Reuben Peninton, 1930. (photo courtesy of Narelle Munro.)
Reuben Peninton, 1930.
(photo courtesy of Narelle Munro.)

Reuben Peninton was a master carrier with stables at 24a Sheehy Street, near Blackwattle Bay.  Sugar was one of the main goods he delivered, sometimes stopping at local schools where his immaculately groomed draught horses were much admired.  During his life he lived at several places in Glebe: 42 Forsyth Street, 25 Avona

Avenue, 8 Lombard Street and 54 Forsyth Street.  At the time of his death he owned two of those properties: 8 Lombard Street (valued at £135) and 54 Forsyth Street (£450) together with land at Davistown near Gosford (£40).  

Reuben was the fifth of nine children born to Reuben Peninton, a stonemason from Yorkshire, and Mary Ann née Goddard.  By 1867 the family had moved from Parramatta Street to Glebe.  Of Reuben’s siblings William – two years older – became a carter, Henry a drayman and George a greengrocer then poulterer.  The family clustered around Forsyth and Lombard Streets.  At various times there were Penintons at numbers 29, 31, 35, 36, 38, 42, 54, 62 and 70 Forsyth Street; by 1934 several had moved to Darghan Street (numbers 47, 54, 80, 82).  After William’s death in 1924 Reuben moved into 54 Forsyth Street where his sister-in-law Clara Rebecca kept house.  She died in 1935.  Her youngest child, also Clara Rebecca, then took on the role of carer.  Clara, who had left school at 14 to help at home, inherited her uncle’s real estate but left the district to live with an older sister and her husband in Rockdale.  Like Reuben, she did not marry.

A parishioner of St John’s Bishopthorpe, Reuben was buried next to William and Clara in the Presbyterian section of Rookwood Cemetery.  He was a Mason.  Members of the Glebe Municipal Reform Association marked his passing with a minute’s silence.  From the early 1900s Reuben had also been involved with the activities of the Sydney City Mission.  The Mission’s Glebe branch first met in the Bay Street Ragged School before moving into its own hall at 75 Bay Street in 1894.  An adjoining building for youth activities was built in 1903 and operations were transferred to a new hall in St Johns in 1929.  Peninton young women helped with the Girls’ Club, children’s picnics and jumble sales at Glebe Town Hall.  The Peninton boys helped with the choir library.  Reuben was active with the Mission Sunday School. 

A nephew, Henry Reuben, always referred to by his second name, was the orphaned son of Christopher (1861- 96) and his wife Margaret who died suddenly in 1902 at home at 36 Forsyth Street. The missionary James Mills, who visited both on their deathbeds,
paid tribute to Margaret’s work with the poor and in raising money to pay off the building debt – ‘one of the best collectors the City Mission ever had’. When Reuben, aged 21, enlisted in the AIF in 1916 he named his sister Mary Walker as next of kin. On returning
to Australia he lived with Mary and her husband Arthur at 58 Talford Street. Reuben’s photo in uniform was one of those projected onto a screen at ceremonies held by the City Mission which urged locals to join up in the ‘battle for truth, righteousness and
justice’.

Another Reuben Peninton was William and Clara’s third child (1881 –1941) who lived at 42 Forsyth Street. His elder son was also christened Reuben.