Sunday, 22 July 2012

Grandmothers are special

My Nanna, Mavis Fanshawe LONG was born on this day in 1906, the 3rd (and last) child of Australian born parents, Edward LONG (1872-1951) and Sarah Henrietta STONEHOUSE (1873-1953). They lived in the Beeac area of Western Victoria on a property called ‘The Sisters’.
Such a gorgeous photo

The Fanshawe part of her name was passed down from her great grandmother and we were always told stories of a ‘royal link’. Despite the number of Baronets and Sirs that keep cropping up, I haven’t yet found a link that would have been valid in Nanna’s times - I have since found a link to Princess Diana who joined the royal family only a year before Nanna died.

We heard in very hushed tones about a convict ancestor! This was referring to John MARSDEN (c1767-1827) who arrived in Hobart on the Indefatigable in 1812. His daughter Jane MARSDEN (c1800-1839) also came to Australia and then married Robert STONEHOUSE (c1794-1855) – Sarah Stonehouse’s grandparents.
What we didn’t hear about was the other convict link, who arrived in Hobart on the Lord Lyndoch [1] in 1831. Thomas BROOKE / BROOKS, (c1810-1894) was Edward Long’s maternal grandfather. I didn’t discover this fact until much later, when I found his marriage certificate (with TL on it – Ticket of Leave), and the ‘convict application for permission to marry’ register in the Archives of Tasmania (now online). I wonder if she knew.
So, a convict on both her mother and her father’s sides, and my only grandparent with convict ancestry – I know Nanna would not have liked that! British royalty, yes but ‘Australian royalty’, not!

Nanna and her sister Jean, were mothercraft nurses. She met my grandfather when she was working with his sister. She married John Raikes GARRETT (1908-1992) when she was 29 years old and had her first child at 31 – very late for those times. They lived in Glenhuntly and Carnegie, Victoria while their two girls were growing up, and moved to Mt Eliza and Frankston in later years.
Nanna was smart; smart enough to know to keep a rein on my grandfather’s spending – he spent a lot of time at racetracks as a racehorse transporter. She was awfully good at picking winners, particularly in the big races like the Melbourne and Caulfield cups.

Nanna had all the accomplishments you read about in Jane Austen novels, she played the piano, sewed, embroidered, made doilies, and was a whiz at cards. When we would visit as kids she always asked me to play Für Elise and Barcarolle.
As a mothercraft nurse, my Mum has so
many photos of her with babies
I was their first grandchild, and with no other granddaughter for about four years, enough time to be thoroughly spoiled! Not that she didn’t spoil all of us.
When I moved from the country to go to Uni, I lived in the flat next door to them for most of my first year – a pretty good transition to life at Uni and the ‘big city’.
Nanna died when I was on my first trip overseas in 1982. She had suffered many, many years of asthma and that year’s flu really affected her.

I’m sorry I didn’t have the chance to get to know this lovely gentle lady when I was an adult (uni years barely count as that). It’s a shame so many kids these days live so far away from their grandparents – they are missing out on all those stories, and all that love. Writing the blog has already helped me though, with Mum offering more photos and stories. I must take a recorder and make a big pot of tea next time I visit.
Nanna loved horses
Not a nurse anymore - a Nanna
Here she is with me

Nanna seated at the front, her parents in the
chairs, sister Jean and brother Bill standing
More as I remember her

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