Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Aunty Kath

Kathleen Jane Duncan would have been 88 today.

Kathleen Jane Duncan
I don't know why Aunty Kath was born in Nyngan, NSW when at the time of her birth the family lived in Cobar, NSW. I must ask my Mum if she remembers the story behind this.

Jack and Kath Madden on their wedding day
Kath married Englishman, Jack Madden, at Kensington, NSW in 1948. My grandmother (who wasn't biased) thought Aunty Kath was the prettiest bride in the family.

A devoted wife, mother, grandmother and sister Aunty Kath was a pretty good Aunt.  When my mother was working, Aunty Kath always had me over for a "Holiday" in the school holidays and  she and Uncle Jack sometimes included me in their family's summer holidays to the beach. When it was discovered that I had a case of nits as a nine year old  on holiday with the Maddens I was absolutely distraught. Instead of keeping me at arm's length Aunty Kath got into my little bed and comforted me. I'll never forget that kindness.

Family holiday at Ettalong 1955. Aunty Kath (second from left) little Geniaus middle front
When I was a little girl Mum and Kath ran a smallgoods shop and delicatessen in Kensington, NSW. Aunty Kath and Uncle Jack lived in the residence above the shop while Mum, Dad and I stayed there on the weekends when it was Mum's turn to work on Saturdays. As an only child I enjoyed that time spent with the extended family and the easy access to the chocolate malted milkshakes served in the shop.

Aunty Kath encouraged me in my reading by lending me some of the books she received from her book club. it was exciting as a 12 or 13-year-old to be introduced to works for adults, I still remember reading her Monica Dickens books, those by Betty MacDonald and some titles about life in a prisoner of war camp in World War II.

Kath was the only one of the five Duncan girls to get a driver's licence, I remember how I loved going out with her and my cousin in her little black Mini.


Kath (3rd from left) her mother and siblings 1970
Kath was a hard worker, together with her husband Jack Madden she ran a very successful hotel supplies business in Sydney. (see my post on the green plates). They retired a couple of times but soon found themselves back in business. After Uncle Jack's death Aunty Kath went to work for their accountant, she was a whizz with figures. Although she was in her mid seventies her co-workers all thought she was in her early sixties, Aunty Kath was as sharp as a tack.

My mum and Aunty Kath had a very close relationship, every Saturday for many years Kath would pick Mum up in her car and they would head off to shop and visit their mother, Ethel,  and sister, Eileen. Included in these excursions would be some clothes shopping. The Duncan girls loved to chase down a bargain.

Kath and Jack 1977

My Aunty Kath was very special to me.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the story on Aunt Kath, and the "nits" :)
Great pic - wedding and, last pic: similar matching green "contents" in cup and the pool tile/lining; as her outfit. :)

Crissouli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crissouli said...

A lovely story about your much loved Aunt... I've also been fortunate to have some lovely Aunts and a wonderful Great Aunt... They do play such an important role in our family.. they can be our haven, our confidant, our best friend when we are growing up...

Mine were a great example to me as to how I wanted to be when/if I became an Aunt... I now have my favourite niece ( my only one) and four favourite nephews...I wonder what they would write about me.

Just beautiful, Jill.

Jill Ball said...

Thanks. I aim to wrte a story about each of my Aunts, I think it's especially important to write about those who have no descendants.

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