Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Safe in the arms of Jesus

Any family historian worth their salt has a collection of family photos and a high percentage of those will be of babies. I have quite a few, and fortunately most of the subjects are named.

I also have a collection of 'found photos', purchased at markets or on the web, and most of the babies in the collection are not named.

This week's Sepia Saturday theme photo is of a stock photo of a nursery with baby in a bassinet, mum (perfectly groomed and in control) reading a book, several soft toys on the furniture.

The matching photo I've chosen is not of a bassinet, it's not of a mother or story time and it's not of a nursery or politically incorrect soft toys. But it is of a baby. And he does have a name.

Glad with Allan  Phelan, Mitiamo 1927
Allan Phelan with Glad, two of his aunts and an uncle, Mitiamo 1927
Allan Phelan was born early in  1927, the third child of Roy and Annie Phelan. The family lived at Mitiamo, a small town in central Victoria. A local girl called Glad was employed to help Annie look after Allan and his two older brothers. These two photos of young Allan were taken in Mitiamo and they are the only photos we have of him. He died at the age of ten months of 'gastro', some sort of gastroenteritis that causes vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. These days it is rarely a fatal illness.

The Argus 1 Nov 1927
Allan was buried at Panoobamawm Cemetery (Pine Grove), a rural area east of Mitiamo where his mother lived when she was young.

I'm sure there are some happier stories over on Sepia Saturday's webpage.


  1. So sad, such a short life but so glad there are some photos of Allan.

  2. Babies bring joy and life brings heartbreak. A very poignant memorial.

  3. Thank goodness in this day and age we know about electrolytes and how important they are - especially to a young child or baby, but anyone, really. Today, should a baby suffer from what little Allan did, a Mom simply needs to go to the local drugstore or wherever, and buy a bottle of Pedialyte to hopefully keep the child's system properly balanced until the illness declines. Unfortunately, poor little Allan never had that chance.

  4. Poor little Alan."Safe in the arms of Jesus" is a comforting thought for the grieving family.

  5. When we see photos like this of a happy chubby-cheeked baby, and then learn that he didn't survive much beyond that time, it's always a shock. At least Allan has a burial place, but best of all he has a wonderful memorial in the form of your blogpost.

  6. Sad for baby Allan. Families had many children, but many had a very short life. My mother had a little brother who died as a small child. My husband had a brother who died from polio in the 1930s.

  7. Very sad. At least his family had photos and a memorial notice for baby Allan, and perhaps a headstone, compared with so many more who would have had nothing.

  8. I visit cemeteries sometimes to see how families have relationships there (sometimes differently than in life!) and am always touched by all the little lamb headstones. Many more children used to die early than do these days, and I hope that continues. The different relationships in cemeteries, I've concluded, are the ones the oldest survivors wanted to have depicted (size of headstones, lying in proximity) rather than perhaps who was most close to whom in life.

  9. I have a whole album of my mother's older brother who died during the influenza. He was only a little over a year old. Years ago I found his wee grave with the small plaque in the weeds The weeds had grown over it. I took out a cheap pair of plastic scissors I carried in my purse and clear the grass and weeds away so it could be seen. I imagine it's once again covered with weeds.

  10. Such a sad loss for the family, and with what would now be an easily controlled illness. I love that the photos have meant baby Alan's life is remembered, and I love how quintessentially Australian they are.


I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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