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Elsie Vera Douthat (Henderson/Sinclair)

Posted by on March 3, 2012

From letters written in 1985 to Milly Miles and Lynne Douthat

(Elsie) Vera, born 1.11.1900, died Corryong, 1986

“I was born at Nuggetty Flat in 1900. My father’s name was Robert Douthat, he married Margaret Wilshusen. The Wilshusens lived near us at Nuggetty Flat. They were a very large family. My grandfather Hinerich Wilshusen had a bit of land and built a dam. He also had a beautiful vegetable garden and grew wheat.

Old Bill Gibbs, an Englishman, Mrs. Gray, Mrs. Sturni, Peter and Andrew, two Italians and the Wilshusens were part of the little settlement around us.

Old Bill Gibbs’ house was built from mud bricks he had made himself. My father built our house with two rooms of mud brick. Dad prospected for gold in the Winter months and drove a traction engine in the Summer, he died penniless in 1908. He met with an accident when he was 52. A limb of a tree hit him in the stomach, the injury eventually turned to cancer and he died. My youngest brother was only one month old. Dad was buried at Tarnagulla Cemetery.

I was told that my father had a brother who was a doctor. He lived at Waanyarra in the old place made of split rails. The story goes that he went down to the gate for something and was bitten by a snake. He didn’t treat the bite until he got back to the house, but it was too late. He went to sleep at this time each day but on this day he did not wake up. I don’t remember what his name was. My father also had a sister who lived in Fiji, she married a man named Halstead.

Dad’s mother was Spanish. She died at our place in 1906, I can remember her because Mum looked after her, but I can’t remember Dad’s father.

There were seven children in our family, two girls and five boys. My sister, Mum’s first child died of thrush. My two eldest brothers were named Robert (Bert) and Les, then there is Alver, Harry and James, those three live around Orbost.

I have been married twice and have two sons from my first marriage. Tom and Dick Henderson. Both my husbands are dead.”

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