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Fiaschi, Catherine Ann (1850–1913)

by Mary Salmon

We have just lost by death one of the finest women that Sydney has possessed — Mrs Thomas Fiaschi, the wife of the notable Macquarie-street surgeon.

Although a very retiring woman, and one who made only occasional appearances in the social world, Mrs Fiaschi’s presence at any social-philanthropic gathering was always greeted with delight, for she brought an element of practical common sense that was impressive, and her opinions (which were, however, rarely given) were listened to with great respect, and as a rule formed a basis for the plans of any working committees. But it was as a sincere friend that Mrs Fiaschi will be remembered by those who enjoyed the pleasure of intimacy with her. No kindness or thoughtfulness was too great for her to extend to those who were in any trouble, and her deeds of private charity were too numerous to relate. Of her it may truly be said that her left hand knew not what her right hand did.

When a young woman Mrs Fiaschi went with her husband to Windsor in the days when the Hawkesbury was practically without a hospital, and when country roads were very different to what they are nowadays. The work of a medical man, such as Dr Fiaschi, took him out at all hours, in all weathers, to distant and through almost impossible country. Mrs Fiaschi stood at his elbow, as second in command, and did everything except actually deal with the case. She made appointments and saw every waiting patient, many a time giving a good meal to a traveller from a far-off farm who had journeyed many miles for medical aid. She spent her strength and energy freely in public services for the good of the district, but in so quiet and reserved a fashion that no one really knew that she was ‘the power behind the throne’. When Dr Fiaschi saw fit to make Sydney the headquarters of his work, the Hawkesbury people were absolutely dumbfounded at their loss. The ‘doctor’s house’ had been a centre of attraction not only to the sick but to hundreds who had owed their lives and the lives of those dear to them to the united attentions of these two clever people.

It is now many years ago, and people are apt to forget — indeed, many of the old Hawkesbury patients are now on the ‘other shore’. Among the mourners, outside the family, there are many people of high degree, from the families of the Governors of Australia downwards, all of whom will pay a tribute of sorrow and respect to the memory of the deceased lady; but Windsor knew the doctor and his wife at the first start of their notable career together, when the romantic circumstances of their marriage were still fresh in the minds of the public. Therefore, there will be a wave of real genuine sympathy from the Hawkesbury people to the doctor in his great loss.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

Mary Salmon, 'Fiaschi, Catherine Ann (1850–1913)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/fiaschi-catherine-ann-13456/text24141, accessed 21 November 2017.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2017

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Reynolds, Catherine Ann
Birth

11 July 1850
Drumkeeran, Leitrim, Ireland

Death

10 August 1913
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence