by Monica Hammond
Scarlet fever hit Victoria in 1864 and 1865. Mary and Edward Cridge lost four children during that tragic time: Frederick, who was a 10-month-old baby when he died; Edward, aged 7 years; Eber, who was 6 years old; and little Grace, aged two.
A few years later, in 1868, many children in Victoria were once again dying of communicable diseases. Even though the Cridges were no doubt still grieving the loss of four of their own children three years earlier, they offered comfort to the families who were now losing children to disease.
The Cridges’ remaining children were also battling illness – colds, measles, and whooping cough. Their daughter Rhoda was especially ill, suffering from convulsions. She survived, along with her brother Richard. The Cridges went on to have three more children.
The resilience of Mary and Edward Cridge through these difficult times is a true testament to their faith and determination, which manifested itself in so many ways during the early years of the city of Victoria.
This piece is based on the work of Vernon Storey, Terry Worobetz and Henry Kennedy in their book The Home: Orphans’ Home to Family Centre: 1873 to 1998. Copies of the book are available for purchase at The Cridge Centre for the Family.