Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 1856 Arrival - Emma Jane Weston 1839-1914

Emma Jane Weston
It was the 23 December 1856 when the the "Kate" arrived into Sydney after the long journey from Plymouth under the command of Captain Davidson.* Emma Jane Weston and her sister Mary Anne Weston had left Plymouth on the Kate on 7 September 1856. They were 18 and 19 years old (respectively) when they arrived as assisted immigrants under the guardianship of their Uncle Alfred Weston.  Alfred had immigrated to Australia as an assisted immigrant with his wife Maria in the previous year (13 January 1855) on the Bangalore.* The immigration record for Emma and Jane state that he was living in Wollongong at the time of their arrival. 

These two young sisters were listed as being house maids from London, who had journeyed to Australia as part of Government assisted immigration program to provide relief to the colonies labour shortage.

An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 27 December 1856, describes this situation.


The arrival of the Kate, from Plymouth, with government immigrants, will afford a temporary relief to the late very great scarcity of country labour.  The immigrants are classified as follows: 49 married couples, 109 single men, 62 single women and 17 children. In the early part of the week the rates going were, in some cases, slightly in advance of the previous week.

OLIVER STAINS, British Foreign Labour Agent, December 26th. 73, Corner of King and Castlereagh Streets."

Under this notice a further article goes on to describe the shortages of labour, especially of female servants.

St Marylebone
"Engagements have been limited in consequence of it being a holiday week.  Orders for country servants are plentiful. There has been one arrival (The Kate) with 300 immigrants of a mixed class.  The harvest now drawing to a close will cause reaction in the supply of labour.  The inhabitants of Sydney have seen much inconvenience in regard to female servants. The demand is great and those for hire are few.  Wages remain firm if quoted rite.  

J.C. GLUE, Labour Agent, December 26, 48 Pitt Street North."

These few articles give you an idea of what greeted my Great Great Grandmother Emma Jane Weston and her elder sister Mary Anne when they arrived in Australia to seek their fortune in a new land.

 Emma and Mary Anne were the daughters of William Weston (abt 1816-1867) and Mary Ann Rolf (abt 1816-1896).  Mary and William were married at St Marylebone, an Anglican Church on the Marylebone Rd, London on the 3 October 1835.

Emma was born on the 25 June 1839 at 9.00am in the family home at 21 Edwards Street Regents Park. Her father's occupation was listed as House Painter.

Birth Certificate - Emma Jane Weston 25 June 1839
What was in store for Emma and her sister Mary Anne once they disembarked from the Kate, in Sydney?  Would they find employment or perhaps a husband? You have to reflect on how foreign life in the new colony would have been to the two young sisters who had been brought up in London. Imagine how different it was to celebrate Christmas on the other side of the world!

* New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Elizabeth Taylor (Rushworth) - Part 5

William and Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth and William spent their remaining years at 9 Duke street Colne. In their retirement they continued to be involved with their local Parish Church.

Elizabeth's ill health prevented her from continuing to work with the St John's Ambulance and she was no longer well enought to be involved in the fund raising projects she worked so hard on in her younger years.

Their surviving children lived close by and their eldest daughter Mathilda who didn't marry continued to live with them.  They were in contact with their son Richard who had now established himself as a stone mason in Sydney, Australia.  During WWI, two of Richards sons, Richard and William were members of the Australian Army and when they were stationed in England were able to finally meet their grandparents.

Elizabeth Taylor in Nurses Uniform
On the 31 January 1927 Elizabeth sadly passed away and in the following year, 30 May 1928 William joined her.  The following tribute was posted in the Colne Times following Elizabeth's funeral.


Tribute by the Rector

"On Sunday morning the private mourners who were present at the funeral of the late Mrs Taylor of Duke Street, Colne - the veteran ambulance worker whose death we recorded last week - attended the service at the Colne Parish Church.  As a tribute of respect to the deceased lady a large number of members of the St. John Ambulance association and the Nursing Division in Colne were also present, and they were accompanied by representatives from Nelson, Brierfield, Burnley, Trawden, foulridge, Earby and Barnoldswick.  They were under the command of Corps Supt. W. Heap, with whom was Reserve Supt. E. Scott, the Lady Corps Supt, Miss Hartley.  As the Girl Guides were also present at their usual monthly parade, there was a large congregation, the Church was well filled.

"Our Mother"

The Rector made an appropriate reference to the late Mrs Taylor, and said that last week had been the departure of one of the most familiar figures in the town.  Although he was not very well acquainted with her ambulance work, he thought it was fitting that he should say something about her.  Continuing, he remarked, 

"The presence with us this morning of the St. John Ambulance Association, gathered in such large numbers from so many districts, is an eloquent reminder to us of the deep respect in which she was held.  Their presence here is no mere post mortem terabyte to her usefulness, for she was he first lady in Colne to be made - many years ago - an Honorary Serving Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, and it was with a common feeling of reality that we named her in the funeral service last Thursday, not "This our sister" but "This our mother", for she was indeed the mother of this noble  Order in this town of Colne. Of her work with the Colne Auxiliary Military Hospital during the war she often loved to speak, and judging from the number of doctors under who she served - long before the day of District Nurses - she seems to have had the world as her parish.

Our sympathy is with her family and her many friends, and especially with her aged husband, who is still with us after a married life of over 68 years.  I can only conclude this short tribute to her by saying to you all the words with which the Parable of the Good Samaritan concludes: "Go and do thou likewise".

During the Service the hymn "The King of Love my Shepherd is" was sung.

After the Service the members of the Ambulance Association and Nursing Division returned to the Ambulance hall, where lunch was served to those from a distance."

As I type the last few words of Elizabeths story, I have come to the realisation that she was a pioneer in her times, caring for the ill and needy in their homes long before the concept of district  nurses was even thought of.  Her journal lists the names of 29 doctors from the districts of Rossendale, Burnley, Barroford, Boothfold, Waterfoot, Rawtenstall, Newchurch, Colne, Nelson to name a few.   Some of the ailments that she tended were: injury by lightening, maternity, stroke, Brights Disease, typhoid fever, dislocated elbow, tumor on big toe, senile decay, change of life, mild fever, dog bite, cancer.

I hope readers have enjoyed the short summary of Elizabeths life and if any reader can add to this story, either with informtion about the St Johns Ambulance, the district of Colne and Barnoldswick or the Taylor and Rushworth families, I would love to hear from them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Elizabeth Taylor (Rushworth) - Part 4

William and Elizabeth Taylor - 1918

Diamond Wedding Anniversary and  Honorary Serving Sister of St John

The year 0f 1918 was a big year for the residence of No. 9 Duke Street, Colne.  On 17th July William and Elizabeth celebrated 60 years of marriage and just prior to this celebration Elizabeth received the honor of being awarded the Honorary Serving Sister of St John of Jerusalem. Elizabeth describes this auspicious occasion with a little excitement in her journal. 
To start with she talks about receiving a medal for 15 years service in 1909 with a number of other nurses.

 "I was appointed Lady Superintendent in 1894 and resigned in 1922.  In 1909 for 15 years service a medal that was pinned me by the Hon. Prince of Wales, now King George the 5th.  After this ceremony, I with other Ladies, who attended Head Quarters for the same purpose had a first class lunch and a Waggonetee drive to view the principle sights of London.

On being made an Honorary Serving Sister of St John of Jerusalem, in 1918 I was met by the Chaplain, who Prayed, and went through all the Services appropriate for the occasion"

Her rather formal summary of what must have been two amazing experiences makes me smile.
I think I shall finish this blog by sharing with you an article that was posted in the Colne Times on the occasion of William and Elizabeth's Diamond Wedding anniversary.

"Hearty Congratulations will be extended this week by many people in Colne and district, and particularly by those connected with the ambulance movement, to Mr and Mrs William Taylor of 9 Duke Street, Colne, who celebrated their diamond wedding on Wednesday.  Both Mr and Mrs Taylor are well-known and highly-respected in the town, in which they have lived for about 32 years. 

The aged couple were married at Gill Church, Barnoldswick on July 17th 1858, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. J.C. Miller.  Mrs Taylor was born Greenbank, Barnoldswick and was the daughter of the late George Rushworth, of Whitemoor, Barnoldswick.  Mr Taylor was born at Burnley and is the son of the late Mr Richard Taylor of Lower Hood House, Burnley.  Mr and Mrs Taylor have had 16 children, six of whom are still living and they also have nine grandchildren.  Mr Taylor is now 85 years of age and his wife is 77.  They have been connected with the Colne Parish Church and the Mission Churches - St James, Waterside and St George's, Alkincoates - since they came to Colne and it is an interesting link to the past to recall the fact that Mrs Taylor's parents were married in the Colne Parish Church over 100 years ago.

Despite their advanced ages Mr and Mrs Taylor both enjoy fairly good health and although the later has recently had a severe illness we are pleased to state  that she has now recovered.  Mr Taylor was formerly in the employ of the Colne Corporation and prior to the incorporation of the borough, of the old Colne Local Board as Building and Streets Inspector. He held that position for a period of about 20 years, retiring about 10 years ago.

Mrs Taylor worked for the ambulance movement in Colne - of which fuller particulars will be found below - is well-known.  She has been connected with the association for 28 years  and for 20 years has been lady superintendent of the Nursing Division. 

Mr and Mrs Taylor will entertain a number of relatives and friends in the Ambulance Hall tomorrow, when a social evening will be held to celebrate the notable event.  we feel sure our readers will join with us in wishing Mr and Mrs Taylor a happy and pleasant time during the remaining years of their married life.


It is surely a happy coincidence that we are able to announce Mrs Taylor has received a well deserved ambulance honour at the same time as we record the 60th anniversary of Mr and Mrs Taylor's wedding anniversary.  The secretary of the Colne Ambulance Association has received information that Mrs Taylor has been elected an Honorary Serving Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, which is one of the highest honours that can be granted for Ambulance work.  It will be remembered that Alderman Hewitt-Dean, President of the Colne Association and Mr  E. Scott, the superintendent of the Brigade were elected Honorary  Serving Brothers of the Order sometime ago.   Some years since, Dr Dickey was elected an Honorary Associate of the Order, so that it will be seen that the Colne Centre of the St Johns Ambulance Association has been highly honoured by the recognition given by the headquarters of the Association to the valuable work done for the movement by several  local stalwarts.

Amongst these Mrs Taylor, along with Superintendent Scott and Miss Hartley, has played a prominent part.  she joined the ambulance movement in Colne in 1891, and has an unbroken membership down to the present.  She has passed all the inspections and re-examinations.  She served in the capacity of First Officer and Inspector of Stores for two or three years before she was appointed Lady Superintendent in 1898.  She has held that position since and had taken a prominent part in the development of the movement in Colne, including the organising of work and collection of funds for the new Hall in Swan Croft, and in all the social efforts arranged by the Association for the purpose of raising funds to carry on its work.

Since the opening of the Colne Military Hospital,  Mrs Taylor has done much useful work in connection with that institution, and has done a great deal to make the lot of the patients as happy and pleasant as possible during their stay in the town.  During her ambulance career Mrs Taylor has rendered first aid in over 100 cases, some of which were very serious.  In onc instance the promptitude and skill of Mrs Taylor and Drill Sergeant Burrell of the Colne Association undoubtedly saved the life of a boy at Morecambe who had his arm run over by tramear, and who would probably have bled to death but for their timely assistance.  

The honour accorded to Mrs Taylor is certainly well merited, and reflects credit not only on herself, but also on the organisation with which she has been connect so long."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Elizabeth Rushworth 1841-1927 - Part 3

Elizabeth Taylor in Nurses Uniform
At the beginning of the 20th Century, William and Elizabeth Taylor lived at 9 Duke Street Colne with five of their six surviving children, William, Lucy, Elizabeth, Matilda and Joseph.  The girls were all employed as cotton weavers and William Jr worked in an iron foundry.  William Snr enjoyed a position of clerk to the Colne Corporation Yard ( or local council).
 Their elder son Richard had emigrated to Sydney, Australia in the sometime in the 1880's. We can only assume that he decided to seek his fortune in a new country having heard about life in Australia from his uncle and Elizabeth brother Joshua Rushworth (who had moved to Australia with his wife and family in the early 1860's).

 Richard married Marion Millar McNair a native of Torphichen, West Lothian, Scotland, in 1891 and William and Elizabeth's first grandchild  William  was born on the other side of the world in 1892 in St Peters, Sydney, Australia.  This must have seen such a long way away to Elizabeth.  We do however know that they family kept in touch as a number of family letters written by William Taylor senior in his beautiful script have survived to this day. 

The Australian Connection- Richard and Marion Taylor and children
Elizabeth continued with her work with the St John's amulance, supporting local doctors, delivering babies and caring for the sick and old.  She continually played her part in seeking donations to support the Ambulance.  One paper article recalls:

"She has taken a prominent part in the development of the movement in Colne including the organising and collection of funds for the new hall in Swan Croft, and in all the social efforts arranged by the association (St Johns Ambulance) for the purpose of raising funds to carry on its work."

When War broke out on the 4 August in 1914 the menfolk were quick to volunteer to join the armed forces while at home the women were drawn into working more and more into the mills, taking over the position previously held by the men.*  The Colne Military Hospital was established in Albert Rd in 1915 and Elizabeth played an important part in its establishment and resourcing equipment for the Hospital. There is a wonderful picture on the web site of  The Lancashire Lantern which shows the nurses outside of the Colne Military Hospital and if you click to enlarge this photo you will see Elizabeth Taylor in her Superintendant Uniform on the left hand side of the picture.  She does give an imposing presence. 

Nurses and patients infont of the Colne Military Hospital near the end of WWI
This wonderful battered photo has been passed down through the family and shows nurses, doctors, and recovering soldiers in front of the Colne Military Hospital. Elizabeth Taylor is sitting on the left hand side of the Mayor (man with chain) in the front row.

This picture would have been taken around the time of the end of WWI and Elizabeth at the age of 77 was still working hard organising the collection of funds to enable the continued service to the community of the St Johns Ambulance in Colne. The young woman who became interested in nursing through caring for her family and friends had come along way.  In her own words, she writes:

"I became interested in nursing when I was 19 years of age, amongst my own Famly, Relatives and Friends, by whom I was almost considered to be the Family Nurse, which was mostly gratuitous up to about two years after coming to reside at Colne in 1886" .
* Harrison, D. 1988, The History of Colne, Pendle Heritage Centre, pp.65-68.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Elizabeth Rushworth - Part 2

St Mary Ghyll Church, Barnoldswick
It is hard to imagine what life for Elizabeth would have been like.  Her mother Martha Halstead (1805-1845) passed away when she was only four years old.   The large family of nine children all had to pull their weight to support the family.  In the 1851 census five children including Elizabeth worked in the weaving industry, while her elder brothers worked as quarry men.

At the age of 17 Elizabeth married William Taylor (1833-1928) at St Mary le Ghyll Church, Barnoldswick on 17 July 1858. William was the son of Richard Taylor (1802-1868) (Road Surveyor) and Peggy Halstead (1802-1876).  Peggy was sister to Elizabeth's mother Martha Halstead, so William and Elizabeth were not only cousins, they had probably known each other through their childhood. Their first child William was born later that year.  He was the first of 16 children born to Elizabeth and William between the years of 1858-1885.  As was common in these times many of the children died in in infancy or at a young age.
Elizabeth's Note Book: family members laid to Rest
The evidence of the deaths of many of her children is clear to see in her note book, where she lists family members she has laid to rest.  The list includes, among other family members, six sons and four daughters.

The 1861, census shows William and Elizabeth and two children living at Nicholas Folly, Spotsland (near Barnoldswick) and her father George Rushworth and some of her brothers and sisters were living next door.  William is described as being a farmer and cotton weaver who employed four laborers.

The family continued to live in the Spotsland, Barnoldwick district until sometime in 1885 when they moved the family to 31 Boundary Street Colne. (Their daughter Lucy was born in Colne on 16 September 1885).  William took up a new position as Assistant Survey to the Social Board in Colne.

We can only suppose what influenced Elizabeth's interest in nursing.  Perhaps her skills came from caring for so many children and her elderly father and parents in law. Perhaps it was a skill that was passed down through the family, we do not know.  However, her note book gives details of many years of nursing and caring for family, neighbours and others who were in need.  The respect and place that she had in the community is reinforced by the number of Doctors in the nearby districts that she supported and worked with while caring for the sick.

Nursing Division 1894, Elizabeth is 2nd from Left in back row
Not long after moving to Colne, (1888) Elizabeth joined the joined the 4th Division of the St Johns of Jerusalem Nursing Division that was based in Colne. Elizabeth thrived in this environment and was keen to learn and add to her nursing skills.  In 1891 she gained her First Aid Course Certificate for Instruction and was appointed Inspector of Stores and First Aid Officer.  Despite her commitments to a large family Elizabeth continued to study and in 1892 received her Certificate for Efficiency in First Aid.  Her aptitude and untiring support of the St Johns Movement saw her appointed Lady Superintendent for the 4th Division of St Johns and she held this position for 25 years until she resigned at the age of 81 in 1922.  Elizabeth took a prominent role in the development of the St John's movement in Colne, including organising work and collection of funds in order for the movement to continue to carry out its work in the community.

The 1901 census tells us that William and Elizabeth were living in 9 Duke Street, Colne with five of their children.  William was employed as a clerk at the Corporation Yard (what we call the Town Council today). You would think at the age of 60 Elizabeth would be looking to start taking things a little easier. No!!  with the threat of War, life was about to change for all of England and Elizabeth did not sit back and watch it happen.  Stay tuned to hear more of Elizabeth's story.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Elizabeth Rushworth 1841-1927

Front Page of Elizabeth's Note Book
"Young Persons. look forward, for what they intend doing. Old Persons, look backward, as to what they have done."  Elizabeth Taylor (nee Rushworth).

This quote features on the opening page of Elizabeth Taylor's notebook.  This small black exercise book filled with Elizabeth's neat script has provided our family researchers with so many links to the details of her family "The Rushworths" and her husbands family "The Taylor's" and is the source of many of the details of this story.

Elizabeth, is my husbands great, great Grandmother and has to be among my favorite ancestors, even if I am only related to her by marriage.  It will be hard to do her story justice in a few blogs, and I hope in time to come I will be  able to expand on her story in more detail.  One of the main reasons for featuring Elizabeth in my blog is that I hope others will read her story and will be able to provide me with some more information on other members of her family and the times she lived in.

St Bartholomew's, Colne
Elizabeth Rushworth was born in Barnoldswick, in 1841, the eighth child of George Rushworth (1801-1884) and Martha Halstead (1805-1845).  The 1841 Census lists George's occupation as a farmer and they lived Whitemoor. Elizabeth was Christened  21 Dec 1842 St Bartholomew Church, Colne, Lancashire, England.  Like many families in this district, the Rushworth family were involved in the textile industry.

Rushworth family 1841 Census
 Barnoldswick and other towns in the district became known as weaving towns.  Many families had looms in their homes, with family members weaving cloth and the smaller children winding bobbins. The 1851 Census shows a number of the Rushworth family working in this industry; Elizabeth's brother James was a hand loom weaver, another brother John is listed as a bobbin boy and Elizabeth and her sister Alice were listed as bobbin winders.  (They were aged 10 and 8 years at the time).

This must have been a difficult time for the Rushworth family, as their mother Martha passed away in 1845, leaving George with eleven children to care for.  The 1851 census shows the family were now living in Greenbank, Barnoldswick.  There must have been the opportunity for Elizabeth to attend school, as her note book and shows she had a reasonable level of literacy.  It is most likely that the children attended the Barnoldswich National School, that was first opened by the Reverend Richard Milner in 1838 and new school build in 1841.

"Although the parish had been running a school since at least 1743 (see section 5.5.1), by the 1830s, the Reverend Richard Milner saw it as necessary to build a National School. This was duly opened in 1838 at the top of what became Church Street, opposite the Engine Inn, and doubled as a chapel of ease known as St James’ (Savage nd, 13). It was decided that St James’ should act solely as a church, and a new National School was built at the bottom of the Butts, next to Butts Beck, in 1841 (Savage nd, 14). This small school comprised single rooms on two storeys with a large porch." *

Map Barnoldswick- 1853
Most families in Barnoldswick lived in simple cottages, a wonderful description of homes in the 1840's can be found in the transcription of "Old Barlick" by W.P. Atkinson **

"Very few cottage houses had a back door and one objection to this was that a back door caused a "draft" and made too much wind in the house. All ordinary cottages had flagged floors and stone stair steps to approach the bedroom, cellars were not general. The back part of the house was used instead of same. No carpets or even hearth-rugs were in use up to this time, and the floors were scattered over with sand, the same being swept off at regular intervals after which a fresh layer of sand was used in like manner, this process was repeated several times each week, and the week-end cleaning-up did not start until after dinner on a Saturday when regular work had finished.

There were few tablecloths and lump sugar seen only at the School tea-party. There were no sun screens inside the windows but only a curtain to draw across the same at night, there was a low blind about a foot high either crocheted or plain. Most of the cottages had a garret and this was approached by a broad staved ladder, all such rooms were open to the slate. Also, where there was no garret the upper storey was open to the slate. There were no under-drawings or ceilings either upstairs or down and the woodwork joists and boards were absolutely bare. Poor Joe Parker lost one of his eyes when a child by peeping through a knot hole in the bedroom floor while another youngster took aim with his bow and arrow from the lower room. The bare joists and boards style of building was not abandoned until twenty years after this time, when lath and plaster in most new buildings were generally adopted. There were four back-to-back three storied cottages the first block on right-hand side going up Barlick Lane. These were known as the ‘blue slate’, (the only blue slated houses in Barlick Town at the time).

Cottage house windows, though not so large as modern windows, would average from two to three dozen panes of glass in each window, and were very rarely constructed with up and down sashes. A single pane of glass on hinges called a casement which
could be opened or shut at will. This contrivance gave a mouthful of fresh air to the folk inside the house if they desired it.

The Cottage fireplace was formed with a large opening at the bottom of the chimney, to allow Jack Sweep plenty of room when climbing up inside the ‘luvver’. On those occasions an old rhyme was chanted by the children outside as a sort of greeting to this black visitor from Skipton, while he was plodding his way up the luvver with a poke over his head and face, the rhyme ran thus ‘Sweep O, penny O, sweep the luvver clean O’, and finished up with ‘Jack, put the brush out at top’ This cruel practice has long become illegal.

What a wonderful description of the homes of this time, it gives a colourful picture of the living conditions that Elizabeth and her family would have experienced.!!

As I research the conditions of these times, Elizabeth's story is even more amazing!!! I am looking forward to writing and sharing with you the next chapter of her life.

Viewed 1 October 2012 

Viewed 1 October 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Edna Hazel Palin - A life cut short.

Roy and Hazel Herbert
I have found it difficult to write about the last part of Hazel's life .  How do you write about someone who's life was cut short.  After puzzling over how to conclude Hazel's story, I decided to call my mother, Hazel's eldest daughter (who is now 80 years old) and see what other stories she could remember. I quizzed her on the family activities that they all enjoyed.  She recalled that Hazel loved to dance and when the children were in their teens they all went with Hazel and Roy to the local hall for dances on Friday nights.

On the weekends, a very popular past time for the locals was to go out into the bush, bike riding and picnicking with their families. Roy and Hazel would join their friends on the weekend, with their youngest daughter riding on the front of the bike.  While researching life in Broken Hill, I recently came across a blog (, which has an interesting article on Motorcycle Mania in Broken Hill.  This article talks about the social side of motorcycle riding in Broken Hill:

Roy, Hazel and members of their family - weekend  family picnic
"The family and social side of events was also evident in the number of gymkhanas and picnics held in those times, with the wife or girl friend in the then –popular sidecar (no doubt, handy to help mend a puncture or push through the sand) .Enthusiasts used to make their way to one of the popular picnic Spots of the time to enjoy an afternoon of flag – races, musical chairs, etc."*

My mother remembers the family returning home from the Sunday family picnics and her Mum would cook up a huge pile of pancakes for Sunday night dinner!!!

After the birth of their last child Faye in 1939, Hazel's health began to deteriorate and in the following years she was diagnosed with kidney disease.  There were many trips to doctors, and long stints in hospital.  My mother recalls extended periods of times when she and her sisters were at home with Roy (their father) while Hazel was in Adelaide seeking treatment from specialists.On these visits Hazel would stay with her parents Charles and Eliza Palin who had moved from Broken Hill to Adelaide.

In the mid 1940's the family moved from their home in Brazil Street to a new house in McGowan Street. The children, finished high school and joined the workforce.  They all led busy social lifes, attending dances, playing tennis, swimming and bike riding on the weekends.

With her health failing Hazel found that she needed to rest more often.  However in early 1951, both Hazel and Roy travelled all the way to the south coast of NSW for a rare holiday.  The trip was to meet the parents of their future son-in-law Malcolm Shepherd, Christina and Lionel Carriage, the trip which was over 1000kms, the longest trip they had ever made.  I have shared a wonderful photo taken on this trip of Hazel and Christina on Family Stories: Photographs and Memories.

Photo of Hazel (front left hand side) visiting family.
 Between 1950-1955 all of her children married and grand children were soon on the way.  Hazel and Roy doted on their grand children and enjoyed visiting them when they could. Hazel and Roy travelled to visit their daughter Moreen and her husband Malcolm who were living on Nuntherungie Station about 180 kms from Broken Hill.  This photo (about 1956) was taken in front of their home at Nuntherungie Station.  Hazel is in the front row on the left hand side, behind her her son-in-law Malcolm Shepherd (my father) and third from the left her daughter Moreen holding me. This trip was the last  she made away from her home in Broken Hill, as her illness meant she needed to pay regular visits to the Hospital. She regretted not being able to spend more time with her family and her grandchildren.

In a letter dated 11 September 1957, she writes to her daughter, sharing her concerns about Moreen's sisters, their marriages and her grandchildren.
 " I still can't help feeling scared of a number of things.  Faye was over this afternoon for some of her things.  Poor kid looks really worn out.  I would give the world to be able to help her along."
  She has sent small gifts to Moreen for the children and signs off.

"I must sign off now and get some badly needed rest, so with lots of love to you all, we remain your loving Mum and Dad".  At the end of the letter is a little PPS:
 "Anxiously awaiting your arrival, Love Mother".

Just after this letter was written, Moreen, moved back to her parent's home in Broken Hill with her toddler, Diane (me) and twin babies (Larraine and Nancy) to look after her mother and father.  Hazel, at the age of 47,  passed away on the 30 October 1957 a little over 5 weeks after this letter was written.

* Motor Cycle Mania,, viewed 1/9/12

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Short Story of Life as a Wife and Mother in Broken Hill - Edna Hazel Palin

Marriage of Roy Herbert and Edna Hazel Palin  24 July 1929
The first part of Edna Hazel Palin's (Hazel as she liked to be called) story finished with her marriage to Roy Clarence Herbert on 24 July 1929 (NSW BDM). Once married, Hazel took on the role of wife and mother, giving up her position as a clerk.

As I mentioned earlier, conditions in Broken Hill post WWI were very tough with many strikes and unions demanding better working conditions for  the miners.  The longest and harshest strike was in 1919-1920 and lasted for 18 months.  However, this prolonged strike brought about change and the unions succeeded in obtaining better conditions and shorter working hours for their members.  The unions joined forces under one organisation, the Barrier Industrial Council (BIC) *. This council became a powerful body which had a great impact on the lives of the people of Broken Hill.  The formation of the BIC also had a historical influence on the life of married women in Broken Hill, including Hazel.  In order to diminish unemployment  the BIC introduced a resolution banning married women from working.  

"For women, the formation of the Barrier Industrial Council had one particularly direct consequence. In 1930, the president of the Council passed a resolution to ban married women from working in Broken Hill. The policy was intended to diminish unemployment by holding clerical and retail jobs open for young, single women, encouraging them to stay in the city. It was felt that a miners' wage was sufficient to keep his wife and family." **

Hazel and Roy Herbert and family about 1937
Hazel and Roy's first son Charles John (Jack) was born in 1930.  Roy was employed with the Zinc Corporation, one of the main mining companies in Broken Hill. In the following years Hazel was fully occupied with the raising the family of two boys and three girls, Jack, Maureen, Joan, Brian and Faye. 

As her daughter Maureen recalls, she was an accomplished seamstress, making all the children's clothes, and often sewing for her friends. 

The young Herbert family on a picnic with their grandparents.
Family entertainment included family picnics on the weekend at favorite picnic spots on the outskirts of Broken Hill.  They would all pile into cars or many would go on motorbikes. Maureen remembers her parents (Hazel and Roy) going to picnics with her younger sister Faye on Roy's motor bike and the rest of the family traveling in the car with her grandparents.

The local swimming pool was also a vital part of the social life of the Herbert family, providing hours of entertainment, fun and relief from the searing summer heat.  Maureen recalls with amusement, Mum (Hazel) could not swim at all "it was a joke  for all the family, how she could not get the arms and legs to work in unison and we all kidded her that she would sink to the bottom.    Down she would go.".

Herbert family with their Cousins in Adelaide
In 1937, the family was to mourn the loss of their son and brother Brian, when he passed away at the age of eighteen months from pneumonia (NSW BDM 12217/1937). The other four children attended the local primary school and then once they were teenagers were students at Broken Hill High School.

 Life for the Herbert children was happy and content, with a house that was always full of friends and family. During the Christmas holidays, the family would travel to Adelaide to visit Hazel's sister Thelma and brother Alf and their families. Hazel really enjoyed these times in the milder climate of Adelaide, catching up with family and sharing her love of music with her older brother Alf who played violin in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.  Hazel's health was beginning to become a serious problem, and there many visits to specialists, where she was diagnosed as suffering from serious kidney disease. 

* Barrier Industrial Council, viewed 20.8.12
** Unbroken Spirit: Women in Broken Hill,, viewed 20.8.12

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Edna Hazel Palin 1910-1957, Life in the Mining Town of Broken Hill

Edna Hazel Palin
 My maternal grandmother Edna Hazel Palin was born on the 14 April 1910 in the mining town of Broken Hill. At the turn of the twentieth century Broken Hill had a population of around 27,500 people and was one of the largest commercial centres in New South Wales.

A thriving mining town, Broken Hill, "achieving notoriety for two reasons - strikes and dust storms". In a typical dust storm, the town would be enveloped in dense clouds of choking red sand which penetrated almost every building. Machines became clogged, canvas blinds shredded  and outhouses knocked flat. In one severe storm it was reported that ‘some lanes were blocked by outhouses which had blown across the roadway’.

My grandmother's  parents were Charles Henry Palin (1851-1957) and Eliza Golding (1872-1951). Hazel's parents and their young daughter Thelma moved from Port Pirie, South Australia sometime between 1905 and 1907.

It is quite possible their decision to come to Broken Hill was to provide for support the wife and children of Thomas Palin (Charles's elder brother) who was killed in an accident when he was caught between two rail trucks in 1905. Charles was a carpenter by trade, he was also a strong supporter of the unions and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, (masonic fellowship).

Broken Hill 1905
Life for the miners in Broken Hill was difficult and they worked long hours. 1909, the year before Hazel was born, saw the unions set up picket lines in their quest for better working conditions.  This was a violent time in Broken Hill with clashes between the companies and miners. However after several months of striking the miners went back to work on the same pay rate and hours (48 hours a week).

After the family moved to Broken Hill Hazel's (as she was known) elder brother Alfred was born in 1907, and followed by Hazel in 1910. Thelma, Alfred and Hazel went to school North Commercial Public School. Hazel and her brother, Alfred, (or Alf) enjoyed music, Hazel studying piano and Alf the violin at the Convent of Mercy. In later years, Alf went on to play violin with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

 An article in the Barrier Miner, Thursday 28 April 1921 describes Hazel Palin as part of a group of 6C girls who performed admirably the operetta "Soot and the Fairies".  Hazel had the part of "Lady Hairbrush". (One has to wonder, what this part involved).

When Hazel finished primary school, she continued with her music lessons and studied shorthand, typing and english at the Convent Commercial School. At the age of 17 she completed her education at the commercial school and used her skills in typing and shorthand  to take up the position as a clerk in one of the local businesses. 

Hazel's daughter Maureen remembers her mother as being  "a very good pianist who could play classical pieces very well.  She often played for friends and family gatherings and many singsongs when the family gathered around the piano lounge room."  The 1930 NSW census shows that Hazel and her parents were living at 137 Brazil Street, Broken Hill. 

Three years later Hazel, who was described as a petite young lady, who was just over 5 foot tall with dark wavy hair, met and married Roy Clarence Herbert.  Roy was a young laborer who had moved to Broken Hill from the copper mining town of Burra, SA and they were married at the Methodist Manse on 24 July 1929. The young couple started married life living with Hazel's parents, Charles and Eliza in Brazil Street (1930 NSW Census).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Memories of Nanna (Christina Carriage, Shepherd nee Lee)

Nanna (Back LHS) with family and grandchildren on the Front Verandah
 This is the final bog on the life of Christina Sterland Carriage (Shepherd nee Lee).  The period from the 1950’s through to when she passed away in 1984 is the time when her children left home, married and had children of their own. 

 What is special for this part of her story  is that I am able include  my own perspective and personal experience.  I don’t think I can pinpoint my first memory of Nanna, though it must have been from a Christmas holiday early in my childhood.  Every year our family would pack up our car and make the trek to Milton for three weeks holiday, staying with Nanna and Pop or in a rented house nearby.

 I remember her as being a tall lean lady, kind, but someone who would take no nonsense.  As a small child I delighted in being in her company and would volunteer to go to Church with her in the evenings for that special one on one time (and of course to be shown off to all her church buddies as “Malcolm’s” eldest girl). As a teenager, I loved to curl up on on the old sofa in her cosy kitchen, with one of her crochet rugs over my legs and read one of the many books from her book shelf.
Christina Carraige -Matron of Honour at the Masonic Ball

Well, before I stray too far a must get  back to the story.  The last blog finished with Christina’s eldest son, Malcolm, joining the air force and being sent to Darwin for active service..  Fortunately, the war was very close to ending and he was soon back into civilian life.  Over the next few years her three eldest children  (Leo was still quite young) left home, married and had children.  

With the house empty, Nanna took in borders to help cover expenses and these borders became part of her extended family.  Lionel (Pop) continued to work at the sawmills  and had a small home business where he sharpened saws and axes.  Their life was uncomplicated, with Nanna involved in the church and Pop was a member of the local Masonic Lodge.    With a little more time on their hands they took up golf and became members of the local Mollymook Golf Club.

As I mentioned early, my strongest memories of Nanna were at Christmas time.  All the family, would come to stay in Nanna’s house (until there was too many of us).  Children would be bunked on divans, or in beds together, (topping and tailing).  We spent hours playing in the garden, pinching Pop’s strawberries and feasting on the plums from their big plum tree.  It became a family tradition for all the cousins to put on a Christmas Holiday Concert, where we would stage a number of short skits, dances and songs on Nanna’s front verandah.  All the neighbours would be invited, and charged a silver coin for the honour of sitting on one of the rickety chairs set up on the front lawn.  Then, the next day, to our delight Nanna would take us up to buy ice cream with the takings from the concert.

Christmas Day in Nanna's house was something to behold.  During previous week we would have all helped her make the Christmas pudding.  She would buy a brand new plastic bucket to mix it in and all the grandchildren would take turns in stirring for good luck.  Then on Christmas day, the kitchen would be a buzz with all the adults sharing in the preparation of the meal (and punch) under Nanna's direction.  When it came to sitting everyone down for the hot meal a hierarchy of age was enforced.  Adults at the dining table, and then the grandchildren, depending on their age would sit at the side table, card table, ironing board (on low setting) or high chair.  What a sight to see!!!! Then when it finally came time to have the pudding Nanna would serve it with steaming hot custard and she would slip silver sixpences into each of the childrens bowls. Then when cents came into circulation, we would have to hand the sixpences back after the meal so they could be saved for next Christmas.

Nursing a new Great grandchild
The late 1970- 1980’s saw another changing of the guard with her grandchildren turning 21, getting married and having children of their own.  Nanna delighted in these family occasions and watched over the brood with a critical eye.  I can remember if there was a sad family event such as a funeral she would have a small glass of brandy for medical purposes and if it was a time for celebrations she was quite partial to a glass or two of that “nice bubbly wine”.

 Teenie (Christina) and Lionel retired and continued life in the quiet town of Milton.  Their son Leo and his family settled in the district and were of great support to them in their later years.  Then in 1982 Lionel became very ill and passed away on the 10 February 1982.  Teenie continued to live on her own in their family home. Then on a sunny morning, two years later on the 15 April, 1984 while sweeping her front path she passed away at the age of 82.  As I reflect, on her life and all that she had experienced am glad that I have been able to share a little of her story. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Marraige to Lionel Carriage and Family Life in Milton

Lionel  and Christina Carriage
 The early 1930's had brought many challenges to the young Christina Shepherd (nee Lee). Relying on the support of her family she endeavoured to provide a home for her three children after the death of her husband Malcolm Shepherd. The 1933 and 1936 NSW Census show her as living in the small coastal of Milton with her sister Mona and her husband Lindsay Shepherd.

It was during this time that she caught the eye of a local sportsman, Lionel Carriage.  Lionel had been living in the district with his family since he was a small child.  He was a talented axeman and had competed in the wood chopping events at all the shows in the district and later competed successfully at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Lionel Carriage

 This romance blossomed and on the 3 October 1936, Christina and Lionel were married and the small Methodist Church at the bottom of Wason Street Milton. (NSW BDM 19875/1936). The children were reunited and the family moved into a small wooden cottage at No. 56 Wason Street, Milton.  Christina and Lionel lived in this house for the rest of their lives.  The children enrolled into the local Milton School and then two years later on the 9 September Lionel and Christina's son Leo was born.

Leo outside the Carriage home, 56 Wason Street Milton.
Lionel worked in the local Timber industry and was a well known bushman of the district.  He continued to compete in wood chopping events and the many Agricultural Shows in the district.  Christina also became very involved in the local show society, entering in the many cooking and flower arranging section.  Today Christina and Lionel's support and service to the Milton Show Society lives on with memorial awards for flower arranging and wood chopping being awarded every year in their memory.

Christina and Leo watching the woodchopping at the Show
 The young family thrived, and though they lived on a modest income, the house in Wason Street was full of lively children and their friends.  My father used to delight me with the stories of his childhood.  Stories of mischievous pranks and fun growing up in the small country town.

In the summer months Christina would send the boys out to collect the blackberries that grew in abundance in the fields around the town, and then she would spend hours cooking blackberry jam and pies. As rationing was introduced during the years of WWII, the Carriage's kept large and productive garden, and Christina was always sharing her produce and eggs with neighbours and family.

The War had its toll on most families, nieces and nephews enlisted and the families watched and held their breath as news reached them of the losses of their loved ones.  Christina's eldest son Malcolm finished school in the early 1940's and  following in his uncle's footsteps he enrolled in the police cadents in Sydney, living with Christina's elder brother Clyde Lee. However, as the threat of Japanese invasion increased he enlisted into the airforce and after training was sent to Darwin. One can only imagine how she felt as her eldest child left home to go off to war.

Family life for Christina was about to change again, with her children growing up, leaving home,getting married and the eventual arrival of grandchildren.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christina Part Two - Letters from a troubled time.

Malcolm Michael (Mack) Shepherd
Braidwood Dispatch, January 1932

"We regret to record the death of Malcolm Michael Shepherd which occurred at Nelligen on Wednesday at 7.30 a.m.  Sometime back Mr Shepherd met with a severe accident while engaged in his bush work, a tree falling on his head.  Since then he has been incapacitated from work, never really getting over the accident.  He leaves a wife and three children and was 37 years of age.  The funeral took place at Nelligen yesterday."

This is where we left the story of Christina Shepherd (nee Lee).  Looking over a number of old letters that were sent to her at this time, made me realise that the months after Mack's accident were a time fraught with sadness and difficulty.  Caring for her three young children and a husband who had changed since his accident.  Some of the excerpts of these letters are:

 13 January 1932

"Teenie, dear I hope you are feeling better by this as I heard nothing of the sad end until Monday, it came a great shock.  When I heard no more, I began to think he was better.  Never mind my dear, God in his Mercy will look to you and the little ones.  Mac was always a good old quiet fellow, and it is to be hoped he is at rest."

17 January 1932

"Well  I hope you are feeling well and the children after your sad loss, I know Teany it is hard to say cheer up for you, I know the feeling you will have for some time but my dear try and look on the bright side as you always did when poor Mack was sick. I think he suffered a lot Teany for what we did not know and God knew best in the end."

Mona and Christina (nee Lee)
Faced with the task of caring for three children on her own Christina had to make some hard decisions.  Her eldest son Malcolm (my father) at the age of 6 went to live with Christina's mother Catherine Lee on the family farm at Nelligen, and Christina and the two younger children Colin (4 years old) and Nancy (18 months) moved to the small coastal town of Milton to care for her sister Mona who was not wel1 (1933 NSW Census shows her to be living at Princes Highway, Milton, NSW).  One has to wonder how she would have managed in these difficult economic times without the support of her family.

Among the collection of letters is one from Christina to her Solicitor in Sydney, in this letter she has written justifying her expenditure of some of the assurance money.

8 February 1933

"I am sorry I have delayed in answering your letters re administration.  I have been away and your letter took a little longer to reach me, and I have been called away on sickness a couple of times, or I would have attended to this sooner.  The money from the savings bank I used for extra clothing for the children and myself.  There will be 10/- bank expenses and 5'- for cheque book to deduct that leaves 111 pounds and 10 shillings now in the bank.  Trusting this will be correct,  I am yours faithfully, C.S.Shepherd."

The  1936 NSW Census show that Christina was again living with her sister Mona and her husband on the Princes Highway Milton, helping to care for her ailing sister and her young family as well as her own children.  From stories told to me by my father, I know that he was still living on "Acacia Farm", Nelligen with his grandmother while his mother and younger brother and sister lived in Milton. 

However, 1936 proved to be a year of change for the Christina. A new person came into her life and the family was able to all be together again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christina Sterland Lee

What better place to start the stories of the women in my family tree than with my grandmothers. This is a photo of my Nanna, on my fathers side of the family, when she was about five or six.  It is taken from a school photo, at Nelligen School.  Nelligen is a small settlement on the Clyde River on the South Coast of New South Wales.

I have many childhood memories of Christmas time gatherings at my Nanna's house in Milton where all the cousins, aunts and uncles would gather for the annual festivities in Nanna and Pop's old wooden house.  The kitchen would be a hive of activity, with Nanna making the traditional Christmas pudding in huge bowl and all the children taking turns to stir the pudding for luck.

Christina Sterland Lee was born on 29 May 1901, in the small trading town of Nelligen, on the banks of the Clyde River. She was the daughter of George William Lee (1859-1936) and Catherine McGregor (1866-1945). Christina or Teenie as she was called by her friends was the fourth child and first daughter in a family.  She had  four brothers and four sisters.  At the time of her birth her family lived in 27 Vincent St Nelligen (NSW 1901 Census) .  The children were not short of company with their cousins living  in two houses next door.  (These were the families of her father’s brothers Thomas and Albert Lee).

Nelligen 1908
Her grandfather Thomas George Lee (1832-1936) was born in Clerkenwell, St James, Islington, England and came to Australia in the early 1850’s.  He was one of the earlier settlers in the Nelligen District and for many years ran the local store, that was a major supplier of goods to the local district and over the Clyde Mountain to the Braidwood district.

While Christina was still at school her family moved to “Acacia Farm”  about 8 kms north of Nelligen on the Clyde River.  The farmhouse was surrounded by fruit trees and the family grew vegetables and raised cattle.  This farmhouse was to see many family gatherings and reunions over the next eighty years.  I remember visiting the farm as a small child, when it has been passed on to Christina’s younger brother George Alexander Lee (better known as Jordie). 

Three of  the Lee boys  (Clyde, James and Norman) moved to Sydney and joined the police force and her sisters married and lived locally.  In 1923, at the age of 22 Christina met and married Malcolm Michael Shepherd  a returned WWI soldier,  whose family had been involved in carrier business between Nelligen and Braidwood since the early 1860’s.  Their first child Muriel passed away when she was 11 months old.  Three more children, Malcolm, Colin and Nancy followed and the family settled into the district. 

However, Christina’s happy family life was soon to take a unhappy turn.   In March 1931 her husband Malcolm was knocked down and seriously injured by a tree.  He survived the accident but didn’t fully recover, passing away at the age of 40 in the January of the following year.

While hauling logs to Backhouse's Benandarah mill, Malcolm M. Shepherd was knocked down by a rebounding sapling. He was taken to Moruya Hospital in a serious condition

In the very difficult economic times of the early 1930’s Christina was left with three small children to raise on her own.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A salute to the women in my family tree.

 Quien a buen ├írbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija.

 Who leans against a good tree, is well shaded.

When I reflect on my family tree, I consider myself very lucky.I feel that a lot of my good fortune and the strength (and shade) of this "family tree" is due to my female ancestors.

All family researchers, find that when it comes to researching their grandmother, great grandmothers and great aunts that it is more complicated than searching for information on our male ancestors. They are often the forgotten ones in the family story.

As all family tree researchers know, the search for information on their female ancestors always presents special problems. One of the main reasons for this is that women usually change their names when they marry.  However, social  and legal status in times gone by also contribute to this difficulty. Though there have been some matriarchal societies, on the whole our history has seen women as being subject, to a greater or lesser degree, to the control of men.

Prior to the twentieth century the identity of a woman was tied to her father, husband and family.  Laws and social customs bound them to the male members of their families.  In many countries women were not allowed to vote, participate in government, sign legal documents or own land.  It was their male counterparts who wrote history, passed their names on to their children, paid taxes, owned property, participated in military service and left wills.  (Yes this is all the documentation that we use to trace family members, and this is why the women in our families are often the "forgotten ones".)

With this in mind, this blog is my attempt to give some of the women that came before me an identity.  I think they deserve to have their stories told, after all they were the ones who bore the children, held the families together and carried on family traditions.  They have played a valuable part in providing me with a strong, and well shaded tree to lean upon.

Please join me on this journey, and lets share stories of the women in our family trees.