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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


"Bessie" Elizabeth MACPHERSON

Born 18 June 1852 in Toodyay, Western Australia [40]
Daughter of Duncan MACPHERSON and Mary WILSON [40]
Resided with her parents at The Byeen in the Newcastle-Toodyay district 1852-1867 [40] [127: pages 86, 182]
Arrived in what is now the Carnamah district with her parents in 1868 [4: 29-Jul-1939] [120: 9-Jan-1930]
Initially resided with her parents and siblings in a three-room stone cottage near the Mulliah / Yarra Yarra Lakes in Carnamah [119]
Later resided with her parents at Carnamah House, situated on Victoria Location 1172 of her father's Carnamah Station [119]
In May 1874 the telegraph line being built between Perth and Champion Bay (Geraldton) was nearing completion [160: 3-Jun-1874]
After a few weeks tuition and practising via sending and receiving telegraphs was appointed Carnamah's telegraphist [7: page 182]
The last link of the telegraph line was made at their homestead in Carnamah on Friday afternoon 5 June 1874 [160: 10-Jun-1874]
Their homestead Carnamah House was officially made a telegraph office in June 1874 [126]
Telegraphist at the family homestead in Carnamah from 5 June 1874 to 31 July 1874, when her sister Maggie took over [125]
Left Carnamah and moved to Greenough to replace Miss WATERS as postmistress and telegraphist [160: 29-Sep-1875]
Postmistress and Telegraphist in Greenough from 1 August 1874 to 30 April 1877 [125]
Ran the post and telegraph office from a portion of the Greenough Courthouse and Goal within the Greenough Hamlet [P104]
Post office business was conducted through an open window from one room, with another three rooms for accommodation [P104]
On leaving Greenough she appears to have returned to live with her parents at their homestead on Carnamah Station [P1]
Her horse Neta ran in the Ladies Bracelet at the North-West Jockey Club's race meeting in Roebourne on 13 May 1890 [39: 10-May-1890]
In June 1898 she made a donation of £1 to the Home of the Good Shepherd through Mrs Eliza M. MOORE of Dongara [39: 23-Jun-1898]
She collected £5/18/4 in donations from 23 people in aid of orphanages in 1899 [39: 5-Dec-1899]
     Her brothers Donald and George made a joint donation of £1/10/- while herself and her sister Maggie donated 10/- each [39]
     Others she collected donations from were from as far away as Strawberry, Dongara and Greenough [39]
Following the death of her parents continued to resided in the homestead with her sister Maggie and brothers Donald and George [19]
In his will her father directed £1,000 be invested and that herself and her sister equally receive all of its interest and dividends [38]
She donated ten shillings to the Moora District Hospital Fund through her brother Donald in early 1909  [9: 9-Apr-1909]
Reflecting on a visit to their homestead Mary E. KELLY (nee NIVEN) wrote years later: "That lovely old stone house with [P25]
     hand hewn timbered verandahs. The peacocks, the peppertrees and gravelled surrounds and retired race horses. The Meat [P25]
     House, and the Dairy, and they always had Aboriginal help with the work on the property. The dining room, with starched [P25]
     snowy white linen and serviettes and silverware. Miss Mac would ring for whoever was on duty to serve." [P25]
In the 1910s travelled with her brother and sister to dances held at the Railway Goods Shed in Carnamah by horse and buggy [7: page 151]
Ladies Winner at the Grand Euchre Party & Dance held at Glenwilli Farm in Winchester on Thursday 4 September 1919 [10: 12-Sep-1919]
Two sons of her cousin Mrs Jessie SMITH became the first pilots in the world to fly from England to Australia in 1919 [81: 28-Dec-1919]
      The flight, over 28 days, consisted of Ross Macpherson SMITH, Keith Macpherson SMITH and two mechanics [39: 12-Dec-1919]
In later years she rarely left the homestead however often went to Harold and Eva NAIRN's on Christmas day [P44]
Mrs Charlotte E. ROBERTS of the Perth suburb of Maylands spent a month with her at Carnamah House during 1927 [81: 24-Apr-1927]
When her brother Donald died in 1931 she, along with her nephew Percy C. MACPHERSON, jointly inherited his property [38]
     They sold all of his remaining farmland in Carnamah except for 100 acres of land surrounding the family homestead [117]
     She continued to reside in the homestead, situated on Victoria Location 1172 just east of the Carnamah townsite, until her death [P4]
     Following her brother Donald's death she received a letter of condolence from the Mingenew Road Board [39: 14-Sep-1931]
In 1932 she was the owner of a Nash car with license plate CA-374 [4: 12-Nov-1932]
During her later years a number of the rooms in the homestead were empty, however the dining room and its traditions remained [P44]
Sent a wreath for the grave of Christina B. D. FORRESTER of Carnamah at the Winchester Cemetery on 31 August 1934 [4: 8-Sep-1934]
Mrs Florence NEWMAN, of Melbourne and previously of Carnamah, stayed with her at Carnamah House in late 1936 [5: 4-Dec-1936]
Once a week walked into the Carnamah townsite and asked for a "quarter pound of ham" at Wells & Wells Pyramid Tearooms [P22]
During her time at Carnamah House there were several peacocks that roamed around the homestead and its surrounding land [P22]
Resided at her family homestead Carnamah House in Carnamah until her death in 1939 [1]
Died 23 July 1939 in Carnamah; buried Winchester Cemetery, Carnamah (Row A, Plot 12) [1]
Rev. James W. C. HUSSEY officiated at her funeral with undertakers Henry Parkin & Son of Carnamah, at a cost of £31/19/- [1] [53]
In her will she left her entire estate to her grandnephew Malcolm John Campbell MACPHERSON [38]
Following her death her family's homestead and its surrounding 100 acres were leased for a period of three years [5: 13-Oct-1939]
The homestead and its 100 acres, situated within Victoria Location 1172, was leased and later sold to George S. FERGUSON [3]

From The North Midland Times newspaper, Friday 28 July 1939:
Obituary - Late Miss Macpherson
"On Sunday morning Miss Elizabeth Macpherson the oldest pioneer of the Carnamah district passed away at the Carnamah private hospital after a brief illness. The late Miss Macpherson, who was aged 87 years was Carnamah's first postmistress, and she will always be associated with the early history of the district. Her passing severs yet another link with the early days of the North Midlands. The funeral was held at Winchester on Monday a large cortege following the remains. The Rev. J. Hussey officiated at the graveside. The chief mourners were:- Mr. and Mrs. Percy Macpherson and Mr. M. Macpherson (nephew and grand nephew respectively). The pall-bearers were Messrs J. Bowman, F. Parrick, J. K. Forrester, H. Watson, A. A. McGilp, J. Lang, Geo. Ferguson, H. Nairn, W. Newman and C. Robertson."

From The Irwin Index newspaper, Saturday 29 July 1939:
Obituary - Passing of a Carnamah Pioneer - Late Miss Elizabeth Macpherson
"The death of Miss Elizabeth Macpherson occurred at Carnamah on Sunday last, the deceased lady being 87 years of age and the oldest surviving pioneer of the district. The late Miss Macpherson was born at Toodyay (W.A.) in 1852, and at the age of fifteen years she arrived at Carnamah with her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Macpherson, the journey having been made in a buggy. Other members of the family travelled on horseback, the late Mr. Macpherson and his two sons (John and Annias) being the first people to commence farming pursuits in the Carnamah district. The funeral took place at Winchester on Monday last and was largely attended by residents from all parts of the North Midlands, the chief mourners being Mr. and Mrs. Percy Macpherson (nephew and niece) and Mr. M. Macpherson (grand nephew). The last burial rites were performed by the Rev. J. Hussey and the pall-bearers were Messrs. J. Bowman, F. Parrick, J. K. Forrester, H. Watson, A. A. McGilp, J. Lang, Geo. Ferguson, H. Nairn, W. Newman and C. Robertson. Others present at the graveside were Messrs. A. C. Bierman, H. L. Fogg, A. Cowderoy, J. Tully, E. K. Wells, A. P. Tucker, M. J. Clune, M. Clune, W. Davison, R. Power, I. Johnson, E. Wanke, R. W. Clark, E. H. Bentley, M. Leslie, J. M. Haig, E. Haig, A. Timms, R. Diamond, M. P. Baker, M. Rowland, R. Miller, R. Buzzacott, W. G. Mulligan, L. Ferguson, C. J. Dallimore, G. Bradshaw, N. W. Reynolds, Mesdames J. Bowman, J. Lang, sen., W. H. Watson, A. P. Tucker, E. H. Bentley, A. A. McGilp, I. F. Straiton, Geoff Ferguson, L. Watson, M. McSwain, Sister E. A. Lawton and Misses Anne Niven and Betty Niven. Floral tributes were laid upon the grave from the following:- Nieces and Nephews, John and K. McIntosh, Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Watson and family, Mr. and Mrs. R. Power and family, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Watson, Mrs Lang and John, Mr. and Mrs. E. K. Wells, Mr. and Mrs. C. Kroschel, Mr. and Mrs. C. Turner and family, Bridie Power, Rachael Power, Mr. and Mrs. J. K. Forrester, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Bierman, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Haig and family, Sister E. A. Lawton, Mrs. Niven and family, Carnamah Girls Club, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. McGilp and family, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Tucker, Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Clark, Mrs. F. Newman and Bill, Dr. and Mrs. Mayrhofer, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Booth, Mr. and Mrs. N. W. Reynolds and family, Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Bentley and family, Mr. and Mrs. A. Cowderoy, Mr. and Mrs. G. Bradshaw and family, F. W. Parrick, Cyril and Mavis, Shirley and Margaret, chairman, secretary and members of Carnamah Road Board, Mr. and Mrs. J. Bowman and Daisy."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Elizabeth Macpherson' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 25 May 2024 from [reference list]

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