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Letter from Marian to Peter Haycraft Dibdin at the time of
Lionel and Cecily’s premature death in a plane crash.

20 Bruce Street Toorak

April 10 1933

My dear Peter

It is hard to write when I could have so much better shown my sympathy f I were near. When you were a baby, I had been through a great sorrow & went to see you all.

Your dear Father took me by the arm & walked me away round the garden & spoke in his old immutable way to me & comforted me as I had not known to be comforted before. So now I feel as if was still here & as I know he is with you in spirit – urging one be brave & go on as he did. I think he was finer for his brave clean spirit than for anything else. The night before he was married I remember him saying that it was good for a man to know he had ancestors behind him it helped in difficult times. He made a speech that I have never forgot – with all his so called erratic character he had an intense fine character and high ideals. More at home know the last ten years of his life I have missed but I know him best as a boy and all his brave struggle against ill health & medical neglect. I think too his heart was nearly broken when Stanley died but he had a sure faith & belief that helped him to carry on. He may not have left you material wealth but he has left you a wealth of happy memories and your mother’s faith & love for him. I need not worry for Joan - I know she has so many dear relations & friends, but my dear boy, as I found your Father closer to me than anyone at times of terrible so keep Joan’s closeness to you. She needs you to be that one she can always hold too –

You won’t be able to write yet awhile but after your lives have readjusted, keep in touch with a word now & then or a snap or something even a post card. Good luck to your work I wish Uncle Joe were in England, He could have helped you most of all.

My love to you behave & be happy too, your dear mother would wish it. I knew & loved her since we were girls

Ever your loving Aunt Marian

The day I left the Studio after Uncle Paul left for Australia, your mother & Father stayed with me all day & looked after me. I never forgot her kindness. She was a real sister to me & I loved her & will always love her for it.

Note: At the time of this tragedy, Joan was 13 years old and Peter 20. Sadly because of inadequate wills the estate was cleared, the house ‘Avondale’ sold and Joan shipped of to Aunt Edith in Saltburn. Peter lost his position is his Father’s property company and had to make his own way in life. Both lived under Public Trusteeship until 21 years old.