This is the tale of a young woman who – in her late teens – did a regular mail run on horseback from Kiah (about 11km south of Eden) to Green Cape Lighthouse and back over two days. Elsie Severs, born Elsie Davidson in 1904, the second last of eight children born to Master Whaler George Davidson and his wife Sarah, entered the world at her parents’ whaling station at the mouth of the Towamba River – just where it enters Twofold Bay.
Today the historic Davidson Whaling Station is one of the most visited destinations on the Sapphire Coast. Elsie’s dad George is best known for his incredible and unique relationship with the Killer Whale Old Tom, whose skeleton holds pride of place in the Eden Museum. Elsie’s childhood, amongst her seven siblings, consisted of carefree days roaming the unspoilt beaches and bush, fishing and watching out for whales in winter.
George had the contract to deliver mail from Kiah to Green Cape Lighthouse in the early 1920s and as a young lady, Elsie often took on the journey alone. Riding 26 miles (or 42 km) one way, the trip included riding through various remote properties and diverse habitats, crossing rivers and creeks and onto the Kiah Post Office to pick up the mail, before returning to the homestead (if you could call it that) “Loch Garra”. There she would rest up, eat lunch and feed her horse before setting off to Green Cape.
According to research by the family, Elsie arrived at Green Cape around 6:30pm in time for a meal before retiring for the night. The horses were stabled and fed overnight before Elsie was back on the move around 7am the next morning. Firstly back home, then back to the store to deliver what they’d received at the Cape. All round a pretty mighty effort for a young single person but it didn’t seem to faze this lady. This journey over Monday and Tuesday happened every week – rain, hail or shine.
Elsie lived long enough to celebrate her 100th birthday but died shortly after in 2004 – maybe her long life can be attributed to all those years living in one of the most unique and beautiful places in the Shire. We wonder if the current Light to Light Track follows in the footsteps of Elsie and her horse.