I was looking through my box of photos, you know, the ones I took with my little Brownie, and I found this. Do you remember how when we were clearing that paddock with Father, Mother found a bird’s nest in the tree, and wouldn’t let Father chop it down? It was most unlike him to agree, as usually he made sure every native plant was grubbed out, so it wouldn’t interfere with his growing of the precious wheat. And of course, the Government inspector would visit to ensure he fulfilled the terms of acquiring the land – removal of all trees or else the land would revert to the Crown. I always thought that was very silly, for after all, where would the birds live if all the trees were removed? If there were no birds, the land would be so silent. I was glad that tree was saved, and all the baby birds survived to fly the nest.
Did you ever think Albert, of how farming could have been done differently? Did you not like life on the land, is that why you chose to become a man of books? A wise choice actually. I know I decided I was never going to marry a farmer, after seeing how hard Mother had to work. Not only did she work in the paddocks, driving the horses at ploughing time, but she milked the cows ( yes I know you did too when you were old enough) and raised the chickens as well as keeping house. How well I remember her struggling with the copper and the wrangle, on washday. Of course, she first had to chop the wood to heat the copper. One morning, I found her quietly sobbing in the corner, after a willywilly wind had blown the washline pole down, and all the sheets she had so carefully washed, lay crumpled in the dirt. How disheartening life must have been to her. I remember her stories of the grand life in England, of the manor house, and the maids her parents had. Did you know, she didn’t even know how to boil water when she married? What a shock it must have been to come not only to Australia, but to this isolated part of the country, and start from scratch with so very little money! I can look back now and admire them very much for their effort, even if I still don’t agree with their methods. They did the best they could. And we did have fresh air to breathe, good clean water to drink, and healthy food to eat. Surely we were truly blessed.
Your loving sister,