b. 1859, d. 13 March 1914
Euphemia Steer (Forrest)
FatherAlexander Forrest1
MotherAnnie (?)1

Birth, Death, Marriage

Euphemia Forrest was born in 1859 in Mundulla, South Australia.2 
She married Philip Steer, son of Edward Steer and Ann Dutnall, in 1879 in Wellington, South Australia.3 
She died on 13 March 1914 in Kerang, Victoria.4 


Philip Steer b. 2 Jul 1855, d. 11 Aug 1937
ChartsMcDonald, Irene, pedigree chart
Steer, Edward, descendant chart


Euphemia grew up in South Australia and married Philip Steer in Bordertown near the Victorian border. The couple had six children, all born in Victoria, though two died very young. Most of her adult life was spent in Lake Boga raising family and being involved in the family businesses, including a 'News Agency and Fancy Goods Depot' and the Federal Coffee Palace. Euphemia died in Kerang of typhoid fever aged 49.
We know little of Euphemia's childhood, but it would have been spent around Mundulla where she was born or nearby Bordertown where she married Philip.
Family Life near Kaniva
Philip and Euphemia married in Bordertown in South Australia in 1879. It seems the couple chose the Victorian side of the border to live and work, with all six children born in Victoria.

Within a year of their marriage, the first child Alice Euphemia was born, in Dinyarrak, near Lillimur. A Mrs Forrest, probably Euphemia's mother, helped with the birth. The next two children, Margaret and Helen were born in Lillimur in 1883 and 1885. Robert was born in nearby Kaniva in 1889. Sadly, the same year, Robert died aged just three months and Helen died aged three years. There was an outbreak of typhoid in the area in 1889. The last to be born in the area was Albert, born 1890 in Yearinga; Mrs Forrest also helped with this birth.

Alice and Margaret most likely attended school at nearby Lillimur.5,6
Philip and Euphemia Steer (Forrest)
Wagon Trip to Lake Boga
Whether to leave behind the tragic deaths of the two young children, or with the hope of better farming prospects elsewhere, Philip and Euphemia decided to move from near Lillimur. The three children were loaded into horse-drawn wagons and they headed to Lake Boga, south of Swan Hill. This was around 1890, so Alice would have been about ten, Maggie about seven and Albert still a baby.7
Family Life in Lake Boga
When the family first moved to Lake Boga, Philip built a four-roomed cottage on his ten acre property. This is where Beatrice was born. The cottage was to be the family home for the next 15 years, and so is where the children did most of their growing up. They all attended school in Lake Boga.7
Food consisted of whatever was available at the time, and was quite dependant on the weather and economic conditions. The Federation drought of 1902 and the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 30s were particularly tough times. On a good day it might be lamb that was part of Philip's pay, or Murray cod caught in the nearby Little Murray river. At other times, they might catch a rabbit or two to eat. The water in the nearby lakes was of poor quality, usually too salty. This would cause fruit crops to fail in some years and was known to wipe out whole seasons of many different vegetables. In leaner times, they would have to live on potatoes and onions.
In the big drought of 1902 times were very hard, Grandfather [Philip]found work at a big Station called Murray Downs. Once a fortnight he would walk the 10-12 miles home carrying half a sheep on his back, this was part of his pay. Most of the time they lived on potatoes and onions.8

Lake Boga News Agency and Fancy Goods Depot
Philip Steer, proprietor.
Around 1908, Philip and Euphemia ran a newsagency and 'fancy goods' depot. His granddaughters, Nene Courtie (Doris McDonald) and Bub Williams (Violet McDonald), remember him growing peanuts just up the road from the shop. When Euphemia died in 1914, their daughter Beatrice helped her father look after the shop.9,10,11
The Lake Boga News Agency and Fancy Goods Depot, Philip Steer, proprietor 1912
Federal Coffee Palace
Also around 1908, Euphemia owned and operated the Federal Coffee Palace. Unfortunately, in February 1909 she was forced to sell the business due to ill-health.12
Euphemia Steer's Federal Coffee Palace, Lage Boga
Lake Boga Properties
At the time of her death, Euphemia had two properties in her name. This may have been to separate them from Philip's other current and planned business interests.

One was the newsagency and bakery, and described as 'half an acre of land with a weatherboard shop and dwelling of four rooms, a baker's oven and house and stables, enclosed by a picket and post and wire fence'.

The other was described as 'ten acres with a five roomed weatherboard house, enclosed by a post and wire fence'. One of the grandchildren, Nene (McDonald), once said that grandpa grew peanuts up the road from the newsagency, surely this second property.13,14
Death at Age 49
Euphemia died of typhoid fever at age 49. At the time, she was staying with her daughter Margaret Cook in Kerang.

At the time of her death, Euphemia had at least five grandchildren, Doris, Irene, Donald and Violet McDonald, and Philip Francis Steer. Two other grandchildren, Alan Steer and Philip Lee, were born the year she died.


  1. [S147] Great War Index Victoria 1914-1920: Indexes to births deaths and marriages in Victoria, CD-ROM, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1997, death registration no. 2112.
  2. [S361] Beatrice Maud Steer, birth registration no. 26902, 12 July 1893.
  3. [S368] Genealogy SA online database search, index, Philip Steer and Euphemia Forrest entry, marriage registration no. 120/872, 1879.
  4. [S370] Euphemia Steer, death registration no. 2112, 13 March 1914.
  5. [S362] Alice Euphemia Steer, birth registration no. 15067, 17 August 1880.
  6. [S378] Albert Edward Steer, birth registration no. 24344, 16 August 1890.
  7. [S376] From the Memories of the Life of Beatrice Lee, unpublished, 1987, p. 1.
  8. [S376] From the Memories of the Life of Beatrice Lee, unpublished, 1987, p. 2.
  9. [S333] The Progress of Swan Hill and District: Introducing Ultima, Lake Boga, Nyah, etc., self published, 1912.
  10. [S58] Violet 'Bub' Williams, personal communication.
  11. [S52] Doris 'Nene' Courtie, personal communication.
  12. [S539] 'Lake Boga: Sale of valuable township property', Bendigo Advertiser, 1853-2003, newspaper, RR Haverfield, 11 February 1909, p. 8, viewed 10 August 2014, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/89403608
  13. [S363] 'Euphemia Steer', VPRS 28 Probate and Administration Files, no. 143955, probate, 1915.
  14. [S52] Doris 'Nene' Courtie, personal communication, 10 November 2001.