The STRONGs of Ulster, Ireland, Chapter 12

The “STRONG Family” section of this site is divided into 13 chapters and 9 appendices. Please read in sequence by following the links at the bottom of each page or use the “Quick Nav” at top right. Note that the chapters develop the story of our family and the appendices contain supporting data… for example the Descendancy Report in Appendix 1 with BDM records and photos of family members. Note the styles: links to individual images: …#20 ; citation of sources: …ix) If you wish to select individual chapters, please click on the top left link to the Sitemap page.

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David STRONG's child: R.G.D. STRONG part 2.

Wentworth Falls Parish.

Life seen through the eyes of R.G.D. Strong’s son.
Under the apple tree Life seen through the eyes of R.G.D. Strong’s son…
Under the apple tree at Holy Trinity Rectory Wentworth Falls. Photo: Ron Patfield

 

Image of Rectory Image of Holy Trinity Wentworth Falls. Image of interior of Holy Trinity Wentworth Falls. Image of Bell tower Image of Lych gate.
Click on the above thumbnails for full images of Holy Trinity Anglican Church Wentworth Falls..

This …#20 is where I lived in Armstrong St between the ages of 4 to 9. My father Robert George David Strong was Rector of Holy Trinity, Wentworth Falls, 1 Oct, 1941-25 Aug, 1946. The Rectory looks small in the postcard photo. My childhood memory is of a larger house! Looking at the photo, the room at the left is a large lounge room, on the right was my father’s study or parish office. Just past the front door is a hallway with entrances to the study and lounge room with a pressed metal ceiling, then further on the right is the main bedroom.

A little further on is a narrow stairway leading up to two attic bedrooms on either side of the house. My bedroom was on the left and my foster brother Ron Patfield on the right… used when he came from the war and his RAAF service in Port Moresby New Guinea. On his final leave he was awaiting release from the RAAF.

Diocesan Church House George St Sydney 18th September, 1944.
Dear Sir,
74233, Corporal Patfield, R., Group 744 R.A.A.F., Port Moresby who is at present on final leave having served with the R.A.A.F. in New Guinea, has been accepted as a candidate for the ministry of the Church of England in this Diocese. He had intended offering his services before the war broke out but felt compelled to assist in the Air Force. I would be glad if you could possibly expedite his release as to save the time and expense involved in his return from an operational station, I understand his leave expires within a week. His home address while on leave is C/o The Rev. R.G.D. Strong, The Rectory, Wentworth Falls.
Believe me, Yours sincerely, Howard Sydney Archbishop of Sydney
(To)The Secretary, The Air Board, Melbourne …vii)

Further down the hallway is a passageway leading on the left to the kitchen, in the centre to a dining room and to the right the bathroom. Further through the kitchen is the laundry. Further through the dining room is a closed verandah leading to the maid’s quarters... who sacked because she secretly entertained a male friend there! Outside was a garage and a chook yard. My mother used to chop off the chooks heads when it was their turn to go. There were fire places in most downstairs rooms… this is where the maid was most valuable! There were buttons to summon the maid in the sitting room and dining room… still there in 1953. …iii)

The church was unusual since it had separate communion cups placed at the front. This was due to the fear or tuberculosis and the involvement of the Church in the nearby Queen Victoria Home and the Bodington Sanatorium. Traditionally it was thought that tuberculosis was helped by a rest cure in the mountains! Bodington was used for TB sufferers up to the 1950's. …xv)

I have a story about story about 'Lutanda' … the home for "needy children", with a main entrance on Falls Rd and land which backed onto Cascade St. I went out the back gate of the Rectory, walked into Cascade street then wandered through the adjacent vacant block up to Lutanda's wire fence in search of playmates... and some child accurately threw a brick, hit me on the forehead and knocked me out! I should mention that I spent my working life as a Science teacher and later as a Head Teacher with responsibility for welfare and discipline… looking after students who hit each other with the nearest thing to hand. The Open Brethren Lutanda Children's Home was established in Wentworth Falls in 1930 by Miss Florence Dalwood, who had worked in the “George Müller Homes” in Bristol in the United Kingdom and wanted to establish a Christian home for ‘needy’ children. After Dalwood's death aged 75 in 1949 , Lutanda moved into a large purpose-built orphanage on Boundary Road in Pennant Hills. …iii) Today Lutanda is a Brethren youth camp initiative around the Blue Mountains at Yarramundi and at Mt Victoria. As a child I could not remember (was it the brick?) any of the Lutanda children attending the Primary School opposite or the Church next door! My childhood memory was faulty here, since Trevor Gunter…c/vii) tells me that some of his relatives lived in Lutanda and also attended Wentworth Falls Primary. Moreover, classmate Cath Bewley has a sharper memory than mine and lists nine Lutanda children out of a total class of 32, attending W Falls Primary in our composite 3-4 class in 1946 (see photo below). She also remembers her older sister attending Sunday School at Lutanda about 1941!…c/ix) Similarly, Paula Walden…c/viii) remembers Lutanda children attending Pennant Hills High and Primary when she lived there.

My parents told me the Rectory was designed by the Colonial Architect. They were close, since John Sulman was the architect. He was nominated for the position of Colonial Architect, but he declined. A descendant of John Sulman says:

Holy Trinity Rectory in Wentworth Falls was erected in 1906, still extant but no longer on its original site. Limited funds allowed only for a quite basic timber structure and there was a delay of six years between John Sulman doing the plans and the Rectory being built.…ii)

The Rectory was relocated by truck …#26 in December 1987 — January 1988.…viii), ix) Reference: Blue Mountains Echo Tues Dec 23 1987 AND Blue Mountains Gazette Tues Jan 26 1988. The new home for the Rectory is 56 Pritchard St …#25 and the new owner Michael Forbes was the manager of the Lithgow Zig Zag Railway.…iv), c/iv) …viii), ix)

Image of 56 Pritchard St. Image of removal of Rectory.
Click on the above thumbnails for full images of the Rectory removal.

In winter, the Evening Prayer was about 4:00PM, when the sun was low in the sky. It got dark quite early and became cold in the Church. …#22, …#21 My vivid memory is of one service during WW2 at a time when many ships in our convoys had been sunk and the Japanese were advancing towards Australia and Singapore had fallen. This was when the Sydney Morning Herald had maps with big arrows showing the Jap advances and little arrows showing feeble Allied counter-attacks. Even though I was only a child, I will always remember the emotional feeling in the congregation when we sang:

Eternal Father, strong to save, Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep; Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!
The other hymn…. Oh God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home. Under the shadow of Thy throne Still may we dwell secure; Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defence is sure.

My other wartime memory is ringing the bell …#23 on VE Day (Tues 8 May 1945) and VJ Day (15 Aug 1945). My father gave me instructions how to peal the bells, as distinct to tolling at funerals and ordinary ringing on a Sunday service. Unfortunate that modern society does not like church bells, but in those days they were important to the community!

The nearby homes were interesting to me. Immediately opposite the Church in Armstrong St was an extensive block (now subdivided) which had a model railway where you could sit in the train and be taken around the yard through tunnels etc… what fun! Opposite the model railway house in Falls Rd and just down the hill, was a large house "Strathmore", 74 Falls Rd. My mother told me a Bowes Lyons lived there, a previous lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother who was also a Bowes Lyons. Just up Armstrong St on the left was “Northbrook”, home to church members …i) Mr and Mrs Thomas Burrell whose son was Vice Admiral Burrell, away fighting in WW2.…x)
Just opposite the top corner of the Rectory in Cascade St was a man without a leg who lost it in WW1.
Next door to the WW1 veteran were the Kuwahatas… a Japanese family. I used to play with the daughter of the house. I often wondered where the family disappeared to during the war, and with more knowledge of history, thought they might have been interned. Many years later I contacted my playmate …c/vi) and found they were OK and her father only had to report to the police at set intervals. My friend's grandfather Hideo Kuwahata had first come to NSW in 1890, thus the Japanese Kuwahata family were real Australians, noting that my Irish grandfather immigrated to NSW about the same time!

Mr. Hideo Kuwahata, a well-known Japanese shipping providore and indent merchant in Sydney, died at Nagasaki on Monday at the age of 66 years. He had been in ill-health, and left Sydney for Japan last month.
For more than 40 years Mr Kuwahata conducted his business in Sydney, and some years ago he took his sons into partnership. He established a nursery at Guildford, The Mikado Farm about two years ago, and specialised in Japanese plants. He also opened a small shop for the sale of plants in George-street, city. The model garden in the State Theatre was designed by him. He was a member of the Horticultural Society of New South Wales and a member of the Japanese Club. Mrs Kuwahata and two sons survive. The funeral took place at Nagasaki. …xiii)

Just up from the model railway yard was a track into bush with great blackberries. My mother would send me of to pick the berries for blackberry pie. I didn't mind this at all! Then up past the Burrells and around into Pritchard St was Mrs Mary Sheehan (d. 1955)… at “Roseville” a great friend of my mother who was also on the womens’ guild …i) and who visited our home in Lane Cove after we left Wentworth Falls. A lovely person. Further down Pritchard St hill was Mrs Harriett Gilson… a fascinating Caribbean lady who grew grew gooseberries and other trellised fruit vines. Note that small boys are food fixated!

My mother with her womens' guild friends…i) provided the main contacts for me at home. An important person in our lives was Gertrude Mary (Gertie) Gilpin (d. 1980), who lived with her father David Gilpin, …xi) previous Lord mayor of Sydney, at “Kayla” Parkes Street. This was just down the Falls Rd hill from us and then turn left into Parkes St.… their home was just up from the creek. Gertie later married C.E. Cripps in 1949.

The other ladies of the guild …i) seemed very old to me. I remember the Fairbairn ladies and Miss (?) A. Lambton. Miss(?) Shoobridge fascinated me with her large black hat with broad brim.

M.D. McLaurin said in her history of Holy Trinity: “Miss Cooke in other directions has given great service. For nineteen years with Miss E.A. Turtle she superintended the Sunday School”.…i) My prominent memory to this day is being tossed out of the junior Sunday School by one of these ladies for some sort of misbehaviour and being forced to report to my father who was taking the big Sunday School in the Church which was next door to the church hall. My father appeared humiliated at the time. My own life-time experience as a teacher makes me think this could have been handled better?

I sought my father's approval, but he was a father in the Victorian model, gained from his own parenting. When he retreated into his office at the front of the house he was not to be disturbed. I must have been a nerdish child since I collected words and their meanings. I would ask my father the meaning of words he used in his sermon when we sat down to Sunday dinner. and he would oblige. My father did not introduce male parishioners to me in the same way as my mother did with her friends from the Guild. However, I do remember his Rector's warden William James Douglas (Bill) Bewley (1909-2003), of Fletcher Street, and his children Kevin (1930-2005), Cath and Naomi. I met all 4 of them again around the lower mountains when I moved there in 1979. Bill told me that when he was young he was responsible for the labour of construction of well-known tracks in the National Park. Cath is the same age as me and was in the same classes at school. I made the mistake of asking her if she remembered me. She said: “you punched me in he stomach”! Then on the positive side she remembered me in costume, kneeling on the floor in a performance of A.A. Milne's “Christopher Robin is saying his prayers”. …c/ix)

My memories of school (just down the road) are few. The very cold winter involved going with a double set of underwear. On the way there was a shrub with brightly coloured caterpillars and little spines which stung. My teacher was "Miss Ball" with impossibly long legs. I must have annoyed her at some stage since I was sent to the Headmaster Mr W. D. Gregory… was it because I had punched Cath Bewley?? He was at W/Falls Primary from 1942, transferred from Mendooran. He told me "if the pitcher goes to the well too often it gets broken"! Mr and Mrs Gregory were both members…i) of our church. "Miss Ball" turned out to be Agnes Eunson (Nan) BAULD, born 1924 Dubbo NSW,…c/x),…xii) on her first teaching appointment, perhaps living with her mother in Wentworth Falls.…c/x) She may have continued teaching at Wentworth Falls for a few years, since she lived in Bathurst Rd Valley Heights in 1949, then in Orange in 1954, South Grafton in 1958, back to Orange in 1963, 68, 77, 80.…xii) Agnes died unmarried on 24 Apr 2006 at Calare Nursing Home, Orange.…xvi) Agnes made an impression on me! Her nephew's wife says:

Nan was a beautiful caring soul. My daughters had wonderful holidays with her in Orange when they were young. The only reason I knew her mother lived in Wentworth Falls was because my husband showed me the home that his “gran” lived, when driving through from Sydney.…c/x)

Image of 56 Pritchard St.
Click on the above thumbnail for a full image of my teacher and class in 1946.

I was fortunate to survive, since I contracted blood poisoning, caused by picking my nose! I remember laying in my parents bed and the doctor using a flexible apple stick to get a sample from my nose. Somehow he obtained an antibiotic just developed in the war. If I knew the details of the treatment I could have been part of Australian medical history!

Wentworth Falls was a place of climatic extremes. I remember a heat wave at Wentworth Falls where we lay on the floor waiting for it to leave. However it was not as bad as the bottom of the mountains when we drove the family car (Hillman DT324) down to Penrith High street... where there was great heat like a wall! In summer I remember the noise of the cicadas in the trees on the Cascade St Rectory boundary.

Spring was a good season. I remember the sound of the wind going through the tall pine trees in the church grounds and the Daffodil Fetes held there. Daffodils were supplied from gardens in Coorah on the GWH… now Blue Mountains Grammar. The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

DAFFODIL FETE WENTWORTH FALLS, Thursday (17 Sep 1931) Ten thousand golden daffodils were given by Mr. Robert Pitt for the twenty-second annual daffodil fete under the auspices of the Women's Guild of the Holy Trinity Church Wentworth Falls. The fete was opened by Mrs. Jackson, Lady Mayoress of Sydney. …xiv)

Robert Pitt had pioneered daffodil-growing on a large scale at Coorah, experimenting with many different varieties. From 1905 onwards there was a Daffodil Fair in Wentworth Falls, dominated by blooms from the Pitts’ garden. …xvi) I remember my mother taking me to Coorah and seeing with wonder a cultivated paddock of daffodils. She must have been organising the next donation of daffodils for the fete.

All my recollections do not reveal much about what life was like for my parents… but show what was important to a small child!

Sources:
      i)  M.D. McLaurin. 1889—1955 A brief history of the Parish of Holy Trinity, Wentworth Falls (Diocese of Sydney). Holy Trinity Newsletter; Aug 1955. This source with its details of names and events has been relevant to much of the above discussion and is often cited. Marion Dorothy McLaurin b.1882 - d. 24 Jun 1972 lived in Henderson Rd Wentworth Falls from at least 1934-1954. Her husband Duncan died in 1949.
      ii)   David Sulman Carment. The Sulmans in the Blue Mountains; 2015: 14-15. Accessed 2018 here
    David Sulman is Emeritus Professor of History at Charles Darwin University.
      iii)   Find & connect: Lutanda Children's Home (1930 - 1984). See here.
      iv)   Zenaida S Edwards. The Life and Work of Sir John Sulman 1849-1934.
    PhD thesis, University of Technology Sydney; 2006
      v)   The Pigott family of Queen's County, Ireland; some ancestral connections. See here.
      vi)  State heritage inventory: Wf029 : Blue Mountains Grammar School. See here.
      vii)   Ronald Patfield RAAF service record. See here.
      viii)   Moving house the hard way. Blue Mountains Gazette; 26 Jan 1988: 44.
      ix)   Holy mackerel, it’s Holy Trinity on the move. Blue Mountains Echo; 23 Dec 1987.
      x)   Vice Admiral Henry Mackay Burrell. Wikipedia. See here.
      xi)   David Gilpin Wikipedia. See here.
      xii)   Electoral Roll.
      xiii)   Death of Hideo Kuwahata. Sydney Morning Herald; 19 Mar 1930:17
      xiv)   Daffodil fete Wentworth Falls. Sydney Morning Herald; 18 Sep 1931:10
      xv)   Wendy Thorp. Archeological assessment: Boddington Hospital Wentworth Falls. See here.
      xvi)   Death notice of Agnes Eunson (Nan) BAULD. Ryerson Index.
 
Correspondence… Special thanks to:
      c/i)   Pers. comm: Bruce Dunstan, Blue Mountains Historical Society, 2018.
      c/ii)   Pers. comm: Arnold and June Percy, 2018.
      c/iii)   Pers. comm: Alleyne McGee, 2018.
      c/iv)   Pers. comm: Michael Forbes, 2018.
      c/v)   Pers. comm: Chris Pigott, 2018.
      c/vi)   Pers. comm: Mary Drewett, 2018.
      c/vii)   Pers. comm: Trevor Gunter, 2018.
      c/viii)   Pers. comm: Paula and Alison Walden, 2018.
      c/ix)   Pers. comm: Cath Challinor, 2018.
      c/x)   Pers. comm: Kathleen Reynolds, 2018.

Contact

It would be great if people with knowledge of this family, could make contact with me. See the e-mail link at the bottom of this page.

The Story Continues