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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


"Les" Kathleen Lesley BOWMAN / JOHNSON

Born 1 October 1922 in Perth, Western Australia [P9]
Daughter of John BOWMAN and "Maggie" Margaret Swan DOW [P9]
Resided with her parents at the The Homestead on Lot M950 of The Home Farm on the Carnamah-Perenjori Road in Carnamah [P9]
Being very young she accompanied her mother and brother on their visit to Scotland in 1924 for her brother to see his homeland [P9]
     They departed Fremantle, Western Australia on the steamship Ceramic and arrived in Southampton, England in May 1924 [204]
     During their visit they stayed with her paternal grandparents at Dundruid at Lundin Links in Largo, Fife, Scotland [204]
     On their return they departed Liverpool, England on the steamship Runic for Albany, Western Australia on 6 December 1924 [203]
Attended the Children's Fancy Dress Ball held in Carnamah on Saturday 15 October 1927 as a "Red Indian" [9: 21-Oct-1927]
Student at the Carnamah State School in Carnamah 1928-1934 [P9]
     Herself and her elder sister Ruth travelled from the farm to school each day by horse and sulky [P9]
     After her sister went to boarding school she travelled to school alone on horseback [P9]
Had a pet sheep that lived near the homestead on the farm and which many visitors and even the farm's workmen were afraid of [P9]
Won 2nd prize for a Crayon Drawing at the Carnamah Show & Sports Carnival on Thursday 4 October 1928 [4: 13-Oct-1928]
Attended the Carnamah Children's Fancy Dress Ball with her sister Ruth in 1929, dressed as "Chinese" [4: 13-Jul-1929]
She recalled seeing the many cars go through town to attend the funeral of Carnamah pioneer Donald MACPHERSON in 1931 [P9]
Attended the Children's Fancy Dress Ball held in Carnamah on 18 August 1932 dressed as a "Hawaiian Maid" [5: 26-Aug-1932]
Won 1st and 2nd for White Hen Eggs and 2nd for a Dual Purpose Heifer at the Carnamah Agricultural Show in 1933 [5: 22-Sep-1933]
At the 1934 Carnamah Agricultural Show won 1st prizes in the Educational section for a Crayon Drawing and Needlework [5: 14-Sep-1934]
Boarding Student at Presbyterian Ladies College in Perth from 1935 until 1938 when she obtained her Junior [P9]
Best Girl or Boy Rider under 14 years in the Ring Events at the Carnamah Agricultural Show on 12 September 1935 [5: 20-Sep-1935]
After spending three weeks holiday with her parents in Carnamah returned to school in Perth on 16 September 1935 [5: 20-Sep-1935]
Herself and her sister Ruth returned to Carnamah during the first half of December 1935 for their summer holidays [5: 13-Dec-1935]
In early January 1936 she was confined to her bed suffering from tonsillitis[5: 10-Jan-1936]
Attended the Carnamah Repertory Club's Social Evening & Play Presentation at the Carnamah Hall on 17 June 1936 [5: 19-Jun-1936]
In late August 1936 herself, her sister Ruth and their friend Tui THOMSON spent their school holidays in Carnamah [5: 28-Aug-1936]
Attended the Ball after the Coorow-Waddy Agricultural Show on 3 September 1936 dressed in white georgette [5: 11-Sep-1936]
She was the Best Girl or Boy Rider under 14 years in the Ring Events at the Carnamah Agricultural Show on 10 September 1936 [5]
     Also won 2nd prize for White Hen Eggs and attended the Show Ball in the evening dressed in ivory georgette [5: 18-Sep-1936]
Her brother accompanied her back to Perth to resume her studies by train on Monday 8 February 1936 [5: 12-Feb-1937]
Attended the Coronation Ball at the Carnamah Hall on Wednesday 12 May 1937 in "a picture frock of blue taffeta" [5: 14-May-1937]
     The ball and its festivities celebrated the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth [5]
Won 2nd for both White Eggs and Brown Eggs in the Farm Produce section of the Carnamah Agricultural Show in 1937 [5: 17-Sep-1937]
After obtaining her Junior at the Presbyterian Ladies College in 1938 she returned home to The Home Farm in Carnamah [P9]
Member of the Carnamah Girls Club [P9]
Member of the Carnamah Repertory Club in 1939 [489]
Member of the Carnamah Tennis Club from 1939-40 to 1945-46 [5: 27-Oct-1939, 14-Nov-1941, 21-Dec-1945]
Entrant in the Queen Carnival Competition conducted by the Carnamah District War & Patriotic Fund in 1940 [5: 27-Sep-1940, 4-Oct-1940]
     After a final evening of voting on 21 September 1940 she was announced the winner and crowned the "Queen of Carnamah" [5]
     Her escort was Charles ROBERTSON and her maids of honour were Misses Margaret N. D. CLARK and Sylvia E. FAULKS [5]
     Won by an impressive majority of 4,801 votes and through her candidature raised £123/14/3 for the war effort [5]
Steward of the Flower section at the Carnamah District Agricultural Society's Annual Show on 11 September 1941 [13]
Member of the Carnamah Ladies' Rifle Shooting Club 1941-1944 [5: 5-Aug-1941, 4-Aug-1944]
Worked tirelessly during the Second World War to keep her father's farm running when there was a labour shortage [P9]
During the war also helped "Pop" William DAVISON run his bakery when his daughter Nan was absent visiting her brother [P9]
Member of Carnamah's branch of the Red Cross Society [141]
Steward of the Flower section at the Carnamah District Agricultural Society's Victory Show in Carnamah on 13 September 1945 [13]
As a younger lady she was said to have had "a real awe of presence, especially when on a horse" [P73]
Resided with her parents at The Homestead on her father's The Home Farm in Carnamah until her marriage in 1949 [P9]
     Herself, her sisters and their brother slept on beds along the open verandah of The Homestead [P9]
     Only if the weather was windy and rainy did they drag their mattresses inside to sleep [P9]
Married "Don" Donald Victor JOHNSON in the Perth suburb of Highgate on 22 October 1949 [P9]
     Resided with her husband and later son in a house on Charles ROBERTSON's Woodbine Farm in Carnamah 1949-1952 [P9]
     Following her father's death in 1952 shifted to her former home The Homestead on The Home Farm in Carnamah [P9]
     Resided with her husband, son and later daughter at The Homestead until 1962 when the house was ravaged by termites [P9]
     At The Homestead she kept chooks and grew vegetables and flowers [P9]
     Her husband worked as a farmhand for her brother on The Home Farm / Prowaka Spring Farm in Carnamah [P9]
     They then resided in a house belonging to her brother at 9 Yarra Street in the Carnamah townsite 1962-1973 [P9]
     She worked part time on the bar of the Carnamah Hotel and at N. W. Reynolds & Sons' shop in Carnamah [P9]
     Shop Assistant full-time for the WALTON family at their newsagency at 2 Macpherson Street in Carnamah 1969-1973 [P9]
Member of the Carnamah Golf Club in 1952 [5: 21-Aug-1952]
They left Carnamah in 1973 and shifted to Perth where she worked in a stationary shop, which she found unenjoyable [P9]
     A short time after moving to Perth her husband's drinking escalated and in her own words she "left him to his ways" [P9]
     After leaving her husband worked as a resident housekeeper at the Archbishop's Palace on Victoria Square in Perth 1974-1981 [P9]
     While working at the Archbishop's Palace she lived in an on-site cottage and began going by her first name of Kathleen [P9]
Left Perth in March 1981 and shifted back to Carnamah to live with her brother "John" David I. M. BOWMAN [P9]
     Resided with her brother at New Lockington House on Lot M1017 of Prowaka Spring Farm in Carnamah in 1981 [P9]
     During her second sojourn in Carnamah she mainly gardened, planted some trees and helped her brother [P9]
     In trying many ways she succeeded in the difficult task of growing a quondong tree from seeds collected from bush on the farm [P9]
     The quondong grew near the house for about 22 years when it died after a plant it is believed to have fed off was removed [P1]
Towards the end of 1981 she went to Geraldton [P9] to visit William FOLEY, the newly appointed Bishop of Geraldton [P464]
     She'd known Bishop FOLEY from her time at the Archbishop's Palace and accepted an offer of a job as his housekeeper [P464]
     Housekeeper for Bishop FOLEY in Geraldton 1981-1984 [P9] and moved with him to Perth when he was made Archbishop [P464]
Resident Housekeeper for Archbishop FOLEY at Lake Monger Drive in the Perth suburb of Wembley 1984 until his death in 1991 [P9]
Resident Housekeeper for Bishop Robert HEALY at 28 Edgewater Road in the Perth suburb of Manning 1991-2002 [P9]
In her later years visited Carnamah annually to see her homeland and spend time with her brother, nephews and their families [P1]
Resided at 28 Edgewater Road in the Perth suburb of Manning until January 2003 when she retired at the age of 80 years [P9]
Resided at Unit 17 of Maryville at 322 Grand Promenade in the Perth suburb of Dianella from January 2003 until 2008 [P1]
She was a very keen gardener, an avid reader, had a good sense of humour and a sensible no fuss perspective on life [P1]
Had a strong interest in Carnamah and its past, and was a large contributor of anecdotes and memories to this resource [P1]
Mother of Victor and Kathleen [P9]
Died 26 March 2009 [2]; ashes scattered near her former home The Homestead in Carnamah [P464]

From The West Australian newspaper, Saturday 7 October 1922:
"BOWMAN - On October 1, at Nurse Bevan's Private Hospital, Kialla, 419 Newcastle-street, Perth, to Mr. and Mrs. J. Bowman, of Home Farm, Carnamah - a daughter (Kathleen Lesley). Both well."

Among those at her private funeral at the Dench Chapel of the Karrakatta Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon 31 March 2009 were:
her son "Vic" Victor R. JOHNSON and his partner Christine MORRISON; son-in-law Ackroyd F. SLEIGH; grandson Tristan P. SLEIGH; grand-daughter Jayne E. SLEIGH; nephews John R. BOWMAN and Ian P. THOMSON; niece Mrs Pamela GLENDINNING; nephews and nieces-in-law "Bill" William R. B. & Jenny M. DIXON, "Dick" Richard N. & "Joy" Joyce H. JOHNSON, Ross D. & Yvette A. Bowman, and Ian G. & Brenda F. BOWMAN; grandniece Suzanne M. BOWMAN; grandniece and grandnephew-in-law Janet C. & "Blue" George E. SCHWEIZER; grandnephew and grandniece-in-law David J. M. & Natasha BOWMAN; and grandnephews Mark I. BOWMAN, Andrew S. BOWMAN, Scott M. BOWMAN and Matthew D. BOWMAN; and friends of many years Mrs Betty J. REYNOLDS (accompanied by her daughter Mrs "Sue" Susan W. ARMSTRONG) and "Puddy" Margaret N. D. SHERIDAN (accompanied by her daughter June).

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Kathleen Lesley Bowman / Johnson' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 25 February 2024 from [reference list]

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