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THE MASON SAGA


 

This is a true story, a gripping, historic record of birth, marriage, death, love, hate, courage, cowardice, pride, vanity, avarice, generosity,  deception, dishonesty, murder, tolerance, frailty, forgiveness, and more….. !
   
It tells of an act of extreme violence, which culminated in death, and of the way the perpetrator escaped being brought to justice.   
It describes the lives and events of pioneering families who emigrated on sailing ships from England and Germany in the 1800’s to settle in Australia and New Zealand. For these hardy souls, it began as an  exciting, one way, voyage into the unknown. They knew that they would never be able to return to their ‘old country’.
   
It paints a graphic picture of the descendants of these founding families, who, almost without exception, have broken their previous   family pattern and forged new and diverse individual careers.     
It poignantly tells of many of the hardships experienced by a widowed mother of two, who was, tragically, left destitute and who, in a little more than a decade, succeeded in achieving her every ambition.   
Also, It paints crystal clear images of Australian urban and rural life, during the one hundred years after 1865.
    
Probably, the most interesting story is that of John Mason’s, sixty years plus, never say die, investigation of his paternal ancestry. This was the intriguing mystery he just had to solve. His quest for the truth  became an obsession, driving him to continue for all of those years. The project began at the time of his childhood and in spite of beginning with a bare minimum of doubtful and false clues, he managed, mostly by sheer persistence, to clearly identify his paternal lineage.    
His gripping and meticulously described search for his ‘roots’ is an object lesson in the effectiveness of precise, painstaking and persistent  investigation.  
  
Never,  never,  never, say die!   

In Store Price: $30.00 
Online Price:   $29.00

ISBN: 978-1-921574-89-4  Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 255
Genre:  Non Fiction

Author: John Mason
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2010
Language: English


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John Mason

 

John Mason was born in Brisbane in1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression. For the first two years of his life, John and his parents lived a nomadic existence, peregrinating around south east Queensland, including a lengthy stay at the Cania goldfields before eventually living on the Noes’ family farm at Barney View, near the New South Wales border, south of Brisbane.

His father died suddenly in May, 1933 and at the end of 1935 his mother moved to Brisbane with John and his younger sister, Jill. 

John was educated at Rainworth, Wilston and Ithaca Creek primary schools. He had one year of secondary education at Brisbane’s Central Technical High School. 

He completed his apprenticeship and became a qualified boat builder and designer in June 1950. This was followed by three years employment with Peters’ Slip and the Department of Harbours and Marine. During these early years John became an enthusiastic, life long yachtsman.  For most of his life he has owned yachts. John has enjoyed a lifetime of blue water cruising and racing experience, which, coupled with his extensive boat building knowledge, has ensured that he has a thorough understanding of the sea, sailing and maritime procedures. 

His commercial career began in 1954, when he was employed as the Ipswich branch manager for Bruce Small of Malvern Star Cycles fame.

In July 1957 he founded his neck tie manufacturing business in Ipswich. In 1963 the operation was moved to a much larger factory and John began travelling world wide, several times each year, sourcing exotic silk fabrics. In 1969 the tie manufacturing was transferred to Cleveland and production had reached its peak with manufacturing and sales staff well in excess of 100 employees, Australia wide, plus a considerable export business.  

Times changed in the 1970’s; so between 1975 and 1977 the necktie production was wound down and eventually ceased. During this time an equipment rental business was established to take its place and this venture also expanded to become a major player in yet another industry. After a further twenty five years of successful trading John sold the business and retired to pursue his photographic and pen collecting hobbies.  

For more than forty years he has lived on Cleveland point, where the sun rises over the blue water of Moreton Bay, at his front door and then sets across Raby Bay, at his back door. 

This book is his first literary work.

Chapter 1:

 

High Drama: Thursday 21 February, 1929

 

‘Are you William James Mason?’ asked the stranger.

‘Yes, I’m Bill Mason’

‘I’ve got a little wedding present for you’ continued the stranger, as he handed a document to Bill.

‘What’s this?’ Bill asked, as he took hold of the paper.

‘I am the court bailiff and I have just served you a summons. You can pay the money you owe to Nellie Bell now, or fight it out in the court at Roma, or go to jail’ the stranger concluded.

This was how the wedding of Bill Mason and Elsie Noe began on Thursday 21 February 1929!

This day was meant to be the culmination of all Elsie Noe’s dreams, the most important day of her life, her wedding day!

About six months earlier, when she was employed as a bush nurse at Gunnewin, south of Injune in western Queensland, she met her debonair prince charming and for the first time in her twenty-seven years, became absolutely besotted with the most fascinating man she had ever met.

Bill Mason was a persuasive, gentlemanly salesman from Sydney, with wealthy parents and he played the piano with more skill than Elsie imagined possible. Suddenly, when she was with Bill, Elsie found a new, exciting, purpose in life. He told interesting stories about his experiences and family in faraway Sydney, exuded confidence, had excellent manners, was well dressed and far more interesting and exciting than the young country men she had known. He was a car salesman and a skilful driver, which was a rare talent in those days when cars were few and far between. They enjoyed a unique social life driving around the district in Elsie’s ostentatious, 1924 Overland, Model 91, Roadster, which she had bought new when she was the bush nurse at Burrandowan. This rather unusual vehicle was her proudest possession and had cost her the princely sum of two hundred pounds, in 1926, representing the better part of two years’ salary.

Bill and Elsie were irresistibly attracted to each other and about a month after they met, began to talk about marriage and moving to New South Wales, although Bill said he wanted to continue working for Miscambles at Roma for another month or two and was not quite ready to return to Sydney. A few weeks passed and suddenly, Christmas was approaching and 1928 drawing to a close.

Early in the New Year, Elsie made the alarming discovery that she was pregnant! Something had to be done about this without delay, because Elsie was terrified at the prospect of being held to ridicule if word of her condition got around. In those days, such a situation was seen as a cardinal sin. To escape the possibility of any ignominious criticism, they decided to resign from their respective jobs, move to Brisbane and quietly marry. Elsie preferred this arrangement, as she wanted to hold her head high and to be married with a ‘proper’ ceremony in the presence of her mother and her already-married, younger sister, Mary Eustace.

By early February the lovers had given notice and abandoned their jobs. They then travelled from Roma to Brisbane in Elsie’s car with their personal possessions. For the few days before the wedding, they stayed with Elsie’s sister Mary and her husband, Henry Eustace, in Abbotsford Road, Bowen Hills.

Their discreetly arranged wedding took place at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, on Thursday, 21 February 1929, with Norman S Millar officiating. Mary and Henry Eustace were the witnesses and Elsie’s mother, Mary and her stepfather, Charlie Ferris, from Toogoolawah, were also present.

The day’s drama began as the wedding party arrived, when out of the blue, Bill was approached by a stranger on the church steps and received the bad news as described above.

Bill was stunned; embarrassed and silent for a few moments. He then said, ‘Can we come to some arrangement about this? ‘The bailiff replied, ‘Nellie is waiting for me down the road and she believes that you don’t have the money, but she is prepared to take your car as settlement. If you want to clear it up that way, I can relieve you of the car and the matter will be settled’. In desperation, Bill asked, ‘can you give me a few minutes to talk about this with my family?’ The bailiff agreed.

Bill had earlier borrowed two hundred pounds from Nellie Bell, a barmaid at the hotel where he boarded at Roma. She had discovered that he had left town and was intending to marry Elsie. The alarming, unexpected news motivated her to obtain a summons and travel with the bailiff from Roma to Brisbane. They intended to ensure that her money would not disappear, along with her capricious former lover.

Bill and Elsie had a quick discussion and Elsie, under duress, reluctantly agreed to sacrifice her most prized possession in order to save her man. It proved to be one of the worst decisions of her life.

They called the bailiff across and advised him that he could take the car, in full settlement. So Nellie Bell, barmaid, was satisfied and that would be end of the matter.

Elsie’s car had been lost, and although she had just discovered that her husband-to-be was a philanderer, she remained committed and the wedding went ahead, as planned. Elsie’s closest living relatives, her mother and sister, were present without knowing that Elsie was two months pregnant, which compensated her to some degree.

So much for the happiest day of Elsie’s life!

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