Australian English Genealogy

Descendants of  Samuel Gilbert

Notes (Page 10)

284. Spencer Marcus Black

Note: Spencer (Ben) was an excellent blacksmith, carpenter and nurseryman as well as being a farmer. Ben's original blacksmith 'smithy' shed, which stood at the side of the Old Northern Road near his house, became a famous landmark, and in its later life it developed a very distinct lean to one side. Continual propping up and other measures taken to try to restrain the by now famous 'leaning shed' eventually proved to be wasted effort, as one stormy night the whole structure collapsed, landing in a heap of split bush timber, slabs and corrugated iron. The only part of the original 'smithy' left intact was a pit in the ground at the rear which served as a wine cellar. A new and very solid smithy shop was erected, this time further up on the hill about 50 metres back from the road, that served Ben's needs for many years. Ben Black's ability with his hands was wisely known and respected. He could forge horse shoes, plough shares, pronged hoes and many other farming tools as well as repair tools and adapt them for special circumstances.
His prowess in the area of smithying and carpenting extended to making cut and shut drays, cartwheels, wagons, carts and drays. His ability as a farrier was also well known. His smithy shop had an old style anvil, with hand pumped bellows on the fireplace. His farm 'Woodlawn' was known for its production of vegetables and later stone fruit, both for the Sydney area and for export. During the 1920s and 30s Ben was known as the 'Cabbage King'. In about 1970, the majority of the original farm was sold.