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FRATER Gilbert (Gib) James

Male 1918 - 2010


Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All

  • Name  FRATER Gilbert (Gib) James 
    Occupation  1918 
    Dairy Farmer 
    Born  18 Nov 1918  Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender  Male 
    Occupation  6 Jan 1941 to 28 Mar 1947  Royal Australian Air Force Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Warrant Officer 
    _UID  7F2CE24363654FED8B6F1E3AD4DB5CC2F33F 
    Died  12 Feb 2010  Guyra, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  16 Feb 2010  Sapphire City Crematorium, Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I2381  Frater Genealogy
    Last Modified  15 Feb 2010 

    Father  FRATER Alexander Douglas,   b. 26 Apr 1891, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Jan 1950, District Hospital, Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  PERKINS Avis Mary,   b. 28 Jul 1897, Rangers Valley, Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Aug 1972, Concord Repatriation Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  3 Apr 1916  Sacred Heart Church, Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • Witnesses: Stephen Perkins and Ruby Margaret Perkins.
      Minister: James John O'Neill.

      The consent of James Perkins being the father of the Bride, was given in writing the the marriage.


      «b»MEMORIES OF "FAIRVIEW"
      (Typed out by Collette "Blonde" Frater)

      Some of my thoughts on Inverell and my family story of "Fairview" - Don (Walter Donald Frater)
      «/b»Dad came to Inverell after working for Hawkesbury Agricultural College for 3 months down at Bega Butter Factory. He had the position at Arrawatta which was owned by T.B. Bowling where he had some four dairy farms. Dad came to Inverell and was manager of the Cheese factory. He met Mum whilst working at Arrawatta. Mum was a great piano player and he mum then at dances and concerts. He enlisted in the AIF in 1915 and married Mum prior to going overseas. Mary was born whilst Dad was overseas. He was wounded - being shot through the arm, and came home in 1917. Prior to leaving home Mum gave Dad a Prayer Book and asked him to promise always to carry it in his top pocket when going into battle. Dad promised her (Dad always kept his promise - it was no light matter with him) When he arrived back at camp one day he took his pray book out of the top left hand pocket and there was a bullet lodged ¾ quarters of the way through the book. He was employed again at Arrawatta and eventually took over Management of Arrawatta Station. In 1920 he bought "Fairview" from people by the name of Armstrong. He bought the place "walk in, walk out basis" containing the herd that was there. Dad eventually built the herd up to a well known "Fairview" Guernsey Pure Bred Stud.
      Our Dad worked very hard, I knew him, as was Mum. Mum used to get up and help Dad with the milk run. My Dad did the milk run. I don't know who did the farm work in the early stages, I do believe there was a man by the name of Bill Coe worked at home, followed by a person named Jim Marchan.
      Nan and Pop came out to "Fairview" about 1921 and lived their life at "Fairview" until the both died. Nell was born 11 months after Don, Mary being the first child then Gib. When Nell was born Nan took me over as I was only 11 months old and she used to be more less my mother in those early years. I can't remember a great deal about "Fairview" at various stages but I do know, that I always remember Nan; she was the main cook of the household and was very kind and good to me.
      Pop was a drover - he used to go away working for Cloonan's Butcher Shop. He used to go away and bring back cattle and sheep with his pack horse and probably arrive back about midday.
      There were some very hard times at Fairview, there was not a good water supply and I remember Dad putting down two bores, built a dam and when it was dry we used to have to drive out cattle down to the Macintyre River along the Ashford Road. At the week-end that was Gibb's and my job to take the cows down. Naturally we would have to wait for the rain before getting back to the dam being full.
      The success came for water on Fairview during the war. I would say, probably round about 1942 when a man named MacDonald with a boring plant went down 250 feet and no water, Dad wanted to knock off and Mr. MacDonald said "No, I'll go on Doug and if I don't get water then I won't charge you for the extra depth". He eventually got water at 560 feet, a tremendous flow of water. We only had to put the piping down 260 feet which was the depth at which the water came up. We did later on put another 80 feet of piping and that water supply is still tremendous out at "Fairview" to the present day.
      Another tragedy that happened at "Fairview" was the burning down of our Hay Shed and milking bails. It happened about 11 o'clock at night when Pop had a nightmare, or we thought he had a nightmare, and was shouting out and Nan ran out and the place was all lit up. It got burnt to the ground. Dad had to then move the cows for milking to a nearby neighbour, the Irwin's, and Dad delivered the milk around town. In fact, he didn't miss a thing in supplying the milk to his customers. The neighbours' got together early that morning and started to build new milk bails and some 2 weeks later the cows were back at "Fairview" for milking. I don't remember too much after that in relation to the milking of the cows at home again.
      I got to know more about "Fairview", of course, when I left school and started to work on the farm. I remember Dad cleaning out our dam and that was done with a bullock team, a bloke by the name of Bullocky Brown. He had two teams, one on each side of the dam and he used to pull the big scoop with a bullock team on one side and then another bullock team on the other side. That's how they cleaned the dams in those days.
      Dad bought another property known as the Rifle Range somewhere about 1935, which was another 300-400 acres. "Fairview" was about 312 acres. The Rifle Range was fenced in and is now known as Runnymead Estate. Once again there was no water on the Glen Innes side of the property. We eventually, during the 1940's, took the town water supply which went as far as the hospital - laid pipes from there up to the bottom of Body's Hill and connected the town water to some land Dad owned there for the stock. My first job when I left school was to take the stock down to the Macintyre River where they were building the storage dam for the town water. I use to have to take sheep and cattle down to that watering spot. After I left school for about 12 months I did the odd jobs around the farm. Gib was on the milk run. He use to get up and help milk and then go out on the run. Later on, Dad bought another milk vendor out and he told me it was mine to go out on the run, He paid 25 pounds for the horse and cart, he said the good will was not anything - its only as good as you make it, so I set about doing a lot of canvassing. I used to get up and milk and go out on the run about 6am. Gib went out first on his run. When I came home I used to get on the push bike and ride back into town and canvass around the streets. That's how we built the run up.
      I recall Gib and I were coming home one morning and we got near the bottom of Body Hill and saw the Studebaker car tipped up on the side. Mum was bringing Mary to work and Sandy and Blonde and Dumps (they were in the back seat) and Mum had rolled the car coming down the hill. That, of course, was another set back to the family.
      I always remember when Dad used to go ploughing . He had eight horses to pull the plough. In those days he would only do 4-5 acres a day. He eventually got around and bought a tractor. His first tractor Fortson had steel wheels, it used to nearly shake the guts out of you when you were driving it down to the paddock to plough over the rocks and what have you. Of course, as time went on we got the new tractors, with rubber tyre's and what have you and things were completely different. I remember when I left school (or have to stay home from school), when we were doing the harvesting with the reap and binder, there only 3 horses but you were a fair way off it and I use to have to ride the little horse beside the reap and binder and whip the draught horse that was dragging back. The same when stripping the grain, Dad had 8 horses to pull the header, 4 in the back and 4 leaders. That was another job I had - to crack the whip on old creamy. Really - he had a habit of not pulling his weight.
      As I was saying Dad and Mum worked very hard. I do know in the time of Dad at Fairview I only remember him in 25 years having two holidays, and remember, in dairying you are working 7 days a week - getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning and well into the dark of a night (particularly in the winter time), it was a tremendous burden on Dad. That is my belief anyway and one shared by all the family. He eventually, of course, developed cancer and died at an early age of 58.
      During the war we made improvements at "Fairview". We built new cow yards. Built a new dairy and installed milking machines was operated by a diesel motor and a first in Inverell District. We also built a new grain shed and feeds stall doing away with the nose bags. Feeding with nose bags twice a day was a time consuming job. The feed stalls had twenty lock up stalls of each side of the rail track where we had a big bin two section - one for chaff and one for grain. As the bin went up the track we filled each stall with the feed all under roof. This was done in about 10 minutes.
      We had electricity connected in 1946 and it was a real boom. Before we had kerosene lanterns in the milking yard, a tilly lamp in the dining room, and kerosene lamps in the kitchen. It was a boom in the house. Dad had to pay the cost of running the lines up from where the town boundary ended to the house and guarantee a fix sum for each quarter - think it was 30 pounds, for prompt payment you received a discount. Our fixed first quarterly bill arrived and we had not used much electricity, too use to going into rooms without a light and knowing where you put things so didn't switch on the light. So Dad asked Mum to tell the family to switch on the light. Dad had a bit of a habit of getting his wishes through in the domestic area via Mum. There was a very strong light on the veranda (100 watts) which lit up the path to the house and that was on all night.
      I remember one Sunday morning I was yarding the cows for milking at 4am and opened the gate from the night paddock when I was almost knocked down by 2 wild pigs running and grunting. The cows stampeded and went wild and went through the fences. We found 10 cows within half an hour. Dad eventually found the remainder about 7 o'clock some two miles away. It was a late morning on the milk run.
      In 1947 we leased a property on the Glen Innes Road from Billy Cloonan known as the Wine Shanty, some 200 odd acres. We put in a new dairy and I was married and moved to "The Glen", milking about 35 cows. We had milking machines. Marshall (Mike) came with me and we ran 2 milk carts from there. Our lease ran out in 1953. Cloonan would not renew, sold to Addison even though Dad had an option on it. Cloonan said that wasn't Frater Bros.
      There are lots of things, I suppose when I think back of my life at Fairview and I suppose everyone knows the hardships that applied in the early days at Fairview. I remember when we bought the Rifle Range, all the work that had to be done, ring barking trees, sucker bashing and helping with the fencing. They were all hard times when you look at the modern days when people have air conditioners, CD players in their tractors/headers and rubber tyres on the wheels. It reminds you the hard work the older people had to do on the properties back in those days.
      Getting back to the lighter and funny things that happened at Fairview, I was talking to Gib and one of the things Gib was saying that when I was away on my Honey Moon he was doing my run at that time. We had three carts going into town; in fact we had the biggest milk run of the vendors in Inverell. Gib has my old horse "Sony" which I thought a lot of. He was delivering the milk at the café Lundies through the back lane and he went through to get the paper, then he walked up to the post office. He was coming back and going down the lane to the cart and he met Sony and the milk cart just coming out the lane and on his way home - left Gib behind. I remember myself - we had this horse, only a new one and Dad said well we'll take her out on the afternoon run. It was a very flashy horse, I was a little bit frightened when I left home and did my first customer in George Street just over the old Railway Bridge and I locked the wheel, tied its head back and got this pint of milk and I was running flat out into the back of the house. I put it in the billy can and on my way out I saw the horse was just moving. It wasn't moving very fast and I thought I'd get out in time but the chain that I locked the wheel with broke and away went the horse and cart. It went down and turned around onto Swanbrook Road and away it went back towards home. I followed; well, I had to follow it home. But anyway, just up past the hospital there was a big rock there, just off the side of the road. Apparently the cart just tipped it and the cart over, broke the two shafts and milk everywhere.
      Whilst I'm talking about that big rock, I remember when I was going to school and I had the sulky with Nell, Pidge and Kathleen Horne (the girl that lived opposite there) and I was going to the Public School, the others were going to the Covent School. I use to have to go down and pick them up. I always threatened coming home that I'd go over that big rock and tip them out. Anyway, one day I was coming home and I did go over the rock and tipped poor old Nell out. Naturally I wasn't very popular when I got home. I was lucky Dad wasn't around otherwise I would have felt the old razor strap around me. Another time during the war years, there was an old lady on the Black Flat by the old Inverell Public School and I was chopping the wood for her - she always got me to split her wood, she was about 70. She was my last customer and I would split the wood when she was out of it. I split it and started to go home and no milk cart - no Sony. He suddenly decided he had been standing there long enough and decided to go home. So the only way to get home was to chase him home, I got to Fairview and Sony was standing up at the lane gate waiting to go into Fairview.
      Another time at Fairview, in about the late 1940's, all the vendors had a meeting and decided that they would form a Milk Company. All vendors were there and decided that they would be in it and Dad was the backbone behind that move, having experience of pasteurised milk being a Graduate of Hawkesbury Agricultural College, and he was the back bone of developing the Company. Their meetings were held at Fairview (Mum and Pidge served supper at the conclusion of their meetings). When the Milk Company was formed naturally it did away with the Milk Vending. We had employed men to deliver the milk in town and whilst it was not satisfactory early in the piece it did eventually finish up well and I guess Dad would have been pretty proud of the fact that it eventually was taken over by Norco and as we know now pasteurised milk is compulsory throughout Australia.
      I left the dairy farming to take over the management of The Inverell Milk Co.
      I remember this little story when I came up from the dairy and Nan was out in the wash house doing some washing. I asked what are you washing today Nan and she said I'm dying, I am just dying this frock a different colour. I went into the house where Nell and the girls were and I said Nan's dying; Nan's dying out in the wash house. They came racing out there and when they got there all they saw was Nan dying the cloth. So that wasn't a popular early morning decision.
      Fairview will always remain with me - Dad, Mum, Nan and Pop were wonderful people. All of we children had a great time together, had many great games of cricket or football on Sunday afternoons. Dad loved joining the cricket games - fancied his slow bowling.

      «b»MEMORIES OF "FAIRVIEW"
      (Typed out by Collette "Blonde" Frater)
      Some of my thoughts on Inverell and my family story of "Fairview" - Gib (Gilbert James Frater)
      «/b»We went to Fairview when I was 2 year old and the first thing I remember was that Dad went back to Arrawatta for a month to relieve the Cheese Maker. A chap named Bill Coe took care of the dairy while he was out there.
      I remember going to hospital - I was about 3 or 4. As it was raining, Dad had to meet Dr.Kinross down the road and bring him up in the sulky, then he took the doctor and me back to the Dr's car and the Dr took me to hospital. There was only gravel road as far as Wiltshire's in those days.
      I can't remember much until the feed shed and milking bails come sulky shed-machinery shed, etc. was burnt down.
      Being a dairy farmer/milk vendor meant you worked 365 days a year. Don and I always helped milking at week-ends when we were old enough. As Don has probably told most of what went on I will just relate a few funny episodes - not necessarily so funny at the time.
      Mary and I were going to school and I was back-seating her on Topsy and just near the hospital Bert Silva came along on his push bike with his school port tied on his back which was causing a good rattle. Topsy took freight - Mary came off Topsy and she wasn't going without me!
      Dad and George Williams went to an RSL Reunion one night per sulky. George had a few too many, Dad brought him home and "made him hang onto the clothes line" while he unharnessed the horse and then put George to bed.
      Not long before Dad died we had a chap Jack Kennett who worked for us at harvest time. He came up to collect his pay - parked his car at the front gate and spent about an hour talking with Dad. When he came out his car was gone! Gib was washing up in the dairy and Jack came over and asked if he had seen his car anywhere. After some time looking around he finally found it in the dam - fortunately the dam was empty! Norm pulled it out with the tractor and Jack drove off home.
      Don and Marj's two girls, Roselee and Susan, when they lived along Glen Innes Road used to climb up on the roof of the house and jump off and I seen them in Otho Street climb onto the roof of the car and jump off.
      Another one I can't vouch for, but I think it was Pidge who may have told me. I understand whilst I was away Sandy used to help Jimmy Mason on the milk run before going to school. The day came apparently when he felt like a day off school, so he went into the butcher's shop and rang Dad - said Jimmy Mason was speaking and Sandy wasn't very well himself and he didn't think he ought to go to school. So Dad ok'd it for him to come home. The butcher nearly had a fit.
      I remember our show days. Off to the show by taxi, a picnic lunch at the show ground. We would have the taxi driver's last trip home. He would stay and have tea then take Mum and Dad in to Mack's or Sorlies.
      Wirth's Circus came to town every two years. They had their own train - used their elephants to do all the hard work. They would have the show the night they arrived, moved all the animals back to the train (per elephant) as they completed their performances. By the time all the patrons moved out they would have the Big Top half down and their train would move out about 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning.

      «b»MEMORIES OF "FAIRVIEW"
      (Typed out by Collette "Blonde" Frater)
      Some of my thoughts on Inverell and my family story of "Fairview" - Sandy (Alexander Frater)
      «/b»My memories of Fairview, like the rest of the family, are happy ones. My earliest memories are playing in the sand and seeing my big brothers and sisters returning from school on horseback each afternoon. Another one was some "big kid" (was he all that big??) who came out with his Mum and bossed me around.
      My introduction to ploughing was going down to Dad on afternoons after school when, what seems to me was when I was in about 5«sup»th«/sup»/6«sup»th«/sup» class, to drive the tractor home. In high school after some suitable "tutoring" I gradually did some of the ploughing on my own. Dad was extremely "fussy and particular" about how it was done. One had to keep his mind on the job for to miss a strip of dirt 2 inches in width and a few feet in length was a no no!! I always thought when I did that Dad could pick it out 100yards away!! He was most particular about "headlands" (to you young ones who don't know what that means, I'm happy to give you a brief talk on it!!!) and he expected you to get them right!! One day while working in the bottom paddock I "persistently, ever so slightly "messed them up". After all, there were a lot of little pebbles and the plough would slip down over them. I noticed that "all was not well" but I figured I'd fix it up "on the next round", and anyway, if worst come to worst I'd fix it up on completing the paddock! I was merrily going around the paddock and suddenly Dad appeared ( I didn't expect him there obviously!!!) much to my horror. Dad made some comment about the state of the headlands but I commented "I was going to fix it next time". His comment was "I've been watching you for more than ½ an hour and you keep doing the same thing" Well, he jumped on the tractor and made it look so easy.
      I helped with the milking (who didn't on the farm!!) but my involvement was more in the farming activities. After exams each year, because of labour shortages, Dad would write a note to the Headmaster so that I could help with the harvesting, and of course, the sowing of the crops around May. I still have a few laughs about all that. One was when Dad was driving the tractor sowing oats. Don and I were on the Combine and Dad would put his and up to stop the seed (didn't want to seed the spot twice) and raise it again to drop the seed. Don said he'd do it (you know what big brothers are like!) but Dad signalled to "drop" the seed Don forgot!! How could he - imagine an area of the paddock not sown but full of weeds! Anyway he "knew" the spot and he would take some seed down and sprinkle it around. Well it looked OK when the crop came up.
      On the milk cart I learnt one very important lesson. When alighting from the back of the cart it helps if one runs "along" with the cart in order to get off. To make a quick dash to the cake shop (where else) I failed to adhere to that piece of nature so I just "jumped off" and of course, you guessed it - I landed on my backside - never forgot that lesson.
      When ploughing in the summer time I had an unquenchable thirst for water. Dad would be working away from me in another paddock but by the end of a day my water bag would be well and truly empty but to my relief Dad would always have a sizeable quantity of water in his bag. The same size bag but I never figured out than why Dad never drank as much as me. And to this day I can't figure out why I never took an extra bag!
      When I was 7/8 years old I used to take the morning/afternoon tea down to the men harvesting or cutting hay. I enjoyed that as I stayed on and finished eating up all the "goodies" - the cakes, biscuits etc. The women folk "like to see everything eaten up" and I was just playing my part in keeping the women happy in the kitchen!!
      The car accident in 1940 changed a lot at home. As Blonde has told you, Mum was very unwell for a number of years.
      Pidge and I did a lot of chores together after that - not only in the house but on the farm - ploughing, taking the cattle to water etc. We formed a very special bond over a number of years. We had the "responsibility" for washing the lino floors (and hell, there was a lot of it) and then hand polish the lino. It was hard work but we had a lot of fun and then the electricity arrived and an electric polisher bought to do the floors! Boy, we did have some fun with that. In the early years it would get out of control and we'd be bursting our sides laughing as it dashed across the floor.
      Washing each Monday morning was another one of our regular chores. I pumped the washing machine and stoked the copper fire - Pidge organizing the production line of clothes and hanging the clothes out (with, of course, some appropriate advice from me!!) We were often driven out of the laundry by smoke - we had to dash outside - unable to see. Bearing in mind how often it happened, it makes me wonder on reflection why something wasn't done to correct the problem. Preparation for the day began on Sunday evening when the clothes were sorted by Mum/Pidge, the copper filled and the sheets, pillow cases soaked overnight - sunlight soap peeled into the water. The fire under the copper was lit by the milker's and the operation began at 5am in summer and a little later in winter (no point in getting frost bite). Sheets and some hot water transferred to the washing machine, cold water added to the copper and machine. After the required amount of hand pumping the load went into the washing tab for hand rinsing, then into the next tub from which they were "processed through the hand wringer and finally out to the line.
      One of the innovative pieces of machinery Dad introduced at Fairview, not forgetting the rubber tyred tractor, was the circular saw. A household of some 13-14 people required lots of wood to keep the fuel stove going, the open fires in winter, the coppers, one in the wash house and the other down at the dairy, and guess how the wood got into the fire! First of course the trees had to be chopped down on the farm (I only had a small involvement in that) and then the tree lengths were conveyed to the wood heap (in the earlier years by horse and dray and later by the truck! ) (the car Mum had her accident in converted to a Studebaker truck!) Then the wood had to be sawed down to suitable lengths and then split by axe into quarters or halves, depending on the thickness of the wood. In winter time the trunk portion of the tree was used for back logs in the open fires. I was about 14/15 when the "magical" circular saw arrived!. My principal role was standing and catching the pieces of wood as it was cut off. Mind you, that required some dexterity!! However, it certainly beats sawing and swinging the axe.

      Pidge taught me how to dance, accompanied frequently by Mum on the piano or -- we'd whistle the tune of the song "The white sports coat" - we flogged that one to death !!. Pidge gave me my very strict and detailed information not only to dance but more importantly "how to hold the girl, not too close" - don't let your hand slide down the back too far and «b»certainly not «/b»near their bottom - horror of all horrors !!!!. Even today I can hear her voice very distinctly giving me those instructions along with support from Nell. At a ball Nell and Pidge cornered me about my hand "slipping a little too low!!"

      I have some quite laughs over Nell. As a nurse and working broken shifts at the hospital, she would ride her bike home between shifts. I often asked her on arrival "how long are you home for and what time do you have to go back". Well this day it was extremely hot with a strong hot wing blowing and as Nell walked in I said "how long are you home for ---when are you going back? - a pretty normal question eh?, well she threw a real wobbly - you'd imagine another World War was breaking out. I thought it was a very caring enquiry but on that hot windy day Nell's sense of humour had deserted her! Mind you, I was a little careful after that in posing that delicate question in the future.

      In my early teens one of my chores was each morning taking to by grandfather (pop) a glass of milk to mix with his rum. Apart from doing the "milk" duty is also included mixing the rum. Over a period of time I thought rum and milk smelt pretty good. So one morning I took a "bit" of extra milk along (yep, you guessed it) so I could sample it. It was foul tasting - swore off it for ever more.
      I had a great relationship with Nan and Pop. In the dining room with all the "bodies" there you couldn't get near the fire in winter. So at a very tender age I figured out that I would go to their room where they had a lovely log fire, a comfortable chair and no hassling for room and no arguments. Pretty smart move that !! But - why didn't the others think of it? What did I miss out on in the dining room?

      Nan went to Sydney for a holiday when I was about 12 or so and I felt so miserable after she left and Mum told me I was probably home sick for Nan! (a bit weird, eh?)

      My great disappointment was when my back problems prevented me from continuing with the Agricultural Course at Hawkesbury Agricultural College. I only did about 6 months there. I was to be the "gun ho" scientific farmer but, alas, by a turn of fate, that never happened. I can vividly recall sitting in the Specialists Room in Macquarie Street and he "in a matter of fact manner" told me I'd have to give up work on the farm. My dreams just collapsed!!

      On returning home it was hard and difficult to get my mind around what happened. My mind had always been focused on farming but the medical opinion was adamant - office work!! - Me in an office- you've got to be kidding!! I always thought when growing up, that people who lived in a town were "odd" but working in an office; - they had to be "out of their minds".
      I had a couple of talks to Dad and I said "seeing that I hate the thought of working in an office, I wanted a 9-5, Monday to Friday job. Those sorts of jobs were hard to find in those days. Dad mentioned Banks, Post Office, but my question was "what hours" to my delight I found a niche in Local Government but only after Dad had given me some "pep talks" about my attitude.
      I recall Dad telling me (after my appointment to Council) that although I've changed my career from a farmer to a clerk, a Town Clerk is no different to "us" and if I worked hard I could be one. Well I disliked office work so much that I figured I may well be the boss and get well paid. In those early days working in an office always felt weird - from tractor driving to sitting in an office was an enormous leap!! I eventually ended up making the transition successfully from farmer to office worker but my heart has always been with "Fairview".

      «b»Memories from Collette Frater
      AVIS MARY FRATER ( nee PERKINS) - «/b»Born at Tenterfield, NSW - 5.8.1898 - Married 3-4-1916 - Died Concord Repatriation Hospital Sydney - 4.8.1972 (approx 10.00pm)
      Avis was the youngest of the family of Hannah and James Perkins (Steve, Bert, Annie (known as Nance) Ellen (Nell), Ruby, Gilbert, Avis.)
      Avis Perkins married Doug Frater on 3.4.1916 and had 8 children - Mary, Gilbert, Don, Nell, Pidge (Lola), Sandy (Alex), Collette (Blonde) and Dorothy (Dumps). Doug's youngest brother, Ken joined the family at age 12 (Mary was about 7 years of age, to establish a "time" factor) and Mick, Mum's nephew at the age of 7.
      Mum met Dad when the Perkins family were living at Arrawatta. When she arrived home from her final year of schooling at Perkins girls were raving about a young man who had recently arrived at Arrawatta Cheese Factory as cheese maker. Dad was a fairly frequent visitor to the Perkins household. From what I understand the Perkins had leased one of the dairies, as Mum said one of her duties when home from school was to cook a sponge cake and take it down to the boys for their afternoon tea! It seems that the youngest daughter of the family caught Dad's eye and they were married prior to Dad's departure overseas WW1.
      The Perkins initially resided at Tenterfield. When Avis was 12 years of age, her parents - Hannah (Nan) and James (Pop) Perkins purchased a piano and Avis started music lessons. After two weeks of lessons her brother Steve tossed a sheet of music to her, told her to run through it and he would have a practise with her - Steve was a singer. Mum took one look at it and reminded him she had only two weeks lessons. Steve's comments were "why are we paying for you to learn music?" Mum queried the "whose paying" part of it. However, this was her BIG brother asking her to do something so she busied herself and was ready to accompany his singing by the week-end and there after. The family moved to Arrawatta and Avis completed her schooling at the Glen Innes Convent as a boarder. After a total of 4 years of music lessons she topped Australia, in conjunction with a South Australian girl, with 98 marks for Advance Senior, London College of Music the examination before letters, (one year the London College of Music examiners took the boat ride to Australia and the following year the Trinity College of Music examiners came out - they no doubt passed each other in transit - we are talking about the early 1900's) There was no Examination Board in Australia at that time. Her next step in the music line was to obtain her "Cap and Gown" from the Trinity College of Music but she had completed her schooling, there was no Music teacher in the Arrawatta area so Avis was unable to sit for her final examination, the Big One!!
      When Dumps and I first went to St. Ursula's, Armidale, the Mother Provincial, Head of the Order in Australia resided there and she met all the parents of new students. Her name was familiar to Mum so she asked her if she had stayed overnight at Glen Innes with another Ursuline nun on their way to Brisbane to sit final exams for Bachelor of Arts Degrees - Yes. Mum asked do you remember a young girl being asked to play for you. Without any hesitation she said "Yes", very well, she had fair hair and curls to her shoulders and played magnificently, a Lizt, and a couple of others. Mum said that's right, well I was that young girl. Some good gracious me, etc. took place. That one event had taken place 40 years previously so she must have been impressed as a Mother Provincial would have heard thousands of children play over her life time.
      Unfortunately most of us never heard Mum at her best - hand milking cows soon destroyed the hands for classical piano playing. However, hum her the tune of the latest hit and she'd play it with a good old swing. Her brother Steve asked Nan if she could come down and play at the local hall for the Saturday night dances - the pianist wasn't that good. Nan said she is only 16. After a bit of persuasion Nan consented, subject to Mum's willingness, and on the grounds that he "was to bring her home before midnight and before you take whatever girl you are taking home"
      She was a Lizt specialist and for those who are not up in classical music, Lizt is the most technically difficult composer of the lot to play. I was up at the Wades place, practising with Marjorie Wade on Sunday for the Eisteddfod and I wasn't handling the right chords too well so Mrs. Ben Wade (snr) called out "Collette those chords are shocking - your mother would be horrified, she was a magnificent player. So being in a cheeky mood I said, Oh Mum said "you were a far superior player than she". Her reply was, don't you believe her, she is a modest woman, she could have went places if she hadn't fell in love with your father, milked cows and destroyed her hands for piano playing. Tom Lawler, who many of you would remember, a great tenor voice, (he could have gone places too but got the huffs with the Conservatorium of Music - typical - very temperamental guy but a great friend) reckoned Mum was equal to the best as an accompanist (accompanying an artist is an art in itself) and Tom was very fastidious when it came to singing as we older members of the family well know!!. She had a stack of silver medals she had won around the Eisteddfod tracks which she sold during the drought period when money was desperately short. Dad was most upset about it (she didn't tell him until after the event) but Mum said the money was more important and the only one she kept was her Advanced Senior Medal, which, of course, was a Bronze.
      I think that was probably the drought she spoke of a few times. A very long one and it broke on Christmas Eve afternoon. Startled with a drizzle, then light rain for an hour or so and then beautiful steady rain. When Dad came up late that afternoon he said to Mum we will go to town (horse and sulky) and get a present for each of the kids. Up to that point in time there was no money to spend on anything but absolute necessities. The week before Mum had been to town to get a few items and there was hardly anyone in the streets. When they went in Late Christmas Eve just about all the streets were crowded, everyone with big grins on their faces, laughing, talking and buying small gifts.
      However, Mum's musical gift wasn't totally wasted, we loved her Sunday afternoon playing sessions in the summer - too cold in the winter in the lounge room. She'd start to play and those who were home would drift in, hum her the latest hit tune and she'd swing it out - they would also drift «b»OUT «/b»when Mum decided Dumps and I had to do a bit of singing!!
      Mum worked hard beside Dad when they first purchased "Fairview" and also during the Second World War when all able bodied men were "called up" and Mum was seconded back to the dairy - still no milking machines at that time.
      In May 1940 we had a serious car accident - Studebaker turned over coming down Body's Hill. Mary was Dr. O'Hallorans secretary so Mum was taking her in to work; (Monday morning) then we were to do a bit of shopping - warm undies for the restart of school.
      To save petrol as it was early War years and petrol rationed, it was customary to coast down the hills. The road was a shocker and a curve towards the end of the hill. The car skidded in a rut, went out of control and turned over. Mum was thrown out, landed some distance sway from it and was critically injured, Mary had an enormous gash in her thigh down almost to the bone, it had been ripped by the door handle as she was thrown out - Sandy was badly cut around the head and one cut ran from the top of his nose down to the corner of his eye so he was very lucky it didn't go any further. Dumps and I emerged virtually unscathed. Dumps had a cut lip (she couldn't have tomato sauce with her corn beef for lunch that day as it stung her lip) and I had a lump on my forehead.- which may or may not account for many things!) We both managed to crawl out. I know I was first out - everything was deadly silent so I called out to everyone, got no reply so "spat the dummy" and yelled out "well I'm going home" (I was not quite 6 years old I walked a short distance up the hill then turned around to see if I could see anyone and I saw a black thing (Mum had a black edge to edge coat on) laying quite a distance (to me) from the car, though it might be Mum so I rum down in that direction. As I got there the folk living nearby had arrived and grabbed me a few yards from where Mum was. The man handed me over to his wife and went to Mum. Another nearby family had rung the Ambulance and our Doctor, Paddy O'Halloran. Shortly Dumps appeared - she had managed to crawl out. Then things began to happen. Paddy arrived quick smart, but no Ambulance. (I think he had to finish his breakfast!) Gib and Don arrived in their milk carts. Dad arrived at a gallop mounted on Smokey. Pidge arrived shortly after Dad on her bike. She had saddled Smokey for Dad and thought she would get up to the top gate to open it for him but Dad took off on Smokey and jumped the gate. Dumps and I complained to Gib they wouldn't let us go to Mum so he got us busily picking up the money, (the previous week's takings were on board for banking and there were two bobs etc. all around the place). Still no Ambulance so they loaded Mum and Mary into Paddy's car. He came across with Dad and peered into Dump's eyes, took our pulse and said "they are OK Doug; they can go home, keep Colette at home from school Dorothy may fret (so I had the rest of the year off!!). They then took off to the hospital with Mum and Mary in Paddy's car just as the Ambulance arrived so Sandy went in the Ambulance. Dad went to the hospital, Dumps and I got a ride home in the milk cart and Pidge hung on to one of the carts on her bike (I think). Can't remember what happened to Smokey!
      Nell was in her 1«sup»st«/sup» year of nursing and on duty that morning. She had just finished doing a stint in the Male Ward (Nell wasn't keen on the Male Ward) and was now in the Female Ward. When the Matron found out who was coming in, she told Nell to return to the Male Ward. Nell was not pleased but of course, she soon found out why.
      When we arrived home poor old Nan was sitting on the veranda just waiting when Pidge Dumps and I came up from the dairy. Nan sat us on her knees and asked Pidge how they all were. Pidge told her they are all right Nan, but I opened my big mouth and said they wouldn't let us go near Mummy and Mary but Sandy had blood running all over his head and face and in a graphic description put my hands over my face and dragging them downwards, he's all cut. (I saw Sandy he was being taken to the Ambulance). Pidge gave me a dirty look and poor old Nan said to Pidge "Oh, they are all right are they?" in a very unbelieving voice.
      With Mum out of action for a considerable time, Aunty Nell arrived up to help out. It must have been about 2/3 weeks (it seemed like an eternity) before Dumps and I was allowed to visit Mum. On Sunday afternoon they dressed us up in our best dress, gave us several warnings the we were not to cry when we had to leave Mum, which we didn't - wouldn't be game. Mum told them to put us on the bed one each side just below her pillows. She looked so white to me and her hands so thin. I don't think we even wiggled out toes. Shortly after Mum came out of hospital she Dumps and I went to Aunty Queen (Dad's sister) for Mum to regain some strength - we were there for some time. Mum was so weak she had trouble washing and wringing out our panties. Aunty Queen saw how wet they were when Mum hung them up and forbade her to do anything whatsoever. From there we went to Aunty Toss for a few weeks then came home.
      Our household was a big and busy one and Sundays in winter time I loved. The "elders" would go off to the football or whatever, Mum and Dad, Nan and Pop had an afternoon rest and Dumps and I played around. After their rest, we changed clothes, counted the week's takings listening to the wireless. Then is there wasn't a wind blowing, and Mum felt up to it, Mum Dad and the "two kids" as we were referred to, would bring the cows in. I just loved it - we had Mum and Dad all to ourselves!
      Bedrooms and beds were at a premium - two beds on Pop's veranda and 3 on the front veranda. Gib Dumps and I slept on the from veranda, Sandy and Mick on Pop's veranda, Don in the "boys room" Mary was in the girls bedroom. In fact I can't remember where we all slept. Nell, of course was mainly at the Hospital when she started her training. When she was a kid she slept with Nan. I can remember Dumps and I sleeping in Mum and Dads room, one of the cots was larger than the norm. I know when we had visitors there would be a reshuffle. Dumps and I slept "toe to toe" on numerous occasions. Dumps and my dresses were kept in Mum's wardrobe and half a drawer for out undies. We eventually scored the girls room. I slept in there one night and next morning went and asked Mum if I could have my bed on the front veranda back. I couldn't see the sky and stars and trees - I felt I was locked up. I can relate to our aboriginal people when they gave them homes to live in.
      Frequently when we arrived home from school we could be greeted with "don't go up to the front veranda" there would be a nurse up for the day having a sleep before going on night duty that night at the Hospital.
      Time went by. Gib went off to War, all able bodied men called up and we had only one young man working for us. Mum was still not well and Pidge had left school half way through 3«sup»rd«/sup» year to help Mum and she asked Dad if she could milk instead of Mum. Dad said to her "Mum is the top miler in the dairy - you couldn't really replace her" but of course Dad conceded and Pidge milked instead of Mum (Dad could be a bit of a teaser)
      We had our first wedding. Mary and Gordon were married and then he left for overseas, Mary and Gary lived at Fairview until he returned, got himself organised and purchased their home. Gary was a little fellow and had trouble settling down in town - he wanted to come back to Fairview, so Pidge used to frequently bring him out on weekends. Mary after leaving school spent some time in Sydney receiving tuition from a leading Scottish Dancer, learning a few more techniques and the art of teaching dancing and I can remember her having a room in the Arcade on Otho Street where she taught.
      Aunts and Great Aunts, Uncles came and went for holidays. We always enjoyed their visits. Sister Ursula, our music teacher regularly asked us what visitors have we got at home now? (she knew the family) She reckoned Fairview was a free hotel. Looking back at those times our parents generosity was virtually unlimited.
      Dad packed us off in about 1942 to Sydney prior to Christmas for a long holiday at Manly. We had a grand time! Nan took care of the men folk at Fairview. An appointment had been made for Mum to see a specialist whilst in Sydney which she did at the end of the holiday and she was admitted immediately to St. Vincent's Private Hospital for about 2-3 months with severe Angina - initially she wasn't even allowed to hold a book to read. We all returned home without her. Mum would have been in her early 40's then. Aunty Ruby lived at Darlinghurst and Aunty Bell (Dad's youngest sister - and she was great fun) lived at Woolloomooloo - about a 10 minute walk - so she had very regular visitors. They didn't have the medication and operations in those days that they have today but fortunately she had a top specialist looking after her and he told her what and what not to do and not to listen to what anyone else told her. When he died she was lucky enough to get an equally good doctor, Jimmy Sherwood (which is a well known name amongst the elders in out family.) When she came out of St. Vincent's Hospital she was not even allowed to dust, except at "arm level, viz no stooping, reaching or bending.
      Mum was incredible the way she handled her bad heart - never gave in, took heart attacks in St. Mary's Cathedral, in the theatre (remember that one Roselee - pitch black dark - I was the one that panicked not Mum. Got the ambulance and they carried her out and took her down to St. Vincent's and she was there for a few weeks. Met Sandy for lunch one day after mass and had a heart attack so he shot her up to Sydney Hospital. In her earlier days at Fairview she used to have frequent and very severe attacks. Paddy O'Halloran would arrive at Fairview in a cloud of dust and give her pethidine injections. She never allowed her condition to interfere with her life.
      So for 30 plus years she enjoyed her life and busied herself regardless of the Angina, had innumerable turns, many of them severe, frightened the life out of us on numerous occasions and lived till 75.
      I think Mum had four great loves in her life - her God - her family, a great compassion for her fellow beings and the love of music and the theatre.
      The older Mum Got the greater her faith became, although that probably isn't quite true - the Rosary was always said every night at home; in the summer time on the front verandah, in winter in the kitchen (a fuel stove in there and it was warmer;) - Don and Pidge would quite often start a conversation up during the Rosary but soon got a quick rebuke and called to order by Mum. After the Rosary there would generally be a talk session - sometimes it would get a bit heated in which case Mum would call it a day and say it was time to adjourn. If we were going to the pictures, the Rosary would be said on the way in. When we had visitors to dinner Dad would entertain them while we said the Rosary. One evening Mum and Pidge were entertaining the Matron, Deputy Matron and one of the senior Sisters to dinner. They "laid it on" and made up a cocktail for pre-dinner drinks. Mum and Pidge had everything organised so went up to join Dad and the guests prior to dinner. Tom Lawler was visiting at the time and he came racing up the verandah from the kitchen calling out "Mrs. Frater, the cats in the cocktail!" They could have murdered him (the cat was no where around). Tom had a bit of a warped sense of humour at times. Until we got a car, the family (or part thereof) went to mass every Sunday (3 miles) in the sulky. Mum went one week and Nan the next. In winter time they would have hot water bottles and a rug over their knees. Don tells me Mum got a new sulky with rubber wheels (so it wasn't such rough travelling) and then two sulkies went off to Mass on a Sunday morning.
      When we came to live at Bardwell Park she eventually became almost a daily mass person, of course, Rosary at night. Mass initially at St. Patricks. Then the hill walk up to it got to much for her so St. Julian's in George Street but that also had a bit of a hill. She finally settled on St. Mary's Cathedra. Many of her grandchildren would be well aware of her habit when they spent some of their holidays with her.
      As Paul reminded us at Mary's 80«sup»th«/sup» Birthday party - Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral followed by lunch at David Jones on Thursdays. She was always making novenas or going to Mass for someone, although she went regardless of requests.
      She loved to have her grandchildren down for a couple of weeks after Christmas. There was the Pantomime, a trip to the Zoo (I got to know the Zoo life the back of my hand). Some times Aunty Nance and Mick would come along, or Aunty Belle.
      Mum always had a great compassion towards her fellow beings. I couldn't name the number of times when I arrived home from work and Mum related to me the woes of a woman who had seated herself beside her in Hyde Park and poured out their heart to her. (Hyde Park seemed to be her counselling rooms) she would even run late for Mass at St. Mary's. The best one though was when she was standing at the crossing at Town Hall on her way down to St. Julian's and a women near her started to pour out her woes over some major family problem. The walk sign came on so they crossed the street and Mum remained talking to her until the woman felt calmer (she ran late for Mass once again). I started to laugh - and got a quick reprimand so partly got myself out of it by saying, and quite truthfully, "who but you Mum would stop and take the time to talk to a total stranger at a pedestrian crossing to console a human being" Mum's reply "well what else could you do'? Some people need to talk to a stranger. I think all those who knew her are fully aware of what God and the Mother of God meant to her. They got her through some great sorrows in her life.
      During the Depression years when a lot of men turned to walking the country side looking for work - "virtually swagman" - she never knocked one back when they came down the lane after a bit of food. In fact she was never known to refuse food for a swagman at any time. Dad, of course, was quite happy with her ways.
      Mum had more than her share of tragedies both in the earlier and latter life. There was the tragic loss of Marj, Susan and Diane and her grief not only for those lost but for Don's agony and Roselee's loss.
      It was the same when Gilbert died so tragically. A police sergeant arrived on out door steps at approximately 6 am in the morning - Mum beat me to the door - he asked for Mr. Wotton, out hearts sank. Norm took him out to the porch and Mum and I stood near the buffet waiting, he was quite a while. Norm came out and told us Gilbert had died and Mum's reply was (his girl friend) OK? Norn said yes, it was an asthma attack and then went in to Pidge. Mum said to me "why didn't God take me, I'm and old woman", and she meant it. She went out to the back yard, and said her Rosary. The comment was a very good indication of the extent of her love for her family and grandchildren. Gilbert told Pidge and me one day that none of her daughters came within coo-ee of their mother. We told him to wash his mouth out but conceded he was quite right.
      Naturally he was a great consolation to Mum when Dad died (a baby always is) and I think the strong bond between them formed then and lasted for the rest of his life. Mum saw a great deal of him as he was in and out of the Children's Hospital for years from about the age of 4 and then for 5 years spent his one Sunday a month at Bardwell Park on his "day out" from College. When he got his own "digs", he regularly "blew in" and never failed to phone her weekly and they would be in long conversations.
      Life at "Fairview" when I was a kid - well I just loved it and I believe we all felt the same, roaming around the hills, the sunrises, doing your chores on a week-end, listening to the wireless in winter time - simple sort of life eh?. In summer time Dumps and I used to plead worth our elders to play with us after tea on a Sunday night. I would be "red rover cross over" or "hide and seek" (outside the yard was out of bounds.
      Being at the end of the family Dumpsie's and my chores weren't so great. We took over from Sandy in gathering the eggs and the hens had no consideration as to where they laid them - under the grain shed which meant crawling under and keeping and eye out for spiders (Dumps jib on that one), in the old sulky in the old dairy where some hens went to roost and it was in quite a mess with the result there were fleas by the hundreds so it was a "quick in and out", the machinery shed (we didn't mind that climbing over the header etc) and even in the middle of a patch of stinging nettles (that wasn't so good) Nan seemed to keep an eagle eye on where the hens where laying. We also gathered the chips from the wood heap for the lighting of the fires which was a bit of a bore. The copper was lit daily, the kitchen stove and in winter, the fires in the dining room and Nan and Pops room so there were plenty of chips needed. We didn't score a bedroom we didn't have the chore of cleaning it up!
      I was great when we got electricity on. Mum got a double door frig, electric fan, Sunbeam mixer, floor polisher and floor scrubber. Life became much easier in the household work, and as Don has said, in the milking yards.
      Thursday was shopping day. Had to be in town by 2.00pm to bank the previous weeks takings and the car would go home loaded with the groceries. Mum brought potatoes, sugar and flour by the bags and tea came by the chest ordered from Sydney and came up by the goods train. It lasted a few months. We had a household of about 14. Over the course of the years, we usually had two or at least one man employed at Fairview who "lived in".
      The green grocer, Mr. George, used to come out along Swanbrook Road with his truck loaded up with vegetables and fruit. Mum of course, was a good customer, and Mr. George couldn't put anything over her. "What are the beans like Mr. George", beautiful, so Mum would pick one up, break it to check. Same with the fruit, mandarins particularly early season, are the sweet? Mr. George would say "yes" but Mum would take one and peel it to make sure, then say either yes or no.
      Bathing was a ritual. The hot water had to be carried from the wash house at the rear of the house, (except Sunday unless football season) around to Pop's verandah and a few feet down the verandah into the bathroom. Pidge usually did that in my time. It was then "line up in pecking order" Mum had first bath and you had to be in the bathroom waiting and been fairly quick about it otherwise more water had to be carried around and besides water was at a premium. We did eventually get a chip heater (more chips1). If we followed Nell, she used to blow bubbles, recite poetry and tell us stories about Ann of Green Gables while we were sitting on the floor waiting to hop into the bath.
      The day we struck water in the bore Dad was having put down, Mr. McDonald who was doing the drilling came racing up the hill in his truck, blowing his horn, arrived at the front gate and jumped out. He had struck water!!. So Dad and he retired to the dining room and had a whisky on the strength of it. It was a great day! Dad got Mum to send a cablegram off to Gib who was in the RAAF in England.
      Going to the pictures was another ritual. We would all pile in, sometimes 8 in a car. One night we arrived at the Theatre and Norm was talking to a friend while waiting for the car to arrive (he was courting Pidge). We pulled up and piled out and his friend said "they are like rabbits coming out of the burrow - are they going around and coming through again?"
      When Norm and Pidge were married they lived at Fairview. Norm did the ploughing and, of course, involved in the dairy (what male wasn't or even female for that matter). Norm used to chat a lot with Dad, sitting out on the tank stand, discussing, 1 guess, about various farming methods etc. I remember Dumps lad a big crush on Norm and frequently asked him would he marry her when she grew up.
      Whilst the "elders" went to school via sulky or on horse back, we younger ones pushed the bike and many a spill we had on the shocking road. I got my first bike for Christmas the year I started school - 4 ½ years old. Gib gave me my first ride, he held the seat and I wobbled down the path.
      I practised the rest of the holidays; I was even taken out on the road! But much to my amazement and disgust when I said to Mum, I'm riding my bike, the answer was not yet. So I was back seated by Pidge or barred by Mick. Mick and I had a buster coming down Body's Hill - in the same place of the car accident. Mick asked if I was alright which I was but I was very upset over Mick's lunch. He had it in a brown paper bag and the sandwiches had fallen out and covered in gravel. I can remember saying "Oh Mick what are you going to do for lunch" (shock horror! a typical Frater, always thinking of the stomach). Mick took them from me and brushed them down, and said that they were alright. I didn't think they were and when eating my lunch that day kept thinking of Mick and his "gravel" sandwiches. Mick left school when he was 15 and worked at Fairview until older and then started on the "milk run". When Ken came to live with the family he also helped in the dairy. While studying for the HSC over the final weeks Mum relieved him of "milking duties" to give him more time to study (it's hard studying by a kerosene lamp at night for long). Ken then went to Teachers College and went off teaching. When he was married Ken and family used to spend the September school holidays at Fairview which we all enjoyed. Another reshuffling of sleeping accommodation but who cared?
      Our maternal Grandparents always lived with us and we loved them dearly. When Dad purchased Fairview and took Mum out to see it they went through the front door and Dad said to Mum, indicating the room on the left as you went in - This will be "Nan and Pop's Room". It was the largest room in the house. A large bay window which Dad said they could put up a curtain across the bay window and use it for a place to wash and not have to battle with kids in the morning for the bathroom. You will have the company of your mother and pop can potter around.
      Pop started with a droving team when he was 7 years of age and received no education. On one of the droves there was a teacher in the team and asked Pop if he could read or write. The answer of course was "no". so he said to Pop that's no good lad so after the days work and by the light of a camp fire he taught him to add and subtract and from a book of poetry he taught him how to read. Pop eventually became the buyer for Arrawatta Station. They were at a sale one day and Mr. Bowling, owner of Arrawatta Station, asked Pop the number of beasts in the yard at which they were looking. Pop looked at it for a minute and then said 33 or whatever. When the beasts were counted through the gate, Pop was one out.
      When Pidge was learning to ride, Pop used to take her out riding but he would just amble along at a walk. Pidge always wanted to canter or gallop. She used to get very frustrated. Pop's theory was you don't gallop a horse when there is no need.
      Sandy slept on the veranda just outside of Nan and Pop's room. He used to empty their potty, get their water for washing, etc and in winter time would go up to their room and sit and talk to them. One day they were off to Sydney for a holiday to see their family and just prior to the bus departing Pop noticed he hadn't brought his walking stick. Sandy had rode his bike down to see them off so he asked the driver if he raced home would he wait a few minutes on the Glen Innes Road for him to arrive with the stick. Sandy arrived home with a face as red as a beetroot and fairly panting from exhaustion - it was a 3 mile hill ride to Fairview and then across the common to the Glen Innes road. When he saw the bus there he eased back a bit, but the bus started to move off, so he went as flat out as he could again, the bus stopped, Sandy eased off, the bus started to move off (he was having a nasty little game with him) but he finally made it.
      Pidge was talking to Nan about the "old days", etc. not all that long before she died. She said "you know it's a terrible thing to be proud and poor", there were times when Pop was away for weeks droving and no money coming through so Nan took in the Doctors washing to make ends meet. On Sunday's everyone had a baked dinner and some of the "nasties" in the street would walk the length of the street to see who was able to afford a baked dinner. If there was no smell of a baked dinner drifting out that would be reported to the neighbours to say they were too poor to have a baked dinner. So there were many Sundays when the Perkins couldn't afford a baked dinner but Nan was one up on the "cats". She used to put a union in a dish in the stove and the smell would drift out. In actual fact, they would be having doughboys for dinner. The girls all had one white pinafore which they had to wear over their dress to go to school. When they got home from school off it came, they were washed and starched, and in winter placed in front of the stove to dry. In winter it meant getting up a bit earlier to iron them.
      There are stories galore about Nan and Pop - they were much loved by us all. Ken Frater was talking to me when he popped out one day and he said "you know how in the Readers Digest there is always an article who you think was/is the most remarkable person you ever met? He said he had thought a lot about it over the years - first one, and then another etc and finally came across whom he believed the most remarkable person he had ever known - Hannah Perkins. He said when you think of the hardness and at times plain poverty she experienced at times in her life, her tragedies and the way she bore them I made my final decision. He said I never really loved Nan (she was a very aristocratic/reserved type of woman), but had the highest regard for her, but Pop I loved dearly - he was a real character with a great sense of humour. Shortly after Ken arrived at Fairview and after the evening meal pop turned to Ken and said "well lad, the women folk (primarily meaning Nan) are going crook about the bluntness of the carving knives so we might as well get it over and done with. Come with me and hold the lantern. Pop said to Ken now hold up the lantern just so ……., so I can see what I'm doing. Ken hadn't seen this procedure before and in his eagerness to see what was going on the lantern moved from the position Pop told him to hold it. Presently Pop stopped turning the grinding wheel and looked up at Ken saying "can you see lad?" and Ken replied "Yes Pop I can see, I can see". Pop's reply was "well I bloody well can't so get your head out of the way and give me some light".
      Nan died at Fairview - had the flu, it developed into pneumonia and was nursed by Nell, the granddaughter she was so proud of. When pneumonia developed the doctor reckoned if she was moved to hospital the exertion would be too great and would lessen her chance. Gib and Norm used to come up and help move and turn her for sponging. She fought a gallant battle. A few weeks before she had brought a blue/grey dress with similar coloured lace around the top of the dress for Don's wedding (her first Grandson to marry) and she looked absolutely beautiful in it. (Nan always, but always, wore black) but it was not to be. However, Don and Marj went out to see her after the wedding and she died the next morning. After the funeral Dad remarked to the boys (no doubt on there way to the pub) "well we have just buried a most remarkable woman"
      After Nan dies Pop deteriorated very quickly and the last 12 months or so of his life suffered, in today's term, dementia. He didn't know any of us towards the end. Before he got too bad we used to take him into town for a hair cut and from the barber's across to the pub for a beer. Used to tell the barber - Mrs. Frater where I live is very good to me and looks after me. He would have these minor strokes, reached the stage where he couldn't feed himself. Sandy used to feed him at night and whoever was available for his other meals. The family tried to keep Mum from doing it as it used to upset her greatly. Pop died in hospital (he was in there for about a week).
      Dad told his Doctor he was to get him into hospital before he died. After Nan's death at home, he believed it makes the whole process that much harder. Nell was married in October. In the June Mum said to him why not just leave your pyjamas and dressing gown on, it exhausts you too much to dress. Dad's reply was well "Mummy, if I don't get dressed every day I won't be able to dress to give our 'little girl' away in October". So Mum helped him dress which took about ½ hour, he gave his "little girl away" and Nell was back home in December to nurse him. Dad had told his Doctor he was to get him into hospital before he died, as seeing Nan die at home he reckoned it makes it even harder on the family. So Nell went with him in the ambulance and as the ambulance men were putting him in he said "just hold it there till I have my last look of Fairview". Nell said it nearly broke her into teas - he turned his head slowly from left [3]
    Family ID  F215  Group Sheet

    Family  GIRLE Mary Jean (Reid),   b. 23 Oct 1923, Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Aug 2007, Sunhaven Hostel, Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  18 Nov 1971  Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified  26 Dec 2008 
    Family ID  F3242  Group Sheet

  • Documents
    World War II Service
    World War II Service
    Gilbert Frater

  • Notes 
    • 1839 When Gilbert enlisted he was living at "Fairview" Swanbrook Rd, Inverell with his parents and siblings. Gib was only 5'7" tall.
      Jan 2008 Gilbert is living in a nursing home in Inverell, NSW.

  • Sources 
    1. [S774] Birth of Gilbert Frater, New South Wales Births Deaths and Marriages Certificate No. 50110.

    2. [S1992] WW2 Gilbert James Frater Records.

    3. [S747] Marriage Cert. for Alexander Frater and Avis Perkins, 1916.

    4. [S735] Marriage Cert. 1916 for Alexander Frater and Avis Perkins.