Thursday, 16 October 2014

52 Ancestors #50 Nancy Hazel Hutton

Nancy Hazel Hutton was born on 1 September 1899 at Parkes, New South Wales. She was the second daughter of George Hutton and Annie Wilson Hardwick Weston. Eleonora Ruby Hutton had been born in 1892 and died in 1990. There was also an older brother, William Clifton Weston Hutton who was born in 1889 and died in 1893. George and his family owned a sheep station near Parkes called The Troffs and lived there until a prolonged drought forced George to sell the property in the early years of the twentieth century. George remained in the Parkes area working as a rabbit inspector but Annie decided to return to Sydney taking the girls with her. George visited them in Sydney when he could.

The Sands and Kenny Directories for 1903-1907 list Annie as living at 47 McLaren Street, North Sydney. This house probably belonged to Percy Weston, Annie's brother, who allowed the family to live in the house provided other family members could stay there when they visited Sydney. From 1910 to 1915 the directories show that Annie was living at Wyalla, at 46 Upper Pitt Street, North Sydney, which she ran as a boarding house.

Nancy therefore grew up in inner Sydney and would have attended school there. Wyalla was sold in 1916 when Annie and her eldest daughter decided to travel to England to help with the war effort. Nancy, who would have been 16 when they left was sent to stay with relatives. Apparently she was not impressed with this arrangement and the trip to England was never discussed in later years by the family.

View of Sydney Harbour
Nancy was an artist and enjoyed painting watercolours. The family has a number of examples of her work. Unfortunately she did not continue with her art. However many years later, on one of our family holidays to Queensland, I do remember her trying to teach me how to draw the trees growing on a hill on the other side of the creek. I did learn about perspective from her and to attempt to draw what I actually saw rather than what I expected to see, but unfortunately my artistic talents were limited.

On 1 February 1922 Nancy married Arthur Brougham Lord at St John's Church in Darlinghurst. Arthur and Nancy purchased a sheep station, Metavale, 39 kilometres south of Cunnamulla in south western Queensland and Nancy would have found life very different from her previous life in Sydney.

Metavale consisted of 55,000 acres. Cunnamulla is 200 kilometres miles from the major town in the area, Charleville. The nearest neighbours were at Waihora, 16 kilometres away. The property relied on bore water. Tank water was used for drinking. There was also a dam near the house. My mother remembers swimming in the dam and diving from the landing. The climate was hot and dry with only small clumps of vegetation near the house. Nancy planted a garden near the house and my mother remembers the flowers in winter and spring. There was also a bougainvillea growing on a trellis at the front of the house, a saltbush hedge and some oleanders. Arthur also planted a vegetable garden. As well as all the sheep, a few cows were kept for milk and there were lots of chooks plus ducks and turkeys. There were also lots of sheep dogs plus other dogs that were family pets. Bread and the mail were delivered once a week initially - later it was twice a week. Groceries and other ordered supplies would also arrive on the mail truck. The driver would continue on to other properties and then call in once more on his way back to collect any answers to mail delivered earlier in the day.

Nancy and Arthur had two children - Michael Arthur Balcombe Lord (1923-2010) and Rosemary Ann Lord born in 1926. The children initially had a governess until they were old enough to go to school in Brisbane or Sydney.

When the opportunity arose Nancy enjoyed entertaining friends from neighbouring properties. On one occasion Nancy organised a fancy dress party for her daughter and all the guests came dressed as nursery rhyme characters. Pink flowers and white blossom, made from crepe paper, decorated the garden. There would have been lots of food. I can remember parties held at Rosemount many years later where the day was spent cooking special food for the evening entertainment.Christmas was also a special occasion with a large Christmas tree decorated with special decorations.

Nancy and Arthur were at Metavale during the Depression and also a number of droughts and times were hard financially for many of these years. When a cousin offered to give Nancy the furniture that had belonged to her parents at The Troffs, she refused the offer as she could not afford the transportation costs and did not want to tell them of her financial difficulties.

However in 1936  Nancy and her sister, Eleonora, travelled together to Singapore and Japan for a holiday. They had received a bequest from a family member and the money was used for the holiday. They brought back camphor chests, kimonos and other souvenirs. The camphor chests were on the verandah at Rosemount many years later and contained clothes that my sister and I were allowed to use for dress-ups. The smell when a camphor chest was opened was always rather special. The camphor chests also stored pieces of fabric. I was allowed to keep a piece of cream lace which I incorporated into the design of my wedding dress many years later. I also have a beautiful beaded top from the 1920s that was stored in one of the camphor chests.

Eventually trying to survive in the outback became too difficult so in 1947 Arthur and Nancy sold Metavale and purchased a new property, Beriley, near Toogoolawah where they grew vegetables. In 1954 they moved to a dairy farm, Rosemount, between Kilcoy and Woodford. In the mid 1960s they sold Rosemount and retired to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast.

Nancy was very proud of her family history and my brother and sister and I have memories of being cornered so she could tell us stories about the Hutton family in India and the family items lost in a shipwreck on the journey from England to Australia. Now there are questions that I would like to ask but when we were children we were not really interested. I did however remember some of the stories and have since been able to piece together much of the Hutton and Mackillop story via other sources.

Nancy Hutton spent her final years in a nursing home in Toowoomba where she died on 5 September 1997. She was 98.

Nancy Hutton was my grandmother.

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