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I Am What You Say I Am

Jessie Violet Tann (1877–1974)

The daughter of Mary Ann (nee Wagstaff) and Ah Tan, Jessie Violet Tann married Archibald ‘Arch’ Spark, the son of cabinet-maker from Newcastle-on-Tyne. Jessie and Arch had fourteen children, all born at the family home in Ballarat, and each one breast fed for twelve months.
Jessie and Arch were strict disciplinarians. Family legend has it that on one occasion, when daughter Tess was grown and working, she’d made arrangements to go to a dance. Jessie would not allow it, but Tess went anyway. When Jessie found out, she walked all the way into town to the Dance Hall, and marched Tess back home.
Arch was not a well man, and died at 48. Jessie was left still with six children under fourteen years. The family home was sold, and Jessie moved the family to Footscray in Melbourne.

A photo of an elderly Jessie Violet Tann, a hard working and house-proud mother of 14 children.
A photo of an elderly Jessie Violet Tann, a hard working and house-proud mother of 14 children.

Copyright © Roar Film 2012 This material may be reproduced, communicated, published and adapted free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes.

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