Naughty

#52 ancestors 52 week – week 50

On the 17th March 1928 in the Chronicle the marriage of Phyllis Moira NOSWORTHY to Henry (Harry) George COOPER was announced. Little or no fanfare was made of the marriage. There are not prior announcements regarding an engagement as one can see for Phyllis sister Gweneth when she was engaged in early January of the same year [2].

The marriage certificate for Phyllis and Henry tell us that they were married in the Registry Office in Adelaide on 6th March, both were of age [3]. So what was naughty or wrong about Phyllis and Henry being married. There are two things that could deem the marriage to be naughty when viewed through the lens of time.

The first child of Phyllis and Harry, Raymond Harry COOPER was born on 24 July 1928 or four months after they were wed [4]. This certainly was never talked about when we were growing up. Having sexual relations outside of marriage would have been frowned upon in the 1920’s. The reputation of the woman in the relationship would have been seen as loose.

Yet was this the only reason the haste at which Phyllis and Harry got married was never talked about amongst the family. Phyllis and Harry were first cousins and while it was and is legal to marry first cousins in Australia the relationship had been frowned upon by the family.  Even today marriage between cousins while being permissible by law is not always seen as being the right thing to do. 

Family lore would suggest that the family had tried to separate Phyllis and Harry when they were attracted to each other. As Phyllis had moved to New South Wales with her parents when she was a young girl, she hadn’t grown up with Harry and her other cousins. Her maiden aunts on the Nosworthy family frowned upon the relationship and believed it was wrong.

Whether we think they were naughty or it was just young love Phyllis and Harry had five children in total and both lived a long and fulfilled life.

COOPER Family



[1] “Family Notices” Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954) 17 March 1928: 43. Web. 15 Dec 2018 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90092330&gt;.

[2] Family Notices (1928, January 7). Saturday Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1929), p. 30. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199975976

[3] Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Office. Copy of Marriage Certificate 727, 6 March 1928 District of Adelaide Henry George COOPER and Phyllis Moira NOSWORTHY

[4] Genealogy SA, Birth Index Database COOPER Raymond, Wellington
216A/372. accessed online at https://www.genealogysa.org.au


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