Jane was born to parents Mary and Joseph De Lore at Karuah in 1863.1 At the age of 16 she married Joseph Mayers of Mayer’s Flat, Bungwahl, riding 30 miles on horseback to Maitland to be married.2 Jane followed in the tradition of her mother Mary known as “Granny Rennie” by working as a nurse and midwife in Tuncurry. Initially Jane didn’t have any formal qualifications but in 1927, she received registration as a midwife and continuously held this registration until 1940 aged 77.3 In over 40 years of nursing practice she assisted in the deliveries of more than 1000 babies.4
Jane’s husband Joseph worked in Croll’s sawmill at Bungwahl for 20 years before moving to Tuncurry where he joined John Wright’s sawmill for over 28 years. Joseph also assisted with medical procedures, particularly setting bones, a skill he had learned from his father Thomas.5
When Joseph died suddenly in 1929, Jane continued her work. Her house even became known as “Nurse Mayer’s Hospital”.6 Jane and Joseph had 13 children and when Jane passed away in 1952 she also had 50 grandchildren, 62 great grandchildren and several great great grandchildren. Nurse or Granny Jane as she became known is at rest in Forster Cemetery.7 Mayers Drive in Tuncurry is named in her honour.8
Authors: Marilyn Boyd and Janine Roberts
To read Granny Rennie’s story click here.
1 NSW BDM, Birth Index No. 12636/1863.
2 NSW BDM, Marriage Index No. 3615/1879; Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 27 November 1952, 7.
3 Ancestry.com.au, Medical Registers, Minute Books of Applications, 1927; Register of General Nurses.
4 Northern Champion, 8 February 1952, 3.
5 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 27 July 1929, 8.
6 Northern Champion, 10 February 1934, 6.
7 NSW BDM, Death Index No. 31247/1952.
8 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 20 Sep 1939, 4.