Strong Women

#52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Week 10

Robe in the South East was the place where our Strong Woman was born. Rose Elania Tilbrook COOPER was the last child born to Charles COOPER and Ann WHALAN (WHALEN) on 2nd May 1880 [2]. The COOPER family lived around the Robe and Kingston area of South Australia.

Like many at the time Rose was the daughter of immigrants who had moved to South Australia looking for a better life. Charles was a shearer and laborer and worked around the district. Ann was an Irish immigrant with minimal literacy skills. Little is known about Ann although we can surmise that Rose was named for her a grandmother with the use of Elania in her name. Certainly TILBROOK came from her paternal grandmother Harriet TILBROOK.

Woman and children outside a building at Wangolina [B 55132]

So what did life hold for a girl born into a laboring family in the 1880’s. Certainly not a university education or a career of her own. We know from newspaper reports that Rose attended Wangolina school as she was one of the first pupils to attend the school [4]. We can only imagine that after leaving school likely at the age of 12 or 13 she helped in the home, supporting her older brothers and sisters, until her marriage.

Rose was married to Herbert George NOSWORTHY on the 7th May 1903 at the residence of Mr Charles Cooper at Wangolina [5]. The newspaper report of their Golden Wedding Anniversary gives us a hint into the life of a woman at this time [6]. Hebert NOSWORTHY with his father and brother had taken up land holdings and were graziers in and around Lucindale, Conmurra and Bowaka near Kingston. It was at Bowaka that Rose and Herbert settled. Here they settled into the life of farmers.

Herbert was keen to make his mark and sold off his lease and took up a lease at Cooke’s Plain. A bad season and poor harvest meant that this enterprise was not successful. So in 1912 when land was opening up around Lake Cargellico in New South Wales the family made the trek by bullock and cart to establish a property there [7]. At the time of the trek drought was common and Phyllis, Rose’s eldest daughter remembered crossing the River Murray at Paringa by walking across the river. The family traveled over 800kms with all their worldly belongings. At the time of the move Rose and Herbert had four children, the youngest would have been a babe in arms when they made the move. Today, we would not contemplate such a move in such conditions.

The family spent close the ten years before they returned to Lucindale and Herbert took up the management of the family property Albynside. It was here at Lucindale that the family settled. While Herbert went about his business of farming and being a Councillor, Rose developed her own life with involvement in things that were deemed right for a woman of her time.

Trove articles from Lucindale talk of Rose’s involvement in the Country Women’s Association (CWA), School Welfare Club, winning cooking competitions at the Adelaide Show, Red Cross and the Methodist Church. Like many woman Rose was active and her involvements were the way many woman in country could be a part of and support the major issues of the day. Rose and her husband were active in the Methodist church and one article calls her a “Mother in Israel to all our ministers who have been stationed in this delightfully secluded little spot” [8].

Rose andMaggie her sister

Rose and Herbert had a total of 6 children who survived into adulthood. only one passed prior to them so they could be proud of their life and their successes. Certainly for Rose to bear 6 children and to support her husband as he made his way to be a grazier would have not have been easy. Like many strong woman it is not her that we hear about, we see and hear about the success of the husband or family. Rarely do we acknowledge the work of the women during this time. All pioneering woman had a inner strength that supported them when times were tough, when family was not present and in times when communication was sparse. It is fitting during International Woman’s Day that we acknowledge all the strong woman that have gone before us.

[1] State Library of SA, Robe prior to 1874 B7777. No copyright restrictions

[2] Genealogy SA, Births Registrations Database. Robe 240/253

[3] State Library of SA, Woman and Children outside a building at Wangolina circa 1905. [B 55132]. No copy right restrictions.

[4] Old Scholars’ Re-Union (1952, January 10). The Naracoorte Herald (SA 1875 – 1954), p. 6

[5]. Genealogy SA, Marriage Registrations Database. Wellington 215/707

[6]. Family Notices (1953, May 18). The Naracoorte Herald (SA 1875-19540, p. 7

[7]. Passing of Mr H. G. NOSWORTHY, Luncindale (1954, July 29). The Naracoorte Herald, (SA: 1875 – 1954).

[8] Meandering to Melbourne —-and Back. Australian Christian Commonwealth (SA 1901 – 1940) 5 April 1935:3

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