Thursday, 17 April 2014

Waratah - more on Mrs Agnes Grant Hay (aka Mrs Alexander Hay)

In 1911 a brass lectern was donated donated to the local church, Victor Harbour, South Australia, by Mrs Agnes Gosse and family in memory of Mrs Agnes Grant Hay and her daughter Miss Helen (Dolly) Gosse Hay who were both lost with the Waratah. Ironically Mrs Hay had offered the lectern to the Church prior to her death and the gesture had been rejected due to the amount of polishing the brass would require.

Mrs Agnes Hay was born to Dr William Gosse and Agnes (nee Grant), the eldest of seven children.
Her education included Rawdon House School, Hoddesdon, England, where she was influenced by a tutor Mrs Sarah Ellis. Mrs Ellis was an 'anti-feminist' and the author of 'Women of England'.

1850, the Hay family emigrated to Adelaide aboard the 'Elizabeth' and took up residence in a house on the North Terrace. Mrs Hay was privately tutored by Rev. James McGowan. She traveled frequently between Australia and England.

1867, she met Alexander Hay, Philanthropist and politician, who was to become her husband 1872.
Mr Hay had been married to Agnes (nee Kelly of missionary stock), who died from Bright's Disease (acute kidney infection) 1870. The Hays were wealthy and influential. They owned two properties, 'Linden' at Burnside and 'Mount Bracken' at Victor Harbour. Generous entertainers, Mrs Hay was also a prominent public figure, officiating at openings of buildings. Mrs Hay adopted her tutor Mrs Ellis' anti feminism stance and advocated against women's rights. Rev. McGowan must also have been influential as she promoted Bible Readings in State schools.
Alexander Hay died 1898.

A widow now, Mrs Hay continued to travel frequently with her two daughters between Australia and England, France, and Germany. Mrs Hay favoured the Blue Anchor Line, and in particular the luxurious Geelong. Later she opted for the new flagship, Waratah, which was captained by J.E. Ilbery, previously master of the Geelong.

Mrs Hay wrote several travel articles for the Advertiser, Chronicle, and various English newspapers.
She also published a biography of her late husband, entitled 'Footprints'. 1901, Mrs Hay's eldest son succumbed to the same affliction, Bright's Disease, which had taken Mr Hay's first wife. 1902, Mrs Hay published Ober-Ammergau: and its Great Passion Drama of 1900. Her memoirs, 'After Glow Memories', published 1905, incorporated fictional elements.

Mrs Hay's impressions of the Waratah were captured in letters she wrote, and extensively quoted.
She thought the Waratah a very comfortable steamer (no references to stability issues) and Captain Ilbery and crew, the very essence of capable and courteous seamen. Mrs Hay and her youngest daughter Dolly were lost with the Waratah. She had just completed a manuscript of a novel set in South Africa, which she was taking to publishers in London. Lives and a stillborn novel were prematurely claimed by the Wild Coast.

Courtesy, Anthony Laube's book, A Lady at Sea: the adventures of Agnes Grant Hay (2001).


Anthony Laube said...

Hi Andrew

I would be happy for you to acknowledge the information and photograph from my book, A Lady at Sea: the adventures of Agnes Grant Hay (Adelaide, 2001).

Many thnaks,

Anthony Laube

andrew van rensburg said...

I shall do just that.

Anthony Laube said...

Thank you for that Andrew. Did you use this photograph and information in your book?


andrew van rensburg said...

No,Anthony, I Didn't.