The former Helen Tomlinson Corrigan was the eldest daughter of Samuel Bradley and Louisa (née Lascelles) Corrigan. She was born on 7 June 1849 at the residence of Dr Thomas of Pontville in Tasmania.
She came to Geelong with her parents at an early age (before 1856) and was educated in Geelong and at Miss Murphy's school in St Kilda, Melbourne.
She worked as a journalist in New Zealand for several years and was subsequently incorrectly identified as a native of that country on occasions. She wrote for New Idea, from its inception in 1903 until the end of 1905, researching her articles both from personal experience and from interviews with women in various walks of life. She had feminist views about equal pay for women doing the same job as men and higher education for women. She also wrote articles for the Red Funnel, a New Zealand magazine which devoted considerable attention to Australian subjects. After the success of her first book, "For So Little", the story of a crime in 1890, which achieved wide acclaim, she moved to London.
She married Tom Harrison Davis on 5 August 1884 at Palmerston North in New Zealand. He became general manager of the London office of the New York Assurance Office. In 1895 her crime drama play "A Life Policy" did not succeed after the original matinée reported one source although another reported it was so successful it ran for twelve months. It was reported in New Zealand that the play was on for two years and then toured and the rights were bought by a company in New York.
In late 1894 she completed a new novel "Angus Murray", a psychological study dealing entirely with Australian life. In 1899 her book "A Dangerous Intimacy" was published.
Her mother's elder sister, Martha Elizabeth was married Charles John Dennys. Helen had erroneously been referred to as the former Miss Dennys.
Thomas Harrison Davis died on 10 July 1903 at Wellington, New Zealand. Helen died on 3 June 1910 at Canterbury in Kent, England. She left an invalid son, Noel (born 1885), who later died in an institution in England of TB and a very talented daughter, Enid Laura Louisa (born 1888).
from New Zealand newspapers — contributed by Cushla Randle
You might ask what are these occupations.
A fellmonger is a dealer in fells or sheepskins, who separates the wool from the pelts. He is the person who prepares the skin prior to leather making. The wool was then scoured. A wool scouring factory might have bought fleeces and then scoured the wool.
A tanner is the person who processes the skins to produce leather.
A currier applies the dressing, and colouring to the tanned hide to make it strong, flexible and waterproof.
Boiling down is the process of rendering fat from animal carcasses to produce tallow. Tallow was used for making soap and candles. It brought the price of old animals up considerably and was a boost to the farmer when animal prices were low.
Glue is produced by the boiling of animal connective tissue.
Bone mills produce fertiliser and glue by processing animal bones.
These industries were an important part of Geelong's economy. Hundreds of men were employed at these factories. At first the river was used to wash the skins. Later they were washed in vats. The area probably smelled like the abattoirs and sale yards at Newmarket in Melbourne which I remember well from my childhood. Maybe it was worse.
A number of streets have names that reflect the activities carried on in the area:
Tanner Street, Leather Street, Currier Street and Fellmongers Road in Breakwater
Woolscour Lane and Tannery Road in Marshall
Some of the owners of factories on the south and west side of the Barwon were (from North):
Charles John Dennys, sold to Samuel Bradley Corrigan
Patrick McDonald and Lawrence Webster, later leased by George Kingsbury and George Connor, later became Corrigans
George Gardiner (see article in next volume of "History Matters" — available at the Torquay Newsagency)
Charles Frederick Palmer
Joseph and Sharp Brearley
Joseph married Jane Hillard's sister, Margaret, on 25 March 1852 at St James Cathedral, Melbourne. Their children were:
Joseph Henry "Harry" — born 1853, married Mary Elizabeth Gillot on 20 September 1881, died 29 June 1918 at 5 Crimea Street, St Kilda aged 65
Hannah — married Johann Christian Richard Ohiff on 30 May 1881
Rebecca Elizabeth — born 1857, married William James Joseph Gallagher in 1883
Josephine Louisa — born 1859, married Robert Imray on 1 May 1882
Annie Maria — married Conrad Kollmann on 22 December 1889
Victoria — born 1862, married Ernest Castles on 19 May 1885
Robert George Hillard — born 30 June 1864
Margaret "Maggie"— born 1866 at Hawthorn, died 18 November 1901
John Frederick William — born 1868 at Kew
Edna — married Alan Roberts
Alfred — born 1871, died 29 July 1972 at Clifton House, Studley Park, Kew
Joseph was prominent in local sporting organisations and was elected a member of the Geelong Town Council, serving from 1864 until 1966. During the 1880s he left Geelong and moved with his family to Melbourne where he went into the leather business.
Margaret had a severe stroke on 6 June 1885 and died at her residence in Waltham Street, Richmond the next day, aged 53. She was buried in the Church of England section of the Boroondara Cemetery. Joseph died on 24 May 1911 at Balaclava, his daughter Rebecca Gallagher's home, aged 88. He was buried with his late wife.
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