A German-born woman turned into a ‘crazy cat lady’ when she followed her lover from England to the Aussie outback only to find that he had fallen in love with someone else.
In the 1880’s Annie ‘Bags’ Ferdinand scrimped and saved so that she could travel to Australia in search of her lost love who had moved to the country in search of gold.
Without money or mode of transportation Annie walked through NSW and Queensland looking for her red-headed love.
Townsville-based author Colin Hooper tells the tale in North Queensland Deserted Towns, Charter Towers – Ravenswood – Cape River.
“She wandered the mining fields dressed in sacks and carried a bag over her shoulder which most often contained a cat or two and she always had a pack of skinny dogs with her. She had clean bag dresses and nice long hair and one story tells how she wheeled a pram containing a cat with six kittens from Croydon to Georgetown.”
By the time Annie found her man, he had already married another woman. This led to the further deterioration of her mental state and in 1910, Annie died of chronic mania and pthisis. She was buried in Townsville’s West End Cemetry.
Mr Hooper said he attempted to honor the ‘old timers’ like Annie Bags in his books.
“A lot of my stories are about swaggies and ordinary blokes who roamed Australia, let’s face it Annie Bags was a swaggy,” he said.
“You can always find a lot of information about people who had status but the everyday people weren’t always well documented. They weren’t considered important people.
“It’s taken a long period of around 30 years to collect stories about the various towns and people and put it all together.”