(Christened - Anne Fanny as per her birth certificate remembered affectionately as Aunty Fan)
b. 13 February 1863 at Coolatai Station, Warialda district near Graman NSW
(parents: Alexander Dill Gamble and Fanny O’Donnell)
d. 18 June 1934 at Sydney NSW Aged 69 years
Interred: Rookwood Cemetery Church of England Section 14 Grave 981
Fanny was the first born of thirteen children, her parents travelling from Glen Innes in a horse drawn dray to Coolatai where Fanny was born. In 1865 her father Alexander Dill Gamble became employed as sheep overseer for the Gordon family on Wallangra Station. It was here on Wallangra Station that Fanny spent her childhood until c1870, when the family secured their own selection “Oakbank” Gullengutta and a family home erected, this property later known as “Girrawheen” and more recently “Ottley”.
Fanny’s time was predominantly occupied in assisting with domestic duties associated with an ever growing rural family while living in basic and isolated conditions. Fanny learned to read and write from daily readings and lessons delivered by her Father from their family Bible.
At one time she was engaged to a young man who was unfortunately killed in an accident returning home from a local dance. Fanny never went on to marry.
Always a rock for her siblings, generous and caring, at age 21 Fanny became the prime carer of her sister Rachael, shortly following the death of their mother Fanny O’Donnell the day after Rachael’s birth in 1884. Fanny also assumed the care of her then eleven younger family members, at which time seven siblings were under the age of 12 years.
The Gamble family also owned a small corner property in Urabatta Street, Inverell, consisting of two cottages with a small orchard between, naming these cottages “Oakbank” and “Bonnydoon”. Fanny together with sisters Catherine, Clara and Rachael had moved here some years prior to their father’s death. They would often have their brothers and family members staying with them for periods of time.
In1907 when their brother Alexander’s wife Margaret Parr died, Fanny took their youngest child Neil Connell Gamble, aged almost 2 years, into her care, where he stayed until late into his primary school years where he attended Ross Hill Public School, before he was able to re-join his father and sisters who by that time had moved to Sydney. It was also here that the girls nursed their father for 18 months following his stroke, until his death in 1908 from a cerebral haemorrhage.
Following the death of her Father Alexander in 1908 and the sale and disbursement of his estate, Fanny received twice the amount of the share of the other surviving children.
During her sister Caroline’s ill health around 1913-14, Fanny and her sister Catherine took over responsibilities for her care and welfare from brother Septimus, with whom Caroline had lived for some years. Caroline’s worsening condition became unmanageable for the sisters and regrettably Caroline had to be institutionalised.
Fanny, with her sister Catherine later relocated to Point Clare on the NSW central coast for a time before moving to Miller Street, North Sydney where they took in boarders to make ends meet. This move may have been prompted to be nearer to family members, many of whom had moved to Sydney over the years to find employment and for reasons they perceived as being better opportunities.
The sisters finally moved to a rental property in Nirranda Street Concord West, a few doors from their niece Mona Hokin (daughter of Alexander John) and her family. Fanny’s devotion to family continued her entire life, returning to Inverell with Catherine in 1929 to nurse their younger sibling Rachael, who was dying from breast cancer. They remained here until Rachael’s death in January 1930.
Returning to Sydney the sister’s money slowly diminished and nearer the end of their lives preferred to live on toast and tea rather than ask for charity.