These memories were put together by Mrs Robin Seymour of Johnsonville, who was inspired to write them down after taking part in a historic walk in Glenside. If you have any photographs or memories of the Burden's the Glenside Progressive Assn. Inc. would be pleased to record them.
"Old Mrs Burden lived down Middleton Road in the 1960's on a huge tract of undeveloped land that reached right up to the motorway. She was a very private person and fiercely independent. She lived along with her cats in a ramshackle cottage way back from the road, surrounded by overgrown trees, bush and blackberry.
She always wore a hat with her white hair sticking out and she dressed in black. She really loved children. I believe she used to be a governess in Belgium before she got married so was really a very well educated lady.
My son John, aged 4-6 use to ride his trike up to the top of the street to meet her and carry her shopping home for her in the tray on the back of his trike. She used to reward him occasionally by bringing me freshly picked blackberries and sometimes apples to make a pie. Once she gave him one of her kittens, a ball of tortoise shell. He called her Fluffy and she was part of our family for many years. My children, along with the neighbours, used to build huts up in the trees at the back of her property, but if she knew, she never let on.
Only once did she accept a ride home from the shop in my car and then only because it was pouring with rain! The next day there was the inevitable container of blackberries on our front porch.
She used to terrify visitors. If they knocked on her front door she would come from the back brandishing her stick. If they dared to venture around the back, she would come around from the front waving the same stick. Somewhat off-putting!
As she had such an immense property she had often been approached by developers want to buy her out, but she replied vehemently that no "land shark" was ever going to buy her out!
One day in 1971, the milk boy, one of a large family who lived further down Middleton Road, called in on our neighbour. He was concerned that Mrs Burden's milk had not been collected for a few days. The neighbour rang my husband and the two men went down to investigate. She had died, poor soul. We went to her funeral at St Peter & Paul in Johnsonville.
We understood she had died intestate. It wasn't long before the developers came in. They demolished the house and cleared the land. The fires burned for seemingly months with the smoke and ash drifting up the valley and through our place. Housework was almost impossible but had to be done with greater frequency otherwise we would have suffocated.
There are about 30 homes on her land now and we are very glad that they gave her the honour of naming the area after her – Burdendale Grove."
The records of St Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Johnsonville advise that Mary Burden died on 25 June 1971 at the age of 83. She was buried at Makara on 1 July 1971. A niece is named as her next of kin.