The lake boathouse - childhood's pleasure playground
The lake boat house - childhood's pleasure ground
Johnstone & O'Shannessy & Co, Collins St, Melbourne. Photographers. 1903.
Sargood family album 1903.
State Library of Victoria Collection.
Rippon Lea Estate
'The lake boathouse - childhood's pleasure playground' is the evocative caption on this photograph from the 1903 Rippon Lea album.
In her memoirs, the Sargood's eldest daughter, Clara, tells of the fun she had with her three brothers, Freddie, Norman and Percy, in the first garden at Rippon Lea in the 1870s: "From bare paddock and surroundings under the guiding mind of Father, the garden began to grow, trees were planted, lawns laid down and soon there was a croquet lawn, on which we children fought many a game of croquet; if we could get no companion it was immaterial, one person could play in tum with all the balls, taking sides quite impartially."
The children were educated at home by an Irish governess, Mrs Ferguson, but every free moment was spent on activities in the garden - bird nesting, fishing and endless games. Clara tells us of how in the summer the Sargood children were encouraged to occupy themselves: "We had our rabbits, pigeons and gardens, from the gardens we sold our poor little vegetables to Mother who always gave us praise for our labours."