Homes among the gum trees (Part 2)

Hugh and Ettie’s first home was at Kangaroo Flat in a house which was later referred to in the family as “the old kitchen”.  As late as the 1990s some building and garden remains could be seen.


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A granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Hugh and Ettie at the site of the “the old kitchen” c1997.  

Presumably there were other rooms than a kitchen.  This property was owned by Kenny McLean. When Hugh and Ettie left the property, the house was bought by Hugh’s half-sister, Ellen Iverson and her husband George Stubbings and moved to their property at Burnt Blanket.

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George and Ellen (nee Iverson) Stubbings

Perhaps it was during this period that they lived at Koreelah.  They had built a house at Beaury Creek but Kenny McLean and his wife were living there.  When Hugh and Ettie had to leave Koreelah, they moved in with Hugh’s half-brother Donald Iverson’s family at the Little (Tooloom) Falls.

Eventually they were able to move to their house at Beaury Creek and lived there for many years, although with a bit more to-ing and fro-ing.


Thought to be the Beaury Creek house

During World War 2, oldest son Allen was married and farming nearby, next son John, also married was farming in Queensland.  Two sons, Hughie and Lach, were in the army and the youngest son, Ewan, too young to enlist, was at home with his parents and once he left school working on the dairy farm. Ettie’s brother Emerald was also living with them and lending a hand.  He was not in robust health, having only one kidney as a result of having contracted meningitis as a child, in a tragedy which claimed the lives of five of his siblings.

The oldest daughter, Bell, was living in Newcastle where her husband, Doug Guest, was working in what was considered an essential industry, namely ammunition manufacturing.

Meanwhile Hugh and Ettie had been busy making sure that Hughie and Lach would have a livelihood when they came back from the war and had purchased a property for each of them.  The property secured for Hughie was “Grimstead” essentially across the road at Beaury Creek.  The family moved over to run the dairy farm there until Bell and Doug moved back from Newcastle, soon after which Hugh, Ettie and the children still at home moved into the property on the Falls Road which had been secured for Lach.

People obviously had fewer possession and different expectations in those days.  May went to school in Urbenville that day and the first she knew of the move was as she was riding home from school and was informed by a local family she came across that she was to go to the Falls Road property instead of “Grimstead”. She arrived there to find her parents settling in and trying to build a fire.

After some time, they must have moved back to Beaury Creek.  It no longer stands, having been demolished to provide some of the mismatched building materials for the house at “Windy Hill”.  Hugh wanted to name the house in the Gaelic he had heard his grandfather speak but was unable to remember the words which would convey the idea of a windy hill.

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“Windy Hill”

I was only ever a visitor to the Windy Hill house.  I never lived there but to me it is where my mother came from.  For her, the house at Beaury Creek was her childhood home, which she describes fondly as a beautiful farm. She is working on a map of it.

There are other versions of the order in which Hugh and Ettie’s moves happened.  This is May’s version as told to me.

3 thoughts on “Homes among the gum trees (Part 2)

  1. What was the date that Phyllis Mulcahy married Charlie Blackwood? My first memory is of being at the Beaury Creek house the day they were married. My mother Jessie Mulcahy and Aunty Eileen Mulcahy were changing the nappies on their babies, Gwen and Ken Mulcahy. It caused me considerable surprise, therefore became imbedded in my memory, to discover that boy babies were different to girl babies. Later that day, following a heavy rain storm, we drove home in a sulky. I remember the water rushing past the wheels as we drove down the steep road fronting what became the site of the Windy Hill house. Not long after I remember accompanying my mother and father in the sulky when Dad took Mum to the Urbenville hospital where my sister Shirley was born on 6th February, 1944. It was towards the end of that year, when after a period of time managing an Alpha outstation, that my father, John Mulcahy, bought Bunya Park. Before the family moved, Grandfather Hugh Mulcahy assisted my father to drive his horses – his blood horse stallion, brood mares and draft horses to Yamsion. In later years when we visited Windy Hill I remember going over to the site of the Beaury Creek house where a mulberry tree still survived.


    • Thanks for adding your memories to this story. Phyllis and Charlie were married on 26 January 1944 so not long at all before Shirley was born. The Windy Hill house was built while Mum was at school in Armidale so it would have been in the years after 1944.


      • Was Uncle Lach home at Beaury Creek on leave during 1944? I have a memory of him on the veranda there teasing me by calling me, “Maggie, Maggie.” Yes the Windy Hill house was built after our family moved to Yamsion in November 1944. Dad had sold the Falls Road farm to Uncle Lach to enable him to buy Bunya Park.


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