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quokka last won the day on July 4 2018

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  1. quokka

    AP Chapter 24

    Thanks everyone for your comments. i have just returned home from a ten day holiday, passing near the area of this story, there are small clumps of tall trees, but it is mostly salt bush country, that goes for tens of miles with no sign of civilisation anywhere.
  2. quokka

    AP Chapter 24

    14th March 2014 Today marked 100 years since Uncle Edwin, and my dad Archie, arrived on the farm for the first time, and even though both are no longer with us, the family was still farming the land, and we had gathered at the original homestead for a family celebration meal, to mark the occasion. The homestead was not in use no more, abandoned for a more modern homestead, located on the site of the Hamlet, which was pretty much destroyed, when a wildfire swept through on the summer of 1945, just after the end of World War Two. Although the area once had a total of 8 farms, with families living on their farms or in the hamlet, we now only have three farms, all owned and run by our family. After the devastating wildfire, which saw the loss of many stock and fences on the neighbouring farms, Plymouth Farm was lucky enough to have lost no stock and only fences along the south east corner and the eastern half of the south boundary, along with the entire hamlet, with just the stone walls of the school and the cemetery remaining. When the wild fire was first noticed, my dad and uncle Edwin had moved all of their stock to close to the homestead, and the family at the hamlet moved all of their belongings and most of their furniture to the homestead, as had some of the neighbours, while the more southern neighbours, elected to pack up most of their belongings and furniture, and make a dash towards the towns of Penang or Ceduna. After the wildfire, once all the damage had been assessed, it was decided by most of our neighbours, to sell up and move onto greener pastures, and it was Uncle Edwin, dad and their cousins, Daniel and Charlie O’Donnell, who bought those other farms, which have now been combined into three farms. Uncle Edwin had bought the D’Angelo farm, which was originally the northern half of the Applegate farm, so he had a total of 25,940 acres, Dad had bought the Barrington and O’Grady farm, which totals 15,570 acres, which I now own and my son manages, and the O’Donnell cousins bought the remaining thee farms, which totals 18,060 acres. For the first five years, all the farms were managed as one big farm, to allow everyone time to rebuild all the fire damaged fences, and to build new homesteads, and it was mid-March 1950 when the three farms began operating separately. Uncle Edwin and Aunt Florence had three children together, a son and two daughters, with their son – Oliver, my first cousin, now running their farm, while their older half-brothers had acquired jobs in and around the district or in the City, and although now retired, they had managed to travel to attend the family reunion. “Mitch, I think you should make the speech” my cousin Oliver said to me, as the family around us stopped chatting, and all looked in my direction. “Well, I guess all I can say is, that I am very proud of what my Uncle Edwin and my dad had achieved during their long years of building up the original farm, and after the wildfire of ’45, they also rebuilt from all the damage. What started out as just 20,750 acres of scrubland, over two days horse and buggy ride away from the nearest town of Ceduna, they had built with their own two hands, and a little later with the assistance of the Applegate boys, what we see now, with all three farms working as one for a period of 5 years, it totalled 59,570 acres, that our families now own and run. I think that is quite an achievement, considering the limited tools, stock and supplies that they originally started with, after the long tall ship journey from Plymouth in the UK. So, I ask you to raise your glasses, in a toast to our fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers, Edwin and Archie Cameron, the pioneers of farming in this district” I said, and everyone held up their glasses in the air, before taking a sip. “That was a great speech Uncle Mitch, well done”, Jedd my eldest nephew said to me, as he stood next to his father Oliver, who nodded his head in agreement. “I need to sit down, my back is starting to ache again” I replied, and a chair was soon found for me to sit in, and Oliver sat down next to me. “Well cousin, I think we have brought up some terrific son’s, and they have done a lot to the farms, since we retired, what seems like so long ago, and I am glad that we had this reunion, it is not often that we all get together, and we will probably not make another one” I commented to Oliver. “Are you still up to making a visit to the cemetery, to visit our grandparents and parents?” Oliver asked me after a long period of silence. “Yes, I would very much like to do that with you cousin, before heading back to town” I replied, and we watched in silence as our grandchildren played in the paddock that once had crops of corn and wheat. Later in the afternoon, the whole family made the pilgrimage to the Yumbarra Cemetery, located beside the ruins of the old school and church of Yumbarra Hamlet. In the family section of the cemetery, there is the graves of our grandparents, as well as Edwin and his wife Florence. There was also Aunt Martha and Aunt Beatrice, both who never married, plus Uncle Simeon and his wife Clara, my parents, Archie and Matilda, and my younger brother Jacob, who dies at the age of four from a snake bite, my late wife, Anna, and Oliver’s late wife Julia, 19 in total. In the other part of the cemetery, there is Florence’s first husband, and two daughters, who were relocated to the cemetery after the end of World War One, and their three sons, James, Adam and Mark, all who were killed in the World War Two, and brought home to be buried, plus Reverend and Mrs Forrest, who were the Methodist minister and his wife, who made monthly visits to Yumbarra, to do church services and weddings, until they retired. Oliver and I now live in a retirement village in Adelaide, and we had both expressed that we wished to be buried at Yumbarra, and after the visit to the cemetery, Jedd drove us back to Ceduna, where we would stay with him overnight, before catching the train back to Adelaide in the morning. It was a big shock, when I was informed by Jedd, that my cousin, Oliver had died peacefully in the night, at the age of 91, so the trip home to Adelaide was postponed, to organise and attend Oliver’s funeral, and a few days later, on the farm, as I stood at the grave site, after the service, I knew that it would not be long before I too will be buried here. The End
  3. quokka

    AP Chapter 23

    The next day, after saying farewell to the minister and their friends, who had stayed in the guest cottage, Augustus, his brother Julius, Archie and I were standing near the front of the hamlet, discussing the location for the new house, and we agreed on Julius building his house next door to the O’Grady house, and Archie suggested that we build a second cottage, next to the guest cottage, as a new residence for our cousins, Daniel and Charlie, so as to make way for when our Ma, Pa and Beatrice arrive, and I agreed that this would be a good plan of action. Over the next seven weeks, work on building the two new buildings took place, making the hamlet that little bit bigger, and during that time, we no longer needed to travel to town for supplies, as Mr Galassos was making regular trips out to the hamlet, and arrived on the last Saturday of each month. When the new buildings were completed, Archie and I went straight back to work on the farm, to catch up on the work that had been put off over the past 1 ½ months. We had another batch on new lambs to check on, with 160 in total, and this year we have a big number of ewe lambs than ram lambs, compared to last year’s drop, and we are now keeping a closer eye on the mobs, to reduce the number of losses from fox attacks. Since the cottage is now completed, our cousins, Daniel and Charlie have moved into their new home, and Martha and Simeon moved into the big house with Archie, with Martha taking care of feeding her brothers and cousins. This left the homestead now a little emptier, with just my family remaining, and the boys were pleased to finally to have a bedroom each, and I have my study back, plus I think Florence was pleased to not have to feed so many people. On October 28th, when Mr Galassos arrived with his supplies wagon, he brought with him the mail for everyone, and amongst them was another telegram. When I was told of it, I was reluctant to open it, because it may bring bad news of Pa’s health, and once the supplies had been sorted, Archie and I rode out of the hamlet, a little way, before stopping to read the telegram, which Archie volunteered to read. “Dearest children stop Pa is well again stop we have sold the house and most of our furniture stop travelling to Ceduna stop leaving tomorrow stop hope to arrive before Christmas stop much love Ma and Pa”. I was very pleased that Pa was well again, and we were both looking forward to seeing our parents and little sister after nearly two years. Martha was thrilled to hear the news and was now busily planning for their arrival. After work, my siblings and I sat down in the dining room of the big house to discuss the preparations for their arrival, unsure what furniture that they would be bringing with them, and after a lot of discussions, we agreed that it would probably only be the heirlooms that would be kept. With that decided, we needed to build a large bed for Ma and Pa, as well as a bed for Beatrice, plus we needed some more chairs for the sitting room, and more storage cupboards for clothing and other belongings, and with Julius being a carpenter, we commissioned him to build all the furniture that we needed, for the new arrivals. With the ship leaving Plymouth on the 25th of October, as it had taken three days for the telegram to reach us, we estimated that the ship would arrive in Ceduna on or around the 15th of December, so when not busy working on the farm, the family was working on getting the house and grounds around it in good order, with Martha and Florence planting some roses, that Mrs Phelps had provided. I also found a little bit of time to make a small extension to the side, near the back of the produce store, as there was a need for more storage space for everything that was coming from the farm, to be sold or swapped with our neighbours. In the early morning on the 13th of December, Archie set off for town with two horses and the large wagon, and after lunch the next day, I set off in the motor vehicle, so we would arrive in Ceduna at around the same time, but due to a flat tyre, I was delayed, and arrived just before sunset. Archie was waiting for me in the local hotel, and he informed me that he had the wagon and horses settled at the local stables. Archie had booked us a room to share for 2 nights, and rooms for Beatrice and our parents for one night for the day that they arrive. For the next three days, Archie and I kept busy by ordering new supplies for the farm, had the horses checked by the visiting veterinarian, and watched the fishing boats go out and come back in with more fish supplies. All the vegetables, milk, butter and cheese that I had brought with me, as well as the 18 ram lambs that Archie has brought with him, had been sold, for a good price, and we decided to bank most of the money, as we only needed a small amount of money to pay for supplies, when Mr Galassos comes. We bought some extra flour, salt, tea and sugar, to take home with us, to stock up the supplies at the store, which Martha had taken over running. With the store now having full wall and door at the front, and she had the store open from 8am till 12 noon, and 2pm till 4pm each day. Archie also suggested that we buy a few other items to assist our neighbours, so we bought some brooms, water pails, and other kitchen and household items, that may be needed. I also had the time to have the tyre puncture repaired, in case I get another one, on the journey home. Mid-morning on the 18th of December, the ship finally arrived in Ceduna from England, and we were pleased to see Ma, Pa and Beatrice, as they came down the gangway. “My word, my two boys have grown, so much in two years” Pa said to us as he shook our hands, before Ma and Beatrice pulled us into a group hug. Half an hour later with the luggage and small amount of furniture loaded onto the wagon, we headed over to the hotel, so we could have an early lunch. “You said in your letters that it takes two days for a horse and wagon to get to your farm, how about in your car?” Ma asked us, “About 5 ½ hours, on hot days, we need to stop and let the radiator cool down, as the radiator was not designed for Australian hot weather conditions” Archie replied. “So, what is the plan, do we leave right away?” Pa asked, “No, I will leave shortly with the horses and wagon, while you all stay overnight in the hotel, and get some rest, before Archie will take you in the motor vehicle tomorrow morning, and you will see me along the way” I replied. Just before 1pm, I said goodbye to my family, and set off towards the stables to collect the horse and wagon, which had been left there once it was loaded up, and I set off towards home, intending to travel through part of the night, to make up for the late departure. In the end I continued till 11pm and set up camp on the side of the road, after unhitching the horses, I gave them some grain and water, before having a snack and laying down in my swag, under the wagon. At day break, I was up again, gave the horses some more grain and water, before heating up the billy for some tea, and I ate some bread that Florence had made for the trip. Setting off just before 6am, it was almost 11am when I heard the motor vehicle approaching from behind, so I guessed that they must have left town at around 9am, as I stopped the horses, and unhitched them, and made a quick fire to boil the billy for some tea. “Good morning all, the billy is on for tea” I said, when the motor vehicle came to a stop beside the wagon. “You must have travelled late into the night, to have got this far, brother” Archie said to me, after assisting our mother and sister out of the vehicle. “That is indeed correct, and I started at 6am this morning, so I can get home before dark today” I responded. Ma and Beatrice produced a picnic basket, that had some cold meats, a potato salad, fresh bread and some lemonade, and we sat in the shade between the vehicle and the wagon, to enjoy a light lunch together. Pa elected to travel with me in the wagon, for the remainder of the journey, which would take another 6 hours to complete, while the motor car would arrive home in just over two hours’ time. “It is so far away from everything, and the countryside is so big an open, are you sure it is safe to live this far out of town?” Ma asked me, and Archie and I chuckled at our mothers’ concerns. “We have lived out here for two years Ma, as long as you keep away from snakes and spiders, you will be fine” Archie responded. “Spiders! Oh Ma! I don’t want to be near any spiders” Beatrice said in shock, as Archie and I smiled broadly, while Ma and Pa scorned us both. “It is ok sister, you will be fine, you have a beautiful big and modern house to live in, and there are plenty of neighbours around you, including our cousins” I said to Beatrice. “You have not told us much about where we will be living, will it be with your family, and is there enough room?” Pa asked. “No and yes, at the front of the farm, we have a small hamlet, that includes a large house for our family, which Martha, Simeon and Archie are living in, nearby in a cottage, is where our cousins Daniel and Charlie live, but they eat at the big house. There are three other cottages in the hamlet, the O’Grady’s and O’Donnell families live in two of them, the other one, is a guest cottage for our visiting doctor, church minister, and grocery supplier, when they stay overnight. The hamlet also has a supplies store, that Martha runs, plus the hamlet has a school, community hall, stables and blacksmith workshop, so there is always plenty of people around” I explained. “What about you and your family, where do you live?” Ma asked me, “We live at the main homestead, which is a good half a mile north of the hamlet. We have stables, a large vegetable garden, fruit orchard, plus dairy cows and goats, that produce most of the food needed by our family and our little community. There is a total of six other farms, that surround us, and they use the hamlet for all their needs, with the school for the children, and our monthly church services, part of the community hall is used for doctor visits, and for community group gatherings, and we have a blacksmith and a carpenter in the community” I explained. “Well that is more than I ever expected, I thought that you would have fairly basic living quarters, and maybe a barn and sheep yards” Dad replied, “We do have those Pa, located near the homestead, Edwin and I do most of the farm work, and we have a part time farm hand, the oldest son of one of the local families, and Florence, Edwin’s wife and her children help out with all the chores Archie said. “She had been wonderful, firstly as our housekeeper, and now as my wife, we are very happy together” I said to my parents. “We look forward to meeting her, my dear” Ma said to us. Once the early picnic lunch was over, Archie set off again, with just Ma and Beatrice onboard, while Pa and I continued our journey on the wagon, and I told Pa all about the farm and the hamlet, as we slowly made our way towards home. When we passed the boundary gate in the south east corner of the farm, Pa was surprised at the size of the hamlet, as we approached the gate at the south end, and headed towards the main house at the north end, where we could see Ma and Beatrice talking to Martha, Simeon, Daniel and Charlie. “Welcome to your new home” I announced, as we came to a stop outside the main house. “You made good time, brother” Archie said to me, as he, Simeon and our cousins began to unload the wagon, while Pa followed Ma and our sisters into the house. Now with our whole family together once more, it was decided that we would have a community lunch on Christmas day, to be held in the community hall, as there is now a total of 20 adults and 24 children in the community, and by Christmas morning, Ma, Pa and Beatrice had settled into their new home, and Pa was helping Archie and I on the farm, but he let me make all the decisions, since it is my farm.
  4. quokka

    AP Chapter 22

    Archie helped me to unload all the extra supplies for the store, while the ladies went inside to see what is available today. “We have come up with a trading plan, we are open from 7 to 9am in the morning and from 2 till 4pm in the afternoon, that way either Florence or I are here to assist with purchases” Archie announced as he carried sacks of flour into the store. Leaving Archie to sort out the produce store, and to bring the boys home from school, Florence, Martha and I climbed into the motor vehicle and set off for home, so that Martha could get settled into her new home. “Oh, this is far more than I expected, did you build this house?” Martha said when we approached the homestead. “Yes, sister dear, mostly Archie and I, with a bit of help from our neighbour’s oldest son – Patrick, who we have been employing almost full time, and Simeon has helped a lot since he has been here” I replied. “How do you fit everyone into this one house?” Martha asked me, as we parked the motor vehicle outside the homestead and started unloading the supplies and Martha’s luggage. “Well, Florence’s two youngest boys, Adam and Mark share a room, while Simeon and James have a bedroom each, you will have Archie’s old room, which doubles as my study, and Florence and I have the master bedroom, with adjoining private sitting room” I replied. “Yes, it can get quite busy inside, especially if everyone is stuck inside on very wet days” Florence added, “I think it is time that we extend the size of the house in the hamlet, Simeon is old enough to live with Archie and our cousins, and it will make more room for when the rest of the family arrives. If we make the lounge room a bit longer, and add another staircase at the other end, we can have an additional two bedrooms and a bathroom” I announced. The next morning, leaving Florence and Martha at home, I took the boys into the hamlet for school, in the horse and buggy, and picking up Archie and Patrick, we set off for a grove of trees at the Western side of the farm, to cut some logs for the extensions to the Cameron house in the hamlet. By the end of the week, we had enough wood for the extensions plus plenty of spare, and work began to make the house in the hamlet bigger. With Simeon, James, Adam and Mark taking care of all the chores around the homestead, we were able to concentrate on building, and Martha settled into a routine of helping Florence around the house, as well as attending school. On the Monday afternoon, a week since Martha arrived, we were surprised to see another motor vehicle arrive in our little hamlet, and we were pleased to see that it was Dr and Mrs Phelps, I went to greet them, as they parked alongside the blacksmith workshop. “Good afternoon to you both” I said in greeting, as I assisted Mrs Phelps out of the vehicle. “Good afternoon Edwin, I see you are very busy with another building? This is quite a surprise to see this little hamlet, so far out of town” Dr Phelps said to me as we shook hands. “Let me give you a guided tour, starting with the guest cottage that you are welcome to use if you are planning to stay overnight” I said to the visitors, and after assisting with unloading their overnight luggage, I lead them into the cottage. “Small but comfortable, I like it” Mrs Phelps said as she had a good look around the inside of the cottage. From there I took them to see the community hall, and what was a guest bedroom has now been made into a meeting and crafts room, which Dr Phelps said would be ideal to use as a clinic. I introduced the Doctor and his wife to the local ladies, who had come in to do some shopping, and to collect their children from school, and Dr Phelps soon had a line of patients waiting to see him, in his make shift clinic. Mrs O’Grady was very pleased to see the visitors, and offered them to dinner for that evening, and breakfast the next day. Once all the children had their check-up, it was late afternoon, and only two adults made appointments to see the Dr in the morning, before they set off back home to Ceduna. When the extensions to the house were completed just under three weeks later, Simeon moved into the house, with Archie and he in the new section and Daniel and Charlie in the original section of the house. We had set a routine with Florence cooking for everyone, and Archie would deliver their evening meal to the house, for the four of them, and each Sunday evening, everyone ate at the homestead, where it is a bit of a squeeze to fit everyone around the dining room table. The boys kept the house as tidy as possible and twice a week, Martha would come into the hamlet and give the house a good cleaning, while the boys were at work or school. On the Saturday afternoon that Reverend Forrest is due, he arrived in a motor vehicle driven by another man, I was at the hamlet discussing farm projects with my brother Archie, when the vehicle arrived, and we went to greet them. “Good afternoon Reverend” we said together, “Good day to you both, this is Mr Davos Galassos, he bought the general store in Ceduna recently, and he was made aware of your little community out here, and wanted to bring some supplies out, which he is happy to do once a month” the minister announced. “That is very kind of you Mr Galassos, come into our little produce store and we can show you what we usually require” I replied, and while the minister went off to the cottage to get settled in, Archie led the way into the produce store and began discussing what was needed by the community, and purchased most of the goods that he had brought with him, including some gardening and farming tools, extra packing boxes and hessian bags, and storage canisters for the flour, salt, sugar and tea, to keep it dry and fresh. “Oh, by the way Edwin, I have a telegram for you” the minister said when he reappeared in the store, and handed me the envelope, and excusing myself, I stepped outside to read it. “Dearest Children stop Beatrice has recovered from the illness stop but Pa has become very ill stop doctors say he may not survive stop we are preparing for the worse stop if it happens, we will sell up and travel to you stop will telegram you again soon stop much love Ma”. Once Archie has concluded business with Mr Galassos, he came out looking for me, and I gave him the telegram to read. “I think we should not let the others know about Pa just yet, just let them know that Beatrice has recovered and that is all” I suggested to Archie, who agreed with me. The following day, as our family travelled into the hamlet to attend church, we were surprised to see another three more motor vehicles and two more horse & buggies parked outside the school building, and there was a large gathering standing just outside the door. Once we had joined the crowd, we were introduced to David and Eliza Samuels and their 3 sons, and they have taken up the farm immediately south of the Frankston farm, also we met Augustus’s younger brother – Julius and his wife Angela, and their infant son, who had moved in with Augustus and family. We were also surprised to see Dr & Mrs Phelps here, and we were introduced to their friends, Mr Hamish and Mrs Kitty Nickols, who had travelled early this morning to attend the service. With such a large crowd attending the service, the children had to sit on the floor, to allow all the adults to be seated in the limited number of seats available. After the service, we all enjoyed a picnic lunch, in the community hall, as there was the threat of rain coming from the West. During lunch, Augustus asked me permission to build a cottage for his brother and family, as it is too crowded in their home for two families to live in for a long period of time, and reluctantly I agreed, and I told him that Archie and I would look at a suitable site in the morning.
  5. quokka

    AP Chapter 21

  6. quokka

    AP Chapter 21

  7. quokka

    AP Chapter 21

    Thanks Awesome Editor
  8. quokka

    AP Chapter 21

    When the Sunday that the minister came to the Hamlet, I decided not to miss this service, since Florence had been distressed that we missed the last one, and when he arrived late Saturday afternoon, he brought with him a letter address to me, and it was from England. When I opened the letter, I was surprised to see that it was a telegram. “Dear Edwin stop Pa and Beatrice ill stop I am sending Martha on the next ship to South Australia stop travelling with family friends stop ship arrives in Ceduna on or about August 18th stop, love Ma”, I sat down hard on the ground forgetting that I was standing outside the Produce store in the hamlet, and Archie came rushing up to me, to help me up. “What is it? what is wrong?” Archie asked me anxiously and I handed him the telegram, which he ready quickly, “goodness me, that is just three days away, and this is dated July 24th” Archie said to me, “I know, just as well you moved out of the homestead, now Martha will have to stay in your old room, and I had better get into town quickly in case the ship had already arrived” I said. “How about you leave after church tomorrow, and you can take Reverend Forrest with you, and I will follow his horse and buggy into town, so he has a more comfortable and shorter journey” Archie suggested, and I shook my head no. “I need you here to keep an eye on everything, we have to keep the sheep close to the farm till the lambs are a bit bigger, so we don’t lose any from foxes like last year” I said to my brother. The next morning, with the motor vehicle fuelled up, I took Florence and the 4 boys into the Hamlet for the Sunday service, and Archie would take them back in the buggy after lunch, while I continue into Ceduna, hopefully arriving before dark. Parking the motor vehicle outside the community hall, we walked up to the school which today is the local church, and Archie, Daniel and Charlie joined us, as we turned onto the side street leading to the school. As usual there were the familiar buggies belonging to the D’Angelo, Barrington and Frankston families, but today there was an additional buggy that we didn’t recognise. When the O’Grady family joined us for the last part of the walk from their home, through the school playground, I asked Shamus if he knew who the other buggy belongs too, as it was certainly not Reverend Forrest’s buggy, and he said he had no idea. When we entered the school, we saw our neighbours all gathered around in small groups chatting, and we saw a new family already seated in some of the chairs, just as Reverend Forrest asked everyone to take a seat. “Good morning, it is joyful to see our whole community with us today, and I would like to welcome our new members of the community, Mr Thomas & Mrs Sarah Grantly and their three children, who have taken the lower half of the old Applegate farm” Reverend Forrest announced. When the service concluded 45 minutes later, with everyone invited to attend our monthly picnic in the community hall, I approached Reverend Forrest. “I am sorry, but I must dash, that telegram you brought with you yesterday, was news from home. My Pa and youngest sister – Beatrice are ill, and they sent our oldest sister – Martha, here to South Australia. The telegram was delayed, and the ship will be arriving any day now, so I am driving into Ceduna right away, in case the ship has already arrived” I explained to the minister. “Oh, I am sorry to hear that, travel safely and thank you for coming today, I do understand that you have a farm to run, so don’t concern yourself to much about missing the occasional service” Reverend Forrest said, and I said goodbye to him, before giving my wife a kiss and waving to my brothers, cousins and step sons, before dashing out the door. Florence had given me a list of additional supplies to buy, now that we will have an extra person to feed, and I had decided to buy some additional farm supplies while at it. I arrived in Ceduna an hour before dark, and I went to the harbour, where it was empty, so I presumed that it had not arrived yet, so I headed to the better hotel in town to check in for a few nights, while waiting for the ship to arrive. “Do you know when the ship is due from Plymouth?” I asked the desk clerk, as I signed my name in the register, “It has been and gone sir, arrived two days ago, and left just after noon today” the clerk replied, which shocked me a little. “Do you have a Miss Martha Cameron staying with you?” I asked, and the clerk looked the register to see who I was, “Your sister, sir?” he asked me, “Yes, my sister, now is she staying here?” I asked again. “No sir, but I believe she is dining in the hotel restaurant tonight with some other people” the clerk said pointing in the right direction, and I dropped my small bag on the ground and walked into the restaurant, when it was fairly crowded with dining guests. “Edwin, you came” I heard an excited voice say, moments before spotting Martha, now a beautiful young woman racing towards me, and into my arms, which made me chuckle. “Calm down sister, it is good to see you too, but please not in front of everyone” I scorned her, as she grabbed my hand and dragged me in the direction that she came from. “Dr and Mrs Phelps, this is my big brother Edwin Cameron, a farming pioneer in this region” Martha announced to the two guests seated at a table set for three. Dr Phelps stood up and shook my hand, “I have heard a great many good things from your parent’s young man, you are brave to start a new life in such a new country with unknow dangers ahead of you” the doctor said to me, and I moved around to say hello to his wife. “Mrs Phelps, it is a pleasure to meet you” I said holding her hand gently and briefly, “Please join us, no doubt you are famished” the Doctor said to me, and before I knew it a waiter arrived with a spare chair and table settings for me, returning a few moments later with a menu. “Just a steak and vegetables will do fine for me please waiter” I said to him, ignoring the menu, and he poured some water into my glass, which I drank half of it right away. “I do apologise for being not suitably dressed for dinner, I only received the telegram late yesterday afternoon, and I left home as soon as the church service was over” I explained. “My goodness, you have a church out where you are?” Mrs Phelps asked, “Well actually it is our school building, and the Methodist Minister, Reverend Forrest comes on the second Sunday of each month to hold a service for us, which is very kind of him, considering it is a two-day horse and buggy journey from here” I said. “My word, that is very nice of him, but if it is Sunday evening now, how is it that you arrived here after leaving the service?” Dr Phelps asked, which made me chuckle. “That is easy, I invested in a motor car a few months ago, and it is only a 5-hour journey, if I don’t have to stop to let the car cool down, which it does during the summer months” I answered. “So, tell us some more about your little community, you have a house and a school what else do you have up your way” Mrs Phelps asked. “Well, my brothers and I have the biggest farm in that region, a total of 20,750 acres, of which we have the western half all fenced off and we have ten medium and three large paddocks, and sheep yards built so far. We have a total of five other farms in the region, three of them border along our southern side. On our south east corner of the property, we have a community hamlet established, which was only meant to be just a school and a blacksmith workshop, but now we have a community hall, a guest cottage for the minister, when he visits, a produce store, with all of the vegetables, milk, cheese, butter and eggs coming from our farm. We also have stables and yards for the community horses when they are in the hamlet, and two houses, one is occupied by one of the near farm families, and the other is for Ma, Pa and my sisters when they come, but currently my brother Archie, and cousins Daniel and Charlie live in there. “With Martha unexpectantly arriving, we will have her stay in Archie’s old room at the homestead, I am sure my wife Florence will be pleased to have another woman in the house, as she has three sons of her own who live with us also” I said. “How many children attend the school that you have there?” Mrs Phelps asked me, “Well we had a new family just move in this past week, so now it will make it 7 from our family, including Martha, plus 12 other children, and there is only one child under school age in the community, with have one mother who is a qualified primary teacher, and another mother who assists her most mornings” I answered. “Well that is quite a community you have out there” the doctor stated, “Yes sir, now with Martha included, that makes it… 34 people that live in our community with only seven living in the hamlet” I replied. “Well young Edwin, how would you like to have a visiting doctor come to your community, say once a month, to do check-ups for everyone?” the doctor asked me. “We are mostly very poor people out our way Doctor, even with our produce, we don’t always get money, instead it is more of a trading system, with things that can be swapped in exchange for food, I have half a barn full of stuff I am not sure what to do with it” I replied, “Ok let’s say, in exchange for accommodating us and feeding us dinner for two nights, in exchange for seeing any members of your community and providing whatever medicines that they require?” the doctor said to me. “Well I think that is a very good trade and I will accept, I am sure Mrs O’Grady can feed you breakfast and lunch, and we will feed you dinners out at the homestead, which is half a mile north of Yumbarra Hamlet” I responded. “Yumbarra eh, that sounds like a nice name for a little community” Mrs Phelps replied, and I nodded my head and smiled in agreement. During dinner, I learnt that Martha was staying with the Dr and Mrs Phelps in the new home in Ceduna, where the doctor has established a practice. I let Martha know that I had some shopping to do, before I collect her at 10am tomorrow, before we set off back to Yumbarra, and I gave the Doctor directions on where to go to get to Yumbarra, which is fairly straight forward, as the track is now well used, and easy to follow. Martha chatted for the whole journey home, stopping only when we had stopped to have a meal break at around noon, and to give the car a short rest. She informed me of everything and everyone that our family knew back home, and she became a bit upset when she mentioned Pa and Beatrice getting ill. I reassured her, that she would be so busy assisting Florence with running the house, that she won’t have time to worry about other things, especially when they are so far away. When we arrived at the hamlet, school had just finished, and some of the ladies had come into the village to collect some supplies from the store, of which I was now providing some basics for the store, so that all the families didn’t need to travel into town as often. I had brought an extra amount of flour, salt, tea, sugar, plus some oranges and apples from town, to be shared with the community, and knowing that I was due to arrive this afternoon, they were waiting for my arrival for those extra supplies, and I saw our horse and buggy parked out the side of the store, with some crates of fresh produce from our gardens. “Hello brother and little sister” Archie said as he came out of the store, and he helped Martha out of the motor vehicle and gave her a hug in welcome. “It is so good to see you again Archie, and my have you grown since I last saw you” Martha said in reply.
  9. quokka


    Hello my faithful readers, just letting you know that I am currently in the city of Darwin, in the Northern Territory Of Australia, after completing a three day and two night.experience on the Ghan train from Adelaide in the South to the Northern capital of Darwin, which is a 2720 kilometre journey. Saw some incredible sights, and I hope to include my experiences in future stories. The Ghan train had a total of two engines and 38 carriages and it was 902 metres long. Regards Preston, aka Quokka
  10. quokka

    AP Chapter 19

    Nope they come from town at the last shopping trip.
  11. quokka

    AP Chapter 20

    “Apples. These are a nice treat. I haven’t had one of these for a few months,” I said before biting into it and munching away at the delicious fruit. “Florence bought some on Monday, along with some lemons and oranges. She hopes to use the seeds to grow some fruit, so save any seeds that you may have,” Archie said to us. “I think we can all squeeze into the buggy, so we can rest our feet for a while, and just slowly push the stock forward,” I announced, and my cousins were pleased to hear this. “I don’t mind walking for a while, so you three can stretch out a bit,” Archie said. “How is the fence building going?” I asked my brother. “Good. We had completed another half a mile, before I had to come and meet up with you. Oh, and Florence said that we will accommodate Daniel and Archie in the community hall, until we decide what to do on a more permanent basis,” Archie responded. “Yes, I have been thinking about that. We have enough wood to build a cottage, say 2/3’s the size of the new house. We can build it on the south east end of the hamlet. That should be enough for a new home for Daniel and Charlie,” I announced. “You don’t want them closer to the homestead?” Archie enquired. “No, because when Ma and Pa and our sisters arrive, they will be close by in the hamlet, if they get too lonely.In the meantime, I think we can put them in the barn, where it is warm and cosy, and Florence can feed them, until the cottage is finished,” I said. With the horse and buggy assisting to push the stock forward, we managed to cover a lot more distance than we had the previous day, and with a clear night, we enjoyed some beef and vegetable soup, that Florence had made for us, plus some fresh bread and butter, and an apple each, of which I gave half of my apple to my horse – Honey. It was about two hours after our midday meal stop the next day, when we pushed the stock through the hamlet, and our cousins were amazed at all the buildings located here, so far out from the nearest town of Ceduna. “What is that building way back there on the rise with a windmill?” Charlie asked, and I heard Archie chuckle, “That my dear cousin, is the school, where you will be attending when not helping on the farm” I responded. “Do I really have to go?” Charlie complained, and I glanced over to Daniel who just nodded his head to me, “Yes you do, since I am the oldest in the family, it is my decision that you attend school, just like Simeon has to do, until the end of the school year that you turn sixteen. By the way the school timetable is a little different than what you are used to in Scotland, our summer holidays are 6 weeks during the hottest period of the year, from mid-December to the start of February. At this school, it is 9am to 2pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and just 9am to 11.30 on Wednesday and Saturdays, as most children in this community have morning and afternoon chores to do, as will you” I said to my younger cousin, who screwed up his nose in dislike, and he turned to face his brother. “Sorry little brother, but Edwin is the head of the family, so what he says, goes” Daniel said to his brother and I nodded my approval at what Daniel said, just as the children came rushing out of the school building, and down the slight hill into the hamlet. “Hello Edwin, who is this with you?” James asked when he and his two brothers arrived, “Hello boys, these are my two cousins, who have just arrived with this big flock of sheep and goats, Daniel is Archie’s age and Charlie is and older than Simeon, where is he by the way” I replied. “He got in trouble with Mrs O’Grady for cursing, and has to stay behind” Adam said, “Oh did he just, well I hope he will learn his lesson. Cousins, these three rascals are Florence’s three sons, and my step sons, James who is 12, Adam who is 9 and Mark who is 6” I said finishing the introductions. Jump into the buggy, boys, and Archie can take you home, I will have a quick talk with Mrs O’Grady and let Simeon know he will be bringing the other buggy on his own” I said and I set off towards the school, stopping just before the door to listen in, but all was quiet, so I stepped into the doorway and Simeon turned when he heard me enter. “Has he finished his punishment Mr O’Grady” I asked, “Yes, he can go home now thank you Edwin” Mrs O’Grady answered, and Simeon stood up and raced towards me, and he wrapped his arms around me and started to cry. “Shh now, we can go home now” I said to my youngest brother patting his back to console him. “I am sorry Edwin I didn’t mean to curse, it just slipped out” Simeon said quietly, “Ok, did you apologise to Mrs O’Grady?” I asked, “That he has done, thanks for asking, now off you go, I must get home to cook supper” Mrs O’Grady said. “You will have one more for your school tomorrow, my two cousins have arrived unexpectantly, and the youngest – Charlie… err Charles O’Donnell aged 15, will be attending” I informed the head teacher, “Thank you for letting me know Edwin, I look forward to him attending, good day now” Mrs O’Grady answered and we walked out of the school and down the hill. “Your cousins also brought along with them 124 sheep and 16 goats, oh and a little surprise too” I said to my brother as we entered the Hamlet and turned left to head for the yards to retrieve the horse Dickens, and the buggy. When we caught up to Daniel and Charlie, they were almost home, and Simeon jumped off the back of the buggy to great his cousins, with a hug and pat on the back, before asking what the little surprise is, and Charlie pointed down at his feet, where Jock was sitting on his master’s boot. “Meet Jock, a wee present from your sisters, Martha and Beatrice to keep guard for all of us” Daniel said to Simeon, who smiled broadly as he bent down and patted the dog. “He is such a wonderful present, Edwin, where are Daniel and Charlie going to live?” Simeon asked. “Well I did say they can stay in the barn, but I am sure Archie and you can share some floor space in your bedrooms” I announced, “Yes that they can, it is wonderful to see you again cousins” Simeon said excitedly. “Can you take our cousins in the buggy, and let Florence know that I am about half an hour away from arriving with the new flock, and start on your chores please, and open the gate for the second stock yard ready for this lot to arrive” I said to Simeon, who indicated for Daniel and Charlie to climb into the buggy and they soon raced off in a trot for the homestead. When I finally arrived home, the boys had formed a line to corral the sheep and goats into the yard, before closing the gate, and I headed indoors to say hello to my wide and give her a big hug, since I had missed her over the past few days. “Hello my dearest, I am finally home, thank goodness, and we all arrived in one piece, although a little soggy from the rain the other night” I said as I came up to Florence and wrapped my arms around her, “Go and wash up, I have made sure dinner is early today, the boys should be finished their chores by now and will be in soon” Florence said to me, and I gave her a kiss on the neck and headed for the wash house. For the next two weeks, fence building was put on hold, so that the cottage for the O’Donnell brothers could be built, and some more work was done on the house for our Ma and Pa, with the external walls and roof completed, including the door and window frames. When Daniel and Charlie moved into their new home, in early June, work continued the fencing, with Daniel Archie and I working on it full time, with us being able to do 1/3rd of a mile a day, which I was very pleased about, even if it is very hard work. In just under three weeks, we had managed to complete four miles of fence line, getting a lot faster as we went, and we didn’t stop when it began to rain, as I wanted to get some paddocks completed as soon as possible. We didn’t even stop for Sunday’s which really annoyed Florence a lot, especially when the day came around for Reverend Forrest to visit, but I insisted to Florence that the farm must come first, if we are to survive out here, as we could never tell when something may go wrong, so we must be prepared no matter what. Daniel and Charlie would have their evening meal with us at the homestead each night, and Florence made packed lunches for all of us, depending on if it was the boys going to school or us men going to work out on the farm. During the little spare time we had, Archie and I would do a little bit more on the Cameron Home in the hamlet, and it was while we were on one of those spare days, Archie announced to me that once it was liveable, that he would move into the house, until our Ma & Pa and sisters arrive. When our cousins heard about this, Daniel suggested that all three of them share the house, and that the cottage could be a guest house, which I thought was a great idea. When we had begun building in the hamlet, I had made sure that all of the medium sized trees, a small number of larger trees and some of the shrubs remained, to provide wind and sun protection during the hotter summer months, and now I was glad that I had done that, as it makes the hamlet look a lot more suitable for families to live. Florence along with Louisa and Maria, made the journey into town in the motor vehicle in early July, so they could jointly purchase their basic supplies for each of their homes, and this allowed Archie, Daniel and I to continue with the farm work. It was the first week in August, when we had completed to fence lines west to east, from the western boundary to the sheep yards, plus the 8 short fences to divide the long paddocks into 5 paddocks of 690 acres along the south boundary and the same along the north boundary. This also created a very large central paddock, which instead of dividing into five paddocks, I had decided to make them into just 3 paddocks of 1150 acres in area. We would also build the additional two more fence lines to create two laneways to easily move the sheep around between paddocks, and a shorter laneway between two of the larger paddocks to get access from the north laneway to the south laneway, which I estimate to take another 4 weeks to completed all of the fencing on the western half of the farm. All the other neighbouring farmers have also been busy building post and rail fences on their farms, with a road laneway now established between our southern boundary and the northern boundaries of the Barrington farm - “Greendale”, O’Grady farm - “Parkham” and D’Angelo farm - “Patrizi”, with gates for access to the road. By now the house in the hamlet was also completed, and Archie, Daniel and Charlie shared the house, while Reverend Forrest used the cottage when he was staying in the hamlet, which was now for two nights each month. Between all the fence building, we also had to manage the rest of the farm, with all the new ewes already pregnant before leaving England, and we had a total of 158 lambs and 16 kid goats born on the farm, and Simeon and Charlie took on the responsibility of taking care of all the new-borns. Meanwhile the other three boys looked after feeding the goats, pigs, dog and chickens plus collecting the eggs, while my dear wife did the twice daily milking of the goats and dairy cows, as well as making the cheese, butter, feeding us all and keeping the house in order.
  12. quokka

    FR Chapter 5

    Thanks Deana
  13. quokka

    AP Chapter 19

    Yes sorry about that, my SA editor has had a few life issues, so I've had to rely on my awesome UK editor to continue the chapter editing for this story. i am currently on holidays, so it will be Friday next week before I am home, to start sending my next story to my editor. preston

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