Dorothy Downey

Dorothy Leam Doherty (1900 – 1963), also known as ‘Bylly’ or ‘Billee’, presumably followed the same educational path as her other siblings, being educated aboard, possibly in England, Belgium and/or Germany. To date, not much is known about Bylly’s life before she returned to Perth in 1930.  However, it is possible that this is a picture of her, taken in 1925 in London.

thumbnail_Miss Doherty

Mackay, T. F. (Thomas Faulkner) & HRRC 1925, Studio portrait of Miss Doherty, Kalgoorlie

Four years after her return, Bylly went on a four-month expedition to the Outback with her brother George Roy Doherty. She noted that she was, ‘the first white woman ever to visit this country’.[1]

Bylly was described as ‘a real breath of fresh air’, slightly ‘plump’ with an English accent.[2] After her father’s death in 1935 Bylly became an assistant for the company until she left the firm to marry Frank Downey in 1947.[3] Bylly died on 25 December 1963, aged 63.

[1] ‘Prospecting in the Outback: Unusual Adventures of a Perth Girl in the Never-Never’, West Australian (Perth, WA), Tuesday 16 October 1943, p.3.

[2] Millett, 2017.

[3] Durack, (1985, p.426); Millett, 2017.


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