Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Friday, June 04, 2010

Drummond's life chapter 1 - A troubled child: family life 1890-1907

David Drummond was always proud of his Scottish ancestry. He used to explain to his grandchildren with great pride how a Drummond had played a key role in the success of King Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn by strewing the field with spikes, which disabled a large proportion of the English cavalry.[1] Later, when planning his autobiography, he intended to start with a brief history of the clan before going on to discuss 'the difference of approach to life ... of the English and the Scots'.[2]

According to family tradition, the branch of the clan from which David Drummond descended had been farmers for generations. His grandfather, William Drummond, was born about 1821, probably in Perthshire.[3] As a young man, William leased land from the Earl of Bute.[4] Later he had a small farm at Forteviot in Perthshire.[5] Some time in the forties, probably in 1844 or 1845, William met Henrietta Morris, his bride to be.[6] Born about 1822, Henrietta was one of the five daughters of David Morris, the factor or steward of an estate near Forteviot, Perthshire, and Sophia Henrietta Archbold.[7] Few details about Henrietta survive. However, we know that she worked as a domestic servant on the Edmonstones' Colzium estate at Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, on the old road from Stirling to Glasgow, was well regarded, but was forced to give up work because of problems with her eyes.

On 8 September 1846 Henrietta and William were married in Perth and then probably settled down immediately at Forteviot.[8] Forteviot was a small village - the population of the Parish as a whole was estimated at 638 in 1841 - surrounded by pretty and well-watered country.[9] In 1847 the couple's first child, Elizabeth, was born, followed in regular succession by seven others.[10] Morris, David Drummond's father, was born in 1852 and was their third or fourth child. Life at Forteviot must have been peaceful for the growing family, with the children helping on the farm before going off to the small local school.[11] It had its share of tragedies, however, as two of the girls died in childhood. Then, on 25 September 1867, Henrietta herself died.

After leaving school Morris probably worked first on the land.[12] David Drummond always thought that his father, along with many other highland lads, was forced off the land by the enclosures,[13] but this is probably not true. The enclosures, which had been brought about by the profitability of large scale sheep farming which led Highland landowners to eject their tenants in order to gain the necessary land, were largely over by the time Morris was born. However, even if Drummond's assessment was not strictly correct, the reduction in available farm land brought about by the enclosures would probably, in the absence of considerable family wealth, have prevented Morris from staying on the land. In this regard the family seems, at best, to have lived in reasonable comfort.

While the details are scanty, the Drummonds probably moved several times, though always within the Forteviot district, before renting Coblehaugh Inn from the Earl of Kinnoull in 1866.[14] The Inn was probably small, perhaps little more than a sitting room, located on a small farm. At the time of William's death, the family property included two work horses, two cows, a bullock, two pigs, wheat and corn stacks, fifteen tons of turnips, a variety of farm implements, household furniture, plus a full assortment of spirit dealer's effects. The list, while not insubstantial, certainly does not suggest great wealth.

Whatever the reason, in 1871 Morris became an apprentice mason with Perth builders, McCurrach and Sons.[15] Morris was still an apprentice when, on 3 December 1873, his father died. With William's death the farm was relinquished, and the furniture and fittings sold by auction. In July 1875 Morris completed his apprenticeship, and then probably left almost immediately for Glasgow which, like Perth itself, was then going through a period of sustained rebuilding.[16] In Glasgow Morris met Catherine McMillan, 'a real little highland lady', who was to become his wife.[17] Born in Renfrewshire on 9 June 1854, Catherine had been brought up by two maiden aunts, probably at Rothesay on the Island of Bute, before entering domestic service in Glasgow.

In 1878 Catherine and Morris agreed that he should emigrate to Australia and, when established, send for her. It must have been a difficult choice for Catherine; she seems to have been very close to her family, and particularly to the aunts who had brought her up, and the decision meant that she had to leave them and the familiar home country, probably for ever.[18] For Morris, too, it was a big decision. But in his case he was following his trade, and it also seems likely that the possibility of emigration had been discussed amongst the Drummond children. Upon William's death, and the break-up of the family home, the family had begun to disperse. Brother David had moved first to Perth to take a labouring job, but had then established himself as a joiner. He also was considering emigration, and would shortly leave for Canada. John had also gone labouring, following the work where it took him. Sophia was to marry Alex Harper and move to Glasgow. Only William, the eldest, was to be left in Perthshire following the family's traditional occupation of farming. Despite this dispersal, the Scottish sense of family remained firm amongst the Drummonds, with the links between the family members generally surviving into the second and third generations, forming one of the constants in David Drummond's life.

With the decision to emigrate made, Morris purchased a steerage ticket for fifteen guineas and, on 30 January 1879, sailed from Plymouth for Sydney on the Orient Steam Navigation Company's John Elder.[19] Steerage was the cheapest possible way of travelling, with the John Elder also carrying first, second and third class passengers. Steerage conditions were cramped and at times unpleasant, with passengers living in forced intimacy. Despite these problems, it is obvious from Morris's diary that he thoroughly enjoyed the trip. On 15 March the ship reached Melbourne. Morris was impressed with his first real sight of Australia:

it is a nice Place fine Broad Streets & some very good Buildings of the kind of them not many Greenstone Buildings all mostly Brick and some faced with Cement. But there is a good many Whinestone Buildings & they make a fine job of it they Build it in corses from 12 to 14 inches high it is the best Whin ever I saw.[20]

The food also impressed Morris:

meat is cheaper than at home we had a good Dinner for sixpence I will give you an idea of it had soup and Bread Mutton Potatoes & Cabbage and Plum pudding for a Desert we had our Tea for the same amount and as much as we could eat and fruit is cheap.

On 17 March, after recruiting two new sailors to replace the twelve sailors and two cooks that had deserted in Melbourne, the ship sailed for Sydney arriving on the 19th:

it is splendid sceniary entrying the Bay to Sidney got the Pilot on Board getting a fine view of my Future home got in the Harbour anchor Droped at 3.30 PM there was a fine turn out of Pleasure Boats & Cannons firing close besides us from the Fort & two man of war vessels that was lying in the Bay in Honour to the Governor of New South Wales leaving for New Zealand landed ashore at 6 PM got Lodgings in a Hotel for 4sd



Sydney was booming when Morris arrived. 'The overflow of bricks and mortar', wrote James Inglis in 1880, 'has spread like a lava flood.'[21] There was plenty of work for a setter or master mason, and Morris prospered. By June 1881 he had accumulated sufficient funds to pay 100 pounds seventeen shillings and six pence per acre.[22] Brother John heard the news and wrote asking about prospects:

I im in England now and I am liking it well it is a very Stirry Place they are Great Deal of Coal Pits about heare I am with the Wigen Coal and Iron Company ... i sometimes think I would like to come out to if you were thinking about not coming home ... this is not near so a hart Wrought Place here a Scotland ... I have 21 Shillings a weeke here ... you write Bake to me again fore if i See a Better I will take it.[23]

John did later emigrate to Australia.[24]

Catherine & Morris c 1882 In the meantime, Morris now felt able to send for Catherine. In February 1882 she sailed for Sydney on the Orient Company's Cuzio, probably arriving early in April.[25] Morris and William Sinclair, a friend Morris had made on the John Elder, met her and took her to lodgings in Leichhardt.[26] On 21 April Morris and Catherine were married by Samuel Savage, the Congregational Minister at Leichhardt. (Plate 1)[27]

The newly-weds lived initially at Benbow's Cottages in Manly where Morris was foreman in charge of the building of St. Patrick's College, and then at Leichhardt where Morris had purchased a house.[28] Their first child, Henry, was probably born in 1883, followed by Morris in 1886 and Catherine in 1888. Catherine died, but on 11 February 1890 another child, David, was born.[29]

By the time David was born, the Sydney building boom had collapsed.[30] Morris found work hard to come by. In 1892 another child Henrietta, was born. Unfortunately neither child nor mother was to survive; Catherine died of puerperal fever in May, aged only thirty-seven.[31] Brother William wrote asking Morris to come home:

.. were very sorrow to hear the sad news the Death of your wife ... Now Dear Brother I am sorrow to hear of trade being so bad in Sydney But we would be very happy to see you home ... We have a fine country residence with always plenty of work and a bit land and a Cow and Hens it is a great difference from town for health trade is reviving a good bit in Scotland i have no doubt but you would get on far better at home ... [32]

Morris decided to stay on, but the decision cannot have been easy. Will, the eldest boy, was only eight, while David was two. Their father had both to work and find a way to care for his young family.

To overcome this problem Morris hired a housekeeper, but his choice fell on a woman whose stern Calvinist faith was associated with a deep belief in hellfire and damnation.[33] While not physically cruel to the children, she seemed to them to be hard and unsympathetic. Her way of persuading the boys that they must tell the truth was to tell them that all who told lies would burn in hellfire. All his life William Drummond would remember being told that he was an evil little boy and that all little boys must go to hell. Fortunately, the kindness of neighbours did something to ease the household's gloom. Sue McCallum, the wife of a fellow mason and builder, used to look after David during the day. Her sister, Martha Tompkinson, who was teaching super-primary classes at a nearby school, would take Will and Morris to their school on her way to work.

Economic conditions seem to have deteriorated further. By 1895 Morris had probably lost the house at Leichhardt and had moved the family to the Liverpool farm.[34] Despite the family troubles, life was probably happy for the children. In September 1895 Catherine's aunt wrote to Morris:

.. we were so delighted to hear that you and your darling boys are well ... and oh we were so pleased to get a letter each from them ... to hear that they help their father on the farm - and little David will have to look over you all ... tell David that he is to let us know what is the name of his kitten in your next letter.[35]

Whatever Morris's personal problems may have been, this letter suggests a close-knit and secure family. It also seems probable that, much later, when Drummond wrote to Mary Gilmore to say how her poem, 'The Saturday Tub' had 'hit him', he was thinking of this period.[36] The poem is a nostalgic look at one of the rituals of childhood. The writer, dreaming by the fire, is thrown

Standing in a line by the fire, the children take their turn

To stand in a tub the size of a churn
It was, "where's the flannel?" and, "Mind the soap!"
Slither and slide, and scuffle and grope

Then, bath finished,

When each little shirt went over each head,
"Gentle Jesus" and "Our Father" said
It was "quick with a kiss!" and "Now they run!
And off into bed with you, everyone!"

The warmth, happiness and security in the poem is unmistakable. For Drummond, whose later childhood was neither happy nor secure, the poem's appeal must have related to those early farm days.

In 1895 Morris remarried; his new wife was the friendly school teacher from Leichhardt, Martha Tompkinson. The marriage brought a new stability to the family, but it proved to be short-lived. Morris had been in poor health for some time.[37] In September 1896, he had to go to Sydney to sign a contract on a new job.[38] Martha was worried and asked him not to go, but Morris insisted. That night a honeymoon couple in the lodging house where Morris was staying heard strange noises coming from his room. The husband went to investigate and found Morris covered in blood. A doctor was called, but Morris died before he arrived.[39] The cause of death is not known, but it seems possible that Morris may have been suffering from tuberculosis, the same disease that was later to kill Martha.[40]

Martha, whom David Drummond later described as a strong and resolute character, had promised Morris that if anything happened to him she would not abandon his children.[41] With one exception, this was a promise she kept. But her position was unenviable. The family's financial position was poor, she was pregnant, and she had suddenly to assume full responsibility for three young step-sons. To earn an income she became a dressmaker, using the ten-year-old Morris junior to make deliveries since he could still get concession-fares on the trains.[42] Will, still only twelve, left home to take a live-in job at a general store in Richmond. By 1898 the family had lost the farm and was forced back to Sydney.

David seems to have been a difficult child, full of energy with - at least as his half-sister Ellie remembers him - an adorable smile and an uncanny ability to worm his way out of trouble.[43] To Martha he must have seemed a handful, and certainly he and his step-mother did not get on. As the youngest child, he was shunted between friends and Martha's relatives, but (in his own words) 'on each occasion sooner or later turned up like a motherless pup, on the family doorstep.[44] It was a disturbing period for the boy. Between 1896 and 1900 he attended no less than seven schools, maintaining his education largely because of his 'capacity for reading two and three classes ahead.' It seems that the joy in reading which was to be such a feature of his life was established very early. Thus, while staying with an aunt and uncle at Sunny Corner, the nine-year-old David Drummond read - but did not always understand - their entire library (some twenty books) ranging from Carlyle's French Revolution to Lancashire Witches.

In 1900 the boy was awarded a Presbyterian Church scholarship to Scots College in Sydney.[45] David enjoyed his time at the school. One aspect of life there which 'made an indelible impression' on him was the morning assembly with its bible readings, prayers and hymns. Coming from a family in which religious observance was an important part of life, the religious side of school life may have been important in the formation of Drummond's own religious views. 'Most boys are unregenerate young pups', he later wrote, 'but they are all the better then & through life because of the indirect teaching that God is greater than man.'

But this is in part the view of the man looking back. The David Drummond at Scots was noticeably an 'unregenerate young pup.' While there he went with the other boys to the ceremony at Centennial Park on 1 January which inaugurated the Commonwealth of Australia. Bored (singing was never his strong point), he slipped away from the group and wormed his way through the crowd to emerge next to the dais for a splendid view of the whole proceedings.[46] Nor was this the only time he played truant. Finding the work at Scots easy, he used to play hookey to go swimming at Rose Bay.[47]

The secure life Drummond knew at Scots was quickly overtaken by trouble. Late in 1901 or early in 1902 - the exact date is uncertain - he had an operation for tonsils and adenoids which led to complications.[48] Whether or not this was the cause is uncertain, but from this time onwards his hearing began to deteriorate, leaving him ultimately almost completely deaf. Then, in May 1902, his scholarship was abruptly terminated because, according to the headmaster, he 'was not brilliant enough'. In fact his results were not bad, except in maths where he scored only twenty-seven out of 300 in his final exam. It seems probable that his academic coasting had caught up with him; the scholarship was to be given to someone who seemed to deserve it more. Whatever the reason, Drummond resented the sudden termination, and seems to have carried that resentment with him all his life.[49] Despite this, he retained his affection for Scots as a school.

Even with the scholarship, it must have been a family battle to keep the boy at Scots. Understandably, Martha was bitterly disappointed at its termination, and it was agreed that he should start work at once (Plate 3). 'Overnight I became 14 years of age [the nominal school leaving age] and ... an office boy at the princely sum of 5/- per week.'[50] David then lost this job in unfortunate circumstances:

Some years previously while staying at what was then the substantial gold mining town of Sunny Corner with an uncle and aunt I saw a lad buy some lollies with postage stamps. The idea was novel and stayed in some corner of my memory. It came back to me when I was handling stamps in my new job and often at this growing stage, hungry. To cut the story short, for probably 2 months, I did not hunger. It never occurred to me that using stamps in this way, rather than on letters, was stealing.

Not surprisingly, his employers took a different view. Morris therefore arranged another job for David, at seven shillings and six pence per week, with the Pastoral Finance Association, where Morris was employed in the office. This job also ended disastrously. David had to carry small sums of money around the city to pay minor accounts:

One afternoon I discovered - or thought I had - that there was a surplus of 1/-. I checked and rechecked, and then had a good feed of cakes and ice-cream. Returning to the office and checking there it was apparent that I had somehow made an honest mistake. Stamps were one thing but money was another.

The boy was desperately unhappy.

In despair I went home and tried to poison myself. Luckily Mother arrived at that moment, filled me with salt and water and that was that.

The episode was the final straw for Martha. The following morning

She gave me a letter to the head of the Child Welfare Department and bade me farewell. In October 1902 I called on Inspector White, a kindly bearded gentlemen, presented my 'credentials', and without further ado became ... a 'Ward of the State.'[51]



The child welfare system that David now entered had been established by Sir Henry Parkes in 1881.[52] Prior to that date neglected children, orphans and some juvenile offenders were confined in large institutions under what was known as the Barrack System. Parkes' State Children Relief Act of 1881 officially introduced boarding-out, under which orphans or neglected children, who were in potential danger but who were considered not to have criminal tendencies, were placed with private families or (later) with their own mothers. Institutions were retained for the treatment of delinquents and juvenile offenders.

Boarding-out was of two types. Where the child was under twelve, the new parents became foster parents and were paid a subsidy for their new responsibilities. Over twelve, the child was apprenticed out. This was not apprenticeship in the traditional industrial sense in which the apprentice spends a specified time with an employer in order to gain a trade qualification. Instead, it was a placement scheme in which the ward was placed in the home of an employer and worked for him/her in return for a specified but small wage, part of which was paid directly to the apprentice and part deposited with the authorities to be kept in trust until the ward came of age. The employer was expected to supervise the ward's education and moral training as well as provide employment.

Central to Parkes' scheme was the idea that boarding-out would provide a better environment for the child by bringing him in close personal contact with a family who could look after him and provide support. The first report of the State Children's Relief Board, established to administer the new program, contrasted the life of the Asylum - 'where inmates are drilled into a mechanical good behaviour, garbed in uniform, while no count is or can be taken of differences in disposition' - with that of the family.

The principle of the boarding-out system is based on a consideration of the manner in which society is constituted. Society is made up of families. Thence it obtains its wondrous variety of aspect and development - there its activities germinate ... children in a family are a part of the many coloured life around them, and look forward to a future which shall have a similar varied experience to those of their own youth ...[53]

Consistent with this view, the Board developed what was in fact an experimental program with such vigour that by the time David became a ward it had not only largely emptied the institutions of children but had also established boarding-out as the keystone in the New South Wales child welfare system.

Although David's experiences were generally to bear out the claims made by the Board, his first experience with the system was to leave some bitter memories. After seeing Inspector White ...

Another letter was handed to me which I duly presented to the Officer in Charge at Ormond House, Paddington, which was a depot for receiving orphan or neglected children. A few days later, with several other boys, I was sent to another depot at Maitland run by two kindly middle-aged sisters and then to a ... vineyard at Pokolbin ...[54]

David Drummond's new residence was the Probationary Farm Home at Cessnock, one of two homes established by the Board because of the problems found, with 'those lads ... whose persistent misconduct renders them unfit for service under ordinary conditions; that is, those given to frequently absconding from their masters without cause, petty thieves or the habitually indolent'.[55] The law prevented state wards from being admitted to industrial and reformatory schools until a court committal had been first secured. This action the Board was unwilling to take, probably in part because of the stigma attached to it, and in part because the Board had no authority over such schools, so that it lost control of the child following committal. However, by 1901, 10,000 children had passed through the boarding-out system, and the Board had a substantial and continuing problem to which some solution had to be found.

About the end of 1898 the Board established a Probationary Farm Home at Cessnock to receive such boys on a private farm of forty hectares, including four under vines and four which were used for agricultural purposes. In return for ten shillings per week each, the owner agreed to receive four lads initially, providing them with separate sleeping accommodation while treating 'them in every respect as members of his family'.[56] Once the boys' behaviour improved sufficiently, the master was to find them suitable employment. The Board recognised that the move was experimental and imposed strict conditions; these included a warning that 'reform is expected to result from moral suasion, and by inculcating a feeling of self reliance, and not from the severe application of corporal punishment'.[57] By the end of 1901 Report concluded that 'two years experience has shown that the State Children's Relief Board has now no difficulty in dealing with juvenile offenders of this class'.[58] A new home was opened at Dora Creek for Catholic boys, thus allowing Cessnock to be used exclusively for Protestants.

In adopting farm homes as a solution to its problem, the Board had been influenced by a long and deeply held view within English society of the country, in Raymond Williams' words, as 'a natural way of life: of peace, innocence and simple virtue'. By contrast, the city was a place of noise, worldliness and ambition.[59] This view had gained strength during the industrial revolution. Greater population concentrations led to increased awareness of crime, and of the links between crime and the thousands of neglected children 'loitering about the low neighbourhoods'.[60] The Board fully accepted the traditional view of the virtues of country life. Not only did it try to place as many children as possible in country districts, but it also saw as the major virtue of the Cessnock location that 'it takes the boys at once into the agricultural districts; it secures wholesome surroundings, and a more natural form of life'.[61]

David Drummond came to share fully the Board's view of the virtues of country life. However, he did not agree with its favourable assessment of the Cessnock Home. Although he learnt quite a lot about wine production, and although the farmer was a kindly man who did much to tone down the asperities of his wife and make life bearable for the score of lads entrusted to them, Drummond found life there miserable:

Thus began my practical education in child welfare. It included a knowledge of spies who urged lads to run away and then betrayed them to those in control. There were good reasons for running away, but I trusted no one ...[62]

The caution was reasonable, for absconding was a risky business. Section 22 of the State Children Relief Act of 1901 provided that if a ward absconded he could be whipped with a birch rod or cane and given bread and water as a punishment. Further, of the four boys who had absconded from the homes up to April 1902, three had been subsequently arrested and committed to the Reformatory.[63]

Drummond laid his plans carefully. After some seven months he made his break with three others:

A number of us were sent to Church at Cessnock, some 4 miles walk. I simply said let us run away & avoiding detection arrived at the Maitland depot & were received kindly. I told the good ladies some of the reasons for our actions, indeed sufficient to bring my old friend Mr White hot foot next day to interview our group. At this time an Uncle [presumably on his stepmother's side] was Managing Director of one of Sydney's biggest firms and had been kind to me in many ways. I did not scruple to use his name as a hint of what might happen if the abuses were not checked.[64]

Whether the boy's threat had any influence is unclear. What is clear is that the complaints about the Home must have been treated seriously, for it was closed.[65]

The experience had badly marked David Drummond. 'One of the most cruel things', he later wrote, 'is the repeated axiom "The Boy is the Father of the Man", for this means if a young adolescent is guilty of theft or untruth he is predestined to be a thief and a liar through life'.[66] He went on to ask: 'how many bright lads have taken their own lives in despair as a result of similar axioms'? Most normal children, he suggested, engage in petty theft until something happens to awaken them to the danger of continuing to do so. The lesson in his case had certainly been hard.

After Cessnock, Drummond had four months back at an unspecified school during which he won the champion prize at an inter-school scripture competition,[67] but thereafter his education was confined to the dairy industry. The families that he stayed with in the Hunter Valley seem to have been typical small farm families: life was dominated by work with only limited access to outside activities. Despite this, David maintained his reading, compensating for limited choice by greater intensity. The family he stayed with for twelve months at age fourteen had only three books: the Bible, John Wesley's Journal and Fox's Book of Martyrs.[68] Fox did not appeal, but David read and re-read the other two. Wesley's Journal with its record of incredibly long journeys, associated with 'the fact that he set out to reform his own Anglican Church not to found a new one', fascinated the boy. The intensive Bible reading strengthened his existing religious beliefs and gave him 'an indestructible belief in God the Supreme Being and of the reality of the spiritual link between God and man.'

The families David stayed with may have been poorly educated and probably struggling, but they gave the boy what he most needed, acceptance:

.. the people I met and worked for were kindly and made no distinction between the orphan and their own children. Whatever may have been lacking in refinement was more than made up by the one quality that every child values more than any other, viz basic human kindness and a personal interest and understanding.[69]

In addition, David's own family maintained links with him. The nature of his relationship with Martha is uncertain, but was presumably rather formal. With his brothers the situation was very different. Will, who was in his late teens and early twenties during this period, seems to have acted as a substitute father. A devout Christian, he tried, according to family tradition, to develop David by discouraging his liking for comics and encouraging him to read 'good books'. This practice David himself was later to follow with his own children and grandchildren. The younger Morris was developing into a big man with an outgoing personality that attracted all the family (including David) to him.

Despite support from the families he stayed with and from his own family, the boy missed his mother, Catherine. He carried a clear picture of his father, 'a tall bearded kindly man',[70] but had no conscious memories of his mother. 'I am convinced there is - except in rare cases - no real substitute for a natural mother's love of her children',[71] he wrote in his manuscript autobiography. In later years, David Drummond was to name his house after Catherine's supposed birth place (Stornaway), and was to make efforts to trace her Scottish relatives through a Scottish friend.[72]

The decision of the State Children's Relief Board to place David in the country changed his life. Whatever the advantages of the boarding-out/apprenticeship arrangements, they had one major disadvantage: the ward's chances of gaining formal qualifications were negligible.[73] As a consequence the boys were effectively committed to labouring jobs and - although he could in theory have moved to the city - in David's case that meant farm work. Not that the boy minded. He had wanted to work in the country from an early age,[74] and his experience as a ward seem to have developed the love of the country that he would hold all his life.

David Drummond 1907 But while Drummond enjoyed farm work, and found much kindness from the families he lived with, the years he spent as a ward mark a waiting period in his life. In his manuscript autobiography he discussed the Pokolbin experience in detail, but then dismissed the remainder of his time as a ward in a few sentences, beginning his account again one cold day in 1907 when he arrived in Armidale carrying all his possessions in a cheap carry-all.[75] The plate shows a formal photo of David Drummond from 1907.

In retrospect, Drummond clearly regarded this day as a key one in his life. Reasons for this are not hard to find. Although still nominally a ward of the state, it would be twenty years before Drummond would again have contact with the child welfare system. More importantly, his arrival in Armidale marks the start of his successful fight to establish himself within the community. Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, it is from this date that we can trace the real start of his involvement with Northern New South Wales, an involvement that was to dominate the rest of his life.

For a full list of posts in this series see Decentralisation , Development and Decent Government": the life and times of David Henry Drummond, 1890-1941 - introduction

[1]For a description of this incident see F. Adam, The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, Revised by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, 4th ed., W. & A.K. Johnson, Edinburgh, 1952, p.213. This book was purchased by David Drummond at John Knox's house in Edinburgh.

[2]Drummond Manuscript (DM), p.3.

[3]The birth date is calculated from the inscription on William's still standing gravestone at Forteviot. The Drummonds traditionally came from Perthshire.

[4]David Drummond's recollections, DM, p.6. Drummond did not know where the land was. In the Second Statistical Account for Ayr and Bute, Bute is given as the owner of Ochiltree, Ayrshire. The volume Peter May land surveyor (Scottish History Society 1979) records that John, Fourth Marquis of the Bute (Lord Mountstuart) bought an inn at Largs on the Ayrshire mainland. It also notes that Robert Oliphant of Rossie was appointed Commissioner for the Earl of Bute's affairs in Scotland. Oliphant possessed the estate of Culteuchar in Forgandenny, the adjoining Parish to Forteviot. This information on Bute's interests was supplied by Charles S. Coventry, M.A., B. Phil., A.EA., of the Perth (Scotland) Historical Society.

[5]The handbill advertising the sale of family and farm effects after William's death is in Family Papers (FP).

[6]Inferred from dates in FP.

[7]Details on the Morris family are drawn partly from family trees in FP and partly from the family recollections of Ellie Morris, David Drummond's half-sister. Interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982. Information on Henrietta is drawn from a letter from Lady Edmonstone to Henrietta's mother, 22 November 1844. original in FP. Details on Colzium were supplied by Mr Coventry.

[8]Details taken from the couple's banns. In FP. It seems probable that the couple did settle immediately at Forteviot since William was listed as living there at the time of the banns.

[9]This description of Forteviot is based on: The Topographical, Statistical and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, 2 vols., A.Fullarton & Co., Glasgow, 1842. Vol. 1, p.576. The country today is much the same. However, apart from the church the original village has vanished, apparently rebuilt by a later land owner as a 'model' village. The Gazetteer listed Forteviot's population as 600 in 1834: the later figure was supplied by Mr Coventry.

[10]The family details are based on family trees in FP and on the inscription on William's gravestone.

[11]We know (1) that the children received some education since they could read and write and (2) that Forteviot had a school since the Gazetteer, ibid, p.576, lists a schoolmaster with a salary of 34 pounds, 4 shillings and 4 pence halfpenny with about 16 pounds in fees.

[12]This seems likely given the probable gap between the time Morris completed school and started his apprenticeship in Perth.

[13]For a brief description of the enclosures see: G.S. Pryde, Scotland from 1603 to the present day, vol. 2 of A New History of Scotland, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1962, pp.150-161. For a more detailed description see: E. Richards, A History of the Highland Clearances: Agrarian transformation and the evictions 1746-1886, Croom Helm, London, 1982.

[14]The evidence here is largely circumstantial, for the reason given in footnote 8, it seems probable that William and Henrietta settled immediately at Forteviot. According to Mrs Morris, they lived for a period at Pathstruie, a house near Forteviot which Mrs Morris later visited. The first William Drummond so far discovered in district records appears in 1863: between 1863 and 1867 he rented Wordhead farm from Lord Ruthven. Then another William Drummond rented Coblehaugh Inn between 1866 and 1874. It seems almost certain that this Drummond was our William Drummond. Coblehaugh Inn's lease was relinquished in the year following William's death, which is not inconsistent with the time necessary to realise the family effects. Again, those effects included a complete set of spirit dealer's requisites, while family tradition has always claimed that William did keep an inn. The information on land records was supplied by the District Archivist in Perth, again via Mr Coventry.

[15]The details on Morris's apprenticeship are taken from his certificate of completion of apprenticeship in FP. The certificate is dated July 1875, but Morris could in fact have completed his apprenticeship a little before this.

[16]The evidence that Morris left for Glasgow is again largely circumstantial: Mrs Morris believes that he mainly worked in Glasgow; his later diary contained many more Glasgow addresses; and there is no record of his living in Perth after July 1875.

[17]The description of Catherine is by William Sinclair, an old friend of Morris's. DM, p.6. Details on Catherine's life are drawn from records in FP, and from the interview on 1 October 1982 with Mrs Morris. There is some confusion in the papers about Catherine's birth date: one record gives it as 1854, one as 1852.

[18]The letters from Catherine's aunts are full of family news and suggest a close and affectionate family. Details on the Drummonds are drawn from records in the FP.

[19]The steam ship ticket is in FP. Details of the voyage are taken from Morris's diary of the trip. In FP.

[20]Whin, whin'sill, whin'stone, nn. kinds of basaltic rock or hard sandstone. (orig. unkn.). H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler (eds.), Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, fifth edition, revised by E. McIntosh, etymologies revised by G.W.S. Friedrichsen, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1964, p.1488.

[21]Cited in A. Birch and D. Macmillan, The Sydney Scene 1788-1960, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1962, p.165. For a description of Sydney in this period see ibid., pp.165-172; E.C. Fry, 'Growth of an Australian Metropolis', in R.S. Parker and P.N. Troy (eds), The Politics of Urban Growth, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1972, pp.5-11; M. Cannon, Life in the Cities: Australia in the Victorian Age: 3, Nelson, West Melbourne, 1978.

[22]Receipt for deposit in FP. Drummond thought the farm was in the Guilford district. However, the address is given in letters as Cross Roads, Liverpool.

[23]John to Morris, 26 January 1882. In FP.

[24]By October 1892 John was in Sydney and already married, for William wrote to Morris: 'We were sorrow to heir of Johns wife not being so well have they got any family'. In FP.

[25]Ticket in FP.

[26]Based on FP and DM.

[27]Marriage papers in FP.

[28]Based on DM and FP. William Sinclair later wrote to David Drummond: 'St. Patricks at Manly is a permanent tribute to the skill and artistry of Morris Drummond. I saw him fit every stone into place'. DM, p.7.

[29]Previously William was thought to be the eldest. However, a family tree (in William's writing) in FP lists Henry as the eldest with the note 'Decsd'; this presumably explains the Henry in David's name. The exact dates of both Henry's and Catherine's deaths are unknown.

[30]The land boom in Sydney effectively ended in 1888. A.G.L. Shaw, The Economic Development of Australia, Longman Australia, Croydon, 1970, p.90.

[31]The date of Henrietta's death is not known at this stage. The cause of Catherine's death is derived from family tradition.

[32]William to Morris, 17 October 1892. In FP.

[33]Details in this paragraph were drawn from an interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982.

[34]Drummond records (DM, p.7) that the house in Leichhardt was lost after his father's death. However, circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. Included in FP is a receipt, dated 15 October 1894, extending the mortgage on the Leichhardt house. In September 1895, Catherine's aunt wrote to Morris 'we were very sorry to hear that you had been so unfortunate with your house ...'. (In FP). Mrs Morris confirmed that they had lost the house. (Interview, 1 October 1982). Certainly the family never lived in the house again after the move to Liverpool.

[35]In FP.

[36]Gilmore to Drummond, 5 March 1949. In FP. The quotations from 'The Saturday Tub' are taken from: M. Gilmore, Selected Verse, Angus & Robertson, Sydney 1948, pp.273-274.

[37]On 9 December 1895, Morris's sister Sophia Harper, wrote to him: 'In the first place I hope your health is improving. [indecipherable] was saying that you had not been well.' Original in FP.

[38]The detail in this and the next sentences are drawn from the interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982.

[39]A press clipping in FP records: 'A stonemason named Morris C. Drummond died suddenly at his residence, 58 Young-street, Sydney, last night. After tea deceased retired to his bedroom, and a few minutes after another lodger in the house heard peculiar sounds coming from the room. On entering the room he found Drummond covered in blood. A doctor was sent for, but before his arrival Drummond expired. It is supposed that deceased had broken a blood vessel.'

[40]This was the opinion of his grandsons, David and John Morris, both doctors. Interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982.

[41]DM, p.7.

[42]This and the next two points are drawn from the interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982. Documents in FP support the points.

[43]Interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982.

[44]This and the later points in this paragraph are drawn from DM, pp.38-39.

[45]Unless otherwise cited, details on Drummond's time at Scots are taken from DM, p.8.

[46]Script of radio broadcast to the electorate, Drummond Papers, University of New England Archives, A248.

[47]Interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982.


[49]He later commented to his eldest daughter (Mrs Belshaw) that the boy who had taken his place, and whom the headmaster considered would be more successful, had lost his job during the Depression and had come to Drummond for help. Drummond's continued liking for Scots is shown in the tone of the DM, and was also revealed in his comments to the writer on the school.

[50]This and the immediately following quotations are from DM, pp.9-11.

[51]A court order was not necessary in order to commit a child. Instead Section 2 of the Regulations laid down under the State Children Relief Act of 1901 prescribed '... it shall be the duty of the Boarding-out officer to cause inquiry to be made ... into all applications from persons who may desire to have their children placed out as boarders or for adoption or apprenticeship ... He shall also take precautions to ascertain that parents are not enabled, by false representations of their circumstances, [to] relieve themselves of the care of their children, and improperly make them a charge upon the state.'

[52]This next section draws heavily from: The Hon. C.K. Mackellar, MLC, The Child, the Law and the State being a short account of the progress of reform of the laws affecting children in New South Wales with some suggestions for their amendment and more humane and effective application, Government Printer, Sydney, 1907; State Children's Relief Board Annual Reports; E.S.L. Govan, "Public and Private Responsibility in Child Welfare in New South Wales 1788-1887", PhD thesis, University of Chicago, 1951; M. Horsburgh, "The Apprenticing of Dependent children in New South Wales between 1850 and 1885", Journal of Australian Studies, No.7, November 1980, pp.33-54; New South Wales Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare, Child Welfare in New South Wales, mmeo., (1962 ?); A.L. Ritter, "Concepts and Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency in Nineteenth Century England, New South Wales and South Australia", MA (Hons) thesis, University of New England, October, 1974. For a fuller list of references see main bibliography.

[53]Report of the President of the State Children's Relief Board for the year ending 5 April 1882, Government Printer, Sydney, 1882, p.4.

[54]DM, pp.10-11.

[55]Report of the President of the State Children's Relief Board for the year ending 5 April 1904, Government Printer, Sydney 1904, p.15. The material on the Probationary Farm Homes is taken from the Annual Reports for the period 1899-1904.

David Drummond refers to the place only as 'a vineyard at Pokolbin.' However, it is clear from the evidence that the Cessnock Farm Home is the only institution he could be referring to.

[56]Report ... for the year ending 5 April 1899, pp.5-6.


[58]Report ... for the year ending 5 April 1901, p.11.

[59]R. Williams, The Country and the City, Paladin, Frogmore, 1975, p.9. Williams' book is a fascinating analysis of the changing attitude towards country and city as portrayed in English literature.

[60]A.L. Ritter, Concepts and Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency. Ritter, p.24, discusses the prevalent view, both in England and the colonies, that 'criminals were ... largely the product of urban backgrounds of poverty, vice, destitution and neglect.'

[61]Report ... for the year ending 5 April 1901, p.6.

[62]DM, p.11.

[63]Report ... for the year ending 5 April 1902, p.17.

[64]DM, pp.11-12.

[65]The Report ... for the year ending 5 April 1904 simply records: 'The Protestant Home situated at Cessnock, has been closed during the year, and steps are being taken to open another elsewhere' (p.15). Since no Board records survive for the period, the official position cannot be explored further.

[66]The material in this paragraph is taken from DM, pp.14-15.

[67]Ibid., p.11.

[68]This section taken from DM, p.40.

[69]DM, pp.12-13.

[70]DM, p.7.

[71]DM, p.12. The full quotation, given below, has a slightly different flavour but I think the impact is clear. 'Watching my own daughters and their endless patience and sense of humour with their children, I am convinced ...'

[72]R. Carlton Malcolm. The letters are in FP.

[73]The problem of how to provide adequate training for State Children was an on-going one. By the nature of the apprenticeship arrangements, wards were sent to those who could provide a home but who were also prepared to provide paid work. In effect this gave the system (apart from the general philosophy discussed above) a bias towards farm work for boys and domestic service for girls.

[74]Interview with Mrs Morris, 1 October 1982.

[75]DM, p.184.

No comments: