• Mary Ann Latto Bett

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    Dundee, UK

Stories and comments
    • BETT, Mary Ann Latto - Sister, AANS
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 12 March 2015

    Born c1880 Dundee, Scotland – daughter of William Cunningham BETT (Blacksmith) & Rollo Robertson PROUDFOOT – who married in Dundee in 1874 The family appear to have come to Australia sometime before 1891 Mary was living with her family at 66 Pilgrim St, Footscray in 1903 (also Bro Wm); 1909 (no Wm) – she moved to Albert Park, as a student in 1909 – living back with her parents in Walter St, Footscray 1914 (listed as a deaconess) Rollo died 5/2/1936, age 90 & William died 19/6/1937, age 90 – they both died at Mary’s home in Seymour Siblings (1): William C. (Rev) b.c1882 – d.1957 Brighton, age 75 Trained Austin Hospital (3 yrs) In charge of the Oodnadatta Deaconess Mission 1910 – 1914 WW1: Embarked 18/5/1915 on RMS Mooltan – 3 AGH Adm 3 AGH, Mudros 31/10/15 (influenza) Ret to Alexandria on Oxfordshire – disemb 27/1/16 – to 3rd AGH Abbassia Feb 1916 Emb Alexandria to join the BEF 25/9/16 – arrived Brighton, England 5/10/16 Granted leave 1/2/17 Proc O/S to France on Londonderry to join BEF 11/4/17 Att to 1st SA Hosp, Abbeville 7/5/17 – tsfd to 2 AGH Wimereux 26/6/17 To be Sister 1/9/17 To England on leave 23/1/18 – 6/2/18 To England on leave 9/6/18 Att to 2 AAH, Southall 26/6/18 Resigned appointment to marry 2/10/18 Married Lieut William Paul BOLAND, 14th Bn on the 2/10/1918 at Marylebone Presbyterian Church, St Marylebone, London, England RTA per D27 Marathon 6/11/1918 – 1/1/1919 – free passage in return for services http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=6023914 Only Child: Nellie Johannah Proudfoot b.19/9/1920 at Sister Rutherford’s Private Hospital, Seymour – WW2, RAAF – 1941-44 (living Seymour, NOK William) – married Matthew KENNEDY (Wing-Cdr, RAAF) 9/12/1944 Toorak – d.13/3/2012, age 91 – cremated Springvale Living in Seymour in 1920, 1922, 1937, 1940 Mary & Nellie at 89 Tooronga Rd, Gardiner in 1943 Living East Malvern 1944, 1949 Living at 12 St George’s Rd, Caulfield 1954 (Wm listed as a valuer) – also Nellie & Matthew (Engineer) [Mary disappears somewhere between 1954 & 1963? – Nellie also disappears from the Vic ER during this time – reappearing in 1977 – did they perhaps travel to Scotland and Mary died there?] 1963 – William living 27 Clara St, Sth Yarra (Valuer) – with his sisters Johanna & Anastasia 1968, 1972 – William & his sister Anastasia living 53 Ashburton Rd, Glen Iris William Paul BOLAND (MC&Bar), Lieut, 14th Bn Born 9/7/1888 Seymour– son of Patrick BOLAND & Johanna MOONEY Letter from Birdwood 1917: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/152808833 Bar to MC 1918: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129582227 RTA 7/2/1919 on the Lancashire – 31/3/1919 [2 brothers also served – Pte M & Tpr L] WW2 – enlisted 9/1/1940 Sth Melb [res Seymour – NOK Mary Ann] Died February 1976 Glen Iris, Vic, age 87 Cremated at Springvale Cemetery 20/2/1976 and his ashes collected Photo:http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/17065978?q=%22nurse+bett%22&c=picture&versionId=20022358 The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), Fri 25 Mar 1910 (p.10): OODNADATTA ……………………………………………… Nurse Betts is in charge here now, and there will be always a nurse stationed here. The residents are subscribing well for this cause. Nurse Fergusson, who has been here for about three months, left by train, her place being taken by Nurse Betts. Petersburg Times (SA), Fri 6 May 1910 (p.3): Arrival of Deaconess-Nurse Bett At Oodnadatta http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/110259535 Chronicle (Adelaide, SA), Sat 11 Feb 1911 (p.52): Nurse Latto Bett, who is in charge of the Oodnadatta Deaconess Mission of the Presbyterian Church, has been spending a holiday in Victoria for the past month. She left Adelaide on her return to the far north on February 3. Steps are being taken to erect a residence and hospital ward for her use at Oodnadatta. Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA), Sat 21 Feb 1914 (p.3s): PRESBYTERIAN Sister Latto Bett, who has been in charge of the medical hostel at Oodnadatta, has resigned and will leave for Adelaide on March 3. Nurse Finlay has been appointed to take her place, and will assume duties prior to Sister Bett’s departure. The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), Fri 6 Mar 1914 (p.18): Sister Latto Bett, who has been in charge of the Oodnadatta medical hostel connected with the Presbyterian denomination for the past four years, arrived from the north by train on Wednesday night. Miss Bett is returning to Victoria, and is to be tendered a farewell in the hall of Chalmers Church this afternoon by the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 21 Mar 1914 (p.17): ……………………………………………………….. Oodnadatta is a typical border town. ……………………………. A letter to “The Argus” on Saturday last mentioned the work of the Presbyterian Church in the town, which included the building of a hospital, ……………………………. The farewell tribute to Nurse Bett by the bushmen, in recognition of her work, has been followed by her return to Melbourne, of which she is a native. Miss Bett gives interesting impressions of the people and town, among whom she has been working for four years. ……………………………………………………………………… http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/7241041 Kyneton Guardian (Vic), Thur 14 May 1914 (p.4): THE LITTLE BUSH NURSE THEIR BEST “PAL” A correspondent to the “Argus” writing from Oodnadatta sent the following:- “Well, Jack, we are losing one of the best ‘pals’ we ever had.” “Yes, Charley, you’re right.” There was more underlying these words than words themselves can express. They were uttered by two bushmen just prior to a ceremony which has never before had a parallel in Central Australia. The occasion was the night before Deaconess-Nurse Bett’s departure from Oodnadatta, where for the past four years she has been carrying on the work, which combines the duties of deaconess, minister, nurse – and at times doctor – carried on by the Presbyterian Church of Australia. About 40 bushmen, gathered from an area of country almost as great as the whole of Victoria, quietly assembled at the hospital of which Deaconess-Nurse Bett has had charge, and in true bush fashion said “Good-bye.” Among the 40 were many men to whom Nurse Bett had ministered in minor accidents and illnesses. They with their fellow bushmen had subscribed to a purse of 32 sovereigns, and in a few words they made known their deep regard. But there was stillness charged with great meaning when a tall, lithe bushman stepped forward to make the presentation. He of all men knew the worth of the nurse to whom they were saying good-bye. For four days and nights he had lain with crushed ribs where his horse had fallen on him, while his black boy, with characteristic slowness rode off to Oodnadatta for assistance. He arrived after sundown of a hot, still night. But though a thunderstorm was brewing and the night was intensely dark, the “Little Nurse” had secured a buggy and pair of horses and set off with a driver to render assistance. Before they left the township one of the horses had kicked the swingle-bar to pieces. Repairs were effected, and a fresh start made, and after seven hours’ driving on a track that few townsmen could follow in broad daylight, they reached the wounded man. Late on the fifth day after the accident he was made as comfortable as might be in the bright little ward of the hospital. For six weeks a hard battle was fought, not only for that man’s restoration to health, but for his very life. And the “Little Nurse” had to battle alone, there being no doctor in Oodnadatta all that time. Those who heard the tremor in that man’s voice as he spoke a few words of appreciation and farewell knew what these two had been through together, and as a result the silence was more eloquent. These men knew that their “Little Nurse” had worn out all her strength in her work, and so they added as they made their presentation remarks, “We want you to take a real good holiday.” Nurse Bett used few words in expressing her gratitude; but her concluding remarks were characteristic of her attitude to all the men, women and children with whom she has been working: “Whether you are sixteen or sixty, I love you all.” Oakleigh and Caulfield Times……… (Vic), Sat 28 Nov 1914 (p.3): [Account of her four years of work in the Australian interior] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/88806913 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Tue 11 Jan 1916 (p.5): PRAISE FOR RED CROSS Good Cheer at Lemnos Nurse Bett, who was trained in the Austin Hospital, at Heidelberg, writes to the Rev. Alexander and Mrs Hardie, Heidelberg, from No. 3 Australian General Hospital, Lemnos, as follows: - “The work here is rather heavy, for everything has to be made. There are no roads, only tracks from our tents to the wards. The ground is very stony, and full of thistles, and on wet days we sink to our ankles. The earth is rather loose, and on windy days with rain all the pegs of our tents loosen, and down comes the tent, sometimes in the middle of the night. At present I have three marquees with enteric patients. They are all convalescent, but when they first came in they would try to get out of bed as soon as my back was turned. I have two orderlies to help, fine fellows, but they cannot be everywhere at once. There is a lot of outdoor work for them, such as carrying water, and every time we want hot water the poor orderlies have to go to the kitchen about 400 yards away, and our hot water is only warm when it reaches the ward. They say the winter is very severe here. I do not like the cold, yet I am glad we were sent here. There were two Australian hospitals here before us with only orderlies to look after our brave, sick lads. I think it requires a woman to look after sick folk. At any rate, without praising ourselves, I can say it is better for them that we are here. We have English bakers to bake our bread. They have never been accustomed to hot climates; therefore, we have sour bread most of the time, which is very bad for the patients. The Red Cross Society has proved a great blessing here, for they sent us tins of biscuits, which really took the place of bread, for most of the patients. What a beautiful selection of everything the Red Cross has sent! All the articles are so suitable and so well made, the choice of eatables being always just what we require. We get no vegetables here, except dried and compressed beans, so you can imagine tines of peeled tomatoes, gooseberries, and peaches coming into the ward. The clothing also was so suitable for the climate – the thinnest of pyjamas for the summer, and now they are made of flannel. Then we have thick blue suits lined with swanskin for the convalescents. They also send cards, games, tobacco, cigarettes, matches, and chocolates packed in the corners. Really, the Red Cross keeps us happy and cheerful.” Lancefield Mercury and West Bourke Agricultural Record (Vic), Fri 1 Nov 1918 (p.2): “Any word from your brother lately?” we asked of the Misses Boland on Wednesday afternoon. “Yes,” replied one of them with a smile; “but its not promotion this time.” She then handed to us a cable received that morning, dated England, 3rd October, containing the brief information “Married yesterday.” She was a Miss Betts, an Australian nurse, we were informed, whose parents reside in Melbourne. Good luck to Lieu. W.P. Boland, M.C., and his wife! The Argus, Sat 2 Nov 1918: MARRIAGES BOLAND – BETT – On the 2nd October, at Marylebone Presbyterian Church, London, by Rev J.R. Gillie, assisted by Chaplain-Colonel Shannon (senior Presbyterian chaplain, AIF), Lieut W.P. Boland, MC and bar, 14th Batt., to Sister M.A. Latto Bett, No. 2 Australian General Hospital, both of Victoria. (By cable) Kilmore Advertiser (Vic), Sat 14 Dec 1918 (p.2): Local and General Under the heading of the Australian Inland Mission – Our First Nurse – the “Presbyterion Messenger” writes:- Sister Bett was the first to serve under A.I.M., having been already two years in the Inland under the flag of the Smith of Dun…. Mission before our movement was begun as a Federal Department. During that time her name became a household word where ever the Inland was discussed. It will be remembered that Miss Bett was resting a while having completed four years at Oodnadatta when war broke out. The call overseas was heard by her, and away she sailed. We now invite all friends to wish our first nurse long joy and prosperity under another name. She is returning to Victoria as the bride of Lieutenant W.P. Boland, M.C. It was the wish of all concerned that the ceremony should have been performed by Chaplain Major Rolland, M.C., but duty elsewhere prevented this, so then Colonel Shannon had the honor at Marylebone Presbyterian Church, London. Lieut Boland is an Anzac. He won his Military Cross at Pozieres, and since that he has been awarded a bar to the cross. He and his wife were already on their way to Victoria when Peace sounded [sic], so their return will be a specially happy one after four strenuous years in which both have served continuously. Lieut W. Boland, M.C., is a native of High Camp, near Kilmore. Notes: The Argus, Sat 8 Feb 1936: DEATHS BETT – On the 5th February, at the residence of her daughter (Mrs W.P. Boland), Goulburn street, Seymour, Rollo Robertson, dearly beloved wife of William C. Bett, late of Footscray, and loving mother of Rev W. Bett, of Meredith, and of Deaconess Nurse Bett, late of A.I.M. and AANS, in her 91st year. William’s mother & sisters: [1931, 1937 – Anastasia, Johanna sen, Johanna & Mary Cecily living 27 Clara St, Sth Yarra] [1943, 1949, 1954 – Anastasia, Johanna & Mary Cecily living 27 Clara St, Sth Yarra]