Boasting a passion for history, Steven and Ellie Moe have collated the stories of the original Blackburn family members to settle in Coonabarabran.
‘The Blackburns of Coonabarabran’, which was published in July, is the result of three years work researching John and Margaret Blackburn and their 12 children.
As the great-great granddaughter of John and Margaret, through their fifth daughter, Grace Blackburn, it has been a project close to Ellie’s heart.
As with many pioneers, Ellie said the Blackburn family embodied the spirit of hard work, perseverance and faced many trials with great resilience.
“John and Margaret had 12 children, but lost some to early deaths - one at age 3, Alice, who is said to have eaten poison thinking it was a sweet. Another, named Alfred, died of diphtheria,” Ellie explained.
“Their son, Ernie, was an amazing man, who had a childhood disease (possibly polio) and lost use of his legs, however, he ran a successful farm, could ride a horse and had a Model T Ford modified so he could drive it using his hands only.
“He only died in 1968 so people in Coonabarabran may still remember him, as during his lifetime there were a few articles published on him and his amazing accomplishments in overcoming his disability.”
The Moe family live in Sydney, where Steven works as a lawyer and Ellie cares for their four children - Shanna, 7, Ayala, 5, Isabel, 3, and Isaac, 4 months.
They visited Coonabarabran and the Blackburn homestead in Easter 2014 in order to make some key connections.
“We were only here for three days, but it was an absolutely wonderful and enriching experience,” Ellie said.
“We met Joy Pickette, who gave us hoards of information on the Blackburns, and we were able to visit the Blackburn farm at Warkton where John and Margaret are buried, as well as my great grandmother, Grace.
“It was very special and really brought the characters to life for us.
“Through this book, our hope is that the memory of John and Margaret Blackburn and their children are kept alive for their many descendents.”
Ellie said they were satisfied with the final product, but recognised there may be other stories, letters and photos relating to the Blackburn family that has not been included.
“We would welcome any such information for a future edition of the book and can be contacted at email@example.com.”
The Blackburns of Coonabarabran is available to purchase from the Coonabarabran DPS Local and Family History Group (next to Bakery).
Ellie Moe, pictured with her daughters Ayala, Isabel and Shanna, visiting the gravesite of their great-great and great-great-great grandparents, John and Margaret Blackburn, in Coonabarabran last year.