It?s just like a miracle
By EMMA CORNFORD
WHEN Esther Doyle moved to Grafton with her husband in 1938, she put her wedding photographs in an old, wooden ice box and kept them underneath the house.
Six months later she went downstairs to get the pictures ? only to find them transformed into a pile of sawdust after they were attacked by rats and mice.
It was The Depression and there was no money to replace them, so instead of dwelling on the loss, she simply got on with life and accepted she would never see her wedding pictures again.
But three weeks ago Mrs Doyle, now 93, had one of the biggest shocks of her life.
"I cried, I really cried," she said, relating the story of seeing a copy of the photograph for the first time in almost 70 years.
One of Mrs Doyle's daughters, Maree Burrows, said a cousin who is researching a family tree came across the photo at a family funeral.
"I got an email from her telling me she had seen a picture of the wedding and wasn't my mother a lovely looking woman," Mrs Burrows said.
"I freaked out because I'd never even heard of the picture. Mum had never told us what had happened. I wrote back to her 'send it ? quick!'."
The next night at around 10.30 Mrs Burrows checked her email.
There, in her inbox, was an email with the picture attached.
"As I opened it, it really reminded me of magic the way the image was appearing ... bit by bit," she said.
"I screamed, laughed and cried all at once ? the neighbours must have thought I was going mad.
"It's so exciting. It's a wonderful thing for the whole family. It's just like a miracle. I know that's a cliche, but it's true."
As she looked at the photograph yesterday, Mrs Doyle was drawn into history.
She related the details of her fine outfit, ordered all the way from a Sydney dressmaker no less, and what the day was like.
Following her wedding, which was held at Lansdowne, Mrs Doyle and her new husband, Pat, were supposed to head to nearby Taree to have photographs taken of the bridal party.
"But it was one of the really dreadful storms," she said.
"They had to take it there on a box camera," said another daughter, Alma Bailey.
"What makes it even more of a bonus is that Grandad is standing there in the background."
Mrs Doyle said she just could not get over the fact that a picture had turned up, 75 years after it had been taken.
"Mum said the other day that she had lived all these years without a copy, but now she's on her last legs it's turned up," said Mrs Bailey.
"We just never, ever thought one would ever turn up."