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and Belle was a woman of small stature barely reaching four feet eleven inches. Notwithstanding her diminutive size she was capable of carrying out hard work.

During Jack’s frequent absences, she chopped the firewood for the stove and oven and presumably for the washing copper; she also milked the house cow daily.

The Blakes ran a very open house welcoming distant family members especially children on school holidays; her nephew Cyril Lovegrove lived with Jack and Belle while he worked for Jack, as did a friend, Laddie Buchanan.

Jack Blake's dray and team of horses

Jack started in the carrying business running a horse team mainly carrying wool. In due course, he bought a motor carrying business operating out of Cassilis; he ran this business until 1961 when he sold out and left Cassilis. Jack’s 1912 Republic truck, one of the earliest solid rubber tyred trucks in Australia, after passing to the Hensley Carrying business, was finally donated to the Gulgong Museum where it could still be seen in late 1995. Jack and Belle went to live in retirement at Birmingham Gardens, Newcastle. Jack and Belle’s daughters were living there at that time and son Reginald followed suit a few years later.

Jack Blake’s "Republic" Truck

Belle suffered a loss of hearing in her latter years and also had the misfortune to lose a finger; she endeared herself to all who knew her, and especially to her children and grandchildren who in 1995 could not speak too highly of her.

Jack’s retirement was a short one as he died quite suddenly on 26 Sep 1965; Belle stayed on in their Birmingham Gardens home until about 1977 when, due to failing health, she lived with either daughter, Joan or Patricia until her death on 3 Aug 1985. In death Belle and Jack lie together in the Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle, NSW.

Reginald John and Mary Therese Blake (nee Ford)

Reginald John Blake was born at Merriwa Hospital on 5 Jun 1921, the first child of John and Frances Isabelle Blake(nee Lovegrove) who were living in Scott Street, Cassilis at the time. He was baptised by Father W E O’Reilly on 15 Jun 1921, Michael Blake Senior and Sarah Margaret Burgess being his sponsors.

Reg was educated at the Cassilis Primary School before entering the workforce at the age of about 14 years; his first job was with his Uncle Leo (Tinny) Blake as a station-hand on ‘Cassilis’ Station.


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