HEADING WEST – PART SEVEN – THE UNKNOWN MAN

The concept of love is different for every person. My Grandmother Lexie Fraser had someone special in her life but to those of us that follow he is to be an unknown man.

In my attempt to discover the truth about the relationship between Lexie and the father of her children the question I ask is “Who are you father of my father?” 

As the layers of my family background are stripped away I am intrigued by what I learn from the old discoloured and tilted headstones. 

Lexie remained in the Bedgerabong district until after the death of her mother Ellen on 6th  Nov 1925,  having four children to her partner and once again luck is on my side. Of the four children only one will survive and he will become my father.

Unnamed male b Forbes 16th April 1920 died 5 ½ months premature aged 13 hours. Patricia Barbe Fraser b Forbes 1st November 1921 d 15th November 1921 aged 14 days. Reuben Barbe Fraser b Parkes 30 September 1922 d 27th May 1975. Yvonne Fraser b November 1928 d 3rd August 1929 aged 10 months. 

My understanding of her life in Bedgerabong consists only of my seeing and imagining but it seems that she was sustained and supported by her mother Helen who was the informant  on the death certificate of the unnamed male child and in fact she describes herself as ‘Grandmother’. As it was in those days the infant was buried at the private house of Helen at Bedgerabong. 

I can only feel a degree of sadness for Lexie as a single mother of that time. The 1920’s wasn’t a time of great prosperity for Australians and indeed it was a time of uncertainty; depressions were imminent and there was little economic growth. 

Many had lived through “the Great war of 1914” and this had a dramatic and tragic impact on both the soldiers and the civilians alike. The legacy of the war in terms of the long-term effects on human physical and mental health when the soldiers returned home, often only a little older than 18 when they left, was to be experienced by the community for decades after the war had finished. 

That time in Australian history came to represent a turning point between the values, attitudes and ways of life of the old 19th century world and those of the new 20th century world. 

In the late 1920’s Lexie, having lost contact with her ‘partner’ and having  her mother pass away in 1925, left Bedgerabong to join her brothers, William, Roy and Colin, in Sydney. 

My father Reuben Barbe Fraser who then aged about 6 was with her. He was never to see or know his biological father. My father passed away in 1975 aged 52. His mother Lexie Fraser lived a happy life in Kensington, Sydney eventually marrying Frederick Charles Banfield, a horse trainer, in 1944. She passed away on the 25 April 1967. 

My time in Bedgerabong is over and I’ll now be heading back to Forbes, perhaps I’ll never return to this place.

 Reuben Barbe Fraser and his mother Lexie Fraser about 1942 outside 25a Kensington Road Kensington.

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One thought on “HEADING WEST – PART SEVEN – THE UNKNOWN MAN

  1. You never cease to amaze me Sean. This family path you are following is both so ordinary, yet in the process so incredible to witness. My thanks for sharing all of this with us Sean.

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