h. Chapter 8 : The young Hicks family of Truro Grove 1896 – 1907

Margaret and Charlie Hicks’ home on the corner of the Murray Valley Highway and Lady Augusta road in Echuca Village was across from Charlie’s parents home.  It started as a small skillion cottage. The property was 400 acres of mainly grazing and stock (wheat and sheep).  Margaret and Charles’ first child was Florence born in 1896 – Margaret was 26.  William (Billy) was born in 1898. 

Florrie baby

As stated previously, my guess was that the growing family was what prompted the major house extensions.  It would have been very cosy with two babies in such a small house.  I would imagine that the room on the right, as you entered the “front” door was a lounge room as it had a fireplace, the room on the left, the bedroom.  In the skillion section would have been the kitchen and perhaps a nursery which were knocked down when the new section was built.   The house was to become a district show piece with it’s grand features and it’s well patronized tennis parties in later years. 

One of Barbara Pavone’s beautiful paintings of the home in earlier days

One of Barbara Pavone’s (nee Hicks) beautiful paintings of the home in earlier days

The extension added two more bedrooms, a large formal lounge and a second adjoining lounge.  These lounges were off a very wide hall which made a “T” with the original hall of the skillion cottage.

The first room on the right then became another bedroom.  Earlier pictures show the kitchen and bathroom as a separate room.  Later this was joined to the house and the laundry built over the old cellar.

The “bedroom hall” of the skillion cottage,  looking towards the place where  Margaret’s  large hall stand once stood.  .  The floor boards are original lovely Baltic Pine.

Pip Byrne’s renovation of Truro Grove at their property in Bagshot.  The “bedroom hall” of the skillion cottage, looking towards the place where Margaret’s large hall stand once stood. . The floor boards are original lovely Baltic Pine.

The formal lounge had a  beautiful stained glass bay window, piano and an elaborate asymmetrical fireplace.  Pip Byrne has restored the bay window and the room beautifully.  She did not take the chimneys and fireplaces however.  Lorraine Couchman (née Hicks) has the formal lounge fire-place and has had it restored.  I have the other lounge fire-place, still waiting for somewhere to be installed again.

The restored stained glass window in the formal lounge at Bagshot

The restored stained glass window in the formal lounge at Bagshot

The restored fireplace from the Hicks home, now in Lorraine and Keith Couchman's home

The restored fireplace from the Hicks home, now in Lorraine and Keith Couchman’s home

Margaret and Charlie’s 3rd child, Frances was born and died in 1903 – Pam Robbins wrote in the family tree that she was born prematurely and died at birth.  Margaret gave birth to twins Margaret (Rita) and Charles Binden (Roy) in 1905.  They were born in the front room of the house, with Dr Binden attending (hence Roy’s unusual second name).  By this stage Margaret had her niece Ethel living and working with her as a maid.  I imagine with 4 young children Ethel would have been indispensable.  Ethel was to live with them until her own marriage.

Lorraine Couchman wrote that “ Margaret was of a gentle, retiring disposition, with a quiet sense of humour. Etiquette was observed diligently.”  She always dressed elegantly and was highly socially regarded by her peers.  Margaret was a keen gardener and some of her original garden has survived to this day in Lorraine and Keith Couchman’s yard where the house once stood.  There is still a productive Mulberry tree  a Lilac bush which date from Margaret’s time.  Margaret sewed many of her own clothes, was keen on embroidery and was interested in turkey breeding.  She continued to play the piano and encouraged her daughter Florence in her music studies. 

Barbara Pavone (née. Hicks) was told by her father Roy,  that Myers in Melbourne would send her clothes to wear to the races. Margaret was 5 foot 10 inches and always looked very regal in photos with a fine head of auburn wavy hair. 

Some of Margaret's jewellery

Some of Margaret’s jewellery, now with Barbara Pavone

Margaret's bridal boquet still with Lorraine

Part of Margaret’s bridal bouquet
still with Lorraine Couchman

According to Lorraine Couchman, “Charles was known as a keen judge of wool and stock”. In his younger years he excelled at athletics with, he was a councilor with the Deakin Shire, a member of the Masonic lodge and as Rainee wrote “had considerable influence in the district through his association with the establishment of the Echuca Cooperative Butter Factory. Charles had a reputation of being quite gruff.    He was a hard boss and “did not suffer fools gladly.” 

 

Charlie, the shearers and the twins, Roy closest to his father. Circa 1907.

Charles, the shearers and the twins, Roy closest to his father. Circa 1909. The existence of this photo meant that the family were well off as it was taken by a professional photographer. The name “Grimwood Studio” is embossed on the back of the picture. The sheep would ordinarily be shorn inside the shed behind them. This was prior to the advent of flash photography – apparently there is also a photo of a haystack also taken by the studio.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “h. Chapter 8 : The young Hicks family of Truro Grove 1896 – 1907”

  1. lorrainecouchman said:

    The bridal bouquet was enormous that Margaret had. I have only a small section of it.

    Also the last photo with shearing sheep. I think Dad and Rita would have been older – Circa 1907 would have made them only 2 years, as they were born in 1905. ? Perhaps it could have been taken around 1909, when they were 4 years old. It’s such guess work really.

    Is the saying ‘ He did not tolerate fools gladly?’ Not sure. Do you need to put in Barbara (nee Hicks) Pavone, Grandaughter of Margaret and Charlie, and same with me, if anyone outside the Family is reading your blog. They wouldn’t know where we fit into the picture.

    I have old photos of Truro with the Tennis Court in front of it also, which I’m not sure you want to include, as you have finished. Barb’s Painting is enough probably.

    Are you going to touch on Margaret and Charlie’s Kids lives briefly, such as when Bill went to the 1st World War in France, Dad WW 11, Florrie to USA, Rita life as a young girl. tales to tell here. The Stress on Margaret would have been Phenomenal during these years.

    Overall well done, Anita! It’s not easy to piece together someone’s life. Especially when it was a different era, so long ago. I admire your grit, and determination to stick at it.

    Love,
    Rainee.

  2. lorrainecouchman said:

    p.s. Saying should be ‘He did not suffer fools gladly’ . Mum and I have had a discussion. Also Mum thinks Dad and Rita would have been about six years old at the time of the photo. They were born in 1905, so the photo would have been taken around 1911 to 1912.

  3. hrholdengirl said:

    Thanks for the feedback Rain, Mum and Pam. I’ve had made changes as suggested and am going to compromise on the age of the twins. They would have been much taller if they were 6 in my opinion – but yes, probably older than 2! With reference to your names, I think once in an entry with a “nee Hicks” should suffice.

  4. Wow. Just found this by accident.
    Rainee is my aunty!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s