Ian traces his wife’s local family history

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Deniliquin author Ian Lea has described his latest book as ‘‘the most challenging I have written’’.

His fourth book, titled ‘The Turnbull and Hyde Families of Deniliquin’, traces the family histories of his wife Prue.

Although he found it quite a challenge, Mr Lea admits it was also the most rewarding.  It required significant research, going back to the early 1800s, to learn about families on which he had little information to begin with.

‘‘Along the way I discovered a woman who was born in the top half of Scotland in 1812, yet spent the last 19 years of her life in Deniliquin; and a bank accountant who was born in Ireland yet arrived in Deniliquin in 1877, a year after the Deniliquin to Moama railway started.

‘‘His descendants include the first shire clerk of Conargo Shire Council in 1907 who remained in that position for the next 36 years; the 1st Presbyterian Minister of Canberra’s new ‘Cathedral’ Church, who later become the 71st Moderator of the Church in NSW, and a musician, who with his own style became one of the most respected and sought after jazz drummers in Australia between 1960 and 1980.

‘‘Equally fascinating are the stories about the Hyde family, including one about Edmund who had slept in and missed the sailing of his ship along with all his luggage and possessions, only to discover later that the ship was wrecked off the coast of Victoria with no survivors. Undeterred he sailed on the next available ship out of Liverpool and settled in

Bombala where he established several successful businesses. Two of his sons were elected councillors of the 1st Municipal Council of Bombala,’’ Mr Lea recalled.

‘‘His grandson Victor Edmond Hyde (Sergt.) was a mounted policeman with the NSW Police Force. He faced the difficulty of running a one-man police station in tiny localities, often away for days if not weeks on end leaving his wife Jean to raise their children alone. 

‘‘They suffered the heartache of losing three young children in the space of four months and then losing their much adored and loved son ‘Mac’ during the Second World War.’’

Coincidentally the Coronavirus pandemic that we are experiencing comes just over 100 years since the Spanish flu pandemic spread around the world in 1919 and infected about 40 per cent of the Australian population with about 15,000 people dying as a result. 

In his book, Ian Lea outlines the time Sergeant Hyde was sent to the border crossing on the Murray River to stop the ‘germs’ crossing into NSW from Victoria!

These are just a few of the stories that make for interesting reading in this book, about people with pioneering spirit who helped create this great country we live in.

‘The Turnbull and Hyde Families of Deniliquin’, by Ian Lea, is available from Deniliquin Newsagency, or to obtain a copy phone Mr Lea on 0418 468 857.