Ellen (Nellie) Beakbane
Nellie Beakbane was born at Penketh, Warrington, Lancashire, in 1874 to parents Henry Hall Beakbane and Ellen Bradshaw. Henry was a Tanner employing 8 men and relatively prosperous, being able to employ three servants. Nellie was the eldest of 6 children in the 1881 census. The Beakbane family are registered as Quakers as far back as her grandfather Henry Beakbane. She did her nursing training in England, citing in the 1911 census that she was formerly a Hospital Nurse. The instigation for Nellie to come to WA was probably from her brother Edward/Edwin who had married Alice Lawton in England in 1907. The couple then migrated to WA in 1911. He immediately purchased farmland in the Northampton region to grow wheat.
In 1916 aged 41 Nellie came out to WA. It would appear from Mollie’s (Mary Skinner) autobiographical book ‘The Fifth Sparrow’ that she nursed Nellie in Kalamunda and in 1920 went into partnership together to purchase Leithdale and run a visitor and weekend Guesthouse. Tragically in August 1920 Edwin Beakbane, Nellie’s brother, died in a shooting accident while crossing Dairy Creek near Dairy Creek Station in the Gascoyne region. Edwin and Nellie’s sister, Hannah, arrived in WA from England in November that same year. Edwin’s wife Alice and his 3 daughters had returned to England prior to the accident as this latest farm (Coodawandy) was very remote.
In 1928 Mollie and Nellie advertised their retirement from Leithdale later in that year. Nellie took her retirement opportunity to return and spend time with her family in England for 12 months, leaving Mrs Lindsay who lived on Ryecroft Road, as her point of contact in Darlington. Upon her return in 1931 Nellie and Mollie Skinner became active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Nellie also supported the Silver Chain organisation as well as belonging to a Quaker group called Friends of the Seeker Centre, located at 421 Wellington Street in Perth. Nellie remained in Darlington until 1937 when she moved to Claremont, then to 5 Mabel Street, North Perth. Nellie died suddenly at the Seekers Centre on the 29th December 1945 she was aged 71. The only death notice for her was from the Seeker group. Nellie was cremated at Karrakatta and her ashes placed in the Crematorium Rose Garden.