My early days at Armitstead began when I was three years old. The memories of my arrival are very vague but for some reason I can remember being so sick on the boat from Melbourne,  and arriving at Kimberley on the train.  This is probably because of the stories of the trip related to me later in my life, by my Mother.

Armitstead was by far the largest property in the District, employing a dozen or so staff. There were five houses for married men, stables, blacksmith shop, machinery sheds, shearing shed and single mans quarters. There were several other buildings, storage sheds, charf houses and barns and a dairy for the house cows.

What an ideal place for me and my sister Jenny to grow up. We had free range of all this and took full advantage of it. We would play amongst the waggons and drays and get grease all over us. The blacksmith shop was also a great place to explore. Jenny would not always be with me and this meant I was free to be a little more adventurous, like climbing the huge pine trees which guarded our house or explore the banks of the rivers.

We had two rivers – the Mersey and the Dasher rivers within easy walking. The Mersey was a beautiful river and ideal for swimming. The Dasher was a smaller shaded river with trees along its banks. Both were good fishing. My father was not a fisherman, but he did give me some advice at times. He always seemed to be too busy. One of the workmen would occasionally take me fishing in the evenings. I will always remember sitting on the bank of the Dasher with the moonlight shining on the ripples in the water. I have forever been fascinated with rivers and indeed the sea, even though my first experience with the sea was not a good one.

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