Lucy Margaret Laurence

(Last updated: 25 November 2019)

Born: Narrandera NSW in 1898.

Parents: William Joseph Laurence and Mary Jane Kersley.

Married: Edmond ('Ned') Pearson (1899-1990) at Narrandera in 1919.


Died: Narrandera NSW on 7 July 1985.

Click here to see more photos of Lucy and her siblings.

lucy laurenceLucy Margaret Laurence (1898-1985) was born at Narrandera and attended primary school at nearby Gillenbah where her parents owned a small farm. She married Edmond ('Ned') Pearson at Narrandera in 1919. Ned's parents were old Narrandera identities, William Pearson (1872-1948) and Maria Hansell (1873-1972) who were married there in 1897 and had six sons - William. Edmond, John, Thomas, James, Arthur, and Leslie Pearson - and one daughter, Ethel Pearson. William's obituary, published in the Narrandera Argus on 20 April 1948, tells us he was born at Grong Grong but 'resided in the Narrandera district all of his life. In his younger days', the obituary continued, William 'was a noted shearer, and travelled all over the pastoral districts of New South Wales and Victoria following his avocation. He was the acknowledged ringer in most of the sheds, where he put up some exceptionally high tallies with the blade shears. Later he entered the sawmilling trade as a contract sawyer, and carried out contracts at the district mills for the late James Roach . . . and Dixon's Ltd . . . . Owing to his calling taking him from town most of the week he refrained from entering public affairs, but was for many years a member of the Newtown East Progress Association'. According to the 'Pincott Family Tree' on Ancestry, Ned's paternal grandfather was John Pearson (1845-1923) who was born near King's Lynn in Norfolk in Engand and, together with his parents and siblings, emigrated to Australia on the sailing ship ISLE of SKYE in 1852. He married a Cheshire girl, Martha Anne Ward (1843-1920) near Deniliquin in NSW in 1866 and eventually settled on land in the Narrandera region where Martha died in 1920 and John three years later.

Ned Pearson's mother, Maria Hansell (1873-1972), was born at Mount Cole in Victoria, the daughter of a saw miller, Joseph Gale Hounsell (1839-1919), and Maria Day (1873-1934). The 'McKrill, Corr, Hoard, White' family tree on Ancestry, informs us that Joseph was born near Weymouth in Dorset in England. His parents were Edmund Hounsell, a mill sawyer, and Susanna Gale. Joseph's first wife died in England in 1862. Some seven years later, he emigrated to Australia where he:

. . . obtained work as a mill sawyer at Mt Cole near Beaufort in Victoria. It was at this time that he changed the spelling [of his surname] from Hounsell to Hansell. He married MARIA DAY (parents Thomas and Maria Kimpton Harradance) on 1 Jan 1871 at the Primitive Methodist Church at Beaufort . . . [Joseph and Maria's] first five children were born around this area then they moved to Deniliquin in NSW where two more children were born before moving again to the Narrandera area where their last eight children were born. Joseph died on 21 March 1919 at Adams Street in Narrandera and Maria on 6 December 1932 at the Narrandera Public Hospital. They are buried together in the Church of England section of the Narrandera Cemetery.

The Australian electoral rolls show that Ned and Lucy Pearson lived all their married lives at Narrandera where Ned worked as a labourer and, in later years, a sawmiller. In 1946, in a speech seeking election to the office of Alderman of the Municipality of Narrandera, Ned stated that 'having lived in the town most of my life and being associated with the sawmilling business of Dixons Pty Ltd over a period of 25 years, I have a good knowledge of business and municipal matters'. We don't know if he was elected. We do know that between 1947 and 1949 Ned served as the Hon Secretary of the Narrandera Progress Association. A devout Catholic, he was also a member of the Narrandera chapter of the Holy Name Society. In this latter capacity he spoke, in January 1951, at the farewell from the parish of Father John D. Lane, stating that 'Father Lane had done a lot of work for the Society, and during the past four years had been largely instrumental in increasing its membership from 60 to 92'. Ned added that 'he had accompanied Father Lane on a number of trips to conferences, etc and had enjoyed his jovial company and helpful advice, and thanked him for the help he had given the society and wished him well in Albury' (Narrandera Argus, 31 January 1951).

Lucy was also a devoted and long-serving member of the Catholic Chruch and its local Ladies' Guild although she also found time to be a sufficiently serious gardener to win, in December 1950, the Molr Cup at the local Church of England's Gladioli Show. Throughout her life, she remained in close contact with all of her Laurence siblings, regularly hosting visits to Narrandera by those who had moved away and visiting them and their families in Melbourne, Sydney and, as the photo below shows, the wilds of Walpeup. As her nephew and my father, Laurie Cheeseman, describes in his memoirs, it was during that visit that Ned convinced him to leave his parents' farm and go and work at his sawmill at Rankin Springs. Laurie also loved visiting Narrandera where he would be feted and fussed over by his aunts and female cousins.

pearsons at walpeup 1934

The Pearson family during a visit to the farm of Lucy's sister, Alice Cheeseman, at Walpeup in Victoria over Xmas 1933.
From L/R: Ned, Royce, Thelma and Lucy Pearson.

narrandera 1934

Laurence gathering at Narrandera late in 1935. From L/R: Ned Pearson (nursing Ray), Royce Pearson,
Alex and Ellen ('Nell') Laurence, Lucy Pearson, Tommy and Lily Laurence,
Laurie Cheeseman and Thelma Pearson.

Lucy and Ned Pearson had four children we are aware of. Their youngest daughter, Muriel Pearson, died as an infant in 1925. Their youngest son, Laurence Raymond ('Ray') Pearson, who was born in 1935, was living with his parents at Narrandera and working as a carpenter at the time of the 1958 and 1963 elections. The 1977 and 1980 rolls have a Laurence Raymond, carpenter, and Bernice Rosemary Pearson living in the Brisbane suburb of Cannon Hill. The 'Find a Grave' website shows that a Laurence Raymond Pearson who was born in 1935 died in Brisbane in March 1993 and is buried in the Hemmant Cemetery. His wife Bernice (1933-2007) was buried there on 7 March 2007. We know a little more about Lucy and Ned's two other children as follows:

1. Thelma Mary Miles (1920-84).

Born at Narrandera, Thelma married a local farmer, Robert Edwin Miles (1912-70), there in 1940. According to the 'MacDonald/Macauley/Roberts/Smith Family Tree' on Ancestry, Robert was the youngest son of Richard Miles (1869-1930) and May Naismith (1881-1957) who were married at Narrandera in 1889. Richard was born at Bicester in Oxfordshire in England while May was from Belalie East in South Australia. Her parents, Robert Naismith (1848-1916) and Christina Spalding both came from Lanarkshire in Scotland. Robert's siblings included Eliza May (1901-01), Phillip Richard (1903-70), Olive Ellen Ashelford (1907-74) and James Frank Miles (1909-30). The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage, Thelma and Robert farmed land at Sandigo until the early 1960s when they moved to Mannus near Tumbarumba on the western edge of the Snowy Mountains. Robert and his sons ran a dairy farm there until Robert's death in 1970. Thelma and her children moved into Tumbarumba where she died in 1984. The 'Petfae' family tree on Ancestry tells us that she and Robert had nine children: Robert Laurence ('Laurie') (1941-93), Todd (1945-91), Oliver Anthony (1957-2019) and six others (including, we think, Terrance Richard, a forestry worker, and Heather Ann Miles, a nurse). His tribute, published in the Border Mail on 18 September 2019, tells us that Oliver Anthony 'Ollie' Miles 'passed away peacefully at Albury Base Hospital on Thursday 12th September 2019. Beloved husband of Judie. Loving father of Nathan and Naomi. Proud Pa of his grandchildren. Will be sadly missed by his family and friends. Aged 62 years.

2. Edmund Royce Pearson (1928-2016)

Born at Narrandera, Royce married Mary Anne Britt (1922-2017) there in 1948. The following report of their wedding was published in the Narrandera Argus on 28 September:

St. Mel's Church, Narrandera was tastefully decorated for the marriage of Mary, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Britt, of Corobimilla, to Edmund Royce, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Pearson, of William Street, Narrandera, which was celebrated with Nuptial Mass by the Rev. Father McVeigh on 7th August. The pert bride looked charming as she entered the church to the strains of the Wedding March, escorted by her father, who subsequently gave her away. She wore a frock of beautiful white lace over satin, featuring a sweetheart neckline, which was outlined with softly gathered tulle and tiny sprays of orange blossom, long sleeves, and a full train, which was also finished with a frill of pleated tulle, tulle bows and orange blossom. The long veil, which was lent by Mrs. J. Pearson, junr., was held in place by a lace headdress finished with pearls and orange blossom. She carried a bouquet of white stocks and hyacinths, and wore a beautiful string of pearls with earrings to match, the gifts of the bridegroom. Misses Norma McLean and Edna Britt (the bride's sister) attended the bride as bridesmaids, and Glyn Miles (the bridegroom's niece) and Helen McLean were flower girls. . . . Later relatives and a few intimate friends adjourned to the Catholic Hall, where a sumptuous wedding breakfast was served, a feature of which was the three-tiered wedding cake, made by the bride's mother. The Rev. Father McVeigh was chairman and the usual toasts were honoured and several congratulatory telegrams were read. Mrs. Britt, assisted by Mrs. Pearson, received the guests. . . . The newly married couple later left for Wagga by car, the bride wearing a teal blue suit and hat to match and dark brown accessories and later on went to Sydney, where the honeymoon was spent. Many valuable and beautiful gifts were received. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson will make their home at Narrandera.

mary anne brittAs mentioned in the above report, Mary Anne (pictured on the left at a debutante ball before her marriage) was then living at Corobimilla southwest of Narrandera. Her parents were a local farmer and storekeeper, Alfred Edwin Britt (1893-1964) and Annie Agnes Parfrey (1890-1974) who were married at Urana in NSW in 1921. On retirement they moved to the North Sydney suburb of Willoughby where Alfred died in 1964. He is buried in the Catholic section of the Macquarie Lawn Cemetery, the inscription on his grave telling us he was the husband of Annie [and] father of Mary, William, Edwin, Raymond, Alan & Edna. Annie died at Willoughby ten years later. According to the 'Britt Family Tree' on Ancestry, Alfred's parents were James William Britt (1864-1942) and Mary Ann Cridge (1869-1930) who were married at Cooma in NSW in 1889. James was born at Razorback near Picton in NSW and Mary Ann at Braidwood. Her parents were John Cridge (1833-1917) from Taunton in Somerset in England and Mary Higgs (1847-93) who were wed at Queanbeyan in 1863.

The 'EPreedy Family Tree' on Ancestry tells us that Annie Agnes Parfray's parents were Charles Parfrey (1857-1947) and Louisa Ellen Bock (1866-1952). Charles was born at Brunswick in Melbourne and Louisa at Heathcote in central Victoria. Both died at Morundah outside Narrandera. Charles' parents were George Parfrey (1824-99) who came from Norfolk in England, and Ann Ridell (1931-1914) who came from Aberdeen in Scotland. Louisa's parents were Carl Friedrich Bock (1836-1907) and Mary Walsh (1836-96). Carl was born at Zellerfeld in Germany and Mary in County Cork in Ireland. They both died at Costerfield near Heathcote in Victoria. Louisa's obituary, published in the Narrandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser on 29 January 1952, tells us she and Charles and their family came to Morundah in May 1918 after Charles acquired a property there known as 'Helensdale'. During the Second World War Charles:

. . . acquired 'Brendisi', about seven miles along the Barellan road from Narrandera, and resided there until the end of the war, when he and Mrs. Parfrey returned to 'Helensdale', and resided there until their deaths. Mrs. Parfrey was well liked by all who knew her, and during her younger days look part in many of the social and other activities which were held in the Morundah district. Deceased is survived by a family of five sons and five daughters. The sons are Charles (Brunswick, Vic), Robert, Francis (Morundah) and David ('Les'), of Finley; while the daughters are Annie (Mrs. A. E. Britt, Willoughby), Elsie (Mrs. E. McKersie, Narrandera), Helen (Mrs. Brandt, Rowsley, Victoria), Louisa (Mrs. W. Hemphill, Swan Hill, Victoria), and Mary (Mrs. E. Hemphill, Morundah. She was predeceased by her husband and four sons and one daughter. Her son William was killed in the First World War, and Thomas died whilst a prisoner of war in Borneo in World War II. Robert was a member of the A.I.F., and George and David were prisoners of war in Japan during the last war.

The Australian electoral rolls show Royce and Mary Anne lived all their lives at 7 Frederica Street Narrandera where Royce worked in the saw milling business. The 1972 roll has a Maurice Royce Pearson, builder's labourer, also registered at Frederica Street. The 1977 roll has Anthony James Pearson, clerk, at Frederica Street and Maurice, a builder, and Helen Margaret Pearson, public servant, at 92 Bolton Street. Royce died at Narrandera on 11 October 2016. Mary Anne died there on 8 January 2017. Her tribute, published in the Riverina Daily Advertiser on 11 January 2017), tells us she died at the Opal Nursing Homeand was the 'beloved wife of Royce (dec). Loving mother and mother-in-law of Maurice and Helen, Fae and Peter, Wendy and Arthur, Betty and Peter, Tony and Barb and Robert and Pam. Much Loved Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. Aged 94 years'. As described, Royce and Mary Anne had six children who, the 'Petfae' family tree on Ancestry tells us, have provided their parents with at least 15 grandchildren.

royce and mary anne pearson

Taken from the 'Petfae' family tree on Ancestry, this photo is of Royce and Mary Anne Pearson
at their son-in-law Peter's 60th birthday celebrations in 2006.

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