Moreover, my ancestors' souls are sustained by the atmosphere of the house, since I answer for them the questions that their lives once left behind. I carve out rough answers as best I can. I have even drawn them on the walls. It is as if a silent, greater family, stretching down the centuries, were peopling the house.
Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)
Saturday, 29 June 2013
A Colonial Childhood
This is one of several clippings kept by the family, and taken from newspapers of 1925 when Sarah Ellen Lodge sister to Elizabeth, now Sarah Ellen Clarkson, died. There are a number of inaccuracies in the reporting - birth date out by a day, the 'Maori Pa' baptism reference not verified, and she was definitely not the 'first white child' born at all. There may well be some truth that there was competition for the gift of land, though. The interesting piece of information for me was that the Lodge family apparently went to Australia when Sarah was 10 (another version says she was 9 years old). The first ships came to Lyttelton in December 1850, so if they arrived back about that time, they were in Australia for a matter of months only. Unfortunately records of shipping are not available until 1852. I have combed the newspapers but not found a reference to the Lodge family leaving or coming home in the Lady Bird. Elizabeth would have been about 15 or 16 at this time.
When I searched the Australian marriage index, I found that Elizabeth married James Ralph in Melbourne, on the 1st May, 1854. The marriage registration gave her address as 'living with friends' so she was not with her parents. My first assumption was that Elizabeth stayed on in Australia after her parents - and presumably her two younger sisters - had left. A search of the NZ BDM indicated that John Lodge died in 1852, adding a time-frame. But another registration threw a spanner in the works - the death of a child, William Napoleon Ralph, parents James Ralph and Elizabeth, aged 2 years and 9 months at Cresswick, Victoria.