Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Mary Smith outside the Bardoc Hotel, c. 1924, courtesy of Robyn McLean and Kevin Imms.
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Exhibitions

  • Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

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Smith, Mary (1861 - 1946)

Born
26 May 1861
Argyle Flats, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia
Died
1946
West Leederville, Western Australia, Australia
Occupation
Hotel owner
Alternative Names
  • Dudley, Mary
  • Steedman, Mary (maiden name)

Summary

Mary Smith nee Steedman was the first white woman to live in Bardoc, approximately 30 km from Kalgoorlie. She ran the Bardoc Hotel from 1896 until 1924.

Details

Mary Dudley left Victoria for the goldfields of Western Australia in 1893 with her husband Lionel, her brother Timothy Steedman and her four children Lionel, Fred, Adelaide and Rene. The family travelled by boat, The Bothwell Castle, by train to Southern Cross and by wagon to Coolgardie. The journey to Coolgardie took eight days. In 1894 the family moved to Bardoc, where Lionel sold liquor to miners from a wayside shanty, building the more substantial Bardoc Hotel two years later in 1896. Lionel died that same year leaving Mary to run the hotel with the help of her family.

She married miner William Smith in January 1900 and in 1903 a daughter Kathleen Mary was born. She continued to run the Bardoc Hotel cleaning, cooking for boarders and tending the bar. Even a dose of Spanish Influenza in 1919 failed to deter her. Her daughter Kathleen worked as a housemaid and waitress.

Mary's second husband died in 1916, but she remained at Bardoc, leaving only when the mining population dwindled and it became unprofitable to continue.

In 1924, after a lifetime of hard labour, Mary sold the hotel and retired to Perth with Kathleen. She was 64.

Sources used to compile this entry: Criena Fitzgerald and National Foundation for Australian Women, Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Australian Women's Archives Project, December 2012, http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/wikb/wikb-home.html; Bryth (nee Smith), Kathleen, Kath's Story (unpublished reminiscences); Western Argus, 16 September 1924. Additonal material provided by Mary Smith's Great Grand Children, Robyn McLean and Kevin Imms,.

Digital resources

Title
Bardoc Hotel
Type
Image
Date
c. 1898
Source
Robyn McLean and Kevin Imms

Details

Title
Mary Smith outside the Bardoc Hotel
Type
Image
Date
c. 1924
Source
Robyn McLean and Kevin Imms

Details

Robyn McLean and Kevin Imms

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124