Letter 7 - Lilian Wooster Greaves

Lilian Wooster Greaves

Lilian was born in 1869 in Ballarat where her father was a lecturer of botany at the Federation University Australia.

She married John William Greaves in 1893, and with their daughters Mabel and Grace, moved to Western Australia in 1904.

Lilian was a member of the Women Writer Club and regularly published poetry in local newspapers.

In the 1920s, Lilian took up the hobby of pressing wildflowers. As well as growing her own wildflowers, she had friends around the state who would send them to her. 

A special collection is held at the State Library of Western Australia. 

Emily Harriet Pelloe

Emily Sims was born in 1878 in St Kilda, Victoria and later moved to Perth, Western Australia where she married a banker, Theodore Parker Pelloe in 1902.

In her youth, Emily held a strong fascination for equestrian sports. However, her interests took a significant turn in 1916 when she developed a profound passion for botany. This transformation marked the beginning of an incredible journey that would leave an enduring mark on the world of botanical science.

In 1920, she began her work as a writer for 'The West Australian,' where she penned a column titled 'Women's Interests' under the pseudonym 'Ixia.' Alongside her writing endeavors, she actively participated in organisations such as the Country Women's Association and a writers club, and also maintained her passion for horse riding.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Emily Pelloe's legacy is her artistic talent. She delved into painting and published a significant collection of watercolors. Her exquisite landscapes were highly regarded and even acquired by government departments.  Emily Pelloe's collaborations with the state botanist, C. A. Gardner, are among her most notable contributions to the field of botany. They worked together to produce several influential books, ensuring that their content was accessible to amateur naturalists and enthusiasts.

These works, including 'Wildflowers of Western Australia' (1921) and 'West Australian Orchids' (1930), gained popularity and commendation.

Throughout her life, Emily Pelloe's work contributed significantly to the promotion and celebration of Western Australia's flora. Her remarkable illustrations, paintings, and descriptions were published in various formats, including shorter publications issued as supplements in the 'West Australian' newspaper. This ongoing dedication ensured that the beauty of the state's flora was shared with a wider audience.

Emily died of heart failure in 1941 while riding her horse home from a meeting of the Women's Riding Club. Her husband gifted over 400 of her paintings to the botany department of the University of Western Australia in a ceremony the following year.

Lina Furia

Lina Robustellini was born in 1891 at Grosotto, Tirano, Valtellina and immigrated to Western Australia in the early 1900s. Her first husband Jack Osmetti, tragically lost his life while working on the Golden Horseshoe Mine.  To support her family, Lina managed a boarding house. Later, in 1924, she married Charlie Furia.

The Cornwall Hotel, located in the town of Boulder, has a rich history dating back to its construction in 1898. Built using quarried stone from the Moonta and Burra Goldfields in South Australia, the hotel has seen its fair share of tumultuous events, including riots and murders.

In 1926, the Cornwall Hotel became associated with a gruesome incident involving the murders of Detective Sergeant Alexander Pitman and Inspector John Walsh. This tragedy unfolded when William Coulter, Phillip Treffene (a bartender at the hotel), and Ted Clarke (the hotel licensee), were apprehended for possessing stolen gold from a nearby mine for the purpose of smeltering and selling. The trial's proceedings were extensively covered in the Daily News. The victims' bodies had been dismembered, partially burnt, and disposed of in Miller Shaft, approximately six miles west of Kalgoorlie. Coulter and Treffene were hung for their involvement, while Clarke, who did not partake in the murders, served only a short time in jail. Eva Clarke was found to be an "accessory after the fact".

Charlie Furia, who previously worked in the mines, left his mining occupation due to silicosis, a lung disease caused by silica dust. Unfortunately, this condition eventually led to his passing. In 1927, Charlie and Lina Furia purchased the Cornwall Hotel, using compensation money Lina received after the death of her first husband. It took some time before patrons began returning to the venue.

The Cornwall Hotel played a pivotal role in the community, particularly among young migrant miners. Dances were held every Saturday, attracting a lively crowd. Lina's son, Jack Osmetti, managed the pub for about 50 years. He not only excelled as a football player but was also a successful cricketer and a State champion lawn bowler. His brothers, Charlie and Cyril, also possessed remarkable sporting abilities and played league football for East Fremantle, contributing to the hotel's popularity.

The Cornwall Hotel served as a vital social hub for the working-class people in the region. Saturday nights were especially vibrant, with accordion and guitar music filling the air, drawing crowds of hardworking individuals, mainly of Italian descent. Tess Epis, daughter of Mrs Furia recounted in an interview:

"Saturday nights were great nights here. They used to have an accordion and a guitar playing and it would be packed with dancers... the working-class sort of people. Mainly Italians really...there were a lot around then. They used to come in from the woodlines and outlying areas, hard-working people...good drinkers!" (Ainslie and Garwood, 1992: 80)

In 1934, the Cornwall Hotel suffered damage during the Kalgoorlie race riots. Economic difficulties faced by goldfield workers led to tensions within the community, and an incident between an Australian and an Italian man ignited three days of rioting. This unrest involved trams being commandeered to Boulder and the burning of buildings and hotels used by the Italian and Slav community.

The government constructed a makeshift hotel adjacent to the remains of the hotel and Lina continued to operated a bar for her customers. The hotel was eventually rebuilt with compensation funds from the government. 

Jack Osmetti remained as Licensee until the hotel closed in 1976, when the Swan Brewery transferred the licence to Paraburdoo. In 1987, Cornwall Hotel was purchased by C. A. Hunter and restored to its present-day condition.

Jack continued to reside next door to the Cornwall Hotel until his passing in 1991, leaving behind a legacy intertwined with the history of the hotel and the community it served.


 References and Further Reading

  • Lina Furia - people profile. Outback Family History.
  • Furia, Lina (1981-1970).¬† The Australian Womens' Register
  • The Haunting of the Cornwall Hotel - Boulder - Western Australia. Eidolon Paranormal
  • Furia, Lina (1891-1970). Trove
  • Cornwall Hotel. Inherit.
  • Lilian Wooster Greaves. Wikipedia.
  • Lilian Wooster Greaves: Pressed wildflowers.¬†State Library of Western Australia.
  • Emily Pelloe. Wikipedia
  • Pelloe, Emily Harriet (1878-1941). Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria,¬† Australian National Herbarium