Marjorie Winifred Sullivan was born on 2 June 1920 in Clapham Road, Oakleigh, Victoria, to Stella Esther Gilbart Dawson, age 25, and Arthur Sullivan, a bootmaker, age 28. Marjorie was the fourth of six children: she had two sisters, Violet and Lillie, born in 1914 and 1915, and an older brother, Arthur, born 24 January 1919 at Chelsea, about 20 kilometres south of Oakleigh. Marjorie was also to have a younger brother, Roy, born in 1926 and sister, Gwendolyn, born in 1933.

(Oakleigh is a residential suburb 15 kilometres south-east of the Melbourne CBD. In 1921 its population was 6,076.)

A street map of Oakleigh from about 1920 currently for sale from Brighton Antique Prints and Maps (click to enlarge)
Excerpt from the above map showing Clapham Road and the business district of Oakleigh.

On the 1917 electoral roll Arthur and Stella were listed as living at Chelsea. Arthur’s occupation was bootmaker. On the 1922 roll, Arthur, a bookmaker, and his wife Stella were listed as living at Stanley Avenue, Cheltenham.

In early 1920, Arthur ran a boot shop in Bay Street, Frankston, 35 kilometres south of Oakleigh, an hour and a half away by train.


Advertising (1920, January 16). Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1911 – 1920), p. 3. Retrieved from

In March 1920 Arthur advertised that ‘on account of health reasons’, he was ‘seeking a change in outdoor employment’ and leaving the business. In the event he was absent for only a few weeks. In April he advertised he had resumed charge of his business. In May 1920 it was sold.

I don’t know when the family moved to Oakleigh but perhaps it was the move that prompted the sale of the business. Perhaps it was too far for him to travel every day.

Arthur served on the Western Front in the Australian Army during World War 1. He returned to Australia from France in February 1918, invalided out with ‘debility’. Marjorie told me that her father suffered from shell shock after the war. She had to sit with him when he got the horrors.

Advertising (1920, March 12). Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1911 – 1920), p. 2. Retrieved from
Advertising (1920, April 23). Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1911 – 1920), p. 2. Retrieved from
Advertising (1920, May 14). Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1911 – 1920), p. 3. Retrieved from

It appears that Arthur Sullivan set up as a bootmaker in Cheltenham after he sold the Frankston business. In September 1920 Arthur Sullivan of Cheltenham was advertising in situations vacant for a “Boot trade – Smart improver, constant, or repairer, few days”. I haven’t found any other reference to that business in the 1920 newspapers.

Advertising (1920, September 16). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from