Mrs. Mary Jane Piesse
(Katanning’s “First Lady”)
Born: Mary Jane Elizabeth Chipper, Perth – 1854
Died: 5 April 1936 – Buried Karrakatta Cemetery
Married: Frederick Henry PIESSE
18 Oct 1877 at Kojonup, by the Rev. W. Wardell Johnson
Children: Frederick Thomas Roper PIESSE, 1878-1925 (in Randwick, NSW)
(Married 1905 – Mildred May Jackson)
Cecil Earnest Charles PIESSE, 1882 – 02/08/1915 (in Marvel Loch, WA)
(Married 1905 – Florence Wilson)
Harold Vivian PIESSE, 1884 – 15/09/1949 (in Katanning)
(Married 1911 – Elizabeth Martin Verney)
Melville Hubert PIESSE, 29/03/1890 – 1920 (Rabaul, New Guinea)
(Married 25/09/1912 – June Tarleton)
Florence Ethel PIESSE (Reid), 1893 – 05/12/1980 (in Katanning)
(Married 1923 – Robert H Reid)
Miss Mary Jane Chipper was in charge of the Kojonup Post Office and was the first woman telegraphist in Australia. Mary Jane became Mrs. F.H. Piesse on 18 Oct 1877 at Kojonup, not long after his arrival in Williams. She became his lifelong help mate, freely entering into his political work and assisting him in every possible way, both in the home and business. Their first place of residence was the first Post Office at Williams, now the Police Station. Their second residence was the old store in Williams. When they arrived in Katanning they lived in the old bungalow opposite the Church of England (which was considered to be one of the finest mansions in WA). 1902 saw them move to Kobeelya where FH resided until his death on 29 June 1912. Mary Jane lived the remaining years of her life at “Kulal” which was built by one of her sons (Frederick).
“Stories of Katanning Women”
The stories below were written by community members.
A booklet was prepared and edited by Yvonne Fleay,
Katanning’s Community Arts Officer in 1999.
Some of these women still serve in the community
they love and some of these amazing women have
since passed on. However, it is important that their
stories live on.
Women of Katanning
Click on a name below to read their stories
from the 1999 booklet:
This will be a continuing story…
Do you know of any Katanning women worthy of
adding to this list as we start 2016?
Email their story (with a photo if possible)
ISABEL A. MASTERS
Died: 24 July 2000
Occupation: Principal and Teacher
Isabel Masters was born in Western Australia in 1912. She graduated from university in 1934 with Honours in English and taught at Kobeelya Girls’ Grammar School in Katanning, Western Australia, Ascham Girls’ School in Sydney, New South Wales and Merton Hall (now Melbourne Girls’ Grammar School) in Melbourne, Victoria before becoming principal of Canberra Girls’ Grammar School in 1947. She retired in 1962, having overseen the doubling in size of what was described as a ‘happy’ school.
Born: 20 September 1931, Katanning, Western Australia
Muriel Patterson was elected to the Thirty-third Parliament of Western Australia as the Liberal party member of the Legislative Council for South West Region on 4 February 1989 for term commencing 22 May 1989.
She was re-elected 1993, and 1996 (for term commencing 22 May 1997). She retired 21 May 2001.
Muriel Quartermaine was born in Katanning in 1931, to farmer Charles Quartermaine and his wife Grace. She studied at Perth Technical College and Albany Technical College, and married Rolstun Patterson in 1951. From 1964 she farmed with her husband at Tambellup, then taught dressmaking until 1977. She joined the Albany Chamber of Commerce in 1976, and was President from 1984-1986. A member of the Liberal Party of Australia, Patterson was elected to the Legislative Council of the Parliament of Western Australia for the South West Region in 1989. She was re-elected in 1993 and 1996, and retired on 21 May 2001.
Born: 1912, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Died: 1977, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Occupation: Botanist and Conservationist
Nancy Burbidge was a leading botanist and conservationist. She was born in Yorkshire in 1912 to the Reverend William Burbidge and his wife Mary Simmonds, not long before her father was appointed to the parish of Katanning in Western Australia.
Lydia Grace Yilkari Williams (born 13 May 1988) is an Indigenous Australian soccer player, who currently plays for Houston Dash in the American NWSL.
Williams was born in Katanning, Western Australia to a father of Aboriginal descent and a mother from the United States.
After playing junior football for Tuggeranong and Woden in the Australian Capital Territory, Williams joined the Australian Institute of Sport Football Program and then joined Australian W-League team, Canberra United in 2008.
In 2014, following a season-ending injury to Adrianna Franch, the Western New York Flash signed Lydia Williams to be their starting goalkeeper.
Williams started 14 games in goal for the Western New York Flash.
The Katanning, West Australia native recorded two shutouts in 2014 prior to tearing her ACL while participating in the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup with the Australian Women’s National Team, an injury that ended her NWSL season.
In September 2014, Williams was waived by Flash and was selected by Washington Spirit for the 2015 season.
She was not on the roster for the Washington Spirit at the start of the season.
In January 2016, she was signed by the Houston Dash and is a current member of the Australian women’s national soccer team, The Matildas.
Lydia Williams will head to her third FIFA Women’s World Cup as Australia’s first-choice goalkeeper having made a full recovery from an ACL injury which kept her sidelined for the majority of 2014.
The 28-year-old currently plays for Houston Dash in the NWSL and has also represented Canberra United in the Westfield W-League, making 58 appearances for the club over several seasons.
Lydia Williams, an AIS product, has 40 international caps to her name, having made her international debut for the Young Matildas in 2005.
She has represented Australia at the 2006 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the 2006 FIFA World Under 20 Women’s Championship.
W-League Championship: 2011–12
W-League Premiership: 2011–12, 2013–14
AFC Women’s Asian Cup: 2010
AFF Women’s Championship: 2008
Mary Elizabeth Newport
From Des Noonan:
Some of the older Katanning residents may remember Mrs Newport and some of the now men may have been in the Cub Pack she ran in the old RSL Lesser Hall in Carew St. She used to live on the corner of Broome and Beaufort Streets and ran the Cubs for many years. As you can see this cutting comes from the Weekend News 1960 (56 years ago).
Mary Elizabeth Newport (nee Brennan) was born 7 October, 1894, married Alfred George Newport in May,1924 making her home in Katanning, and died in Perth 15 March, 1983.
From The Western Mail – 17 September 1960.
At 67, she likes life in the open air
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Newport is the only person in the state to belong at the same time to the Boy Scouts’ Association and the Pensioners’ League.
And her friends were intrigued this week to see the diminutive, grey-haired cub-master return from a boisterous camp at Kelmscott, promptly change into a neat frock and set off for the Over 60 Club.
As assistant cub master of the second Wembley Pack, Mrs Newport has just completed 24 years’ service to the Boy Scouts Association.
Several trophies on her mantelpiece testify to her skill at tying intricate knots – which baffle the smallest of her eight grandchildren.
On wet, windy days she is quick to find a sheltered spot, mysteriously produce dry bracken and soon have a fire going.
Formerly of Katanning, Mrs Newport came to Perth last year and considered resigning from the Association.
“But I just couldn’t do it – I would be scared about my health if I gave up life outdoors.
Mrs. Newport’s medals and bars include some from Lady Baden-Powell.
A land girl in World War 1, she migrated to Australia in 1922 under the Commonwealth scheme for ex-Service personnel.
Though she lives alone in a rented room in Hay Street, Mrs Newport is constantly on the alert for an opportunity to maintain the scouts’ tradition and do her quota of good deeds.
But in some respects she is handicapped.
“I see scouts help old women across the road,” she said, “but I can’t help there.
It’s as much as I can do to get myself across.”