From my Bookshelf - Close to the edge

This is my second post in my new series - From my Bookshelf

I frequently trawl Abebooks for local history books, particularly for those places where ancestors lived. I have been rewarded with several interesting finds. Whenever I am in a town in Australia where family members have lived I see if there are any books written about the area. I usually find something interesting.

Today I decided I needed to update my books on Library Thing. There were quite a few new purchases which hadn't been added. Hopefully, I now have most of my genealogy related books on Library Thing.

As I pulled books from my shelves to catalogue I decided that there were many that I need to read more thoroughly. One of those is Close to the edge  - stories of the New England Gorges written by Dave Vidler.

This book is a collection of interviews from 14 people who live in the New England gorge country or as my husband's family called it the falls-country near Armidale, New South Wales. Looking at the map of the Gorge Country I can immediately see where both my parents-in-law were raised - one on either side of the gorge.

Both my husband's grandfathers are mentioned in the book.

Cliff Faint mentions Albert Scheef.

An old chap down here, ten mile down, by the name of Albert Scheef, he was a German, and he had Devons, red cattle, and he had falls-country too, only a long way further down, and they always done well. If there was a feed about, they had it, they done well.
So I said to Mr Scheef one day, "You're good friends with the family," so I said, "When you're marking your calves," I said, "would you care to keep me a red bull?"
"Yes boy," he said, "No worries."
Well that's when I started with Devons. I put Devons over Herefords. p. 35

Maisie Brennan's interview mentions Pat Brennan

How far would the nearest neighbour be away?
Here (on Benevis). Pat (Brennan) was the nearest neighbour. About a mile from down home, I suppose. Oh you wouldn't be able to yell out, but I have come up here of a night when I had Eric's father very sick, come up here to get Pat to come down, you know.
Pat was very good, and he was me' closest neighbour. And he had six (5 actually) boys and a girl. And then when he got too old to run the place, no one wanted the place, he sold it to me. The boys all got away and got good jobs, you know. p. 64

View from Benevis

The interview with Kevin Brennan mentions Bill Brennan (brother of Pat above).

Locals used to provide the music. Like we had, one fella, Bill Brennan, from over here. He used to play violin and accordian, that sort of thing. Very good too. You only had to suggest to him and away he'd go and play it, you know. One of his brothers played a bit, but he wasn't nearly as good, you know, nearly as proficient. p. 140.

Max Brennan, Maisie Brennan (Waters), Kevin Brennan and Laurie Sewell were all interviewed in the book. Each of them has a connection to our family. After reading the book I realise that I need to spend more time at Enmore and Long Point - not just a quick drive to look at the scenery.

Thanks to David Vidler for taking the time to interview these people and so allow me to know more about my husband's family.


  1. What a treasure!
    Now I'm off to Librarything to make sure I am following you.

  2. Excellent interview. you may look at a map and be able to measure distance but you'd never get that sense of neighbours supporting each other in troubled times. Voices fromnthe past and wonderful synergy of local and family history. Thanks for sharing Sharon.

  3. I would like to nominate you for the Blog of the Year award for 2012. All the details are here;

    All the best, Kylie :-)


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