VINING Jay Joseph (1850-1932)

The Illawarra Museum collection includes a shop ledger that lists the goods sold to a variety of customers and the prices they paid from 1901 to 1906.  The ledger was maintained by J J Vining Complete House Furnisher. Merchant Tailor. Milk Cans, Tanks, Stoves. Wollongong & Dapto

Jay Joseph Vining arrived in Sydney aboard the Trevelyan on 31 December 1877 aged 26. Jay was known by his middle name, Joseph, and came from Yorkshire. According to his death certificate, his parents were William and Elizabeth.

He worked initially in Sydney.  His exact whereabouts and activities in Sydney are unknown.  A Joseph Vining, grocer of Botany Rd Waterloo petitioned for insolvency in 1882 [Sydney Morning Herald 11 April 1882 p2].  His Certificate of Insolvency was granted in March 1883 [Sydney Morning Herald 14 March 1883 p5].

In 1887, a Joseph Vining was charged with setting fire to his grocery shop at Newtown in order to defraud the Fire Insurance Company. He was arrested and charged. [Police Gazette 19 October 1887].  The case was reported in the newspapers[ Evening News 13 October 1887 p6; 23 November 1887 p3; and Sydney Morning Herald 22 November 1887 p3]  He went to trial on 21 November 1887 and sentenced to 6 years penal servitude on 18 January 1888 [Government Gazette].

It is difficult to know where Jay Joseph Vining of Dapto and the Joseph Vining of Sydney were the same person. The Government Gazette of 11 May 1892 reported that Joseph Vining was released from gaol by remission.  He was described as a grocer, born in England in 1861. He was 5 feet 9 and a half inches tall with brown hair and grey eyes.  Jay Joseph Vining was born about 1850 which would make him about ten years older that Vining the arsonist.

The first mention of Jay Joseph in the Illawarra Mercury was in July 1894 when he was noted as participating in a debate on ‘Freetrade v Protectionism’.  His name appeared regularly from then in connection with the Dapto Agricultural and Horticultural Society, Dapto Debating Society and Dapto Progress Committee.  If he was the same Vining, he worked quickly to become part of the local community and led the life of a good citizen for the rest of his days.

From 1903 to 1907, he was listed in the Sands Sydney and New South Wales Directory as the proprietor of furniture warehouses in Dapto and another in upper Crown St, Wollongong. From 1908 to 1927 only the Dapto store was listed. From 1928 to 1932 his entry showed him as a plumber.  The Vining shop was on the western side of the Princes Highway between Bong Bong Rd and MacCabe Street opposite the showground.

Jay Joseph died on 6 February1932 and was buried in the cemetery of St Luke’s Church at Brownsville..  The business was sold after Joseph’s death to Fred Nunan.:     - Mr. Fred Nunan, of Dapto, advertises in this issue that he has taken over the plumbing and tinsmithing shop of the late J. J. Vining, of Dapto, and is prepared to give prompt attention to all orders, with workmanship guaranteed. [South Coast Times. 9 Dec 1932 p10]

Probate on his estate was granted  on 18 April 1932 and was assessed as £2,667 with death duties of £66.13.6. He was listed as a tinsmith of Dapto.  That was also the occupation for him in the electoral rolls.

Jay Joseph’s obituary summed up his long life and his connection with Dapto:  The death occurred on Saturday evening at the advanced age of 82 years of Mr. Joseph Vining, who for such a lengthy period has been associated with Dapto, and who for a lengthy period has been a sufferer from serious heart trouble. A native of Yorkshire, he was a striking example of how by initiative and industrious application a person may win out to a competency, for when as a young man, he entered Dapto he was carrying a swag and his trade equipment comprised chiefly a soldiering iron — his capital a pair of willing hands — yet finding plenty of repair work to his hand which was carried out to the satisfaction of all concerned, he had soon built up a connection of value. Seeing scope for expansion of his activities it was soon necessary for him to permanently establish himself in the town where in his tinsmithing business he carried on an extensive manufacture of milk cans for district farmers and later established the general hardware store with which he has been associated right to to his decease, although of late, due to his ill health, had not been able to play an active part.  The late Mr. Vining, who was held in high esteem as a citizen, was married to Miss Martha Heininger-a member of the well known district family and in addition to his widow, with whom there is general sympathy is also survived by an only son, William The interment was a private funeral at St. Luke's on Monday morning. [South Coast Times. 12 February 1932 p14]

The Late J. J. Vining. — In connection with the report in regard to the death of Mr. J. J. Vining, as regards his settlement in Dapto, which was based on information of a lengthy resident of the district we are informed' that it was incorrect that he carried a swag on arrival but what actually happened was that the late Mr Vining, who was a skilled tradesman, and had conducted business in the city prior to engaging in employment in a South Coast town, found difficulty in receiving his remuneration, so seeking a suitable location to again embark in business on his own. account, came to Dapto. with that definite object and established that business which made such a remarkably successful progress.  [SCT 26 Feb 1932 p13]

In 1907, Jay Joseph Vinging married Miss Martha Heininger from Albion Park and on 1 December 1909 their only child, William Joseph, was born.  



Martha Vining was born in 1868, the daughter of Conrad Heininger (1840-1906) and Margaret Howes (1841-1919).  Her parents married in 1864 in Wollongong.  Martha was one of 10 children born to Conrad and Margaret.  Martha died on 29 August 1942 aged 73.

A well-known and esteemed resident of Dapto, Mrs. Martha Vining, aged 73 years, died on Saturday last. She was the relict of the late Joseph Vining. and beloved mother of William (Dapto). Deceased was the second daughter of the late Conrad Heininger, of Dapto. The remains were interred on Sunday in the Catholic cemetery, West Dapto, Rev. Father Grealy officiating. Mr. A. E. Simpson of Dapto and Wollongong, directed the funeral arrangements. [South Coast Ttimes. 4 September 1942. p7]

Probate on her estate was granted and assessed at £2,837.



William enlisted in World War 2 and his service number was 132729.  His next of kin was his uncle, Conrad Heininger.  William died 7 June 2002 aged 92 and was buried next to his mother in the West Dapto Roman Catholic cemetery. He lived in the family home variously numbered 207 and 350 Princes Highway, Dapto until his death. The electoral rolls from 1931 to 1980 list his occupation as shop hand.



Illawarra Mercury and South Coast Times; West of the Water East of the Line : Dapto and Oral History. Wayne Davis (ed). Department of Technical and Further Education, 1987