Lealholm – the Collier Place

Max, Laurel and Kevin

This year my thoughts and research have been very much “Collier” due to an email from an old/young family friend Perry Collier – now every waking moment has me meandering down memory lane where my childhood at the Collier home, Lealholm, keeps me smiling. I was about seven years old when my first memories invade – we had started at the “big school” and therefore shared a lift on occasions with the Collier kids who also went to the “big school”. Their farm was halfway to town, so about 5 miles or 8 kilometres from our place, and when we shared a car ride with the Collier kids (Max, Kevin and Laurel), Dad or Mum came to collect us from Lealholm. That meant a natter for the blokes or a cuppa for Mum and Merle. Dad always knew GR (Gordon Richard Collier), his brother Bill and the older sisters, Alice, Mary and Jessie; and Grandfather certainly would have been a friend of old Dick Collier – a born and bred Yorkshire man who came to Northampton about 1914 and brought the block he named Lealholm after his Yorkshire home. Not that I knew anything about the Yorkshire background until my love of social history grew and developed – the Colliers were just true blue Aussies. Gordon was a gentleman, a scoundrel, a happy, chirpy man, a very intelligent man with a ready wit and a wonderful neighbour; Merle was beautiful and gentle, a wonderful cook and mother and always a nurturing and honest person. Their home was happy, comfortable and a joy.

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A Seafaring Family

Recently I was asked to research the Shaw family of Scarborough, Yorkshire, and, of course, I could not resist the challenge. Shirley told me her father, William Shaw, was in the merchant navy; her grandfather, John Shaw, was a sailor who jumped ship at Port Augusta, South Australia and her great-grandfather, James Shaw, was a sea-captain who sailed from Scarborough regularly to Australia. So there were three generations of seafarers with origins at Scarborough, a well-known ship-building and fishing port in the north of England on the North Sea. The hunt began…

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The Sinking of the Kanowna – No Lives Lost.

EPSON scanner image
Kanowna from the Tasmanian Maritime Museum

The Kanowna, a steel twin screw steamer of 7,000 tons,  was built in 1902 at Dumbarton, Glasgow for the Australasian United Navigation Steam Company. She was a superb vessel accommodating 270 passengers in fine cabins plying her trade along the coast between Brisbane and Fremantle visiting the ports of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide along her way. During the war years of 1914 -1918 she took Australian troops to Egypt and then became a hospital ship off the coast of England and converted to accommodate 470 patients, an operating theatre, x-ray department and dental surgery and our Australian Medicos

Kanowna_II nurses
Twelve nurses aboard the Kanowna to service the hospital ship – Victorian Heritage Database.
Shirely Shaw from newspaper

began their stint transferring our sick and wounded from the war front back to Australia as Hospital Ship No 2. After the war she carried cargo for a few trips until she was refitted and resumed her duties as a passenger coastal steamer.

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Enderslea Time


When I find a place to dream of the past I am always very excited and calm simultaneously and finding Enderslea was no exception. Just a stone’s throw (well, really 60 km away) is a beautiful little valley in the Chittering Shire with its plump hills, meandering creeks and sereneness where the Morley family purchased land in 1853 and built their home “Enderlsea”. Continue reading

Old Treasured Photo Albums

img_7496When an old photo album is dug out from the depths, my interest and emotions are piqued.  This album I had seen many, many years ago, but because it was not a direct part of my family and no one knew any of the old photos, it went back into the cupboard for at least another 25 years. When I first saw it, I as visiting my two sisters-in-law’s mother, Gloria Simpson, nee Johnson, but Gloria did not know anything about the old photos or who they were. The album was very old – an elaborate, leather, Victorian, double-sided, cardboard model, mid 19th century,  with window inserts cut into it where the sepia portraits could be slid into position – and the cover of the album was just as beautiful and romantic as the old photos within. Like many old family albums, there were no names on the reverse of the photographs – I suppose the original owners always assumed everybody would know who was who????? Continue reading

Heavenly Friendships

My Mum engaged with many people on many levels – and finally I am comfortable enough to write this story since Mum’s passing.  Losing Mum has left a big hole, but remembering fills a few cracks.

Her friendship with Aunty Joy was a wondrous blessing and more so as the years unfolded until their passing in 2018. Continue reading