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  • ID: I2543
  • Name: Sarah Anne Elizabeth (ANNIE) SINCLAIR
  • Sex: F
  • Birth: 10 JUN 1874 in Bostobrick, NSW
  • Burial: Beresfield, NSW
  • Death: 15 MAY 1951 in Inverell, NSW
  • Note:
    My Grandmother - Some of my memories of her, the little energetic Scottish woman.
    Written by her Granddaughter - Dorothy Anderson, April 2003

    Grandma would have been 54 years old when I was born in 1928, her fifth grandchild and the daughter of her fifth child and first son Robert.

    Things are always seen differently through a child's eyes, Grandma was old to me, always wearing black for going out, being in control of everything.

    The thing uppermost in my mind as I grew, was the efficiency in which "Sandy Knowe", the old family home, was run with the help of Aunty Dorrie, our maiden aunty for many years and sometimes a young girl who was employed to help in the house. The enormous amount of work that was done - everything was hard and constant - that was the way things were in those days.

    Monday mornings the copper fire going early - Grandma rose at 4.00arn - for the wash. Eventually there was a washing machine that had to be pumped up and down at least 100 times by hand for each load. Shavings from homemade soap was used - no soap powders in those days.

    All the linen was white. When the sheets were dry, Grandma and Aunty Dorrie took an end of each sheet and tugged them back and forth to "straighten" them before folding. The flat irons m the ever-gleaming black "Beacon Light" stove, both women ironing each end of the big kitchen table. The table cloths and serviettes were screen folded, and the tea towels folded and rolled up before being placed in rows in the dresser draw in the kitchen, the covers on the dressers and cupboard were boiled in the wash every week.

    There was a table in one corner of the kitchen that held many kerosene lamps, each morning they were topped up with kerosene, wicks trimmed and globes cleaned, the washing up was done on the kitchen table in a large dish and tray for draining, there was a board with sandsoap on it for cleaning the knives and saucepans, no stainless steel - I still get goose bumps when I think of the sound the sandsoap made on the knives.

    The "Boys", Ken and Col ran a dairy of Australian Illawarra Shorthorn cows, the milk was separated and Grandma churned the cream to butter in a wooden butter chum, washing the butter many times, then kneading it in muslin cloths to remove the last drop of moisture. The butter was then patted into shapes with two wooden butter pats.

    The only cooling for food was a drip safe on the edge of the verandah under the grape vines, then later a charcoal safe that kept everything beautifully cool and fresh.

    There was an orchard also blackberries. Grandma made a lot of jams and jellies. If there weren't enough jars, bottles such as large vinegar bottles were brought in, a metal ring which fitted the bottle just below the neck, was heated in the stove until red hot and was placed in the correct spot and the neck of the bottle snapped off cleanly. The jam when bottled was sealed with rounds of paper pasted over the tops. There were always hams smoking in the chimney in the blacksmith's shop.

    After lunch each day, Grandma and Aunty Dorrie rested for an hour, any visiting grandchildren were required to keep quiet during this time. Grandma lying on the couch in the dining room - I can remember sitting on the verandah reading "Grimm's Fairy Tales".

    Breakfast was porridge and usually bacon and eggs. The bread was baked every second day. Morning tea was always Sao or Wheatmeal biscuits buttered, they bought large tins of these biscuits. A salad was served every evening. Grandma was left handed and shredded lettuce beautifully.

    At 4.00pm each day Grandma went down to the fowl yard to let the hens out and gather the eggs and to check her little vegetable garden.

    When family visited they usually brought a tin of toffees or chocolates for her. These were always divided equally between whomever was there, always jars of boiled lollies on one of the cupboards.

    I think we granddaughters were all apprenticed to Grandma in the art of sweeping the verandahs and hearing her say "sweep down the cracks girlie, sweep down the cracks ". Everyone was put to work one way or another, no place for anyone who couldn't work. If in the mornings she thought we were a little cross, Grandma would say "A bit liverish to-day are we " and out would come the "Globus Salts". I can still taste it, the result was that we soon learnt not to be "liverish" when we were staying with her.

    I can remember going to town with Grandma to Inverell, 4 1/2miles away - driving Lawrence in the sulky. Lawrence, a very nice grey gelding going along at a cracking pace. Grandma's whip, which fitted into a slot on the sulky, was made by Grandad of course. When we got to town, Lawrence was stabled in the stables which were across the lane behind Cansdelis (where the Inverell Motel is today). He had a drink and a nosebag of feed whilst Grandma did her shopping. One day her whip was stolen. She always blamed a certain lady and never forgave her.

    Grandma was always generous with food to travellers who called, or drovers and the old Indian Hawker. A billy of tea, bread, jam and meat to help them on the road. The old Indian Hawker had hessian slung under his cart "that's where they put naughty children " we were told.

    I remember too, Grandma and Aunty Dorrie out in the "buggy shed" behind the house teasing Kaypock, to fill mattresses. That must just have been the worst job. I always thought they probably could have filled a couple of pillows from what must have been in their lungs.

    Grandma did a lot of crochet, amongst other things, milk jug covers - sometimes in a pattern and beaded of course, some of these covers are still in use today by my generation.

    If something offended Grandma she would rise her bosom up. Uncle Col always referred to her as being like an old "Puff Adder" on these occasions.

    We had lovely Christmases at "Sandy Knowe", gifts for everyone. We children would go up on the hill across the road with Aunty Dorrie for a Christmas tree and decorate it. Santa would knock on the sitting room door - we took turns to open it for him - as soon as he had given out all the gifts and departed, all the decorations were taken off the tree and out it went. The tree would only have been in the house for a few hours.

    Life went on and as we grew and married, all of her sixteen grandchildren have a lifetime of memories.

    Just after Christmas early 1951 (we had not seen Grandma for Christmas this time), we went to "Sandy Knowe'. She was ill and in bed on the verandah. I had never seen her in bed before this.

    I think that was the last time I saw her, we were not encouraged to see her as her illness took over. She was nursed at home and died in her own room a few weeks later, just before her 76th birthday in May 1951.

    So we said farewell to our little Scottish Grandmother.

    I will always remember her as being stern, not affectionate, but kind and generous and very hard working.
    When Grandma died, I was 22 years old. My son David was only a few months old. Later we were blessed with Helen and Karl Sinclair

    Now I am the Grandmother of Clare, Beth and Nikolaus - my grandchildren.

    This family tree that began in far away places so long ago, has put out yet another branch.

    Father: William James SINCLAIR b: 05 NOV 1844 in Sydney, NSW
    Mother: Esther EDWARDS b: 03 JUN 1848 in "Gragin", MacIntyre River, Warialda, NSW

    Marriage 1 David Arthur STRAHLEY b: 10 MAR 1864 in Armidale, NSW
    • Married: 01 NOV 1893 in Grafton, NSW
    1. Has Children Minna Sinclair STRAHLEY b: 19 AUG 1894 in Barraba
    2. Has Children Beatrice Mary STRAHLEY b: 07 AUG 1895 in Barraba, NSW
    3. Has No Children Dorothea Esther STRAHLEY b: 07 JUL 1897 in Barraba
    4. Has Children May STRAHLEY b: 18 MAR 1899 in Barraba
    5. Has Children Robert STRAHLEY b: 01 JAN 1901 in Barraba, NSW
    6. Has No Children William Sinclair STRAHLEY b: 28 MAR 1903 in Inverell
    7. Has Children Una STRAHLEY b: 11 MAR 1904 in Inverell, NSW
    8. Has Children David Arthur STRAHLEY b: 23 FEB 1906 in Inverell, NSW
    9. Has Children Harold Sinclair STRAHLEY b: 26 FEB 1908 in Inverell
    10. Has Children Andrew Kenneth STRAHLEY b: 06 DEC 1910 in Inverell, NSW
    11. Has No Children Colin Jack STRAHLEY b: 14 OCT 1912 in Inverell
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