Born on the 24th of April 1893 at Mount Morgan, Qld – daughter of George PHILLIPS (Labourer/Miner) & Elizabeth DORRELL – who married 15/3/1883 Cowleigh, Worcestershire, England
Elizabeth remarried in 1907 to Ernest Henry HANSON, and died 28/7/1932, age 71
Siblings: Mary; Grace (Mrs Goodwin); Ethel Lilian b.c1886 – d.1/8/1904, age 18; Harold Percival George b.&d.1889 Qld; Ivy Maud b.1890 – d.16/8/1955 Qld; Nina (Vera) Primrose Winifred b.22/10/1898 Qld – marr R.T. BEATTIE 11/11/1931; Treveleen Fushia b.27/5/1900 Qld – d.1901; Maud
Trained in nursing at the Rockhampton General Hospital – passing her general nursing examination in September 1915, and leaving the hospital in the December
Served with the AANS in Qld from 20/4/1916, and joined for overseas service on the 15/3/1917, embarking on the HS Kanowna 21/3/1917, and arriving Suez, Egypt 1/5/1917
Taken on strength of the 14th Australian General Hospital (AGH) on the 2/5/1917 at Abbassia
Admitted to the 14th AGH as a patient, with appendicitis 10/6/1917 – and transferred to Bulkeley Convalescent Home 7/7/1917 – rejoining her Unit on the 29/7/1917
Admitted to 14th AGH, Port Said with Ptomaine poisoning 29/8/1918 – 31/8/1918
Sick to 14th AGH with Tonsillitis 5/11/1918 – 23/11/1918 – rejoining for duty 1/12/1918
Resigned appointment 12/2/1919 due to marriage
Married Neil Hamilton FAIRLEY (Maj, AAMC) on the 12th of February 1919 at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia, Egypt
Matron’s Report for February 1919, 14th AGH:
“The marriage of Sister V.M. Phillips to Major N. Hamilton Fairley AAMC took place at the Garrison Chapel, Abbassia on 12th February. The ceremony was performed by Chaplain Major Gordon (C. of E.) They were both very popular members of this unit & carried with them the good wishes of every member of the 14th Australian General Hospital.”
[Matron Rose Creal had hosted their Wedding Breakfast in the nurses’ quarters following the ceremony]
The couple lived for a time in and around Cairo, before visiting England for 9 months, and eventually returned to Australia on the Orontes, embarking 21/2/1920
Not long after their return to Australia, an interfering maiden aunt of Neil’s discovered that Violet had told a few untruths about her family and social standing. Because of this untruthfulness, Neil decided he could no longer live with her, though he provided for her and their son – and a few years later she filed for divorce
Child: Donald Melville FAIRLEY b.28/2/1921 Brighton, Vic – Permanent Soldier – WW2: 1940 – 1946 – Puckapunyal 1951 – hit by a car 1952, receiving a large payout in 1955 because of it – d.10/3/1995 Qld, age 74, buried in the Buderim Cemetery
Violet was a resident of: Malvern Rd, Armadale in 1924 / 90 Lewisham Rd, Prahran 1925 / 50 Wattle Rd, Glenferrie 1928 / 48 Domain St, South Yarra 1934 / Flat 2, St James, 6 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, Vic 1951 / 2 Laura St, Carrum 1954 / 10A Quentin Rd, Malvern East 1963
She died in 1965 at Heidelberg, Vic, aged 71, and was cremated on the 3/2/1965 at Springvale Botanical Cemetery, and her ashes scattered
Neil Hamilton FAIRLEY (O.B.E.) was born 15/7/1891 Inglewood, Vic – son of James FAIRLEY and Margaret Louisa JONES who married in 1886.
James, who had been the Manager of the Inglewood branch of the Bank of NSW when Neil was born, died on the 29/8/1934. Margaret died in 1938, age 76
Siblings: James Fairburn b.27.8.1887 Wodonga – Doctor – WW1: Capt, 11th GH, RAMC – died of a brain haemorrhage 9/11/1915 France; Frank Fairburn b.1889 & d.1890; William Llewellyn b.&d.1895; Keith Douglas b.1898 – d.1977; Ronald Adrian b.1902 Inglewood.
Educated Scotch College & Melbourne University
WW1: Maj, 14th AGH, AAMC
Embarked 5/9/1916 on the RMS Kashgar
Remarried 28/10/1925 Marylebone, England to Mary Evelyn GREAVES
WW2: Enlisted in the AIF in the UK 1940 – 1946
Died 19/4/1966 Sonning, England
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Fri 24 Sept 1915 (p.7):
Misses V.M. Phillips, M.A. Maloney, L.T. Mowat, and G.C.B. Wilsher, all members of the staff of the Rockhampton General Hospital, have passed their general nursing examinations.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Tue 28 Dec 1915 (p.5):
A very pleasant gathering was held at the Rockhampton General Hospital on Tuesday night last to bid farewell to Nurse Phillips. The nurses’ dining-room was tastefully decorated. After dinner the Matron, Miss R. Christmas, expressed great regret at Nurse Phillips’s departure and wished her every success. She also presented Nurse Phillips with a handsome dressing case, handbag, pocket book, hypodermic outfit, and thermometer, being gifts from the nurses, the Secretary, and the Matron.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Wed 18 Jul 1917 (p.9):
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Mrs Hanson, Horse Creek, has received the following cablegram from her daughter, Nurse Violet Phillips, who is at Bulkeltryramleh: – “Quite well having a holiday.”
The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 8 Feb 1919 (p.25)
Rockhampton, February 1
The engagement is announced of Miss Violet Phillips, daughter of Mrs E. Hanson, Vinedale, Mount Morgan, to Dr Neil Fairley, of Melbourne, both of the Australian Imperial Forces, Egypt.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 26 Apr 1919 (p.1):
FAIRLEY – PHILLIPS – On February 12th at the Garrison Church, Cairo, Sister Violet M. Phillips, daughter of Mrs E. Hanson, “Vinedale,” Mount Morgan, to Doctor Neil Hamilton Fairley, of Melbourne, both lat of the A.I.F.
The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld), Sat 3 May 1919 (p.27):
A wedding which created much interest among military people was celebrated in Cairo on the 12th of February last. The contracting parties were Major Neil Hamilton Fairley, Australian Army Medical Corps, formerly of the Melbourne Hospital, and Sister Violet Phillips, late of the Rockhampton General Hospital, and daughter of Mrs E. Hanson, Mount Morgan. Both the bride and bridegroom have been on active service for some time and attached to the staff of the Fourteenth Australian Hospital, Cairo. The marriage took place at the Garrison Church at Abbassia, the ceremony being performed by the Rev Major H.K. Gordon. Colonel Blackburn, Australian Army Medical Corps (Sydney), gave the bride away. Colonel Cave, Australian Army Medical Corps (Melbourne), was best man. Long before the appointed hour the church was thronged with patients and the staff of the Fourteenth Australian General Hospital. It was beautifully decorated. The bride and her two bridesmaids wore military mess uniform, which consisted of grey crepe-de-chene dresses, red silk capes and white silk caps. They also carried bouquets of red and white flowers. The striking uniform, together with the khaki uniform worn by the gentlemen, made a pretty spectacle. “The voice that breathed o’er Eden” was sung as the bride entered the church, and at the close of the ceremony “The Wedding March” was played. On leaving the church the bride and bridegroom passed beneath a guard of honour furnished by the Fourteenth Australian General Hospital guards and sisters. A feature of the ceremony was the sounding of the reveille by the buglers just as the wedding party was about to leave for the sisters’ quarters, where the wedding breakfast was served. About forty guests were present. Miss Creal, Matron of the Fourteenth Australian General Hospital acted as hostess. The orchestra of the Australian General Hospital was present and gave a fine selection of music. After the breakfast Major and Mrs Fairley left by motor car for Helouan, where the honeymoon was spent. The bride travelled in a cream gabardine coat and skirt with a hat to match. Beautiful presents, including many cheques, were received. Major and Mrs Fairley expect to leave for England in a few months and then return to Melbourne, their future home.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), Tue 20 Apr 1920 (p.8):
Mrs N.H. Fairley (nee Sister Violet Phillips), late of the Australian Army Nursing Service, is expected to arrive in Mount Morgan on Wednesday next on a visit to her mother, Mrs E. Hanson, Vinedale, Mount Morgan.
Weekly Times (Melb, Vic), Sat 29 Nov 1924 (p.10):
Sequel to War Romance
On the ground of desertion, Violet May Fairley, 33, Malvern road, Armadale, applied to Mr Justice Macfarlan, in the Divorce Court, for a dissolution of her marriage with Neil Hamilton Fairley, 33, physician.
They met at the war, petitioner being a military nurse in Egypt, and respondent a doctor in the A.I.F.
Petitioner stated that she was married to Dr Fairley at Cairo, Egypt, on February 12, 1919. They returned to Australia in 1920, when respondent was appointed assistant director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Reseach Institute. Since 1921 he had another appointment. Petitioner believed he was now in Melbourne.
After the return to Australia in 1920, a home was established at Barkly street, St Kilda, where they lived for 14 months, and the only child of the marriage was born. The first serious quarrel arose in August 1920, and the cause was respondent’s maiden aunt, who made trouble over petitioner’s birth certificate and caused her husband to become dissatisfied with her. Her husband considered that she had deceived him. Finally respondent said that he had lost his love for petitioner, and would never live with her again. Her husband said that he considered it a duty he owed to his aunt, as she had practically reared him.
A decree nisi was granted, with costs against respondent. Petitioner was allowed the custody of the child, and alimony was agreed upon by the parties.
From a similar article on the divorce in The Age 22 Nov 1924:
“They lived at and around Cairo for a time, and after visiting England, came to Victoria.”
“Petitioner said the estrangement was brought about by respondent’s aunt. As to the reason he has assigned for his refusal to live with her, the matters as to which he said she had deceived him, were very trifling maters.
James Fairley, father of respondent, questioned by Mr Justice Macfarlan, said his son had refused to live with his wife because of her untruthfulness. She had told him a number of untruths.
Mr Justice Macfarlan: What were these untruths?
Witness: One was that her father was the manager of the Mount Morgan mine, which was not correct. Another was that her mother had died, and that, as her father had married again, she could not go home; that also was untrue.
But she had said nothing that was not untrue about herself, or about her character? – No, nothing of that kind.
And it was only because of these untruths? – Yes.”
A more ‘colourful’ version of the Divorce proceedings in The Truth, 30/11/1924:
Queensland Times, Sat 6 Aug 1932 (p.1):
HANSON – At Alexander-street, Booval, on July 28, Elizabeth, beloved wife of Ernest Hanson, loving mother Mary, Grace (Mrs Goodwin), Ivy, Violet (Mrs Fairley), Vera (Mrs Beattie), and Maud. Loving grandma of Phyllis and Don.
“A dear wife and a wonderful mother.”