Margaret Eliza Scott – Her Story
Margaret Eliza left a life in England to come to Australia to start a new life. Even though there were societal and social changes happening at the turn of the twentieth century what is the real reason Margaret left an apparently established life, to travel to an unknown world with no relatives on whom to rely. Historical research has provided evidence that many middle class well educated women in the late nineteenth century could not find work and there were many emigrant schemes promoting domestic servant work in the British Colonies. The colonies were in need of home servants for the wealthy and middle class of the newly developing societies. Margaret I believe was once again one of those amazing pioneers who took a risk and a chance that she could establish herself as a person in a new world. She was like the many of the thousands of pioneering women of Australia who contributed to the establishment of this country. Margaret did not get to live the middle class life she may have been entitled to in England but her contribution to this country as a single female pioneer in her early years is a legacy she leaves. This is her story.
Margaret’s full story is based on the information provided on her death record.
The death record for Margaret Elizabeth Scott has the father recorded as William Scott and mother Frances Allen. The information on a death record is only provided by what is known by a relative at the time. I believe Allden was recorded as Allen for the mother’s maiden name. English birth records show Margaret Elizabeth Scott being born to William Henry and Frances Allden in Worcestershire 1877.
Margaret Elizabeth Scott was born into a middle class English family. She was one of eight children of William Henry Scott and Frances Scott (Allden). The census records show that her father was a commercial wine merchant (Ale and Porter Merchant Agents) and that the same house servant lived with them for more than two decades. Given the social constructs of the late nineteenth century she would have in many people’s eyes appeared to have had a privileged middle class family upbringing.
Below is what we know about her life to this point in time. The content is broken into the periods of her life.
English Family and Early Life
Born 1877 in Stourbridge (a district or small town) in Worcestershire, England she was the youngest of eight children born to William Henry Scott and Frances Allden.
The shop that William Henry Scott occupied as commercial wine merchant is still present today. It is situated at 82 Merchant Street Stourbridge.
Research shows that William and Frances died in Sheffield, Yorkshire in 1909. There has been no evidence discovered to show that a relationship continued after Margaret left England. Now one may wonder why a middle class single female of 23 years of age decides to leave her home and travel to the other side of the world to start a new life.
Below is a passage of text taken from http://guides.naa.gov.au/more-people-imperative/chapter6/index.aspx . The topic is Female Migration and is produced by the National Archives of Australia.
“Women, especially domestic servants who were much coveted owing to the high demand for them in Australia, were often sponsored by governments or voluntary organisations both in Australia and Great Britain. Non-government organisations included the Church of England Society for Empire Settlement, the Church of England Migration Council, the Church Army, the Domestic Immigration Society, the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women (SOSBW), and the Salvation Army. Female migration was conducted under special safeguards and conditions, often with a matron traveling with groups of single women. Great emphasis was placed upon their care, protection and control before, during and after their journey to Australia. Hostels were established in Great Britain for their training and accommodation before embarkation.
Prior to World War I, a Mrs Bingham welcomed unaccompanied women and helped place them in employment on behalf of the Victorian government. After the war, the Women's Employment Agency of the Department of Labor and Industry in New South Wales helped place women immigrants as did similar sub-sections of the Department in other states. Voluntary associations also took part in the reception of female immigrants. These included the government-supported New Settlers' League, Women's Branches in Victoria and New South Wales. The New Settlers' League often worked in association with other voluntary organisations such as the Women's Immigration Auxiliary Council in Western Australia, the Domestic Immigration Society, Sydney, and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Some of these organisations set up low cost hostels in the major cities to which the women could go on arrival and return between situations.”
The above is significant in understanding the context by which Margaret Scott migrated and her early life when landing in Brisbane.
Emigration to Australia
Research shows that a 23 year old Margaret Scott left London June 21st 1900, on the steam ship Duke of Norfolk for Brisbane. The Brisbane Courier of Thursday August 16 states that “Amongst the immigrants brought from London by the Duke of Norfolk, and landed in Brisbane yesterday, we learn from the Immigration Depot that eighty are farm labourers by trade, and there are 100 single women. We are not in a position to state how many will be open for engagement. Some of the immigrants go, temporarily, to the Lady Musgrave Lodge, while others will stay with friends. The proportion of English, Irish and Scotch is about equal”.
Of the number that landed in Brisbane there were 107 single females. Most of these were listed in the ships records as domestic servants.
The Duke of Norfolk docked at Thursday Island on August 6, Townsville August 10, Rockhampton August 13 and then Brisbane August 15. She docked in Brisbane at Parbury’s Wharf which is now where the Maritime Museum is.
The following is an account of the voyage taken from the Brisbane Courier of August 16, 1900.
“The Duke of Norfolk Arrival of Immigrants
The British-India Company’s steamer Duke of Norfolk, with immigrants, from London, arrived in the Bay yesterday morning, and after being assisted up the river, berthed at Parbury’s wharf, South Brisbane. She left London on 21st June. With 497 immigrants (the largest number brought to Queensland for many years), anchored in the Thames that night, and proceeded next morning. The voyage to Port Said, which was reached 4th. July, was accomplished in splendid weather, the Duke averaging twelve knots an hour on this portion of the trip. Suez was reached next day, and the trip to Aden was also made under pleasant weather conditions, though somewhat warm. For three days after leaving Aden south-west monsoons were met, and fairly strong, but not sufficiently so to cause inconvenience. She arrived at Colombo on 18th. July, and Batavia on the 26th; left that port two days later, arriving at Thursday Island, via the usual Java ports, on the 6th of this month, and made her way down the coast, calling at Townsville and Rockhampton en route. At Thursday Island seven passengers, were landed, at Townsville 126, and at Rockhampton, sixty five. On arriving at Parbury’s wharf the remaining immigrants were taken to the Kangaroo Point depot by tender.
Throughout the trip everything was made as enjoyable as possible for the immigrants and with Dr. Page as chairman, concerts or dances were held about three times per week. The officers and immigrants are loud in praise of Miss Macauley, who as superintendent during the voyage was the embodiment of kindness and tact. She accompanied the immigrants to the depot, as did also the chief steward. Captain Lloyd Jenkins, R.N.R. is again in command of the Duke of Norfolk, and the officers are the same as on her last visit to Brisbane”.
Margaret Scott's Early Australian Life
This information has been provided by researching and cross referencing the number of registered persons with the name Margaret Scott or Margaret Eliza Scott who were the only registered Scott at that address and fit the historical background to our Margaret Elizabeth Scott.
Margaret Scott when arriving in Brisbane would have gone to the Lady Musgrave Lodge. This lodge was situated in the first instance at Petrie Terrace and then at Astor Terrace Spring Hill. In 1903 women were given voting rights and Margaret was on the electoral roll.
Pages 5 and 6 of the Brisbane Courier Friday January 22, 1892 had a very well documented article on the new Lady Musgrave Lodge.
The following are some extracts from this article.
“A Splendid Home for Friendless Girls
Among the many public or philanthropic institutions now existing in Brisbane there is not one which can boast of a more honourable record or show more rapid progress than the Lady Musgrave Lodge, an institution which owes its origin to a few self-sacrificing ladies of Brisbane, by whom it has been governed and managed for the past seven years……
The Australian Women’s Register http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE1008b.htm states the following.
“The Lady Musgrave Lodge Committee was the initiative of a group of Brisbane women who felt that there was a need to provide a good home for working women and girls in Brisbane. The committee raised and administered funding to support the lodge where respectable young women could 'take rest or board while waiting a new situation.' Primarily designed to be a first port of call for young emigrant women arriving in the colony, it was also a place to stay for local working women and girls between jobs. It was named for its first patron, Queensland Governor's wife, Lady Lucinda Musgrave.”