Historical information

Clara Jane Matthews was born in 1870 as the eldest daughter of Robert Matthews. She married William Frederick Busse on the 5th of December, 1894 at St Columb’s church, Hawthorn. Clara and her husband lived on Main Street in Chiltern, and her husband was a Clerk of Courts in Chiltern and Wodonga throughout his life.

Clara and William also owned a 640 acre farm called Clairedale Park, four miles (6.5km) outside of Barnawartha. They had both crops and sheep on the property, and adopted innovative farming practices. It appears that Clara was heavily involved in the farm business, as she is listed as a purchaser of sheep in multiple stock reports between 1914 and 1918. This is very unusual for the era, as women were not generally involved in stock markets, especially if her husband was still alive. Clara’s husband’s work at the court likely meant that he wasn’t able to travel to the markets in order to purchase stock. Clara’s taking the reigns in this manner was highly unusual, and signals just how strong of a woman she must have been.

Clara Busse died in Chiltern in 1968, when she was 98 years old.
She is also the mother of Wilfred C Busse, who was an author and a member of the Chiltern Athenaeum.


This photograph is of a woman who lived most of her life in Chiltern, and undoubtedly contributed to the community of the town within her 98 years. She will most likely be remembered as the wife of William Frederic Busse, Clerk of Petty Sessions, or as the mother or Wilfred Clarence Busse, author and barrister. Although the records of her time almost entirely connect her with the men of her life, her father, husband and then her son, some digging can reveal that she was an entire person of her own, who broke norms of her time and is worthy of being remembered for her own sake.

Physical description

Black and white rectangular photograph printed on matte photographic paper mounted on board in a textured metallic frame

Inscriptions & markings

Clara Jane Busse /
(nee Mathews) /
Mother of W. C. Busse /