The Brecht family.


This was sent to me by Ann Darling, [nee Anderson]. Ann lives in Tacoma, Washington, USA. Ann’s grandmother was Lucie Barwick. Lucie Married Ernest Brecht, their children were Marie and Ern.  Ann’s mother was Marie Brecht, and so, her Uncle was Ern Brecht. Ern had Janet and Ken Brecht, so Ann is first cousins to Janet and Ken.


Hope I’ve got all that right?


There is a heap of photos on the way via the old fashioned snail mail, so when I get them I’ll put em on too.

Marie, Lucie and Ern Brecht. Probably early 1930's.

Marie Brecht Anderson


My mother was born, December 6th, 1905, in Scone - first child of Lucie Maud (Barwick) Brecht and Ernest Hubert Brecht.  Ernest and Lucie had married in October 1904 at Sparkes Creek outside Scone. Tragically Ernest died two years after marriage. 

Although her father’s death certificate said he died from a heart attack ( at age 31!) my mother was certain he died from inhaling vomit as a result of food poisoning.


After Ernest’s death Lucie Brecht discovered she was 3 weeks pregnant with a second child. Alone, newly pregnant, and with an 11 month old baby daughter she went to live with her parents for some years until they were able to return to their father’s property “Burnside” outside of Scone.


In 1929 my grandmother Lucie, and her children, Marie and Ern, [Marie is my mother], moved to Warrah Creek and acquired the property on Warrah Creek which they named “Burnside”.  My mother often spoke of the early responsibilities her brother Ern had ... because there was no father in the household ... but also of the help they received from others who lived along the creek.


(If only one of us had thought to ask the questions about those early days at Warrah Creek. I have often wondered why they moved from Scone to Warrah Creek when most of their relatives were around Scone? Was it Lucy’s brother Ernest Barwick who encouraged them? Maybe there is someone who knows the answers?)


In her early 20’s my mother decided she wanted to go to nursing school in Newcastle.  Grannie Brecht ( Lucie) was dead set against it. Somehow my mother got the books and necessary information to teach herself all that was needed to sit for the Nurses Entrance Exam: she passed.  My grandmother was still dead set against her leaving saying that she was needed to work on the property. 


Marie told me of trying to work out how she could change her mother’s mind. A young man somewhere in the area had been “calling” on my mother, offering to take her riding on his motor bike. Lucie Brecht was not going to allow that!  Marie was the more determined and following one outing on the motor bike my grandmother capitulated and my mother went to Newcastle to nursing school in 1931!



During the Depression there was a period of time when all trainee nurses were sent home for lack of funds to pay them!  My mother went to Warrah Creek for a period of some months and then returned to Newcastle to complete her nurses training.  It was during the latter years of Marie’s nurses training that my parents met - my Mum always “blamed” Arthur Barwick.  Arthur was going to Newcastle for some reason and took my mother back to the city at the end of her annual holidays: he insisted on going a day earlier than she had planned.  On New Year’s day 1934 Marie decided to spend the day at the beach and it was while she was searching the sand for her lost sixpence that my father came up and asked if another nurse he knew was on duty and consequently bought her an ice cream because the lost sixpence was never found.


Marie Emilie Brecht and William Anderson were married at St. Stephens Church, Warrah Creek on August 8th 1936.

Marie Brecht, [Ann's mother] on her wedding day when she married William Anderson at St Stephens at Warrah creek, 8th August, 1936.

The wedding was in the late afternoon and my mother always spoke about Arthur Barwick and others, who had cars at that time, bringing those cars, parking them facing the doors of the church , leaving the engines running and turning on the headlights to light the church as there was no electricity! Another vivid memory for her was of the decorations in the church being fresh orange blossoms and the wonderful smell of those blossoms. 


My father’s best man was from Newcastle, and my mother’s maid of honour, a nursing friend, also from Newcastle.  Arthur Barwick arranged transportation for them all to get to the train station to catch the train back south.  My parents were also on the train and were determined to avoid the various pranks their friends had planned for them!  What the friends didn’t know was that my parents had made reservations at Eatons Hotel in Muswellbrook and left the train there. It was there they spent their brief honeymoon until boarding the train a few days later and journeying to Brisbane where my mother became an instant mother to my half brother Bill ( whose mother had died in early 1933). 


Marie and Bill settled in Newcastle and in 1937 bought a house in all but the last street of Newcastle, on the northern edge of the city.  I have vivid recollections of all of the bush relatives stopping in for a cuppa, or to stay for a few days, every year when the wool sales were on in Newcastle. 


In either 1956 or 1958 there was a major flood which washed through Burnside and I believe shifted the house from it’s foundation somewhat.  I imagine that it was then that Ern and Lucy bought Strathleigh and moved there to live because it was 1958 that Lucie Maud ( my grandmother) moved in with us, in Newcastle, where she lived until she died in 1965.

Photo of "Burnside" house. Great looking car?


Further thoughts on Warrah Creek 


... Ann Darling [nee Anderson].


I was born at the end of December, 1941. My father was working on designs for submarine nets to be placed across all harbour entrances on the coast of Australia to prevent the threatened invasion by Japanese submarines.  Concerned for our safety he sent us to Warrah Creek to live with my grandmother Lucy who shared “Burnside” with Ern and his wife Lucy.  I have no idea how long we stayed but there are many photos of us at Warrah Creek in my early years. Whatever that time period was, the roots went in deeply and it was to Warrah Creek I returned annually for holidays until I left to travel the world at the end of 1964.



Random mental snapshots come to mind ....

  •  riding Old Jean down to the creek turning her around and swatting her rump with a green switch which caused her to rear and her back became a slide to dump us into the water hole.
  •  sitting in the huge fig tree on Strathleigh, between the house and the creek hiding and eating figs.
  •  riding in Luke’s Blitz
  •  picnics by the creek, under the willows, at Ern’s property Glenoak ... (which son Ken could tell you where it was)  and one of the Seymour boys mooning over my sister!
  •  mustering sheep and the taste of bore water drunk from your hat or one of those WW11 canteens - it tasted terrible no matter what you drank it out of.
  •  taking a horse and riding the hill up behind Burnside where no one could find you.
  •  tea at "Quondah" with Auntie Susan and her son Alan’s patience with a little girl who wanted to bat tennis balls (not well at all) over the net to him.
  •  being allowed to play the pump organ at the church when Lucy Brecht went there to practice for services.
  •  sulky rides ... so many sulky rides.
  •  Aunty A’s ( Alma Barwick) hats and her driving down Warrah Creek road at a very stately pace .... in her green Austin which eventually became my mothers car.
  •  and a thousand more I have left out so’s not to be too boring! 



L-R. Janet Brecht, Ken Brecht, Ann Darling.

From an early age - between 8 and 9 ( my mother and I always disagreed on how old I was when I made my first solo trip to Willow Tree) my mother would pack me a lunch and snacks to eat along the way, take me to Broadmeadow station, in Newcastle. When the New England Tablelands train arrived she would hand “Bluey”, the conductor, money and he cared for me all the way to Willow Tree station. As the train slowed to a stop, there on the platform would be my favourite uncle, Ernie Brecht, waiting for me. Alighting from the train I would see him lift his hat slightly as I approached and then he would plant a small kiss on my cheek and off we would go to Warrah Creek. I was in heaven again - there to spend the school holidays!

Starting up the Toll Bar hill, out onto the flat, passing Saunders’ house, passing Warrah gate, then turning left at Bingham’s is as etched in my mind today as though it was just yesterday and fortunately I am often able to fit in a drive “up the creek” when I return, from the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States, for holidays at home-home.

Ken Brecht holding Ann's nephew Tony Fogarty. And Ern Brecht. 1968.

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Latest comments

25.09 | 09:36

Absolutely delighted to come across a part of my direct ancestors history about which I knew very little and shall endeavour to find out more
Thank you Prof. A.

23.09 | 22:23

Very interesting Kelaher family history. Impressive number of trained nursing sisters. Jack lent the Copelands a cream horse, Playboy, in 1950's, ridden by Kate

09.09 | 17:58

Wonderfully informative. Thank goodness for Jane and John Atchison's work

06.09 | 14:33

I am Jack Kelaher and I am proud of my pop, dad and ancestors.

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