Frances Ruby Kinder (b 1884)

parents Enoch Kinder & Matilda Maud Crask

born 26 December 1884, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia[1]
died 20 March 1966, Boronia, Victoria, Australia[2]
buried 22 March 1966, Springvale Botanic Cemetery, Victoria, Australia[7]

Frances Ruby Kinder

Frances Ruby Kinder is your Author’s maternal grandmother. 

She was universally known as Ruby.  Ruby was born on 26 December 1884 at the home of her parents, Enoch Kinder and Matilda Maud Crask who were living at 31 Evelyn Street, St Kilda, Victoria[1].

from Ruby's birth certificate

By the time of her sixth birthday, her father, Enoch, had already died and times were very hard for her mother.  This resulted in Ruby having very little formal education.  Her mother did teach her dressmaking, sewing and knitting – skills that later meant survival for her and her family.

After her father’s death, her mother, Matilda, was left in a rather poor state and yet she still had a number of children to raise and educate.  The family moved around regularly from one rental property to another and Ruby stayed on and off with older siblings.

According to entries found in References 3 and 4, Matilda and her children lived at 31 Evelyn Street until 1895.  From 1896 to 1902, they lived at 22 Little Alma Street, St Kilda (now King Street).  

In 1903, they lived at 12 Eliza Street, Richmond, 126 Albert Street, Windsor and 19 Nightingale Street, St Kilda.  

East St Kilda[5]
In 1905, Matilda was noted as being a Dressmaker living at 20 James Street, Prahran.  By this time Ruby would probably have been working with her.

From 1906 to 1909 Ruby was with her mother at 58 Marlborough Street, St Kilda, but also in 1909, Ruby lived at 332 Inkerman Street, St Kilda and is stated to be a Nurse (probably live-in)[4]

In 1912 at 57 Earl Street, Prahran.  In 1913-1914 at Shoobra Road, Elsternwick[4,6].

Waterloo Street is now joined at the east end with Argyle Street after the widening of High Street in the 1960s[5]

With Percy Freeman

During period 1910-11, Ruby was involved in a liaison with a certain Percy Freeman – a married man, but Ruby loved him dearly.  Percy promised to leave his wife and marry Ruby but he did not fulfil this promise.  Ruby’s first child, Kenneth Frances, was born of this relationship.  Kenneth never had any contact with Percy[8,9].

Ruby with son, Kenneth Francis Kinder

Ruby with daughter, Lilian Florence Eleanor Punch

Marriage to Fred Punch

Ruby and Frederick Laban Punch were married on 16 October 1915 at St Martin’s Church of England, Hawksburn, Victoria.  They did not publish Banns but obtained a marriage licence.  When  Ruby married Fred, she and her young son, Kenneth Francis, were living with her mother Matilda Maud and older brother, Harry (Henry Emery Kinder), at 22 Waterloo Street, Balaclava, Victoria[10].

from Ruby and Fred's marriage licence

Ruby and Fred's marraige certificate

The Witnesses to the marriage were Ruby's older brother, Henry Emery Kinder and older sister, Eleanor Kinder.

Fred had already enlisted in the army 28 July 1915 and probably got leave to marry.  He left for Europe on 9 November 1915.  Fred finally returned to Australia  on 5 June 1919.  During his period away, Ruby lived with Fred's parents, Alfred Punch and Sarah Ann Johnson at their Victorian Railways cottage nearby the High Street railway gates at Glen Iris.  Nowdays, the rail runs under High Street.

After Fred's return, they moved about quite a lot – Andrew Street, Prahran, Victoria, where they lived with Ruby’s older brother Harry (Henry Emery Kinder and Jane Roffey) and his family.  Later they have been found at houses at 14A High Street, Malvern; Thornbury Street, Prahran then to Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, and Huntly Street, Elsternwick all in a period of only three or four years.  Since times were very hard, families often shared houses.  A number of these may have been shared with other members of Ruby’s family.  Ruby's mother, Matilda Maud may have also been part of this entourage[4].

After his return from Europe, Fred worked in Canberra in some sort of census administration work which lasted about 2 years but apart from this and a little carting work, Fred did not work very much.  Around 1919, Ruby, Matilda Maud, Fred and Ken were living in a house on the corner of Imperial Avenue and Royal Parade, Caulfield.  Ruby was an excellent Seamstress and operated a small home business to keep bread on the table.  Fred was not working so Ruby paid for him to attend the Workingman’s College the forerunner of RMIT University in Swanston Street, Melbourne.  Fred completed two years study with a 1st Class Engineers Certificate.  Sadly he never put it to much use.  For a time, the family rented a house in Kangaroo Road, Oakleigh. Ruby purchased a horse and cart and Fred did some small time carting[8,9].

Sometime around 1921-22, Ruby rented a farm property at Gembrook, Victoria, on the Beenak Road.  This farm comprised about 360 acres of which 8 acres was cropped.  It had sheds, an orchard, a small saw mill and plenty of timber forest.  Ruby thought Fred might be interested in the saw mill with his engineering education.  Alas, he was not.  Fred’s two brothers, Jack and Bill also lived there and between them they just wasted their time.  After about twelve months, Ruby was taking in borders to help make ends meet[9].

During this time, Ruby fell pregnant with Lilian and moved back to Melbourne to stay with Fred’s parents again at Glen Iris.  A few more moves ensued – to High Street, Malvern, to two different places in Huntingdale Road, Huntingdale (called East Oakleigh in those days) before moving to 10 Henry Street, Oakleigh in about 1924.  Ruby and Fred and their three children lived for more than 35 years at 10 Henry Street, Oakleigh, Victoria, approximately 10 km out of Melbourne. They began by renting the house from a Mr Herbert and then he offered Ruby the chance to purchase it.  Ruby borrowed some money from her brother, George Herbert Kinder and worked very hard her entire life to pay off the debt and she owned the house solely in her own name when she died.

10 Henry Street, Oakleigh

Her son, Kenneth contributed greatly to the household when he was young since he worked as a Butcher and was able to bring home meat at very low cost and was also Caddying part-time and contributed almost his entire wage.  Before, the street became fully built up, Ruby used to milk a cow which was kept tethered on an adjacent block of land.  From the milk, she would get cream hand make butter.  Ruby’s mother, Matilda Maud lived with her until she died at the Henry Street house in 1930[8,9].

Again Ruby tried to help Fred into work. This time she bought a small Van and again Fred did some carting but as before, this did not last. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Fred worked a little, on the sustenance – that was, government funded public works for a nominal wage.  Apart from these brief periods, Fred never worked.  As a young teenager, your Author remembers visiting Ruby and Fred was always in bed and hardly ever left his room.  It is possible that he suffered some form of severe depression – perhaps from his war service.  It is also possible that he continued to suffer from rheumatism and arthritis for most of his life.  Ruby never seemed to complain, she cooked, cleaned and looked after him until she died.

Ruby used her talents as a Seamstress to make all of the clothes for the children – the boys when they were young and for many more years for Lilian. Ruby worked very hard also as a Cleaning Lady and Lilian remembers her walking several miles to and from the (old) Amstel Golf Course in East Oakleigh where she would scrub and polish the Ballroom floor.  During the latter part of the the 1939-45 War, Ruby worked as a Cleaner at the Dutch Officer’s Club at the Queen’s Mansions in St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria.  There, she would invite handsome young Dutch sailors home to meet her young daughter.  At least one did – your Author’s father!

Ruby’s generosity was legendary.  She was always looking after babies and toddlers for working mothers.  Lilian remembers – “One night there was a knock at the door and a young woman (unknown to Ruby) had a baby about 6 months old.  She just pushed the baby onto Mum with 3 nappies and 2 bottles, said she’d heard about Mum and would be back soon.  She gave her a 1 note and when Mum put it on the mantelpiece my father said - good, I was wondering where the rent was coming from.  The baby stayed for 4 years before the mother returned.”[8]  Note:  This baby may have been Ronald Leslie Kinder Jewell.

above -- Ruby and Fred at daughter Lilian's wedding

left -- Ruby with son, Kenneth Francis and grandaughter, Valerie Doris

Passing On

Ruby died on Sunday, 20 March 1966 at her daughter's home 2 Rose Avenue, Boronia, Victoria, after a long series of illnesses. 

She had been staying at Lilian’s house for approximately 12 months leading up to her death.

Her funeral service was held at St Paul’s Church of England in Boronia and she was cremated and interred at the Springvale Necropolis, Victoria on Tuesday, 22 March 1966.

from Ruby's death certificate

Your Author remembers Ruby as a smiling, cheerful and very loving grandmother.  She never complained and remained stoic even when she was very sick in her last years.

Ruby was survived by her three children and many grandchildren.

1.  Kenneth Francis Kinder was born on 19 December 1911.

2.  Alan Frederick Punch was born on 5 May 1921.

3.  Lilian Florence Eleanor Punch was born on 14 October 1923.

  1. Frances Ruby Kinder b1884 birth certificate
  2. Frances Ruby Kinder b1884 death certificate
  3. Sands and McDougall Melbourne & Suburban Directory
  4. Australian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980
  5. Sands & McDougall Directory 1874
  6. Enoch Leslie Kinder b1883 war service record
  7. Springvale Botanic Cemetery records
  8. Lilian Florence Eleanor Punch personal communication
  9. Kenneth Francis Kinder personal communication
  10. Frances Ruby Kinder b1884 & Fred Punch marriage certificate
  11. Frederick Laban Punch war service record