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A brief history of the Dominish family

My great, great grandfather, John Dominish was born in 1827 in Croatia (Austro/Hungarian province at the time). He came to Australia along with his brother Matthew working on a ship around 1856. John settled in Cawdor on a property owned by John Macarthur as a farmer (his family in Europe were wine growers/makers).

Soon after settling in Camden, John married Matilda Smart on 4th August 1859 at St John’s Church, Camden. They had 8 children (see pic). John Dominish passed away in 1883. Laura Dominish (daughter of John & Matilda) had her son out of wedlock. Elmo Morton Dominish (my grandfather) was born 8th November 1895.

My grandmother, Ivy Winifred Brookes was born in 1900 on Mt Hercules. She lived on a farm there along with her 9 brothers and sisters. The shell of the home built in 1854 still stands and has been classified by the National Trust.

Elmo Morton Dominish married Ivy Winifred Brookes from Razorback, Camden on 11th January 1926. They received a cow for a wedding present and set up home at # 3 John Street Camden NSW. They lived with the bare essentials, as they had no money when they began married life. There were only a few rooms in the home, certainly not enough for a growing family. Elmo added a room onto the outside of the home whenever a child was born. They had 5 children (Clyde, Doris, Jean & Edna, Dulcie - deceased age 2months after a tragic accident in 1929). The floor of the home was compacted dirt with rugs on the floor & floorboards in some rooms.

Elmo was a bootmaker/repairer. He had his shop in F.C. Whitemans building in Argyle Street (circa 1920s). During the depression, Elmo would repair the soles of the shoes for men that were walking from Sydney to Melbourne to find work. Elmo was a kind man; he did many unpaid shoe repairs to help those who were out of work. Unfortunately, this led to Elmo going broke and having to close his business in Argyle St. Elmo then continued his boot making/repairs in a large shed on the land at 3 John street after he could no longer afford to keep his shop in Argyle St. He would also repair the boots of the servicemen that would parachute into the airfield throughout the night, and walk past the house at 3 John St, during World War 2.

Elmo & Ivy saved up their money to have electricity connected in the kitchen ‘only’ at 3 John Street. They had a market garden, a few cows, chickens, 4 sheds & an orchard on the property.
My grandfather (Elmo) planted the pepper trees that still surround the property at 3 John Street, now currently the John St playground.

John Dominish (Dominic) - born Donji Vidovec, Croatia, 14 May 1827 – 18 Sept 1883 (died Camden buried Cawdor NSW) 


Matilda Smart - born Hail Weston, Huntingtonshire, England 1 May 1839 – 30 June 1921 (died Camden buried Cawdor NSW) 


Married 4 August 1859 St Johns Church Camden 1890

Matilda Dominish (nee Smart) & John Dominish had 8 children – (John Dominish not pictured in this photograph) Laura Dominish (front row right end) is the mother of Elmo Morton Dominish.


Elmo Morton Dominish
(1895 – 1976)



Elmo Morton Dominish married Ivy Winifred Brookes on the 11th January 1926
Elmo Morton Dominish outside his bootmaking/repair shop Argyle Street, Camden in F.C. Whiteman's building next to Ben Hodge (jeweller/watchmaker)


During the depression, Elmo would repair the soles of the shoes for men that were walking from Sydney to Melbourne to find work. Due to Elmo’s kindness, he did many unpaid shoe repairs to help those who were out of work, this unfortunately led to him going broke. 


Ivy & Elmo Dominish – children
Clyde Morton Dominish (1926-2017)
Dulcie Winifred Dominish – (not pictured 1929-1929 aged 2 mths)
Doris May Dominish (b 1931)
Jean Isabel Dominish (b 1933)
Edna Winifred Dominish (1935-2013)


John Street playground (cnr John & Exeter Streets)
Previously - Ivy & Elmo Dominish family home
3 John Street, Camden
*The pepper trees planted along the outside of the park were planted by Elmo Dominish


3 John Street, Camden NSW (cnr John & Exeter Streets) - currently John St playground.


Disclaimer: The ideas, comments and concepts presented are those of the author and do not represent the opinion or policies of Camden Council or Camden Council Library Services.