Letters of Kate (Catherine Jane) Parker
to nieces Kate & Annie Watson

[to Kate]

Davis Street

May 19th 1901

My Dear Niece

I received your letter yesterday, of 4th April, containing the sad news of your dear Mother's death. Although you had kindly prepared me for it, still it came as a great shock. I do sympathise with you all in this sad bereavement. To you especially, it must have been a very trying time. I hope, long ere this reaches you, you will be a happy Mother: the little one will be a great comfort to you.

To me it is a sad blow. I looked forward so much to see her once again in the flesh, but it was not to be; and we know God knows best - He never makes mistakes. I was very thankful for your kind letter to me. You have your dear mother's loving spirit: she [double underline] carried her own happiness about with her in her own sweet loving nature. I was so glad to have her loving message. You said quite right: it is a great comfort to me. What a very happy thought it was for her, to think of her absent sister. The message will often be read by me, and I prize it inexpresivly [sic].

It is Sunday today. I have been thinking of her all morning. What will her Sundays be like now. Oh ! how happy she must be to be reunited with so many of her dear ones, who have passed over, and to see Jesus. One cannot mourn for her: it will be all joy, glad joy. But to us who are left, alas! we will miss her. I only had her letters, but they were a great pleasure, and also an inspiration to me. My last letter to her would arrive after her death. I am afraid you would be all upset when you receive it, but your letter preparing me for the end had not arrived when I sent mine off.

My Daughter Winnie is slowly recovering from Typhoid fever. She is going out for her first drive this afternoon. She cannot walk much yet: her legs are swollen and weak yet. But the Dr says that will all pass off. We are all very thankful she was spared to us.

We are anxiously looking for a letter containing news of your confinement.

I have just had my Son Fred. down, he is very much affected about "Auntie Ellie's" death. He has every letter she ever wrote to him carefully preserved, and he and he wife sat reading them all over last night. They are both true Christians.

We all think very much of dear Annie, she will be very lonely without her Mother, may God bless her and reward her for her filial devotion.

I have not been quite well lately, I have had a good deal of dysentery and it is very weakening. Uncle Thomas is very much better. For a long time he was in very weak health but lately he has taken quite a turn for the better and looks quite rosy and well now. Percy is still keeping better and there is every prospect that he will quite outgrow his delicacy. When you feel able I will be glad if you can write to me and you may be sure that anything you can say about my sister's last few weeks on Earth will possess an interest for me. Letters contain so little after all, I feel so cut off from you all now. Give my kindest love to your Father and Annie.

You loving Aunt Kate Parker.

Emu Park

12th March [1902]

My Dear Annie

I was so glad to have your kind letter. You will think I am slow in answering, but I have not been very well. For some time after receiving it, I was suffering very much from Rheumatism in my hands, and could not hold a pen. I am still troubled with it, but now it is in my knees; although painful there, still I would rather have it anywhere than in my hands.

We see the English Christian world every week, and from time to time there is an account of how your dear Father is in health. So we are glad to see he is improving; I hope he will so continue. I was very much interested in the description of Kate's little darling. How I wish I could see the darling child. Your dear Mother always had the largest, tenderest heart for little Children, and it would have been a great joy to her to have her Grand-daughter. But, doubtless, she is often near you all in spirit: our loved ones still love us, and watch over us. I am glad you are all living together: it is a good arrangement, for you will not be nearly so dull; and your little niece will be a new interest in your life, and a source of joy to your Father -- he was always fond of Children.

As you will see by the heading of this letter, I am staying at the Seaside with Nellie. Mr Lloyd can only come down at the week end, so we are only a small party. But baby Dorrie keeps us all alive. She is such a restless, active little body, a little bit self willed; but oh! such a little darling, with such funny, little loveable ways. I am sending a midget photo of her; it scarcely does her justice, her eyes are blue and her hair is rather light, and one mass of crisp little curls all over her head. Gladys Parker and Katie Parker, my other dear little Grand-daughters, are dear children too: I could fill a letter about each of them. I suppose by now you have a Photo of Freds little Katie. It scarcely does her justice though, for she has such a beauty of colouring, lovely, blue eyes and fair skin with bright pink cheeks, just like a dainty piece of Dresden China; and none of that can be seen in the Photo.

We are having very trying times here. We have had a three years drought, and many station owners are ruined: some have lost thousands of head of Cattle. It is rather showery weather now, and we are hoping for a good wet season. If it does not come, all classes of the community will feel it, for Rockhampton depends upon the prosperity of the Western Squatters. Many families are leaving here, but those who have invested in property cannot so easily go away to try other places. However, we hope we may yet have a wet season. Usually it comes in February; it then rains and rains, in such quantities as are only seen in tropical countries; and, if we get as much as 30 to 50 inches of rain, we are all jubilant, for that means prosperity, for the earth is so sodden; and then comes such heat as you cannot possibly imagine, and the grass grows so strong that the cattle thrive, and moisture in the land supplies the earth through months of dry hot weather again, until another annual wet season again comes round. That is the course of events ordinarily, but for three years, instead of this heavy rain, we have had only light rain, and in many places there has been none at all. However, we are hoping (and all the Churches have had prayers) for rain still.

The summer has been one of the most trying I have ever experienced. For days together, the thermometer stood at 102 in our cool house; in ordinary shade reading 120. I was quite prostrated by it, only kept alive by Baths, and wearing very light clothing and eating light food. We have Ice every day, and use it very freely to keep the food in condition, and on our heads, and at the back of the neck. However, it is now delightfully fine, the winter is so pleasent [sic], that we forget the January and February time of misery. Although it is hot in other months, it is only unbearable in those two I have named.

Nellie and Baby and her servant are all off to bed, and I am sitting up alone. Our Cottage is quite near the sea; we have a lovely sea view from the windows. I spend hours knitting or reading on the Verandah. I like the outdoor life very much that we live here. We have great wide verandahs going round the houses, and I almost live there; and, strange to say, I think of my dear ones in England far more when I am living here than in town. I can hear the waves beating on the shore. It is high tide while I am writing, and the sound sends my thoughts back to lovely times I used to have by the sea with your darling Mother, when we were both careless light-hearted girls together. Yet, even as mere Children, we had both set out to live the Christian life, and many a good time we had by the sea. [In] One of your Mother's last letters to me, she alludes to this and says she "always felt nearer to me by the sea". Well, I have the Christians clear hope we will meet again: it cannot be very long now.

Give my dear love to Father, Kate and Mr Eccles, and I am always

your loving Auntie
Kate Parker

[to Annie]

Davis Street

Sep 28th [1902]

My Dear Niece

I received your very kind letter a week ago: I need not tell you I was delighted to have it. I have been very bad with Rheumatism in my knee, so that I could scarcely get about; and one can scarcely write a cheerful letter when suffering acutely. So I waited until I was a little better to reply.

Well, I was very glad to know that you had secured that crowning joy of a woman's life, a good man's love. I most heartily congratulate you: I know it will make you very happy. I like your description of your Beloved, and I have no doubt he is indeed "very nice" as you say, and of course I know that means a great deal more. Your darling mother would have been your most sympathetic friend now, had she been with you. I often wish I was a little nearer to you all, I might in some very little measure make up to you for your loss. I would dearly love to see dear Kate's darling little girl, but it is God's will I must spend the rest of my days here. I always felt a dread of the long voyage; but, had my Sister lived, I know I would have mustered courage to come to England. But now that she has gone, I am afraid I will never undertake it. But one never knows. I have almost given up planning things; it will be as God pleases for me, and as the way opens.

Percy has been transferred to Townsville, a two days voyage from here. (I don't know whether I told you of this in my last.) He has been gone three months. I miss him very much. We all do, for he is of a bright, cheery nature; but it is promotion for him. I am sending Kate his Photo, also dear little Katie's. We think her pretty: she has light hair, is very fair and has rosy cheeks, and eyes of an intense blue, is a dear good child. They are taking great care of her early training and are determined not to spoil her.

This letter has been held over for a week. In the middle of writing, I was attacked with pains in my leg, and still am rather poorly; and so is your Uncle Thomas. I hope we will soon be well again. With kindest love to Father, Kate and Wilson. I am your loving auntie


Davis Street

Sepr. 15, 1903

My Dear Kate & Annie

I have neglected writing for a long time. I am so frequently ill with acute Rheumatism, and it affects my hands so, and my correspondence gets very much behind. It begins to be quite a task to write letters, alas ! that advancing age brings with it so many ailments.

For a long time I have been hoping for a picture of your dear little girl, but none has come to hand as yet. I have been busy for some time, knitting her 3 woolen singlets, and a petticoat. I am sending them on by this mail; I hope you will receive them safely. I have no address to send them to: in your last you say you are going to Manchester. I had an impression I got your new address, but I have searched all over the house; and although I have lots of letters, yet none with the Manchester address. If you receive them all right, let me have a Post card or letter at once, as I will be rather anxious. I knit those little garments for my Grandchildren, and their mothers appreciate them very much. So, I thought I would like to send you a present of my very own work; and many a loving thought of you all I have had while my knitting needles were clacking. I have tried to picture your dear faces, and I have a distinct idea of wee Winifred's face, "large blue eyes, fair, and golden hued hair"; but I want a photo, oh! so much.

My Son Fred and his wife, and little girl, have left Rock[hamp]ton for Ipswich, near Brisbane. Fred has bought a partnership in a Business there, an Auctioneer and Commission agent, dealing chiefly in cattle and land: the prospects seem very good. Business is very dull here: many people are leaving. It affects us too, as we have our capital invested in property and it is not paying well: our income has been very much curtailed. I hope however, if seasons are better, that things will brighten up soon.

Percy is still at Townsville. So my family are scattered, as is so often the case in the colonies. He writes such loving letters to me every week. We expect him home for a months [sic] holiday, next month. He has been fifteen months away, and I have missed him sadly: he is such a bright, good fellow. He is in the Methodist church choir up there. He plays the violin very nicely. We had him taught by a clever teacher, as soon as he showed a taste for it; and I am delighted he is using his talent in God's worship. He tells me he is becoming very much attached to a young lady of the choir, a Miss Daisy Cook. Although there is no engagement as yet, I am sure it will not be long. He wants me to go up there and make her acquaintance. I intend going in a few months time. It is a two days sea voyage, and that makes me hesitate: ours is rather a rough coast, except in winter.

I have had several letters from Daisy, and I am sure she is a dear girl. I write to her, and have heard from several mutual friends that, not only has Percy made a good choice, but that all of the family are nice people. She is an accomplished musician; holds a situation as Bookkeeper and typist in a Merchants office; a staunch teetotaler, as Percy is also (in fact all my boys are, except Addison, and he is very temperate). So, I think he (Percy) is very lucky; her letters are so sensible. Of course, they are both young, and will have to wait before marrying.

It is Sunday evening. I have been rather poorly all the week, a slight attack of Influenza, so have not been able to go to church. I generally go to the morning service, but very seldom feel up to going in the evening. My knee is weak with continual Rheumatism, and I cannot walk any distance. Your Uncle, or Winnie, have to drive me there. I have a low Phaeton, easy to get into. Our Minister, Rev A Castleman M. A. is leaving us, as soon as we can get supplied. He is a good preacher, and we are sorry; but the climate does not suit him, nor his wife. He is very kind and good to me, full of consideration for my infirmities. I will miss him, for he came regularly to see me, and chat over all the church affairs; and was never in a hurry to leave. He is going back to Sydney: it is much cooler there, more like Adelaide.

I hope your dear Father is keeping better, and that Mr Eccles has good health; and Annie's dear one also. I forget his name for the moment. I have just turned to Annie's letter, and I see it is Richard. May God bless and keep you all, is the prayer of your loving Aunt

C. J. Parker

P.S. When washing petticoat, be sure not to wring it, but just squeeze it out, and lay on board in the sun or near the fire to dry. Don't let it hang, for the first few washings: they are apt to stretch out, and have to be coaxed into shape while wet, but that tendency ceases after wards [sic] C. J. Parker

[to Kate]

Davis Street

July 9th [1904]

My dear Niece,

I was so glad to have your letter, I am afraid I have been rather neglectful of you, I know I owe you a letter, and it was very kind of you to write to me notwithstanding that. We are all in very good health, you will be pleased to know that I have got quite rid of my old enemy rheumatics and can walk about very well in moderation, and can now be very useful in my home, all of which makes life a very different thing to me.

Your Uncle Thomas is away, a two days train journey from me, a place they call Longreach, an important Western township, where he has been carrying out a new Town Hall. He travels quite long distances in the work of his profession. He had only returned from a two day voyage up North to Bowen and has had to be off again. I was very much touched by your reference to your dear Mother's tender recollections of our dear early days, when we were such happy children together. I indulge in the same talk to my two dear daughters and my little grandchild Dorrie Lloyd likes nothing better than to get Grandma on telling about our child life together. There is one little story I tell her of how my sister Ellie and I used to play ladies and visit each other. We had the run of a queer old place behind Father's shop where an old railway line (long disused) ran through and two old railway trucks were left standing there, the one was sister's "Mrs. Brown" the other was "mine" Mrs. McKinley's. We paid stately calls upon each other and introduced our children - various dolls (in more or less state of dilapidation) to each other, and our dear Mother used to fall in with our moods and supply us with things for afternoon tea etc., ah! We were happy and it is something to have had a happy childhood, and I think every child's right. Dorrie make me tell all my little stories of when we were young over and over again, but always finishes up with "now Grandma tell me about the trucks".

I was so delighted to read in your letter that we were to have the photo of your beloved one but it has not come to hand yet. I will leave this open till the next mail is in to see if it arrives.

We have had a visit from Fred. and Jessie and their little girl Katie. We have had a Carnival week in Rockhampton., and the Department issued cheap tickets, only 22 shillings return from Brisbane to here, so the trains were crowded, hundreds of people came by the trains, Jessie stayed with us until the last day the tickets were available, one month, but Fred. had to leave after a ten day stay, as long as he could spare from his business. It was a great joy to me to have them with us after two years separation. It is two years and two months since I have seen Percy. Families do get so scattered in the States and the distances are so immense and travelling very dear that once they leave home we don't know when we may meet again. I noticed you were going to make a stay in Yorkshire and was rather amused at your expressed hope of getting fresh eggs, milk, and poultry etc., why! we have these every day in any quantity, so after all Colonial life has some compensations. We have the utmost material comfort and now and then get to really splendid concerts. We have just had the Watkin Mills Concert Party. If they visit your neighbourhood, I would advise you to go and hear them. We have had the Westminster Glee Company, I and Winnie went to two of their concerts. They were so good Uncle went to all of them, he reported them for the Bulletin (the leading local paper). He often does the high class concerts for them when he happens to be in town. He gets well paid and we have always dress-circle tickets as well, so we like it very much.

We have been changing Ministers. Our new Minister Rev. R. Grant has just been with us a month. He has made a good impression. He is a clever preacher and seems a fine spirited young man. He is married to a bright pleasant young lady and they have one dear little baby boy. The young folks all seem to be much drawn to him. I hope and pray that God may make him very useful to the people here. Harold and Winnie have both joined the choir and Harold has been appointed a Deacon of the Church. He takes an active part in Church work and I am pleased to hear Percy is working in the Church at Townsville. He has cast in his lot with the Methodists there, and seems to have found his work there.

[Remainder of letter is missing]

[to Kate and Annie]

Davis Street

Oct 23rd /04

My Dear Nieces

I was very pleased to get Annie's Photo. I can still see the face of my "young squirrel", and would have known who it was among a thousand of others. I am sending by this mail one of my Baby's - Winnie, that is - we consider it a very good likeness. That is a grave one; usually her face is more animated.

You will be glad to know that I am very much better of my Rheumatism. I still have it now and then, but not so acute. I can walk a short distance now. I feel altogether brighter, and better. I can now sleep well at nights: that, of itself, is a boon. I am very thankful for the relief from pain.

I have just returned from the sea coast, where I have had a few weeks holiday. Addison and Lily were having their holiday too: they stayed in the next Cottage to mine, so I saw plenty of them and their dear little Gladys. They had their horse and buggy down, so had very nice drives out. It is 80 miles from Rockhampton, a very beautiful place, very safe bathing too. I dare not indulge in sea bathing now, it does not suit me.

We have just had a visit from Percy's intended: she stayed six weeks with us. We all liked her very much. She is dark, good looking, very loveable, and thinks the world of Percy. I think she ought to suit him very well.

Our Bazaar was a success, considering the short time we were working at it. We cleared £75, and we were quite satisfied, for the times are very bad here. Winnie and another young girl got up a stall of home made lollies, and it raised close upon £8 - she made all of them herself. The other girl had never made any, but was very willing to help; she was sugar boiling for over a week, and had all sorts of varieties.

Fred has been having rather a struggling time in his new Business. Times have been very hard, and that has gone against him; but he says it is wonderful how, in all sorts [of] unexpected ways, they have been helped along. He and Jessie have a bright trust and faith in our Heavenly Father's care. I do hope things may brighten for them: he is a most industrious and capable business man, and a good christian worker.

I do so like looking at your dear little girls' picture; she has such a demure air, and good decided features. I would like one of Annie's betrothed; I hope some day I will have one.

I felt very sad at the news of John Pryor[?] Cook's death, and sympathize with his poor wife. It is very hard for her to have to share her home with boarders, and struggle to make a livelihood for her children. But our Heavenly Father has promised to be Husband to the Widow and Father to the fatherless. Does Ralp[h?] the unsteady one of Hannah's family do any better now?

I hope you will continue to have good health, both of you, and Mr Eccles also, and your dear Father - may his declining years be free from pain. Percy has very much better health: it is a year since I saw him. I wish he lived nearer to us: we seem so far parted now, and Fred as far in the other direction.

Nellie still lives next door to us, and Dorothy is in and out of our house all day long. There is a small gate in the dividing fence at the back, and she can open that and come in, and avails herself largely of it. She is a dear child, and very fond of her Grandparents; and sturdy and strong, very well developed for her age -- 4 years. She goes to Sunday school. She has just been telling us about her lesson at S. school. She said "it was all about Trust in the Lord and do good, and verily thou shalt be fed in the land, etc". She said Crust in the Lord; but we thought it very good for her age to be able to tell us so much as that.

We have found business a little better lately. We have had our share of the bad times, but things appear to be taking a turn. When next you write, tell me plenty about your dear Girlie. I am so fond of Children, and never weary of hearing of their little ways. I tell Fred and Jessie to pack their letters about their wee Katie, and that is always the part of their letters I like best.

I hope this will find you all well, and prospering in your work. Hoping you will [be] able to write to me soon; and with love to you both, and to dear Father, in which Uncle Thomas joins. I am your loving Aunt

Kate Parker

Davis Street,

June 26 [c1905]

Dear Kate and Annie,

I have to make your letters joint ones. I do not get on so well with letter writing as I used to do. I find it somewhat of a task as I get older to keep up my correspondence. Of course I am delighted to get letters from you. I have been ill a nasty attack of influenza, I am recovering but it has left me a weak back and the rheumatic affection of the knee very much worse, in fact I am almost a cripple. Some days have to move about painfully with the help of a stick. You may imagine what that means to me with my active energetic nature, however it is the little cross I have to bear and I just try to bear it as cheerfully as I can. We are very busy getting a Bazaar for our Church. It was a great grief to me that I could not help, until I thought of my knitting and I did a parcel of babies clothing and sent them to the sewing meeting. They were all sold at once and since then orders have come in as fast as I could knit them. I give the wool myself so I will have a nice amount to hand in for I give nearly all my time to it. I am so helpless, but thank God my hands are very seldom affected. It has been a great joy to me to do even this little bit in so good a cause. We have a most excellent Minister now. He is a clever preacher, so kind and sympathetic, we all feel anxious to rally around him and help all we can. The congregations are steadily increasing under his ministry.

We were so delighted with your darling's portrait. She is pretty, how I wish I could see her and talk to her. Harold and the young girl (Mary Wilkinson) who is engaged to him were admitted to the Church as members on Sunday last. Harold has always been a good steady going fellow and a regular attender at Church, but he has been going to our Minister's class for religious instruction for some months back and it was a great joy to me when he told me he had decided for Christ and would be joining the Church. She is a very good girl Mary, and thoroughly orderly and domesticated. Unfortunately she is rather delicate.

My boy Percy is still at Townsville, a two days voyage further north. I miss him very much. He was down and had a months holiday with us last November. He writes regularly to me every week. He is getting on very well, he is chief clerk in an Insurance Agents Office. He hopes before long to be promoted to be Manager of a branch. The worst of these kind of businesses is that they are so liable to be moved away from home.

I was so sorry to learn by your last, that John Ryan? Cook is in such delicate health and that his Mother was such a worry to them.

I am all alone in the house, the rest are all at Church, it is Sunday evening. I get most Sunday mornings when my knee is a bit better, but did not feel quite well enough this morning. There are a few steps to go up into our Church, and it tires me getting up them. Uncle drives me right in close up to the steps and I do so relish the Service although I have to sit all the time.

You would enjoy Stella's visit, she is a dear sweet girl. I have the most pleasant memories of my stay with her parents only five years ago. Alas! There is a great change in me in that time. I was well and active then and could get about well. On looking over what I have written, I am ashamed to see it is nearly all about myself. Well it will just have to go.

Winnie is working very hard for the Bazaar. She has a great collection of dolls for it. She is Treasurer of the young peoples committee. We have a tennis club in connection with our Church. Winnie plays very well indeed and is always heavily handicapped in Tournaments. She used to be a delicate little girl but since she has taken up tennis she has developed physically and is so well and strong. In the house, she is a great help to me with the help of one servant she manages to make things go along fairly well. I potter round when I can but I can be dispensed with when not equal to it and I am so grateful to God that I have Winnie. There is always a great deal to be thankful for in every lot.

Well my dear girls, I must finish, my poor old back is aching. Give my kind love to dear Father and your Wilson, and to Annie's "Dick". Write me as often as you can, your news is most acceptable always.

I am lovingly yours C.J. Parker

July 12th [c1908]

Dear Annie,

I have held over this letter to see if the promised photo would come. There has been another English mail in since but still your Fiancee? has not arrived. We have made enquiries at our General Post Office here but they have not got it, I will send a post card as soon as it does. Winnie would like picture post cards, she collects them, has an album. She would exchange with you if you collect.

Lovingly yours C.J.Parker.

[to Annie]

Brighton Road
South Brisbane

Oct 4th [1910]

My Dear Nance

I received your very welcome letter three days ago. It was forwarded on to me here at Fred's, where we have been staying for some time. I came down for medical treatment, to a specialist in Rheumatism. I was very ill and had to undergo very severe treatment, consisting of hot medicated packs and a rigid diet, but I am thankful to say I am now very much better, and can walk a fair distance.

I had only been here a short time when Winnie and her husband followed us here. He (Will) was manager of the hide and skin department in a large firm in Rockhampton. The firm transferred him here to open a business in Brisbane. Hitherto, they had not a hide and skin department here. It is of course [a] big promotion. They have bought a nice large house, quite near to Jessie & Fred, so we see a great deal of them. I stayed three months with her, until she was quite strong & well. She has a very fine little son, now three months old -- to be exact, 11 weeks. His name is Allan William; he is such a darling (my first Grandson). I love nursing him, he laughs & crows to me so sweetly. I look after him every Sunday night, so as they can go to Church together.

I think we have about settled to stay here, & have bought a piece of land in a Charming situation, commanding a fine view of the City & suburbs, and will soon be building a small house. We sold our large one, "Tynedale", in Rockhampton, & as both Harold, Fred & Winnie are here, it will be nice to be near them. The climate is a shade cooler too.

Well, I must now come to the important part of my letter, to congratulate you upon your marriage. It is indeed matter for congratulation to have gained the love of a good man, and to have him for a life partner. For doubtless you will have your share of trials, but borne together you can pull through wonderfully. We all like his appearance: he carries a "letter of credit" in his bright cheery face, and I feel sure you will be happy together. I pray God that your married life may be a blessed one, and that in your dear husbands Ministry he may be successful in winning souls for Christ. And may you, dear Nance, be blessed in being a true helpmeet for him, & find in loving service to God the truest and most lasting joy in life. For I believe true happiness is only found here, in as far as we can do good to others; and in trying to make others happy, we find our own.

I was much interested in reading all about your wedding. I would have liked to be there. Kate must indeed have large rooms to accomadate [sic] so large a number and have no crush. Winnies wedding was very quiet, on my account: I had just recovered from a severe illness, and was very weak. The days doings seemed all a haze to me, I was so shaky. The Dr came that morning, to see if it would be safe for me to go to the Church. Winnie said she would postpone it if I could not be there, so I was glad to be allowed to go. Nellie came and stayed with me & looked well after me, while Winnie was away on her honeymoon trip, and I gradually recovered from that attack. All these illnesses have reduced my strength, but I suppose advancing age too is partly accountable for that.

Uncle has just passed his 70th Birthday. He looks hale & well and is stronger than I am, although I am over three years younger. Brisbane is a large city, very pretty hills everywhere! You go up & down in your walks, as there is very little flat country. A great number of the native gum trees are left standing, and that gives beauty to the place. In looking from Fred's verandah, you see trees everywhere among the buildings: there is a fine view from Cheviot. There are many advantages in living in a large city. We get to very interesting meetings sometimes, & seem to be more in the heart of things. Rock[hamp]ton seemed so isolated, although we miss our old friends too.

Excuse this scrawl, my hand is very tired. With love to you & Kate, when you see her, and to your dear husband.

I am your loving aunt

Kate Parker

Gertrude Street,
Highgate Hill,
South Brisbane.


My dear Kate,

I have just received your double letter this morning, I am so pleased to have it. I have been thinking of you very often of late and purposing to write but when I got your interesting letter, I determined to sit down at once and make a start. I expect Winnie and her darling boy up to spend the day but I will keep on writing until they come. I was so glad your dear Father wrote to Uncle, I had to have a little cry over his letter, how I wish I could see him once more. I had not heard from the Cook branch of our family, so knew nothing of Aunt Hannah's death. We often hear from our Parker nieces - long and interesting letters, but they live at Whitly Bay, and don't know my people. I am very pleased to hear the good news about Annie, I must look up her address and write to her. Winnie lives about a quarter of an hour walk from our house, so I often see her. She has a lovely home, large and airy and beautifully furnished, she is very fortunate in her husband, he is a Christian, a manly fellow, good tempered, a little reserved to outsiders, but when you get to know him well, he is jolly and best of all, devoted to Winnie and his home, a teetotaller. We leave for a few weeks' holiday tomorrow at Rockhampton, our folks up there are all looking forward to our going. It is much cooler than in Rockhampton and suits my health much better. I am so much better of my rheumatism I can walk a mile or so now and I get out far more in consequence. It is a thriving busy place. I have made many nice friends here.

Our little villa stands perched on a hill. We have a charming view, of course it is a much smaller house than the original "Tynedale", but quite large enough for two. I can manage with the help of a charwoman once a fortnight. Uncle planned everything to save work. It looks such a pretty home for two old folks. We are just as we began life and thank God our love for each other increases as the years roll on and we have such good children, I am so thankful to God for that. As a young Mother I used to be so anxious about that, I once said something of that sort to Rev. Thos. Greenfield,(your Father will know of him), he said "Don't let that trouble you, do your duty, put your trust in God and you have a right to expect that they will turn out well" His words did me good at the time and I have never forgotten them.

Percy's wife has a little daughter, she is 2 months old now, a fine fat child, I am looking forward to seeing her in a few days. She (Daisy) has made a rather slow recovery. Harold and Molly too expect a baby in December. They and Percy are both over four years married so there is great rejoicing about it. Nellie has two dear little girls, Dorothy the eldest is an interesting child and so is Fred's little girl Kate. She plays fairly well on the piano, but Addison's Gladys twelve years old has genius. She plays delightfully and has passed three State examinations with very high marks, the last one just missing honours. She was so sorry her teacher was ill and could not teach for three months before the testing time. She is a dear gentle little girl, rather good looking, with most beautiful hair, long and very curly.

Well I must leave off now, Winnie is just due and dinner wants looking after. I will have a happy day with my dear grandson Alan. He can walk nicely now and is such a dear.

With kindest love to Father Mr. Eccles and a large share for yourself.

Your loving Auntie Kate.

Tweed Heads
New South Wales

Oct 29th [1911]

My Dear Annie

You will see by the above I am far from home. We are on a holiday: Fred and Jessie, Katie, the Rev E. Wilson (Jessies father), Winnie & Will, and their little baby boy Alan. We have had a most delightful holiday. The house we are in is close on the beach, just fifty yards from the sea. But now our time is up: we leave for home tomorrow. We are all sorry to leave, the scenery is very beautiful, quite a show place. Uncle and Mr Wilson are very old friends, and always enjoy each others company very much. Fred is an ardent fisherman, and has kept us well supplied with fresh fish. We have been here over a fortnight. Fred's holiday time is now expired. I have got great benefit by the change. I was not feeling very well, but since coming here have been able to climb to the points where the fine views are.

I like my new home in Brisbane. We are not far from Winnie and her husband, and Fred & Jessie. I can trot down to see them, and they often spend a day with me. We have a fine view from our house. It is in a high position, a nice suburb, close to tram. Uncle had it built to his own plan. It is a small house, 5 rooms, kitchen & bath room, very picturesque looking; and we have had a really nice garden laid out. We are so comfortable, I spend a great deal of my time in knitting woolen articles for my Grandchildren. I have just finished a parcel for you: a shawl to wrap your little stranger in; also 2 pairs boots and a pair of pilchers. I hope you will get them safely. I am sending them by this mail: send me word as soon as you receive them.

Kate said in her last letter that you were expecting in Dec[embe]r, so I commenced right away to knit for you. It has been a great pleasure. I have finished them here by the sea, and I have been thinking so much of you all the time. I hope you will get on well, and make a good recovery.

Percy's wife has a very fat little girl, 8 months old. We spent a few weeks in Rockhampton staying with Addison, and one week with Nellie, and one week at Addison's seaside cottage at Emu Park. They keep a quiet old horse down there, and a comfortable buggy, so I had some charming drives for miles along the coast. Daisy brought her baby to meet me at the station, on our arrival. I was delighted to see her, she is such a dear little pet, and smiles so sweetly. They have been nearly 5 years married, so it was a very welcome arrival. Now Harold and Mary, who have been the same time married, expect one in Dec[embe]r. So I will have plenty grandchildren soon. I get endless amusement in watching little Alan. He is such a dear boy, our only grandson. He is fifteen months old, runs about and is beginning to talk, and has such a lot of droll little ways. When he comes to our house, we have no toys, but I let him play with a lot of patty pans etc. As soon as Winnie comes in with him, he runs off to the kitchen, opens the dresser door, and gets those tins out, and he is no more trouble, plays so happily.

With fond love to you, and kindly regards to your good husband. I am your loving Aunt



Home address (Tynedale)
Gertrude Street
Highgate Hill
So Brisbane

Gertrude Street
Highgate Hill
South Brisbane

Feb 19th [1912]

My Dear Annie

I was so glad to have the letter from "Dick", so early after the birth of your dear child; and then yours of a fortnight later. I felt so sorry and sad, you should have had such a terrible time. They say there are only one in a million of such births, and to think you should have had that to go through with your first one. It is wonderful how we forget; and then you have your little girl; what a blessing she was born alive.

Doubtless Kate will have told you about Uncles severe illness. I know Fred wrote to her at the time. As for me, I could not write to any one for a time, although I had numerous letters of sympathy. My whole attention and time has been given to Uncle, since Dec 15th. That was the day he [was] taken to the Private Hospital. He had a nasty attack of illness, six weeks before that, and I had to call in a Dr. He discovered a lump about the size of a hens egg in the groin, but said he would have to mark time with that. Then, on the 15th Dec, he was taken suddenly ill again. The Dr then said he would like another opinion, so an eminent surgeon came and consulted with him in the afternoon. He said it was Hernia, and an operation was to be performed at once. So I had to break it to the Patient and dress him, and they (the two Drs) took him away in their Motor Car. I followed with Fred by tram, and we had time to have a talk with him before they took him into the operating room. He was calm and brave about it, and has made a very good recovery; is able to be about in the garden a bit every day. Of course, you will understand all this has been harrasing to me, but I am very thankful to our Heavenly Father that, in His goodness, He has restored him to me again. I feel we have much to be thankful for.

I send my congratulations to you, and Uncle joins me. We hope your little Kathleen will thrive in body, and when she grows older will be a great comfort to you both. I hope Kate will get stronger: the Island air seems to suit her. What a blessing health is. I am much better than I ever expected to be. I still get an occasional attack of Rheumatism, but never so severe, nor so long continued, as before. I am just recovering from a slight attack: I had to lie in bed for two days. I have medicine from my Doctor which always give relief - if I rest when taking it, of course. Age brings weakness, but we must expect that.

Winnie is very well again; she has been very poorly; there is another little one expected in June. Her boy Alan is a fine sturdy little fellow, trots about all day, is so contented, gives very little trouble, and is a loving, loveable little chap.

We are in the throes of a strike here, a general one, for a short time 43 unions came out in sympathy with the Tramway men, who struck -- at least, a good many of them did, because Mr Badger, the Manager, objected to them wearing their union badge when on duty. For a time, we could not get bread or meat. I laid in a supply of groceries &c before the crises came, and had plenty of tinned meats etc, and baked my own bread. However, it is all but over: the men have nearly all gone back to work.


Auntie Kate

Gertrude Street,
Highgate Hill,
South Brisbane.

March 3rd [1912]

My dear Kate,

I believe I was the last one to write, but never mind a letter will never come wrong to you I am sure.

I was down at Winnie's the other day and she was asking me for your address. She has a good photo of her boy Alan and she wants to send it to you, so I asked if she had one to spare of his Father but she has not one. So I am sending this one of Will., it is a good likeness, he sent it to me at Christmas and as I have another very good one of him, he was quite willing I should send this one on to you.

We have been having very trying weather, hot and muggy all through February it has been like that. We are on the top of a high hill as our address shows. Our friends like coming to visit us, they say they are sure of a breeze, it is always cool in the house, so you may be sure on very hot days I am to be found at home until evening. Uncle is almost his old self again, he has made a splendid recovery, I wrote telling you about his operation. I had a copy of a song composed by Ralph Cook Watson's wife sent out to me the other day. It was addressed to me here so I take it you correspond with him as he knew where we had so recently moved to. I was very pleased that he remembered us, both Uncle and myself wrote lengthily to him, so perhaps he will write to us, one does so prize a letter from dear ones at home. Is Annie's baby getting on well? I had an interesting from Harold the other day, he is a very proud Father, their boy is a fine one, I expect his photo next week. He is three months old and is just the very joy of their hearts. In all his letters to me there breathes through them, thankfulness to His Heavenly Father for this dear gift.

Well I don't think I will make this letter along one, I could goon like Tennyson's Brook forever, when I get on the theme of my dear children and grandchildren but I will spare you the infliction this time.

Lovingly yours C.J.Parker.

Gertrude Street,
Highgate Hill.
South Brisbane

April 30th 1913

My dear Annie,

I have just received your interesting letter, it is always a great day to me when I get an English letter. The sad news of your dear Father's death, seemed to give us both a shock, although we were prepared for it by previous letters. I know well it will be a great grief to you and Kate and also to your dear husbands for no one could be so closely associated with him without loving him, his disposition was loveable and kind. Well dear Annie, it is a great heritage to have had such parents as you have had, their memory will ever be fragrant.

Both Uncle and myself are in very good health just now, a little while ago, I had a bad attach of rheumatism in my hands and could not keep up my correspondence, as it was painful to hold a pen, they were so swollen and at any time I am likely to get it if I write long, so if you accept this apology for my neglect of you, when I am free from pain, I will endeavour to make up for it in future. I noticed you are changing circuits, as soon as you are settled, send me your new address. Are Kate and Wilson likely to move? I was much touched by what you say about your Father noticing your little Kathleen. I am sure even at the very last of life it would be a joy to me to see my dear grandchildren and I can realise what he would feel.

I have just been down seeing Molly (Harold's wife). It is just only 5 minutes walk from my house. They have a fine big boy 14 months old, very bright and attractive, and talks so well for his age, as far as he can see me he calls "Kate" and waves his little hand when I leave. He is so sweet and loveable, he is a great joy to me. Harold brings him up every Sunday morning to see me before breakfast. Harold has just bought land and is starting to build a very nice home of his own. Fred. Has secured the adjoining piece and his house will be finished about the same time, both of them will have a good roomy house and one of the most magnificent views near Brisbane, overlooking the winding river and a lovely stretch of country too. I will be able to look out of my back door and see their back fences, it will be a quite easy walk for me. I tell them I am afraid I may become a nuisance for I will be so often popping in but that is only my joke for I well know how glad they always are to see me. Winnie has removed to Ascot, Will. Has built her a lovely home in a beautiful neighbourhood surrounded by a large piece of ground which he purposes having laid out in a nice garden. Unfortunately, it is an hour's journey by electric tramway from where I live so I miss her so much. I used to see her at least twice a week when they lived on this side. The change of locality was really necessary on account of Will's business as it is so much nearer for him and Winnie comes to spend a day with me once a week. I go once a fortnight for a day. I do all my own housework with the help of a woman who does the washing and ironing and another who comes in once a fortnight and cleans all the floors etc. I cannot go down on my poor crippled knees to do floors, but can walk about now (in moderation) fairly well for which I am devoutly thankful to Almighty God. I get to Church every Sunday morning and occasionally to the week evening service and that is something to be thankful for. Uncle Thomas still works in the Masters Vineyard, often takes services round about the district, does part S.School work too, and writes articles for the Congregational Magazine. Now dear Annie, I could write as much again to you for I have much more I could tell you, but my hands are so tired so I will simply express my sympathy for you just now and I pray for your sustaining grace.

Ever your loving Aunt C.J.Parker.

Gertrude Street

Dec 26th [1913]

My Dear Annie

You will notice I am writing the day after Christmas day. We had a wonderful day yesterday, a glorious day! Nellie and her two dear little girls came down to spend a 7 weeks holiday with me. they have now been a fortnight of the time with us. Alfred (her husband) joined her here, on the 24th. It was arranged we were all to meet and spend Christmas day with Fred & Jessie. They have a large dining room, and a very roomy house, and as I am not so strong and able as I used to be - considering I have just passed my 70th birthday - the work of a gathering like that would [be] rather beyond me. Rev Mr Wilson, Jessies father (a dear old gentleman) and a few of her family joined us. We had a most pleasant time, and after the dinner was over, we honoured the toast of "Absent friends". Your Uncle proposed it, and mentioned "our dear ones, in England". You may be sure I thought of you dear, "my little squirrel". Uncle's speech was an eloquent and emotional one, and our dear Fred capped it, by a tribute of love ...

[page(s) missing?]

... up to being with us, as she has had both her ears gathered, but she is recovering nicely now, but has to be careful not to take cold. The weather lately has been so fine, bright hot days, but still tempered by a cool wind. I have been very busy the last few months, knitting. I do large quantities for my own family and for sales of work, brides etc. So one day I thought, why not do a parcel of work for my dear girls at home. So I am sending by this mail a tea pot cozy, and holder, and a hat pin cushion, for you. Tell me if you receive them safely. I have done the same for Kate. Believe me, there is a lot of love knitted into the work, if it could only become tangible. All the time I have been doing them, I have had such happy thoughts of you both. We got your cards the other day.

With fond love to you and your dear Husband and wee Kathleen

Auntie Kate

[to Annie; the year would be 1916 or 1917
(according to when Annie's husband went to the war)]

Gertrude Street
South Brisbane

Nov 26th [191x]

Dear Niece

I have long wondered if all was well with you. I wrote a very long letter to Kate, but never had an answer. It is a long time since. There was a boat lost, just about the time my letter was on the way. What terrible times we are living in! I feel sure if she had received it, I would have heard from her. So you may imagine with what feelings of joy I received yours, & that there was no personal bad news.

The war, it is all the same, going on asleep or awake. Our dear soldiers are waging a grim fight for our sakes. How poor & small all our efforts at home to help the dear lads! I have tried to do all I can. I have plenty of time. I have an efficient girl, had her over three years. So I spend most of my time knitting (which I can do quickly) for the boys: socks, mufflers, mittens, body belts, Balaclava caps, etc.

We have just bid good bye to Will & Winnie & their four dear children. They have removed to Sydney. Will's business has developed from a branch to the main business there, so they have sold up here & gone. Today I feel as if I carried a stone instead of a heart, so sad. It is only a 24 hours train journey from here. But I feel I am getting old & feeble, & it is not easy for me to undertake a journey. She has promised to come when she can; but we both felt the parting very much, for the claims of her family are heavy upon her. She purposes getting a Lady helper, as well as a general servant when she settles. Will has done splendidly in business, so that there is no financial worry & he is a devoted husband. So, all things considered, I have great reason to be thankful.

Here am I, moaning on about my worries, & you brave girl! Let your dear one leave, to go to help our men at the front, & they need help! all day, facing death as they do. Mrs Harold Parker has a dear favourite brother at the front: such a good christian lad, he gave up the managership of a large firm to go as a private. He cables to her once a month & writes whenever he has a spell behind the lines. My Daughters-in-law nearly all have relatives there, & suffer much anxiety when the big pushes are on.

Dick will have some very interesting tales to tell when he returns. I was delighted with the Photos you last sent, comparing your little girl with her father's. I think there is a wonderful likeness. Mr Turner said she had advanced since he saw her. By the bye, he never got any letter from you & he wonders so much, as he is so well known as a business man.

Fred has been in a private hospital, having an operation for varicose veins. [He] was 3 ½ hours under Chloroform, & had one hundred stitches put in. But [he] made a quick recovery & is back to work again. Tomorrow, Jessie & Katie are coming to spend the day with me, & help me to make myself a bl[?]k silk blouse.

Harold's boy and girl often trot over to see me; darling children, so well brought up, the little Jean is so sweet & fair. Harold built a pretty little cottage at a lovely sea side resort on the bay, Redcliffe. We often go: they like us to use it whenever we want, so it keeps us in good health; the cool breezes are so refreshing.

Thank dear Kate for Winifred's Photo; she looks a real live girl. My Grandaughter Dorothy is doing very well: she has passed all her examinations, is most anxious to get into a business carreer [sic]. Her Mother (Nelly) would rather keep her home, but all her wish is for business.

Well dear, I am just over a bad turn, so feel a bit weak & tired.

With fond loves and prayers, in which Uncle joins, for your wellbeing & providential guidance.

Your loving
C. J. Parker

C/- Mrs. M.F.Parker,
Marley Street,
South Brisbane

August 6th 1922.

Dear Kate and Nance,

You will wonder why I have not written for so long, well I will try to tell you why. Some few weeks after Uncle's death, I went to Sydney on an extended visit to Winnie and Addison and Lily. I stayed about 4 months, had a serious illness and decided that the climate would never suit me, came back to my own home in Brisbane, a few months after, had to go into hospital, with neuritis in the hands, arms and shoulders. After leaving hospital, a nurse came every day to massage me, that at last after a long time took all pain away, and I could dress and undress myself, but all my family were worried about me living alone. At last I decided to come here and live with Fred and Jessie, where I am well cared for. I have sufficient means to keep me and am able to give to my Church. I was just talking about you yesterday and saying how I would like to write to you but my hand so soon gets tired and painful, joints all stiff and drawn so Jessie said, why not start a diary letter and do a bit every day, dating it when finished, so this is a commencement. Addison's girl Gladys, was married to a Mr.Midley just a few months older than herself (a year ago), a banana planter, nice, good and handsome looking, a Presbyterian, had a thoroughly good bringing up, such a nice Mother. Jessie went to visit them last summer when she was staying at Currumbin 5 miles from their plantation. Jim came with horses and buggy and drove them over a rough road. They had such a happy two days with them and now Nellie's daughter Dorothy is to be married next month to a Mr. Chapple (Leslie) by name. I got to know and liked him very much when staying with Nellie and Alf. last summer. He was four years at the war, is kindly natured to everyone and very devoted to Dorrie. She is a good girl, hope the marriage will be a happy one, I think it will. Katie, Fred's daughter, is going up to be chief bridesmaid and things are busy here. She is to be in blue and also the second one, but Winnie (her sister 14 years old) and another little cousin, are to be frocked in pink.


Fred and Jessie and Katie are off to Church and as all is so quiet, I thought I would have a bit more talk with you. How I would like to see you both, perhaps you have later portraits now. I have some nice friends Mr.& Mrs. Tunley, they come in their motor car every Sunday morning and take me to Church. I don't go at night, it is a great boon to me, as I can't walk far owing to rheumatism in both knees. I have not been for 3 Sundays, been down with influenza so it was a great treat to me to go this morning. I am better again but cannot seem to get back strength again. In deed I feel very old .I am turned 78 so cannot expect to rally well. Dr. says my heart is getting weaker, I should think it would after working day and night for so many years. I am still able to knit a little for my grandchildren. Harold has two dear children. I generally go up in the tramcar one day in the week. Molly, Harold's wife is very nice and kind and a splendid Manager. They have bought a nice large house in a lovely position, also they have a nice little sea-side home where they have nice holidays. Harold has a boat and goes out fishing and crabbing, keeps the table well supplied. They generally spend the Christmas 6 weeks holidays there with the children, but Harold only gets a fortnights holiday and goes down on the weekends. You will be sorry to learn that we are all feeling anxious about Percy's wife (Daisy). She is wasted from a big stout woman down to a thin ailing woman. I hope she will be spared to him if it is God's will, they are devotedly attached to each other. The Dr. says it is "acute indigestion". A letter I had from him this week says there is a slight improvement, the awful vomiting is somewhat relieved. I was so glad of even this bit of hope.

Well I must finish, my hand is stinging so goodbye, with fond love to you both. I will address this letter to Kate, I cannot manage one to Nance "my dear little squirrel" so you will kindly send this on to her I am sure.

Lovingly Auntie Kate.