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History Room Newsletter No 169

Page history last edited by Ghistory Volunteer2 1 year, 7 months ago



                                                                      ALEXANDRINA LIBRARY SERVICES



February 2019                                                                                                                                                                                                   by  Carolyn Tucker

                                                                                                                                                                                              No 169



Intro:  Next month we will celebrate International Women’s Day.  For a previous celebration, Strathalbyn History Room’s Co-ordinator, Carolyn Tucker, was invited to speak at the Neighbourhood Community House at their International Women’s Day Fundraiser.


Her topic was Inspiring lives of local women in history and whilst she could think of many current day women – relatively private people whose stories are unlikely to be published, she was unable to find obituaries of those pioneering women who married, bore children, worked with their men folk to support their family and help in the lives of others while dealing with numerous  hardships –   “true Faith, Hope and Love stuff”.


Drawing on her experience researching for the The Exodus of the 1870’s ( Newsletter No. 165) Carolyn researched the life of one such woman, Eliza Moar.  




In researching for the 1870’s Exodus Project, the name Eliza Moar stands apart for endurance of unimaginable grief and loss.


Eliza (nee Treloar), born 1837 in Cornwall, married Andrew Umphrey Moar, born 1836 in Cornwall, whose family were early settlers of Angas Plains.  From the years 1863 to 1871, five daughters and one son were born at Lake Plains, Angas Plains and Strathalbyn.  Her first loss was Eliza Umphrey, age 15 months in 1866 at Lake Plains.


Andrew was one of hundreds in this region to move to fertile land, available for purchase in the north, with the hope of a prosperous farming future for his family.  They left early in 1873 as Eliza gave birth to Mary Ellen Maud in March at Broughton in the Clare district.  The Northern Argus reported Land Selections in May 1873 which included Andrew Moar’s in the Hundred of Narridy for £1 per acre.  Andrew, Eliza, a son and 5 daughters settled to farm in an area called The Broughton Extension.


Five months later on 20th October came a tragic accident when Andrew had finished filling a 400 gallon tank of water at a dam.  The five horses pulling the wagon stopped then lurched forward, the weight breaking both axles and the tank fell on Andrew, killing him.  He was 37.  Eliza moved her family back to Strathalbyn and was soon to discover she was expecting another baby.  A son was born about June 1874 who she gave his father’s name, Andrew Umphrey Moar but the birth was not registered.  Her older son was also called Andrew Umphrey Moar.


More grief lay ahead for Eliza and her daughters.  Five month old Andrew died on the 2nd November 1874.  And then, one day later, six year old Andrew died from Bronchitis.  Eliza spent 7 years as a single mother, raising her 5 daughters in the Strathalbyn district.


On 5th August 1881 Eliza re-married to William Hooper, whose father, Richard, was one of Strathalbyn’s early settlers who purchased land on the south side of the town each side of Hooper Road.  On the same day as the marriage, Eliza gave birth to James Hooper.  Eliza was 44 and William was 66.  This was his second marriage as well and he had children from his first.


One would like to think that life was on the ‘up’ at last for Eliza.  However, on the 15th August her baby James died just 10 days old.  Then three years later in 1884, her husband William died, aged 69.  In the space of 18 years from 29 to 47 years, Eliza had lost 2 husbands, 1 daughter and 3 sons.


Eliza lived a further 20 years to age 67 and died in 1904 in the care of a married daughter in East Adelaide.  Of her 5 daughters, 2 married and 3 were single when Eliza died.  Eliza was buried in the Payneham Cemetery.  She was described as “the dearly beloved mother of her daughters”.  The Southern Argus listed an advertisement for the sale of Eliza Hooper’s estate in 1905, which included a solid home at Strathalbyn South near the Railway Station.


As a footnote, this story could have been even worse!  Andrew took a daughter, probably the eldest, 11 year old Grace and a “servant girl” with him to get the water.  His daughter’s leg was “pinned” in the accident.  The older girl released the water from the tank then hurried miles for help.  It is apparent that the child recovered from her injuries.  However, without the actions of the servant girl, Eliza’s loss would have doubled on that day.


Although I do not have information about Eliza’s personality or how she coped, she is included as an inspirational women for assumed courage in surviving and endurance through her grief to raise her girls, despite a succession of tragedies.


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