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Rosina Elizabeth Kable (1829–1922)

The lifetime of Mrs. John Henry [Rosina Elizabeth] Kable, who died at Bathurst recently at the age of 93, spanned Sydney's development from a humble township to a great city. Born in O'Connell-street in 1829, she paddled in the Tank Stream as a girl, and lived to see grow over that creek one of the great cities of the British Empire. Bound up with her life history are many of the most interesting happenings in the early life of the colony.

Mrs. Kable was one of a family of 15, and she was born in a house which fronted O'Connell-street, on the site of the present chemical warehouse of Elliott Bros. Limited. Mrs. Kable in her girlhood was very fond of playing in the stream. In later years she often talked of the fine patches of corn and the vegetable gardens that then lined it, and she had a clear recollection of having often run over the bridge at about the spot where Bridge-street intersects Pitt street.

Her mother was born in the same house in O'Connell-street, and the latter's father (John Manning), was one of the first contractors in Sydney, and was responsible for the construction of many of the original wharfs in Sydney Cove. Mrs. Kable's father (John Mills) was an early schoolmaster, and conducted schools in several places, notably at Parramatta. His last school was at Kurrajong. He died in 1865, and is buried in St. Peter's Churchyard, Richmond. It was at Richmond that the late Mrs. Kable met her husband. He was associated with Windsor for many years, and a street in this town is named after him. He also was a descendant of the pioneers, being a grandson of Henry Kable, who came out in the first fleet, and later figured prominently in what, it is claimed, was Australia's earliest commercial and shipping firm, Kable and Underwood. They were large ship owners, and were engaged in the sealing trade to Bass Strait as early as 1804, later taking up other remunerative enterprises.

The progress of Kable and Underwood, however, was interrupted by Governor Bligh and his trading restrictions, and Mr. Kable got into grips with that adminstrator early in 1807. As the result of one of these altercations Mr. Kable was heavily fined and ordered to be imprisoned for one month for addressing the Govenor in improper terms. At a meeting held later he placed the name of the firm at the head of a subscription list with £500 for the purpose of helping to defray the expenses of sending Mr. John Macarthur to England to advocate the removal of Governor Bligh.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Kable, Rosina Elizabeth (1829–1922)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Mills, Rosina Elizabeth

5 July, 1829
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


1 August, 1922 (aged 93)
Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.