On this day 105 years ago Enid Cecily Patricia Betts arrived on the docks at Liverpool from her native Australia. She was barely fourteen years old, thousands of miles from home and appeared to have traveled alone on the steamer, Themistocles. Who knows what was going through her mind when she disembarked in the cold damp climate of North Europe, quite the opposite of the hot and arid atmosphere of South Australia. Her aunt Emily, who Enid may have only met for the first time could have met her in Liverpool, to accompany her on to Dublin and then to the alien territory of West of Ireland.
Enid born in 1898, was the eight and last surviving child of Henry Samuel Marsden Betts and the second of his third wife Miriam, Emily’s older sister. Enid was only eleven months old when her father died in February of 1899. He was almost 60 years old when she was born, old by today’s standards but not uncommon back then. Her brother John Ulick was three years older and her half siblings were about a half generation older still.
It is impossible to guess at why she came to live in Ireland, when her mother and brother were both in Australia, perhaps it was for the purpose of Education. Emily had her enrolled in Alexandria College, where she attend as a boarder. Founded in 1866, the college was one of the first girl’s second level schools in Ireland, where Church of Ireland families sent their daughters. Some of Emily’s life long friends such as Dr. Kathleen Lynn attended a generation before. Both Enid’s mother Miriam and Emily attended the Clergy Daughter’s School which was connected to the college.
Emily no doubt would have made her niece feel welcome and introduced her proudly to everyone she knew. Enid may well have taken after her aunt in her fearlessness, but nothing in Australia could have prepared her for the events that would unfold over the next few years. Life was certainly about to get exciting for young Enid.