Amelia 'Lily' Dance (1891-1959)
Lily Dance, mother of Peter Byrnes
Lily Dance, mother of Peter Byrnes
DANCE (1867, Devon -Dec 16 1924,
|Mother||Amalia Christina RETCHSLAG (Oct 5 1871, Haigslea, Qld-Sep 15 1903, Marburg)|
|Birth||Jul 27 (17?) 1891 in Haigslea, Queensland|
|Lived at||Marburg, Boonah; 19 Kendall Street,East Ipswich (bet 1924 and 1950); Balmoral Brisbane, (1950-1973)|
Jul 30 1959 in Brisbane, Queensland (age 68)
|Marriage||Thomas Arthur BYRNES (1913 in St. Mary's Church, Ipswich)|
(1913 - 2004)
(1915 - 2004)
Thomas BYRNES (1916-2010)
(1919 - 1995)
Kathleen BYRNES (1923-2010)
Eileen BYRNES (1927-2011)
Lily was the third child of an English
farmer, William Dance, who after his arrival in Australia in the 1880s,
married 16-year-old Amalia Retschlag. Amalia was the daughter of a German couple who had migrated
in 1864 to settle in the Marburg area of south-east Queensland.
Lily's real name of Amelia came to
light when she married, and her birth certificate was called for.
One story circulating in the family has it that her father, going to
register her birth, forgot what name his wife had wanted for their
daughter, and put down his wife's name instead.
His wife, however, had decided on Lily, and that is how she became
Marburg State School where Lily was enrolled as a 5 year old in 1896.
Lily and all her brothers and sisters attended the Marburg school for
their basic education. The
school was established in 1879, and extensions and a tennis court were
added 10 years later.
Lily’s father, Bill Dance, was active on the parents’ committee of the
school, and at one stage was Treasurer.
The family responsibility continued
until Lily was 19, when her father remarried, and two and a half years
later, Lily herself married a young train guard. Lily and Thomas Byrnes,
from Toowoomba, were married in St. Mary’s Church in Ipswich, in March
opening of the railway line to Marburg in 1912 was a special occasion,
particularly so for 19-year-old Lily Dance.
The young guard on this first train was Tom Byrnes, who went on to
court and wed Lily within a year.
Her farming background came to the
fore when she was raising a family of her own - Lily always kept a
Jersey cow in the back yard at 19 Kendall street, East Ipswich to
provide fresh milk for her growing family.
She was an expert milker, doing the daily task even within a short
time of giving birth herself.
The house at 19 Kendall Street, East Ipswich, home to
Lily an d her family for many years.
d her family for many years.
(above) Lily and Tom’s six eldest children in 1923: (from left) Tom, Grace, Frank, Mary, Peter and Joan
Lily's son Peter described his mother
as "the traditional mother of that era”.
"She gave her whole life for the rearing of the children and we all have
only fond memories of her.
She was always ready to listen to all our problems even though she had
little time to spare. A competent dressmaker, she made many dresses for
all my eight sisters.
"How she managed financially, I don't know, but she had to be very
careful with every penny she spent. This was especially so during the
years of the Great Depression....."
Her granddaughter Mary Boddy (née Byrnes) remembers her as always being “very tolerant of the grandchildren’s banging away discordantly on the piano, a noise which would have tested the patience of a saint”.
(left) A still frame of Lily, taken from a home movie shot in the 1950s by her son-in-law, Jim Boyle
(right) Lily, with her grandson Peter Byrnes, at Ipswich, 1946
Lily died only a few years after she and Tom moved to the Brisbane suburb of Balmoral in the 1950s.
She is buried in the Hemmant cemetery in East Brisbane
 Lily’s birth certificate shows a birth date of July 17; however family members say it was always celebrated on July 27 – it’s not known which date is actually correct.
2] Queensland death certificate (Lily’s)