Sunday, September 02, 2012


Clockwise from top left: Ivy Flora Hose (Hay)- my grandmother. Elma Flora Hay and Ivy Hay and Jack (John) Hay on their wedding day.

I’m not going to get very far today…this I know already!

Last night I wrote a list of chores I wanted (read “needed”) to do today. I have a feeling that not everything on my adventurous list will get done; no doubt, I’ll get waylaid along the way! Already a couple of disturbances and hurdles have raised their furry heads! My two four-legged, rascally friends figure there is just too much enjoyment to be had in what I’m doing; and they decided to join in the activity! Why should they miss out in all the fun, they ask – I can see it written clearly on their faces – I’m no fool! I’ve given them a choice; it’s either the bathroom with the door locked; or the bedroom with the door padlocked. Knowing what side their bread is buttered on; and what side of the bed is the most comfortable and cosy, they’ve chosen the bedroom – of course! I can’t even say that they look smarter than they are; because they both are as smart as they look; and there is no denying it! They know it, too! I don’t stand a chance!

During my diggings I came across a very old article called “The Beadle.” - which was hidden away amongst my many bits, pieces, papers and other mysterious objects The “news bulletin” is dated February, 1918. It was published by the Gympie Presbyterian Church. From what I can gather it was a monthly newsletter.

What makes it interesting and personal to me is a notice therein of the untimely death of my great-grandfather, Robert Hose.

Quote: “We regret to record the death of Mr. Robert Hose, who was killed in the Scottish Gympie Mine by the fall of a rock. He was buried on the 24th, the Rev. W.J. Taylor officiating. R.Hose was just over 50 years of age, and within a few days would have left mining to take up land at Goomboorian.”

Robert Hose left behind a widow and six children; the eldest was 20 years old when Robert died; and the youngest, nine years of age.

I have written about this previously, I know; but I’ve felt urged to write more.

Robert Hose was my grandmother’s father – on my mother’s side of the Family Tree. A couple of brave off-shoots from those limbs of the “Tree” branched out from Scotland and Ireland to seek a better life in Australia in the mid to late 1800s. My great-grandmother, a wee Scottish lass named Flora Stuart MacDonald” (of both Scottish and Irish heritage) married Robert Hose, a tall, handsome Highlander. Robert sported a ginger moustache. One of Robert Hose’s daughters was my grandmother, Ivy Flora Hose.

Down the track a bit, Ivy married John Hay. John, more commonly known as “Jack” was also of Scottish heritage.

My grandmother was 16 years old at the time of her father’s fatal accident. Nana was born on 13th November, 1901. Australia’s Federation was January 1st, 1901.

Nana’s older brothers used to spin a tale or two when they were young (as all older brothers seem to have the habit of doing). They tried to convince her that the MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory were discovered by a wandering relative. Of course, the name “MacDonnell” was not the spelling of their mother’s maiden name…”MacDonald”! And, our grandmother, always an avid reader, was wise to their trickery!

Upon starting school, my mother, Elma Flora Hay was asked by one of her teachers from where she got her rich, auburn tresses! Haughtily, my mother replied: “From my grandfather’s moustache!” Where else, indeed!

My mother had beautiful auburn hair and sparkling blue eyes…a true Irish colleen! Her mother, Ivy Flora Hay (nee “Hose”) had deep chestnut-coloured hair and blue eyes.

When my late brother and I were children we’d harass our Nana night after night around our bedtimes (and at other times) to tell us stories of the “olden days”; she willingly obliged. Nana told wonderful stories; and I know they were without embellishment and were all true as they happened. How I wish that somewhere along the line and over the years before her passing in 1976 that I’d recorded her many interesting reminiscences onto a more permanent file other than my own memory!

Take heed; let it be a lesson to each and everyone of us for the sake of our future generations. The stories our elders have stored away in their minds are worthy of recording, no matter how simple they may appear to be to our untrained ears. Myriad stories need to be told and recorded for posterity. The tales they have to tell are all part of our history; they may seem minor and insignificant, but they probably are much more than they may appear to be. It’s sad that there are so many stories that shall remain untold.

We find it so easy to pick up autobiographies by strangers; biographies of people we will never meet or get to know. Hungrily we pounce upon books of fiction, and yet many amongst us are not interested in what went before in the lives of our parents and theirs before them and so on. There is still so much to learn about our forefathers…from our parents; their parents and their parents. We shouldn’t bypass these gems of information. They are there (and ours) for the taking!

My brother and I would sit in silence, open-eyed as Nana told us stories of emus poking their heads through the kitchen window with the hope of stealing the silverware. The cutlery was always hidden away out of reach of the prying eyes and beaks of the cheeky, curious emus.

An Aboriginal woman, called “Emma” used to hover around my grandmother’s childhood home at Goomboorian. Emma played with my grandmother and her siblings when they were children. Nana and her brothers and sisters adored her, and in turn she loved them. The kids teased her good-naturedly and relentlessly as children do. And from what my brother and I were told, Emma gave as good as she got! Nana and her siblings would call out to her - “Emma-Emma-Black Bum! Emma-Emma-Black Gin”; and then they’d run in all directions, giggling, enjoying the challenge they’d set – day after day. Emma would chase them around the yard, laughing all the way. There was nothing nasty or vindictive in the children’s chants; and Emma took no offence at their teasing name-calling. With her long, brown skinny legs, Emma was faster than they were; a fact that they loved, and one of which they were aware. The children and Emma enjoyed the chase and the catch! Of course, those were the days long before political-correctness was the catch-phrase of the decade!

The distance between Goomboorian and Tin Can Bay is 32kms – a 29 minute car drive away, nowadays – or quicker, depending on how fast one drives! When my Nana was a young girl the trip was an overnighter by horse and buggy. The family set up camp on the banks of Coondoo Creek for an overnight stay before continuing on to Tin Can Bay; similar occurred on their return trip home.

There is more to this story...than that that meets the eye today!


  1. Hi Lee,

    What a wonderful discovery, and thank you for sharing your family stories.

    You are so lucky. On my dad's side my grandmother didn't want to talk about her growing up years or early life with my grandfather (who passed away when I was six months), and on my mom's side of her family her father (her only surviving parent) had a stroke and didn't talk much.

    All the stories I remember came from my mom and dad, but a few from a talkative uncle and aunt.


  2. It's a shame, isn't it, Janice. So much gets lost. When we're younger, in our teens we tend to be too interested in our own self...and then later we become engulfed in creating families, careers and all that jazz...and then, all of a sudden it's too late!

    Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. :)

    Take good care.

  3. I really enjoyed these stories and the newspaper clippings and pictures. You're right - we don't realize we should be writing down these stories before it is too late. You are lucky to have known your grandmother.

  4. She was the only one we had, Max...we didn't know our grandparents on our father's side. Nana helped our mother raise my brother and me. She was always there...we could count on her. :)

  5. Hmmmm, did I see a swipe at America in that old church bulletin?

    My son in Washington inspired us to rekindle some interest in our ancestors as he was able to find ship manifests with our great-great grandparents coming over from Poland. I do recall too that a fair number of Scottish also came over at the same time (mid 1800s) with many of them settling in the same areas. Must have been a similar climate to the old country.

  6. Hi do have good eyesight! :) wasn't a "swipe at America"...what was written was - quote: "American Orator, 'I am for peace' (groans and hisses from the audience)'I am for peace at any price' (renewed groans etc.) 'I am for peace at the price of war' (prolonged cheering)."

    I'm not sure what it all means...but I think that the "orator" was visiting Gympie at the time....and what he said must have had some particular meaning/reference at the time.

    Gold was discovered in Gympie in the mid-1880s, Dave and many people flocked to the new goldfields in search of riches and better lives. The Scottish Mine where my great-grandfather was killed was the largest goldmine in the Southern Hemisphere at that time.

  7. Dear Lee ~~ How wonderful to find those old photos and learn some history about your family. I could just read The Beadle and Gympie
    Presbyterian Church.
    How great to find the notice for your great grandfather's
    unfortunate death.
    It was great having Fluff and a big surprise as I didn't think I would get to mind her when John goes off riding. He was too frightened she would trip me. Bye for now dear friend Love, Merle.

  8. It's good to have an animal around you, Merle. I'd be lost without my two furry mates...even if they do boss me around! ;)

    Take good care. Hugs...

  9. I love going through old papers and files and then coming across an interest fact. I am transcribing little hand written stories my MIL age 93 has written over the years and I plan to make a present of these to my son along with the other 4 of his generation so they can read her stories one day and be happy a Mother and Aunt recorded them. Peace

  10. How wonderful, Lady Di...your son and the others will love and cherish what you're doing, I'm sure. That's a great gesture. I bet you get lost amongst it while compiling it, too; as well as enjoying the whole exercise. Good on you.

    Take care. And thanks for popping in. :)

  11. No truer warning has ever been given. I guess the fear that the end of me is the end of my parents stories is why I've been writing a column every other week for 5 years this January.
    My editor will put them all into a book in January. I think it will sell but better than that my grandkids will have a good taste of myself and wife and our parents.
    Great writing as per normal Lee.

  12. Good on you, Cliff...that's so great and your children and theirs and so on and so on will be eternally grateful that you did so.

    Thanks, Cliff. Always good to see you. :)

  13. Hi Lee ~~ Thank you so much for your very kind comments about my blooms bloomin'...
    Your plan sounded good - feet up, good book, no coffee,or a good movie.
    Well I made a huge pot os soup which is now in fridge and freezer. And Kate and Scott called to see me which was very nice, hadn't seen them for awhile. Scott has a nice new Utility with a double cabin. Kate was her usual helpful self. She only has Sundays off from her cafe in Deniliquin.NSW.
    Take great care my friend. Love, Merle.

  14. What a lovely area to have a cafe in, Merle. It nice all around the Deniliquin area...I've only been through there once, but it's remained in my mind.

  15. Lee, you tell the most wonderful stories! I love discovering old treasures and bits and pieces of the past. I hope you find many more -- and write about them!

  16. Thanks, Serena, for your nice comment. My late brother used to tell me I could talk under wet cement...these days I think I could write under same! ;)