Jessie Agnes Tobias
- Born: 15 Nov 1910, Harrietville, Victoria, Australia
- Marriage (1): Alexander George Cardwell on 17 Jun 1944 in Deepdene, Victoria, Australia
- Died: 1998, Ashwood, Victoria, Australia at age 88
Another name for Jessie was Pat.
She was only ever known as "Pat", and by "Tobe" or "Toby" (after he maiden name Tobias) to old friends. The name Pat came about because her older sister, Nance, kept saying what a pet she was (with "pet" pronounced like "part"), which soon evolved into Pat.
She grew up in Harrietville but the family moved to Melbourne in 1915, just after the birth of her youngest sister. They lived in Johnston St and then Berkeley St, Hawthorn.
For many years after moving to Melbourne the family would travel to Harrietville to visit Grandma Jones. They caught the train to Bright from Melbourne, departing at 5.30 a.m. From Bright it was a horse drawn carriage (two horses) to take them to Harrietville where they would arrive at about 7 p.m.
After leaving school, Swinburne Ladies College, Pat went to work as a clerk at T&G Life Insurance. She worked there for 15 years.
She was a pioneering Australian woman skier, taking up the sport in the 1930's in North East Victoria. She loved the mountains and the bush in both summer and winter. In those days to get to Hotham (via the Razorback) you took a pack horse from Harrietville and when the snow was too deep for the horses, you continued climbing with seal skins tied to the underside of your wooden skis, after turning the horses noses to home. There is mention of her and photos taken by RJ Tobias in the book "Skiing the High Plains" by Harry Stephenson, 1982.
In the war years she went to St Vincents Hospital to work as a VAD (Volunteer Aid Detachment). To qualify as a VAD you had to pass a Home Nursing & First Aid courses and then work in casualty at a Public Hospital. They would work from 6.30pm until 10 pm. Her first posting with the outbreak of War was to the 108 Australian General Hospital in Ballarat, and she was later transferred to the 106 AGH Bonegilla when the 108 closed. She worked mainly as a Dietitian in the Catering Services. The VAD became the Australian Army Medical Womens Service in December 1942. Her AIF Number was VFX 121963. Starting as a Sergeant she was to achieve the rank of Warrant Officer, but was discharged prior to achieving that formally as she wanted to get married.
She and George met in Ballarat and married in Melbourne and then moved to George's farm at Tallangatta. They separated in the early 1950's and were later divorced. She moved back to Melbourne with her three young daughters after the separation.
Pat was actively involved in the schools attended by her children and was a casual clerk for many years at Prince Henry's Hospital in the ECG Department, the Education Department and the Tax Office. She was very indignant when they wouldnt take her back on after discovering she was 69 years old!
Pat continued on some strong Scottish traditions that are believed to have been carried down through the generations: she was very strict that the first man across her front door in the New Year had to be dark haired as this was supposed to bring good fortune! Fortunately a neighbour often fulfilled this obligation otherwise visitors not meeting rhe criteria were sent around to the back door! She also had a saying: "Lang may your lum reek & your kale pot be full". Loosely translated it says "Long may your chimney smoke" which infers warmth and shelter. The kale pot was the pot that was continuously bubbling on the stove top into which all the useful scraps went and which provided a continual source of hot nourishing food. Pat's daughter, Sue, also heard this same saying being used in Scotland when working there in the 1960's.
Pat died at home in Ashwood Victoria and her ashes were scattered by her family at Tobias Gap on the Bungalow Spur Track to Mt Feathertop.
Source: Eral Foster & Sue Cardwell, daughters
Jessie married Alexander George Cardwell, son of Robert George Cardwell and Lillian Camelion Henrietta Lord, on 17 Jun 1944 in Deepdene, Victoria, Australia. (Alexander George Cardwell was born on 7 May 1916 in Tallangatta, Victoria, Australia and died on 20 Feb 2006 in Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia.)