Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Taphophile Tragics - Social pariah

Come over to the CDPB Face Book page and join in voting for a September Theme Day.
The choices are: people watching; roadworks; or, flower boxes.
Voting closes Friday 24th August.


The smallpox epidemic in Sydney was between 1881 and 1882, yet here is Iole Lakeman, dead in four days, in 1888. Her family lived at Manly, which is the next suburb to the Quarantine Station on North Head, and perhaps home to some of the workers at the station. No proof, either way. However, on 14th April, Ellen Lakeman, and one of her domestics were also put into quarantine in fear of possible symptoms.

This is the headstone for Iole, dead at the age of 2 years, 2 months. A beautiful name; a horrible death. Although her parents were of Irish extraction, I read that Iole means 'violet' in Italian. And the headstone is topped with this beautiful 'native flower', which has the serated leaf of the Banksia, but with the pod of a water-lily. But who were the Lakeman family that they could extend to a domestic servant in Sydney in the 1880s


Allen Lakeman spent his life in local government in the Hay-Narranderah area of southern New South Wales, being Mayor of Hay on two occasions. He was also the Member of the Legislative Council for Balranald, which covers the same area, but in the Upper House of the State Legislature. Although born in Taranaki, New Zealand, he married Mary Ellen Cochran in Hay in 1873, and they had 11 children, Iole being the second youngest, only three of whom lived to a ripe old age.

Ellen died in 1890, and is buried in Coonamble. Allen died in 1910 and is buried in Narranderah. Although their infant daughter had a short life, and a swift awful death, she is spending eternity on a gloriously beautiful headland, overlooking one of the best views on the planet.



This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

12 comments:

william braquemard said...

It's comforting to know that future generations will be able to say "Smallpox? What on earth was that?"

Jim said...

It is a good view.

Joan Elizabeth said...

They got about.

I was looking at that heathland and thinking how it looks a little like the wide open saltbush plains around Hay (in a good season).

Joe said...

Fascinating story Julie. Our predecessors in Australia had to endure such difficulties. It is nice to end your series with your photo of the windswept headland with the clouds disappearing towards the horizon.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Sad that the family is laid to rest in such scattered places! Small pox is a disease I am glad we know little about except from a distant past!

A note on my post, I am not connected with the tragedy mentioned! I did teach another Year 11 boy who was involved in a tragic car accident at this crazy time last year!

Mark said...

Amazing story but as you say, what a place to be buried in.

Nicola Carpenter said...

Great post. Such a sad and tragic death for Iole. Where she rests is so beautiful and peaceful. I am glad that through vaccination many deadly diseases now nolnger have a hold over us.

Beneath Thy Feet

biebkriebels said...

So many children people had in those times and so few survived. Tragic story anf well illustrated.

Wibbo said...

Fascinating - smallpox must have been a dreadful disease in those days.

Deb said...

Mayor on two occasions, domestic servants and still only 3 children from 11 living a full life. Tough times indeed.

Mark R said...

Interesting that he should have decided on this 'composite' flower symbol. It shows pride in his new home too.

CaT said...

what a beautiful picture; she indeed at least has a great view....
3 out of 11 is really sad...