Shariffe Lettoof was the daughter of peasant farmers from Bsharri in the Lebanon Mountains. She married Anthony Coory and in the mid-1880s, with their infant daughter Amelia, the couple sought their fortunes in Australia.
About 1892 the Coorys moved to Dunedin where they joined a close-knit Lebanese community of “ mostly hawkers “ in Walker Street.
The Coorys opened a fancy-goods store before moving into importing. Shariffe, the driving-force in the business, also set up a workshop where Lebanese women made shirts and aprons for the hawkers to sell.
The Coorys generosity to their fellow migrants taxed their resources but this did not stop Shariffe providing clean and affordable dwellings for bachelor tenants.