Honora Wilson - From Dublin to Fitzroy
Addedby Lindsay Crawford
Honora Fair Wilson lived an ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ life in a five storey building in Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street, we think at 34 North Frederick St.), Dublin. The statue of Dan O’Connell could be seen then from the house (must have moved it, LRC).
Honora was born in Dublin (no, LRC) and went to school at Dublin University (LRC: not likely; Women weren’t admitted until 1904 Ref: http:// [external link] Also Honora was born before father arrived in Dublin, see RFW notes). Later she went to a ladies’ finishing school in Paris.
Her father Dr Wilson was a leading surgeon whose practice was in the house. Honora had a brother George who was a doctor in the English Navy, and a half sister who married a Perth (Australia) doctor. George's two sons were also doctors. [Half-brother George O'Keeffe-Wilson, see RFW.]
Her stepmother arranged for her to marry a titled older cousin (Lord Courtney) when she was 20 (1882) but she didn't want to.
Instead, she married William Murphy (1883?) and lived in London for 18 months, and then in Belfast with her cousins the Courtneys who were ship builders. One of the Courtneys owned the Berwick Hotel when it was a coach drive from Melbourne.
They came to Australia in 1886-1889.
Son John was born in Belfast December 1885 and Norah was born in Australia December 1889.
Because of the rift with her father she never communicated with them after leaving Ireland. In later years when William was unable to work she checked with the Chancery in Flinders Street and discovered that her father had left a considerable sum of money, unfortunately the time to claim had expired and the government had taken it.
Mr Tom Austin, head master of Alfred Crescent School, North Fitzroy, bet her that she could not work or caretake for him. She did so for 42 years, living in the cottage next to the school.”