Emily Eliza Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

Name: Emily Eliza Davis

Date of Birth: 15 June 1905

Birth Location: Hotham, Western Australia

Maiden Name: Farmer

Also Known As: Eliza Emily Davis

Age at Burial: 105 years

Date of Death: 16 April 2011

Death Location: Corrigin, Western Australia

Date of Burial: Cremated 27 April 2011

Denomination: Niche Wall

Row/Grave: 13-87

Grave Transcription:

In Loving Memory of

William Henry Davis

1908 – 1987

Emily Eliza Davis

1905 – 2011

In Gods Care

Father: Charles Hancock Farmer (1866-1935)

Mother: Emily Amelia Fleay (1867-1943)

Grandparents (father): Thomas Farmer (1835 – 1900) & Eliza Mary Hancock (1845 – 1924)

Great Grandparents (father’s father): Charles Thomas Farmer (1799 – 1845) & Margaret Ann Spencer (1811 – 1848)

Great Grandparents (father’s mother): George Hancock (1810 – 1871) & Sophia Gregory (1823 – 1906)

Grandparents (mother): Henry Walter Fleay (1841 – 1908) & Emily Alice Elizabeth Quartermaine

Great Grandparents (mother’s father): John Fleay (1815 – 1884) & Jane Cook (1815 – 1872)

Great Grandparents (mother’s mother): Elijah Quartermaine (1814 – 1888) & Elizabeth M Dickenson (1819 – 1873)


Violet Pearl Farmer (1890 – 1938)

Thomas Walter Farmer (1892 – 1951)

William Henry Charles Farmer (1894 – 1964)

Victoria Geraldine May Farmer (1896 – 1955)

Vernon Vivian Frank Farmer (1898 – 1906)

Charles Alfred Clement Farmer (1903 – 1988)

Donald Farmer (1907 – 1949)

Robert John Farmer (1908 – 1999)

 Spouse: William Henry Davis


W Davis

R Davis

C Davis

B Davis

Clive Robert (Peter) Davis (1938 – 2019)

F Davis

G Davis

B Davis

T Davis

T Davis


Military Service:

Their Story:

Emily grew up in Hotham/Boddington region.

Data from Australian Electoral Rolls for Emily

1917 Emily Eliza Farmer Hotham River Boddington HD
1918 Emily Eliza Farmer Hotham River Boddington HD
1928 Emily Eliza Farmer Hope Cottage Boddington HD

Married to William Henry Davis 14 Apr 1931 at Marradong Church.

Residence Capel 1931 as per Australia, Electoral Rolls, Home Duties

1931 Emily Eliza Davis Capel HD

Residence Donnybrook 1936 to 1943 as per Australia, Electoral Rolls, Home Duties


William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

Donnybrook Orchardist

William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

Donnybrook Orchardist
1943 Emily Eliza Davis Donnybrook HD

Before Thelma’s birth in 1946 they purchased a farm in West Coolup, as per Newspaper article

Contracted Polio late 1946/ early 1947

Residence Pauls Road, Pinjarra 1949 to 1958 as per Australia, Electoral Rolls, Home Duties

South West Advertiser printed on the 28 July 1949 that Mr Davis took his wife to Perth for further medical treatment.



William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

Pauls Road Pinjarra Farmer

William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

Pauls Road Pinjarra Farmer

Purchased farm in West Kulin 1960 as per Newspaper article and Australia, Electoral Rolls


William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

West Kulin Farmer

Retired to Busselton. Residence 9 Falkingham Rd, Busselton 1972 as per Australia, Electoral Rolls, Home Duties

Moved to 4 Abbey St, Busselton 1977 and residence to 1980 as per Australia, Electoral Rolls, Home Duties


William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

9 Falkingham Road Busselton

William Henry Davis

Emily Eliza Davis

4 Abbey Street Busselton HD
1980 Emily Eliza Davis 4 Abbey Street Busselton HD

Henry died 24 June 1987 in Busselton and cremated. His ashes are in the Capel Cemetery Niche Wall. Emily remained in Busselton until she went and lived with son Fredrick Davis and his wife Barbara at the family farm in West Kulin.

The last few years of her life Emily resided at the Corrigan Hospital.  Emily died at the Corrigin Hospital on the 16 Apr 2011. Emily was cremated and her ashes are in the Capel Cemetery Niche Wall with her husband.

Transcribed Newspaper Article – Pair ‘going along steady’ at 105 – author Malcolm Quekett (image below)

Caption under large photo: Longevity: Ethel Crombie and Emily Davis were recorded in Australia’s first census in 1911

Caption under small photo: Early days: Emily,right, as a girl.

It must be the country air. Or the virtues of hard work on the farm, or maybe the medicinal qualities of a well-deserved shandy from time to time.

For out in Corrigin, two country stalwarts haved reached the ripe old age of 105.

Ethel Crombie and Emily Davis now live in the town’s hospital after rich and full lives across much of country WA, and are probably amoung the few living Australians who were counted in the first offical census in April 1911.

Mrs Crombie (nee Bell) was one of 14 children.  She was born in West Perth and schooled at 14 Mile Brook, between Williams and Narrogin.  She helped raise her siblings and would often walk upwards of 5km to school in bare feet in all weather.

Mrs Crombie said yesterday she “loved school”, in particular reading and writing but as was the way then, she left at 14. Then came work in Fremantle tea room and jobs in hotels in the bush, before she met Alec.

The couple married in 1936 and farmed at Bilbarin, not far from Corrigin.  They had two sons and stayed at the property until they retired.  Mr Crombie was 88 when he died in 1995.

One of Mrs Crombie’s pet sayings has been “everything in moderation” and she attributed her longevity to “going along steady”.  She allowed herself a shandy or a sherry over the years.

Mrs Davis (nee Farmer) was born on a farm at Boddington, one of nine children.  She married Henry and they went to Donnybrook to run an orchard, followed by Pinjarra where they worked on a diary farm and then Kulin for wheat and sheep, on a property mostly cleared by hand.

Mrs Davis spent some months covered in a plaster cast after contracting polio in 1947.  But she fought through and the couple had 10 children.

Her Husband died in his 80th year and she stayed in her home at Busselton until the age of 96.

Terry Davis said his mother had always enjoyed a shandy or sherry.  But her diet might raise eyebrows in the modern medical fraternity. “She would eat butter by the spoonful and put salt on everything” he said.

The next census will be held on August 9.

Transcribed Newspaper Article – A century of living despite polio attack (image below)


Centenarian, polio survivor

Born: Hotham River, 1905

Died: Corrigin, aged 105

Emily Davis, who died on April 16, lived to be a centenarian and claimed to be the world’s oldest polio survivor, having been struck with the disease when a mother of ten in her early 40’s.

She had recently given birth to Thelma, her tenth and last child, when the disease paralysed her right arm and leg.  After months in Heathcote Hospital in Applecross, she was sent home with the paralysis.

Sister Kenny from Queensland, known worldwide for treating the disease, was coincidentally visiting patients in W.A.  Emily was placed in a knees to neck plaster cast.  According to family lore, she was removed from the cast for massaging five or six times a day.  After six months she could walk again, though strength never returned to the affected limbs, ending her skill with guns.

She remained, however, a redoubtable farmer’s wife, known as much for her tomato chutney recipe and fruit jams that she made into her 90s as for the family tree of 154 people that she created.

Emily Eliza Davis was born on June 15, 1905, in Hotham River in Boddington Shire, the sixth of nine children to farmer and butcher Charles Farmer and wife Emily (Fleay).  Emily had basic primary schooling before farm work beckoned.

She learned diligence from parents who cleared virgin land to farm at Hotham River, the property still in the Farmer family.  At 25, she took these qualities into her marriage to Henry Davis.

It was 1931, during the Great Depression.  The couple experimented with farm operations in Capel and lived off the land, supplementing their diet by marron-fishing and shooting kangaroo, rabbit and wild duck.  Shooting was a skill passed through subsequent generations.

Emily and Henry leased an orchard near Donnybrook, where Emily grew almost anything.  They bought a small block between Donnybrook and Capel, which later housed Goodwood Road Primary School, and grew fruit trees and milked 19 cows.

Before Thelma’s birth, Emily and Henry bought a property in Pinjarra, now West Coolup, and milked cows and raised beef cattle.  When Emily contracted polio, her three youngest children were cared for by family friends, an act of kindness that she always remembered.

In 1960, Emily and Henry bought a property in Kulin and farmed sheep, grain and pigs, helped in due course by four sons.  The property remains in the family.  When Henry had a heart attack.  Emily moved with him to Busselton.  She was devasted by his death in 1987 but continued to live independently until she was 93.

Her high-fat and salty diet would be frowned upon today, and her grandchildren shuddered at the sight of kangaroo and wild duck in her freezer.

Emily ascribed her longevity to country life and could point to the fact that all 10 of her children were still alive and in good health.  To boot, her intellect remained intact and she could recite the birthdates of all her descendants without prompting.

For 10 years, she lived with here son Fred, and his wife Barbara, and took pride in her appearance.  Earrings, a manicure and nail polish were favourites and, when steered through Narrogin in a wheelchair, she shopped furiously.

Her last years were spent in Corrigin District Hospital, sharing a room with Ethel Crombie, also aged 105.

Emily Davis died in the hospital, leaving children Bill, Ronald, Fay, Betty, Peter, Fred, Gwen, Bevan, Terry and Thelma, all of whom were married with families.  As well, Emily is survived by 41 grandchildren, 92 great-grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.


Submission information contributed by Jade Williams (Great Granddaughter). Additional research and compiled by Shellie Cummings


© Capel District Cemeteries Project 26/10/2022


William Henry Davis Plaque




Pair going along steady at 105
A century of living despite polio attack
Henry and Emily Wedding 1931