Trove Tuesday – Friends Wanted

It’s Trove Tuesday and this is my first TT post since June.  I’ve been looking forward to sharing this little find from The Australian Worker (Sydney).  After coming across these two articles I must say I laughed about their contents for days and all because a typesetter used an “m” instead of a “p.”

The first excerpt is a letter written to the “Children’s Letters” column by my 2nd cousin 3 x removed,  Iris Olive Harman of Ecklin South.  Iris was the daughter of Arthur John Harman and Ellen “Nellie” Matilda Rodgers and was born in 1900 at Cobden,  She was around sixteen when she wrote her letter.  Her grandfather was Jonathan Harman of Byaduk.  She had three older brothers who she mentioned in her letter, Arthur Ernest, Frederick Reginald and Edward George.  They were around 20, 24 and 26 in 1918 and all unmarried.  Iris’ father had moved to Byaduk to live with his father Jonathan four years earlier and I’m still yet to discover what happened to his and Nellie’s marriage.   Iris, a Christian woman was a spinster until into her fifties, marrying William Wormald in 1957.  She died in Warrnambool in 1989.

Knowing that about Iris, you too will be as shocked (and no doubt amused) as I was when I read her letter:

"CHILDREN'S LETTERS." The Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1950) 26 Apr 1917: 11. .

“CHILDREN’S LETTERS.” The Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW : 1913 – 1950) 26 Apr 1917: 11. <;.

Oh dear, the scandal.  A young Christian girl was in search of “men friends.”

It took three months, but finally, an explanation was forthcoming:

"TO CORRESPONDENTS." The Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW : 1913 - 1950) 12 Jul 1917: 13. .

“TO CORRESPONDENTS.” The Australian Worker (Sydney, NSW : 1913 – 1950) 12 Jul 1917: 13. <;.

While I amused myself for days after, relaying the story to anyone who pretended to listen, I must consider the shame such a tiny slip up caused as implied in the newspaper’s apology.   In the years following, Nellie, Iris and brother Frederick packed up and left for Warrnambool for no apparent reason.  Now having found these articles, I’m wondering if the shame brought to the family may have prompted the move.

4 thoughts on “Trove Tuesday – Friends Wanted

  1. I hope the family moved on for other reasons. It must have been very upsetting to be all proud and excited that your letter had been published and then find such an improper suggestion. The apology was a while later.


    • Hi Anne, I hope that’s not the reason they moved too. Probably wasn’t as you couldn’t imagine too many people from Ecklin South reading the Australian Worker. Iris’ father not living in the family home most likely wouldn’t have helped matters either. Yes they took their time publishing the apology and it probably would have been missed by most given it’s location in the paper. Merron


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