Mary Anne Nixon (nee O'Connor)
Mary Anne O'Connor was nursing in Armidale when she met Gabriel Nixon who had a carrying business. They were married in Armidale 3 December 1879. Near the end of 1885 Gabriel's business was suffering because of the railway line having been completed and the trains took over much of the work he had been doing. He found new employment at the Tannery at Willoughby on Sydney's north side. In 1889 the family were in Stanthorpe, QLD, where Mary Anne's cousin Jane Thomson (Wall) was living with her husband and family. While the Nixons were in Stanthorpe their eight years old daughter, Hope died. The family was back in Uralla when Walter was born in November 1890. About this time Mary Anne set up a nursing home in John St. Uralla, called "Maroubra". For the next thirty years this was one of the favourite places for young mothers to come to have their babies.
When Mary Anne retired and sold the nursing home in 1923 her youngest daughter, Elsie had just finished her nursing training in Sydney and set up a small private hospital for herself in the Rose Bay area of Sydney. Elsie took her parents to Sydney so that she could care for them in their old age, but after a short time with her they could not take the closeness and the rush of life in the city and longed for the open spaces and fresh air and the life-long friends of New England. Elsie sold her new hospital and moved back to Armidale where she set up a hospital on the corner of Jessie and Mann Streets in the home that is still called "Sturry". There she was able to help her parents to end their days in peace, as well as to continue to nurse the many patients who came to her.
WYONG ADVOCATE 1 February, 1978
A memorial service for the late Nora Dearing, who devoted much of her time and energy to improving the community living in the township of Budgewoi, will be held this Sunday.
Mrs. Dearing became well known as a real estate agent, and from an office in Halekulani made friends who joined with her in many welfare commitments.
Just over ten years ago the Upper Tuggerah Lakes' Meals on Wheels was established, Mrs. Dearing being a foundation member and holding the position of organiser for 10 years. When the kitchen was first opened less than 20 meals were sent out each day. The number is now 70.
Norah Dearing was instrumental in obtaining a second Meals on Wheels kitchen which is attached to the newly renovated and enlarged Budgewoi Hall.
At the time of her death, Mrs. Dearing was president of the hall committee. She had worked tirelessly for the _ improvement of the hall, which is now regarded as one of the best in the district. She was one of a band of Budgewoi people who worked for the cleaning up of the oval, and for the erection of tennis courts.
Mrs. Dearing and her son, Harry, were included in those workers who formed Society and also a member of the ambulance committee. Budgewoi Hall also houses a branch of the Community Service, a project dear to Mrs. Dearing and for which she worked tirelessly.
Mrs. Dearing will be missed by the entire community.
WYONG ADVOCATE 8 February 1978.
Large Gathering Pays Tribute.
About a hundred people attended a memorial service to the late Mrs. Nora Dearing in Budgewoi Community Hall on Sunday. The service was conducted by the Rev. Geoff Rowney, Anglican Rector for the Upper Tuggerah Lakes Parish. Mrs. Sheila Brailey, secretary of the Budgewoi Combined Pensioners, recited a poetic tribute. Budgewoi Ladies Choir sang hymns. Mr. Alex Cooke gave a reading from Corinthians, Mr. Harry Neilson a eulogy, Mrs. Hilda Sterlin tributes and Mr. Frank Millington reminiscences.
Mrs. Dearing, former nursing sister and Matron of the old Elrington Private Hospital at Wyong, was a tireless worker for innumerable district organisations. As one speaker said, "She was of the bulldog breed who never gave up on a project or anything else".
Her son, Mr. Harry Dearing, unveiled a memorial plaque. It came as a surprise to him and was a touching moment for himself and all present.
The service concluded with a bagpipe tribute by piper Jock McEwen who played "Amazing Grace" and "Lament".
Death of a Returned Soldier, Private Francis Leo Nixon.
What though they passed in all their pride and power
With steadfast tread adown the sun set track
To Glory's Gates - in memory's hallowed hour
They shall come back.
Though Uralla and district has contributed a large number of men to make the last great sacrifice on the field of battle, all the boys that have been spared to return have been getting along well and in this respect the district was considered fortunate. However, the grim reaper has made an appearance and carried off one of the heroes who helped to make this land famous by the gallant fighting in Gallipoli and France. The sad intelligence came through by phone that Private Francis Leo Nixon had passed away at the Military Hospital at Randwick on Saturday evening at 5.30. On all sides could be heard expressions of sympathy for the bereaved parents, brothers, sisters and relatives.
Pte. Nixon, who was born in Uralla, was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Nixon of this town and in his 22nd year. Had he lived he would have been 23 in February. He sailed on the `Suffolk' on 28 July, 1915 and left Heliopolis Camp, Egypt, on September 10 for the Dardanelles. After four months on the Peninsula, during which he fought in the Lone Pine battle and was present at the evacuation, he was sent to France with the 56th Battalion. After some months he was transferred to the Light Trench Mortar Battery, where he remained till 15 April, 1918, when he was badly gassed at Polygonwood near Amiens. The unfortunate young man was blind for six weeks and it was four months before he could speak. He returned home on 15 October, last year and was given a warm welcome, but his face showed traces of the terrible sufferings he had been through. He became excited at the reception given to the Anzacs in the city and was taken to the Military Hospital at Randwick. He was operated on twice, the trouble being fluid on the lungs. He did not recover from the second operation but quietly passed away. The body was brought to Uralla by train.
The Mayor ran the Town Flag to half mast in the presence of a representative gathering. The Mayor said; `It is our sad duty to run this flag to half mast again in honour of one who has given his life for his country. This is always a sad duty, and doubly sad on this occasion because it is such a short time since we welcomed this boy home. Pte. Nixon came back to us and we had hoped that there would be many happy days in store for him and his family, as well as for the other brave boys who are returning, since they have all showed their willingness to shed their blood for this flag and our country. We trust that God will comfort and sustain the relatives in their dark hour of need.'
In the afternoon the stores closed for a time in order that all might attend the funeral. A short service was held in St. Joseph's Church and at the conclusion Mrs. W.L. Elliott played the Dead March as the people passed out. The funeral was one of the largest ever seen in the town. On about 70 occasions since the flag was run to half-mast to the memory of the late Lieut.-Col. Braund, the public have gathered at the Hill St. Corner to pay a last tribute of respect to the memory of the men who gave their lives for the Empire. This however, was the first occasion that a returned soldier has been laid to rest here, and the public turned out en masse to show respect to the memory of the brave boy, whose life had been cut short by the deadly poison gas. The funeral was led by a number of returned soldiers under the direction of ex-Corporal J. Grattan, then the cadets, followed by the band. Then came the guncarriage, an improvised lorry, bearing the coffin with two returned soldiers at the front and two at the back. On the way to the new cemetary the band rendered the Dead
March. The service at the graveside was conducted by the Rev. Father McGrath, the funeral arrangements being in the capable hands of Mr. J.P. Henry, jr. The firing party consisted of returned soldiers and the Last Post was sounded by Sergt. E. Pearson (an Anzac).
Private Walter Nixon, who was at the Military Hospital, Randwick, when his brother passed away, speaks in the highest terms of appreciation of the attention given by the doctors, the nurses and the Red Cross. Eight of the best surgeons were in attendance and the nursing sisters never left him alone for a minute. Everything that the patient asked for was obtained and given to him, provided it was allowed by the medical men. As an instance of the promptness of the Red Cross, an electric fan was phoned for in order to keep the patient cool. Inside half an hour it was installed in the hospital ward. Mr. Nixon is deeply impressed with the unremitting skill, care and attention shown to his brother and is satisfied that no body of men or women could have done more than was done.
Walter Gabriel Nixon died during the first week of October, 1958, about the same time as his cousin, Justin Ignatius O'Connor, late of Walcha. Both men were Diggers from World War I.