This site a documented history of my ancestors, their arrival, the country and conditions they lived in and the ways in which they led their lives. It will include their descendant's records and serve as central repository to research family records from each of my ancestors.
Below is the introduction to the Merrett Family Tree book written in 1977 by Lionel Merrett, who really has an appreciation of the subject in my opinion.
I feel, dear descendants, at this point of time we should ponder on some of the hardships which faced the early pioneers.
Imagine traveling by horse and dray, with a family of eight children, over virgin ground littered with stones and stumps, with only the bare needs for the family and fodder for horse and cow, and facing all kinds of weather - living in a tent at night, and sleeping on the ground!
On arriving at their destination, with no furniture whatsoever, these grand people had to start a completely new life. They carved their needs out of the timber around them. Beds were made of two rails with wire netting stretched across them; then for mattresses two bags were sown together and filled with straw or cocky chaff when available (they would have to grow a crop first). All kitchen utensils were made of steel and required a great deal of polishing to keep them clean and presentable.
The wash tub had many uses; for baking bread (which was done perhaps twice a week with a large family), for bathing the family, and for the weekly washing. The table and three legged stools were hewn from local timber, and the cupboards and wardrobes were made from kerosene cases. For extra blankets bags were sown together - these were very warm - and cooking was done on an open fire outside,
Water would have been been a grave problem both for stock and family until dams were made and galvanised iron took the place of thatched roofs.
There wasn't any choice as far as food went - no vegetables or eggs and very little meat for the start, until the family became settled and started growing their own vegetables. Most pioneers planted some fruit trees when they became available. Two of the regular diets of the early settlers were pie-melon for jam, and lard which took the place of butter on many a table for a long time.
The first homes were built of wattle and daub, and mud bricks, with dirt floors and no ceilings. When it became unbearable, and too hard to sit around the table because of the dirt being worn away, the pioneers would work up the surface with a pick and make it into a pug mixed with skimmed milk, troweled off and left to dry.
Schooling was a problem. The children could not start until they were capable of finding their way across timbered country - some having to walk many miles - then leaving after a year or two. The needs at home on the farm had first call on these young people.
Many of the early settlers had for their home a straw shed, with a chimney in one end for an open fire place. The straw next to the chimney on the roof was protected with a few sheets of tin.
Introduction from the Merrett Family History book written by Lionel Merrett - page 4.
© Copyright 1977 Merrett Family History Group Inc. www.merrett.com.au
Glossary of terms used:
Wattle & daub: A building material consisting of interwoven rods and laths or twigs plastered with mud or clay, used especially in the construction of simple dwellings or as an infill between members of a timber-framed wall.
Dray: A low heavy two wheeled horse drawn cart with low sides that can be dropped down like the tailgate of a ute and are used for haulage.
Cocky chaff: The husks of wheat after threshing out the grain, this contains a considerable amount of nutrient.
Queensland agricultural Journal 1 july 1889.
The webmaster wonders if this attracted "cockys" - Cockatoos especially sulphur- crested cockatoos, corellas and galahs.
Or then this is this defination:
Cockie : farmer (Farmers were called cockies in the early days of European settlement because, like the birds of the same name, they made their homes on the edges of permanent waterholes)
Pug: Crushed limestone or similar compressed clay-like material used as a walking surface