Jane Bryden

More photos of Jane
Harold Seagoe (her husband)
Jean Seagoe (her daughter)

Jane (aka 'Granny' to my father and his brothers) was born in 1885 in a wee cottage in the hamlet of Collin, near Totherwald, some 4 miles from Dumfries (the town of Robbie Burns). She was one of twins; unfortunately her sister died aged seven, a not uncommon occurrence in those days of high infant mortality. Jane was the eldest of a family of five children and it was probably this, combined with her forceful personality, that made her decide to emigrate to Australia in the early 1900's having trained as a nurse in London; quite a brave undertaking for a single woman a century ago and certainly not in accordance with her father's ambitions for his daughter!

Jane worked initially as a nanny/nurse for a family of sheep farmers in the hinterland behind Townsville in Queensland. This is a sub tropical area and even today is celebrated for its rugged charms and lifestyle - heaven alone knows what life was like there in 1910! By some means, Jane met Harold George Seagoe, a ship's steward from Chatham, in Sydney N.S.W. and married him at the Presbyterian Church there in 1917. They set up house in Edward Street and on the 13th July 1918 Jane in turn gave birth to twins, a girl (Jean) and a boy - Bryden. The somewhat unusual Christian name stemming from a family tradition of incorporating the mother's maiden name in the names of the next generation. This was perhaps a device to keep the child in inheritance from its preceding forebears.

When the twins were six, Jane Seagoe brought them back to meet their relations in Britain. Whilst here they received word that Harold Seagoe had been taken ill and died. My initial research in Australia indicates that he contracted pneumonia but developed a brain haemorrhage after a fall in hospital - this condition being untreatable in those days. He died alone in a mental home of "general paralysis of the insane" and was buried in an unmarked grave in the paupers' section of Rookwood cemetery in Sidney. This devastating news meant that Jane and her two children were left penniless in England - no social benefits in those days - so they were marooned - only rescued when my (FILL HERE) took them into his home at Rodmersham Green (the Ramblers). After a period of housekeeping for her parents, Jane took over the local post office and Bill & Jean adapted to English village life.

Borden Grammar School Days

When the children approached secondary school age, Jane could only afford for one of them to attend the prestigious Borden Grammar school for the full course - in those days, as males were raised to be the breadwinners and females the housewives, Bill was naturally chosen. His school reports show that he fully justified the choice on merit, his sister Jean had many fine qualities but she was no great scholar.