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.


  1. A very difficult and sad time for Christina I am sure. It is nice that you have this collection of letters to construct the elements in her life.
    Welcome to the geneabloggers family.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. thank you for the welcome. I am enjoying putting all the bits together to construct their stories