Saturday, January 14, 2006

Devon House
Devon House is part of the name of my Blog. It is also the name of our home. Here is the story.
In the 1860's, George Bailey left Devon in England, and came to NZ with his parents and siblings. From there George came to Norfolk Island to work in the Melanesian Mission, which had its headquarters there. George was known as the musical blacksmith, because of his trade, and because he took charge of the music in the Mission.
George was one of the first outsiders to marry into the island families who had left Pitcairn in 1856. He married Emily Wellesley Christian, and they had two daughters and four sons. Their daughter Charlotte was given 7 acres of land that Emily had inherited from her father, Charles Christian. In the early 1920's, Charlotte asked her brother Charlie Bailey to build her a house on the land. The house was very much in the bungalow style in New Zealand, where Charlie had learned his trade. Charlotte called the house "Devon" after her father's birthplace.
Charlotte did not actually live in the house, preferring to live in the smaller "Devon Cottage" next door. She never married or had children, although she was commonly known as "Mum Bailey" or "Auntie Mum" to the family. I will talk about her, especially her needlework at a later stage.
Meanwhile "Devon House" was let to various people, including Burns Philp managers for many years. During the war, it was commandeered as headquarters for the New Zealand army contingent and was occupied by a Colonel Barry and a Colonel Cockerell. Around this time, an army hut was tacked on to the house, and became known as "the annexe."
In the 1960's, my husband's parents moved into Devon after returning to the island from Sydney, where they had lived and worked since the war years. My father-in-law carried out a few convenient modernising alterations, but the character of Devon remained.
Charlotte (who lived to 101) gave my in-laws a life interest in the house, and when they passed on, it became my husband's.
About ten years ago, we carried out fairly extensive renovations and additions, and moved in. It is a home with wonderful vibes, and everything in it tells a story. We know the previous owner and occupants would fully approve of everything we have fact, we are very conscious of the loving support of Auntie Mum and also of Dorothy, my mother-in-law.
Our son John now lives in Devon Cottage, and our son Charles has built a home behind us (but separated from view by lovely trees.) He and Kim call their home "Devonside," because "side" means "place" or "home" in the Norfolk dialect. Both the boys also have businesses on the road side of the property. John has a joinery and also does boatbuilding, and Charles has established a large building supply centre. The Devon homes however, are well insulated from the more "industrial" activities, and are all in a peaceful, wooded setting.


sharonb said...

so nice to see you have started a blog - welcome to the world of blogging - I know you will enjoy it

Digitalgran said...

What a lovely story! I shall pop in again.

beche-la-mer said...

Welcome to the world of blogging! I'll check out your blog as often as I can or see you on Southern Cross Crazies...

Jo in NZ said...

Welcome Mary. What a lovely home you have, and all that history to go with it. A real gift.
I going to 'blogline' you, so keep on posting.

Maureen said...

Oh Mary!
How I've enjoyed reading your family resume!I've always enjoyed your postings on SCCs and Embellishers and am so glad I can add your blog to my list of "must reads"

Allison said...

Hi Mary!
Remember me? I swapped a squishy with you for the wonderful "Bounty" tshirt you sent for me to give to my husband, Robert.
I am so glad you have joined the blogging community! I look forward to following your postings...
...and I loved being introduced to your home!
Allison from Washougal, Washington

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