This month we celebrate 140 years since the birth of Mary Maude Aldam.

Maude, as she preferred to be called, wrote many reminiscences of the early days in Willunga. Her writings include information about early pioneer families, sketches and maps of early homes, their residents and memories of her mother’s life and her own.She also wrote some poems, but dismisses her efforts as very ordinary. However her books have been a valuable asset for reference and research by visitors to the Research Room at the Courthouse of the Willunga Branch of the National Trust of SA. They give a fascinating insight in to the early days of Willunga, as shown in the following snippets in Maude’s own words:

“I was born in the year 1873. I’m writing a little about myself. Mary Maude Aldam.
Born 3rd Feb.1873 at ‘Waverley Park’ Willunga. Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. T.S. Aldam.
Attended Mr.T Noye’s Public School, also Mrs. Bassett’s private school for sometime at Willunga
[pictured below in 1867] and finished my education at Miss Aldersey’s Boarding School ‘Tsong Gyiaou’ at McLaren Vale, also a short time a day scholar at Miss Thornbers at Unley, Adelaide.
I’ve tried to paint with my pen in these books, pictures of the Early Days at Willunga. It’s my first attempt at writing so be generous. Maude Aldam Willunga Jan.1952
[Age 78 ] These are just threads of the Long Ago“.
“Sigh on thou sad night winds
Sigh over forgotten days
Sigh to the memory of those who
Like shadows, fled over Life’s stage. M.M. Aldam 1952”.

“Wheels, Wheels, Wheels.
The worlds going by on wheels,
And behind them the landscape reels
As the world goes by on wheels
On wheels-wheels- wheels
Only wheels, wheels,wheels
The world’s going by on wheels
No clatter of horses heels
No touch of the reins they feel
Only wheels wheels wheels
They can’t get there fast enough
Faster, faster yet they race,
Faster , faster yet the pace
And the query why the haste
Of the wheels,wheels,wheels
They can’t get there fast enough
They can’t get there fast enough
And then they wonder what they’re
Been in such a hurry for
Warnings never heed
That crashes come through speed.
And then they wonder what they’ve
been in such a hurry for.
Maud Aldam Willunga Oct.1952”.

“I remember schooldays in the 80ties. With some of my schoolgirl friends we would take our lunch and wander over the hills the Cut Hill and spend a delightful day. Mabel Hardy & Nellie Saunders & I & spend a delightful day among the Bushlands natural flowers. Where lovely wildflower ran riot, & how delighted we gathered them all, the lovely white and purple violets, the dainty Blue Bells, the red & yellow heath, the scarlet runner that went voyaging about close to Mother Earth. Honeysuckle & Broom. Quaint old Grasstrees, Everywhere the Golden Wattle hung with gold & the sentinals the gums. The Hillside clothed with the dark bracken fern & in the sylvan nooks & gullies we’d gather the dainty Maiden Hair Fern that grew in profusion. It was Nature’s lovely garden. We’d no thought of snakes who I suppose were there. The yellow & white Everlastings too I must not forget were among the Great Bouquets we’d carry home those days.”

Contributed by Kath Rayner.

More of Maude’s writings can be viewed at the Courthouse, Willunga.


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