Until two weeks ago, Grandma Faull was but a black-lead scribble in a tattered exercise book: 'Gma Faull - 3 husbands - fell off bridge'. That was careless of her, thought I.
Then, a cousin emailed me the above photograph. There were only two people I could not immediately identify. The old lady bottom front and the young gentleman up the back. However, my heart quickened as I took a guess.
Two days later my hopes were confirmed. Meet Gma Faull. I knew she was the mother of the next oldest lady in the photo, Sarah Annie Evans. Using Ancestry .com enabled me to cross off another scribble in the exercise book. Yonks ago my father had me write down two names: Sarah Crans and Ann Howell. They came out of his deep, dark recesses and he had no idea where they fitted in.
Meet Gma Faull, born Ann Howell in 1845 in Gloucestershire UK, died 1929 in Drummoyne, Australia. Meet Gma Faull, my great-great-grandmother.
Last week her death certificate arrived. So much more information. Here was a living, breathing person. Well ... you know what I mean.
So, I hopped a train at Central and out to Rookwood I travelled. Using the search function on the Rookwood site, I had already determined that she rested in Section T Grave 010103. The helpful folk at the office gave me this plan and two other more detailed grids, and a 'thataway'. Luckily, her resting place lay along Haslems Drive and midway along Block C1. However, we are not a wealthy family and I did not expect a headstone.
I knew Block C1 started with grave 66, and plots were 'yay' wide. So, off I stepped, counting out loud. Sorry folks. Plot 78 was numbered. Way to go! I took a punt at 103 and scribbled the names of the closest headstones. Yes, in the same trusty exercise book. Grave 101 was the resting place of Elsie Louisa Torrens who passed away in 1913. Grave 108 was the resting place of Betty Ada May parsons who was interred in a family area in 1989. Bingo.
Ann Howell rests, headstone-less, beneath this flowering palm in Section T, Block C1, Grave 103 at Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney, Australia. She emigrated, alone aged not quite 19, to Brisbane and in 1864 married Evans, who fell off a bridge. In 1867 she married Finch. In 1887 she married Faull. In total, she gave birth to 10 children, five of whom did not reach adulthood. Her first child was Sarah Annie Evans (Ma Cole), the mother of my cherished grandmother, Sylvia.
Ma Cole is standing on the left. Sylvia is standing, second from the right.
Rookwood is the largest of many many cemeteries in Sydney. It was established along Haslems Creek in the 1860s and now covers over 700 acres.
With close to one million people having been interred at Rookwood, it is easy to overlook that they each were once living, loving people.
This has been the story of one of them.
A member of the Sunday in my City community.