Wood Family History

Hilda DaireHilda's Story

(as told to Bernadette Camish in the 1970's for a school project)

Born in Shipley England 13/12/1898 one of 7 children Julia, Herbert (who had a twin brother George who died at birth), Joseph, Sybil, Marie and Eva, who died aged 3 years. Her parents were Edward Alexander Daire and Hannah (Thornton) Daire. 

Hilda went to the Sally Road Primary School and later to a Church of England school, St Paul's in Shipley, at the age of 12 she went to school half a day and worked half a day which was normal at this time. School was a pleasant time and the games played were; Hide & Seek, Shuttle Cock, Whip & Top, Skipping and Hopscotch. At school in winter they had a coal fire in the classroom and often after the snow fell their feet were wet and they had to take off their stockings and dry them in front of the fire, it was nice and warm in the school and all the books and pens were free, we could not take them home they were always left at school. On holidays they went for walks to Shipley Glen or on the Yorkshire Moor and sometimes to the parks on Sundays to watch the locals skating on the lake. 

Hilda's own account "We used to love Christmas night as we would hang our stockings up at the fireside and on Christmas day we all ran to our stockings, where there would be one small present, I remember once getting a small tin oven with little pans- an orange, a apple and a new penny, Mother would put on our window sill oranges, apples, nuts and holly. Friends came in for a piece of spice cake and cheese or a mince pie. (These times were called the 'happy months')" 

Normal Food in her childhood days:

Hilda met George one day when she was walking with a girlfriend around Shipley. George first took her girlfriend home and then escorted Hilda to a spot near her home. It was sometime before she let him know where she lived. The romance progressed and after George returned from duty at sea they were married in 1921 at St Mary's and Walburgas Church Shipley, three months later the boarded a troop ship called the Orvita and headed for Australia. The trip took six weeks and the accommodation consisted of all the brides in sixth berth quarters with only one wash basin and the husbands were in dingy quarters where they had very little space. Each day on the boat they sat down to army style meals and most of the day was spent on the deck. 

They arrived in Melbourne in October with $200.00 and their luggage to start a new life in Australia. Some friends met them at the boat and took them to Elsternwick where they stayed for three weeks and by this time felt that they had to get out and find work. George & Hilda applied for a job at a sheep station at Redesdale near Bendigo- they arrived at the station and found that Hilda was to cook and be housekeeper while George was to be a jackaroo. The first meal that Hilda cooked was a disaster and when the leg of lamb was served up it was seen to be flyblown, George had little to do and was not allowed in the kitchen to see his wife at all. They left after four days intending to walk to the Redesdale Station, the landowner followed them and was very inhospitable- but in the end he took them and their luggage to the station. 

They found a place in South Yarra at $1.25 week for one room, they remained here until Eddie was born and then moved into a place in Abbotsford which was near where George worked at Yarra Falls (George worked here until he retired). They eventually saved enough money to buy a house at 64 Pine Street Reservoir where they lived until George died. Hilda was always homesick and yearned to return to England, which she called home, and after 38 years she and George had a trip back where they saw Eddie ordained and caught up with the relations who were still alive.