Photograph of Catherine Dash née MacDonald (1844-1890), from Balinoe, around 1880.
Courtesy of Keith Dash & Doreen Griffin
Catherine MacDonald was born in Balinoe in 1844, the daughter of blacksmith John MacDonald and Flora MacPhail. Her mother died when she was young and her father remarried. In 1853 the family, now with two young sons Hugh and Hector, emigrated to Australia on the S.S. ‘Utopia’. They settled in the goldfields town of Ararat in central Victoria.
In 1866 Catherine married Edward Dash, an English immigrant then working as a clerk in the Victoria Treasury Department. She was twenty-one and he was a forty-seven years old widower with four sons aged fifteen to twenty-two. The couple had another eleven children.
Catherine was described by her children as ‘a gentle, serene woman’ with ‘healing hands’. In 1888 she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and she died of this disease in 1890 aged forty-six. This photograph of her was taken around ten years before her death.