Sarah Elizabeth Eather 1861-1923
Sarah Elizabeth, the youngest child of Thomas EATHER 1824-1909 and Eliza, nee CROWLEY 1822-1897, was born at Bulga on 26 November 1861. She grew up on her parents farm and as a child had formal schooling in the Bulga Public School, which was newly established about the time that she started school. On 8 October 1885, when she was 23, Sarah married Ashton CLARK, son of James Swales CLARK 1812-1851 and his wife Elizabeth, nee McDONALD 1810-1899 who had married at Largs in Scotland and had later lived in the English county of Yorkshire before migrating to Australia. They had arrived in New South Wales on the ship "Thomas Hughes" in 1843 with their children, McDonald, Susannah and James. They had worked for a time at Black Creek (Branxton) and it was there that son Ashton had been born on 20 October 1844. In 1846 the CLARK family had moved to Bulga and had settled on a farm owned by Mr HALSTEAD. In 1848 they leased a farm of 550 acres from Joseph ONUS and named it "Willow Farm". It was just across Wollombi Brook from where Sarah lived and the two families knew each other well. The wedding was held at "Willow Farm". Ashton was age 40 years and Sarah 23 years. Ashton had been a boy of seven when his father had been accidentally drowned while teaching some shearers to swim away out at Narromine. He had grown up at "Willow Farm" and in 1863 he and his brother James had been on the ill-fated droving trip with their cousin Peter CLARK to stations near the Queensland border, when Peter had been killed by a bushranger while they were crossing the range north of Murrurundi. Sarah and Ashton made their home at "Gerale", a farm next door to "Willow Farm", where Ashton constructed a house. It was remembered by their granddaughters as a lovely old home. Sarah was a slim straight woman who always wore a white apron. After lunch she would change her dress, put on a clean apron and then spend the afternoon mending clothes or preparing fruit for preserving. She made excellent jam and was a good cook generally. She kept a good vegetable garden. "Gerale" was a busy place after Church on Sundays, when relatives would arrive for a baked dinner. Ashton had a sulky painted black and gold. On every second Sunday morning, when there was a Church service, they would dress in their best clothes and go off to Church in the sulky drawn by their pretty chestnut horse. The parson travelled to Bulga by sulky from Jerry's Plains, and often stayed to lunch at "Gerale". Usually Ivy and another of the daughters would stay back from Church to cook the baked dinner. Ashton's mother died in November 1899 and subsequently he took over "Willow Farm" as well as retaining "Gerale". Sarah and Ashton's family consisted of three daughters followed by three sons. All had been born at "Willow Farm". Ashton developed a fine farm on "Gerale". He ran a flock of sheep and a herd of cattle, and he developed a useful orchard. He had a very good set of stock yards and some of his neighbours without stock yards made use of them at times. There were numerous wild cattle in the ranges to the west of Bulga, and on occasions some of the farmers would muster some of them and succeed in driving them into Ashton's stock yard. From there they would drove them into sales at Singleton. On "Gerale" was a large dam fed by a spring. Ashton used to carry buckets of water for his garden from the dam with the aid of a yoke across his shoulders. He kept a small herd of dairy cows on the farm and had a set routine at milking time. He bailed up the cows and Sarah and their eldest daughter Ivy milked them. When the milking was completed, Ashton separated the milk and fed the separated milk to the pigs, while Sarah washed up. If there were young poddy calves to be fed, Sarah attended to this. All the milking chores were completed before the family returned to the house for breakfast. In the orchard there were three or four rows of fruit trees of different varieties, including plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears. Quince trees were scattered around the paddock and Sarah became noted for her quince dumplings. A passion fruit vine grew on a large trellis at the end of the corn shed and nearby was a vineyard of table grapes. As on most farms, there was a large poultry run. Sarah was almost 62 when she died at Bulga on 2 October 1923. Ashton was a great bushman and had a very good eyesight, even in his old age. Following the death of his wife he often went off into the bush nearby and spent hours enjoying the tranquility of his surroundings
The photograph below of Ashton and Sarah with the family was taken on the front verandah of 'Gerale'