Ivy

“I grew up on a farm during the depression and met Tom the day I started work at a station. We both started on the same day, Tom as a station hand and me as a nanny and housemaid. I was about 16 or 17 years old. We quickly got friendly with each other and decided to be together. Not long after, in 1942, Tom went into the Army in March and my mother died in May. I had to go home to look after my three younger siblings and my father. I was there for two years, Tom was away a few months and then interstate and the whole time it was just letter writing, no phone calls back then. We decided to get married in 1944 when Tom wrote, ‘I hope to be home in ten days from this date,’ so we only had a few days to get everything organised while Tom was still away. Our wedding was in Burra in the mid-north, in the united church building. My friends all put in and gave me a reception because during the war things were scarce and it wasn’t easy. I probably had some coupons donated to get my wedding frock and I did buy a dress that probably cost about 20 pounds from a wedding dress shop in Adelaide. We were lucky because friends had brought food from their farms, finger food mostly, everyone brought something. After the wedding, Tom was home a few months before he left for New Guinea just before my 21st birthday and I didn’t see him again for 13 months. In 1957 we came over to Kangaroo Island on probably the worst trip of the year; what normally took six hours took 12 that day. We had a lovely roast dinner down in the dining room, and they had to wet the table cloth so the plates would stick to the table. When we arrived in Kingscote, they unloaded things with a swing from the boat, including our car. Someone from the Lands department met us with a truck as we had a big box of furniture and we followed this chap out to the camp late in the day. The trip took longer than expected and I hadn’t packed any food, so by the time we arrived at the camp, it was dark. The camp supervisor welcomed us and his wife offered me a cup of tea, the best I ever had. Then, of course, I had to borrow some food from her and my neighbour next door so we could have breakfast. The next morning, I realized the flat wasn’t all that clean, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, what had I done?’ We left the camp for our block at 27 Gosse after just over two years in the end. I have lived here since then. I never ever wanted to leave once we had settled down, but our entire farm was burned in the 2020 fires, just the house wasn’t, they don’t know how the house survived. It was the house the Lands Department built back then. We paid for it to be built and stayed on the property. Everything was booked down to the soldier settler scheme. A lot of people think it was given but we had to pay for everything on there. We used to have sheep and cattle and milked cows, quite a few cows for a while. We used to send the cream away for cash; the mailman used to pick up the cans and bring it to the big tank at Farmers Union when they were over here. We also used to have sucker pigs, and wild ones, but a real favourite with everybody was this one sow we never sold, she got quite old, used to come running, do the rollover and get a belly tickle. I still go out to the farm, I enjoy it. It is still pretty special to me. Because of the camp, the connection in the community was very strong. We raised all the money and build the Gosse Hall. Everybody worked together, worked together on the hall, and I guess that really really upset me when I went out after the fires and find all the rubble because I knew of all the work that had gone into that. We didn’t have any grants in those days, we built the hall and was paid for before payment was due. I was always very involved in the community, and Parndana area school. I was the first female committee member of the school. There were 5 other gentlemen and me. You didn’t really distinguish the things you were involved in because there was so much going on. We had Cheryl, our daughter, who is still on the farm. Eventually Tom never really recovered from being in the army but in the end, we had to leave the farm which was pretty hard, but we were lucky enough to get a house in Kingscote because friends owned it and left for the mainland. Cheryl was old enough to take on the farm. We have always loved the island, still do. We used to go travelling every weekend, exploring the island. We had a car to get around in. Now Tom passed away 10 years ago. I still miss him, but we had 67 years of marriage.”

Ivy in her wedding frock

Published by sabrinadavis5223

I am a German living in South Australia. We lost our home and farm in the Kangaroo island summer bushfires. I love travelling, reading, beach walks, board games, watching movies and spending time with my family.

Leave a Reply