All that talk of lovely spring weather and taking Miss Rosemary out for a picnic would have gone well had Miss Rosemary been a boat and not a 1968 Austin 1800! As you can see by the photo taken beside my Limerick Vineyard there was no way Miss Rosemary was leaving home. In fact none of us were going anywhere; it was very exciting as the last time we had seen so much water was back in 1998. It is a true blessing as now the dams and tanks are pretty much full and there is plenty of underground water for the vines to send their roots down and get a good drink when the hot weather comes. Speaking of Miss Rosemary, I am giving her an outing today and have her parked at the winery.
A man visiting began asking me about her and of course I went into the long and fascinating story of how I came to be her owner, and woe and behold he said he knew the family! He said they were wealthy landed property owners around the state and said he would get me some information, I said I would be in contact next week to sit down and ask him a million questions.
As you can imagine I am very keen to get this journey on the way and am looking forward to reporting next week on what I have discovered. On the wine side I spent last week in Sydney with my agent Nick Butler (a GCB) from Cogito Wines who is doing a very fine job indeed of spreading the Good Catholic Girl gospel. My wines received a fabulous reception. You can find GCG at Annandale Cellars, Wine Culture, and the Australian and New Zealand Wine Centre. Simon has just put Teresa on at an amazing restaurant at Rose Bay called Catalina; I will let you know as more come on board. I had a really beautiful lunch for one at Wild Fire at Circular Quay Wes looking across the harbour to the Opera House and the weather was perfect. I don’t normally enjoy dining alone but on this occasion it was a relaxing treat.
Also dropped into Canberra town and caught up with Brent McKay from Amazing Grapes (don’t you love the name) who is my man on the ground there. We had a great lunch at The Parlour and a fabulous dinner at The Lantern, so all is good in Canberra, made even better as there were no Politician’s in sight! Blessings to you all and have a fine weekend! Julie forever the gcg!
Today is a big day in the Catholic World with the canonization of Mary MacKillop. I read in yesterday’s paper that 8000 people will travel to Rome for the once in a lifetime event. I can only imagine the excitement being experienced in the little South Australian town of Penola where Mother Mary started her teaching career. The Sisters of St Joseph would also be feeling a great sense of pride as one of their own is made a Saint. I was educated by these wonderful caring Nuns at St Joseph in Clare, as was my Mother Teresa and Grandmother Dorothy. Both my Grandmother and Mother went on to look after the Nuns and built lifelong friendships with many of them. My Grandmother was particularly dedicated to the Nuns in her parish and spent many hours cooking for them and made sure they were well looked after. Without people like my Grandmother the Nuns would have lived a poor existents as they had no means of earning money. Sadly there are no longer any Nuns living at the convent in Clare. So today I’ll be thinking of Mary Mackillop and her miracles and reflecting on my time spent with the Sisters of St Joseph. God bless Saint Mary Mackillop a great Australian!
As you will remember Miss Rosemary is my Austin 1800, named after the previous owner, whose family history I have become fascinated by and am going to research. I found a note inside a sketch book given to Miss Rosemary and it said “To Rosie Christmas 1960” so I will in future refer to her as Miss Rosie so there will be no confusion between her and her car!
Bad news on Miss Rosemary front she has done a water pump, poor old dear and is off the road at the moment. We had to suffer the indignity of being loaded on the back of a tow truck and be driven through the main street of Clare for all to see. This was embarrassing as almost daily in Clare someone would stop me to discuss the merits of Miss Rosemary or the ‘land crab’ as they were commonly referred to…..I would always respond with all the virtues of Miss Rosemary and how fabulously reliable she was so I felt a bit let down very publicly! Alas we will be back on the road soon to coast around Clare and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.
Miss Rosie’s former home at Walkerville has now been sold and I suspect will go under the bulldozer as it was one of the saddest, dampest and neglected old homes that I had ever seen, (as you will see from the photos) it was truly unlivable and I have no idea how Miss Rosie lived in it. Being her family home all her life I suppose she could not contemplate ever moving from it with leaving behind her life’s memories. Well some distant relative is now very wealthy as it sold for $2.6 million!!! No wonder she lived in poverty it would have cost her about $20000 a year in council rates, if not more, so any family inheritance she had to survive on was probably long gone.
I have been a bit slow on tracking down her family history but am now on the job and my next blog will lead into it, hopefully beginning to shed some light on who this “once wealthy Adelaide family” member was.
At the auction of Miss Rosie’s estate I purchased a box of Charles Dickens old hard covered books all of which have inscriptions to the father of the family, also to my delight and surprise the box contained some random photos. My research will begin around these plus I will go on to the ancestry.com.au web site to do further investigation, I may even door knock her street!
Below is a list of the photos:
– Victorian photo of a Victorian lady dressed in a wedding gown by Hammer & Co Adelaide “Vice Regal Photographers”
– Beautiful head and shoulder shot of women in off the shoulder black dress, 1900? By Hammer & Co inscribed on back “Bessie Caroline Clayton”
– Wedding photo of regal looking woman. Hammer &n Co. Inscribed on back “Frances Laughton (nee Clayton) married December 1913 at St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide SA
– Wedding photo another regal looking young woman, Hammer & Co. Inscribed on back Ruby Susannah Heseltine (nee Clayton) married in St Peter’s College Chapel 1908.
– Group of 6 men with golf clubs around 1900.
– Yankalilla Anglican Church School House 1900 a number of children in the photo.
– Two Victorian ladies sitting outside a house, could be mother and daughter, inscription on back says “B.C. and Elizabeth Clayton at 9 Robe Terrace, Medindie early 1900’s.
I also know from attending the auction that there was a lot of St Peter’s College memorabilia such as beautiful trophies and school photo albums, Miss Rosie’s father attended the prestigious Adelaide boys college.
Miss Rosie’s mother Frances came from the Clayton family who appear to be very well to do and she appeared to marry well when in 1913 she married Mr…………….Laughton in the stately St Peter’s Cathedral.
Amazing how much information can be gained from a few old photos. It is also very possible that someone reading this blog will know something of these people that I am writing about, it would be amazing if they made contact!