This wedding photo, stored at the Batemans Bay Heritage Museum, was donated by the Dunne Family and is described as a 1920s wedding.1 There are few details in the description of the photo except that the groom’s name was “Willie”. After a little heritage sleuthing I have discovered the identity of the young couple and an important event in Taree’s history.
The business stamp “W H Brown Photo Taree” is that of William Henry Brown, a well-known photographer who owned studios in Wingham and Wauchope.2 In 1926 he opened his Taree studio with “weddings a specialty”.3
This photograph captures the first wedding held in Taree’s Roman Catholic Church “Our Lady of the Rosary”.4 The foundation stone was laid in 1929 and the church was dedicated on 5 October 1930.5 William James Tate and Sybil Martha Janson were the first to be married in the church on 30 October 1930.6 Sybil’s bridesmaids were her older sister Gladys and sister Nita who was 12 years younger. Leo Northam, friend and colleague of William, was best man.7
William Tate, like his father, was an oysterman who held leases in the Manning River region and supplied oysters to establishments in Sydney.8 In later years William and Sybil relocated to Parramatta where William worked as a crane driver, a skill learned from oystering.9
W H Brown closed his photographic studio in Taree in 1935 and opened one in Nowra the following year, but this was short-lived.10 He continued freelance work after that time producing souvenir photographs of events in the NSW Mid North Coast region.11
The next mystery to solve is who is the Dunne Family?
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Dunne Family Wedding 1920s, W.H. Brown Taree” https://ehive.com/collections/8974/objects/1367737/dunne-family-wedding-1920s
2 “Advertising,” Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, March 30, 1923 and September 5, 1924,
National Library of Australia.
3 “Advertising,” Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales, August 28, 1926, National Library of Australia.
5 “New R. C. Church for Taree,” Manning River Times, November 9, 1929 and “Taree’s New R. C. Church,” Manning River Times, October 8, 1930. National Library of Australia.
6 “Weddings,” Manning River Times, November 15, 1930. National Library of Australia.
7 “Wedding,” Northern Champion, November 15, 1930. National Library of Australia; New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Birth Index for Gladys Janson (1910 No. 45360); Ancestry.com. Sydney, Australia, Cemetery Headstone Transcriptions, 1837-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Search of Macquarie Park, Sydney for Nita Ruby J Courtney died 1964 aged 38 – making her birth date 1926.
8 Ancestry.com. Australia, Electoral rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Cowper, Taree, 1935 for William and Sybil Tate; “Taree Small Debts Court,” Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, September 22, 1933. National Library of Australia.; “Visit of Hon. A. Bruntnell, Chief Secretary,” Manning River Times, January 21, 1928. National Library of Australia.
9 Ancestry.com. Australia, Electoral rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Parramatta, Dundas, 1968 for William and Sybil Tate.
10 “Local and General News,” Manning River Times, October 5, 1935. National Library of Australia.
11 “Souvenir Pictures of Bridge Opening,” Northern Champion, May 25, 1940. National Library of Australia.