by Jeremy Ward
In 2014, Jeremy Ward found himself the sole survivor of his immediate family. Intrigued by why he had not embraced the Christian faith of his parents as had his two sisters, and left with family records cluttering his study, Jeremy decided to write the story of his parents and their forebears. Dressmakers, Preachers and Cockies is the result. In part a response to his desire to record his family history, in part a search for meaning in his own life, Dressmakers, Preachers and Cockies tells of his mother’s family of McCulloch’s from County Westmeath in Ireland, his father’s family of Wards and Robjohns from south-west England, and his Italian great-grandmother from Gibraltar. Jeremy delves into this history, identifying themes of religious faith, commitment to family, and the importance of education and community service, as he searches for influences in his own life. He writes of dissenting Congregationalists, farming in the NSW Riverina, a family firm of dressmakers in Sydney, his mother as young Rector’s wife, his father as World War 2 RAAF chaplain, and a family connection with Joseph Conrad. Finally, Jeremy describes his experiences as a child of the rectory, attending boarding school and conscription into the Army before becoming a legal aid lawyer and disability advocate.