International Women’s Day

Effie Baker

In the heart of Victoria there is the small townships of Dunolly, Moliagul and Goldsborough. All are related and important to the history of Australia. The welcome stranger gold nugget, the largest alluvial gold nugget found in the world was found at Moliagul, and was accepted by a bank in Dunolly; The reverend John Flynn the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor service, who’s photo appears on the Australian $20 note, was born at Moliagul, and a short distance away in Goldsborough, a most amazing and inspiring woman, Effie Baker was born, and lived. She was associated with both the welcome stranger nugget and John Flynn and became, because of her interest in all things the first woman in Australia to accept the teachings of Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith, after learning of the Faith from John Henry and Clara Dunn.

Effie was born in Goldsborough in 1880 and was associated in her very early years with John Flynn and had a gold broach with a chip from the welcome stranger nugget given her by the bank manager of the Lloyd bank who accepted the welcome stranger nugget.

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During her later years I had the bounty of knowing Effie, as she spent many evenings in our home in Ballarat telling stories of her life. She was an expert photographer using in those days a large box brownie glass half plate camera travelling throughout Persia in the 1920’s photographing historic Baha’i sites, an accomplished artist and painter, painting what is known to be the first series of paintings of Australian wild flowers, and she was interested in anything of a practical and technical nature. Because of a dedicated life of service to others, her humbleness, her practical abilities and artistic and technical abilities, Effie was one of the most inspiring, humble and amazing woman I have ever known.

Story contributed by John Handley.