Silby Joyce Sampson 1907-1995 & Lionel Horace Jarrett 1901-1967
Married on 14 Aug 1926
Silby Joyce Sampson
Fourth child of George and Sarah Sampson
Born: 26 Jan 1901 Burra, South Australia
Died: 13 July 1995 Adelaide, South Australia
Buried: Burra Cemetery, South Australia
Lionel “Laurie” Horace Jarrett
Son of () & ()
Born: 3 Oct 1901 Moonta, South Australia.
Died: 23 Aug 1967 Adelaide, South Australia
Buried: Ardrossan Cemetery, South Australia
Laurie worked for the Renmark Corporation for many years as their principal electrician. At other times he was with BHP in Whyalla and the Burra Power Corporation.
An interview with Silby Jarrett by Stephen Sampson which took place at Glenelg, Adelaide in Nov 1986
SJ: Now I hope I can answer all the questions you are going to ask me. My memory is not as good as it used to be.
SS: I think you will be able to handle it pretty well. Let us start with what your mother was like?
SJ: She had olive skin with lovely big brown eyes and a head of dark shiny hair with a bit of a wave in it.
SS: What was she like as a person?
SJ: Oh, I see , not just the looks. Yes she was a very kind, loving, generous person. Everybody loved her.
SS: How was she affected by your father’s sudden death?
SJ: Traumatic, absolutely traumatic. First of all Father had been home to a council meeting and he took Allen back with him. Allen would have only been about 10 and I was 13. They went up to Mingary by Broken Hill Express and it was the next morning that he was exercising this horse. Whom ever put the saddle on did not hitch it and he was thrown and his head hit the post. If he had not hit that post he might have been alive. You know that Allen and George witnessed it but your grandfather Clem was not there. So they sent a telegram to mother saying that George had an accident and was seriously hurt and that was during the day. By eventide they had notified the minister and mother’s two closest friends and they came and broke the news. I was out in the back yard and I heard mother scream. I knew immediately that he had gone, that was it.
They brought him back and we were able to see him. They apparently bandaged his head. His face was not damaged. It was the back of his head and they bandaged his head and he looked normal. It was beautiful. I have that memory of the normal expression cause he was the most beautiful person that you could ever wish to meet. Everybody loved him. They said it was a real procession at Mingary. Everybody went to the station (at Mingary) to see him off and the women were crying. He was so well loved and we received hundreds of letters from people that we did not know or had not heard of. You see he had been around up north for all those years with his work and he got to know many people.
There is one thing I would like to tell you about him: When we were living in Renmark, Bryce was only a little boy and we were going through from Renmark to Burra to stay with your grandparents Clem & Olive and we had to go by bus to Morgan. From Morgan by train to Roseworthy and change trains there to get to Burra to go north. Bryce and I were waiting on the railway station and there was a bush fire coming towards us. I was becoming agitated and there was only one other man on the railway station. He came up to me and said ” Don’t get worried lass it wont get this far. We’ll be alright. Where are you going?” And I said “I’m going to Burra”. He replied ” I used to work for a man in Burra. Who was your father?” I said “George Sampson”. He said “Put it here lass, I never met a whiter man. He was a wonderful person”. Lovely to have that memory isn’t it? He said a whiter man never lived on this Earth!
SS: How did your mother cope with the accident?
SJ: Well through the help of your grandfather she coped. Clem was absolutely wonderful. He and Bos Pearce were the executors of the will and Clem sold up all father’s earth moving equipment and 200 horses. I can remember being in the street before the sale. I heard this – I thought it was a thunderstorm or something. I asked whatever is that noise? I heard someone say that’s Sampson’s horses coming into the sale yard. 200 of them. Those days in the country black bands were put across the windows of the stores with a white piece of cardboard with a notice of the funeral. Then you would wear black bands on your arm if you were bereaved. It really was terrible. Poor old mother. She would not have coped so well if she hadn’t had Clem to do all the organising of the business. He sold all those horses and he bought properties. The one in Thames Street opposite the old home was one that was left to me and one further down was left to George. Allan was left the wheelwright and the tennis courts property. Edith, my only sister was left the old home thinking that she would keep it open for we three others. But mother died in October and Edith was 21 on 22nd of December. Before Christmas the place was sold and I was put out to board.
SS: Did your mother have any particular interests?
SJ: Her church. She used to play the organ and the piano. We would all stand around and sing hymns.
SS: Was there an organ in your parent’s home?
SJ: Yes, there was an organ and a piano. Edith was left the piano. We both played but she could play by ear. I couldn’t. I only was able to play what I learnt. The organ and the machine was left to me. Very fair.
SS: How was cooking done back then?
SJ: Wood stove and you would have to boil the copper for a bath and boil the clothes in the copper. At least we did have a laundry but a lot of people didn’t you know. Mother was quite a good cook but I never remember her being well. She was always sick. I think she mus have been suffering from her gall trouble as long as I can remember. It was gall trouble that took her off though. They were going to operate and she developed pneumonia overnight and within a week she had gone.
SS: On that Dad had the idea that her death had something to do with cancer?
SJ: Yes, she had cancer too. Clem was doing that clearing out at Renmark. Clem & Olive were living at Renmark and I was over there for a holiday and we were notified that mother was seriously ill and we had to come straight away. We all came over in this one little T ford with Aunty Vi Faggotter and I. How we all got in that car I do not know. We got about half way to Burra from Renmark when we ran out of petrol. That would have been October and it was cold. I remember the wind was blowing terribly and we turned the car around. It was not likely to blow over as there were too many in it. Clem and George went off looking for petrol and they were nearly back to the car with the bit of petrol that they got from a farm house when we saw some lights coming over the rise and in the car was Edith and Ern Boehm. Ern was working in Burra as he was the manager of the shoe store of Drew & Crewes at that time. They hired this car to come out and look for us. So we all piled into the hire car and the driver of that car drove the old T Ford in. Mother just lasted a a week. She had hiccups with her the whole time day and night. They kept her sedated. They said she was in too much agony and could not let her come around.
SS: Going back to when your father passed away, your mother stayed in the house?
SJ: Oh yes. She stayed there because well Edith, George, Allen and I had to have a home. The house of course, that was freehold but Mother did not have an income. That is why Clem sold up all the equipment, the horses and got enough money to buy several houses. Mother had enough income to keep us. In those day you would only need 5 pounds a week to keep a family and people used to retire on 5 pounds a week but you couldn’t do it today.
SS: How often did you used to have meat?
SJ: Everyday. I was never a meat eater and I was more for cheese and Mother was very keen on cheese.
SS: The cheese would have come up from Adelaide I imagine?
SJ: Yes, I imagine so, of course milk came from around the district. Oh Mother did not buy milk. She had a cow. The cow supplied the milk, cream and butter.
SS: What did you do for bread? Did you make your own?
SJ: No, we didn’t make our own. Mother used to make buns, yeast buns. Beautiful they were and occasionally she sent us over to the baker just across the creek. You see we lived along the side of the creek. The baker was on the other side and she sent us over for a loaf of fresh dough. She would cook what she called pufftaloons in the frying pan and they were delicious. Of course we either had jam and cream or butter on them.
SS: I suppose having a piano and an organ in the house you did some singing?
SJ: Oh lots of singing. I learnt music of several years. So did Edith. Clem had a very nice voice. He used to sing in the choir and Allen my youngest brother, he had a beautiful voice. He really should have been trained. He had a glorious voice. I used to sing a little in the school concerts but nothing extra. I am not boasting about that. I also had elocution. I loved that. Yes, I always enjoyed poetry.
SS: Did your Father get involved in the singing?
SJ: No. I can’t remember Father singing, but he wasn’t home very much. He would only come home third week for council meetings and then he would see his family. We didn’t see very much of Father. He wasn’t there long enough to get very cross with us. Only time he ever chastized me, and I’ll never forget it, I was so embarrassed, he was talking business out in the front garden and I wanted threepence or sixpence for something or other. He said no. Of course being me I came back again and asked again and he hit my cheek with the back of his hand in front of this man! My word I didn’t ever do it again. I was so humiliated to think he hit me! He had never done it to myself before and in front of this man. I deserved it but I didn’t like it very much.
SS: Did your father ever tell you stories about his parents or anything?
SJ: No he didn’t. I can’t remember mother telling us very much. I used to sit on mother’s knee and brush her hair for her. She used to love me sitting on her knee and brushing her hair. Father was always very jovial, like Clem was always ready for a joke. I do not think I ever saw father cross except when he got cross with me that day. I can’t ever remember my parents having arguments which is really saying something.
SS: As a child what were your daily tasks? Where your given tasks?
SJ: My word yes! Not so much during the week. I would do errands after school. On the weekend I would have to clean all the silver, knifes and shoes. Shoes so that we would have clean ones to go to church next morning. Mother had a black carriage with two seats that met at the back. The people on the back seat face the opposite way to the front seat. On this particular day George (brother) wanted to drive home and I was on the back seat with mother. We were almost home and about to turn the corner to go into our backyard. Here there were very deep gutters and solid mason work. George took the corner too sharply and mother left the seat. I still held on. There was a splash board to put your feet on and that must have broken mother’s fall. Otherwise she would have been killed because it was all metal that she fell on. She was about 12 stone at the time and she was only 7 stone when she married. She was married 12 years before she started to put weight on. Anyway I looked around and there was mother sitting in the middle of the road. George did not ever drive again. That was the finish of George’s driving.
SS: So who used to drive the carriage?
SJ: Mother would drive and I wouldn’t be allowed to go and see grandmother on a Saturday if I did not clean the silver and do the shoes properly. I would be made to stay home and re-do them. Mother was firm and we had to do as we were told.
SS: By grandmother whom do you mean?
SJ: My mother’s mother. Amelia Lewis (nee Cullen) lived at Hampton right on the edge of Burra and she lived on the side of hill. The house is not there any more, so Bryce said. He did not take me up there. He said there is nothing to go for when we were up there last Sunday for the Reunion (1986). Granny Lewis as we called her, had this lovely little home on the top of the hill. She had this beautiful terraced garden and as you come in the front gate on one side was a prickly pear bush that mother used to make liquid for our colds from, with honey. She would boil the leaves of the prickly pear. It had a syrupy substance, very thick leaves and just like syrup. It used to fix our colds. On the other side was the first red plum that came in season. In this terraced garden she had English daises, wall flowers, panzies and all those lovely things. She always suffered with badly ulcerated legs. I remember going in this particular day and she was sitting up in bed with the whitest of sheets. These sheets would have been boiled in a kerosene tin on open fire. She did not have a stove. She used to do her cooking in a camp oven and put saucepans on this open fire. Of course they would be black cast iron. I do not know where she got the hot water for washing up. I can also remember her stoking up the fire with dry cow dung – not enough wood you see and there were cows all around the place. She used to pick that up and dry it I suppose. Of course the gas that was in that would flare up and soon boil . I do not know how long a piece would last but I told someone that just recently and they said “Urgh!”. I said it was all right, you did not even smell it as it was dried out you see.
SS: Do your remember in particular any of your mother’s recipes? Did she have any special ones?
SJ: Oh yes, she used to make beautiful pastries and scones.
SS: Do you still have the recipes?
SJ: No, I lost her book. Oh dear I grieve to this day that I lost it. Bryce would like that too but he is making sure that he’ll get some of mine. Bryce is a great cook, he loves cooking. He cooks fruit cakes and biscuits and he often cooks for a dinner party himself.
SS: Did you have a special lunch on Sundays. like a roast?
SJ: Yes, we had the roast mostly on a Saturday. If I remember rightly so that you did not cook much on the Sunday. You would be too busy going to church, Sunday school and church again.
SS: What did the Sunday program involve?
SJ: About 11 o’clock we go to Sunday School. At 3 o’clock get home. A bit after 4 go to church again at 7 o’clock. We had our own pew – the Sampson pew.