• A M Rattigan

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    • RATTIGAN, Minnie Augusta (Mrs, nee McFarland), War Worker, Anzac Buffet
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 26 April 2018

    Minnie was born on the 23rd of July 1870 at Barooga Station, NSW – the daughter of Patrick McFARLAND and Eliza RUTHERFORD, who married in Deniliquin, NSW in 1868 Patrick drowned on the 18/11/1901 at Barooga Station, aged 58, and Eliza died in St Kilda, Vic in 1928 Siblings: Frances Alice b.18/4/1869 Vic – marr Frank R. CLAYTON 29/4/1891; Patrick Stuart b.1872 NSW; Leslie Rutherford b.1874 NSW; Olive Helen b.1877 NSW – marr Charles PARKS-SMITH 11/4/1901; Rhoda Lizzie b.20/6/1879 Vic – marr GREAVES – d.13/12/1942; Ilma Berta b.1885 Vic – d.8/11/1947 Tas Having grown up on the family property, Barooga Station, Minnie was also married there on the 30th of November 1892, to a nearby Station owner, Herbert George Elphinstone WHITTY. The couple later befriended a jackeroo, Alan Rattigan, who was employed on Herbert’s brother’s Station, and in 1908 Minnie left her husband to be with Alan. In 1911 Herbert filed for divorce, which was made absolute early in 1912, and on the 11th of March 1912, Minnie married Alan Mansell RATTIGAN. Alan had been born in Lahore, Bengal, India on the 1/7/1871 – the son of William Henry RATTIGAN (Barrister at Law) and Theresa Mary HIGGINS Educated in England, he matriculated from Balliol College (Oxford) on the 20/10/1891, aged 20 Following their marriage the couple left Australia on the 10/4/1912, travelling on the Coblenz, which was sailing to Manila, China and Japan – in Yokohama they boarded the Bülow for the UK and arrived 6/7/1912 The following year they returned to Australia on the Seydlitz, having embarked at Southampton on the 9/6/1913. Embarking in Wellington, New Zealand, on the Athenic, Minnie and Alan (listing his occupation as farming) travelled again to the UK arriving in London on the 7/6/1914 WW1: Still in the UK when war was declared, Alan joined the British Forces and Minnie immersed herself in war work in London. Alan served as a 2nd Lieut/Interpreter with the Life Guards; then as a Captain with the Royal Fusiliers, followed by The King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Six weeks after it was established in September 1915, Minnie took over from Mrs Cox-Roper as Superintendent of the Anzac Buffet, and remained in charge through the changes of premises until her return to Australia in September 1919: Minnie, together with“the rest of the little Australian colony in England was ‘hungry for war work for her own people.’ “Of course,” she said, “we helped in all sorts of ways; but we really felt that we were beginning to do some real Australian war work when the buffet started at Victoria street in September, 1915, simultaneously with the arrival of the first troops from Gallipoli, when all England was ringing with their magnificent story. After the first six weeks I was elected as superintendent of the buffet. I had about 130 workers, mostly Australian, and many of them Adelaide girls.” “We try to make it look like a little bit of Australia for them,” said Mrs Rattigan, the voluntary manager of the Anzac Club and canteen at the Australian military headquarters, Horseferry-road, Westminster. “We would give them the sunshine if we could, but even on cheerless days the flowers help to make something of a home atmosphere.” “It is a bright place with its flags and decorations, but the masses of flowers on its white tables are its crowning adornment. They are the loving offering of Mrs Rattigan, who goes at daybreak twice a week to Covent Garden to get them for the soldiers, each time working out a special scheme of color for their delight.” “The manager has much upon her shoulders. She is the guiding spirit of the canteen. It would be difficult in a few words to give any idea of either the scope of her work or of her untiring devotion. She is at her post from 6.30 every morning until often quite late at night. And when a batch of soldiers come over from France, she will snatch a few hours rest, and then be back at the club at 1 a.m. to welcome them, and account it a joy.” “Prior to her leaving England, the Anzac Buffet Workers presented Mrs Rattigan with a magnificent diamond brooch in the shape of the Australian “Rising Sun” badge, with the words “Anzac Buffet” in blue enamel.” Minnie and Alan returned to Australia on the Osterley, embarking 28/9/1919 In 1921 Minnie helped out on the weekends at the Anzac Buffet established in St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, to care for returned men down on their luck. The couple then travelled back to the UK in 1922 on the Themistocles, arriving London 4/4/1922. By 1928 they were living in Nice in the south of France, followed by the Hotel Savournin, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, and then Cannes. The couple spent a lot of their time playing golf and for some time Alan was the Secretary of the Cagnes Golf Club. Minnie died in France on the 11th of February1943, and Alan died on the 8/10/1946 at Horsham, Sussex, aged 75 The Daily Telegraph (Syd, NSW), Mon 2 Jan 1893 (p.1): Marriages WHITTY – McFARLAND – November 30, at Barooga station, by the Rev W. Clark Hose, Herbert Elphinstone, third son of J.C. Whitty, of Tunbridge Wells, England, to Minnie, second daughter of Patrick McFarland, of Barooga, New South Wales. The Age (Melb, Vic), Thur 10 Aug 1911 (p.6): A SQUATTER’S DIVORCE – “JACKEROO” AS CO-RESPONDENT TRIP TO THE CONTINENT SYDNEY, Wednesday In the Divorce Court to-day, Herbert George Elphinstone Whitty, grazier, of Mulwala, sought a divorce from Minnie Augusta Whitty, on the ground of misconduct with Alan Mansell Rattigan, who was named as co-respondent. Evidence of petitioner showed that the marriage took place on 30th November, 1892, at Baroom [sic], a station about eight miles from Tocumwal. Rattigan came out as a “jackeroo” to the station of witness’s brother, and was afterwards a guest at petitioner’s house. Quarrels arose between petitioner and his wife about this man, and in 1908 he stopped a golf team from coming to his station on learning that Rattigan was a member of the team. His wife was very much annoyed over this. She went to Melbourne, and did not return to him. She had private money of her own, as well as an allowance from him, and was able to go as she liked. He made inquiries in Melbourne, and learned that Rattigan and his wife had gone to England on the same boat in October, 1909. Petitioner went to England, and when travelling from Paris to Calais on his way to London saw Rattigan and his wife on the train, and afterwards on the steamer. Petitioner and his wife spoke on the steamer, when she told him she was living an honorable life in London. She sent for him, and he then told her that he was going for a divorce on the ground of misconduct with Rattigan. She did not seem to mind. He did not see her again until May last, in Melbourne. Further evidence was called in support of the allegation of petitioner, and a decree nisi was granted, returnable in six months. The Daily Telegraph (Syd, NSW), Wed 6 Mar 1912 (p.14): DIVORCE (Before Mr Justice Gordon) DECREES ABSOLUTE Decrees absolute were pronounced in the following suits: – ……………; Herbert George Elphinstone Whitty v. Minnie Augusta Whitty; ……………….. Decree Absolute 1912: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/239157818 The Age (Melb,Vic), Tue 12 Mar 1912 (p.1): MARRIAGES RATTIGAN – WHITTY – On the 11th March, Alan Mansell, son of the late Sir W.H. Rattigan, K.C., M.P., “Lanarksha,” Cornwall Gardens, Kensington, London, to Minnie Augusta, daughter of the late Patrick McFarland, Barooga, Tocomwal, New South Wales. Hamilton Spectator (Vic), Mon 21 Feb 1916 (p.4): SOLDIER ON FURLOUGH IN LONDON In a letter from London, dated 31st December, Driver A.A. McDonald, of Yatchaw, writes to his parents – I arrived back from Scotland on December 22nd, after a long and tiring journey. I was only three days in Scotland, as I had to return on account of illness. I caught a chill, and thought I was in for a relapse of enteric fever, but am thankful to say I am much better again. Christmas passed off very quietly here. I met a lady, Mrs Rattigan, from New South Wales, who has taken a great interest in me. She was kind enough to write to you and tell you how I am getting on. She has been very kind to all our Australian boys at the Anzac Buffet. Her husband has a commission in the King’ Own Scottish Borderers, and I have been down to their flat twice for dinner. She is a thorough Australian, and works voluntarily at the Buffet from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. trying to do all she can for the Australian soldiers. ……………………………………… https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/120413059 Warrnambool Standard (Vic), Sat 16 Sept 1916 (p.8): WOMAN’S MISCELLANY [Extract from one of Miss Pennefather’s letters] One Saturday the Anzacs entertained the ladies in charge of the Buffet in Westminster Central Hall. The buffet was closed from 3 to 10 p.m. Mrs Rattigan was presented with a leather bound collection of signatures of hundreds and hundreds of Anzacs, who had frequented the place. A good programme was provided by the soldiers. The Daily Mail (Brisb, Qld), Sat 5 May 1917 (p.9): A LITTLE BIT OF AUSTRALIA “We try to make it look like a little bit of Australia for them,” said Mrs Rattigan, the voluntary manager of the Anzac Club and canteen at the Australian military headquarters, Horseferry-road, Westminster. “We would give them the sunshine if we could, but even on cheerless days the flowers help to make something of a home atmosphere.” And how the Australians who come up for the day from Salisbury Plain appreciate that atmosphere! They find the freedom and the camaraderies of their native life. For the club, as its programme proclaims, is for all alike – officers and men, nurses and doctors of the Australian Army, for the priests when they like to drop in, and all the various helpers who vie in service to their countrymen. Its spacious buffet can accommodate goodly numbers, though when a thousand men come up at a time its organisers wish that it were elastic. It is a bright place with its flags and decorations, but the masses of flowers on its white tables are its crowning adornment. They are the loving offering of Mrs Rattigan, who goes at daybreak twice a week to Covent Garden to get them for the soldiers, each time working out a special scheme of color for their delight. Other of their friends bring them presents of flowers for the music room and to make lovely spots in bare places. The manager has much upon her shoulders. She is the guiding spirit of the canteen. It would be difficult in a few words to give any idea of either the scope of her work or of her untiring devotion. She is at her post from 6.30 every morning until often quite late at night. And when a batch of soldiers come over from France, she will snatch a few hours rest, and then be back at the club at 1 a.m. to welcome them, and account it a joy. For although the wife of a British officer serving at the front, she is herself all Australian. She comes from the glorious Riverina country, and has never lived in a town in her life until the Australians came to help in the great world war. But praises run short when you have to think of Miss Beamer fulfilling her important part of housekeeper, and of the 250 Australians who in relays comprise the staff. The fine music-room, with Mrs Huck, its enthusiastic organizer, calls for mention. Music, like flowers, has to count when catering for the needs of the Australian soldier. Most of the men play some instrument, and many play exceedingly well, and many also have fine voices. Concerts are arranged for two afternoons in the week, and both within and without the Club Australian talent is always represented. The large billiard-room is another special source of attraction, and in the reading-room are to be found all the Australian papers. Before the Anzac Club was formed the soldiers from overseas or the battlefield had no central meeting place of their own, and were often strays in this big city of London. But this did not last long. The London members of the Australian Natives’ Association set themselves fervently to work to give them just what they wanted. The Australian can adapt himself to any kind of material circumstance and take its hardships as part of the game, but his mental environment is a somewhat different matter. “They don’t understand our boys,” said Mr Evans, the hard-working secretary of the club, in reference to some kindly but misdirected offers of assistance. So, declining all advice in their plans, the Natives set themselves to work, and in an incredibly short time had the very place wanted by their men. The club is open all day long from 9 a.m. It supplies abundant meals, and everything is free to the Australian soldier – though it is safe to assert that he is a constant contributor to its costly support. Mr Evans is always at hand to give information. No one knows better than he, the requirements of the men, for there is hardly one State of his big country, whether on the goldfields or in the town, that he has not been over. The club does more than supply generous meals and a pleasant rallying-place, it arranges visits to places of interest about the country, and it issues free tickets to all the London entertainments.” – “Ladies’ Field.” Cobram Courier (Vic), Thur 29 Nov 1917 (p.5): Letters from our Soldiers In a letter to his parents, Corporal Doug Lawler, who is now in an instructional school in England, writes that he paid a visit to the Anzac Buffet and inquired for Mrs Ratigan, formerly of Barooga. Asked if he could pick her out of the large number of ladies present Doug promptly said Yes, and picked her in one. He also met Mrs A.J. Macpherson, of Kieta. Both are well, and doing noble work. Punch (Melb, Vic), Thur 5 Sept 1918 (p.6): People We Know Mrs Rattigan, hon. superintendent of the Anzac Buffet in London, who has been a warm friend to many Australian soldiers on furlough, was well known as a hostess to cricket teams in the districts around Cobram, and used to take an enthusiastic delight in watching matches in which her brothers, Stuart and Leslie McFarland, were engaged. A soldier son of Harry Nodrum, who, ten years ago, was the best wicket-keeper and one of the most dashing bats in the Katamatite district, met Mrs Rattigan at the buffet when on furlough, and as soon as his identity became known, was treated to the time of his life. Harry Nodrum had played many a keen game against the brothers McFarland in Cobram, and when Mrs Rattigan recognized his son the fatted calf was killed in earnest. Harry Nodrum is now on a settlement block at Shepparton. The Daily News (Perth, WA), Fri 30 May 1919 (p.3): Mainly About People ………………………………….. Mrs Rattigan possesses one valuable souvenir of her work among her soldier countrymen, a huge Honors Book, in which are the signatures of hundreds of decorated Australians, from V.C.’s downward, and from generals to privates. Each autograph has the appropriate medal ribbon beside it, and, in many instances, a photograph also. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/81387935 The Register (Adelaide, SA), Wed 5 Nov 1919 (p.8): Anzac Buffet and Cheer-up Hut Travelling home to New South Wales by the R.M.S. Osterley is Mrs A.N. Rattigan, of the Anzac Buffet. Mrs Rattigan, who was delighted with the Cheer-up Hut, which she described as “first cousin” to the Anzac Buffet, was superintendent of the latter place for four years. Speaking of the beginnings of the buffet, Mrs Rattigan said it was due to a “brain wave” on the part of Mr A.H. O’Connor, the first President of the A.N.A., and Mr Kneebone, of Adelaide. It started as the Anzac Club, under the auspices of the A.N.A. Mrs Rattigan landed in England in July, 1914, and with the rest of the little Australian colony in England was “hungry for war work for her own people.” “Of course,” she said, “we helped in all sorts of ways; but we really felt that we were beginning to do some real Australian war work when the buffet started at Victoria street in September, 1915, simultaneously with the arrival of the first troops from Gallipoli, when all England was ringing with their magnificent story. After the first six weeks I was elected as superintendent of the buffet. I had about 130 workers, mostly Australian, and many of them Adelaide girls. We used to have between 2,000 and 3,000 men in the buffet every day, and our expenses were in the region of £250 a week. It was Australian money that kept the buffet going, and Ada Reeves’s magnificent collections on her last tour kept us from closing down. Towards the end we found it very hard to get supplies, quite apart from the monetary difficulties. Our workers stuck to their posts through thick and thin, air raids included; and Victoria street was always a haven for the Australians. I was sorry to sever my connection with the buffet, but am delighted to get back to Australia. I have heard a great deal about the Cheer-up Society, and was simply delighted to have a chance of making the acquaintance of its splendid workers.” Prior to her leaving England, the Anzac Buffet Workers presented Mrs Rattigan with a magnificent diamond brooch in the shape of the Australian “Rising Sun” badge, with the words “Anzac Buffet” in blue enamel. Mrs Rattigan is accompanied by Miss Bailey, a V.A.D. nurse from the Bethnal Green Military Hospital, and in welcoming the ladies to the hut, Mr George McEwin (Vice-President of the society) referred to the magnificent work done by the buffet, and the V.A.D. workers. Later in the evening Mrs Rattigan and Miss Bailey, accompanied by Miss Sanders, of the Semaphore Cheer-up Society, and Miss B. Jones, went for a motor trip in the hills at the invitation of the Cheer-up Society. The Daily Telegraph (Syd, NSW), Wed 3 Dec 1919 (p.6): RETURN OF MISS WYATT A charming Australian, in the person of Miss Alice Wyatt, who will be remembered in Commonwealth theatrical circles, has returned to Sydney after five years of professional work in London and the provinces. Miss Wyatt left Australia at the outbreak of the war, and during its continuance has filled in all her time, with other Australian girls, in ministering to the wants of the Digger in London. She was attached to the Anzac Buffet and Southall Hospital as a regular worker, and during her tours of the provinces visited all the hospitals where Australians were invalided, arranging concerts and otherwise helping to enliven the tedium of convalescence for the wounded boys. ………………………………………….. Miss Wyatt speaks with enthusiasm of the work at the Anzac Buffet, of Mrs Ratigan, who was superintendent. Throughout the war Mrs Ratigan worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with only three weeks’ holiday – taken a day at a time – and whatever the boys wanted she always managed to secure for them. When funds ran short, she and Mrs McPherson financed the Buffet, and it was only by accident that anybody ever got to know about it. Mrs Evans was another indefatigable worker there, and Miss Wyatt declares that no three women in any sphere of war work did more in a practical way to help the soldiers than the trio just mentioned. ……………………………………………………….. Sunday Times (Syd, NSW), Sun 18 Jan 1920 (p.13): THE DIGGERS’ IDOL How They Greeted Ada Reeve in London ………………………………………… Last Monday, September 29, we had another big excitement at the Buffet – the coming of Ada Reeve. ………………………………………………………. Ada was billed to appear second. The house rocked with cheers and coo-ees, and a Digger stepped on to the stage to present her with a beautiful bunch of roses from the boys. ……………………….. “Presently the Anzac mascot was passed up to her – the kangaroo which belonged to Mrs Rattigan, and has graced the top of the soldier-proof piano for nearly four years. It was Mrs Rattigan’s secret, for the Osterley, which is carrying this little lady (who meant almost everything to the Buffet, and to the boys, for four years) home to Australia left Tilbury Docks only the day before, thus missing by a few hours the meeting with Ada Reeve. Mrs Rattigan had taken the kangaroo to the florists and had left instructions that it was to be decorated with beautiful flowers.” https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/120522371 The Herald (Melb, Vic), Wed 7 Dec 1921 (p.12): Soldiers Down On Their Luck In conjunction with providing free meals for distressed soldiers and sailors at the Anzac Buffet, St Kilda road, a free Christmas tree and dinner will be given to the wives and children of unemployed returned men. Donations of poultry, meat, cakes, puddings, sweets and toys to gladden the hearts of the unemployed and their families will be thankfully received by the Anzac Buffet. Owing to the interest of several women who have always had the welfare of the men who fought in the great war at heart, it is now possible to provide meals on Saturdays and Sundays, when the men are supplied with nourishing soup, sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea. Those who manage the buffet on these days include Mrs R.J. Larking, Mrs Rattigan, who was in charge of the Anzac Buffet in London, Mrs McPherson, who superintended the Southall canteen, Mrs Talbot Brett, Mrs V. Wischer, Miss Frances, also Miss Chris Armstrong and Miss Howelson, who worked together during the war period at a canteen in France. This group of women would be grateful for assistance, either in the form of money or food to help them to carry on. The Australasian (Melb, Vic), Sat 7 Apr 1928 (p.18): AUSTRALIANS ABROAD Captain and Mrs Rattigan are living at Nice, and spend much time at golf on the famous course. Mrs Rattigan will be remembered by countless men of the A.I.F. as the generous and hard working head of the Anzac Buffet in Victoria street during the war. She not only did innumerable kindnesses to hundreds of individual soldiers, but will be long remembered with affection by the many women who worked at the buffet with her. The Pool of Memory – Memoirs of E. Phillips Oppenheim, 1941: “The Golf Club at Cagnes is a very pleasant rendezvous where Nice and Cannes meet once a year in the happy rivalry of a golf match and many other times for friendly games. No more popular sporting official exists on the Riviera today than the Secretary, Captain Alan Rattigan. It is chiefly out of compliment to him that a great many of the Riviera-ites have established the custom of lunching there on Christmas morning, and I don’t think I have ever missed it when in this part of the world.” The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 8 May 1943 (p.13): DEATHS RATTIGAN – On February 11, South of France, Minnie, dearly loved wife of Captain Alan Rattigan, and second daughter of the late Patrick and Eliza McFarland, of Barooga Station, New South Wales. The Corowa Free Press (NSW), Fri 28 May 1943 (p.3): OBITUARY MRS M RATTIGAN The death took place in the South of France on February 11, of Minnie, wife of Captain A. Rattigan. Deceased was the second daughter of the late Patrick and Mrs McFarland, Barooga Station, and was well-known to the older residents, particularly district cricketers, for whom she acted as scorer of the station’s cricket team when matches were played at Barooga Station, and was noted as hostess to visiting teams. The late Mrs Rattigan was also known to hundreds of Australian soldiers during the last war, due to the fact that she was one of the founders and a noted worker at the Anzac Hostel, somewhere in England; friends and sons of district cricketers were made particularly welcome by Mrs Rattigan. The McFarland family was well-known by many Corowa people, as they were in the old days patrons of all public movements in this town and district. The late Patrick McFarland was a member of the old Corowa Pastures and Stock Protection Board, and 50 years ago was president of the Corowa P., A. & H. Society. Government Gazette of NSW, Fri 26 Oct 1945 (p.2020): RE will of MINNIE AUGUSTA RATTIGAN, late of Cannes (formerly of Hotel Savournin, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France), married woman, deceased. ………………………. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/222032126