The Gamble Family
The Gamble family's links to Coromandel Valley began in the mid-19th Century.
William Gamble (1828-1903) married Susannah Stein (1833-1901) in 1862 in Trinity Church, Adelaide. Their first daughter, Jane, was born in 1865 at Belair. A son, Joseph (b.1867), and a second daughter, Sarah Ann (b.1871), were both born in Coromandel Valley. Their fourth child, Thomas was born in 1873 in Belair.
This story now jumps to 1890 when Joseph Gamble (1867-1945) married Harriet Victoria Knight (1866-1940) in Coromandel Valley and set up home in the area.
Their first three daughters, Clara Louisa (1890-1994), Harriet Isabel (1894-1960, married name Colmer) and Dorothy Victoria (1896-1980, married name Hill) were born in Belair. Edith Maud (1908-1990), was born in Gamble Cottage.
In 1902 the expanding Gamble family needed more space and a cottage was built on the hillside at the intersection of Main and Dorham Roads, Blackwood.
Joseph was an orchardist working in the then Government Experimental Orchard on the junction of Turners Avenue with Main Road in what is now Hawthorndene. It is really no surprise to learn that he and Harriet were keen gardeners who instilled their love of horticulture in their daughters.
Dorothy and Isabel left the family home when they married. Clara and Edith continued to share the cottage with their parents until first Harriet passed away aged 74 years, and then Joseph aged 78 years.
While Edith always stayed at home, Clara ‘went out to business’ working as an assistant in various catering operations, including at the Adelaide Women’s Club and Scotch College.
Clara and Edith kept the house and continued to care for their parent’s much loved cottage garden. Their neighbours often saw the pair collecting wood in Hawthorndene for their stove and room fires.
They were also known through their regular attendance at the Blackwood Methodist Church. Clara and Edith were devout members of the congregation.
In its early years the cottage had no running water or electricity and the simplicity of the Gamble family’s life is evident in Gamble Cottage today.
Becoming frail and unable to care for the cottage garden, the sisters moved from their much loved home to Resthaven in 1982.
Edith died in 1990 aged 82 years. Clara, the eldest sibling, outlived all her sisters passing away in 1994 at the impressive age of 104 years. Together they gave Gamble Cottage to the City of Mitcham for the use of the local community. There was also a combined bequest of $70,000 made to Annesley College, Wayville, (formerly Methodist Ladies College) enabling the establishment of the Gamble Scholarship for senior students.