WELCOME to our second ‘isolation’ newsletter.

I am wondering what effect this period of enforced change of pace is having on your life and your emotions. This is an extraordinary phase in our history and maybe we should be recording its effect on life in New Farm for our archives.

Why not send/email a message about your reflections on this chapter in our history!

One change in recent weeks has been the unusually high number of requests for historical information put to the society.Maybe the lockdown offers more time to think about family history. Maybe some have spoken more to their grandparents, and inevitably curiosity about the past arises. Maybe there’s never been a better chance for online research about the history of the family or the house. Maybe cleaning out a cupboard has brought to light all sorts of wonderful old family records and photos…

What have you found out about your family or your house?A reminder about the value of our books came this month from Pattie Hobbs who wrote that her mother, Beverley (nee Bowen), aged 82, on receiving her copy of Reflections on New Farm, was overjoyed to read the chapter on Terrace Street and to see the old family home on p. 169 (pictured). “The names and memories came back to her and she loved the fact that she could just flip through and read about what she well remembered: Coolden and its wedding receptions, Wynberg, pictures of local shops, including the butchers, and even the baker’s horse,” said Pattie.“Thanks so much, Ross. You have made some ex-New Farm locals very happy.”

Yes, we are looking forward to resuming our monthly meetings, but realise that it might be a while before large groups can gather so as to observe social distancing. Committee members keep in touch online via Zoom — and we even had a birthday cake for Austin at our recent meeting. Unfortunately, he could not blow out the candles and eat the cake, so Desley and I did that for him! Missing from that meeting was Malcolm, who was celebrating his birthday with family on the same day. ‘Many happy returns’ to both Austin and Malcolm, with the hope that there are better circumstances for celebrating next year.

Ross Garnett | President