The Boydell Family

When the Grigsby's arrived in Dilkusha early in 1929, an Australian family was living downstairs. Faith describes how Mr Boydell took her mother to see the arrival of the Mongolian merchants' caravan (at the end of the Chapter 8 excerpts). She did not, however, have many very clear memories of the Boydell family, or know where they came from. Mary Taylor's book does not mention them. At last we know! Justine Boydell has also provided a few family photos.

Justine Constance Broughton Boydell writes (in March 2009):

My father was William Guy Broughton Boydell, great grandson of Bishop William Grant Broughton, first Anglican Bishop of Australasia.   And on the other side he was descended from George IV of England, through his "illegitimate" son, the Rev. John Jennings Smith.   My Mother would not speak of this because of the illegitimacy.   Then there is also a connection to Dr. Thomas Arnold the famous Headmaster of Rugby School in England and his son Matthew Arnold the famous English poet.   Sorry to blow our trumpet, but I am proud of my heritage.   My father was known to everyone as Guy Boydell although his first name was William.   He was a Scholar of Latin and Greek and a thorough gentleman whom I loved dearly.

He was educated (School Head Prefect and Captain of the football team!) at Shore, an old C of E school, although Bishop Broughton had founded The Kings School when he felt such a school was needed in the fairly new Colony of Australia.   However, it was situated at Parramatta and the Boydell family at the time lived within easy distance of Shore.   From Shore my father (incidentally my brother and I were raised to call our parents Ahpahjee and Ahmonee.  The spelling I believe was changed slightly for our benefit so forgive me if I refer to my parents as Ahpahjee and Ahmonee  henceforth.)

Well, Ahpahjee went on to Sydney University after he left school and gained a degree in Mining and Metallurgy.   His first position was in Queensland at a place called Gympie;  then on to Broken Hill in a gold mine there; and finally to Tasmania to another gold mine.   After his experience on these three mines he was offered a position  in either South Africa or Korea.   Fortunately, he chose the latter.  I do not know just when he went out to the East although I rather feel it must have been somewhere between 1910 and 1912.

As for Ahmonee......
She was the fifth child in a family of ten children. Born in Brisbane, Queensland on St. George's Day (23rd April, 1888). Always very athletic. Was an interstate tennis player in her prime; and inclined to rebel a little against her strict Victorian father. Very fond of her "dear little Mother". A very honest, loyal and upright woman. She was born Roi St. George Kemp (not a very female name), nevertheless in her youth she was known as The Gibson Girl, a well known beauty in her day. However, this did not detract from her being prevented by her strict Mid-Victorian father, Joseph Kemp, from travelling at a youthful age. She attended a boarding school for young ladies in the Victorian era where she did well and gained her A.Mus.A from the Royal London Academy of Music;  to escape from the watchful eye of her father, she took a position in the home of wealthy friends who owned a station property in the affluent Western District of Victoria. She became Governess to the young son of the family where she enjoyed quite a carefree existence. She married at 31 years of age; Ahpahjee was 38.  When Ahpahjee died in 1947 she packed up the house, came out to join me in Fiji for a short while, spent some time travelling around the islands, and then moved on to England where she spent 3 years, travelling around Britain and Europe. She lived to 101 years of age and after living with us for 7 years she spent the last five years of her life in a Home for the Elderly Blind. She was a bit of a Historian, very knowledgeable about the Royal families of England and Europe, She loved reading and doing crossword puzzles until her sight became much worse. An interesting and intelligent woman with a keen Scottish background.

Ahpahjee came out to Australia on furlough and met my mother (Ahmonee) and it wasn't until he returned to Korea that he decided she was the "girl" he would like to marry.   Of course in those days, he told me, it took 1 week at least for a letter to go across to Japan and wait for a steamer to Australia.   The voyage took about 4 weeks and then his letter would be put on a train from Sydney to Melbourne where Ahmonee lived.  So by the time correspondence was entered into it must have taken several letters and replies up to 6 weeks each way travelling back and forth each time.  So it was not until November 1919 that Ahmonee finally arrived in Korea for her marriage to Ahpahjee on November 20th.    They were married 3 times in the one day - the first wedding was necessary to satisfy the Japanese authorities that they were married;   for the second ceremony they visited the British Consulate and standing on the Union Jack (which Ahmonee thought was sacrilege, standing on the flag until she was assured that it represented British soil) they were married by the British Consul, Arthur Hide Lay - not sure of spelling;  and lastly that afternoon they had a Church ceremony before leaving for their honeymoon in Japan.  Upon their return to Korea, Ahpahjee took his new bride, fresh from the social life and comforts of Melbourne, to their first home at Tulmichung, where they lived on an American Mining Concession.    Here, my brother Charles Broughton Boydell was born the following year on 9th September.  

After several years at Tulmichung they moved further north to a French Mining Concession at Taiyudong;   and it was here that I, Justine Constance Broughton Boydell (18.6.1925), was born in rather unusual circumstances.   Taiyudong was somewhere in or near the Diamond Mountains; and one of Ahpahjee's duties was to travel still further north close to where the Yalu River separated Korea from Manchuria (or Manchukuo as the Japanese called it), mapping and surveying the countryside for his company.   My birth was expected at the height of the summer season in mid-July, so Ahahjee decided to leave on his planned trip in early June so that he could be home for the birth of his second child.   And so he bid Ahmonee a fond farewell and set off about the second week in June.   Because of the inherent dangers in the far north, he was obliged to take with him a veritable "army" of Koreans all (including himself) mounted on sure-footed Korean mountain ponies to cope with the very difficult and dangerous terrain - narrow mountain passes dropping down to river crossings and a slipped footing while up high could cause a fatal fall into the ravines below.   I'm not sure how the roads were in those days, or if there were any in the  country that Ahpahjee traversed.    There was always the danger of Chinese bandits and Ahpahjee has told me that on occasions when the bandits had pillaged and raped and raided small villages and homes he had come across people with ears and fingers sliced off and other attrocities.   So Ahmonee never knew when she would see her husband again, of IF she would see him again.   However,  the aforementioned trip was trouble free, but word came through to the Camp soon after Ahpahjee had departed, that Chinese bandits were approaching the Camp and everyone was warned to hide and take refuge somewhere in case of serious trouble.  So, Ahmonee (always a sensible and level-headed woman) sent for Dr. Kim the Camp doctor and together with him and Amah and my little 4-1/2 year old brother she climbed a hill at the rear of their cottage to where there was a natural cave hidden by undergrowth.    They used this as a cellar and during the hot summer months foodstuffs were kept there.    I am not sure whether it was due to the strenuous climb or the trauma of the whole occasion, Ahmonee went into labour in the early hours of the next morning and I was delivered by Dr. Kim, assisted by Amah so when Ahpahjee returned home days later, it was to find that he had a new baby daughter.

If ever I am asked where I was born I usuall say "Korea".   Sometimes I qualify that now by saying "North Korea", but when I have a captive audience (I occasionally am asked to give a talk) I delight in saying:" Well I was born in a cave (under the French flag) during a Chinese bandit attack on a place called Taiyudong in the far north of Korea, which was under Japanese rule at the time.   My parents were of Scottish and English parentage and my birth was registered at the British Consulate in Seoul and is now held on record in Somerset House in London."   I delight in seeing the confused looks on peoples faces!!!

Charles and I saw more of our amahs (at Taiyudong we had a big Amah, and a little (young) Amah in training) and therefore spoke more Korean than English.   As well we picked up quite a bit of French as our little playmates were all French.

When we moved to Seoul in 1927 we missed Taiyudong, but eventually settled in to life in "Dilkusha".  The Grigsby family lived in the top storey of "Dilkusha" while our family occupied the downstairs part.    My brother, Charles, and I used to spend some time with Faith, although she was a little older than us.  My brother was enrolled in and attended the British and American School, but I was too young to become a "student" so I played with my "best friend" Kanami, the gatekeeper's little daughter. Ahpahjee made three beautiful rugs which are in my possession.     Two are well worn and almost past repair, from when I was a young child,  but the third I cherish.   It is just over 6 ft x 5 ft. and features a pink dragon on a black background, surrounded by a border of large and small pink flower symbols.    He used to send to London for the wool and canvas and I believe it was his pastime during the cold winter months when at Tulmichung and Taiyudong.   They are superbly  made, very gracious and beautiful.  

In 2001 I was invited to join a group of 6 women, 4 of whom had an affiliation with Korea.   There were two sisters who were the daughters of the Rev. Noble McKenzie an early Presbyterian Missionary who was revered by the Koreans for whom he did much both spiritually and medically.  He and his family were based at Pusan and two of his four daughters (one a doctor and one a nurse) were instrumental in the formation of the Il Sin Hospital there.  Those two daughters have since died, and one with whom I had kept contact is now in a home with Alzheimers, although I rather suspect she too may have passed on.   (One member of our party had been a doctor at the Il Sin Hospital for 17 years, and the fourth was a Korean nurse, now residing in Australia).   We spent almost a month in Korea in the Pusan area and then onto Seoul where the then Professor Emeritus of Yonsei University, Dr. Horace Underwood, took me to see "Dilkusha".   I was saddened to see it in its present state and can only try to hold on to very dear memories of our time there.  Behind a group of rubbish jars - or were they full of kimchi? - I saw the 1923 foundation stone.   A lovely old home in a huge garden where we played under the magnificent Ginkgo tree which the Koreans in the village were allowed to visit to place offerings to their ancestors of food and wine at its base.  I remember (and have photos) of what seemed to me at the time a very long drive down to the gatekeeper's cottage.  In Springtime the drive was lined with cherry blossom trees (the photos show that).   I always regarded the gatekeeper's daughter, Kanami, as my very best friend.  She used to come up to the big house daily to play with me and my brother who was 4-1/2 years older than me. 

The Australian chapter of our lives commenced in November 1929 when we arrived on the "Nieuw Holland" in Sydney where our parents bought a home in Mosman, a Sydney suburb.    Skipping a few years, the War came fairly close to Sydney with Japanese submarines entering Sydney Harbour and enemy planes flying overhead.   Buildings were sandbagged and Air raid practice sessions became a common occurrence and some people built dug-outs in their back yards.   My brother Charles joined up and was, sadly, to lose his life in the R.A.A.F. just one week before VE Day.  For my part, I finished school, joined the Commonwealth Bank graduating to a good position in the Governor's Department before taking the bull by the horns after my dear father's death on 18/12.1947 and decidling to spread my wings and travel round the world.   I managed to walk into a job in the Bank of New Zealand in Suva which I reached by flying in an old Airforce Catalina (a journey of l6 hours which now takes 5 by modern plane).   I planned to move on to Canada and finally to Britain.  However, fate decreed otherwise for my path crossed with a R.N.Z.A.F. airforce man, Tom (Thomas) Tweed, whose determination was stronger than mine and he proposed and we were married 3 months later in an Airforce wedding - Reception in the Officers' Mess and the Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Johnny Checketts (a top N.Z. airforce flyer and ace, shot down once in the Channel and once over France with an amazing escape story and possessing more decorations than I can remember here) gave me away in a lovely Church ceremony (Holy Trinity Pro Cathedral in Suva) to Tom Tweed.

After a further12 months in Fiji we travelled to England via the Panama Canal and Tom worked in Yorkshire on the British Boys for British Farms Training Scheme.    By this time, our eldest son Craig was on the way, and as Britain was still in the throes of rationing etc., we decided to return to New Zealand via The Suez Canal.   Tom was posted to Ohakea Fighter Squadron air base, but we were not there for long before Tom received a call from the Australian YMCA to take up a position in Victoria as a YMCA General Secretary.   His work with the troops in the Pacific War and later with B.C.O.F. in Japan,  and also in Fiji had earned him the M.B.E. which was presented by Lord "Tiny" Freyberg at Government House in Auckland.

And now to end this long story - I have rambled more than I intendedl.   We were blessed with two sons and two daughters, all good children of whom we are justifiably proud.    Sadly, Tom was diagnosed with the dreaded Alzheimers disease in 2003 and after nursing him at home for 3 years it was finally necessary to have him admitted to full time top level care in a nursing home.   He died on 27th January, 2008.   In his lifetime he touched many lives and was a guiding light to many young men who never forgot him and the tributes that arrived at the time of his death certainly bore testimony to his enthusiasm and leadership qualities.

My parents were gentle folk and Charles and I had a strict but loving upbringing.   There were servants at Dilkusha for I can remember there was a cook, and a houseboy and of course Amah.  I well remember the solid massive granite front steps, for I have birthday photos taken on them..    I remember the name Bishop Trollope and believe it may have been possible that he baptised me, but of this I am not strictly certain.   Our home in Sydney was named Dilkusha after the one in Seoul.    Oh, and the dogs.   I believe they may have been left there by the Taylors.   In fact I am almost 100% certain that is what happened.