Mrs Dora Forbes Sorell, the eldest of seven children, was born on at sea on 27 Oct 1839 on the ship Catherine Forbes. Her father Dr John Coverdale, who was born in India in 1814, was a medical practitioner at Richmond, the medical superintendent at Cascades and the Orphan School at New Town and the last commandant and medical officer at Port Arthur. Her mother Anne Harbroe died in 1875 and Dr Coverdale married Edith Jones in 1886.
On 19 Sep 1860 at Richmond, Dora Coverdale married Hugh Percy Sorell (1831-1909), a surveyor, son of William Sorell, Registrar of Van Diemen's Land, and grandson of Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell. They had six sons and five daughters between 1861 and 1882. The first four children were born at Richmond, Amy was born in Hobart and the last six were born at Deloraine, where Hugh was the district surveyor. The third daughter, Dora Coverdale, died aged 10 of scarlet fever in 1881. Five of Mrs Sorell's children are pictured in the Launceston Family Album. The Sorells moved back to Hobart with their younger children in the late 1800s.
Dora was the first president of the Women's National Association, first president of the Women's Political Club, vice-president of the Women's Health Association, vice-president of the Lyceum Club, vice-president of the National Council of Women of Tasmania and a member of the committee of the Victoria League. Dora Sorell died aged 92 on 16 Jan 1932 and was buried at the Cornelian Bay Cemetery. Her husband Hugh Percy had died at their residence 'Thorneycroft', Macquarie Street, Hobart, in May 1909.