Monday, May 2, 2011

The White Cane Pram: a Family Heirloom.

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 items 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 - a precious gift from my mother in law. 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 which was more convenient to take to shopping centres, I used the old cane pram to walk my 
baby to our local park. Because my daughter suffered from painful reflux, she spent 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 our 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 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, enjoyed the white cane pram, along with the old cane bassinet, both now a fine old age of fifty years,

The beautiful white cane pram is now 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 this treasured family heirloom will continue to be used by babies for many years to come. 


  1. I wonder what happened to my cream cane pram! I guess my mother passed it on to some cousin or other.

    Oh how I wish my mother was a bowerbird like me!

    I still have my children's first pram down in the garage - it is only 38 - but is one of those metal English ones with a smart navy hood and big wheels. I used to push my first two kids everywhere in it but when I got my Mini-Minor there was no way it would fit in the boot - the pram was nearly as big as the car!

  2. Thankyou Geniaus, for your lovely memories... my mother-in-law has just informed me that this pram began its life as a cream pram also but was later 'restored' and to her dimay was painted white. I loved it though. Not good for fitting in car boots however.

  3. I've nominated you for the Illuminated Blogger Award