A Photo Tribute to the BIRD FAMILY from India

Please email photos for inclusion to Russel Fonceca at  sumgenius@gmail.com 

Contributions from all the members of the Bird Family


Images of Veteran Lines, Pallavaram (Click on Thumbnails to enlarge)




The BIRDs contributed much to the Railways in Southern India and were well and truly known in Bitragunta and other railway colonies. Many of our Anglo Indian boys gave their services to the railways and spent war years in the services.

In Bitragunta the boys spent their younger years fishing and shooting wild game in the forests which they shared with the local villagers. The girls were good cooks and had old family recipes passed down to them.


The Bird family eventually settled in 52 Officers Lines in Pallavaram, an Anglo Indian colony in Madras near the airport at Meenambakkam.

In his article on the anglo indian colony in Pallavaram, titled " A Village in India", Ken Bird (son of Rex and Betty Bird) illustrates the life in that colony and in India in general.

The link to the website that provides a history of the Bird family in India is  http://www.kenbirddesigns.com.au/village/pages/bettybird.html .


The photo below of Pallavram Hill with its quarry will bring back memories to many of the residents. Officers lines is at the bottom of the picture.


Pallavaram Hill

Pallavaram Anglo Indian Colony does not exist now, street names have been changed and the bungalows have given way to Army quarters.



The family home at "52" was full of fruit trees including mangoes, cherimoya's, chikoo's, custard-apples, bulls hearts and coconut palms and had large banyan trees in the front which were frequented by monkeys.



The boys erected a swing on one of the high boughs of one of the banyan trees and this swung over the boundary wall past one of the two property wells when used.

There was a large concrete floor at the back of the compound where dances were organised and was the scene of many a family gathering.

The open "maidan" in front of Officers Lines and bordering Veteran Lines was used for cricket and hockey matches organised by the local Social Club.


Following the partition of India in 1947, many of the BIRD families followed the exodus of Anglo Indians that left India for abroad and settled in Australia and in the UK.


The record below of the names and photographs of the BIRD family, contributed by all the cousins, will hopefully help future generations have a better picture of the journey taken by their great great grand parents, aunts and uncles.


Family Tree

Violet Constance BIRD (known as Sweet Violet, b 6/11/1887 Pallavaram, d 10/5/1954 Pallavaram) married 1st cousin Robert Charles BIRD, (b 28/07/1881 Perambur - d 16/01/1964 Pallavaram). : 27 Children (9 stillborn),

  1. George Willoughby BIRD (b 1/11/1905 Tungabhadra-30/08/1958 Pallavaram)

  2. Malcolm Eustace BIRD(b 6/01/1907 Podanur - 12/12/1908 Oorgaum)

  3. Milton Wallace BIRD (b 24/12/1908 Oorgaum - 28/08/1909)

  4. Leslie Colin BIRD (b 2/4/1910 Kondapuram, d Adelaide)

  5. Hector Russel BIRD (b 6/5/1911 Podanur, d Bangalore)

  6. Eugene Charles BIRD (b 5/9/1912 Raichur - d Hubli)

  7. Oscar Victor BIRD (b 20/09/1913 Raichur, d Perth)

  8. Molly Marjorie BIRD (b 20/11/1914 Ambur - 23/08/1916 Ambur)

  9. Ivy Ross BIRD (Strap) (b 24/09/1917 Renigunta, d Perth)

  10. Lancelot Basil BIRD (Lancy) (b 31/01/1919 Gooty, d 7/12/2013 UK)

  11. Rex Reginald BIRD (b 14/08/1920 Gooty, d Perth)

  12. Wilbur Terance BIRD (Teddy) (b 13/10/1921 Katpadi -  d 12/05/1984 Perth)

  13. Gladwin Sunbun BIRD (Bunny) (b 11/06/1923 Katpadi - d Perth)

  14. Burnett Elston BIRD (b 27/12/1924 Katpadi - d Gooty)

  15. Beryl Holly BIRD(b 13/04/1927 Kasimkota, d Perth)

  16. Zena Helena BIRD (b 18/06/1928 Rajahmundry, d Perth)

  17. Allan Claude BIRD (b 7/11/1929 - d UK)

  18. Robin Edgar BIRD (b 7/11/1929 - d 5/2/1988 Bitragunta).


  Click on thumbnail to view list compiled by Violet Constance Bird.


Robert & Violet BIRD are in the middle on his retirement from the Railways in Bitragunta (as the Station Superintendent) and handing over to the new station superintendent who is seated with his wife on either side. Willow and Ivy are seated on the extremes.

On the floor left to right are Robin, Bunny, Zena, Beryl, Elston & Alan. These were the younger Bird children still in school when Robert retired. The 2 boys in dark coats are the children of the new superintendent.


Can you provide names, dates and places for these photos...

  1. Beryl, Violet Constance BIRD and Zena

  2. Hector, Oscar & Robin sampling some Toddy

  3. The Group in Perth

  4. The Group at Colette and Randy's wedding.

  5. Aunty Betty, Noel and Cyril.

  6. On Lance's visit to Perth. Standing: Oscar, Zena, Peter. Seated: Lance, Brian, Zena, Rex, Ivy

  7. On Hector's visit to Perth

  8. Beryl and Zena in the front, on the steps of 52.

  9. Hector on duty somewhere in the middle-east

  10. Clockwise: Maisie, Hector, Avis, Oscar, Bunny, Cynthia at 52.

  11. Bird Family possibly at 52 with Violet Bird in the front.

  12. The Gentlemen on the steps of 52.

  13. The Ladies on the steps of 52

  14. Oscar the Javelin thrower

  15. Maisie, Hector & Zena

  16. Oscar & Avis Wedding

  17. Oscar off for a hockey match

  18. 8 Birds

  19. Zena (bending) and Beryl on the right enjoying peanuts from a vendor (wonder who the little one is)

  20. Who are these

  21. Is that Beryl on the top and Zena in the middle

  22. Beryl, Violet Bird and ? on tricycle

  23. Superintendent Robert Bird on railway duty

  24. ? and Beryl

  25. Recognise Noel, Ivy and Beryl

  26. Beryl on the right

  27. Trevor & Beryl Fleming

  28. Zena and Beryl

  29. Beryl, David, Mark & Joan

  30. Trevor & Beryl Fleming with children David, Mark & Joan

  31. Mark, Joan, David, Beryl & Trevor possibly at Simper St, Wembley

  32. On holiday Cyril, Noel, Zena, Beryl & Ivy

  33. Beryl & Ivy

  34.  Heather, Teddy & Ingrid

  35. Lance and Jennifer (Teddy in bridal party)

  36. Lance in the UK

  37.  A rare photo of Robert & Violet Bird with some of the children and partners.

  38.  Oscar and Avis at a beach in India

  39. Oscar at Javelin throw his main sports event

  40. Oscar with his trophies, school and state

  41. Ted, Hector & Oscar with Mum Violet Bird

  42.  Robert Bird at the back of 52 with Oscar and family (L-R. Zena, Avis, Robert, Oscar, David, Noel Waples, Brian)

  43.  Zena, Avis, Oscar, Brian, Peter and David taken about 1961 in India on their way to a relatives wedding for which Zena was the Bridesmaid and Brian the Best man!

  44. Uncle Lancy and Aunty Ivy (babes in India)

  45. Rex Bird at Robert Bird's grave.

  46. Rex Bird at Violet Bird's grave.

  47. Rex Bird at the front of 52.

  48. Zena Fonceca at the front of 52 in 1993

  49. Brian Fonceca at the rear of 52 in 2010

  50. In front of 52 in 2010. Colete, Andrea, Brian, Vern and Leslie Fonceca

  51. Allen Claude Bird (left) at work in the UK.

  52. Cousins and Family Gathering at Honor's wake on 16 Mar 2021 in Dianella, Western Australia. Standing L-R. Russel Fonceca, Brian Bird, Gordon & Patricia Fonceca, Brian Fonceca, Geoff, Leslie Fonceca, Peter Bird, Lionel & Andrea Delamotte, Bette Fonceca, Vern Fonceca, Colette Russell, Philip Highland, Patrick Russell. Seated L-R. Enid Fonceca, Ken Bird, Geoff Flemming, Joan, Bernadette Bird, Patty Bird, Neville D'Cruz, June, Glenn Highland. In Front. Vanessa, Sybil & Grethel Fonceca.

  53. Zena at the piano.

  54. Bangalore 1974. L-R. Gladwin (Bunny) Bird, Mrs D'Sylva, Cynthia Bird, Vernon Fonceca, Joy Bird, Maisie Bird, Hector Russel Bird, Jeanette Bird, Russel Fonceca, Glen Bird (in front)

  55. Robert Charles BIRD.


Feel free to copy and save for your album..

BIRD Family Album in frame compiled by Milton Bird


Photos below contributed by various members of the Bird Family

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30   31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40   41   42   43   44   45   46   47  48    49   50   51  52  53 54 55


Please email photos for inclusion to Russel Fonceca at  sumgenius@gmail.com


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