CHARACTERS OF PATONGA Nellie FLOWERS. (1890 – 1968)– How did she get to Patonga and was it because of a broken heart.

Nellie Flowers was born into the family of Fred and Annie Flowers.  Fred had been originally born in England and immigrated in 1882.  He was a painter and plasterer by trade and soon became involved in the Labor movement.  Nellie was the second of four children.  Fred was a major influence in the Labor movement of inner Sydney.

Fred FLOWERS was president of the premier Rugby League club, South Sydney, in 1908-28; as the patron of the New South Wales Rugby Football League in 1910-28, he contributed much to its survival in the difficult early years. In 1924 he became first chairman of the league’s Australian Board of Control.  Flowers encouraged the building of a new zoological gardens at Taronga Park, on Bradleys Head, and became chairman of the controlling trust next year. In 1915-16 he arranged the transfer of animals and birds from their inadequate location in Moore Park to their new harbour site. The zoo became known internationally. State’s first minister of public health, from April 1914 to April 1915.Fred was given a life appointment to the Legislative Council in 1900 and was President of the Legislative Council for 13 years.  As a Minister, Flowers made many important contributions including improvements to police working conditions while Colonial Secretary, and as the first Minister for Public Health he oversaw the introduction of public health centres for mothers and infants.

Nellie Flowers, aged 27 had married Carl IRVING, aged 30, a dentist, in 9thJune 1917 at St. Stephen’s Church Sydney.  IRVING had been married previously in 1908 whilst as a student, aged 22, and then divorced in 1913.  He had spent 2 days with his NZ wife before she returned to New Zealand.  

In 1921 Nellie filed for divorce over desertion brought a suit at the Divorce Court on Wednesday, against her levanting husband, Carl Howard Irving, an Oxford-street dental doctor, for divorce, on the ground of desertion. Petitioner is the daughter or Mr. Fred Flowers, President of the Legislative Council. Mr. Markell (instructed by Mr F. Marsden) appeared for petitioner, and the suit was not defended. Mrs. Irving, slender and good-looking was wedded on June 9, 1917, the ceremony being performed at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Kirk Sydney, by the Rev. John Ferguson.  During the divorce proceedings it was recorded that “…The bridegroom had previous experience of the united state.- for the marriage certificate set forth that he was a divorced petitioner. He was in business as a doctor of dentistry in Oxford-street, and In a good way of making money. Nine fleeting months of life together, however, and the honeymoon waned. It had been, waning for some time, for the fang puller had neglected his young wife by remaining away from home till late at night, and excusing it on the score of pressing business at his surgery. On March 8, whilst they were residing at Milroy-avenue, Kensington; Irving, who was a man over thirty then, and some years older than his wife, packed up his belongings and left home. He had threatened to leave. a few times before, but his wife regarded his threats in the light of a joke, though he had never exhibited much warm affection for her. See full article below:

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/169180738?searchTerm=carl%20howard%20irving%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&searchLimits=l-state=New+South+Wales

Nellie purchased No.’s 21 and 23 Patonga Street in 1931 and 1936 respectively.  She retained the properties until two years before her death, selling them in 1966. I was unable to find records about her time in Patonga other than in 1931 Nellie made application to council to build a weatherboard and fibro home – builder G.T. Page.

In September 1941, an obituary states   Dr. Carl Howard Irving dental surgeon, of Forest Road, Hurstville, who died suddenly in Brisbane while on a holiday, practised his profession at Hurstville. He secured his degree in U.S.A., and had travelled around the world twice.  He took much interest in the art of magic, and his library on that subject was perhaps, one of the largest in Australia. The late Dr. Irving was a member of the A.J.C., and also of the St. George Bowling Club. He married Miss Fuller, of Parramatta, and had one daughter, Miss Ursula Irving who is a singer..   

There is no mention of Carl’s previous two marriages in his obituary.Nellie died in 1968 aged 76.  She is recorded in the name of Nellie FLOWERS so it can be a

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