Page 21. Somewhere through all this was aunt Sarah, never married, living at 13 Ross Street, Toorak, her parents’ home. She is remembered as being reclusive, miserly and eccentric but this is probably due to the senility she suffered in the last
I suppose she was once a loving daughter and sister but there is no one left who remembers her in her younger years. Sarah lived in a smelly house full of cats. My mother Emma used to take her meals across the paddock and up the street to her. She died shortly after the birth of Ronald. When she died, on 25 July 1941, she
Dad’s cousin on the Exley side, Margaret Stokes, nursed aunt Sarah in her final weeks. Her daughter Nola has told me that when Margaret went to get clean clothes and clean sheets from the drawers in her room, between all the clothes and sheets were layers and layers of gold sovereigns. Aunt Sarah never left the house and when the doctor called the front door was overgrown with vines which had to be pulled off before he could enter. Of course, a doctor couldn’t be asked to go in via the back door. Nola says that the front rooms were all closed up but after aunt Sarah’s death, they were found to contain all sorts of antiques and stuffed birds and animals in glass cases. I wonder what happened to all those antiques? Nola also tells me that her "uncle Jack" (Grandaddy Graham) owned at least five houses in Ross Street, Toorak. I wonder what happened to all that wealth?
In 1942 John George Graham decided to retire. A house on a few acres of land was purchased in Central Avenue, Bayswater. It was grandaddy’s dream to retire on a small farm. Nola says that her family were surprised at the simplicity of the little cottage into which they moved, with no electricity. Apparently it was not as nice as the house at
Two more children were born to William and Emma at Bayswater, Neil William in 1946 and myself, Stephanie Clare in 1950.
From left: Neil, Stephanie,
It was on this property in Bayswater, on 6 May 1951, that John "Grandaddy" Graham was scything grass at the age of 90 when he felt a little unwell. He went to bed and died peacefully in his sleep. His death certificate cites broncho pneumonia and cardiac hypertrophy as the cause of death. He was buried at the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery with his wife Phoebe, sister Sarah and daughter Clara Annie (Church of Christ section
Death Certificate of John George Graham
© Stephanie Klempfner 2005
home page www.rongraham.com