Monday, July 9, 2012


I often think of my wonderful adopted mum and little stories she told me over the many years we knew each other.  She and dad farmed in the south-west of Western Australia for 17 years after they arrived from their home in England and she'd often reminisce about her life in the UK and on the farm.

In London she and dad (and his young son) lived in a 3-storey house and had a housekeeper as mum at that time had a very good job at the Sugar Commission which is where she met dad as he was Chief Clerk there.  They married during WW1 so no talk of her leaving the position she held which was also a very important one.  Sugar was a very precious commodity in England during the first war.

She tells the story of their housekeeper who was a sleepwalker and would often get up in the night and do her early morning chores whilst asleep.  She would then get up in the morning and wonder who had been interfering with her duties.  I don't know how many times that happened but obviously often enough for it to be a well known event.  I guess said housekeeper would probably also wonder why she felt tired during the day.

Mum also told about when the ship they were travelling on arrived in the port of Albany on our south coast.  It was too large to pull into the quay so had to anchor in the very large bay there and passengers had to disembark by going down a rope ladder to a smaller boat waiting to take them to the quay.  Dad had apparently been given a very nice clock as a gift when he left the Sugar Commission and he valued it so much he had it with him in their cabin and not in their general luggage.  When they went to climb down the rope ladder dad of course had to look after his son who was only about 10 years old so mum was given the job of carrying the large clock as well as her handbag.   She eventually made it but it was one 'trip' she never forget as she knew there would be trouble should she drop that clock.

She also spoke of a Yorkshire couple who lived in Albany at the time and always met any ships arriving from the UK.  They were the very first people that mum and dad spoke to when they first set foot on Australian soil and they remained friends until the old couple eventually died years later.  They too had moved to Perth at about the same time as mum and dad and I well remember visiting them when I was a child.  They had no children of their own and at the time of my first marriage "Auntie" Annie gave me a beautiful handmade handkerchief as the 'something old'.  I still have that handkerchief and it is indeed very lovely.  It is small and surrounded by the most delicate handmade Nottingham lace.

As mum and and dad were 'new chums' and knew absolutely nothing about farming mum told me that a farmer nearby had taken dad on to 'show him the ropes' about farming.  The only job dad learned to do was to move large rocks and boulders and stack them up so the paddocks could be ploughed.  I believe that after a week or so of this dad decided he was learning nothing so chucked in this 'job' and decided they'd go it on their own.  For this I can't say I blame him one little bit and by trial and error they eventually made it although there were many battles along the way.

There are other stories I can relate but I don't want to bore anyone so if anyone has found any of the above at all interesting maybe a few more of mum's anecdotes at a later date.


  1. I loved reading these stories, and especially the one about the housekeeping doing her chores while asleep!!!! Thank you for sharing xo

  2. They were great stories. My mum and dad came out to Australia on a boat however they have never told me any stories about their adventure.
    Thank you for sharing

  3. Keep them coming Mum, they will be great in years to come for your great grandchildren, a connection to the past. xxx

  4. Thanks for the lovely comments. Yes love I will try and remember as much as I can about what grandma told me. All these little stories are tucked away in my memory and every now and then one or two pop out and I always relish them so much. Some funny, some sad but all about life itself. xx