Mu­seum recog­nises pi­o­neer women

Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

WHEN you hear peo­ple talk about how much life was bet­ter in the “good old days”, spare a thought for the pi­o­neer­ing women of Rockingham.

Among them were Phoebe Hy­mus, Jane El­iz­a­beth Bell, Lucy Har­riet Saw and Mar­garet Simp­son, who ar­rived in the re­gion in the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury.

Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Wendy Du­rant said they were hard-work­ing moth­ers, nurses and teach­ers who helped es­tab­lish the fledg­ling set­tle­ment that was a day’s rough car­riage ride away from Fre­man­tle.

“It would have been pretty rough in a horse and cart,” she said.

Mrs Saw was a nurse and pro­vided a range of med­i­cal ser­vices, from be­ing a mid­wife to mend­ing bro­ken limbs.

“She did ev­ery­thing,” Ms Du­rant said.

Mrs Simp­son was a school teacher who de­voted her life to teach­ing sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of lo­cal chil­dren.

“These women were a very im­por­tant part of the coloni­sa­tion of WA and Rockingham in par­tic­u­lar,” Ms Du­rant said.

Their sto­ries have been told in a new ex­hi­bi­tion that opens at the Rockingham Mu­seum as part of Her­itage Month from April 18 to May 21.

“It was such a hard life for them. A lot of them came out from very civilised Lon­don and all of a sud­den they are in the mid­dle of the bush with noth­ing,” Ms Du­rant said. d467899

She said there had been a lot writ­ten about what men had achieved but not much about the im­por­tant roles women played in the fledg­ling colony.

“They had to do a wide range of jobs and their ef­forts have not been recog­nised,” she said.

Call the mu­seum on 9592 3455.

Pic­tures: Jon Hew­son

Rockingham Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Wendy Du­rant with a picture of how the Rockingham Ho­tel gar­dens looked be­fore they were turned into a carpark.

Rockingham Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Wendy Du­rant with the dis­play re­mem­ber­ing four pi­o­neer­ing women.

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