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Ivy Elmer's story growing up in 

  Murmungee, Myrtleford , Beechworth

                                           She was a nurse for 55 years  1913 - 1968 and established the St Aidans Hospital (which is now a nursing home) in Thornbury Victoria


     My cousin Ivy Elmer born 1892? died 1982. She was the daughter of Samuel Elmer and Frances Jones.

She went to live with her Grandmother Mary Ann Jessup at Murmungee early 1900's.

In August 2005 I  re typed her story and put it on line for people to read 

        My Great  Grandfather James Jones 2nd marriage to Nellie Elmer, 

His daughter Frances Jones married Samuel Elmer (Ivy's parents)

My Grandfather George Jones 1st marriage to Harriett Elmer (see photo below) 


 I was given Ivy's story in about 1995. I have re typed her story  for easier reading. 

I have kept her words exactly as she wrote it but have omitted names of some family members 

who are still living.

 Kathryn Jones-Lucas  August 2005


Ivy Elmer's story

(In her own words)

Page 1


Great Grandmother Maria Adams died Norfolk UK 1891

Great Grandfather George Elmer born Norfolk? UK 1836 died 1883

Grandma Mary Ann Jessop was an only child. I don't know if her husband George Elmer

 was born in Norfolk or Denmark. His forebears came from there. 

I remember once she mentioned the Danish town of Elsinore. 

I think her husbands father may have come from Elsinore 

 In 1856 she aged 19 years and her husband aged 20 and mother came to Australia. 

  They settled in Murmungee. Grandma lived there until she died in 1917 aged 80. Her husband died in 1883 aged 47.  They had 13 children inc

George lived in Gapstead;  Eva (Mrs Thompson) lived in Murmungee;

John lived in various county towns, Elvina (Mrs Hardisty) lived in Wandirigong,

Nellie Lived in Murmungee (Ist husband Hamilton - Children William, Bell, Mary and Lizzie

 2nd Husband James Jones Children- Horatio, James, Percy, Vera and Ida


Sam (Father) lived in Murmungee had four children, Myself Ivy, Myrtle, Francis and Sydney

Harriet (Mrs George Jones) died 1902 children Lawrence, Rosie, Barbara and Maurice

Lily (Mrs Beel) lived in three Mile top of Buckland Gap.  Children- Willie, Clarence,

Joe, Molly, Ron and Lance. They later came to live in Melbourne.

James Lived in Murmungee had 5 children

Page 2


On the farm apart from the cows, there were fowls, geese, ducks, turkeys and some beautiful peacocks which never seemed to sleep. They strutted about at night spreading their beautiful tails and making a weird noise.  A fair amount of oats and barley were grown and stored in a large shed for the animals when there was a drought or severe winter. Also the usual dray and buggy.


In the kitchen there was a very large fireplace with a cross from which hung the boilers, kettle etc, a large fountain was at one side and there was always a fair amount of hot water. Also there was a wood fire stove at one side of the fireplace, a camp oven was often used, it cooked the food so well.


Some time ago I visited the museum at Beechworth and saw all the old familiar things. I wondered if some of them once belonged to my Grandmother. The old vehicles etc and often-wished Grandma had talked to us about her life when she was young. She had 13 children in 27 years; no doubt they lived the usual life on the farm. Lots of work and plenty of helpers.


They built the usual house of the day. Verandah, 4 rooms( 3 bedrooms and front room). The front faced the west. Also a similar place was built about  …Feet  from the back but facing the south. Instead of the usual two rooms in front it was 1 long room used as a kitchen the others 1 a bedroom the other a back house where the washing up and cooking was done. The only time I have ever heard the room called the backhouse was in a book I read written about life in the 16th and 17th century people going into the backhouse with the dishes) It was called “Bless this house” well worth reading.


I remember the table in the front room covered with a red plush velvet with a bobble fringe around it was where all her photos of the family taken when they were young, were arranged. They looked very healthy and nice looking dressed in the fashion of the day. It was our delight to look at them all and read the memorial cards with the sad verses, she received when her children and husband died. This was in the 1900 when we visited here, before we came to live with her permanently. (We lived in our own home with our father and mother then not far from Grandma)


One of my earliest memories is running out of doors and up the paddock in the early morning with a warm north wind blowing my hair and whooping aloud. I don’t know how old I was, not very old there was only my sister Myrtle  (twenty months younger) and myself in the family, two brothers came along later.


We lived with our parents in the usual house of the day. The kitchen was a large one built about 3 or 4 feet away. There was the outline of the house about 20 yards away where our Great Grandfather had lived. We use to play with our cousins the Jones who lived in the next paddock, part of the dividing fence was a hawthorn hedge which looked lovely when in bloom.  I was very fond of sugar and at every opportunity I raided the sugar tin and had my own little tin to share with my play mates but all that ended when we were caught red handed. I never attempted it again.


About this time there came trouble in our family, we didn’t know what it could be, but we went to our Grandmother’s to stay.  I don’t know how long we were there but when we returned home we had a brother. I remember one day a group of neighbours standing outside our door and hearing someone say “Queen Victoria is dead” also seeing some light horse. The soldiers had plumes in their hats and carrying lancets.  The only thing I remember about going to school at first was amazement and terror. The days passed as they do with children playing and being happy, most important for a child.  One game we liked ring a ring a rosy was a great favorite.  We clasped hands and moved quickly round and round until we fell over on to the lovely long grass. I read later it was one of the childish ones passed from generation to generation, originated I believe from a game the Fairy King.


Page 3

(Frances Jones and the house fire)

Our Aunt and her little girl came from Newcastle to stay with us for a time. It was a great thrill for us having someone from such a great distance away. I have never forgotten her slippers; a beautiful blue felt fur around the top. (Our cousins have forgotten her name) We use to play concerts, had a large box with a plank resting on it, up which we would walk, in turn onto the box and would sing our loudest.  She thought she was an authority on such things as she was beginning to learn the violin. I don’t know how old she was, older than we of course.  My sister and I spent hours making mud pies We shaped them and put them on a log to dry . Our main playmates were the Jones ( father James)  in the next paddock and our other cousins also Jones (father George) who lived a little further away. They went to Beechworth to live and we didn’t see them again for some years.


We had a couple of horses in our paddock . I remember seeing my Grandmother riding side saddle  when she went to Beechworth. I was put on a horse once but when I felt the hot hair and saw the long neck I screamed and said Its too ugly. I never cared for horses after that. However time passed playing and being happy. About this time we had another brother.  I remember an old friend coming to the house one day and telling us to go away and play.  When we came back we were surprised to see the new baby. I was 7  ½ years old. Sometime later maybe 12 months a child has no idea of time our father became manager of a gold crushing mill about 3 or 4 miles away at a place called  “Kneebones Gully”.  There was quite a comfortable house not far from the mill so we left our home in Murmungee to go and live there.  (Jim Elmer and family moved into our home)


It was interesting for us about 4 o’clock most days our mother allowed us to go and watch the great stampers crushing the quartz which poured down onto  great plates covered with quick silver, the gold was caught up in the quick silver and removed.


There was only four families living there.  One house across the creek from ours had a small bridge across it. We loved the fun of walking across the bridge.  Also to see the two girls of the family. We had further to walk to school and you were in trouble to arrive late at school. The teacher a very dour intimidating elderly scotch woman would close the door and keep the late comer out until she chose to open it. It was sadistic I think keeping small children aside in fear and trembling. I remember while we lived there we were given a holiday  when King Edward VII was crowned and a medal of red white and blue was pinned to our dresses. The commemoration was held in Beechworth with my mother and Aunt we walked there, the two small children in the pram.

I really think we were driven part of the way was surely we could never have walked all the way.  While in Beechworth we visited an Aunt Harriett (Mrs George Jones)  who was ill. Later on she came to stay with her mother in Murmungee where she later died the day her youngest child was 2 years old. She was only about 28 years old . She left four children they were cared for by her sisters. One Elvina took Rosie, Lilly took Laurence, Nellie took Maurice  and Grandma took Barbara.  A few years later their father George Jones  married Christina Marion Buchan. He took the youngest Maurice with him and the others remained with their Aunts.


The next thing I remember was my sister and brothers standing in our night dresses outside our house, which was blazing furiously, the flames seemed to touch the sky, we were frightened.UPDATE March 2011 Newspaper article found of the fire which happened in 1902


I can’t remember what happened after that but the next thing we were in the train going up to Myrtleford with our mother to her sister Lizzie, Mrs Charles Teakel (Elizabeth Jones. Daughter of James Jones). I don’t know how long we were there not more than a day or two I think.  One morning there was great confusion and our Aunt told us that our mother had left on the 7 o’clock train. We did not cry  we were just speechless and stunned. Our Aunt Lizzie got in touch with our father (Samuel Elmer) who was working away as the Millhad closed down.  He took us by train to Gapstead where our Aunt and Uncle George and cousins lived.  Then we walked to Murmungee to his mothers(Mary Ellen Jones) and brought the buggy back to drive us to our Grandmothers (Mary Ann Jessop)


When we arrived she and Barbara Jones were having their evening meal. She did not speak to us one word of sympathy. No doubt she was too upset. Dad (Sam Elmer) was distraught and began weeping so did we.  Poor dad it was a horrible day for us all. I don’t remember the rest of the day or the night.  The next day we were standing outside the gate and I was saying “they are going to send us to an Industrial home”. We didn’t know what it meant and we were very frightened.

However the next morning when we got up we were amazed to hear our mother had come the previous evening and taken my brothers Frank and Syd away with her to Sydney. She left us a beautiful doll each, mine had brown hair my sisters yellow. Hardly compensation fow what we had lost.


Thankfully we heard no more of the industrial home. Two children instead of four so it was wonderful of Grandma to take us as she was not young. Maybe in her 60’s. and she already had Barbara Jones. How fortunate we were to be able to settle down there quietly at last in pleasant surroundings with our Grandmother.


Page 4

(Murmungee School days)


Father was good to us in all the years we were there at my Grandmothers. He came as often as possible to see us and paid Grandma for our upkeep. In those days there was very little employment or oppourtunity for men or women so they were forced to go further a field. It was always a pleasant surprise for us to see him nearing the house mainly on horseback or walking. We owed a lot to our father and Grandmother and realized it more  as we grew older.  We gradually became use to our new way of life. We loved all the chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and two lovely peacocks spreading beautiful tails. Uncle Jim (Elmer) took the milk to the creamery at Bowmans Forrest leaving enough for our use to make some butter.  We use to put the milk in the churn and turn the handle until the butter came. Grandma loved her poultry feeding night and morning and wheat and maize. Also I had 1 cockatoo, magpie, doves, they had a dove-cot on a high pole and five compartments and a platform in front where they sat and coo ed. The cows came down morning and evening to be milked. Grandmas son Jim ran the farm for her. The garden and orchard we loved, spent hours there playing in the long grass and eating fruit when in season we were so happy in the garden orchard. On Saturday mornings we roamed the hills. The first thing we saw in the morning were the hills they were so beautiful, all the different colours,such sunrises.and sunsets. I never forgot the hills.


With our cousins we went to the small Murmungee school (it is now over 120 years old and comes under the national trust).  The school was used for Church, Sunday school,  and any social or dances. The highlight of our lives was the yearly Sunday school picnic held in November. How we prayed for a sunny day and were rarely disappointed.  Lots of us drove in a large farm wagon to the picnic ground about 10 am and came home in the late afternoon, so happy.  The school was one large class room and a long room at the back which had many uses, including a library.  We went to Sunday School every Sunday and enjoyed it very much, especially being allowed one book each week. We seemed to read at a fairly early age. Sunday school was from 2-3.30, church 3.30-4.30 for which we stayed when we grew older. I loved the singing (always happy singing around the house) it was also an opportunity for most people to enjoy a chat to people they saw weekly.


We were thrilled  when Grandma bought a gramophone His Masters Voice) the records were cylinder a large bell fitted onto a tripod was the first in the district. The neighbours came from all round to hear it.

Grandmas kitchen was a very large one.  In the winter we sat around the fire, Grandma in her rocking chair and we around about.  There was a sofa and a table at the fireplace end, and at the other end of the room was another table, dresser, chairs etc. Grandma moved to that end in the summer, it was cooler as the door faced the south and there was a large window on each side.  On one wall there was a very large picture of Queen Victoria and a smaller one of General Gordon.  We thought the Queen was wonderful, she always seemed to be looking down at us, also two large clocks one had a pendulum.


We leaned to tell the time early and am sure it was because of the large clear clock faces.  Later on every Saturday we cleaned the knives, dresser, mantle shelves and boots. The knives were rubbed on an old fashioned knifeboard; also the kerosene lamps globes were washed and polished.


When my younger brother Syd was brought back to us (I don’t know how old he was perhaps about 3 years) he was very unsettled and had forgotten us of course. I remember dressing him the first morning, he was such a dear little boy and I loved him and he was my special care.  I use to put him to bed, and lie down with him until he went to sleep, he was so upset.  He always held my ear and I stayed until the little hand fell away. I thank God to this day that I was never unkind to him.  Our Father came home to stay awhile until Syd was used to us again. We had been very worried about him.  Syd soon became very fond of the little chickens, ducks, and settled in quite well.  When he became older he was given a small puppy. The first night it cried and whimpered nearly all night until suddenly all was quiet.  In the morning I found Syd with the puppy cuddled up in bed, asleep.  I’m afraid it slept every night in the bed until it grew older. In those days dogs usually picked up poisoned bait and died.  This happened to Syd’s dog later on. His grief was terrible seeing the dog having fits and running towards home, he kept asking me to do something. All I could do was give an emetic, salt or mustard and water which had no effect, so the poor thing died. Another one always replaced it. He always ran to me for help. I remember one morning, he came running and screaming to me his dog had got caught in a trap. It is not easy to get them out as they get very savage when they are in so much pain, but I managed to free it so all was well.


Page 5

On Saturday we usually roamed the hills, we loved them, the spring was particularly beautiful, all sorts of wild flowers.  We soon learned not to gather too many as they withered quickly.  A special favourite was the small orchids, we called them spiders, one a plae green and one a glorious red.  Syd always came with us he was getting older but his little legs must have ached, poor little boy.  Later he and his cousin became great mates they were about the same age.  He was our Uncle Jim’s  (Elmer) son Roy.  They took the dogs and went hunting most Saturdays. There were quite a number of us going to school (Jones and Elmers) at this time.  It was quite cold in winter especially as we played in the ice that had formed in the ruts of the road.  The fireplace in the large school room was situated at one end of the room and the pupils desks were arranged one behind the other. The oldest children in front of the fire and the unfortunate little ones shivered near the door. They couldn’t use their chalk (Slates were used in those days) until their fingers thawed.  Such thoughtlessness on the teachers part, of course as time passed they moved up nearer the fire. 


I think there was about 30 pupils going to the school at this time.  We then had a male teacher as Miss Dalglish had retired.  Mr Williams was a very austere man, canes were used but I don’t think he used it very often. We really liked Sunday School especially the books and our nice teachers.  The books were mainly the Elsie books and such like.  One of my favourite books was “David Copperfield”. I remember David was born with a Caul.  I asked my Grandma what it meant  she was horrified and didn’t answer, perhaps she didn’t know.  I never asked her anything again. People were easily shocked in those days.  She hated us whistling or crossing our legs when we sat down.  A great pleasure was a sewing class (5 or 6 girls) run by a farmer’s young wife who lived about 3 miles away.  We made simple things for charity.  Was held every Saturday afternoon, she was so nice and gave us a nice afternoon tea.  We were very disappointed when owing to becoming pregnant was unable to continue the class. 


We liked Harvest thanksgiving Sunday.  The church was decorated with all the sheaves of wheat, vegetables, and fruit etc people had brought along.  I always remember going home from Sunday  School and church along the dusty roads and the shadow of the trees falling across the road. It was lovely time of day.   I never forgot those times although we use to count the marks of snakes which slithered across the road.  Rarely saw a snake alive, thank goodness.


With our cousins we sometimes went to Rose Creek (?) for a picnic, was a lovely spot.  The water coming down the hills, and everything so green. White and blue violets and maidenhair fern, also Clematis creeper grew all among the trees and shrubs.  All our pleasures were simple but we enjoyed them so much.  Our days were quiet and uneventful but we were growing older and I became quite useful to my Grandma.  Getting up early, (which I liked and have done so all my life) and making the fire and getting breakfast, long before I left school  and stayed home I rose early one morning a week and did the washing. I was pleased to do it.  I don’t remember Grandma visiting neighbours or her relatives not even her daughter who lived about 10 minutes walk away. 


Evidently she had never made a practice of it.  Her son drove her to Beechworth one day.  I can see her now, she was dressed all in black, a very nice dress and a little black bonnet(Like Queen Victoria wore in her picture.  In fact Grandma was not unlike her, she was short with a figure much the same) the bonnet must have annoyed her. It was a hot windy day and she had difficulty in keeping it on. However, when they stopped at the gate she threw the bonnet on the ground, never wore it again, but bought a nice little black hat.


I seem to remember the summer days more than the winter. The beautiful garden and in spring the grass up to our waists, rolling in it and going to school(about 1 mile away) and of course instead of walking along the road went through the paddocks and got our stockings full of grass seeds, took ages to pick them out. 


There was an exhibition in Beechworth of children’s work from surrounding schools, some of our own work was there.  With our cousins aged about 13 we walked all the way to see it, which was quite interesting.  Was a long walk 6 or 7 miles in and then the walk back but I don’t recall being tired or anyone complaining.  Another time we were taken by our Uncle Jim (Driven this time) to see an open air picture  (New Years Eve) was held in the Beechworth Park, the seating was an enormous rock pitted  all over, the holes making very comfortable seats, if they were hard we did not mind.  It was quite a sight the whole rock face was a mass of people.  To us the picture was very dramatic entitled “Asleep in the Deep” and was about the sinking of a ship with all hands lost  while the ship was disappearing a singer with a beautiful voice sand “Asleep in the Deep” was enjoyable to us but a little sad.

 Page 6

(Ivy leaves school and how they took out tonsils back then)


The time was approaching for me to leave school, I would soon be 14 now  1906 (I don’t remember anyone ever staying on after 14, begin at 6 and finish at 14 seemed to be the rule)


I left school with mixed feelings, I felt lost and lonely for a long time and used to go and meet my sister and brother. There was no one my age anywhere near. Of course I settled down soon and did all the house work, helped a little with outside work such as feeding the pigs, water the cattle in the summer, filled the troughs from a well(windless and bucket) we all helped at times to make stooks with the oats etc was fun really tying it in bundles and standing up 4 or 5 bundles to a stook. I often went to Jones’s to see my cousin Mary Jane (daughter of James Jones) she was older than I. She was very kind and helpful to me, she was very good at dress making and showed me how to make clothes and she came to Grandma’s often.  I liked to go and see Aunt Jinnie (Elmer), Uncle Jim’s wife, they still lived in our old home not far away.


She was good to us when Dad brought my sister and I material for dresses, she would make them, and well made they were.  In those days most people were able to sew.  They would fare badly if they could not make clothes for the family. Once Uncle Jim Elmer was in hospital for a short time (Beechworth) and Aunt Jinnie was going to visit him on the Sunday, was walking in (there was nothing easy in those days) was not able to drive.   It was a long walk she went in the am.  I was getting the dinner for my cousins.  She put a plum pudding on before she left and asked me not to let it boil dry.  What I didn’t realise was the water must be boiling. I was very careful and faithfully put water in cold. The pudding never cooked. A mistake never repeated.


Doing house work, washing and ironing etc, kept me fairly busy.  I remember ironing with a flat iron, sat them on the stove, or in front of a fire, until very hot. The next thing was a box iron , I preffered the flat iron.  In the autumn I use to go into the garden early and pick the apples and put them on straw on a shelf in a shed built for the purpose.  Grandma was busy feeding the poultry, turkeys and ducks. The turkeys were peculiar things they preffered to disappear up the paddock in the long grass and return again later with a lot of little goslings trailing behind. 


We spent most of the time together having lunch, etc. She wasn’t very talkative, and always been quiet, so I found it hard to converse with my Grandmother.  Aunt Jinnie was pregnant and one day she asked if I would help in the house as the baby was due at any time, of course I said yes.  An elderly neighbour was coming for the confinement. Mothers had to rely on them in those days if it was a difficult birth or something was wrong, the husband or someone had to gallop into Beechworth for the Doctor.


In this case everything seemed to go well. The neighbour (Mrs Ellen) stayed 3 days.  I did what I could in the house. Afterwards I celled to see her often, the baby was not progressing, when he was 3 weeks old he died.  I remember going home to tell Grandma crying all the way.


Long before this my Aunt Violet (James Jones youngest daughter first marriage) was married from the home.  I remember standing in the yard and seeing her coming out in her wedding dress. All I can remember was her little white satin shoes. She married an ellen and went to live not far from Auntie Nellie (her step mother) in a new house costing 200 0r 250 pounds to build it was said.  I used to go to see her in her new home the usual 4 rooms and built on kitchen.  I can remember very much earlier Bell Hamilton my cousin being married in the same house.  It was when we lived with our father and mother in our house about a stones throw away.  When  Bell visited her mother with her first son (W Kneebone) I thought he was wonderful. One day I was half carrying and half dragging him to our place.  I suppose I was about 5 0r 6.  Bell had such a lovely, kind, pleasant face.


 My sister and I always close, we did  everything together when possible.  She was soon to leave school, which was a pity as he was a clever girl, but there was no opportunity She was evidently subject to sore throats because my mother took me  for higher education that time or place.  We must have been healthy children.  My cousin Ida had her appendix removed when she was a very young child (Beechworth hospital no doubt). I remember seeing her sitting in a chair in their kitchen and wondering what it was all about. I was evidently subjected to sore throats because my mother took me  maybe before I began school, to Mytleford  to the Doctor.  I remember sitting in a dentists chair and having a Guillotine put down my throat to remove my tonsils. The Doctor patted me on the head and gave me a shilling for being a good girl and not crying.  Perhaps I was afraid too. I was about 6 or I think less. I don’t remember lying down after or how long we stayed at my mothers sister’s Lizzie (Elizabeth Jones - Mrs Charles Teakle). We children never seemed to be away from school because of illness. My sister left school and we shared the house work etc.


We went to a picnic at Three Mile and enjoyed it, although we walked there and back.  We went to an occasional dance at the school. Once Uncle Jim was milking the cows when we came home.

Page 7

( Ivy starts a Nursing career 1913 - 1968 which lasts 55 years)


Also some members of the Salvation Army came to the school, band etc was quite an evening.  I thought it would be very nice to be in the army.  These simple pleasures were few and far between.  Soon my sister went to Wandiligong  to Auntie Elvina.  It must have been a few years  2 or 3 when I went to Bowmans Forest railway station to see her (was on some sort of railway excursion to one of the country towns). I only saw her for a few minutes but was very upset, thought she was looking very thin (was a plump little thing when I last saw her) but of course she was older.  Sometime after that she went to Wangaratta and was taught dress making, she became a very good one.  My life was the same uneventful existence, everyday practically the same, peaceful and pleasant, no doubt but young people want more than that.


The years were passing and I began to feel concerned about my future. For some years I had been thinking about a nursing career, so at last decided that I wanted to do just that.  The next worry was speaking to Grandma and Dad about it.  I thought Grandma would be hurt and I felt guilty after all her years of kindness to want to leave, but I had to think of my future as well.


She still had her grand-daughter Nellie and children living no more than 10 minutes away.  At last I told my father and Grandma, she had little to say, Dad said I’d have  to do all sorts of unpleasant things and may not like it.  All this before, I had spoken to my father and Grandmother, I had to have a Doctors Certificate of health, Auntie Lil took me to Beechworth, was quite ok.  I was sorry about it, but felt I must go.


I had a fair idea what would happen when she passed on. As a matter of fact she died the year after I finished my training.  Poor Barbara Jones (George Jones daughter) died not long before Grandma from Typhoid Fever. I wrote to the Matron and later received a form to fill in, to my surprise about 3 weeks later a reply asking to report at the Hospital two weeks later.What a rush. Dad gave me 5 pound to get my uniforms (imagine how far 5 pound would go now) fortunately my sister made my uniforms and aprons, which made everything easier.  Now the time had come to go.  I felt excited and miserable at the same time.


I was leaving my brother, we were great friends, and I loved him very much.  He intended to join the Navy which he did about 18 months later I think.  The day I left home the rain simply poured down, My aunt Violet Jones drove me to Bowmans Forest station.  I was really sad at leaving everything and everyone.


When I arrived in Wangaratta I went to the house where my sister boarded and we had tea, after which I went to the Hospital and saw the Matron, was shown to a room which I shared with another nurse (Ball) we became very good friends.  I did not sleep much that night.  We were celled at 5.30 am, dressed, had a cup of tea and began work in the ward at 6.30. What s shock!


Everything was so strange, a different world altogether, wondered if I’d done the right thing. It was a few days (not forgetting the sleepless nights) before I settled down and loved everything about it.  We had an entrance exam in a few days. Failure to pass meant leaving the hospital. How fortunate I was.  We also had an exam every year and weekly lecture and bandaging.  I only remember one poor girl failing and leaving, only 1 year there, everyone was so sorry.  I soon loved my work, starting in a men’s surgical ward (although it stated in the form we received before going to the hospital) a nurse would begin in a female ward. Also our uniform would be free, neither was true, but it didn’t bother us.


The junior nurse did all the work in the wards, cleaning the lockers, and the floor which seemed endless.  The method of polishing the floor was by using a square of flannel covered with wax placed on the floor, then using a heavy block of wood with a long handle placed on the flannel and rubbed up and down the floor, then polish with a dry one. The result a shining floor.  It was awkward and tiring at first but with practice became easy as we became  more experiences nurses. 


The next intake of juniors carried on.  I was there a few weeks before helping a senior nurse to lay out a man who died about 9 pm.  I was very shaken and did not sleep all night. Gradually all those things held no terrors. We also had to attend post mortems, if we were on night duty we had to get up.  Not particularly liked but informative, some years later the practice was discontinued, no nurse attended an autopsy.  The nurse did 2 months night duty now and again then had two days off.  My first night duty I found rather  upsetting trying to keep awake at night and sleep in the daytime and different meal hours, but one gets use to everything.  I always remember the sunrise in the early morning so beautiful almost compensated for the long night.  Nurses also did some time in the infectious quarters.  We had 2 days off when leaving them.  Ordinarily we had 1 day off per week. If there was something urgent we stayed while were were needed. The hours were long but we were happy, sometimes when we came off at 9pm feeling very tired someone would say lets go up the street at once tiredness forgotten we would walk up to the main street.

 Page 8

We would perhaps have supper, not often funds would not allow such extravagance, we received 4 shillings and 2 pence per week the first year. Also we had to be back at 10 pm unless we had a late pass which was not given too freely (Till 12 midnight). Every year in October we had hospital Sunday.  We decorated the wards etc, and the public were allowed in 1-6 pm to visit and look over the hospital.  Collection tins were carried around by the nurses and some of the people who volunteered to help, was a nice enjoyable day for us.  The nurses had very few visits from relatives most of them came from Towns some distances away.  I remember only 1 Wangaratta girl doing her training at Wangaratta Hospital. I think 2 or 3 days a week was outpatients day, we had to take our turn weekly in the out patients department.  The buildings were built around a large courtyard, asphalt and a beautiful May tree in the center, beautiful when in blossom. 


On the north side male medical and surgical wards and operating theatre, sterilizing and instrument rooms and linen room.  East, The Outpatients Committee rooms, Doctors quarters, matrons rooms and dining room.  The south female wards, on the west Kitchens and laundries and further away  the mortuary.  The laundry was a large brick place with enormous troughs and boilers.  All the work done by 4 laundresses.  The nurses were allowed a number of uniforms ( Lilac colour) aprons,caps, collars and cuffs.  The stiff collars were very hot in the summer.  The summer always brought a number of Typhoid cases and very busy we were then.  The poor things had their hair shaved off, four hourly sponges and fluid diet.  They looked very thin and pathetic at the end of the illness and they went home. 


We were happy they were able to go.  I only remember one case dying.  About the end of a couple of years and we became more experienced we were given charge work of a ward which was great, also had complete charge of the operating theatre.  Apart from keeping all rooms spotlessly clean, was the sterilizing of all instruments, gowns, caps, gloves, and all gauze dressings needed in the theatre, also all dressings in the surgical wards and elsewhere.


A lot of off duty time was spent cutting up dressings.  I loved theatre work and did  a great number of years during my nursing career in the theatre.  The hospital grounds were beautiful I thought, wonderful old trees and shrubs.  On night duty I often ran out onto the front  steps for a few minutes to watch the sunrise and enjoy the freshness and beauty of the garden and grounds anytime after 4am summertime.


During my last year I went to the Beechworth Hospital to see my brother.  His pea rifle had discharged and injured his foot not badly, had to spend a few weeks there.  He was waiting to be called up for the navy.  When it eventually came he had to report at the Williamstown Naval base.  Poor boy, it was an undertaking for a young boy on his own.  From there he was sent on to Sydney.  I saw him at the Wangaratta Station as he passed through.  He had a cap on with HMS Tingarra across the front.  Eventually when WWI came they went to England and were stationed in the North Sea, he was on the Australia and the Melbourne, had his 17th birthday there.  They saw the German fleet scuttled at  Scaffe Flow.  Was a sad sight for everyone, a sinking ship always is.  When war ended he returned to serve in Australian waters.


 One of the important occasions at  Wangaratta was the show and we thought ourselves very fortunate indeed if we had the day off.  Was really great, lots of  country people came, it was nice to see the ones we knew.  I remember once when we were still at home, Dad arranging to meet Syd and myself in Wangaratta for the show. He was working in Bright.  We were so excited, slept very little that night, up long before it was necessary.  Went from Beechworth by train.  We had a wonderful day and came home next day.  Went as far as Bowmans Forrest with Dad, he went onto Bright and we got out and walked home, well satisfied.


During my training WWI broke out  (1914) many boys and young men enlisted.  We went to the station to see our friends off to camp at Puckapunyal.  Later the burning question of conscription  arose with some unpleasantness between the yes and no’s. Later  our great worry was the approach of the final exam to be held in Melbourne.  We stayed at the Victoria Coffee Palace  (now the Victoria Hotel ) in Collins Street.  The day after arriving we went to the Working Mens College (now the RMIT) for our written work, the following day to St Vincents Hospital for practical and oral work.  It was a long exhausting day, but they were all very nice to us  and provided us with a nice lunch.  The following day we had for sightseeing, very enjoyable, and the next day  we returned to Wangaratta to await the result.  Some days hopeful, the next sure of failure, a month before we knew.  How glorious to be successful.  I was sorry for one poor girl who failed , nurses who  failed were always allowed to sit again the following year or two.  What thrill to wear our sisters caps.  I had still 6onths to go before my years of training were up. I enjoyed every minute until the time drew near to leave.

Page 9

(Ivy talks about Uxbridge House, Wangaratta Hospital, Clevedon mansions, Winfield Nursing club, and men and women  "Doing the block" )


I left early in January 1916 with very mixed feelings, sadness, hope and sort of fear of what lay ahead.  I already had a position offered me at a large private hospital Uxbridge Hospital opposite the Exhibition Buildings Melbourne.  We had a small party the night before I left.  We vowed eternal friendship.  I only met two of them in years to come.  I received my hospital Certificate before I left of course.  It was a very hot summers day when I left, arrived in Melbourne in the afternoon almost bewildered, was pleased to see the old familiar cabs, so took one to the hospital.  It was very interesting but how lonely I was.  Had no friends or relatives.  After the war my Aunt Nellie came to live in Melbourne because her three sons (returned soldiers) got positions in Hampton.  My Aunt Lily Liza Elmer  came also for the same reason to live at Clifton Hill. Also my Aunt Jinnie and Uncle Jim came to South Yarra.  I made friends with the nurses and things improved.


Went into the city to pictures etc, something very new to me.  Uxbridge House  was  a large 2 storied building both medical and surgical cases also a number of children 6-14 with Poliomyelith which was rather prevalent at the time.  It was heart breaking to see the little things crippled in different ways.  After some months there I decided to move on, the matron was a peculiar person, very lax in paying the staff.  Sometimes the nurses had to ask for their salary, which was very distasteful.  The salary was 3 pounds and 5 pence per week, so one could not afford to wait for weeks.


I left there and went to Winfield Nursing club (Home), there were a good number of them in the city and suburbs.  Winfield was in Albert Street, East Melbourne, just opposite the Fitzroy Gardens.  There was a lot of nursing in private homes; anyone wanting a nurse rang the home.  While a nurse lived in the home she paid board, out a case ? paid a retaining fee about 6 shillings per week, I think it was.  Private nursing was very arduous.  The first one I went to was an advances tuberculosis case only about 22 years old.  So sad, lived about three weeks.  The next one a post operative one (cancer) should have been in hospital, a middle aged man frequently hemorrhaging, given as many doses of morphine as would relieve the pain, lived about two weeks.  It is pretty distressing but of course there were brighter ones with very little the matter, on the whole people are very frightened and worried with sickness in the home. 


Later I did nearly all specializing in hospital.  I worked practically in every hospital in Melbourne except the teaching ones, but I was on the staff for quite a long time at the Eye and Ear.  Also later at the Homeopathic, now,  the Prince Henry’s.  In years to come there was very little nursing done in private homes. 


My sister was married and was going to have her baby so I went to Wangaratta to see her.  While there I met the nurse who had the hospital where my sister had booked.  She said she would very much like a holiday and if I would come up and look after the hospital for her, my sister would not have any hospital fees.  My sister’s baby a boy (The baby Syd was the dearest little thing) was born about 2 days before I went up.  I stayed two weeks while Nurse Newton ( her niece trained at the Wangaratta  hospital when I did)  had her much needed holiday.  My sister and her husband and Syd went to Tocumwal to live some years later.


For personal and other reasons I did not enlist for service overseas until early 1918.  I was accepted and given information regarding uniforms etc, and where to have them made.  The well known grey uniform, red cape, white veil and cuffs.  Ball and Welch had the contract for making them. I remember being measured and told I was the thinnest nurse they had made uniforms for.  I was then quite healthy (Doctors certificate).  Some time later I received a large card OHMS telling me to hold myself in readiness for a call up, but the armistice was signed (some weeks later) so that was that. 


Melbourne was a happy and noisy city that night.  I was nursing a special case at Clevedon Mansions, now the Hilton Hotel.  We went into the city but it was so noisy and crowdered impossible to move so we came back.  Later the soldiers, sailors, and airmen began coming home.  Every time a boat came in, the city was crowded with welcoming people lining the streets.  My brother came back later, looking wonderful in his CP Officers Uniform, he spent a week or two in the Military Hospital in Caulfield before joining his ship.


Occasionally  between  cases nurses would take a few days or a week off, especially if the case had been a long  tiring one.  A popular way of enjoying oneself was what was called Doing the Block, walking from Swanston Street down Collins Street to Elizabeth Street, on the Australia Hotel side, up and down (2-5pm) wearing ones best clothes (both men and women).  Making appointments and having afternoon tea , a favorite café was called the Jyn Jyn downstairs a very nice tea and for a little extra had your tea cups read.  There were lovely dresses and lovely wearers also.  Collins Street was the most popular street, we mostly walked into the city from the nurses home in Albert Street, East Melbourne, opposite the Fitzroy Gardens , most enjoyable in the spring or really anytime.  I remember when the city was very gay for the Prince Of Wales visit.

 Page 10

( Spanish Influenza, Gretna Brae Hospital,  Dr Hendrickson and Dr Killmier)


The weather was freezing and heavy fogs. For 3 nights running it was so thick one could only see a few feet ahead.  We were in town for the 3 nights and would certainly have lost ourselves if we had not known our way very well.


A dreadful happening was the Spanish influenza epidemic following the war.  People just couldn’t realise it was happening, no previous experience of anything like it.  Scores of people were dying everyday.  The Exhibition Building was opened as a hospital.  I at once rang up and was asked to come at once if possible, when I arrived at the main gates, the guard would not let me in until he rang the hospital, then, I was given a pass to be used when going in or out.  I was given night duty in charge of a ward about 92 people; lots of other wards had similar numbers.  One felt almost helpless there was so little one could do.  The ambulance men were bringing them in, some dead on the stretchers, others almost as soon as they were put into bed, or some hours later. 


Of course some recovered.  It was always a shock coming on at night to find new faces in the beds.  A number of sailors were brought from the ships berthed from overseas.  Poor things they died alone far from relatives and their homeland.  The Administration was a great task, the catering alone was enormous.  There were scores and scores of people, Doctors, Nurses, clerical and dozens of others.  The dining room was one of the very large rooms.  Our sleeping quarters were in the building nearest to Nicholson Street, had been divided into cubicles.


The baths had 6 gas heaters; the pilot light was lit and turned into the container.  They were blown up repeatedly by people not knowing how to light them.  The maintenance men had plenty to do.  Thank goodness in time the number of patients began to ease off until at last the place was closed, the few remaining ones went elsewhere, some to the Homeopathic Hospital now the Prince Henry’s, so I moved there on the staff.


During the epidemic all places of amusement were closed.  The people gathered in great numbers in the gardens, especially on Sundays, very pleasant, as the weather was hot, and the bands played.  We used to go across the road to the gardens opposite.  There were still a good number of returned men in uniform there.  While I was there a sister whom I knew at Wangaratta and her husband also, came in and died a few days later.  From there I went to the Police Barracks which had been converted into a hospital.  There was still a great number of patients there, a good many were police.  The epidemic eventually came to an end and I returned to the nurses home, nursing in private Hospitals or on the staff.


Later I went to Northcote. A midwifery nurse had rented two houses and took the dividing fence away and registered them as one a maternity hospital and the other a medical and surgical.   They  were empty, she only had one in the first house, a male patient, and wanted me to set up an operating theatre in the second house, which I did.  It took some time to get beds, furniture and other necessary things, operating table, cupboards, table etc.  She did the midwifery and I the surgical and medical, mostly surgical.


There was a young Doctor just beginning and he was very good, sent all his patients there, in time there were others and we became very busy.  I worked sometimes from 5 am – midnight, nearly all surgical which meant long hours but I did not mind.  I was there about 3 years perhaps or little more, when I began to think of having a hospital of my own.  I spoke to Dr Hendricson who was quite keen( I had helped him with all his surgical work). He came to us when the hospital opened.  Said he thought he knew a very nice little hospital run by two women, 1 a midwife. One wanted to sell her partnership it was in Thornbury the next suburb. 


I went along to see it and was pleased with the appearance of the place, the garden looked so bright and not too big.  There were two elderly ladies and had been there for some years.  They were not trained nurses but one had taken advantage of a new law making it compulsory for a person who practiced midwifery, but was not trained, to register with the nurses board within a certain time. 


Thereafter it was compulsory to do a midwifery course of twelve months for those desirous of becoming midwives.  I bought the share of the one who wanted to sell and then she left, I moved in.  The name of the Hospital was Gretna Brae.  Dr Hendrickson was giving me his work, once again I had to convert a room into an operating theatre, and comply with the hospital regulations.


Nurse Long did not get a great number of bookings, we helped each other where possible.  I really loved the babies, we had about 50 per year only.  After a time several other Doctors had patients in the hospital so we had become very busy.  Dr Hendrickson was an ordained Minister as well and his friend Dr Killmier was a mission Doctor who had returned from China. I did a lot of surgical work and had some very interesting cases.

 Page 11

  (Ivy establishes St Aidans Thornbury and The Great Depression)


Nurse Long said she was getting very tired of the hospital and wanted to get away so I was able to buy her share.  When she left I was able to make some changes, changed the name to St. Aidans and later regretfully ended the midwifery section.  Only had medical and surgical.  There were good times and bad, one bad was the great depression.  So many people unemployed, hungry and wretched.  It was said people died of starvation.  I hope not.  Children going to school without food.  In Thornbury most people took as many children as possible for a midday meal.  I had 3 also, provided meat and vegetables for a family of five and paid so much monthly to the local appeal fund 13 pound.  Of course it affected the hospital as well.  Patients could not afford full fees.  I remember getting a small painting from one mother, was all she could do, but I felt sorry for her and appreciated it. I have it now.


I tried to make some work around the hospital for desperate young people.  One boy made some little wooden foot stools, another some trays, but was only a drop in the ocean.  Thank God it came to an end, hate to think of it now.


My sister had been married for some years and lived at Tocumwal, she had 3 boys, I loved them very much and was very happy when I was able to go up for a holiday.  Sister Malone took care of the hospital while I was away.  Later on they came and had a holiday with me.  Things improved somewhat after the depression. 


My sisters oldest son Syd was at school in Hay until he was 17 because of the depression, then he came to me and stayed 12 months when at 18 he joined the Air force.  When the day came I felt dreadful to see him go, went to Point Cook to do his training and was able to come home at intervals.  While he was with me, we use to go to the theatre( The Princess) and outings in the city not forgetting show day.  While Syd was at Point Cook the second boy Brian came to stay with me and go to school.


One place of interest to both Syd and Brian was the Eastern Market in Bourke Street, it had everything a child could wish to see, and a good second was Coles Book Arcade.  I use to like going throught it.  After Brian was with me War broke out .  Syd  left with the first group of Airmen, they landed in England the day before Christmas.  That indeed was a sad day for me when he left Melbourne to go to Perth to catch the transport.  Brian was still going to school and waiting for the day he was 18 to also join the air force.  He joined on his 18th birthday.  Was in radar division, stationed round the coat and PNG.  I missed him so much.  We thought the war would be over before oungest boy Rod was 18, but it wasn’t quite, he joined the AIF and after some training at a Military base went to Japan.  Thank God they all came back.


Meanwhile of  course we, Sister Malone and myself and partly trained nurses and a young girl who loved carrying trays etc(her mother was the cook) she was a dear little girl, so bright and sensible, 15 years old; had the usual busy life in hospital.  During the war the Doctors arranged that should conditions deteriorate and the Japanese come south, St Aidans should be a sort of casualty station.  We had a great stock of dressings, bandages etc. It was wonderful when it all came to an end.  All those poor men in prison camps, what a release for them.


 I often think of the happy days I spent up at Tocumwal when my sisters children were young.  As a matter of fact I had nursed her at home when Brian and Rod were born .  Was with her when Syd was born at a small private hospital in Wangarratta.  Was relieving the matron of the hospital for two weeks holiday.  To get back to Tocumwal it was a great pleasure to take the children for walks, a favourite one was along the levee banks of the river.  They were dear little boys.  I remember Rod being with me at St Aidans for a while had his tonsils removed.  When he felt well again he used to play cricket with his friends , run in and have his meal  then out again, such an eager little boy.


We had our trips into the city.   When his mother came to take him home he was so excited and telling her everything that had happened.  I realized then that he had perhaps been more homesick than thought, although happy as well.  When Brian was with me he loved the school holidays, going home for fishing.  Sometimes taking a school friend with him. I loved going up when I was able.  When Syd was with me he went into the city and was learning morse code.  We use to go to the theatre.  Of course both had their friends and I hope were happy, as happy as I was to have them.  Syd was with me I year . My sister and her husband sold their home in Tocumwal, built another. When Syd returned from England after some leave, was stationed in  Perth, later he married over there.

Page 12

Eventually I sold St Aidans after staying with my sister awhile.  I went to Cambrai Private Hospital in East St Kilda.  After 2 ½ years the matron sold the hospital to Mr and Mrs McDonald who lived in Torquay.  So I remained as Matron for 5 ½ years, when it was again sold to two nurses.  I almost immediately went to Alvena Private Hospital (later St Kilda Private Hospital) also in St Kilda, Chappel Street, a two-storied place for 50 patients 1958-1968.  I had the usual very busy hospital life with its ups and downs but also very happy.  Although perfectly well and capable at the age of 75 I thought I should retire after 55 years of nursing.  I did not readily accept retirement.  The important thing is to keep as active as possible when the inevitable happens, the sensible thing to do is prepare for it early.


Nursing 1913-1968.  55 years age 75 retired

Born December 11th 1892.  Will be 90 in 1982 if still alive


My father Sam Elmer died in St Aidans and is buried in Faulkner Cemetery with his son Syd.  My father had not been feeling well, so came to me, was early June and died end of July 1938. He was missed really very much.  I am the last of his family. He was 68 years old.

 My sister Myrtle had three boys, she died in July 1964 in Victoria aged 70 years.  Is buried at Springvale.  Her sons Sydney, Brian and Roderick.

 My brother Frank AIF married in Scotland, later returned to Australia bringing his wife and child, lived in Sydney, later in Adelaide where he died in 1975. UPDATE March 2011 He served in WW1 under the name Hartley Elmer

 My brother Syd (born 1900) after some years was discharged from the Navy.  He then joined the police force in 1922 was stationed at Melbourne, then Mildura, later Seymour, he died there aged 29.  He was married with one small daughter.

 Vera Jones is the last of Grandmas daughter Nellies family

Hazel Mrs Endicott and her brother Len the last of Grandma's son James family

 Clarence Beel the last of Grandma's daughter Lily's family


I,  Ivy Elmer the last of her son Sam’s family, all others have passed on.


Great Grandmother Maria Adams  Died 1891 aged 73?

Grandfather George Elmer  Died 1883 aged 47 (Update: I have been told it was 1885)

Grandmother Mary Ann Elmer Died 1917 aged 80

Her son Horatio Elmer   Died 1891 aged 24

Daughter Rose Elmer  Died 1893 aged 19

Daughter Harriet Jones  Died 1902 aged 28

Harriets Daughter Barbara Jones  Died 1914 aged 16.

Grandfather James Jones  Died 1908  buried Munyabla

Some buried in Beechworth Cemetery


Nearly 50 years after leaving home:


Some years ago I went with my nephew and niece Brian and Hazel) to Bright, Myrtleford, Murmungee and Beechworth.  In Murmungee we stopped at the gate leading to Grandma’s and our old home.  We went in for a while.  There was nothing of the old home to see; everything was sold after Grandma died. Only the land, grazing cattle and 1 or 2 trees and the outline of the old duck pond, but in imagination I could see everything as it was when we stayed and grew up there.  The pond which we thought enormous, quite close to the house and dairy, was just a very small outline.  The ducks swam there, but often when they felt they wanted something much larger, ran away up the paddock to Rose Creek, a beautiful spot, rushes along the banks and plenty of frogs in the clear water.

 Page 13  

They sometimes forgot to return so we had to go for them, as soon as they saw us they began to run home in Indian style (They were India Runner ducks, not misnamed).  We also liked the creek.  The watercress was beautiful and we brought lots back to eat.  We played around the pond often, washing our dolls clothes and often wet to our knees.  The enormous gum tree near the house, making lovely shade to play etc, were gone.  I recall when Uncle Jim (with plenty of help) use to kill and hang the pig over the lowest limb of one of the trees until it was cut up.  My brother could never bear the sight or the shrill squeals of the pigs, use to take his dog and run to the end of the paddock.  We liked the pork pies very much, jam, bacon etc.  I used to often feed the poor things.


There must have been underground water not far from the house, in earlier days someone  had dug a well only about 4 feet deep and about 2 wide and stoned the sides.  In the winter it overflowed a little, but in summer when sometimes there was a shortage of water, we could take every drop out and then the water would ooze round the stones and soon fill up again.  It was only a stones throw from the house, we carried the water home in buckets, were fascinated watching the water pour in again.  Also quite close, a long three rail wooden fence was covered in blackberries, they never seemed to grow out of hand.


Another thing I recall also in the beautiful summer time, we had 3 or 4 hives of bees in the bottom of the garden.  One had to be careful about running near the hives, when aroused they get angry and are liable to sting.  We use to rub the bluebag on when stung.  Uncle Jim use to rob them at night by smoking them out of their honeycomb hives into empty ones to begin the whole process again.  Of course they were left with enough honey to carry on. 


We use to eat the honey comb in great quantity until Grandma hung it up to strain in net bags.  The pure honey after keeping some for use was made into mead, we never drank it.  Sometimes it was very potent.  What an old English drink Mead is.


Again in memory I was in the kitchen cooking, sometimes on the stove and often using our camp oven.  Sat it on the coals in the open fireplace with meat and vegetables.  We then covered the lid with coals and left them to cook. They were really well cooked and tasty.   Everyone made Sunday tea a special one. I use to cook Victoria sandwiches and sausage rolls and lots of other things.  Was an evening for visitors to tea, We continued onto Beechworth, the road up the Buckland Gap had been regraded, not so steep as it was when we walked to Bechworth or to our Aunts at the top. 


It was an enjoyable walk; The trees making a lovely shade and the cicadas making a tremendous noise.  The Bechworth jail was as forbidding as ever, use to give us a feeling of dread whenever we passed.  I did not think Bechworth greatly changed apart from the tourist attractions, they were improved, caravan parks etc.  The museum was interesting.  The 4 wheeled buggy reminded me of the time, feeling very energetic, I painted ours, black of course with scrolls etc.  Painted on the wheels and body in green paint. 


There was a great quantity of newspapers going back years.  We read some of them.  There were gold licences issued to men, one was to a Chinese Ah Song who lived in a house in the paddock of our next neighbour.  A licence to buy gold,  to our Uncle Jim.  We then went home via Wangarratta.  I have been up there 3 times since and am looking forward to going again. (It must be nostalgia).  It seems as we grow older we look back to the days when we were young.   The magic of youth perhaps it may not be so for everyone, those chronically ill or dreadfully unhappy when young. 


One thing I and Vera Jones have always regretted was not going up to the Centennial celebrations at Murmungee some years ago.  I was thinking about St Aidans the other day (often do) and the people who bought it for an elderly peoples home. Is still there, and a very nice comfortable, up to date and very well run home for the old ones it is. 


Our Vicar (Mr Taylor) use to visit St Aidans often, in fact Mrs Taylor was a patient there for some weeks.  Our church was only a few minutes walk.  However before St Aidans was sold, I had seen an ad in the paper asking for anything to equip an operating theatre in a Papua New Guinea Hospital just started by the C of E Sisters.  I spoke to Mr. Taylor about it and he said he would make all arrangements. So we packed everything, gowns, gloves, masks, covers, dishes, bowls,some instruments, etc and they were taken away.  Some time after he said to me  “I hope you wont mind, I gave those things to St Georges Hospital, Kew, they were needed there”.  I didn’t mind as a matter of fact I had been on the staff there for some time an liked it very much.  Most of the staff were C of E Sisters.  There is a tremendous difference in the hospital as it is today compared with it, in those days. It was a great place then although.

 Page 14  

I  must bring this to an end but one more last thing.


In November last year (1979) Vera Jones and I went to Wangaratta for a few days.  One of our relatives Mrs Morris nee Kneebone (Nell) arranged everything for us; stayed at a Motel (so comfortable) we visited her, she was so kind, and her brother Sam Kneebone drove us to Myrtleford for morning tea where we met two other sisters and their husbands.  Had a lovely morning tea at Bell’s, a lovely home and met her sister Fay and her husband there.  Later we drove to Murmungee and had lunch in the grounds of our old school which is over one hundred years old and comes under the National Trust.  From there to Beechworth Cemetery and again saw the grave of our Grandfather, Grandmother and other members of the family. Uncles, Aunts and cousins who died between 1885-1917.


Back to Wangaratta, visited another brother D. and his wife at their property near Wangarratta.  Vera and I went back to our motel.  After tea two other Kneebone brothers visited us, we had a very pleasant evening talking.  Next day with Nell we spent the morning and lunch in the town.  Had afternoon tea at H. and his wife’s house. Next morning we had morning tea and lunch with Nell then met A. and her husband. The first evening at Wangaratta with some of our relatives we went to dinner  to B. daughters home, such a glorious one, the garden and fernery were most impressive. 


We met B, S, E,H,D and their wives, and sisters B,F and A while in Wangaratta.  It was wonderful for me, leading such a busy life. We came home very happy and appreciative of all the kindness shown us.  I really must close hoping to go once more to the old place I love to see. But I can’t expect too much considering my age. 


I have been very fortunate living so near my nephew Brian, his wife Hazel (my niece) and family. 


My nephew Rod  family.  They have always willingly done anything for me, if I wanted to go anywhere they were always there to help.


 I have visited my nephew Syd and his family and always made very welcome.


I would have been very lonely indeed without them all.


1980 Ivy Elmer



Photo of George Albert Jones (My Grandfather)  and 1st wife Harriett Elmer (Ivys Auntie)  with children Laurie and Rosey. Two other children Maurice and Barbara were born later. Barbara lived with Ivy and her Grandmother Mary Anne Jessop


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Murmungee School

(Photo from Australian Heritage Commission)

Photo State Library of Victoria 


Working Mens College (See page 8)

 Later named Royal Melbourne Technical College, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and RMIT University (Photos SLV)

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Beechworth (Page 8)


Coffee Palace Melbourne (page 8)

This building was located on the corner of King and Collins Street now Victoria Hotel


Uxbridge House (See page 9)

Homeopathic Hospital (then Prince Henry's Hospital) See page 9)

Homeopathic Hospital, St. Kilda Road. SLV photos

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Nurses at a stall at the Homeopathic Hospital fete (SLNSW photo)

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1st August 2005

Children of George and Mary Ann Elmer

Alice Priscilla 1856, George,  John 1865, Ellen Maria (Nellie Mrs James Jones),   Samuel ( Ivy's father) 

 Harriett Rachel 1877 (Mrs George Jones)  Lily Liza 1875, Rosetta Charlotte 1869, 

Horatius Christopher 1867, James Bloomfield 1872,

9th August 2005

I have made contact with Ivy's nephew Brian (Ivy's sister Myrtle's son) who is in his 80's.  Its good to talk to a person who has been written about in Ivy's story. Myrtle married Charles Deam and they had  three sons Sydney, Brian and Roderick.  

11th August 2005

Thanks to J.B.  for information

ELMER George d. 1885, Beechworth, age 50, parents Henry and Susan

ELMER Mary Ann d. 1917, Beechworth, age 80, father JESSUP, mother

In the index to Registers of Assisted British Immigrants 1839-1871 

George, aged 30, and Mary Anne, aged 19, ELMER arrived in Victoria in
Jun 1856 on 'Arthur the Great'. 

13th August

In Ivy's story she stated that George Elmer's family may have been  from Elsinore.

One of my Aunties was named Elsinore Jones. I will try and find out if this has to do with Elsinore in Denmark

20th August 2005

Thanks to Julie for these BDM look ups for Ivy's family ELMER

Child of Frances Elmer

Ivy Elmer born 1893

  Samuel Elmer marriage to Frances Jones 1894

Surname: ELMER
Given Names: Moses Saml Laurel
Event: M
Sex: M
Spouse Surname/Father: JONES
Spouse Gvn Names/Mother: Francis
Age Code:
Birth Place: VICTORIA
Death Place:
Year: 1894
Reg. Number: 3071

Children of Samuel and Frances Elmer

Ivy born 1893?

"ELMER","Myrtle","B","F","Saml","Fran JONES",,"","BEECHWORTH","",1894,"26554"
"ELMER","Francis Laural","B,Saml Moses Laur","Frances JONES,BEECHWORTH,1898,"751"
"ELMER","Sydney Lancelot","B","","Saml","Frances JONES,BEECHWORTH","",1900,"16407"

Myrtle Elmer marriage

Surname: ELMER
Given Names: Myrtle
Event: M
Spouse Surname/Father: DEAM
Spouse Gvn Names/Mother: Chas Alfd
Age Code:
Birth Place:
Death Place:
Year: 1917
Reg. Number: 3639

  21 August 2005

I found Frances Jones died 1944 Newcastle NSW.  (BDM records)

September 2005

Syd Elmers (Ivy's brother) Navy records online


15th September 2005

I have found our connection to the Kelly Gang through Aaron Sherritt to the BEEL /ELMER family


I got the inquest papers for Ivy's brother Syd's death