by Hazel Kale (née Mercer)
When it comes to genealogy I don’t look for relatives but they find a way to seek me out! Take for example the time when I lived at a place called Bordertown, South Australia. I was working in a five-man operational Police Station in a part time job as station clerk.
I received a message that a person named Gwen Matthiessen had some photos to give to me. In due course she called to deliver a brown paper packet containing a number of photos of relatives of mine.
Gwen had attended a Floral Art Symposium in New Zealand and the hosts organising it were asked to billet those attending to lessen the cost of their trip. Guess who Gwen from Bordertown was billeted with?
She landed a bed in a place called Morrinsville where a talented floral artist lived. Her name was Jean Hughes – my Dad George Mercer’s sister! I think our mother who used to keep in touch with her sent them over the years.
“Which part of Australia do you come from?” Jean asked Gwen, trying to make polite conversation over dinner. “You wouldn’t have a clue if I told you”, replied Gwen, “I come from Bordertown, in South Australia.
“Well actually I do happen to know exactly where it is”, replied Jean “because I’ve got a niece living there named Hazel Kale who’s working at the police station!”
Aunty Jean used to send me Christmas cards each year which were also raffle tickets so I made sure I thanked her and kept in touch.
So when Gwen delivered the photos, Hazel came across one with hand-writing on the back which read – to biddie – from HD. Last winter. Hugh’s eldest sister Winifred Devlin was a talented dress-maker and had a young family to bring up when her mother Pauline died at a young age. I’d often heard my dad George call our Aunty Winnie ‘Biddie’ too.