This wonderful story of Allan Draydon's life as the son of WILLIAM DRAYDON, Grandson of JOSEPH DRAYDON JNR, and Great Grandson of ANNA MARIA DRAYDON (NEE BIDDICK) (wife of Joseph Draydon Snr) is a rare treasure. It chronicles the everyday life & values of growing up in Clifton and Pratten in early to mid 20th century as the grandson of my grandmother's "Dadda" Joseph Draydon Jnr, and "Grannie" Anna Maria. I've retyped it as it was written. Allan's father, William of course was Grandma Turner's (nee Draydon) brother, and my father Colin William's Uncle. This record brings me closer to Grandma in its telling, and to the elder Joseph Draydon, her father, who was "a great man of philosophy and wisdom". I'm not sure of the occasion for Allan to write the story but naturally we are grateful that he did. (Source: Des Draydon, son of Harold and cousin to Allan)
"I, Allan William Draydon – eldest son of William John Draydon (pictured above) who was a farmer at Kings Creek Clifton for a great part of his married life. I did not know my Great Grandfather Joseph Draydon who after marrying Annie Marie Biddick of Cornwall, England migrated to Australia in the year 1863 and after a short time settled in Pratten – but I did know Great Grandma Annie Marie Draydon who was known by my sisters and self as “Grannie”. I understand they had four children, Jack who was one year old when they arrived in Australia, then Joseph, Annie and George who all made their mark upon the community and district that they lived in. Grandad Joseph, my father William John (Mother) Eva, my two sisters and I knew each other very well and used to visit his and Grannie’s home in Pratten by horse and buggy as often as possible until their death.
Granddad had six surviving children to Grandma Christina who had passed on in 1913, nine years before I was born. Their family ranged from Jesse, Margaret, Jane, William John (my father), Joseph and Harold. If my memory serves me right I believe that “Grannie” died in 1927 from natural causes and was buried in the Pratten next to Great Grandfather Joseph, and Grandad Joseph (her son) died at the Clifton Hospital in 1930 from pneumonia, buried in the Clifton Cemetery by the C of E Minister, Rev. Auton.
In my early youth I saw quite a lot of “Grannie”, and particularly Grandad (who was known by his children Jesse, Margaret, Jane, etc. as “Dadda”).
Grandad Joseph used to travel to our home ‘Lincolnholm’ Clifton in a yellow sulky (varnished) pulled by a horse ‘Taffy’. Grandad used to stay for approximately a week each time and was always made very welcome. I, like my two sisters got along fine with Grandad and used to sit on his knee or beside him in a rocking chair and tell me of the old days – mining for gold, fishing, shooting, cattle raising and about the cattle duffers he had to contend with on a property out Thanes Creek way; he like my father was a great man of philosophy and wisdom, and I believe that to this day and I’m 66 years old, that as I have followed these wonderful phrases and teachings, my life has been enriched and shaped to a more understanding pattern with all whom I contact from day to day.
There were many humorous stories that he told me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. One I clearly recall was of the time when Uncle Joe and Uncle Harold who were not in their teens, feeling a bit puckish whilst their parents were out, boiled a setting of 16 eggs that were ready to be put under a clucky hen the net day; between them they ate the whole lot in one go – of course due to the fulfillment of such a meal they became quite ill, and when their parents arrived home received no sympathy, just the strap a good dose of castor oil from the blue bottle and put to bed. He said they both almost made a mistake when the castor oil worked as the Earth Closet was away from the house.
I shall never forget the time Grandad showed me how to load, aim and fire a shot-gun. Every detail and instruction was given for safety sake for believe me he was quite a shot with a Winchester rifle as well as the shot-gun. A short time passed and I was keen to show how well I’d learnt. My parents were in town shopping in the sulky, so I thought, well this is where I prove myself. Got the 12 gauge shot-gun down off the bathroom wall, loaded both barrels each with a Red coloured cartridge, closed the breech and cocked the darn thing – I leant against a shed corner to steady myself (with weight), took aim at some sparrows in the Apricot tree that was laden with ripe fruit and “pulled” the trigger; the blast pushed me smartly off my feet backwards onto my backside, causing me to press the trigger further and so discharged the second barrel. I was really rolling on the ground. When I was able to scramble to my feet and saw the result : it looked as if I’d blown half the tree away and the ground was covered with apricots. My mother and father had heard the fracus as they were on their way home – you guessed it, out came the strap and castor oil. All I got from Grandad’s coaching on how to shoot was one lousey sparrow. When Grandad visited next time he was told of my episode he said to me: Only shoot a gun when you have to and not before your 14 or 15 years old, why, your sisters could have been in the tree or near by, then what? I sure learned my lesson the hard way.
When I was younger and “Grannie” used to stay, she would look after me – if I was naughty she would tie my leg to the table with a short rope and hit me with a riding whip, then she’d tell my parents “He was a bad boy so I ‘bate’ him.
Grandad had cattle in a paddock out Thanes Creek way and on occasions would go out with him and my father to do a count as cattle doffing was running rife at the time. I clearly remember many details of their four roomed house and its detached kitchen, the latter had at one end a long table with a form down each side on which us children used to sit, if we did anything wrong and arm seemed to reach out and chastise us when we least expected it. I also bring to mind the galvanized iron paddle boat that Grandad had made to fish in the Condamine River for ‘cod and yellow-belly’. The boat was stored in a big shed some distance from the house.
From what my father told me he got a good basic education for those times and he often took work on properties until he was about 18 or 19 years old For instance my Father William John Draydon worked for my mother’s father (James) Jim (Senior) Trimmingham until he married my mother Eva in 1917. That particular property was at Talgai (Victoria Hill).
After their marriage they moved to “Lincolnholm” Clifton another
part of the Trimmingham estate; from this marriage there were five
surviving offspring, Ethel, Allan, Edna (who lost a leg in a farming
accident - pictured here), Kenneth who died at 6 months, Max
From as early as I can remember Dad worked on this property on a share basis. He worked hard and long hours in order that us children would receive something when we grew up and decided to make our own way. He was a stern but rather fair father in all his decisions with us children for as said before he had a philosophy and wisdom that cut a lot of ice in the family and myself particularly that one had to admire. His method of sharing even the little things of life were amazing for I know what all this meant when I joined the 2/25th infantry Battalion in early 1940 of World War 2.
Regressing a little my Father was born at Pratten 5th October 1896 and died at the age of 61 years (1957) from intestinal Caner at His home in Sandgate. He only had a short illness before his untimely death.
In his early years he was a keen member of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society in Clifton and headed that order on two separate occasions; he was also a keen Mason but was too busy to take Office in it. I have followed him in these respects and gone a long way.
All his farming life my family milked cows and the cream was taken to the Clifton Butter Factory for processing to Butter, that was until he sold his farm (which he had bought when the Estate was sold up during the latter part of World War 2) during 1948. Consequently with cattle being always around the property Dad killed his own animals for meat, so in that regard we had plenty to eat for the time. During the Depression years it was different and every animal was used to its utmost value, thus cattle meat was a luxury and so our rations of Damper and Treakle or dripping were supplemented with fish, hare (bunny), pigeon or kangaroo tail soup All of these being considered a luxury. Thanks to my Mother and Father I can honestly say that it was rarely that we went to bed at night with an empty stomach. The property was worked for many years with the aid of a team of horses to pull the farming implements and old Massey Harris Harvester. It was not until the end of the depression was in sight did my father purchase a 10hp McCormack Deering Tractor to do the work of the horses and shortly after that he purchased a New Sunshine Harvester which made things very easy. With regards our home, well it was of reasonable standard for those times and my mother was a stickler for cleanliness, there was always a bed for everyone and generally sheets and blankets enough to keep us warm even though the latter had seen better days.
My Father was also a keen sportsman and often did we sit on the banks of the creek and fish or go out into the hills Victoria Hill way and do a spot of Kangaroo shooting and as said before enjoy the luxury of Tail soup. In the early years my father joined the 2/14 LightHorse Regiment at Warwick and Stanthorpe in which he used to ride a horse called ‘Hector’. My father was a good soldier from accounts I heard of men who knew and trained with him. During World War 2 when things looked black for Australia he again joined the Voluntary Defence Corps and once more excelled himself.
When my Father and Mother sold their farm in 1948 they moved to Toowoomba and Dad took on job with The Darling Downs Co-operative but he couldn’t settle and so tried a shift to Brisbane, even this did not satisfy him so back to Toowoomba he moved only to move back to Brisbane within another few years. He finally settled on a home at Flinders Parade, Sandgate; it was here that he became terminally ill and passed away on the 3rd January 1957. His ashes, now with my Mother’s who died on 3rd March, 1973 rest in a Column at the Mt Thompson Crematorium. May God rest their Souls. That is one thing my Mother and Father gave us children, a good Christian upbringing, as a result my wife Flora and I are strong Christians this very day.
Signed Allan W. Draydon.
PS A little about our home, etc. at ‘Lincolnholm’.
This house’s front portion i.e. two main bedrooms and a verandah were up on blocks about 18 inches from the ground, the remainder of the house – two more bedrooms the dining room, large kitchen, laundry and bathroom were at ground level but were covered with boarding and lino; yes it was a large house but particularly comfortable. As I had learnt carpentering as a boy I made and did many alterations to our home, for instance I covered in the front verandah which certainly kept the Westerly winds from penetrating the rest of our home. Lincolnholm was constructed from milled weatherboards, lined with v.j. pine boards and had a sloping roof at the rear, the whole being covered with galvanized iron. Just prior to World War 2 we had a wall telephone installed in the passage between the two main bedrooms.
In regards to the area that my father killed a steer for meat, this was a section set apart from the main Horse catching and yokeing-up yard. There were two poles about 12 feet high with a Y at the top, across which was placed another round log which had two chains with hooks dangling attached to it with an iron peg to lift the animal by means of two thinner poles set in at one end of this cross pole so as to form a type of a wheel, a rope was attached to the end of these and so we were able to lift the killed animal quite easily by turning same. Grandad used to tell me of the killing pole he used, but in reality I believe this was much easier to perform in the halving and quartering of meat.
In conclusion I particularly have the greatest admiration for my parents for their firmness yet love and kindness gave me a chance in life I believe that few of my age would have accomplished under such harsh farming conditions.
10th March 1988