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Isabel Grace Weatherly (1887–1946)

Isabel Weatherly, n.d.

Isabel Weatherly, n.d.

photo supplied by Ian Carter

The death in the Stawell District Hospital on Thursday of Miss Isabel Grace Harriet Weatherly, of Wallaloo, removed from our midst a notable district personality.

The youngest born daughter of the late James and Jane Weatherly, she was born at "Morven" Station, Branxholme, in 1890. After her early education at the Church of England Girls’ Grammar School at Ballarat she went on to the Melbourne University where she completed her course in Arts. A woman of brilliant intellectual attainment and endowed with a keen sense of responsibility to others less fortunate, she took a very practical interest in the betterment of the sightless, and her work for the Blind included the compilation of several books in Braille. Composition in this intricate medium by means of which sightless people are able to read, is a most difficult matter, but Miss Weatherly mastered the process as a means of service for the blinded. She was actively interested and elected to take a prominent part in the New World Reconstruction Movement until illness prevented her from continuing this work. Psychology and the study of all functions of the mind had a marked interest for her, and she studied such subjects intensively. She could discuss with clarity and authority and remarkable insight all current topics.

She was deeply spiritual in her concern for others’ welfare and was superintendent of the Wallaloo Sunday School for over twenty years. A persuasive teacher, she brought home to the minds of her young charges a message so modestly and gently given, so sincere, that it seemed by a deep inward experience and sympathy with humanity, altogether to transfigure her words. She had a genuine love for children and was never happier than when entertaining and helping them; she gave many parties for children and was perfectly cast as their hostess and advisor. The Girl Guide movement had her ready assistance and in this she held the rank of captain and commissioner. It was another avenue through which she could give service – another practical application of the maxim which ruled her life: "I am among you as those who serve".

Part owner of the Wallaloo Park estate, which she managed herself, Miss Weatherly was a noted horsewoman remarkable for the possession to a special degree of a sympathy with and understanding of animals which gave her wonderful control over them. Her very touch was soothing to them and she was fearless in undertaking the breaking in of untried colts. It was notable, that no animal tamed by her, ever lost its confidence in her, even after the passing of years.

About five years ago Miss Weatherly went to Melbourne to make her home. Her record of service with patriotic activities was a proud one and during the recent war she did splendid work with the Red Cross, spending whole days of her time in the Waste Products section. Even when away from Wallaloo she maintained the management of her property, which was executively carried on by her nephew, Mr. Alex Carter. A true philanthropist and generous worker in charitable causes, many hospitals and allied institutions had the benefit of her assistance. Above all her clarity expended like a breeze; it enveloped everything she knew.

An habitual serenity, naturalness and tact inspired confidence in and reverence for a fine woman who impressed all whom she came in contact with the realisation of how friendly and gracious a quality is human excellence. She faced her last illness without bitterness, without blame, without self-pity – with a dignity perfect and restrained. May it be our lot to leave behind to our friends as fragrant a memory.

The beauty of her nature as a child, girl, and young woman is indicated by the fact that Sister C. Allen, who was Miss Weatherly’s nursery governess before she went to school, though over seventy years of age now and after a separation of over forty years, flew from West Australia to help nurse her in her last illness.

Deep sympathy is offered to her sister, Mrs. W. Carter, and her nephews, Messrs. Alex and Jim Carter, who have suffered an irretrievable loss in her passing. Their devoted love was a testimony to what her home life must have been.

The funeral took place at Fawkner, after cremation, on Friday. The coffin bearers were Messrs. Alex and Jim Carter, John Gregory, and Lionel Weatherly. Rev. Archdeacon H. G. Hewitt, of Brighton, held a service and among the many beautiful floral tributes were wreaths from the Girl Guides (Marnoo), St Saviour’s Church, Wallaloo, and from the Wallaloo branch of the Red Cross. The funeral was of a private nature, only relatives attending.

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'Weatherly, Isabel Grace (1887–1946)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 July 2024.

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