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last updated:    18 October 2004

 

 

 

 

 

20. THE OLD HOMESTEAD IN FULL SWING 

By 1922, when the Bank Head vineyard was decimated by phylloxera, Robert and Ellen had raised 10 more Stevensons to adulthood.  Ruth, Margaret, Johanna and Robert had married and left the district, whilst Ellen and Isabella were confirmed spinsters and Jack (John) and Jim confirmed bachelors all living at Bank Head with their parents.

The old homestead was in full swing with a cellar full of wine and paddocks full of vegetables.  All around the house were rows of carrots, parsnips, beetroot, peas, beans and maize.

Aunt Vera fondly remembers her visits with her mother Johanna:

         “We came by steam train to Melbourne and then to Eltham where we met the coach which took us to Kangaroo Ground.  An uncle met us with horse and buggy and took us to Bank Head.  We liked to ride on the sledge that was pulled by an old horse whenever Uncle went to get wood.  We would often get jolted off onto the soft grass and scramble back on again.  We watched our Uncles making hay-stacks in the barnyard and thatching them with rushes from the paddock.  They also cut chaff with the same old horse-works that were used by their grandfather………my Aunts did very fine needle work.  I still have tablecloths with lovely crocheted borders my mother made, and cloths with drawn thread work, which was popular at the time, they were good cooks too.  They made loaves of bread, churned cream into butter and helped grow the long rows of vegetables that always grew at Bank Head.”

In July of 1923 Robert’s wife Ellen died and like his father before him, Robert followed 10 years later on September 13th, 1933.

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