I don’t know a great deal about my great-grandmother, Lavinia Stevens.

She was born on 13 December 1869 at Icely, New South Wales according to her birth certificate.  There doesn’t appear to be a town or village by that name, but a mine – the Icely copper mine as it was then.  (Her father, Edwin, was a miner.)  It’s near the town of Orange.  I’ve been unable to find any information about Icely as a “residence”.  Lavinia and her three younger siblings were born there.  Presumably the miners lived on site.  You can see the area is full of mines.  How many of them were in operation in the 1860-70s, I don’t know.


Lavinia had nine siblings (five sisters, four brothers).  Her parents were Edwin Stevens and Elizabeth Dart (both from Cornwall).  I’ll write more on her Cornish miner father in another  post.

I know nothing about Lavinia’s early life, or how she met Edward Kercher.  By the time she married she was working as a fruiterer in Goulburn, possibly helping her brother, Edwin, in his business. Their mother had died in 1885.  Lavinia moved to Goulburn in 1888, perhaps joining her brother.

Edward and Lavinia married at the Wesleyan church in Goulburn, New South Wales, on 15 January 1895.  Lavinia was pregnant, giving birth to her first child five months later.


Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 15 January 1895

“Miss Ritchie” may have been Edwin’s sister-in-law.  (Edwin married Rebecca Ritchie in 1888.)

Although Lavinia’s father was still alive (age 67), he evidently did not attend the wedding.  It’s quite some distance between Orange and Goulburn.  Edwin senior had by then remarried.


After the marriage, Lavinia stopped working (as was often expected), and started the family.  Edward and Lavinia had six children altogether: Percy, Stanley, Myree, Lewis, Leila, and Allan, the last son being born in 1906.

According to my aunt, Lavinia was a great cook and housekeeper, if a bit bossy.  She was a large woman (as it appeared to a small granddaughter) who stuck religiously to a weekly roster: wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, clean on Wednesday, afternoon tea for the daughters-in-law on Thursdays, and Friday or Saturday mornings for the sons.  After the wash she would go inside, wash her face, and put on Charmosan face “creme”.  (It was certainly well-advertised in the 30s, used by famous actresses such as Bette Davis, according to some advertisements.)

All the children married, most of them in the 1920s and then the youngest in 1930 and 1937.

Lavinia’s husband died in 1937.  In the 1936-37 electoral roll, Lavinia was living at 92 Bradley Street in Goulburn.  As far as I can make out from Google streetview, it’s this house.


I have no other information on Lavinia, and sadly, no photos.  She died on 30 January 1943.


Goulburn Evening Post, 2 February 1943

I don’t have a death certificate, but presumably she was ill, having died in hospital.



Sources: family archives; http://www.bonzle.com, Trove; Google; Joyce Stuart