Isabella Robley, the daughter of George Andrew Robley and Doris Tucker was born at Mcpherson's Estate, Wyong in April 1913. She was educated in Wyong Convent school.
On leaving school, became the secretary to a local solicitor and when the business failed she returned to her parents' farm.
She then spent two years at the Missionary and Bible College in Croydon, a suburb in the inner west of Sydney. Sydney Missionary and Bible College is the oldest interdenominational Bible college in Australia. It was established in April 1916 by C Benson Barnett, a returned missionary, with a vision for training men and women for Christian service in Australia and overseas.
Isabella became a Deaconess at the Church of Christ, Tempe.
She then trained in nursing at the Marrickville District Hospital and it was during her training there that she met her future husband Captain Ernest Donald Ross, who was a patient. Captain Ross, of the Salvation Army, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in October 1907.
He always retained his interest in farming, but his real vocation was with the Salvation Army.
From 1944 to 1948 Addison Road Marrickville,was the Leave and Transit Depot for NSW. – All servicemen who returned from overseas or passing through Sydney had to report at Marrickville first. Here they were medically examined and received leave passes before catching their train home. – 20,000 servicemen passed through the depot in a single month in 1944. – It also included the wounded who were brought to the drill hall which had been converted to a Regimental Aid Post before being allocated to local hospitals.
Ernest Donald was a Salvation Army Officer, attached to the Australian Armed Forces, having been accepted for service with the Armed Forces as a representative of the Salvation Army in March 1942.This service was conditional in that he would receive neither pay nor uniform and would be subject to Military Discipline. He was granted the status of an Officer but without recognised Military Rank.
A close relationship between The Salvation Army and Australian service personnel has lasted from the Boer War, through two World Wars, the Korean War, the armed policing actions in Malaya and Borneo, Vietnam, U.N. service in Somalia and Cambodia, and operation "Desert Storm".
In May 1941 Isabella started her training at the Salvation Army Training College, which is a two year residential course, and was appointed to the Botany Corps prior to her marriage. She married Ernest Donald in 1943. She remained an Officer for the rest of her life attaining the rank of Brigadier. Her husband was already an Officer in the Salvation Army when they first met. After her marriage she served for 29 years in the social services and people's palace work. In retirement she helped to establish the Corps in Toukley.
The couple had three children, Margaret Elizabeth born in Ipswich, Queensland in November 1943, Jennifer Doris born in Marrickville in May 1945 and John Ernest also born in Marrickville in March 1949.
Ernest Ross died following a long illness at his home in Toukley on 1st. December 1982. Isabella died of cancer on 15th, September 1984 at Summer Hill. Both are buried in the Salvation Army section of Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle.
Written by John Robley, from the research of Eileen S. Young. Photographs from Ancestry.