MARY AND ABY WOLFERS
Mary Sabel was the fourth child and third daughter of Abraham Sabel and Leah Swidler and was born on either 17th April or 23rd May, 1900; she celebrated her birthday in April, but her birth certificate stated May.
Mary seems to have been an attractive young girl as her sisters sent her photo in to a beauty contest, and she certainly was a lovely older woman, with a regal bearing. She became an expert seamstress and taught herself the piano, having an excellent sense of rhythm. After leaving school she became a cost clerk.
Mary met Abraham (Aby) Wolfers at the Jewish Club in Forest Gate and after a ‘persistent and charming courtship’ they were married at the East Ham and Manor Park Associate Synagogue on 31st August, 1924. Aby’s father, the Reverend Philip Wolfers, performed the ceremony.
Aby was born in
Aby was photographed in academic dress, but
does not seem to have had letters after his name. He seems to have possessed a “towering
intellect” and was a brilliant chess player as well as one of
Aby and Mary had 3 children: Philip Benjamin, born 23rd July,
born on 31st January, 1927 and Louise Daphne, born 1st
March, 1932. At that time they lived at
The story goes
that in 1938 Aby decided that war was imminent and
with three young children he wanted to keep them safe, so in that year the
family sailed in the Rangitiki to Auckland, New
Zealand, where they lived in Puriri Avenue, on One Tree Hill. Life here must have been a tremendous change
and shock, especially for Mary, who was used to having a lot of help in her
home. Here she had to learn to cook, and
she actually became an excellent pastry cook, making first-class
For a short while the family lived in a boarding house in Coogee (which apparently means ‘bad smell’) and the boys were enrolled in the prestigious Sydney Boys’ High School and Louise very unhappily attended a local convent school. After a couple of months the family moved to their permanent Sydney home in a flat in Bellevue Hill and Louise attended the local public school until 1941 and then spent her final two primary school years at an Opportunity school for gifted children. The family’s reaction to her being labelled ‘gifted’ was one of disbelieving hilarity, as she was believed to be nowhere as bright as her brilliant brothers.
Aby and Mary settled down to a life of
retirement in Australia; Aby played chess and solo
(nobody played bridge here in those days) and managed his investments while Mary
looked after the family and involved herself in Wizo. When he was 48 Aby
had his first heart attack;
he was confined to bed for 6 weeks and was never really well
again after that. In 1948 Aby and Mary imported their old nanny to look after the
family and went to
remarried, although she came close to it in the 1950s, and she became very
well-known in the Australian Jewish community, working for Wizo
and being its president for some years.
She travelled in the country, lecturing to women’s groups about
Philip and David
both became doctors, but neither of them was welcomed in
to train as an anaesthetist and left for
the selective Sydney Girls’ High School, the sister school of that which her
brothers attended. After matriculation
At 18, shortly
after her father died, she and Mary went to
In 1953 they
In 1956 Louise
and Henry’s first son, Anthony Philip, was born, followed 2 years later by
their second son, Laurence David. In
1960 Henry joined the prestigious CSIRO but was seconded in 1969 to work in
optics at the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Coonabrabran,
in north-western NSW. He enjoyed his
5-year stint with the project, which necessitated their moving to
Louise stayed a housewife
until 1967 when she went to
retirement Louise returned to university where she earned her BA, majoring in
English and Linguistics with a very high average. She spent some time working part-time as a
research assistant to a professor at
Henry had introduced Louise, and subsequently their sons, to skiing early in their marriage and each year they spent most of their short holiday periods in the snow, leaving many happy memories and photographic records.
his first heart attack in 1977, when he was 53. He was offered a bypass, but it was very
early days for those operations then and he waited until 1984 before having an
extremely successful quad bypass. He and
Louise subsequently enjoyed about 10 years of having annual skiing holidays
overseas in both Europe and the
In 1994 Henry was diagnosed with scleroderma, an auto-immune disease which sometimes follows cancer (he had had a cancerous kidney removed in the 80s) and travelling overseas became more difficult. The disease progressed slowly, but Henry died from pulmonary fibrosis in 2002.
Louise moved from their large home 18 months later and now lives in a town-house much more suitable to her widowed situation. She is very happy in it, although she is frequently away on holiday, and her life is very full. She plays competition scrabble, competition bridge, plays a trumpet in a local concert band, still plays tennis and still goes skiing. She and cousin Pamela Loval play very earnest and intense games of scrabble on the internet whenever they both have time; they have come to know much more about each other’s lives in their chats on these occasions and both enjoy the competition very much.
Anthony Philip: born 14th September, 1956.
Tony went to
North Sydney Boys’ High School for 5 years and Narrabundah High in
Tony went to the
In 1986 Tony married Marie Anet, a BA who was working in the communications field. Their son, Alexander Adrian, was born in 1988 and their daughter, Madeline Else, in 1990. Both children are talented sports players and are in representative teams for soccer and other games, besides being more than adequate academically. Marie became a Primary School teacher and now teaches full-time.
Laurence David: born 25th November, 1958.
Laurie also went
to North Sydney Boys’ High School and Narrabundah High in
In 1987 Laurie
married Marian Maltby, a divorcee with two children,
David, now aged 21 and an all-round Adonis and Kirsty,
now 19, who enjoys her work in child care.
In 1988, their son, Simon Laurence, was born and has grown to become
almost a clone of his father. He is a
keen, talented drummer who spent last year on a student exchange program in
Louise Kobler, Sydney