Doherty, Norah Banbery
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[ca. 1910]-[after 1960]
In 1930 Norah Banbery left Wolverhampton, England, setting sail from Liverpool to Canada to follow what had become for her a perennial obsession" since childhood - the desire to explore the Canadian West. Lured by the attractive posters from the Canadian Pacific Railway that displayed "long vistas of golden wheat…(and) range lands ... alive with grazing cattle…" Norah, along with hundreds of other Europeans, set sail to find work and a new life in a new land. In the 1930s and 1940s Norah wrote articles about farm life in Canada for the Wolverhampton newspaper, Express and Star, and later began her memoir about life in the Red Rock region. She died at the Jubilee Lodge, a senior's home in Prince George in 1991, at the age of 90 years. Her memoir "A Man's Country" recalls her early years in Meota near North Battleford, Saskatchewan where she met her husband Irwin Doherty [alias Jim Martin in the manuscript], an Irish immigrant farmer. It follows the Doherty's move to British Columbia to homestead on 160 acres of land in Red Rock, south of Prince George along the Fort George Canyon on the Fraser River. Norah's account of life in Red Rock recalls experiences similar to that of other farmwomen in isolated Western Canadian communities in the Depression era. These were often days spent cleaning, cooking, and most significantly rationing, penny-pinching and finding ingenious ways to create a comfortable household in a log cabin. Yet Norah's account also provides a personal view of life as a young woman in a new land. She talks about her longing for female companionship and also her attraction to the land and the people that she met. Her story provides a woman's perspective of "living off the land" in a time when many still considered the area to be, as Norah states, "A Man's Country".
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Revised on April 30, 2012 by KS.