‘Currajong’,’ Robin Hill’ and ‘Alandale’
Dad’s family lived on dairy farms at Flowerdale, near Wynyard. New Year’s Day picnics were spent there with lots of cousins, (the full quota, twenty two cousins, but two lived in New Guinea). Early on the picnics would be by the creek at ‘Currajong’ at Loch and Judy Fran’s. That was when we were all small, but not small enough not to be included in a game of cricket.
Middle years tasting the homemade plum wine at ‘Alandale’ produced a rather loud cheery gathering. That was at Dad’s sister, Judy, and Bob Sadler’s. The orchard beyond the house and garden was abundant. In later years gatherings were held at ‘Robin Hill’, Barney and Jean’s farm where we’d sit out on the grass tennis court. Our numbers, including the next generation, were quickly increasing.
When we first had a car, Dad fixed the brakes before departing, knowing that he could use the brakes only once. We made the whole journey without him using the brakes till we arrived home. This was an incredible feat as the road was hilly and windy around the coast. It was all done with gear changes and slowing down.
Dad was the eldest of a family of four sons and one daughter: Frank, Judy, Lachlan (Lock), Bernard (Barney) and Henry (Hong, or as some called him Hank, after the war). His parents Amelia (Amy) and K (short for Knyvet) Roberts lived on the farm ‘Currajong’ at Flowerdale, which passed on to Lock and his wife, Judy Fran. We were all given Knyvet as a second name. The name lives on at Cradle Mountain too, where K did a lot of exploring and the Knyvet Falls were named after him.
Dad’s grandfather had come out from Norfolk as a Church of England minister and had thirteen children. They lived on a farm called ‘Woodrising’ which is now the Devonport Golf Club. He was instrumental in having the Devon Hospital built.
The story of his father finding a snake in his bed, grabbing it and tossing it to the other side of the room, made me nervous about getting into bed when in the country.
Amy, Frank’s mother, was from an Irish Protestant family that had settled in the Sale area in Victoria. She had been a teacher before marrying K. Her cousin Mary Fullerton had written several books, and I have a copy of one called Bark House Days, about the pioneering days in the Sale area. It has very dated language but is interesting in an historical sense. Amy had instilled a love of language and books in her children; subsequently that love passed on through my Dad, who encouraged us, by making up stories, reading to us, and later, talking about the books he was reading. My mother read to us too, sitting by the study fire as the clothes dried nearby. ‘Winnie the Pooh’, ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ and ‘The Magic Pudding’ are instant reminders of that time.
(Apologies for my absence. Family commitments have taken me away from blogging… )