reference by Tim when he asked for one to help him get a holiday job. He used a few big words in the reference and I was impressed with the vocabulary. I wonder if Greg ever got the job.

For many years your granddad Holdcroft owned a shoe factory. I think it was down along the Port Road area in Adelaide. Tim, during his late teens when he was at Uni, used to help out in the factory on Saturday mornings and do the cleaning. He said that they used to get pails of water which he threw over the concrete floor and then mopped it up and pushed it out into the drains. I heard that your granddad may have been a disciplinarian but Tim had a high regard for his parents. As business people they had a reputation to keep ensuring that business was not adversely affected. To the extent that, your Dad to his credit, accepted responsibility for a home beer brew. Granddad had put down a brew in the old stables at the back of their home which generated a typical odour. Unfortunately a dobber next door reported that the Holdcrofts were illegally brewing beer as it was against the law in those days. Your dad to his credit accepted responsibility for the offense so that his dad's reputation was not adversely affected. Such was the way of life in those times. And that is the home brew story.

Your dad also liked to have a good time and had a great sense of fun. He and your mum travelled throughout the Adelaide hills on the weekends dreaming of a home on acreage. Tim's first job after finishing his economics degree at Adelaide University was with Ford in Melbourne. At this stage he and your mum were not married but she followed him there as they could not bear the enforced separation. This was virtually unheard of in those moralistic days. I remember my mum going to lengths to explain that the relationship was platonic and that there was no naughtiness. The year before Tim had a cadetship with Shell Oil on North Tce in Adelaide city while he completed his last subject for his degree. After a short stay in Melbourne Tim and your mum returned to Adelaide for marriage, family and a job at Seppelts Wines. Tim came home with a couple of cars from Ford which he had bought at an employee discount. He kept the Cortina and sold the Falcon for a small profit.

After marriage they moved into an upstairs apartment in Molesworth Street in North Adelaide. I used to visit them there in 1968 on Saturdays, often on my way home from working at the flats Poppa Daly (your maternal granddad) owned. I'd take morning tea or lunch with them depending on the way I timed my visit! Once there was a visit in the afternoon and your Dad asked me to go down to the Wellington pub to get him a couple of bottles of beer. Shortly after they bought a home in Prospect Terrace and commenced a big renovation. The scope of the work included a new garden, kitchen, ensuite, bathroom, dining room, holes and new doorways. One day your dad fell ill. He was sick enough to go and see a doctor which was something he rarely did and the doctor whom he saw didn't know him. The doctor thought he was a labourer because his hands were so hard from the renovation work. When your dad was relating this story Grandma Daly expressed her pride in your dad as a hard worker.

I hope this made interesting reading for you. Your dad may have shared some of these insights so hopefully this fills out the bigger picture. Cheers and love to the family

Mike Daly

An email to Brendan's Brother, Peter - 26 March 2012


I have just found the work you did on the genealogy of the Holdcroft family. Well done.

Brendan John Holdcroft (1943-2002) was my brother in law. He married Jennifer Mary Daly. Jennifer was born in Adelaide on 08/11/1944 and grew up in Brisbane. She moved with her family to Adelaide in December 1963.

I understood that their marriage was at St Peters Clavers Church in Dulwich, SA but it is too long ago for me to remember precisely. Perhaps you can get a cross reference confirmation of this.

Brendan’s family nickname for him was Tim. He loved old sports cars – his first was a Singer tourer, about a 1939 vintage which he owned when at university. Later in the 1970’s he owned an MG B.

Brendan was educated at Adelaide University and first commenced work with Seppelts Wines in Adelaide as an economist before moving to Melbourne after his marriage to Jenny to work for Ford Australia for a short period. They returned to Adelaide for the birth of their first child and lived in North Adelaide. (A correction - the employment order was: Shell Oil, Ford then Seppelts.)

Although Brendan and I were of a different age group, I knew him as a great educator and lover of life.

I attach photos of my sister Jennifer in case you want to include them. The 1st photo is of Jennifer taken about 1959 and the second one about 1948. Both were taken at the family home in Herston, Brisbane.


Mike Daly