The Paddington Cemetery Part 4





“One fond kiss and then we sever,

One farewell, alas, for ever!

Deep in heart wrong tears I’ll pledge thee,

Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee,

Me, -no cheerful twinkle lights me,

Dark despair around benights me.”


“Thy day without a cloud hath passed,

And thou wert lovely to the last;

Extinguished, not decayed;

As stars that shoot along the sky,

Shine brightest as they fall from high.”


“Lo! Where this silent marble weeps,

A friend, a wife, a mother sleeps;

A heart within whose sacred cell

The peaceful virtues loved to dwell.


“So softly death succeeded life in her,

She did but dream of Heaven, and she was there,

No pains she suffered, nor expired with guise,

Her soul was whispered out with God’s still voice.”


An interesting historical character is James Charles Burnett, who died on July 18, 1854, aged 39. He was the oldest surviving son of William Burnett, of “Burnettland,” on the Hunter River, and he entered the service of the Survey Department in Sydney in 1834, when only 15 years of age. In 1842 he was deemed capable of conducting a general examination of the Great Dividing Range, which he followed to the 30th parallel and then came on to Brisbane. He was afterwards engaged on surveys on the Clarence and Richmond, and returned to Moreton Bay and did so much useful and excellent work that he was held in the highest esteem by his department, and by Governor Sir Charles Fitzroy, who requested that his name be given to the Burnett River, and that was done. Burnett had named the Fitzroy River in honor of Sir Charles, who repaid the compliment by requesting that Burnett’s name be given to the famous Burnett River, on which Bundaberg and Gayndah stand today.

     Burnett, like most men in those pioneer days, died at an early age, and was buried in the Church of England cemetery at Paddington, there being a large funeral at which the Rev. Robert Creyke officiated.

     Shortly after his death, his horses were sold by auctioneer Bulgin, father of the late somewhat eccentric “Lord Bulgin,” well known to Brisbaneites. The sale will show the value of horses at that time. A bay colt sold for £14, a bay horse for £17, a grey colt for £36, a brown draught mare for £43, and grey draught for £35, and a solitary mule for £11.

     There was much talk about a tablet to his memory, but so far we have not seen it, unless it is among the fallen and broken stones. The erection of a tablet or small monument to the memory of Burnett would come gracefully from a subscription among the people on the Burnett River.

     He was one of the men who made Queensland history in the old, wild, rough, days, when life was very different from that of the present.

     Arthur Henry Garbutt, of Stockton-on-Tees, and Jane his wife, recall an old time Garbutt family who lived at Coorpooroo, where Thomas C. Garbutt owned a large area of land. He was the man who named Coorpooroo, a word which is sadly mispronounced, being always called “Coorparoo,” whereas “Coorpooroo Jaggin” was the name of the South Brisbane tribe of aboriginals, who pronounced the word Coor-poo-roo with accent on the second syllable.

     Garbutt’s widow married a Dr. Temple, who practiced in Brisbane and died here. After old Garbutt’s death, his horse and buggy were bought by P. R. Gardon, the genial old Caledonian, ex-Inspector of Stock. The horse was a dark chestnut, afterwards owned by Robert Gray, the once well known Under Colonial Secretary, and finally Railway Commissioner, whose first wife was a daughter of Dr. Dorsey, of Ipswich, and sister of the wife of the late Sir Joshua Peter Bell. One of Garbutt’s sons, and brother of the one who died at Cleveland, was squatting for a time on the Logan. This was the F. O. Garbutt, who in after years held a station property in the Herberton district, where he finally kept a hotel at the Coolgarra Hot Springs. He was a big, powerful, specimen of a man. About 25 years ago, he and the present writer entered what is now the York Hotel. Garbutt had a misunderstanding with some aggressive person who had several friends present and while he was engaged in a go-as-you-please combat with the man in front, he was assailed by two of the man’s friends in the rear. This made it necessary for us to take prompt action, and Garbutt and “we” cleared that private bar in one of the shortest times on record. One victim wrote to the “Telegraph,” to ask whether a Queensland magistrate who had broken two of his ribs in a bar room was a suitable man to hold a Commission of the Peace? No name was mentioned, but he referred to “we,” and there was no more about the little episode.

     When Garbutt left the Logan to go north, he was accompanied by Robertson, an old Logan squatter, who afterwards took up Wyroona station on the Wild River, a tributary of the Mitchell. Garbutt is now hotel keeper at Mount Molloy.

     Paulus Bront was a German seaman on board the steamer Shamrock, an old time steamer that ran to Sydney from Brisbane in the days when the small steamers Hawk, Swallow, and Bremer, built by Taylor Winship, ran from Brisbane to Ipswich. The first was the Experiment, built by James Canning Pearce.

     Winship, in those days, had a fine garden and orangery, from where the present Palace Hotel is along the river west to the baths and the North Quay Ferry at South Brisbane. Paulus Bront, on June 26, 1854, was walking ashore from the steamer on a plank, fell off, and was drowned, as scores of men have been since then to the present time, at the Brisbane wharves.

     The Swallow, of Winship, and the Experiment, of Pearce, sank at the wharves in the river, the Swallow drowning her steward as previously mentioned.

     In a Doncaster cemetery is the following quaint epitaph on two brothers:

“Here lyeth two brothers by misfortune surrounded,

One died of his wounds and the other was drowned.”

     Charles Thomas Clay and his wife Elizabeth, buried a five years’ old child on July 31, 1872. Clay was a clerk in the Lands Office in Brisbane, but he got an appointment in the Agent General’s Office in London and left Queensland.

     The second daughter of Montague Stanley, R.S.A., died on June 24, 1864, aged 22. Stanley, as the R.S.A., indicates, was a member of the Royal Society of Artists, and practised his profession in Edinburgh. He was, perhaps, the first professional artist whose family came to Brisbane, and two of his sons became well known men in Queensland. One was F. D. G. Stanley, the Government Architect, who designed a great number of our public buildings, including Parliament House and the Supreme Court, and the other was for many years Engineer for Railways, connected with the department from the time the first section of a Queensland railway was made in 1864, from Ipswich to the Little Liverpool Range, a distance of 21 miles, by Peto, Brassey and Betts, whose tender was for £86,900, or £4,000 a mile. The first Victorian railway cost £38,000 per mile, South Australia £28,000, and New South Wales £40,000.

     The Queensland line from Ipswich to Dalby, crossing the Liverpool and main ranges, cost £10,600.

     Engineer Stanley, son of artist Stanley, was a capable man, whose integrity was never questioned. The first Queensland railways were by far the cheapest and most substantial of all the first Australian tracks, and all constructed since under Stanley or Ballard have held a deservedly high reputation.

     Montague Stanley, the artist, never came to Queensland! He died at Rothsay, in Scotland, but his sons came to Queensland, and the mother and the rest of the family followed. H. C. Stanley, the engineer, has four sons and four daughters one of whom, Pearlie Stanley, married Victor Drury, the solicitor, now practicing at Dalby.

     Architect F. D. G. Stanley had three sons and four daughters. His son, M. T. Stanley married Mary McIlwraith, daughter of Sir Thomas, and her sister Jessie married a Mr. Gostling, now residing at Sherwood. M. T. Stanley is an architect, his brother Ronald is in the Commissioner for Railways Office. One of H. C. Stanley’s sons, also H. C., is now in Townsville, and another son, Talbot, is in charge of the Gayndah extension. A son of F. D. G. Stanley, who died some years ago, is an Inspector in the Works Office. H. C. Stanley, senior, was recently on a visit to Brisbane, which he left last Tuesday. He has an office in Sydney and a branch in Brisbane.

     A man named George Perrin, said to be a descendant of that Perrin who fought the heavy weight, bare handed battle with Johnson, back in the eighteenth century, is buried in the Church of England cemetery. Perrin was one of the stockmen on Burrandowan, when that station was held by Philip Friell, and Gordon Sandeman, who bought it from Stuart Russell, author of the “Genesis of Queensland.”

     Friell was a man with a remarkable history, which would make interesting reading, but would require at least a chapter  for itself. It is enough here to say that he died of heart disease on board the steamer Argo, off Cape Horn, on September 17, 1853, aged 48. He was a son of Captain Friell, who was killed in India, while a captain in the Duke of Wellington’s Own Regiment. Friell’s life was saved on Burrandowan by George Perrin. Friell was asleep under a tree, holding the reins of his bridle, and Perrin was lying face downwards about 20 yards away with his gun beside him. Hearing a slight noise, he raised his head in time to see a tall black close to Friell, and just poising a brigalow hand spear to drive through him. Perrin acted promptly, and the black fell dead with his head within three yards of Friell, who awoke with great celerity.

     Perrin was one of the typical bushmen at the dinner given to the Duke of Edinburgh, in Brisbane, in 1868. The ball to the Duke was given in Christopher Newton and Co.’s store, in Eagle Street. At the dinner the Duke proposed the toast of “The Ladies.” Perrin, just for fun, dined as he would have dined in a shepherd’s hut. He cut his bread in his hand, and used his knife as a fork, drank his tea out of the saucer, with a noise like a cow drinking the last water out of a puddle, and asked a horrified swell opposite to “Chuck us over the mustard mate!”

     Another joker, one of the Coomera River Brinsteads, saw the humour of the situation, and posed as the wild timbergetter.

     He and Perrin caused a lot of amusement, and even the Duke had to smile. Perrin died in 1869, and was buried during heavy rain. Even the grave was half filled with water running down from the side of the ridge. Some grimly humorous bushman remarked “If some rum were mixed with that water it would agree better with old George!”

     Perrin had married an immigrant girl, a most cantankerous person, who gave him an awful time, but one day she was bitten by a black snake and died within an hour. George afterwards said that the snake died first! In a Devonshire cemetery is the following epitaph-

“Margery, wife of Gideon Bligh,

Underneath this stone doth lie,

Nought was she e’er known to do,

That her husband told her to.”

That would have suited Mrs. Perrin’s gravestone, also, we grieve to say, a lot of other ladies’ monuments.

     Henry George Morris, who died in 1865, was a son of the wife of Judge Lutwyche, by her first husband, whose name was Morris. Harry was a young man of only 25 when he died from the effects of some gastric trouble, contracted when on a visit to Kedron Brook. A fall over a stump aggravated the trouble, in fact was supposed to be the fatal agent, and he died on the following day. His sister, Miss Morris, step-daughter of Judge Lutwyche, is now the wife of A. G. Vaughan, the well known Government Printer.

     Judge Lutwyche after whom the Brisbane suburb was named, invariably treated Miss Morris with all the consideration he could have given his own daughter and recognised her as such in his will.

     Paul Lyons Burke, who died on August 26, 1868, aged 35, was secretary of the Brisbane Hospital and a prominent member of the Masonic body, who gave him a Masonic funeral.

     In the Paddington cemetery is an old pioneer, who came out in the early days on a free passage, and went to the “Government boarding house” at Port Macquarie in the time when old Colonel Gray was boss of that reformatory, the same Colonel who was father of Robert Gray, who died as Queensland Commissioner for Railways, and who, as Under Secretary in the Home Office, is still kindly remembered by the old officers of that department. We shall call the free passage pioneer John Brown. He takes us back to the days when old Panton built George Thorn’s house at Ipswich, and kept a store there; when William Hendren returned as member for Bulimba, in 1878, had a draper’s shop opposite where Cribb and Foote are today, and William Vowles had the Horse and Jockey Hotel, kept in after years by Thompson. Vowles was grandfather of Solicitor Vowles, who contested Dalby at the last election with Joey Bell, and was for many years an alderman of Ipswich. He was a Devonshire man, who annually imported a cask of cider, and invited his friends to “come and join.” Present writer drank that cider for three years. John Brown was groom at Vowles’ Hotel, and Vowles sent him to Brisbane on horseback on a special message. At the One Mile Swamp, now called Woolloongabba, Brown’s horse threw him against a tree, and killed him, and he was buried at Paddington.


MARCH 22, 1908



Sweet is true love though given in vain, in vain;

And sweet is Death who puts an end to pain:

I know not which is sweeter, no, not I

Love, art thou sweet! Than bitter death must be;

Love, thou art bitter; sweet be death to me.

O Love, if death be sweeter, let me die.

Sweet love, that seems not made to fade away,

Sweet death that seems to make us loveless clay.

I know not which is sweeter, no not I.

I fain would follow love, if that could be;

I needs must follow death, who calls for me;

Call and I follow, I follow! Let me die.

-“Elaine’s Song” – Tennyson

     A young man named Robert Mauley died on February 14, 1855, aged 23. This rather rare name was once famous among the warriors of a past age. In Scott’s “Lord of the Isles,” is the following passage, giving some of the English knights who fought under Edward at Bannockburn.

“Ross, Montague, and Mauley came,

And Courtney’s pride and Percy’s fame;

Names known too well in Scotland’s war

At Falkirk, Methven and Dunbar,

Blazed broader yet in after years

At Cressy red and fell Poitiers.”

     It may be that the youth in the Paddington cemetery had some of the blood of those old warrior ancestors.

     A man named George Arthur Smith died on March 24, 1868. Smith came to Victoria in 1861, in a ship called the Donald Mackay, which on the same trip brought out the late Bishop Quinn, and Dr. Cani, who afterwards became Bishop of Central Queensland. Also the well known surveyor P O 'Kelly, of Maryborough, a fine old Irish gentleman, a boy of the olden time, who arrived there on January 1, 1863, the year in which no rain fell for ten months, followed by a wet season of four months. George Smith was a ganger on the railway, when the tunnel was being cut through the Little Liverpool Range, and afterwards a sub-contractor under John Gibbons, a contractor who gave his name to “Gibbon’s camp,” known as such for many years on the Toowoomba railway line.

     Gibbons was once partner with Randall in railway and building contracts in New South Wales and the well known “Randall’s Terrace” of nine houses in Newtown, in Sydney, bears Randall’s name as the builder and first owner. House no 9 had the credit of being haunted.

     Smith was injured in a premature blast on the railway, and was brought to the Brisbane hospital, where he died, aged 47. John Gibbons had a stone erected over his grave, but it is amongst those that are smashed. Gibbon’s widow in after years married Detective Sergeant McGlone, who came from Sydney to Queensland, and arrested Frank Gardiner, the bushranger, at Apis Creek, on the road to Clermont where he was living under the name of Christie, and had a small store and butcher’s shop.

     An old time honored Queensland pioneer family are recalled by the graves of John Edmund and William Alexander, two children of John and Margaret Hardgrave. The first was the third son, who died on October 30, 1860, aged a year and a half, and the other died 11 days afterwards at the age of five and a half. He was the first son. The late John Hardgrave was born in Louth, and educated in Dublin. His wife, who survives him, was a Miss Blair, a very handsome woman, who was born at Ballymeena, in Ireland, within 50 yards of the house in which General White was born, and after the death of her parents came to Queensland with her uncle Reed (afterwards engineer of the steamer Hawk), in 1849, and was married six months afterwards to John Hardgrave. The young couple at first resided in one of three brick cottages built up in the convict days as residences for the officials, and situated where Ned Sheridan’s shop is today, near the Longreach Hotel, where the convict workshop and lumber yard stood in those old wild days. The soldier’s barracks were on the corner  now occupied by the Geological Museum. One of the brick cottages was afterwards fixed up as the first Church of England in what is now Queensland. Mrs. Hardgrave saw that church opening by the Bishop of Newcastle, she attended there for fifty years and then saw it pulled down. How many people go to church for 50 years?

     She had five sons and three daughters, including the two boys who died 47 years ago, and one daughter, Mrs. Campbell, who died recently. John Hardgrave, who died last year, was one of Brisbane’s best known men, and one of the most respected. At death he was chairman of the Board of Waterworks, a position he held for many years.

     Among the graves is a son of the Rev. Thomas Jones, a schoolboy, who was a great favourite. On the day of the funeral the scholars of St. John’s school would not allow the coffin to be placed on the hearse. They formed relay parties and carried it all the way to the cemetery.

     There too, is the son of John Scott, who was once Chairman of Committees, and lived for many years in the house at Milton, close to the railway cutting on the north side of the station.

     Near him, in the old house on the hill, in what was “Walsh’s Paddock”, lived the redoubtable Henry Walsh, father of the beauteous “Coojee,” and once Speaker of the House. Beyond Scott, at Auchenflower, lived Sir Thomas McIlwraith, and within 50 yards of the brewery was “Papa” Pinnock, P.M. When the famous “Steel Rail” discussion was raging, a railway guard was promptly sacked for calling to the driver to call at “Steel Rails!”

     Ann Eliza Young, a girl of 16, died in 1874. Her father was a Chinese settler who was once a clerk in the old firm of J. and G. Harris, and afterwards ferryman between North and South Brisbane from the present Queen’s Wharf at the foot of Russell Street. He married a woman of good family, her brother having an interest in the firm of R. Towns and Co. Young was a cook on her father’s station.

     One of Young’s sons, Ernest, was for a time teacher in the South Brisbane school, and another kept a fish shop for some time in Melbourne Street, near Grey Street. A daughter, Katie Young, a good looking girl, was for years with a firm of storekeepers in Boundary Street, then married a son of Benjamin Babbidge, once Mayor of Brisbane, had two children, and died of typhoid fever. Old Young and his wife still reside in South Brisbane.

     Jane Orr, who died on March 15, 1863, aged 58, was wife of a Constable Orr of that period, and mother of three daughters and a son. The daughter Maggie became the wife of Peter Phillips, the present day tailor, and her sister Jane, who remained single, still resides in Boundary Street, near Vulture Street. Her sister Phoebe and the brother died long ago. Constable Orr on one occasion was escorting some prisoners to Sydney. The steamers in those days called at Newcastle, and while there it appears that Orr’s vigilance was relaxed long enough to allow the prisoners to escape, and as a result of that he left the police force.

     Very sad was the drowning of a handsome young fellow who was a nephew of Dr. Simpson, who had charge of the Government stock at Redbank. The nephew was an only son of Dr. Simpson’s sister, who was a widow in the old country. The doctor sent for this nephew to come out and stay with him, intending to make him a present of “Wolston” of which Dr. Simpson was the first owner. The nephew, who was only 27 years of age, was crossing the river from Wolston to the coal pits, the boat capsized, and he was drowned. This was a cruel blow to Dr. Simpson, who soon afterwards sold Wolston to the late Matthew Goggs, and went to England.

     A sister of Goggs married Captain Coley, who was once Sergeant-at-Arms, and died by his own hand in the small cottage still standing in George Street, near Harris Terrace. One of his daughters was married to C. B. Dutton, once Minister for Lands.

     James Fleming, who died on March 7, 1872, aged 55, is said to have been the squatter who once held Burenda station, on the Warrego.

     Jane Campbell, who died on May 22, 1866, aged 29, was the wife of Constable Alexander Campbell, who at the time was stationed with a detachment of Native Police at Humpybong. Governor Bowen was there on a visit on the day Mrs. Campbell died.

     Rosina Cox, who died on April 17, 1873, aged 29, was the youngest daughter of Sarah and William Cox. Cox was a warder in the gaol, and died within the last two years.

     Joseph William Saville, who died on March 5, 1869, aged 36, was a groom employed in Duncan McLennan’s livery stables, and he was thrown from his horse and killed in George Street.

     Richard H. Watson, who died on May 5, 1868, aged 61, was the builder of the Commercial Hotel, in Edward Street, and kept a boarding house near there. One of his sons was afterwards the well-known Watson, the plumber, who became one of the mayors of Brisbane.

     Thomas Palmer, who died on July 12, 1867, aged 60, was one of the two brothers who started a ginger beer and cordial factory beside the present police court.

     From the Palmers the business passed into the hands of one who was then in their service, the well-known Marchant of the present day.

     Isabella Thomasena Deacon Ferguson was a child of a year and 10 months, and died on September 18, 1865, the mother being a sister of John Petrie, and aunt of the present Toombul Petrie. She was the wife of the late Inspector of Works, Ferguson, one of the biggest men in Queensland, and with a heart to match. Among his numerous works he superintended the erection of the lighthouse on Sandy Cape in 1872, when the blacks carried all the material and rations from the beach to the top of the sand hill, 315 feet in height, exactly the same height as the hill on which the Double Island lighthouse stands. Bob was a giant with a giant’s strength. One night in Mrs. McGregor’s Hotel in Rockhampton, the same grand old Highland woman who afterwards kept the Great Northern Hotel in Cooktown, an aggressive Hibernian gentleman, named Barry, whose brother married Miss McGregor, made himself unpleasant, and finally sparred up to Ferguson, as a bantam rooster might spar at a cassowary. Bob rose, quietly grabbed Barry by the neck of the coat and the northwest cape of his pants, and heaved him head first, not at the door, but against a thin partition. Barry went through this partition, took half of it with him, and disappeared! Then Ferguson sat down and ordered drinks for the company as if nothing had happened.

     A man named Harry Burrows died on March 9, 1862, aged 45. He was working for Crown Lands Commissioner and Surveyor J. C. Bidwell, when that official was running a marked tree line from Maryborough to Brisbane. That line went through the present site of Gympie, and it is certain that Bidwell found gold there 15 years before any was found by Nash. That was clearly proved in after years by G. W. Dart, who was one of Bidwell’s party, and who wrote an account of the gold find to one of the Maryborough papers. Dart saw the gold, and said Bidwell showed it to many of his friends. Bidwell never finished his track, as severe privations in the scrubs in wet weather, with poor food, laid the foundations of an illness that killed him, and he died and was buried at the mouth of Tinana Creek, where can be seen today, the huge mango trees which Bidwell planted, the first ever grown on Queensland soil.

     He was the man who sent specimens of the bunya trees to Kew Gardens, and today that tree bears Bidwell’s name, “Araucaria Bidwelli,” though the honor should have gone to old Andrew Petrie, who was certainly the first discoverer, in fact the bunya for a time was actually called “Pinus Petriana.” Harry Burrows was out with Bidwell in the worst part of his trip, and had one or two narrow escapes from the blacks He afterwards worked for Atticus Tooth, and also for J. D. Mactaggart, an old Wide Bay pioneer who died at Kilkivan, on January 16, 1871, an uncle of the well known stock and station Mactaggart brothers of Brisbane today. Burrows was away south in 1854, on the Hunter River, and in a letter written by him in 1861, to an old Brisbane resident, he said he was in Newcastle when an aboriginal named Harry Brown was burned to death while intoxicated. This was the “Brown” who was one of the two blacks with Leichhardt in his second expedition of 1847, when no one ever returned.

     An old resident says that in the cemetery is a man named George Smith, who died in 1863. He tells us that this man was once tried for his life on a charge of murder, somewhere on the Downs. Evidently he means a George Smith, who was one of two men, the other being John Morris, tried in 1854, for the murder of James Tucker, on Gowrie Station. Both men were acquitted, as the evidence showed Tucker’s death to be the result of a drunken row. Two doctors were witnesses, Dr. Buchanan and Dr. Labatt, and they gave two totally different versions. One swore he saw no wounds to Tucker’s head, and the other swore he was dreadfully knocked about! There being nobody to decide when doctors disagree, the evidence went for nothing.

     Morris had a brother who was killed at Oxley, on the day Sir Charles Fitzroy, the Governor of New South Wales, in which Queensland was then included, was on his way to Ipswich, accompanied by Captain Wickham, the Brisbane P.M., whose name is borne by Wickham Terrace, the private secretary, Captain Gennys, and police escort. They had lunch with Dr. Simpson, at Woogaroo, and were met by a big escort from Ipswich, where the party had supper at Colonel Gray’s house, and there was a swell ball the next day, and an address was read by R. J. Smith, who was then M.L.C. in the Sydney Council, representing Wide Bay, Burnett, and the Maranoa. Picture a man representing those three electorates today!

     Morris was riding after horses, about a mile beyond the Rocky Water Holes at the spot where old Billy Coote had his mulberry farm in 1876, and his horse ran him against a tree and killed him, about the time the Governor was passing. His body was brought to Brisbane in a two horse dray, and buried at Paddington.

     The above article concludes a series of eighteen, specially written for “Truth” by Mr. A Meston, and there are proofs that they have interested a large circle of readers, and been a useful education for the younger generation of Queenslanders. Those articles may be continued on a future date, the interval to be occupied by fresh subjects, so as to preclude the chance of monotony from too much of one particular theme – Ed. “Truth.”

     Next week a number of letters bearing on these articles will be published, and “Truth” will always be glad to make use of any letters which will tend to throw light on any of the incidents recorded.

I recollect the date of arrival of the Fiery Star on her first trip, also the name of her captain. I was present when she arrived, but I made no entries then, although it was a very important event, considered by us to be so, at any rate. The Fiery Star belonged to the old Blackall Line, and previous to her being sent here she was trading between England and America, and was then called the Comet, being christened the Fiery Star just before being sent to Australia with immigrants.

Yours etc.

Old Colonist.


Via Bundaberg.

March 12, 1908.





     In accordance with the promise made in the last issue, “Truth” hereunder publishes a batch of very interesting letters received from various sources on subjects which have cropped up in the now concluded “Bygone Brisbane” articles. Once more “Truth” emphasizes the fact that correspondence of this kind will always be welcomed.

(To the Editor of “Truth,” Brisbane)

Sir,- The Rev. Wilson referred to was R. W. Wilson, not John Wilson.

B. G. Wilson, of Queen Street, ironmonger, is a son, and the dead image of his dad. B. G. Wilson arrived in Brisbane in 1858, that is, 50 years ago the latter end of this year. He preached his first sermon in the old Court House. It was on the site of the present Town Hall. Mrs. Wilson only died the other day. The stable and loft referred to are still in existence in York Street, and the house B. G. built. B. G. not only preached, but did a little doctoring (homeopathic). He was a Yorkshire man, and was good at a deal. The land between Fortescue and Union Streets, was his old property. It was in 1858 that the last lot of ticket of leavers arrived from Sydney. There were seven in number. What a lucky day it was for more than one of them. One became a leading M.L.A., and another a large property holder around Brisbane. He was a crack shot. Another, an American black, who stopped in Brisbane, was caught at his old games. He broke into the Joint Stock Bank, corner of George and Queen Streets- a chemist’s shop now, and known as “Loafer’s Corner.” He got ten years, and was sent to Sydney in irons. Constable Tredenick was in the escort.

Re Dundahli

I don’t know how the black was brought into Brisbane, but on his arrival at the lockup he made a final struggle, and an “up-and-downer” took place under the archway leading to the lockup. The lockup and Court House were in the old barracks where the Town Hall now stands. Sam Sneyd was chief constable. There were no police in those days. They were all constables appointed by the local bench, who had the power of dismissing them if they did not behave themselves.

I remember in the early fifties the uniform was changed from blue serge jumpers with red braid to the bob-tailed coat and stove-pipe hat. What fun we had with the hats. Sneyd was fond of a joke, but when his stove-pipe was made a football of, it got his dander up and he gave chase. How Hargreaves, the late Chairman of the Waterworks Board, would stand at his door in Queen Street and poke fun at him.

But to “our muttons.” When the black arrived in Brisbane, he was bound hand and foot. A horse dray might have brought him, but no bullock dray, I am certain, was in Queen Street.

When the case was being heard the next day, Dundahli would cast his eyes round towards the door to see if there was any chance of escape. He suddenly made a leap- result, a mixed lot, the lock-up keeper, who was in the dock with him, constables, chief, and onlookers, all more or less engaged in a sort of tug-of-war, and the black did not try it on again. He was handcuffed and leg-ironed until he was turned off, after partaking of an early breakfast. It would have taken a good man to have put the black through- he was a strong, powerful man without fear.

Yours etc,


Spring Hill.

March 15, 1908.

Sir,- In one of your late issues, in “Bygone Brisbane,” reference was made to Dundahli. I happen to be contemporaneous with that part of Brisbane’s history, and knew Mr. Dundahli, who in the year 1855 (a long time back) was caught through a man named Richards, who lived out at the scrub at the Three mile. This Richards had a team, and Dundahli and all the blacks always camped there.

Richards went into town for rations. He bought a bottle of rum from Geo. McAdam. They put tobacco juice into the rum and gave it to two blackfellows called Old Croppie and Andy. The blacks were up there between Wind Mill Hill and Mr. Spence’s place (the stonemason), and those two blacks took the rum up to them. Dundahli got the first drink out of it, and half an hour afterwards was sound asleep under a thick lump of bushes, and Tredenick and Bow, the constable, and Sneyd’s boy helped to catch him.

The day he was hanged, his black gin and two picaninnies were a little higher up the hill from where he was arrested. He sung out: “Baal me Dundahli, me another blackfellow!”

Croppie, the blackfellow, saved many a person’s life whom Dundahli wanted to kill, as he was the medicine man amongst the tribe, and what Dundahli was in town this day for was watching for old Mr. Cash, of the Pine River, to kill him, and take Mrs. Cash away to the bush.

I was with Mrs. Jones when they surrounded Cash’s place, and Fogarty and another stockman came from John Griffen’s station and told Cash to look out, for all the blacks were down at the creek, and Fogarty went as hard as he could to Bald Hills to send the trackers along.

Mrs. Dick Jones was married from old Mr. Petrie’s place, and knew all about it. Mrs. Jones died on Gympie thirty years ago, and old Croppie died about twenty years ago, and old Mr. McMaster, one of the tribe is on Gympie to this time,

Yours etc.,

Cecelia Walsh,

Sovereign Hotel,

Gympie. March 18, 1908.

Sir,- Having read your account of “Bygone Brisbane” in “Truth,” I have found that there is a considerable amount of doubt among some of the old pioneers of “Mooloolah” as to the truth of what you stated as to how “Tommy Skyring” met his death. In the first place, Skyring was not the murderer of Stevens, the Government Botanist. The real murdered was Captain Piper. In the second place, Skyring’s death was due to fright, and at the time when he was in gaol he had consumption that bad that he never had the strength to climb on a wall to be shot down by a warder.

The murder of Stevens was brought about in this way. When traveling as a botanist, Stevens had to get the services of blacks to act as guides. Stevens engaged Skyring, for which he paid to Skyring one pound. On passing a store Stevens was seen by Captain Piper and Johnny Griffen to get change, and the blacks mistook the shillings for sovereigns. They followed Stevens to this waterhole which you mentioned, and Piper made a demand for one pound, which Stevens refused. Piper did all in his power to get that pound, and told the other blacks in their own language that if he did not give it to him he would kill him. Stevens was boiling the billy, when Piper went behind him and killed him with Steven’s own tomahawk.

Piper then made the other blacks help him throw the body in the waterhole, and rolled a big log in on top of the body to keep it down. Then the blacks found that the unfortunate man had shillings instead of sovereigns. The three blacks then made for the Blackall, and after some time Piper told some people about that some wild blacks came over from Bribie and killed the white man, and put him in the waterhole. Of course the farmers at Mooloolah went and searched the waterhole with the result that they found the body as stated above. Piper and Skyring were arrested by the police who came from Brisbane, having to ride up, there being no railways in that time.

After being arrested the blacks were taken on board Pettigrew’s boat – which used to trade between Maroochy Heads and Brisbane – and put down in the hold with handcuffs and leg-irons on. The police were surprised when a little later the two blacks came up on deck. Of course they rushed for them, and succeeded in capturing Skyring, but Piper dived overboard and swam the river, in spite of the fact that the police were firing bullets at him all the time. On getting ashore a woman named Smith, or some name like that, helped Piper off with the handcuffs (she herself being soon after had up for murder).

Piper made for a cave and hid himself for over six months, the only one knowing of his hiding place at the time being his gin, who kept him supplied with food and information about the police. After a time, six months, Piper made his appearance with the blacks, with the result that he was soon captured again, and getting him to Brisbane he stood his trial. Being remanded two or three times, his chance came, as between the remands Tommy Skyring died. Piper and Johnny Griffen then put all the blame on Tommy Skyring, with the result that they were released.

Piper and Griffen then made for the Blackall, and called upon a Mrs. Maddocks, and gave the whole history of the murder. In after years Piper paid them visits from time to time, always taking good care that Mr. Maddocks was not home, as it was Maddocks who arrested him the second time single handed.

The above is a true statement of the murder, as given to me by Mrs. Maddocks herself. It would make interesting reading for a number of your readers if you could get a fuller account from Mr. Maddocks himself, who is still a resident of Mooloolah, North Coast Line. It would be interesting to get Piper’s account of the judge, the trial, and his own hanging, the police tying him on a horse the second time they arrested him, with ropes all over him, and so on. Piper was heard to ask the police: “You thinkum this horsey pig jump?”

Johnny Griffen a little later captured the bushranger called Johnny Campbell, for which the police or Government presented him with a boat and a plate of brass to wear around his neck, and later still he came to Brisbane with the blacks, and camped just on Kedron Brook where Captain Piper met his death by poisoning with bad rum.

The exact spot where Piper died is where Mr. Love’s (of Isles, Love) house now stands, about 200 yards past the Kedron Park Hotel.

The above account may be a bit rough, but to enter into a fuller account would take a long time –

Yours etc.,

G. E. L.


March 8, 1908.

Sir, I am sure that A. M. made a mistake when he says that Surveyor Burnett named the Fitzroy River. The Fitzroy and Calliope Rivers are in the 1853 maps called the Mackenzie and Liffey, but were re-named in that year by Governor Fitzroy himself. In 1853 (see “Bygone Brisbane”) Lady Fitzroy was thrown out of her carriage and killed. Governor Fitzroy was Vice-Admiral, and in his days of mourning took a trip north, from Sydney in the Calliope, a 27 gun frigate, and came to Gladstone and Port Curtis, and did a bit of surveying.

The calliope went up the river some distance, and the river was then called the Calliope. A boat’s crew took the Governor through the Narrows into Keppel Bay. The Calliope followed, going by the sea or outside passage. The Calliope entered the Mackenzie River, and the launch with a large party, including the Governor, went up the river. Captain Heath, our late port-master, was an officer on board at the time, and Captain Feez, the father of A. Feez, of Brisbane, was a guest; also H. E. King, the Crown Prosecutor, and many others, including myself. The River was then called the Fitzroy.

F. P. McCabe was the district surveyor. He made the survey of the town of Gladstone and named the rivers running into Port Curtis, the Boyne and Liffey, which names appear in the first land sales maps. He also, in 1855, named Raglan Creek, and Mount Alma – we had just received news of the battle of Alma.

E. P. McCabe was the father of Major McCabe, who lost his life trying to rescue the Mount Kembla miners. F. P. McCabe married a Miss Osborne, whose father owned mines and land in the Illawarra district. He was the only surveyor employed by the New South Wales Government north of the Wide Bay district. All the trigonometrical stations were named by him. His camps were three times stuck up by the blacks, two men being speared – one was pinned to the tent – and McCabe was nearly drowned at Raglan Creek when it was in flood.

I have one of the old maps with the Mackenzie River shown on it, and Messrs. Charles and William Archer had similar maps when they and others were looking out for country.

Yours, etc.,

Richard R. Ware.

25 York Parade,

Spring Hill,

Brisbane. March 23, 1908.

P.S. – Strange as it may appear, the remains of C. P. O’Connell, at whose wedding Lady Fitzroy was killed – lie in the Gladstone cemetery. Captain Fitzroy owned town and country land in the Gladstone district.

Sir,- Reading your issue of “Truth” on Saturday, I see a small mistake re the late William Vowles, which says he was a Devonshire man. Not so, he was a Somersetshire man, and born in Bath on June 12, 1813. He came from Sydney overland through Cunningham’s Gap, which was very perilous in those early days. He settled in Ipswich, and built the first house for the late Mr. Gossly. He was the first man married there by Archbishop Poldney. In the early history of Ipswich he took a very prominent part. He brought to the Sydney Exhibition, which was then held in Belmore Park, cotton, coffee, and tobacco leaf, all grown in barrels, which cost for transit alone £100. He explained the cotton, and how easily it could be cultivated, as all could see the pods and plant growing there.

The cider was all right. He had it sent out by the hogshead from Somerset and Devonshire.

Trusting in some issue the correction will be made.

Yours, etc.,



March 18, 1908.

Sir, Permit me as a very old colonist to express the great pleasure I experience when reading those historical articles in “Truth” entitled “The Paddington cemetery,” which include many records of early Brisbane. The writer of those articles must have kept a remarkably correct diary, or otherwise be the enviable possessor of a marvelous retentive memory, for I knew many of the persons and places referred to, and it is with a feeling of delight that I weekly renew as it were my acquaintance with people and scenes of bygone times. I had no idea when the articles were started that they were going to be so many and interesting, or I should have been most careful in filing them away for further reading and reference, but, you know, the “Truth” no sooner arrives than it is simply rushed. They all want it, but I should be thankful to get it even at 5th hand. Little inaccuracies occur here and there, especially in the earlier articles such as “Ralph Rhodes kept the Sawyers’ Arms in George Street near the site of the old Lands Office.” All the time I knew Rhodes he kept the Retreat Hotel. Rhodes and his wife were a very corpulent couple, and his pub was about the most popular in town. Meals only a bob, even at that time, and mine host and his lady always considered their personality  a great advertisement for their hotel, and so it undoubtedly was.

          Further, the hotel in Queen Street so often mentioned, was named St. Patrick’s Tavern, not St. Patrick’s Hotel, but these are matters of minor detail, especially where the wonderful accuracy of these marvelous reminiscences are considered. Perhaps later on your historian may favour us with some recollections of the old Bendigo Hotel, which was then on the spot now occupied by Sam Gardiner, whereat old Tommy Gray, Durramboi, and other kindred spirits, used frequently to adjourn for refreshment and talk “Myall lingo,” with the greatest ease and rapidity, and how did the new chums stare! Perhaps also he might be induced to refer to the old hospital in George Street etc., and I should like to add as a personal favor if he can…(footer not preserved)

Sir,- A par appeared in “Truth” stating that Rob Cowan was drowned in Deep Creek, near Gladstone. That brought to my recollection a sad event that took place years ago and left a mother and daughter ruined for life. They are both now living near Brisbane, and very few, if any, besides myself could give the true history of this case.

Mr. Mac – we will call him- was a public school teacher in one of the Ben schools, and was transferred to Bowen to take charge of the Bowen school. He left Brisbane with his wife and infant daughter, in the old Queensland (Captain Hirst). His Excellency Governor Blackall was also a passenger, making his first and only northern tour. Also a large number of New South Wales and Brisbane drummers or commercial travellers.

Things went all right till the Queensland’s arrival at Maryborough, when, it being a public holiday on account of the Governor’s visit, the bottle and glass did merrily pass and towards evening everyone  was –well- jolly, and more or less full of mischief, the drummers taking a leading part.

Mac wanted to go into the lady’s cabin to see his wife, but the stewardess, seeing he was well “on,” prevented him, telling him no gentlemen were allowed in the lady’s cabin. This appeared to annoy Mac., and he tried to force his way in, but was prevented by the steward. The drummers, bent on mischief, advised him to come on deck with them, and after a few more drinks, he went on deck still complaining of not being allowed to see his wife and child.

“Not allowed to see your wife and child,” said one, “Why did you not tell us your trouble before? Why the Captain has your wife locked up in one of his cabins, and if you wait long enough you will be able to see which cabin she is in. I believe she is in that cabin,” pointing to a locker attached to the paddle box.

Mac believed them, and kept watch from the time the steamer left the Mary River till off Bustard Head, when one of the men went to the locker, and Mac made a rush and knocked the sailor man aside. Seeing only a lot of old ropes and things, he asked which was the captain’s cabin. The sailor pointed out the cabin on the bridge. A light was burning inside and the captain was taking his forty winks before taking charge of the vessel.

Entering Port Curtis, Mac took up a position near the cabin, but some of the drummers got him to go below to join them in a drink, as they thought he might attack the captain.

They stuffed him with all sorts of nonsense till the steamer got to Gladstone, where, having business to attend to, they left Mac to do as he liked. Mac, not seeing his wife in the cabin, rushed ashore and made complaint that his wife had been kept from him, and locked in the captain’s cabin during the whole of the trip from Brisbane. The agent made inquiries, also spoke to the captain. But all laughed at the thing, but the agent said it was no laughing matter. The writer and the agent went on board the steamer and saw a lady with a child, who was pointed out as Mrs. Mac, and the stewardess said the lady had never been out of the cabin since the steamer left Brisbane.

The writer told Mac. That he had heard that people had been “pulling his leg,” but Mac would have none of it. He knew it was true, he said, and he would have the conduct of the captain brought before the directors in Sydney, and he declined to go on board the steamer again.

The steamer left without him, taking his wife and child on to Rockhampton. Mac. Made a report, filling 3 or 4 sheets of foolscap, which he handed to the agent.

Now comes the trouble. Having neither money nor luggage, what was he to do? No steamer for a week, and no one knew anything of him, but the Gladstone school teacher agreed to pay for a week’s board, and two or three glasses a day. He was advised to wire to his wife, but no one knew if he did, as he left the hotel next morning, stating his intention of walking to Rockhampton.

His wife was in Rockhampton, and when the next week’s boat arrived, expected to meet her husband. Not seeing or hearing anything, she applied to the police, who communicated with Gladstone, to find that he had left Gladstone some nine days before for Rockhampton. The Gladstone and Rockhampton police were out looking for him, and he was traced to Raglan station. Rob Cowan was in charge at the time. He was the last that saw Mac., who stopped at Raglan on Sunday night, and left early on Monday after breakfast.

“I saw him,” said Rob, “fastening the gate after going through. He was dressed in light tweed and bell-topper white hat.” After going through the gate, the track was not too plain for some distance, as the sheep had destroyed all the grass, but the Raglan track being on a ridge, could be seen from the gate, and Mac might have taken that track, which only led to Port Alma and mangrove swamps, and he may have got bushed or killed by the blacks.

Anyway he was never seen or heard of from that day to this, and Mrs. Mac. Does not know whether she is a widow or a wife.

The blacks on Raglan were not particular who they killed. One named Willie Wellington, was credited with more than one murder, and the writer and Willy had a “go in” once, and painted one another till both were exhausted. Willy Wellington was over 6 feet in height, young and strong, but he met his Waterloo eventually, trying conclusions with the “Old Sergeant.”

Yours etc.,

R. W.

Spring Hill.

6 April 1908

Sir,- Among those buried in Paddington cemetery, and not so far mentioned in “Bygone Brisbane,” is captain John Williams, who arrived in Sydney in the year 1826, being then 29 years of age. He remained in Sydney 11 years, when he came to Moreton Bay in the year 1837. Prior to his decease Williams often stated that at the time of his arrival in Queensland there was only one house, that of the Acting Governor, and he was the first free settler to build a house. He had an order from New South Wales to select land wherever he chose, and he decided to settle on the present site of the railway overbridge at Russell Street, South Brisbane. He initiated the first ferry service between North and South Brisbane, and was the first to engage in the coal industry at Moggill and Redbank. He was also the first in the timber getting trade, and the first lime burner in Queensland. On the Russell Street site mentioned, he opened the first hotel and boarding house in Brisbane. In later years he owned two vessels (the John and the Sarah), in which he brought immigrants from the bay. For many years he conducted a farm at Hemmant, then known as Bowden Hill. His widow still survives him, and Mr. John Williams, well known in sailing circles, is his only son.

Yours etc.,

M. S.

South Brisbane.

3 April 1908.