Ella McFadyen's love of pittwater:
An Environment, Wildlife and children's Champion
Ella McFadyen, 1940's, photo courtesy State Library of New South Wales
Ella McFadyen (1887-1976) was a journalist, editor, writer of books for children, poet and amateur photographer with a passion for the environment (and inspiring youngsters to be amongst this through forming the Boomerang Walking Clubs), a deep love for animals, and sharing insights about the natural world with children. She conducted the Children’s Page of the Sydney Mail (as “Cinderella”) until that publication finished in 1938 and also wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald Women’s Thursday section, Australian Town and Country Journal and many other newspapers and magazines.
Her love of the great outdoors and Australia's wildlife, and sharing that with children, features in just about everything she did and wrote, while her passion for photography captured scenes and animals of here we may not recognise in some cases. Ella's words paid numerous tributes to our environment and bore witness to seeing the little things as much as the great landmarks that have not changed much since she first visited. Her responses to her child and young adult readers spoke of the peninsula and shared tidbits of information on everything from the flowers to the Seasons and weather and what can be found where.
Ella May McFadyen was born a second generation 'Australian' (or third generation if you take into account her mum was born here) on November 26th, 1887 at 'Burrundulla', John-street, Stanmore. Ella was one of five girls and two boys born to Donald and Mary McFadyen. Soon afterwards the family moved to 'Airlie' in Garfield street, Five Dock. The suburb of Five Dock was named, apparently, 'from the fact of there being five natural inlets or docks on the western bank' - or there were. The earliest documented reference to Five Dock is in the Sydney Gazette, February 3, 1805. In 1806, Governor King granted this bay to surgeon John Harris, who named it 'Five Dock Farm', and this comprised the entire bay, including the current-day suburbs of Five Dock, Abbotsford, Drummoyne, Chiswick, Russell Lea and Rodd Point.
(1880). Parramatta River, Five Dock, Port Jackson, New South Wales, ca. 1880 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-140536671
The farm was eventually sold and broken up into smaller parcels of 30 to 60 acres and, being so close to town, began to be developed. By the 1890's, when the McFadyen family lived there, a tramway system had been installed making this area popular among those who had families who they wanted to have space and fresh air and who had to catch a tram to town to work.
While the family lived in Five Dock her two brothers were born as was another sister, while her youngest sister was born at Point Clare, Brisbane Water, in 1904, when the family moved there for a short time.
Her father was a businessman and did a far amount of travel as part of his job with photos which show some of the places, and buildings, he visited among the collection Ella McFadyen images held by the State Library of New South Wales. In her 1972 interview Ella describes going with her father in a motor car from Kempsey to Grafton for a trip (his work) and being the first to do so. [3.] A bit about him:
Ella's Father’s photo from: The Produce Trade of Sydney.—Some Views of Sussex-street. (1903, August 12). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 32. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71484758
THE FRESH FOOD AND ICE CO.
The New Manager.
Mr. Donald M'Fadyen, who has been appointed manager of the Fresh Food and Ice Co., Ltd., in succession to Mr. Lance, was born at Morpeth on the Hunter River (N.S;W.), in July, 1863, and consequently is now close on 39 years of age. He came to Sydney 15 years later, and entered into the services of his uncle, Mr. J. R. M'Fadyen, who was then carrying on business In Sussex-street as a produce merchant. In 1881, three years after his arrival in Sydney, he joined the old South Coast and West Camden Co. (now known as the Farmers' Co-operative Co., Ltd.) as a junior clerk, and by degrees worked his way up to his present position as manager of the company.
During his 21 years service he has worked through the various departments connected with the business, and in February, 1899, was made general manager. The business connected with the company, It may perhaps be Interesting to note here, embraced every branch of agricultural product, but dairy produce forms the great bulk of the trade, The operations of the company are very extensive, as will be j seen by the fact that In April alone the turnover, so to speak, amounted to £55,643.
Mr. M'Fadyen has made a special study for many years of the export butter trade, and the administration of the company's affairs has naturally brought him in touch with the whole of the Australasian markets, and he has at different periods visited the several States in connection with the butter trade. At his special request the company sent a representative to England last year to supervise the distribution of the company's consignments in the home markets.
Mr. M'Fadyen takes over his new duties as manager of the Fresh Food and Ice Co. on July 1 next. The appointment to him is naturally the more pleasing seeing that he did not seek It. The high esteem in which Mr. M'Fadyen is held by his associates in the Farmers' Co-operative Co. may be perhaps best understood by the. following resolution passed by the directors at a recent meeting —
"That the board learns with regret of Mr. M'Fadyen's retirement from the Farmers' Co-operative Co., with which he has been associated for very many years, and to which he has In the position he has occupied, and at present occupies, given his able and loyal support: at the same time the board congratulates him upon his appointment to the very honourable and responsible position which he has accepted in one of. the largest firms of the State, and heartily wishes him every happiness and prosperity in his new career."
In addition to having had great experience in the commercial line of business, he was at one time connected with municipal matters. For eight years he was an alderman, and out of the eight four were spent in the chair as Mayor of Five Dock. MR. D. M'FADYEN. THE FRESH FOOD AND ICE CO. (1902, May 26). The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article229059319
Ella's father was the son of John McFadyen who was born on the Isle of Coll, Argyll, Scotland in 1829 as had her great grandfather, Roderick, in 1801 and her great great grandfather Donald McFadyen in about 1773. In a 1972 interview Ella states that her grandfather spoke Gaelic and he and his wife, Margery (nee McPherson), would speak this in the house when they didn't want the children to know what they were speaking of.
Roderick McFadyen and his family came to New South Wales in 1856 as things weren't too good on the Isle of Coll and those living there were encouraged to emigrate to places such as Australia and Canada. John McFadyen was already 26 when he arrived here and took up farming with his brothers and sisters at Morpeth on the NSW Mid North Coast. Donald McFadyen was born at Morpeth on July 31st, 1863.
On her mother's side there was a strong Irish influence, her grandfather on her maternal side, was Thomas Wilson (1814 to 1871) while her great grandfather was a Tim Kelly who came to Australia aboard the ship, 'Isabella Watson' with the 99th regiment.
Her father bought a paddock at Five Dock which Ella described as then being a green place 'with just a few pegs to tell you where the new streets were to be'. Her childhood at Five Dock is described as having pets - including a pet wallaby!, horses, a vegetable garden and a swimming pool. Her love of drawing animals both from nature and at the Museum filled her days.
Her father's firm was one of the first to use electric lights and he told stories about using electric lighting to speed up the construction of the Garden Palace, which burnt down soon after. Her father also told stories of the Hunter River including rescuing a drowning cow and sustaining it on the second floor of the house, until the water subsided. Her father liked horses but not gambling. Her mother disliked horses and forbade the children to go near them.
Ella was home schooled by her Mother despite the old Five Dock Public School being just across from the McFadyen 'paddock'. She learned Latin and grammar and although ruminated over having mother as teacher credited her sound sense and use of 'Gardiner's analysis' as providing her with the correct use of words and as words became her career, of seven decades in length as a poet, wordsmith, story teller and editor, her mother did very well indeed. Ella remembers reading Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' when aged 10!
alike those on the Isle of Coll, Ella did not attend school but ‘instead finding companionship in her dolls and the books her father scattered thoughtfully around the family home. In a sign of what was to come, she often spent her time reading, sketching birds at the local museum, looking through old diaries and notebooks, and pretending to publish newspapers…..’ [2.]
When Ella was almost 16 her mother fell in love with Brisbane Water - just across from Barrenjoey Headland, during a visit there during Autumn. It was at Brisbane Water that Ella's passion for writing rhymes, previously created for her younger siblings, began to be shared with others. While living there she visited places along the waters in a little skiff and on one adventure found the stone in which Australian poet Henry Kendall had carved his name. Ella climbed a tree and took a photo of this using her little box camera and it was published in the Sydney Mail years before she joined that paper to run the two page Children's Page - known as 'Cinderella's Page' to generations of children and young adults.
That little story and Henry Kendall rock photo taken by Ella:
BY ELLA McFADYEN.
We left the road where it swerves upward through the orchards to Penang, and soon the mangroves aud ti-trees and wind-rustled swamp grass were left behind, and the bracken bristled up from the white sand track, all dimpled with the little hollows of the ant-lion.
The track leads down to the stone-paved ford, but we turned off past the old house beneath whose roof Kendall must many times have slept. Convict-built, of solid stone, and some 70 years old, it nestles among its grey orchard trees, and the sunlight draws warm tones from its weather-stained shingles and mellow-tinted stones.
Beyond Narara Creek our climb began up the rugged grey face of the range, till, breathless and weary, we halted upon a green tableland starred with flannel daisies and red Christmas bells, while from the slopes below us the coveted pink tops of the Christmas bush beckoned. Presently we came upon a little loitering stream, sunken under the sand here and there, only to reappear a few paces further on tumbling in a mimic cascade into little pools where the crayfish crawl and the dragonflies hover. Before us stretched a splendid panorama.
The stream led us to the abrupt, lichen-spotted lip of a rock-faced gully that dropped sheer at our feet. Over it the water leapt into music-haunted shadow, and the wind beat back on us a fine-spun veil of spray. A detour led us down steeply to the rocky floor of the gully till we stood beneath the fall—
that Silver singer far away
By folded hills and hoar.
Close by is the rough grey boulder with the clearly-cut inscription, 'H. KENDALL, 1874,' and below the letters 'G.L.F.'
Standing in that remote and hidden sanctuary, with the written music of the poet blending in one's ears with the voice of the water dripping down the moss-boarded ledges, one might well indulge the hope that as it has lain undesecrated these 35 years past, so may it lie aloof and ever sacred from the hands of that old vandal — Change.
I wonder if the leaves that screen
The rock-pool of the past
Are still as soft and cool and green As when we saw them last-!
I wonder if that tender thing.
The moss, has overgrown
The letters by the limpid stream —
Our names upon a stone !
KENDALL'S GLEN. (1909, May 5). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 29. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article164294203
Boronia ledifolia - Sydney Boronia
THE CHILDREN'S PAGE.
Conducted by ELLA McFADYEN.
Boys and GIRLS — all you young Australians who are going to be one big family of friends, as we come together each week in reading this Page of ours — what did you think of the Editor's ideas last week? If I know anything about boys and girls — and, really, I ought! — I think you were delighted with the idea of a Page of our very own where we can have discussions and stories and letters and all sorts of jolly com-petitions. Do you remember in the 'Jungle Book' (and I know that lots of you have read it, because it is some times given as a school prize) all the wild creatures of the jungle met together at the Council Rock, and made their plans? Lots of fun they had on those moonlit nights, and interesting gatherings there must have been. But I think that if we held a council together, for all the boys and girls, big and little, we would have things almost as wonderful to relate.
FOR instance, I have a very warm spot in my heart for the boy who loves Nature-lore. A big boy was telling me the other day about the tricks the lyre birds play, and, as they have played a few on me, I was keen on hearing. This boy had been down wild, remote Moonee Creek, where the poet Kendall used to wander, and he told me how the lyre-birds there mimic every-thing in the bush, and how one led him out of his way by imitating the delicious gurgle of a little stream over stones. Onward and downward he went through the tangled timber, thirstily picturing that cool water to himself, only to find at last the lyre-bird having a little concert all on his own, and no stream there at all!
IDEAS AND DYNAMITE.
BUT, of course, there are boys who prefer motor-bikes, or stamps, or engineering. Or perhaps one of you is an inventor. I once knew a boy who had an idea for running an engine with dynamite; but I am glad to say he never got further than drawing plans. Even if the first inventions are not successes, it will be nice to hear all about them and to exchange ideas, be-cause all the world's great inventors were once little boys, and all the best ideas were once just notions be-ginning to grow in some child's mind. I would like this page to be a sort of Hobby Club, where we can talk about such things, and where you can write and ask questions.
WHAT GIRLS CAN DO.
BUT what about the girls? I have a letter here from a girl who is very earnest in wanting to be a poetess. And I am not going to give her that tiresome old piece of advice, 'Don't!' because, even if she never becomes a great writer, her verses will help her to appreciate the beauty and happiness of life. Besides, plenty of successful writers began just as she is beginning. All the good ideas must have a little beginning somewhere, you know. There is a saying that 'in the heart of every man a poet has died young.' I don't see why our poets should be allowed to die, nor our artists, inventors, or explorers. I think that with a little help we could keep the good ideas alive and give them a chance to develop as the boys and girls get older.
FUN AT SCHOOL.
I DARESAY you all love dressing up, and most of you would like to act in a play. Some school-girls wanted to give a play for the Red Cross, and their trouble was that they had only the shabby school-room to act in and the old forms and presses for scenery. That did look like a difficulty, didn't it? But if you have read the adventures of Nicholas Nickleby you will remember that, the first time he had to write a play, he was asked to write it around a pump and some tubs that his friends had bought cheap. So he wrote a play with a great Pump Scene, and it was a huge success. The girls and I decided we could do as well as Nicho-las, so we wrote a school-play to suit the furniture, only to make it attractive we had school-girls of the day when curls and crinolines were worn. One girl was the school marm with snow-white hair, and the rest were her pupils.
Did you girls in the sheep country know that the curly locks of Lincoln wool, all washed and combed and stitched to a little close-fitting cap, will make the love-liest white wig for an old lady? Well, just try it if you get the chance. It was a great play, and there was a little mechanical mouse that slipped out suddenly and made great fun by sending all the girls scuttling on to the forms. We even had an epilogue, which is a kind of complimentary speech, spoken in verse. Everyone wanted the play repeated; but the point of it all is that the girls did all this them-selves, with just the least little bit of help. It is wo-derful what you can all do if you will let yourselves believe you can. And so that you may all tell me what you are doing we will institute straight away
CINDERELLA is my 'really truly' name when I have letters written to me, and you all know Cinderella, the girl who wasn't the least afraid of rats and lizards, and who had such wonderful luck in raising pumpkins. Who has a letter to drop into my post-bag this week?
In the Sheep Country. This little girl, who lives in the Henty district, N.S.W., rode about the ground at the last Henty show on her pet lamb. She has two other lambs broken to saddle and harness.
THE competition for girls is: 'MY FAVOURITE LESSON AT SCHOOL.' There is a Junior section, up to 12 years, and a Senior section, up to 17 years. A Certificate of Merit will be awarded for the best answer in each section. Write about 100 words. The competition for boys is : 'THE BEST HOLIDAY I EVER HAD.'' There is a Junior section, up to 12 years, and a Senior section, up to 17. A Certificate will be awarded for the best answer in each section. Write about 100 words. Note that the closing date for both competitions is FEBRUARY 4th. Send your name, address, and age with your letters. THE CHILDREN'S PAGE. (1920, January 14). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 27. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159028090
From this first speaking to her Readers Ella is 'Cinderella' when they are sending letters to her. The Children's Page was also a place where Pen Pals were matched to each other, by 'Cinderella' many of these corresponding into adulthood with each other as well as with 'Cinderella'.
Faeries play a prominent and very important role in Scottish and Irish folklore, from the time that every waterway, well and loch had a name, and an ancient faerie that looked after or 'spoke' for it. Even people with strong religious beliefs embraced the notion of fairies, kelpies, and brownies in centuries past. Scottish fairy lore is rich with descriptions of these creatures and their habits.
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” - Sir J. M. Barrie, Scottish journalist, writer, and dramatist (1860-1937)
“Fairies use flowers for their charactery.” - William Shakespeare, English dramatist and poet (1564-1616)
One of the etchings of Pittwater James Squire Morgan completed during the 1920's:
At Palm Beach (1920s) by James Squire MORGAN - from and courtesy National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1926 © Estate of the artist. Item: Df112248
Flowers-Seasons-Landscapes: The Boomerang Walking Club
'We were like the blacks; we wanted to live secretly, silently, have an unseen life'. [3.]
As she replies to her young Readers:
'KING INGODA' (Bourke) : The Boomerang Club purposely remains a small company with a high qualifying standard. We seek the solitude and peace of the bush; we detest noise and interruption and anything that spoils the native charm of our quiet excursions. Cinderella's Answers (1932, August 10). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 48. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166226104
HELEN HOSKINS (Wollongong) : The Boomerang Club exists to train its members in efficient long-distance walking and to promote the study of bushcraft, Nature, etc. Most of our members are keen on botany, photography, bird-lore, and the literature of outdoor life. Only a small number of candidates can be accepted for this training, and, obviously, only those who live convenient to Sydney. Guests from the country are invited to share our walks when possible. Cinderella's Answers (1937, April 21). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 48. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160502078
Living at Lindfield their walks frequently brought them to Pittwater, and Broken Bay, where she could gaze across to an old favourite home on the Central Coast, with many a tramp through the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park and even to Barrenjoey. However, Palm Beach was also a place just for respite - the 'First Correspondent' referred to here is her sister Eunice, who would soon marry a pen-pal from Queensland:
The Children’s Page
Conducted by Ella McFadyen
Little friends who wish to visit Cinderella are reminded that the time to call at the 'Sydney Mail' Office, ' Herald ' Building, Pitt and Hunter streets, is between 10 and 12 on Tuesday mornings. Cinderella is on the second floor.
A Sea Change
When First Correspondent and Fairy Godmother returned from their three weeks of holiday in Queensland Cinderella, said that it was quite time she took, if not a holiday, at least a change.
UNFORTUNATELY, holiday was not quite possible. There was too much to do. However, she put some things in a bag, bought new bathing shoes, and fiddled about with her typewriter till she discovered the locking gear that is supposed to ensure safe carriage to the portable models. Of course, it would have been more fun lo leave the typewriter and take the camera instead, but that could not be. Ali Baba, with a deep distrust in his golden eyes, got between the adventurer and the garden gate and wept aloud. No one needs to tell him what packed bags mean. Even a last-minute gift of sardines did not quite mend that small broken heart. It is sad business leaving one's pets; but that once over, heigh-ho! for Palm Beach and the surf.
At Palm Beach one may sit in a deep balcony (made from the rough stone which seems to be the typical architecture of that holiday land) and look up over the surf and the dunes to Barranjoey Lighthouse. See that spelling? Mr. Russell, who tends the lighthouse and really must know, says that Barranjoey and not 'Barrenjoey' is the correct form officially accepted, and he pointed to the lettering on a locker in proof thereof. In the early days (the lighthouse was opened in 1880) 'Barrenjuey' was the recognised form, but that has been discarded.
It is a windswept place, that lighthouse hill with the brown stone building of the lighthouse and its residence and high-walled garden looking rather like a fort built to defy invading elements. Lower down the slope, on the sheltered side next to Pittwater, there is pretty vegetation and a nice little rocky stair of rough stones. Flocks of wild goats wander about, not very brave in spite of big horns and long beards; and down at the foot of the hill there is a shed where a man once kept a little museum of snake-skins and such trophies he collected. He had the skin of an echidna there and some really fine snakes and iguanas.
A pity he could not have collected for his trophies the wobbegong some fishermen left on the beach. This, perhaps the only really comic member of the shark family, was about five feet long and very fat. He had a foolish face with fringy things like seaweed for whiskers, and such queer fins that they looked almost like little legs. He probably used them for scuffling along the bottom of the pools, for he hunts about on the bottom, I think
‘When my glass slippers wear out,'' said Cinderella, I shall get a pair of shoes made from the beautifully patterned, carpet-like skin of a wobbegong — after having it soaked for a twelvemonth in eau-de-cologne.'
WHEN the morning dip was over and the morning work of getting together copy and answering letters (those letters that never cease for a day!) had been faithfully attended to, came freedom. They were mostly companioned hours, too. Francis Sherwood, our Nana Glen member, shared a day: and 'Split-pin.' who will be remembered only by our most ancient members as one who occasionally made daring lightning raids across the border of the Ingle Nook, shared another. Once there was David, who is going to be a member some day, but is only five as yet. Sheila, too, was a little girl-chum with a genius for showing one nice walks. In passing we must wish her success with her bursary exam. Then there was an old sea-eagle who was rather good company along the cliff at evening. He went out at that hour to do his perilous fishing, and once came back trailing something that looked like a slingaree with a long tail. Jock, a long-headed Scotch terrier with an approachable heart that really belied his extraction (Scotch terriers should be a little dour and slow to be friends, but Jock always loved at first sight anyone who would take him home to tea and biscuits), was always ready to accompany one on a walk.
Once a dauntless company of adventurers (three in number) set off on the Newport 'bus, with an enormous picnic basket, and made their way through the callistemon scrub, that seemed all afire with blossom, towards the cliffs where hides the Hole in the Wall. There was some good scrambling before the basket was set safely on a ledge and the steep path to the cave was discovered and essayed. It is a most impressive cave, full of the footmarks of little wild creatures, and very dark and cavernous towards the rear, where a fall of rock has blocked what, was, I believe, at one time a landward exit. Anyway, it was a good cave for adventures, and could quite suitably, have been used to hide a chest of pirate treasure. (Anyone want to fit out an expedition to go there and make sure ?) It was pity Cinderella did not have her camera along that day: but she could hardly have taken a snap of herself dauntlessly climbing up to the cave mouth, and the comrades below were too steeply below to have done so, either.
BEST of all times, probably, were the lonesome rambles along the cliff path, when one could shout reams of Gordon's glorious 'Song of the Surf' with no one but the sea-eagle to hear. Most people at the seaside murmur bits of 'Sea Fever' and other Masefield fragments, and lots more no doubt think of Byron, even if he is considered too out-of-date to quote aloud; but all proper Australians should get 'The Song of the Surf' by heart before they go down to the sea. Out on the rocks towards Whale Beach, where one can gloat over the pools of sea anemones (pools lined with crystal and velvet and sprinkled with jewels, where the many-coloured living blossoms quiver and unfold), one could hear the big waves whooping in over the sunken ledges and feel the shock of them as they surged through the hidden channel beneath, making all the rocky bases of the cliffs shudder with their force. Only then did one get in full the sonorous splendour of Gordon's lines —
You come, and your crests are hoary with the foam of your countless years;
You break With a rainbow glory through the spray of your glittering tears.
To watch the breaking of a high surf on these great rocks and realise the immensity of the force that sends them swinging in is to touch the verge of a very great discovery — a thing that breaks like a dazzling light and soars splendidly above the power of words into the realm of conviction. Then the waves fall back from the cliff in a smother of foam; the sea-eagle, swoops and wheels again to the land, and the great discovery, that a moment since was about to solve all mysteries, is caught up again just beyond human understanding. The mystery remains.
When against the rocks he was hurled, and sucked again to the sea,
On the shores of another world, on the brink of eternity.
On the verge of annihilation, did it come to that swimmer strong,
The sudden interpretation of your mystical, weird-like song ?
The lines ought to be graven on a stone slab along the cliff path for the joy of all who love poetry and the sea, and the swinging, rhythmical waves of both. And that brings us back to the earth and the realisation that the seaside days are spent; that there are hundreds of unopened letters lying everywhere, and the Poetry Competition ought to be judged. It has been held over quite long enough. Children's Page (1928, October 31). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 54. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158404607
Which home Ella stayed in is not recorded - from the earliest though, her tenacity in wanting Australian stories for Australian children, as well as photographs of children's playgrounds, lends itself to the conjecture that she and Maybanke Anderson (nee Wolstenholme), who also was published by Angus & Robertson, must have known each other. Her eldest son Harry, a lawyer and passionate ornithologist, was also part of the Palm Beach Land Company and one of the early owners of a beachfront home and weekender at Palm Beach and the family had a terrier named 'Jock':
Maybanke was supported by the Gordon Craig family for decades in establishing children's playgrounds and kindergartens, and this family also had a home atop Palm Beach on Pacific Road (where their daughter, Artist Ailsa Craig, would entertain Thea Proctor when she stayed with them). Ella was a founding member of the Society of Women Writers NSW as well and all of these women and Artists supported each other's work, and women's financial independence, through that too:
Mary Brown Craig (wife of Francis Brown Craig - youngest brother) acquired three blocks on Sunrise Hill (No.s 161, 162, 163) where Craigie-Lee was built. James Brown Craig, the middle brother, had title to three blocks on Ocean road in 1921. Here a house named Tigh-Na-Mara (Scottish Gaelic 'the house of the sea') was built next door to The Palladium but no longer exists - a victim of fire. Ella may even have known Marie Byles, an enthusiastic bushwalker herself and similarly independent woman, whose family also had a home on Sunrise Hill looking towards Barrenjoey. They may even have just taken rooms at Florida House, which was a year round boarding house for visitors during this period.
The marriage of Miss Eunice McFadyen. daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald McFadyen, of Wondabyne, Lindfield, to Mr. Clarence Johnston Cameron, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Cameron, of Erracht, Beechmont, Queensland, took place at St. Martin's Church, Killara, yesterday morning. The Rev. L. Charlton officiated. The bride wore a gown of cream guipure Iace, finished with parchment-coloured satin, cut high to the neck, and with long tight-fitting sleeves. Her hat of hand-woven straw was trimmed with roses and she carried a shower posy of frangipanni and gold roses. Miss Ruth Wilson, cousin of the bride, acted us bridesmaid. She wore a period gown of pale pink georgette banded with folds of mauve satin, and a hat of amethyst hand-woven straw. She carried a bouquet of mauve gladioli, and pale pink carnations. Mr. Lindsay McFadyen was best man. After the ceremony the guests were received at the bride's home by Mrs. McFadyen, who wore a gown of black satin, with a black hat relieved with vieux rose. She carried a posy of pale pink roses, mignonette, and heliotrope. Mrs. Cameron, mother of the bridegroom, wore a fawn crepe-de-Chine frock, and hat to tone, and carried a posy of blue delphiniums and gold roses. The bride left for the honeymoon wearing an ensemble of kasha cloth, in tones of autumn brown, the coat being finished with leather trimming. WEDDINGS. (1929, February 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16534461
Ella's Readers get to hear about it too:
An Interesting Wedding
A WEDDING which our correspondents have anticipated with interest look place at St. Martin's, Killara, on February 26th, when Eunice Graham McFadyen, of Lindfield, was married to Clarence Johnston Cameron, of Beechmont, Queensland. The pen-names by which the bride and bridegroom were known on the C.P. were "First Correspondent" and "Macnore." The bridesmaid was Ruth Wilson, who formerly corresponded under the pen-name of "Pandora." The ceremony took place in the morning, and it was a further happy connection with our club that the presence of Miss Maud Owen at the organ was due to her introduction to Cinderella by a group of our Eltham correspondents. After the wedding luncheon, at which only a few immediate relatives and one or two Ingle Nook friends were present, the bride and bridegroom left for a motor tour of the South Coast. After a brief stay on their return to Sydney, they will proceed by car to Beechmont, where they are to make their home. Among the gifts made to the bride were some charming mementoes from members of the Cinderella Club, the staff and pupils of Eldinhope, and the Old Girls' Union of Wenona College. The photographs were kindly taken by "Bing Boy," of the Ingle Nook. An Interesting Wedding (1929, March 13). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 54. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166258076
LION ISLAND, AT THE MOUTH OF BROKEN BAY.
These rocky shores are a favourite haunt of our Boomerang Walking Club. LION ISLAND, AT THE MOUTH OF BROKEN BAY. (1933, November 22). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 47. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165961286
For Queensland Readers a Boomerang Walking Club was formed for them too:
The annual meeting of the Boomerang Walking Club was held in the Young Women's Christian Association rooms, Adelaide Street. Miss Townson (president) occupied the chair. It was reported that enjoyable outings had been held to Seventeen Mile Rocks and upper reaches of the river, White's Hill, and Pine Mountain. Boomerang Walkers (1932, March 2). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), p. 7 (FINAL). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article180053428
Her Readers and Letter Writers would share information about their own walks, including those taken here:
Cinderella' s Post Bag
MY DEAR CINDERELLA,— Wahroonga. It is such a long time since I last wrote to you that I thought I must drop you a line. At Christmas time we spent two glorious weeks at Narrabeen. The weather was ideal for surfing, so we made the most of it. I always had an idea that the surf was rather dangerous there, but only on two or three occasions we found the undertow strong. One day we hired a boat and went up Deep Creek. It was rather a hot day, and my arms got a bit sunburnt. On each side of the creek people had pitched their tents, and they looked so nice dotted here and there amongst the trees. People were bathing in the water, and we had to steer the boat in a zig-zag fashion practically all the way alone.
About half way up we pulled in towards the bank, and everybody hopped out to have a look round. After I having afternoon tea we started for home. My sister I took several snaps, and they came out very well. It was about five o'clock when we got back to the boatshed, and everybody said what a glorious day we had had.
Another day we walked up Deep Creek-road towards the Elanora Golf Links. After walking some distance we turned off the road, and climbed the hill. When we reached the top we were rewarded with a lovely view of Narrabeen Lakes. Walking further on we could seethe ocean and coastline. On reaching home everybody was feeling rather hungry, so we voted for an early tea. Our second long walk was from Narrabeen to Collaroy. Leaving the main road we went down a side street and then up a steep hill. Reaching the top we had a glorious view of the ocean, and could see all over Collaroy, and Narrabeen away in the distance. I enjoyed the holiday very much, but the two weeks went too quickly. Ruby Litchfield, my old correspondent, is quite well again. 'Darkie's' address is Carruchan, Kennedy, North Queensland, now. She still writes me nice long letters. Trusting you are quite well, and not forgetting Ali Baba. With love from 'CHERRY BLOSSOM' (O.I.).
(Dear 'Cherry Blossom,' — Like myself, most of our old brigade will be very much interested to see your name on the C.P, once more. I know Elanora as a place of very fine views, and you must have enjoyed your Narrabeen holiday very much. Thanks for sending me word of Ruby and 'Darkie,' to whom I owe a letter. — Cinderella.) Cinderella's Post Bag (1932, March 9). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 47. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160081879
While Ella and her friends made frequent treks into Pittwater, gathering insights for her to share and inspire the Children with:
JEAN, Of the Boomerang Club. The picture was taken from the Pittwater shore, and shows Barrenjoey. Children's Page (1933, February 8). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 47. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165958448
Boomerang Club Notes
By Number One.
OUR Easter walk from Gordon to Broken Bay added fresh laurels to those invisible wreaths that adorn our members' heads — their old felt hats notwithstanding. Cinderella had so little spare time at Easter that the walk had to be compressed between Sunday night' and Monday night. As speed was essential, only a small party likely to maintain an even pace was selected. To grade as a Boomerang one must, among other qualifications, be able to walk 20 miles in a day without serious fatigue. To graduate as Big Boomerang one must be able to face an emergency of 40 miles within 24 hours. Several senior members have possessed this qualification for years.
Starting from Gordon about 8 p.m., twelve moonlit miles brought us to our supper on a rocky site where uncontaminated water and plentiful firewood were available. The midnight march was resumed, despite a vivid electrical storm to seaward, and we lay down in the pre-dawn chill on our old camping ground at Elusive River. A camp-fire of redgum, a snack, and an hour or so of sleep under our coats, and we were off for the cliffs above Broken Bay and that lovely panorama of Hawkesbury River, the Bay, Brisbane Water, Pittwater, Lion Island, and the sunlit ocean, which we believe to be uneclipsed by any scene on the coast.
A hot breakfast, a doze, and a little loitering and we are back on Elusive River — which is only mapped as such by the cartographers of Fairyland — for lunch. Our last meal was at dusk, near country sadly desolated by road-making, and then with our backs to the bush it was the hard road under our feet again. The 'Secretary Bird' and 'Beetle' marched well and earned packs round about 20lb weight. 'Lilac Blossom' and 'Ashie' (a new recruit' from Queanbeyan, where 'Toad' has been training her) proved very stout fellas and finished swingingly at four miles an hour, making Gordon by 10.30 p.m. The mileage, irrespective of camp-making and rambling, was 20 miles of hard road and 26 of tracks, much of it cluttered with loose stone. The 46 miles total was a creditable performance — and everyone was able to get into city shoes and go to work next day.
Cinderella, will see her young friends every Tuesday morning between 10 and 12 at the 'Sydney Mail' Office, 'Herald' Building, Pitt and Hunter Streets. Business girls may call from 5 to 6.30 p.m. last Tuesday in each month. Cinderella's Page (1938, May 4). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 47. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166227905
ACTIVITIES of the Boomerang Walking Club have been slowed down by the fact that some of our senior boys are on active service, and many of our senior girls too busy with war work at week-ends to join outings. The Junior section, known as Greenwoods, are eager to carry on, but I have been obliged to limit walks in the interest of work for our J.R.C. Fair. Last week's walk was postponed while I made two little garments for children, finished a patchwork quilt, and made a bunch of needle-caps, which sell at sixpence a pair for our war funds. It was worthwhile missing a walk to get this done, when warm clothes for children and comforts for sick soldiers are so much needed. I hope some of you are planning to send something for the stall, and when that is over we will have bush days again.
How many of you could Join an all day walk for a Sunday in May? Distance from eight, to ten miles, and rather easy going, with bush cookery at our midday meal. BOOMERANG CLUB. (1941, April 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 28. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17725251
The poems inspired along these walks ran in other publications - these are two favourites shared previously about Pittwater and Broken Bay:
Happy it is in the blossom time,
In the blossom time of spring,
When the morn is in its golden prime
And birds are on the wing.
Blue of the tide upon either hand,
From the sea to Broken Bay,
And the grey old lichened boulders stand
Knee-deep in flow'ry spray.
Blithe at the heart for the wattle's sake,
And the scent the warm wind spills,
Where the Hawkesbury lies, a gleaming snake,
Amid the deep blue hills— ;
Stirring the bee's with their honeyed load
From the blossom feast beneath,
Happy it is to take the road
That winds across the heath.
WEST HEAD. (1929, January 4). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85927422
SANDS OF MORNING.
by Ella McFadyen.
Summer breathed over the hills to-day,
A waft of the bush and a wind from the bay,
And my truant thoughts went straying:
Pittwater flickered with nor'east flaws,
The surf ran high 'tween the Lion's paws,
And the spring-fed runnels' were playing.
I saw the hills that drop to the sea,
And a honey-bird's call was a call for me
And the great grey sandstone boulders
Were elephant's browsing, heath to the knees.
And the rosy waxflowers, clotted with bees,
Fondled their lichened shoulders.
To-morrow I'll rise and be ready to roam
In the starlit hour when the cats come home,
Ere ever the birds are waking,
When each needlewood thorn is a dewdrop's place,
And her thread-like blossoms are fairy lace,
And the whole world's mine for taking!
I must seek the lairs where I used to lie,
Curtained by trees and under the sky;
I must find and touch and recover
The sights and sensations laid away,
Where the Lion lies couchant at Broken Bay,
To welcome me back like a lover.
The strong white feet of the winter rains
Have trodden the campfire's cold remains,
The lizards my hearth are keeping;
I must find the cave where the fairy-mouse
And her wee pouched kindred kept their house,
And-the nest where her babes are sleeping.
Grape-blue the hills in the dawn shall be,
And the sun shall rise from a white-gold sea,
With light for the day's adorning,
Where the rain-washed track is a virgin sheet
For the printed tale of a pilgrim's feet;
My feet on the sands of morning.
SANDS OF MORNING. (1935, March 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17171195
In December 1938 the Sydney Mail’s last Issue ran. There is a slight tone of lament in ‘Cinderella’s’ farewell, even though a new page would commence in January 1939 in the Sydney Morning Herald, and this may be because the Sydney Mail was published as a weekly journal for country Readers, for rural and bush places, where so much of what enriched what was run, was inspired, and what rang true with the very essence of Ella sprang from.
The world she had been born into was vastly changed by the 1930’s – even her beloved Pittwater was experiencing a building boom. And even though the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park was there, and remains so, and there were paddocks still between the holiday villas and homes of year round residents, the masses of waratahs were disappearing from the eastern hills of Palm Beach and all bushlands south to Manly, and the quick bounding sound through the bush of a wallaby or the call of a koala from the trees above, were not as frequent as they had been before.
Farewell, Old Days
Dear boys and girls,— And all friends who have kept the C.P. way with me, we have come to the end of a chapter, at the end of a day at the end of a year. When the sun rises on 1939 there will be no more 'Sydney Mail.'
But let us look forward. Changes have to come. Kipling said: 'All new things are sorrow,' and that is true of them at the first. But a seed has to fall before a new plant can grow. In the Big Scrub (where some of us have rambled together — remember?) on the slopes of the Rain Forest, when a great tree goes down with a crash it rends the green twilight and lets in the sky. Then things that needed the sun-light come to life and thrive, for the fertile soil has been waiting. If we keep our minds and hearts fertile with the old seed the C.P. has sown (you won't forget the 'Seed Plots,' will you?) then there will be friendship, loyalty, courage, gaiety, abounding interest in all the things we have ever loved, just waiting for that chance of new growth — the coming of the New Thing that is at first sorrow, but afterwards reveals the face of opportunity.
The Old Days Together
MY mind is crowded with pictures as I write. The tea-table at the party Alison Fraser gave when the C.P. was one year old, and I cut a cake with one candle and they gave me a little brooch I have always treasured, the fairy slipper in enamel against a heart rimmed with pearls. The boys and girls round the table that day are men and women now. . . . Wagga on a race day, flying cars filling the air with gold of suspended mica dust, against the green curtain of willows round Wollundry Lagoon, floored with azolla-weed turning from pale green to rosy red. Four little girls are with me, discussing the mystery of a parrot's egg we have found, and planning to give it to a certain long-suffering duck to hatch. The youngest little girl — the one who got excited and broke the egg — takes up an appointment at a great school in Armidale next year.
'MAC' and 'Macnore' are steering us round the bends of the Black Scrub track above Nerang, through a mountain mist that fills the Numinbah Valley almost to the top of the ragged hoop-pines by the roadside edge. 'First Correspondent' is with me on that Queensland holiday, and — had we known it — among the bags and bridles and the saddle and the tired drover's dog in the back seat, Cupid is tucked out of sight — a stowaway. . . . Tramping with Ben through Ten-Mile Hollow of a rainy midnight. How tall the red gymeah lilies were that spring, when we had waded the Mangrove Creek flood and climbed over Penang Moun-tain. . . . Marching with 'Toad' over Berry Mountain by the full moon, the weariness of 56 non-stop miles in our boots. 'Secretary Bird' came to our hotel next morning to see if we were alive and brought us Bundywalla oranges. Paterson River grows none sweeter.
SCRAMBLING for wildflower photographs with 'Mac' of the Boomerangs (not the former 'Mac') up the steepest trig. stations of the North Shore. . . . Camping out for New Year on Elusive River . . . groping out of Moss Vale in a black mist with 'Abeg-weit' at three of the morning, to spend the noon catching frogs below Fitzroy Falls. Tramping from Lindfield to Barrenjoey under the Easter moon all night, by the cliff road above the league-long loops of silvered surf. ... A tea with 'Puzzle' in a Melbourne tea-shop, when 'D.D.' was there. Now 'D.D.' has a name listed by book clubs and lives in Libya. 'Pandora,' who scrambled over Cambewarra hillsides with me, wrote last mail of rogue elephants in the Nilgiri Hills, India.
A WESTERN sunset shared with 'Mirran,' putting the car over the grassy flat to pick up motherless lambs, for the merinos had twins that year and no merino ewe can count above one. . . . Trudging from Tunglebung to Tabulam through rain that put 15 feet into the Clarence River, and Marjorie and I fighting off the young cattle that tried to ring us the whole three miles of the cut-road by the river. I rush the Kerrys, toreador-fashion, with a whirling rain-cape, and Marjorie, whose faith is grounded on a rock, stones the stubborn Herefords, and at length, wet and breath-less, we dash into the Rectory, and are received without a qualm and given tea and bread-and-honey by the fire.
A BLACK velvet night under the palms at Soraken, with moonlight insets patterning all the long perspective of the plantation floor. 'Bing Boy' is talking over his plans and the fireflies are flitting in the fern. . . . The day on Bungeroo Creek when I killed my first death adder with a sheath-knife and made a song about it. . . . A camp-fire 'Beetle' and I kept going one night of pouring rain. . . . The long room at Cooerwull House, looking out on the old stone mill, when we knitted and knitted and the plan for our Red Cross quilts was born. Jean Wetherall, such a little girl, coming to Warwick Building to pay the first personal visit of any C.P. member. I 'visited' Jean the other day when she turned on a radio talk and heard my voice in her own home. ... A day with 'Stout Fella' at Auchenflower. .... Feeding wallabies at Jenolan Caves. . . . Eating pawpaws atop of Kieta Hill. . . . The gecko who crawled into my camp-bed above the old Joadja Shale Mine. . . .
OUR HOSTESS, BUNDYWALLA — Snapshot by 'The Secretary Bird.' This old lady, one of the early settlers at Bundywalla, near Berry, entertained our Boomerang Club royally when we visited the district. Her home, typical of the old days, is hidden under the three pines to the left of the picture, in middle distance.
PETER AT THE WHEEL.
A last scene — the bush cave where we gathered a few evenings since. Friends with a wireless installation for their car brought us my little Christmas play, 'The Road to Bethlehem,' over the air. Then we had tea and the girls gave me a lovely pair of silken cushions subscribed by many and made by the clever fingers of 'Glass Slipper.' And we finished with 'Auld Lang Syne.' . . . Eighteen happy years that we could wish would go on and on, but that, as Browning reminds us,
A man's reach should exceed his grasp , or what's a heaven for?
Hail to the New!
DO this for me: Write to me, happy letters if you can, all about our old page and the things we have loved together, and about yourselves and your plans— just once more. I shall not be able to reply individually, but I want those letters to put in a big file for a treasure that I may keep. If you write on only one side of the paper it will be easier to file them.
And now Cinderella begins a new page on Thursday, January 5. You will find it in the Retail Section of the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on that day. Come to me, old friends, and let us make the new page as happy as the old. — Cinderella. Cinderella's Page (1938, December 28). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 47. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166525375
Ella was also making recordings of her stories for radio:
MRS. PEG AND DANDY AND NOBBY.
There will be thousands, particularly among the young people, who will learn with special pleasure that Miss Ella McFadyen, nature student, poet and fairy story teller, is again on the air. Her page in the late-lamented "Sydney Mail" made her a multitude of friends throughout New South Wales and Queensland among old and young. Now her "Pegman" series is being presented by radio to very young listeners every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Tiny Tots session. It will be a popular feature for sure. No child could realise how alive clothes pegs can be until they have listened to Miss McFadyen's "Pegman" fairy stories. Tuesday and Thursday 5.20 p.m. MRS. PEG AND DANDY AND NOBBY. (1939, April 25). Macleay Argus (Kempsey, NSW : 1885 - 1907; 1909 - 1910; 1912 - 1913; 1915 - 1916; 1918 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article234330253
WHY BABY REPTILES QUARREL
By ELLA McFADYEN
"NATURE has a reason- for everything. It is fascinating to find out why animals do certain things.
Some creatures, like sea-birds for instance, live together in large colonies, and others, like deer and wild cattle and wild horses, form large family groups under one leader, stronger and wiser and bolder than the rest. As a rule, however, Nature finds it better for her wild families to split up. Even with the herd animals just mentioned, there comes a time when the old leader is too feeble or too cranky for the good of the mob, and then a young fellow starts up, fights and defeats him, and takes on the leadership.
One reason why all the little animals of a family do not stay together is that an enemy might kill them all in one attack. If they have scattered, some are sure to escape. But the chief reason why families break up and go different ways is that Nature insists that young animals learn to do their own hunting, instead of depending too long on their parents.
Savage animals, like lions and tigers, turn against each other as they become older. You never find a family living together once it has grown up. "
Among sea creatures, like the oyster, tides and currents carry the eggs here and there. The creatures that bore into piles and damage wharves, or attach themselves to ships, are another example of Nature's plans for scattering the young. Before they are full-grown, their bodies have limbs for swimming, but as soon as they make fast to a place that suits t hem, they change and become borers, or adapt themselves for sticking.
Many of our harmless, peace loving lizards have children who spend their early life quarrelling. The Big Skinks, like the Blue-tongue, the Pink-tongue, and the Giant Skink or Land Mullet, soon become so gentle as pets that they will take food from your hand. But they have big appetites, and their legs do not keep pace with their growth, so it is only as youngsters that they scamper about much. That is the best time for them to travel. And that is the time when you will see them snatching food from each other and nipping each other's paws.
This, pretty little striped skink is a finger-length of baby Pink-tongue, about a fortnight old.
In the Nature article In "Playtime" on July 16, the word "gills" was inadvertently substituted for "plates." The sentence in question should read: "Instead of scales, they have bony plates, callad denticles, embedded In their tough skins." WHY BABY REPTILES QUARREL (1947, July 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5 (Playtime). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18037323
A Literary Life
'Little dragons of the Never Never, 'Sydney : Australasian Publishing, 1949
McFadyen, Ella (1887–1976)by Leslie WalfordAs a child growing up on the outskirts of Sydney, Ella McFadyen wanted to read about Australia rather than childrens stories with an English setting.So at the age of 15, she began writing her own — in nature pieces for weekly papers.Miss McFadyen wrote four children's books, including the classic Pegmen Tales and over 37 years was a regular contributor of poems and articles to The Sydney Morning Herald.Miss McFadyen's Big Book of Pegmen Tales was reprinted and published last year by Angus and Robertson, for whom she worked up till about four years ago as a manuscript reader.She died recently aged 88.The tales began originally as a daily serial for a Queensland newspaper and after running for three years were adapted for radio and then published into two books.The Pegmen were a family of pegs made by children (cousin of the McFadyens) on the Macquarie River and launched in a flood for a trip around the world.Miss McFadyen also wrote for a country newspaper, The Farmer and Settler. For 20 years she edited the children's or Cinderella page for the Sydney Mail. It was full of nature pieces, photographs and sketches of Australian animals and wildflowers. Stories from the United States (about "Disney types with black nobs on their noses," as Miss McFadyen called them) were firmly rejected.Associated with the page was a Boomerang Walking Club for which Miss McFadyen organised weekend adventure expeditions, teaching nature and bushcraft. Members had to show they could walk 20 miles a day before they could go on treks and like boomerangs, had to return home under their own power.Ella McFadyen developed her great love for the bush as a child.She is survived by two brothers, Lindsay in Queensland and Clifford in Lindfield.
- TROVE - National Library of Australia
- A slight bias towards eels and lizards by EMILY GALLAGHER, 8 March 2019, Inside Story, Retrieved from https://insidestory.org.au/a-slight-bias-towards-eels-and-lizards/
- Ella McFadyen interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection [sound recording available online]. Retrieved from: https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-220870078/listen