The Harland diaspora


With few Harland relatives in Australia (her only Aunt, Elinor pursuing her career overseas; and her grandfather William living in northern Australia), it was her mother’s family (the Maudouits) who provided the focus of family life.  And what a fun life it was.


Her mother’s close family, of nine girls and a boy, shared a full social life including holidays at country pubs managed by some of the sisters.  Get-togethers saw everyone working during the day and adjourning to the parlour in the evening for drinks, dress-ups, charades and a rollicking good time.


During this time, knowledge of the Harland family came through intensive correspondence. This was begun initially by Jack in letters to Aunt Elinor, Uncle Jack and Aunt Lilla; and then taken up by Pam, who continued to correspond with Aunt Elinor Senior in Bessbrook and Uncle Jack in Atlanta GA, USA.


Pam was a bright student with a well- developed social conscience, and was encouraged to have and express opinions on a full range of topics.  Conversation and debate were encouraged at home and Jack gave Pam a great grounding in terms of history, analysis and social responsibility.


While money was tight and there were few luxuries, it was an upbringing that was rich and rewarding and filled with love.


Pam matriculated from Mordialloc-Chelsea High School.  Her personal attributes were recognized at the school where she was elected Prefect and House Captain by her fellow students and appointed Head Girl by the staff.


University followed where Pam completed a Bachelor of Economics and Politics, excelling in her studies and going on to commence a Master of Economics while working as Research Assistant to the Dean of Economics and Politics.


While undertaking her Masters degree, Pam was offered a PhD place and tutoring position at Cornell University in the USA, a school known for its Labour Economics and Labour Relations.  But all these plans had to be changed when a fellow student from high school, Mal Sandon (16/9/45),  re-entered Pam’s life and a whirlwind 3 month romance followed.  


With Mal planning to return to studies in Canada, Pam headed to Vancouver to meet Mal on 1st May, at the expiration of her university contract; and a month later, on 6 June 1969, they were married in Vancouver.


It was a Registry Office wedding with no friends or family; but her father and mother, Jack and Lesley Harland, visited them in June 1970 to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.  During this visit the Sandons and the Harlands headed across Canada in a blue VW and tents.  It was the first time Jack had been in a tent since the War and Lesley had never camped.

Pamela  Maude  (Pam) HARLAND- Mrs. Mal Sandon

b.  5 August 1946

m. 6 June 1969





Pam was the much loved only child of Jack and Lesley Harland.  She remembers her childhood with great affection.



As well as offering a welcome retreat for the relatives, their home also played a significant role in Mal’s election to parliament.  In Australia, candidates for parliament must raise the money for their own personal election campaign.  One of the key means they adopted was to turn the top of the house or the downstairs verandahs into a restaurant and run “Sunday Lunch at Carrum”.  Being blessed with many friends who were fine chefs, they cooked the food, Pam and Mal provided the wine and their friends paid for their meal.  These were wonderful occasions and many of the lunches were completed in the dark.  While they no longer have the need for fund raising lunches, the Sandon’s can promise any visitors memorable and long lunches!!!!  Some things never change.


The family home was sold in 2005, it being time to downsize and move into a newer home with less maintenance and gardens, and more suited to the travel lifestyle they have adopted.  The sea views have gone but in their place they have views over the golf course and the guest wing is still available for overseas family visitors. The visit of Jan and Joe Loughlin from Kelowna BC in November 2008 was a bit hit with everyone,


In 1986, when Pam turned 40, the desire to travel outside Australia became a reality and the first of many trips to Europe took place, including a number of visits to Belfast and California to visit family.  Pam and Mal have travelled extensively since then and have also welcomed many overseas visitors – friends and family- to stay.


Since Mal left politics in 1996, they accelerated their travels and, just to keep their minds active and the bank balance topped up, they established a small consultancy business in the area of government relations.  While the business has all but finished, the love of travel continues to be refined - as does their love of wine.  The Harland Cellar was established in the late 90’s and has been added to regularly.  It is regarded as offering a real incentive to those overseas friends and relatives who are contemplating travelling to Australia!!!    When in Australia, Pam  is an active and interested Grandma who spends lots of time with her 4 grandchildren.


Then there is golf which is an essential part of life both while travelling and at home. Pam was never much of a sports-person, but in golf she has found her place, becoming a Pennant Squad member and reducing her handicap from 41 to 15, despite only taking up the game in her 50’s.


On August, 2006 when Pam turned 60, Mal organized a surprise party with a twist.  Having married overseas without family and friends they renewed their vows and exchanged rings in front of all remaining (and local) family and friends.  It was a night to remember, indeed a week to remember, in what has been a wonderful life.


On his visit in 1997 for Jodi’s wedding, Robin wrote of their house as follows:-

“…Their beachside house is a two storey wooden structure, white with a blue trim.  It seems to divide naturally into three parts, like Gaul.  The whole top of the house is a single T-shaped room, which has an open-plan kitchen, a dining area and a sitting room whose huge picture window looks out onto the ever-changing views of beach and bay.   When this wonderful space is filled with music from Dermod’s recent recordings, that sense of contentment is complete.  Underneath all of this, is an even larger living area, again complete with kitchen, dining and sitting room space, but with three bedrooms and an office to boot.  The third part is a granny flat at the very front of the house, where Paddy and I are housed, and we too have a complete living area, where we could be completely independent, should such isolation or quarantining be required.  There is a fourth dimension in the provision of a covered verandah at the front, side, and back of the house.  Finally, there is a garden where profusion is the operative word.”