Thursday, 6 August 2015

Waratah - Elizabeth Jemima Starke

Elizabeth (Bessie) Jemima Starke, and her daughter were lost with the Waratah. Mrs. Starke had a somewhat tragic life. She married Dr Anthony George Hayden Starke (from Honiton, Devon), Chief Medical Officer at Inglewood. Tragically he died at the age of 37, (1877), leaving Mrs. Starke, aged 28, with four young children to raise alone. She never remarried and took up the occupation of postmistress at various post offices - Ballarat; Gippsland and Clifton Hill. She retired to live with one of her sons, Sir Hayden Starke, who at the time was a successful barrister, later to become High Court Judge. Sadly it was the decision of Sir Hayden Starke to send his mother back to England (she had left there, aged 2) while his new wife settled into the household. Initially passage was booked on another steamer, but because a close friend knew Captain Ilbery personally, she changed her booking to the Waratah at the last minute.

And so the chapters of tragedy were written into history.

courtesy: Pauline Conolly's SS Waratah; Australia's Titanic.

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