Saturday, 27 June 2020

Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Children's Hospital

On April 20, 1898 the foundation stone of the Children's Hospital was laid by Beatrice Maie St John Madden, Ivy Victoria Clarke and Ethel Maie Sumner Ryan. The three girls  carried out their duty on behalf of the children of Victoria. Although these girls represented the children of Victoria, they were not truly representative of the children of Victoria as they were from families belonging to the  squattocracy (1) or 'upper class' - families well connected to each other, to politicians, to power and to money. What has this to do with our region? Well, the last named child, Ethel married Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey and they lived in Berwick - we know them as Lord and Lady Casey, and Lord Casey is the source of the name for the City of Casey. This post will look at this significant event in young Ethel Maie Sumner Ryan's life.

The three girls

The Weekly Times of April 30, 1898 (2) reported on the event and the list of invited guests, including the Acting Governor, Sir John Murray and the role of the three girls - After a few words by the architects, the stone was hoisted, and a bottle containing records of the hospital and the newspapers of the day, was placed in a cavity beneath it. The three little girls, who were all tastefully dressed, and carried handsome bouquets, then stepped forward, and very sedately and prettily went through their part of the programme. First of all they carefully measured the stone. Then they were supplied with a spadeful of mortar upon a polished cedar platter, and with their silver trowels they each took up a morsel and deposited it beneath the stone. "Lower, please," called one of the little ladies to the man at the windlass; then "lower yet," and the stone was dropped into its place. Then with serious faces the three took up one after another a miniature spirit-level, and laid it this way and that across the stone. Lastly, with tiny mallets of cedar they tapped the stone, and their task was done. And then they made a speech. At first little Miss Madden was the spokes-maiden, and this is what she said: - "Ladies and Gentlemen, -We three little girls are very pleased and very proud to be allowed to-day to help this hospital. We declare this stone well and truly laid, and we hope that God will bless this building, and that He will save many dear little children from death and pain by its means." Then the three together lifted up their voices, and said: "On behalf of the children of Victoria, we declare this stone well and truly laid." There was great cheering at this announcement, and the little ladies retired, each carrying with her in a silk-lined morocco case the silver trowel which had been presented. (Weekly Times of April 30, 1898, see here)

The foundation stone of the 1898 building.
Image: Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne 1870 - 1970 by Lyndsay Gardiner (3).

The laying of the foundation stone ceremony

The Children's Hospital began in 1870 in  a house at 39  Exhibition Street (then called Stephen Street). In 1873 it moved to Spring Street. This building could accommodate 15 inpatients as well as providing an outpatient service. The hospital moved again in 1876 to Carlton, to a house purchased from Sir Redmond Barry. This new building provided a substantial increase in space, it could house 24 inpatients and was located on the block bounded by Rathdown, Pelham and Drummond Streets. The hospital expanded with the erection of the new building in 1898, designed by Guyon Purchas and William Shields. It remained on this site until January 1963, when it moved to Flemington Road in Parkville (4).  The Hospital became the Royal Children's Hospital in 1953 (5).

The 1898 building
Children's Hospital, Drummond Street Carlton, exterior view, c. 1900. 
Photographer: Charles Rudd. 
State Library of Victoria Image H39357/103

We will have a look at the life of these three girls.
Beatrice Maie St John Madden. Beatrice, born in 1890, was the youngest daughter of Sir John Madden and his wife Gertrude Frances Stephen. She had four older sisters, Amy (born 1873), Gertrude (1875), Sylvia (1876), Ruby (1877) and one brother Guy born 1879.  The family lived at Cloyne, in St Kilda and had a country residence, Yamala, at Frankston. Sir John (1844-1918) was a lawyer and was appointed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1893, the year he was Knighted. Lady Madden, who died in 1925 at the age of 72 was the President of the Austral Salon and the Bush Nursing Association. Sir John was described as an indulgent father (6) and Beatrice grew up in an wealthy and well connected household.

Beatrice Madden, aged about six. I believe this was taken at Yamala.
State Library of Victoria Image  H93.236/3

Beatrice married Maurice Howard Baillieu in March 1912 in a fashionable wedding, as the newspapers described Society weddings in those days. It was attended by the Governor of Victoria as well as Dame Nellie Melba, amongst other guests (7).  Maurice was the son of James Baillieu and the brother of William Baillieu, who was a partner in the firm of Munro and Baillieu, prominent Melbourne auctioneers. You can read about the Baillieu family here, in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Beatrice and Maurice had a son John and a daughter Sandra (8). Beatrice died in 1957 at the age of 66.

Photo of Beatrice Madden published at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. 
Melbourne Punch April 28, 1898

Ivy Victoria Clarke. Ivy was the daughter of  Sir William Clarke (1831 - 1897) pastoralist and philanthropist, who in 1874 inherited property in Victoria worth £1,500,000 which is very serious money. This property included land at Berwick, where he was instrumental in having the Old Cheese factory built, read about this here.  In 1881, Clarke was created  a Baronet, the only hereditary title in Australia, so Ivy's background was equally as 'prominent', perhaps even more so than that of Beatrice. Sir William's first wife died in 1871 and in 1872 he married Janet Snodgrass, who had been the governess to his four children. She was the daughter of Peter and Charlotte Snodgrass, more of whom later. They had seven children - Clive (born 1874), William (1876), Agnes (1877), Francis (1879), Reginald (1880), Lily (1884) and Ivy in 1888. The family homes were  Rupertswood in Sunbury and Cliveden (now demolished) in East Melbourne. Lady Clarke was also very philanthropic and was involved with the Austral Salon, the Melbourne District Nursing Society, the first president of the National Council of Women among many other organizations. In 1889, Lady Clarke donated £5000 for the construction of the Hostel for Women University Students, Trinity College known as  Janet Clarke Hall. 

Photo of Ivy Clarke published at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. 
Melbourne Punch April 28, 1898

Ivy married Robert William Knox in 1912. He was a business man, director of various companies and President of the Australian National Theatre Movement. He was Knighted in 1934. Ivy was involved in various charitable and community organisations, including being the President of the Australian Women's National League. She died in 1962 at the age of 74. As a matter of interest, to me at least (9), when Ivy's mother, Janet Clarke, died at the age of 57 in April 1909 she left an estate of  £109,000 and made a number of individual bequests to her children. Ivy received Honiton lace and her mother's diamond tiara. Honiton lace was an English lace and was used on Queen Victoria' wedding gown when she married in 1840. I wondered if Ivy had used the lace in her own wedding gown, but it wasn't, her dress was of satin and tulle and embroidered with pearls (10).  Ivy's life was indeed  a life of privilege however her father died when she was nine, her mother when she was twenty and her son Keith in 1946 at the age of 27, so all the money in the world can't insulate you from the death of loved ones. Keith had served in the War with an English regiment, was awarded the Military Cross and Bar, but died as a result of an operation in 1946 (11). Ivy and Robert had another son, David, and a  daughter Rosemary.

Lady Clarke wearing her diamond tiara, which she left to her daughter Ivy.
Photo: The Long last summer: Australia's Upper Class before the Great War by Michael Cannon (12)

Ethel Maie Sumner Ryan.  Maie as she was known, was born on March 13, 1891 in Melbourne.  She was the daughter of Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan and Alice Elfrida Sumner.  Her brother, Rupert Sumner Ryan had been born in 1884. Sir Charles was the honorary medical officer to the Children's Hospital from 1883 until 1913, then became consulting surgeon. Sir Charles was the son of Charles Ryan and Marion Cotton. Marion's sister Charlotte was married to Peter Snodgrass and they were the parents of Janet, Lady Clarke. Thus Charles Ryan and Janet Clarke were first cousins. John Cotton, the father of Marion and Charlotte, was a naturalist and had published two books on birds in England before he arrived in Australia. He had plans to publish a book on the birds of Port Phillip, illustrated with his own drawings, but died before this eventuated. His grand-daughter, Ellis Rowan, was also a talented artist, who painted exquisite pictures of  wildflowers and birds. Ellis was the sister of Charles Ryan and  the aunt of young Maie.

Photo of Maie Ryan published at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. 
Melbourne Punch April 28, 1898

Maie married Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey in London in 1926. He was an engineer, a politician and  the Governor General of Australia from 1965 to 1969, you can read about his career here. They had two children, Jane and Richard. It was through Maie's mother that we have the connection to Berwick. Alice Ryan's sister Winifred Sumner was married to Andrew Chirnside, one of the Chirnsides of Werribee Park. Andrew and Winifred purchased Edrington in Berwick in 1912 and when the couple both died within three months of each other in 1934 Edrington passed to Maie Casey and her brother, Colonel Rupert Ryan, niece and nephew of Winifred. Edrington at Berwick was the family home of Lord and Lady Casey (well one of them, they also owned a house in East Melbourne).  There are some interesting photos of the Caseys at Edringtonhere. Maie was a talented artist, a writer and  a poet. She also complied and edited Early Melbourne architecture, 1840 to 1888:  a photographic record (13). Sadly, many of the buildings had been demolished when the book was published,  I'd hate to think how little remains now.  It's a great book, well worth trying to obtain a copy, if you want to see how marvellous Melbourne once was. Lady Casey died in 1983. Read more about her, here.

Lady Casey standing beside a small aeroplane. Both Lord and Lady Casey flew planes. They established their own airfield at Berwick, Casey Airfield
State Library of Victoria Image H2013.295/1

(1) Squattocracy - what  a great word this is - the Colonial Aristocracy. The first evidence of its use was in 1846 according to A dictionary of Australian colloquialisms by G. A. Wilkes (Sydney University Press, 1978) A squatter was a respectable pastoralist occupying Crown land by licence. Most of these squatters then purchased the land at the first Government land sales, in the Casey Cardinia area these sales took place in the 1850s. The ownership of land was a source of great wealth, as we can see with Sir William Clarke.
(2) Weekly Times of April 30, 1898, see here.
(3) Gardiner, Lyndsay Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne 1870 - 1970 (published by the Hospital in 1970)
(4) Gardiner, op. cit.
(5) The Children's Hospital becomes the Royal Children's Hospital reported in The Age August 7, 1953, see here.
(6) Sir John Madden, an indulgent father comes from his Australian Dictionary of Biography entry written by Ruth Campbell, see here.
(7) Beatrice Madden's wedding was reported on in The Leader, March 16, 1912, see here and The Australasian, March 16, 1912, see here. The State Library of Victoria has a copy of her wedding photo, see here.
(8) I wondered whether the three girls kept in touch or were friends. I found a  report of Sandra Baillieu's wedding to Alexander William Stewart in September 1950. It was a small wedding with family and intimate friends and Sir Robert and Lady Knox were present, so it appears there was still some connection between Beatrice and Ivy. The report was in The Argus November 27, 1950, see here. You can see the photos of 'Melbourne's Society Wedding of the Year', here.
(9) I was interested that Ivy inherited her mother's tiara, because I love tiaras! It's not often you get a chance to write about tiaras in Local History blogs, so even though it is not central to the story, I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass.
(10) Ivy's wedding was reported in Punch November 12, 1914, see here and The Leader, November 14, 1914, see here.
(11) The obituary of Keith Knox was in The Argus November 12, 1946, see here and The Age of November 12, 1946, see here.
(12) Cannon, Michael The Long last summer: Australia's Upper Class before the Great War (Nelson, 1985)
(13) Casey, Maie Early Melbourne architecture, 1840 to 1888:  a photographic record (Oxford University Press, 1975)

No comments: