(The master version of this biography, which includes images, is maintained at http://www.dorneyfamilyhistory.net/famtree_web/History_dorney.pdf)
The first child of James and Elizabeth, Edward was born in Warrnambool in 1870 and he married his wife, Nellie Rubina Mills there in 1902. They had seven children together, four girls and three boys, three of whom died in early or middle childhood.
Edward had two trades, that of coachpainter and that of bookmaker (both legal, and, apparently illegal). He also spent at least some time as a jinker salesman. His job while a coachpainter was to do the swirls and lettering found on the coaches in those days. He was very good at this craft.
His bookmaking activities caused him to become a well-known and respected individual in Warrnambool. He had a very loud voice which was well suited to this line of work.
When younger he was apparently a bit of a drinker, and would become quite violent with it, but he took the pledge and never drank again; and no one can recall him drinking. He was always well dressed and his grandchildren remember being frequently given gifts of sweets and money, although Nelda remembers being quite annoyed because she was considered too old to get treats.
He was active in the Warrnambool Football Club from 1888, in the late 1890s he was named as an umpire for numerous football matches.
He also represented the Warrnambool Football Club on the Western District League, and in 1927 was awarded a gold life membership badge in recognition of his services.
He was a card caller at the Koroit races in 1916. In 1938 and 1939 he owned and raced a greyhound named Cent Per Cent.
Edward was interviewed as part of Warrnambool’s centenary celebrations, under the theme ‘Reminiscences of early Warrnambool’.
‘Mr E.P. Dorney told the audience he was 78 years of age and felt 35. He was not always intended to be a bookmaker, in fact at an early age he was destined to be a bishop. His main hobby at school was scripture and catechism, his tutor being Rev. Fr. Shanahan. At the age of reason his flair for the bookmaking business asserted itself, and hanging a bag around his neck, he went to Hamilton. A few years later he was asked by the then Dean Shanahan, how business was progressing. When he replied that he was doing extraordinarily well, he received a request which he could hardly refuse, for a donation of £5/5/ for the Hamilton Hospital. Questioned on football, Mr. Dorney said the greatest back man in his opinion was Dr. Ned Officer whose people still lived in Warrnambool. The greatest player he had ever seen was Colin Watson.’
Nellie died in June 1933 in Warrnambool. Edward died some time later in Ascot Vale, Melbourne in April 1948.
The Age, Monday 19 April 1948, page 2
DORNEY. — On April 18, at Mel-bourne, Edward Paul Dorney, of 186 Fairy-st., Warrnambool, dearly be-loved husband of the late Nellie, and loved father of Gwendoline. Reginald (deceased), Charles, Constance (Mrs. Dynon, deceased), and Linda (Mrs T. Ryan), aged 79 years. Requiescat In Pace.
DORNEY.— On April 18, Edward Paul, dearly loved eldest son of the late James and Elizabeth Dorney, of Warmambool, and loved brother of James and Mary (Mrs. G. Kilmartin). Requiescat In pace.
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