I first met Patricia Sanders purely by accident. We both happened to be in the same place at the same time – the City of Claremont Council Museum. I was seeking information about my great-grandfather, James King, who was the first Lord Mayor of the Claremont Council. Patricia and my Mum were first cousins. Her mother, Mabel King and my Grandfather, Arthur King, were brother and sister and children of James and Elizabeth King.
There are a number of King family descendants in Western Australia but I had no knowledge of them until that day. Patricia graciously invited me to a family event in Fremantle and I met many distant and not so distant relatives. It was a wonderful experience. Patricia was around 90 years old when I met her. She was still in good health and living independently at a retirement village in a good suburb of Perth. She had written her memoirs, As I Recall It, and she led a truly amazing life.
She called me one day and invited me to attend an event at the Karrakatta Club in Perth city. I had never heard of it before but I went along and it was a memorable experience for me. Here is some information about the Club from their website …
The Karrakatta Club was the first women’s club in Australia, and was founded in 1894 by members of the St George’s Reading Circle, at the suggestion of Dr Emily Ryder, an American medical woman who visited Perth at that time. Dr Ryder had been present at a meeting of the St George’s Reading Circle to which some twelve women belonged, and was so impressed by their interest in books and their powers of discussion that she persuaded them to form a club along the lines of the Education Clubs for Women in America.
The objective of the Club was to bring into one body the women of the community for mutual improvement and social engagement. The first President was Lady Madeleine Onslow, and it is due to her outstanding qualities that the Club grew and prospered.
In 1972/73 the Australian Association of Lyceum Clubs was formed to link all Lyceum Clubs in Australia under one banner. The aim of The AALC is to promote a spirit of goodwill and understanding within the Association, and to enhance the enjoyment of Lyceum by providing support.
It was wonderful to be there with Patricia and meet some of the other members – many of whom were descended from the early pioneers of Western Australia. I noticed there were some rules to abide by and these, loosely translated, included:
- no talking about your health
- no religion
- no politics
I think they might have been onto something!
Unfortunately I lost contact with Patricia and I do believe she passed away in her early nineties. An amazing woman. She was my only link to the King family in Western Australia. I hope some family members may have a reunion one day and I will meet up with them once again.