Who in Australian history was Jean Ross?

As Australia’s “first bloke”, Tim Mathieson doesn’t have anyone to follow in terms of how it’s done.  I guess it was the same for the partner of Edmund Barton, Australia’s first Prime Minister.

There’s not much written about Lady Barton (nee Jean Ross).  We know she was a patient woman, waiting five years between her engagement and her marriage to Barton.

Her obituary provides only a few clues about the life she lead.  

Sydney Morning Herald – 24 March 1938

Thomas Fiaschi – doctor, soldier, wine maker

This is Il Porcellino, a replica of a Florentine wild boar sculpture.  Located outside the Sydney Hospital, it commemorates the lives of Dr Thomas Fiaschi and his son Dr Piero Fiaschi.  Interested in the medicinal quality of wine, he first planted vines at Sackville Reach in the Hawkesbury region in 1882 on acreage that was to become Tizzana Winery.

The Il Porcellino photograph is from the GPS location marking site Waymarking.  The presentation of this portrait of Dr Fiaschi was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22 July 1926.

Bert Bailey – more than the Dad in “Dad and Dave”

Theatrical all-rounder Bert Bailey was born in New Zealand and came to Australia with his mother as a small child.  He is most well known for his portrayal of “Dad” on stage and screen in Steele Rudd‘s On Our Selection.

The Mercury of 6 Nov 1937


AUSTRALIANS at the moment are very “Dad and Dave”- minded, and it is undoubtedly this fact that has led Associated B.E.F. to the decision to reissue “On Our Selection,” Australia’s first talkie produced by Cinesound some five years ago, with Bert Bailey heading the original stage cast.  “On Our Selection” will probably be released at all metropolitan theatres and there is little doubt that it will be well received.

Twenty-five years ago, in May 1912, “On Our Selection” was first presented as a stage play at the Palace, Sydney, and today, more than a quarter of a century later, the story of  “Dad,” “Dave,” and all the rest of the famous Rudd family is still popular.

When he died this item appeared in The Advertiser – 1 April 1953.  His papers are available as a research resource at the National Library of Australia.

Note:  Leo McKern and Geoffrey Rush played Dad and Dave in the 1995 version of On Our Selection..

Dad and Dave Come to Town poster image courtesy of moviem.com.