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Monday, May 28, 2012


The art and sport of roller skating was very popular in Australia during World War I, and Daphne Mawbey was one of the local darlings of the rink.
One of her first public performances, at age 14, was made at the Sydney Hospital centenary celebration held at the Exhibition Building in November 1911.
There she won the title of Best Waltzer.
In July 1914, she was doing demonstrations of fancy skating at the Royal Roller Rink at the Agricultural Grounds in Sydney.
This rink was the largest in Australia with a 60,000 sq ft skating surface.
In March 1917, Daphne Mawbey was demonstrating 'her power over the wheels' on opening night of the Centennial Rink in Perth.
An article in The Daily News, Perth on Friday 30 March 1917 said Daphne was the professional figure skating champion of Australia.
In August 1917, she was featured in a large advertisement in the Western Mail newspaper in Perth for Hean's Essence, a treatment for coughs and colds.
The ad described her as 'Australia's Premier Lady Roller Skater'.
Daphne Mawbey b.1897 was the second youngest of the seven children of George Mawbey (2), the younger brother of John Thomas Mawbey whose wife and three of their children were murdered by Aboriginals in 1900.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tombstone of George Mawbey (2), son of George Mawbey (1), English forebear of the NSW Mawbeys, and younger brother of John Thomas whose wife and children were murdered by Aborigines at Breelong, NSW in 1900.
Image Source: Australian Cemeteries Index

Buried with him are his two sons, George (3) [Jack] who was present in the house at Breelong on the night of the murders, and Norman who died when he was 26, a year after he married.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The beauty of coming to Australia as a convict was that detailed records of personal appearance were recorded.I have just found the physical description of convict William Mawbey who arrived in Port Jackson (Sydney) on the Woodbridge on 27 February 1840.
A butcher by trade, he had been convicted at Surrey Quarter Sessions for stealing a cloak on 1 January 1839 and sentenced to seven years transportation.
His Certificate of Freedom granted on 4 May 1846 when he was aged 31 gives this detailed description of him which is not particularly flattering:
Cast inward in the right eye. 
Two scars top of right side of forehead. 
Lost two front teeth left side of upper jaw.
Dimple in chin.
Mark of a burn back of left cheek.
Raised mole lower part of left side of neck.
Scar betwixt the forefinger and thumb of left hand.
Grey eyes.
Dark brown hair mixed with grey.
Complexion: dark pale.
Height: 5' 61/4"
Year of birth: 1809
Native place: Surrey
William Mawbey was the older brother of Henry Mawbey, the founding father of the Victorian Mawbey family.
After regaining his freedom, he married in Sydney and then went and lived in Melbourne with his brother.
William was the same age as George Mawbey who also came from Surrey, but I have not found any evidence of any family connection between them.

Monday, May 14, 2012


English-born watercolour artist, Conrad Martens, was in Sydney at the same time as George Mawbey and his young family.
Martens arrived in Sydney in 1835 and made his living doing watercolour paintings then lithographs of local scenes.
In 1851, after George Mawbey had moved west to Dural near Parramatta, Martens sailed to Brisbane from where he travelled back to Sydney overland, painting as he went.
In 1833, he had been engaged as a draughtsman on HMS Beagle and had formed a life-long friendship with fellow traveller, Charles Darwin.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Yesterday I found the teaching records of my paternal grandmother, Mary Ann Mawbey, at State Records NSW. She tried teaching for a short time in 1885-86, and then went back to it in 1891.
Her first teaching experience was at Jiggi Provisional school located north of Lismore on the NSW Far North Coast.
She was appointed on 6 November 1885 but resigned, without giving any reason, from 30 June 1886.
When she returned to the teaching service, she was placed on probation at Summer Hill Public Infants in Sydney.
She then had to pass three qualifiying exams before she could be admitted to the teacher Training School.
After struggling to pass the first one, she then passed the other two and went on to pass the entry exam for the Training School, although she did not gain a scholarship.
She was then 'removed' to Stanmore Public Infants, not far from Summer Hill.
It appears her performance was not satisfactory because she was then instructed to 'act' as a teacher ('acting teacher') at one place, and then at Breelong West Provisional commencing 31 January 1899.
She failed to gain classification at an exam in June 1899 and was then instructed to continue to 'act' as a teacher at Woodfield Probational and then Woodfield Public.
Her next appointment was to Lithgow Public Girls as an assistant teacher on 90 pounds per annum.
She had previously been earning 88 pounds per annum.
Her final two appointments were in the Newcastle area at Wallsend Girls Public and Wickham Infants.
                                                           Wickham Infants (built 1892)
                                                                   (Source: Wikipedia)

 Mary Ann Edwards resigned without gratuity on 25 September 1903.
She then married John Thomas Mawbey Jnr and went on to have 16 pregnancies (according to one her sons) of which nine bore fruit.