Monday, 18 April 2016

Oh My, Miss Mary Prince.

On Sunday, I was reviewing the information and sources I had for Harriett Helena Gill (1869 – 1953), her husband John Charles Prince (1855 – 1930), and their children. This led me to a very interesting find, but first, some background information for you. 

Harriett is my 3x Great Aunt, being the sister of my Great Great Grandmother Elizabeth Lucilla Gill (1867 – 1905). Harriett was born in the Macleay River area of New South Wales (NSW) in 1869. In 1891, she married John Charles Prince (originally from England) in Nambucca, NSW. They had 8 children together – Christopher, Mary, Louisa, Emma, John, Hadden, Alma, & Gladness. After their youngest was born in 1912, Harriett and Charles moved to Melbourne, Victoria with all but Christopher who had moved to Queensland. Charles passed away in 1930, and Harriett in 1955. They are buried in Box Hill Cemetery, Melbourne.

Which one of Harriett’s children is the focus of today’s post? Mary! Full Name - Mary Alice Helena Prince. Mary was born in 1894 in Macksville, NSW. She originally relocated to Melbourne with her parents, and is listed as living with them in the 1924 Electoral Roll for Victoria. 

Mary Alice Helena Prince listed in the 1924 Electoral Roll
for Camberwell, Kooyong, Victoria
[Source: "Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980",]
By 1930, Mary had moved back to New South Wales and was living at Little Billabong Station, near Holbrook and Little Billabong. She remained there until at least 1949; the last Electoral Roll I have found that has her living at Little Billabong.

Mary listed in the 1930 Electoral Roll for Holbrook, Hume, New South Wales
[Source: "Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980",]
Map showing location of Little Billabong Station
and NSW/Victoria border
[Source: Google Maps]
I was searching Mary’s name on Trove to see if I could find anything about a marriage for her. I did not. But I found a whole lot of something else! I was amazed. I was filled with shock, confusion, laughter, and intrigue as I read article after article. Which article do I show you first? I think this one…

Oh, Mary's suing...
[Source: ENGAGED FOR 21 YEARS—FIANCEE (1953, May 13). Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
In summary, Mary is suing John James McLaurin, a grazier at Little Billabong to whom she was engaged for 21 years, for breach of promise. Well, now I know why she lived at Little Billabong for so long! 

[Source: WOMAN SUES GRAZIER (1953, May 14). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954),
p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]

But wait, there's more!

They were even questioned about their kisses!
[Source: HOLBROOK MAN SAYS HE ENDED ENGAGEMENT IN 1929 (1953, May 15). Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]

This title is sure to grab anyone's attention...

Oh my goodness...
[Source: Breach-Of-Promise Suit (1953, May 15). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954), , p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
So what happened? What was the result of the court hearing? Mary was granted $1000 in damages for McLaurin's breach of promise. The result even made its way into the newspaper in Western Australia...

[Source: AFTER 20 YEARS SHE WAS JILTED (1953, May 23). Mirror (Perth, WA : 1921 - 1956), , p. 6. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
And that my friends, was my Sunday night discovery. I know I know, you want to know what happened to Mary after all that kerfuffle. I'm still figuring that out too! I do know she returned to New South Wales. In 1963, she was living in Castle Hill, Sydney, except her surname was now Lawson. In 1968, she had moved to Swansea, Newcastle, NSW. In both Electoral Rolls, there is no other Lawson at her address. I have not been able to find a marriage for Mary to a surname Lawson in Victoria or New South Wales. Did she really marry? Or did she change her surname for protection of a sort? Mary passed away in 1971 in Newcastle, and I am going to order her death certificate soon to find out.

Monday, 11 April 2016

National Siblings Day

Sunday was National Siblings Day. I have not posted a photo for the occasion yet...that is what this post is for! I have one sibling - a younger brother. He does not like it when I post photos of him on social media, so I shall be a good sister (for once?! Haha!) and respect his privacy. Instead, here are a few photos of some other siblings in the family.

1. My Dad & Aunt hanging about in their backyard in Sydney, New South Wales. Yes, that is my Dad in the tub. This photo would have been taken in the 1950's. 

Rub A Dub Dub, My Father's In The Tub

 2. My Great Great Grandfather Alexander Mackay (1856 - 1937) with his five children -  Alice, Eva (My Great Grandmother), Lottie, Archie, and Elizabeth. This would have been taken in the late 1920's/early 1930's, in or near Bowraville, New South Wales.

L-R: Elizabeth, Alice, Alexander, Eva, Lottie & Archie

3. My Great Great Grandmother Mary Frances Renfrow nee Smith (1861 - 1955) with 6 of her 7 children - Luther Marvin, Ernest Bascom "Bass", Roscoe (My Great Grandfather), Arthur, Frank & Launa. This was taken in the 1940s in Corsicana, Texas. Mary's third child, Lula, passed away in 1941.

L-R: Roscoe, Mary, Bass, Launa, Arthur, Frank & Marvin