Mabel Olive Waddell was born near Singleton, NSW in 1886.1 She married John Edward (Jack) Avery in December 1920 in a small, quiet wedding at Bulahdelah on account of her father’s sudden death prior to the wedding.2 In 1927, Mabel completed her training in Midwifery at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney before coming to reside in Tea Gardens.3
Nurse Avery operated a private hospital in the large house called ‘Glengarry’, Myall Street, Tea Gardens.4 Here she cared for the patients of the local medical officer and assisted in the delivery of many babies. A local newspaper report pronounced “Tea Gardens is fortunate in having an up to date private hospital owned and conducted by Nurse Avery and is always full.”5 ‘Glengarry’ was also used as a guesthouse during this time with Nurse Avery advertising in newspapers across NSW.6
Nurse Avery’s generosity is typified in a response she wrote to a newspaper that had published a story about a WWI returned soldier. The soldier, his wife and six children were living in an old shed and tent in Auburn, Sydney. After reading of their plight Nurse Avery invited the family to take over a 100 acre market farm and small house that she owned in Tea Gardens. Although it doesn’t appear the family took up the offer, the soldier was greatly touched.7 Nurse Avery died in 1959 in Wollongong.8
Author: Janis Winn
1 NSW BDM, Birth Index, Mabel O Waddell, 1886, No. 32506.
2 NSW BDM, Marriage Index, Mabel Waddell and John E Avery, 1920, No. 18185; Dungog Chronicle, 4 January 1921, 2.
3 Ancestry.com.au; Medical registers 1925-1954, Registry of general nurses: Mabel Olive Avery, Certificate No. 29/1.
4 Dungog Chronicle, 8 September 1939, 4.
5 Brian Engel, Janis Winn & John Wark, Tea Gardens – Hawks Nest and Northern Port Stephens, Newcastle: 2000, page 118.
6 Katoomba Daily, 7 November 1936, 3, Advertising.
7 Daily Telegraph, 6 July 1938, 1; NSW Land Registry Services, Vol-Fol: 2668-62.
8 NSW BDM, Death Index, Mabel O Avery, 1959, No. 27916.