Last post finished on Howlong Station, the property owned by my 2x Great Grandfather but before we change focus, we haven’t quite finished in Holbrook yet. I shared the Parish map of the land owners. Here is a close up of an area of interest.
This section in yellow crossing the Highway is Little Billabong Creek. Here is another of the Macvean surprises. By chance we found this exact spot on our way out of town.
You can stop on the Southern side of the creek and look straight across to Rooksdale Estate. I haven’t been able to pin down where exactly the homestead was or even if it is still standing but its on the to do list.
This is where my Grandfather grew up, a place my family lived for a quarter of a century and their mark is now blown away into time yet I feel this strong sense of connection. It is such a weird feeling.
Trove delivered again. Came across this wonderful description of the property.
Another advertisement for the sale describes the homestead as having 12 rooms and that the property has been dug out of all rabbits and useless trees. So hope that some photos will turn up sometime.
The Museum at Holbrook had another surprise for us before we left. They have the original Little Billabong school house that my Grandfather went to, in their backyard. It was going to be demolished some years ago and someone had the thought to save it and it is now rebuilt and is part of the Museums exhibitions.
How crazy is that? Funnily enough the Little Billabong phrase I have been aware of since I was a child. I knew it had something to do with my Grandfather’s life but was never quite sure what the connection was. My Grandfather died 2 weeks after my 1st birthday so no first hand knowledge. There is no photo that I can find of the two of us together which is strange considering I was the first Grandson born with the Macvean name. For some context meet my Grandad, John Hugh Macvean.
I love the fact that I am named for this man and carry his Father and Grandfathers name with me.
On an aside, the Little Billabong phrase helped me break through a years old brick wall I had hit in relation to another 3x Great Grandmother, Christina Russell. This one phrase broke through that wall and the information that flowed was incredible. Will post about that shortly.
So between this and the last post, I’d say that Holbrook was pretty good to us on revealing some great information on the family. I will pick up on the Howlong Station thread soon but I want to now move to Wagga Wagga. It is the end of my 2x Great Grandfather’s story (Alexander Macvean Snr) just to remind you, but our first stop on the road trip. For a bit of context, this from Trove.
This was the second find in Wagga,
“Lumeah” in Coleman Street still stands. This is where my 2x Great Grandfather died.
I shared the above picture first as it fits with the article above, but this picture below was our first find at the Wagga Wagga Pioneer Cemetery.
My 2x Great Grandparents graves as well as my 2x Great Grandfather’s 2nd Wife’s grave.
I keep trying to rationalise the act of putting flowers on graves decades old, in a lot of the cases over 100 years old but there is no rationalising it. It just feels like the right thing to do. For me it is knowing that they are right there, 6 or so feet below. This is what it means to pay your respects to your Ancestor’s. Just like when you get to hold some item that you know was held in their hands or stand in spot that you know for certain they stood, it has a powerful spiritual pull for me.
I wondered this day we visited, (100 years after Jessie’s and 96 years after Alexander’s burials) how long since the last family member made the trek out to this cemetery?
Wagga Wagga wasn’t done with us just yet. I remembered from my readings on Trove that my 2x Great Grandparents were heavily involved in the Presbyterian church and I had the idea that we might go check out the church see if the one they belonged to was still standing.
What a find it was. St Andrews Presbyterian, now Uniting Church. Foundation stone laid in 1869 and completed in 1872. (Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga) Mon 28 Nov 1938 page 6)
The spire was added between 1911-1915 as well as the School Hall situated right next to the church. (Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga) Mon 28 Nov 1938 page 6)
So imagine how surprised we were when we came across this.
This is the foundation stone of the School Hall. This was one of those moments I mentioned above. I couldn’t stop running my hands over the stone. Talk about an Outlander moment, if a tear in the fabric of time was going to happen this would be it. You know I looked over my shoulder right? Only this mob behind me and what a great mob to share this moment with.
I of course turned to Trove and found a number of articles that show the link between the family and the Church. Discovered that my 2x Great Grandfather was an Elder of the Church.
Their Daughter Edith married in the church.
Jessie Davina Macvean, my 2x Great Grandmother also had a memorial service held at the church. This section of her obituary below highlights.
There are a number of mentions of her donating money to different war causes and running a number of different tables for the Presbyterian Ladies guild and I think this part of another obituary written on her sums it up nicely. I can only imagine she would have been pretty happy with the description of her below but would probably never have admitted it.
My 2x Great Grandfather also had his memorial service held at St Andrews.
This is my 2x Great Grandmother, Jessie Davina Macvean, nee Ballantyne.
And another shot of my 2x Great Grandfather, Alexander Macvean Snr.
There was a billboard on the outside of the Church and it had the current Pastor’s name and contact details on it. Alex rang him and explained who we were and he invited us back the next day and said he would open up the Church and the School Hall so that we could walk through were the family once walked.
I got the chance to sit inside with Alex and our boys for about 15-20minutes and had a good chance to just soak it in. I know it’s nothing fancy but I couldn’t help feeling like I had just found something really valuable.
Final leg of the road trip in the next post.