Name: Noreen Alice SINCLAIR
Birth: 11 SEP 1909 in Hernani, NSW
Burial: Coffs Harbour, NSW
ADDR: 33A Mackays Rd / Coffs Harbour, 2450 //
Death: 11 JAN 2003 in Coffs Harbour, NSW
Compiled from notes presented to Noreen on the occasion of her 90th Birthday.
Noreen was born in Hernani on the 11th Sept 1909 & attended the Hernani School for her early learning. Later the family moved to Coramba where she continued her schooling. Finally the family moved to Leigh near Dorrigo. Here her mother opened a Post Office which she operated until the early 1960's. Noreen completed her primary schooling at the Leigh school . At the age of 12 years she gained employment as a Domestic Servant on various properties in the area.
In the early 1920's construction of the Coramba to Dorrigo rail took place, with many men moving to the area to gain employment. Among these men was a fine young man called Eric Tolhurst From Port Macquarie. A camp was set up adjacent to the Sinclair property at Leigh where Noreen met Eric Tolhurst. They courted & finally married at the C of E Church in Dorrigo. Eric was ten years her senior.
Following their marriage Eric moved to Cascade where he obtained employment with Walters, Middleton & Eades Sawmilling Co as a frame saw operator. He remained at this mill for 15 years. For the first 12 months of their marriage Noreen lived with Eric's parents, who had moved to Bellingen to work in the timber mills there. Following the birth of their first child , Keith, Noreen joined Eric to live at Cascade. While living there they had 4 more sons, Cyril, Eric, John, & Lester.
Times were hard for Noreen and Eric with the Great Depression followed by the Second World War, however they survived well in a mill house of 4 rooms and a front verandah. Some of the boys slept on the open verandah even in the winter. They had there own cow & grew their own vegetables. Noreen also made & sold cakes, which were greatly welcomed by the many bachelors in the area. In 1941 and with 5 sons who had reached the ages of 14, 13, 11, 9, & 6 Noreen decided it was time to move as there was no no high school close to Cascade. The family decided to move to Coffs Harbour as the High School there had a very good reputation.
With very few possessions & very little money Noreen sold her favorite cow for 5 pounds, which was all the money the family had for their first fortnight in their new home as all their savings were used to pay for the shift. They had no electricity, only kerosine lamps and candles. Noreen did her washing in the back yard by boiling the clothes in a kerosine tin. They had a wood fuel stove & bath but the water had to be boiled outside in the kerosine tins and carried inside.
There were over 500 students at the Coffs High School as they came from as far away as Macksville in the south & Woolgoolga in the north. By 1948 Keith and John had finished their apprenticeships in the building trade so they set about building their parents a new home in High street Coffs Harbour where Noreen remained until she moved into the Masonic Village in Coffs Harbour in 1998. Noreen's husband died in 1957 at the early age of 58. Following the death of her second husband, Harold Greenslees, in 1984, Noreen by law changed her surname back to Tolhurst.
In Sept 1999 Noreen celebrated her 90th birthday. By then her family had grown to 22 grandchildren, 48 great grandchildren & 2 great, great grandchildren. and their extended families.
Father: Edwin Ward SINCLAIR b: 10 APR 1877 in Dorrigo, NSW
Mother: Mary Alice MCCARTHY b: 15 MAY 1883 in Hillgrove, NSW
Eric TOLHURST b: 09 JAN 1899 in Port Macquarie, NSW
NSW BDM 1926/11123
- Keith TOLHURST b: 20 JAN 1927 in Bellingen, NSW
- Cyril (TID) TOLHURST b: 01 JUL 1928 in Coffs Harbour, NSW
- Eric TOLHURST b: 23 FEB 1930 in Coffs Harbour, NSW
- Living (JOHN)
- Living TOLHURST
Harold Edward GREENLEES b: 25 NOV 1905 in Concord, NSW