Friday, January 08, 2010

Early Spinning and Knitting on the Monaro

Archibald Crawford was born in 1833, in Campbelltown, Scotland and was 10 years old or so when his family settled for a year on The Dry Plain on the Monaro in about 1844. He was in charge of a flock of 800 lambing ewes. 

He writes in his memoir Eighty-Five Years in Australia (Sydney: John Sands Ltd; 1925), pp 22-23.

My mother, of whom I was very fond, used to spin all the wool for our knitted garments, of which we wore a good many. She never spoke English in the home, although she had an average knowledge of it, but always Gaelic. When she was knitting, sewing or spinning, she would sing old Gaelic songs to us; she had a very sweet and pleasing voice. One of my brothers-in-law, named Brayshaw, made the first spinning wheel which she used in this country; later on, when we went to Victoria, she got an imported one, which is still in existence as far as I know, and would probably be used during the Great War. At night I had to tease the wool for carding, another thing I did not like doing, and one night I was complaining and mother said to me, "No doubt you do think it a great bother to have to tease the wool, but you just think when you are out in the snow to-morrow how you would feel if you have no nice warm socks to wear." The next day I had reason to remember her lecture.

5 comments:

Lynne said...

Thanks for sharing that short historical tidbit, I found it very interesting.

Donna Lee said...

what a great bit! It puts carding in perspective.

Michelle said...

That is very, very cool.

Leonie said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

What a great story. Loved it!