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Anna Maria Woide Waters

(from "A Force Apart?")

The senior officers’ wives became part of Darwin society and involved themselves in the various fund raising activities that occurred in the town. Anna Maria Woide Waters is a case in point. Anna was born in Adelaide on 27 July 1852 and married the then Corporal Waters in Adelaide in March 1892. She appears to have come from a religious family with family papers suggesting that her grandmother had converted to the Anglican religion from Judaism. The Northern Territory Times and Gazette reported the arrival of Corporal and Mrs Waters in Darwin on 24 June 1892. Thereafter, little is written about Anna in the newspapers until the turn of the century.

Subsequently, there are frequent references to both her artistic abilities and her charitable work on behalf of the Church of England. Anna Waters was a self-taught artist of considerable ability who painted Northern Territory wildflowers. It seems probable that much of her spare time was taken up with her painting. In 1901, Anna Waters, together with Mrs Pinder and Misses Jones, Kilian and Bugden, presided over stalls at the Church of England bazaar. At this and subsequent bazaars Anna sold artworks. Whilst not certain, it is likely that at least some of the artwork was Anna’s own paintings. Her work on behalf of the Anglican Church continued. In 1912, she was prominent at a bazaar which was conducted to raise money for a rectory; she and Mrs Bleeser took over £40.27. Some items left over from the bazaar sale were converted to prizes at a shooting competition, this no doubt, because of Anna’s influence over her husband’s involvement with the Committee of the Darwin Shooting Club. On this occasion, Anna Waters had donated a hand painted bag as a prize. Her artistic ability was confirmed when she illustrated a book which was displayed at a meeting of the Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society of North Australia (AH & I Society).

During the First World War, Anna conscientiously raised funds for the Australian Red Cross Society. She attended the first meeting of the ‘Women of the Territory’ called by Mrs Jeannie Gilruth at Government House to discuss how to raise money for that charity. She later donated £1 to the fund, but there is no reference to any of her artwork being sold for this purpose. In her obituary, however, there is a reference to ‘large sums of money obtained from her painting [going] to the Red Cross Society’. After her death in July 1939, her obituary confirmed her many charitable works and artistic abilities, ‘Mrs Waters had considerable artistic talent and her paintings in watercolours of butterflies and Northern Territory wildflowers are famous’. The obituary explained that she was self-taught with considerable natural ability. It concluded ‘she was associated with a great deal of charitable work’.

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