Project Description

Faith Irene Fuller HEMSLEY (nee Templar) was born in Ceylon in 1914. When her father, a conservator of forests, died tragically in 1921, her mother took the six children back to England.

Faith and two sisters were found places at the Christ’s Hospital School, known as the Bluecoat’s School, founded in 1552 for the poor children of London. Faith tells of the wonderful education she had at this boarding school where everything was provided at no cost and of how she came to be sponsored by the Bishop of London.

Faith entered nursing training at Middlesex Hospital where she met her future husband, Alexander Graham Hemsley (Alex), a house surgeon at the hospital. Her training, uniforms and social life are discussed. She also tells of her brothers and sisters, one of whom, Basil, became involved with rehabilitating baby chimpanzees in Spain.

In 1937 she married and, after a year in London, during which time her first son was born, Alex and Faith went to Fiji where Alex was a government doctor. Three more children, two girls and a boy, were born in Fiji.

]They returned to England where Alex realised his life-long dream of becoming a farmer. During the ten years the Hemsleys had the farm three more boys were born and Faith took on the further task of turning a 14-bedroom Georgian house nearby into a guest house and fostered (then adopted) a young child from Dr Barnardo’s home, Kirk.

The Hemsley family came to Australia as assisted migrants, sponsored by John D’Espeissis, in March 1957 and settled in Busselton where Alex eventually joined with Doctors Cullen and Pannell in a combined practice where, until his death in 1971, he was a popular GP.

Soon after arrival Faith joined a painting class under the tuition of Margaret Johnson, and became involved with the Busselton Art Society of which she was president and made a life member. For many years she conducted classes in watercolour and pastels and her own paintings are well known in the district and hang in many homes and public buildings.