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Wong Hee, Ethel Anne (1880 - 1965)

5 November 1880
Banyena, Victoria, Australia
18 June 1965
Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Alternative Names
  • O'Brien, Ethel Anne (married name)
  • O'Brien, Ettie (also used)
  • Wong Hee, Ethel Anne (maiden name)
  • Wong Hee, Ettie (also used)


Ethel Anne Wong Hee was the sixth child of William Wong Hee and Sarah (nee Reeves). Also known as Ettie, she was born at Banyena, Shire of St Arnaud on 5 November, 1880.

On the 22nd March 1897 Ethel Annie married James O'Brien, She was 17 years old and the couple had three children. Their eldest son, Lawrence Walter James O'Brien, was born at Banyena in 1898. He died in St Arnaud at 8 years of age in 1906, and is buried in the Banyena Cemetery.

Their second child, Eileen Victoria, was born at Banyena in 1890. Eileen married William Percy McCormick in 1916 when she was 16 years old. Eileen McCormick had four children before passing away in 1922. There were a son and a daughter, a third child, a boy died at 8 years of age, and the fourth child died around the age of 41 in 1963.

Ethel Annie and James's third child William Ernest was born at Banyena in 1902 and died in 1911. He is buried in the St Arnaud Cemetery.

James O'Brien died of Cancer in the St Arnaud Hospital on 22 August 1940, he was 69 years old.

In 1965 Ethel Annie was 85 years old, and lived at 453 Church Street, Richmond South. She shared the house with at least one other person named Cyril James Rigney. At about 7.30 on Friday, 18 June 1965, Ethel Annie went to the shops for a message. She was totally blind in one eye, and the condition of her right eye was in a poor state - in fact her friend James Rigney later testified that Ethel Annie was not allowed to go out at night at any time due to her very poor vision.

When about 24 feet west of her home, Ethel Annie stepped out in front of a taxi driven by Barry Sydney McGoldrick and was run over when he could not stop in time. The coroner exonerated him from any blame.

Ethel Annie had head and pelvic injuries and was taken to Prince Henry's Hospital. After an initial examination by Barry Grisold, the Resident Medical Officer, Ethel Annie collapsed while she was being cleaned up by a nurse. Cardiac massage and artificial resuscitation was applied but after half an hour she was officially pronounced dead.

The coroner found that Ethel Anne died at 8.45pm in Prince Henry's Hospital on June 18, 1965 as a result of injuries sustained from being run over by a car. Her body was identified by a friend named Frederick William Broeder, a machinist of 59 Albany Crescent, Aspendale. He had known her for seven to ten years.

Sources used to compile this entry: Victorian births, deaths and marriages: Birth 101 (Avon Plains). Victorian Coronial enquiry.

Prepared by: Lynda Rogasch