I have made it just in time for the Australia Day 2012 blog post. Thanks to Shelly at Twigs of Yore, geneabloggers have the chance to share the occupation of an ancestor while considering the line “wealth for toil” from “Advance Australia Fair”. The requirements are:
To participate, choose someone who lived in Australia (preferably one of your ancestors) and tell us how they toiled. Your post should include:
- What was their occupation?
- What information do you have about the individual’s work, or about the occupation in general?
- The story of the person, focusing on their occupation; or
The story of the occupation, using the person as an example.
I love occupations. The first thing I look at on a census or electoral roll is my relative’s line of work. Maybe it is just because I’m hoping for something other than a farmer. So I jumped at the chance to share an occupation. Of course, I have plenty of farmers and a large number of butchers, including my grandfather and two great grandfathers. But they didn’t cut it for me.
Who were workers that fitted the “toil” definition? I have already done a post on Jim Bishop, the drover who I do believe toiled against the elements and probably for little reward. One definition of “toil” is to labour continuously. Taking that into account there could be no other person to write about than station hand William Hadden, my gg-grandfather.
William Hadden did not make monetary riches from his work, but he had the wealth of his family on whom his work depended and the knowledge that he was putting food on the table.
William was born in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland, and immigrated with his parents, Charles and Agnes on the Marco Polo in 1854. William would have been around 17 when he went to work at nearby Mokanger station with his father Charles. That was the beginning of a love affair with the land and in particular Mokanger.
In 1870, he married Mokanger servant, Mary Mortimer at the station. They also lived at Mokanger and children were born there. Mokanger was their life. Except for Sundays, the day of rest. That was the time to attend St John’s Presbyterian church at Cavendish, William’s other passion.
While sheep station work can be seasonal, William most likely had an ongoing job. There is always plenty to do on a sheep property. Lambing, marking lambs, shearing sheep, crutching sheep, and dipping sheep! Also at Mokanger, William’s father Charles Hadden worked as a boundary rider, and father-in-law, James Mortimer was a ploughman, just two further examples of jobs on a large station.
William loved his work at Mokanger station so much, he was there into his eighties. I am not sure if he was still in paid employment then, but he was there overseeing the dipping and crutching. I think that qualifies as having toiled.
William’s value of hard work and love of the land was passed to his children, along with his quiet, unassuming nature. Son John, also worked at Mokanger, James worked at Mt Sturgeon station and Henry worked at Mooralla station as a boundary rider.
My favourite story of fourth son, my great grandfather Thomas Hadden relates to work. Each Sunday during the 1920s and ’30s, my great grandmother Sarah, would pack a week’s worth of food in a tin for Thomas to take away working on the roads. This must have been incredibly hard work and having to leave the family for a week at a time, must have made it harder. Likewise, Thomas and Sarah’s children, including my Nana, portrayed the same values and ethics as the Haddens before them.
William Hadden was happy to work for a wage for so many years, but as I have mentioned, it put food on the table. He was an honorable servant to the owners of Mokanger, first the Chirnside brothers and then the Gardiner family.
For as long as I can remember, I have considered the hard-working trait displayed by the Hadden family to be thanks to their Scottish heritage, something they were proud of. I don’t know why that is but the following is an excerpt from an article on St Andrew’s Day, 1922, which supports my theory.
William Hadden probably enjoyed “Advance Australia Fair” penned by a Scot, P. J. McCormick. Happy Australia Day!