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Aussie Pioneers - 22. 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 neighbours 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.

Copyright Preston Wigglesworth January 2019 All Rights Are Reserved

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Chapter Comments

Awesome chapter. The hamlet is really starting to get bigger with more families moving into the area. I’m wondering if Edwin will need to build a bigger building for the church services or if he’ll expand the school house which he may need to do anyway with more families with school age children moving into the area. I can only imagine what they will do once the rest of the family arrives, I know they have already expanded the house in the hamlet to accommodate the growing family since they weren’t expecting their cousins to be there. I’m glad that Beatrice has gotten better and will be coming with their mother when she gets things settled with their father whether he survives or not. If he gets better he will be coming to Australia with his family. 

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