Hubert and Beulah Alice (Simpson) Rutter had five children: Hubert Jnr. (Joe) in 1913, David in 1915, June in 1917, Donald in 1922 and Samuel in 1926. Samuel died as an infant aged 17 days. Hubert was a notable figure in Eltham and beyond, with a career as a mining manager in Australia and Malaya. He served in the AIF in the First World War. While the children were growing up at ‘Yarra Braes’, Eltham, their father was an Eltham Shire Councillor in the 1920s, shire president in 1928 and a leading figure in establishing the Shire of Eltham War Memorial League, which was responsible for building the Shire of Eltham War Memorial tower at Kangaroo Ground, near where the Shire Offices were located until the 1930s. The Rutter name was commemorated after the war at Eltham High School with one of the schoolhouses named ‘Rutter House’ and at Geelong Grammar School until the 1960s where a ‘Rutter Badge’ was awarded to junior boys for leadership.
The family home, ‘Yarra Braes’ was destroyed in the devasting Black Friday bushfire, 13 January 1939 and Beulah relocated to Toorak, Hubert working in Western Australia. Tragedy struck the family again December 19, 1940 when daughter June was killed after falling from the Heidelberg train on to an adjacent track into the path of a Reservoir train at Victoria Park station.
Sons David and Donald both served in the R.A.A.F. during the Second World War and were killed in action, David in Libya in 1941 and Donald in Germany in 1945. The wreck of his plane and his body were not recovered at the time and Hubert never ceased to chase down leads as to his whereabouts. Beulah never gave up hope that Donald was still alive. Hubert had received several reports shortly after the war that his son was still alive but these were ultimately accepted as misidentification. Such was the anguish of the grieving parents, their son’s plane not found to confirm the fact for certain. Hubert wrote to the Air Force in frustration, failing to understand how the plane could disappear when it crashed in a relatively populated area. Unfortunately the answers came too late for Beulah who died in 1946 and was buried in Eltham Cemetery along with her daughter June and baby Samuel.
Donald’s plane was eventually located and his body recovered in 1949. He is buried in the Hanover War Cemetery, Germany. David is commemorated on Column 245, Alamein Memorial, Egypt. Both David and Donald are commemorated on Eltham’s Roll of Honour Board, commissioned by the Eltham War Memorial Trust to be hung in the Baby Health Centre, part of the Eltham War Memorial building precinct.
Hubert Senior and Hubert Junior both continued to work in the mining industry in Western Australia. Hubert senior died 1957 at Plantagenet Western Australia and Hubert junior in 1979 at Gascoyne, Western Australia.
Sacred to the memory of
Beulah AliceBeloved wife of
Died August 21st 1946
Beloved daughter of
Beulah and Hubert Rutter
Died 19th December 1940 aged 23 years
Also her baby brother
Died 7th October 1926, aged 17 days