May Spencers 1887 Diary Update

May's Diary is just about ready to publish and we have decided to do a limited print edition.

The diary is a goldmine of Spencer Family history with every surviving child of Thomas and Mary mentioned multiple times. Their spouses and intended spouses are also mentioned, with the exception of Billy Frost.

There are multiple reports of Thomas Snr's declining health.

A report of Edward leaving to go "Up Country" with his brother William and Eliza (John Spencer's wife) is so far the best indication he did visit Cuttabunda.

Despite May being only in her 15th year, she has a surprisingly sophisticated writing style. Perhaps her best quote comes from 20th August:

“It is enough to turn a pig away from potatoes to see the snobs of Muscle Brook. They think it would stifle them to breathe the (same) air as the poorer class. There is a shooting match today. Of course only for the upperten, refusing to let the lower class join. They want taking up for cruelty to dumb animals – shooting the poor little pigeons.”

Perhaps the most intriguing quote comes from 8th September"

“……..we want every penny badly enough now. I don’t know what we are coming too (sic). The end will be the estates will be sold and each man do for himself. Time will alone answer this question. Pa is turning as gray as possible lately. I am sure it is with the worry he will never be fit to manage the station affairs anymore, if they do recover themselves, which I am afraid they never will.”

The financial problems which caused the collapse of Cuttabunda in 1896 may have had their origin ten years earlier

The Diary project has been a collaborative project with Maureen Seve and Sandy Gibbney doing the majority of the 40,000 words of transcripttion! Sandy and Ian Spencer did the editing and translation. (May used almost no punctuation and hundreds of words were very dificult to read). Invaluable assistance was received from Rouchel Historian Geoff Harrison, Hayne family historian Clarrie Hayne, Helen Ellis and Muswellbrook Historical Society and Dianne Walmsley from Scone Historical Society. The design and layout was done by Ian Spencer. Graham Vale (John descendant) has kindly found us a short run printer.

Our original intention was to publish the Diary in electronic form only. Recently a number of people have indicated they would like a printed version, so we will publish a printed version, if we can get orders for 50 copies. The book is A4 format of 76 pages with a gloss soft cover. It contains a lot of family photographs and apart from the diary transcript has over 233 separate explanatory notes and a number of side stories that relate to diary content. It contains an historical parish map showing the extent of the Spencer holdings at Lower Rouchel.

If you are interested in Spencer Family history, May's Diary is a great resource as it covers almost the entire family at a time of change. It is also an excellent insight into both rural and town life in the 1880's

If you would like to order a copy or two please click on the link below and fill in the order form. Once we have reached 50 copies the order form will close and we will email asking for payment in advance.

Mays Diary Order Form