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William Ronald Magain

William Ronald Magain
Brick Wall Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

An Australian, named as Mr W Maggin (sic) in the Adelaide Advertiser, claimed to have invented a teasmade in about 1912. After extensive digging and finding no W Maggin in that area, I identified a likely candidate in William Ronald Magain. He usually went by the name William Magain.

William was born in about 1886, probably in Stawell, Victoria, Australia, where I believe his father was James Magain, a miner.

William married Gertrude Eastlake Swalwell in 1908. His first child Reginald was born in Stawell in 1908, and they were still living there in 1910. Some time between 1910 and 1912 the family moved to Elizabeth Street, Mitcham, Adelaide, South Australia, where Wm Magain was listed in the Sands and McDougall Directory as a carpenter. On 1st June 1912 his first daughter Audrey May Magain was born in Price Street, Edwardstown, Adelaide. She later married Lawrence Kerr Dunn. On 17th May 1914 William’s second son William Ronald was born, also at Price Street.

From 1914 William disappeared from records until 1920, when he appeared in the Sands and McDougall Directory at 3 Douglas Street, Parkside, Adelaide, listed as a carpenter. Perhaps he was already working at the Globe Timber Mills, in Port Adelaide. In about 1920 his second daughter Edna Minetta Magain was born. Edna later married Arthur Alfred Lance.

William was still listed as a carpenter at 3 Douglas Street in the 1922 Sands and McDougall Directory, but then he disappeared again.

William’s invention was illustrated in the Adelaide Advertiser in 1922. It gave his address as Kurralta Park, near Richmond, and his name as W Maggin.

Maggin Early Morning Waiter 1912
Maggin / Magain Early Morning Waiter 1912

William Magain was not listed in the 1923 Sands and McDougall Directory and did not reappear in the Directory again until 1926. This could be the period when he was living at Kurrulta Park.

In the 1926 Sands and McDougall Directory William was listed living at a new address: 25 Freeling Crescent, Colonel Light Gardens, Adelaide. No occupation was given. He remained at 25 Freeling Crescent for the rest of his life.

His two or more youngest children were Lorraine G Magain (known as Laurel) who later married Herbert Sutton, and Robert E Magain, who later married Joyce Steer, and probably a Miss M D Magain and a Master or Mr A R Magain (both mentioned in the Sands and McDougall Directory in 1960).

William was named in an article in the Advertiser in 1935, about an accident at the Globe Timber Mills. The article describes him as an engineer.

William was given an award in 1938 at the Model Craftsmanship Charity Exhibition in Adelaide for the best new tool in the show. The tool was a milling attachement for lathe. William was still listed as a carpenter in the Sands and McDougall Directory in 1957.

He was still living at 25 Freeling Crescent when he died on 13th July 1958. He was buried in Centennial Park Cemetery, Pasadena, Mitcham. Gertrude survived him and died on 10th December 1969. She was buried with him.

Two of his sons, Reginald and Robert had became engineers. Robert was listed in the Sands and McDougall Directory as a tool maker in 1958. William junior married Gwendolyn Phyllis Bugg in 1938 but was accused of adultery with Dorothy May Gillard and probably separated from Gwendolyn in 1943. He was a Private in 2 Corps of the Australian Army (Service number SX15711 during WW2 and was Mentioned in Despatches in 1945. In 1950 he was the proprietor of a cafe in Rundle Street. It is possible that he later married Dorothy as he is listed in the Sands and McDougall Directory living in Winston Avenue, Edwardstown, in 1960, with a wife, D Magain. They were listed running a delicatessen in Rowell Road.