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.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mystery Monday - Isabella Allan McGregor (1863-1938)

Entry in Family Bible - Isabella Allan McGregor 26 May 1863, Araluen

Isabella Allan McGregor, I have found her story a little of a mystery hence, today's title Mystery Monday.  

Isabella was born just over two years after her sister Mary Ann, on the 24 May 1863, in the mining settlement of Araluen, near the town of Braidwood, NSW.  The McGregor and McPherson families it seems, were working very hard on thier mine and making a decent living.

In can only be assumed that near the end of the 1860's their mine in Araluen was not as productive and it was this that prompted the family to move to Bombay, on the Shoalhaven River (also close to Braidwood). 

McGregors - Bombay
 An excerpt from an Article in The Braidwood Review and District Advocate, July 1917, reflects on the Gold mines in the Bombay area and the McGregor family is mentioned as one of the more successful sluicing claims. The family remained in Bombay on the banks of the upper Shoalhaven River for about eight years and then when Isabella in her mid teens moved to 7 Booth Street, Balmain.

The Sands Directories show James McGregor and family living at this address throughout the 1880's, however, James's occupation is not listed, so the reason for the move is quite a mystery.It seemed the family  of eight children thrived and in the following years in Balmain their numbers increased to eleven. What a busy home, you would have to assume that Isabella and her older sister Mary Ann had an important role in supporting their mother with all their younger siblings.

In the late 1880's Isabella met George Frederick Wheeler (1862-1921), who had immigrated  to Australia from London.  They were married in the McGregor family home, in Balmain. 

A year later, Isabella and George welcomed their instant family of two, with the arrival of twins Lily and Walter. Florence (1891) and Emily (1894) arrived in the following five years to complete their family.

The following years are a mystery, there are a number of articles in TROVE from this period about the bankruptcy of a Butcher in Balmain called George Frederick Wheeler, however, I cannot find any proof to confirm if this is the George Frederick Wheeler that Isabella married.

George passed at the quite early age of 58, his funeral leaving from their home in Seymour Street Croydon for burial in the family plot in the Presbyterian section of the Field of Mars Cemetery.

Isabella felt this loss deeply, her thoughts reflected in a beautiful in memorium notice posted a few years after George's death.

 In Memorium 23 March 1925

Wheeler - A tribute of loving remembrance of my dear husband, our dear father and grandfather, George Frederick who was called home March 23, 1921.

"Our memory often wanders, at twilight shadow's fall
Back to days of happiness, days beyond recall;
And a vision come before us, so fond, so pure, so sweet
of him whose lips are silent, whose heart has ceased to beat
in turning another leaf.
Sadly missed by his wife and children and grandchildren."

Following George's death, Isabella moved to live in a modest home in Drummoyne, enjoying life with her family, children and grandchildren.  She passed away at the age of 75 years on the 16 October 1938.
Entry in Family Bible - Isabella Allan Wheeler - died 16 October 1938, aged 75

Monday, November 25, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Mary Ann McPherson McGregor (1861-1941)

This is the first in a series of blogs about the daughters of James McGregor (1833-1917) and Margaret McPherson (1839-1860) - The McGregor Sisters. Interest in this project was sparked when I was recently given a photo of the McGregor Family by my Aunt. Then, as if to give the project a gentle push, two weeks later the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) contacted me advising that they had in their keeping James and Margaret's Family Bible. The Bible proved to be an invaluable find, as inside there was a hand written list of family events, including the birth dates and places of all the McGregor sisters. Writing and researching the story of each of the McGregor Sisters, will I believe, be a journey of discovery, and I hope it will lead to connections with others who are researching this family.

Mary Ann McGregor
Life on the Gold Fields

On the 27 August 1861,  James and Margaret's welcomed their daughter Mary Ann  McPherson McGregor. The family was living and working on the gold fields of the mining community of Araluen, in the Southern Highlands of NSW.  James and Margaret had lost their first child, a little girl at birth in 1860.  The gold mining in Araluen had started in 1851 and the district had become one of the most significant mining areas in New South Wales, with over 15,000 prospectors arriving to try their luck, and in excess of 11 million pounds of gold being extracted from the area.*

The winter of 1861 had been a harsh one with severe flooding devastating and causing havoc to vast areas of the mining community in the Araluen and Major's Creek fields. However, as winter passed life on the gold fields improved. Araluen was known as Happy Valley, one article written July 1861 (just prior to Mary Ann's) birth, states "Araluen - We were much pleased on Saturday last, in paying a visit to the Happy Vally to find that the greatest prosperity prevails throughout the entire diggings; all the claims are realizing satisfactory returns,......The diggings are now rapidly extending along the Plain towards the Farm and this part, it is anticipated, will turn out extremely rich when it comes to be thoroughly worked.  it is really refreshing to see the happy state of affairs in the valley compared with what was the case a few months ago, when devastation and ruin had laid wast nearly all the claims." Braidwood Dispatch**

Entry in Family Bible for Mary Ann McGregor - 25 August 1867
Mary Ann and her family continued to live in the mining town of Araluen until 1870.  The family bible shows the family then lived at Shoalhaven River until around 1877, when James and Margaret packed up their belongs and moved their family to Booth Street, Balmain Sydney.  Mary Ann would have been around 16 years of age at this time.  One has to wonder, how the McGregor sisters adapted to life in the city after spending most of their childhood in the country.

On August 14 1884 Mary Ann married Hugh James McGoogan, in Balmain.  Hugh and Mary Ann continued to live  and raise their family in Sydney.  Their children were: Margaret Mavis, John, James, Hugh and George.

At the age of 80 Mary Ann passed away peacefully while staying with her daughter. Her husband Hugh passed away the following year. 

Entry in McGregor Family Bible  for the death of Mary Ann McGoogan (nee McGregor)

*Australian Heritage, viewed 22/11/13.
**1861 'GOLD FIELDS.', Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), 27 July, p. 3, viewed 25 November, 2013,