Gloryna Barwick.

Gloryna Barwick


Interviewed by her eldest grandchild, Geoff Barwick.


 I interviewed Grandma at the Cafe, at the Information Centre in Main Street Murrurundi, after she’d had her hair done. She now lives at Murravale Aged Care Facility, and loves it there. We had a cup of tea and some scones while we talked. She’s very hard at hearing now, totally deaf in one ear, which made it a bit hard to ask questions, and especially with the other guests in the coffee shop talking too, but once she got going it was hard to keep up writing stuff down. Like a lot of very old people, her memory of recent things may not be real good, but the further back you go, the better she remembers. Grandma will be at the centenary at the hall.


Gloryna was born 5th August, 1916, in the family home, a home birth, at “Strathmore”,  4 miles from Bundarra. So she will be 96 years old by the centenary weekend. Her parents were Robert and Lillian Ferris [nee Manuel], and she had two brothers and a sister. Bervie, or Bert was the oldest, followed by Elwin, and Joyce was her younger sister. 


At 21, and still in Bundarra, Gloryna had just been rejected by a boyfriend who she thought could have been a prospective husband. She was feeling down in the dumps, and while visiting some neighbours, they thought they could cheer her up a bit by giving her some flowers. These flowers were wrapped in a bit of newspaper. The newspaper happened to be the Tamworth’s “Northern Daily Leader”. Amazingly, there was an advertisement on this bit of newspaper. It was a wanted add. It said,...


"WANTED. Girl to work in household

doing general home duties and helping

an elderly lady at Willow Tree".


Ernest and Susan.

Gloryna was happy to try a totally new start and to get away from the old boyfriend who’d dumped her, so she applied for the job. She had no idea where Willow Tree was.  She travelled by train to Willow Tree, and arrived at midnight. She was picked up by Ernest Barwick, and driven to the farm at Dry Creek, ”Quondah”.


Gloryna awoke the next morning in the house of Ernest and Susan Barwick. There was also the two sons, Alan and Edgar. Ron was another brother, but he was already married to Dette, and lived across the road at the property “Boolawa”. She was introduced to the boys, and then set about her household chores.


Just 5 days later, Gloryna was asked to go on a horse ride over the hill to the property “Belmont” by Edgar. “Belmont” was also a property owned by the Barwicks. There must have been a lot happen in those 5 days, and Edgar was also obviously someone who didn’t waste any time, because that day, just 5 days after Gloryna arrived, Edgar asked her to marry him. A few months later, 13th January, 1938, the engagement was officially announced to the district.

Gloryna and Edgar.


They were married 28th September, 1939, in the St Augusta Church in Inverell. They travelled by bus to Brisbane and Coolangatta for a wonderful honeymoon, then returned to start married life at the property “Yarrabah”, Big Jacks Creek. This property was bought in 1937 for Edgar, by the family farm business, and was a part of the 1914 subdivision.

Married life was tough at the time. Great Britain and Australia had declared war on Germany just weeks before they were married. Straight away, petrol, food and many other items were rationed. Men who were farmers were not encouraged to go to war. They were encouraged to stay on the farm to grow food. But many kinds of food couldn’t be bought. Sometimes there was no milk, butter, sugar or meat, or it was severely rationed, as it was being sent overseas for the war effort. They were only allowed 4 gallons of petrol a month. Gloryna and Edgar would go into town one month to buy what was needed, plus buy food and other items for their neighbours the Chads. Then the next month, the Chads would go into town and buy for themselves plus the Barwicks. This happened across the district, as there was so little petrol about.


The women in the district used to hold markets and stalls to try to raise money to buy stuff for the war effort. They would knit socks and jumpers for the soldiers. Edgar on some Sundays would attend reservist training days, where they would practice shooting and other war and emergency drills that would be needed if Japan invaded Australia. Gloryna remembers well the military gun of Edgars. She also remembers that dozens of horses, involved with the New England light horse, were bought down to “Warrah Station” and stayed on the property.


Gloryna remembers a very young Bernie Howard doing the mail run. Bernie got a special drivers licence, as there was no other men to do the job. He was so short he needed a special high seat, and he wasn’t able to lift big things out of the mail truck. Like most families at the time, they butchered their own meat, milked a few cows, made butter, grew fruit and vegies, and life went on.  


A left over clothing ration ticket. Issued in 1948. So this is why it was left over. That was when rationing stopped.
Neil and Roger
Roger, Neil, Tim, and Gloryna.

Gloryna and Edgar had 4 boys, Neil, Roger, Tim, and Richard.


Sadly, Edgar developed colon cancer in 1956, and took Neil out of high school at 16 to run the farm. Edgar passed away in July 1957, and youngest son Richard was born 2 months after Edgar's death. Neil and Gloryna carried on with the running of the farm. This was another tough time for Gloryna, with a baby, and especially with the death duties that had to be paid in those days.


Roger and Tim also eventually came home and all were running the farm, growing sheep, cattle and growing mainly wheat.


Gloryna eventually met a man from Boggabri, Ben Vine. Ben owned a small farm and shop in Boggabri. They married in May of 1965, and Gloryna, with young Richard, moved to Boggabri to live. Richard attended school at Boggabri. In between, Gloryna’s oldest boy Neil was preparing to marry Kay Avard. In what was a terrible tragedy, and just a week before Neil and Kay's wedding day, Ben Vine passed away from a heart attack, just 2 months into the marriage. Gloryna had no reason to stay in Boggabri, so she moved back to her boys and the farm, and changed her name back to Barwick via deed-pole.


Gloryna was a very keen traveller, and travelled all over the world at various times. I remember once she had a slide show at Warrah Creek hall when anyone could come and look at her photos and the many places she’d been. She spent many years with the Willow Tree branch of the CWA [country womens association] including a few as president.


Eventually, in 1975, Neil bought out his brothers and mother from the farm partnership. Gloryna moved to a small cottage on “Yarrabah". She stayed there until 1996, and then moved to "The Gables" in Quirindi. Now, living at “Murravale” in Murrurundi. Gloryna now has 8 grandchildren, the oldest being myself at nearly 45, and 8 great grand children the oldest aged nearly 20.

Gloryna Barwick cutting the centenary cake.
Gloryna Barwick at the Warrah centenary, with her eldest son Neil Barwick.

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Robyn Jean Guenther (nee Jackson) | Reply 18.10.2016 22:34


Helen Copeland | Reply 15.09.2013 15:05

This is such a interesting story, Geoff. Mrs. Barwick and my mother did much together in CWA and Red X. I have fond memories of your grandmother.

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Latest comments

12.06 | 20:33

What a wonderful story, enjoyed it very much.

06.06 | 22:53

What great history that now seems to be forgotton. ⚓🦉🐉🦂💙👑

10.05 | 15:31

Takes me back to wonderful childhood days visiting "Merrieton" and "Towarri". At about age 12, I thought Tony (aged about 24) was the most handsome chap around

06.01 | 15:43

Which farm did "Pop Mackelvane" have, I was there during the last part of the second war.

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