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|Mary Ellen Fairbairn (nee McNamara) 1881-1955 by Ann Rackstraw|
James and Bridget McNamara’s
Helena Lillian McNamara
Married 7 Jun 1911
James Alfred Rorke
E. Helena Lillian McNamara. She was known in her family as Lily, her married name was Rorke. She was born on 28 Aug 1886 at Paris Creek, South Australia (CD, SA Births, 1842-1906, Book 381, page 126). She was baptized on 31 Oct 1886 at Mt Barker, South Australia, the sponsors were Patrick and Bridget White (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 19 Nov 2008).
Around Mar 1888 James, Bridget and their children travelled to Round Hill, near Broken Hill NSW, where James worked at the Round Hill mine. Between 15 Sept and 8 Oct 1888, Kate and Lawrence died and Bridget, their last child was born. After this traumatic period Bridget suffered a decline in her mental health. The family later returned to Adelaide where James was admitted to Adelaide Hospital on 22 Jun 1890 with Plumbism (lead poisoning), he was discharged on 28 June. It appears that James later returned to Broken Hill to work, leaving Bridget and the children in Adelaide.
After their mother was admitted to the asylum on 10 Oct 1890, Thomas McNamara, brother of James, travelled from Goolwa to Adelaide and bought the children back to live with his family believing it would be a temporary arrangement. At the end of February 1891, Thomas appealed to the SA Children's Department for assistance as he could no longer support the children. He advised the authorities that James was in hospital in Broken Hill and Bridget was in Parkside Asylum (Correspondence contained in SA Children's Department Series GRG27/1, copies supplied by Judy Smith, email dated 25 Nov 2008).
On 13 Mar 1891 all four children were admitted to Magill Industrial School, they had been sentenced to one year as destitute children by T.W. Goode JP. and J.T. Underwood JP. (This sentence was to be later extended). On 4 Apr 1891 all four children were placed with Mrs Bridget Davoren/Daverns, Roman Catholic, wife, of Kapunda. Bridget's husband John died on 27 Dec 1891 and on 30 Jan 1892 after nearly nine months with Mrs Daverens, the children were removed from her home by Inspector Honigrave because of reported ill treatment and were returned to Magill. On 22 Feb 1892, Helena, aged five, and her sister, Bridget, aged three, were placed with Michael O'Donnell, Roman Catholic, of Gawler. Although there is a gap in the records, it appears that Helena stayed with this family until 2 Apr 1900 when she was readmitted to Magill from Mr O'Donnell of Gawler. Her sentence expired at age 14 and she was then placed ‘in service’ (household servant) to Mr Jno Hughes of Goodwood on 10 Aug 1900 (Information extracted from SA State Archives Series GRG29/9 and provided by Judy Smith, email dated 29 July 2008).
In the records of SA Children’s Department, Helena is mistakenly recorded as Ellen, her older sister’s second name. Helena’s birth was registered as 28 Aug 1886, but it appears that because the Children’s Department had incorrectly recorded her name as Ellen they could not find her birth registration, so selected a date in March 1887 for her date of birth, the date quoted by Helena in subsequent correspondence with the department.
On 9 Jun 1908 Helena wrote to Mr Craig, of the SA State Children's Department, and requested payment of her savings as she intended to stay in Victoria with her sister, Mary Ellen Fairbairn, until she was in better health. Helena had suffered pneumonia and paid 6 pounds for a Doctor leaving her with a few shillings (it appears that Helena was employed as a domestic servant of the basis of room and board and her earnings were paid to the Children's Department). Helena received a request from the Children's Department for more information and replied by letter advising that the Department's records wrongly listed her as Ellen, which was her sister's second name, Helena also suggested that they go to Mrs O'Donnell, 131 Gilbert St Adelaide, as Helena and her sister Bridget had been placed with her in Gawler. She also listed several employers who knew her as Lily. Helena's birthday had been in March [sic] and she had not requested her money as she believed she would not need it and would wait until she returned to Adelaide. Helena had been ill and positions were harder to obtain in Melbourne, also her sister was not well and she would be staying with her for some time. A departmental officer calculated the monies owed to Helena, the total was 12 pounds and 19 shillings (Correspondence contained in SA Children's Department, Series GRG27/1, copies supplied by Judy Smith, email dated 26 Nov 2008). When Helena's health permitted, she worked as a domestic servant in large houses in the Prahran area (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 5 Aug 1908).
Helena's brother John, who was farming on the Eyre Peninsular, South Australia, later asked her to join him and to act as his housekeeper (Information from descendants of both John and Helena).
Helena married James Alfred Rorke, son of David Rorke, on 7 Jun 1911 at the Public Hall, Calca, South Australia, Helena was 24, James 31, and they were both single. They were married by Roman Catholic Priest, Father P.L. Kelly, the witnesses were J.P. and Eileen Cash of Kalca Station (CD, SA Marriages, Registrations 1842-1916, Book 247, page 1016 and additional information from Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2008).
James worked with his father at Point Westall and then on his own land at Pygert near Wudinna. In 1919 he sold the farm and the family moved to Elliston where he went share farming and carting wheat. They then moved to Tumby Bay about 1921 and James worked carting cement for the Tod River reservoir project. About 1924 James travelled to Adelaide to look for work, after waiting for some time, when James did not send for the family, Helena sold all their possessions to pay for the fare to Adelaide for herself and the children, but Helena and James were never reconciled. Helena and the children first lived in lodgings and the older children all worked to pay the rent. They were very poor and struggled during the 1930's depression. About 1936 Helena suffered a breakdown because of worry and overwork, in 1937, after Laurie had saved up for six months so that they could pay a deposit on a house to rent, Helena and the children moved to 82 Alfred St Parkside (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2008).
Around 1950 Helena was diagnosed with dementia and was admitted to Parkside Asylum, South Australia, (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2007). Helena died on 19 Jun 1964, aged 76, at Eastwood, South Australia, her residence was recorded as Parkside (CD, SA Deaths, Registrations 1916-1972, Book 975, page 4031). She was buried on 22 Jun 1964 at Macclesfield, South Australia (District Council of Mount Barker, SA, Cemeteries, website).
James Alfred Rorke
James Alfred Rorke was born in Jun 1880 in Galway, Ireland. James and his parents emigrated from Ireland and arrived in Port Adelaide on 3 Oct 1880 on board the "Corona". James’ mother Kate, died in 1883 and he was bought up by family friends while his father went farming on the Eyre Peninsular at Kirkala near Streaky Bay, James joined his father about 1910 (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2008). James died in 1963, aged 82, at Preston, Victoria (CD, Death Index Vic 1921-1985, Reg No 25762). He was buried at Port Lincoln, South Australia with his father David Rorke (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 3 Sep 2007).
The children of Helena and James Rorke
a. William James Rorke was born on 27 Jan 1912 at Streaky Bay, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928, Book 881, page 388). He married Edith Elsie Scott, daughter of Francis Scott and Lucy Palmer, on 26 Sep 1936 at the Methodist Church, Murray Town, South Australia. William was aged 26, Edith 27, and they were both single (CD, SA Marriages, Registrations 1917-1937, Book 371, page 3750).
Edith Elsie Scott
Edith Elsie Scott. Her married name was Rorke. She was born on 9 Sep 1908 at Port Pirie, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations, 1907-1928, Book 809, page 405).
Laurence died circa 1990, aged 75, at Kurralta Park, South Australia. He was buried in Section Catholic H, Path 18, Site: 904, Centennial Park Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia (Centennial Park Relative Search, website).
d. Kathleen Helena Rorke. Her married name is Routleff. She was born on 15 Apr 1918 at Wudinna, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928, Book 18A, page 595). She married William Furse Routleff (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2008).
William Furse Routleff
William died 6 May 1980, aged 57, at Klemzig, South Australia. His body was cremated and his remains are located in Rose Garden Cremations, Columbarium Wall CDV, Niche 14, Enfield Memorial Park, South Australia, (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2008 and information provided by Chris Ward, email dated 7 Aug 2008).
e. Eileen Ceceila Rorke. Her married name was Trevorah. She was born on 1 May 1921 at Elliston, South Australia (CD, SA Births Registrations 1907-1928, Book 76A, page 183).
She married Lawrence Ernest Trevorah on 18 Jun 1954 at Adelaide, South Australia (Information provided by Judy Smith, email dated 27 Oct 2008).
Eileen died on 19 Jun 1965, aged 44, in Adelaide, South Australia, her residence was recorded as Rostrevor (CD, SA Death Index 1916-1972, Book 992, page 3921). She was buried at General A Section, Path 24, Site 707A, Centennial Park, South Australia (Centennial Park Relative Search, website).
Lawrence Ernest Trevorah
Lawrence died on 6 Sep 2003, aged 87. He was buried in Section General A, Path 24, Site 707A, Centennial Park, South Australia (Centennial Park, Relative Search, website).
Maxwell Arthur Smith