About Me

My photo
This blog will be a record of stuff I find interesting, discover or write. Interested in family & local history, cemeteries, reading & libraries, old stuff, research & writing, photography, wine and fine dining plus lots more! Immersed in local history, fascinated by technology and social media and would like more time to spend doing the things I love!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016


This Trove Tuesday post is about my Nanna's eldest sister who died as a young girl with a disease that is now treatable. Doris Mary Belshaw was born 30 Apr 1907 at home at 4 Little Bourke Street, Sydney. Two nurses were present at the birth Nurse Yarrowick and nurse Verco. She was the first born child of Robert 'Rob' Belshaw and his wife, Florence Amelia nee Ponting. Doris was born six months after their marriage on 27 October 1906.

Four more daughters were born to the couple, Edna May born 1908, my Grandmother Florence Muriel 1910, Phyllis Roberta Maude 1913 and Lillian Irene born early 1915. The girls were treasured by both sides of the family.

Doris with her Aunty Muriel Belshaw, her father's younger sister.
Source: Nichols Family Archives.

In the latter part of 1915, when Australia was in the throes of World War 1, eight year old Doris was struck down with appendicitis. She was taken to Sydney Hospital and attended by Dr Arthur Meehan and would have been in a fair amount of pain with the tenderness, fever and abdominal pain. Unfortunately she succumbed to the infection and passed away on 3 November 1915. The official cause of death was suppurative peritonitis and toxaemia. 

The funeral procession for Doris Mary Belshaw near Central Railway heading for Rookwood.
Rob Belshaw is seated next to the driver on the second wagon.

Source: Nichols Family Archives.

On 5 November, the small girl was buried at Rookwood. The undertaker was T. Dixon

Memoriam card for Doris, eldest daughter of Robert & Florence Belshaw

After the grief and sorrow of losing Doris, the Belshaw family expanded. Three sons were born to Rob and Florence, Robert Francis in 1919, Leonard Allen 1921 and Arthur Maurice completed the family, born in 1923.

Family Notices. Sydney Morning Herald 4 November 1918, p. 6

However the family did not forget Doris. For many years after In Memoriam's were placed in the newspaper. Many notices appear in Trove, historic newspapers. Notices were inserted by her parents and sisters, as well as aunties and friends. Well into the 1930s her parents were still inserting a notice. Her sisters and brothers did not forget her either. Her memory was passed on through several generations.

Family Notices. Sydney Morning Herald 3 November 1931 p. 8


  1. A beautiful post in which you keep Doris' memory alive.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. So lovely to find out more about Doris. We all knew of her but it is interesting to find or more detail. So sad to lose such a young child. She was beautiful. I didn't realise how much she was like Aunty Muriel. Thank you Michelle.

  4. So lovely to find out more about Doris. We all knew of her but it is interesting to find or more detail. So sad to lose such a young child. She was beautiful. I didn't realize how much she liked like Aunty Muriel. Thank you Michelle.

  5. Thank you Michelle, I grew up knowing a little about Doris, but my mum was only 2 when she passed, and these things were never much talked about. Sweet little girl, so sad for my G'ma and all Doris's family xox

  6. That photo is absolutely magnificent. Such a beautiful carriage and procession. I'm trying to work out what the picture is on the wall on the other side of the street above all the gravestone crosses et al. I can see pictures of tents. What do you think it might be? Is it a picture of one of the military camps I wonder?