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Melita's song by
Pam McLean

Melita Grace Law (Scotland)

"Celebrating the life"

August 31, 1917 - March 16, 2002
84 years

Melita's own story

From hand written notes by Melita.

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This is a work in progress,
and will be added to as more material is transcribed.

Written by Melita Grace Law (Scotland)

Transcribing by Tim Law.
Minor editing for clarification and reordering.

My father was born in Newcastle on Tyne in 1880. He came to Australia early 1900 when he was about 10 or 12 I think.
He and my mother Paula Erna Frieda Pustkuchen met at the her friends, the Hardies who had a tennis court and lived in Servetus Street Swanbourne. They used to have tennis gatherings. He used to employed as a jackaroo in the North of WA.
My mother was a companion with the Morrisby's in 1912 when he (Mr) was a magistrate at Cossack near Roebourne. They had children and mother loved them a lot. I think she was with them at least six months and they remained good friends all their lives.
Mother did her 3 year nursing training at the Children's Hospital - now known as Princess Margaret Hospital. She was one of the first to enter after the hospital became a training school in 1906. She went North afterwards in 1912.
Paula was born on 29th November 1881 in South Australia to German parents, in fact her mother was born (1848) on a ship coming out to Australia and was called Paulina Oceana. They had a good life as they had everything money could buy. Her father was an indent agent. They were taken to Germany to be tertiary educated and it was then while they were there there was a bank crash when all was lost - about 1889. They came home devastated. Her father died soon after of perhaps shingles and or an abscess in his throat. Mother felt helpless and realised later on that she must learn about nursing. They moved to a farm at Narracourt. Then Uncle Ted, mother's older brother, came west and bought a farm at Narrogin where he invited his mother, his three sisters and young brother to go to with him which they did, about 1905. The sisters were Ella the eldest, Paula and Thekla and younger brother Pete. The other brothers were Otto (the eldest boy, the bank boy), and Leo. He was a geologist and loved the good earth and people. He had lovely blue eyes and was a good friend for we young ones. He always had something in his pocket which he doled out one at a time, peanuts or peppermints. Ted was a lovely fellow, more serious perhaps and set himself firmly the task of a life of caring for his mother. He always did what he could for everyone. He grew fruit at Narrogin (Sylvania). My first taste of stone fruit and I remember it well. It was beautiful.
He had a large bough shed at the back and it was always cool. He help the fruit there and it tasted superb. Pete also went into the bank. My mother came to Perth in 1905 and did her nursing training 1906 - 1909 at the Children's Hospital. She kept something of lots of things, the second annual journal she had - missed out on the first. Very good that she did keep so much. She kept up a friendship with many of the girls she knew but lost track of some as she lived in the country for many years. Later years when she came back to Perth she joined in many a happy gather of the 'girls'! This gave her lots of joy that she had missed out on in the previous years.
My father's family were Will, Jim Jenny and Norah and lived in Newcastle on Tyne.
My parents were married 19 Feb 1915. Their first child was Norah, born in February 1916. Father had joined the army and they lived in various places up near Red Hill (Toodyay Road, east of Perth), the army camp at that time. Mother said it was difficult to get accommodation and so what she got was a room in Gooseberry Hill and with a baby on the way it wasn't for her or them both. Father sailed overseas with the 10th Light Horse in November 1915 and 3 months before their baby was born. Mother stayed with sister Thekla at "Minabbie". Thekla had married a farmer Will Graham by then they had 3 sons, Will, Herb and Leo, and baby Rita born 21st July 1915. These were my cousins. My mother may have also stayed with her mother and brother at Sylvania for Norah was born in Narrogin Hospital on February 4th 1916.
In October/November 1916, mother and Norah went off the England on the passenger ship Arabia to visit father's family. Father expected to get leave from Egypt to meet up there too. It was wartime and surprising that there were ships taking passengers still, but that is what happened. The ship was torpedoed and went down quickly though all passengers and crew got off with the help of other vessels. My mother got onto a mine sweeper where they took 2 days and 2 nights to reach Malta. A lot of passengers were in poor conditions from crowded conditions and coping with the storms. However, all survived included mother and baby Norah. They were cared for at Malta. My father was an officer - Lieutenant - and allowed to have time off to got to Malta to be with his family which must have been a great blessing to all. Especially as Norah was in a very poor condition. Later mother went to Egypt and was able to stay near by for a few weeks so they could have some time together. I was born nine months later and called Melita, which was the first name of Malta. I was born in Narrogin on August 31, 1917. Not sure if father was home by then, the war finished in 1918. Father still looked after farms and his first was Wong Gong near Armadale. A lovely place I believe, but I do not remember.
What I can remember is when we were at Southern Hills. Helen baby born 2 years after me used to climb out of the wicker basket pram with high wheel and I (aged 3 years) either saw the empty pram or watched her doing it - probably both. Once when my parents went for a swim there was a soak well or dam, with fearsome black looking water it was for me. One lost the lower part of their bathers and spent some time looking for it.
There were aboriginal families about and they helped mother and used to take us for walks. Norah remembers that part better than I do.
Dad was doing a caretakers, jackaroo or manager job at that time, 1920 as he had done before the war. The next happening is quite clear in my mind in arriving at Kulin, then 25 miles (40 kms) East where Dad had a farm and was building a house. I knew nothing about it and can't remember going out but arriving there I do. Mother had Pauline also, by then 6 weeks old in a basket born 26th July 1921, so there were 4 of us under 6 years old. The farm was later called Jesmond by father after his place of memory in UK. This house looked fine, he'd done a good job and it was probably the first house he had built, but the floor boards weren't down and we stepped from board to board - fun for us but poor mother! He had built it all himself I think and could not have had the property for very long as Helen and Pauline were just 2 years apart. We lived there until 1929. There were the times Helen used to put a potty in a flat fruit case and I think a pair of pants on top and take it out the side gate and sit on this box for hours said she was waiting for a "man in marter car" or a "motto car". When she eventually came in carrying her box which would have been very heavy for a 3 or 4 year old, she would say "no marter car tumming today". I can remember doing school work by correspondence, sitting in the sunny east side of the house. We had boxes for desks and seats. Everything came in boxes; kerosene cases. They held 2 four gallons tins of kerosene. We got petrol that way later on when we had a car. The boxes were made of good white wood. There were better boxes also which may have held 30lbs of butter. Beautiful white wood they were. Very useful for cupboards and shelves for children's clothes and toys and books etc. We had nothing else but we had good iron bed steads.

More coming soon. ...

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