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Nolan, Mary Clare

Mary Clare Nolan was born at Braidwood, daughter of Mr and Mrs M. Nolan. She was educated at Braidwood Convent.

Mary taught at Stone Hut and Weetangera Schools in the 1880s and later at Williamsdale School. She was the fifth teacher to be appointed to Weetangera School and commenced on 21 February, 1885. However enrolments declined until this school became no longer viable and was forced to close.

On 19 October the same year, Miss Nolan and her pupils transferred to the Stone Hut Provisional School. Stone Hut was situated on Crace’s property 'Gungahleen'. She taught at the dilapidated Stone Hut school until August 1888, when the replacement school was opened a short distance away - renamed Gungahleen School. Mary and the pupils moved to the new school which must have improved conditions for both teaching and learning. She remained until March 1891.

Between 1892 and 1898 she taught at Williamsdale, after a brief stay at Lerida Public school. The story of her appointment to Williamsdale is revealed in a memo from Inspector Cooper of 9 May 1892:

'Recently I reported that I could not nominate a Teacher for the Provisional School to be opened at Williamsdale, and suggested that a male teacher should be appointed. Today I inspected Lerida Pub. [Public School!] and found that the teacher - Miss M A Nolan - is very uncomfortably situated and in bad health. She has to travel about two miles from her lodgings to the school. Her constitution is delicate and such travelling, during the winter especially, would incapacitate her for work. She is a very zealous, efficient teacher, and having long been accustomed to manage bush schools, is very well qualified to conduct the Williamsdale Provisional School. She is anxious to obtain appointment thereto, as she will be able to obtain comfortable quarters close to the school. I therefore recommend that, when Mrs Barberie has been provided for elsewhere, Miss Nolan be appointed to Williamsdale Provisional........'

Mary Nolan was appointed to Williamsdale before the end of the month, and stayed more that six years.

Death of old Braidwood native

The death occurred recently at Queanbeyan of Mary Clare, relict of the late Mr. Jeremiah Keeffe, in her 70th year. Deceased, who was born at Braidwood, was a daughter ot Mr. and Mrs. M. Nolan, pioneers of this district. Following her education at the Braidwood Convent, the subject of this obituary became a teacher in the Education Department, her first appointment being to the Gungahleen school, being one of the early appointees in what is now Federal Capital Territory. Later she was transferred to Williamsdale school, where she married the late Mr. Jeremiah Keeffe, a son of one of Monaro's oldest families, and resided at Williamsdale for many years. Later, when Mr. Keeffe was appointed Roads Overseer for Yarrowlumla Shire, the family moved to Queanbeyan, where they have resided for the past 23 years. Her husband pre-deceased her three years ago. Three sons and five daughters are left to mourn their loss, of whom Mrs. Crowley, Mr. Louis Keeffe and Misses Bessie and Alma Keeffe reside in Queanbeyan, the other members of the family being Clarence (Moree), Vincent (Punchbowl), Mrs. Byrne (Bega) and Mrs. Maher (Balldale).

[Braidwood Review and District Advocate, Tuesday 11 February 1936]

Nolan Lane, Gungahlin, is named after her.

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