Hunter Street Memories

Filed under Yesteryear ~ by Throsby on  14 May 2019

LADY BARTON: HER EARLY LIFE IN NEWCASTLE ~ The death in Sydney this week (March, 1938) removed one who, during her long life, had been a notable figure in the public life of the Commonwealth.

This was Lady Barton, widow of our first Prime Minister.

Pictured ~ Jane Barton in 1930

Her girlhood was spent in Newcastle. She was the daughter of Mr. David Ross, described by one who knew the family well in those far-away days, as "a good type of the old Scot."

Mr. Ross was the proprietor of the Union Inn. It has disappeared from the scene; but to older Newcastle people it is remembered as occupying portion of the site on which the warehouse of Messrs. J. Mackie and Company Ltd. stands, at the corner of Hunter-street and Union-lane.

His hotel was known far and wide, and always attracted its share of visitors and guests. It was here that Jeanie (Jane Mason) Ross – the Lady Barton of later days – spent many years. Here she met her future husband, who was destined to take so distinguished a place in the political and judicial life of this continent. Edmund Barton was visiting Newcastle in 1870 with the Sydney University Cricket Club.

In those days there was, as there is to-day, a frequent steamer service between the two cities. It is only within the last half-century that travellers could mako the journey between Newcastle and Sydney by train. About 50 years have elapsed since the bridge across the Hawkesbury River was built. Week-end excursions by steamer were frequent before that.

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