And now for my grandfather.
Robert Francis Pockley was born on 10 March, 1823, and baptised at St. Paul's, Deptford. His childhood was spent round Deptford and Greenwich, amid the smells of tar and hemp, and around the ship-building and fitting-out yards on the Thames at Greenwich, etc. The East India docks were nearby.
At last came a day of great excitement; his father considered him old enough to take him on a tremendous adventure - a trip to the South Seas. On 1 August, 1832, when he was only a lad of nine, he sailed as Cabin Boy on the Eleanor; a tutor was taken along to look after his education. Apart from thus early getting the salt into his own veins, young Robert Francis listened to many a tale from his father, including stories about his two years in a French prison, following his capture when commanding a British Privateer.
A family story has it that once when a whale was spotted, he was allowed to go in one of the small boats to chase and try and harpoon it. The monster surfaced under the boat and tipped everyone out into the water, and Grandfather found himself floundering briefly on the whale's back before it sounded.
During the eight years that Robert Francis sailed with his son in the southern seas, this part of the world and the opportunities presented made such a strong impression on the boy's mind that it was his whole life, and be the cause of the founding of his Australian family of 15 children and their descendants.
On his return to England, he gained his Board of Trade Certificate as Master at the age of 18, and on 10 August, 1841, he left home, never to return, as Second Officer or Mate of the barque Bolina, bound for Port Phillip, or as it was sometimes called, Australia Felix, but now better known as Melbourne.
Shortly afterwards, he transferred to the brig Tobago as its Master, and he brought her into Sydney Heads on 2 December, 1842, from Auckland. He was then 19.
From The Queenslander, of 25 June, 1892, headed "Fifty Years Ago".
"Australia was young in 1842. Even Sydney was juvenile; while as for Port Phillip, New Zealand and Moreton Bay, they were merely babies. It was the season of the first Australian "inflation", just before the first great Australian collapse.... Let us take a glance at men and matters in Sydney when London Punch and Charles Dickens were first coming into public notice when England and United States had a "tiff", and the Prince of Wales was a baby in arms. No P. & O. steamers then in Port Jackson, but the gentle grandmothers of the pretty girls of the "haute ton",. who now "mash" the Officers and male passengers on the street-like deck of the 7000-ton "boat", as they recline gracefully on the lounging chairs in the promenade bridge, endured all the martyrdoms of the sea-sickness (with the costume and coquetry left out) on board the little Emma, the fashionabl brig of some 200 tons, which then traded to Adelaide and Hobart, under the command ... of Capt. R. F. Pockley, and the Waterlily, (in after days well known in the 'Frisco of '49 and '50), sailed to the Derwent only from Sydney. Moreton Bay was accomodated with the iron steamer Shamrock, with her "powerful" (80-horse) engine, "powerful" that is to say by the side of the old Billy the Fourth of Wollongong fame..."
The article goes on to mention the brig William Fulcher as being on the New Zealand trade and it also mentions a few salaries: (Queensland) Governor, £5000; private secretary, £300; aide-de-camp 9/6 day and forage. The (Sydney) Harbour Master got £300, and most of his subordinates were convicts, rationed and clothed and foraged at the stereotyped 1/- day each, and allowed 2d day extra, in lieu of tea, sugar and tobacco, for the 32 men on the staff. The floating light at the Sow and Pigs was run by a superintendent and 4 sailors for £191.12.6 year for the lot (rations, fuel and light extra), while oil for the light alone absorbed £220 year. Harbour Masters were run cheaply then; the "screw" at Newcastle was £100, with £40 allowed yearly for the "beacon"; at Wollongong and Brisbane Water they were salaried at 5/- day each. The Sydney Morning Herald then cost 6d copy".
It took the 136-ton Tobago some time to discharge its cargo of cocoanut oil, etc, for she did not sail again till 3 February, when she left for Port Phillip, with 15 passengers and a cargo of sundries. She kept to-ing and fro-ing to Newcastle, Port Phillip, Launceston, etc, till 29 November, 1844. This was Pockley's last voyage in her, for on 19 March 1845, he brought the little 81-ton Martha and Elizabeth through the Heads from Corner Inlet. He commanded her for about 18 months, to Port Phillip, Corner Inlet, Circular Head, the Society Islands and so on, returning from the latter place on 22 August, 1846.
At this time there were 3 steamers only catering for the whole trade on the east coastline of Australia .' the 200-ton Shamrock, Capt. Gilmore, from Port Jackson to Melbourne and Launceston; the Sovereign, 119 tons, Capt. Cop-to Moreton Bay, and the William IV, Capt. Wiseman, to the Clarence River. They carried between 30 and 60 passengers, plus cargo. On the North Coast run went pioneering families with farm machinery, drays, horses, bullocks, and one year's provisions, ex Sydney to Port Macquarie, whence they started the long trek to the New England district.
Pockley next had a brief flirtation with the Velocity, a schooner of 138 tons, after which he moved up to Mr J. Macnamara's somewhat larger brigantine the Water Lily, in which he arrived from Hobart Town on 23 December, 1846. He spent Christmas and the New Year in Sydney and then he and the 155-ton Water Lily started their 7 months of running between here and Hobart Town and Launceston. It was in this ship that he laid the foundations of his subsequent regular trade with Hobart Town. On one trip he arrived there with a general cargo, 4 lady passengers, Lieut. Mackenzie and 19 rank and file of the 99th, and 32 male convicts.
In looking up all these details of early shipping, I came across two interesting entries. On 25 July, 1831, the 450-ton Camden, William Fulcher, Master, arrived from London with 198 male prisoners, and on 21 July, 1842 - 4- months before Pockley arrived here for the first time the vessel William Fulcher, G. P. Stains, Master, arrived from Adelaide.
On 6 July, 1847, an event of importance to him occurred in the arrival in Sydney of the smart new brig, the Emma, from Belfast under Capt. Hesslop, after a voyage of over 4 months. She was also owned by Mr Macnamara and Grandfather was immediately appointed to command her. Listen to the sound of the sea in this article by Redgum, pub lished in the Sydney Morning Herald on 11 January, 1936:
"KID GLOVE POCKLEY".
A Seaman of the 40's.
"The above was the name by which Capt. R. F. Pockley, one time Port Master of Port Jackson, and for many years a Master Mariner engaged on the Australian coast, was known to the fraternity while he and the "saucy Emma", twin souls of the southern seas, worked together. Mr J. Macnamara's little brig Emma, a well-fashioned vessel of 135 tons, was a heeler of the forgotten forties. She could work to windward like a molly hawk, and with half a gale on her quarter, only a porpoise could show her the way. For years the Emma held the record between Hobart Town and Port Jackson, having on one conspicuous occasion cut out the running of 630 miles in 48 hours of super sailing. From that day on, the sight of her royals among the white horses on the skyline caused every rival master who was handling a brig or schooner of about her rating to do some quick thinking, and to pass on the order for more sail. "Kid Glove" Pockley and his Emma were super sea birds in those old days.
Captain Pockley himself was a masterly sea rover, who had bitten his first Liverpool pantiles in snouty little vessels working the home waters, and was possessed of a Master's ticket before he had reach manhood's years. At the age of 19 he left London in command of the brig Tobago, of 140 tons register, and turned up in Sydney after having given old Neptune a trouncing or two with his little vessel all shipshape and Bristol fashion, and his crew ready and willing to stand by while he pricked his chart round the world again.
His sobriquet had been given him by rivals who laughed at his whims and fanc1es, and only partly understood his love for the smart little liners of which he was given charge for better or worse. Always a strict disciplinarian, he schooled himself and his crew into doing everything as smartly and as nicely as was possible within the limits of his ships. He was always master as well as admirer of any ship he sailed. His pea jackets of blue pilot cloth with brass buttons and braid, and the white gloves for his homings and farewells, all helped to hold together the sea tradition of the nation. Such moods and fancies were all too short lived. Blistered fingers and freckled faces came into prominence as soon as the sea fights began. In the later years, commanders of the Peninsular and Orient Company, and the Orient liners, always wore full dress uniform on leaving port. Captain Pockley and his gloves were only a few years ahead of their time.
The Emma herself was a masterpiece of old day craftsmanship. She was 135 tons, was built at Kingston, Ireland, and so pleased Mr J. Macnamara that he bought her off the stocks and fitted her out for the Australian trade. During 1847 small craft of her size were carrying much of the world's trade. Brigs of about 200 tons register had many a time loaded wool cargoes at the Queen'.s Wharf for London, and in due time had delivered the freight in good order on the other side of the world. Nearly all of our home trade was in the hands of small craft under 300 tons during the forties. Registrations made during the year 1849 showed that 95 schooners, ranging between 30 and 200 tons; 11 barques, from 200 to 300 tons, and 13 steamers were owned in Australia. Their total tonnage was 17,897 tons, the number of men and boys employed being 2002...
The Emma was one of the few connecting links between Sydney and Van Diemen's Land for quite a long time. She carried the Royal Mails, provided cabin accomodation for 12 first class passengers, at £10.10. each for the single voyage, and 24 steerage passengers at £5.5. each. The cabin accomo.dation was the best offering. Governors, Government officials, soldiers and sailors availed themselves of the care and attention that the popular Captain Pockley and his brig offered to them.
She was a well-found ship. Pockley told me the story of his Light. That masterly effort was and fit for deep sea travel. Dr F. Antill father's record run from Iron Pot to Hornby made with a full-sized gale on the star-
board quarter, and countless great blue-grey sea horses making maddened efforts to force the way over the windward rail. Even the big sea birds that now and again blew along to see what the cook and cabin boy were up to hung around longer than usual, admiring the way in which the Emma was bowling along. Captain Pockley knew by instinct when the brig was taking all that was good for her. When there was trouble ahead he quickly took a hand and helped her over the trouble. When ever he was about she would settle down to her work. "She might be saucy", said the Captain many a time, "but she was never sour".
Nothing pleased Captain Pockley more than to fall in with the rival paddle-wheeler Shamrock, under Captain Gilmore, who was then developing the Launceston trade. Both Pockley and his ship were at all times willing to show the proud steam-driven hybrid the way to Hobart Town or the way home. Together they could run rings round the Shamrock any time the wind was favourable for both. The Emma herself preferred to keep her weather eye open for rivals like the Wild Irish RoseWaterwitch, a brig and a schooner in the same employ. When either appeared on the horizon her day's work was always more interesting and her life more worth while. Ships were supposed to have souls of their own in those days. They were then part of the great trinity of the seas, where sky, wave and ship were linked together, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. Even though they fought like demons on occasion, each had a great respect for the other, and could be on friendly terms for months at a time.
Mr Macnamara was a merchant trader as well as a shipowner. Captain Pockley also did a little merchandising, and frequently bought Tasmanian produce for carriage to Sydney on his own account.
THE PARTING AT LAST.
One day the Emma learned with regret that her beloved mentor had eyes on another vessel and was thinking of making a change into steam. That would be about the year 1853, when the Hellespont, a new iron steamer, was making a name in the Sydney-Port Phillip trade. I prefer not to tell any more of this story. The little brig did not know her own mind for quite a time after the Captain, with the white kid gloves, stepped ashore after bidding her good-bye. But she pulled herself together to fight many a sea battle with the winds and the waves, and now and again caught a glimpse of her old lover as she made her homing while he was acting as Port Master of Sydney Harbour. Captain Pockley was Port Master at the time of the Dunbar disaster, and had much to do with his whaleboat and crew in gathering the threads which were tangled together in the appalling story.
Later in life he retired from the sea and did the much respected marine surveys around the port. At North Sydney, somewhere upon the highlands near to good work as one of, he lived for years the Post Office
corner, but soon grew tired of seeing the other chaps' chimneys creeping close around him. Then he shifted his family and belongings to Lane Cove, to a large orchard block, and spent a lot of his later years orcharding, home-making, tree and shrub growing, and enjoying the life that was simple and sweet, almost within sound of the sea.
After every heavy gale the sound of surf is still audible at Killara in the early morning hours, especially if the intervening trees are carrying rain drops or dew.
"Pockley's Lorne" was one of the noted homes on the highlands for many years. His blackbutts were known far and wide as a landmark on the countryside. Some of the great trees still stand to keep tally of time and to help recall the days when the great men and women of yesterday walked round and talked with them. I never saw the old man at any time. He had passed away before 1899, the year I took up residence at Killara; but I did know the orchard, the trees, the home garden, and some of the story that was connected with the man and the woman who pieced Lorne together. Now I keep the saucy Emma and her kid-gloved Captain among the treasured memories that have been gathered from the joyous days when pretty little brigs and schooners hammered their way in and out of Port Jackson."
That still manages to bring a bit of a lump to my throat.
In Australian Mariners of the Past, reference is made to the Emma being the most talked about vessel, "because of the regularity and speed with which she outstripped the steamers of the Sydney and Melbourne Steam Packet Coy."
A book I found in the Hobart Library, Wooden Hookers of Hobart Town, by Harry O'May, says: "The Emma... entered the Sydney-Hobart Town trade under Captain R. A. Pockley, known to the fraternity as Kid Glove Pockley, in spite of which he was a thorough seaman, and kept the brig in perfect order. At the age of nineteen he had brought the brig Tobago from England. Ashore he might be considered a dandy, but he was no cissy at sea. The Emma was well found and fitted with accommodation for 12 cabin passengers at £10.10 each, and 24 steerage at £5.5. Her galley was considered to be better equipped than any other vessel out of Sydney and she was noted for her table. Captain Pockley dearly loved to meet a vessel with a turn of speed such as the Waterwitch or the brig Wild Irish Girl, but his greatest pleasure was to fall in with Capt. Gilmore and his p.s. Shamrock. With a favourable wind Pockley would give the Emma all she could carry and sail round the paddler. She made 60 voyages between the two ports and never lost or damaged a package. She made many smart passages but 14 days for outward and return was her record".
Over the next 5 years, Pockley brought his smart little ship into Sydney over 40 times, sometimes being only 18 days to Hobart Town and back. Cargoes included barley, wheat, potatoes, flour, malt, oats, copper ore,
sugar and sundries. Except for one occasion when it was Launceston, his destination when he left Sydney was always Hobart Town. These round trips of about 5 weeks must have been like a taxi run, save for the ever-varying elements of wind and wave, with which he had to contend. Certainly by now he must have known the two ports as well as any pilot. He stayed in Sydney about 8-10 days after each arrival. One account of him I dug up in Hobart said that in all his sea-going days, he never lost a man or a ship.
In 1852, 10 years after he first arrived in Sydney, and 5 years after he took over the Emma, they parted company. On 9 July, 1852, he arrived in command of the schooner Melbourne Packet, 184 tons, 8 days out from Melbourne; he and a Capt. Milton were each half-owners of her. He did only two trips each way in her, for the next time he turned up in Sydney it was in command of the brig Sporting Lass, 183 tons. Next came the brig Clarendon, 168 tons, and on 7 February, 1854, he had moved into steam and brought the 332-ton Hellespont here from Melbourne. She had been bought by the newly-formed Melbourne Steam Packet Coy, and he was given the command.
I was most interested to note his comings and goings shortly before his marriage. March, April, 1 May, 14 May, 28 May, 11 June, 1 July, 25 July, 11 August - he arrived in the Hellespont on all these dates. when did he get time to do his courting? I have seen the letter, written by his bride's mother to her brother, mentioning that Selina was going to be married to Capt. Pockley, and hoping that he would not blame her for allowing her to engage herself to one so little known to us. A family story is that one day he said to young Selina, Come with me and I'll show you the girl I'm going to marry. He walked away, picked up a mirror and held it up in front of her and said, There she is!
On 21 August, 1854, at St. John's Church, Camden, Rev. Edward Rogers married "Robert Francis Pockley, Esquire, Commander of the Sydney-Melbourne Steam-Packet Company's steamship Hellespont, and Selina Eliza, third daughter of the late Major Antill of Jarvisfield, Picton". William H. Pockley was a witness. Robert Francis was then 31, and Selina 16.
He was away from the shipping notices until 3 October, when he turned up in steam again, in the 502-ton Governor General, a paddlewheeler formerly the New Orleans. She aroused considerable interest at the time, because of the beam crank engine, part of the structure of which was visible above decks. She was his last command.
I came across notes in a scrap book which said: "Pockley commanded the steamers Hellespont and Governor General, and held an interest. He owned the "flash" Emma, the Sydney-Hobart mail express boat in convict days. Later he owned the China clipper Atravida, the Jane Spiers, the Euromedha, the Lalla Rookh and the Fortune, and held part shares in others. He owned Central Wharf, formerly Macnamara's. In 1846 he gave his opinion as to the respective merits of Boyd Town and Twofold Bay as the site for
the harbour proper". .
This is the only reference I have found to his having owned the Emma.
Often in his movements round the harbour, in fog, mist and rain, he had been guided by a tall tree on high land on the northern shore. It became important to him. He had already decided that his future lay here. He used to walk up the hill to the land where "his" tree stood. He decided that that was where he wanted to live. So, eighteen months before his marriage, on 7 February, 1853, he bought from Alexander Berry Lots 16, 17, 18 and 19, having a frontage to Lane Cove Road of 487 ft, and to Berry St, of 400 ft, for £280. He and his bride moved into the partly-built house - there were only two rooms finished - on 4 May, 1855, just 20 days before their first child was born. At this time he bought a further block of land at the rear from Stephen Smith for £120; on 22 December, 1857, now shown in the record as "Superintendent of Pilots", he bought another block from William Lithgow for £100, and on 1 February, 1865, still more, on the corner of Edward St, and Bay Rd; the total cost had been £780. It was on what is now the Pacific Highway, just below North Sydney Public School.
He called the house "Pictonville", but when it was sold it became "Doohat"j Doohat Ave. still runs off the Pacific Highway, just above the North Sydney Post Office. An article in the North Shore Times said: "A very interesting character lived for some years in the largest house in the locality, Pictonville, on 5 acres at the intersection of Berry St. and Lane Cove Rd; he was Captain Robert Francis Pockley".
Pockley had left the sea in 1856. A letter from the Treasury dated 23 July, 1857, announced that the Government had appointed "Mr. Robert Pockley of St. Leonards, North Shore, Superintendent of Lights, Pilots and Navigation within the Colony of New South Wales, and Harbour Master of the Colony generally, who will have a seat and a vote at the Board, but shall not be Chairman thereof.
The Members of the Board shall be remunerated for their attendance at the rate of £500 p.a, as voted by the Legislature for Master and four Wardens, this amount to be distributed amongst them according to attendance in such mode as they themselves arrange". Pockley's salary was £600 p.a; that of his predecessor had been £500, and that of his successor was fixed at £400.
On 31 March the following year, the Treasury advised that the Legislature had rejected the Bill to incorporate the Board, and as there was no provision for the continuation of the office of Superintendent, Capt. Pockley was informed that his services would not be required after 31 March. He was thus the only man ever to hold that particular office; it included victoria and Queensland.
Less than a month after he took up his famous wreck of the Dunbar occurred. Pockley by letter from South Head! From his diary we duties as Harbour Master, the was advised of the tragedy know that she was lost be-.
tween 10 p.m. on the night of 20 August, and 2 a.m. on 21st, near the gap at South Head. It was "blowing a furious gale, with torrents of rain... Every soul on board perished but one seaman, about 122 human beings were all lost on that awfully stormy night".
The day following the wreck he wrote on black-bordered paper:
After safely depositing the remains of the bodies recovered in the dead House at the Water Police Court last night, I conferred with Capt.(?) McLasie as to the best means of instigating a strict search for any others that may be left still unfound, and have chartered the steamer Black Swan to tow down boats and convey a large party of the City Police to walk and examine all round the shore, the boats following by water to pull off by ropes any that may be found amongst the rocks when it would be impossible to land from the boats. I leave the Circular Quay at 10 a.m, and will leave nothing undone to recover the remains of the unfortunate sufferers.
One of the bodies recovered yesterday was of a very large female,very stout, the features however were too much mutilated to allow me to make any comparisons with it and the description you gave me of the Misses (?) Vilner.
Mr. Packer recommended that every possible exertion should be used to recover the bodies, that the public might have no possible grounds of complaint.
It was he also who advised the bringing of the bodies to Town.
Yr. obnt. Servant,
Robert F. Pockley.
Sunday. 22 . 8. ' 57 . "
He offered a reward of £3 for information as to the identity of the vessel. Here is his report to the Legislature:
"The Port Master to the Secretary to the Treasury.
The Port Office.
26 August, 1857.
I have the honour to furnish for the information of the Honourable the Treasurer and Secretary for Finance and Trade, the following Report of the circumstances connected with the discovery of the wreck of the ship Dunbar, on the South Head of Port Jackson, and my proceedings in endeavouring to rescue any survivors, and the remains of those who were drowned.
At 10.30 a.m. on 21 August, I received a letter from the Superintendent
of the Light House, South Head, a copy of which is herewith transmitted, informing me that a wreck had been discovered on the South Head.
I immediately proceeded by land to the Light House, the weather being too thick and violent to communicate by boat or telegraph. I arrived at the scene of the wreck at noon, and saw the splintered fragments of what appeared to have been a large ship scattered about the base of the precipitous cliffs of the South Head, with many human bodies washing about in the heavy breakers, dashing on the rocks. Proceed-ng to the position of the Flagstaff, I saw portions of large spars immediately beneath, which were still attached by the rigging to something that retained them in that spot, and presuming it to be some sunken portion of the ship, I concluded that it was at this particular spot the vessel first struck. The gale was blowing heavy at this time from the S.E, and knowing that there was no possibility of the wreck having gone to the Southward, I despatched the Pilots and their crews along the cliffs to make an inspection, and ascertain if any survivors were to be seen, or if any bodies were landed upon any accessible spot from where they could be removed. (The copies of reports of the Pilots' investigations are herewith).
...At 7 p.m. I obtained information that portions of the wreck and some human bodies. were recovered at Middle Harbour which would establish the identity of the vessel. I proceeded to the North Shore, and there obtained\ information of the recovery of a Mail Bag, marked "Mail Bag No.2 per Dunbar, Plymouth, May 29". This and other articles convinced me that the unfortunate ship was the Dunbar, of and from London. With this intelligenc( I proceeded to Sydney, and informed the Press and the Government, and the Agents of the ship, and several private individuals who were known to have friends on board..
The Dunbar had been launched in 1853, and was considered the finest merchant ship that the Sunderland Yards had ever produced. She was 1321 tons registered, and was 201 ft. long. Her timbers were the finest English oak, and she was planked, decked and even masted with teak, and was extra copper-fastened and strengthened throughout. with enormous iron knees. On her fatal trip she left London with a cargo valued at £22,000, 30 cabin passengers, 33 steerage passengers and a crew of 59, making 122 souls all told. She made Sydney Heads late in the afternoon of 20 August, 1857.
The sea had been rising all morning, and by 3 o'clock a mountainous surf was breaking against the Heads. Packer, the signalman on duty at South Head, spotted her, and sent flag signals. The Master, Capt. Green, decided to run for the shelter of the harbour, and somehow the watch mistook the lights and she was washed on to the rocks. The only survivor, a 6'2" sailor of unusual strength and endurance named James Johnstone, was hauled up to the top of the cliffs, after clambering about the rocks for 36 hours - from midnight Thursday till noon Saturday. Johnstone later became one of Capt. Pockley's boats' crew. Mrs. Graham, the wife of the signal master,
woke her husband three times during the night of the wreck, beseeching him to go down and help the man struggling in the surf. When she finally saw Johnstone, she recognised the man in her dream.
When news of the wreck reached Sydney, crowds of anxious people were soon on their way to South Head, where horrible sights of naked limbs, half torsos, heads, etc, were seen momentarily in the raging maelstrom of the seas. At the inquest, held at the little deadhouse, near the Mariners' Church, which was quite full of the mangled remains, more than one juror fainted.
In 1858, Pockley bought Lamb's Wharf at the foot of Erskine St, and conducted his business from there until 1864. The following letter to Horatio Spencer Howe Wills, Selina's uncle, was written only months before the latter's murder by the blacks in Queensland.
May 3, 1861.
My Dear Wills,
I have instructed Holdsworth & Coy. to ship per Eagle the 10 bullock yoke mountings and the shot which you in your letter to Emily desired me to send you: had the letter arrived 2 days earlier I should have sent them by last steamer with your other goods, but I have no doubt but that this trip will still be in time to catch you before you leave Rockhampton.
Mrs. Roope has sent me from Geelong £200 on alc of Mrs. Wills so that your account will be debited with the balance due to me augmented by the cost of the goods now in course of transit to you.
Emily spent a couple of days with us since I last wrote you. She is looking remarkably well and appears happy and cheerful. She promised to stay some time with us previous to her leaving here for home. We try to joke Emily about Fred Johnson, but it is evidently a subject upon which she is very indifferent. We have had a call from no less a personage than Mrs. Alick Antill. It appears that she has preceded her husband to Sydney in search of a home among her friends. I believe they are invited to Jarvisfield.
I remember hearing you enquiring about Capt. Evans. He died about a month since, at (?) Bay, where I told you he lived.
Wentworth and his family returned to the Colony by last mail steamer and was welcomed with great demonstrations, especially by the native interest.
Hoping that you have had a successful trip and that you will write me a good account of your prospects of reaching your stations in time,
Robert F. Pockley."
N.B. It was a telegram from R.F.P. that advised Horatio's wife of the massacre. How he heard I don't know.
Capt. R. F. Pockley was one of 19 gentlemen who sat in a room at the Exchange Building on 8 July, 1862, and signed a resolution which brought the Australian Yacht Club - now known as the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron - into being. The 19 signatures are preserved in their original form, and are framed and hung in the Club's Kirribilli premises. Pockley's yacht is shown as the 10-ton Mazeppa. He was one of 12 present at the first formal meeting, held on 7 August, 1862. An official opening ceremony was arranged for Saturday, 18 October, and 12 yachts were selected to sail a course from Farm Cove, around Goat Island and thence to Manly Cove. The 12 yachts, arranged in order of tonnages, had Mazeppa as second last. On 6 January, 1863, the Club's first picnic outing was held, and 8 yachts were selected to sail ahead of the paddle-steamer Telegraph, with the Governor and other prominent citizens aboard; Mazeppa was one of the 8.
At the first Annual Meeting, held on 6 August, Capt. Pockley was elected to the Committee. He was starter for the first annual match race, held on 23 January, 1864.
On his retirement from the sea, he became a Marine Surveyor. He travelled almost weekly to Newcastle, to the patent slipway at Stockton, or that at Bullock Island, to survey ships - barques loaded with cast iron from Middlesborough, Yankee clippers and Australian schooners. A SydneyNewcastle voyage took 12 hours in bad weather and 8 hours in good, usually by the paddle steamers S.S. -aitland or Coonanbarra. By 1889, in screw steamers, the journey was taking only 6 hours. He must have been concerned with the wreck of the steamer Maitland, on which he had travelled so often, when she was wrecked at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River at Broken Bay.
"Kid Gloves" Pockley's diaries, kindly lent to me by my cousin, Enid Graham, nee Clive, start in September, 1868. Every day there are at least 3, and sometimes 4, comments on the weather, and the direction and strength of the wind. By now he and Selina had had 7 children, but 2 had died in January, 1860. Pockley now owned the Lalla Rookh, the Atrevida, the Jane Spiers and Euromedha. One October day he was with 42 shipwrights and 1 apprentice who were working on the Atrevida, on the slips at Pyrmont, when he saw the strong hot N.W. wind turn into a violent Southerly buster;a boat bringing 2 cases of metal from Parbury's Wharf was caught in it and narrowly escaped foundering, but succeeded in reaching Goat Island just as she went down. He was watching her struggling against the Southerly, and "observing her bear up, sent another Boat from the Ship to her assistance. At 7 p.m. the last mentioned Boat returned with the crew of the first, and 190 sheets of the metal which they had saved, but the Boat had been left hauled up on Goat Island". He chartered the Lalla Rookh to John Crossley,
for not less than 3 months to the South Sea Islands, at £158 month. She sailed on 14 December. On Christmas Day it was 99 in the shade.
1869. His diary commenced with an address - 181 Elizabeth St, Hobart Town - on the front page. On 6 and 8 January he was at the Police Court as defendant in the case Johnson v Pockley and others "for forcible entry"; he was committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions. On 18th, 85 Chinese passengers and their provisions embarked on the Atrevida, the Emigration Officer cleared her the next day, and she proceeded to sea in tow of the Breadalbane. Pockley left her on the Pilot's boat, and returned to Town on the Breadalbane, which, off Sow and Pigs, took in tow the French barque Chateaubriand from Bourbon. He noted that the Regatta held on 26 January was "a very tame affair. Mistral and Zariffa had not enough wind to carry them over the course".
The Euromedha had arrived at Moreton Bay, and the Lalla Rookh returned from the New Hebrides, where she was "Unsuccessful in procuring the natives she went for". Repeated attempts to obtain payment from Crossley were abortive: Pockley paid the crew's wages. He was elected a Parishioners' Warden at St. Thomas's Church. The Euromedha sailed from Newcastle for 110 110. In April he attended two meetings of Synod, and chartered the Lalla Rookh to J. Thorne to go to New Caledonia. His daughter Ethel and the maid Ann were ill with scarlet fever. In May there was very rough weather; all hands on the brig Burnik, and 3 seamen from the Jessie, were lost at Newcastle. Next day, all hands on the Don Juan and Eggleton were drowned off Hannah Bay; the schooner Brittania was also lost. The bows and stern of the schooner Nancy were washed up on the beach at Newcastle, and other portions of a wreck supposed to belong to the Orito; the Lizzie Blair was wrecked on the Richmond River Bar. The Secret was reported lost at Port Stephens, with one man drowned. As the Lalla Rookh was being towed to the fairway above Fort Denison, to be prepared for sea, the Vivid ran foul of her jib boom and carried it away. He was awarded the verdict in the case Johnson v Pockley. His action in ordering part of the roof of a building, for which he was Agent, to be removed to get rid of someone who refused to move out, was thus vindicated. The Atrevida arrived in Hong Kong, after a voyage of 65 days.
A house in Lower George St, owned by one of the Alexanders - Selina's Aunt Sarah married an Alexander (see The Wills Story) - partly fell down, "doing some injury to a Boy who was in the habit of resorting to it at night to sleep there". Pockley took in a case of 2 dozen bottles of Powell's Currybury Wine. Selina's brother Alick Antill, and his wife and 2 children and a servant, spent a few days with them before taking off for Maryborough. The sow had a litter of 10. In July the Lalla Rookh arrived from Noumea, and the Atrevida had sailed from Hong Kong for Sydney in company with two other vessels. He rode to Georges Hall to see the Johnstons. The Atrevida arrived at midnight, anchored in Double Bay, and next day discharged her 195 Chinese passengers, after which she was towed to anchor below Kirribilli Point. On 21 August they "lighted the fires for smoking
her". On 25th, Bishop Barker laid the foundation stone of the new Christ Church at Lavender Bay.
On 1 September he heard that Capt. Scaplehorn proposed to leave Ilo Ilo for Sydney on 4 July. The Atrevida, with 630 tons of coal on board, set her Royals and stood down the harbour for sea, but the crewman Johnstone fell down in a fit and had to be taken to the Infirmary. On Sunday, 19 September, "Did not attend Church today, my wife being very unwell in consequence of a severe fall from an omnibus". The following day he transferred his office from 22 Bridge St, to the Custom House Building. By mid-October he was getting very anxious about the Euromedha, then 100 days out from Ilo Ilo without word.
On 5 November the whaler Adventure arrived with Capt. Scaplehorn and his crew from the Euromedha, which had run aground on the Bampton Reefs on 2 October and was totally wrecked. Next day, in a newspaper article headed "WRECK OF THE EUROMEDHA", the Captain told his story. His vessel was carrying 500 tons of sugar, 121 packages of hemp and 71 cases of cigars, the property of Capt. Pockley, for the Colonial Sugar Coy. She was on her first voyage. She proceeded southwards down the Celebes Sea, crossed the equator east of the Solomons, and at noon on 1 October the chronometer placed him in a position in which he knew he could not possibly be. At midnight the Mate reported fine clear water, with no sign of shoal water or reef. At 2 a.m. the ship struck the reef and became a total wreck. Her whole port side was stove in, and a few minutes after she struck she had 9 ft. of water in her. A heavy sea was running, the gig when launched was instantly swamped alongside, and they hastily threw some bread and water and a few belongings into the cutter and longboat, and pulled into the lagoon in the middle of the reef and anchored there for the night. On the 4th they started for Long Island and there found 4 whalers lying at anchor. He said the chronometer placed the vessel about 55 miles out of position.
Another cow to replace his old Dolly. A diary entry for 12 December shows how high Pictonville was; "At 2.45 p.m. the six ships of the Flying Squadron all all hove in sight from my House over Bondi, working in".
To wind up the year he comments on the beautiful summer they had had, with frequent rain, and "the land in consequence has produced most abundantly... All ought to be thankful to the Giver for such a splendid season".
1870. On 5 January, they "witnessed the ascent of a balloon from the Domain"; she landed safely at Glebe. On 1 February the Milsons Point Ferry Coy. started a half-hourly service from Lavender Bay to Circular Quay. The Patriarch arrived from London, "having made the passage in the least time ever made by a sailing ship". This was from 3 December to 8 February - 67 days. The Lalla Rookh was wind-bound in Nelson Bay, Port
Stephens; a fortnight later 2 ketches were reported lost there. In mid-March he received a letter saying the Atrevida would leave Hong Kong on 16 January, and that the Jane Spiers was leaving Saigon for Yokohama. In April there was heavy flooding; the brig Spray was totally wrecked on the Coal Cliff; the Dauntless was wrecked at Port Hacking; the Notion foundered in Broken Bay; the Walter Hood was wrecked north of Ulladulla with the loss of the Captain and 13 others. In May, after noting that it was 15 years since they first moved into Pictonville, he records having bought 2 pairs of spectacles and used them for the first time; he was then 47. The Lalla Rookh arrived from Maryborough, having taken 3 months to get from Melbourne to there and on to Sydney. The schooner Columnist was wrecked. His brother Torn paid a surprise visit from Gyrnpie. The Jane Spiers had reached Yokohama, after a 6l-day passage, and was leaving for Shanghai. They went to the opera to see "Lucretia Borgia" and the "Bohemian Girl". He bought 50 tons of small coal at 7/6 ton, and loaded it into the Lalla Rookh, which was headed for New Caledonia. My father then only a few months old, but referred to as "Master Norman", was very ill, and Dr. Ward was in attendance. In August he went to inspect the coal mines at Jordan's Crossing, 96 miles from Sydney, and on his way home stayed at Jarvisfield, the old Antill home at Picton. On 22 August a meeting was held to form the Shipowners' Association; Pockley was one of the 12 men elected to form the Committee of Management. The next day he signed an agreement of partnership in the Rock Roof Coal Mines, and took a one-eighth share in them.
The Sydney Rowing Club was inaugurated, but the opening was marred by rain. They heard telegraphic news via Suez that on 15 July, war had been declared between France and Prussia. The Atrevida was leaving Hong Kong for Bombay, and the Jane Spiers was "laid up, unemployed, at Shanghai". His apricots, quinces and pears were "bursting into bloom", and the nectarines and lateflowering peaches were in blossom. H.M.S. Galatea arrived from Wellington, under the command of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. "24 Sept. The news was published of English mail telegrams arrd. from Adelaide. The Pruspians victorious in every engagement. The Emperor Napoleon surrendered and Paris in state of seige". The Rev. Cave fainted during the morning service at St. Thomas's. The Lalla Rookh took on a load of cedar, and sailmakers were making a new topsail for her. She was later towed to Garden Island, but unfavourable winds prevented her from getting to sea until late afternoon 4 days later.
In October he signed a letter in the Sydney Morning Herald: "Robert Pockley, Marine Surveyor for the Southern Insurance Coy. of Sydney and 5 other Insurance Coys; also for Colonial Sugar Refining Coy, American Lloyds, Register Maritime, Assistant-Surveyor for Veritas, Merchant S. & U. Association, and Government Emigration Ships' Surveyor". He became Surveyor for the Pacific, Victorian and Australasian Insurance Coys. on 1 February, 1871, and on 22 January, 1872, he was appointed Lloyd's Surveyor for Lloyd's Register for British and Foreign Shipping. He was Lloyd's Surveyor and Representat-ve in N.S.W. for 20 years. He was also appointed Representative for the Board of Underwriters of New York, and was a Director of the Pacific Fire and Marine Insurance Coy.
The Atrevida was at Bombay, and from China papers he learned that the Jane Spiers was at Swatow. They had been some years without a piano. Three years previously the sounding-board of their new piano split and it was sent back to London to the makers: on its way back to Sydney it was lost in the wreck of the Walter Hood. His new replacement just arrived. In December he moved his office again, to the Southern Insurance Coy's. building, 22 Bridge St. Paris was reported still being besieged, but not yet bombarded. Incessant heavy rain stopped the family going to Jarvisfield for Christmas. On Boxing Day he wrote: "Elizabeth Martens, second daughter of Conrad Martens, found dead in her bed this morning. I parted from her last night at her gate, after walking Home from evening Church. She was then in her usual health". At 5 p.m. on 30th, the whole family left for Jarvisfield, arriving at Picton at 7.45 p.m. As it was still raining heavily, they waited at the station for about an hour, but finally reached the house safely. He winds up the year by saying, "We are thankful to Almighty God for the many blessings He has vouchsafed to us during the year now passed".
1871. On 7 January, he went out with the new iron steamer Governor Blackall on a trial trip, when she behaved very well, running the measured mile in 5 mins. 40 secs. On 9th. 742 bags of antimony, weighing nearly 30 tons gross, were shipped to London, "being the first shipment from our Antimony Reef at Drake". He went to Jarvisfield for the week-end, and described a heavy hailstorm at Picton, in which his brother-in-law, W. R. Antill, picked up a hailstone measuring 9-" by 8-". The children came home by the morning train, but Selina, Jessie Antill and his 13-year old son Fr- rode all the way home, via Georges Hall, arriving at 4 p.m. On 1 February evening service was held for the first time at St. Thomas's, and was to be continued on every 2nd. and 4th. Sunday. The Prussian war continued, and Paris was being bombarded. The Jane Spiers was reported at Shanghai, bound for Nagasaki.
By now there were 6 children living, my father being the baby, and Grandfather decided to enlarge the house. They began cutting down climbing plants and shrubs, and the demolition of old parts, and on 10 March the foundations of the extensions were laid. On 14th the Prussian Army was reported in Paris, and peace was restored. He increased his holding in the Rock Roof Mine by buying a one-eighth share from a Mr Tucker. Ten inches of rain fell in 2 hours at Newcastle. The Atrevida arrived at Melbourne from Mauritius. On 25 March the diary notes; "A grand review this day, with the volunteers and crew of H.M.S. Clio. A general holiday.
The guns on the New Batteries at Middle Head, Georges Head and South Head firing for the first time; very good practice made at Targets between the Heads. A torpedo exploded in mid-channel between the Heads, throwing the water a great height". The Atrevida finally arrived, the Captain came ashore, and Pockley took her into Lavender Bay and moored her there. The Lalla Rookh set out for Adelaide with 240 tons of coal on his account, but as she was making a little water, he ordered her also up to Lavender Bay, where the Atrevida discharged ballast and took on the Lalla Rookh's coal
cargo. Part of the roof of the house was off, and a sail was erected temporarily, but very heavy rain from 6 p.m. till daylight gave them a worrying night. On 2 May he noted that the carpenter was getting the first floor joists up, but "fell to the ground and injured himself very much, but not seriously". Pockley attended the Governor's Levee. A steamer arrived from Honolulu via Auckland, "bringing late news from Europe. The Riots in Paris most terrible".
The first ceiling joists were up, and further interesting light is thrown on the elevation of Pictonville. He says the top of the joists "is about the exact level of the top of the steeple of St. James Church, Sydney". There was "a furious gale, and the most extraordinary rough sea got up in the harbour. The steamer Phantom, in crossing from Manly, narrowly escaped foundering; the fires were extinguished". He paid another visit to the Rock Roof Mine, and was very disappointed at the slow progress there.
In June he learned that a Mr Wilson had discovered copper at Wiseman's Creek, so he asked Edward Bingham and another man to go there to inspect it. They returned and reported favourably on the indications of copper shown them by Mr Wilson, so he "paid the money into the Treasury and took up 40 acres under the Mineral Leases Act". Selina's horse Blanco died; he got her a new one from E. H. Weston. On 11 August "The Sydney Exchange was operated as a luncheon room today, on which occasion about 150 of us Members were entertained at Lunch". Thomas Davies, who had been in his employ for 9 years left, and thereafter it seemed that every servant hired lasted only a matter of days. He and two others were elected Directors of the Buckinbah Quarry Mining Coy. After another visit to the mine at Jordon's Crossing, he went on to Goulburn, where he visited the Mills and the Meat Preserving Coy, making arrangements to supply them with coal. In the evening he visited the Antills at Kenmore. The Lalla Rookh sailed for Fiji. The garden was very dry. He bought another cow, sent the horses up to Jarvisfield and bought 7 little pigs for 28/-. On 28 September, his brother William, Chief Officer on the Nubia, which had just arrived, walked into the dining room, taking them all by surprise.
Selina and "my Brother William and Master Norman went to Jarvisfield". He received a telegram from Melbourne advising him that the Atrevida had run aground near Sailors Horn, had lost her mast, had a damaged hull and was leaking badly. Next day he received a letter saying that the vessel had been damaged so badly in the typhoon on 2 September that she had been condemned, and was sold. A new man-servant came, at 15/- week. The Delhi, bound from Manila to Sydney with sugar, was sunk, and the P. & O. ship Rangoon sank with all the mails just after leaving Colombo. The Lalla Rookh arrived from Fiji, having run aground and been 14 hours on a reef en route. On 6 December, "Lalla Rookh towed to Lavender Bay and discharged ballast on to my land there." At home, the plumbers, carpenters, plasterers and tilers were all at work, but nearly finished. On 19 December, "report reached here via Norman Town that the telegraph cable had been landed at Port Darwin,
and communications established with Java and Europe".
To wind up the year he says; "The year just past has not been a fortunate one for me. I have sustained heavy pecuniary losses, and but very light gains".
1872. On New Year's Day no work was done on the Lalla Rookh, "it being observed as a general holiday." Selina was suffering acute pain, but after some days had a decayed tooth extracted, and at once felt great relief. The painters walked off the unfinished job. He chartered the Lalla Rookh to go to Bourbon, Mauritius and back; the repair bill had amounted to £1305. New carpets and oilcloth arrived, and on 24 February they occupied their new bedroom for the first time. The 27th. was kept as a public holiday, in celebration of the Prince of Wales' recovery from his dangerous illness; Pockley attended early church service, and later helped to lay the oilcloth in the new dining room. The Jane Spiers arrived from Hong Kong, via Melbourne. 'She has been absent sailing about China since she left here in 1868 - all this time she has been very unfortunate, and has lost me a great deal of money". He sold her to James Huddart and Coy. o.f Geelong. At the Vestry meeting he was elected "Peoples' Warden". He arranged with a Mr Marshall to erect a gas works at Pictonville and fit up the house, for £75. On 4 May he reminisces about the day, 17 years ago, when they first came into the house. "My family then comprised Wife, her Mother and myself, and also one servant. Now we have had our ninth child. My Family now consists of 3 Boys, 4 Girls, my Wife and myself; 3 female and 1 male servant". He then names the 9 guests they had at dinner, with Selina, Frank and himself. On 15 May, after returning from a trip to Newcastle, he says: "Gas apparatus completed, so that at 7 p.m. lighted the Lamps, but after about half an hour's burning well, they all went out. Something wrong with the Gasometer. However, this is the first occasion of gas being made on the North Shore". He was advised by telegraml,1 from England that the Antimony Mine Proprietors had met and elected him Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Company was called the Australian Antimony Mining Coy; Nominal Capital was £32,000.
On 1 June Christ Church, Lavender Bay, was opened by Bishop Barker; the collection was £92. The new Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, arrived in the Nubia, and a few days later Grandfather, George who lived with him, William from the Nubia, and Tom who came down from Murrurundi, "all met together for the first time in our lives. Never before have we all met together, or been within communicable distance of each other". (Their ages were: Rober- 48; William, 42; George, 32 and Tom 29) .
At a meeting of shareholders of the Kroombil Copper Mining Coy. he was elected a Director. He attended the opening of Synod, and the first meeting of shareholders of the Alma Copper Mining Coy. Then what became a fairly typical entry - "Man and Wife came as Servants this morning and left before evening". Evening service in Christ Church was "for the first time lighted with gas". Then: "Mining Mania raging still. New Companies
to mine for Gold, Copper and Tin being formed every day".The Lalla Rookh arrived from Mauritius. He was elected a Director of the Sugar Loaf TinMining Coy, and of the Swansea Tin Mining Coy.
With James Milson and 4 others he set off to visit the Great Western Consolidated Copper Mining Coy's mine; he was a Director.he railway went only as far as Macquarie Plains so from there they proceeded by carriage to Bathurst. At 10.30 the next morning they set out in a hired 4 horse coach for Icely, where after lunch they watched copper ingots being cast. The following morning they went on in the coach to the Brittania Mine, but the roads were so muddy and slippery that the coach could not get beyond half way, and they had to walk the rest. He and a Mr Walter Friend were the only ones who went down the mine. Next day they left Icely in the coach at 10.30, but as it rained all the way to Bathurst, they did not get there till 5 p.m. He attended evening service at All Saints Church, and they left there in their hired coach, and left Macquarie Plains at about midnight. A few days later their 3 women servants left during the night, taking their belongings with them. They got one woman replacement the following evening, but she lasted just half an hour.
On 9 October he and Selina, with Ella and Flo, went to Jarvisfield and attended the wedding of Margaret Campbell Antill and. Nugent Wade Brown; Ella and Flo were bridesmaids. On 18th. he noted that the Aurora Australis was very bright; at 6.50 p.m. the "shock of an earthquake was felt. Not a severe one, but enough to make the sofa in the Dining Room in which I was sitting shake sensibly, and rattle all the windows and crockery". On 21 October, telegraphic communication was established direct between England and the Colonies. A general holiday was proclaimed on 15 November to mark the occasion. He caught a swarm of bees, and left for Jarvisfield, to bring home Selina and the children, who had been away for 4 weeks, visiting the Antills at Jarvisfield and Kenmore, Goulburn, and the Cordeaux at Bendooley, Bowral.
In commenting on the year he refers to the "wonderful discoveries of mineral wealth in this Colony and that of Queensland." He says that 74% was quite a common assay of the tin from many of the mines, and goes on to mention his unfortunate "investments" on which he had lost heavily. Selina had had a miscarriage, but was recovering. Frank won a prize at Sydney Grammar School and passed "a very creditable examination" at the University. "I pray earnestly to the Almighty to extend His mercy and Kindness to all of us during this year now entered upon".
1873. In January, on one of his trips to Newcastle, the Maitland was rolling and lurching so heavily that he was seasick. On the return trip, on the Lady Young, it was raining and blowing hard," with a very nasty cross tumbling sea, The steamer, with Foretopsail and Forestaysail set, was rolling and lurching heavily". The 25 February saw "thick torrents of rain, such a continuous pour of such an intensity I never remember to have witnessed. All night it has fallen more like a waterspout
than rain. Great devastation has been done by the flood." On 28 February a Mr Mortimer, a co-Director of the Australian Antimony Mining Coy. died; at 3 p.m. the first half-yearly meeting was held. He says: "In the deathsl of Mr Roxburgh and Mr Mortimer I have lost two important witnesses in the action brought against me". He rented the cottage at the back of his hous- at £14 year, plus taxes, and had water pipes laid to it. George shot 4 flying foxes, which were very numerous. On 10 March he writes: "This is my 50th. Birthday, and gratified I am to the Almighty for the health I hav- enjoyed and the many blessings He has bestowed upon me to this time, for although I am not pecuniarily prosperous, we are all of us in good health and happy and have great reason to be truly and heartily thankful" . The cow which he got 3 weeks before, from William Antill, died. He gave the man-servant notice; the wife was very insolent and left with her husband. He took a Turkish bath to relieve the pain in his shoulder from which he had been suffering for a month. Frank, now a sergeant in the Cadet Corps, left for a 4-day camp near Richmond. Pockley was re-elected a Church Warden. The Lalla Rookh arrived from Lyttleton, but a furious gale drove her out to sea from inside the Heads. The new servants also left, but he re-engaged the man at 4/- day. A public holiday was declared, and a public funeral was accorded the remains of Mr W. C. Wentworth, which arrived from London. He sold the Lalla Rookh for £1750 cash. The Rifleman arrived from London; Capt. Longmuir had been murdered, and the First and Second Mate seriously wounded, by the steward some 6 weeks before. The case Holdsworth v Pockley began at the Supreme Court; at the end of the third day the trial resulted "in an unanimous verdict in my favour". News came of the loss of 3 vessels, including the Captain and all hands of one of them. He attended the opening of Synod. Mr and Mrs Morris came as servants, at £65 p.a. An earthquake was reported at Venice, resulting in the fall of a church. Holdsworth applied for a new trial, but his application was refused. "I have thus twice beaten him". The Morrises left, but the following day were re-engaged, this time as outdoor servants at £85 p.a. His first cousin, Mary Anne Boyles, nee Plant, died. The Morrisses left, but next day, he returned. In August, he and Selina went to the Parramatta Protestant Orphan School and brought home a girl, Margaret Campbell, who was apprenticed to them. A new tank in the garden was now down 12 ft, and bricking-up was started. Three more ships were reported lost. Ella was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Leslie Herring and Kate Emily Tucker. The twins were born. During a terrific thunderstorm, with rain and hail, water came in the new bathroom ceiling; houses in Lavender Bay were flooded. The cook and her neice left during the night. He had several times gone to inspect land resumed by the Government for the new Battery from a Mr Reeve, for whom he was Agent; a court case resulted in the Crown paying Reeve £1450 instead of £500. He took the family for a picnic to Manly. A IS-year old girl, who had arrived that morning from Maitland, was burnt to death a few doors away from them. He received a letter saying that Selina and her sisters-in-law Jessie and Mary Antill "had all been thrown out of the Buggy and much tho' not seriously hurt". A new tablet over the Communion Table at St. Thomas's was erected. Frank started work at the New South Wales Shale Oil Coy. at a salary of £50 a
year. On Christmas Eve he left with 3 children and a nurse for Picton.
On Christmas Day he says: "The children are very good and I am enjoying the rest from work, but am far from cheerful, with Wife and the Twins and Florey and Ethel and Mrs White the Nurse at Goulburn, Frank at Abbotsford and my Brother George at Home in charge of the House, is not a happy way of spending Christmas. My Household is now divided in 4 separate sections, and the expense is far beyond my means". On a visit to the Antill family Vault at Picton, he found "the ground about it neglected and in great disorder".
He speaks of his "great pecuniary loss" during the year, "but thank God for His great kindnes, I have been able to meet it all without being distressed or without any material curtailment of the comforts required by my Family... I feel sensibly the accumulation of years for I have worked hard without intermission since before I was 10 years old, and there is no use in trying to conceal the fact that I am beginning to feel old; depression of spirit of course helps to enhance this feeling. I would not be misunderstood. I do not murmur or repine. I have many too many blessings to be truly grateful to Almighty God for, to entertain any such feelings, but it would be wicked mockery in me to assume a cheerfulness which I cannot really feel. I can only say that I am content and thankful, for I am still in possession of more comfort and happiness than I deserve... Meat is good and moderately cheap, and butter now about 3d. to 4d. lb. Plenty of Cabbages, Peas, Beans, Carrots and indeed all kinds of vegetables, but no one to cook and eat them, nearly all being away from Home for some weeks past".
1874. The year started with a message of gloom. "Many of my mining ventures which were in course of development have now resulted in utter loss, and have been and are being abandoned, while not one of the many mines in which I have shares is paying a dividend, or appears as if they would ever pay any. It is absolutely out of the question to attempt to sellout and so get relief from the responsibility and trouble of looking after them. I have had to defend an action brought against me in the Supreme Court by Richard Holdsworth, in the matter of the Antimony Mine shares in which I sold to him - and although I gained the case, it cost me a lot of money, and caused the total suspension of all friendship between us and with others identified with him, who formerly were intimate Friends of mine. I much deplore all this, and regret that from the losses I have sustained I am not able to reimburse the money they lost by the purchase of shares from me, although I am not in any way either legally or socially called upon to do so.
"Some years ago I owned the largest amt. of tonnage owned by any one person in Sydney, having four Vessels belonging to me. The Euromedha ... and Atrevida... wrecked and the Jane Spiers and the Lalla Rookh sold, so I do not now own a ton of shipping, but I own a great quantity of worthless scrip in Gold, Tin, Copper and Antimony Mines instead... Thank God, however, that He has enabled me to meet all my engagements, and has given
me health and strength to work on and maintain my Family, and with reliance on His mercy and kindness ever bestowed on me, I hope to be able to go on to the end of the Chapter, which is now drawing to a close".
(He sold the Lalla Rookh to a Mr Thorne of Auckland, but he in turn must have sold it, for in 1885 the skipper, Capt. Fryer, and 3 of his crew were murdered at Moresby Island. A crewman saw natives bring in Capt.Fryer's head and put it in a saucepan with some yams).
To avoid the risk of the twins catching whooping cough, Selina took them to Goulburn, "leaving all the rest of us at Home without a servant of any kind excepting little Maggie". "When my Wife was thrown out of the Buggy at Goulburn,.. she fell on her head... she suffers from severe strange pains in her head... I sincerely trust that God will be pleased to avert any evil consequences, and restore her to health of both body and mind".
The Mercantile Bank of Sydney opened, and he opened an account with £175. As the girl twin was not well, they advertised for a Wet Nurse, and engaged a Mrs Kenyon. A cricket match between the English Eleven and a team of 18 from N.S.W. was won by N.S.W. He moved his office to the Pacif1 Ins. Coy's. building. His brother George was appointed Manager of the Swansea Tin Mine, and left for Brisbane. The Wet Nurse and the housemaid left, and were replaced by a mother-and-daughter team, but they arrived at 7 p.m. and left immediately. He was re-elected a Church Warden. Frank Mahoney, who had been his storeman for 7 years while he carried on business "at my Wharf, called Lamb's Wharf", died. Yet another law suit was won by his client, John Reeve. He got a Nursery Governess, bought 5 little pigs and a new cow, and called in the doctor again to attend to the twins. With a dozen other men he saw some rum submerged, after being coated with an "Antifouling compd' in which he was interested. He sold some more land at Lavender Bay. His man-servant left without notice, and he was so busy making gas all day till 10 p.m, that for the first time in all the years, he did not make notes on the weather. He engaged a man at 30/- week, "not living in". He went to Newcastle, and thence by special train with Mr Laidley and others to look at the Co-operative Coy's. Coal Mine, and went allover it. He sent George £100. Fiji was ceded to England. He went on board the Flagship with 4 of the children, for the Balmain Regatta.
On 19 November another son was born - Harold. On 21st, the boy twin was again very ill, and the doctor was called. He lanced his gums, and his wife helped to keep his feet in hot mustard water, and keep warm bottles up to him. "I thought he was very strong, and the nourishment he took he retained, but he was seized with convulsions and died at 6 p.m. in his Nurse's Arms, while I held his dear little hand in mine. We were all in his Mama's Room, and quite unprepared for such an awful event... God's ways are not man's ways... God's will be done". (Among old papers I found an account for £1.12.6 "For interment of the late Eustace Mitford Pockley with coffin covered with black".) The other twin continued quite sick,
and an extra doctor was called in. "It would seem that a singular epidemic is and has prevailed over the whole country, proving fatal in a great many cases, especially amongst Infants."
He names several neighbours' children who were all very ill
Summing up the year he says: "We have now to seriously contemplate leaving this Home where we have lived for nearly 20 years and take smaller premises, the necessity for economising our expenses being more imperative than ever, as all my mining investments have resulted in total loss, and unfortunately nearly my all was invested that way".
1875. On 2 January, George returned from the Swansea Mine, near Stanthorpe; it had been another failure. As the girl twin was still far from well, he took Selina and 4 children and the nurse Maggie to Mt. victoria for a change of air. They found the accomodation "hot, uncomfortable and inconvenient, but none others are procurable anywhere". He had a hot journey back to Town, but they got a "cool sea breeze when they reached Parramatta". Selina's aunt, Sarah Alexander, formerly Redfern and nee Wills, died in England, at Roke Manor, Hants. A bull broke through his fence and grazed all day. Harry started school at the Model Public School in Fort St, and Ella and Flo started at Miss Flower's Ladies' College. Selina fell down some steps while at a friend's place. George c-t his leg with an adze. Fire damaged premises in Lower George St. owned by James Alexander of London. "21 August. This day being the 21st. Anniversary of our marriage, I hired the Steamer Ethel, and took the whole Family and some friends picknicking up Middle Harbour, then to Manly Beach, returning after a most agreeable day at 6 p.m, thankful for time past, and hopeful of the future". The Steamer St. Osyth arrived after 51 days from London - a record. On 7 July the Susannah Cuthbert was wrecked on Long Reef. He "proceeded to the locality by midday Steamer to Manly, thence by Frazer's Dog Cart, getting in sight of the wreck just at dark, too late to go to her. Went as far as Jenkins' House, then took Boat from Hiliary's, landed at the Falls and walked home by 10 p.m." On 23 August H.M.S. Pearl arrived from Santa Cruz with the bodies of Commodore Goodenough and two of his men, "wounded by savages with arrows at the Island; they were buried at St. Thomas's Cemetery with Naval honours, the largest concourse of people ever on the North Shore to attend the funeral". He was invited by Thomas Mort to inspect the Meat Freezing works, then to Bowenfels by. special train drawn by 3 engines and "partook of a sumptuous luncheon". They got home at 2.15 a.m, and saw a brief snowfall. A man started digging a tank 20'x 1-'x12' on his land at Blue's Point; then he decided to make it 4 ft. longer. He went to Sutton Forest with a Mr. Richardson to inspect a small house and 6 acres of land, but turned it down. On the way back he called on Henry Badgery at Mt. Broughton. As Agent for Parbury Lamb & Coy. he bought Towns Wharf and Stores for £15,000. He was afraid Frank had gout; he said "My Father was a dreadful sufferer from it, and died from it". Selina had her 38th. birthday. The Nugent Browns, who had been staying with them, left for Queensland by the Boomeran-, taking "29 head of young pure bred Devons and Herefords, and a fine Horse". The men finished the
tank at Blues Point, "having expended 137 days' labour at it". They then started the foundations of a house on the site, but soon walked off. He put up a new 764-gallon tank at home. On 2 November a big bush fire starte "all about North Shore, a large portion of fence at the cemetery destroyed.
In the evening a large fire commenced at the head of Neutral Bay". He and Frank and Harry went to within - mile of it. Next day: "Fires raging all over North Shore, coming in dangerous proximity to outlying Houses. Occupants are in many places much alarmed. Fire Engines have been sent from Sydney, but returned, being useless from want of water". "People are engaged in various places beating out fires and clearing away scrub. Houses in Neutral Bay were in great danger yesterday". He took George with him to Bowenfels, to inspect a house there he was thinking of buying "for the residence of my Family during the Sununer months", but found it too dilapidated. He walked 2- miles to the station, slept in the waiting room, and left for home at 2.15 a.m. His friend John Reeve of Cavendish Square died.1 It was very dry, there was not a vegetable in the garden, potatoes were 10/- cwt, and beef 5-d lb. He left at 5.15 to inspect 1200 acres 2 miles from Rydal, which was under offer to him for £1050. He arrived at midnigh- rose at daylight and strolled around, finding the "conformation of the lan- very pretty", but when he got a horse and rode to the land, he found it very poor, so he went to look at another property; he left Rydal at 1.30 a.m. He became "Very unwell", and had a telegram from Selina saying she was bringing the baby back from Abbotsford, Picton, as he was sick. When he got home after meeting her and taking the baby to the doctor to have hi- gums lanced, he found Mrs William Antill and her baby, and Mr Alick Antill there - "so we are very inconveniently full". He took George on another visit of inspection, this time to Marulan, to look at a property of 455 acres of freehold and 300 acres pre-emptive right, with a cottage on it. He reached the hotel at midnight and inspected the place the next morning'j then the vendor, John Ferguson, drove them to see the Shoalhaven Gorge.
He "subsequently bought the whole Property for £625. This is the only transaction of this kind that I ever did on the Sabbath day, but circumstances controlled us, and I hope no sin was committed". They left MarulaI4 at 2 a.m, and a quarter of an hour later got out at Sutton Forest, where they walked up the line, looking for his brother-in-law's place, but after dawn a fog came down, and it was 5.30 a.m. before they found the house.
A fortnight later, he "cancelled the purchase of the Marulan property, in consequence of finding that objectionable roads and a water reserve existed on it, which had been concealed from me when I purchased it". Apparently Mr Ferguson had not quite the same scruples! He describes the drought, and mentions prices of butter - "at times not obtainable at any price," - hay up to £10 ton wholesale, and meat 7d. lb. retail. Vegetables, imported from the Colony of Melbourne, were very dear. He thanks God for his family's escape from Scarlet Fever, "which has so dreadfully ravaged the Ct>lonies", and says: "I attribute our immunity to the fact that during all the time it was near about us, some 3 months or more, Painting or Varnishing was going on either to the inside or outside of the House, and that the aroma from it kept away as a disin
fectant the fever".
Ella passed her Junior University exam "with great credit.
He speaks of the increasing expenses of his growing family, says his income does not keep pace with them, and as a result he is "still fur"":' ther trenching on the accumulation of former years". He was trying to sell Pictonville, "with the view of living in smaller premises, and so lessen my expenses".
Still looking for somewhere else to live, further out, he drove one day along the Gordon Road, then not much more than a bush track, and was most impressed with the magnificent trees, growing tall and straight, at the top of a slow rise, at a point where the horses started to trot downhill again, towards the old Greengate Hotel, the only building in the vicinity. He bought about 43- acres "at Lane Cove thinking that some time I may be glad to retire to it and live there".
lS76. In January, the cable-laying ships Hibernia and Edinburgh. started laying the cable from Botany Bay to New Zealand; it was tested and handed over on 21 February. Meat had risen to Sd. lb. The drought was now "very serious. Stock are dying in large numbers, wat.er is drying up, fruit trees are nearly leafless, fruit we have none". By March the Government was sending water across to Blue's Point and Milson's Point in the steamer. In April, for only the second time in over 21 years, he bought water - 2 60-gallon casks. Edward Bingham died. He transferred his office to the New Zealand Ins. Coy. Building. A bamboo sofa on which Selina was lying broke; she fell, and suffered "great pain from Neuralgia in head" for 10 days. He recalls that the day they first moved into Pictonville was the anniversary - 4 May - of when his father-in-law, Major Henry Colden Antill, was wounded, and decorated, at the Battle of Seringapatam. He bottled a cask of 14 doz. Colonial Wine. Their 12th child was born while he was absent in Town - the first time he had not been there. On his way to Newcastle, on the Maitland, they collided at the Heads with a "Barque, bound in, sustaining damage to both vessels". Scarlet Fever was still raging; no church service, the incumbent being too weak to officiate. He attended a meeting to discuss "a Bridge from Sydney to the North Shore, presided over by the Mayor of Sydney. It became a complete burlesque, in consequence of the ignorance of the parties promoting the scheme". He killed the last pig; it weighed 165 Ibs. He took Selina to look at Mr Aiken's property at Lane Cove, and a fortnight later completed the purchase of 32- acres; he gave it to Selina. Thus by 2 August, 1876, he had bought 80 acres. J. G. Edwards, the Estate Agent said he sold the SO-acre farm to him for £S25.
Pockley's remarks about the necessity of economising effectively give the lie to the story that he decided to move from St. Leonards because Selina felt herself subject to occasional snubs from neighbours, over her convict ancestry. Actually, when friends knew he contemplated
moving his family "out into the bush", they said he was mad, and that "they would be eaten by the blacks".
He set men to work on the Blues Point land "to cut off some of the top and level the slopes". Jessie Antill, their niece, married Walter Burt. He bought a new buggy, and harness, sent his cow Daisy to grass at Campbellfield, and returned to the vendor a horse he had recently bought, and instead bought one called Duke. He put him in the buggy and went to the farm. On 10 September there was a storm "such as I never before remember to have experienced from any quarter, the wind driving perfectly horizontally. On looking out at daybreak I saw 2 ships ashore at Neutral Bay". A number of his trees were blown down, and part of his fence broken. He brought home a ne\'l Sociable, "which was much admired". The girls walked to the farm and back, a distance of over 12 miles. By now a Colonial 15 was able to play England cricket. He engaged a gardener at 12/- week. Smallpox broke out on a ship, and "all persons who have been on board have been arrested and sent to Quarantine. I am in dread of being sent there myself, as I was on board surveying hatches last Monday". He housed in the new coach house, now nearly finished, "a few hundred weight of good oaten Hay grown here". He escaped quarantine; "I suppose the authorities are ignorant of my.having been on board".
1877. On New Year's Day Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India at Delhi. He took Selina to the "Menagerie and circus". There were more smallpox deaths. He contracted with 4 men to clear 10 acres of the farm at Lane Cove, at £10 acre; they pitched their tent there. The foundation stone of the new building for the A.M.P. was laid. Acting as Agent for the widow of Mr Reeve, he sold a property in Pitt St. to Hon. Alexander Campbell, for £25,400 - a rate of £200 per foot frontage; "This is the highest price ever realised for any land, large or small, in the history of the Colony of N.S.W.". "3 March. The street gas lamps on North Shore lighted for first time, the Gas Coy. having now so far completed their arrangements as to make and supply gas". Ethel's 9th birthday was the second anniversary of the day the Duke of Edinburgh was shot at Clontarf. Pockley laid on gas from the Gas Coy, and discontinued making his own. He was elected one of a Committee of 5 to select the successful tenderer for additions to St. Thomas's Church. They chose John Jago's tender of £620, for the base course and foundations, with the right to have the whole of the stonework completed within 6 months, for £2,000 more. He bought a new Dog Cart and drove to the farm; "At leaving there, my Horse reared, fell, and smashed to pieces both shafts. We were brought home by Mr Aiken, our tenant, in his trap". In April "the Australian Blondin walked the tightrope, stretched across below the falls at Middle Harbour; immense crowds on land and water witnessed the performance". St. Thomas's was "first lighted with gas". News came that Russia had begun war against Turkey. His brother William arrived in command of the Tangore, from Galle. On 11 May he recorded a "tidal phenomenon, on this coast and in New Zealand", and 4 days later it was reported that a town on the west coast of America had been destroyed by an earthquake. On one return trip from Newcastle,
there were 1000 sheep on board. William was now in command of the China. For the second time in his life, all four brothers met under his roof. His favourite cow Daisy came back with a calf. A man began trenching the orchard at Lane Cove. William had been transferred to the Avoca. "Coming home from the Farm at Lane Cove, drove foul of a Stump and was thrown out. Norman fell on me and the Horse started away and then fouled another Stump and threw Ethel out, fortunately none much hurt. The Horse was arrested by some men." John Alexander, the father of Selina's uncle James Alexander, died in his 8lst year. Tom, on his 36th birthday, sent them "a splendid wild turkey" from Murrurundi. R.F.P. arranged to go into parterns hip with Charles Christopher Maitland - who had married his cousin Louisa Baker Swain - in a business at Inverell, and paid a depost of £250. A Deed was drawn up, and he paid a further £1300 to Maitland. He gave Powell notice to fence the boundary of the farm. Margaret Campbell, their "indented apprentice", had her 18th birthday. Aiken, his tenant at the farm, finally left. The Avoca arrived, under Capt. Almond, with William as a passenger. When R.F.P. was up a ladder, repairing a sunblind, the ladder fell, "precipitating me on to the garden bed, stunning and severely bruising or breaking my rib at the junction with the breastbon- Dr Ward was immediately in attendance". "Mrs Maitland" - his cousin Louisa - and 6 of her children came to stay, and 5 days later they and George left for Inverell, "George to find occupation there". Four days later a telegram announced their safe arrival.
"Thanks to AlmighW God for his merciful kindness to me and mine throughout the year, no serious illness has visited any of us... I find my expenses exceed my income. The rearing and education of such a large family is more than I appear able to accomplish at my occupation... This is the first New Years Day my Wife and I have not spent together. She feeling unwell and out of sorts, went all alone to spend a few days at Kurrajong".
1878. Great damage was done to houses in Waverley and Woolloomooloo by heavy rain early in the year. Mosquitoes were "very voracious". Selina had a heavy fall, knocked out a front tooth, cut her lip and chin, and suffered severe bruising. She was ill 3 weeks later, "the result of the fall and over-exertion, in consequence of want of servants". A month after the fall, Selina "underwent long surgical operation, and is very ill". He got blight in his eye. He engaged a couple for the farm, and had a talk with Mr Pearce Snr, about some land on the Peates Ferry Rd, which Pearce offered him. Thomas Mort, who had been his friend for 30 years, died. He bought a 92--acre block at "South Colah, parish of Gordon", from Jno.Holland, alias Pearce, for £3 acre. He sent a lot of timber to the farm, and bought a horse for £20 and spring car- for £15. He sold his cow Dolly for £3. The clearing at the farm-as finished by Pearce. His cow Darkey calved at the farm, and he brought' them to the house. Ploughing at the farm started. Their apprentice Margaret Campbell, who had been with them for 5 years, and endeared herself greatly to all the children, left to go to her mother. At the annual general meeting of the Great
Western Copper Mining Coy, it was resolved to wind it up. He had invested £1600 in it, and expected to lose all that and more. He had been a Director for its 6 years of life. His friend and neighbour Conrad Martens died.,
Staff at the farm planted 300 orange trees, 100 mandarins and 10 lemon trees. Selina went to Picton for a month. George returned from Inverell. His new apprentice girl ran away, and "we are thus without servants of any kind". A Mrs Liardel and her child and black servant came to stay. On a trip back from Newcastle he met a Mr James Finley Alexander of Glasgow; they were the only passengers. Employees of the A.S.N. Coy. were on strik- over the Coy. employing Chinese on some of their ships. There was a motioD in the House, proposing the extension of the railways by a line to Waterlo- Randwick, Coogee, Waverly, Woollahra, paddington, Glenmore Rd, Darlinghurst: and Woolloomooloo! He sowep 3 rows of orange seed from Raratonga.
He says he is feeling the effects of working "without a day's holiday, so many years of undeviating application to work, without a spell of rest or recreation of any kind". "The year is still experiencing the most serious conflict between employers and employees ever known here... The stoppage of the Coy's. extensive operations is most disastrous to the Coy. and indeed to the whole Colony".
1879. The strike ended on 3 January. He arranged with one Waterhouse to plough the orchard for 35/- acre. Nectarines were abundant, and his apple trees were "breaking down with their heavy crop." He suffered a lot of pain when his horse trod on his right big toe. He put on a new man-servant at 12/- week. At last N.S.W. was able to play an English cricket XI - Lord Harris' team - with only 11 men in its own team. N.S.W. won. Amy Antill came to live with them, to go to Miss Flowers' school with the girls. News of the Kelly gang robbing the Bank of N.S.W. at Jerilderie. He planted 100 cabbages, and "Daisy my pet cow produced an entirely white heifer calf". He sowed oats "at the Farm, Mount Wrangle".
He sold Lot 8, Section F, of. William Blue's Subdivision, near Blues Point, to John Thomas, for £380 - £8 per foot frontage. He sent George to the farm to erect a workman's house there. John Antill, exhibiting Ayrshire stock at the Exhibition, came to stay. He bought another horse for the farm, and paid £10 for a tip dray. A daughter (Enid) was born, and their old servant Margaret Campbell returned to them: it was 20 years to the day since their third child, who died in infancy, was born. He says: "I believe the rain was induced by the quantity of fire works exploded". They killed a pig weighing 234 lbs. More orange and lemon trees, and pear trees were planted at the orchard. Frank rowed in an eight. The man in charge at the farm broke his arm, falling against the chaff cutter. He attended the Levee of the new Governor, Lord Loftus. He and Selina had their 21st anniversary - "Our Silver Wedding Day". They were drawing and stacking hay at the farm, and cutting the last of the oats. Five of William Antill's family came to stay. He bought a grand piano at the sale of furniture of friends who were leaving for England. All the crothers were there together again. They were digging potatoes at the farm. At his table for Christmas dinner were he and his wife, his 3 brothers, and
children Frank, Ella, Harry, Norman, Mabel, Gillie, Harold, Eric, and Enid - 14; Ethel and Flo were at Picton.
1880. On New Years Day, he drove some of the family to see his land at South Colah. All the family except Enid had lunch on board the La Hague, on which Frank was about to leave for Scotland. Two bushrangers were hanged. He accompanied Harry to Newcastle, prior to his going to Hong Kong as a sailor. The La Hague arrived in London, after a journey of 86 days. They killed a 250-lb. pig. Yet another court case, this time resulting in a "compromise". The brothers all met again for the last time, as William was off to England. "28 June. Information of the capture of Ned Kelly and the killing of his 3 mates, all Bushrangers and atrocious murderers, in Victoria, reached us". Mrs Colden Harrison and her daughter Rose came on a visit. Harry's seafaring life was short-lived, for his ship soon returned to port, leaking. However, despite all his father's arguments against it, he determined to stick to it, and left in the Woollahra. The driest 4 months ever; sickness and deaths attributed to it. The transept at St. Thomas's was opened for service, the sermon being preached by Bishop Barker.
Just over a year ago he had gone to look at a house and about 4 acres at Picton belonging to a William Oliver; in September he bought it and sent the money to William Antill at Abbotsford; it was known as the "Red House". He moved his office again, this time to 3 Gresham St; he had at one time or another been at Lower Fort St, Macquarie Place, 22 Bridge St, Custom House building in Castlereagh St, 91 and 77 Pitt St, and 20 Loftus St. He caught bronchitis; Selina was ill, and Enid and Flo had measles, and the rest of the children had feverish colds. Then Mabel, Norman and Eric got measles. He took George and 3 workmen to Picton to work on the newly-purchased house, which he proposed to call "Brookside". Enid was very sick, and Dr Ward applied leeches behind the ears. He took Selina and 2 children to Jarvisfield, where there were also 9 other guests, apart from the usual family. Selina had "an alarming issue of blood" again.
Rev. Edward Rogers, who had married him in 1854, died. George was left at Picton to supervise the work at Brookside; R.F.P. went up again next weekend, and in fact every week-end for some weeks. Selina continued far from well for some time. The overseer at the farm came to say that someone had set fire to the haystack; 2 tons of hay was burnt. He returned, found the stables on fire, wrote at 2 p.m. to tell Pockley of it, and the letter reached Pictonville at 6 p.m! The next day Pockley left at 5 a.m, arrived -t 6, and found the stables, shed, chaff cutter, dray and plough harness, 4 tons of hay, tools, cases, corn bin, corn bags, "lots of sundry things, and a wheel and side of the dray, and part of the yard fencing, totally destroyed
He had to verell, in order realised it, but from the fire at take over the "unfortunate Storekeeping Business at Into save as much as I can from total Loss. I have not yet it must amount to thousands". He calculated his loss the orchard at £150; "I am so fully occupied that I have
not time to reflect or brood over my losses. I am...painfully aware that the steady application of both Body and mind I have devoted to endeavours to maintain my large and expensive family is making its mark, and that I am surely tho' slowly becoming less and less vigorous in both. Thankful I am that God still vouchsafes me my health to still persevere without murmur" .
1881. George came back from Brookside on 22 February, the alterations being complete. Very heavy rain and hail caused much damage. He sen- a man to repair broken glass; was re-elected a Churchwarden; he had been one for 15 years. His servant decamped. He signed the lease of Rock Roof Coal Mine to a Mr Baker.
On 27 April, 1881, he signed a contract selling Pictonville to Thomas A. Adams for £9,000. "Since the date of first occupying the House I have at different times as opportunity offered, purchased adjoining blocks of land, so that the whole now comprises 5a 1 r 14P, having frontagesl to Lane Cove Rd. 320 ft, to Berry St. 520 ft, to Edward St. 560 ft, and to Bay St. 263 ft. I have also added to the origina1 House, until it is the largest, most complete and best Premises on the North Shore. Fourteen children have been born to us here, 3 of whom have died here, we have now 11 living, ... Frank is in Edinburgh studying for the medical profession, Harry is expected hourly on the Barque Woollahra, on which he is an Apprentice. My Wife's Mother died here also. The place is endeared to me by everything I venerate, and no adequate estimate can be formed of my attachment to it. It was all wild bush when my hands felled the first tree on it to make room for the House; every spot on it is hallowed by some momentol of my dear children, some living, some dead - and I alone know, or ever will know, the struggle I have had to overcome my reluctance to part with it, but a stern sense of duty to my family has convinced me that I must not let my private feelings prevent me doing for them all what my judgement\ tells me I ought to do, and my conscience tells me I have done right in selling the property. My dear Wife will deeply grieve at parting with the place she is so fondly attached to, where we have together enjoyed the smiles, and borne the frowns of fate, for 16 years (within a few days), but, I hope by God's blessing she will agree to the sacrifice for our dear children's sake which circumstances call upon us to make for them." They gave "a children's dancing party, which was kept up till 3 a.m." He sold his 92- acres at South Colah for £30 acre. The dog-cart was re-painted, and he bought a horse from William Antill for £28.
On 9 July, he started to vacate Pictonville; 6 of the children were sent to Jarvisfield and Abbotsford. The Flying Squadron, with two sons of the Prince of Wales on board, arrived after being held up by a heavy gale. Over the next 18 days furniture and chattels were being sent to Brookside, and on 26th Harry and Norman left, taking the sociable, the horse Sailor Boy and Selina's saddle mare, Dolly Varden; they planned to reach there the .next day.
"27 July. The last load of our chattels left today, and at 4 p.m. I drove away in my Dog Cart, having my Wife, my Daughter Alice and Baby (Enid) with us, my Brother George also accompanying us, driving my spring cart loaded with our chattels. Thus we quitted the dear old home which we have occupied uninterruptedly since 4 May, 1855. I have now, like Jacob of old, become two bands, having 6 daughters and 5 sons living. We reached our property at Gordon at 5.20 p.m, and located in the small cottage which I have lately had built there,.." Two days later he took Selina and the 2 girls to Picton. They stayed at Jarvisfield for a couple of days, while the furniture at Brookside was being arranged and the carpets put down. There was a heavy frost. He took Flo and Ethel to Miss Flowers', and with only Norman as company, returned to the cottage at Gordon, "which for the present we call Mount Wrangle". The eldest son of the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of the statue of the Queen.
Pockley started a new phase of life, driving in his Dog Cart every morning; it took him about 15 minutes to reach Walls' Hay Store and Stables, where he left the horse and cart. Prince Edward laid another foundation stone at St. Thomas's, Willoughby, "the Churchwardens hip of which I have recently resigned". The 27th Anniversary of his marriage was the first they had not spent together. Dr Ward vaccinated those living at or visiting the farm - Flo, Ethel, Norman and himself, and he and Norman were not well afterwards. After a day in bed, he was driving to Town when his horse shied, jumped a bank and threw him out; his knees were cut and his shoulder bruised. The horse bolted, he followed in a bus, and the horse was caught 3 miles on, and as dog cart and harness were not damaged, he put him in and drove him on. However, as the horse had shied like that before, he decided never to drive him again. In the evening he borrowed a horse from the stables, leaving his Boatswain there. He then sent Boatswain to Brookside by train, and got Dolly back instead. Tabby, the cat they had brought with them when they left Pictonville, 41 days earlier, turned up "very thin and hungry, and at once made herself at home". He stayed at home for a few days, with a pain in his breast. A letter c.ame from his brother William's friend, Miss Buckhurst, saying a letter she had written to him at Bombay had been returned marked "Deceased". "This leaves no doubt that my dear Brother is dead; and I believe it was greatly the result of the unjust treatment he has received at the hands of the P. & o. Coy." He went to Town by bus, "roads being in such bad condition by mud and ruts." Harry left to Jackeroo at Mr Kater's IIMumblebone". He sold 27 acres - "curtis's grant" - at Gordon for £300. He bought a buggy and drove home in it, but 2 days later exchanged it for a better one, and bought a set of secondhand harness. He received confirmation from several sources of William's death at Bombay. Grandfather gave my father a watch for his 11th birthday. A fortnight later "Norman had a narrow escape from being seriously hurt.
He was driving the dog cart to Town when the mare trod on a loose stone and stumbled, threw Norman quite out, but in falling he grasped the shaft and splash board, and clung on to this awkward and dangerous position until I succeeded in pulling the mare up after she had bolted some 200 or 300 yards, when we reached our destination. Norman found his ankle so painful
where it must have been struck, that he had to remain there and return home by the first morning bus at 10.30 a.m." At 2.30 one morning soon afterwards, he was seized with a violent pain "in right side of Belly and Back". George fomented the "affected parts" with hot flannels and turpentine, which gave very little relief. After some violent vomiting, Dr Ward arrived at 9 a.m., and found that he had "passed a calculus".
A large tree 300 yards from Brookside, and 100 yards from another which had been struck by lightning 5 weeks before, was also struck. When he got back to Gordon from Brookside, it was 950 at 8 p.m.
1882. In January he had his first toothache - he was just on 59. He began construction of servants' quarters at Brookside. "18 Jan. The A.S.N. Coy's. Wharf, Stores, Houses, etc. in Darling Harbour and Sussex St. were purchased by me today at Auction for the Union Steamship Coy. of New Zealand for .-5,000." With 3 children and 7 friends they were on their way to Sydney from Picton when they saw Leila Antill and her mother as they passed in a train at Liverpool. On 1 February, he "opened tenders for Blocks 4 and 5 of the Redfern Estate; the highest tender was £85,000, but the reserve was £,l00,000". It was the driest season ever known at Picton; the creek was nothing but a few scattered, shallow pools; water for domestic use had to be bought at the station and carted home. On reaching the orchard on his return, he "witnessed a grand but unwelcome spectacle. A bush fire had started at the edge of the cleared ground, and spread all over the uncleared ground with awful rapidity and fury. Only by great exertion the cottage was saved, a great deal of fencing and useful cut wood is destroyed. The sight at night was truly grand, an uninterrupted plane of fire reaching from Bush to top of trees surrounds us from North round East to about S.W. A breeze sprang up later, making the spectacle truly splendid to witness, the smoke however is very oppressive. I dare say I may estimate my loss from this fire at over £lOO". Next morning he found a "picture of desolation. A hundred men for a month would not have created such a change in the aspect of the place." His left eye was suffused with blood and very painful. While driving to Town a few days later, "in endeavouring to pass Tulloh's Buggy, I drove over a log and capsized the Dog Cart and fell out. The Dog Cart was greatly damaged, Dolly very little hurt, I am however a good deal shaken, have a bruised swollen left ankle joint and wrenched about the left loin, from which I have a good deal of pain." Tulloh took him to the stables, and he had the dog cart and harness picked up for repair. He went into Town and back with a neighbour for a few days. Ella came down and preserved some peaches, spending all day at it. He had another bout of pain at5 a.m.; Dr Ward was sent for, and arrived at noon. He prescribed medicine, which came in the evening, but the pain lasted intermittently till about 4 the next afternoon. The doctor said it was another calculus passing. His neighbour Thomas Powell, a former Inspector in the Water Police; whom he had known for 30 years, died. At Brookside hefound the whole household suffering from influenza; then Selina felt
the approach of a baby. In the afternoon he wired Sydney for Dr. Ward, but by 6.15 "another daughter came safely forth". It was Selina's 15th child. "Never before has my Wife suffered less or got quicker over the event". At 9 p.m. he got Dr. Ward's telegram, and drove to the station to meet him and he reached Brookside at 11 p.m. He "was thankful to God to hear him say that the confinement had gone on quite right, and that Wife and Baby were doing very well. So much for Number IS." The drought had become the worst in the district in the history of the Colony; on 29 March John Antill set out for Moss Vale with all his cattle, "there not being a blade of grass on his own Estate." Three sailors, passing Brookside in search of work, were engaged to paint the new buildings. At Gordon, his old horse Morgan fell dead in the shafts of the dray 26 May. The Railway Surveyors came on my ground for the first time and marked out a line through it, at about the middle of it,for a proposed Railway from North Shore to join the Northern Railway."
He began planting 2000 strawberry plants. Roads were in a terrible state, and he went to Town by bus. A man and his wife came as servants, at ..::65 year, "with house accommodation." Guy Antill and friends were throwing stones down Razorback, and hit R.F.P's. servant boy; a doctor stitched the cut. The British Fleet was bombarding Alexandria. He spent a public holiday planting camellias, roses, azaleas. and a magnolia. His cousins James and Edward Swain paid a visit. A great friend, Capt. Robert Johnston, R.N., died at his estate "Annandale"; he was a distant connection of Selina's. At Brookside men were bricking a new tank he had had dug - 15'6" deep and 15' in diameter. He took Norman to see the opera "Mignon", and on to Newcastle at 11 p.m. They got back to Sydney in the early morning, and slept on board till 5.30 a.m., when they heard that the Garden Palace was in flames, and the neighbouring houses - one of which was Miss Flowers' school - were in dan-er. He and Norman rushed to see that Ethel and Flo were safe; by 7.30 the whole Palace was in ruins. "The fire was intensely fierce whilst it lasted, sheets of iron from it were carried nearly a mile by the draught only, it being calm at the time".
The girls were safe, so he and Norman had breakfast at the Coffee Garden. Selina had her 45th birthday, and for the first time since he had known her, he was not there.The next day was George's 44th. The collier Woniora foundered, with only one survivor. When he went to Brookside in November one week-end, he "found no conveyance, so walked, arriving at 8.50 p.m." The Orient Coy's. steamer Austral sank at her anchor in Neutral Bay. He had another attack of severe pain, summoned George to apply hot cloths and hot bricks, and sent Norman in the bus for the doctor. He got back at noon with medicine, and the doctor arrived at 2 p.m. and gave him an injection. A second doctor said he had uric acid, and that Norman's vomiting was diarrhoea. Dr. Atherton advised him to be careful of his diet, and not to eat much meat or drink much fermented liquor, "but the drinking I have always avoided, and now -ever take Beer or other fermented liquors, and but very little of wines or spirits .". Harry, now 5 '11", returned from "Mumblebone", after an absence of 18 months. At Brookside at Christmas the whole family was gathered, except Frank who was still overseas.
Selina had a letter from a Mr. Bell, whose daughter was a servant., Bell referred to Selina's "unladylike manner" in speaking to Mrs. Bell, said she would not be the mistress he would choose for his daughter, and said: "I shall expect my daughter home to-morrow evening, and if she does not come, I shall go for her myself.
R.F.P. replied, saying he had no desire to retain the girl against! his wishes, but "must decline to let her leave until a matter is arranged between you and me which, had she continued in my employ, I most probably should never have referred to ... I therefore recommend you to see me without delay." I was intrigued, but found out nothing more.
1883. On New Year's Day he and George took a drive along Stony Creek Rd., thence to Irish Town and Pearce's Corner, and he enjoyed the quiet rest. Coming home one evening, he found Selina and 6 children and the nurse all arrived unexpectedly. Norman started school at Mr. Weiss'sl in Phillip St. "A very large tree, known by us as 'Magog', which was being grubbed up, fell during the night. Its mate 'Gog' was grubbed up some months ago." A servant who "is so addicted to drinking that I cannot keep him any longer", left and was replaced by a Mr. and Mrs. Bell.
On 19 February, 18 months after they left Pictonville, a man namedl Horner delivered the first bricks for the new house. They started carting stone from the back ground for foundations. The Austral was raised andl grounded at Careening Cove. On 9 March the first foundation stone of thel new house was laid; his 60th birthday was the next day. A red bull at large in the Bush came into the Paddock and paid his addresses to Darkey. New stables were being put up. Four bricklayers started; 200 orange trees were being planted. Four of the children visited the dentist. When getting on to the ferry at Lavender Bay, Gillie fell into the water, and was pulled out by the Master; no injury has occurred. Selina engaged an immigrant couple for Brookside at .C:60 year. On the way into Town, the bus bogged at Gows Hill, and passengers - including Selina carrying the baby - had to walk. The new Lighthouse at South Head, capable of using oil, gas or electricity, was used for the first time; electricity was used, and the reflection of the light on the clouds was reported visible 45 miles away. He recalls being present on 3 July, 18501 when the first sod of the first railway in Australia was turned at Redfern; the day was cold and wet. An earthquake at Casamicciola, Ischia, was reported to have caused, 5000 deaths; 100 families disappeared completely. The ruins are filled with the dead, and already the effluvium from the corpses is of so pestilential a character that it is impossible for the police and military to recover and bury them. The authorities have therefore been obliged to desist, and after they have covered the ruins with quicklime, the dead have been left and the town abandoned by the few survivors.>
His citrus trees at the orchard, now 5 years old, began to bear. The main part of the brickwork was completed. Frank came out from Scotland for a short trip, and he and "his intended, Ellie Hooke",went to Brookside. An old friend, Thomas Whitton, committed suicide by shooting himself in his brother's garden. After a hectic 3 weeks, Frank left by the express for Melbourne, to catch his ship back to London. R.F.P. had another most painful bout, Dr. Ward being with him from 7 till 11 p.m.; he stayed at home for 4 days. At Christmas they had a big party at Brookside, and on his return on Boxing Day he said: "Left Picton by 9 a.m. train, but did not reach Lorne till 6.30 p.m." This is the first time Mount Wrangle has been called Lorne.
In his year-end soliloquy, he says he is getting old, and that his hitherto robust constitution is beginning to break up. He had lost his first tooth during the year - at age 60. He says he has had no time for rest and reflection, and still less for recreation: "I cannot avoid the anxiety of reflecting upon what may befall my young family in the event of serious illness or death seizing me ... My Orchard has disappointed me greatly for as yet there has been comparatively speaking no return from it, nor is there ever much probability of its ever paying interest on capital invested. "
1884. On 7 January the thermometer under the back verandah registered 111 degrees. A plumber was fitting gas pipes to the house, and plasterers commenced on the upstairs rooms. The heat brought on another bush fire near his boundary. There were now 6 carpenters and 4 plasterers at work. For the first time a continuous water supply had been suspended, the drought was having serious effects on the inland, with losses of property, sickness and deaths. Prince Leopold died, and Ships of War and the Fort discharged minute guns all day. The Oriental Bank closed its doors. Norman walked home from Circular Quay in 1-3/4 hours; the roads were so bad that they remained at home. William Vanderbyl of London called on him; he was 23, and 6'3".
He felt pains coming on, and got the 2.30 bus home. As it reached his boundary fence, the tyre came off and he had to walk, in considerable pain, to the cottage, where he managed to crawl into bed. He was all alone, but George found him at 8 p.m. He had a terrible night, with "Great suffering in the lumbar region, back and groin, spent entirely alone and powerless to move". He sent a telegram to Selina, and despatched George for Dr. Ward. George then went in to meet Selina; Dr. Ward could not come. So there he was, very much alone, incommunicado, and in a lot of pain. George missed Selina, but she got a cab, and arrived at 8 p.m., herself not well. He reflected: "Up to Selina's arrival I had only such attention as George could give me whilst he was here, which was for only a short period. As he went twice to St. Leonards, I felt that there must be something wrong about all my arrangements, when I was thus left entirely alone in my oId age, sick and in great pain, although I had a Wife and numerous family, and paid 4 servants, but circumstances arranged it should
be so". Next day he wrote: "Scarcely remember what this day was like". He suffered great pain for the next four days, but on the fifth day he was able to get up. He went to a Dr. Hoff, "who applied galvanic battery to pain in my back and groin, but it appears to have very little effect'-. Norman started at Sydney Grammar School. A German vine-pruner and his son commenced to prune his vines. Frank wrote that he passed his final exams with distinction.The cess-pit was finished.He bemoaned the fact that he spent his 30th wedding anniversary alone except for Norman: "Amongst all the vicissitudes of my wedded life, and they have not been few or of small importance, although I have a Wife and 12 children, all in fairly good health, I am living absolutely alone in my little iron House, with only my son Norman for a companion ... I have not been to Brookside since Easter, and am almost a stranger to them. I am not very happy under such circumstances, but must not complain". A second water tank was being sunk. Catherine Conran, Selina's cousin, and wife of Lt. Col. Conran, died. Selina took first prize at the Picton Show for her fowls, cabbages and needlework; their horse Denmark took a second. The new nave at St. Thomas's was opened.
Pasted in is a long newspaper account of the loss of the yacht Mignonette. After 18 days in a dinghy, the 4 survivors decided to kill and eat the cabin boy, who was very weak. Captain Dudley ran a penknife into the boy's jugular, they collected and drank the blood, and suCsisted for 5 days on his flesh, before being picked up by the Montezuma.
The cart horse Captain died of old age during the night. A carpenter was putting up scaffolding for the windmill. Four men and himself held a meeting with the incumbent of St. John's, Gordon, to consider building a parsonage. He bought Selina a chestnut mare to ride. A bee stunq Selina on the upper lip. He bought a place "near Waterhouse's", from a Mr. Turner, and bricklayers were erecting 2 chimneys there. At Christmas the family was again complete except for Frank. He was convinced that his days "this side of Heaven will be full of the ailments incidental to old age". His investments again worried him; shares which he bought in the Pacific Ins. Coy. for 73/- were down to barely 40/-.The orchard was now growing oranges, mandarins, lemons, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, quinces, figs, grapes, strawberries and pears.
1885. January saw preparations for the transfer of the family from Brookside to Lorne. Seven cases of books came down, the children were spread round among relatives, and only he, Selina, Ella and servants remained at Brookside. At 1.45 on 19th, the auction sale began; it lasted till dark. The piano, which cost him ::100, brought £30. After wards the place was filthy from the mud tramped in by people attending the sale.That was his last night there.Then at Lorne there started arriving the cow, the fowls, and daily instalments of furniture.
"7 Feb. The last instalment of the Family having arrived, we dined in the new House, and it is the first meal we have taken in it, so
we may now say that we have today entered on the occupation of the new House, the building of which was commenced on 10 March, 1883. The place is not yet finished, however, Painter, Carpenter and Paper Hanger are still employed". An upholsterer and french polisher still had to do their stuff. A cabman and his horse were struck dead by lightning at Randwick. His horse Denmark and the waggonet and dog cart arrived, and the grand piano, stored when they left pictonville. England accepted the N.S.W. offer of troops for the Soudan.
"3 March. This being a holiday, went to Office accompanied by Wife, Ella, Florie, Norman, Muriel, Harold, Eric, Enid and Jane the servant, and witnessed the progress of the Troops as they passed my Office. This Tuesday will be a memorable day in the history of this Colony - as the day the first Australian Troops left its shores. They are bound to Suakim, to join Her Majesty's Army there, engaged in War with the rebels under the Mahdi in the Soudan. The greatest concourse of people ever yet collected in the Australian Colonies assembled to witness the departure of the Troops and wish there God Speed. It is a day to be remembered indeed, young Australia going to help dear old Mother England punish her enemies. Who will dare to insinuate ever after this that England and New South Wales are not identified as of one Nation". He concluded the sale of the last of his land fronting Lavender Bay, 81'10". A 6-ft. square section of the sitting room ceiling fell down. He slept in the new house for the first time on 10 March, though it was not finished or furnished, and it was not comfortable; on 14th he moved his bedstead from his "old camp in the cottage and took permanent possession of the bed room in the new House". Selina engaged a young Chinaman as a servant. On his way to Town, Denmark fell and broke both knees, but did not damage the buggy or harness. At Easter he took the spring cart and the dog cart, and took all the children for a picnic at Cowan Creek. On 13 April Frank returned as Surgeon on the immigrant steamer Aberdeen, and on the same day Walter Pockley, "eldest son of my late Brother William appeared at my Office about noon, making my acquaintance for the first time". Harold and Eric started school at Mr Baker's, at St. Leonards. Then came the first of many identical entries "Walter Pock ley now living with us, unemployed". He bought a brown 6-yr. old horse called Badger, and Norman rode him home. Frank undertook to do a locum for Dr. Ward. Their old dog Bruce was found in the road about 100 yards from their gate, with a bullet in his back. Two months after he moved his bed into Lorne, his "Table and Fixings" were moved in.
For the first time his wife and all 12 children were under the same roof: "How gratified I am to Almighty God He alone knows, for allowing me this happiness ... we are all in good health and are free from any serious anxiety, none of our relations are in ill health, and if we are not in affluent circumstances, we have all essential comfort about us. I pray that God may continue His loving kindness to one and all of us. I think that it must be of rare occurrence that the Parents and all 12 of their surviving children meet together in health and comfort". The. N.S.W. troops returned from Egypt. Rain fell for 65- hours without stop.
The whole family sat for photographs.
"I July. I am feeling very unwell, and have entirely lost my voice, can speak only in whispers. This being my Son Frank's Wedding Day, I remained at home till 1.15 p.m., when we started in our three vehicles for the Church (St. Thomas's, Willoughby), in the fOllowing order: The Buggy, taking Frank and his Brother Harry in the Dog Cart, taking Norman, Harold, Eric, my Nephew Walter Pockley, and our groom Turner, who was required to take charge of our horses while the ceremonies were going oni and the Wagonnette, driven by myself, taking also my dear Wife, Ethel, Mabel, Muriel, Enid and Alice Brown, my Niece's daughter, Ella and Florie having preceded us by going in the Bus. We reached the Church at 2.30 p.m., the time appointed, and the ceremony, conducted by the Vicar, Rev. S.H. Child, commenced soon after. My Daughter Ella and Miss Edith Hoo-were the only Bridesmaids. Charles C. Tucker was my Son's Best Man, assisted by my Son Harry. The church was well filled with spectators, and the ceremony proceeded and concluded in a very decorous and satisfactory manner, becoming so serious an event to the principals interested. The ceremony ended, we and friends proceeded to the residence of the Bride's family, partook of refreshments, and inspected the numerous and valuable presents that had been made to the happy couple, who at 4 p.m. drove off en route to Katoomba". He returned to Lorne, andl retired to bed, "to undergo a course of mustard poultices, Physic, etc. prescribed by Dr. Pockley (my Son). And thus I close the history of thisl eventful day, beseeching Almighty God to bless and preserve all of us who attended in that sacred edifice, to witness and to perform our respective parts in that wedding ceremony". Frank and his wife returned, paid the family a short visit, and "returned to St. Leonards, to enter on the occupation of their House, next to St. Thomas's Church, Willoughby".
He bought Selina her first pair of spectacles. On 14 August one could fairly read the emphasis in the entry: "Walter Pockley shipped on board the Potase, in the stewards' department". He went to Picton, and on to Redbank, to inspect some land for sale there. He got back to Lorne at 1 a.m. after, it seemed, walking all day. Next day, on his way to Town in the wagonette, the rear axle broke on Jenkins Hill, so he walked home and went in in the dog cart. Part of the drawing room ceiling fell down; painters were still on the job. He moved his office from 20 Loftus St. to 22 Bridge St.
"6 Oct. This being a public holiday, obtained by the power of the people, who desire to celebrate the right hand movement, so called (the first public holiday ever proclaimed on that account)", he took Harold to inspect the "ISO acres I have near Hornsby". Brookside the cow calved. His painter, who had been to the North Shore to get materials for the housl died suddenly. He quotes the number of a Bank of N. S. W. banknote for 1 that he sent to - the Church Army. Floor cloths were being laid. The first Roman Catholic Cardinal, Moran, arrived here. He noted that the "Red GtUTI Trees all about are in luxuriant full flower, the Wattles also are
flowering, the Bush looks exceedingly pretty in consequence". The "extreme upper part of the Post Office Tower was fixed in its position, and the customary flag displayed from it". A Chinese cook, Charlie, came to them. On Christmas Day his whole family, and relations, numbered 17 at dinner. Selina had had a nasty fall. On Boxing Day two more Antills arrived, and on New Year's Eve, two more.
1886. New Year's Day saw him prostrate with Lumbago again. A bush fire was "too close to be pleasant". A vet said his horses Denmark and Sailor Boy had asthma. There were white ants in his office at Lome. He held 975 shares in Pacific Ins. Coy., and attended a special meeting: "I am a very heavy loser". Five Antills and a black servant left to prepare for May Antill's wedding next day, to Gardiner, at Darlinghurst. He fell and hurt his shoulder; when. he went to see Frank, he saw his first grandchild Phyllis (later to become Lady Danby) . He was pleased with his trial run in the new wagonnette, with its new harness, and Denmark and Captain in the shafts together. The steamer Lyee Moon was wrecked, with the loss of 70 lives, on the Melbourne-Sydney run. As the C.S.R. Coy. had almost ceased to import foreign sugar, his services as their Surveyor ceased, after about 25 years. He was elected a Director of the Pacific Ins. Coy. Three servants left.Seven of the family went in the wagonette for a drive to Pennant Hills, Parramatta, Ryde and Hunters Hill. John Pockley was staying at Lorne. On 30 August there was an earthquake at Young, and the next day one was reported in New Zealand and in America. The railway line from Homebush to Hornsby was opened. More and more white ants were found in other places.
1887. William Vanderbyl, here on a visit, chartered the steamer Mermaid and took about 40 guests on a week-long picnic. Enid and Marjorie left to join other relatives, and the Mermaid left at 11.30 a.m. on 3 January. They spent a few days up the Hawkesbury, then cruised about Middle Harbour. Then back to the wharf, and the whole party went to the Pantomime and returned on board. The children killed a snake on the "tennis grounds". The Pacific Ins. Coy. sold its premises for £30,000. He was appointed "Correspondent to the New York Board of Underwriters". Devit, Lamb, Dibbs and Philips lunched at Lorne, and he drove them to Hornsby to catch the train. An explosion of fire damp killed 85 at the Bulli Coal Mine. He had new dog cart harness made. There were 7 guests staying at Lorne, and Harry was back; there was a total of 21, "exclusive of servants", at dinner. He and three others left in the Charlotte Fenwick for Gosford, spent 2 hours there, and returned. Arthur Antill, who had lived with them for a "year or so", left to go to Nevertire. There was a "Monster Meeting at the Exhibition Building to demonstrate general display of loyalty of Australians to the Queen and Laws". At the Jubilee celebrations, they went to Town to see the "grand illuminations". A bad railway accident at Peats Ferry killed 6 and injured 30 to 40.
A tender for the construction of the railway "from Pearces Corner to North Shore", submitted by Mr Pritchard, for -112,756, was accepted; it worked out at about -9000 mile. Work was to be completed in 18 montil On 19 July he received official notice that a portion of his property 3a, 3r, 15p - had been resumed; it was to run obliquely across, taking over 3 acres of orchard, and some bush. It was only 4 days later that the cutting connnenced near his southern boundary. Soon one of his orangtl trees had given way to progress.
In September the North Shore Times had an article on lawlessness at Lane Cove, and referred to a "very serious nuisance that exists owing to the presence there of as ungrateful a set of scoundrels as ever cursedl the country". The Government gave relief work to 200-300 men at Gordon, "to stump and clear Government land that is presumably to be sold very soon by public auction. From time to time the residents of the localiq/ have been subjected to annoyance from these fellows, such as being rous-\ from their sleep at nights and demanding shelter and food; sleeping on verandahs, etc. This sort of thing has progressed from bad to worse, till there now exists a state of lawlessness in the Lane Cove district that is a disgrace to civilisation. It seems that the Government pays on each alternate Sunday, and for two or three days after these periods, the scene created by the relief is one of riots and drunkenness. There is no lock-up at Gordon, and if there was it would only hold a small percentage of the drunkards. Last Monday the public thoroughfare was strewn with drunkards. Several fights took place, and one of the party received such injuries as to require medical treatment, which he is now' enjoying. Drunkenness and obscene language are the order of the day,but what the residents have most to complain of is the thieving propensities of the men who make inroads on their orchards and carry off- fruit by the bagful. Captain pockley' s residence has been twice entered >-..1 at night of late, and once the offender was captured and the Captain administered a punishment of a far more effective character than would b received at our police court ... A feeling of alarm prevails throughout the district, especially at the lonely hours which are at times without any male protector. We think it is high time the Government should button up its pockets with regard to a continuance of this relief work, and they will moreover before long find out to their cost that much of th land being cleared is worth little more than the cost of clearing".
Ethel, to Grandfather's sorrow, started on a nursing career at Prince Alfred Hospital. The men on the railways had crossed to his northern boundary after only 16 days. I think that in the year to date he had probably had at least 20 servants, who had come for a day or so aD left; the entries were almost daily, it seemed. A new couple came on 1 October; on 2nd, 7 guests arrived, and on 3rd, the servants left. He left for Town as usual, taking four children in the dog cart. Captain "fell as if shot dead, threw me out, falling on the right side of my head, where I lay stunned for some seconds, but aroused in time to see Captain galloping off towards St. Leonards. The reins were flying loose, but
Florrie very pluckily managed after a while to get hold of them and ultimately stopped the Horse after he had gone about a mile. Some person then drove him back, in the meantime I had got into the butcher's cart to go after the runaway. I felt that I had broken a rib or two, but got into the Dog Cart and proceeded home. A Buggy bound to Town passing, Eric was sent in to acquaint my Son Frank and to request his attendance. He came about noon and found my rib on left side broken ... What a mercy that none but myself was hurt, not even the Horse". More white ants were found. Alfred Hooke, Frank's wife's brother, fell 60 ft. from his office window, and qied shortly afterwards. The railway culvert on the ground was finished. Selina was away at Abbotsford and elsewhere from 15 October till Christmas Eve. Ethel came for the day, having been 2 nights and 1 day without sleep or proper rest - she was then on night duty.
1888. On 24 January the statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled with great ceremony by Lady Carrington. The 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Colony - 26 January - was celebrated by "grand doings, including dedication of the Centennial Park, grand illuminations, etc.". Public holidays were kept on 27 and 28, and on 31 he notes: "Not a public holiday, but amusements are still being offered at the.public expense - a Picnic to the National Park, and the Chamber of Commerce give a Picnic to Chowder Bay". "Grand harbour illuminations" were turned on on 1 Feb. to end the week. Still more white ants were found; they were using boiling water and wood oil, or crude petroleum. The joists carrying the overhead tanks were so rotten that they had to be removed. On his 65th birthday he says he is "probably near my end". William Vanderbyl and his wife "on their wedding tour via the Cape" paid a visit. They gave the family a picnic at Clontarf, and left after a stay of 23 days. Captain stumbled, and was now considered past buggy service. The Vanderbyls returned for another stay of 3 weeks, when they left for San Francisco. He was having a well 14' deep by 6' dug in the orchard. Three shiploads of Chinese were prevented from landing, "in deference to sentiments expressed by mass meetings lately held, to prohibit Chinese from landing and settling in Australia". It was the driest year on record.
The first span of the Hawkesbury River Bridge was erected. Then on 31 May, Walter Pockley, having been wrecked in the schooner Madeline at the New Hebrides, returned to Lorne. He stayed till 4 July, when he left to take the job of Wharf Overseer for the C.S.R. at Herbert River. For a while there were 8 visitors staying at Lorne. The new tanks were up and catching water.
The North Shore Ferry adopted the ld. fare system. On the way home, Captain started a fit of kicking, and smashed the front of the buggy to pieces; Harold got a splinter in his eye. By August there had been only 9" of rain, against an average of 34". Captain fell again, so he sold him and Denmark, for .-35 the pair, and bought a 5-yr. old instead. He had a cutting pasted in, giving statistics. The total population of Australia was 3,551,751.N.S.W. was 1,042,919
" "expenditure 26,234,341
Sheep " 97,903,922
At the Exhibition of Women's Industries, Selina took the first prize and Silver Medal for "Best lot of 24 cut roses, no two of same name" and Ella second prize for "Best lot of 12 cut roses"; Ethel had already received the Bronze Medal "for skill as Nurse of the Sick". At an auction sale in October he "bought several blocks of land at Gordon". branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank opened at Gordon. "9 Nov. This being a public holiday, Wife, Harold, Eric, Enid and I took the spring cart and went on an excursion, to seek out the exact position of the allotments I lately purchased in Gordon; identified one only, viz. 285 on plan". (One wonders how much longer he is going to invest in real estate and other things, without ever seeing it himself). Eight people got a bush fire on his. land under control.
"23 Nov. Railway engine has passed through our ground for the first time .,. The Rails are very nearly permanently finished through my ground". Ethel was home on a month's leave, and there were 7 guests staying. He moved his office again. On 15 December there was the sound of distant thunder, and at 5 p.m., when he and Selina were driving home in the buggy, a "tremendous heavy thunderstorm commenced, with deluge of rain, some hail, and a perfect whirlwind raging from all points of the Compass. The Horse (Sailor) refused to proceed and turned round, tail to the storm, until the greatest violence of it was over. A blue ball of fire was seen by the inmates of my House to fall South of it ... Subsequently it was discovered that a tree in our ground, about 100 ft. from the House, had been struck by lightning, splintering it and stripping off its bark".A
1889. He decided in January that instead of sending his fruit to be sold in the Market, "Henceforth my own cart will take it, and George will sell it". One Louisa Collins was hanged at Darlinghurst.Another bush fire was this time left to burn itself out. There were again 7 guests staying. The bush trees, Bloodwood and Mahogony were all out in flower, making the "land all about look very pretty". Selina's youngest brother Alick and his recently-married third wife and his daughter came to stay. Harold killed a 2-ft. snake in the hall. He records a visit by Ethel, "Dr. Inder and Mr. Mills". Ethel married Dr. Hinder 3 years later. Flying foxes were doing a lot of damage to fruit; they shot several, measuring up to 4 ft. between wing-tips. Brookside calved; he notes that it "is thus 289 clear days since she married Potter's Bull". On 4 April the Calliope arrived from Samoa, the only one out of 7 warships and 14 merchant ships that escaped destruction in the gale at Apia on 16 March. Selina and 3 girls were out collecting ferns, with Sailor in the buggy, and returned to find. him dead in the shafts. He was 24 years old. R.F.P. had the carcase cut up and buried "between the vines East of the
Railway". Arthur Redfern paid a visit. R.F.P. was having pains again.
Ethel resigned from the hospital. On 1 May the Hawkesbury Bridge was opened. There were 7 dinner guests, and next day, of course, the servants left. He described a terrific gale, with torrential rain; a bedroom window was smashed, road traffic was stopped, the bus ceased to run, horses would scarcely face the gale, and he feared losses at sea. It was the first time since they came to Gordon that they could not get to Town on account of weather and the state of the roads: "I fear even if the Horse would travel, the storm would capsize the buggy, for the squalls of wind are terrific. Every Tank is overflowing, early this morning Railways are blocked by floods, and are not running their regular lines, no mails have left, even the North Shore Ferry Boats did not run during the middle portion of the day". Harry and a friend returned from a holiday in Fiji, overdue, with the crew of a wrecked steamer on boar.d. Cables reported terrific floods in America, with the loss of 8000 lives and entire towns. Later reports put the losses at 25,000; 10,000 were reported lost at Hong Kong. He began planting out 100 citrus trees, 100 peaches of 4 different varieties, and 4 persimmons. They had 8 house guests. He planted 4 loquat trees, 14 apples of different sorts, 38 peaches, 12 nectarines, 18 plums, 6 apricots and 50 asparagus plants.
He was again kept at home ill with what Frank diagnosed as rheumatism with slight pleurisy. The roads were in an "awfully sloppy state, and in some localities impassable". Another 100 assorted fruit trees were planted, as well as some more vines. Mrs. Cordeaux came to stay. (Later my father was to marry my mother, whose grandmother was a Cordeaux). The steamer Centennial was sunk in Taylor Bay after a collision. Ethel retired as Matron of the North Shore Hospital. The Pacific Ins. Coy. accepted a tender to raise the Centennial for -OOO. He was among the very first people t? drive across the new Lane Cove Rd. bridge over the railway, on his way home. His nose started to bleed one evening as he sat down to dinner, and nothing could stem the flow. At midnight Harold and no went for Frank, who arrived back in the buggy with them at 3.15 a.m., and managed to stop the bleeding. He was then lying on the bathroom floor, and was too weak to be moved. Frank left by the 7.30 bus. R.F.P. stayed on the floor for 2- days. Horatio Spencer Howe Wills' 78-year old widow and her daughter Mrs. Tyson came to stay. On 30 November he took three daughters to the first concert ever given at the new Town Centennial Hall. "11 Dec. I learned that my Wife, who I believed to be at Jarvisfield, was seen in Sydney yesterday and today. I am ignorant of where she is staying. None of my children have seen her".
On Christmas Day he writes: "This is anything but a cheerful Christmas tQ me. It is the first Christmas that my Wife has not been at home with us, but being unwell mentally and physically, she has elected to stay at Jarvisfield. I am also suffering a good deal of pain, and am depressed at losses - over-work and worry". There were 17 to dinner. A huge fire destroyed the N.Z. Coy's. wharf and stores and adjacent premises; damage was estimated at .;::30,000.
1890. 1 Jan. was the anniversary of the day, 1 Jan. 1858, when as Superintendent of Lights, Pilots and Navigation, he "applied the first Light to the Light in the then newly-erected Lighthouse on Nobby's Island, Newcastle, Mr. Dawson, the Colonial Architect and I having gone to Newcastle on that special duty". The first trains on the new Hornsby-St. Leonards Railway ran on this New Year's Day; he took Harold with him on the first train. It left Gordon at 8.10 a.m., 15 minutes behind schedule. On his way home in the evening, he left Sydney by the 4 p.m. ferry, took a tram to the terminus, had a 28-minute walk to the railway terminus, caught a train to Lindfield, arriving at 5.15, and then had a 24-minute walk homenearly 2 hours all told. The Single fare, first class, from Gordon to St. Leonards was 1/3, and from Lindfield was 10d. He hit the nail of a finger on his left hand, and noted it to check how long it took for the new nail to grow. Their "new gas appliances" were lit for the first time. Experts were still trying to make a 30-light apparatus, ordered 5 months ago, function. It was evidently unusual; he says there were no visitors at the time. The 5 p.m. train from St. Leonards was discontinued in favour of a 5.50. A friend came in the evening, "to indulge in shooting flying foxes". Selina returned after an absence of 3 months. Their dog Nero was found shot. After 6 months, the new gas apparatus was still not working. The mail steamer Quetta was wrecked in Torres Strait, with "awful loss of life". He records an incident when, as Captain of the schooner Melbourne Packet, of which he was part-owner with Capt. Milton, he had entered Port Phillip Heads and lay hove-to awaiting the flood tide. His old friend and competitor from 'way back, Capt. Saunders, in the City of Melbourne, bound for Launceston, passed close to him, and the two old friends exchanged a wave. The gale increased, and Saunders ran his ship aground on Kings Island to avoid loss of lives. Severe floods reported allover N.S.W. and Queensland. He bought a plough at the Agricultural Show. Appalling accounts of distress from floods pouring in. Selina won second prize at the Flower Show for roses and bouvardia. On the anniversary of the day when, "like a second Jacob, I came across the harbour with Staff in hand to take possession of Pictonville" all his 12 children were by accident present at Larne, and they had 5 house guests.
He had severe pains again, which Frank said was pleurisy, and ordered blistering.He said: "The pain of the Pleurisy is greatly alleviated,but the soreness of the blistered parts is terrible to endure". He was "bound up with wadding".
There was an amusing newspaper cutting pasted in: A Chinaman, "an artless stranger from the Flowery Land was pursuing the even tenor of his way along George St. with a consignment of smuggled cigars bulging out his pagan pantaloons"; he was arrested, and charged with having goods in his possession reasonably suspected of having been stolen. As the law stood, he could not legally remain in the colony without paying a £100 poll tax. "He is bound therefore to score either way against the revenue. Either he must be allowed to smuggle in a consignment of cigars, or to smuggle in a still higher-priced consignment of Chinaman, and there seems no help forit". R.F.P. got a horse on trial as a plough horse; price, £7.10.
His nose bled again, and he camped at Frank's.
Edward Aicken, from whom he bought Lorne years ago, was found dead, hanging from a bedpost in his house. Capt. Heslop, who brought the Emma from Belfast in 1847, died. R.F.P. says: I then commanded the Brigantine Waterlily, also owned by Mr Jno. Macnamara, which I sailed between Sydney and Hobart Town, V.D.L. The Emma was considered then a very luxuriously fitted Passenger Vessel. I was at once appointed to her.... He says that Emily Willey came to stay. She is known in ourFamily as Aunt Emily, 'tho not related to us. (I did quite a bit of detective stuff on the Willeys, and I make her a cousin of Selina's, through the Hardings - Selina's grandmother's maiden name-) On 19 August a general strike started: Ships are all idle. Sydney is like a Sunday. He noted that during the week Lome had contributed 82 passengers to the new Railway. The labour difficulties are increasing, the strike extending and animosity intensifying. After 16 days, special constables were sworn in; 11 days later - The strike intensifies.>
Then: "19 Sept. A memorable day in Australian history, as the day on which serious riots occurred. Special Constables called out, and Mounted Troopers, to disperse a mob of Unionists on Circular Quay. Several people, including a Trooper, seriously injured. I unintentionally was one of the mob dispersed". Their 2 emus, sent to them by Harry 2 years ago, now seemed fully grown. Bishop Saumarez-Smith arrived from England. The worst fire in the history of the country occurred in pitt St., and damaged premises in Moore St. and Castlereagh St.; damage was estimated at £1 million sterling. His old friend Mrs. Sayers died, aged 72; also Alfred Lamb, M.P. He attended the funeral, going to Manar by cab, then to Redfern Station, whence the funeral train went to Rookwood. The strike continued, and damage was reported to coal mines and plant at Bellambi. There were 10 dinner guests. The "immensely popular" Lord and Lady Carrington left' for England; the "send off demonstrations were gorgeously enthusiastic". There werS 2 house guests, but 6 men dropped in unexpectedly to stay the night. After 79 days, the "Labour defence Committee" declared the strike over.
Pasted in is a cutting from the Daily Telegraph, describing the first Lighthouse at Nobby's. "The illuminant used was teal oil". This was still in use till 1890, when a change was made to kerosene. He had his first teeth extracted. A -30,000 fire occurred at Gibbs Bright & Coy's. wharf and stores. Their great-neice, Mildred Brown, who had been living with them for a long time, finally left. On 12 December a Confirmation service was held at St. John's, Gordon. He entertained "His LOrdship Bishop Saumarez-Smith, his Chaplain Mr J. Chaffers Welsh, Rev. Langley and Rev. Crestford" at Lorne for lunch; Mabel was one of those confirmed. Eric got a prize for "Best in French" at the school break-up, ("Shore"). On Boxing Day R.F.P. went with Frank to inspect land offered to him for sale, and also land R.F.P. owned, "known as 'curtis' Grant'''.
1891. New Year's Day saw 11 of his children, and 7 relatives and
friends, for dinner. On 3rd he set off with Selina for Wentworth Falls, with 7 children and the nurse; they had rented a cottage for a month; Frank and his family went to Lawson "to recruit their health for a month or so". A very fierce storm stripped all the fruit off the trees, and "in less than 10 minutes the Cyclone tore the centre out of one of our large qum trees growing near the House and hurled it about like a broom"."Mosquitoes are positively unendurable, and compel us to retire to bed".
Carpenters and plasterers were at work. Frank prescribed "distance glasses" for him. "2 March. The Federal Convention first met. Banquet of 900 guests". Selina and Flo attended Lady Jersey's first reception. "I am 60 today. I don't remember ever feeling a more depressed birthday, 'tho thanks to Almighty God I am in excellent health, but in consequence of my wife's peculiar mental condition, I feel sad and anxious". The most severe winter in England caused trains to be "imprisoned for 48 hours, and numerous casualties by land and sea". There were 11 dinner guests. Admiral jibbed, reared and fell, breaking the shafts of the dog cart. With his brother Tom, they set off for a trip to Kiama; there was not time to see the town, but they returned to Lorne at 8.45 p.m., having covered 160 miles in l3- hours. A friend, Rupert Bedford, and three other officers were blown to bits, and 8 others injured, when a boat they were in, belonging to the Torpedo Submarine Corps, was "blown to atoms" by a mine suspended from the boat. He sold Admiral. "Michael Coffey and wife, domestic servants, left without permission (deserted, indeed)". There were 7 dinner guests, "and without a servant of any kind".The work was being partly done by charwomen. Selina, Ethel and Mabel attended Lady Jersey's Garden Party; Frank and Ellie were also there. The Earl of Jersey, on 13 May, turned the first sod of the extension of the railway from St. Leonards to Milsons Point. A ship from New Caledonia, and 5 coasters, were reported wrecked. Enid started school at Miss Hooke's. They found 6 emu eggs. Selina and Frank's daughter Phyllis left for Jarvisfield, for Elsie Antill's marriage to Major Lassetter. Selina took a prize for every exhibit at the Horticultural Socy's. Show - 5 firsts and a second. The new Post Office clock and bells were officially started at noon. Another Garden Party at Government House attended by Selina and two girls.
"27 Sept. A perfect and alarming Panic is raging amongst Building, Investment and Land Societies and kindred Institutions, two more of them, the most substantial, .,. have stopped payment today". He started to connect the kitchen hot water to the bath room. Mrs. Dibbs, mother of Jno, F.A. (Gen. Mgr. of the Commercial Bank), and G.R., Premier of N.S.W., all of whom I have been intimate with for many years", died aged 82.
Several of the family had the prevailing influenza; Mabel had a temperature of 104; many deaths occurred.
1892. One evening in January there were 9 dinner guests. He drove out with a surveyor to the 165 acres he owned fronting the Lane Cove Rd., near Thorn1eigh Rd. As Agent for Dr. H.V.C. Hinder, he bought from Stephen, Jaques and Stephen the house and land known as "Summer lees", at
Ashfield. As Elwyn Antill was playing the piano in the nursery'at Lerne, a black snake, 4'1" long, was spotted and killed. Another bush fire was burning on his uncleared land. Duke, who was working in the scarifier tillS p.m., was found to have broken his leg, so he was shot, and buried "in the south portion of the vineyard, beyond the Railway. Old John's the Darkey got the hide, for assisting in cutting up the carcass". He got a 9-yr. old black mare from Gilchrist Watt & Coy., Central Wharf, on trial.(One report says R.F.P. owned Central Wharf at one time; Gilchrist, Watt & Coy. was originally Redfern and Alexander). In February he "accepted payment from the Government for the land taken for the Railway, including all claims for trees and damages". The first night train, leaving Hornsby at 10.30 p.m., ran on 13 February. He "discovered an immense nest of \':hi te ants in his office at Lorne".
"3 March. A red letter day in my Family, for my third daughter Ethel was this day married to Doctor H.V.C. Hinder of Ashfield. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. S. Child and Rev. Crestford at St. Thomas's Church at St. Leonards at - past 12. The Church had been very prettily decorated by friends for the occasion, the weather was very fine and all arrangements successful. The guests, about 120, adjourned to our residence Lorne, by a Special Train I had provided. Refreshments and attendants were provided by Beauman & Coy. of pitt St. The newly married couple left Lome at about 4 p.m., en route to Melbourne (by Train), and Tasmania, and may God's blessing ever attend them". The railways printed a special timetable for his Special Train which read: "Mr. Pockley's Hired Special St. Leonards to Gordon and Return.
St. Leonards, dep. 1.30 p.m., Gordon arr. 1.50.
Gordon dep. 5.5, St. Leonards arr. 5.25".
This was more than a year before the line was opened. Ethel had her 24th birthday 9 days later
A large portion of their bedroom ceiling collapsed on him and Selina one night when they were asleep. Harold was a guest of Mr Robson, at Shore; he was training "as one of the Oarsmen who are to pull in races of School Pupils". He was one of the winning crew. Dr. Philip Vanderbyl, who married Selina's cousin Sarah Alexander, died in London. Selina had "several teeth extracted, under influence of gas". Coming home in the bus he was exposed to a cold wind, and got lumbago. He got up a couple of days later, was about to leave for Town, when he "was seized with Syncope". Mustard poultices were applied, and Frank and Dr. Newman pronounced his "heart diseased, and prescribed all manner of drugs, and routine of Life in future. I am so near 70 years old that my machinery cannot last much longer". It was 15 days before he was well enough to take a walk round the lawn. Frank and Harry Hinder kept visiting, his son Harry was for a while sleeping in his room, Ella was in constant attendance, but Selina was still at Abbotsford. Then he walked right round the orchard; in the evening Frank and Harry Hinder "at
.consultation pronounced my heart to be in such an impaired state that they enjoin stolid inaction of both mind and body, and that I must observe perpetual recumbent position ... The slightest exertion, even washing dressing, accelerate my pulse to 90".
Selina returned on 28 July, and Frank arranged that they should go and live with him for a week or so, at "St. Leonards House". Frank, Dr Newmarsh and Dr Scott Skirving ordered him to bed for 3 weeks. He takes up his writing again on his 38th wedding anniversary, and next day he went into Town to attend a meeting of Directors of the Pacific Ins. Coy. A London cable announced the bankruptcy of Redfern, Alexander & Coy. Edward Antill's wife Mary, who was staying at Lorne, went to stay with her niece "Elsie" Lassetter, at their home "Redleaf", at Double Bay.
Cholera was reported in Russia and Germany; 150,000 were already reported dead in Russia, and 200-300 day dying in Germany. "Awful scenes are described, the dead lying in heaps, the burial appliances not being able to keep pace with the demands". A typical entry: "Thomas Roach and wife came as servants". Next day: "Thomas Roach and wife bolted without leave". He got a verdict in the Supreme Court against Alfred Fairfax, to whom he had lent :'::100 6 years ago. Next day: "Edwin Gray and wife,domestic servants, came at 5 p.m. and cleared out at 8 p.m., Mrs Gray being too drunk to stay". The next day another couple arrived in the morning, but left immediately. He had a rather severe pain at 6 p.m. on 28 September.I II
On 29 September, in Ella's writing: "Father died 3.15 this afternoon". Though there were small inaccuracies in both, I quote extracts from obituary notices in the Sxd-ey -orning Herald and the Telegraph. Sydney Morning Herald. "Regret was expressed yesterday at the announcement of the sudden demise of Captain R.F. Pockley ... the flags were lowered to half-mast in the city on many of the principal commercial houses and representative shipping establishments, including the Merchants' Exchange, indicating that one of Sydney's oldest and most estimable citizens had passed away; the news came as a shock to a large section of the community. Captain Pock1ey for more than half a century had been identified with the shipping industry of Australia. An Australian geography (1846) was yesterday shown in the Merchants' Exchange, in which his 'opinion is quoted as to the respective merits of Boydtown and the opposite side of Twofold Bay for the site of the harbour proper. In the very early days he sailed in these seas with his father, who commanded a Whaling vessel... Since he arrived here in 1841, many and great have been the changes in shipping matters in Port Jackson ... the steamers Hellespont and Governor General, both commanded by the late Captain Pockley, and in which he held an interest ... Successful in business, careful, a man of the highest integrity, he became a shipowner in the fifties, and in later years he owned 'the China clipper Atraveda, the Jane Spiers, the Euromedha, the brigs Lalla Rookh and Fortune, besides holding part shares in other shipping
... In addition to shipowning, he had a valuable wharf property, now the Central Wharf, but then known as Macnamara' s" Daily Telegraph."... Deceased was an Englishman by birth, and arrived in the Colony way back in the early forties in one of Green's Whaling ships ... Captain Pockley also carried on the business of a marine surveyor, and perhaps no member of that profession was more popularly known in Sydney. Deceased was of a very genial disposition, and highly respected by all who had come in contact with him. He was 69 years of age ..." These details would have been given to the papers by Frank; his information was pretty sketchy, as he was not born till 1857.
The Telegraph of 29 December, 1892, listed the values of 35 estates that week; 34 of them ranged from -5 to £5,475. R.F. Pockley's estate was £41,090. "Robert Francis Pockley of Sydney by his will dated 1 December, 1882, devised that his real estate should be sold and that the monies derivable therefrom should be invested; the annual income from such investments to be paid to the widow during her life, to cease if she should re-marry, she to bring up, educate and maintain any children there might be under 21 years".
It will be remembered that he gave Selina the "farm at Lane Cove" - i.e. Lorne. I am not sure what other real estate he had, but there were still several blocks of land at Killara I remember, and a waterfront block at Berry's Bay.
The new Hornsby-Milsons Point railway was not opened till May, 1893. The Sydney Morning Herald described the scene when Lady Darley opened it: "For charms of scenery there is no suburban line in the colony equal to it. There are stations on the line with elevations exceeding that of Glenbrook, on the Blue Mountains. The country has long been famous for its orange groves and orchards, some of which are half a century old ... Many of the visitors were unacquainted with the lovely country which the line traverses, and en route there were loud expressions of appreciation at the beautiful panorama that was unfolded as the train swept along. From time to time glimpses of the harbour were obtained, at other periods scenes of sylvan beauty were stretched before the visitors, and on both sides of the line were evidences of the richness of the land, which makes the district one of the most productive in N.S.W. The country generally is undulating, there is plenty of timber, and all along the line orchards and vineyards have been planted. Of recent months settlement has proceeded rapidly... The price of land has risen rapidly of late ... The price of the work... has been increased to about _C120,000 ... as the "Iron Horse" ran through it was loudly cheered... Mr Lyne ... said the construction of the line had been a very expensive matter, the cost of the land being in round numbers about £100,000. It was the high price demanded from the Government that hampered railway construction, but he hoped that ... he would put before the House a measure which would prevent
such extortionate demands being made as had been made in the past. He had just been reminded that Mr Hay had given his land for nothing If more gentlemen would follow his patriotic example, it would be well for the colony".
When the line was opened, the stations were Milsons Point, Bay Road, Edwards Road, Chatswood, Roseville, Lindfield, Gordon, Pymble, Turramurra, Wahroonga and Hornsby Junction. A story I remember from childhood is about the naming of Killara. Grandfather was the obvious man to have the right to do so, but he did not want it. One day, at one of the usual large gatherings of friends which were so much a part of the Lorne scene, someone asked him why he did not name it Lorne. At that time there were 6 unmarried daughters, ranging in age from 22 to 11. SomeoneI think Dick Old - quickly said: "Oh no, that would never do. People would point to the girls and say, 'There go the maidens all forlorn'''.
Whilst on the subject of family stories, I remember hearing these:
Early in the piece, when the Antills lived in Macquarie St., they were allowed as a special privilege to hang their milk pail on the Government House gate, and thus got their milk from G.H. Invitations to G.H. functions carried a request on the back for guests to bring their own bread, as the G.H. ovens could not cope with a big extra demand.! I II I I I
In the very early days of life on the North Shore, access from Circular Quay to the North Shore was by rowing boat - Billy Blue's, probably. There was a large rock on the north side, somewhere near Blues Point. There was a cairn of stones on this, and a flag was cached in it; if the rowing boat was wanted, a waved flag brought it over. Being a fine seaman, Kid Gloves scorned the use of jOlly-boats to carry mooring lines to the wharf when berthing, and it became one of the sights for Sydney-siders to hurry down to watch his ships come into Sydney Cove under full sail, with every man at his post; at a signal from the Captain with the white kid gloves, the sails were dropped and the little ship glided gently to the wharf.
On one occasion Kid Gloves was walking along the waterfront, and he rloticed a man following him, and stooping down to pick something up from time to time. He did not think anything of it, till he became aware that he had a hole in his trousers pocket; the man was picking up sovereigns.
Kid Gloves was a stickler for punctuality. Every morning, when he was driving from Lorne into Town, he sat in the dog cart with his watch in his hand. Spot on time, he left, whether children going to school were there or not; if they were late, they walked. Exactly the same routine was followed coming home; anyone not there when he was due to leave, walked home.
At every meal at Lome there were 8 different kinds of sugar on the table; (I can think readily of only 7.) There were 7 wash tubs in the laundry, and the servants were always complaining that there were never enough.
Frank Pockley - 1857-1941 - claimed to have seen a black fellows , corroboree on the present site of Waverton Station. Incidentally, Dick Old's house was named Waverton; his address was Bay Rd., Bay Rd. This was of course confusing, so the postal address was changed to Waverton.
I can remember Killara station before the overhead bridge was built. There was a sty at the fence on the western side of the line, at the foot of Lorne Avenue, near the northern end of the platform. One crossed the fence by the sty, and walked a little way along the line. Men climbed up to the platform by a couple of footholds let into the side of it; women went further along to the sloping end and walked up. I used to be sent to the station once a week, to get our meat, which came down by passenger train from Liverpool.
At that time the Post Office - the first of four I can remember at Killara - was a tiny wooden hut, about the size of, and very like, a country out-house. It was set on vacant land on the western side of the line, about opposite where the overhead bridge now is. The land sloped steeply and the lower side of the hut rested on a large round log. The Post Office was run by a Miss Wright. Every time I went to collect our letters, she used to give me a handful of tiny pink lollies. The cab stand was just round the corner of Lorne Avenue. I also remember the lamp-lighter riding round on his push-bike, pulling the pilot gas burner on and off by means of a long stick with a wire hook at the end.
Now a little about my grandmother; she was not such a nonentity that I can pass her over. She could not have been to marry at 16, have 15 children and bring up 12 of them.She survived Grandfather living on at Lorne by 32 years .,
Selina took a number other unmarried daughters. friends and relations, going travelling on the Continent, woman in her station of life of trips to England and Europe with Ella and They were days of gentle leisure, visiting to Switzerland for Christmas and the New Year, shopping, and doing all the things an elderly did in those days.
In London, in 1907 - then aged 69 - she sat for an artist named Col. Ommany, who was painting a portrait, and wanted "an old woman's head". That month they were going to the Continent by the Berlin, but changed their plans and decided to go a few days later. It was just as well; while awaiting the later ship, news arrived that the Berlin had been wrecked, with the loss of 139 people out of 140 on board. Came the final day, their cab horse was so lmae that they had to transfer to a hansom. They sailed from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, thence to Amsterdam,
Archer and Marjorie rode part of the way. The way was very steep, rising 2000 ft. in 3 miles. Selina was sent in a rickshaw for a while.The day after their arrival, a leopard killed 2 cows belonging to the natives. When they left they had a 10-mile chair trip. They nearly missed their train, but Marjorie hurried ahead and it waited for them. They got back to Sydney on 1 June, having this time been away over 2 years
Another trip started in February, 1911; on the way over Grannie, Ella and Marjorie stayed a month in Ceylon with the Clives, at Yarrow. From May to September they went round Ireland, and in November she and Ella went to Zurich, where Marjorie joined them in December. Eric arrived in time for Xmas. The festivities included a fancy dress ball - Eric a Bedouin chief and Marjorie a French maid - and a GYmkhana on ice, in which Marjorie won the potato and obstacle races. They went to St. Moritz, Samaden and Davros; there were waltzing competitions, moonlight sleigh rides; friends, Mr pitt and Cliff Minter, arrived. They watched the Crown Prince corning down th- Cresta Run on the bob-sleighs; the band played round the skating rink; Miss Alexander left by diligence for Italy;, they travelled on the funicular railway; it was all very pleasant. Then at the end of February, by diligence and open sleigh, they left for the station and caught the train to Milan. In Venice a gondola took them to their hotel, where they found Harry Hinder and the 19-year old Marjorie waiting on the steps to greet them. On to Milan, Montreux, Lausanne, Geneva, and Paris, where they again met the Hinders, fresh from Brussels. Back to London at the end of March. The Hinders were inspecting their new brougham; they saw Oxford win the boat race; willie and Ada Vanderbyl called; her mother, Mrs Wyatt, had had a stroke. They saw Harry Hinder and Eric off to Madrid, via Paris, for a 6-day jaunt; they got the first news of the wreck of the Titanic; the Hinders left; the Frank Pockleys arrived; they were taken to the theatre in the Hinders' new car, used for the first time; then in the car for the day to Windsor, and on to White Lilies, the Vanderbyls' horne, for tea; they joined the Salmons, in two cars, for a picnic, through Guildford, Hindhead, Compton and Ripley; she went to see her sister - Alice Moggridge, then 88 (Grannie was 75); with "the Antill girls" they went in the Hinders' car to St. Albans, before the Hinder& took off for their tour through Devon and Cornwall with the Anderson Stuarts; they went to the Scala Theatre to see the kinema colour of the Durbar; Grannie fell down the top flight of stairs and hurt her arm badly; Ella had her 51st birthday; Enid sat to
Mrs McKinley for the painting of her miniature. They saw the Derby, went to stay at Eastbourne, and took a char-a-banc ride to Bath Abbey; they had a letter from Enid Hinder at St. Petersburgh, on their way back here, and one from Frank from Port Said. Ella went to stay with her "Aunt Lizzie", at Southampton; they went to Henley, hired a boat - on which the Vanderbyls joined them - and saw a Sydney crew beat Leander; Grannie went to Nicholas' fur shop in Regent St., to buy a fur for my mother; they saw Phyllis and Nell pockley off to spend a week with Lady Bowers in Hants; Eric came to dinner, very disappointed at not passing his Oxford exams; they took Alice Moggridge to Folkestone, where they listened to the band on the sea front, to which they descenden by the lift; the Vanderbyls called on them; Alice Moggridge went to stay with the Redferns at Tunbridge Wells; Grannie's arm was still troubling her, so she consulted a doctor, who prescribed electric light for her wrist and massage baths for her rheumatism; she went down for a vapour bath, but forgot to take her prescription, so could not have the bath. She sent to Bristol to stay with the Miss Hardings; letters from home said her brother Edward was quite sick again; Elsie Lassetter called; Eric won the mixed doubles at the Queens Club with Mrs Chambers; Grannie lost her caramel muff.
On 27 December they again left for Samaden, and had the rooms they had occupied a year before; the 3 rooms cost £6.7 week. There were the usual carnivals, sports, dances, etc., and Eric left on 7 January, by the China, for Marseilles. Marjorie won 3 GYmkhana events, but was allowed to have only one trophy. News came of Phyllis Pockley's engagement to "Mr. Danby" - afterwards Vice-Admiral Sir Clinton Danby; Rita Vanderbyl, who had been staying with them, returned to London. A big dinner was held in honour of the Kaiser's birthday; Eric had arrived safely at Aden, and was going on to Mombasa. The deaths of Capt. Scott and 4 other members of his Antarctic Expedition were reported. Grannie, Ella and Marjorie left in February for Milan, Genoa, Menton, where they saw the battle of flowers, Monte Carlo, Nice, Ventimiglia, Genoa, Milan, Lake Como, Verenna, where the ground was yellow with primroses, lily of the valleys and daffodils, Lugarno, Menaggio, Palezza, Lucerne, Basle, Paris and finally London on 10 April. There they learned of the death of Ned Antill and of Grannie's brother Henry Colden. On the way out from the theatre they saw a great crowd and a suffragette procession; they heard that my brother's leg had again given way, and that yet another operation was necessary; they spent a few days at White Lilies; they went to the funeral of the Mrs Davidson, the suffragette who threw herself under the hooves of the horses' at the Derby; they went to Ascot, and to Hyde Park to watch a demonstration; they went to Bath, where their accommodation was 2 guineas a week; they heard Lord Robert Cecil and Sir Edward Clark speak; Jack pockley gave them a box at the horse show at Olympia; they got seats in the gallery at the court to hear the Sackville Wills case; they attended a garden party at Lady Reid's; they went by horse char-a-banc to Drone Valley; letters kept coming from home, telling of Harry Hinder's illness; they took a trip to Cheddar, Glastonbury, Wells, Bideford, Clovelly, Bude, Borcastle, Tintagel,
Camelford, Waddbridge, Newquay, Trevannion, Penzance, Lands End, the Lizard, Plymouth, Exeter; here they got a cable from Frank saying Harry Hinder's condition was not hopeless. As a result they returned to London at once, and received a letter from Frank. They went to Cook's to enquire about a passage home, but at the bank they got a cable from Frank to say that Harry Hinder was dead. Cables flew to Mabel and Frank, aSking for money to be sent by the latter and they booked passage by the Oriana - -14 each. They sailed on 10 October, via Gibraltar, Toulon, Naples, Pompeii, Taranto, Port Said, Colombo; here the Clives came on board, and arranged for Marjorie to remain and stay with them. When they crossed the line, a man fell overboard, but was rescued by the crew. In the Bight a propel lor blade broke, causing great vibration all night. Repairs were effected and they proceeded more slowly to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney- They arrived on 20 November, 1913, and were met by the Reeves, Gill and Marjorie Hinder in the Hinder car, and went to Carlton, thus ending a trip begun nearly 3 years earlier. A later entry notes that Gill, then 41, and Marjorie, 32, left on 14 November, 1914, by the Medina for Colombo. Marjorie was married to "Jimmy" Knowles in Cairo 4 months later. There follows a 3-page pattern for knitting a balaclava cap, then being made in numbers for the troops in the trenches.
Another book contains many pressed flowers, and leaves from 400year old oak trees, etc., from Kent, Isle of Wight, Scotland, Brussels, Germany (1897), London (1898), France, etc. There is also an entry, "Mrs pockley's grave, -unhead Cemetery, June 14, 1898.I I I I I
Selina died on 1 December, 1924, in her 88th year. The Sydney Morning Herald carried a 12- inch obituary notice on 4 December. A letter left with her will shows the close-knit ties of her family:
"My dear Children,
I shall not be here when you read this, therefore I want to explain one or two things to you. I made my Will last week and Dick Old has it in his keeping.
By it I have left all the little I have to my girls - my boys already have homes and will not need anything as the girls will, for they, at least the unmarried ones, will need to make a home for themselves, and what I have to leave would be little use divided amongst so many. The trifles I have left to my sons are of no intrinsic value, but they will be glad to have them as momentoes of the old home. When Dick Old read over my Will to me before signing it, I found he had inserted a clause that if any dispute arose with regard to the division of things, the Executor should decide, and if not satisfied with his decision anyone who objects is to forfeit his share.
Now this is putting it in a way I did not intend or authorise, for I am sure you will agree amicably, and that this clause is unnecessary, but as he had inserted it, I write this to say I had no -nkind intention of allowing it to remain, but when I went in to sign the Will and found this clause inserted it did not seem worth while for him to draw out another, but I really had no intention of putting things down in such an arbitrary way, and with regard to the little things I have left the boys, if they are not what they wish, tho' I have tried to give each what they would like best, I am sure the girls will make no difficulty in changing them.
I also wish the girls to give each of my daughters-in-law some trifle to remember me by. I should like Flo Pockley to have my little oak writing table, Rosie my silver card-case, Ellie the silver tea caddy and Ro the little combination desk and paper cabinet which is in the spare bedroom. I hardly know what they would like, but anything which sometime recalls me to them will serve. In leaving Brookside to Ella I thought she might some day like to make it her home, and in that case she might like to let any of the others who care to do so share it with her, but I think they would all be happier nearer those whose homes are nearer Sydney. It has been left to Ella unconditionally, but I should be glad if in her Will she would let it revert to any of the others who would be glad of it and not to any outsider.
I hope you will all believe I am anxious to please you all, but I may have failed, for it is hard to decide for the best without any help or advice.
Goodbye. God bless and have you all in His safe keeping Tho' parted ando many gone before, we are still ONE family. some here, some there and surely be reunited again.
Your ever loving Mother,
In her Will she appointed Frank, Ella and Flo Reeve her executors; she left Brookside to Ella and Gillie as joint tenants, and also her Commonwealth Bonds; to Frank she left miniatures of his grandfather and grandmother, the family Bible, a print and a table; to Harry his father's mahogony writing bureau, etc., and so it went to all the sons, and to my brother and me for our father. The will was dated 23 August, 1924.
Frank had been negotiating for some time with the Water Board, who insisted on resuming Lorne for a reservoir, as it was the highest point for miles around. As Selina's days were numbered, the Board agreed to defer throwing the family out while she lived. During her last months, as she took a little walk round the lawn, she sometimes noticed a white peg; if she asked about it, she was told a white lie. Lorne was pulled down in 1925
The Daily Guardian had a big article, and photographs, in its issue of 25 September, 1925, headed:
"AFTER 50 YEARS.
"Lorne" Estate falls before the axe.
Famous garden gone.
Fifty years ago a far-sighted citizen, feeling the need for space and solitude, penetrated the bushy fastness of the North Shore Line, and bought himself 60 acres of the finest timber land he could get - at a place now known as Killara. This far-sighted citizen built upon his handsome acreage a mansion of sufficient dimensions to house his family of 15 - a solid structure of some 25 rooms ... the fame of his gardens, his orchards and his natural bush lands was spread far and wide.
The Pockley garden - for the citizen was Captain R.F. pockley became a thing of beauty; people drove up the Lane Cove Rd. from all parts to see the collection of camellias, azaleas, and rare trees and shrubs collected by Captain and Mrs pockley (both keen gardeners) from allover the world, and to marvel at the existence of emus, 'possums and other Australian animals and birds, in the natural sanctuary afforded by the Pock ley belt of gums and the Pock ley shrub lands.
To day this magnificent home is nothing more than a heap of bricks ." the bush is laid waste ... and the sound of axe and saw upon the fallen timbers tells a desolate story ... in its ruins a foundation stone has been unearthed. Embedded in its cement is a pickle bottle, which contained some papers - now too decayed to be intelligible - and a newspaper clipping. They were family records ... it does seem an act of unnecessary violence to tear down just one more of the homes of our early settlers, when dozens of other sites might have been found lower down the line."
Caption of the photographs was: "The top two pictures show the beauty of the old Pock ley home and the grandeur of the bush land surrounding it. Inset is shown what now remains of the once stately mansion and the. .. forest of gums that surrounded it..." Another cutting is headed: "A KILLARA ATTRACTION.
"Lorne" - A Garden of Tranquil Delights.
By D. G. Selkirk, F.R.H.S.
It is rarely that one finds a garden so tranquil and delightful as "Lorne" ... The garden and home is ... one of the oldest homes in the district, and stands today as a fitting reminder of the ideals of a passing generation ... almost everywhere something called to be noticed in this garden, as did a rockery away in the background. To this rockery we passed through a delightful pergola that weaves romantic fancies in one's mind, that call for lovers and moonlight and the dress of bygone days to complete ... the celebrated rose garden with its borders of violets ... a quiet vista opened before you, giving an impression of years dropped and an expectation of dainty figures tripping the figures of a dance of yesteryear ..." It was a columnlength article, written by an old family friend who lived nearby.
Yet another article was in the form of a letter to the Editor:
"VANDALISM AT KILLARA.
The property... is situated in the picked position of the district at the corner of Gordon Rd. and Lorne Ave., and is approximately 8 acres. The residence itself is a fine massive structure that was the fashion 40 or 50 years ago, and which would cost to build today anything from ::5000 to:::6000 ... The garden is a thing of beauty, and represents years of untiring labour and devotion ... the spot that is now a land mark to all nature lovers will give place to an unsightly structure in what is easily one of our leading suburbs ... Surely it is not too late for the Board to alter its decision, and permit us to retain the beautiful..."
So much for Kid Gloves Pockley and his wife, nee Selina Antill, the homes they built, the family they raised, the friends they knew, and the times through which they passed. It is hard to realise that my grandfather was born over 150 years ago, and that some of the things I have recorded happened only two generations ago.