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xix. Signs and Wonders - Home


Old English ham ‘dwelling, house, estate, village,’ from Proto-Germanic khaim, Old Norse heimr ‘residence, world,’ heima ‘ home.

Cottage - Macedon

after the painting by Frederick McCUBBIN (undated)

This was the pile of stones you used to see

but rarely now. A chimney; a wild pear

seeded from the original; a free

flowering briar tangling here and there

from the one she planted by the window

waiting for spring to come in. Now winters

have their way and flakes of porcelain show

up after rain - all that remains of her

fine English tea-set, incomplete. But it

marked a civility she clung to

then in the slab-built hut; he only meant

to be temporary. First and last made do.

How often she saw thin blue chimney smoke

trail into trees, her endless hours of work.

Jeff Guess


The Herbig Tree: the hollow tree trunk provided a 'home' for Friedrich and Caroline Herbig and two of their 16 children from 1855 until 1860 at Springton.

Johann Friedrich Herbig (27) arrived in South Australia on the Wilhelmine from Bremen on 3 October 1855. While looking for employment he went to the Adelaide Hills where he worked for George Fife Angas. He later leased a block of land of eighty acres from Angas at Black Springs, later called Springton. This was on a time payment and enabled him to start out on his own and pay off the land over a number of years. Being still rather poor Friedrich lived in the base of a very large gum tree which was located on his own land, thus saving rent or the cost of having to build a hut or house.

He soon got to know Anna Caroline Rattey, who had arrived on the Vesta from Hamburg on 1 December 1856, and lived now at Hoffnungsthal in the Barossa Valley. Friedrich and Caroline married in 1858 and Caroline moved into the tree house in which Friedrich had been living for nearly three years. A year later the first of their sixteen children, Johann August, was born in the tree. After the birth of their second son in 1860 the tree house became too small and a hut was built to accomodate the growing family.

Reading: St John 11: 20

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. NIV


Bless this House

Bless this house, Oh Lord we pray

Make it safe by night and day

Bless these walls so firm and stout

Keeping want and trouble out

Bless the roof and chimneys tall

Let thy peace lie over all

Bless this door that it may prove

Ever open to joy and love

Bless these windows shining bright

Letting in God’s heavenly light

Bless the hearth, a-blazing there

With smoke ascending like a prayer

Bless the people here within

Keep them pure and free from sin

Bless us all that we may be

Fit Oh Lord to dwell with thee

Bless us all that we, one day, may dwell

Oh Lord, we pray.

Helen Taylor 1927

©Jeff Guess 2017

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