Objects of love and longing: Documenting objects connected to Lebanese ancestry and family immigration history- Anne Monsour

 

Through images and stories, this ongoing project aims to preserve the knowledge and life of objects for future generations, add another dimension to the Australian Lebanese story, and consider how objects can connect us to the past through the memories and emotions they embody.

This is a handmade tablecloth made by my mother, Laura Saady. Laura was born in Bechmizzine, El Koura, North Lebanon. In 1929, she came to Australia as a young bride with her husband, Assad Saady who was from Kfar Hazir, El Koura, North Lebanon. They came first to Sydney and then moved to Goulburn, NSW where I was born. I believe the tablecloth was made during my mother’s early years in Australia. The centre piece is linen and then all over hand crochet. Considering the size of the tablecloth and the fine work involved, it would have taken time to complete. Laura learned the skills used to produce this tablecloth from her mother. This is a family treasure that will be preserved for the next generation. (Anthony Saady)

 

 

It was Melbourne 1955 and an international event in which various cultures were participating was being held. My father, Joseph Adam Rahme, asked my mother, Etour, to produce a Lebanese Flag to be used for the Lebanese Community’s contribution in the Exhibition. There wasn’t one available and screen printing wasn’t easily accessible by migrants back in 1955. My mother being a dressmaker and very proficient in embroidery was asked to make one with 24 hours to spare. Nothing much has changed, we Lebanese are always doing things at the last minute! I remember her telling me that she sat up all night, beneath the light globe working on it, in order for it to be ready in time. She also told us that at the time she had just been to the Dental hospital to have most of her teeth removed, as she had some kind of gum disease. So I can just imagine her sitting up all night in her pain, working diligently away. (Petronella Fakry)

 

This chair was in our home among the furniture brought out by my Great –Uncle R.D. Arida. The brothers, Joseph Dominique Arida and Richard Dominique Arida were from Bsharri, Lebanon. They came to Australia in the 1880s and by 1887 had founded Messrs. J. & R. D. Arida, Merchants of Charters Towers and later established a chain of stores across North West Queensland. Joseph eventually returned to Lebanon but Charters Towers was Richard’s definitive home. This classic, antique wooden chair was handcrafted and has intricately designed inlay patterned wood and mother of pearl. Beautifully crafted, it is functional and stylish. (Yvonne Carrigan)

 

 

 

Made of hardwood, perhaps iron bark, the jirrin has an iron band welded around the top for strength. My grandfather, John Isaac used it to pound the meat for the kibbeh he would make. His daughter, Monica, told of how he would call out from the back of the house, “Girl, get me the flayflee(chilli)!” When she brought it, she would always ask him not to put in too much. (Antonia Simpson)

 

 

 

 

 

This antique necklace was handed down from my grandparents, Jonas and Mary Malouf. Mary told my mother that it was from the Red Sea area. Mary and Jonas arrived in Australia with their two young sons, Nicholas and Michael (my father), in 1889. This necklace is a beautiful link to my grandparents and my Lebanese ancestry. (Pat Malouf)

 

 

 

In 1924, on a return visit to Lebanon to see his family, Abraham Selim Mellick married Leinda Malick. These hand-carved, wooden shoes with mother of pearl inlay were brought to Australia in that year when Leinda came to Innisfail, North Queensland as a young bride starting life in a new land. They had leather straps which have perished but the shoes were not worn and, despite their age, are a beautiful reminder of the family’s Lebanese origins. (Thelma Mellick)

 

 

Members and their families are invited to share images and stories of special objects. If you wish to do so contact the ALHS at: mail@alhs.org.au

 

 

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