The story of a little boy’s handprint in the cement of a shed at 101 Bungay Road, Wingham has touched people’s hearts. Thanks to community input the sad ending to this tale has been uncovered.
Claire and David Redman, after trying to have children, adopted a little boy they called Ian David Redman. It was two-year-old Ian whose handprint was pressed into the cement in 1954. The couple also adopted a daughter Susan who was younger. The Redmans were well loved; David was a mechanic, builder and Rotary volunteer, while Claire was an amazing cook and involved in the CWA.1 After living at 101 Bungay Road for 15 years the family moved into a new house in nearby Rouse Street.2
In 1970 David died suddenly while attending a Rotary meeting. He was aged 50 years.3 Also at this time, Ian moved to Sydney to work as a technician with PMG (Postmaster General’s Department). He loved the ocean and body surfing and with his girlfriend Christine Gearie moved to Bondi in 1972. Christine remembers Ian as a fun-loving, handsome man who loved socialising, cars and motorbikes.
Ian often returned to Wingham on the weekends and it was one such weekend when a terrible accident occurred. On Saturday night 21 July 1973, Ian took his friend for a drive when they ran off the low level Bight Bridge (between Wingham and Tinonee) and plunged into the Manning River. His friend survived but sadly Ian drowned.4
Following Ian’s death his mother and sister left Wingham to make a new home in Canberra.5 Christine retained a close relationship with Claire and Susan. When Claire passed away in 2019, she was buried with David and Ian at Wingham Cemetery.6 Years later this little handprint enables us to remember the special people who once lived in this community.
Author: Janine Roberts
Thank you to Susan Redman and Christine Gearie for sharing their memories and stories of Ian.
1 Conversations with Gwendolyn Campbell, 21 April 2020, and Christine Gearie, 28 April 2020, correspondence with Lyndall Elliott, 21 April 2020; Ancestry.com Electoral Rolls 1949-1968.
2 NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 6520-132 and 6520-137.
3 NSW BDM, Death Index for David Stott Redman No. 17427/1970; Conversation with Susan Redman, 27 April 2020.
4 Information supplied by Susan Redman, Christine Gearie and Gwendolyn Campbell, 19-28 April 2020.
5 Newspaper article and images supplied by Lyndall Elliott (nee Webb), dated approximately December 1973.
6 Wingham Cemetery, Anglican Section.