Francis Badham Oliver (1884 - 1962)

Francis Badham Oliver, c.1890s

Francis Badham Oliver, (known to his family and friends as Fra), was born on 26 July 1884 in Neutral Bay, to Alexander Oliver and his wife (Eliza) Celia (Gowlland). His father, Alexander Oliver was at this time NSW Parliamentary Draftsman, as well as Registrar of Trade Unions. Alexander named this son in honour of his friend Professor Charles Badham, the noted Professor of Classics, and Dean of Arts and Law at Sydney University, who had died in February 1884.

Francis grew up at Shelcote, and received his early schooling in Sydney, He was sent on his own to England at the age of 10 to further his education. He was cared for by relatives and then sent to the Wick Preparatory school at Hove near Brighton. In 1898 he went on to Preshute House, Marlborough College, where he acquitted himself well, in classics and mathematics particularly. He left the College in 1901, and returned to Australia where he studied in Sydney and became a public accountant and auditor. He established an accounting practice in Gunnedah before the War, and ran that, as well as his families Sydney interests. He returned there, at least part time, for some years after WWI.

Francis was 30 when he enrolled in the AIF at Victoria Barracks on 7 August 1914. His enlistment number was 69. He went in to camp at Randwick on 10 August with the 3rd Battalion of Infantry, and was transferred 2 days later to the Engineers Company at Victoria Barracks. His enlistment papers state that he was 5’ 9 ½ “ and a bit over 11 stone. He took part in the Gallipoli campaign where he was promoted to Sergeant, and later saw service in France. He obtained a Commission in the 4th Battalion of Infantry. He suffered a mustard gas attack whilst serving on the Somme, and was blinded for several weeks. He was invalided to England for some months. In later life he suffered from bronchitis “but scorned a soldier’s pension saying he did not join up to receive a pension later.” ( From notes written by his son John Oliver)

Francis returned to Australia in 1919, and resumed his accounting practice, and management of his extended family’s interests. He established an office in Bridge Street in the City of Sydney, and worked there until his death in 1962. He was highly regarded as an accountant and auditor, and also held various honorary posts including Honorary Treasurer for The Royal Sydney Golf Club. He married Ethel Ruth Stokes (known as Ruth) in 1922. Their only child, John, was born in November 1923.
(Biography by Trish Oliver)

Many thanks to Trish Oliver for supplying information and the images on Oliver.