Category Archives: WIN


50 kitty's 21st



1.  What early memories do you have of your grandparents.  How were they – were they stern, or loving?  Did they give hugs or reprimands? Did you share secrets?  Did you see them often, or just on special occasions?  Are there scents or sounds that you associate with them?

2.  Every family has its clowns, their saints, their rebels, their black sheep.  Did you have any in your family?  Describe them.

3.  Do you have any oral traditions in your family – stories carried over from generation to generation?  Stories about your ancestors?  Any family secrets?

That’s my Nana Bell in the middle. I was the oldest of the Cousins.  I thought I was her favourite but have since met other cousins who thought they were the favourites. That’s how it ought to be with Nanas, methinks. She was the respectable side of the family but its her side that was have since discovered, had a whole batch of convicts, including Hannah Hitchings, described as “ a woman of loose morals even on a convict ship.”

Up the back, on our left, is her husband my beloved Poppa Bell. He died aged 60. From smoking, so they say. I thought he was the gentlest kindest of men but my sister thought he was terrifying. He worked on Sydney Trams and carried a Gladstone Bag. My dad said that Poppa got two pay packets. One that he showed Nana and one that had his drinking money in it and of which she knew nothing. We thought his side of the family would be the dodgy side but it turns out they were HIghland Scots – mostly- just the one convict from Glasgow. The rest of them were driven from the crofts in the mid 1830s but I knew nothing of any of this till recently. I did know the stories of his Mum. Granny Bell , “ a legend in her own lifetime”.

They lived at Rosebery and on Sunday afternoons we went to see them and visit with some of our cousins.  I had twin cousins 6 months younger than me. The children of my mother’s sister. That’s them on either side of me in the photograph.

We’re a dour lot. Presbyterian Scots- apparently. Some Irish Catholics in there as well. We don’t seem to share a lot of secrets either.  My father’s father died before I was one year old. John George was his name.  I have the letters my father wrote home to him throughout WWII.

I thought I had a relative who thought he was a dog but that now appears to have been an acquaintance and not related by blood. I didn’t find that out till recently but it’s a relief nevertheless.

My Nana and Poppa lived next door to Jarvie’s Tennis Court and they had a galah. A galah is a type of parrot. It was called Cocky. It learned to call out tennis scores and was quite a curiosity in the neighbourhood.

WIN #1.



What early memories do you have of your mother?  What did you learn from her?

What about your father – your early memories? What did you learn from him?

THE YAAN : Mid April and I start looking for some ideas for ON THE BENCH. I came across BEYOND THE BRUSH while I was looking at the Photo Challenge Entries for TWO SUBJECTS. It reminded me of my thoughts on the 2 worlds that meet in our cities.

Then I took a look at the other posts in BEYOND THE BRUSH and came across the WIN #1. WRITE IT NOW. I enjoyed it and a few words written in that post added to some of my own findings re the 1812 War. I love shared knowledge and information. It unlocks doors.

Now I am thinking I shall WRITE IT NOW.

I was going to take all 3 of the guidelines but since it’s the week of TWO SUBJECTS, I shall stick with Mum and Dad.

My Mum was a Mum Mum who cooked and cleaned and washed our hair and put us in her bed when we were sick. She was only 4 feet 10 inches tall and she could also sew.

My Dad was a carpenter. He built me a wooden slippery dip and a cubby house with windows. He built our house. Double brick.

My Mum spent some of the War Years in Bangalow with my Auntie Maisie Beckinsale. Mum said she could ride a horse and milk a cow  but I never did see her do that.

My Dad was in the 2/3 Pioneer Battalion of the A.I.F. during the War and he was overseas for 6 years or so. He was shot when he was in New Guinea and he had seen the pyramids and slid down the slopes of Lebanon on a shovel.

My Mum  said that an aeroplane crashed in Rosebery during the War and the whole suburb shook. She was pulled out of school when she was only 14 and went to work at Anderson’s Sausage Factory. She had been Dux of the School.  She could fish as well like all the Bell Family. She said my Great Uncles had dynamited a swimming pool in the rocks at Maroubra because they would not swim at the beach. That was because they were shark fishermen and knew how many huge sharks were down there in Maroubra Bay.

My Dad was a very bad fisherman and he wasn’t very good in boats. He studied to be a carpenter while he was overseas during the War. He even studied in the back of a truck going into the Battle of El Alamein. Once her hand edited the whole of the Funk and Wagnall, at home.

My Mum grew up in Redfern and Rosebery in the City of Sydney. Her father’s family came from Laurieton on the Mid North Coast. The Bell Boys had trawlers. She didn’t tell me about all the convicts in the family. She might not have known.

My Dad spent his holidays in the Village of Kinchela, a little further up the Mid North Coast. He doesn’t seem to have any convicts in his Family.

Other stories about my Mum and Dad are here :