Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Summer time brings back memories of Mum and Dad’s vegie garden and the glut of ripe juicy tomatoes. Dad would check the vines morning and night to pick the tomatoes before the pesky birds and insects attacked them. Our kitchen would have huge bowls of ripe tomatoes, that we would eat like apples, juice and tomato seeds dribbling down our chins. The tomatoes that were just ripening would all be sitting along the kitchen window, and my mother would rotate them so that they ripened evenly.
My mother was very resourceful and would use the overabundance of tomatoes to stock up on homemade relish and tomato sauce. All family members would be called to the kitchen, including my Dad, and we would chop up tomatoes and onions for relish and sauce. There was always a bit of a battle as to who would be landed with cutting up the onions.
Mum would stock up on vinegar and other condiments, and pull out her large pots. All the bottles and jars that she had saved through the winter months would be pulled out, rewashed and dried, and lined up ready for the bottling. Soon the wonderful aromas of garlic, spices and tomatoes would be wafting out of the kitchen, as Mum stirred the tomatoey mixture that bubbled gently in large pots on her stove. She would careful test small amounts of the sauce in a spoon at different intervals to check how it was setting, and if it need to be cooked a little longer.
As soon as the sauce reached the required thickness, it was taken off the stove and it was time to bottle the mixture into the shiny clean bottles (of all different sizes and shapes) that were lined up on the kitchen skink. When the sauce had cooled in the bottles, Mum would seal, label and date them ready for the pantry cupboard and gifts to family and friends. Even after we were married, my husband expected to be given a bottle of Mum's tomato or plum (that is another recipe) when ever we visited. Here is Mum's recipe if you feel like trying it for yourself.!!
Saturday, May 4, 2013
|Annie Shepherd and grandson Neville|
My Grandmother,Annie Shepherd, nee McDonald was the daughter of Donald McDonald and Margaret Hanlon and she was born in Reidsdale, NSW Australia in 1869. Annie's brother Alexander Joseph McDonald was the feature of my recent ANZAC day blog, Military Monday - 2013 Trans Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge - Alexander Joseph McDonald.
Obituary - Mrs Annie Shepherd
from Braidwood Dispatch
The deceased was born at Reidsdale in May, 1869, being the only daughter of Donald and Margaret McDonald. She with other members of the family received her early education at the Reidsdale School, the teacher there being the late Mr Arkins. Leaving the district the family migrated to the South Coast, Mr McDonald setting up a timber mill at Mogo. From there the deceased married the late Lynn Shepherd at Mogo, Moruya, the ceremony being performed by the late Fr. Cassidy. The couple came to the Braidwood district to live, settling about eight miles out of Braidwood off the Mongarlowe road in the vicinity of the piece known as Torp's Lane. Later they shifted nearer to town to a home close to Sandy Creek, two miles from Braidwood, where they lived for some years.
This home was noted for it's hospitality, many a weary traveller having the occasion to remember a good meal and often a comfortable bed there. From there the family moved to Belle Vue, on the Araluen road, where they were exceedingly popular with all sections of the community. Their home was on the Araluen Road, the hill just beyond being known to this day as "Shepherd's Hill".
Mrs Shepherd was indeed a fine type, possessing all the fine traits that distinguished our worthy pioneers. Her husband passed awry some 21 years ago at Braidwood. The two older boys went to World War I in the great fight for freedom. In later years the old lady has been living in Sydney.
There were 11 children of the marriage, of whom 8 are still living. She had 18 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. The funeral from St Francis Church, Paddington, was largely attended, marking the respect and esteem in which the deceased lady was held.
Several of the sons are still in the Braidwood district, while a daughter, Mrs Norman Casey, resides in Sydney. It will be remembered that her late husband worked for the late John Musgrave on the Braidwood "Dispatch" where he was foreman and later on manager, a capable, conscientious employee, possessed of considerable journalistic talent.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
|Horses preparing to race|
As I remember, the vast distances between settlements in outback NSW definitely didn’t seem to place restrictions on the social life of the people living in these areas. One of the most popular events were the Picnic Races that were quite a regular feature in many of the small settlements.
The local horse breeders would travel long distances to compete at these events. All the station owners, and station hands, along with their families, would pack up for the day and head into town for the race meeting and the dance that would be held at the local community hall in the evening.
Keeping in mind these memories are those of are a young girl and that they are probably from quite a different perspective to that of the older generation,
this is how I remember it. We would all be dressed in our best casual clothes, and our party dresses and shoes would be packed in the car for the evening event. Pillows and blankets, and refreshments would be piled into the back of the car, and off we would head on the dusty road to the small opal mining town of White Cliffs.
|Opal mines of White Cliffs|
The township of White Cliffs consisted of one sparsely settle street, with a pub at one end, a small general store and garage with one petrol pump on the other side of the road. Further along the street the bush nurse’s residence/office, and the local Country Women's Association (CWA) building, a post office and the Town Hall could be found. Very few of the town’s residents lived above ground, and the town was and is still renown for its underground homes. Miners dig out their kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms in the earth near their mines, where the temperature is much cooler than the searing summer heat above ground.
The White Cliffs Race track was a few miles outside of the town and consisted of a large dusty track, with roughly hewed wooden railings. On the outside of the track there were a number of tin sheds, a larger one, where the CWA would serve, tea, coffee and freshly baked scones and cakes , then there were a number of smaller shelters, one acting as the local betting station and another as the bar where cold beer and soft drink was available to quench many dry throats.
It was a great opportunity for all the people of the district to catch up, as the distances between properties often meant it was weeks between seeing other people other than those who worked on the property. It must have been quite a special time for the women to be able to get together and share stories, as I know in my mother’s case, she and the owners wife were the only adult women on Nuntherungie Station.
For the children, it was a chance to catch up with children other than your own siblings, we would all run off and play around the sheds, check out the horses and later in the day have a few laughs at some of the locals who had visited the beer shack one too many times.
There would be general buzz around the track as everyone caught up, discussed the weather, lack of rain, prices of wool etc. Then about every half hour there would be a hush over the crowd, and in the distance you could see a cloud of dust approaching as the horses made their way around the track towards the finish line. The excited punters would jump up and down, hoping that their horse was at the front of the cloud of dust. The horses would finally reach the final straight, and all the children would race to the barrier to watch the pounding hooves as they raced by. Disappointed punters would tear up there betting tickets and head to the beer shed to mourn their lost, and the gentle buzz of conversation would start up again until the next cloud of dust and hooves made its way around the track.
The races over, it was time to wash off the dust and climb into our party gear for the evening “dance” at the local hall. Younger children were fed, bathed and dressed in their pj’s and tucked into makeshift beds in the cars parked outside the dance hall. Ladies would dress in their prettiest dresses and high heels, and men would don freshly ironed shirts and pants ready for a night of music and dance. I was a little older than my sisters so I was lucky enough to be able to stay up a little later, and would sit on the side of the dance floor with one of my friends and watch the couples gliding across the dance floor. I loved to watch the swishing of the ladies full skirts as they twirled and spun.
Then the best bit of the evening came when the band stopped for a break, fresh hopps and sawdust would be sprinkled across the dance floor (to make it easier for the dancers to “slide”), and while the parents checked on the younger children, the older children would take the opportunity to run and slide across the dance floor. I was not a child who liked to be bundled off to bed when there was a party, and somehow usually managed to be able to stay up until the dance finished. This was a special treat as I would get to see the last dance of the night. “The Streamer Dance” as I called it. It would be announced as the last dance, and rolls of streamers would be handed out to everyone. As the couples danced, the rolls of streamers would be tossed across the hall, unwinding and covering the dances in a curly coloured blanket.
The Dance over, we would be bundled into the car, a space made for me on the back seat amongst my sleeping sisters and we would head home with heads buzzing from the excitement of the day.
Oh, it is soooo long since I have posted an Alphabet Challenge Story!!!
The Letter "H" is the next in line and today's post is "H is for Homes". How do we find out about our families "Homes". I think "Homes" means much more than an address, or the house that our family lived in. " Home" conjures up memories of the people in the house, social customs, social conditions, neighbourhood and neighbours and the events that took place in that house. Our search for our family stories would be so much easier "if only the walls (of their home) could talk". However since the "walls" do not talk, we much look to other means to find out more about how our ancestors lived.
|Census- provides a lot of information about a home|
1. Accessing the census records of your family will assist with learning a little about their home. A census record will provide you with details of the address, how many people were living in the home, their occupations, who their neighbours were and their occupations. Once you have located the address, you are able to delve deeper into the history of their "Home".
2. A visit to the local court house or Lands Titles Office may provide you with the official records of the house, change of ownership and changes of street names, numbers etc.You may be able to access, Building Permits, that will provide information on additions to the building, Utility Reports will provide information on water, gas and sewerage installation (or if older house if these utilities were not installed). Insurance records may also provide interesting information, most notably fire insurance claim forms. These can contain information about the nature of an insured building, its contents, value and possibly floor plans and details of claims made in the case of a home/house fire.
3. The local Historical Society will be able to assist with background to events, social conditions, employment for the people who lived in and around your ancestor's home. Check out your local library collection for publications on the historical development of your area. Published histories of the area, often compiled by a local historian or heritage group, will provide valuable background information on building development, social conditions and often include pictures of houses in the area.
|My Nanna's Home in Milton, NSW|
4. Searching local newspapers can provide records of the home being sold, family events such as births, deaths and marriages. Newspapers can also be good sources for information and town histories. Searching the name of the street that your family lived in can provide stories of events and incidents that would have occured while your family lived there. These stories can add a lot of colour to your understanding of the home life of your family.
5. Check family letters, scrapbooks, diaries, and photo albums for more possible clues. Photos of the family home can tell us so much, if they were affluent or working class, if they had a garden, laundry, out-house etc. Did they have a fire place? What kind of building material was used?
6. Family and Neighbours can provide insight and a deeper understanding of the history of a home. Contact your older relatives, their friends and neighbours. Their memories will be invaluable, take time with them, over a cup of tea to hear their recollections. Show them some old photos/newspaper articles, if you have any, these will help trigger memories and help the stories to flow.
|Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book|
7. Finally, another resource which can provide an understanding of life in your ancestors home are recipe books. If you are lucky enough to have inherited a family recipe book, it will provide information on the foods that were available, how they prepared cooked their food, how resourceful were they when there was a shortage of food and who was responsible for the preparation of the food.
Cook books such as the one seen in this picture (Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book), provide a lot of information on the social background and conditions of the family. This book is aimed at middle class Victorian families, and not only includes recipies, but house hold tips, budgets, descriptions of cooking utensils, and details on the roles of the different members of the house hold domestic staff.
There are a number of useful resouces that assist you in finding details on your ancesters house, however, in this blog I have attempted to take this search a little further, with resources that will help you to understand more about your ancestors "HOME".
Thursday, April 25, 2013
|Matilda (Tilly) Taylor|
In my last Sharing Memories post I wrote about one of my fondest memories of my husband’s Aunty Tilly( Holman nee Taylor) and promised to share a few more of her stories. Don't you just love this picture of her as a young girl!
In 1988 our family moved from Queanbeyan, to Port Macquarie, on the North Coast of New South Wales so we were not able to visit Aunty Tilly as often. However, whenever we drove down to Queanbeyan to visit relatives, we always tried to drop in to visit Aunty Tilly overnight. She always welcomed us with open arms, making up beds and providing us with dinner. One of my favourite times was when we all sat in her cosy little lounge room, which displayed an extensive collection of royal memorabilia including mugs and plates which featured events such as the royal wedding, coronation and royal visits to Australia.
Aunty Tilly would settle into her chair with her knitting and with a little encouragement relate a multitude of stories about the times she spend in the bush as a young trainee teacher, or when she went to the opening of the parliament house in Canberra in 1927. She could remember clearly the famous Cowra Outbreak in 1944 when at least 545 Japanese prisoners of war escaped from the prison camp which was not all that far from her home, on the outskirts of the town.
As Aunty Tilly grew older, she would drop off for little micro naps. My children would giggle in delight as
they watched her knitting in front of the TV, nod off and snore softly for about 10 minutes (knitting in hand), then wake up and keep on knitting without missing a stitch.
|Family Picnic with Aunty Tilly|
The prospect of travelling large distances was never daunting for Aunty Tilly. Every year, until she was into her mid 90’s she always joined the annual bus trip down to the Melbourne Cup. If there was an upcoming family christening, wedding or party she was the first to organise her travel arrangements. These travel arrangements were not straight forward and usually, included a bus trip, and a couple of train trips.
In 1996, at the age of 96 the Country Women’s Association (CWA) was holding their annual conference in Port Macquarie. What a great opportunity! Aunty Tilly called to tell us she was coming up for the conference and could she stay with us for a few days. Her trip entailed, a taxi ride from her house to catch a 5.30am bus from Cowra to Bathurst (100 kms), where she caught the train to Sydney (200kms), then changing trains in Sydney to travel Port Macquarie (about another 400 kms).
I would pick her up from the train station amazed at how sprightly she still was. The Conference was over three days, and on the first day, quite a fuss was made as she was by far, the oldest member of the CWA attending. On the second day I dropped her off in the morning and promised to pick her up around 4.00pm. At about 3.30 that afternoon, I received a call, it was Aunty Tilly asking if I could pick her up from the Marina instead of where the CWA meeting was being held. Why I wondered?
To cut a long story short, she had found the second day of the meeting a little boring, so she had walked into town (over a kilometre) to the Marina, and booked herself onto a lunch time cruise of the Hastings River. “It was such a nice day”, she said, “why should I waste it sitting around in a boring old meeting”. She had paid her money, hopped on board and enjoyed the hour trip upstream, then when the other passengers got off for a stroll around while the crew prepared the lunch, she had a little nap on one of the seats, arranging for the “Captain” to wake her when lunch was ready. Yes that was our Aunty Tilly. Then she was ready for the singing and frivolity on the way back.
Life was never dull when she was around.
Life was never dull when she was around.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
In keeping with the ANZAC celebrations of this week, here is a picture of my great Aunt Thelma Palin and a friend. Thelma was born in Solomon Town, South Australia on the 11 August 1900, and her parents were Charles Palin and Eliza Golding. Thelma would have been about 15-16 years of age and living in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia. The inscription at the bottom of the picture shows that the picture was taken in a Studio in Broken Hill. I wonder whose uniform she has borrowed for the photo?
|Thelma Palin (in solders uniform) and friend|