THE HISTORY OF THE SYKES FAMILY IN AUSTRALIA
Edwin Joseph Sykes (fourth generation)
Known as "E. J”. throughout the west of New South Wales in which he spent the major part of his life, Edwin Joseph Sykes (fourth generation) was the fourth child of Stephen and Charlotte Barden. He was born at Currawang on 31st August 1874.
A student teacher at 17, he was sent, and went, west. Train to Hay and then cross country, by horseback and by push bike, to the River Darling. His first appointment was to care for two little part-time Schools about 12 miles apart. After three years or so he was promoted to Euston on the Murray (on the New South Wales side of the river – opposite where Robinvale stands today) with 25 pupils on the roll. Whilst there in 1901 he married Selina Wilkes, a beautiful and accomplished young woman, who, sadly, died in 1924, leaving him with their three children (Des, Maureen and Edna Joan).
For more details of E. J., Selina and descendants, see Stephen-Edwin line.
In 1910, E. J. and his young wife were offered the freehold of the Commercial Hotel at Wentworth, so he left the Department and held the licence of this hotel for just on 40 years. As well as entirely rebuilding the hotel, and buying, and enjoying the conduct of 18,000 acres of sheep country 50 miles out from Balranald, E. J. led a busy and useful life.
An alderman of the Wentworth Municipal Council for many years, he was, for over 12 years, its Mayor, and during that time was host to the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game, and his party, who were also guests at his hotel. A faithful and generous supporter of his church, he served the community in every sphere and earned the respect and affection, not only of the people of the Wentworth district, but those other wider Western areas he knew so well. He took an active part in most sports, and was President of the cricket, golf, rifle and bowling clubs, including the Sunraysia Bowling Association.
His integrity and geniality became a legend in his own lifetime. As a sign it did not diminish, the Wentworth Council, now enlarged to a Shire, named the fine grandstand with its amenities on its Community Sporting Centre, the "E. J. Sykes Pavilion"— 14 years after his death in Sydney in 1953.
Maureen Doris Sykes
Maureen was the second child of Edwin Sykes (fourth generation) and Selina Wilkes and was born at Euston, N.S.W., on 11th April 1905. She was educated at Mary's Mount, Ballarat, Victoria.
Shortly after she had finished her schooling and during her University education her mother died. Since Edwin was Mayor of Wentworth, N.S.W., at this time, Maureen became Mayoress. She married Harold Kenrick Ford on 6th August 1929 in St Francis Xavier's Church, Wentworth. Harold Kenrick was born at North Sydney on 1st December 1898, and was educated at Sydney Technical High School. He became a clerk with the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission. After his marriage to Maureen, he became a publican in the Commercial Hotel, Wentworth, and later joined the Department of Supply in Sydney. They had two children, John and Selina Ford. Harold Kenrick died suddenly at his residence in Cammeray on 14th February 1953. Maureen died in the Mater Hospital, North Sydney, on 20th September 1964. They are both buried in Northern Suburbs Cemetery.
Stephen John Sykes (fourth generation), brother of Edwin