Month: December 2017

Jessie (Wilson) Williamson Ison – a troubled life

Our cousin Jennie Towan has written a rather moving story of the sad and troubled life of her great-grandmother Jessie Ison nee Wilson who was the fifth child and fourth daughter of William Sorell Wilson and Eliza nee Wilson. The full text of Jennie’s well researched story about Jessie’s trials in married life is attached below. Not only is it Jessie’s story, but it also certainly is the story of the difficulty which women generally in that era had in gaining the protection of society, and of justice. The law was clearly prejudiced against married women particularly – but form your own impression as you read Jessie’s story. A rather poor image of a young Jessie is shown here. Fortunately for us Jessie took the trouble to record recipes passed down from previous generations of her family, and we are able to pass them on once more. A word of warning though – for those of us fighting to hold our shapes these recipes are ‘dripping’ with some ingredients which just might go against that goal. Jennie Towan has retrieved a set of the recipes which Jessie used around 1900 era. Jennie can personally vouch for the German pastry (and apple pie) recipe which her mother used as does she – with the dripping (what’s ‘dripping’ I hear the younguns asking) replaced by margarine – Jennie, seen here, says...

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Madame Rosa Alba, acclaimed Concert Singer

On our ‘Honours’ page there is a story about a great grand-daughter of Bonnie William who achieved world class honours as a famed concert soprano, referred to as a concert ‘platform singer’ it seems, during the 1910s through 30s – both in Australasia and England. It was long believed that Madame Rosa had been an opera singer, but this has been shown not to be the case. She was known professionally as Madame Rosa Alba, named as was the custom then with noted soloists after an ancient member of the rose family – the Rosa Alba Maxima rose was known to be a favourite of the Romans. We show an image of the rose on the ‘Honours’ page – together with a full version of the recently discovered image which is confidently believed to be that of Madame Rosa Alba. Madame Rosa Alba was born Amy Ethel Boulter and was the grand-daughter of William Sorell Wilson. The full image is also shown below – note that it is obviously taken in a theatre, most probably a concert hall, and a bouquet of flowers rests on the parapet to her left – so perhaps the image was taken soon after one of Rosa’s performances. Where could it be we wonder ? Our cousin Jennie Towan has researched Melbourne newspapers of that era and has identified an interesting article and image...

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Albert Edward Wilson – Fortunes and Misfortunes

Albert Edward Wilson son of John Bowman Wilson and Agnes Eliza was born in 1861 on the goldfields of Table Hill, Kangaroo (now called Tarilta), near Guildford, south of Castlemaine. He married twice, firstly to Ann Absalom from a Mornington farming family and by whom he produced a family of eight children; then after Ann’s premature death he married Frances Ryan from Sunday Creek/Clonbinane, north of Melbourne, in 1899 at St Kilda. In the image of Albert we see here he presents as a fine looking young fellow. He had a rather eventful and tragic early life with several very sad events, particularly during the 1890s which saw the loss of two of his sons (more below), his wife Ann in May of 1996, followed in June of that year by the death of his younger brother Charles aged only 29. Earlier, in his late teens he was a member of the Snapper Point Football Club, and was to accompany the team to travel by a local fishing boat to Mordialloc and to return the same way later in the evening. En route home the trawler encountered a severe squall half way across the Bay and was lost with all hands including the entire football team. The local minister of the Anglican Church lost all three of his sons in this tragedy. Albert had missed the boat because his...

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Arthur and Edwin & Families – the Queensland Wilsons

Around the turn of the 19th century two brothers of the John Bowman family, Edwin and Arthur and their families, decided to try their luck in Queensland, and moved to Brisbane with their families. Hilda Brooks nee Troedson, a descendant of Edwin living in Brisbane, recalls her mother saying Edwin (seen here) suffered from a respiratory health complaint and his doctor advised moving to a warmer climate – that perhaps was the primary motivation for the move. We know contact was maintained between the Victorians and the brothers and their families up until at least the 1950s – our...

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