The obituary of Sarah Jane Wadmore in the January Passing of the Pioneers prompted me to find out more about a booklet she co-authored for the Portland Centenary in 1934, the Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance. I had previously read about it in newspaper reports from around the time.
A Google search led me to the State Library of Victoria website and it was pleasing to see it has been digitised and is available online. I was even more pleased that ggg grandmother Margaret Ann Diwell (nee Turner) was among the pioneering women of Portland as well as some of those I have featured in Passing of the Pioneers.
The booklet begins with a forward from Alice Frances Moss, a pioneer of women’s rights. She was the first President of the National Council of Women of Australia and Chair of the Victorian Women’s Centenary Council.
After an offering of appreciation to pioneer women, there is the story of Mrs Stephen George Henty, the first European woman at Portland, to whom the booklet was dedicated. She is often called Mrs Stephen George Henty, but let us call her Jane (Pace).
There are the recollections of Mrs George Godwin Crouch (Marianne Trangmar) spanning from 1840 to 1917. Then, a list of “Worthy Pioneers” compiled by Sarah Jane Wadmore. Included is one of my favourites, Rebecca Kittson (Mrs William Lightbody) and Mrs Fawthrop, Jane Rosevear, wife of Captain James Fawthrop the life boat captain.
Following is the story of Mrs Richard Charlton Hedditch and further on a letter she wrote on Christmas Day, 1848, to her parents in England. Another woman often referred to by her husband’s name, she was Rachel Forward Read.
After some local poetry, comes “Belles and Beauties of the Early Days”. Those included are Misses Henty, Learmonth, Trangmar and Herbertson.
Finally is a list of Portland’s Pioneering Women. Women born or living in Portland prior to 1864 were eligible. This is where I found Margaret. The Diwells lived in Portland for about five years from the time of their arrival on the Duke of Richmond in 1852.
Margaret appears as Mrs William Diwell and her daughter-in-law, Frances Webb, is also listed as Mrs William Diwell. Frances just scraped in as she was born in Portland in 1863 to John Webb and Margaret Smith, who is also listed. This is a useful list as some entries have notes and maiden names.
The photographs in the booklet are of Mrs Jane Henty, Mrs Marianne Crouch, Mrs Janet Laurie, Sarah Jane Wadmore and Mrs Rachel Hedditch.
The booklet also comes as a Archive CD book and is available from the Genealogical Society of Victoria.