Project Description

Elizabeth Maude EDWARDS was born in London in 1901. Her father was a ‘checker’ on the Great Northern Railway. When she was 13 war broke out and suddenly there were more work opportunities for women and there was more scope for having fun.

She married a sailor in 1922 and migrated to Australia to take up farming courtesy of a 10 pound passage and the Group Settlement Scheme. Robert, her husband, preceded Elizabeth to Australia in 1922 and Elizabeth followed in August 1923 after the birth of their first daughter. They joined a group of 10 at 69 Alexandra Bridge where there was only a tin shed with gaps for windows and door.

Both at Alexandra Bridge then at Forest Grove the Edwards’ attempts at farming were unsuccessful. Finally Robert got a road construction job and Elizabeth cooked for the mobile camp for a time. As construction neared Margaret River, the family obtained humble accommodation there and finally their own home where Elizabeth was more readily able to share with the others the love of her life, singing. Her singing engagements continued through her life and included on a Bunbury TV station, a Perth radio station, at Boulder Town Hall, down a cave, and out of a carriage at Flinders Bay on the tourist train.

Despite financial hardships for much of her life; the tragedy of losing both her young sons, and living with a man who became very fond of his drink, Elizabeth Edwards is to be admired for singing and her capacity to ‘get on with it’.