Aldam, Mary Maude
|Type of person||Individual|
|Date of birth||1873|
|Place of birth|| Willunga
|Date of death||1962|
Mary Maud Aldam, known as Maude, was born in 1873 at Waverley Park in Willunga, the third child of Thomas and Mary Aldam. She had five brothers and a younger sister Emily Charlotte, known as Lottie. In 1879 the family moved from Waverley Park to a property near the present Primary School.
Neither Maude nor Lottie married. They cared for their mother who became blind and died in 1937 aged 95. Mother never admitted to the fact that she was blind - she read the paper upside down and peeled the potatoes to almost nothing. Lottie eventually became quite deaf and she too was loath to admit it.
Maude was independent – she had a very strong sense of family tradition and pride – one of her nieces used the words aristocratic and aloof to describe her manner. She dealt with the baker who came to deliver the bread through the window – servants were servants! However, perhaps surprisingly for those times, the sisters preferred to be addressed by their nieces and nephews as Lottie and Maude, rather than auntie.
Maude gardened and clipped the hedges. She loved to read and draw – black cats on butcher paper. Maude didn’t like cooking so Lottie always did the cooking and shopping.
Maude seldom left the home. Her yearly outing was to the Willunga Show when her brother Frank was President of the Show society and Maude went to look over “Frank’s Show”. Croquet was played in front of the Aldam house.
Maude and Lottie Aldam left Willunga and moved to Unley when their property was acquired for the Primary School . Maude had both legs amputated and moved to a nursing home where she died in 1962 aged 89 years. Lottie died in 1972 aged 93. I never saw Maude, but have memories of Miss Lottie as a small lady with fine skin and auburn hair who always wore a hat and gloves and looked well groomed and neat.
In July 1947, while living in Willunga, Maude began writing about Willunga’s Pioneers, sketching the houses and adding maps and descriptions of the surroundings (see accompanying image). The legacy of local history left in Maude Aldam’s notebooks probably tells us more of the character of old Willunga than most official records. Copies are held in the Court House museum in Willunga.
Comment: Notes of a talk given by Ruth Baxendale, date and audience unknown. Ruth began by saying that she had asked Maude’s nieces [Janet Martin and Beth Rayner] to describe their aunt to her.