Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers through the generations....

To My Mum and Nana

My Grandmother Doris Morgan and my Mum, Marjorie
on their way to a family picnic at the Botanical Gardens
c. 1944

 I miss you Mum; I miss you Nana. 

I think you would both be pleased at what I (the back sheep of the family) have achieved, and I know that you Mum, would be excited at the information I have found since I took on your role as Family historian, and the new family connections that I have made. Many of your cousin’s children are now interested in Family History, one of whom even holds a Roberts Family Reunion each year. I’m sure you wish you could be part of the excitement of discovering new relatives and finding out about their stories. 

Roberts Family Reunion 2011
I remember as a child the large extended family gatherings that took place in the  Botanical Gardens in Sydney; all the kids running and playing hide and seek amongst the tree roots, and rock caves that seemed so large back then. This must have been a long standing tradition as I have a photo of you as a child attending just such a gathering. I wish I knew who all those women were; how are they related to us? Where did they live and what did they do? From electoral rolls, I realize most of the women were stay at home mothers, with “HD” (Home Duties) given as their occupation. Were you the only one who had to work? Did they know or care about their convict ancestry? So, so many questions; questions that I bet you knew the answers to, but which I can only guess at.

We were such a large and connected family back then, nothing was more important. But I was a child and took it all for granted; sometimes even found it a nuisance having to “Go and visit Auntie Stella…”; “Take this down to Uncle Tom’s….”; so many eyes in our small suburb which all seemed focused on what I was up to, that I eventually left. Now the remnants of that large community are spread far and wide, and I so wish that I could just walk down the street a couple of house and have a cuppa with Auntie Thel or Auntie Mavis, and hear the stories again – this time paying attention instead of fidgeting and being anxious to get down the beach instead.

I'm only just discovering how many people in our small community I am related to… The Burn’s, Cree’s, Cotton’s….., names I am familiar with, but was unaware of the family connections until recently. So just who are all these women and children? I know that you are there Mum with your Auntie Vi (bottom right), Nana, you are also there right in the middle, as is your Mother-in-law, My Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Olive Roberts (Dillon) (2nd from right, top row); but the rest..., I really wish I knew. I wish you were here to tell me.

Roberts family gathering at the Botanical Gardens, Sydney
c. 1934
And Nana, this is a picture of your Grandmother, Louisa Morgan (Nicolls), daughter of two convicts who were transported to Tasmania, and eulogized as “A Grand Old Pioneer” pouring the tea. Just what was the occasion that called for the wearing such hats? Surely not just afternoon tea with the rellies! And just who they are I have even less chance of finding out, but I am still glad to possess this picture, so thanks Nana for keeping it for me, even if I can only wonder… 

Louisa Morgan, doing the duties at Afternoon Tea, probably at her home in Lidcombe, NSW
c. 1900?

Love from Linda

xxx xxx


  1. A touching post - I bet your Mum and Grandmother are looking down on you and wearing big proud smiles.

  2. What a wonderful post Linda. Yes we are all a bit guilty of not paying enough attention to the family stories and then all of a sudden it is too late. I'm sure your Mum and Nana would be so thrilled at what you have achieved.