Fremantle Stuff > People > Rosa Henriques Smith

Rosa Henriques Smith

rosa smithRosa Smith founded and ran the Sailors' Rest, in Marine Parade (now Port Lodge, and part of NDU).

Rosa Henriques was born into a Sephardi Jewish family in Port Maria, Jamaica in 1853, one of her ancestors having been a privateer who, in Dutch ships, raided the Spanish enemy. She married Thomas W. Smith, a Scottish naval officer, and they left for Scotland, and then Melbourne, where Rosa began her welfare work among the poor, and with sailors. Captain Smith was appointed Inspector of Pearl Fisheries in WA, which brought the couple to the North West: Cossack, among other places. They then came to Fremantle, where Thomas Smith seems to have been Shipping/Harbour Master, and she began thirty-one years of social work in the Fremantle community. She helped to raise £2000 for the Sailors' Rest, which was the predecessor of the present Flying Angel Club in Queen Victoria St.

Wendy Antonovsky writes that:
She visited every ship that came to Fremantle. It was not unusual for her to visit sick and injured seaman in Fremantle Hospital when they ended up there, and even have them at her house. For this work, she was presented with an acknowledgement by the Duchess of York on behalf of the British Seamen's Society of London. She was also the first woman on the Fremantle School Board, and convinced the government to build an infant school in South Fremantle.

Rosa returned with her husband to Jamaica in 1921, and died there within the year.

References and Links

Wendy & Ari Antonovsky, notes about Rosa Smith in their Heritage Walk, from which the above is derived, including the photo (source unknown).

See also: Seamen's Chapel, Flying Angel Club.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 May, 2016 | Now: 6 May, 2021