Sunday, July 20, 2014

Matrilineal Monday - Emily McGregor 1872-19

Emily McGregor's birth details from Family Bible
It has been a while since I put pen to paper (so to speak) and it is time I continued with the stories of the McGregor Sisters.

Emily McGregor 
Emily McGregor is the next McGregor sister  in line and she has a been quite  a stumbling block.  It has been very quiet difficult to find any bits and pieces of information on her life. 

Emily was born on the 30 October 1872, at Bombay on the Shoalhaven River, after the family moved from the Araluen Gold  in the late 1860's.  From reports in the newspapers at this time the gold fields at Araluen weren’t as productive, and so it is possible that James and Margaret McGregor decided to try their luck in the newer gold mining area on the banks of the Shoalhaven River. The family stayed in this district for about eight years before they packed their bags for the “big smoke” and moved the family to live in Booth Street, in the Sydney suburb of Balmain

Balmain Public School *
Emily would have been around 6 years old when they moved. It is very likely that Emily would have attend the “Girls Public School, which was on the other side of the “Pigeon Ground” Reserve for Public recreation, which was across from their home in Booth Street.  

The Campbell St,Presbyterian Church which was quite close to their home and Emily's parents were regular members of the Congregation.  I can just imagine, Emily along with her sisters and brothers walking with their parents through the park across from their home and down the Campbell Street Presbyterian Church in their Sunday best.  It must have been quite a change for them after their life on the Gold Fields.
As I researched the other Emily McGregor's sisters I was able to trace more of their life story by linking it with their husbands residences and employment, and then through their children.  However, Emily remained a spinster, so these avenues were not available. 

Looking through the Census Records, it is noted that around 1930  Emily lived in Shelbourne Street Burwood, Croydon. Later Census records show that Emily moved in with her sister Elizabeth and her husband Arthur Gurney in their home at 11 Looks Close, Balmain East.  Letters that my Nanna received from her Aunt Elizabeth Gurney, also include greetings and well wishes from her Aunt Emily.  

At the time of her death on the 14th December 1957, Emily was still living with her sister and her husband.  

Entry in Family Bible for Emily McGregor's death - 14 December 1957
* Picture from: Balmain Association Inc., viewed 18/7/2014.
** Family Stories: Photographs and Memories,, viewed 19/7/2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sorting Saturday - Genealogical Spring Cleaning

“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? ..... Dr Seuss

In the words of Dr Seuss, time has flown by.  It certainly has been a while since I have posted a blog!!! However, even though I haven't written much lately, I have been very busy collecting and researching.  Over the past couple of months I have had the good fortune to connect with a number of my cousins, who have been able to provide me with the most amazing family tree information, photos, post cards an letters.  I am a present doing a Genealogical Spring Clean, sorting and filing all the scanned files that I have on a number of usb sticks.  Very time consuming, however, there is light the end of the tunnel.

I have spend this afternoon working through the scanned photos from one of my Aunt's albums and amongst these photos is a beautiful photo of my grandmother Christina Lee, when she would have been around 20 years old.  The picture is of Christina Lee, with her brother (Clyde Lee)'s wife Hilda in the Blue Mountains.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Christina McGregor 1870-1901

Christia Sterland (nee McGregor) and Family

I have always wondered why my Grandmother Christina Sterland Lee (1901-1984) was called Christina Sterland and where her unusual middle name of Sterland came from.  

Then when I began to research the McGregor Sisters, I realised that she had been names after her Aunt Christina Sterland (nee McGregor).17th May 1901.

Sadly Christina Sterland (nee McGregor) passed away at the tender age of  30 on the 17th May 1901 and my grandmother was born only twelve days after her death (29 May) and her sister Catherine Lee, still in mourning,  named her new baby daughter Christina Sterland Lee.
McGregor Home - Balmain

Like her sisters Christina was born in the mining town of Araluen in the Braidwood district of southern New South Wales. Soon after her birth James and Margaret McGregor moved their family from the gold fields of Araluen to try their luck at a little further away at Bombay on the Shoalhaven River. 

During the 1870-1872 times in the gold fields of Araluen had become quite tough. Little gold was found and many families moved on to different areas.  This may have been the reason that the James McGregor decided to move his family to Bombay Creek. Christina would have been eight years old when the family finally moved to the Sydney suburb of Balmain. 

 In 1892, at the age of 22 Christina married a widower, Mr Thomas Arthur Sterland, who had lost his first wife of five years in the previous year.  Christina and Thomas lived in Thomas's greengrocer store on the corner of  Darling Street and Nelson St, Balmain and Christina became step mother to Thomas's small son Albert.   Christina and Thomas had three children of their own, Leslie, Stanley and Roy.  The photo above shows the children and their parents. 

Tragically, in the year after this picture was taken Christina passed away leaving Thomas with a young family of four children to look after. Christina's  funeral left their home in Balmain for the "Field of Mars Cemetery".  I recenly visited her grave which is next to the grave of her parents James and Margaret McGregor. It must have been a shock to Thomas and the McGregor family to lose a wife and sister as such a young age.  In the space of fifteen years Thomas has lost two wives and baby from his first marriage. Thomas remarried a couple of years later to Sarah Parks and they remained married until he passed away in 1954.
Christina's Grave - Field of Mars Cemetery

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Matrilineal Monday - Margaret McGregor

Margaret Cullen (nee McGregor)
On the 27th September 1868, Margaret and James McGregor’s family numbers swelled by two more, when twins Margaret and Peter McGregor were born.  The family at this time was living at Araluen, in the Braidwood district. Unfortunately, Margaret's twin Peter passed away at an early age, at this stage I am not able to confirm the date or cause of his death. 

Old photocopy of Margaret and Albert Wedding Picture

When the family moved to 7 Booth Street Balmain in 1878 Margaret  or as she liked to be called Maggie, would have been 10  years  old. It was quite likely that Margaret and her younger siblings attended the newly opened Balmain Public School, which was within walking distance from their new home. An article giving details about the opening of the new school on the 4th May 1878, can be found on Trove,

In 1896 at the age of 28 Maggie met and married Albert James Cullen (1870-1946) who had immigrated to Australia from London. They started married life living in the Leichardt district of Sydney, close to Margaret's parents and family. Margaret ad Albert had three children, Anthea Vivian (b. 1896), Ethel (b. 1898) and Frederick James (1903-1966).

The census from the 1930's show that Margaret and Albert lived in Richmond Road, Flemington. Albert passed away on the 26 September 1946 and Margaret continued to live in their family home in Flemington until she passed away at the age of 85 on the 16th February 1954.  Both Margaret and Albert were interned in the Methodist Section of the Rookwood Cemetery.

1878 'BALMAIN PUBLIC SCHOOL.', The Sydney  Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 6 May, p. 3, viewed 23 March, 2014,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Funeral Card Friday - with a twist

Today's Funeral Card Friday post has a little twist, as you can see below.  I have had one of the funeral cards that was sent out to family members when my great grandmother Catherine Lee (nee McGregor) passed away on the 12 August 1945, for quiet sometime.  However, recently when I was going through and sorting a couple of boxes of photos I found a little gem.  Amongst the photos, was a small brown envelope addressed to my Nanna, Christina Carraige (Shepherd, nee Lee) .

Imagine my delight when inside the envelope I found the receipt from the printer who had printed the funeral card for Catherine. 

Funeral Card for Catherine Lee (nee McGregor)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Catherine Lee (nee McGregor) 1866-1945

 Catherine Lee (nee McGregor) was my great grandmother. She features in my last post on the Ladies of the McGregor Family.


We regret to have to report the passing of yet another of the Bateman’s Bay district pioneers in the person of Mrs Catherine Lee of Nelligen, widow of the late George Lee, who predeceased her by nine years.  Mrs Lee, who was 79 years, maintained all her faculties to the end, and passed peacefully away in the early morning of Sunday last at the home of her daughter, Mrs Lionel Carriage, at Milton.

The deceased had lived 56 years on the Clyde River, and was ever keen to offer old-time hospitality to the infrequent stranger who would call at the farm on which she lived.  She leaves a family of five daughters and four sons to mourn their loss.  Of the sons, Clyde, Jim and Norman live in or near Sydney the two former being in the Police Force.  George lives on the Clyde River.  Of the daughters Florrie married Mr. A. Rixon, Jessie married Mr E. Rixon, Mona is Mrs F. Shepherd, Christina is Mrs L. Carriage and  Eunice is Mrs Sanders.

There was a large gathering at the funeral, and the ceremony was performed in the Methodist portion of the Milton cemetery, the many wreaths ands sprays of flowers being vivid testimony of the general high regard in which the deceased was held by all who knew her.  We extend our sympathy to the family in their irreparable loss – Milton Times.
  Sydney Morning Herald Monday 13 August, 1945, page 10

Death Notice:

Lee- August 12, 1945. Catherine dearly beloved wife of the late George Lee of Nelligen, mother of Clyde, James, Norman, George, Florry (Mrs A. Rixon), Jessie (Mrs E. Rixon), Mona (Mrs L. Shepherd), Christina (Mrs L. Carriage) and Eunice (Mrs F. Saunders) sons and daughters aged 79 years.**

Catherine Lee (nee McGregor) Mollymook Cemetery NSW
* 1945 'CLYDE RIVER PIONEER PASSES ON.', The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (NSW : 1888 - 1954), 24 August, p. 2, viewed 29 December, 2013,

** 1945 'Family Notices.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 13 August, p. 10, viewed 29 December, 2013,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Catherine McGregor (1866-1945)

Catherine  and George Lee on thier wedding day

On Saturday 14th April  22 year old Catherine or as she preferred Kate McGregor was married by the Rev. McCready at his residence 313 Cleveland St, Redfern to George William Lee. Catherine was the third daughter of James and Margaret McGregor, of Booth Street Balmain.

Their wedding photo, most likely taken in the garden of her parents’ home shows them to be a handsome couple. George was 27 years old and came from the small trading community of Nelligen on the South Coast of NSW.

 His father Thomas George Lee (dates) owned the local store in Nelligen and later purchased Acacia Farm. George  lived on the family farm on the banks of the beautiful Clyde River a few mile north of the village of Nelligen.

There few clues as to how Catherine and George met, perhaps it was when George was visiting family members who had moved from Nelligen to live in Sydney.

Catherine Lee, with daughters Jessie, Florence and baby Mona
Catherine, like her sisters Mary Ann and Isabella was born in the mining settlement of Araluen, then moved to Bombay on the Shoalhaven before James and Margaret decided to settle in Balmain.  Following their wedding, the happy couple settled into life on at Acacia Farm, and soon started their family. The start to their married life was not without tragedy, their first son George  passing away not long after his first birthday.

However, soon more children followed, four  sons, Clyde James, Norman and George and five daughters, Florence, Jessie, Mona, Christina (my grandmother) and Eunice. The Lee children attended the small school at Nelligen.  The three eldest sons were members of the NSW police force while the youngest, George (better known as Jordie) lived on and kept Acacia farm running.

Catherine with Goats on Acacia Farm
Catherine’s life was very busy caring for her children, and later their children. My father spent some time living with his Grandmother after his father Malcolm Michael Shepherd passed away following a logging accident, he would tell me about catching rowing down to Nelligen to collect the mail and supplies.

The timing of their trips would be dependent on when the tides were coming in or going out. The family thrived living on their farm.  There was a plentiful supply of fish in the river, milk and eggs from the farm, vegetables were grown, and numerous fruit trees. These beautiful old trees were still standing when I visited the farm as a small child.

The small wooden farm house had a basic kitchen with an open fire, with large black kettle and camp ovens for cooking  On two sides of the farm house were wide wooden verandahs that looked out over the Clyde River. It really was a beautiful outlook, down over the fields to the river.
View from Acacia Farm down to the Clyde River

I am sure Catherine would have sat out on the verandah's, doing her chores, or sewing and watched the logging boats go up and down the river.  I remember when we visited the farm for family picnics, these verandas were out of bounds as the boards were old and rotten. 

Catherine's husband,George passed away 1936, Catherine continued to live on the farm with her youngest son Jordie (George Alexander).  Jordie married Pat Lenehan in 1944, and about this time Catherine went to live with her daughter Christina Carriage (my nanna) in Milton.  She had spent 56 years living on the farm on the Clyde River Nelligen and was held in high regard by the local community.

On the 12 August 1945, Catherine passed away at her daughter's home in Milton. From all accounts, a large funeral was held at the local Methodist church and then Catherine was buried in the family plot in the Methodist section of the cemetery at Mollymook. A peaceful resting place overlooking the ocean.