Friday, July 13, 2007
BASTILLE DAY and TENUOUS FRENCH CONNECTION
The CSIRO Energy Centre for research into ecologically sustainable energy at Mayfield West is on a former estate where a large colonial house was used as an orphanage by the Filles-de-la-Charite - The Daughters of Charity who were founded in France. Well, I said it was only a tenuous French connection!
These women were haute couture with a blue-grey dress and a fetching starched cornette - a type of wimple starched so it folded upwards (a la Flying Nun).
The French founders of the order were Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac with the poor and the marginalized in mind and their work has gone global. Here voluteers, largly, are involved in welfare work and run Op Shops (opportunity) and Doss houses and pick up the tab where the welfare state fails.
Back at the Mayfield West estate the first settler was John Platt and his lands extended from the river over to the Waratah, Mayfield, Callaghan and Sandgate areas. Since the time of his premature death in 1836, vast changes have occured in the area. (Ports And People A social history of the Hunter River)