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Elsie May Petherick (?–1945)

Naracoorte.—With terrific suddenness death took from our midst on Tuesday morning last a personality that the community could ill afford to lose, in the person of Mrs. Elsie May Petherick. The deceased was taken suddenly ill on Sunday eyening, and passed peacefully away early on Tuesday morning, at her residence "Waroonga," Bordertown Road, Naracoorte. The late Mrs. Petherick was born in Adelaide, and was the daughter of the late Thomas Henry, and Louis Olive Bagshaw. She was married to Mr. Vernon Gordon Petherick at St. George's, Goodwood, on April 5, 1904.

Soon after her marriage Mrs. Petherick went with her husband to Manila, Philippine Islands, and afterwards to Brisbane, Queensland, where they lived for about a year. Returning to Adelaide, they were resident there for a period of two years, and came to Naracoorte in 1909. Mrs. Petherick took a keen interest in public affairs, and assisted her husband when he was a member of the District Council, and Mayor and Councillor of the Corporation of Naracoorte, and during his parliamentary career.

For 12 years she carried on the business of the Naracoorte Electric Power Company in association with her husband and sons. She was a willing helper in all public affairs of the town, but in recent years devoted her efforts mainly to furthering the work of the Country Women's Association. In this she was very successful in forming new branches, and creating interest. She founded the Naracoorte Branch, was its first President, and later became Divisional President of the Southeast. She travelled extensively, visiting many branches forming strong links of friendship. One of the district groups bearing her name is composed of branches formed by her. She had a definite objective for work in the South-East to secure rest cottages at seaside resorts, which could be used by country women. Her State ideal was to arrange in South Australia a mothers' help scheme, through which assistance in the home could be made available to mothers needing it. Both these objectives may be carried out later on.

Mrs. Petherick took charge of the camouflage net making in Naracoorte when they were so urgently required by the A.I.F., and she taught adults and children the art of net making, over 400 nets being the result, of this effort from Naracoorte.

An engaging and well prepared speaker, the deceased lady was invited to address many meetings, was a regular attendant at executive and conference gatherings, and in September was a State representative to the Annual Victorian Conference. Her contributions to newspapers were always of very great interest. It was in her home, however, that she has her greatest sphere, facing difficulties and affliction with a noble and sustained courage. A capable and sympathetic pianist, she delighted in music, and excelled in arts and crafts, being original in every sense of the word. "Green Finger' is a term particularly applicable to her, as her success in her own garden, which she loved so well, and from which she derived so much pleasure, readily shows.

Large quantities of flowers were dispatched regularly to the Red Cross Depot in Adelaide by Mrs. Petherick during summer and winter months.

She was a devoted mother to her family of nine children, of whom, six survive, namely: W/O. Tom Humphrey Petherick (R.A.A.F ); W/O. Edward Gartly Petherick (R.A.A.F.); Mr. Ormonde Murray Petherick (Balwyn, Vic.), Mrs. Alker (Dorothy Elise) West Croydon, S.A.; Miss Darbie Petherick (Norwood, S.A.); and F/O. Lingsley Boyd Petherick (R.A A.F.), overseas. The deceased members of the family are Verdon Gordon, Mary Gray, and Indi Pirnie. Messrs. E. G. Bagshaw (Perth), T. A. Bagshaw (Linden Park, S.A.), Mrs. G. Gilbert (Lower Mitcham), and Misses Olive and Irene Bagshaw (Brighton, S.A.) are brothers and sisters of the late Mrs. Petherick. There are eight grandchildren.

One of the largest assemblies at a funeral in Naracoorte attended at the Naracoorte Cemetery on Thursday afternoon last, when the ramains of the late Mrs. Petherick were laid to rest. The cortege walked behind the hearse to the graveside from her late residence, and the route was lined with members of the Country Women's Association, numbering over 60, each carrying a floral tribute. Floral tributes numbered over 200, and came from far and wide. Mrs. Petherick was a member of the Church of England and the Rev. A. J. Robjohns conducted impressive services at the home and at the graveside. The mortuary arrangements were carried out by Mr. A. F. Giddings, of Naracoorte.

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Citation details

'Petherick, Elsie May (?–1945)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 1 March 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bagshaw, Elsie May

January, 1945
Naracoorte, South Australia, Australia

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