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.

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