Royalieu Dana ‘Roy’ Champion de Crespigny (1905 – 1985) was the fifth of the six sons of Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850 – 1927).Phil and Roy de Crespigny (1)

Roy was a close friend of his nephew Philip George ‘Phil’ Champion de Crespigny (1906 – 2001), the son of Philip de Crespigny (1879 – 1918). They were about the same age and enjoyed each other’s company. Roy and Phil spent many years farming together. Phil used to talk with great pleasure about their bachelor days in the Avoca district, a couple of hours west of Melbourne.

In 1927 Phil enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces (Army Reserve). He was then twenty-one, living in East Kew and working for the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney at Ringwood. The CBC had just merged in January 1927 with the Bank of Victoria. Phil’s grandfather – Roy’s father – had been general manager of the Bank of Victoria until the merger. Philip de Crespigny senior died in the same year. Phil now felt free, it seems, to give up his banking career.

I don’t know if Roy ever worked for the bank, and I am not sure when Phil and Roy began farming together.

I believe that Phil and Roy share-farmed together for the first few years, working land owned by someone else. From what I remember of Phil’s stories they grew tobacco. It was a hard life. Phil’s obituary recalls he “endured the prewar years of depression and drought as a bachelor with those virtues for which he was beloved among his wide family: courage, humour, uprightness, honesty, hospitality and a marvellous plain-speaking charm.”

In 1934 the Weekly Times and the Age reported that Phil and Roy de Crespigny had bought a property of 1260 acres called Glenshee, near Elmhurst about 35 kilometers northeast of Ararat.

Phil and Roy joined in the social life of the district. Phil became president of the Elmhurst Tennis Club.

In 1937 Roy married Nancy ‘Nan’ Temple Smith (1914 – 2005). Phil was best man.


de C Roy 25_Nov_1937_-_Family_Notices_-_Trove

Family Notices (1937, November 25). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), p. 45. Retrieved from The wedding party in 1937: Nan, Roy and Phil are standing to the right of the group.


On 13 May 1940, seven months after Australia declared war on Germany, Phil enlisted in the army. His engagement to Jane Beggs (1913 – 2005) was announced a week later. They married in July 1940. Roy was Phil’s best man.

In June 1943 Nan and Roy de Crespigny’s only child, a son, Royalieu Peter, also called Roy,(1943 – 1964) was born.

Roy enlisted in the army in 1942.

After the war in July 1946 Phil and Roy dissolved their partnership in Glenshee. Phil took up a Soldier Settlement block near Wickliffe, thirty miles south of Ararat.

Elmhurst, Ecklin South and Wickliffe

Glenshee sale

Advertising (1950, January 21). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from


In February 1950 Roy sold Glenshee and, not long after began farming on the south coast thirty miles east of Warrnambool, at Ecklin South near Cobden and north of  Peterborough.

Roy and Nan’s farm was destroyed in the February 1983 ‘Ash Wednesday’ bushfires. Roy never recovered. He died two years later, on 10 February 1985.


Phil and Jane de Crespigny

Phil and Jane retired to Malua Bay on the south coast of New South Wales. I got to know them in their retirement. Phil was my grandfather’s first cousin.