Petrena Macvean

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Petrena Macvean is associated with Brunswick, melbourne, victoria located at these coordinates -37.767872, 144.961929

Date of Birth: 9th September 1862
Date of Death: 7th September 1923
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User Tags: 1891 women's suffrage petition, catherine macvean

Petrena Macvean is sister to Helen Mavean who also signed the 1891 Women's Suffrage Petition.

Most of the following information was provided for Henderson's Australian Families by family members in or about 1940.

Petrena was born in Brunswick on 9.9.1862. When the Presbyterian Ladies' College (PLC) opened in 1875, Petrena (aged 12) and her two younger sisters were enrolled, numbers 6, 7 and 8 on the roll. Marjorie Theobald, in The Encyclopaedia of Melbourne (Brown-May & Swain, eds., 2005), wrote "This independent school was established in 1875 in East of the new 'academic' secondary schools for girls, its beginnings allied with the admission of women to the University of Melbourne in 1881. ... To prove that women were the intellectual equals of men, PLC had to achieve academically, yet it also had to produce 'true women'. ... the school did indeed achieve brilliant results, though it developed a distinctive curriculum, blending 'male' academic studies with 'female' studies of music, modern languages and art." Petrena was one of the ten children of Allan Macvean (who came to Australia from Scotland in 1853) and Catherine MacPherson (who was born in the Bathurst district of New South Wales three years after her parents arrived from Scotland in 1825). Her father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland and when he came to Australia was a minister of the Presbyterian Church, mostly in Brunswick, and was a moderator of the Victorian Synod of that church one year. Seven of the ten siblings were girls. Two of her sisters died as infants before she was born. Another died in 1887, aged 23.

The entry in Henderson's Australian Families about Petrena, which I understand was contributed by my grandfather, Clive Macvean, records that she "for many years devoted her life to attending the poor in Edinburgh, Scotland. During the Great War she spent much of her income in providing luxuries for Australian soldiers on leave." My grandfather was one of the Australian soldiers on leave who visited her, according to my father (Allan Macvean). Petrena died in Middle Brighton (where various members of her family continued to live after their mother's death) on the 7th of September, 1923, two days before her 61st birthday.

(Information courtesy of Anne Macvean. Petrena and Helen were Anne's great great aunts)

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