Eliza Darling

Eliza Darling (1798 – 1868) philanthropic Anglican
A devout Anglican of evangelical leanings, Eliza Darling had long shown a practical interest in the wellbeing of less fortunate elements in society. This was particularly evident while she was at New South Wales. Here she used her position as First Lady to establish the Female School of Industry, to assist the women convicts in the Female Factory and to improve the morality of the convicts.

Elizabeth Darling painter, designer and amateur architect, was born, probably on 10 November 1798, in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England, fourth of the six children of Ann, née Jones, and Lieutenant-Colonel John Dumaresq. She was descended from a distinguished Jersey family of ancient lineage but owing to her father’s premature death on 5 March 1804 grew up in straitened circumstances, from which she was rescued by her marriage to Major-General (later Sir) Ralph Darling on 13 October 1817.

She accompanied him first to Mauritius, where he was acting governor and commander of the troops from February 1819 to July 1823, then to New South Wales where Ralph served as governor from December 1825 until October 1831.

After returning to England the family, which comprised four girls and three boys, lived in retirement – first at Cheltenham, where Eliza Darling had spent much of her childhood, later at Brighton. Following her husband’s death on 2 April 1858, Lady Darling moved to a small cottage at Hurstpierpoint in Sussex, then to a farm in Pembury, Kent, and finally to a country residence, The Ridge, Colman’s Hatch, East Sussex, which she shared with her eldest son, Rev. Frederick, and two of her daughters. She endowed one of the buildings on the property as a school for the children of nearby cottagers.

This last step was the culmination of a life marked by a high degree of involvement in philanthropic activities. A devout Anglican of evangelical leanings, Eliza Darling had long shown a practical interest in the wellbeing of less fortunate elements in society. This was particularly evident while she was at New South Wales. Here she used her position as First Lady to establish the Female School of Industry, to assist the women convicts in the Female Factory and to improve the morality of the convicts in general. She patronised the Benevolent Society and the Sydney Dispensary and actively supported the Sunday School movement. In addition, she was a devoted wife and mother whose warm, firm ways helped maintain close family relationships.

Throughout her Australian years Mrs Darling also played the piano, taught her children, kept a journal, carried on an extensive correspondence and had a child virtually every year-a state of near permanent pregnancy that frequently made her ill. She and Ralph finally had ten children, four girls and three boys living. Sketching came a poor third in her life after her family and her devout and practical Christian faith.

http://www.daao.org.au/main/read/2120

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2 Responses to Eliza Darling

  1. Charles Sherlock says:

    Many thanks – I am currently revising the Anglican Church’s ‘Times & Seasons’ book, which gives information, readings and prayers about people included in its Calendar. Eliza Darling is remembered on September 3. To whom should I attribute this article please?

  2. Andrew Blair says:

    Thank you for this information – I need it for one of my facebook Ministry pages.

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