THE family of Alec Hamilton reckons that he emigrated to Australia at least six times before he finally settled for life ‘down under’.
Mr Hamilton, who was 85, died in hospital in the State of Victoria, near Melbourne, after a short illness.
He and his Portadown-born wife Jean (nee McNeill) originally went ‘down under’ in the late 1950s, the era of the £10 assisted passage and initially travelled to and from Portadown regularly, making up their minds which they liked better.
It was ultimately the fact that their son Nigel and daughter Jennifer were born in Oz that finally made up their minds, although they came ‘home’ every two or three years to retain the many connections with family and friends in Portadown, not least at Portadown Male Voice Choir, where Alec sang second tenor.
Said his great friend and choir secretary Everett Browne, “Alec loved coming back to Portadown. He originally emigrated about 60 years ago, but his accent was still very much Portadown, and he was so proud of that. He always attended choir practices when he was back on holidays and went to Cork Festival with us once or twice. He was a real character.”
Alec Hamilton was one of a family of six brought up at 74 Carrickblacker Road, Portadown, and the third to pass away. He is pre-deceased by sisters Beatrice Orr and Miriam Maxwell, and survived by sister Peggy Woolsey (Portadown) brother Forress (Melbourne) and sister Audrey Robinson. He also leaves five grandchildren (all Australia).
Alec was a pupil at Edenderry Public Elementary (now Primary) School when it was just up the hill from his home at Carrickblacker Road and the principal was Alfie Lynas. He went on to Portadown ‘Tech’ and became a very talented joiner, working for Acheson’s Linen Factory at Parkmount, Robert Heathwood’s Contractors at Bridge Street, and Corbett’s at Market Street.
He continued his joinery trade in Australia, and hit the headlines some 20 ago when the family lost almost everything in the notorious bush fires that ravaged much of Australia. But, being such a talented tradesman, he re-built, re-settled and, typically, got on with life.
He had, though, been unwell for some time and his health deteriorated over the past few weeks until he finally died at a local hospital.
The funeral was on Monday to his local Methodist Church after which his remains were cremated.