Monday, January 18, 2016


Runaway Husband

RUNAWAY HUSBAND. (1925, September 21). The Telegraph(Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), p. 2 Edition: CITY EDITION. Retrieved January 18, 2016, from

Where better to unearth skeletons from the family closet, than the National Library of Australia's website, Trove!

I knew that my great grandfather, William Weston had left my great grandmother, Lillie Herminnie (nee Nargar) for another woman, and that as a single mother, she was forced to raise three young children on her own. Family anecdotes told me that Lillie became the first female to operate a green grocery store in Brisbane and that she was a familiar face at the early morning fruit markets in Brisbane in the 1920's. I have yet to confirm this. ( more searching on Trove ahead...)

Lillie's explanation to the family regarding  her husband's desertion was that 'the bright city lights went to his head'. From the above article, it is easy to see that sadly, it was young women that affected his sense of responsibility towards his family.

I am particularly fascinated, although I am certain that Lillie would not have been in the least amused that
'her husband collected around him a bevy of young ladies, whom he entertained in the shop and went out with at night.' 

William left Lillie and their children to make a new life with one of these young women. He went on to marry and have six more children, having little to do with the two daughters and a son from his first marriage.

Lillie ran her green grocery store in Fortitude Valley, very successfully and her children were well cared for with the help of a close family friend who, when I was growing up, I knew as Antie Gertie.

 Lillie was a determined woman. She joined the Women's Land Army during World War Two, aged in her fifties. With her valuable experience from her earlier life as a banana farmer in Bauple, outside of Maryborough, she was able to train younger women who worked on the land to replace  men who had gone to war.

She was a dedicated member of the Brisbane Baptist Tabernacle and a most generous and kind lady.  Lillie spent a great amount of her time in her 60's helping to raise funds for the Brisbane Women's Prison, of which Gertie  (Amelia, Gertrude Stewart nee Hansen) became the Chaplain.

As a child, I adored visiting my great grandmother at her home in Lutwyche in Brisbane. Lillie kept chickens and had the most wonderful garden which entertained me with its 'secret paths' and wondeful variety of flowers. Her roses were especially her pride and joy.

Lillie Herminnie Weston passed away from cancer, in 1966, aged 78. I was greatly affected by her death and as an adult, I am extremely proud of my hard working, determined great grandmother.

Lillie Herminnie Weston (Nargar) 1888 -1966