Monday, 5 November 2012

Yarram continued

I wrote in my previous post Y is for .... Yarram that I had received a copy of this photo from New Zealand of two girls named Miss Bessie and Miss Kate.  No one knew who they were though.  It was at first thought that one of the names was Annie but too many opinions were definite that it said Bessie.

Recently I made contact with Kim who sent me some information about the families at Yarram which had been researched by her grandmother over the years.

Woohoo this information confirmed my theory!  The girls in the picture were in fact Elizabeth Ann (known as Bessie) and Catherine (known as Kate) Lawler.

Kim's great-great  grandmother, Alice Francis Kelly, was the first cousin of my great grandmother Mary Agnes Morgan.
Alice was the daughter of John Kelly and Mary Ann Francis.

The witness at Mary Morgan's wedding (left) show Bessie Lawler's signature in 1887 with a bit of a fancy tail on the first S, (perhaps a medial S as in old fashioned writing) and below at the wedding of Alice in 1900.  Only a small difference in the signature after thirteen years.

Alice's mother was Mary Ann Kelly nee Francis.  She was the daughter of Mary Kilroy and Thomas Francis. When Thomas died Mary Kilroy remarried Fenton Lawler (often spelt Lalor).  Elizabeth Ann and Catherine aka Bessie and Kate were their daughters; so half sisters of Mary Ann Francis.

Bessie started at Melbourne University in 1889 to study nursing.  She went on to become a much loved nurse in Yarram, conducting the Kilroy Private Hospital on the corner of Station and Rodgers Street.  The original building is now a private residence.


  1. Oh wow. I know the house you're talking about. I never knew it used to be a hospital but it makes so much sense that it used to be 'something' back in the day.. Nurse Lawler really was very much loved here in Yarram, and people still remember and speak of her with a fondness that has come down through the generations. She clearly had quite a positive impact. I'm not related, sorry, i just came across your blog in some results whilst doing a google search for something else, and being into history I just had to have a read. Good luck with your research!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm happy that my blog is showing up.

  2. Fantastic researching Kerryn and such an interesting story. How clever of you to sort out that handwriting, especially the "fancy tail" on the first "s". phew... I never would have worked that one out!