Name: ROBERTS Florence Mary
Date of Birth: November 28, 1907
Birth Location: North Capel Farm, Capel
Also Known As: Mary or Aunty Mary
Age at Burial: 81 years
Date of Death: May 12, 1989
Death Location: SJOG Hospital Bunbury
Date of Burial: May 16, 1989
Denomination: Anglican B
Row/Grave: Row 2 Grave 14
HER LOVED SISTER
OUR DEAR AUNTY
28.11.1907 – 12.5.1989
Father: Frank Albert Roberts born: 17 March 1871 Capel Died: 22 January 1939 Buried Capel.
Mother: Mary Jane Higgins born: 14 April 1872 Capel Died: 25 May 1951 Buried Capel.
Grandfather (Father): Charles Fox Roberts born: 22 February 1844 Capel Died: 20 January 1923 Buried Capel.
Grandmother (Father): Hannah Hurst born: 17 March 1841 England Died: 14 August 1917 Buried Capel.
Grandfather (Mother): Henry William Higgins born: 24 July 1823 England Died: 4 December 1880 Buried Picton Church.
Grandmother (Mother): born: Lavinia Gardiner born: 15 April 1837 Died: 1 June 1891 Buried Picton Church.
Wilfred Frank Roberts born: 2 March 1896 Capel Died: 27 February 1960 Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1927 Mary Victoria “Queenie” Walker.
Margery Stirling Roberts born: 28 November 1904 Capel Died: 30 November 1939 Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1927 Cecil Edward Hazelton.
Occupation: Farmer and Homeduties
Frank Albert Roberts and Mary Jane Higgins (known as Janie) married on September 18, 1894, in St Paul’s Anglican Church, Bunbury. Both were from farming families. Janie came from the Higgins family of “Springfield”, Capel and Frank from the Roberts’s of “North Capel Farm”. Frank and Janie lived at North Capel Farm along with Frank’s brother William, his wife Mary and their growing family.
Frank and Janie welcomed their first child, Wilfred in 1896 and then in 1897, another son, Felix was born. The family continued to farm at North Capel Farm on the Stirling Estate. In the early 1900’s the Ribbon Grant, which included the Stirling Estate, was purchased by the government and divided into smaller farming lots. At this time William and Mary moved to Nannup, to their own farm. Frank was able to purchase part of the original lease and the homestead at North Capel Farm, as well as some other land on the Stirling Estate. Another child, this time a daughter, Margery, arrived in 1904 and then, on her sister’s birthday, Florence Mary Roberts came into the world, on November 28, 1907. It is thought she must have been premature. The story was told that Mary fitted into a shoebox when born!
The children attended Stirling School, which was about 2 miles away. They grew up with all the local children of the Stirling Estate. The family kept in contact with their relatives and were often out and about visiting, attending picnics or birthday parties. Both Frank and Janie came from large families, so there were numerous cousins.
The Anglican church was still a very important part of the Roberts family’s life. Janie’s family, the Higgins’s were also very strong Anglicans. They all attended and supported the St. John’s Church in Capel. Mary’s grandmother, Hannah Roberts, died in 1917, after an illness that required her to be in hospital in Perth. She was buried in the Anglican section of the Capel Cemetery and in 1923, Charles Fox Roberts, Mary’s grandfather died and was buried next to Hannah.
Mary was a farm girl. She helped milk the cows and fed the calves. Mary’s mother, Janie taught her to cook, and this was something she loved. Gardening was also something she had in common with her mother. They were always putting cuttings from plants into pots, buckets, old saucepans etc., and usually they grew. The Morton Bay Fig tree at the old homestead at North Capel Farm was a cutting, that Janie put in a kerosene tin, under the dripping tap at the back door in the late 1930’s. When she decided on a place to plant the small tree, it had put its roots through the bottom of the tin and was not going anywhere!
Margery and Mary were often out and about together. They could be found attending a ball or dance. Mary Victoria “Queenie” Walker, a young teacher came to Capel and soon became a great friend. She was a regular visitor to the Roberts household. Around this time, Mary took a fancy to a local lad who was also from a farming family in Capel. They were often out but Margery and sometimes Queenie were accompanying them.
In 1925, another young teacher came to the area and taught at the Stirling School. Maisie Jennings soon caught the eye of Mary’s brother Felix and in 1926 they married. Mary became an aunt in early 1927, when Felix and Maisie had a baby boy, John Jennings Roberts. Wilfred and Queenie were married in 1927 and then Margery married Cecil Hazelton in September 1927. Mary was very excited to be a bridesmaid for her sister.
Mary and her farmer were engaged. They had a block of land on the Stirling Estate where they were intending to build a home and settle after they married. There were numerous discussions, as to where on the block the house should be located. This continued for some time and eventually, when a decision could not be reached, the engagement was called off! They had been a couple for 7 years.
Mary’s farming life continued. Felix and Maisie had built a house on the farm, so were close by. Wilfred and Queenie lived in Capel and had a shop that seemed to sell everything, and Margery and Cecil had gone to a farm at Ferguson. In December 1928, Margery and Cecil welcomed a baby girl, Rosemary and then in September 1929, Wilfred and Queenie had a baby boy, Gordon. Mary now had 2 nephews and a niece.
Mary became friendly with a young farmer from Ferguson. Maybe she had met him whilst staying with Margery. They soon became a couple. He rode a motorbike, but this was not the problem that Frank and Janie saw. He was Catholic! He was not allowed on the farm. This was conveyed to him with much shotgun waving and shouting from Frank. Mary, being a somewhat determined lady, would march up to the corner of the road so they could go out. Unfortunately, because of the family, the relationship did not last. The very sad thing about this relationship is that neither the farmer from Ferguson nor Mary would ever marry!
Mary kept up her farming duties and helped in the dairy. Another nephew arrived in 1932, when Felix and Maisie had baby, Geoffrey. In 1933, Wilfred and Queenie had a baby girl, Ainslie and then in 1934, Margery and Cecil had another girl, Heather. By this time, the Hazelton’s had moved back to the Capel District. Mary enjoyed her 3 nephews and 3 nieces. In 1938, Mary spent Easter in Bunbury with her aunt Edie, Frank’s sister. Her aunt “Sis”, the wife of Frank’s brother Bon, also came and stayed. Bon (Charles Basil Roberts) had died suddenly in 1936. Aunty Sis had then moved to Perth, where she had family.
In January 1939, Mary’s father, Frank died suddenly in his sleep. He was just 67. It was a huge shock to the family. His service was held in the St. Johns Church, Capel and he was buried in the Anglican portion of the Capel Cemetery.
In Frank’s Will, Mary was left Location 65, Stirling Estate but this was to be held in Trust until after Janie died.
1939 was not a good year for the Roberts family. On November 30, that year, Margery Stirling Hazelton died, after a short illness. She had just turned 35 and her 2 little girls, Rosemary and Heather, were 10 and 5. She was buried near her father in the Capel Cemetery. Mary and Janie stepped in to look after the girls. They came to live on North Capel Farm with their Aunty Mary and Grandma because the women felt they would be able to offer a better upbringing than a single father. It was to be a temporary arrangement but as time went by Mary and Janie were reluctant to let the girls go back to their father, so they stayed.
In 1943, Janie bought Capel Town Lot 45. It had a small house on it. Janie then bought another small house from Mr Alex. Maidment and had it transported to Lot 45, joined the 2 together and made a good size house. She intended moving into Capel, with Mary, Rosemary and Heather sometime in the next few years. There was always something to do on the farm, so the move was put off. Janie never lived in her house in town.
Cecil Hazelton had married again and moved to Northam. Rosemary decided she wanted to go and live with her father. Mary and Janie felt this was not for the best but eventually she went. It was here that Rosemary met Ernest Cooper, who worked for the railways. On April 26, 1947, Rosemary, 18, married Ernie in Northam. Mary and Heather travelled to Northam for the occasion as Heather was bridesmaid for her sister.
Mary loved the farm. She still helped in the dairy and fed the calves. She and her mother looked after the garden and small orchard. Mary sadly lost her mother, Janie, May 25, 1951. Janie was 79. She was buried in the Capel Cemetery, between husband, Frank and daughter, Margery. Now there was only Heather at home with Mary. It wasn’t long before Heather met Robert McKay. He had family in Capel, as well as Donnelly River.
Mary’s Uncle Charlie Higgins, Janie’s brother, died July 1951. He left Mary a small inheritance which she used, along with what she had been left by her mother, to buy more farming land close to the home farm. She leased this to Felix as well as ran some cattle of her own. She rented out the house in Capel to the bank for its employees. The rental did not include the garden, Mary looked after that.
Rosemary, Ern and children would come and stay with Mary on the farm and then Heather and Robert also came for holidays too.
Mary’s nephew John, married in 1953, in Perth, to schoolteacher Dorothy Nicholls. He had left the farm to work in Perth when he was 21. Niece, Ainslie, married Matthew Bell of Capel, in 1954 and nephew Gordon married in 1955 to Busselton girl, Val Fitzgerald. Heather and Robert were married in Capel in 1955. Felix walked her down the aisle and Mary proudly filled in as Mother of the Bride. Rosemary was Heather’s Maid of Honour. Now Mary, 47, was at home by herself. Thankfully there was always something happening on the farm to keep her busy. Nephew Geoff was working on the farm with his father Felix. Mary thought it would be a good time to learn to drive. This job was assigned to Geoff. Eventually, after much practice, Mary got her driver’s licence at the age of 48. She could now go visiting the many relatives and friends in the district and go to Church, without having to get someone to drive her.
Geoff married Capel girl, Eleanor Huxtable, in 1958. They built a new house near the old homestead where Mary lived. After much thought, Mary decided she would go and live in her house in Capel and with Geoff’s help, moved in July 1959. She continued to come out to the farm and still helped in the dairy and fed the calves. Mary’s oldest brother, Wilfred died in 1960. Queenie and Gordon continued running the shop. Then in February 1966, Felix died suddenly. Geoff now ran the farm. Mary continued to come out to help, but not as often. She still owned some cattle and knew which ones they were and what calves they had. She never lost her interest in farming.
Mary loved living in Capel. She had her garden, and her social life was very busy. Either she was out visiting, someone was dropping in on her or she would see many people down the street. Heather and Robert and their 4 children moved back to Capel.
Mary was quite an independent lady but as time went on, she looked more to Geoff and Heather for advice and help. She was often at the farm discussing with Geoff some issue that she thought he would be able to fix or at Heather’s for a cuppa and chat. Mary’s driving exploits became quite well known around town. Her little car had many a bump or dent that she had put there when out and about. She was very excited when she took her car to the panel beater to get yet another dent removed, and he knew who she was! She had a major accident and wrote her little car off, when the Shire grader ran over the top of her car. She walked away unharmed. The only part of the car that wasn’t crushed was her driver’s seat! Everyone was very pleased when she decided to hand in her licence.
After living in the house in Capel and enjoying the town life for about 22years, Mary bought a unit in Crosslands, Bunbury. She sold the house in Capel and once again Geoff moved all Mary’s belongings to Bunbury. She lived opposite the Crosslands Shopping Centre and would often walk across the road to sit on the seat there. She saw many of her friends from Capel and would catch up on the news. Family and friends dropped in to see her when they were in Bunbury. She also made a number of new friends.
Mary turned 80 on November 28, 1987. She thought this was her greatest achievement in life. A party was held at the old family farm in Capel, for her friends and relatives. Mary’s 3 nieces and 3 nephews had always been special to her. Rosemary and Heather were especially close. She had always been interested in what each of them were doing in their lives and in their children. Family gave her great joy.
Shortly after Mary became ill. She had hospital visits over the next year but on her last hospital stay, she knew she would not be going home. Not at all worried by this, she made sure that she had said goodbye to everyone close to her and quietly passed away May 12, 1989, aged 81. She was buried in the same grave as her sister, Margery, next to her parents, Janie and Frank, on May 16, 1989.
Compiled by DC Great niece and volunteer CDCP.
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© Capel District Cemeteries Project 24/08/2021