• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0997

Cameron, Bessy

(1851 – 1895)
  • Born 1 January, 1851, Nyungar country Western Australia Australia
  • Died 12 January, 1895, Victoria Australia
  • Occupation Teacher


Bessy Cameron was educated at a ‘native institution’ (later known as Annesfield) at Albany, opened in 1852 by Anne Camfield, a teacher and governess. Bessy took her certificate of Proficiency with honours, and was sent to Sydney to attend a ‘model school’, where she became an accomplished pianist. In 1866 she returned to Albany to help Mrs Camfield in the school and was employed as church organist. In 1867 Bessy was sent to the Moravian Ramahyuck mission as a teacher. Not being able to marry a European man of her choice, she was transferred to Lake Tyers, were she married Donald Cameron, a Jupagilwournditch man from Ebenezer in 1868. Bessy lost her initiative and enthusiasm, which was reflected in a marked deterioration in her status. Her married years were spent moving from Ramahyuck to Lake Tyers and back, in a struggle to support her four surviving children. Her marriage deteriorated, and in 1887 Bessy fell seriously ill following another miscarriage. The rest of her life was spent battling to prevent the forceful removal of her children and grandchildren.

Published resources

  • Book
    • Efforts made by Western Australia towards the betterment of her Aborigines, Bates, Daisy, 1859-1951. (compiled from statistics, records, etc., under the direction of the Registrar General), 1907
  • Book Section
    • Bessy Cameron, Radi, Heather, [1988]
  • Edited Book
    • 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Radi, Heather, 1988
  • Resource
    • Trove
  • Resource Section

Related entries

  • Related Concepts
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women