Frank Hood was born at Glenorchy on the 7 Jan 1903 to Charles Andrew Hood and his wife Sarah (nee Bond). He died in the Royal Hobart Hospital of a heart attack and although his last place of residence was Spring Beach, Orford, he was buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart on the 14 November 1985 aged 82. His last will was made on the 1 April 1985 and probate was granted in 1986. He left his estate to neighbours at Spring Beach.
Said to be home-educated and taught to read by his sister Genevieve, Frank started his diary 1 June 1918 when he was 15 years old and living with his family on a property 'Glen Lion' at East Risdon (seemingly adjoined to T. G. Gregson's old estate) The last surviving diary ends around October 1983. The family moved from Risdon on the 6 November 1919 to Maria Island and then to "Wombat Park' Spring Beach, Orford in 1920 . They remained in the district for the rest of their lives and Frank,having little contact with the outside world, apparently spoke with the slow Devon-drawl of his English antecedents.
Frank acquired his own piece of land and lived in "The Shack" in the bush behind Spring Beach in a house visited by very few and containing boxes of records of his sister, his father and mother and himself. After Frank's death these records lay scattered and in vulverable condition in his house until rescued, but not before some had been damaged, lost, dipersed or retrieved by persons unknown. This accounts for missing years and gaps in the diaries.
Frank's diaries discuss the great topics of conversation - weather, religion and politics.They are also a day by day account of a life struggling with poverty and social and physical isolation and no formal education, but fully engaged with the environment, nature, and state and world affairs. It was as much an eccentric isolation as a forced one determined partly by the strong maternal influence of Sarah Hood, herself living a life far from the one she may have wished for. Both parents were educated and politically active in the newly founded Labor Party but through continuous moves; poor financial decisions and perhaps their own personalities and beliefs, became impoverished and were reduced to little more than subsistence living in many instances. The lives of their six children reflect strongly the choices and circumstances of their parents.
The family belonged to the then anti-Catholic Seventh Day Adventist Christian sect who worship on Saturday's "God's Sabbath"; believe in the Apocalypse and accept the Bible as the only source of their beliefs. They avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs; practice vegetarianism and believe a life of balance and temperance is the key to health and wellness.
Also dominant topic of Frank's diaries were his meteorological observations and cows. He had adopted a young Jersey cow called Juno in 1916 who lived 13 years till c1929. Her descendants were still providing milk when Frank died. He had a deep passion and attachmenet towards cows for the whole of his life. He became the official recorder of weather at Spring Beach from 1934, taking temperatures four times daily at 5am; noon; 3pm and 9pm and recording rainfall.
Most noticable about the diaries is the very eccentric handwriting which at first seems indecipherable, a type of secret code or short-hand but is more likely to have been the result of severe arthritis of the hands, which apparently Frank suffered as well as asthma.. Once accustomed to the abbreviations and the peculiar way of forming certain letters and numbers and with much patience the writing reveals its meaning. If one studies Frank's writing as a fifteen years old one sees more that his writing 'fell apart' as he aged rather than that he tried to obfuscate.
While Frank Hood's diaries form the major part of this collection, a miscellaneous selection of the papers of other family members have survived and some following biographical details help to give them context.
Frank's father Charles Hood was born 14 July 1862 in Adelaide, South Australia; the youngest son of Nathaniel Hood born Derby, England c1808; died in 1893 aged 85 in Lefroy, Tasmania leaving no will. The family were Church of Scotland (Protestant). Charles died on August 21, 1951 at the Royal Hobart Hospital aged 89 years. He married Sarah Bond (aged 22) when he was 23 on 21 October 1885 in the Coffee Palace, Launceston. While being well-educated, with good prospects and social connections he seems to have lost his way; his decisions making life difficult for his family. He was a poet and perhaps a dreamer. His personality is mentioned on page 7 of Genevive's diary - NS4313/1/ ... Charles Hood was employed as a stationmaster at Evandale between at least 1887 - 1891 where four of his children were born. By 1903 when Frank Hood was born the family were living at Glenorchy.
Frank's mother Sarah Hood was born c1862 to William Bond and his wife Mary Ann (nee Cornish) who had married in Launceston 19 Feb 1850 when he was 30 and she 23. Anne was a free person at the time but William sought permission to marry on the 28 January 1850 as he was a convist transported per the ship 'Cressy' arriving 30 Aprill 1843. A son William Bond was born 15 December 1850 in Launceston (RGD - Launceston births No 2967/1850). He lived in NSW and was a preacher in Leichardt. The births of later children, however, including Sarah, seem not to have been registered. Sarah's sisters seem to have been Annie and Lizzie (Mrs Thomas Saunders who lived in Western Australia and died 25 Oct 25 1949. Her daughter Joy Saunders was a teacher whose son Bramwell became a missionary - see letter NS4327/1/3 - 4 May 1952). Another brother was Frank Bond born c 1855 in Longford. Aged 25 he married Sarah Emma Cowburn, aged 19, of New Norfolk on the 9 Aug 1882 (RGD37/1882 No 787). Their children were George born 4 Jun1883 at New Norfolk; Basil born 16 March 1885 at Hamilton, Percival (Percy) born 29 May 1888 at Hobart (died on mainland) and Ernest (Ernie) Bond of 'Gordon Vale' in the Rasselas Valley born 26 Jul 1891 in Hobart. Frank Bond died in 1931 in his 76th year, his obituary appearing in the Mercury 17 Dec 1931 p12 as well as several other newspapers. Sarah Hood died at Spring Beach, Orford on 27 November 1952.
Frank Hood's siblings were Genevieve, Mildred, Inez, Alroy (Roy) and Hector. Sarah's first child ,Victor Charles, was born on the 2 Jan 1887 (no2190/1887) but died on the 21 Jan 1887 (no901/1887) at Evandale.
Genevieve Elizabeth Hood, the eldest daughter, was born at Evandale on the 8 Jul 1888 (No1476/1888 Evandale). She died at St Johns Hospital. New Town and was buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery 31 Dec 1965 aged 75. Genevieve suffered from headaches, tooth decay, "plain looks" and never married. She was a creative writer and illustrator who loved cats and strawberry cultivation - cross-breeding her own 'Old Orford' variety. A chronic chest weakness and then