Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Selling off the farm

Years of hard work, good seasons and bad, little or abundant rain, dusty dry paddocks or golden fields of grain are the lot of the South Australian farmer in the lower mid-north region. How difficult then must it be to sell the land where one has worked and toiled for many years? In tough years a clearing sale may bring in some needed cash.

In March of 1933, a successful clearing sale held on my grandfather's farm at Alma could have helped them weather the world wide depression afflicting business, industry and indeed the farming communities.

We see from this article that 13 valuable horses, essential on a farm in these years, were sold. It is worth noting that "there was a good attendance from local and surrounding districts" Some folks were probably looking for bargains but we can hope there were others there to support the family in their time of need.

1933 'STOCK MARKET REPORTS.', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954),
16 March, p. 28, viewed 15 September, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90895610
Less than a year later sadness struck on March 4th with the death of Elizabeth, my grandmother, at age 64. (1) Now Andrew and his son Edward were alone on the farm.

In 1906 on his marriage to Elizabeth Smyth, Andrew Horgan had moved to the farm at Alma. Her father had died in 1901 the land then being administered by his brother, Elizabeth's uncle, James Smyth. The deeds for this land passed to Elizabeth as a married woman in January of 1909 with subsequent transfer to Andrew her husband.
After her death in 1934, he and his son Edward continued to work the farm. After Edward's marriage in 1937 and seeking better prospects for the young couple, their attention turned to land available further north where Andrew's cousins had settled and were doing well. By 1939 Andrew was 70 and ready to move on. His 2 bachelor brothers, Thomas now aged 72 and John aged 64 had moved to Riverton and had leased out the farm at Linwood.

So in 1939 this advertisement appeared in "The Mail"
At Mr J O'Connell's  Office
For sale by auction under instructions from the registered proprietorMr. ANDREW HORGAN, of ALMA:—  
LOT 1. 213 ACRES, being free hold Sections 481. 482. and part 418. Hundred Alma, situated about 7 miles north-east of Hamley Bridge. 
IMPROVEMENTS: STONE HOMESTEAD, 6 ROOMS, concrete cow sheds, G.I. barn blacksmith's shop. garage. pigsty fowlhouses. and yards. Fruit garden. 95 ACRES UNDER CROP -25 acres peas. 20 acres oats, and 50 acres barley: also 68 acres pasture, look ing well, and 50 ACRES OF WELL .WORKED FALLOW. LOT 2. 100 ACRES, being free hold. Sections 483 and part Section 418, Hundred Alma. ADJOINING LOT AT PRESENT IN CROP (20 acres wheat and 80 acres barley). The above land will FIRSTLY BE OFFERED AS A WHOLE, and if not sold THEN IN TWO LOTS. AS ABOVE. The land is all cleared and arable, and is first-class agricultural land, TERMS.— 10 per cent, deposit: balance in cash in one month, when possession will be given.
For inspection and further particulars apply to the Auctioneers

The farm was sold and contracts exchanged on land near Snowtown in February 1940. 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Fathers' Day remembrance

Edward John Horgan c. 1918 on Beaver
Photo courtesy of M. J. Horgan , Gawler, SA
The first Sunday in September is celebrated as Fathers' Day in Australia, so in tribute to my father I record some of his early years gleaned from newspaper clippings up to his marriage in 1937.

Early years

On 30 May 1908 in Riverton, South Australia my father Edward John Horgan was born to Elizabeth (born Smyth) and Andrew Horgan. They had been married in February 1906 and already had a 17 month old girl, Hanora Mary, when Edward, Ted or Eddie as he would become known, was born. It is likely that he was named after his maternal grandfather Edward Smyth who had died seven years before his grandson was born.

His early years were spent on their farm at Alma from where he attended the local Alma South primary school, riding there on the pony with his little brother Joseph who was born 2 years after him. (1) His best friend and companion in these years was Edward John Smyth (the late Rev Fr Eddie Smyth 1905-1978) a first cousin living on the adjacent property. This devout close knit family attended Mass on Sundays at  nearby Tarlee  travelling by horse and buggy
By the time he had finished primary school his elder sister was away at school at a convent and Edward followed his first cousin and friend to Adelaide for a year at boarding school. Imagine the shock of leaving an isolated farmhouse and quiet rural lifestyle for the rigors of a boarding school run by the Marist Brothers at Sacred Heart College, Somerton. His stay was short and the rest of his teenage years were spent labouring on the family farm.

Young adulthood

4. Fair at Tarlee
In August of 1925 (2) he is listed among the 300 guests at the Hibernian Ball held in Hamley Bridge along with his aunt, uncle and cousin from the next door farm. Local dances were a popular fund-raising entertainment as the report of this fancy dress dance at Alma details. (3)

At almost 19 years old he would have been responsible for driving his mother in the sulky, (horse and buggy) to events such as this Fair at Tarlee (4) where she and her sister in law were in charge of the produce stall of homemade preserves and homegrown fruit and vegetables. He is listed as helping man the cold drinks stall with friends Denis and Bill Hahesy.


Life was not all work as he played tennis for Alma and the Catholic club at Tarlee, teaming up with Hogan cousins and playing against McInerney cousins such as this event in 1930.  Riverton Catholic Tennis Club v Tarlee Catholic Club.  Scores.—Men's Doubles: M. Hogan and E. Horgan (Tarlee) lost to V. and M. Mclnerney (Riverton), .............Men's Singles: M. Hogan lost to V, Mclnerney, 5—6 ; E. Horgan defeated M. Mclnerney 6-4 (5) These matches were reported on again in the years 1931-33 with several wins recorded against his name.

Family events

Death is inevitable in all families, and at age 18 in 1926 it is likely that he would have attended the funeral of a maiden aunt Johanna Horgan who died after a long illness at age 49. She had been living on the farm at Linwood where his father was born along with two other brothers, John and Thomas and her sister Kate and mother Hanora.
In the following year, 1927, his grandmother Hanora died aged 87. These funerals eleven months apart would have seen large gatherings of relatives as reported in 1926 and 1927.
When Eddie (Ted) was 25, tragedy struck once more when his mother Elizabeth Agnes Horgan died at their home on the farm in March of 1934. The large funeral that followed is reported in The Southern Cross. (6)

The death of Mrs. Andrew Horgan, which occurred at Alma on Sunday, March 4, occasioned deep regret, not only to her devoted husband and children, but also to a large circle of friends. The deceased lady was well known and highly respected in the district. Her admirable qualities and charitable disposition endeared her to all who had the good fortune to come in contact with her. She is survived by her husband, Mr. Andrew Horgan, and three children—Sister M. Marguerite, of the Sisters of St. Joseph; Mr. J. Horgan, St. Patrick's College, Manly, N.S.W.; and Mr. T. Horgan, Alma. The funeral, which was attended by a large number, took place on Monday, March 5, at the Navan Cemetery. Rev. Father A. Noone, P.P., assisted by Rev. Father P. M. Horgan, of Colonel Light Gardens, officiated at the graveside. 

 Joyful times

My father used to tell the story that he walked Hannah O'Dea back to her house after a dance in Hamley Bridge and kissed her "to put his brand on her." 

They were engaged in July 1935 but it was nearly two years before their wedding took place. During the years since his mother's death a housekeeper had been cooking a mutton roast once a week for Eddie and his father. This was then eaten cold with mustard for days afterwards and from his retelling, this constituted the main part of their diet. How he must have looked forward to marrying his sweetheart and once again having a cook in the house. Their 1937 wedding is reported here.

1. 1921 'The Children's Page.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 2 December, p. 18, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167024742

2. 1925 'HAMLEY BRIDGE.', The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), 15 August, p. 21, viewed 6 September, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58202463

3. 1925 'DANCE AT ALMA.', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 31 October, p. 71, viewed 6 September, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90502842

4. 1927 'FAIR AT TARLEE.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 11 March, p. 3, viewed 6 September, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108306635

5. 1930 'S.A. CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION.', Southern Cross(Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 19 December, p. 19, viewed 6 September, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167051800

6.1934 'OBITUARY MRS. A. HORGAN, ALMA.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 23 March, p. 10, viewed 30 January, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article168913804

This post first appeared at http://earlieryears.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-fathers-day-remembrance.html 6th September 2015

Monday, 22 June 2015

A child writes letters

The Children's Page

Through the eyes of children we can glean snippets of the lives of our forebears. Many newspapers and magazines have had children's sections where young people were encouraged to write about their lives and contribute to the publication. The Southern Cross paper in South Australia was no exception starting out with a children's corner in its early editions.

In a Children's Corner of the 21 September, 1894 edition, Mrs A. M. Ryan  of the Catholic Book depot in Gawler Place under the nom de plume "Aunt Eily"(1) suggested children write to her (2)
By March 1895 the children's corner had become St Vincent's Juvenile Club and all children were treated as cousins, with "Aunt Eily" referring to them as nieces and nephews. The club was open to all young people from the age of 5 - 18.  "Cousin Rosaleen" - Josephine Moroney succeeded her in 1908 and edited the children's page until her death in April 1922 .

Membership cards were issued, competitions run to encourage fundraising for the orphanage at Goodwood and later that at Largs Bay. Letters were answered with positive comments and encouragement. Saints' stories, tales from scripture and moral exhortations were interspersed with letters, poems, jokes and riddles. All monetary donations were acknowledged but not all letters could be published.

In 1922 the children's section of the paper became The Sunshine Club conducted by "Wattle Blossom" (3) This change also brought about a change in membership, with age restricted to 6 -16. By  May 1943 when "Wattle Blossom" handed over the reins to Maureen the name had reverted to The Children's Page. In January of 1946 it had been renamed The Five Stars Club under the leadership of Felicity. (4)

Letters from the farm at Alma 1916 - 1923

My aunt, Honora Mary Horgan was born at Alma in South Australia to Elizabeth Agnes (Smyth) and husband Andrew Joseph Horgan on the 4th December 1906. Her younger brothers were Edward John, (my father) born May 30th, 1908 and Joseph Andrew, born April 21st, 1910. 

Here we see her writing to the Southern Cross Children's Pages as she collects money for orphans housed at Goodwood. The letters below provide glimpses of a child's life on a farm between 1916 and 1923. The last ones included are from Joseph. There do not appear to be any letters from (my father) Eddie.

Alma, May 2. 1916
Dear Cousin—I have never written to you before. I hope you will accept me as a new cousin. I am nine years and five months old. We have a pet dove - it comes inside, and we give it crumbs to eat - and a young puppy. We can put our hand into his mouth, and he will not bite. I have two brothers, their names are Eddie and Joseph. I enclose 1/ for orphans.
I hope you and the orphans are well.
Alma, August 17, 1916.
Dear Cousin Rosaleen—It is a long time since I wrote to you, you must be forgetting me. We had Australia Day in Alma on July 26. The Alma South school children were dressed up to represent different nations. I was an Irish girl. We are feeding five calves. They eat hay or chaff. We have a little foal; its mother's name is Rose. He runs about quite happy.
I read the Children's Page every week, and like the letters very much. We have some pigs. Two of them get out and the dog bites them, and they stay away for a while. I am in the second class at school. The teacher's name is Miss Dubois. We live two miles from the school. We drive seven miles to Mass every Sunday. We are having a week's holiday soon. I am going down to Salisbury to my uncle's for it. I went to my grandma's at Linwood last holiday. I have a cousin at Loreta Convent. She is going for an exam, this month. Please ask the little orphans to say a prayer that she may pass. I am sending 6d. for orphans and a penny for membership card, which I received, and like it.
With love from
[The grandmother mentioned is Hanorah Horgan (born O'Leary) aged 76 in 1916, living on the farm at Linwood where Andrew Joseph Horgan was born.]
Alma, November 15. 1916
Dear Cousin Rosaleen—I have been for my holiday since I last wrote to you. I enjoyed myself very much. Aunty took me to town one day. I am sending my card back to you. I have £1 1/ on it. We have six little white pigs and two black ones. We are milking seven cows, and have two calves. We sold the rest. It has been, cold and wet here for over a week. It is rough, today. This is a short letter, but I have no more news to tell now.
From your loving cousin,
Alma, January 29.1917
Dear Cousin Rosaleen—Our holidays are over. I was away for three weeks. I enjoyed myself well. We are having a holiday to-day because it is Foundation Day. On Christmas Day I raffled a cake and got 3/, which I am sending in stamps for the orphans. We are busy at school knitting for soldiers. Both of us passed. Eddie is in the third grade. I am in the fifth grade. My little brother Joseph is going to school now. He is a pet of the scholars. I enclose 3/ for orphans.
I am, your fond cousin,
Alma, November 15. 1918
Dear Cousin Rosaleen—I am returning my card with two pounds two shillings and sixpence on it. I had hard work to collect it because there are so many other collections for other things. I hope it will be a little help for the orphans. I sold some papers and my father gave me some old iron to sell, and I also sold some lollies, and out of them all I made over eight shillings to help with my card. I hope the fete will be a great success. Our examination will be next month. I hope to pass into the VII. Grade.

Isn't it lovely to think that the war is over at last? A lady came to our school on Wednesday to teach us how to spin wool. We will have five weeks' holiday at Christmas time. We have had three days' holiday this week in honour of peace. The foxes are very plentiful about here now. They have taken a great number of poultry from people around here lately. They took some of our turkeys. They are going to start a Catholic library in Hamley Bridge. I am going to join it when it is opened, as I like reading very much.
I remain,
your loving cousin,
H. Mary Horgan 1906-1984
Photograph from the collection of Joseph Andrew Horgan 
Hanora Mary Horgan joined The Sisters of St Joseph as Sister Margarette. Later in life she spent some time in Glenside Hospital and then lived at "The Pines" at Plympton, a convent run by the Good Shepherd nuns. When I visited her there as a young child with my parents  I remember her as a kindly lady who always gave us a prayer card as a gift. She died at age 77 on May 2nd, 1984 and is buried in the Navan Catholic Cemetery, Riverton alongside her parents and brothers.

In 1921 Joseph Andrew Horgan continued the letter writing tradition.

Alma, November. 21. 1921
Dear Cousin Rosaleen—This is my first letter to you. I hope you will accept me as a new Cousin. I have already collected £2 1/. I have taken my sister's card, as she is at the Convent. My brother and I ride to school every day. The name of the pony is Beaver. We also have a little dog named Tiny. We have a pussy; her name is Snowy; she can jump very well. We had some friends staying with us from town. They went home to-day; we feel very lonely without them. It was fun to watch the little boy ride the pony. I am looking forward to the Christmas holidays. I think I am going to spend some of them with my uncle. I am 11 years old and in the fourth grade at school. I hope the fete will be a big success and make a lot of money. I enclose a penny for membership card.
I am, your new Cousin,
 Alma, January 1923
Dear Wattle Blossom,
My brother and I ride to school on a little pony named Beaver. I have not written to you before, but I am now wishing for a membership card. I am glad the Orphanage fete was such a success. Our cat has three kittens, Darkey, Sandy and Spotty.We are reading a book entitled "The Little Black Princess." Have you ever read it?. I did not have the pleasure of being at the Pilgrimage, but prayed for the great success of it. I am enclosing threepence for membership card. I hope you and the Orphans will have a Happy New Year.
I am your new Clubmate
These letters provide a glimpse into the childhood life of my father and his siblings. The tradition of writing to the children's pages was continued in to my generation. The story of our Uncle Joe is for another day.

1. 1917 'Death of Mrs. A, M, Ryan.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 10 August, p. 7, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166983129
2. 1894 'Children's Corner.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 21 September, p. 5, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165889710
3.1939 'CHILDREN'S PAGE...', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 28 July, p. 24, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167761478
4. 1946 'CHILDREN'S PAGE.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 18 January, p. 11, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167710105
5. 1916 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 2 June, p. 18, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166420853
6. 1916 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 1 September, p. 18, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166422061
7. 1916 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 8 December, p. 6, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166423305
8. 1917 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 9 February, p. 6, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166980769
9. 1918 'The Children.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 22 November, p. 15, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166988853
10. 1921 'The Children's Page.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 2 December, p. 18, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167024742
11. 1923 'The Children's Page.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 26 January, p. 18, viewed 22 June, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167738712

Sunday, 12 April 2015

An April wedding 1937

The recent digitisation of the South Australian Catholic Weekly paper 'The Southern Cross' has provided access to this description of the wedding of my parents, Edward John Horgan and Hannah Olive O'Dea and provided me with another reason to display their wedding photo once more.
Southern Cross(Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 
7 May, p. 15,


 O'Dea—Horgan Wedding.

St. Mary's Church, Hamley Bridge, was the scene of a pretty wedding on Tuesday, April 6, when Hannah Olive, youngest daughter of Mrs. G. E. O'Dea, Hamley Bridge, was married to Edward John, eldest son of Mr. A. J. Horgan, Alma. The Nuptial Mass was celebrated by Rev. Father R. Farrelly, P.P., assisted by Rev. Fathers E. Smyth (cousin of the bridegroom) , and A. Noone P.P. (Riverton). 

The bride, who entered the church on the arm of her eldest brother, Jack, looked charming in a white matalasse frock, bodice made with a high peaked neckline, fastened in front with a spray of orange blossom, and long tight-fitting sleeves, with points over the wrists. The skirt, fitting slimly to the knees, merged into a train. She wore a long tulle veil (lent by Mrs. D. Healy), held in place with a coronet of orange blossom. She carried an ivory prayer book.

 The bridesmaids (Misses Nora Carrigg and Mary O'Neill) wore dainty frocks of pink organdie net over satin, made with tight-fitting bodices, short puffed sleeves, and very full skirts with taffeta trimmings. They both wore halo hats and shoes to match and carried posies of pink carnations.

 Messrs. Joe Horgan (brother of the bridegroom) was best man, and Frank Mclnerney (cousin of the bride groom) groomsman.

St. Mary's choir rendered St. Cecilia's Mass, accompanied by Mrs. J. Shanahan (violin). During the signing of the register Miss Laura Murphy sang "Ave Maria." Miss Mary Doyle presided at the organ.

The bride travelled in a navy costume worn with navy accessories.

Golden Wedding Celebration

Fifty years later in April 1987 Eddie and Hannah renewed their vows and celebrated with their seven children, their spouses and the 27 grandchildren.

Eddie and Hannah Horgan 
50 years later  - April 1987

Edward John Horgan 1908 - 1992 and Hannah Olive O'Dea 1912 -2013
Married: 6 April 1937

Monday, 6 April 2015

When I was young

My childhood years

This genea-meme is a set of questions or prompts about childhood. These questions were proposed by Alona who says:
Like it or not, life today is a whole lot different from when we grew up. And as genealogists and family historians, we are mindful of recording our own history, yet so often it doesn’t happen, and sits in the “I must do that” list.
This has certainly sent me down my memory's lane. I look forward to reading responses from some of my siblings too. As I am the youngest of seven their memories and mine are sure to differ.
**Hint, hint - write this up for your children and grandchildren!**

1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)
This is the earliest photo I have of me at 12 months old.
Carmel at 18 months outside old farm house
2. Do you know if you were named after anyone?

My parents liked to choose saints' names and as I was born close to the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, that could have influenced their choice. One of my father's first cousins was named Carmel and she was nursing in the small country hospital where I was born so that may also have been a factor in name choice. I have no idea why my second name is Rosemary.

3. Do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?

I am unaware of any other names they might have chosen.

4. What is your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is of sitting on a step between the dining room and the kitchen in the old farmhouse nursing my Teddy Bear which I had just received as a birthday present. I think I was two or three years old.

5. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?
  • My life was rich with fairy tales and nursery rhymes, As well as my mother I had older sisters and a brother and so never lacked for a story.  Kindergarten of the Air each morning at about 9 am, was a radio show with songs and stories that entertained me once my siblings had gone to school. Later on I loved to read the Enid Blyton stories, the Secret Seven and Famous Five stories were favourites.
  • My mother loved to sing. Some old favourites were Daisy, daisy... a bicycle built for twoGalway BayA long way to Tipperary and many others from the thirties and forties. She had played piano for local dances when she was younger and knew a wide range of songs. Then there were the hymns often sung in the car on the way to Mass. Particular favourites were Silent night and Adeste fideles I think we even knew the words in Latin!
6. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?

I always wanted to be a school teacher. Dad had painted a piece of fibro black and fixed it to an outside wall. We had some white chalk so I loved to "play school."
7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?

I loved my first teacher - Miss Thomas. I had her for grades 1-3 as it was a very small 2 teacher school. In high school years I greatly admired my final year English teacher Sister Mary Xavier. She was very well read and opened my horizons to some wonderful literature.

8. How did you get to school?
  • In primary years we walked up the farm track then onto the Main North Road where the yellow school bus from Hamley Bridge would stop at "Horgan's corner" to collect us. It would then drop us in Tarlee and continue on its way to Riverton with the high school kids.
  • In high school years when I was at boarding school, we caught the train to Adelaide then a bus out to the school. "Free weekends" when we could go home were once a term. Otherwise it was simply a matter of going down the stairs from the dormitories to the refectory to eat then across the yard to school.

Stairs  leading to dormitories on top floor,
classrooms middle floor, refectory ground floor.  Cabra c.1965
9. What games did playtime involve?

In primary school we played "All over, red rover"  and "Brandy" where the aim was to hit the people in the middle with a tennis ball. Hide and seek was also popular.

10. Did you have a cubby house?

Near the house there was a large stand of pepper trees, we built all sorts of pretend cubbies under those trees. We also constructed cubbies in our bedrooms too.

11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?

We were packed like sardines in our Holden for a trip to the beach. Four in the front, Dad driving, my brother next to him then myself and Mum. In the back were the other five girls, three got to sit back and two forward between the others. No seat belts in those days, sticky hot seats too.

The journey to the beach house at Christies Beach, south of Adelaide took a long time and no doubt much patience on my parents' part. It was a real treat to go to the beach but without sunburn cream or knowledge of its dangers, I do remember suffering from huge blisters on my back.

12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthdays or Christmas?

Christmas shopping was a huge adventure. We did not have much to spend but would go to Coles in Gawler and trawl the aisles to find gifts for all the siblings. It was tricky to make sure that the others did not see what you were buying. This might only be a packet of Lifesavers which would then be lovingly wrapped and labelled to put under the live Christmas tree that Dad would cut from the scrub paddock. I remember furtively shaking all the parcels to try and work out what they might contain. 6 siblings, 2 parents and Uncle Joe - there were a lot of presents under our tree.

Birthdays always meant a two tiered sponge cake light as air, cooked by Mum. This was filled with a smear of homemade jam and freshly whipped cream, real cream from our cow's milk. Mmm, delicious!

13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
  • My sisters and I shared a bike. One day I set out to ride it up to the top gate, quite a rough gravelly road. There was a dip on the way with larger chunks of gravel and I had a spill. Oh, those sore toes, (no shoes on) and gravel rash knees. 
  • The woodshed was cut from an old tank, so the top of the door had a raw edge. We were forbidden from climbing on top of the shed/tank, but large trees with overhanging branches grew obligingly near. One day as I heard one of my parents approaching I hurriedly swung myself down by grabbing the top of the said door. The cuts across both of my hands were punishment enough for me not to do it again.
  • Leftover scraps were fed to the farm dogs but sometimes bones were not fully consumed. I remember the day I jumped off the veranda onto a lamb chop bone that went right into the arch of my foot.
  • In year 7 I tripped, fell and broke my arm at school.
14. What was your first pet?

We had a lot of cats to keep the mice at bay. The first cat that "belonged" to me was Norman, a large grey cat who would happily be carried wrapped around my neck. It is possible that I had a pet lamb before Norman, as every year there were motherless lambs that we named and bottle fed.
Carmel, age about 11, near wood heap with the latest dog
Dressed for Mass on Sundays, with Holden outside the gate
I'm the youngest in photo. We had lots of pets.
15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”

I had very little to do with older relatives other than one uncle as we lived on a farm not near relatives. My only living grandmother visited maybe once or twice a year at the most, as she also lived what was then considered a long distance away. My parents did tell stories of their courtship riding in the buggy, and Dad and Uncle Joe told of riding the horse to school.

16. What was entertainment when you were young?

Singing around the piano, playing Scrabble and Monoploy, playing cards and reading.

17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?) Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? How many channels did you get?

I was in Year 7 at primary school when we got our first black and white TV and was very keen to show the two sisters nearest to me in age, when they came home from boarding school. I think there were three channels, ABC, Channel Nine and Channel Seven.

18. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?
  • My parents had a new house built on the farm. We were very excited to be getting new bedrooms and a kitchen big enough to accommodate a large family. 
  • The toilet with the push down lever was a novelty compared to the old one with the pull chain. 
  • No longer did we have to collect bark chips to fire up the wood heater for bathwater as there was a hot water system installed.
  • I shared a bedroom with two sisters and we liked being able to hold hands across the space between the beds when it was dark and scary on windy winter's nights.
At the front of our new house in June 1960 with sisters and some pets.
Carmel seated in the middle.
19. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (ie.fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc) 

My father, brother and uncle were often called out to fight fires. In early years Dad and Uncle Joe would drench wheat bags to put over their heads to protect them from fire. They beat the grass fires with wet bags and knapsacks. I was lucky to never have been involved.

20. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory? 

Danny Boy was one of my mother's favourite songs so it makes me think of her in her apron doing housework but singing at the same time.

21. What is something that an older family member taught you to do? 

My mother taught me to sew, cook, knit and crochet and I imagine I had a lot of help from my siblings with all of those things. My brother taught me about humour in so many ways. In university years I lived with a sister who really taught me how to sew.

22. What are brands that you remember from when you were a kid? 
  • CSR sugar - there was usually a sack on the floor in the pantry
  • Keens - curry and mustard powders
  • Golden Circle beetroot
  • Blu-bags and Velvet soap
  • Singer sewing machines
  • Massey Ferguson tractors
  • Holden - the only cars I knew
23. Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.) 

At one stage I had a stamp collection but making doll's clothes was more interesting.

Autograph books were popular and I collected the autographs of friends and family. Mine had pastel coloured pages and was about 5 x 3 ins. I seem to remember a brown cover like this one pictured.

24. Share your favourite childhood memory.

So many memories, I had a very happy childhood. Winter's nights, protected from the cold and wet, we did like to sit around the open fire in the lounge room knitting or playing Scrabble.

Thanks Alona for the prompts.

This post first appeared on Earlier Years at http://earlieryears.blogspot.com/2015/04/when-i-was-young.html