Elizabeth Currie

Elizabeth Currie (1867 - 1892) was Archibald Curries fifth child.  She died at age 25 from Typhoid.  Archibald and his wife Susan share her gravestone in North Lismore pioneer cemetery.  Susan Currie died a few years after Elizabeth and her obituary mentions her grief at the loss.

Photograph believed to be Catherine, Jessie and possibly Elizabeth Currie on the right.

Reading the newspaper clippings of the time is interesting and I was shocked at the photograph of the 'isolation ward' set up for the poor typhoid victims - nothing more than a tent in the bush - I hope poor Elizabeth didn't end her days there but there were only 3 beds in the only ward in the Lismore hospital, which opened in 1883.  The photograph of the isolation ward was taken only 2 months after she died so she could well have ended up here.  Archibald was a member of the first committee of the Lismore hospital, a position he continued to occupy until 1914, having occupied the presidential chair for two years.  Perhaps he pulled some strings to get Elizabeth a 'proper' hospital bed but somehow I think it would have been first in first served.  Either way, with no airconditioning it would have been pretty steamy in January.  The tent would have had to withstand seasonal thunderstorms with the nights lit by candlelight.  The nurses would have had to deal with ants and snakes wandering in and there would have been no protection from flies and mosquitoes for anyone.   

I found out from Meg Young that Elizabeth died three weeks before her she had been due to get married.  The town gossip was that she had been buried in her wedding dress which upset Mary Isabella who said it was not true.  The sharing of the gravestone may have been more a case of Scottish frugality - why have three gravestones when one will do - than sentiment although this was probably also a factor.

Lismore Northern Star 16th January 1892 mentions Elizabeth contracting typhoid.  The Lismore hospital had been opened in 1883 but was unable to cope with the number of typhoid cases.  Mention is made of setting up a tent isolation ward with a wooden floor (see below picture).  

Photograph courtesy Richmond River Historical Society

Lismore Northern Star 26th January 1892 reports Elizabeths death

Lismore Northern Star 1892 - Elizabeths funeral

Elizabeths gravestone in North Lismore pioneers cemetery

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