Great Aunt Dorrie – Dorothy May Seddon nee Waddell (1902-1998)

My great Aunt Dororthy May Waddell b1902 d1998 was the older sister of my grandmother Amy Patricia Hapgood (nee Waddell). Dorrie Waddell was born at Two Mile in Gympie and grew up there and then Kin Kin, in Queensland, in her younger life. Her father George Waddell is listed as a Hotelkeeper, 49 years old, from Armagh, Armagh, Ireland, and her Mum was Mary Alice Waddell (nee Whittington) from Bromley, Kent in England. (More info on George and Mary Alice Waddell in this post). Dorrie was the 6th child in the family in 1902 (there would eventually be 10 children).

There is a photo on Ancestry shared by MJohnston of Dorrie as a young child. Its faded and a bit blurry but shows a very frilly white hat with a big brim, a while dress with ruffles and sturdy black stockings and boots. I am guessing she is no more than 5 years old in this photo, which means it would be taken about 1907 or so.

We are lucky enough to have a few photos of Dorrie as a young woman, including 3 studio portraits which I assume were all taken around 1920, give or take. All the elder Waddell girls seem to have a studio portrait in their early 20s or so, but with Dorrie we are lucky enough to have three!

There are two great photos in the Queensland State Library featuring Dorrie Waddell (striped shirt) and her brother Jim Waddell b1904 of the 1924 Kin Kin Champion Tennis team. One of these photos is also part of the family collection (see the sepia coloured photo below) and the version in the state library is a zoomed in version.

Premiership tennis team in Kin Kin, 1924
Back row: Mrs Treichel Snr., Dorrie Waddell, Ada Hatch (nee Brock) . Front row: Jim Waddell, Herry Shepperson, Arthur Hatch.
Family collection, via Dorrie’s daughter Jean. Similar photo of the same event at Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/permalink/f/1oppkg1/slq_alma21219125050002061
Kin Kin premiership tennis team, 1924 Back row: Jim Waddell, Arthur Hatch, Harry Shepperson
Front row: Mrs Treichel Snr., Dorrie Waddell, Ada Hatch (nee Brock). https://digital.slq.qld.gov.au/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?change_lng=en&dps_pid=IE201527

Dorrie met Bertie Seddon, known as “Seddy” when he was posted to Kin Kin as the bank manager. They married on 4th December 1924. Dorrie sent a wedding photo to her oldest sister Mags, and probably to all her siblings as there are a couple of different copies of this photo on Ancestry. I havent been able to find a wedding notice in the paper, but her dress is ankle length and features a couple of layers of finely pleated sheer looking fabric. She has a very stylish lace veil for the era, which she later loaned to her younger sister Amy “Pat” Waddell (my grandmother), who married in 1932. You can see the embroidery on the veil more closely in Pat’s wedding photo.

Dorrie Waddells marriage to Bertie “Seddie” Seddon in 1924.Family collection (this version via MJohnson on Ancestry)

Bertie Seddons job as bank manager saw him transferred around the country regularly – Heathcote, Mildura, Nhill and eventually to Melbourne. Dorrie’s family had many visitors, including a visit in 1930 from my grandmother Amy Pat and their sister Jessie Waddell b1909. They took a group photo on a day out at Luna Park with the White Family (unknown) posing in a (fake) boat called the Luna. My grandmother kept this photo and helpfully named everyone in it: Luna Park 1930 Mr White & Me (Amy Pat) & Mrs White & Jess & Dorrie & Joan White (girl) & Seddy (Bertie Seddon) & Jean & George. The photo has the three sisters lined up, with my grandmother in front with the curly hair and coat and scarf, then Jess Waddell looking like a movie star with perfect hair and elegant bare arms whilst everyone else is rugged up. Dorrie is at the end of the row of woman looking stylish in a collared jacket and coiffed bob, close to her husband “Seddy” and their 2 eldest children Jean and George (their third child, Dick Seddon, was born in 1935.)

Luna Park, 1930. Mr White & (Amy Pat) & Mrs White & Jess Waddell & Dorrie Sedden & Joan White (girl) & Seddy (Bertie Seddon) & Jean & George Seddon

Dorrie regularly hosted visitors, including my father when he first moved to Melbourne from Malanda in far North Queensland in the 1960s, and myself when I first moved to Melbourne for my very first job in 1994 (more on this period in a future post). Like my father before me, I visited Great Aunty Dorrie a few times when I lived in Melbourne – she was very friendly and welcoming despite the fact we had really never met before. By this time, Bertie Seddon had died in 1973 and Dorrie was a widow, but always close to family.

After the 1930s visit, my Dad said that my grandmother didnt get back down to Melbourne to see Dorrie until 1963 years later, when she came for an important work event for Dad at Ansett. He wrote that it was “an emotional reunion to start and then the talk started oblivious to everyone around. After that, Dorrie and Sedidie visited Malanda and stayed a few days.” I am sure there are more photos out there somewhere.

When my grandmother Amy Pat came down to Melbourne to visit my Dad in Melbourne 1980 (approx) she also met up with Dorrie and we have this photo of the two Waddell sisters in their later years, sitting on a park bench enjoying the company of my young sisters (identical twins). My grandmother Amy Pat died only a couple of years after this photo was taken, in 1983 and Dorrie died a few years later in 1988.

Sisters Amy Pat Hapgood and Dorrie Seddon, with my younger sisters, about 1980, in Melbourne.

One of the great things about Ancestry is how easy it is to find and connect with more distant relatives who are also interested in family history. I have had the pleasure of being able to share stories and also meet two of Dorrie’s children – Jean Adams and Richard “Dick” Seddon. I also met her granddaughter S* and I found a surprising connection with Jeans other daughter Bronwyn Adams, which I will write about in a future post. It was lovely to meet Jean and her daughter S*, and Richard and his wife C*, in late 2019. Jean sadly passed away in 2020. Our mutual interest in family history and Dorries life story meant that we were able to trade information and stories and photos.

Dick Seddon has written two books. “More than a Game” is on his reflections on his time as AFL commissioner and the game itself. “Ab Initio” is his autobiographical memoirs of how he started life in Mildura and Nhill, trained as a teacher, a lawyer and QC, ended up leading the Melbourne Football Club and on to other roles which eventually lead to him dining on the Forbes luxury yacht anchored in the Hudson River in Manhatten … Its quite a ride of a career story….

The second amazing family history item is a cassett tape. In 1982, Jean Adams sat down with her Mum Dorrie and cassette recorder, and asked Dorrie to talk about her life. There are two 45 minute recordings of Dorrie. Jean had told me she had a tape of her Mum telling her own story somewhere and hoped to find it and share it with me. She passed away in 2020 but her family found the precious cassette tape, and was able to transfer it to MP3 file. Dick shared the file with me, and gave permission to include it on the blog, and share it on the blog with all the Waddell descendants…. Stay tuned for the next post in a few days… Its absolutely worth the wait!

Gravestone for Bertie and Dorrie Seddon, Stanley Cemetery, Victoria — complete with very helpful family historu details for them both.

Note: I try to avoid identifying living people on this blog, but try to use an initial that is easy enough for family members to work out who is who. I have named Dick Seddon in this post, but he has had a sphere in public life and has written a book which is in the National Library of Australia, and so I am not sharing any new information about his life that he hasnt already shared.

Sources:

[1] Kin Kin tennis team 1924 at Queensland State Library http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/permalink/f/1oppkg1/slq_alma21219125050002061 and https://digital.slq.qld.gov.au/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?change_lng=en&dps_pid=IE201527

[2] Seddon, Richard.  Ab initio : from the beginning / Richard (Dick) Seddon  [Richard J. Seddon] [Melbourne]  2015 https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn7337946

[3] Seddon, Dick It’s more than a game : reflections of a former AFL commissioner. [Melbourne] [Richard Seddon], 2016. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/214194394

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