Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

A Life of; {lsquo}We Grew Our Own Vegetables, We Had Our Own Chooks, Ate the Eggs and Ate the Chooks'

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

A Life of; {lsquo}We Grew Our Own Vegetables, We Had Our Own Chooks, Ate the Eggs and Ate the Chooks'

Article excerpt

Byline: DI MILLAR

Listening to Father Eamon Leonard recall the events of his full life is like taking a peak into the NSW North Coast's past.

Father Leonard was born in Ballina on September 2, 1922, and grew up on the family's two acre block "a couple of miles out of town on the Bangalow Road."

His was a happy childhood spent in the company of his older brother Tom. Even in the grim depression years of the late 1920s and early 1930s - when Father Leonard's dad Terrence lost his job because the local shire could no longer pay its workers - the family "was very lucky" to be on their own block of land.

Father Leonard remembers: "We grew our own vegetables, we had our own chooks, ate the eggs and ate the chooks. We had a house cow, churned our own milk, made our own butter and - of course - we had the horse and we had our own grass, too, for the horse".

When Father Leonard was a youngster he walked two miles to and from school. His secondary schooling was undertaken at St John's College, Woodlawn, near Lismore. Father Leonard then travelled to Sydney where he spent his first year studying for the priesthood in St Columba's Seminary, Springwood, and the remaining time in St Patrick's Seminary, Manly.

Father Leonard's role model was his Uncle Tom whom he had never met but who wrote regularly to his sister Mary Leonard on what he was doing - firstly as a parish priest in Perth and later as parish priest in the sizeable town of Albany.

ON November 30, 1947, at St Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore, Eamon Leonard was ordained into the priesthood by Bishop Farrelly.

Father Leonard's first two years were spent in the parish of Coraki that took in the towns of Coraki, Woodburn and Evans Head.

Here he had to learn to drive a car and Father Leonard chuckled when recalling that "mum and dad had a horse and sulky, my brother Tom had a push bike and I ended up with a motor car".

A transfer to Murwillumbah parish came Father Leonard's way in 1950 and he spent three years with parish priest Monsignor FitzPatrick and senior assistant Father Bede Parker under whom he learnt a great deal. …

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