Good on you, Mrs Mac

From the Port Phillip Gazette 1/1/42

BIRTH EXTRAORDINAIRE! On Thursday Mrs McDonald, the wife of a respectable settler, presented her husband at Mr Mortimer’s Crown Hotel, with a Christmas box consisting of two girls and a boy, whom with the mother, are doing well. Advance Australia Felix.  The girls were christened Victoria and Adelaide, the boy Albert.

My, what regal names!  The Port Phillip Herald of 4/1/42 adds the alarming detail that Mrs John McDonald of River Plenty had presented her husband with twins about 12 months earlier!! Five under about eighteen months……

I wonder whether she came into the Crown Hotel specially for the birth or whether she just happened to be there.  Ironic, really, that maternity hospitals today shove their new mothers off into hotel suites to clear the hospital beds.

There were only occasional birth notices in the Port Phillip newspapers of the 1840s, and generally only for the wives of “highly respectable” professional men, rather than the wives of  humble “respectable settlers” like Mrs McDonald.   I noticed that the Insolvency Commissioner’s wife Mrs Verner had a baby, then about two weeks later there was an advertisement for a wet nurse with the instruction to apply at the Insolvency Court- surely not the first place one would think to make such a contract. [I feel a bad joke about milking people dry coming on…..]

Well, I wonder what happened to Mr and Mrs McDonald and their little ones?

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3 responses to “Good on you, Mrs Mac

  1. A chase round surname spelling gave me
    St James Church of England records the baptisms, 1841 numbers 12698-12700 of three children of Catherine and John MacDonald, Lily Victoria, Janet Adelaide and Hector Cumming Albert, born at Darebin Creek.
    Janet Adelaide McDonald died at Darebin Ck was buried 1842
    Lilllias Victoria McDonald wed 1871 #2681 to Thomas Clark, no children registered in Victoria
    Hector Albert Cumming MacDonald wed 1871 #930 to Emily Jane Hallam and had 11 children, 2 died as infants

  2. Suzanne Newton

    I came across the above comments whilst doing some family research. Hector Macdonald, the ‘boy’ triplet was my great grandfather. He bought his family to NZ from Warrnambool in the 1890’s. He was once town clerk of Warrnambool but was dismissed after some irratic behaviour. I believe he was a heavy drinker. He had only one surviving son and 9 daughters when he died in Napier, New Zealand, in 1907. Four of his daughters married. His son who also married had no children. Two of his daughters married twin brothers, Newton’s from Napier, NZ.

    • residentjudge

      Really! So was there really an earlier set of twins as well? And other twins from the daughters marrying twin brothers? I’m glad he survived!

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