Born on the 22nd of April 1892 at the family property ‘Shepparton Park’ Shepparton, Vic – daughter of Asline Collett MASON and Annie Rae Nesbitt WELCHMAN, who married in Toorak, Vic on the 10/4/1889
Rae was the Hon Secretary of the Shepparton Red Cross League during the war years.
Asline, a Grazier and Orchardist of ‘Shepparton Park’, died in April 1921 at Shepparton, age 63 and Rae died in 1934, age 70
Siblings (2): Asline Claude (Toby) b.4/3/1890 Shepparton Park – WW1: Gnr 924, 2nd FAB – d.25/11/1940 Bunbartha of heart failure due to Angina; Clive Collett b.19/6/1901 Shepparton Park – d.16/9/1945 Mooroopna
Religion: Church of England
Trained in nursing at the Homeopathic Hospital, Melbourne for 3 years
Served at No. 11 Australian General Hospital (AGH), Caulfield for a year, before embarking 25/4/1917 on the A63 Karoola for England – disembarking Avonmouth 17/6/1917
Proceeded to France 5/7/1917 and reported for duty at the 25th General Hospital 7/7/1917
Transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital (AAH), Harefield, England 3/11/1917
Admitted to 12 Southwell Gardens (Australian Nurses Hospital), Kensington 25/3/1918 with influenza, & discharged to St Albans 2/4/1918 – returning to duty 10/4/1918
Re-admitted to Southwell Gardens18/11/1918 with laryngitis – returning to duty at Harefield 3/12/1918
Demobalized in London 11/2/1919 – in order to later marry – and was staying at the Birkenhall Mansions when she married
Married Harold John WILLIAMS (RQMS, 1st AAH), on the 5th of May 1919 at St Marylebone Parish Church, Portman Square, London, England
The couple having met in 1918 while they were both serving at the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield, had decided to remain in England where Harold would take up singing as his profession
Children: Twins, born London:
*Vernita Rea b.22/2/1923 – d.1989, married Major Eric DANIELS
*Veronica b.22/2/1923 – d.2006, married Peter STEPHENSON 1946 Sydney
The family came to Australia in 1929 for Harold’s concert tour – this was the first time that both Dorothy and Harold had been home since leaving to join the war effort
WW2: After the outbreak of war she [Dorothy] was for some time in charge of a hospital for evacuated children established near their Sussex home, her daughters working at the canteen which supplied meals for the children.
Harold also toured Australia in 1940 and 1949
The couple returned to Australia for good in 1952, and were living at 1A Superba Parade, Mosman in 1954, 1972
Dorothy died on the 25th of November 1972 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, NSW, age 80 – late of Mosman (reg. 1973)
She was privately cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium
Harold John WILLIAMS was born on the 3/9/1893 at Woollahra, NSW – son of Owen WILLIAMS (Building Contractor) & Isabella WYLIE
Siblings: Arthur Seddon b.c1899 Woollahra – WW1: Gnr 58696, AFA details
Railway Stores Clerk
WW1: Cpl 11894 enlisted 24/7/1915 and embarked on the A8 Argyllshire 11/5/1916 with the 9th Field Ambulance
Proceeded O/S to France 23/11/1916
Promoted to RQMS 26/12/1917
Taken on strength of the 1st AAH 24/8/1918
Sang with the Anzac Coves
Discharged in England 27/7/1919
See ADB on-line: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/williams-harold-john-9111
Harold died in NSW on the 5/6/1976, age 82
The Argus (Melb, Vic), Wed 4 May 1892 (p.1):
MASON – On the 22nd ult., at Shepparton-park, Shepparton, the wife of A.C. Mason of a daughter.
Shepparton News (Vic), Mon 21 May 1917 (p.2):
Miss Dorothy Mason, daughter of Mr and Mrs A.C. Mason, of Maude Street, who was on the nursing staff at the Caulfield Military Hospital, sailed for the front in a hospital ship which left about a month ago by way of the Suez Canal.
Shepparton Advertiser (Vic), Mon 8 Apr 1918 (p.3):
Bombardier Claude Mason
Mr A.C. Mason received a cable-gram on Friday from his daughter, Nurse Mason, stating that his son, Bombardier Claude Mason (Australian Artillery), was in Harefield Hospital, England, suffering from rheumatism. Bombardier Mason is one of the original Anzacs. He was wounded at Gallipoli, and has since been in some of the toughest fights in Northern France.
Shepparton News (Vic), Mon 17 Jun 1918 (p.3):
Gunner Claude Mason Returning
One of Shepparton’s earliest volunteers Gunner Claude Mason, son of Mr and Mrs A.C. Mason, is to return home. Few there are who have to their credit so long a record, and the same distinction applies in regard to the period actually spent in the firing line. He saw some of the hardest fighting on Gallipoli, and while other mates were put out of action, he continued to serve his gun without a spell for many months. In February of this year, he was sent to hospital at Ipswich, and at the end of March was, by request, transferred to Harefield hospital, where his sister, Miss Dot Mason, is nursing. Mrs Mason on Thursday received a cable message stating – “Toby coming home.” Gunner Mason enlisted in August 1914, and by the time he reaches Australia, four years will have passed since he entered the conflict.
The Argus, Sat 31 May 1919:
WILLIAMS – MASON – On the 5th May, at Portman Square, London, Dorothy, only daughter of Mr and Mrs Asline Mason, Shepparton, to Harold, son of Mr and Mrs Williams, Woollahra, Sydney, R.Q.M.S., Harefield, England. (By cable)
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 3 Jan 1920:
MR HAROLD WILLIAMS
Mr Harold Williams, a Woollahra resident who won several Eisteddfod prizes for singing as a boy, and in later life left Australia for the front with the AIF, where he served nearly three years, was so successful with the Anzac Coves as a baritone that last year he began the serious study of singing with a teacher of reputation in London. Whilst in England he won two bass prizes and two baritone at important Eisteddfod competitions. …. early in October was touring with Marie Hall, the famous violinist. At Coventry, as recorded in the Midland “Daily Telegraph” of October 6, he sang three times, and was encored each time he appeared, with the resultant verdict that “the elusive spark of temperament is his, allied to a voice clear, resonant, and powerful. He seems to have all the attributes necessary to become a famous singer; furthermore, youth is also on his side.” Mr Williams was to give a vocal recital in London on December 4.
The Register (Adelaide) Fri 19 Oct 1923:
Prominent in London Concerts
London, October 17
Harold Williams is the principal baritone in the Royal Choral Society.
The Register News Pictorial (Adelaide), Mon 13 May 1929:
AUSTRALIAN SINGER BACK HOME
Tells of Romance in Hospital
Mr Harold Williams, the Australian baritone, who returned to Australia from Europe on Saturday, first met his wife in the Harefield military hospital during the war.
She was an Australian nurse, and he had been invalided back from France, where he was a warrant officer in the Army Medical Corps.
Mr and Mrs Williams have twin children, whom they brought with them to Australia.
With William Murdoch, pianist, Mr Williams will do a concert tour of the Commonwealth.
It was exactly 13 years ago on Saturday that Harold Williams left Australia as a member of the AIF.
The Daily News (Perth, WA), Mon 29 Jan 1940 (p.5):
Baritone For Radio Tour
Mr Harold Williams, prominent Sydney baritone, has reached Fremantle from London by ship on his way to the Eastern States to begin a radio and concert tour for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
The West Australian (Perth, WA), Mon 29 Jan 1940 (p.3):
AUSTRALIAN SINGER’S WIFE
Mrs Harold Williams in Perth
To be her husband’s appreciative audience and impartial critic is, Mrs Harold Williams considers, her most important task. Mrs Williams has come to Australia with her husband, the well-known baritone, who is under contract to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. This is her first visit to this country for 10 years, and although their future plans are uncertain, Mrs Williams who, like her husband is Australian-born, is looking forward to a long stay.
In England, she said, her time was divided between their London flat and their country home in Sussex. Looking after a famous husband and two growing daughters was a full-time undertaking and, although she had many interests outside her home – notably the theatre and the ballet – these had to be enjoyed more from the standpoint of onlooker than participant. Although Mrs Williams does not travel with her husband on his concert tours, she has made herself responsible for seeing that everything he may require for a concert is always at hand; for ensuring that he may rest undisturbed and practice uninterrupted.
Speaking of England under war-time conditions, Mrs Williams said that, despite the black-outs, London night-life was getting back to normal. After the outbreak of war she was for some time in charge of a hospital for evacuated children established near their Sussex home, her daughters working at the canteen which supplied meals for the children.
These daughter, the Misses Vernita and Veronica Williams, attractive twins who have just left college, have come to Australia with their parents and are likely to prove a popular addition to the younger set of whichever State in which they make their home. Their interest is centred in sport, at which they excel. Recently they won the junior girls’ doubles tennis championship for Sussex and are looking forward to taking an active part in competitive tennis in Australia. Riding, skating and golf are also among their achievements and they are keenly anticipating their life in this country.
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Tue 6 Feb 1940 (p.5):
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SINGER’S WIFE
To be the wife of a celebrated singer does not necessarily mean merely a round of brilliant concerts and glittering receptions. It is a job which makes the most exacting demands upon a woman’s patience, and requires the exercise of tact and diplomacy at all times.
That is the view of Mrs Harold Williams, wife of the Australian baritone, who arrived with him and their twin daughters in Melbourne on Friday under engagement to the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
This is Mr and Mrs Williams first visit to their homeland since 1930.
“It is sometimes very nerve-racking and as much a strain for me as for my husband before a big concert or similar engagement,” Mrs Williams said. “All artists are temperamental and need much care and looking after, and I make that my job. My husband must always have his proper rest and proper food before a concert. I have always prepared his food, and we work to a proved and regular plan.
“First there is a roast dinner about one o’clock, and my husband has his rest. I always have a cup of tea ready for him when he wakes, and then two hours before he is due to appear I prepare a grilled Dover sole. Of course that was in England. Do you suppose whiting or flounder would do as well here?” Mrs Williams wondered with a smile.
Although she is not herself a musician, Mrs Williams admits that she is one of her husband’s keenest critics, and at the same time one of his greatest admirers as an artist. But she has no particular preference for any of the varied types of music in his repertoire.
Mrs Williams says that her greatest thrill came when her husband was chosen to sing for the second successive year, at the Queen’s Hall, London, last May in the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – the Choral Symphony. “The conductor,” she said, “was Toscanini. The Duke and Duchess of Kent were there, and the Prime Minister, Mr Chamberlain – minus his umbrella, of course. It was really magnificent, and the most thrilling concert for me in fifteen years.”
In recent years, Mrs Williams confesses, her interests have had to be divided between her husband and their attractive twin daughters, Veronica and Vernita, aged seventeen years. The girls have been at boarding school for the last four years, and with pardonable pride their mother recalled that they had won the junior tennis doubles championship of Sussex last year, and the cups they have won are pushing their father’s gold cups from the shelves at their home at Selsey Hill, Sussex.
The house is called Boomerang. Boomerangs surmount its gate and its front door, and are conspicuous in the decorative scheme elsewhere. In this way Mr and Mrs Williams have endeavoured to allay their nostalgia for Australia. The summer is spent in Sussex, where Mrs Williams is able to indulge in her love of gardening, and the rest of the year at their flat in Marylebone, where she is able to indulge her other hobby, the collection of antiques.
Before her marriage Mrs Williams was Miss Dorothy Mason, of Shepparton, Victoria. She served as an Australian Army nurse during the Great War, and she was serving at Harefield Hospital in 1918 when she met Mr Williams. They were married in 1919. Mrs Williams put her nursing training to use recently among evacuees in Sussex, while her daughters worked as assistants in a canteen for evacuees.
Mr and Mrs Williams will remain in Melbourne for about a week before coming on to Sydney.
The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW), Sun 26 Jun 1949 (p.9):
BARITONE’S WIFE RETURNS TO SEE GRANDCHILD
After leaving London on Monday night and flying almost continuously since, Australian baritone Mr Harold Williams and Mrs Williams arrived at Mascot by B.C.P.A. from San Francisco last night.
Mr and Mrs Williams have a joint purpose in visiting Australia for a few months again. Apart from his concert tour, they will also see their first grandchild for the first time.
One of their twin daughters, Mrs Peter Stephenson, who was formerly Miss Veronica Williams, married in Sydney before her parents returned to England in 1946.
Mr and Mrs Stephenson’s daughter Anne is now nearly two years old.
Their other twin daughter, formerly Miss Vernita Williams, recently married Major Eric Daniels, and is now living in Dorset, England.
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Tue 22 Nov 1949 (p.9):
Singer And Wife Return By Plane to London
A little after lunch-time on Friday, Mrs Harold Williams, wife of the well-known baritone, will turn the key in the door of their maisonette near London’s Marble Arch and be “home again” after their five months’ visit to Australia.
With her husband, Mrs Williams left by B.O.A.C. last night to return to England after his Australian tour.
“Although we are both Australians and still love our homeland very much, we have lived in London for so long that we now think of it as our home,” Mrs Williams said.
“It was wonderful to see Sydney again, but I really can’t wait to be back in my own house after living in a small city flat for all those months.”
Mrs Williams did not accompany her husband on his tour. She stayed in Sydney to be with her son-in-law and her twin daughter, Mr and Mrs Peter Stephenson, and their daughters, Anne, and Jane, who was born during her grandparents’ visit.
“When we next visit Australia, and I hope it won’t be too long, we will have a family reunion here.
“My other twin daughter, Mrs Eric Daniels, and her husband, Major Daniels, who live in Dorset, are planning to make their home in Sydney next year. So both girls will be living here when we come back again.”
When they reach London, Mr Williams will begin rehearsing almost immediately for the Christmas presentation of “The Messiah” at the Albert Hall.
Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld), Mon 5 May 1952 (p.5):
Singer for home
LONDON: The Australian baritone, Harold Williams, is sailing for home on June 11 “for good,” according to ‘Evening Standard’s’ diarist.
Williams, who has followed his singing career in Britain since the end of the first world war, will teach and sing in grand opera and over the radio in Australia.
He will rejoin his 29-year-old twin daughters, Vernita and Veronica, who are now in Sydney.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Thur Nov 30, 1972 (p.51):
WILLIAMS, Dorothy – November 25, 1972, at Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, late of Mosman, wife of Harold, mother of Vernita and Veronica, mother-in-law of Eric, and Ronald, and grandmother of their families, aged 80 years.
WILLIAMS – Announcing that the private cremation of the late DOROTHY WILLIAMS, of Mosman, was held last Wednesday at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.
Letter from her brother Claude to their parents 1915: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/121143486
Obit of her brother Claude 1940: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/174618618
Cousin, 2nd Lieut (2716) Frederick Ward Mason, 19th Bn – KIA 3/5/1917 France: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/92107937