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Bourkes from Summer Hill

2 comment(s), latest 5 years, 5 months ago


Uralla has become famous in the eyes of the world as a wool producing district. New England wool, because of its fineness and cleanliness, has held the record price on the Sydney Market for fine wool, on various occasions in the early days and even to the present time.

As Edward Gostwyck Cory travelled in a northerly direction after crossing the Moonbi Range in 1832, he was well pleased with what he found and claimed that area as his holding, camping first at the headwaters of Carlisle's Gully, (on the present Rimbanda property). As he became aware of the good sheep country over the low range on the easterly slopes he moved his camp to the good creek now

known as Salisbury Waters and then finally formed his head station further downstream at Gostwyck with an outstationat Terrible Vale. In 1833 he sold to William Dangar who; with his younger brother Henry, became eminently successful pastoralists. In addition to their assigned servants they engaged large numbers of shepherds and farmers. The land where Uralla is today was a part of Gostwyck when Dangar's farmers grew their wheat on what is now Alma Park and the slopes of Mt. Beef. The grain was taken to their own mill on Gostwyck and made into flour.

Dangars were established more than 15 years on Gostwyck when the gold rush to Rocky River started, but they, recognising the value as sheep breeding country, of the land on which they were squatting, and believing in their sheep and wool as more trustworthy and stable than gold, ignored the rush of diggers except in so far as many of their shepherds and farmers left them to join in the rush. It is this faith in the "Golden Fleece" that is still the wealth of the district and the livelihood of many of the local residents, including the descendants of Andrew Carlon and his wife Ellen Bowen.

In 1854 Henry Dangar imported 28 specially selected Saxon rams as the nucleus of his specialised, fine wool flock which is producing wool of a very high standard. In 1925 it was written that rams from Gostwyck found a ready market among graziers owning small holdings and thus was the influence of acclimatised and well proven wool producers passed on for the benefit of the whole district. Among the descendants of Andrew Carlon are Tony Carlon of "Queenlea" and Carl Carlon of "Ballydine" Studs continuing this tradition of fine wool specialising, with the addition of some breeding from other areas to vary the type. Bernard King of Walcha has, on occasions, produced the prizewinning fine wool fleece at the Sydney Royal Show.

To replace the men who had gone to the diggings, Dangars sought new immigrants who would become their shepherds and farmers. There were many Irish people making use of the Bounty System to come to Australia, seeking a better way of life after the ravages of the iniquitous `Insurrection Act' of 1796 and the tyrannical landlords, and then the potato famine of 1846-7-8. When the bounty system was not operating, there were some occasions when Dangars paid the fare for some immigrants, so great was their need for good workmen to keep their station flourishing. There are so many among the Bourkes, Cahills, Carlons, Donoghues, Egans, Heffernans, Ryans, Shanahans and many others who spent their first few years in Australia as shepherds on Gostwyck, Salisbury Court or Terrible Vale. The earliest work in this area, besides shepherding the flocks and growing what food was possible, was clearing the land of excessive timber, the timber being used for the slab cottages, and, after the Robertson Land Laws, there was fencing the land into workable paddocks. As the squatters fenced their surveyed boundaries there were smaller blocks of land which the shepherds bought and settled on as they were able to do so.

The wealth of Uralla as a wool producing district received a new impetus about 1925 with the introduction of Pasture Improvement (spreading superphosphate and planting different grass seeds and clover). Improved pastures meant improved quality of stock as well as the capacity to carry greater numbers.

Andrew Carlon was left alone in Billuragh, County Fermanagh, Ireland, when his father Stephen took his mother Catherine back to her homeland, Dundee, Scotland. His brother, William had been killed in action at the Crimean War. Andrew sailed on the "Herald of the Morning" which arrived in Sydney 23 June 1858. He found employment as a shepherd on Salisbury Court where he continued for the next seven years.

Ellen Bowen sailed from Plymouth on the "Lady Milton", 8 March 1862 and arrived in Sydney after a long voyage of 112 days, 28 June 1862. She came to live with her sister Mary Jane; whose husband, James Kirkwood, owned a flour mill at the northern end of Bridge St. where the Blue Trail- Garage is now (1984). Ellen was 15 when she came to Australia and three years later, at 18 she married Andrew Carlon on 17 May 1865, and went to live with him on Salisbury Court. Later they moved to Terrible Vale and then to Rockwood until in 1882 Andrew was able to buy a block of the good pastoral land on Salisbury Plains from John Heffernan. Here he built a permanent home for his family. They had seven children at this time but their oldest daughter, Ellen succumbed to Rheumatic fever and died 10 June 1883, aged 11 years. They had six more children born to them but only two reached adulthood. In later years Andrew was able to assist each of his four sons to buy a good block of the Salsibury land so that they each had a home within sight of their parents home. It was their oldest son James, who in 1903 married Hanora King, `the widow of Walter King, who had come back to Uralla with her four small children, in 1900. James made a home for them which he named "Castlebrook" and where his grandson is still living. James and Hanora had three children added to the family. The oldest, Mary Ellen (Molly) joined the Little Company of Mary, trained as a nurse and served in the hospitals of the community at Lewisham, Wagga, Adelaide, Melbourne and is now at Kogarah, where she has been for the past 11 years.

6 October, 1918.

At 9.45 p.m. on Sunday night there passed over the Great Divide, one of this districts oldest and most highly respected residents in the person of Mrs. Andrew Carlon, senior, late of Salisbury Plains. The late Mrs. Carlon, whose age was about 74 years, enjoyed robust health until about three months since, when an insidious internal malady manifested itself. Mr. and Mrs. Carlon came into town to obtain the services of a trained nurse and the best medical skill available. Drs. Harris, Retchie and Stevens being in attendance, but all that could be done was to alleviate the pain and patiently await the end. It was a relief when she finally fell to the last long sleep on Sunday night. In the passing of one who had proved herself a fond helpmate and been companion to her husband for over half a century, and a generous and loving mother to a large. family, there must be deep seated regrets, and although her end was marked to occur in a few days and was expected daily, still the void is there to be filled - and there can be no filling except in the loving memories that steal through shuttered windows and barred doors.

The lady, who was a Miss Ellen Bowen, was born in Tipperary, Ireland, 73 years ago. She was a sister of the late Michael Bowen, an old figure well remembered in the community. She came to Australia at the age of 15 to join her sister, Mrs. James Kirkwood. At that time Mr. Kirkwood kept a store and owned a flour mill on top of the hill opposite where Mr. H. Bower now lives. About four years later the marriage was celebrated to Mr. Andrew Carlon, the celebrant being the Late Dean Lynch. The couple resided on Salisbury Court, where Mr. Carlon was then employed. Later on he selected on Terrible Vale and they resided there for about twelve months and then moved on to another selection at Rockwood. This was sold in the year that the railway was opened, the family came to Salisbury again, Mr. Carlon having purchased his present home from the late Mr. John Heffernan. Mr. and Mrs. Carlon have resided there ever since, and a peculiar incident is that the four boys, who are all in good circumstances on the land, have properties within sight of their parent's home. Of the union there were thirteen children, five of whom died young, four sons and four daughters are left to mourn the loss with their father. The sons are James, William, Stephen and Andrew. The daughters are Annie, Mrs. T. Crowley of Armidale, Kathleen, Mrs. Len Sullings, Bridget, Mrs. A. Donoghue, and Sarah, Mrs. Mat Egan, all of Uralla.

The family is one that is highly respected throughout the district, and that they have the sympathy of the community was demonstrated by the large number of residents who attended the funeral on Monday afternoon. The remains were enclosed in a cedar coffin, and the burial took place in the R.C. section of the new cemetery. Rev. Father McGrath conducted the last sad rites at St. Joseph's Church and at the graveside. Mr. J.P. Henry had charge of the funeral arrangements.

27 April, 1926

On Tuesday last there passed away one of the oldest identities of the district, in the person of Mr. Andrew Carlon Snr. in his 92nd year. The old gentleman has been in failing health for some time, and his end was not unexpected. He had been a resident of Salisbury Plains of many years standing, having been one of the first to select land there. From the comparatively small block then selected and later added to by industry and application the family has acquired several goodly sized blocks. He was a native of Ireland and emigrated to this country at an early age. His wife died several years ago.

The Late Mr. Carlon is survived by four sons - Messrs. William, James, Stephen and Andrew Carlon and four daughters - Mrs. Crowley, (Armidale), Mrs. Mat Egan, Mrs. A. Donoghue, and Mrs. L. Sullings all of this district.

The burial took place in the R.C. cemetery Uralla, yesterday, when a goodly number of relatives and friends were present. Rev. Father McGrath conducted the service at the Church and Graveside, and Mr. J.P. Henry had charge of the funeral.


Uralla Grazier's Disappearance

James Carlon, a wealthy grazier, of Uralla, came to Sydney to attend sheep sales, and on June 18, after visiting his daughter at Lewisham Hospital, he disappeared and has not since been seen.

It is thought that Carlon, who is 64 years of age, may be suffering from loss of memory. He had a large sum of money in his possession.

From "Sydney Morning Herald", June 30, 1930.
He arrived safely at the home where he had been staying the following day. RK.


On Wednesday, 21st ult., was laid to her earthly resting place one of the district's kindliest and most generoushearted women, a faithful and true mother, and one to whom our town and district owes much, and this small tribute is paid to her memory that others may be inspired to follow her splendid example. She, indeed, possessed the finest qualities of a good Australian mother, who firstly taught her children to reverence God, then impressed upon them duty to their neighbours and service to their country. Her only two eligible sons went forth at their country's call and served right through the Great War. These two young men came through and we are proud of them as worthy citizens.

Of a retiring and quiet disposition, yet ever ready with heart and hand, before ill-health overtook her, to assist any in need, Mrs. Carlon thus won the affection and esteem of all who knew her. She was one of those good souls who well observed the precept "Keep thy tongue from speaking evil," for she was never heard to speak an evil word of any.

Stricken with a creeping and painful illness which for the past three years laid her aside, and although it was known she was under sentence of death, she patiently bore her suffering with fortitude and courage, and gravely awaited the end without fear, in Christian faith. She has left her family the finest of all legacies the memory of a selfsacrificing and loving mother and a devoted and affectionate wife.

A very wide circle of friends extend their sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family and husband the latter being one of a most generous and large-hearted men of our district.

There came one day, to join the angel throng,
A woman bowed through serving oft in pain;
And as she meekly stood, her form grew strong,
And long-lost youthful beauty dawned again,
Yet more was given, for all, with wonder fraught,
Bent low before the sweetness of her face,
Crying "What marvel hath woman wrought
To be thus clothes with sweet mighty grace. "
The one of seraph tongue made answer low,
One talent only hers, a faithful heart;
And she abroad but little could bestow,
So much was needed for her mother part,
And this with love she almost made fair,
That there she was an angel unaware.

Winifred Agnes, second daughter of James and Hanora Carlon was born at Uralla on 3 January 1906 and spent all of her early life on Salisbury Plains, attending the local Public School with her sister Molly and brother Joe. They began walking the three miles to school each day until their father had two horses quiet enough for them to ride and they would go, two on one horse and one on the other until their father bought a sulky and then they could drive in comfort.

When Winnie married Robert (Bob) Carey on 30 April 1929 she went to live in Salisbury Street in Uralla. It was there that their first three children were born and that Winnie nursed her mother through her last illness. Mary Aileen (Molly) Carey was only about seven years of age and her brother, Robert James (Jim) five years when it was found that they had cataracts on their eyes which necessitated long and tedious treatment so the family moved to Sydney, eventually buying a house at north Bondi where two more sons were born, Thomas in 1944 and Paul in 1946.

In 1952 Molly Carey married Robert Porter, a young bank clerk who was born at Lidsey, near Boguor Regis in Sussex, England. They have two daughters, Lorraine (Mrs. Mark Dowell), and Geraldine (Mrs. Michael Gleeson), both now living at Campbelltown. There are five grandchildren, Adam, Hayley and Leanne Dowell and Jennifer and Peter Gleeson.

Joseph Andrew Carlon was the only son born to James and Hanora Carlon and was born 2 March 1908. He attended the local public school on Salisbury Plains and then worked with his father on their home property "Castlebrook". In 1935 he married Elsie Anderson whose
parents lived at Rocky River. Their son Douglas John was born 3 May 1937 and their daughter, Honora was born 7 May 1939.

Joseph and Elsie lived at "Castlebrook" until illness forced Joe to retire to Tamworth where he died 9 September 1980. Elsie now lives in retirement in Uralla.

Douglas lives at "Castlebrook" and is one of the ordained Deacons of the church in Uralla.
Honora (Nora) is married to Neil Menzies whose parents, John Menzies and Doris Streeting live on the eastern edge of Salisbury Plains.

Neil and Nora's older son Andrew, after having worked his way through Agricultural College is now doing pastoral work on Gostwyck, repeating what his great great grandfather did one hundred and twenty years ago, but under what different circumstances and conditions!!! It is still the "Golden Fleece" that is the hope of the district and of the country, and the tangible wealth of many of the local residents.

Neil and Nora have a younger son David thirteen years old and still at school, and a daughter Fiona who is a twin with Andrew.


John Connor worked in Sydney first, then joined in exploring the area inland from Port Macquarie until he was employed by Captain Rapsey on the old storeship, the St. Michael. Moored at Morpeth, the end of the navigable reach of the Hunter River, the St. Michael was the supply depot for the convicts cutting cedar, the soldiers guarding them, the bush constables and others in the district. As the settlement developed the quantity of stores passing through the St. Michael increased. In 1832 the two steam packets, Sophia Jane and William the Fourth commenced a regular passenger and mail service, plying twice weekly between Sydney and the Green Hills (Morpeth).

Alcorn's Inn stood on rising ground where the old and the new tracks met on the Singleton (southern) side of Fal Brook crossing at Dulwich Farm. This was becoming a favourite place for camping and resting the working bullocks. James Glennie's house was on elevated ground upwards of a mile nearer Singleton. The present bridge at Camberwell is 3 miles in a downstream direction from the site of Alcorn's Inn. On lst January 1832 a Post Office was established at Alcorn's Inn, to be the most northerly inland Post Office in the Australian Colonies. Mail was carried up there once a week by the Mounted Police. James Glennie was the contractor in 1832 for the supply of rations and forage to Mounted Police operating in the upper districts, and rations for the lock-ups at Darlington, Merton and Invermein. At Glennie's store travellers could purchase flour, beef and some other necessities.

Moses Connor married Anne Farrell at Glennie's Creek in 1840 and their daughter Mary Anne was born there 21 March, 1841. Then came John in April 1843 and Michael 22 June 1845. Three more babies were born to them but when John returned from the whaling trip to the Southern Ocean with a group of men from some of the ships that had been trading between Sydney and Morpeth he found Moses and Anne in a sad state. Two of their babies had died and they believed this was due to the bad climate.

They wanted to move further north. John and Moses together procured a horse and dray and began preparations for the journey.

Even then another little boy died and Anne was very distressed. The departure was delayed but Moses felt they must move away from that area. Finally the two men with Anne and the three remaining children Mary, John and Michael set off on the long trek that took them to Ipswich.

Ipswich was the free settlement fifteen miles up-river from Moreton Bay, the former Penal Colony, now becoming a busy port. Ipswich had a newly developed coal mine and was growing as the centre for the large land holdings being taken up in the Brisbane River valley, over the mountains and across the Darling Downs.

It was in Ipswich that John met Mary Murphy, the Irish governess to one of the families he was welcoming to Australia. They were immediately attracted to each other, John felt this was the woman who could, and would as he soon learned, help him to settle down and build a truly Christian home. They were married by Rev. William McGinty who with Father Hanly were the only two priests working in this vast northern section of the Colony. Their marriage was celebrated on 15 August 1854, in Ipswich.

The Connor men were not happy with the work and conditions that they found in Ipswich and did not settle comfortably, so that when they heard of the successful gold findings at Rocky River (Uralla), they once again packed their families and belongings into the dray and travelled south. John having his new bride with him, Mary a little sad at leaving behind her sister, but Ellen was employed in a good family and was content that Mary must go.

The journey would have taken some months for it covers a distance of three hundred and fifty miles or nearly five hundred kilometres. For most of the way the track, now the New England Highway, follows the top of the Great Dividing Range. As soon as they reached Rocky River the men lost no time in staking their claims and then set up their homes.

Ellen Caroline Wall (nee O'Connor)

THE STAFF (Railway and Tramway News)
September 22, 1930.

When, in the March issue, `The Staff' announced Mrs. Jane Clarke's retirement, it was stated that her service - thirty-two years - probably constituted a record for female employees. The claim was disputed in last month's issue by a correspondent on behalf of Mrs. M.A. Stewart, of Belford, whose services will total thirty-three years at the end of this year. This month Mrs. E.M. Atkins, writing of her mother, Mrs. Ellen Wall, says that lady entered the service in July, 1888, and had charge of the gates until they were closed in 1926, a period of employment of thirty-eight and a half years. "Even now," concludes Mrs. Atkins, "mother is interested in all concerning the railways. She reads `The Staff' every month from cover to cover, and can still do so without the aid of glasses."

Mrs. E.C. Wall. Died 3 January 1942.

The death occurred in the Glen Innes District Hospital on Saturday morning last of Mrs. E.C. Wall of Ben Lomond, at the age of 81 years. Mrs. Wall, who was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. O'Connor, of Uralla, was born at the Rocky River where she lived until she married the late John Wall, 62 years ago. John Wall was working on the construction of the railway line when he met Ellen, and he continued in that work for many years. The line had not
yet reached Uralla when John and Ellen were married and they made their home in Uralla until the line was beyond Armidale, then they moved to Ben Lomond where the work on the line took the men a long time, particularly making the long, deep `blue cutting' and then the long build up of the valley beyond. It was while the men were working in this area that Ellen and her children settled in to the cottage near the `Blue Cutting' and Ellen accepted responsibility for the railway gates where the road crossed the line at this point. That was in 1888 and Mrs. Wall has lived there ever since.

The deceased lady was of a quiet, peaceful disposition and was always ready to do a kindly deed or help anyone in trouble. She was loved and respected by all and will be greatly missed. She was devoted to her church, which she attended on New Year's morning and it was when she was returning home from the Mass that she collapsed and was brought in to hospital where she was devotedly cared for by the matron, sisters and nursing staff, and the doctor. The Right Rev. Monsignor Tobin watched her spiritual welfare until she passed away on Saturday Morning. Her husband predeceased her by forty years. Her daughter, Kathleen spent the last nine years devotedly attending her mother.

The late Mrs. Wall is survived by four sons and seven daughters. The sons are Messrs. William (Queensland), John (Ben Lomond), Edwin (Queensland) and Fred (Ben Lomond). The daughters are Mrs. Alf Thomson (Queens-land), Mrs. Alf Dawson (Glen Innes), Mrs. Taylor (Queensland), Mrs. Sway (Wee Waa), Mrs. J. Parrington (Narrabri), Mrs. M. Moloney (Sydney), Mrs. Tutton (Ben Lomond). One son, Joseph, was killed in the 1914-18 war. Mr. M. O'Connor of Armidale is the only surviving brother. There are 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. The funeral took place to the Catholic Cemetery at the church at Ben Lomond. Father O'Brien of Guyra, reading the .at service. R.T. Lightfoot and Co. had charge of the funeral arrangements.

Death of Private J. Wall. - Mrs. Wall of Ben Lomond has received a cable from the Defence Department, stating that her son, Joseph had been killed in action in France, between the 22nd and 27th July. The deceased soldier who was 25 years of age, was a fine type of young Australian, and by his amiable disposition and upright and manly principles, had won the esteem of all with whom he became associated. He was particularly highly respected in the Ben Lomond district and much sympathy is felt for his widowed mother, Mrs. Ellen Wall, and his brothers and sisters, in the loss they have sustained. Deceased was a good horseman and rifle shot, and was a prominent member of the Ben Lomond Rifle Club. He enlisted a little over twelve months ago with the 4th Battalion and first went into action at Gallipoli and then was transferred to France, where he met his untimely death.

`They died that we might live.'

Joe Wall. Son of "Wood" and brother of "Weasel", of Ben Lomond, NSW.

A letter was received by Fred Wall some time after the news of his brother's death had saddened the family. It was written from France, 17/6/1916.

Dear Freddie, Just a few lines hoping they find you well as this leaves me. We are having splendid weather over here. I suppose you are getting plenty of cold weather there now. This is all this time. Remember me to Mother and all at home. I remain Yours truly, Joe.'


A quiet wedding took place at St. Cyprian's Church, Narrabri, recently, when Veronica Marie, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Dawson, of Glen Innes was married to Thomas Thwaites, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Cherry, of Narrabri. The bride, who was given away by Mr. J.H. Clarke, was gowned in an ankle length frock of white georgette and lace. Her veil of cut tulle was held in place with a wreath of orange blossoms and silver ribbon. Mrs. D. Stewart of Quirindi, attended the bride as matron-of-honour. Mr. W. McLean was best man. The reception was held at the home of Mrs. J.H. Clarke.


On Saturday afternoon, 30 May, the marriage was solemnised at St. Mary's Cathedral, Warwick, by Father Michael, of Allan, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Alf Thomson, O'Mara Estate, Stanthorpe, and Marjorie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Popp, Inglewood.

The bride, who was given away by her father, was frocked in white satin and wearing an embroidered veil, cap fashion. The bride was attended by her sister wearing green georgette and Miss Lovell (Toowoomba) in pink georgette. Mr. Hedley Clifford was best man and Mr. Popp, brother of the bride was groomsman. After the ceremony a reception was held at the home of the bride's aunt, Mrs. Sutherland. After the honeymoon the young couple will reside at Warwick.


Ellen Marie Parrington. Died 28 June 1981

A Requiem Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Kemps Creek, preceded the funeral of the late Ellen Marie Parrington, who died recently at Ann's Private Hospital, Meadowbank. (Sydney).

Mrs Parrington, aged 88 years, was the daughter of the late Ellen and John Wall of Ben Lomond and a granddaughter of Mary and John O'Connor late of Uralla, who were among the first pioneers of that area. Mrs Parrington lived in Narrabri West most of her married life. She was a dedicated Church woman who worked hard for the Church and was devoted to the Rosary and the Mass. She was a Carmelite Tertiary and was buried in the Carmelite Habit. Her husband predeceased her by 30 years. He having died at Narrabri 2 February, 1952. She will be greatly missed by Joseph (Joe) of Eastwood and John at Taree, and by a daughter, Georgina Mrs. D. Rosewarn of Panania; five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, all of whom she loved greatly. Her only surviving brother and sister are Fred Wall of Guyra and Mrs. Kath Tutton of Brisbane.

2 comment(s), latest 10 years, 2 months ago

John and Jane O'Connor, Bundarra

Michael Ernest O'Connor, born 8 October 1872 was the fourth child of John Connor and Jane Curtis. There were five more children born after Michael so he grew up in the midst of a large family, but was barely twelve years old when his father died of pneumonia. With his two younger brothers he helped his mother to support their five sisters. Little Anastasia had lived only a few months and died early in 1881, but the youngest, Florence Kate, was only one year old when they lost their father on 8 July 1884.

Michael was nearly 18 when his sister Eliza (Elizabeth) drowned in the flooded Gwyder River on the eve of her wedding.

He was 36 years of age when, on 10 March 1909 he married Katherine Fennelly (Campbell), in St. Mary's Cathedral, Armidale. Katherine was a widow with four children, Mary, Jim, Bill, Katherine (Kit), Kit is the only one still living (1984) Michael and Katherine had two children, Frederick Fenlay O'Connor born 7 August 1909, and Marie Veronica born 7 February 1911.

Michael, Katherine and family moved down to the Millfield area near Cessnock, where Michael was employed for thirty years at the Maitland Main Colliery at Greta Main, not far from Millfield, as the bell-boss. Mick built a house at Millfield where he and Katherine reared their family. He retired, probably about 1940 but was still a familiar figure in the area for many years. Restoring old furniture was one of his hobbies and he liked walking and would take his grandchildren on long walks into the hills around Millfield. He would often bring back native plants and shrubs to plant in the grounds of Crawfordville School, which he tended. His grandson Pat, tells the story of helping grandfather to bring home a big cedar log out of which he made a beautiful stool with lovely cambriole legs. Pat and his wife still have the stool in their home at Maitland.

About 1953 Mick and Katherine moved to Redhead to live with their daughter Kit. Katherine died there 11 August 1954. Pat's last recollection of Mick was in about 1956 when he arrived in Walgett where Pat and his wife Inez, and their family were living at the time. Mick, then about 83 years of age, was armed with a Geiger counter and was all set to go prospecting for uranium!! Pat put him back on the train to return to Kit at Redhead.

Many stories exist in the family of Mick's earlier days, and of how he "carried his swag" with Henry Lawson: though this has not been confirmed. We do have a book of Mick's which contains some of his own poetry, quite cleverly written.


Frederick was the first child born to Mick and Katherine O'Connor. Born at Armidale 7 August 1909, his sister, Marie Veronica was also born there on the 7 February 1911 before the family moved to Cessnock where their father found employment at the collieries. Fred probably attended the Crawfordville School and then became a coal miner, a common occupation for people living in the Cessnock area. He married Essie Malina Sutton at Stockton on 1 September 1928. Their first child, Patrick Fennelly O'Connor was born at Cessnock on 22 March 1929, then followed Darrell Frederick in 1931, Wesley Stanislaus in 1935, and Ernest Edwin in 1941.

Fred was a very keen motorcyclist and, reputably, one of the founders of dish-track racing in Australia. The first track was at Maitland. Fred's love of motorbikes led to an unfortunate accident when, in 1931 he was on his way to Newcastle with a mate, Fred came off his bike at the old railway level crossing at Hexham. Fred was seriously injured and his left leg was amputated at the hip. Fred was in St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney for some time and received three blood transfusions from his sister, Veronica, a rare occurrence in those days.

Veronica is reported to have prayed to God for Fred's recovery with the promise that if God allowed Fred to live, she would join the convent as a nun. Fred did recover and Veronica kept her side of the agreement by becomine Sister Marie Veronica.

Apparently the doctors said that Fred would never be able to wear an artificial leg as his stump was too short, but Fred's determination overcame that problem and the people of Millfield - Paxton took up a collection to buy his first wooden leg. Pat recalls taking a ferry to Sydney from Newcastle, to visit his father. The ferry docked at Pier 1 !!

When Fred returned to Millfield after his convalescence he took up cobbling. The money he earned supported his family and helped him in his correspondence course in Automotive Engineering. Fred then began working on, and repairing cars. He also built a house at Millfield and a shed where he could do his mechanical work.

While working as a mechanic at home Fred did a course in welding at Cessnock Technical College. During the depression Fred worked as a timekeeper for the Government relief work. His son Pat would have to take his father's reports and hand them to the bus driver on Monday mornings before going to school.

Fred and Essie moved their family to Mayfield when Fred got a job welding at Stewart & Lloyds in Mayfield about 1938. Fred used to ride a Lambrella motor scooter to work. Early in the War Fred joined the Royal Australian Electrical, Mechanical and Engineering Corps, R.A.E.M.E. Corps. He was probably one of the few men admitted to the Army with only one leg. He rose to the rank of Corporal Instructor and gained distinctions for his skill in welding. He was discharged from the Army about the beginning of 1944 and was employed at the State Dockyard in Newcastle.

Essie died in Newcastle on 17 September 1962 after which Fred spent most of his time in Allandale and Lidcombe Hospitals. He died at Lidcombe on 12 January 1983.

Patrick Fennelly O'Connor was born at Cessnock on 22 March 1929 and spent his early childhood in the coal mining area. He loved the long and pleasant walks with his grandfather among the hills above Millfield, where they would learn all sorts of interesting things about plants, some of which they would bring home for grandfather to plant in the school garden; about trees and they would bring home some pieces to be made into furniture; about birds which are so beautiful and plentiful in the quiet forests, or about many other things of which grandfather was so knowledgeable and wise.

Patrick was about ten years old when the family moved to Marrickville where he completed his primary school education. Then they moved to Mayfield and Patrick attended Newcastle Technical High School and then worked for a time in the steel works.

On 24 June 1950, Patrick married Inez Dawson at Adamstown. Inez is the daughter of John Cook Dawson and Margaret Estel Scott both of Newcastle District. Pat and Inez had a son John born in Newcastle 15 April 1952. Patrick was with the C.M.F. (Commonwealth Military Force) at this time but soon left it and joined the St. John Ambulance Brigade. As an Ambulance driver he and his family moved to Narrabri and then to Walgett. Two more children were born to them in Walgett, Peter on 26 July 1955 and a daughter Kerry on 7 February 1957. Kerry was born just after her great grandfather, Mick O'Connor, at 83 years of age, arrived in Walgett with his Geiger counter, looking for uranium! Patrick helped him to get back onto the train and return to his daughter Kit, at Redhead (near Newcastle).

Margaret Mary Henry (nee O'Connor)

Margaret Mary O'Connor was only 15 years of age when she married John Patrick Henry at Uralla on 5 Jan. 1871. Margaret was the oldest of the family of John O'Connor and Mary Murphy and was well used to helping her mother in the home and with the younger children. Margaret and John's first son, whom they named John Patrick like his father, was born just four days before Christmas, 1871, when Margaret's youngest brother, Moses, was only three years old. Margaret and her mother helped each other with their families, Mary O'Connor being always ready to teach her grandchildren and to listen to their childish stories, the same as she had done with her own family.

Margaret and John reared a family of twelve, eight sons and four daughters, each of whom took their place in the civic life of the town and district. John, the eldest, followed his uncles as a member of the Uralla Municipal Council, and served as Mayor in 1907. It was John Henry who set up, in 1918, and operated the machinery that supplied Uralla with electric light and power for many years. He also carried on a sawmill, a building business and undertakers service established by his uncle, J. F: O'Connor.

One of Margaret and John's daughters, Maude, trained as a midwife and established a nursing home in Uralla where she assisted many of the young mothers of the district.

A Letter written by Margaret Henry.
Uralla. 31 Oct 1899
My Dear Minnie,
Just a few lines to let you know that we all feel sorry for you in your loss I wish I could have gone up to you but we could not get d buggy or sulky: Or I would have let Lucie go, for I could not go as the children have bad colds. It is so hard to borrow a buggy and I have not got the money to go any other way, but Dear Minnie I feel for you for I know how good you were to your Mother and fond of each other, but it is a debt we all have to pay and, Dear Min I know your Mother has been well prepared to meet her Maker, or I would think so, for poor woman she has suffered a long time and it must be a good thing to think that God has had pity on her and relieved her suffering. I would have written to you sooner but I thought your Mother was getting better, Lord have mercy on her soul.

When you get reconciled to your loss we would like you to come down and stay with us for a time. Dear Minnie, I must now draw to a close, I do not know what I can say to help you, but be a brave girl and bear up for Mo's sake and your dear little ones, and try and cheer your poor old Father.
So with love to you all l remain your ever loving sister
Margaret Henry

Word reached Uralla at 6.30 p.m. on Friday of the death at Cessnock of James Edward Henry, second son of Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Henry, sen. of this town. He was a native of Uralla and leaves a wife and nine children, six of them very small, but fortunately, they are well provided for. The late Mr. Henry was at one time in business at Bundarra as a builder and contractor, but went into the picture show business at Cessnock and had a good connection.

"The Uralla Times". Thursday, 26 June, 1922


One by one the pioneers of the district are being gathered in to their Eternal rest, the last to pass over to the Silent Majority being Mrs. J.P. Henry senr. The deceased lady, who was before marriage, Miss Margaret O'Connor, was born on the Rocky in 1855, whither her parents were attracted in the early days of the gold field. Probably no family in the district is better known and respected than the O'Connor's, as apart from being pioneer settlers, they have reared well respected families and are numbered amongst our best citizens. They have always taken a keen interest in anything for the advancement of the town and district and displayed an intelligent interest in public affairs. Over fifty years ago the marriage was celebrated to Mr. J.P. Henry and of the union there are six sons and four daughters living. The sons are: John P. (Uralla), William (Armidale), Alfred and Edwin (Sydney), Frederick (Newcastle), and Roy (Uralla). The daughters are Mrs. Whitten (Duri), Mrs. J. Ryan (Gostwyck Road), Mrs. Lloyd (Tamworth), and Nurse Henry (Uralla). James, Raymond and Margaret predeceased their mother. Of the O'Connor family Patrick (Mobbinbri), John (Inverell), Moses (Armidale), Mrs. Wall (Ben Lomond), and Mrs. Nixon of this town are still in the flesh. All of these except Mrs. Nixon, who first saw the light of day in the Tenterfield district, were born on the Rocky River. Since marriage Mr. and Mrs. Henry have lived in the district, except for a break of five months at Inverell. Mr. Henry, who is still going strong and looks back on about seventy-three years, followed agricultural pursuits in this district and was also a carrier on the road in the days before the railway came to Uralla. The end came peacefully at 2.30 on Sunday, death being due to a hemorrhage of the brain. The lady took ill last week and all the family were sent for and were able to reach the bedside for her final hours on earth. The interment took place yesterday afternoon, the last sad rites at the graveside being read by Rev. Father McGrath. The funeral arrangements being in the hands of Mr. C.G. Cooper.

Mary Anne Nixon (nee O'Connor)

Mary Anne O'Connor was nursing in Armidale when she met Gabriel Nixon who had a carrying business. They were married in Armidale 3 December 1879. Near the end of 1885 Gabriel's business was suffering because of the railway line having been completed and the trains took over much of the work he had been doing. He found new employment at the Tannery at Willoughby on Sydney's north side. In 1889 the family were in Stanthorpe, QLD, where Mary Anne's cousin Jane Thomson (Wall) was living with her husband and family. While the Nixons were in Stanthorpe their eight years old daughter, Hope died. The family was back in Uralla when Walter was born in November 1890. About this time Mary Anne set up a nursing home in John St. Uralla, called "Maroubra". For the next thirty years this was one of the favourite places for young mothers to come to have their babies.

When Mary Anne retired and sold the nursing home in 1923 her youngest daughter, Elsie had just finished her nursing training in Sydney and set up a small private hospital for herself in the Rose Bay area of Sydney. Elsie took her parents to Sydney so that she could care for them in their old age, but after a short time with her they could not take the closeness and the rush of life in the city and longed for the open spaces and fresh air and the life-long friends of New England. Elsie sold her new hospital and moved back to Armidale where she set up a hospital on the corner of Jessie and Mann Streets in the home that is still called "Sturry". There she was able to help her parents to end their days in peace, as well as to continue to nurse the many patients who came to her.

WYONG ADVOCATE 1 February, 1978
Memorial Service

A memorial service for the late Nora Dearing, who devoted much of her time and energy to improving the community living in the township of Budgewoi, will be held this Sunday.
Mrs. Dearing became well known as a real estate agent, and from an office in Halekulani made friends who joined with her in many welfare commitments.

Just over ten years ago the Upper Tuggerah Lakes' Meals on Wheels was established, Mrs. Dearing being a foundation member and holding the position of organiser for 10 years. When the kitchen was first opened less than 20 meals were sent out each day. The number is now 70.

Norah Dearing was instrumental in obtaining a second Meals on Wheels kitchen which is attached to the newly renovated and enlarged Budgewoi Hall.

At the time of her death, Mrs. Dearing was president of the hall committee. She had worked tirelessly for the _ improvement of the hall, which is now regarded as one of the best in the district. She was one of a band of Budgewoi people who worked for the cleaning up of the oval, and for the erection of tennis courts.

Mrs. Dearing and her son, Harry, were included in those workers who formed Society and also a member of the ambulance committee. Budgewoi Hall also houses a branch of the Community Service, a project dear to Mrs. Dearing and for which she worked tirelessly.

Mrs. Dearing will be missed by the entire community.

WYONG ADVOCATE 8 February 1978.
Large Gathering Pays Tribute.

About a hundred people attended a memorial service to the late Mrs. Nora Dearing in Budgewoi Community Hall on Sunday. The service was conducted by the Rev. Geoff Rowney, Anglican Rector for the Upper Tuggerah Lakes Parish. Mrs. Sheila Brailey, secretary of the Budgewoi Combined Pensioners, recited a poetic tribute. Budgewoi Ladies Choir sang hymns. Mr. Alex Cooke gave a reading from Corinthians, Mr. Harry Neilson a eulogy, Mrs. Hilda Sterlin tributes and Mr. Frank Millington reminiscences.

Mrs. Dearing, former nursing sister and Matron of the old Elrington Private Hospital at Wyong, was a tireless worker for innumerable district organisations. As one speaker said, "She was of the bulldog breed who never gave up on a project or anything else".

Her son, Mr. Harry Dearing, unveiled a memorial plaque. It came as a surprise to him and was a touching moment for himself and all present.

The service concluded with a bagpipe tribute by piper Jock McEwen who played "Amazing Grace" and "Lament".

Death of a Returned Soldier, Private Francis Leo Nixon.

What though they passed in all their pride and power
With steadfast tread adown the sun set track
To Glory's Gates - in memory's hallowed hour
They shall come back.

January, 1921.
Though Uralla and district has contributed a large number of men to make the last great sacrifice on the field of battle, all the boys that have been spared to return have been getting along well and in this respect the district was considered fortunate. However, the grim reaper has made an appearance and carried off one of the heroes who helped to make this land famous by the gallant fighting in Gallipoli and France. The sad intelligence came through by phone that Private Francis Leo Nixon had passed away at the Military Hospital at Randwick on Saturday evening at 5.30. On all sides could be heard expressions of sympathy for the bereaved parents, brothers, sisters and relatives.

Pte. Nixon, who was born in Uralla, was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Nixon of this town and in his 22nd year. Had he lived he would have been 23 in February. He sailed on the `Suffolk' on 28 July, 1915 and left Heliopolis Camp, Egypt, on September 10 for the Dardanelles. After four months on the Peninsula, during which he fought in the Lone Pine battle and was present at the evacuation, he was sent to France with the 56th Battalion. After some months he was transferred to the Light Trench Mortar Battery, where he remained till 15 April, 1918, when he was badly gassed at Polygonwood near Amiens. The unfortunate young man was blind for six weeks and it was four months before he could speak. He returned home on 15 October, last year and was given a warm welcome, but his face showed traces of the terrible sufferings he had been through. He became excited at the reception given to the Anzacs in the city and was taken to the Military Hospital at Randwick. He was operated on twice, the trouble being fluid on the lungs. He did not recover from the second operation but quietly passed away. The body was brought to Uralla by train.

The Mayor ran the Town Flag to half mast in the presence of a representative gathering. The Mayor said; `It is our sad duty to run this flag to half mast again in honour of one who has given his life for his country. This is always a sad duty, and doubly sad on this occasion because it is such a short time since we welcomed this boy home. Pte. Nixon came back to us and we had hoped that there would be many happy days in store for him and his family, as well as for the other brave boys who are returning, since they have all showed their willingness to shed their blood for this flag and our country. We trust that God will comfort and sustain the relatives in their dark hour of need.'

In the afternoon the stores closed for a time in order that all might attend the funeral. A short service was held in St. Joseph's Church and at the conclusion Mrs. W.L. Elliott played the Dead March as the people passed out. The funeral was one of the largest ever seen in the town. On about 70 occasions since the flag was run to half-mast to the memory of the late Lieut.-Col. Braund, the public have gathered at the Hill St. Corner to pay a last tribute of respect to the memory of the men who gave their lives for the Empire. This however, was the first occasion that a returned soldier has been laid to rest here, and the public turned out en masse to show respect to the memory of the brave boy, whose life had been cut short by the deadly poison gas. The funeral was led by a number of returned soldiers under the direction of ex-Corporal J. Grattan, then the cadets, followed by the band. Then came the guncarriage, an improvised lorry, bearing the coffin with two returned soldiers at the front and two at the back. On the way to the new cemetary the band rendered the Dead

March. The service at the graveside was conducted by the Rev. Father McGrath, the funeral arrangements being in the capable hands of Mr. J.P. Henry, jr. The firing party consisted of returned soldiers and the Last Post was sounded by Sergt. E. Pearson (an Anzac).

Private Walter Nixon, who was at the Military Hospital, Randwick, when his brother passed away, speaks in the highest terms of appreciation of the attention given by the doctors, the nurses and the Red Cross. Eight of the best surgeons were in attendance and the nursing sisters never left him alone for a minute. Everything that the patient asked for was obtained and given to him, provided it was allowed by the medical men. As an instance of the promptness of the Red Cross, an electric fan was phoned for in order to keep the patient cool. Inside half an hour it was installed in the hospital ward. Mr. Nixon is deeply impressed with the unremitting skill, care and attention shown to his brother and is satisfied that no body of men or women could have done more than was done.

Walter Gabriel Nixon died during the first week of October, 1958, about the same time as his cousin, Justin Ignatius O'Connor, late of Walcha. Both men were Diggers from World War I.

Mary Anne Vitnell (nee O'Connor)

Wooger Vetnal (that's how they spelt it in the records) was a private in the 3rd "Buffs" East Kent Regiment, who first came to New South Wales on convict escort duty in 1822. He had served twenty years in the British Army, been wounded more than once, and in 1824 was returned to England and discharged "invalid".

Health recovered, he eventually married Martha Avery Wood at St. Mary's Newington, London, in 1831. Australia must have had its attractions for Wooger, for shortly after their marriage they boarded the "Mary" and arrived in Sydney in February 1832. Later that same year son William was born at Kissing Point (Ryde). They then moved to the Hunter region where Wooger became a constable for several short periods at Merton (near Denman) and Paterson, eventually settling in the Maitland area. Daughter Mary Ann was born in 1834 and sons Charles in 1836 and John in 1838. By this time some interesting changes in name had occured. The spelling of the surname became fixed at VITNELL. It is probably unique to Australia. And in family records the name William appears before Wooger.

William Wooger Vitnell disappears from the records during the eighteen forties. Did he really vanish with a group of convicts? In 1848 Martha, now described as a widow, married Isaac Dodd. Martha died more than thirty years later and is buried in the Old Glebe Cemetery at East Maitland.

Some of the family have remained in the Hunter area. Mary Ann married George Stephens. They lived at Morpeth and are buried in the cemetery there. Most of John's family were born in the Maitland area and he was buried at Hinton in 1917.

Some of the sons went chasing gold. William was married at the Rocky River diggings (Uralla) to Mary Anne Connor who was born near Singleton in 1841. Her father had a mine at Rocky River, William and Mary Anne moved to Mudgee where fresh goldfields were opening up. They settled here and raised a family of twelve, four girls and eight boys. William and Mary Anne are both buried at Mudgee.

While most of the boys were content to work the farm with their father and then go wandering over the various goldfields, George Henry Vitnell, William and Mary's fourth son found a tutor and got himself educated. He became a school teacher in the Mudgee area, north-east of Mudgee. He married Sarah Gossage, moved to Eugowra where he was schoolmaster for nearly thirty years. Sarah died while their children were still quite young arid George married again to Christina Agnes McMillan.

William's brother George went to Mudgee goldfields, married Jane Rayner at Piambong and raised a family of four daughters, and five sons. Later he moved to Dubbo and his grave is in the local cemetery there. Charles went to the Northern goldfields, Crow Mountain, Woods Reef (Barraba), Rocky River in 1870, Bundarra in 1884 and others but we have no record of any marriage or of his death. A number of the descendants of George and William have found their way back to the Hunter district.

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Michael O'Connor of Inverell


Mr. C.V. Randle. Died May 1922

Though it has been known to his friends for some little time that Mr. Charles Vincent Randle, of Ross St. Inverell was seriously ill, the news of his death last night at the residence of his father-in-law, Mr. Michael O'Connor of Vivian Street, was none the less distressing. Deceased was a fine robust man, only 36 years of age, who was a carpenter with the Education Department. Last Christmas time he took ill with an internal complaint that is practically incurable. Six weeks ago he went to Sydney and was operated on but when he returned to Inverell on Thursday last he was far from well. His condition continued to worsen until the end, last night. He was a native of Toowoomba (Q) but had been living in Inverell for some years. He married Ellen, the second daughter of Mr. M. O'Connor, who is now left a young widow with five sons, the oldest of whom is only 9 years, and the youngest 8 months. They are Charles, Henry, Fred, Vincent and William. Deceased's father-in-law and mother-in-law, Michael and Ellen O'Connor, and the following brothers-inlaw all reside in Inverell: Jack, Mick, Tom and Morrie O'Connor. Deceased's mother and a sister (Mrs. Crawford) reside in Toowoomba. Another sister lives in Brisbane and a third sister is a nun, Sister Mary Helen in North Sydney.

Mr. Randle was a steady and reliable worker and was held in high esteem by all who knew him. He was a splendid specimen of Australian manhood and, prior to his marriage was a noted athlete, winning fame and glory on both football and cricket fields. The most sincere sympathy is expressed with the widow in her bereavement and with the young family who are left without a breadwinner.

The remains will be interred in the Catholic Portion of the local cemetery to-day (Tuesday) at 4 o'clock. The funeral arrangements are in the hands of Mr. C.S. Thorley.

John Moses O'Connor was born at Bundarra 31 July 1879, the oldest of the nine children of Michael O'Connor and Ellen Mary Robinson. He went to Inverell when the family moved there in 1892. On 12 April 1909 he married Emily Matilda Collins from Armidale, they were married in the Sacred Heart Church, Inverell, and it was a very happy day for them 26 years later when their oldest son John Michael, came home from Rome a priest and celebrated Mass for them in that same church. John Michael had been born at Brewarrina where John Moses worked for a time, then the family moved to Sydney and their second son Roderick was born at Forest Lodge. They then returned to Inverell where three more children were born. John Moses opened a saddlery shop and also joined the Inverell Municipal Council where he served for many years. Another proud and happy day for the family was 25 July 1945 when their third son Shane was ordained a priest.

Mr. JOHN MOSES O'CONNOR, of Hillsdale celebrated his 100th birthday on 31 July last. (1979). Son of the late Michael and Ellen O'Connor, he was born at Laura Creek, near Bundarra. At the age of 13 his family moved to Inverell where he lived until 1953 when the family moved to Sydney.

The celebrations were very quiet but Holy Mass was celebrated by his two sons, Monsignor John O'Connor of West Tamworth and Father Shane O'Connor of Barmera (South Australia). Mr. O'Connor was able to be present at the Mass in the Notre Dame Nurses' Home, St. Vincent's Hospital.

After Mass, Monsignor O'Connor presented his father with an apostolic blessing granted by Pope John Paul II. Monsignor O'Connor referred to the gift of a long life granted by God and the gifts of tenacity in the Faith and a keen intellect.

The parish priest, Father John Power called on Mr. O'Connor to offer his own congratulations and he also brought a letter from Cardinal Freeman who referred to God's goodness to Mr. O'Connor in granting him such a long life and in turn, to the praise and glory given to God over all those years by such a good life.

Messages were also received from the Bishop of Armidale, Bishop Henry Kennedy, and the Bishop of Port Pirie, Bishop Bryan Gallagher. Telegrams were received from the Sisters of Mercy at Inverell and Gunnedah (his old teachers). The Parishes of West Tamworth and Barmera sent "spiritual bouquets" to mark the occasion. Mr. O'Connor lives with his son and daughter Rod and Jessie at Hillsdale.


"Catholic Weekly". 5 June 1980

Concelebrated Requiem Mass was offered for John Moses O'Connor at the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Pagewood, on Thursday, May 29 (1980). Mr. O'Connor was born at Laura Creek in the Bundarra district on 31 July, 1879. He was the eldest of the nine children born to Michael and Ellen O'Connor. The family moved to Inverell when he was 13 years old. He was educated by the Sisters of Mercy and maintained close contact with them over the years. John O'Connor was an exemplary Catholic and a friend of all priests. Two of his sons are priests, Monsignor John O'Connor of West Tamworth and Father Shane O'Connor of Barmera, S.A. Other children are Roderick and Jessie of Hillsdale. Last year Mr. O'Connor celebrated his 100th Birthday.

The Principal concelebrant of the Requiem Mass was the Bishop of Armidale Bishop Henry Kennedy. Other concelebrants were Bishop William Murray (Wollongong), Bishop Peter De Campo (Coadjutor of Port Pirie), Monsignor John O'Connor and Father Shane O'Connor, Fathers John Haseler, Victor Doyle, Edward Shepherd, Bruce McPherson, Ronald Perrett and Edmond Travers M.S.C. Father John Power P.P. was master of ceremonies and read the prayers at the graveside.

Moses and Anne Connor of Maitland and Uralla

Though the gold was good and the future seemed promising, for Moses and Anne life was not to be settled and peaceful. Anne became alarmingly ill during 1856 so once again Moses harnessed the horses and packed the dray. This time he made a bed for Anne in the dray. They left their children with John and Mary and set off in search of a doctor and hospital. It took them three weeks to reach Maitland where Anne was operated on for appendicitis. She was recovering satisfactorily and so Moses left her to get back to their children and to earning a living, saying he would return for Anne as soon as she was ready to travel again. John was keeping the two claims working at Rocky River and Moses was pleased to be back with him for a time, though always anxiously awaiting the message from Anne. When no message came in ten weeks Moses returned to Maitland to sadly learn that Anne had died shortly after he left her.

Moses returned once more to Rocky River, lonely and dispirited, the winter of 1857 became cold and wet, too boggy to dig. His daughter, Mary Anne had married William Vitnell, a gold seeker, and gone with him to the new goldfields near Mudgee, where they made their home. Moses and his two sons, John, 14, and Michael, 12 years old, went to Piedmont, near Barraba, then to Bowling Ally Point where they found some gold but after a time there they gave up the search for gold and went to work on "Laura" sheep station near Bundarra. Michael worked with his father on Laura and John went to a neighbouring station, called "Goose's Neck" because of the curve of the Gwyder River that curved round to form the boundary on three sides of the station. In 1864, just before he turned twenty-one, John married Jane Curtis at Wellingrove, the Rev. Archibald Cameron performed the ceremony, 9 March, 1864. They lived on "Goose's Neck" and had nine children but John succumbed to an attack of pleuresy on 8 July, 1884 and left Jane alone to rear the family. The oldest, Mary Anne, was only 18 when her father died, and the youngest, Florence Kate was only a year old. Moses helped Jane with the family where and when he could but she was a strong and forthright woman and managed very well.

Michael O'Connor married Ellen Mary Robinson in 1878. Ellen had been born at Rocky River on 27 March 1855, and had a sister Martha who married Victor Whitehorn. Mr. Robinson was digging for gold at the Rocky at the same time as Moses and John O'Connor. Michael and Ellen had six children born at Bundarra, Jane, John's wife was a renowned midwife, perhaps she stayed with Ellen when she was needed.

Michael left Laura Station to conduct a butcher's shop in Bundarra for a time, but then he left it in 1892 and moved to Inverell, perhaps seeking better educational opportunities for his children. Moses moved to Inverell with Michael and his family, but was there only a short time when he died, 25 April 1894, nearly forty years after his beloved Anne had left him with their children, forty years of loneliness and toil in which he had seen their three children married and John had died so unexpectedly. There were 28 grandchildren, all fine young Australians, God Bless them.