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Fanny Sarah Ranken (1838–1918)

THE LATE MKS. RANKEN. As a widely-read student of literature and dramatic art, particularly of Shakespeare and Dickens, Mrs. Fanny Ranken, who died at 26 Bayswater-road, Sydney, on Tuesday of last week, was much sought after. She maintained an extensive correspondence on literary subjocts, which she used to regard as one of the greatest joys of her life. Her correspondents included Professor Stephen Leacock, of Montreal University, whose charming writings have won world-wide fame. The late G. V. Brooke, whose Shakespearian parts are fondly remembered in Sydney, was a personal friend of Mrs. Ranken. In a letter to a friend not long before her death, she referred to her friendship with the well known actor thus:—"When I was a child, a religious wave spread over Scotland, and all theatres wore closed; but when I was a girl of 15 or so they were re-opened, and, as my folks had been great lovers of the play, I was taken the very first night. The stars were Brooke and Fanny Cathcart, in "The Lady of Lyons," and never shall I forgot the charm, which has remained with me to this day. It seems years before, when Brooke was a strolling player with a very homely wardrobe, the people of Ayr (Burns's Ayr) saw his talent and made a great deal of him. tn fact, our family doctor gave him a long red cloth cloak he used to wear when called out on cold winter nights. So fine a man was Brooke that he never forgot those past kindnesses, and it was said he always played his best In Ayr. I almost felt as if I had lost someone belonging to me when G. V. Brooke was drowned. I for one would have gone a long way to renew tho charm of his talent-genius, we may almost call it." Mrs. Ranken was one of tho oldest members of the Shakespearian Society in Sydney and also of the Australian Historical Society whilst she was prominently associated with the Women's Club for some years. Her death will be regretted by a large circle of friends.

Original publication

Citation details

'Ranken, Fanny Sarah (1838–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Shaw, Fanny Sarah

16 June, 1838


5 February, 1918 (aged 79)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.