Our Family Life

When Mum and Dad (Jonathon Wyatt Prior) settled into the home after her marriage what was her early married life like? A home consisting of Dad's Grandmother, a nurse employed full time to look after her, Uncle Tom, and at least two workmen. Besides having the house to look after she also had cows to milk, cream separating to do and poultry to look after.

 She once told me that when she told Dr. McQuade this , he said "no woman could do that much" . It appears to me that he had little knowledge of what a lot of the pioneer women had to do. One wonders what some of the modem day brides would do if faced with similar problems.

Later on she did have help in the house. Names that come to mind are Audrey Pearce, Audrey Hooper , her sister Betty (passed away Christmas Day 2001 aged 90 ) and I think either Girlie or Maisey Phillis. During the 1930s there was a Miss McPhee from Laura who used to come in for a few days a couple of times a year to do mending and sewing.

In many ways we were fortunate. Although the 30's were the depression years we managed to do a lot of visiting. The Frick family at Narridy, Phillis at Georgetown, Cliff near Milcowie Dam north of Crystal Brook, Bull at Willowie, Kairl at Wilmington and Mum's parents between Terka and Wilmington. There were also occasional picnics at Bundaleer and Wirrabra Forests.

 We also often had family stay with us, including Reg. and Ray Masterman, Bill and Ron Andrews and of course Aunties May and Lynnie, and Aunty Flood.

 Men who were quite long time employees on the farm were Bill Hancock Herb Richter, Bill Piper and Jack Nottle.

Mum once told me that Uncle said to her. “Never send a swaggie away empty handed, always give him a couple of mutton sandwiches and fill his billy with tea".

In early 1953 Mum and Dad moved to Adelaide with Ken and Lynette. It was a brave move on Dad's part because so many farmers find it very hard to relinquish control and let a son carry on without someone looking over their shoulder all the time .

The move for Dad was made a little easier as he had been made an offer of a job as a buyer for a group of butchers. Unfortunately this job did not eventuate and he was left in limbo. Also before he left Gladstone there was quite a lot of ragging going on by some of his mates . "You won't stay in the city , you'll be back inside three years". I believe there was quite a sizeable bet on the above with Merv. Read, Bill Bawden and Gerry Cook. Knowing Dad I am sure there was no way that he was going to lose that bet. In hindsight that bet made it easier for him to stay in Adelaide those first years, as it was a good four years before he made a visit to the farm. 

From then on he had no qualms about visiting Gladstone or the farm. . Another good thing that happened was getting involved with the Clarence Gardens Bowling Club.

© Mel Prior


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