Interview with Joan Martin, 1978
|Interview with Joan Martin, 1978
|Ruth Mann (create)
|Format and extent:
|© Copyright. The authors of this item reserve all rights.
|Joan Soutter Martin (née Lodge)
|Seaton Ross • Grass Valley • Beverley • Western Australia
|H.M. Wilson Archives
with MRS JOAN MARTIN
conducted by Ruth Mann, Hunt Road, Beverley,
13th October, 1978
This copy was typed by Judith Hall, Melbourne, Victoria
January, 1998. See end notes.
He married Constance Leake, daughter of George Leake Q.C. After they were married they were at Grass Valley to start with, managing for George Keen, when Grass Valley was one estate, and from there they went to England for a trip in 1890, took Helen who had her third birthday in England and when they came back they went to Yangedine in 1891. I was born in January 1892 and my brother Jack was born there. Father managed for Darlot Bros. in about 1896 I think. While at Yangedine my Father’s two cousins joined him; Arthur Lodge, who married Sarah Fleay and Frank Lodge who married (Prete) Julia Caroline Lukin. They were also cousins.
In 1897 Father bought Seaton Ross from John Fleay. The house had a thatch roof and was in bad repair. One day Mother was resting on her bed and all of a sudden an egg landed beside her -- a hen had laid an egg and it had fallen through the thatch. We had the roof repaired and an unbleached calico ceiling put in to save the dust and foreign bodies landing on us.
In 1900 the house was destroyed by fire. It started in the kitchen at one end of the house and in about four minutes the roof had fallen in. No one was hurt. Mother was home alone with the old Irish cook. She went to get clothes from her bedroom but flames knocked her backwards. As she ran out of the house she pulled a crayon drawing of Father as a boy of nine years which was over her bedroom door. She only had the clothes she had on. Father and Jack were in Beverley. Father was waline down the main street with Sam Adamson, and H.M. Fisher when they saw a man galloping down the road. Father said, “Look at that damn fool. He’ll pull up suddenly in a minute’, and he did, and he said, “Mr Lodge your house has been burnt down.” Henry Lukin, Sam Adamson and H.M. Fisher paid to have the house re-roofed. That’s neighbours for you!
Helen was staying in Albany and I was at Guildford, so we each had our clothes. Jack and I went to ‘Avondale’ and Helen was at school in Northam. Avondale was Willy de Lisle’s, where the Research Station is. Well, it belonged to Willy de Lisle then and his
sister who lived with him. She afterwards married Dr House. Father and Mother lived in a big tent until the house was livable again.
Two years later half our run was burnt out, lit by Jimmy Dempster’s native Neddy. He intended to burn out Henry Lukin who had a row with Jimmy Dempster over some stray pigs that were rooting up the countryside. He had hundreds of stray pigs. The wind changed and burnt Dempster out and Seaton Ross. I suppose Jack and I were about 7 and 9 at the time. Father was in bed in a dark room with Sandy Blight and we were sent to get a mob of sheep from one side of the road, where little St Paul’s is across the main road, through two lots of gates to the river bed to save them and it was a case of whether we kids could get there first or whether the fire would. We were bare footed I remember, but we managed to race the fire. It burnt right down and they only save little St Paul’s Church, more by good luck than good management.
One of Mother’s sisters married Keith Adam who was R.M. at Katanning. His old mother, Lady Adam (who lived in Scotland) was very ill. So they sold up everything and took their four children to see her: Bob, Charley [sic] Poppy and Norah. (Bob Adam lived at St Aubyn’s [sic] afterwards). On returning home again they left the two boys at boarding school in England. Uncle Keith’s brother was paying for them, On the voyage back after leaving Colombo, Uncle Keith died after developing pneumonia, and was buried at sea. Aunt Jane with two small girls arrived back in Fremantle with no money and nowhere to go. He had even mortgaged his life assurance to get this trip home. So we, having the least room and the least money, took them in and they came to live with us. Aunt Janey taught us lessons for a while. We only had two bedrooms: Mother and Father had one bedroom and Jack had a bed at the foot of their bed. Aunt Janey and her two girls and I were in the other bedroom. They were tiny little rooms.
After a while Aunt Janey went across to Avondal’ to the de Lisle’s and stayed there and then she opened up a shop at Mt Kikeby, with tea and sugar and flour and stuff. She worked it up until it got so big that she had to sell out. She went back to England and got a job in the Agents General’s Office and didn’t come back. Charley stayed in Scotland, Bob came back and he was share-farming at St Aubyn’s with Fisher when World War 1 started. He joined up and was later killed. In 1902 ‘Seaton Ross’ was sold to Willy de Lisle and we moved to Busselton.
When we were at Seaton Ross, Jack and I used to walk to the 107 (which was called ‘Edward’s Crossing’ afterwards) from Seaton Ross and come into Beverley to school. We used to carry our boots and socks and put them on, either by the railway line, or if Palmer the guard was on, we were allowed to get into his van and put them on by his fire -- he had a little coal fire. We didn’t like Ford, he never asked us into the van. He was the other guard. Those were the two guards on the train going through to Albany. We went to school on the train but someone had to come and pick us up in the afternoon because there was no train back.
My brother had a hare lip and cleft palate and he spoke very badly. Afterwards he had operations, but at that time he hadn’t. The children used to mock him. Mr Slater, the head master, called Jack into his office and said, “If they mock you Jack, you biff them.” And Jack did biff them I can tell you. It was no good him trying to correct them afterwards. His argument was that when they did it they had to be stopped, so Jack hoed into them.
There was the Freemason’s Hotel -- that was the hotel; there was Edward’s store, a general store and Horace Smith’s store which sold everything from needles to bags of flour -- everything. After the fire Mother went to Horace Smith’s and he said, “Mrs Lodge, you can have anything you want off the shelf.” Mother said the tears were running down my face and I didn’t even have a handkerchief to mop them up. You know, everyone was so kind. It was amazing what they did for us; the kindness she received. Of course you can’t beat country people.
Agnes Groser was the teacher of the Form I was in at school. Canon Groser’s daughter and Jimmy Mann and Clara Smith were in the top of the school, and I was down at the bottom. Alda Smith, she was my contemporary. She was my age. I didn’t know the younger ones so much. There were three teachers at the school -- the headmaster Mr Slater, Agnes Groser and Miss Ash. She took the Infants, the very junior part. I was in Second Standard as they called it then. Mr Slater had the higher Standards. The school was where the Library is now. That’s where we went to school.
I can remember Frank Broun. he was the Member of Parliament then. He built a big house out on the Avondale Road. The Lennards were also out there, Eddie Lennard. I knew Dovie very well. Jack Norris was in the bank at Busselton and we knew him
very well. I kept in touch with Beverley because I used to come back to St Aubyn’s when the boys were small; I used to stay up there. Later I used to stay with Chas. and Nell Weaver when they were out on the farm; their children were about the same age as mine. The kids, they loved it. The Weavers came up to live in Beverley just before we went to Busselton, because Leath and Olive used to walk in from Mt Amy to school. Chas didn’t come, he stayed in Busselton with Mr Gale. We knew Chas better because we moved to Busselton and Chas was there. It was always a joke -- Chas used to be hunting cattle and Mr Gale had a tremendous lot of land and cattle. We always reckoned that Chas ended up on our washing bench on Monday morning talking to us. He was a good bit older than I was, more my sister’s age, but that’s how we became great friends with Chas and Nell.
I’ve always come backwards and forwards to Beverley; it was my home. When we were at ‘Yangedine’ I remember we had a general rouse-about, he was an elderly man with a white beard -- his name was Smith. He was always know as ‘Squeaky Bob’, he had a very squeaky voice. He worked around the house; he did the wood cutting for the kitchen and all the odd jobs.
Arthur Lodge, he trained race horses for Darlot Bros at Yangedine. ‘Wandering Willie’ was one of the horses. I ran remember ‘Wandering Willie’ quite well.
There was an old mill across where the dam is with a wonderful fresh water spring where we used to bathe - behind the mill. They say it is still there -- the mill has gone but the spring is still there. When we went to Seaton Ross there was no water because there were no rain water tanks and there was a little soak and the men used to go down every morning and bring up what water they could get. That had to last until the next morning when the soak made up again. But we had the river where we could go and bathe, and for a long time the clothes had to be taken down to the river and washed in the brackish water in the river because there was no other water there. You imagine a thatch, no rain water. The house, I think it is still there near the river -- behind where the McGlew’s built, just a bit further in. I thought I could see it when I drove past with Peg Weaver; but McGlew’s built where we had a little bit of an orchard and that’s where they built. The old house was down behind that at the foot of the hill.
We used to go to the Lukin’s a lot. We used to walk to Haisthorp on Sundays and that sort of thing. The church was the meeting place for everybody. Nobody seemed to have time for sport in those days. They were working jolly hard to earn a crust. Canon Groser used to come out to the little old church and I can remember when Henry Lukin of Haisthorpe died. I don’t know why, but Father took Jack and myself to the little church and I can remember to this day, Mary Adamson, who was Henry Lukin’s daughter singing hymns at the top of her voice at the funeral. I couldn’t understand how she could sing properly at her father’s funeral. I can remember that from when I was a kid. There she was beefing it out; of course she had a voice like a fog horn; and Sam Adamson was the quietest retiring Scotch man. Funny isn’t it? They were absolutely the opposite.
Mr HM. Fisher married Beryl Hicking who we sort of adopted, she called Mother Mum: she had no parents. Her father had been a bank manager in Perth. She had two brothers; one brother George, was secretary of the Weld Club. I forget what Wyatt did. I was their bridesmaid; I was only a small child. May said to me the other day, “You were Mother’s bridesmaid. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m nearly eight!”(Was nearly eighty) May was over here recently to see Ethel. The kids used to stay up there --May was dark, Ethel a bit fairer, and of course Sarah had white hair; she was very fair as a young girl and my kids got so mixed up with these aunts, because they called them all ‘Aunt’, so they called them ‘the Black Aunt’, ‘the Brown Aunt’ and ‘the White Aunt’. The Adamsons, they were upon ‘Drumclyer’ [sic] and when Mary Adamson was married it was the fashion to give everybody bedroom nets, and she had about six. They had a big kitchen where the men had their meals and they had shelves put all around and she had ‘jerries’ all round the room, fat, cream, butter, everything. She said that it was quite all right, they’d never been used. Imagine the men coming in to meals in the kitchen with the ‘jerries’ all round, beautiful green and gold and blue, very fancy. You know, funny things like that happened.
Mr H.M. Fisher lived out at Doughboy with Jim Broun - Southbourne they call it now. They called it Doughboy because they had a cook out there and he fed them on doughboys, but when they started a sheep stud they couldn’t call it the “The Doughboy Hall Stud’, so they changed it to Southbourne.
(Jerries were chamber pots)
Poor old Aunt Nell lived at Haisthorp, Mrs Lukin was her eldest sister, they were both Cliftons. Well, she lived there and she worked like a slave for all that family and then she married Jim Broun and went over to Doughboy, but no woman worked harder than she did. You can imagine in a big farm house like that, and the kitchen was here, and you had a mile to go to the dining room; you had to walk across a big open way place and then up a long hall and right down; the dining room was in the front and all the meals had to be carried. However anyone got a hot meal I’ll never know. They had great solid meat covers they used to put over to try and keep it hot. How they Kept the flies away -- no fly screens and no fly spray -- I'll never know. They used to cook terrific meals and always a hot meal at midday. It didn’t matter what the temperature was. It was nothing for 20-30 people to sit down for a meal at Haisthorp on Christmas Day. They had a big family and they all came in. After Mr Lukin died, she went to Guildford and Jack took on Haisthorp’ until Mary Adamson took it on, I don’t think Jack made too good a fist of it, so Mary hopped in to make a go of it.
Bob Lukin was my age. He was killed in the First World War, and Guy was Helen’s age, so we were contemporaries all through and Jack and Kathie were the same age. Ruth, she married Cecil Priestly afterwards. Ruth was one of my bridesmaids. Ruth and I were always friends -- we stuck right through to the bitter end. Sometimes you grow away from people, but we were always close. She went to pieces a bit at the end. Often that happens. I sleep very badly and the other day someone said to me, “Why don’t you take a good swig of sherry when you go to bed?” And I said, “That’s the thin edge of the wedge. Once you start on that -- well! --that’s the end.” I sleep badly; well, I'll sleep tomorrow night.
We knew the de Lisle’s very well. Willie, he was a character. A terrible gambler -- they all were in those days. Eddie Lennard. They used to play all night -- poker at the pub. His sister came out, Ethel. She was about 26 when she came. They were a clergyman’s son and daughter. She was terribly lonely. She was stuck out there on her own. Willie would be away all night playing cards and she would be out there alone, so she adopted a child. She was about four years. Then there was a great to-do as to what she should call her. She wouldn’t have her call her Mum, and she wasn’t going to have that or Mother, so she called her Grannie. So she came to be known
through the district as ‘Granny deLisle’. Then she married Dr House afterwards and she was ‘Granny deLisle’, but that was Shy; because of May Middleton, this child. Their house is still there now, a brick house, a good home. I don’t know if he built it or not or who owned it before Willie DeLisle. He always had a sort of valet, an off- sider to look after him. You’d be sitting down by the fire at night and Willie deLisle would say, “Vic. I’m going to bed in ten minutes.” Vic. would get up and go out. He had to get into Willie’s bed so that when he went to bed it was warm. Then he’d have to get out and get into his own cold one. Willie deLisle must have been well off. I don’t know where he got his money from. His old father died; the clergyman and his mother came out and stayed with him for a while and she was a straight laced old lady and she used to look around and say, “The beautiful golden tints.” It was the depth of summer and everything was burnt and we were all longing for a bit of green. They came from the Channel Islands. The Huguenots came from France to the Channel Islands. They went across to England afterwards. But oh! they were characters. Granny House was a marvellous woman. When Dr House was up in Broome doing a locum, his wife died leaving a baby and Granny took that child and looked after it until Dr House came back. Well, she eventually married Dr House and she had a family of several children. There was Ethel, Marion, Maurice and Keith. Four first family. Maurice was a very delicate child -- they never thought he would live. They said he might live to seven, then they thought 17, but he grew up and married, They all went to Katanning. Then Granny had Lyle, Sheila. [sic] She was walking from the Doctor’s house to the hospital and she fell into the dam and was drowned. She was only about two. I can’t remember the others in the family. Of course they were all up in Katanning.
Interviewer: How many rooms were there in Seaton Ross?
There was a middle front room, that was the sitting room and dining room and everything, On that side there was a bedroom, and on that side there was a bedroom, and down there, there was a lean- to that was the kitchen; that’s where the fire started and at the other end there was another lean-to where the old cook slept. They used to carry the meals out of the kitchen and along and up a verandah and around there and in; they did it the hard way in those days you know. Another day, before we had the calico ceiling put in, a cat jumped through the roof on to Mother. You can imagine
the force it would land with and all the rubbish. Oh! the dirt, the filth! You can imagine these old rushes dropping. The calico ceiling did stop that. Fancy the idea of a calico ceiling. But we were very comfortable. When Father and Mother were married Uncle Luke Leake, who was Speaker in the House, died -- and there was a sale and they furnished from that sale which was nearly all stuff that had come out in 1829. Beautiful stuff and that was all burnt. When Father’s father died in England -- Father was the youngest son -- they sent out his books and Dr Hackett (Sir Winthrop Hackett) afterwards said that Father had the best private library in Western Australia at that time. I know one of the books was the first edition of the Arabian Nights. They were priceless; all burnt. They also sent out a full set of Georgian table silver. It was solid silver with a shell pattern, from mustard spoons and salt spoons to a soup ladle and a long gravy spoon, that they used when they had a well at the end of the meat dish for gravy, and they used the spoon to dip it out. Everything, the full set -- well! -- that was all burnt. After the fire it was all collected and taken to a jeweller in Perth to do what he could with what was left. I think there were only three tablespoons and one of them had a fork handle and five dessert spoons. Well, after my Mother died all this went to my brother. All our stuff went to him really, but his wife didn’t value it. She didn’t like old stuff anyway. The picture I told you about, well, she stuck it out in the garage when they were on the farm and the white ants ate the frame. However, they came to Perth to live. They had some water colours and Jack got someone to come in from the Museum to value them, but when he saw the crayon drawing they said, “Oh! that’s priceless.” So she took a bit of notice of them and had it framed. She then thought she had better have the silver valued or what was left of it and she took it to someone in Perth and they told her that they had no idea of the value. It was beyond them, it was priceless. So she took a bit of notice of that then, but what a terrible thing that she didn’t value those things. Another terrible thing that she did, (I suppose Jack was as much to blame) -- Father had kept a diary from the time of the fire up until he died and he had the weather of every day for all those years, from 1901 and he died in the ‘30’s and she made a bon fire and burnt them. They too would have been priceless.
I’ve got Norman’s diary. He kept it always. He came out in 1908. In 1910 he was working up in Melabbie and the camp was burnt and so he lost the first two diaries
which would have been frightfully interesting. First impression of West Australia, and coming out. He was a medical student and he had never done a hands turn in his life. He had been at Edinburgh University and he went up well sinking at Melabbie -- that’s 75 miles east of Moora. When he got to Moora there was a spring cart and a horse and a man had brought it in and he was going south and he was to take it out, 75 miles out. IfI hadn’t taught him before he went up, he wouldn’t have known how to put the harness on the horse even. Well, he went up there and he came back and went to Argyle working on a small timber mill, he was under the saw. They had to use a wheel barrow and keep the saw dust away from under the saw. It was meant for a very short man and he was over six feet. He worked there until he got a job down on a farm at the Williams and he was there for about six months I think. A golfing friend of his wrote to him and said, “If you come to Perth immediately I think I can get you a job in the Department of Agriculture. To get there he got a train and he went to Collie, from Collie to somewhere else. He had to go all around the country to get there. Mr Fowley looked a him and said, “You'll have to have a hat. You can’t apply for a job without a hat.” So be bought a straw hat and got the job. He went into the office. He said, “I didn’t know as much as the office boy. I knew nothing!” He sat down at the correspondence and records desk. He worked like mad. He went to night school. He lived at Forrest House, in those days 25/- a week full board. Well, he lived there. He finished up head of his department anyway and he was there for 30 years in the office and he enjoyed every minute of it. He liked people and got on well with them all. One of the girls was Nancy Mills; Beryl Mills was the first Miss Australia; she was her sister. She came to work one day without any stockings and the boss told her she was not to enter the office again without stockings.
The old Department was next to Government House. It was the original old Post Office, where Council Chambers are now. Then afterwards, they went out to Jarrah Road, but he never went out there. He used to catch the half-past 7 train in from Cottesloe, so he could get to the Post Office. He had a very good friend in the Post Office who used to let him collect the mail then so that he could open it up and have it ready when the others came in.
You know, English men do work hard -- they do it the hard way, don’t they? He’d never seen inside a kitchen; he wouldn’t have dared to put his nose in the kitchen or
the cook would haver hunted him at home and yet he was domesticated. He used to help me always, dry up and he did all sorts of things. I think it is really marvellous how they do that; the different background and the bringing up. He adored his children and he adored his grandchildren. They kept him young. He was 96 when he died and he loved them all.
I can remember the South African War because I can remember coming in with Father to the Beverley Station to see the first contingent returning from South Africa; they had to land at Albany. Frank Parker, who was a cousin of mine, he was in charge of that first contingent coming back and we went in to see them as they got off the train to have breakfast at the refreshment room. They were old dog boxes of trains, no refreshment car or anything in those days; that is why that was such a big place. At the station, the Albany train always stopped for meals as they went through. It was a big station. At one stage the trains used to stop there overnight. I never knew why they didn’t go right through, and they slept there in Beverley. That is why there was all that accommodation, but afterwards they just stopped for meals. One day my Mother was there with Father and Mr Fisher and they had gone into the bar and Mr Fisher said, “Come on Mum, come and have a drink with us”. Mother said, “Oh, no!” Old Stump Jump Smith, he was running the refreshment rooms at the time and it had a licence and he said, “Mrs Lodge, you’re distingue enough to go anywhere.” So we always laughed about Mother being distingue enough to go anywhere!
Interviewer: Did you know the Stump Jump Smith family?
Well, we knew them all. There was old William Smith. I don’t think he was married. He had a small farm. As you go out on the York Road past the church, it was on the left hand side of the road. It was quite a nice house he lived in there. Of course there was Horace Smith. He was a marvellous old man. Herbert Smith -- he had abig family too, The Smith family were really good yeomen stock. They were wonderful people, marvellous people. Herbert, William and Horace Smith -- they were all brothers.
The Weavers came up just before we left and they went to MtAmy. Chas bought out at E. Beverley when he married. Julie -- did you know Julie Weaver? She was in the same class as | was. By George, she was a hard case. Yes, she was in the same class - - Standard 2, with me. They had a house down opposite where the Dead Finish is.
They lived down there. There was a big house there. It’s completely gone -- there is nothing left now.
Old Tom Edwards lived up on the hill opposite Seaton Ross and Charles Edwards lived down near the river. The little church was half-way between.
Interviewer: Do you remember any store or blacksmith shop at Seaton Ross?
No. There was nothing there at all. There was a ruin there. There was the remains of an old house there, I remember that, but there was no shop, store or anything down there, just the church.
When our house was burnt down Mrs Charlie Edwards, who lived towards Beverley, nearly opposite the Adamsons, I suppose it would be --anyway she lived on the Seaton Ross side of the lower road to York. She gave Mother a double bed mattress Everyone was marvellous. And do you know, it was filled with parrot feathers. You wouldn’t believe it would you? Double bed mattress filled with Twenty-Eights’ feathers; they must have lived on them I think. I’ve still got the remains of that mattress. It was put into material and made into a sort of eiderdown. Martin Robertson has got it.
Seaton Ross, when we were there, with the thatch roof; Mother had to go down to the river and wash in the river water which was very brackish. After the tin roof was put on, there were tanks and we had enough water with care, to do it. Mother had an old- fashioned basin. It was a lovely blue china with a wooden rail around it and underneath there was a plug and you put a bucket there and the water ran through. When we were kids Mother used to put some water in that in the morning and that had to last all day and when it was very hot, she used to stand us kids in there and she’d sponge water over us. There was no water for a bath. She did do it the hard way I can tell you. It was that dreadful shortage of water that has stuck in my mind, that awful lack of fresh water. The one little soak --we’d only get two or three kerosene tins of water out of the soak to last you all day. That was for everything, cooking, drinking. It was terrible and left it on a child’s mind. When we went to Busselton you only had to dig a hole in the ground for a couple of feet and you could always get water, fresh water.
We had cows down there. Jack and I used to milk six cows and feed the calves and catch our horses and ride to school, nearly four miles. I rode on a side saddle with a
habit and when I got there we used to unsaddle and turn the horses out. Then I had to go and get my school uniform on. We went to a convent. We went through the same thing in the afternoon. We had to catch the horses, ride home, milk the cows again, but we never thought anything of it. It’s all comparison -- everyone had to do that sort of thing so we didn’t care. We managed to enjoy every minute of our lives. One day I wasn’t very well and Jack started off on his own. He hadn’t been gone very long when he came back crying. Mother said, “What’s the matter?” and Jack said, “Oh Mother don’t make me go to school. Old Ben (that was the horse) ran off on to the side track and I got knocked off by a branch and I was nearly knocked sensible.” When we were at Seaton Ross Emily Grover was our general servant and she did the cooking a a bit of the housework that Mother didn’t do, She was with us for years; we all loved Emily. I’m not sure if she did the washing or if she and Mother did it together when they had to go down to the river and do it in the tub. The old tubs, you had to empty them and fill them, dragging up the water. Even when we went to Busselton. Of course we had rain water, but what we had, we thought was the most marvellous thing. It was a wringer and we had an old copper with a piece of corrugated iron around to keep the draught out and you had to stoke it. Of course the good old washing board. We did it the hard way those days. There was nothing to help you; no basket on wheels. You had a great big old wicker basket that took two of you to carry. It’s amazing how you get used to these things. Jack and I were home. Helen, she was older and she got out. She went lady helping, that was the only way you could earn money in those days. She was lady-help to the Doctor and Granny House at Katanning for a while. She was there when Marian deLisle came out from England, Then she was lady-help down at Pinjarra and she always had money you see, and I never had any money, but that didn’t seem to sorry me. Jack didn’t have any either. We would be working about at home and Helen would come home and be quite the lady. She was a bit older than I was and I used to say, “I don’t think it is fair. Helen does the flowers and I have to scrub the kitchen floor.” I reckon I’ve spent my life doing that. I’ve worked hard all my life and I’ve never earned sixpence, never earned any money at all.
We’ve been to England four times, but someone else has paid the fares; Norman’s people paid the fares. We arrived in England with the two little boys in 1920. When
we arrived at St Brivels[?], that was the little station, and Norman had exactly 8/6d.. That was all we owned in the world. We were eleven weeks at home and living in the lap of luxury of course. We came back on the Aberdeen White Star and it took about six weeks and we came via the Cape and we landed at Albany and came on by train. They had migrants on the whole ship. WELL, I reckon the only two clean things on that ship were my two kids. It was one class. I’d made cotton crepe romper suits for the tropics. They had two each; I used to rinse them out. Oh! the filth of them; they had no idea of hygiene at all. The lavatories were frightful; the kids used to go in and mess all over the floor, they had no idea. Wasn’t I glad to get off that boat. Norman started back at work at once. Jan was the youngest; she was born in -29 and the Depression was on and Norman worked. The Government servants then worked three weeks and they were put off for a week. The week they were off they weren’t paid. We still had the rent to pay and we were only just making out square when we were on full money without that. When we got married Norman was only getting 3 pounds ten shillings a week and we paid rent. How we lived I don’t know, but I don’t think it hurts you to be a bit hard up. It teaches you the value of money.
My Father learnt farming in the south of England before he came out here. He always wore a cloth cap and tweeds and a Norfolk jacket and spats over his boots. He was more English when he died than he ever was when he came out; he got more English as he got older. I remember when Norman went to him and told him we wanted to be engaged, all that Father said was, “Thank God you are an Englishman!” He was terribly English.
He took a load of horses for Maitland Brown up to India for the Indian Army; he had a brother-in-law who was a Colonel in the Gurka Regiment and he stayed with him and he had a whale of a time. Right up his alley. He was a very good judge of heavy horses; he was keen on horses. He was a very conscientious sort of farmer, but he never did much work. I never remember Father doing much work; he always got some one else to do the work for him. He died at 86 at Cottesloe. They came to live next door to us. Mother lived until she was 79. They lived next door so I could look after them, After Father died, Fred slept on the verandah so she wouldn’t be alone; she used to have her evening meal with us and she came in and stayed with the kids and us or go home as she liked. Three generations in one house don’t mix anyway. I could
see she had a good meal and I looked after her like that. It was a wonderful arrangement. She was a great person for buying Charities Tickets and Father used to say she wasted her money. One day she came in with some pennies, 3d and 6d and wanted Fred to get her a ticket. I think they were 5/-d. She won 1 thousand pounds with that ticket. Mother took my sister Helen and me to Fiji for a trip. All her life she had wanted to go to Fiji, so we had that trip. When she was ill at the end -- she was really worn out -- she had two nurses, one day and one night. She said, “Isn’t it marvellous. I can lie here and have two nurses and I can pay them.” It was her own money.
Jan is a bit like Mother; always bright and cheerful. In the old days in the country they used to say , “Send for Mrs Lodge.” It didn’t matter whether they were having a baby or what it was, Mother would always go. Two o’clock in the morning someone would come and you’d see Mother going out; someone’s baby had convulsions or something. She had never done any nursing but she was practical. It was always , “Ask for Mrs Lodge.” We had a funny phaeton thing she used to drive in. They all wore toques in those days; no brim to your hat. Mother got a mushroom hat and took the crown out and put it over her toques because she couldn’t drive the horse and hit it, and use the parasol. She went to a Ladies’ Guild Meeting and old Mr Darling, who was a perfect English gentleman said, “Mrs Lodge, I’m afraid you’ ve forgotten to take your verandah off.” Mother always called it her verandah. She played croquet -- she used to do all sorts of things. Father never went out; he wouldn’t go out at all -- he wouldn’t go out at night. If there was Euchre on, Mother went; she’d drive in four miles to go. One night she was playing Euchre and said to a woman who was playing with her, “Would you like a lift home?” She knew she lived on the road out. She said, “That might be a help, because John will be on his rounds.” John was the nightman and he had to leave the card party to go on his rounds.
There were seven girls in the Leak family. The eldest one, Mary, married Bishop Barry, Jessie married Col. Skinner, who was in the Indian Army. Amy married Henry Parker -- one of the Parkers from York, who was afterwards Sir Henry Parker. He was Chief Justice. They had an enormous family. Then Uncle George came; he died while he was Premier of the State. Then Jack, he died in his teens, then Mother. Grandpa used to caller her Captain of the second brigade because there were three
sisters younger. Rose, she married Cecil Clifton, who was a civil servant. Janie Adam, then Blanche who married Dr Kelsall. Mother said she spent all her youth being snubbed by her elders and when she got older she had to make clothes for the younger ones. Her Mother was an invalid and Grandfather used to entertain a bit and she used to be hostess. She was only a girl and she said she got so precocious that “they sent me away to Adelaide to a finishing school for a year to get it out of me.” She was one of these women who never lost her dignity. She never put on any side -- I mean she was everybody’s friend but she always was dignified. She used to sit up very straight. I remember she was terribly hard up and she only had one white dress, a fine crepe. She used to wear this dress, wash it and wear it again. One day she was coming home and this horse we had, it had belonged to a baker’s cart. It would stop and start. She got out to open the gate and the horse raced home with the buggy. Mother was left to run about a quarter of a mile down the road. Then she had a long rope and when she got out, she would put the rope through the reins and hold him. My word, they were hard times. You hear people growl now, and I get so mad with them, because they have every blessed thing.
Both my boys were killed in the war. Fred and Dennis. Fred went in the Second 16th to the Middle East. He was killed there. Dennis was in the Air Force and he was lost at Balikpapan, The plane came down in the sea six weeks before the Japs pulled out; nearly got through. He joined up in the very beginning but just couldn’t make it. That nearly killed my husband when Fred was killed. He adored his eldest boy. He was just over sixty and he said, “I can’t work any longer in the Agriculture Department, the walls are closing in on me. I must get out!” He just got out in time because after he got out they wouldn’t let any man out under 65 during the war. So he spent his life out of doors, fishing on the jetty. He couldn’t take it. Then of course at the very end Dennis was killed, we had an awful war. Pat, my eldest daughter, she was married. Her husband came from South Africa and he was in the Second 16th with the boys and he came back. He had a week’s leave and they were married and then he went up to New Guinea and he was killed there. So we lost both our boys and our son-in-law. Pat was widowed at 21, and lost both her brothers and you know she has never got over it really. It did something to her. Jan was our youngest daughter, only about ten
years. All the war years in our family were spent protecting Jan. We never mentioned anything about it when she was there. We tried to keep everything as normal as possible. Losing first one and then the other for child of ten was a terrible experience, but she overcame it, She’s the most amazing person, Jan, Pat never really got over it, she worries terribly and you know it’s all the result of the war years.
Jan is like her Father to look at and Pat is like me. Dennis was like me and Fred was like Norman and Jan. They had blue eyes. The others had what they used to say, “Oh, they’ve got eyes like Mum, like the colour of gilgies’ eyes before they’re cooked.” Beth (Bailey) was engaged to Fred, my eldest son. The Crombies lived near us. Beth has always been like a daughter to us. You know we lived two lives; one before the war and one after. They’re disconnected you see, They were all there before, then after, it was all different, a different life altogether.
This is a copy of a photocopied document owned by Helen Margaret Wilson, Claremont, W.A. It was copied by Judith Hall, Melbourne, Victoria in January, 1998.
It should be noted that only two types of alteration have been made to the photocopy:
(a) obvious typing errors and spelling mistakes
(b) some additions or changes to punctuation so that it reads more easily.
The actual wording has not been changed.
I would query the spelling of Yangedine (is it without the final ‘e’?), and one or two other names, but have left them as in the photocopy.
- It is interesting to read Joan Martin’s account of her life, alongside that written by Constance Berryman. Connie spent three years with her grandparents, Tom and Connie Lodge, and gives a different perspective on life there. It is interesting to note that Joan does not refer to the time that Connie spent with them. Connie also gives a brief account of how her grandparents met and other detail that complements some of the information here.Perhaps, as descendants,
- we should note the occurrence of hare lips twice in the Leake family. There is Jack Lodge, who is mentioned here, but also his cousin Molly Skinner, the daughter of Jessie Leake, who married Col. Skinner.
- There is a story I have heard from my Mother (Margaret Wilson) about Joan and Norman’s first visit back to the U.K. to visit Norman’s parents. After their arrival in England, they travelled by train up the Wye Valley. As my Mother tells it, church bells were to be heard as they passed through each small, country railway station. Later Joan was to hear that this was the Valley’s way of welcoming newcomers. Apparently Norman’s parents had organised this welcome even though they did not know whether their new daughter-in-law from the colonies, was to turn out to be black or white!
- Aunt Joan does not give any detail of this first trip ‘home’ in this account. If Mother’s story is true, then I think it is worth adding here.