Mary Raine (1877 – 1960)
Mary Raine’s story is inspirational. Her humble beginnings were an unlikely launching pad for the success and wealth she came to achieve in her lifetime. Through hard work and the application of business acumen rarely seen in a woman in the early years of the 20th century, Mary Raine went on to build a large real estate empire.
She was a visionary and saw the establishment of the Raine Foundation as a unique opportunity for her life’s work to live on in perpetuity – to grow and develop into something more important and more valuable than the business success and wealth that she had personally achieved. She did this by giving scientists and clinicians the means and opportunity to embark on medical research and to seek answers to questions that were not known in her lifetime. This gift has seen outstanding results and better health outcomes in medical research and will continue to grow and benefit future generations of medical scientists while providing better health outcomes for the general community.
“The Mary Raine Story – From Putney to Perth”, written by Meg Sangster, is available for purchase online.
Mary Raine is born
Born Mary Carter in London in 1877, Mary was the eldest of 13 children of a Putney shopkeeper.
In 1900 at the age of 23, Mary and her sister Daisy set out for Australia in the steamer Jumna – a formidable expedition for two young women at the time whose entire fortune was approximately £100.
The woman who created the Raine Foundation had a remarkable life, with a humble beginning that gave no hint to her later wealth and generosity.
Mary’s first job was at the Hotel Metropole, and later at the Central Hotel. She earned £1.10.0d per week and by dint of frugal living, she was able to save £1.7.6d. It was from these tenuous beginnings that the foundations of a vast real estate empire were built and, ultimately, the creation of the Raine Medical Research Foundation.
After her brief first marriage Mary directed her energies to her growing business, and showed shrewd judgement in buying much property during a boom in the 1920s. A small hotel, which she rebuilt and names ‘The Wentworth’ was later to become her home and flagship, and the core of Raine Square in the Central Perth Business District.
Arnold “Joe” Raine was born in 1890 in Victoria, but grew up in Perth. He became a master pearler at Broome, Western Australia, later a farmer and businessman.
Joe and Mary were married in 1943 and together they ran the business empire. Sadly, Joe died in 1957 at the age of 67. the cause was arteriosclerosis, which caused first a disabling stroke, and soon after a fatal brain haemorrhage. After considerable soul searching Mary decided to renounce her interest in her husband’s Will in favour of the University and, as a result, the Raine Medical Research Foundation was formally established in 1957.
The Raine Medical Research Foundation is established
The Raine Medical Research Foundation was established through a generous bequest to The University of Western Australia by Mary Raine. Formally instituted in 1957 through a Deed of Trust, the Raine Foundation has actively supported medical research in Western Australia for the past sixty years to where it has now contributed funds in excess of $50m. Its support for scores of research projects, as well as visiting professorships, research fellows, undergraduate scholarships and research prizes, gives it an almost unique position in the advancement of learning in this state.
It is typical of the woman who created the Raine Foundation that she specifically asked that no buildings be raised as a monument to her, or to her beloved Joe, but rather that the “net income of the Fund shall be applied towards seeking, diagnosing and investigating the nature, origin and cause of disease in human beings, and the prevention, cure, alleviation and combating of such diseases“. It is particularly noteworthy that the bequest of £1m in 1957 equates to £20m at today’s currency rate or approximately $A40m.
“The Long Day Closes”
The following tribute was published in The Hotel Review on 29 February 1960.
A long association with hotelkeeping in this State was ended with the passing on 3rd February of Mrs Mary Bertha Raine, after an illness of four months.
The late Mrs Raine, formerly Mrs Thomas, had extensive property interests including the Wentworth, United Service and Bohemia Hotels, Perth, and the Windsor Hotel, South Perth.
Her Husband, Arnold Yeldham Raine, predeceased her in February, 1957.
Much of her estate will be directed to the University medical School in the form of a trust to be known as the Arnold Yeldham and Mary Raine Medical Research Foundation. A splendid gesture for which she will be remembered and honoured.
The Raine Study is born
In 1989 the Raine Foundation awarded its largest Research Grant valued at $637,000 for a project entitled: “The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study” – subsequently renamed The Raine Study. This study, which initially involved almost 3,000 pregnant women and their offspring, has continued to monitor the children and their families for almost 27 years. It is regarded as one of the most extensive longitudinal studies of pregnancy and childhood and continues to make a major contribution to the future of medical science. In 2002 the Raine Foundation acknowledged the significance of The Raine Study with a special grant of $300,000, with ongoing support continuing to this day.