This story was from Week 3 of 6 under the subject of ‘What Matters Most’. It is about our founding couple James Shingles and Mary Ann Price and the 24 hours leading up to their marriage on 25 August 1853 at St James Church in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. James told the story on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1903 (see below for family portrait taken). It was submitted on 16 December 2016.
James was in a state of bliss. He was a lad of twenty with £100 in his pocket who had just married the sweetest little girl to be found. His Mary Ann. He shuddered to think it may not have been so.
Two days before, James determinedly set off for St James Church. He was to see Dean Macartney for a marriage licence. Unfortunately the Dean was absent and James was given an appointment for the following day.
James’ interview with the Dean the next morning was not what he had expected . When Dean Macartney found out that James was only twenty years old it was indicated that the prospective groom needed his parent consent!
James indignantly pointed out that he had neither parents nor guardians in the colony and was an independent man. When pressed for an alternative, the Dean told James if he had permission from the Attorney-General then the marriage could go ahead.
As it had already gone 11 o’clock and marriages had to be celebrated before 12, James hastened to the Court House. At first the Attorney-General refused to see him so James unashamedly bribed the clerk and got his interview.
After James explained his dilemma, the Attorney-General asked him if he had written consent of the bride’s parents. James said he had the Brides’ mother outside, and when told to “Fetch her inside!”, he hustled the whole proposed wedding party in.
Luckily James secured permission and made it to the church before noon!
- The Maffra Spectator (Vic: 1882-1920), Sunday 27 August 1903 Page 3 – Golden Wedding of Mr and Mrs Jas Shingles – A Large Gathering.
- Marriage Certificate for District of Bourke – Registration Number 233/1853 – James Shingles and Mary Ann Price