Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - In This Issue -

My wife and I have just re­turned from a few days trav­el­ling around Canberra, Goul­burn and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Apart from the many pho­to­graphic mem­o­ries recorded, we also took time to visit some his­toric prop­er­ties where we were able to view and ap­pre­ci­ate some of Aus­tralia’s rich past show­ing how some peo­ple lived in a very ba­sic man­ner dur­ing the same decade as oth­ers liv­ing in lux­ury.

One home that we vis­ited was “Calthor­pes’ House” at Red Hill. This home was one of the ear­li­est homes in Canberra and had been oc­cu­pied by the one fam­ily from the 1920s to the 1970s. The house was fur­nished in the mid 1920’s and the orig­i­nal fur­nish­ings (in­clud­ing car­pets, cur­tains and drapes) are still in place as is also the orig­i­nal fur­ni­ture.

See­ing how the Calthorpe fam­ily lived and their pi­anola, books etc still in situ was amaz­ing whilst just over the hill a lit­tle way, lived their friends and neigh­bours, the Cur­ley fam­ily. The Cur­ley fam­ily’s as­so­ci­a­tion with their home goes back to 1866 when thir­teen year old Pa­trick Cur­ley was em­ployed as ju­nior shep­herd on the Dun­troon sheep sta­tion. Pa­trick lived at an out­ly­ing part of the Dun­troon es­tate in a small shep­herd’s wooden hut at Mugga Mugga. The Cur­leys as a fam­ily lived at Mugga Mugga from 1913 to 1995. Pa­trick mar­ried in 1893 and con­tin­ued to work at Dun­troon un­til the Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment ac­quired the prop­erty in 1911. Pa­trick leased the Mugga Mugga cot­tage from the Gov­ern­ment from 1913. Our visit to Mugga Mugga showed the con­trast in liv­ing con­di­tions between the two fam­i­lies who were neigh­bours and friends. The Red Hill home of the Calthor­pes with its solid con­struc­tion, 3 bed­rooms, in­side bath­room and toi­let, for­mal gar­den com­pared to the more ram­shackle home of the Cur­ley’s with its slab floor (ear­lier dirt floor), hes­sion ceil­ings and walls lined with paper could not have been more vast.

We also vis­ited two other prop­er­ties which were in­hab­ited dur­ing the same pe­riod of even greater con­trast. Lanyon Home­stead at Tharwa was pala­tial com­pared to the pre­vi­ous two prop­er­ties of Mugga Mugga and Calthor­pes’ House with nu­mer­ous out­build­ings serv­ing as con­vict work­ers’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, sta­bles and work­shops etc. The house had a large ve­ran­dah and nu­mer­ous rooms. The present home dates from 1849 and was ac­quired by the Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment in 1971. The other prop­erty that we called at is “All­wood” at Wal­la­roo. Still pri­vately owned it has two slab cot­tages on site, one of which was still oc­cu­pied in the 1940s and like Mugga Mugga the walls and ceil­ings were lined with paper or hes­sion, which­ever was avail­able at the time. Bathing took place out­side the build­ings in a metal tub. To see the how peo­ple lived in the 1920s, 30s & 40s is cer­tainly eye open­ing. Four homes oc­cu­pied by fam­i­lies in the same decades and worlds apart in lifestyle, fur­nish­ings and sur­round­ings.


Mem­o­ries of grow­ing up lo­cally, or when you moved into our com­mu­nity are wel­come. Tell us your ex­pe­ri­ences from school days, sport­ing clubs, hol­i­days, work or group or­gan­i­sa­tions.

If you have a funny or in­ter­est­ing neigh­bour­hood sto­ryies, we would like to pub­lish them! Write to: 17 Rose St, Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153.

Email to ivor­jones@hill­sto­hawkes­

Hills Dis­trict Mem­o­ries at face­ mem­o­ries or Hawkesbury Hap­pen­ings & Mem­o­ries at face­­o­ries.

This se­ries of Liv­ing Leg­ends is about Vida McLel­lan, a mis­sion­ary nurse who served in Ethiopia from 1955 – 1974. Vida grew up on a farm in the out-back of New South Wales. In 1955, after nurses’ train­ing and Bi­ble Col­lege, she trav­elled to Ethiopia to serve in very re­mote and dif­fi­cult ar­eas in south­ern Ethiopia. Vida, mar­ried Dick McLel­lan, while at lan­guage school in 1955. For sixty years Vida has served along­side Dick both in Ethiopia and after their re­turn to Aus­tralia. The last episode told of Vida and Dick set­tled in to Bako to work amongst the Aari and the neigh­bour­ing tribes peo­ple. Bako Oro­mia Re­gion of Ethiopia and is 1,743 me­ters above sea level (fairly high). Let’s con­tinue.

Geradi was one of the Ethiopian evan­ge­lists who came from the Wo­laitta province into the Bako area, along with his wife and fam­ily of two small chil­dren. They had few pos­ses­sions and built their house, a lit­tle mud tukel (hut) then be­gan to work amongst the Mali tribe.

Geradi was the el­dest son of a witch doc­tor who was pos­sessed by evil spir­its and had an un­nat­u­ral con­trol over wild an­i­mals. He was known as the ‘Fa­ther of Snakes’. Snakes would curl them­selves around him and he would talk to them and com­mand them to do his wishes. Geradi told us that one day his fa­ther had gone away on a jour­ney leav­ing the snakes to look after the house. The chil­dren had crept out­side and ate some new cobs of corn from the field. They then hid the empty cobs. When their fa­ther re­turned they all gath­ered around to lis­ten to their fa­ther tell them what he had done dur­ing the day and to their dis­may, in slid the long snakes, each car­ry­ing an empty cob in his mouth. Geradi and the other chil­dren were se­verely pun­ished.

While serv­ing amongst the Mail tribe Geradi and his fam­ily had to face many tri­als. One day Geradi came to us and told us that he was very con­cerned about the safety of his wife and chil­dren. The old chief of the Bunna, a nearby tribe, had died and as was the cus­tom of this tribe, his body was kept in his house for two months while the men of the Bunna tribe raided all neigh­bour­ing tribes to kid­nap two healthy young chil­dren.

They would be kid­napped and hid­den un­til burial day. As the peo­ple danced and sang around the grave, they would gash them­selves in grief and pour dirt on their heads. The women would wail in a rhyth­mi­cal chant: “He has gone out into the dark! He has gone out into the dark! He has gone out into the dark!” Then the men would re­spond, “We don’t know where he has gone! We don’t know where he has gone! We don’t know where he has gone!” This went on day and night un­til they were ut­terly ex­hausted. Then, at the end, after days of the danc­ing and wail­ing and de­spair, they would place the two young chil­dren into the grave be­side the corpse, then along with his favourite wife and some grave goods, they would bury them alive with the old chief. It could be a fear­ful place, but Geradi and his wife trusted the Fa­ther for the safety of their fam­ily and like a Fa­ther, He kept them safe.

Much joy was given to our hearts with the prom­ise of a wee pre­cious bun­dle. There was the prob­lem of get­ting to Ad­dis Ababa for the delivery of our baby. We were plan­ning and pre­par­ing to make a long trek of about twenty one days by mule to the mis­sion at Soddo. Then a plane flew fairly high over the sta­tion! So Dick and a team of work­men cleared an old Ital­ian airstrip that was at the bot­tom of the val­ley in an area called Jinka. Then a few weeks later, on the 11th of Jan­uary, 1957, the plane landed there for the first time since the Ital­ians had used it some twenty years ear­lier. It was a DC-3. It came roar­ing over Bako and buzzed the sta­tion. Mules, don­keys, mon­keys, peo­ple, cows, goats, and sheep ran fright­ened in all direc­tions. The peo­ple started to or­ga­nize to take their women and chil­dren into the jun­gle to hide think­ing another war was go­ing to start. The lo­cal po­lice force turned out in full strength and got armed. Two of them were sent to take Dick off to the po­lice sta­tion and de­manded that we hand over the mail they thought had been dropped over our sta­tion.

On the 25th of Jan­uary we flew out by EAL Ethiopian Air­lines for Ad­dis Ababa where we would await the birth of our first child. And on the 4th of March, 1957, the Lord pre­sented us with a baby boy at the Princess Tse­hai Hos­pi­tal in Ad­dis Ababa. It was a won­der­ful mo­ment to awake from the anaes­thetic to be told by Dick that he was a boy who was well and healthy. John Ed­ward McLel­lan was born on a Mon­day at 8:10 pm. We had two weeks rest. On the 1st of April, we flew back to Bako. Don Gray met us, but be­cause it had been rain­ing heav­ily he felt sure the plane wouldn’t land and hadn’t or­ga­nized mules to take us to the mis­sion sta­tion. We waited a long time to get mules or­ga­nized. John be­came hun­gry and wanted to be fed, but there was no place to go to feed him. Ev­ery­one wanted to see what the white woman would do. This made things more dif­fi­cult. In the end a large clump of long grass was found and there John had his din­ner with many cu­ri­ous faces try­ing to peep through the thick grass. The next prob­lem was how I could carry a three week old baby on a mule up a steep moun­tain. It had started rain­ing heav­ily mak­ing the moun­tain slip­pery as well.

In the end John was strapped in the bas­ket of baby scales and then strapped around the necks of Don or Dick as they took turns car­ry­ing him up the moun­tain.

John was the first white baby to be seen in that part of the coun­try so there were many spec­ta­tors and many peo­ple tried to bless him by spit­ting on him, as was their cus­tom, so Don and Dick had to duck quickly un­der their sprays. John was the cause of many peo­ple com­ing to our house and they all wished to see the ‘Lord’ or ‘Mas­ter’. Chil­dren es­pe­cially wanted to play with him. I praise the Lord for His pro­tec­tion of such a pre­cious gift. The peo­ple rarely washed and car­ried so many deadly dis­eases that I trem­bled at times to see them come so near to John.

In De­cem­ber that year, we flew to Ad­dis Ababa for a hol­i­day, but in­stead spent the time study­ing for the lan­guage ex­ams. We both passed, but I still felt at a loss when it came to speak­ing in Amharic. In Jan­uary of 1958 we ar­rived back at Bako after two weeks of hol­i­day at Bishoftu. The Grays were away in Bulki so they were not there to meet us, but Bali, Geradi and his wife were there. There was much trou­ble get­ting mules and only one was avail­able at a high price. It was so very old and poorly kept that I was scared to ride it on the steep hill in case it died. It did make the grade and with Dick walk­ing and Geradi’s wife car­ry­ing John, we made it. John was happy to be home and he was even hap­pier when the Grays re­turned.

On the 13th of Jan­uary we heard the Gover­nor of Bako was go­ing to the Mursi, a tribe of very tall shankilla or skinned peo­ple, liv­ing along the Omo River. It was said that they were of a can­ni­bal­is­tic na­ture. They drank blood from an­i­mals. This was done by pierc­ing the jugu­lar vein of a cow and drain­ing blood to drink from a gourd mixed with milk. Dick re­ally longed to go and the Gover­nor of­fered to take him. I pre­pared food and a kit for two weeks. But, I had to send for Dick be­cause John had be­come very ill with dysen­tery and vom­it­ing. John couldn’t keep down the medicine and was very weak. We were sorry that Dick needed to come back from mak­ing the trip to the Mursi. It was in Fe­bru­ary that Geradi brought us the news of the death of the old Bunna chief. That was a time of real fear. The war­riors out hunt­ing

for the boy sac­ri­fices came very close to our mis­sion com­pound.

On 2nd of June Dick and I left Bako to­gether to go on a med­i­cal trek to Bulki. It was hard be­cause we left John be­hind as we ex­pected to be away for two or three weeks. The Grays looked after John dur­ing this time of trekking, but even to­day I don’t know how I did that. We went through flooded rivers that were very dirty. It was very hot in the val­ley ar­eas. We trekked from church to church, meet­ing peo­ple, preach­ing, pray­ing and in fel­low­ship­ping to­gether. The sound of the chil­dren singing was just lovely. We were wel­comed with gifts of milk, eggs, chick­ens, in­jera and cof­fee.

We treated so many sick peo­ple. Even Dick took a sy­ringe and nee­dle to give an in­jec­tion to a womam who was crip­pled with sores from syphilis. Many of the peo­ple who came for medicine and as­sis­tance.

On 7th of June we reached a place called Karza. I treated sixty-four peo­ple whilst Dick went up to Bulki to give greet­ings to the of­fi­cials. The po­lice for­bade us to stay at Karza or to give out medicine. Then the Chief Sec­re­tary said that per­mis­sion had come from Chen­cha. So we were able to stay on. The el­der of the mahiber (church board) brought let­ters from the Head of Po­lice in Bulki and in the let­ter he wrote that he had only been jok­ing on the Sat­ur­day when he said we couldn’t stay or give out medicine. And then cheek­ily the wretch asked for twenty-four dol­lars’ worth of our pre­cious cor­ti­sone.

We moved on to Zanga and met with 130 peo­ple. I treated 165 peo­ple. On the 10th of June I treated 120 peo­ple back at Karza again. Five fam­i­lies, all metal and pot­tery work­ers, who were de­spised by all the other peo­ple.

Some Aari be­liev­ers begged us to go to their area and give out medicine, but it would mean sev­eral days trek and we were nearly out of sup­plies. I was also feel­ing very tired be­cause the Lord was giv­ing us another pre­cious gift in eight months’ time. We were also both think­ing of John and long­ing to get back to Bako to see him. Fi­nally, on the 14th of June we left Karza and headed back to Bako. It would take five days un­til we ar­rived back at Bako on the 19th of June.

We crossed two rivers where the wa­ter had risen from heavy rains and it went up to the mules’ bel­lies. They were swept down the river some way, but we did get safely across. On the 19th of June as we were go­ing down the moun­tain in the rain, the road had be­come so slip­pery that one pack mule fell and al­most broke her neck.

It was good to see John and the Grays when we fi­nally made it back. John seemed to have grown a lit­tle. For sev­eral days af­ter­wards John clung onto us, fear­ful that we would go and leave him again. He would soon be in for a sur­prise. I was ex­pect­ing another baby.

The re­main­der of the year was quiet ex­cept that Dick com­menced to build a Bi­ble School for the evan­ge­lists. On 24th of July the evan­ge­lists came and had an eight week Bi­ble Study time. Then came news that we were to move on to Bulki that moun­tain­ous place of which I had some rather ‘fond’ mem­o­ries. I must say I had some mixed feel­ings about it all. In Novem­ber we de­cided to re­turn to Ad­dis Ababa be­cause a bout of si­nusi­tis was giv­ing me a lot of trou­ble. We packed all our goods. The Grays saw us off at the airstrip and we had the rough­est flight ever to Ad­dis Ababa on a cargo plane.

One 30th Jan­uary 1959, after two op­er­a­tions on my nose and re­cov­er­ing from pneu­mo­nia a few weeks be­fore, Jane Chris­tine MCLel­lan was born at the Haile Se­lassie Hos­pi­tal in Ad­dis Ababa. I as hor­ri­fied on go­ing there to see two women in dirty clothes and smelling aw­fully of in­jera ‘na wat - the na­tional food - who were to de­liver my baby. It was a pro­vi­sion of the Lord that Merle Browne (my brides­maid) and Kathie Fer­gu­son had ar­rived back at HQ after their hol­i­days. I asked the Doc­tor if they might come and be with me and he con­sented. Dick hur­ried off and brought them so it was Merle who de­liv­ered Jane.

Jane was born on a Fri­day at 4:30am, 1959. Merle was qual­i­fied mid­wifery nurse. I was so thank­ful she was there. I had a very bad post­par­tum hem­or­rhage and, as Merle said, “al­most lost you both.” I lost a lot of blood and there was no way of get­ting a blood trans­fu­sion. Merle took care of us for the next week, build­ing me up with what­ever she could get to re­place the blood loss. It was a rough start to the new year. -END-

A boy suf­fer­ing from a trop­i­cal ulcer. A sim­ple wound can be­come com­pli­cated. Peni­cillin and care make all the dif­fer­ence

Ethiopian air­lines at the airstrip

Flies the ever present com­pan­ion of poverty and disease

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.