She and her sisters moved to South Africa when their father, Martin, went to seek work in Johannesburg, near the goldfields after the discovery of gold on the Reef. # 1B Query 2 (await from Lucy) which started the second gold rush after the end of the Anglo-Boer War.???
[Diamonds were mined in Kimberley from about the late 1870's. The first diamond was discovered by Capt. Rolleston in 1870 and in 1886 gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand by George Harrison.  The Rand gold rush and the development of the shanty town of Johannesburg was between approx. 1887 to 1895 (?) and second gold rush took place after the Boer War ended - 1902.]

Winnie thought that the Nolans arrived in South Africa in 1903 or 1904, but that Martin's wife and son, Anthony Nolan, [aged about 14] remained in Sydney.  In any case, no mention was ever made to us of either of them being in Johannesburg with Martin and the daughters.  It was presumed that mother and son remained in Sydney where Anthony was attending school, but this has not been confirmed.
***
At that time, a couple of years after the beginning of the century, the girls were approximately 19, 18 and 17 and they, like their father, would have needed to find employment.   Mabel obtained a position with one of the Departmental stores, Norman Anstey's, where she became very friendly with one of the store's Buyers, eventually becoming a Buyer herself for one of the departments.

From her daughter, Winnie's, recollection ? Ma always talked about her life as a Buyer for Norman Anstey and the people she met through business, so I presume she must have been about 20.  I always heard that they [Mabel and Winnie Nolan] were considered two of the prettiest girls in Johannesburg, so they must have known quite a few people there.  I don't know what Winnie or Ruby did.?

Winnie Sturman gave us a portrait photograph of Ma, taken at about this time, in a very fashionable outfit and stunning hat, which shows her as really very good looking.
[Refer to NF2 - Lucy Tarr's contribution - where she mentions that Sarah Nolan left Johannesburg with Anthony (Sonny) when he was 18 months old due to the asthma he suffered there.  This would have been in 1891.  His problem was probably caused by the dusty environment of the mining camp and not the dry climate, which would have been more beneficial than the humidity of Sydney, Australia.]
*** QUERY: If the family had already arrived in South Africa by 1891 (or before) it is difficult to trace what happened to the three daughters, Mabel aged 9, Winnie aged 7, and Ruby only 5 years old after their mother left Johannesburg with Anthony and for the following ten years.  Mabel always claimed that she never returned to live in Australia.  Did Sarah leave these children in the care of their father alone or with foster-parents?  No information of this kind was ever mentioned.  We know that the two older girls were both in Johannesburg at the end of the Boer War (1902) and, by then, Mabel was working for Norman Anstey's.  Does this mean they were there from 1891 to 1902?   It is known that Martin worked in the building trade in New York and believed that this was in about 1897, so it could be that the girls, aged 15, 13 and 11 were in Johannesburg then but I do question whether earlier than that they would have been there on their own, with Ruby only 5 years old in 1891.