From the Port Phillip Gazette 1/1/42
BIRTH EXTRAORDINAIRE! On Thursday Mrs McDonald, the wife of a respectable settler, presented her husband at Mr Mortimer’s Crown Hotel, with a Christmas box consisting of two girls and a boy, whom with the mother, are doing well. Advance Australia Felix. The girls were christened Victoria and Adelaide, the boy Albert.
My, what regal names! The Port Phillip Herald of 4/1/42 adds the alarming detail that Mrs John McDonald of River Plenty had presented her husband with twins about 12 months earlier!! Five under about eighteen months……
I wonder whether she came into the Crown Hotel specially for the birth or whether she just happened to be there. Ironic, really, that maternity hospitals today shove their new mothers off into hotel suites to clear the hospital beds.
There were only occasional birth notices in the Port Phillip newspapers of the 1840s, and generally only for the wives of “highly respectable” professional men, rather than the wives of humble “respectable settlers” like Mrs McDonald. I noticed that the Insolvency Commissioner’s wife Mrs Verner had a baby, then about two weeks later there was an advertisement for a wet nurse with the instruction to apply at the Insolvency Court- surely not the first place one would think to make such a contract. [I feel a bad joke about milking people dry coming on…..]
Well, I wonder what happened to Mr and Mrs McDonald and their little ones?