The broken hearts behind a little gravestone
THE heartbreak of losing a child has never softened over the ages.
With vaccinations, better health and medical care, the main difference in this day and age is it is not as common as it used to be.
This was the experience of James and Alma Browning when they lost their beloved Madge Merle.
The Brownings were dairy farmers at Webster's Creek, Nimbin, when their daughter Madge was born in 1917.
Just three years later they were burying their child whom they descibed as having a "dear little face".
She was buried at East Lismore cemetery after her death on April 11, 1920.
Each year her parents and grandparents sent in a different poem to the newspaper to express their loss.
"We dream we see your loving little face
"And kiss your still, cold brow.
"But in our aching hearts we know
"We have no Madgie now.
"Plead for us dear Madgie,
"As we strew your grave with flowers,
"And ask of God to cheer and bless,
"This lonely home of ours."
This poem was inserted in The Northern Star a year after Madge's death by her parents and sisters, Ina, Heather, Mena and Grace.
The Brownings sold their dairy herd two years later.
They sold a top-class herd of 49 milking cows and two dairy bulls, along with other cattle and dairy equipment.
The family moved to Wadeville.
References: In Memoriam, The Northern Star, April 11, 1921, Page 1; Important Clearing Sale, The Northern Star, November 13, 1922, Page 1; Austcemindex.com, webpage, accessed January 9, 2017.