A selection of 19th century photographs called Hawkesbury Faces, from the albums of Mary Anne Amelia Stewart, is currently on display at Hawkesbury Central Library until 25 June, during opening hours.
Born in Windsor in 1846, Mary was the only daughter of Dr William Farquharson Stewart and Elizabeth Durham. Dr Stewart had migrated from Scotland and was the first salaried doctor at Windsor Hospital. Her father died when she was just a baby and her mother married for a second time, to George Gordon, Windsor’s Clerk of Petty Sessions in 1858.
Mary grew up in a vibrant social and cultural atmosphere where there would always be activities and gatherings with visitors, including the Rouse, Cape, McQuade and Town families from all over NSW. When she was 25, Mary married George Scarvell from Clare House, and they had several children but she was widowed after five years. A number of years later, Mary met and married John Valentine Stuart Blomfield and four children were born. The couple remained in the Hawkesbury until the early 1890s when they relocated to the Southern Highlands. Mary continued to take an interest in the community and died in her 85th year in Moss Vale in 1931.
Her wonderful collection, which included poems, letters, invitations, plus photographs of residents of the Hawkesbury and family acquaintances, remained in the family. Now the collection has been scanned, courtesy of Mary’s descendant, Mrs Foster.
A free curator’s talk will be held on Wednesday, 24 May at 10am about the collection and some of the people featured in the display of 19th century Hawkesbury Faces. Go to www.hawkesburylibrary.eventbrite.com or call 4560 4460 to book.