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