The White Cane Pram
For family historians, heritage is of great importance. Our heritage is not only about our ancestors. It embodies places, traditions, ceremonies and tangible 'things' from our past.
The value of things passed down from one generation to the next, cannot be measured in dollars. Their value is found in the continuity of history, especially of our own family history. Family heirlooms, no matter how big or small, come with rich narratives about past lives.
The pram in the photograph above right, was bought for my mother-in-law by her parents before the birth of her first child David, who is now my husband. The white cane pram was used by my husband David and his three brothers as babies. David is the baby in the photograph, pictured on the balcony of the family's first home at Ashfield in Sydney.
The pram moved with the growing family to a house in Concord West, where, with its big rubber tyres, and bouncing suspension, it walked four babies to the park to the local shops. The four baby boys in turn, were 'aired' as was the fashion in the back yard in the big cane pram. A mosquito net thrown over the pram provided protection from insects whilst outside.
After the big cane pram had finished walking these four babies and rocking them to sleep, it was passed on to other family members. Cousins, nieces, nephews and family friends added their own stories to the pram's history. The lovely big, white cane pram finally found its way to our home after the birth of our second child. By now it was dirty and damaged through much loving use. We had the pram restored to as close to its original condition as was possible and the big white cane pram began a new chapter of its history.
Many a night I rocked my daughter Rhiannon, to sleep in the old pram. Although I had a modern pram to take, more conveniently, to shopping centres, I used the old cane pram to walk my baby daughter to our local park. Because my baby daughter suffered from painful reflux, she spent so many nights sleeping in the big pram that it became her bed. The pram was more spacious than the lovely old cane bassinet which had also been used by my husband as a baby, and allowed me to gently rock my baby to sleep.
Once again as our family grew, the pram moved with us and became a part of our next child's life. We had a large back yard at our new home and the cane pram spent many hours outdoors with baby Siobhan watching me hanging out the washing or enjoying her big brother Hamish pushing her around the garden in.
Siobhan sitting in the big cane pram looking just like her dad!
After our fourth baby, Briallen, outgrew the white cane pram, along with the old cane bassinet, both now a fine old age of fifty years, it went to a new home once again. This time the cane pram was used for many years by a cousin to hold her precious collection of porcelain dolls and held pride of place in this home as well.
The beautiful white cane pram is now back at home with us awaiting a new and exciting chapter in its life. The birth of the pram's next baby will be our first grandchild. With new tyres and a new interior, the pram is eagerly awaiting the day it will once again be put to good use. The pram is 57 years old now and there is no doubt that it will continue to rock babies in our family, to sleep and take them for walks for many years to come.