As we head towards Mother’s Day 2019, we at FOCUS thought it would be wonderful to share the story of a unique local family. Daphne Davidson, Kay Archibald, Kerrie McFarlane, Jake McFarlane and Paul McFarlane form five generations of the same family, and their Mother’s Day celebrations always include mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and great great grandmothers! Happy Mother’s Day to you all!
When did your family first arrive in the New England area … and what was it that brought them here?
Daphne was born at Tenterfield and moved, with her parents, to their property “Stoke Farm” in the New England area when she was three years of age. Daphne then married and raised her family, living there until they retired to Glen Innes when she was 80 years old. Daphne now resides at Kolora Aged Care facility, Guyra. The other four generations were born in the Guyra area and even though we have lived in various areas, we now all reside in the Guyra and Inverell area.
Kay, as you’re answering the questions – how/where do you fit into the family tree?
I am the second generation, being the great grandmother of Paul.
It’s quite unusual to have five generations of a family still living … who are the oldest and youngest members of your family these days?
Daphne, the eldest, was born 3rd January 1928, and Paul, the youngest, was born 20th December 2018 – almost 91 years age difference.
What are some interesting facts you can tell us about your family? Were there ever any unusual occupations or achievements in your family’s history?
Daphne worked hard on the farm, helping her parents and her husband, Don and raising their four children. They had a long and fulfilled life living and working on their property – Daphne for almost 80 years. Most weekends and school holidays, their home was filled with visitors – lots being friends and relatives from the cities and surrounding towns enjoying a farm stay. A huge bonus was the excellent meals and endless cakes, scones and biscuits. Plenty of love and kindness for everyone!
I [Kay] was employed at the Guyra Hospital for 10 years, before leaving the New England area with my husband, Peter in 1996 due to employment opportunities. During this time I was employed in the domestic department of several hospitals and aged care facilities. I was also employed at an abattoir for five years. I found all jobs very interesting. Our plan was always to settle in Guyra, despite the cold climate, to be close to our family. After living away for 17 years, we moved back home. I’m now retired.
Kerrie is currently employed by the Department of Education. Kerrie has worked at various schools in the region, as well as helping her husband, Matt with their business.
Jake is an electrician working for Laser Electrical, Inverell. Jake lives with his partner, Steph and their baby, Paul in Inverell.
If you were to count how many members there are in your close family currently – what would the total be (roughly!) and how far apart are they spread location-wise?
Daphne has four children, 10 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren. We nearly all live in the local area of Guyra, Glen Innes, Armidale and Inverell, with some members of the family in the Brisbane and Newcastle region.
How often is it possible for your extended family to get together?
Luckily, we all live in close proximity, so we endeavour to get all five generations together at least once a month, and on some occasions it happens more regularly. Jake and Steph are great parents and ensure that Paul spends lots of time with all his extended family.
Paul was fortunate enough to have met three of his great, great grandmothers. Were you able to capture photos/document these meetings?
Paul was quite young on his first meetings with his three great, great grandmothers, Daphne, Betty Miller and Nancy Archibald. Unfortunately, Nancy passed away when Paul was two months old. Hopefully he will have time and opportunity to get to know his two great, great grandmothers. We have captured some beautiful photos of Paul with these three great ladies for us all to cherish and remember.
Jake McFarlane was also born as a fifth
generation and met his great, great grandmother, Nan Bush; this was Daphne Davidson’s mother.
What does your family believe are the most valuable attributes to hand down to the next generation?
We all agree that the most important attribute to hand down is lots of unconditional love. Our entire family share a very special bond.
Work ethics are also very high on our list.
We share and celebrate our life experiences and stories to be passed down through our five generations. This forms and preserves our family history for our younger generation.
How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?
On Mother’s Day we discuss a luncheon somewhere with immediate family, and we always end up with mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and great, great grandmothers and lots of family. We just keep adding another chair to the table! It’s always an excellent day.
Final say …
As a family we have enjoyed many years of weekends and holidays at “the farm”, helping with farm chores, enjoying great cooking and many friends and family for every Christmas and Easter. We all enjoy fishing, camping and road trips together, quite often travelling as a group of four generations, all with our own niche on our journey. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day.
Interview: Jo Robinson.