Compiled by Janice Calcei from notes by Gwen Wells
Updated: 16 April 2023
Catherine (Kate) Slattery was born in 1874 and was the seventh child of Patrick and Rose Slattery of Ferguson. Her siblings were Patrick, Bernard (Barney), Mary Ann (Harris), Edward, Daniel, James and Rose (Rodgers).
Kate married George Harris, son of Thomas and Bridget Harris, in 1898 at the Catholic Church at Dardanup.
On 2 November 1899, only one year after they were married, George was killed in an accident at Dardanup Park when an iron winch handle hit his head while he was attending to a bore being constructed by the Government. Kate was left with a small son Gregory George, to support.
In 1903, to provide for herself and her son, Kate started a small shop in the front room of her house. It was situated in Charlotte St, alongside Morrisey’s Butcher Shop, between the current General Store and the Dardanup Tavern.
She married William Henry (Harry) Prout, of Wellington Mills, in 1908. They married in the Catholic Church and celebrated with cake and wine afterwards. Harry was employed at Millers Timber Trading Company as an overseer for the timber yards situated at the end of Charlotte St, on the corner of Cleary Road.
Together they produced sons, William (Bill), Ernest (Ernie), Ronald (Ron) and Arnold (Dick). Ernie died at the age of five on 6 October 1915 after he was kicked by a horse in the main street of Dardanup and sustained a skull fracture.
Kate was busy with a young family and around 1911 her business was taken over by her nephew Joseph Gregory Slattery. He purchased her stock for about fifty pounds and ran the business from the premises she owned. By March 1916 Joseph Slattery was in the Bankruptcy Court with debts of one hundred and fifty pounds.
George Fee recorded in his diary on August 29 1915 – “Harry Prout is ill”. Once again tragedy struck when Harry Prout died on the 9 April 1916 at the sanatorium in Wooroloo.
The Southern Times, 9 May 1916 reported that “Mrs C Prout has taken over the business lately carried on by Mr J G Slattery as a general storekeeper at Dardanup”.
Joseph Slattery enlisted on the 4 October 1916, and went off to the war with another local, Lewis Poad.
Kate’s son Gregory George Harris eventually took over the business and built the current Dardanup General Store in 1935. Renovations and additions have been carried out since then. The business grew to include groceries, hardware, tobacco amongst a wide range of household requisites. He also had a large list of agencies including Victoria Insurance, International Harvesters, Southern cross windmills and Engine Co, and Yates Seeds.
Catherine Prout died on 20 November 1952 at the age of 78. She is buried beside her son Ernest and husband William in the Catholic cemetery at Dardanup.
- Notes on Catherine Prout from Gwen Wells.
- Spectacular Fire Guts Store at Dardanup, West Australian, Wednesday 17 March 1954, page 8
- Death Notice – Prout, West Australian, Friday 6 October 1916, page 1
- Photographs of Kate Prout and Prout’s Store; from Gwen Wells