My great grandmother, “Nurse Wilson”

Twins, Anna Petronella Gronlund and her brother, Wilhelm Fredrik Gronlund, were born on 29 April 1864 in Rebbelberga, Skane, Sweden; the eldest children of Sven Jonasson Gronlund and his second wife, Sara Kristina Grip.

Another set of twin boys was to follow on 21 December 1867, then another boy, and two girls.

 

Sven Jonasson & Sara Kristina Gronlund

Sven Jonasson & Sara Kristina Gronlund (nee Grip)

 

Sara Kristina Gronlund (nee Grip)

Sara Kristina Gronlund (nee Grip)

 

Sven Jonasson Gronlund already had four living children by his first wife, who died giving birth to a stillborn child in 1857.

 

Wilhelm Fredrik Gronlund and family

Wilhelm Fredrik Gronlund and family

 

In 1884, Anna left her twin brother and family behind, to migrate to Australia.  She arrived in Brisbane on board the “SS Waroonga” on 15 December 1884, accompanied by her younger twin brothers, Gustaf Edvard and Anders Peter.

 

Anna with her mother, taken just before leaving Sweden in 1884

Anna with her mother, taken just before leaving Sweden in 1884

 

Also on board was her future husband, my great grandfather, Carl Wilson, also Swedish.  I am unsure whether they were sweethearts in Sweden, or met on the boat on the way out.

 

Sven Erik Gronlund and family

Sven Erik Gronlund and family

 

Anna and her brothers were sponsored by their elder half-brother, Sven Erik Gronlund, who had arrived in Rockhampton in 1879 on board the “Charles Dickens”.  Sven Erik was a master tanner who settled in Brisbane, and had become naturalised on 7 August 1884.  The Gronlund tannery operated on the Brisbane River, in Kelvin Grove until the 1950’s.

 

Anders Peter Gronlund and family

Anders Peter Gronlund and family

 

Anna and Carl married in Brisbane on 31 August 1885, where they began their family, and lived until 1895.  They began their journey north in 1897, living in Charters Towers until 1900, then Townsville until 1906, and finally settling in Cairns.

 

Carl and Anna – taken here in Cairns on 31 August 1921

Carl and Anna – taken here in Cairns on 31 August 1921

 

Carl & Anna Petronella Wilson and family

Carl & Anna Petronella Wilson and family

 

Oral family history has always said that Anna gave birth to 17 children.

I have never been able to authenticate this, only ever finding birth records for eight children.

 

Statutory Declaration Application for Certificate of Naturalisation Oath of Allegiance

 

Anna was naturalised on 23 September 1912. I can find records of her operating as a midwife in Cairns from about 1920, but she may have been carrying on that trade from an earlier date.  She certainly delivered a lot of her own grandchildren, including my mother.

 

Nurse Wilson

Nurse Wilson

Anna Petronella Wilson

Anna Petronella Wilson

 

My great grandfather died at their home in Draper Street, on 2 September 1927.  He was senile, had a fall and fractured his humerus, and developed pneumonia.  Anna was devastated.  She died on 10 October 1931.

 

Inside the Wilson House - Draper Street, Cairns

Inside the Wilson House – Draper Street, Cairns

 

As a child, I heard many stories from mum and my aunts, about their grandmother, who to all accounts, was a beautiful and kind lady.

The Cairns Post published a brief obituary for her on Monday 12 October 1931, followed on Thursday 15 October 1931 with an article about her funeral, titled “Late Nurse Wilson”, saying it was “very largely attended” and listing the names of the 122 floral tributes individually.  She was obviously a very well respected lady.

My great grandparents are buried side by side in the Martyn Street Cemetery.

 

Pic14

 

Pic13

 

NOTE : The surname is spelt differently in various records: Gronlund – Granlund – Greenland

 

Rob Wood.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to My great grandmother, “Nurse Wilson”

  • Thank you, Rob! You are very lucky to have such wonderful photos. I particularly enjoyed clicking on the photo of the house interior and zooming in, as it shows off its own fascinating collection of portraits, artwork and other treasured family items.

  • Hi Rob
    Good to see the family story – Anna does appear being thanked in birth notices in ‘Cairns Post’ from at least 1917 and regularly appears in Thank you lists in obituaries, often with one of her daughters especially Ethel, mentioned also. They seemed to have done some general home nursing as well. I know Eda ‘took over’ the midwifery side of things during the 1930s including delivering her grandson. They charged five to nine pounds for confinement fees. Some of the ladies paid the fees off over a period of several months.

    • Hi, interesting to read this and see this photos! I’m the great granddaughter of Fredrik Wilhelm Gronlund. My mother was born Gronlund. I live not so far away from Rebbelberga, 111 kms. I sometimes visit Rebbelberga.

  • Good Afternoon Marianne,

    We are third cousins. I have you on my family tree. I am glad you liked the article. If you would like copies of any of the photographs, please let me know and I will send them to you.

    I have your husband as Rikard Ohm but no date of marriage; and I have you giving birth to three children, Carolina, Fredrik and Sofia. Is that correct?

    I would be very happy to keep in touch.

    Talk soon.

    Rob

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