I loved the tales Mum told me about her Aunts Bea, Mag and Kate.
The sisters were actually my mother’s grandmother, Mary Alice’s sisters. Their maiden name was Devereux and they were born in the Port Fairy, Vic. district.
Christened Bridget Beatrice Devereux, but known as “Bea” or “B. B.” she married Thomas Maloney before being widowed two years after their marriage. Margaret, known as “Mag” did not marry and she and Bea lived together in Port Fairy. Kate, the second sister, married Fred Holloway: they did not have any children of their own but Fred had an adopted son from his first marriage. They lived in Melbourne.
The following is my mother’s memories of her grand Aunts.
“Aunt Bea’s husband Tom Maloney died two years after they were married, hence Aunt Bea was known as B. B. Maloney; Bridget Beatrice. She was a real personality, quite ahead of her times. She told fortunes with the cards too, she entertained in the front parlour. Aunt Mag worked in the kitchen & provided the afternoon teas. Aunt Bea also had money invested in property (rental houses).
(My mother stated that Aunt Mag did the domestic duties around the house and Aunt Bea was more of the business woman. Bea would come home tired and Mag would tell her, “Throw yourself on the bed, Bea, and I will get the supper.” Bea’s husband, Tom Maloney, held the licence to the Yambuk Inn for a while and after his death Bea held the licence. Tom Maloney’s sister, Margaret Maloney married Michael Devereux, brother of the sisters).
“Originally Bea drove a horse & buggy to Yambuk to visit my grandmother once a week. Then she bought a car, a single seater with a dicky seat in the back. She wasn’t young then; although she would never tell you her age. Her driving skills left much to be desired. We would see her coming, Aunt Mag as a passenger (praying), but it always took her about 100 yards beyond our house to stop. We would chase after them because they always had some goodies for us. Later in the evening they would go home & push the car into the garage, the safest way. Fortunately the traffic wasn’t heavy in those days, even though it was the main road (Princes Highway).
(I remember my mother, laughingly, telling this tale of her Aunts missing the driveway entrance and herself as a child with her siblings running after the car, calling “Stop!, stop!”).
“Aunt Kate’s husband Fred was an electrician. He did the lighting at the Athenaeum Theatre, of which he was very proud; when I was staying with them, I was always taken to a show there. They only had an adopted son, who fought in the 1st World War, whether he was killed there or not, I am not sure. Children weren’t told much when I was young. (He did return to Australia and married).
However every Christmas Eve after Mum died, Aunt Kate and Uncle Fred would arrive from Melbourne with a big box of toys for us children. I think it gave them as much pleasure as it did us.
Aunt Kate used to tell fortunes with the cards to her friends. One day she told a friend she was going to win some money, so they took a ticket in Tatts and won. Aunt Kate decided she had done the wrong thing; so she donated a stained glass window to the Sandringham church. She took me to see it; I imagine it is still there. She was quite a business woman; owned 3 houses, other than the one they lived in, which she rented out. She had a flair for exotic food and the table was always laden. Their home was a fascination to us children also; lights and crystal sets (radio) everywhere, even a light in the outside toilet. Remember the times, the 1920’s.”
Below: Tom and Bea Maloney’s headstone.