People, individual people, get lost in stories of epidemics. Temptation exists for overstatement, for generalising, for blame, for retribution. And advantage of vulnerable victims and their families is taken.
Maggie Whitehead died three days after contracting bubonic plague during a brief stopover in Sydney, on her way to England from her home in Condobolin in western NSW. Her husband, Richard, was the owner of the massive 'Borambil Station'. Maggie began life as a Cameron, of the Western District Camerons of Victoria. Dead within three days, with Richard not being able to even see her. So, I wondered what became of Richard.
So, I searched the listing for Condobolin in the Australian Cemeteries Index. I did not find Richard, but I did find Maggie. And ... I also found their only two children, Eileen and Royden. They both died in 1893. Of diptheria. Mime was aged 9 and Roy was aged 7. Blimey!
But, still no Richard.
I did find a Richard Whitehead who died in Parramatta in 1941, but he was a member of a family of carpenters. Not my Richard, I guessed. I still have not found him. There are four Richard Whiteheads listed in Victoria that were in possible years, but they all died in the city. Not my Richard, I guessed.
However, preparing this post helped me to bring to mind, the dreadful year of 1892 endured by my own 2*G-GM, Annie Howell, who lost three children to diptheria at the Wilcannia Hospital: Aileen, aged 13; Lindon, aged 8; and, Elsie, aged unknown.
Why the wrought iron fencing to top and tail this post. It is around the grave of Maggie in North Head Cemetery #3. Somehow, I simply needed to embrace this family, and a metaphor was my only weapon.
|This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.|