Dressing the Past

Impacts on the Clothes people Wore

Social, environmental and cultural events all impact the clothing people wear and how they wore them. During the nineteenth century, there were a number of events that impacted the availability of clothing, colours and the fabric that people wore daily. This post very specifically looks at clothing in Australia and some of the world events that impacted that clothing. Like with this whole series of blog posts, this particular post is not going to be exhaustive.

1832- Universal male suffrage- this started to erode class distinction. As a result, the clothing that people wore, particularly those of the working class, could become more aspirational.

1830s- Australian artefacts such as Emu feathers and Kangaroo fur becomes a trend on clothes in countries other than Australia. This was driven by an overall interest in all things Australian and was not limited to Emu and Kangaroo. This in turn encouraged people living in Australia to wear clothing that utilised Australian flora and fauna. There is a whole ethical debate over this use of Australian flora and fauna and its impact on Aboriginal people. I want to acknowledge that this is a serious issue that had huge impacts. I am not going to go into those impacts here as that is not the purpose of this post.

1840s-1850s- Irish Famine, this increased the presence of people of Irish descent in Australia and thus increased the wearing of clothing that had been fashionable or popular in Ireland.

1847- Women and Children in the UK were given a 10-hour working day. This was part of a fight for general improvements in the quality of working conditions. In 1856, some men in Australia were granted the 8-hour working day. There followed a series of disputes and fights for greater working rights that continued into the 20th century as men women and children fought for shorter working days and better pay and conditions. The impact of these fights for working right on fashion was the increasing demand for clothes that could be worn while working and were easy to take on and off and to care for.

National Museum of Australia- eight-hour working day parade, Melbourne 1907. https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/eight-hour-day

1850s- Increases in income and the gold rushes in Australia- fashion became more accessible. Those that were successful as a result of the gold mines wanted to show off their wealth. This is a time of conspicuous consumption in Australia. Fashion starts to be marketed towards the working classes, not just the wealthy.

1857– Indian rebellion against the British East India Company. This contributed to the British take-over of India and the start of the British Raj. A wave of Indian-inspired fashion and fashion designs followed. This love of Indian-inspired clothing started earlier than 1857 but was expanded after the start of the British Raj. See the paisley shall in the image below as an example of Indian-inspired clothing.

British artists of the late 19th Century were great admirers of the pattern, including William Holman Hunt, who painted his paisley-adorned wife Fanny (Credit: William Holman Hunt) https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20151021-paisley-behind-rocks-favourite-fashion#:~:text=shorthand%20for%20sophisticated%2C%20arty%20bohemianism,took%20the%20continent%20by%20storm.

1861- Death of Prince Albert- this sparked a wave of fashionable mourning attire including black clothing, jet beads, broaches with hair in them and many other items of fashionable clothing and adornment. While popular before the death of Prince Albert the prevalence of these items after Prince Albert’s death was much higher.

1861-1865- American Civil War- this changed the access to cotton that many countries had. Prior to the civil war, many countries were easily able to obtain cheap cotton. After the civil war, this was much harder to obtain and other fabrics gained popularity.

1880-1901- New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to grant female suffrage, followed by Australia and many other countries over decades. This, along with the increasing popularity of the bicycle is linked to feminine dress reform. The bicycle allowed women the freedom and flexibility to be able to go where they chose when they chose and not to need a man for them to be able to travel. As bikes became more popular with women skirts became less bulky and eventually bloomers and trousers became popular for women.

Women riding bikes in the later nineteenth century, early twentieth century. https://www.welovecycling.com/wide/2019/04/19/the-bicycle-politics-throughout-the-history/

Late nineteenth century- the increase in leisure activities that came with industrialisation and workers rights meant that there was a demand for clothing that could be used for leisure activities such as swimming, cycling, tennis, horse riding, train travel etc. This resulted in substantial changes to the way that clothing was used and perceived.

1890s Depression- this, plus the increasing popularity and affordability of the sewing machine contributed to an increase in the amount of home-sewn clothing, particularly for men. Up until now men had mostly found it easier to buy clothing in Australia, for many reasons including the gender imbalance. In the 1890s home sewn clothing for men once again starts to regain some popularity.

Part 2- 1860s-1890s

Part 4- Using a photo to research family history

Bibliography

1840-1849- Fashion History Timeline, 2020 https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1840-1849/

Australian History Research, 2022. Victorian Fashions. Norfolk Island. https://www.australianhistoryresearch.info/victorian-fashions/

Baker, L. 2017 Paisley’s journey from its origins in Persia to hippy chic and contemporary fashion, vit a Scottish textiles town. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20151021-paisley-behind-rocks-favourite-fashion#:~:text=shorthand%20for%20sophisticated%2C%20arty%20bohemianism,took%20the%20continent%20by%20storm.

Frost, L. Dating Family Photos 1850-1920. Valiant Press Pty Ltd. Victoria, Australia

Gold Museum Ballarat, 2018. A Victorian Dress http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Just History 2021 Historical Fashion: Victorian Women’s Clothing https://justhistoryposts.com/2021/10/17/historical-fashion-victorian-womens-clothing/ 

Mortkowitz 2019. The Bicycle Politics Throughout History. We Love Cycling. https://www.welovecycling.com/wide/2019/04/19/the-bicycle-politics-throughout-the-history/

National Museum of Australia 2022 Eight-hour day. https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/eight-hour-day

Singer Sewing Machine. 2022 Powerhouse collection. https://collection.maas.museum/object/256560#:~:text=Singer%20had%20established%20an%20Australian,SEWING%20MACHINES%20IN%20THE%20WORLD

Sovereign Hill Education Blog- 1850’s Fashion in Australia 2018. https://sovereignhilledblog.com/2018/06/19/1850s-fashions-in-australia/

V&A Museum- Collections. https://collections.vam.ac.uk/

V&A History of Fashion 1840-1900 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/h/history-of-fashion-1840-1900/

Working woman’s day dress, circa 1840s (Gold Museum collection, 80.1294) http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction: Part 2 Edward Atkins Jnr.

Edward Atkins Jnr was born on the 10th of January 1852 in West Pennant Hills. Edward Atkins Jnr, like his father, also known as Edward Atkins, was a successful Nurseryman. He married Maria Allsop in 1878 and the family made their home mostly at Edward Atkins Snr’s property ‘Mount Pleasant’ situated at present-day Atkins Road in Ermington. In the 1880’s Edward was planning on expanding his Nursery and Orchard Company, this would also give Edward Jnr and his young family, the opportunity to move to their own house.

Purchase of sections of the Bennet Estate by Edward Atkins.

Edward took out a loan in 1891 to buy the section of Bennets Farm that he was interested in purchasing. He then set about building the house.

1890 ‘Ermington.’, Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), 24 May, p. 14. , viewed 09 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71111968  

Unfortunately, due to a series of court cases ending in eventual bankruptcy for Edward Atkins Jnr Fernleigh had to be sold shortly after the house had been completed and the family had been able to move into the new residence.

In particular, Edward has appointed a Mr Morris to act as an assignee to his estate while he was absent in Mildura. Edward went through a series of losses in banks and companies that he held shares. As a result, Mr Morris sold Edward’s nursery in one lot failing to account for the assets in the nursery, such as trees and other plants. These losses and poor financial management, particularly due to the resale, Mr Terry, then foreclosed on the mortgage on Fernleigh. The discharge on the Mortage after selling the estate finally came through in October of 1895.

In 1894 the house and lands were advertised for sale.

1894 ‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 27 February, p. 3. , viewed 08 Feb 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13942344

Edward did manage to build his fortune back up and do well for himself. But, Fernleigh was, by this time, lost to the Atkins family.

Fernleigh House as it was originally built in the 1890’s.

For further information about Fernleigh please see Part 1 below.

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction Part 1

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction Part 3- Owen and Stark Families

Clothing of the 1860s-1890s

Women’s wear of the 1860s -1870s

While the sewing machine was invented in the late 1770s, it did not become readily available until the 1860s. In Australia, the first sewing machine factory, built by Singer, was constructed and began selling sewing machines to the public in 1864. At around the same time, synthetic dyes became readily available. This meant that for colour it became much easier to purchase fabrics that were bright and colourful. Prior to this time, it was much more expensive to obtain brightly coloured cloth, or it needed to be dyed at home using plants from the local area. The impact of the sewing machine meant that women were more easily able to make fashionable clothing faster than they had previously been able.

At the same time that colour and fabric was changing, skirts were also changing. The bulk of the fabric was shifting to the back, with the introduction of the bustle, later the front of the skirt started to flattern out to emphasise the bustle further. Bodices were tight, necks were high, particularly for daywear and the front of the jacket was often buttoned. In the 1870s trains started to be used for both day wear and evening wear. This necessitated a button on flounce that sat under the train. This could be taken off and washed and then put back on to help to prolong the life of the skirt.

Hair was worn in low chignons at the nape of the neck. As the decade progressed these shifted to high complicated fashions often enhanced by fake hair.

Unknown woman circa 1874-1876 Bean collection

Menswear of the 1860s-1870s

Single-breasted coats and jackets were worn. The outer jacket was usually semi-fitted and thigh length. Waistcoats were also single-breasted. Sometimes they matched the outer jacket but they did not have to. High starched collars were worn with cravats and neckties. Three-piece suits started to be worn as an alternative to the frock coat. In these cases, the waistcoat did match the suit. Frock coats, when worn were often fastened high on the chest.

Facial hair was becoming common, even for fashionable men in the city. For those who were more fashion conscious, this may be quite sculpted, for those in more rural areas this could be a significant beard and whiskers.

Headwear still included the top hat, but this was being increasingly overtaken by the use of the Bowler hat.

Unknown person from Bean collection circa 1870s.

Women’s Wear 1880-1890s

Tightly fitted bodices with narrow sleeves were still very popular during this period. High necklines remained fashionable as did trim and or frills of lace, particularly at the neck and cuffs. Skirts were still being drawn to the back, but the bustle disappeared for a while until the middle of the 1880s when it made a resurgence. There was a lot less material in the skirts overall than in previous decades. During this period there was a lot of movement in skirts. At some stages, skirts were cinched in around the legs which could make walking difficult. At other times the skirts flowed in what was known as the free-form style which contained a low bustle but was not as distinct as the much larger bustle of the mid 1880s.

In the later 1890s, the sleeves became larger at the head of the sleeve. This became known as the “leg of mutton” sleeve and was a considerable departure from the earlier tight sleeve that had dominated fashion for a couple of decades.

Hats were small and sat perched on top of the hairstyle. Hats became quite elaborate and decorative, often with a lot of colour.

Mary Carter circa 1890, Bean collection

Menswear 1880-1890s

Lounge suits were increasing in popularity. They included slim-line jackets worn open. Under the jacket was a high buttoned waistcoat and usually a fob or watch chain. Collars were still and high with neckties becoming increasingly common. Frock coats were still worn but they were becoming dated and old-fashioned.

Trousers were being worn more loosely than had been worn in previous decades and they often had a turned-up cuff. The trouser press became popular and easy for people in the cities to access. This lead to a fashion for a straight crease down the front of the pants.

Unlike previous decades, at this time it was more fashionable for men to be clean shaved with shorter hairstyles.

Headwear was increasingly leaning towards the Bowler hat. For those that were not wearing a Bowler, crowns of hats were still lowering or not being worn at all.

Balcomb Family circa 1890s Bean family collection

Part 1- History of Clothes in the nineteenth century; clothes from the 1840s-1850s

Part 3- Societal impacts on the clothes people wore

Bibliography

1840-1849- Fashion History Timeline, 2020 https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1840-1849/

Australian History Research, 2022. Victorian Fashions. Norfolk Island. https://www.australianhistoryresearch.info/victorian-fashions/

Frost, L. Dating Family Photos 1850-1920. Valiant Press Pty Ltd. Victoria, Australia

Gold Museum Ballarat, 2018. A Victorian Dress http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Just History 2021 Historical Fashion: Victorian Women’s Clothing https://justhistoryposts.com/2021/10/17/historical-fashion-victorian-womens-clothing/ 

Singer Sewing Machine. 2022 Powerhouse collection. https://collection.maas.museum/object/256560#:~:text=Singer%20had%20established%20an%20Australian,SEWING%20MACHINES%20IN%20THE%20WORLD

Sovereign Hill Education Blog- 1850’s Fashion in Australia 2018. https://sovereignhilledblog.com/2018/06/19/1850s-fashions-in-australia/

V&A Museum- Collections. https://collections.vam.ac.uk/

V&A History of Fashion 1840-1900 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/h/history-of-fashion-1840-1900/

Working woman’s day dress, circa 1840s (Gold Museum collection, 80.1294) http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Dressing the Past; Clothes and their impact on daily life.

This post is going to be a series of posts about a dress that I made over a year ago that was based on an unknown photo in my Great Aunty Margarets collection. The photo was one that she had received a while ago, it was probably taken in Orange, but I don’t know because when I was given the photographs to scan I didn’t know about making sure that I scanned the backs as well as the fronts of the photographs. The box held a large number of photos, some of which I could identify were of family members and some that were of famous people of the day. Many of the photos are still unidentified.

One of the photos caught my attention. So far, my attempts at identifying this photo suggest that the woman in the photograph may be one of my three times great grandmothers.

Unidentified photo approximately 1874-1876 NSW, Australia

I decided to use the dress in this photo to try and find out more about the woman in the photo. Even if I never identified the the woman the research that I could do to understand the photo and the woman are comprehensive. But, because I also want to make this post relevant to family historians, first a little bit about dating photos based upon dress.

History of Clothes in the 19th Century

Women’s Wear of the 1840s-1850s

Women in this period typically wore a close-fitting bodice with a full skirt and sleeves. The skirt was shaped through the use of lots of petticoats or through the use of a crinoline. A crinoline is usually made out of horsehair and linen and then stiffened with steel, cane or gutta-perch.

Sleeves were off the shoulder and both collars and sleeves, particularly for under-clothing were often detachable.

Dresses during this time were aimed to give a woman the Victorian ideal of a meek and delicate woman with a pale complexion and of passive behaviour. However, in Australia, and many other parts of the world, despite appearances this is not what a woman was. Having to work in rural areas and undertake back-breaking physical work while looking after children meant that the ideal and the reality were often far from the same.

Dresses during this period were often made at home and were usually hand-stitched. Although sewing machines had been invented in the later 1700s, they did not start to become readily available or cheap until after the 1850s. For women in Australia, they were extremely rare until the middle of the 1860s when Singer established a factory in Australia.

In addition to the overall clothing of the 1850s, women wore deep bonnets and their hair was usually in a bun or coils with a centre parting.

Working woman’s day dress, circa 1840’s (Gold Museum collection, 80.1294) http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Menswear of the 1840-1850’s

Menswear was usually ready-made. Clothes had a long thin line with narrow sleeves and a fitted look. It was much more common for men’s clothing to be readily available rather than made at home. Many men were away from cities for a long period of time, particularly in Australia. They made trips to the city for a short space of time and they were often on the move. There was also a huge gender imbalance in Australia. So, having clothes ready-made and able to be purchased made a lot of sense.

Along with the long slim line of the coat, trousers were relatively tight, waistcoats were fashionable and collars were upstanding with neckties. At this time the sack coat- a thigh-length loosely fitted coat become popular. As the decade progressed everything in male fashion became more exaggerated. In Australia, much of this was due to money from gold mining changing who had access to wealth. Suddenly those that had never experienced wealth before may be able to make their fortune at the digs and men who made their fortune wanted to show that fortune in their clothing, this was a time of conspicuous consumption.

In the 1850s the Bowler hat was invented and gradually overtook the popularity of the top hat. In the early 1850s, the Bowler was very much a working class hat. It had been designed initially to protect gamekeepers from low-hanging branches. However, over the next few decades, the Bowler became universally popular as male attire.

Richard Ansell 1857 London V&A Museum http://myhistoryfix.com/fashion/mens-suits-history/

Part 2- Clothing in the 1860s-1880s.

Bibliography

1840-1849- Fashion History Timeline, 2020 https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1840-1849/

Australian History Research, 2022. Victorian Fashions. Norfolk Island. https://www.australianhistoryresearch.info/victorian-fashions/

Frost, L. Dating Family Photos 1850-1920. Valiant Press Pty Ltd. Victoria, Australia

Gold Museum Ballarat, 2018. A Victorian Dress http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Just History 2021 Historical Fashion: Victorian Women’s Clothing https://justhistoryposts.com/2021/10/17/historical-fashion-victorian-womens-clothing/ 

Singer Sewing Machine. 2022 Powerhouse collection. https://collection.maas.museum/object/256560#:~:text=Singer%20had%20established%20an%20Australian,SEWING%20MACHINES%20IN%20THE%20WORLD

Sovereign Hill Education Blog- 1850’s Fashion in Australia 2018. https://sovereignhilledblog.com/2018/06/19/1850s-fashions-in-australia/

V&A Museum- Collections. https://collections.vam.ac.uk/

V&A History of Fashion 1840-1900 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/h/history-of-fashion-1840-1900/

Working woman’s day dress, circa 1840’s (Gold Museum collection, 80.1294) http://www.goldmuseum.com.au/a-victorian-dress/

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction Part 4- Nursing Home

On the 30th of March 1945, George Stark died leaving Fernleigh to his sons Kenneth Lawrence Stark and Arthur Campbell Stark. Once again Fernleigh was sold, this time to Mary Jane Elizabeth Clark and Eric Charles Clark.

The Clarks had already been living in Meadowbank, on Bowden Street. Mary was working as a nurse and it is probable that it was this family who first thought of using the large home as a hospital. Eric was working as an electrician, which would have worked well as a way of maintaining the house. However, Eric Clark died shortly after the couple moved into the house and the house was sold in 1947 to Ivy Niland.

Like Mary Clark, Ivy Niland was a widow. Her husband, William Martin Niland a local solicitor had died in June of 1945. The couple had lived in Waverly before William had died. After his death, Ivy had moved for a short time to Mosman. However, Ivy purchased the Fernleigh property and decided to open up a rest home. The first indication that Fernleigh has actually become a nursing home of some type is an entry in the 1954 electoral roll which shows Ivy Niland as a Rest Home proprietress.

Ivy remained at Fernleigh, running the nursing home until 1961. At this stage, the Fernleigh property is broken up. Previously, Fernleigh had included all of the lands within the boundaries of Constitution Road, Station Street, Sherbrooke Road and Mons Street. The early Meadowbank Estate subdivisions had originally planned to break this area up into four smaller blocks, however, they had been purchased as one. With the death of Ivy Niland, the earlier planned break up finally occurs.

During this time the Fernleigh property still reaches from Sherbrooke Road to Constitution Road, but the long driveway to the house is hemmed in by properties on either side.

The Fernleigh Property is now divided up among a number of people and companies. Patricia Mary Foley of Maroubra and Nolene Marie Crowley of Mosman become tenants in common of a portion of the property. Florence Nominees Pty Ltd and Pentagon Investments Pty Ltd own the rest of the property, also as tenants in common.

Ivy Niland- owner of Fernleigh

By 1961 there are more people owning a portion of the Fernleigh property. The Cassady’s own 107 Constitution Road, the Rylands, and Shepherds own 105 Constitution Road which is the address of the Fernleigh House. The opposite side of the block, at 8 Sherbrooke Road is lived in by Richard Nobbs and his wife who is a nurse. They reside with another nurse Theresa Mary Camillus.

By 1968, Ruby Violet Ward and her husband Harry Herbert Ward are living at, and own, 8 Sherbrooke Road. They are living with Elsie Pamela Mountney and Kenneth William Mountney. Both women are nurses, while the men are plant protection officers and clerks. At this stage, it is highly likely that both couples are working at Fernleigh and operating the house as a nursing home. Certainly, at this point in time, the Fernleigh house is the property of Ruby Violet Ward.

In 1977 the house once again changes hands. At this stage, the address of the property where the house is situated is 105 Constitution Road, lived in by Kenneth Leslie Shephard and Lilian Alice Shephard. 8 Sherbrooke Road now has two different residents, number 8 and number 8a. 8a is still tied to the main house with Lleida Wild, resident of 8a, being a forelady.

Sometime between 1964-1967 and 1968, the frontage of Fernleigh is moved from Constitution Road to 8 Sherbrooke Road. At the same time, the house is extended through a red brick addition.

Fernleigh as it was just before destruction. The frontage is now on Sherbrooke Rd and the red-brick additions are clearly visible. The original chimneys can still be seen and some of the original stonework.

At this time Fernleigh starts to be promoted through large ads placed in the Sydney phone books.

Fernleigh was successfully run as a nursing home for a number of years. But, by 1982 there was an application to transfer the license of Fernleigh Nursing Home, 8 Sherbrooke Road, West Ryde from Joseph Arthur James Barrington and Lawrence James Adler to Moran Hospitals Pty Ltd. Fernleigh was registered as a general class nursing home licensed to accommodate 93 patients.

Adler had made money through insurance companies. He bought a string on insurance companies and later started to move into nursing homes. It is not certain when he obtained Fernleigh, however, it was probably during a merger or takeover as there does not seem to be any other record with Land Titles, other than the Niland purchase. So it is probable that this was part of a larger property swap.

Moran was a sort of rags to riches story. Moran worked towards making his money in real estate. He when he was married a nurse called Greta King, so Moran went into nursing homes. He built up this business and was extremely successful.

Moran has a difficult reputation, in particular, he was seen as extensively money-hungry, making comments about “elderly bludgers”. He was influential in the Howard Government until his attitude meant that the Government had to pull out of supporting him as he was becoming electorally unpopular.

Moran Aged Care became part of the MFS Group, a large financial group in the US. In the 2000’s Principal Aged Care, now part of the Domain Aged Care group also came under the MFS banner. At this time there was a dispute between MFS and Village life, another provider of aged care services. This left hundreds of elderly pensions with no homes.

In 2008 Domain Aged Care changes its name and now comes under the Opal banner. This has not stopped the bad publicity that has so far dogged the company. This has been particularly evident in the late enquiry into nursing homes.

The inquiry into tax practices of for-profit providers of age care services report found that in 2015-16 the six largest for-profit aged care providers including BUPA, Opal Aged Care, Regis Healthcare, Estia Health, Japara and Allity received over $2.17 billion in government subsidies, made after-tax profits of $210 million and paid around $154 million in tax.

Opal and Allity paid no tax in the year 2014-2015 and Allity also paid no tax the following year, according to the report.

As part of Opal’s plans for Fernleigh Nursing Home, the original building was pulled down in 2019.

The destruction of Fernleigh in 2019.
The continued destruction of Fernleigh 2019.

Today, all that remains of a once beautiful old home, with a long history in Meadowbank, is a part of the original front gate which leads out onto Constitution Road. The gate post sits between two large blocks of units and is a relic of the past.

The last remaining part of the original Fernleigh property. One side of the gate.

With the destruction of Fernleigh, the commencement of the building of the new structure that now takes the place of Fernleigh was started.

Start of the construction of the new “Meadowbank Grove” nursing home that was being built on the site of the original Fernleigh homestead. The construction of the new nursing home required the purchase of a number of the properties that were originally part of the Fernleigh estate and that were sold off in the 1960’s.

Meadowbank Grove, as it is now known, has been completed. While there are potentially some nods to the original house, in the sandstone blocks and even the house as it was in the 1960s with the red walls, the loss of one of Ryde’s early homes is a considerable cultural loss.

Meadowbank Grove as it now looks.

Fernleigh: From Construction to Destruction: Part 1

Collecting by Caravan

The below article was remembered by one of Nancy’s grand nieces. The cottage and the fireplace in the article were donated to the council. Unfortunately, it was not looked after well and eventually became infested with white ants. This meant that the house had to be knocked down. However, the article below and the family photo show demonstrate Nancy’s love of Australia and of the home that she built.

A Harvest and a Hearth of Stones

MISS NANCY DAVIDSON drives her caravan over all parts of New South Wales, and wherever she goes she looks for a beautiful stone and brings it home. This has been going on for several years, and all that time she has been dreaming of the little house where she would live in between times of caravaning. Now
the house is built. It is set in the bush near Wahroonga, with a brook-or a “crick,” if you have it that way across the grounds.

THE house is called Teribori, which is aboriginal for rainbow, and the garden is being laid out in rainbow colouring of flowers. Starting from the southern end past the ferns, growing in pockets and over rocks there are to be seen the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet flowers of the prism. Natural trees are left, and leafy paths go round the rocks just as the rocks happen to be. There is a belt of tropical plants that Miss Davidson has culled during her caravaning and a patch of Australian wild flowers. Down in the creek lie some of the lovely stones that the caravan has brought to rest here.
Geologists may give stones high-sounding names such as micraceous schist, but Nancy Davidson is just a natural naturalist who loves colours and shapes and indulges a passion for collecting while she earns her living by her caravan. All sorts of people go [for] trips in the caravan, and many of them have not seen a stone before. Some laugh at Miss Davidson, some help to find a really good stone, others watch her move rocks with a superior air. Quite a number have gone home to build a bird-bath or rockery of stones.
There is a saying, “You can’t throw a stone across the Darling at Bourke.” When Miss Davidson reached Bourke she was determined to find a stone. After much hunting she discovered, as she thought, a stone to throw, but a geologist member of the party scraped it and declared it merely “baked earth” There are no stones to throw at Bourke.

Red Yellow and White

AMONGST Miss Davidsons collection there is a stone from the meeting of the waters of the Cotter and Murrumbidgee, and white quartz from near Collector and Bungendore, lovely smooth pebbles from the River Deua in the Araluen Valley, and quite a family of feet-like stones from the Araluen, with the biggest stone of all nearly two feet long and like a big pear drop-it was the heaviest she could carry. There is a pretty red stone from the seaside place of Merimbula and little stone from Budgewoi, where the caravaner made soup of pippies. Most of the reds and yellows came from the beach at Port Macquarie – Miss Davidson’s birthplace. Her father- Presbyterian minister and Member of Parliament – early imbued her with the love for stones.
Another caravan trip took Miss Nell Holden who wanted not stones, but clays and colourings, for her pottery work, and the volcanic soil at Port Macquarie yielded up oxide and cobalt. When the house at Wahroonga was ready for its fireplace the stones were placed in a pile
and the bricklayer or “brickie,” as he calls himself, was brought in to confront it. He jibbed at the idea of combining stones into a fireplace. Looking at the pile, he said, ‘They’re just stones, wouldn’t you rather have some nice fire-bricks? Miss Davidson threw a bucket of water over them, transforming dullness into glowing colours. ‘My!” he said, “they are stones. I’ve never seen stones like that before. You’ll have to throw a bucket of water at the fireplace every time you have a visitor.”
From that moment the “brickies” turned to their job, and while owner and architect were away fashioned one of the most delightful of fire surrounds that one could see.

A Den and a Home

ALL the fire-box and hearth are of necessity in fire-brick, as stones are liable to explode with heat. In front, the edges of the bricks step regularly into the stones just as the uneven stones demand; all the facing
up to the mantelpiece is of stones in all colours, sizes, and shapes and these meet the wall with the wallpaper neatly trimmed up to them. The mantelpiece of wood has ornaments chosen to emphasise the colour in the stones, there is a blue iridescent bowl which heightens the blue in some stones and a Limoges scent bottle in pink, left from an old dressing-table set of grand mamma’s day, which brings up the pink; there is a grey pewter tankard and a black pot. Beside the hearth an old chair of great-great-grand-mother date is of walnut and marquetry with tapestry cleverly worked by Miss Davidson. All this lovely room is part of the attic floor of the house in the bush. Miss Davidson does all kinds of things, and, as Miss Davidson has many interests and hobbies, the attic room has to be a den as well as a home when her caravan is resting.

Nancy Davidson and Budgewoi Cabin
Nancy (Agnes Gillies Walker) Davidson at her cabin in Budgewoi.

1939 ‘Collecting by Caravan’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 10 July, p. 6. (Women’s Supplement), viewed 13 Feb 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17596640

Ragged Schools

On researching the Gransden family I was struck by the fact that Mary Ann Gransden nee Stone had left her husband in 1852 to strike out on her own. In 1852 this is an extremely unusual thing for a woman to do. However, a notice in the Hampshire Advertiser indicated that this was exactly what she did do.

Hampshire Advertiser and Sailsbury Guardian Sat July 17, 1852.

Miscellaneous

NOTICE.- I, Robert Gransden, of Orchard-lane, Southampton, Oil and Colourman, HEREBY GIVE NOTICE, that my wife, MARY ANN GRANSDEN, having left my residence, I will not be answerable for any debts she may contract after the date hereof.

Dated the 17th of July 1852

(Signed) ROBERT GRANSDEN

The next time I come across Mary Ann Gransden is in the 1861 census where she is still living separately from her husband. Mary is 72 years of age and is working as a Schoolmistress and living at 107 St Georges Rd, Millbrook Hampshire.

There was nothing in my research that indicated that Mary Ann was literate enough to be a schoolmistress and it was fairly unusual at this time for women to have significant education. So to see Mary as a schoolmistress was really interesting. Thus, I fell down the rabbit hole looking for possibilities as to why Mary may have been more educated than most women of her period.

The first place that I looked was at Mary’s parents. The family was reasonably well off, it can be assumed. As Mary’s father James Eloard Stone was a barber. He had an apprentice and was considered a Master Barber. This profession obviously had some links to his family as, to date, it has been possible to find that one of James’ brothers is a peruke maker or wig maker. Given the trade that James was in it would be expected that he would have a reasonable education. However, his wife was unable to sign the marriage register so she could not have taught her children to read and write. Either James was able to hire someone to educate his children or his children had been educated via other means. I still don’t know the answer to this question. However, I have found a possibility.

John Pounds, late of St. Mary Street, Portsmouth: who, while earning an honest subsistence by mending shoes, was also school master, gratuitously to some hundreds of the children of his poor neighbours. : Born 17 June 1766. Died 1 January 1839, aged 72. Published by Bouvé & Sharp, 221 Washington St., Boston, ca.1843-1845

Just down the street from Mary Ann Stone and where her parents lived and raised their children was a man by the name of John Pounds. John lived from 1766-1839 in Portsmouth. In his early years, John had signed up for a four-year apprenticeship as a sailor. However, he had fallen from the rigging at one point and broken his thigh and damaged his back significantly enough that he became badly deformed.

During John Pounds’ recovery time he learned to read and write. It seems that he took significant pleasure in the education that he developed as he healed. In addition, John took up the trade of cobbler where he made and fixed shoes.

John was quite an accomplished cobbler and when his nephew, Johnnie, was born with a deformity that caused his feet to turn in John made a series of boots for him with the aim of gradually fixing the deformity. Despite the gradual change in his feet, it appeared that Johnnie like to spend time at his Uncles shop, whether that was because he found running around in the early days difficult or not, I do not know. However, gradually Johnnie bought his friends to his uncle’s shop and that became the space that they played in.

John began to teach Johnnie and his friends how to read and write, he also taught simple arithmetic and some general knowledge. This space where kids were playing and learning gradually attracted more children. This included girls who were given the same basic education that the boys were given as well as some extra skills such as cooking. John Pounds used to like the concept of nature teaching children. So, he and the children would go on excursions outside of the town walls where they learned about flowers, wildlife and nature.

Over years John taught many children. They were the “ragged” children of the streets. John became quite famous for his work. One particular person, Thomas Guthrie wrote a book about John Pounds. There are many memorable quotes, one among the many describing John’s work.

“Many of the poorest of them he partly feeds and clothes. His shop is full of them. Oh such a little bit of a shop! One wonders how he gets them all in. Thirty or forty children at once; sometimes more; all happy about him. On a fine day you may see a row of them sitting outside in the street, on a little form, just under hiss (sic) little tumbledown window”.

https://openplaques.org/plaques/1872

On the death of John Pounds in 1839, John had inspired enough people that there were others who decided to take on his work and expand upon it. The first of these was Dr. Thomas Guthrie who opened up “Ragged” schools in Yorkshire. Thomas Guthrie continued to advocate for free schooling for all. In 1844, Lord Shaftesbury formed the Ragged School Union which continued to espouse John Pounds initial ideas.

Description
English: Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873)
Date
early 1870s Web link below as it stuffs up my formatting.

By the 1870s there were over 350 Ragged Schools in Britain. This led to the 1870 Education Act which encouraged the education of all children. Ragged Schools were not just in Britain, there were schools all over the world including in Australia. This became the beginning of the concept of universal education that many countries have today.

I still don’t know if Mary Ann Stone ever met John Pounds. Given where she lived, and when she lived, it would have been hard for her not to have known of him. Was Mary taught in her family or was she one of the hundreds of young children that clustered into John Pounds shop over the decades that he taught? We may never know. But, it is possible that Mary was one of those first little girls to be educated in the “Ragged School”.

John Pounds, Educational Reformer. 2020 https://www.welcometoportsmouth.co.uk/john%20pounds.html

Ragged University. 2021 Great Educator: John Pounds 1766-1839 https://www.raggeduniversity.co.uk/2014/09/18/great-educator-john-pounds-crippled-cobbler-portsmouth/

The History of Ragged Schools 2020 The Maybole Home Page. https://www.maybole.org/history/articles/historyofraggedschools.htm

Thomas Guthrie image http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/largerimage.php?firstRun=true&deceased=Y&role=sit&name=&gender=&search=as&desc=&grp=16%3BCountries+and+Counties&lDate=&LinkID=mp01954&occ=47%3BReligion+and+Occultism&subGroup=2003%3BScotland&submitSearchTerm_x=46&submitSearchTerm_y=6&submitSearchTerm=Search+Now&page=1&rNo

Emma Lockwood

All her life Emma was defined through the men in her life. As a young girl she was known as Miss Atkins, all her decisions and any documents with her name on them were signed off by her father and in public, she was known as Miss Atkins, or Miss E. Atkins. Once married Emma became known as Mrs. Lockwood. This included the documents that show the evidence of her purchasing her own business. Emma Lockwood, wife of Frederick Lockwood says the document. Yet none of that shows the force that Emma was to become.

When the world changed and Frederick Lockwood could no longer keep working as a coachbuilder it was to Emma’s business that he turned. Emma was running a successful business in Granville and it was this business that kept the family afloat through good times and bad.

It was through Emma’s business that the Lockwoods became a force in the Parramatta and Ryde council areas. Emma was known for her suppers given at glamorous balls and weddings, Masonic ceremonies, and socials. While socialite women in their satins and furs and men in their black suits swanned around Emma was in the background supplying suppers that were often praised and were certainly mentioned in the papers.

Throughout what must have been a hectic work schedule at events Emma was also known for the quality of the displays in the windows of her shop.

CHRISTMAS AT GRANVILLE

Argus Advertisers’ Displays.

Mrs. Lockwood, the favourite caterer of Granville, has a very showy Christmas display in her window. First and foremost there is a large stock of the best quality of fruit and preserves, vegetables and confectionery the other lines are tobacco and cigars and fancy goods and stationery and iced drinks in abundance. Mrs. Lockwood announces that she makes picnic hampers ready at a few hours’ notice, which should be a great convenience to picnickers during the festive season. A special line with Mrs. Lockwood is poultry, and orders are taken for poultry guaranteed young and fresh. Great preparations have been made for the Christmas trade, and a big trade is anticipated.

1897 ‘CHRISTMAS AT GRANVILLE’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 18 December, p. 2. , viewed 16 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85767379

It wasn’t all parties and catering though, Emma had her fair share of eventful happenings. She quite literally had the proverbial bull in a china shop one Tuesday afternoon. What was noticeable about this event, aside from the fact that a large bull got into a shop and rampaged around while Emma was there, was that the shop was mentioned as being owned by Mr. F. Lockwood. Despite Emma being the person this happens to, and Emma being the person that runs the shop, the article is still about Mr. F. Lockwood’s shop. It is almost like Emma gets sidelined in her own business. The bull tore through the dining room of the shop, smashing a piano, sending food flying and striking at least one child before smashing a window to exit the shop and finally being trapped and caught in the back yard. Fred isn’t even present during the events of the day. It is Emma that is caught up in the events.

It was both Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood who put out a fire that Miss. Lockwood accidentally lit a fire in 1906. Once again Emma and Miss. Lockwood are defined in terms of their relationship to Fred, although in this case Fred is also defined in terms of his father and his heritage, not in terms of who he is. It is also noticeable that by this time, there is an acknowledgement that the shop is Emma’s, not Fred’s.

When Emma moves to Bondi, it is to open up a new business, a tearooms that is currently being run by her daughter Emily Lockwood. By this stage, the articles are very much about Emma and Emily, Fred Lockwood is not mentioned. It is at this point that the finances of the family become notable in that it is the woman who are driving the prosperity of this family, not the men. Fred is still working, but he is working with Emma and doing some smaller jobs on the side.

Emma does not seem to be as prosperous in Bondi. At this stage, the world is heading towards the First World War and things are changing. There starts to be rationing and food shortages, Emma has to pay a fine of £10 or do two months hard labor for adulterating milk. This appears to have been a mistake by a child, but the judge still imposed the fine.

Emma’s business at Bondi survived throughout the First World War to be hit by a cyclone that ripped a large section of the roof off the AV Tearooms that Emma owned and ran. Then in 1926, Emma decided to retire and sell the tearooms and the couple moved to Harris Park, back to Granville where the family had done so well earlier in Emma’s career.

On Fred’s death, his Will is contested by Emma and her son George. It appears that there is a dispute because some of the property that is being wound up and disposed of through the will does not belong to Fred, it belongs to Emma. This includes a property in Vaucluse. There is no mention of the property in Fred’s will, the will just mentions “all property” but because Emma is his wife it seems to be that the assumption is that all of the property owned by the couple was in Fred’s name and not in Emma’s. So, Emma and her son have to fight the will so that Emma can retain the property that she bought and had sole ownership of.

When Emma died, all of her property, including the property that she fought to retain when her husband died was shared equally between all her children.

Emma was a driving force in her marriage and was unusual for her time, although certainly not alone for her time. She was the main breadwinner and was the owner of property and of a business. It was her money that meant that the family were able to become prosperous and to be part of a world that would otherwise have passed them by, as they were by no means from a wealthy background. Yet, they were able to experience large parts of that upper echelon social life from the shadows of Emma’s business. Despite all of this Emma lived in a world where her contribution was mainly acknowledged through her relationship to her father, her husband and later her son when it was him that had to help her fight for the property that she owned outright.

1897 ‘ODDFELLOWS’ BALL AT BLACKTOWN.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 24 July, p. 6. , viewed 20 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85772811

1897 ‘PROSPECT.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW :

 – 1950), 13 November, p. 11. , viewed 16 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85765054

1898 ‘Wedding.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 13 August, p. 8. , viewed 17 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85836336

1900 ‘The Enfield Mounted Rifles.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 28 November, p. 2. , viewed 08 Feb 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85819850

1906 ‘A WILD BULL.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 10 February, p. 4. , viewed 02 Feb 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85942136

1906 ‘FIRE.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 1 December, p. 4. , viewed 02 Feb 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85933518

1908 ‘The Cumberland Argus.’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 11 July, p. 2. , viewed 19 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85984345

1913 ‘MILK THAT WAS FAULTY.’, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 – 1930), 31 January, p. 7. , viewed 27 Jan 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238618269

1922 ‘DAMAGE AT BONDI’, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 – 1930), 25 July, p. 6. , viewed 27 Jan 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245738217

State Archives NSW NRS-13660-31-10076-Series 4_376063 Emma Lockwood Date of Death 21/02/1951, Granted on 21/05/1951

State Archives NSW NRS-13660-31-10076-Series 4_226322 Frederick Nicholas Churcher Lockwood- Date of Death 24/07/1937, Granted on 14/12/1937

The Dead Horse Ceremony

It appears that sea shanties are very popular at the moment. I have always loved them. So, when I found out that one of my relatives, Edwin Gransden, had been in the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy I did a bit of research into the sorts of ceremonies that he would have participated in that also had a sea shanty attached to them. One of the most popular was the Dead Horse Ceremony.

As part of the book that I am writing about Edwin, I wrote the below section. The section still needs a lot of polish, but it gives you and overview of Edwin’s experience.

Edwin had been paid his first months wages by his employer before he got on the ship. He and his friends had never had that amount of money all of their own before. So, before they had really thought about what they were doing they had raced off to spend their money. Many of the older sailors went to the local public house or found a prostitute and drunk their money or paid for favours that they would not be able to have for months while onboard a ship. Edwin used all of his money, the first time he was paid, to get some of the things that his brother had told him would be necessary for life on-board.

Once everyone was back on the ship and sailing they didn’t receive any more money until they had been sailing for a month. It was a long time to go without pay. So when payday was due and they finally started to earn money that hadn’t been spent as soon as they received it the crew performed the ceremony of the Dead Horse.

A horse was made out of anything that could be found. The tail was of hemp and bottles were used as eyes. The misshapen horse was then put on a box and covered over. On the last day of the month at dusk, one of the sailors jumped onto the horses back and the horse was dragged all over the ship. The horse was then auctioned off and the horse and rider hoist to the yard-arm. From there, one of the sailors cut the horse down and it fell into the ocean. Sailors rushed to the side to watch as it sank singing a requiem to the horse.

I found the below youtube video that gives information about the Dead Horse Ceremony and includes a version of one of the Dead Horse shanties.

Fernleigh from Construction to Destruction- Part 3.

The Owen Family

James Burne Owen and his wife Isabel Annie nee Powell purchased Fernleigh. James and Annie had married in St Leonards in October of 1882. James was working as a clerk of the Out-door Superintendant’s Joint Staff in Darling Harbour. James and Annie lived at Fernleigh until James death in 1919. At this stage, Annie was James’ executrix and made the decision to sell Fernleigh.

1919 ‘Advertising’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), 22 November, p. 13. , viewed 09 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86111640

The House had still not sold by December 1920 when it was re-advertised including much of the furniture that had been contained in the house, a pony dogcart and a sulky and harness, both types of light horse-drawn carriage.


1920 ‘Advertising’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 6 December, p. 13. , viewed 08 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28089228

The Stark Family

During the 1920 sale, Fernleigh was purchased by the Stark family. George Campbell Stark was born in 1880 in Dundee Scotland. George has lived for many years in Randwick in New South Wales. During this time he became heavily involved in the Methodist Church. It was this involvement that lead to him being sent to Western Australia in 1902. This is where George met and married Gertrude Billing. Gertrude was born in 1872 in Mount Gambier, South Australia. The pair married in Perth, Western Australia in 1905. George worked in a series of positions, first as a Clerk and then Secretary and later, President of the Methodist Men’s Association.

George Campbell Stark.
Gertrude Stark nee Billing

It was at this time, while the Stark family lived at Fernleigh that some beautiful photos were taken that show how Fernleigh looked at its height.

Fernleigh House, Meadowbank
Fernleigh House, Meadowbank, seen from the side.

The Stark family purchased Fernleigh and moved to Meadowbank. This was to be the home of the Starks until George Stark’s death in 1945. The Stark children, Frona, Kenneth, Arthur, Mary and Geoffrey were born at Fernleigh and spend the majority of their childhood in the house. Later electoral rolls show Kenneth as a warehouseman and Frona working as a schoolmistress. The remaining girls were shown as engaging in home duties, given George’s involvement with the Church, this probably means that the Stark girls were very much engaged with Church life. Certainly, Fernleigh seems to be a hub for Church activities at this time with regular church group meetings being advertised in the Newspapers.

The view of Constitution Road from Fernleigh.

As well as church meetings Fernleigh became known as a sanctuary for wild birds and George Stark refused to allow anyone to molest the birds and he did everything he could to encourage the birds to his land. On the 30th of March 1945 George Stark died leaving Fernleigh to his sons Kenneth Lawrence Stark and Arthur Campbell Stark. Once again Fernleigh was sold, this time to Mary Jane Elizabeth Clark and Eric Charles Clark.

Fernleigh; From Construction to Destruction Part 4