Ada Elizabeth Veall (1861-????)

Ada Elizabeth Veall was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1861[1].  She was the middle child of Edmund James Veall and Ann (nee Flindell).  Their first born, Frederick James died age 2 months of diarrhoea, a victim of the rudimentary living conditions, by today’s standards.  Her brother Edmund Kestrel was a year younger.  Ada followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a School teacher. She was an accomplished musician and had her own school Murray Street Perth[2].  Family lore has it that about 1899 she went to Scotland.  Australian newspaper Shipping Intelligence reports have not mentioned her nor has she been found in Scottish Census or death records.


Ada the Teacher

All that has been found has come from West Australian Newspapers.  There was a report in 1885[3] referring to her mother in relation to The Perth Government Girls School that states:

Bearing upon a paragraph we lately published and upon the letter of our correspondent one who knows both sides, we have received the following information from an undoubtedly reliable source. In 1884 the teaching staff of the Perth Government Girls’ School was composed of Mrs. Veall, Head Mistress ; Mrs. Dean, 2nd Mistress ; Miss Ada Veall, a pupil teacher of over 4 years.

The same article referred to a vacancy at the Perth Government Girls’ School when Mrs. Dean then resigned.  There were two applicants for the post of second mistress, Miss Wigglesworth and Miss A. Veall.  The article, which appears scripted by an advocate for Miss Wrigglesworth, states that Ada was a Pupil Teacher educated by her mother and had not been recommended, by the Inspector for her certificate of competency although due for it a year before. The advocate goes on to add that Miss Wigglesworth came from England with the highest certificate.  This says more than that Miss Wrigglesworth was a better qualified teacher.  It reflected a pervasive attitude that lasted well into the next century, that anything or anyone English must be better than the home grown alternative.  In this case it is evident from her record that Miss Wrigglesworth was better trained and more highly qualified and she obtained better position at Bishop’s College.

While this is the first mention of Ada following a teaching career, it is not surprising.  Eleven years later, another newspaper[4] under “Occasional Notes” corrects an earlier article:

In our report of the Girls’ School examination we also inadvertently omitted to mention the name of Miss Veall, the second mistress, who we are informed is about the hardest working teacher in the school.

The same paper under Girls’ Public School – Annual Distribution of Prizes refers to an extract from Head Teacher’s[5] Report which stated:

However, with the hearty and able co-operation of my assistants, Miss Dale and Miss Veall, of whom I cannot speak too highly, a very fair year’s work has been done. The result of this may be seen by the appended copy of the Inspector’s report on the annual examination held in October.

The article adds as a reflection of teaching efforts that the “Excellent” merit grant was again awarded.

Ada in Private

Ada did not sit at home marking papers and preparing lessons, although undoubtedly she had those tasks to complete; she also undertook social obligations and expanded her knowledge.  There are several mentions of her being involved in fetes and similar functions.  The Fremantle Spring Fete of 1898 was well reported.  The West Australian[6] detailed the activities and stall, including Stall No 2 (Flowers) run by Mrs. Birrell and Miss Veall.

Ada was also mentioned in an article about St John’s Ambulance Association First Aid Exams[7]:

The recent examinations in “first aid to the injured,” held in connection with the classes lately instructed by members of the medical staff of the St. John Ambulance Association …… The examination of Dr. Harvey’s ladies class was conducted by Dr. Harston last Wednesday evening, and the result is highly creditable, both to the fair members of the class and to the lecturer, every candidate having successfully passed through the rather severe ordeal. Dr. Harston’s report is as follows:-

Passed with much credit:  Mrs. Oct. Burt, Miss E. J. Dale, Miss A. Atkins, Mrs. Goldsmith, Mrs. James Cowan, Miss A. E. Veall, Miss M. E. Law and Mrs. Richard Sholl

Ada Lost

As mentioned previously, Ada seems to drop off the radar by 1899.  Did she go to Scotland? The 1904 Electoral Roll lists her living at 167 Hill Street and her occupation as school teacher.  Did she travel to Scotland later than family lore has it? This is probable.  Did she marry in Scotland?  That is not known, but it seems unlikely as there is no reference to her marriage within what was a close knit family.  When and where did she die?  That is yet another unknown.  Perhaps some or all of these questions will be resolved in time, but for now, as with her father Edmund James Veall, she seems to have disappeared without a trace.

[1] Justice Department Records – Birth Certificate 5819 of 1861

[2] Family lore, but there is no reference to her in Post Office Directories of the period

[3] The West Australian, Saturday 13 May 1885 page 3

[4] The West Australian, Thursday 17 December 1896, Page 6

[5] This would have been Miss Girdlestone head mistress 1894-1902

[6] The West Australian, Thursday 29 September 1898, Page 6

[7] The West Australian, Saturday 27 August 1892, Page 4