Grafton woman Jenny Powell discovered this picture of her grandmother Bessie Bultitude, who was Queen for the Day.
Grafton woman Jenny Powell discovered this picture of her grandmother Bessie Bultitude, who was Queen for the Day. Tim Howard

Queen raised funds for Diggers' socks

SOMETHING that has been part of the furniture for most of her life has turned into an inspiration for Grafton woman Jenny Powell.

More than a century ago, her mother, Bessie Bultitude was Queen of the Day in a Grafton fundraising drive to raise money for Australian soliders fighting in World War I. For her efforts, she was photographed wearing a splendid beaded gown and the photograph has stayed with the family ever since.

Her granddaughter said the photograph had been in her father, Mervyn Bultitude's home and lately has been in her care.

"When I saw it, it made me think how many other people have things like this at home, which people would like to see and know about,” Mrs Powell said.

Her grandmother's brush with a "royal” title had passed down the family tree. "Two of her descendants, Alison Powell (1991) and Tracey Lawson (2000) have been crowned as Jacaranda queens,” she said.

Mrs Powell said it was likely the photograph was taken some time in 1917. "It was a fundraising drive to raise money for the soldiers fighting overseas,” she said.

"Women would knit socks to send to the troops and the money raised from this drive was used to buy the wool.”

Her grandmother was a significant figure in the life of Grafton. "She was the first nurse at Grafton Base Hospital,” Mrs Powell said.

"She had to give up her job in 1899 when she married Gus Bultitude because in those days women had to give their jobs when they got married.”



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