Georgina Parsons was born in the ‘Batemans Bay bush hospital’ in 1939. Georgina presumes she was born in the ‘bush’ in the Hanging Rock area (Catalina) where her family lived at the time of her birth. Her sister called her ‘Coopy’ because she had a black curl in the middle of her forehead, like a Kewpie doll. The name has remained ever since. Georgina’s mother was Jessie Chapman and father George ‘Bimmy’ Parsons.
In 1921 when Jessie Chapman was 8 years old, government officials took her away from Wreck Bay where she was living with her family. She was taken to Cootamundra Girls Home; they cut her hair, so she looked like a boy. She lived in the home until she was 14 at which time the government had her do domestic work for white families. She made her way home, back down the coast, stopping with family along the way, meeting George Parsons in Nowra. She was pregnant at the time from her former ‘white boss’ and married George Parsons in 1937.
George Parsons was born behind the Eden wood chip mill, whilst George’s father, Daniel Parsons was a Whaler from Eden, living for a period of time at ‘Millards’ camp in Milton. Jessie Chapman was born in Batemans Bay and died at Nerrigundah, whilst she was working there. Jessie Chapman’s mother, Amy Hayes was from Lake Tyers, Victoria; Jessie’s father was William Chapman born in Moruya. Amy Hayes and William Chapman married in Moruya on the 18.9.1895. Georgina’s great great great grandfather was Paddy Haddigaddi; he was married to Sarah Haddigaddi and was shot in the Wallaga Lake area.
Georgina grew up along the coast including at places such as Hanging Rock and Catalina in the Batemans Bay area; Ryan’s Creek and Pedro Point in the Moruya area, and Congo, Kelly’s Lake, Meringo and Shelley Beach, where Georgina’s father made a bush hut for his family. In 1952 aged 13, Georgina moved to Wallaga Lake with her family where she attended Wallaga Lake School. With her mother and father, Georgina travelled along the coast between Eden and Ulladulla, camping at ‘main’ campsites such as Bingi, Mystery Bay, Congo, and Tuross. Pickers and growers would transport the family on their way to the next farm.
The family worked in the seasonal farming industry as well as saw milling. They picked peas at Nerrigundah, tomatoes at Bingi and peas and beans in Moruya. In 1955 George Parsons worked at the Dignams Creek Sawmill and the family worked at a nearby farm. Georgina recalls travelling from Nerrigundah to the Monarch Hotel, Moruya when she first turned 18. She was not served alcohol because she did not have an ‘exemption certificate’ or ‘dog tag’. As a result of the prejudices experienced at the public bar, Georgina returned to Nerrigundah.
Georgina Parsons continues to live in Moruya with her extended family.Excerpt from Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People, 2006. Story contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.