These photographs are of Elvira Isabel Johnston who was born in April 1897 in Pakenham, where she lived most of her life in the stone house near the five arch stone bridge. This is quite a famous house to local historians, as it was built and owned by Andrew Dickinson, a man of great success who helped to grow and develop the village of Pakenham, and for whom the area was initially referred to as Dickson’s Mills.
Elvira married Thomas Albert Wilson, though the two never had any children. This later caused a small problem for Elvira – after her husband’s death in 1959, she was forced to sell their home known as ‘Breezy Heights’ to fulfil the conditions of Albert’s will which promised his siblings a set amount of money. The only way Elvira could do this was by selling their home.
After fulfilling the will conditions, she had just enough money left to build a small house near the St. Peter Celestine church, and her brothers helped her furnish the home. With no real education or formal training, Elvira spent most of her working days at the Pakenham General Store.
Elvira unfortunately dealt with a dangerous heart condition that would get worse if she became agitated. The donors of these photographs tell the story of her final day, January 8th, 1974. “One night, she was sitting in her chair doing her favourite thing: watching the good ol’ hockey game. Something got her a bit excited and just like that, her heart stopped and she popped into the ever after.”