SS "Wilcannia" 1888
Fawcett coat of arms
Fawcett coat of arms



Cora Louisa Carmela Diacono 1878 – 1937

Cora Fawcett (nee Diacono) 1878—1937) was born Cora Louisa Carmela Diacono on New Years Day 1878 in England. Her father was Frederick Robert Diacono (1854— 1898) an Italian/Maltese born in Alexandria, Egypt.Frederick Diacono Her mother was Louisa Annie Philipine Wiss (1855 — 1879) an English girl of Swiss descent.
Louisa Annie Philipine Wiss In 1879, Cora‘s parents set sail for Alexandria, Egypt, to be with her paternal grand parents, Giuseppe and Carmela Diacono. In transit, Cora‘s mother Louisa Annie died at sea.
Frederick, now with a motherless baby, left Cora with his parents in Alexandria and continued on to the island of Cyprus. The survival rate of children in Egypt was low, and this may well have been the reason why Cora was fed on Ass‘s milk. During her short time with her paternal grandparents, Cora‘s first language was Italian as this was the language spoken in the home. Her Grandmother, Carmela, spoke both Italian and Maltese.

Around 1881 the Orabi Revolution broke out in Egypt, and Foreigners (non–Egyptians) were being murdered in the streets of Alexandria. The Diacono family fled Alexandria for Malta where, in 1882, Cora celebrated her 4th Birthday. By this time her Father had re–married to Virginnie Lapierre ( 1854 — 1937), and was living in the Lapierre mansion on the Lapierre Estate in Kontea, Cyprus. (later referred to as “a Castle” in Cora‘s translation from Italian to English).
Cora in Egypt c1881
In 1882, Frederick went to Malta to get his daughter. Together they returned to Cyprus where, far from being a convivial environment, her stepmother harassed her which ended in Cora being “pushed” down a flight of steps and breaking her ankle. Around 1885, Frederick could see that Cora was not going to fit into his new family which had by now expanded by a half sister – Edmeé (1882–ca 1960) and half brothers Louis (1884–1965) and later, Joseph (1887 — 1905).
Louis was born in Tanta, in the high country south of Alexandria, Louisa Isabella WissEgypt, so it is obvious that Cora was with her father in Egypt at that time. Most likely in Ramleh, Alexandria, where the Diacono grandparents had their home.
Cora‘s broken ankle did not heal properly. About 1885, as near as can be ascertained, Frederick took her to England to live with her Grandmother , Louisa Isabella Wiss, who lived in London. She would not have travelled alone because of her age and the Slave Trade which was still rife in the Egyptian areas of the Mediterranean.
Cora Sliema c1882 Cora spoke Italian, and probably some Arabic and Maltese. She was left in a strange country with people she did not know and the experience must surely have scarred her for life. She never saw any member of her immediate Diacono family again.
Cora was educated. On English Census Records, she is recorded as a scholar and later as a seamstress. She looked after her grandmother Louisa Wiss until her death in 1904. By 1905, Cora had met and married Walter Robert Deller Fawcett (1880 — 1952). At this time she was 27 years old, a Spinster with a turned foot who had devoted her adult life to looking after her maternal Grandmother.
Still in England, Cora had given birth to two sons – Harold (1906 – 1975) and Walter Jr. (1907 — 1968), In 1908 Cora, her husband and two children set out for Australia on the “SS Wilcannia” arriving in 1909. They were virtually penniless on arrival. The family headed for Gunnedah, in New South Wales where Walter Snr‘s skills at handling farm livestock was to be tested. (He knew about managing horses though nonetheless)
Map Of Cyprus Over time, Cora had three daughters and another son. Eva Louise Sarah ( 1912 — 2007), Phyllis May (1914 — 2008), Leslie William ( 1917 — 1996) and Lily (1920 – still alive in 2009).
Eventually the family settled in Central Bucca, North–West of Coffs Harbour. Cora worked hard, reared her children and by 1930, she had finally met three cousins from Ceylon, sons of Frederick‘s brother, William Diacono – Remo, Arno and Otto Diacono who were in Australia around that time.
Frederick had a brother Robert, also born in Alexandria. Robert‘s eldest daughter, Aida, married Hugh Raymond Guy Poate, and Australian Army Surgeon, in Cairo in 1916, during WW1. Cora apparently did not know she had another cousin living in Australia. Aida died in 1952, the year her husband was knighted by the Queen.
By 1937 it was obvious that Cora was ill. She died in Coffs Harbour on 1st December 1937, her step mother, Virginnie, died in Cyprus on 11th May 1937.
Lapierre Mansion Kontea Cyprus Walter Snr., her husband, died in 1952 and they are buried together in Coffs Harbour Cemetery. In 1974, The Turkish Army over–ran the North of Cyprus and destroyed everything in their path. The Lapierre Mansion was reduced to rubble. Frederick‘s grave is still intact in Kontea.
Lapierre mansion today Frederick‘s son, Louis (1884–ca 1985) married Despo Vlanda. Of Louis‘ seven children, one son, Harry (1914 ca 1984) married Kista Tsiropina (ca 1914–2008). They in turn have two sons, still alive, Louis and Manolis Diacono, living in Nicosia – governed by the Turkish Army.
It is sad to think that, in 1909, Cora travelled the Mediterranean via Suez to reach Australia – passing by her known relatives and where both her parents had died.

Ramleh Egypt