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Miriam Easton’s history

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

THE PRICES AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

October 17, 1836: John Price (b. about 1815/6), occupation Brickmaker) married Ellen Bull (aged 21, Spinster) in the Holy Trinity Church, Baswich, Staffordshire.

While living in England, the couple had three children:

  • Mary Ann, b.c.1838
  • Thomas, b.c.1841
  • John, b.c.1843.

(Two more children, Samuel and George, were born but died.

1849: With a guarantee of six months work and assisted passages, John took his family to Australia on the ship, ‘Saxon’. There was a pressing need for labour in the new colony as the convicts ceased being sent to New South Wales in 1840. (Convicts did continue to be sent to Van Diemen’s Land and Victoria, but these were designated ‘exiles’ and were free to work for pay while under sentence. The last convict ship was sent to the Eastern colonies in 1853.)

The Price family arrived in Melbourne on 29th June, 1849. Mary Ann was 11, Thomas 8 and John 6.

  • Charlotte Maria was born in Australia in 1849. (She died on February 18, 1907, aged 58, according to the family’s Remembrance card, so was presumably born in 1849 soon after the family arrived in Melbourne – and Ellen must have been pregnant with her during the four-month voyage.)

The Price family arrived in Melbourne a couple of years before the separation of the area from New South Wales in 1851, just before the Gold Rush got under way and just as the population began to explode. (In ten years from 1851 the population of Victoria grew from 76,000 to 540,000) They eventually settled in Gippsland – in Sale and in Maffra.

19 July, 1865 – John Price (now designated Brickmaker/agricultural labourer/farmer) died, leaving Ellen, his wife and his children: Mary Anne 29, Thomas, 26, John 21 and Charlotte 14. By this time the three oldest children were married.

  • Mary Ann married James Shingles (b.1833, Norfolk, d. 1914, Maffra, Victoria). They had thirteen children (ten surviving). They set up the Shingle Maffra brick-making empire. Mary Ann died in 1922.
  • Thomas married Margaret Brown. They had six children. He died in 1924, aged 88.
  • John (occupation, quarryman) died aged 42 in 1890 from bronchitis. He was married to a Lizzie Higgs only a few years before he died. They had a deceased son, Thomas. (According to a source on the Maffra family tree,
  • Lizzie sailed off to America and was never heard from again.)

The two eldest Price children established illustrious family dynasties,and  the numerous descendants continue to procreate.

Now for Charlotte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOORES AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

CHARLOTTE MOORE [1851-1907] (d. February 18, 1907, aged 57) Married William Glendye Moore in 1867 at age 16/17; married James Francis Ryan in 1886, aged 35. (Ryan 36)  [My maternal great-grandparents.]

Charlotte’s parents: John Price and Ellen Bull

(Evelyn, my grandmother, b.1878 so 29 when her mother died and 8 years old when Charlottes married Ryan.)

WILLIAM GLENDYE MOORE (b. 1840  d.April 2 1882) son of Samuel Moore and Jane Black.

 (Evelyn nearly 4 when her father died.)

SAMUEL MOORE b.1838(?Samuel Moore b.1798 m. Jane Black)From Limavardy, N. Ireland(Still alive in 1858 in N. Ireland)Had 7 children:The two we know of in Australia:

  • David George Moore, Killmore, Victoria.

(1846-1901)

  • William Glendye Moore (1840-1882)

William married Charlotte (Price?)

According to Miriam Wilson, William died of rheumatic fever.

CHARLOTTE (PRICE?) MOORE? Charlotte’s parents: John Price, Ellen Bull, Staffordshire.

Charlotte and William had 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys (?) When William died in 1882, Charlotte married [James Francis/Henry?] Ryan* and had Adelaide Ryan. 

*Cousin Sue Sue thinks he was James Francis Ryan, b.1850 in Adelaide. I have Certificate of Right of Burial for a Henry Ryan, Bootmaker, dated 1886, address 36 Kerr Street, Fitzroy – but perhaps this was a relative of James Ryan. This Certificate was for burial in Melbourne General Cemetery.  See below.

Addie

CHARLOTTE’S CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN:

Eleanor (Auntie Nell)married FRED DOVEY. They lived at 171Albany Road, Victoria Park, WAHad 4 children:

  • (Eleanor)Nell (Did she become Mrs. Gibson & have 4 unmarried sons?) Was it her whom I met in 1964) (See my Letters Home: 29.08.1964)
  • Frederick George Harold(known as Harold). Married ‘Edie’.
  • Reginald Walter(d. 1918; 2nd Lt. In WW1))
  • Ellery F S(Hilly) (c. 7-8 yrs older than Miriam so born c.1908) (Became Mrs F S Ross)

Caroline (Carrie)  married Ray  (Goodall?)

Had 2 daughters:

  • Ada
  • Nancy (Nance)

 Evelyn

Had Miriam (with Sidney Easton)

Adelaide Ryan born Richmond Victoria;1887. Living at:

  • 1916-10 Clifton Street;
  • 1925-91 Adelaide Terrace
  • 1933 66 Watkins Rd., Holywood
  • 1936 202 Hampden Road, Holywood
  • 1949-1966 3 Murray Street

EVELYN AND HER SISTERS (and unknown brothers)

THE CHILDREN OF CHARLOTTE AND WILLIAM MOORE (married 1867)

(Sue:

  • 1872 Albert b.1872
  • 1874 Wilhemina b.1874 (Or William?)
  • (1876?) Eleanor (Nell) Amanda Jane Moore (m. Fred Dovey.
  • 1878 Evelyn (Birthday – 16.03.1878
  • 1879 Charlotte  (which Carrie?)

(The above is speculative – on the basis of Sue’s information. More investigation needed on William and Charlotte’s offspring.)

Did Mr Ryan have any children of his own, apart from Addie, whom he had with Charlotte? Miriam’s Birth Certificate states that the witness was her ‘Step-Aunt, C. Goodall’, residing at Forrens Road, Kilkenny, Adelaide, and Miriam referred to her as her step-aunt.

Henry Ryan, Certificate of Right of Burial, 4.8.1886

Who was the Henry Ryan? Why did Evelyn keep his Certificate of Right of Burial? In 1886 she would have been 8 years old. He lived in Fitzroy in Melbourne in 1886. (William Moore had died in 1882, so presumably it was around 1886 that Evelyn married Mr Ryan – in Melbourne. Can it be right that Charlotte married a James Francis Ryan, not the above Henry? (This needs to be established.)

The Ryans’ home

Charlotte’s three eldest children ‘went their own way’ after their father died and she married Mr Ryan.[Miriam’s words]

Charlotte and James Francis or Henry took the younger members of the family from Melbourne to Brisbane, where they grew up.

Kerr Street , Fitzroy, Melbourne

And was this the house they moved to in Brisbane?

Brisbane house

EVELYN – (See separate post for Evelyn)

Evelyn was a small child when her father, William Glendye Moore, died in 1882. (She was born in 1878, so only four years old.) I’ll try to find out the year Charlotte married Mr Ryan: there will be a record in the Births Deaths and Marriages archives. There’s not much information about her during her growing-up years. Just a photo of her with school children who had acted in a school play.

We find out next that she worked for a printer in 1908 (when she was 30) and that she was living at Guildford House, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane. In 1913 she was living at the same address, but recorded her occupation as ‘Waitress’.

By 1914 Evelyn had moved to 11 Park Street, St Kilda, Melbourne and her occupation was ‘home duties’. (Does that mean she was in service?)

In 1914 SYDNEY/SIDNEY EASTON, by whom Evelyn had a daughter – Miriam – was living with his brother and sister-in-law (Archibald Shaw Easton and Christina Anne Easton) at 66 Hanover Street, Williamstown, Victoria. In 1916, having inseminated Evelyn, he joined the AIF and went off to fight in the First World War. He was killed in 1918 and so never returned to face Evelyn and his daughter.

SYDNEY EASTON (5TH Battalion AIF, Private No. 6489 21 Fifth Rifles) (See separate posting for Sydney Easton)

Sidney joined the Australian Infantry division on May 4, 1916. This was six months before Miriam was born – did he know that he had made Evelyn pregnant before he joined up? He was still in Australia on August 17, which is the date of his Attestion document.* His official WW1 enlistment photograph is dated 18 September 1918. Indeed, he was in training (rifles and signalling) at Broadmeadows’, Victoria, until at least October 1916. The Statement of Service records that he embarked on the Nestor from Melbourne on 2 October, 1916 (arriving inPlymouth 16 November), just one month before Miriam was born.

*Here he is described as 40 years and 1 month, a foreman at an oil firm: height: 5’ 8 and a quarter” ; weight 135 lbs; chest measurement 34-36”; complexion: ‘fresh’; eyes: ‘blue; hair: black. He has ‘pitted scars on both shoulders and chest’ (suggesting acne?). And his religion is Presbyterian.

His Last Will and Testament, dated 19 May 1916, stated: ‘This is the Last Will and Testament of me Sidney Easton of 66 Hanmer Street, Williamstown in the State of Victoria Foreman of Oil Stores at present a member of His Majesty’s Australian Imperial Forces in Victoria. I APPOINT my brother ARCHIBALD SHAW EASTON of 66 Hanmer Street Williamstown aforesaid Railway Employe sole executor and trustee of this my Will. I GIVE DEVISE AND BEQUEATH all my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever unto the said Archibald Shaw Easton UPON TRUST for my niece CHRISTINA ISABELLE EASTON the daughter of my said brother Archibald Shaw Easton absolutely I hereby revoke all former Wills and declare this to be my last Will and testament (etc.)

Evelyn was born in 1878, so in 1916 she was 38 – old to be preparing to bear her first child. She must have been desperate. Unmarried motherhood in the early twentieth century was dreaded and women who suffered such a plight were often shunned by their families, their state kept a deadly secret. Evelyn dealt with the problem by leaving Melbourne and going to Adelaide to stay with her sister, Caroline (Carrie) Goodall.  She did have a supporter: her half-sister, Adelaide Ryan, remained loyal to her from beginning to end. In old age, Miriam wrote a little about her life. She maintained the myth that her family name was Easton, not confronting her ‘illegitimacy’ until the documentation she needed to obtain a pension forced her to do so.

‘Obviously I wasn’t planned. I can only imagine my mother’s state of mind at the time. She must have confided in her step sister, Carrie, as she went to live with her in Adelaide until I was born. These sisters were always very close – they always cried when they met and cried when they parted, according to Carrie’s husband, Ray.‘

‘I was born [in Adelaide] in the Kilkenny Nursing Home. It was a very difficult birth. But I arrived intact. A Dr Gunson presided. One of his observations was, “I’ve never seen such a long baby” So I was tall, like my father, from the start.[1] We lived with Aunty Carrie and Uncle Ray until well into 1917. There was quite a debate as to what to call me. My mother had chosen ‘Regina Sydney’. The first after a heroine of a Victorian novel. It was called Infelice by some obscure writer. Sydney after my father. Aunty Carrie was horrified, saying they were ‘masculine and hard’! So we rushed off to the local church and I was christened there and then ‘Miriam Verona’. The parson was a family friend who had two little girls, one Miriam, the other Verona.[2]

We stayed with the Goodalls for a few months. Why [my mother] left for Perth I don’t know, nor why her other step-sister Addie joined her. But her older sister Nell [Dovey] was living there, in Victoria Park. Nell had four children, Nell, Reg, Harold and Ellery. Reg and Harold were away in the war. I was taken over by ship to live with Auntie Nell until I reached … about two and a half to three years.  ‘Evidently I must have been a real handful. My mother had to leave me with Nell while I presume she flitted round and found job of some sort, and somewhere to live.

 ‘I have misty memories of those early years. I loved rummaging around in her shop, getting under the counter and upsetting all her supplies, and taking possession of my cousin’s doll and yelling when she grabbed it from me. We called [my cousin Ellery] Hilly and I loved her. She was about ten years old and she loomed large in my life. Also Uncle Fred, who was Auntie Nell’s husband and a real old ‘toff’ in his day; but he turned out to be a ne’er-do-well, who took to drink and beat her about. As a baby, though, I loved him too. When Harold came back from the war, he gave Fred a good thrashing and exiled him to a shed in the garden – wouldn’t have him in the house. Auntie Nell left  .him and fled to Melbourne, where she eventually lived with Hilly and her family. Fred tried to find her again but never did, and he ended his days in the shed. I last remember him when I was about four. He used to take a horse and cart to the markets to get supplies for Harold and his wife Edie’s shop. He used to take me on those excursions over the Causeway and into Perth. I adored watching him get ‘Darkie’ the horse ready, and I can still smell the stable where Darkie lived, and being prepared for the journey. He eventually died quite alone. No doubt he deserved him fate, but I still think of him with affection.’

‘At last [my mother]e and [Auntie Add] found a flat in Adelaide Terrace, one of Perth’s main thoroughfares ‘

‘After leaving Victoria Park my mother got a flat in Adelaide Terrace (No. 91) – which was opposite the C. of E. Girls’ Orphanage.’

‘She was joined by Aunty Addie, who looked after me while she was away. Memory very vivid of 91. I was left with various neighbours. An elderly couple, two or three doors away, consented to mind me during the day. They were a Mr and Mrs Sidwell. It was my first experience of terror when I was left with them for the first time. I remember looking up at them – and to me they were giants – jolly giants – for they and their grown-up daughter were laughing as they looked down on me. However, I soon grew to love them. Mr Sidwell I adored. He was wonderful with children. Under his guidance I soon learned the alphabet and could count, etc. I used to love watching him soldering. He was always making things and did a lot of carpentering. . He and his wife were typical old-fashioned Victorians and I loved them.

I got to know a number of neighbours’ children round about. They seemed to be all boys and I’ve always remembered their names: Teddy Murphy, Ross Ward, Tommy Wainwright and Willie Snodgrass. The latter had carroty-coloured hair and lots of freckles. He reminds me now, looking back, of Tom Sawyer, as I imagine that character of Mark Twain. Teddy Murphy’s parents were milkmen.

 ‘Mr. Snodgrass was a cane worker and made me a doll’s go-cart which I kept for years.

‘My mother obviously had to find work of some kind. She had no qualifications of any kind. She did have some sort of training when young, I believe, in the printing business. At this time she worked in an exclusive Dining Room in Barrack Street, called the ‘Leisure House, run by a Mr and Mrs Hancock, who were her friends. Their young son, Lloyd, was about my age and became my playmate and briefly share my life later on. [?] At this juncture I surmise that she had to do something about me.

‘There was a small school going under the name of ‘Cowandilla’ run by C of E nuns situated at the top of Mount Street opposite King’s Park. There I was taken in as a boarder. Have vivid memories of two little sisters called Betty and Jack [?]. Also a bad dose of whooping cough – which looking back seemed to last forever. Except for playing in King’s Park the rest of memory is rather shadowy. – only old photos fill the gap.

‘I must have gone to Adelaide Terrace now and then because I do remember climbing up that steep hill of Mount Street which led to Cowandilla in Bellevue Terrace.

‘I stayed at Cowandilla until five years of age, being looked after and taught by a handful of C of E sisters. They had a grey nun’s uniform with white collars and short veils. I just remember a Sister Susanna: she is still vivid in my mind, mainly, I suppose because she used to give us regular Friday night medicine, which was a horrible mixture of liquorice. The thought of it still leaves the horrible taste in my mouth.

‘After a year here I came out reformed and transformed from a really naughty little so-and-so into a quiet, well-mannered little five years old, which didn’t suit my Aunty Nell at all. According her, all my spirit had been squashed. I was too good in behaviour – in contrast to what I was when under her care.

‘Whether she was right in her opinion or not, that was how I remained from then on, extremely quiet and very shy. I suppose those two characteristics are the result of being separated from my mother at an extremely young age.’

The next four years were spent at another school. My mother heard of this school though a friend of hers, who was yet another sister of this family. As she was a well-respected school teacher, I suppose it was a good recommendation. Little did my mother know what a traumatic ending all this would have both for her – and certainly for me. My fellow boarders numbered about six in all, varying in number over the time I was there. I remember them all even now and wonder what became of them. I did meet Jimmy and Boy again years later. Jim was a violinist and By (Ross) got some sort of award as Businessman of the Year ‘ (Reported in the W. A. Newsletter. [When they moved to England my parents subscribed to these newsletters, which were issued by Australia House.] 

 ‘At the end of a year the school ceased to exist. I was too young to go on to Perth College, to which this kindergarten was connected. It was the year 1921. Once I reached the aged of five my mother was in a dilemma as to what to do with me. She belonged to some sort of club – called the Women’s Friendly Society – an establishment in St. George’s Terrace. Among the members was a Lu (Lucy) Anderson, who was a teacher by profession. He sister ran a private school in Subiaco;  so, hearing my mother’s story, she suggested she send me there as a boarder, which at the time solved the problem – although she was a regret it later on. It was a small private institution under the name of Subiaco High School and was run by two middle-aged sisters. Mrs. Young was the Principal and Mrs Rumble, her married sister, lived next door and took charge of the catering. Mrs Rumble had two small boys – names Jimmy and Ross (who was called ‘Boy’). Mrs. Young herself had a daughter, Betty (then about ten to twelve years old) and two grown-up sons, and her husband (Roland).

 ‘The school was in Rokeby Road, Subiaco. Subiaco is a suburb of Perth, about five miles from the Centre. Two old bungalow-type houses built side by side served to house the Young family and about half a dozen boarders, while the other housed the Rumbles. The actual school house was about a mile or more, in Barker Road away and served both day scholars as well as boarder. The bulk of the pupils were day pupils from round about the district.

Mrs. Young employed another teacher – a Mrs. Harper – to assist her. Mrs. Harper also lived with us in Rokeby Road, having separate living quarters, which she occupied with two sons, Douglas and Tom. I remember Mrs Harper as very tall and very strict. She was particularly hard on the little boys – drumming arithmetic into them by much bullying and boxing of ears. Her small son, Douglas, got the worst end of the stick. I got on well with her, however. I must have been good at French as I walked off with First Prize in that and in Eurythmics. The latter I loved as we had to take off our shoes and socks. The feeling of bare feet on the wooden floor was for me a heavenly sensation. We produced concerts each year in the local hall. One year we did ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. The elder girls took the main parts – we six and seven year-olds were the fairies and elves. This was an exciting and thrilling event in my memory.

My fellow boarders numbered about six in all, varying in number over the time I was there. I remember them all even now and wonder what became of them.

I did meet Jimmy and Boy again years later. Jim was a violinist and Boy (Ross) got some sort of award as Businessman of the Year ‘ . (Reported in the W. A. Newsletter.

 [When they moved to England my parents subscribed to these newsletters, which were issued by Australia House.]

‘At the end of a year the school ceased to exist. I was too young to go on to Perth College, to which this kindergarten was connected. It was the year 1921. Once I reached the aged of five my mother was in a dilemma as to what to do with me. She belonged to some sort of club – called the Women’s Friendly Society – an establishment in St. George’s Terrace. Among the members was a Lu (Lucy) Anderson, who was a teacher by profession. He sister ran a private school in Subiaco;  so, hearing my mother’s story, she suggested she send me there as a boarder, which at the time solved the problem – although she was a regret it later on. It was a small private institution under the name of Subiaco High School and was run by two middle-aged sisters. Mrs. Young was the Principal and Mrs Rumble, her married sister, lived next door and took charge of the catering. Mrs Rumble had two small boys – names Jimmy and Ross (who was called ‘Boy’). Mrs. Young herself had a daughter, Betty (then about ten to twelve years old) and two grown-up sons, and her husband (Roland).

 ‘The school was in Rokeby Road, Subiaco. Subiaco is a suburb of Perth, about five miles from the Centre. Two old bungalow-type houses built side by side served to house the Young family and about half a dozen boarders, while the other housed the Rumbles. The actual school house was about a mile or more, in Barker Road away and served both day scholars as well as boarder. The bulk of the pupils were day pupils from round about the district.

Mrs. Young employed another teacher – a Mrs. Harper – to assist her. Mrs. Harper also lived with us in Rokeby Road, having separate living quarters, which she occupied with two sons, Douglas and Tom. I remember Mrs Harper as very tall and very strict. She was particularly hard on the little boys – drumming arithmetic into them by much bullying and boxing of ears. Her small son, Douglas, got the worst end of the stick. I got on well with her, however. I must have been good at French as I walked off with First Prize in that and in Eurythmics. The latter I loved as we had to take off our shoes and socks. The feeling of bare feet on the wooden floor was for me a heavenly sensation. We produced concerts each year in the local hall. One year we did ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. The elder girls took the main parts – we six and seven year-olds were the fairies and elves. This was an exciting and thrilling event in my memory.

‘Another happy memory of these days was a holiday each year spent at a small country house belonging to yet another single sister of this family. There we could run wild in the bush, or climb a huge mulberry tree and gorge upon mulberries. We’d put on old overalls for this event, which protected our clothes from stains.

‘I loved this member of the family. She was a real country woman, and motherly, with white hair and obviously happy and contented with her lot.

#I remember keeping silkworms. We’d feed them on mulberry leaves and watch them grow – then go into the corner of the box and spin their case of silky thread to form a cocoon. The trick was to find the end of thread and unweave the silk. For years I had this silky thread and put it in my favourite book.

‘My mother was passionately fond of music, and had visions of her daughter becoming an accomplished musician. So I started learning piano and violin round the corner from the school.

‘We had swimming lessons, which meant a tram ride each week to Nedlands baths on the edge of the Swan River. A Madame de Monsait took us in hand for this. [‘Miss De Bonlay’ crossed out.]  She was a huge fat woman with a ‘no-nonsense’ manner. I was timid and scared. Her way to deal with this was a ‘kiss or care’ by throwing you into deep water and rescue you when you went under. I was the last one in the class to learn to float and swim. Once I got the hang of it all I enjoyed it.

A faint memory of dancing lesson by a Miss Du Bonlay – a member of a well-known Perth family. She was another huge, dark woman – not exactly a dancer in appearance and she was grim-looking – which put me off the idea of dancing for years.

This was the early ‘20’s. The older girls became ‘flappers’ and wore short crepe-de-chine – or silk – sleeveless dresses and cut their hair in the short Eton-crop style. They wore armlets and stuck fancy handkerchiefs through them; and they had boy friends.I had straight hair cut short with a fringe. I was tall and thin with long legs.

My mother used to visit me when possible on a Sunday afternoon. I was presented to her in the front drawing room by Mrs Young. But I can’t remember ever having her to myself.

There was always someone  else present. Although I loved her and thought she was pretty, she somehow seemed remote – a visitor. Other children had fathers[1] as well as mothers who took them home for school holidays. I had a very occasional week-end at home – otherwise it was a case of staying on at school and becoming one of the Rumble and Young families. However, I accepted things as they were and thought this was my normal life. I wasn’t deprived of children’s company. The Rumbles had two young boys, one about my age and a younger brother. Mrs Young had a daughter, Betty, who was about seven years old but I thought she was wonderful.

‘It was my sixth birthday. Was at boarding school. Feeling of excitement, anticipation – thought I’d be smothered in toys, dolls, etc. Woke up: by my bed a huge toy box with cretonne covering made by Aunt. Opened in anticipation: feeling of profound disappointment. The box was full of new clothes; not a toy in sight.‘Mother and Aunt visited later on and feeling of excitement. She’s hired a car for me and friends for a long drive through King’s Park. Car drive was my greatest thrill in life as cars few and far between in those days. Almost made up for early morning disappointment. However, I never did let on how I felt, and I swallowed my tears. ‘Lots of nice things to eat and everyone share in the celebration.’

 

At meal times we had ghastly and sparse meals. I was always hungry. I can’t remember ever having butter on bread or a glass of milk. To this day I can’t face bread and butter pudding – in memory of those days. We boarders used to sit apart from the rest of the family at meals. I remember sneaking into the kitchen some nights and getting tinto the condensed milk or anything eatable i could find.

 ‘Boarders didn’t seem to stay long. Their parents took them away. One or two of my mother’s friends noticed how thin I was and warned her. So she paid Mrs Young to give me a pint of milk a day – which I never had.

‘In my seventh year, we children had measles. Mine turned to pneumonia, and I was very ill. I was hospitalised mother took me to Dr Gill, a child specialist and he decided to take my tonsils out, after which i returned to school for a while. I became desperately ill again. My mouth was full of ulcers. Mrs Young panicked and rang Dr Troupe from over the road, who informed Dr Gill and my mother.

‘The scene is vivid in my mind. A smallish room with me in bed, mother weeping. Dr Gill thrusting a spoon half-way down my throat quite brutally in his concern – losing his temper with Mrs Young, ordering her to get another globe for the light, and Dr Thorpe trying to comfort my mother. So into the children’s hospital I went. They didn’t think I’d last the night. Naturally, the House Doctor and the Matron accused my mother of neglect until she had to explain the circumstances. In spite of all, I survived and convalesced by the sea. It was six months to the year before I was fit again.

 ‘There was a terrific row with Mrs Young. As a result, the school closed down. Everyone knew about it. She then tried to see my mother for school fees as this happened in mid-term. Fortunately, Colonel Battye was a friend. He looked after fallen soldiers’ children’s interests. ‘Send this woman to me’, he said. ‘I’ll deal with her.’

So another scene in his rooms in Perth Public Library. Mrs Young, mother and me. She hadn’t a leg to stand on. That was the last of that traumatic event.

Years later, when I was in my teens, I caught up with Betty again. By this time she was preparing to get married, and we were the best of friends. But her mother, Mrs Young, would never face me, and I never saw her again.’

‘In 1926 I entered a different world. After convalescing at Lawley Collage by the sea, I came home to 91 Adelaide Terrace. We lived in the upstairs flat, which was composed of bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and front verandah. We slept on the verandah all the year round.

Opposite out set of buildings was a C of E Girls Orphanage., It was one of Perth’s oldest substantial buildings. From our balcony I could see into the children’s class rooms and in my lonely moments I wished I could go over and join [the children]. They were very well looked after. On Sunday mornings they used to walk two by two in crocoidile file up to St George’s Cathedral for morning service. They had white summer dresses, white socks and black shoes, and panama hats.( I’ve forgotten what their winter uniform was like.)

In the corner, diagonally opposite, was a police station in extensive grounds, with a small derelict pond in which a family of frogs lived. They used to croak me to sleep. Another sound I remember was the cooing of doves in the trees opposite, especially on Sunday mornings in the summer.

‘During this time my mother had arranged for me to go to Loreto Convent, which was within walking distance up the other end of Adelaide Terrace. It was run by the enclosed order of Loreto nuns of the Roman Catholic faith. It was quite an exclusive order and well-known throughout Australia. Actually, they were very fussy about whom they would accept as pupils. So, unknown to me, I was on probation for the first terms or so. As I stayed there for the rest of my school days – up to the age of seventeen – I must have passed.

‘For the first term I was absolutely bewildered until I got used to the atmosphere and the routine of convent life. I have a vivid memory of my first day. An older girl, the daughter of a neighbour of ours, was a pupil there and she took me to my new school. Since I’d never seen a real nun before, they all seemed very strange beings. They were dressed in long black habits and veils with neat white collars and cuffs.

‘There were crowds of new girls greeting each other at the start of the new term and addressing the nuns as ‘Mother’ or ‘Sister’. I thought these nuns must have lots of children or else some of them must have been their sisters. It took me a long time before I sorted it all out.’*


[1] The word ‘fathers’ is underlined four times.

 


[1] Sidney Easton was not, in fact, particularly tall: 5’ 8

[2] Miriam told me that the parson had named one of his daughters Verona after the city in Italy he and his wife had visited on their honeymoon. Evelyn’s inspiration was the novel by  Augusta Jane Evans, who wrote the novel Infelice in 1875.

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