As told by Robyn Spicer
In the early 1900s my grandmother Willa Curzon (nee Keck) lived with her parents and nine brothers and sisters and a lodger in a small terrace house in Burnley, an inner suburb of Melbourne. Her first job, at the age of eleven was at Dimmeys haberdashery in Richmond. In her later life she lived with us and would tell us of her trips to Castlemaine to visit her grandmother, “Granny McCann”. She said that when the tinkers came to the door in Castlemaine Granny would pay them with gold from the mantelpiece.
Granny McCann was my great great grandmother; she arrived in Australia from Ireland in 1852 and immediately traveled to the Victorian goldfields. She was a strong family-minded woman who delivered many babies in the area. In her later days Granny McCann regularly sent cases of preserves to her children in Melbourne. Grandma would recall what a thrill it was when she and her mother Harriet took the old perambulator to Burnley station to pick up Granny’s preserves. I like to imagine my great great grandmother down at the Castlemaine Station lovingly sending off jams and chutneys and bottles of apples and pears to her grandchildren in Melbourme. Mind you, she apparently told her daughter not to have any more children when she got to number 10. Granny McCann was a practical pioneer woman.