19 April 2018

Dressed for the occasion

1917 wedding of John Michael Galvin and Grace Walmsley Payne
L to R: Edward Payne, Kathleen Dineen, John Michael Galvin, Grace Walmsley Payne, James Dineen, Annie Walmsley

Wedding photos.

Everyone looking their best.

So it was on 21 November 1917 when John Michael Galvin and Grace Walmsley Payne married. Thanks to one of my husband’s cousins, we now have some photos of them.
The description of the wedding appeared in the newspaper some two months after the wedding.

A pretty wedding was celebrated before a Choral Mass in St. Patrick's Church, Adelaide, on November 21, the contracting parties being Mr. Jack M. Galvin, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Galvin, of Adelaide, and Miss Grace Walmsley Payne, youngest daughter of Mrs. E. Payne, of Adelaide. Rev. Father O'Sullivan officiated.

The bride, who was conducted to the altar by her brother, Mr. E. Payne, looked charming in a dress of ivory silk poplin (tunic effect), and carried a shower bouquet. The first bridesmaid, Miss Annie Walmsley (cousin of the bride), wore a dainty Assam, silk costume and black hat with pink trimmings. The second bridesmaid, Miss Kathleen Dineen (cousin of the bridegroom), was charmingly dressed in a Japanese silk frock costume with black hat relieved with pink.

The duties of best man were performed by Mr. James Dineen, of Mile-End. Mr. Arthur Watts led the choir, Mrs. V. Brown being organist. During the Mass the bride and bridegroom approached Communion together. At the breakfast, held at the residence of the parents of the bridegroom. Rev. Father O'Sullivan proposed the toast of the bride and bridegroom, and spoke in eulogistic praise of the newly married couple and wished them every success. The bridegroom suitably responded. The toast of the bridesmaids was proposed by Mr. E. Payne and Mr. J. Dineen responded, and that of the parents of the bride and bridegroom was proposed by Mr. F. P. Keogh and responded to by Mr. J. P. Galvin. The happy couple were the recipients of costly and numerous presents. A very pleasant time was spent on the evening of the wedding, when many of their numerous friends were present. (1)

A courtship of the times

It is highly likely that Grace and John had met in Adelaide through the very active local Catholic church youth group, St Patrick’s Literary and Dramatic Society. This group held weekly meetings with debates, impromptu speeches, readings and talks and they were both very active members. So one could suggest that this was indeed fertile ground for young love; weekly meetings, spirited debating and performances. John had turned 19 in 1915 and Grace was 21.

In the photo below they are performing together, most likely in the skit “Rival Forces” as part of an elocutionary evening detailed thus:
L to R Unknown performer,
Grace Payne and John Michael Galvin
The next item consisted of a humorous sketch, entitled "Rival Forces," the following taking part— Miss Grace Payne, Messrs. P. A. Greene, P. O'Reilly, and J. M. Galvin. (2)

At a September meeting in 1915 which focussed on all things Irish, Grace presented a talk on “The five counties” and John’s presentation was entitled “Home Rule”(3).
On another occasion Grace’s impromptu speech topic was “Should Women be Elected to Parliament” while John was required to address the topic of “Bible teaching in State Schools.” (4)

They were also required to act as critics for other speeches and performances.  In November of 1915 when the  new hall at St Patrick’s was opened, a celebratory evening concluded with the court scene  from “The merchant of Venice”  John was Antonio and Grace performed as Portia.

A reporter provided this commentary:Mr. J. M. Galvin gave a good interpretation of Shylock, his enunciation being clear and distinct. Miss G. Payne as Portia was seen at her best. Her reading of the character was excellent, and her elocution proved decidedly attractive. The remaining members of the caste also did well.   (5)

Looking Back - John Michael Galvin's 1968 recollections

After his wife died in 1968, John Michael Galvin wrote a brief history about his ancestors, relations and descendants in Australia. Here he recalled his early years.
It was my very good fortune to meet a most gracious young lady, Grace Walmsley Payne. We were both members of a self-improvement Society - St Patrick' s Literary and Debating Society - which conducted weekly meetings at which papers on current topics would be read by individual members and then would be subjected to criticism by the other members present. 
Apparently at that stage of my life I must have been somewhat assertive in character as it came back to me that Grace had mentioned to some of her girl friends that when she got the opportunity she was going "to take that cocky young Jack Galvin down a peg or two". She did and as I remember the incident it concerned my over emphasis of the letter 'h' in hospital-as she said in her criticism "I would remind Mr Galvin that it is pronounced 'aitch' not 'haitch'.
Something had to be done to atone for that. Something was.
On 2nd November 1917 we were married at St Patrick' s Church, Grote Street Adelaide.
There is much more to be told another day about the lives of this couple, my husband's paternal grandparents, but for now we come full circle to the wedding photo.

Members of the bridal party

Left to right:
Edward John Payne: 1889 -1934 son of Edward Payne and Mary Walmsley, Grace's brother
Kathleen May Dineen: 1898 -1965 daughter of Jeremiah James Dineen and Julia O'Neill, first cousin of 
John Michael Galvin: 1896 - 1971 son of John Patrick Galvin and Catherine O'Neill
Grace Walmsley Payne:1893 -1968 daughter of Edward Payne and Mary Walmsley
James Augustine Dineen: 1894 - 1934 son of Jeremiah James Dineen and Julia O'Neill
Annie Walmsley: daughter of William Walmsley and Henrietta Rogers - Grace's first cousin

It is highly likely that this photo was taken at the time of the wedding breakfast outside the home of John Michael's father John Patrick Galvin. He was a photographer who at various times between 1902 and 1923 operated out of studios in Adelaide and from his home.

  1. 1918 'Family Notices.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 18 January, p. 16, viewed 3 November, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166985060 
  2. 1915 'LITERARY SOCIETIES.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 12 March, p. 12. , viewed 18 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166424633
  3. 1915 'LITERARY SOCIETIES. ST. PATRICK'S LITERARY AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 3 September, p. 12. , viewed 18 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166427424
  4. 1915 'ST. PATRICK'S LITERARY AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY.', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 1 October, p. 9. , viewed 18 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166427833
  5. 1915 'OPENING OF ST. PATRICK'S HALL', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 5 November, p. 14. , viewed 18 Apr 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166428370
  6. 1968 Galvin, John Michael The Galvin Family: Over one hundred years in Australia. Family document held digitally.

This post written by CRGalvin appears at https://earlieryears.blogspot.com/2018/04/dressed-for-occasion.html 


  1. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at


    Thank you, Chris


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