(The master version of this biography is maintained at http://www.dorneyfamilyhistory.net/famtree_web/History_dorney.pdf)
William Bernard Dorney was born in 1879. He had a tobacconist’s shop in Penshurst, a township 40km to the north of Warrnambool from at least 1902 to 1913. His shop was broken into on at least two occasions, in 1902 and 1903.
While in Penshurst, he was involved with the football team, but it’s unclear if it was as a player. He donated a clock as a football prize in 1908. In 1913 he had moved his hairdressing business to Chelsea which he maintained until at least 1930. He was also involved with the local football team there, and in 1926 was on the committee of the Chelsea Junior Football Club.
In 1917, while travelling through Frankston on a buggy, he fell and was knocked unconscious. In 1918 he was involved in a raffle to support the Langwarrin Camp Band. In 1919 he was involved in a patriotic fund raffle to support war returnees in Langwarrin Hospital.
The following text appeared in the Warrnambool Standard on March 1, 1923 titled ‘Long Buggy Journey’ – ‘Mr. W Dorney, a former resident of Warrnambool, accompanied by Mr. B. Donovan paid a visit to his native city yesterday in the course of an extended trip. They left Chelsea last Thursday on a 600 mile driving tour of Victoria with a buggy and 13-hands pony’
In 1925, William’s horse and jinker had a minor accident with a motor vehicle. By late 1926, we know he owned a car, because somebody attempted to steal it. William’s dog barked and scared off the intruder, but the car had no petrol in it anyway.
William was extremely fastidious, to the point where when the Warrnambool Dorneys visited him the children were made to wear nightcaps so that they wouldn’t dirty the pillows. Nelda remembers squirting him with a water pistol as a child, and rather than joining in the fun he became so enraged that Nelda had to run to her mother for safety. His grandnephew, Ian, even went so far as to call him an ‘old woman’.
William never married (he was quite possibly gay) and died in 1945 in Cranbourne,
The Argus, Friday 19 October 1945, page 2
DORNEY.— On October 18, at Cranbourne, William Bernard, brother of E. P., Warrnambool; Jas. H., Elwood; N. J., Ascot-vale; son of the late James and Elizabeth Dorney, of Warrnambool, aged 64 years. — R.I P.
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