Mollie (Burmeister) Dorney
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Mollie (Burmeister) Dorney (1916 - 1987)

Mollie Dorney formerly Burmeister
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Australiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 18 Apr 1940 in Elwood, Victoria, Australiamap
Descendants descendants
Mother of [private daughter (1940s - unknown)], , [private son (1940s - unknown)] and [private son (1940s - unknown)]
Died in Hobart, Tasmania, Australiamap
Profile manager: Mark Dorney private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 10 Feb 2017
This page has been accessed 219 times.


The master version of this biography is maintained at

Mollie was born in Perth on 18 May 1915, the daughter of Carl Burmeister and Nell Millard. She moved to Melbourne with her parents in late 1917. Mollie had a younger sister, Helene, born in ca1924.

She attended Shelford Girls Grammar at Caulfield from the ages of six to fifteen, 1923-1932.

After school Mollie apparently spent some time working in her father's jewellery suppliers business. She would occasionally travel to Perth to see her grandparents, with one such occasion mentioned in the social notes of the newspaper in December 1936.

In 1938 Mollie went to Europe with her Aunt Bertha. She stayed in Birmingham for a while and intended to live for a while in England but for some reason it did not work out. In October 1938 she visited France with Aunt Bertha. They returned to England for two weeks and then left to visit America the way back to Australia.

A letter from Mollie to her parents written on 2nd October 1938 is included as Appendix B. It contains much interesting material about conflict with Germany over the Sudetenland.

Mollie married Paul Dorney on 18 April 1940 at Elwood in Melbourne. Mollie wore a graceful gown of off-white lace fashioned over gleaming satin at her wedding. The reception was held at Tudor Court in Caulfield. They had four children together, Anne (1941), Michael (1942), Peter (1944) and Richard (1947).

Mollie and Paul moved to Hobart shortly after the wedding, with Mollie mentioned as a guest at bride-to-be party in July of that year.

Almost the entirety of the mentions of Mollie in the newspaper record are in the Social Notes section. In August 1940 for example, we learnt that she and Paul checked into the Brisbane Hotel, Launceston. It seems she was on her way to Melbourne, for three days later she was recorded amongst the ship passengers leaving Burnie.

A month after Mollie gave birth to her daughter Anne in January 1941, she was the first person to be admitted to the new Calvary Hospital, New Town, which was noted in the newspaper along with an unflattering photo.

In August 1942 it was reported Mollie was on her way to visit her parents in Frankston, taking with her Anne and Michael.

The social notes are detailed, but incomplete. The next mention is July 1943, when she is returning to Hobart with Paul to take up residence at Montagu Street, Lenah Valley. Mollie may have had four children, but she didn't have to do all the work herself. Adverts for a housekeeper appear now and then, with the first noted in January 1945, at which time she was living at 27 Lipscombe Avenue, Sandy Bay. IN a February 1951 advert, Mollie was looking for a “reliable woman” three to four mornings a week and on evening, for cleaning, ironing and babysitting.

In April of 1945 Mollie and Paul attended reception at the City Hall, Hobart, in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

In April 1946, Mollie and the whole family went to live with her parents in Frankston, while Paul undertook a postgraduate course. The stay was to be for six months, but extended to nearly twelve, not returning until March 1947.

From 1947 references to Melbourne trips involve flying. January 1949 saw a holiday at Interlaken. May 1949 saw a staged photo of Mollie reading to all four children, shortly before leaving for a holiday to Victoria, South Australia, and Sydney. It's probable the kids were left with their grandparents in Melbourne.

December 1949 sees the first mention of holidaying at Dodge's Ferry; the family bought their shack there in that year. When they holidayed there in January 1952 it was immediately after entertaining 70 guests at a cocktail party at their Sandy Bay home. In 1950 or 1951 or so the family lived at Dodges Ferrry 6-9 months, after their house at 27 Lipscombe Avenue was sold but the house at 33 Willowdene Avenue wasn’t ready to move into. Mollie drove the kids to school each day in Hobart.

October 1950 shows another staged photo of Mollie at Wrest Point, with her sister and brother-in-law and family friends the Footes. They had apparently been dining and dancing. Mollie appeared many more times in the Social Notes that have not been mentioned here.

Mollie and Paul's honeymoon was delayed for many years because of the war but they eventually travelled to Europe, spending six months away and leaving the children behind in Hobart. This is the kind of trip you would expect to be mentioned in the Social Notes, but no mention has been found, suggesting the holiday took place after 1955. In November 1956 Mollie and her family took their new Mercedes on the boat from Devonport to Melbourne to attend the Olympic Games there.

Mollie had eight grandchildren, from Anne, Carol (1963), Phillip (1965), Shaun (1967) and Martin (1971), from Michael, Rebecca (1971) and Brent (1973) and from Peter, Mark (1973) and Sarah (1983).

The only other story I have been given about Mollie (related by her daughter-in-law Sue) is that before she met Paul she had another boyfriend that she was keen to marry. For whatever reason, the marriage did not go ahead and her boyfriend ended up marrying someone who became physically and mentally unwell and spent his lifetime caring for her. In about 1978, after she had separated from Paul, but while she was still caring for him Mollie went on a holiday to Melbourne. She told her family that she was staying with her grandson Mark and his mother, and she did visit them, but spent most of her time with her old boyfriend.

Mollie was not an outgoing or excitable person but she was a nice person who genuinely cared for others. She also did not appear to have any strong interests or ambitions, although she did become quite religious later in her life.

Mollie's seventieth birthday was spent with her children and their families at the Revolving Restaurant on the top floor of the Wrest Point Casino.

Mollie and Paul separated later in life. Mollie was later troubled by bowel cancer and passed away in Hobart in December 1987.

Browse newspaper articles about mentioning Mollie at

DNA Confirmation

  • Paternal relationship is confirmed by an AncestryDNA test match between Mollie's son Peter Dorney and Peter's second cousin once removed Megan Stanway. Megan is a daughter of Roy Stanway and their most recent common ancestors are John Taylor Stanway and Mary Ann Luxton. They share 100 cM over 4 segments.
  • Maternal relationship is confirmed by an AncestryDNA test match between Mollie's son Peter Dorney and Peter's third cousin kuralrdmd. kuralrdmd is the daughter of Keith Butcher. They share 24 cM across 1 segment. In addition Peter shares 26 cM over 1 segment with his third cousin twice removed Jack Donovan. Jack is the great-grandson of Vera Slade.


  • I'm her grandson!

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Mollie by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Mollie:

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