ADHS Newsletter No. 157, MARCH, 1998

Items of interest –

  • Talk by funeral director Mr Cliff Phelan
  • Notice about Michael family reunion
  • Obituary Mr James Monks 1919
  • Inquests: An Doddy 1887; Leslie Bedford 1905; Thomas Bellington 1897; James Condick 1887; Henry Cotter 1905; Patrick Daly 1905; Alfred Leach 1897; John McMillan 1887; James Murnane 1913; Alice Onn 1884; John Patinson 1884; Ann Smart 1905; John Stanford 1905.

A most interesting and informative afternoon was enjoyed by those who attended our monthly meeting held on Sunday, 15th March, when Mr. Cliff Phelan told us something of the history of the Pioneer Cemetery at Bristol Hill and the Maryborough Cemetery. Some amusing anecdotes showed the lighter side of the undertaking business as did examples of humorous or strangely-worded headstones, gathered from throughout the world. He began his talk with the thought-provoking quote, “The evil men do lives on long after the good is interred with their bones.” Was it Shakespeare?

The first cemetery was at the foot of Bristol Hill, where the earliest inscription was 1854. Wooden crosses and headstones soon became illegible and the area totally unkempt and this cemetery was closed in 1859.

Earliest receipts for the Maryborough Cemetery date from July, 1860, when the cost of a grave site was £2. As many of us know, to our sorrow, early burials were not recorded properly at this cemetery – yes, there was a grave number, but there was no plan kept of where that grave was located, and many of the grave markers showing the number have been removed over the years from their rightful place. Nowadays, a cross-referencing system is in operation, this being introduced in 1960.

Of particular interest to your Editor was the mention of the McCullough mausoleum, which is situated on the main path in the Presbyterian section. It is next to the family graves of the Buchanan and Harvie families and the ancestral Borland grave, all members of my Scottish family tree, so I am familiar with this family memorial. The mausoleum is quite deep and has shelves around the walls. A lead container is put inside the coffin, which is placed in position on a shelf and sealed in with slabs of slate. The last interment was in 1971. Mr. W. G. McCullough set up his first store in Maryborough in 1854 and expanded over the years until his retirement in the late 1880s.

Other interesting people who now rest in the Maryborough Cemetery include :

Baroness Maria von Reibeld (wife of J. C. Simson, of Charlotte Plains Station.

Alfred Joyce, of Norwood, Wareek.

Christopher Harling, well-known coach builder.

John Douglass, who purchased Norwood from Alfred Joyce, and whose family have lived

there until very recently.

Edmund Selwyn Herring and his wife, the former Gertrude Fetherstonhaugh, are buried in

this family grave whilst other family members were cremated and their ashes placed there,

including Sir Edmund Francis Herring, former Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of


George Frost, baker, who represented the Labour party for many years and was responsible

for the establishment of the Maryborough Knitting Mills, the butter factory and Patience

and Nicholson, now all taken over by multi-national companies.

Ivor Davies, who donated the organ to the Inkerman Street Methodist Church in the 1880s.

This organ was transferred to the Uniting Church in Neill Street (the former Presbyterian


Alexander McLandress, a successful business man, who became the first Chairman of the

Municipality in 1857 and for whom the city square, in front of the post office, has recently

been named.

The cemetery has a Chinese section, complete with table and pig roast retort, so that the Chinese custom of feeding the dead could be observed. When a Chinese was asked, “You don’t really believe the food is consumed by the dead, do you?” the reply was, “You place flowers on your graves. Do you think the dead come up to smell them?” In fact, it is said that the local lads used to enjoy the pork placed on the table.

Mr. Phelan also told us some of the history of the old Maryborough Gaol, the railway station in its very busy years and touched on his Phelan family history, including his boyhood.

Edna Jarvis proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of the Society for a most entertaining and interesting talk.


In place of a meeting in April, we are having a bus trip on Sunday, 19th April, leaving the Court House at 8.15 am sharp. We are to visit the Langi Morgana Museum at Ararat at 9.30 am, then J Ward at 11 am. You are asked to BYO lunch, or purchase at the nearby take-away chicken places, to be partaken of in the gardens. Then it will be on to Stawell, arriving about 2 pm at the Stawell Historical Society. Members will give us a conducted tour of the town, including the gold mine, before entertaining us to afternoon tea, and we hope to leave for home about 4.15 pm. If you wish to book a seat on the bus for this outing, please ring Colleen Allen on 5465 3296 as soon as possible. Please note that the Court House will be open on that day for researchers, with Jan Burnett in attendance. Thanks Jan.

Dates to mark in your Diary – The AGM will be held on Sunday, 17th May, at the Wesley Hall, Avoca, 12 noon for 12.30, when Mr. Ken Shewen, of the Shiplovers’ Society of Victoria, will be the speaker. We will be asking those attending to supply a casserole or sweet for a buffet lunch, and the $10 per head admission will go directly into to our funds. This plan was most successful last year and members are keen to repeat it this year. The ever-popular “Show and Tell” will be the feature of our meeting on 9th June, whilst a working bee is planned for our meeting on 19th July.

There is an enormous amount of work to be done in the way of indexing, filing, listing acquisitions, etc., to keep our office work up-to-date in our Local and Family History Resource Centre and it has been suggested that we should have a working bee once a month on a permanent basis to assist Colleen, Wendy and Dorothy, who do most of this work. It was also suggested that the Saturday prior to our meeting day would be the most suitable.

Colleen Allan reported that a group of children from the Baptist Church visited the Court House recently and showed keen interest in looking at our collection of photos of the Avoca of yesteryear and a display of household chattels like bellows, flat irons and the like, courtesy of Mrs. Muller, of Woodstock. The children asked many questions about the way life was lived “in the old days”.

The Society has recently received a permit from Heritage Victoria to proceed with the removal of paint from the outside walls of the Court House – another step forward.

The Annual Dinner of the Midlands Historical Society, Maryborough, will be held at the Cambrian Hotel, Nolan Street, Maryborough, on Wednesday, 15th April, 1998, at 6.30 pm

for 7 pm. The guest speaker will be Joan Jack, from the Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo, and her topic is, “Holding the Chinese Heritage”. RSVP by 7th April, on 5464 7225 or 5464 7237.

On Monday, 20th April, the Goldfields and Arts Society, Dunolly, is conducting a tour of Llanelly, Newbridge and Laanecoorie. These tours, led by Ron Carless, are always full of interest and provide a wonderful opportunity to visit and learn about the areas where our ancestors once lived. All interested folk are welcome. Please BYO lunch, drinks and a sun hat. Travel will be by private vehicles and those attending are asked to be at the Llanelly grain silo by 10.30 am. For those folk not familiar with the area, Llanelly is situated along the Bendigo road, between Tarnagulla and Newbridge

Michael Family Reunion – It is hoped to hold a Michael family reunion in August this year at St. Arnaud. If you are descended from Alexander MICHAEL and Catherine McLEOD, or William and Ann MICHAEL, brothers who arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1852, and would be interested in attending, please contact Miss Anne Michael, Private Bag 47, St. Arnaud, Vic. 3478, phone 03 5495 1172 or Mrs. Suzanne Wright, RMB 617, St. Arnaud, Vic. 3478, phone 03 5495 1180. Alexander and Catherine had nine children – John m. Mary-anne Wright; Christina m. William Wilson; Catherine; Jessie m. Henry Twist; Alexander m. Ida Moore; William m. Jane Elizabeth Cleaver; Angus; Robert and James Duncan.

Nurses and Midwives – The Queensland Women’s Historical Association, as the name implies, was established to preserve and promote women’s role in Queensland’s history. One of their current projects is to collect all available information on bush nurses and midwives. Can you help? If so, please write to QWHA, “Miegunyah”, 35 Jordan Terrace, Bowen Hills, Qld. 4006. (Source: QWHA Newsletter, and printed in “Relatively Speaking, Townsville, Vol. 15, No. 3, September, 1997)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records Database holds records of 1,649,807 Commonwealth war dead. Details can be obtained from The Director, Office of Australian War Graves, PO Box 21, Woden, ACT 2606. For more information, call OAWG’s historical researcher on 06 289 655510. (Source – Rootes, June, 1996, as published in Lithgow Pioneer Press, Vol. 12, No. l, Issue 45 of May, 1997)

Future Research! – A mother explaining to her little girl, the pictures in the family album. “This is the geneticist with your surrogate mother, and here’s your sperm donor, and your father’s clone. This is me holding you when you were just a frozen embryo. The lady with the troubled look on her face is your aunt, a genealogist.” (From “Relatively Speaking”, Townsville, Vol. 15, No. 3, September, 1997)

First Families 2001 is a project by the State Library of Victoria, with the Department of Education, to collect, via the Internet, information about the earliest traceable ancestors to come to Australia. Contact Frances Brown, State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000.

Obituary – Mr. James Monks (From the Avoca Free Press, 12th November, 1919)

A former well-known and highly esteemed resident of Avoca in the person of Mr. James Monks died on Friday last at his residence Clissold, 46 Sycamore Grove, Rippon Lea. For many years Mr. Monks was attached to the Victorian police force, and he reached the rank of sergeant. On one occasion – about 1880 – he had a sensational experience near Avoca. He was pursuing a man named Evans, suspected of having stolen property in his possession, and when he approached Evans, the latter produced a revolver, and shot Mr. Monks through the thigh. Abandoning his horse and cart, the suspect escaped, and was never heard of again. Mr. Monks married Miss Selina Barbat, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barbat of Avoca. After retiring from the force, Mr. Monks was engaged in hotelkeeping in the metropolis for some time, but latterly he had been living privately. A widow and family are left to mourn their loss. The members of the family are as follows: Harold, August, Stanley, Catherine, Mrs. R. Page, Lena and Claude. Two sons (Alfred and Felix) predeceased their father, and another son, Leslie, made the supreme sacrifice in the great war. The deceased was 77 years of age. The news of Mr. Monks’ death was received with regret at Avoca and much sympathy is felt for the widow and family. The remains were interred in the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, on Sunday.

An Article From The Avoca Mail, 29th July, 1871 – We regret to announce that since our last publication Death has been busy amongst us, and neither the young, the old, or the middle-aged have been spared from his ruthless hand. Although it is apparent that one disease has predominated at this time over the other “ills that flesh is heir to”, it would also seem as if a number of maladies had conspired to carry destruction into our midst. We had but scarcely recovered the shock consequent on the death by typhoid fever of Mr. W. Thomas, when we were informed of the decease of Mr. Timothy Holland, our respected townsman of High Street, from the same disease. Following that came the announcement that the lad Williamson, a son of the puddler of that name on the Maryborough Road, had succumbed to the painful accident reported in [our] last issue. Then followed the son of Mr. Eli Lambert, aged seven, of diphtheria; the infant son of Mr. Chalmers of High Street; a Chinaman of Percydale; and rumour speaks of one at least at Bung Bong, besides others the particulars of which have not come to hand. Our readers must join with us in an earnest hope that we shall now for a time be spared the grief of chronicling any more deaths in our community, but in order that our desires may be realised in this respect it becomes the duty of all persons to take every precaution for the preservation of health, by removing all offensive accumulations of decaying vegetable or animal matter, stagnant water and the like, as well as to be extremely careful to guard against those fruitful sources of disease and death known by the common appellation of “bad colds”.

Epitaph To A Watchmaker – The following epitaph was found in Lydford Churchyard, East Anglia:

“Here lies in an horizontal position the outside case of George Groutledge, Watchmaker. Integrity was the mainspring and prudence the regulator of all the actions of his life. Humane, generous and liberal, his hands never stopped ‘till he had relieved distress.

So nicely regulated were his movements that he never went wrong, except when set going by people who did not know the key. Even then he was easily set right again.

He had the art of disposing of his time so well, till his hours glided away, his pulse stopped beating. He ran down on November 14th, 1801, aged 57, in hopes of being taken in hand by his maker, thoroughly cleaned, repaired, wound up and set going in the world to come, when time shall be no more.”

(From the Glamorgan Family History Society, Wales, as published in Newsletter No. l of 1997)


The following inquests were located and indexed on to cards by Helen Harris OAM, while researching at the Public Record Office, Laverton. Photocopies can be obtained by a personal visit to the PRO.

AN DODDY, Chinese, died in Maryborough gaol of kidney disease, 1887. Witnesses: Edward Kelly; Dr. R. H. Dunn. No. 1401, Unit 521.

Leslie BEDFORD, 11 years, died of heart disease, Bung Bong, 1905. State Ward boarded out to Mrs. Margaret Hayden nee McLachlan. No. 925, Unit 792.

Thomas BELLINGTON, died of old age and senility at Maryborough Gaol, 1897. Witnesses: William Furnell, Governor of gaol, Dr. R. H. Dunn. No. 690, Unit 673.

James CONDICK, accidentally killed at Waterloo Gold Mining Co., Waterloo, 1887. Witnesses: Patrick Carland; William Davis; Charles Stewart. No. 1369, Unit 521. (Note: Name should read CONDICK.)

Henry COTTER, died from shock and burns at Frying Pan, 1905. Witnesses: Charles Bailey; Matthew Chambers; Mt. Constable George Halliday. No. 938, Unit 792.

Patrick DALY, 3-year-old child, accidentally killed, 1905. Witnesses: Elizabeth and Patrick Daly (parents); Mt. Constable George Halliday. No. 953, Unit 792.

Alfred LEACH, newborn child, died from want of attention at birth, Mt. Bolton, 1897.

Witnesses: parents Florence Leach, William Leach, Margaret Smith. No. 696, Unit 673.

John McMILLAN, died of heart disease, Homebush, 1887. Witnesses: Mary Gohor (daughter); John McMillan; Cons. Edmund Mulcahy, Dr. Shirley Roberts; John Nesbitt, Frederick Welch. No. 1395, Unit 521.

James MURNANE, 93 years, died of senile decay at Redbank, 1913. Witnesses: Constable Robert Dawtrey, nephew Patrick Murnane. No. 890, Unit 900.

Alice ONN, 20-month-old child, drowned in dam at No. 1 Creek, 1884. Witnesses: mother Jane Onn; Constable Thomas Shanklin. No. 356, Unit 466.

John PATINSON, died of apoplexy at Waterloo, 1884. Witnesses: James Young, manager Royal Saxon G.M. Co.; Dr. James Johnston; Thomas Kinleyside; Constable Edgar Martin; George Baker; Henry Bournes; Robert Mitchell. No. 418, Unit 466.

Ann SMART, 78 years, accidentally burned at Adelaide Lead, 1905. Witness: John Smart (son). No. 514, Unit 788.

John STANFORD, 77 years, died of natural causes, Majorca, 1905. Witnesses: Jane Perry; Ann Stanford. No. 878, Unit 792.