Many of you will be aware of the tragic story of Natalie Jean Wood whose body was found in her Surry Hills home recently. It appears she passed away some eight years ago – unnoticed by anyone. She may have died at the start of the decade but it seems her heart was broken many years before.
Born Natalie Jean Davis in 1924 to Herbert John Davis and Phyllis Maude Newlyn she grew up in Surry Hills, spending her early life in a house in Sophia Street (now the site of the Australian Institute of Music). In the early 1930’s the family moved into the Kippax Street residence that was to be her home for the rest of her life.
When she met husband Douglas George Wood is uncertain. An Able Seaman with the RAN and a machinist by trade it is highly likely that Douglas and Natalie met whilst he was serving on the HMAS Australia and married whilst the ship was in Sydney being repaired after its last battle in WW2.
The wedding took place at St. David’s Church in Arthur Street, Surry Hills (now replaced by apartments) – just around the corner from her home in Kippax Street. Her parent’s permission to marry (Natalie was only 20 at the time) was provided in writing – odd, given that they were so close to home.
It’s hard to know where the marriage went wrong for Natalie and Douglas. Just two years later, in 1947, Douglas is living back in Victoria, the place of his birth, whilst Natalie remained in Sydney. They divorced in Victoria at the end of 1950. Five years later, Natalie’s father Herbert dies in hospital.
It’s difficult to learn much more from the records as laws, quite rightly, restrict access to more recent information.
Filling in the blanks, Natalie appears to have led a lonely life, her emotions hemmed in by her environment and her experience of love. She may have died alone eight years ago but the life went out of her long before that.