Saturday, 23 April 2016

T is for Dorothy May Thomas and The Hollow #AtoZChallenge2016

My theme for the AtoZChallenge is exploring the Walker family . Thinking about the family I realised that they were around in Mackay, Queensland in the early days of settlement so I have decided to discover some snippets of early Mackay as it relates to this family and others in my family tree. I hope you enjoy the journey.

T is for Dorothy May Thomas and later The Hollow. 

I have written many times before about my maternal grandmother, Dorothy May Thomas and her early life in the Mackay District and in my post of 19 April I included a description of her bridesmaids dress (you can read the post here) so I did some more searching in Trove and found some other mentions of her and her dresses.

In 1910, "The Ambulance Cinderella held at the School of Arts was largely attended, particularly by the young folk..."(I think this was a social with fancy dress), notes Dorothy as "Matron".

1910 'SOCIAL NOTES.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 16 July, p. 6. , viewed 23 Apr 2016,
In 1914, again at an Ambulance function, Dorothy was noted that her costume was "scraps", I cannot imagine what type of costume that was, perhaps pieces of material sewn together to form a costume?

In 1919, Dorothy was a debutante at the Military Ball in North Eton and her dress was described as "...white crepe de chine with an overdress of georgette..." in the Daily Mercury. Her mother and recently returned from WWI stepfather, Col.  G.S.C.L. Birkbeck, organised the Military Ball.

1919 'Personal.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 23 August, p. 9. , viewed 21 Apr 2016,
I should mention that Dorothy May was born on the 4th October 1898 so that you can tell her age at the time of these functions. As Chris commented previously it is wonderful to read snippets of my grandmother's life as a young girl. 

Now for The Hollow...

Brothers Charles Collinson Rawson and Edmund Stanfield Rawson purchased the grazing property Abington in the Pioneer Valley, including a portion known as Shamrock Vale in 1867, and nicknamed it Sleepy Hollow, and hence its popular name The Hollow. 
Two houses, The Hollow, and The Nyth were built on the banks of the Pioneer River, the present township of Mirani occupying the home paddock of The Hollow. 
Verandah at The Hollow, near Mackay, Queensland about 1875, creator unidentified, State Library of
The Rawsons attempted to recreate formal English gardens, including a tennis court, gravel paths with shrubberies, exotic vines and trees, a weather station, an attractive English-style fowl-house, and to the side of a fourteen-foot wide verandah, a large fernery of split palms which housed a bathroom at one end.

This was all well documented in the Mackay Mercury in the 1870s. It must have taken quite some work to create a formal English garden in the sub-tropics but I suppose that they were wanting memories of England. In the Mackay climate, they experienced it is little wonder that they built fourteen-foot verandahs as much of the life of the household could have occurred on the wide verandah.


  1. How did the women manage in that climate with those dresses? I'm so,glad I live in airconditioning