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100 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK...

Mrs Griffith dies at nearly 100 years Compiled by Cameron McCullough MRS Hannah Rose Griffith, who passed away after a brief illness on the 10th inst at “Danby Lodge,” Somerville, was born nearly a century ago at Bangor, Wales. She was one of six daughters of the late James Courtney Cottingham. She had two brothers, one being Judge James Cottingham, of Manchester, and the other, Christopher Cottingham, the Editor of the “Mercantile & Shipping Gazette,” London, whilst her cousins were Sir Hercules Robinson (later Earl Rosemead) and Sir William Robinson, Governor of NSW and later of Victoria. Her early life was spent in Dublin. She was tutored with her friend, Lady Ann Fitzgerald, at the Duchess of Leinster’s home. She was both accomplished and fascinating, and for some time was considered to be one of the belles of Dublin. She was married in 1848 at St George’s, Dublin, to Arthur Hill Griffith, a leading solicitor in Dublin, who was a scion of the ancient Griffith family of Penrhyn, Wales, and 30 years her senior. Subsequent to this – his second marriage – Mr Griffith took up a country estate at Gortmore, County Westmeath, and it was here that all the family, consisting of nine sons and two daughters, were born. In 1870, Mr Griffith decided to come to the Antipodes, whither his brother, Hon Charles Griffith (a member of the first Victorian Legislative Council) and his cousins, Molesworth Green and the Very Rev. Hussey Burgh Macartney, D.D (first Dean of Melbourne) had

preceded him. Mrs Griffith accompanied him, with nine members of the family, the eldest, James de Burgh, remaining at Trinity College, Dublin, to complete his medical course; another son, Walter Hussey, being already settled in New Zealand, where the family arrived after a passage of six months. Subsequently the family settled in Victoria, and Melbourne became their home. Here the family grew up and entered their several professions. Two became doctors, Dr J. de B. Griffith, of Somerville, and Dr C. A. Griffith, of Berwick; another, Hon Arthur Griffith, took up politics, and became Minister of Education in New South Wales; the others entered various banks. Few of the family, however, married. The number of grandchildren (viz, 11) was exactly that of her family, whilst the great grandchildren numbered twelve. Mrs Griffith was widowed in 1882, and she finally decided to live with her eldest son, Dr J. de B. Griffith, keeping house for him until the time of her death. For some years, Dr Griffith practiced in Carlton, from where he went as Medical Officer of the famous Bushmen’s Contingent to the South African War. On his return from a subsequent visit to England, he, in 1906, settled in Somerville, where the home was later totally destroyed by fire but rebuilt. The late Mrs Griffith had lived under five Sovereigns, viz:—George IV, William IV, Victoria, Edward VII, and George V. She possessed almost up to

the hour of her death wonderful powers of both mind and body, and until her last brief illness – the only serious one through life – was remarkably active and energetic. She was at all times interesting, kind hearted and generous to a fault. Being of a deeply religious nature, she possessed a calm, sure faith in things eternal, and of later years was ever prepared for and joyfully anticipated her death, which was truly the end of a long journey. She died quietly and peacefully of asthma of the heart and was laid to rest in the Frankston Cemetery on Tuesday last, several of her sons and grandsons being present as mourners, and quite a number of friends to pay their last respects to her memory. The solemn service of the Church of England was impressively read by a grandson of the deceased, the Rev. Maurice de Burgh Griffith, M.A., B.D. who conducted a short service at the house before leaving. The Rev. A. P. McFarlane assisted in the service at the graveside; also speaking a few words eulogistic of the deceased lady, whom he had known for a number of years. The coffin was of polished oak and was covered with floral tributes from relatives and friends. *** AT the delegates meeting last night it was decided that investigation be made by the Mornington Peninsula Football Association regarding the allegations made against Johnston and Laidlaw, of the Carrum Club, who are alleged to have been dis disqualified for life by the Federal Association last season.

These players are to be asked to sign a declaration, and if their disqualification prove actual fact Carrum will most likely lose all the matches they have won when these players have played. A full report will appear in our next issue. *** IN order to avoid holding concerts in the Mechanics’ Hall on successive nights the Children’s Cantata and grand concert in aid of Frankston Methodist Honor Board will be held on Tuesday, 16th August, instead of Friday, 19th August. *** A DEFINITE move has been made in the direction of securing a Soldiers’ Memorial for Frankston. The Memorial Committee met last Friday night (Cr Oates in the chair) when it was decided to call for competitive designs. The secretary (Mr H. Vicars) reported that about £600 was in hand towards the estimated cost of £1300. A further asset is held in the Club Room, now held by the Returned Soldiers. Messrs A. Hill and Hugh Morrison were appointed trustees of this building. *** GOOD old time hospitality was experienced at “Malunnah,” the residence of Mr A. H. Gregory, on Wednesday evening last, when members of the Frankston Football Club were entertained at a social evening. A delightful time was spent by a large and merry company, who found the fleeting hours all too short. Occasion was taken to congratulate Frankston’s youthful and popular

captain, Mr Reg. Coxall on having that day attained his 21st birthday, and his health, proposed by President McCulloch, was drunk with enthusiasm. “Reg” make a response which was heartfelt and appropriate, but his performance as an orator is far short of his prowess on the football field. *** ARBOUR Day, celebrated at the Frankston school on Monday last, was a memorable event. The day was beautifully fine, and there was a large gathering of parents to assist in the proceedings. The Head Master, (Mr J. D. Jennings) conducted the visitors over the spacious grounds, already bearing testimony to artistic and intelligent treatment, and giving promise of charming and unique effects, when the full scheme of plotting and planting has been completed. The children rendered an interesting programme of songs, recitations and dialogues, and speeches were given by the Shire President (Cr W. P. Mason), Mr J. F. Bell (Presbyterian Minister) and Dr Maxwell. Others in attendance were Rev. MacFarlane, Crs Oates and Wells, and members of the school committee. There was a representative attendance of ladies, who were keenly interested in the proceedings, and several planted an olive tree each. After the serving of tea and cakes, Mr Jennings, by request, planted a fine chestnut tree, and some girls then recited “The Village Blacksmith”. *** From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 15 July 1921

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20 July 2021

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