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Moses Henry O'Connor was the youngest child of John O'Connor and Mary Murphy. He was born at Uralla on 22 May 1868. His mother began his education at an early age and then he went on to the local school. He followed his brother, John Francis into the building trade and there are many homes in Uralla that are the work of his hands. On 4 April 1 894 he married Mary Josephine Hyde. The Border Post of April 7 reports the event:
ORANGE BLOSSOMS - On Wednesday a very pretty wedding ceremony was performed at St. Joseph's Church by the Rev. Father Davadi, when Miss Minnie Hyde, daughter of Mr. Dennis Hyde, of Sugarloaf, and Mr. M.H. O'Connor of Uralla, NSW, were united in the bonds of holy matrimony. The wedding was a very popular one among the residents of Sugarloaf, where the family of the bride have resided since the very early days. The party arrived at the Church from Sugarloaf about 11 a.m., when the ceremony was performed. Miss B. Hyde, cousin of the bride, assisted as bridesmaid and Mr. M. Hyde performed the duties of `best man'. The wedding was celebrated at the residence of the bride's parents and over thirty friends sat down to the wedding breakfast, which had been prepared in a very tasteful manner. The health of the newly-married couple was proposed in eulogistic terms and drunk with enthusiasm, to which Mr. O'Connor responded. The remainder of the day was spent in amusement, and in the evening a large number of friends were invited to a dance in honour of the occasion. Dancing, interspersed with songs and games, was kept up till daylight on Thursday morning. We wish the young couple a bright and prosperous future.
Moses brought his bride home to the house he had built in Woodville, Uralla. Their first daughter Eileen Mary was born on 14 February 1896, then two years later Emily Josephine was born 18 June 1898. Gold was discovered at Hillgrove and Moses went to build shops and accommodation for the miners. Then he moved his family there and went into the mining business, which was much more sophisticated than it had been when his father commenced at Rocky River nearly fifty years ago. At Hillgrove the tunnels were long and deep and needed a solid wooden structure at their entrance. Moses also constructed an almost perpendicular tramline for hauling the ore from the mines to the top of the cliff for sluicing. Because of the depth of the mines there was considerable trouble with the poisonous gas that so often occurs underground. It was the presence of this gas that eventually caused the closure of the Ellanora Mine and Moses used to claim that there was still plenty of gold in there if only they could overcome the gas. Another of his feats of this era was building the hydro-power station. This is recalled in "The Armidale Express" nearly forty years later, about 1944.
OLD STYX HYDROELECTRIC SCHEME.
Mr. M.H. O'Connor tells of 1907 feat.
The proposal by the Armidale City Council electrical engineer (Mr. S.D. Berry) that the Styx River be harnessed to provide electric power for Armidale and district has reawakened memories in 76-year-old Mr. Moses O'Connor, ex-Mayor of Hillgrove and Armidale.
In the days when Hillgrove was at the peak of its gold production and a thriving town of about 7000 inhabitants, Mr. O'Connor was commissioned by the gold mining company, in whose employ he was mines' foreman, to tackle the job of constructing a hydroelectric power plant and dam the Styx to provide electricity for the mines. Interviewed yesterday, Mr. O'Connor said:
"I started the job with 12 men on January 22, 1907. On December 22 of the same year the mines were using power from the river.
"The job was inspected after completion by the then Minister for Mines, who told me that if he hadn't seen it he wouldn't have believed it.
"It was considered then the best job of hydroelectric installation in Australia.
"And I was not an engineering expert," Mr. O'Connor emphasised, "but a mines' foreman and builder.
"A group of Swedish electrical engineering experts visiting Armidale some years ago asked to see me and when I asked them what they wanted they told me they wanted to take off their hats to the man who had put in the Styx River Hydroelectric plant. And they did!
"That was the greatest compliment I've ever been paid", Mr. O'Connor added. The power from the Styx scheme was used solely for the Mines. Mr. O'Connor said, "Hillgrove obtained its lighting from the Gara River hydro plant". He saw no reason why the Styx could not be successfully harnessed to provide electricity for Armidale at the present time. It would be necessary to have a reserve storage as a precaution against the river level dropping sharply in dry seasons.
Moses Henry served Hillgrove as an alderman for 16 years when it was a thriving mining town, during 1909 and 1910 he was Mayor. The town was well supplied with electric power and lighting, had a good water supply and most conveniences of the time.
It was during this time that Moses and Mary's third daughter, Kathleen Mary was born 3 October 1909. Their other girls were doing well at the local Convent School as reported in the newspapers: of 13 Feb, 1915:
FROM "THE ARMIDALE CHRONICLE"
13 February 1915
News from Hillgrove.
In connection with the recent examinations of the London College of Music, the prize competition for "Beginners Only", the results for N.S.W. were:- (Hillgrove centre) First prize, value £5, won by Miss Emily O'Connor, pupil of St. Joseph's Convent, Hillgrove- passing Elementary Grade with honours (89 marks out of 100). First prize, value 3 pounds won by Miss Eileen Ryan, St. Joseph's Convent, Hillgrove - passing the Primary Grade with honours (91 marks). Such results reflect great credit on the teacher, who is to be congratulated.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Sisters of St. Joseph's Convent are to be congratulated on the excellent result attained by their pupils at the recent Theory of Music examinations. There were twelve candidates and all passed, three gaining the highest possible marks. The pupils sat under the supervision of the Rev. Father M. Foley
Eileen O'Connor 99 marks Alice Morrow, 99 marks
Elsie Smythe, 99 marks Lizzie Haren, 97 marks
Vera Dickson, 97 marks Daisy Goodwin, 97 marks
Kathleen Pinto 97 marks Bertha Curry, 96 marks
Mary Logan, 93 marks Eileen McMillan 89 marks
Dorry Ryan 7 5 marks.
After the closing of the mines and gradual moving away of many of the townspeople of Hillgrove, Moses and Mary and their family moved to Armidale in 1920. Moses found employment with G.F. Nott a popular and busy builder at that time. Among the buildings he worked on were the Ursuline Convent Chapel and The Armidale High School.
Dear Aunt, Just a line to let you know I received your letter alright and was pleased to hear you are all quite well. I was in Malta Hospital for a while but I am in the best of health at present. Well Dear Aunt Hillgrove must be very tame now that all the mines have closed down. I have very little space for news but I will drop you a line later on so Good bye. I remain your fond nephew P. Hyde.
I would be very pleased to get a line from Eileen or Emily.
Moses Henry was not long in Armidale when he was elected to the City Council and served there for twenty years, five of those years - 1933 to 1937, he was Mayor. Much progress came to Armidale during the years that Moses was Mayor, one of the most important, and which affected the greatest number of people was the sewerage system. This and the improved water supply raised the standard of living in the City. The newly opened Teachers' Training College brought many people and then the establishment of the University College began that steady increase in population that has grown to several thousands now at the University of New England. Another important step in modernising the City was the opening of Radio Station 2 AD. In his first year of office the Great Northern Road was redesignated The New England Highway and has been continually widened and improved ever since.
Of seeming little importance at the time, and of no great cost was the opening of the Municipal Museum. There are many today, researchers and others, who are now grateful to the Civic Fathers for this foresight and promotion. Armidale's new Hospital was built near the end of Ald. O'Connor's time as Mayor. This was a welcome step forward in the care of the people of the City and district of that time. Even though it has had to have further improvements and enlargements, each is a step forward in the growth of the City.
Moses was always a keen rifle man and enjoyed this as the only sport in which he took part. Perhaps a few extracts from the local newspapers will show us something of his sharing in this sport, about 1937.
"The Armidale district contains two veteran riflemen, whose record at the sport should take some beating throughout the State. One is Bill Morgan of Hillgrove, who is well over the allotted span and is still an active participant at shoots throughout the State, and is a regular at the big N.R.A. meeting in Sydney. The other is "Mo" O'Connor, Mayor of Armidale, and secretary of the Armidale Rifle Club. Mr. O'Connor has completed over fifty years of almost continuous rifle shooting, and that his eye and hand have not lost their cunning is evidenced by the fact that, at the end of the Armidale Club's year, he was well up in nearly every competition. His consistency is shown by the fact that he won the trophy for the aggregate for the best score of 22 shoots out of 24, and also the trophy for the best 16 shoots (four each at the 300, 500, 600, and 700 yards ranges).
On Easter Monday, 51 years ago, the Mayor of Armidale, Alderman O'Connor, popularly known throughout the Northern rifle circles as "Mo", won his first prize shoot. On Saturday he won the Armidale Club's shoot at 300 yards with 45 out of a possible 50.
The name of M.H. O'Connor, Armidale's chief citizen, is missing from the results of the weekly shoot at the Armidale rifle range on Saturday. The reason is that his Worship, after 51 years of active service with rifle clubs, has found it necessary to retire. Despite the fact that he will not breast the mound, his interest in the sport will not slacken. It is interesting to recall that in over half a century of shooting, he has on only two occasions scored less than 40 with ten shots."
When Moses retired from the Municipal Council in 1940 he was 72 years of age, his wife was ill and his brother, Patrick Michael was staying with him in between periods in hospital. Patrick died in the Armidale hospital 23 February, 1940. Mary Josephine died 5 June 1942 and Moses was left with his daughter Emily who cared for him lovingly and faithfully for the remaining five years until his death on 17 August, 1947.
When the family had moved to Armidale from Hillgrove and Moses had started building with G.F. Nott, Emily began work in the office of Nott's which was at that time mainly the brickyards but was to grow, over the years, to own the timber yards and cover the whole of the building industry. Emily worked in that office and for the company as it grew, for fifty one years so she saw many changes and probably knew more about that business than any one else in it at the time of her retirement in 1971.
The following lines were addressed to Mr. O'Connor by Father Hiscox on the occasion of the death of Mrs. O'Connor.
The moment that must come to all
Crept in all silken shod;
A sudden change, a heaving breast;
Her soul had gone to God.
And so the Book of Life is closed
And sealed by angel's hand,
The journey's O'er, the race is run
Across life's lonely strand.
And as I sit in pensive mood
Tonight, I thank the Lord
That angels hovered round the bed
To break the quivering cord.
And so it surely must have been
For with a faith that's true
She loved her God and served Him well
As do the faithful few.
We miss her from our lonely home,
We miss her from the pew
Where she used kneel in humble prayer
Her fervour to renew.
The flowers that stand with drooping head
Out in the garden there
Would make one feel that they, too, miss
The sweet maternal care.
The garden which she loved to tend
Bore oft a scented gem,
But sweeter flowers she never grew
Than Eil, and Kath and Em.
The home is not like home tonight,
For from that vacant chair
A lonely silence seems to peep
Suggesting blank despair.
But then my soul dispels the thought,
Unworthy would I be
Of Him Who gave His life for men
And died upon the tree.
And so I join my heart with His
And bravely face the loss;
I'll steel myself with earnest prayer
And with Him bear the cross.
Frank and Eileen Hiscox, of Bridge Street, Muswellbrook, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last Monday when relatives and friends from Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth, Inverell, Bega and Armidale travelled to Muswellbrook to celebrate the occasion.
Frank Hiscox, the only surviving child of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Hiscox of Armidale, married Eileen, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. M.H. O'Connor of Armidale, at St. Mary and Joseph's Cathedral, Armidale on September 8, 1930.
The Hiscox's have three children, Kevin (Sydney), Gerard (Canberra) and Michael (Coffs Harbour), and eight grandchildren.
The anniversary was celebrated with a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. James Church, Muswellbrook, with the concelebrants being Fr. Brock (Muswellbrook), Fr. Woods (Denman), Fr. Hornery (Swansea), Fr. Hughes (Waratah) and Dr. Macpherson (Inverell).
A renewal of marriage vows were exchanged by Frank and Eileen and Fr. Hughes conducted the Presentation of the Papa Blessing. Father Brock spoke feelingly on the virtue and the exemplification of love.
After the Mass of Thanksgiving a celebration luncheon was held at Skellatar House.
Over 70 people attended the luncheon and the chairman was Kevin Hiscox.
Toasts were proposed to the guests of honour, the guests and the St. James Parish.
Telegrams were received from Father Nugent, (holidaying in Ireland), Prime Minister Malcolm Frazer, Governor and Lady Cutler, Mr. Frank O'Keefe, Mr. Colin and Mrs. Fisher, and Mr. Neville Wran (Premier).
Also a congratulatory letter was received from Sir James Cardinal Freeman.
DEATH OF A CHARITY WORKER
An Armidale woman, well-known for her years of charity work and her support and sympathy for the aged and sick, died recently.
Miss Kathleen Mary O'Connor, or Kath as she was known to her many friends, worked diligently for the Catholic parish in Armidale.
She was an early member of the Catechist's group and she belonged to the Legion of Mary Society.
Miss O'Connor was instrumental in modernising the Cathedral Hall kitchen and meeting room and she worked with the Parish caterers for many years.
Her hospital and home visits were famous. Before the Second World War, she was an employee at Richardsons.
During the war, she joined the army and afterwards joined the staff of the Department of Agriculture where she worked until a couple of years ago.
At the time of her death, Miss O'Connor was treasurer of the St. Patrick's Home Auxiliary.
OBITUARY:- After a long illness, during which she received every possible kindness and attention from relatives and neighbours, Mrs. Denis Hyde, on Tuesday morning last, died at her residence in Stella Street; otherwise remarkably robust in health for her age, Mrs. Hyde succumbed to the attack of an internal complaint, the result of which was only too painfully apparent to her friends for some little time past. Deceased had reached the good age of 57 years, and the large attendance of townspeople at her funeral, which took place on Wednesday afternoon, was a fair token of the respect in which her memory was held.
OBITUARY:- The grim King of Terrors has been busy in this district during the past week, and removed from our midst three of our oldest inhabitants. On Thursday night week Mr. D. Hyde who has been living with his son, (Mr. M. Hyde) at Sugarloaf died very suddenly. During the day Mr. Hyde complained of feeling unwell, but towards evening he appeared to get better. He went outside and laid down on the grass in the cool to have a smoke, and shortly afterwards his daughter-in-law went out and discovered that he was dead. Death was due to a general break-up of the system. The Deceased had been a resident of the district since the earliest days of the tin mines and leaves a grown up family of sons and one daughter, who is married, and lives in New South Wales. The funeral took place on Saturday and was largely attended. Deceased was 68 years of age.
OBITUARY:- We regret to report the death of Mr. Thos. Hyde, which sad event took place at the local hospital on Sunday morning last, the cause of death being pneumonia. Deceased who was only 43 years of age, complained of feeling unwell during the week, and finally consulted Dr. Parramore, who ordered his immediate admission to the hospital, consequently he entered the institution on Friday -but unfortunately the dread disease had made too much progress and he passed away as stated at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. He leaves a sorrowing sister, (Mrs. M.H. O'Connor, of Hillgrove) and two brothers, residents of Stanthorpe. Mr. Hyde was an old resident of Hillgrove, having arrived here over 16 years ago, since which time he has followed the occupation of a miner and prospector. The remains were interred on Monday afternoon in the Roman Catholic portion of the local cemetery, the Rev Father Foley officiating at the graveside, and despite the inclement weather a large number of people paid the last tribute to the departed. Mr. R.W. Morrow had charge of the funeral arrangements.
"The Armidale Chronicle". 17 May 1908.
The first John Elliott we know of was quietly running his butchery business in Hastings in Sussex in England. His wife Mary Martin conducted "An Academy for Young Ladies" in Hastings. The life must have been too quiet for their son John. He joined the crew of a Merchant Ship together with his cousin Jacob. They were in Melbourne in 1851, and heard of all the people rushing to the Ballarat Goldfields so they jumped ship as their vessel sailed past Wilson's Promontory, the most southern tip of Victoria, and joined the rush.
By 1857 John was working as a gardener in the Parramatta area of NSW. There he met Sarah Lynch, an embroiderer who had arrived just that year from England. They were married on 11 September 1857, and then went up to the Macleay River. They had nine children born among the islands of the river delta where John was gardening for several of the settlers, but the river would flood too often and too quickly so after about fifteen years they packed their possessions into a dray and set out for higher ground. They arrived in Armidale, tired and weary and asked to spell the horses in the nearest yard which happened to be John Moore's. He immediately employed John Elliott as his gardener and Sarah became Mrs. Moore's seamstress. Their youngest son Walter was born in Armidale in 1879.
After a time they went to Rocky River but were not long there when most of that population were not getting much gold so moved either to a warmer climate or to Uralla, which was developing as the business centre of the district. John Elliott took a position as gardener with the Uralla Town Council and it was in that position that he organised the planting of the trees in Alma Park. Sarah was a renowned mid-wife and helped many of the young mothers in the district until she seccombed to an attack of the 'flu in 1891.
When Sarah Elliott (Lynch) died in 1891 her eldest daughter Mary, had been married for eleven years and was living with her husband and their daughter Tina at Currabubula. Sarah had been married to Patrick O'Connor four years and had two children, Una and Justin at whose births Sarah had assisted her daughter as mid-wife as was so often the way among the pioneer families when a young mother was fortunate enough to have her mother nearby.
Teresa, third daughter of Sarah and John, had been married for nine years and was living in Glen Innes with her husband and family. John, the oldest son had died young and Eleanor, the fourth daughter had joined the Community of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was then known as Sister Patricia.
Joseph, the oldest living son had learnt the printing trade and was employed at the local newspaper printing works where he worked for many years and then set up his own printing press from where he issued a second newspaper to the people of Uralla, "The Uralla News". Joseph and his wife, Rosamond had a daughter Christina who was only eleven years old when her father died 11 May 1918.
Thomas went to Sydney to learn the saddlery trade and eventually returned to Uralla with his wife to open his own business. Thomas and Bertha had two children, Laurence and Una.
Walter was only twelve years old when his mother died. His sisters Kathleen and Anna cared for him and his father in the family home. As soon as he left school Walter went to work in McCalisters Store, one of the oldest businesses in Uralla. He continued there for many years and advanced in the knowledge of running the business until, at the time of the `Back to Uralla' celebrations in 1925, he was manager of the business which was then known as "The New England Stores Ltd." During those years he had married Mary (Molly) Eather, one of the eleven children of the local Police Sergeant James Eather and his wife Millicent Bath, who had grown up in the Walcha district. Walter and Molly raised a family of eight children and also gave much of their time and talents in helping the local community. Walter had a good singing voice and trained the local church choir while Molly sometimes played the organ. Walter was also a member of the local Dramatic Club. He served on the Town Council for many years and was Mayor during 1921. In later years Walter and Molly moved with their family to Armidale where . Walter died on 11 November 1949.
FROM "THE URALLA TIMES"
The Late Mr. Joseph Elliott.
Dear Sir - Permit me through the columns of your press to pay tribute to the memory of the late Mr. Elliott.
The deceased gentleman was highly respected in our town and district. To meet him was to respect him, to know him was to admire and esteem him highly. Straight forward to a detail honorable in all his dealings, his word was ever his bond; kindly and generous in disposition, courteous and gentle alike to young as well as aged, his manly conduct and many kindly acts and good deeds done behind the scenes will ever endear his memory to the people of this town. The writer, besides hearing of such actions, personally knows of many whom the deceased gentleman has befriended in their time of need.
One cannot help but feel that in his going out of this life, we shall not only miss his familiar figure and genial smile, but suffer the loss of a gentleman, the type of which our community can ill afford to lose. His memory may be cherished with a just pride by loved ones, relatives and friends.
Patrick Michael O'Connor, oldest son of John Connor and Mary Murphy was one of those who had the "O" restored to the family name, together with his parents, brothers and sisters. The explanation to the children was that the "0" had been accidentally omitted by a secretary and that this (the worldwide celebrations honouring Daniel O'Connell's birth) was a good time to put it on again. Patrick spent much of his early childhood on the road with his father and the horse team. Who could gauge the wisdom and knowledge learned from his father on those long intimate walks? This together with his mother's great care for her children's learning gave him a good start before he attended the local public school. When he was leaving school at the age of fifteen years, the Headmaster queried that such a brilliant pupil should not go to higher studies, but for Patrick the local community was to be his field of activity.
On 12 January 1887 he married Sarah Elliott in St. Joseph's Church, Uralla. Only three months later his beloved father died, 4 April. Patrick then entered wholeheartedly into the Local Government scene. He was an Alderman of Uralla Municipal Council from October 1891 to February 1896. Again when he returned to the district from Barraba, he was Mayor during 1904 and 1905. Then he became a foundation member of the newly formed Gostwyck Shire Council, May 1906. He was President of that Council from November 1906 to January 1908 and again in January and February, 1911. He remained a councillor till May 1914.
During this time Sarah had born him four sons and two daughters. The family lived at Northmont in the Barraba district for about five years until they were forced to abandon their pastoral pursuits by the 1902 drought. They returned to Uralla district where Patrick bought the sheep property "Fairview", on Kentucky Creek. When Granny's (Mary Murphy - O'Connor) cottage burnt down she went to live with Patrick and his family until her new cottage was built. In 1914 when Una and the older boys had left home to work, Patrick sold "Fairview" and moved in to Queen Street in Uralla, 11 May 1914. Patrick's mother died 25 May 1914 in her little "Leighlin Cottage" in Hill Street.
After he sold "Fairview", on Kentucky Creek and settled his wife and younger children in Queen St. Uralla, Patrick went to Trundle, where his son Justin was working as a builder and painter, and worked with him until Justin went to the War. Then Patrick bought land again, this time at Mobbinbri, via Boggabilla. This was one of those areas infested with prickly pear and Patrick set to to clear it whilst running cattle and sheep on it in the hope that they would help by eating the young pear plants as they came up.
When his sons'came home from the War they went to help him for a time but then each returned to the work they had been doing before enlisting. Patrick finally sold out and went to help his son Desmond who purchased land at Niangala and was busy clearing it and stocking with sheep. After a time with Des, Patrick retired to Bingara where he remained, doing some fossicking and puddling for gold in the Gwyder River, until illness forced him to go to Armidale to the hospital but he was not long there when he died 23 February 1940.
Sarah O'Connor (Elliott) remained in the house in Queen St. (northern end) Uralla, after her younger children finished school. Eva was working in Curtis' shop and Brendon was training in Munro's garage, while the older boys were at World War 1. Her brother, Joe lived next door and her brother Walter lived in Bridge St. so that his back yard joined Joe's and their father, who lived some time with each of his children, built a stile between the two gardens for easy access. These were anxious times with her three sons at the war and Sarah was glad to be in town and among relatives and friends. Her home was near to the church too, and how she prayed for her boys!! She confided them to the care of our Blessed Mother, and she attended all the devotions she could in the church with her many friends who also had their boys at the war. They would comfort one another and they worked together, through the Red Cross, to send what comforts they could to their sons, brothers and friends.
When the boys came home from the war, Sarah's three sons were among those safely returned, but she had lost two nephews, Bob Ryan and Joe Wall, and several very close friends including Fred Dorrington of "Manuka", where her children had attended the small school in his parent's home. She went with the boys to Patrick and the farm at Mobbinbri for a time, then stayed with Brendon when he began working in a garage at Baan Baa. About 1925 she came back to Uralla and made her home at "The Glen", that house to which she had first gone as a young bride so many years ago.
Una Cruse (O'Connor) returned to Uralla in 1938, some time after her husband, Jim had died at Charleville, and lived near her mother to care for her in her last years. Sarah
v Connor (Elliott) died III Uralla 4 April 1 942 and is buried in the new cemetery beside Patrick Michael who had died just two years before.
SEPTEMBER 14, 1912
URALLA TIMES LOCAL AND GENERAL
The annual Convent social is always a popular function, and this year it well sustained the reputation it has earned in the past. There was a great gathering present on Wednesday night last, both of spectators and dancers, the body of the hall being packed with dancers as was the stage with spectators, drawn no doubt by the announcement that fancy sets had been arranged. There were several fancy sets, and the fair participants in costumes added a breezy dash to the toniness of the function. Opinion was divided as to which set looked the best, but the Quakers, and Portias and Gottenbergs were generally admitted as being very very nice, and the Starlight set was very nice, and others nice. In fact, the whole thing was a charming idea. The Girls of Gottenberg were Misses Winnie Low, Alice Williams, Lorna Skewes, and May Nixon; while those sweet creatures the Quakers were Misses Ettie Pearce, Marjorie Bowen, T. Kerwan, and G. Doran. For ourselves we'd like to drop discretion overboard and say that the Portias (Misses M. Brennan, K. Pearce, E. Young, and Clay) won easily; but then, we might not have viewed the others in the same light, and you must do that, you know; and besides, there was the spice of good looks about the Starlights (Misses Maud Henry, Mary Bourke, Mary Haren, Annie Claverie) that will brook no indiscreet assertions about any other set whatsoever. Misses Elsie Nixon, Eva O'Connor, Reenie Rooke, May Ryan, Mary Post, and Viney Haren upheld the claims of the Geishas, and among the Nurses there were Misses Una O'Connor, Allie Ryan, Reta King, and Dot Rooke. There was also the Annie Laurie set, in which were Misses T. and E. Bourke, Bower, and E. Givney. The man members of these sets were - oh, but they didn't dress the part, and they should have, and - that's all about them. Mr. Herb Dewberry acted onerously as M.C. while the music was in the hands of Miss Smith and Mr. L. Melvaine, who appeared to give every satisfaction. The refreshment tables showed every sign of a lot of labor and care and are being expended in their preparation, and those who had the pleasure of sitting with the first contingent were not slow to express words of approval. Our rep. was unfortunately not able to wait for the shining hour of refreshments; but we heard an experienced matron say that they were of a class seldom if ever before provided for a public dance at Uralla, and that Mrs. E. Ryan had every reason to feel proud at the result achieved by herself and numerous. lady assistants. The function went off without a hitch, and resulted in a heap of enjoyment to all present. Besides which there will be a considerable sum of money handed over to the Sisters in their good work.
The Boys at the Front
There were the inevitable feelings of pride and honour fear and anxiety as the O'Connor boys and their friend: enlisted for service in the First World War. Milo was the first to go and was among the original ANZACS at Gallipoli being in the 5th Light Horse. He was wounded, spent some time in hospital in Malta and was back again with hi: Brigade for the Palestinian Campaign. From Malta he sent a postcard to his mother;
25/7/1915. This is a view of the big fountain in Valletta thcJ capital of Malta which is a very pretty island and c real heaven after the firing line. Am in hospital here but am pretty right again now. Love from Mick.
25/11/1915. Just a P.C. this week. I am in Valletta Hospital in Malta and the foot is getting on fine. I hope to be able to walk in a week or so. Don't know if you will get my last letter as I heard that the boat with our mail had sunk. Mick.
Justin wrote from Egypt:
15/11/1915. Have arrived safely and am quite well, will write letter later. Justin 3116 10th Rgm 2nd Batt. Intermediate Base. Egypt.
Just a note to tell you I am somewhere in France and keeping as good as gold. were three nights and two days in the train and are now where we can hear the guns o) the Boss Argument. But we won't go any further for a long time yet. More news later. No notepaper, no money, no tobacco, Hooray, who cares! Tons of love from Justin.
A card of the Church at Flesselles (Somme)
'at Mass at this church last Sunday'
Then the family heard he had been wounded. The next news is a card to his mother,
`6 April Dear Mum, A bit of Welsh scenery. Received your letter and one from Una, Love to all. Justin. ' `Dear Dan, Your letters to hand. Pleased to hear from you. Am quite well again now. Got a whack round at the Somme but am back with the Batt. Very wet and muddy here. Justin.
The story of his injuries as told by himself after his return home was that he had been hit by shrapnel and received, among other injuries, a cut on his throat and was lying in a pool of blood when the ambulance orderlies went over the field after the battle picking up the injured. They looked at Justin and murmured, "He's done, poor fellow," and went on to the next injured man. Justin, who had been holding his hand over the wound to try and stop the bleeding, thought to himself, "I'm damned if I'm going to die for them," and so, pressing his hand firmer, he struggled to his feet and staggered and crawled to the nearest trench where he was given first aid and then taken to a hospital and eventually to England where he recovered completely and was able to rejoin his Battalion.
Desmond was shearing at Cunamulla in Western Queensland when his brothers enlisted. He waited to finish that shed and then, with several mates, went from there into the army. They were sent to France and after some time in the fighting lines, Des was badly injured on the leg and foot. He was sent to hospital in England but the crushed bones did not mend well and he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. The weakness in his ankle got considerably worse so that he needed the aid of crutches in his later years.
THE ARMIDALE CHRONICLE
Uralla & District News March 1918
Word was received on Wednesday that Lance-Corporal Justin O'Connor had been wounded in action in France.
We regret to report the death in action in France of Private J. Wall, of Ben Lomond. The young man was nephew of Mrs. Nixon and Mr. P. O'Connor.
Una O'Connor commenced school at the "St. Joseph's" Catholic School while the family were living at "The Glen" which was on the northern end of Bridge Street and quite close to the Church and school. She was ten years old when the family moved out to the sheep grazing property at Northmont, Barraba, from where she attended the local public school with her brothers. After five years the severity of the 1902 drought forced the O'Connors, like so many other families, to abandon their holdings. They returned to Uralla where Patrick O'Connor found a place at Kentucky Creek, called "Fairview". From here Una and the boys attended the subsidised school at the neighbouring property, "Manuka". "Fairview" was near to where the present water supply dam is on the Kentucky Creek.
After leaving school, Una and her cousin, Ally Ryan, conducted a boarding house at the corner of Bridge and King Streets. During the war years Una went to Ryde (Sydney) to housekeeper for Rev. Father Gell and remained there until 1924 when she left to marry James Cruse, a returned soldier who had just procured a block of land at Angellala Siding near Charleville in western Queensland. They lived there for fourteen years until Jim's untimely death during a severe heatwave in 1936. Una retired to Charleville for a few years but returned to Uralla in 1941 to care for her aged mother.
When her mother died in 1942, Una devoted her time to Church work, the Red Cross and other charities for twentyfive years until she herself needed to accept the services of Legacy in moving to a Home for the Aged in Armidale, where she was cared for until her death in April 1969.
Deaths in Q'land.
BRISBANE, Thursday, February, 1936
The greater part of the State continued to swelter in the heat-wave at Dirranbandi where the temperature was 114 degrees, the heat was directly responsible for the death of an old man named Edward Lynch, of Bollon. Another death is reported from the Cunamulla district, James Thomas Cruse, 53, owner of Nebraska station, near Angellala siding, who had been out mustering sheep, complained of pains in the chest and collapsed and died. Mrs. Cruse, who was alone at the time, set out on foot for Maryvale Station, four miles distant, and arrived there exhausted, having run most of the way.
At that time the thermometer at Maryvale recorded 110 degrees.
THE URALLA TIMES
Thursday 17 April, 1969
Mrs. U. Cruse
A well remembered charity worker and native of Uralla, Mrs. Una Cruse, died in her sleep on Tuesday night at Armidale's Home for the Aged.
She was 8O years of age.
Mrs Cruse had been in poor health for several years, and over the last two months her condition deteriorated.
She was a member of Uralla Red Cross and church organisations.
Yesterday afternoon at 3 o'clock a Requiem Mass was held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. The funeral followed. She was buried in the Catholic portion of Uralla cemetery. Dean J. McKeon officiated.
Mrs. Cruse's husband, Jim, died in February, 1936. She lived in Gostwyck Street, Uralla, until four years ago when she went to the Home for the Aged.
She was predeceased by her sister, Mrs. E. King and brothers, Mr. Justin O'Connor, and Mr. Milo O'Connor. She is survived by her brothers, Des and Brendan O'Connor, both of Tamworth.
When Justin O'Connor returned from the War in 1919, he went back to the building trade and to the Trundle area where he had been working when he enlisted. He was one of the builders who worked on extensions to the Redemptorist Monastery and/or Juniorate at Galong in the early 1920's. While working there he studied the various uses of cement in building and then used it in subsequentb work, including bridg building
He joined the crew making the road from Narrabri to Mt. Kaputar and used his knowledge of cement for culverts to improve this road. He was still working on this project when World War II started. Justin again answered his country's call, serving in Australia. He helped to put down the submarine booms across Sydney Harbour and assisted with installations on the Hawkesbury River and at South Head, his skill in cement work proving valuable in construction works.
After the war Justin resided in the Walcha district and for the last few years, with his nephew, Bernard King on whose property he died 6 October 1958. He left a wife and one son Gerald, in Sydney.
Gerald, who was born at Uralla 22 October 1922, has always lived in Sydney. On 17 January 1949 he married Josephine Morrisson. They have two daughters, Pamela and Sharon.
Desmond O'Connor had to spend some time in Randwick Military Hospital after he came home from the war but as soon as he was able he returned to his former occupation of shearing. He continued as a shearer for many years even while looking after his farming and grazing interests, at Carlisle's Gully, then at Maitland Point, then West End Uralla, until he got a good block of land at Niangala which he named "Brooklyn". He had married Grace Everton Mutton at Uralla on 30 April 1924. Grace was born at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, where her father had gone in search of gold. When he died on the goidfields his wife, Jessie Menzies, returned to her father's home with her two young children, Grace and Harry. After some years Jessie married Frank Stace and went to live on his dairy farm on the southern edge of Uralla. It was from there that Grace married Des O'Connor. Their first daughter, Kathleen Frances was born 28 May 1925 at Uralla. It was about this time that Des's father, Patrick Michael O'Connor, had sold his land at Boggabilla, and he came and helped Des to clear and stock "Brooklyn", his newly acquired property in the Walcha District.
Three more daughters were born to Des and Grace, Gloria Mary on 11 March 1927, Grace Elizabeth on 1 March 1929 and Patricia on 30 August 1930. Grace died in 1940 leaving Des to care for their girls. His father also died in 1940 and his mother in 1942. In 1946 he married Molly Leahy and went to live on her family home, "Ewenby", Dungowan, selling "Brooklyn". After thirty years on "Ewenby" Des and Molly sold it and retired into Tamworth but lived a very short time enjoying retirement. Des died 10 February 1981 and Molly on 11 November 1982.
Kathleen married Ron Brazel and lives at Inglebar. They raised a family of five. Douglas married Fay Constable and they have Melinda Fay born 3 September 1979 and Bronwyn Elissa born 21 October 1982. Margaret Brazel married Anthony Doyle and their children are Kristie Cheree, born 28 June 1975, Tiffaney Jane, 8 June 1978 and Benjamin Cory 13 October 1980. John Brazel and his wife have Lisa Jane born 25 June 1976, William John 18 September 1978 and Amanda 12 July 1982. Kerry Brazel married John Riches 25 January 1981 and they have a daughter, Fiona Lee born 29 September 1982. Peter Brazel is not married (1984).
Gloria O'Connor was working in the Bank in Tasmania when she met Peter Casserly from Fremantle, W.A. They were married in Tamworth 22 January 1955 and went to Fremantle to live. There they raised a family of five children, Paul Desmond born 10 February 1956, and now married to Kerry Robinson, married on 5 October 1977. They have Michelle born 21 March 1978 and Michael William, born 13 January 1981, only a week before his great grandfather, Desmond O'Connor died. Gloria and Peter's second child, Frances was born 11 September 1958, and is now married to David Morse. Gloria's third child was Margaret, born 10 December 1961 and then there were twins Peter and Elizabeth, born 16 October 1964.
Thurs. October 3, 1968
Personality of the week
This week's personality is Roderick Brendon O'Connor, (Tom), the present Non Official Postmaster at South Tamworth, who was born at Barraba, but when only a few months old his family went to live at Uralla where his father conducted a butchering business and a sheep property.
He received his education in Uralla. Upon leaving school he took up work in a local garage and engineering works, and served his time with T Fords, Sunbeams, Napiers and the like.
Going to Queensland at an early age, he later had charge of garages at Wallumbilla, in the Roma area and at Hivesville near Kingaroy. About this time he took a keen interest in sound reproduction, and having had many years experience of silent picture projection, he started experimenting with "Talking Pictures".
In conjunction with the late Bob Brown, of Brisbane Telephone Exchange, who had much to do with the installation of the City's first automatic exchange, a `Sound on Film' apparatus was produced, and for some years Mr. O'Connor, in association with the late Arthur Johnson, toured much of Eastern Queensland with the first sound on film portable film projection unit. Mr. Johnson later had three such units in operation.
Leaving the `Road', Tom was in charge of projection at the main theatre in Gladstone when World War 2 broke out. His main sport during the years was rifle shooting - he was even a foundation member of the Hivesville Club, and he was an active member of the Gladstone Rifle Club. As such he was a Reservist of the Australian Army, and on the day after war was declared, found himself in uniform, and entered upon two months guard duty, guarding the Gladstone wharves and the Navy's fuel oil depot there.
It is of interest to note that only two Clubs were called up for Guard Duty in Queensland, the other was the Southport Club which was put to guard the terminal of the Pacific Cable. Both units were termed `Cable Guards'. With permission from the Authorities, Tom left the Rifle Club and enlisted in the A.LF. He was posted to Melbourne and joined in fitting out the mobile units of the 3rd Field Workshops. He went to the Middle East and was one of the Tobruk Rats, attached to the 3rd T/A Regt. Just before the battle of El Alamein he received injuries (burns) to both legs and arms that took many months hospital treatment.
He returned to Australia and then was sent with a sub-unit to the 7th Div. for their Air Borne offensive in New Guinea, where he spent the next year.
After receiving his discharge from the Army he conducted a store and Post Office, first at Niangala and then at Moonbi and then for ten years he was a relieving postmaster, doing duty at many small Post Offices from Currabubula to the border and from Dorrigo to Narrabri. Then he- settled down as postmaster at the Post Office at Southgate Shopping Centre, South Tamworth. During his travels he always had his camera ready and would drive and walk many miles to obtain an unusual or interesting photograph and delighted in showing his slides and giving a running commentary on them. He described himself as a `Colour Slide Crank', his collection of some two thousand odd slides, cover a territory from Cairns to Melbourne and from Point Danger to Ayers Rock and some from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Ill-health dogged his retirement and he spent much time in hospitals and nursing homes. He died peacefully at "Strathlea" nursing home in Armidale 14 April 1975 and is buried in the Evergreen Lawn Cemetary at Tamworth.
Milo O'Connor spent some time helping his father to clear the prickly pear from his Mobbinbri property when he arrived home from the War, but it was not long before he returned to shearing in Queensland. When land was made available for returned soldiers, Milo received a block on Hutton Creek, in the Injune district. He also received a further block of land and a quota of pine trees to plant a pine forest, which he planted with the help from his brothers Des and Brendon and a good friend, H.J. Evans. Milo and Mr. Evans pioneered woolgrowing on the headwaters of the Dawson River, of which Hutton Creek is a tributary.
Milo married Grace Albanese in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Brisbane, 28 October 1919. The celebrant was the Rev. Jeremiah O'Leary and Grace's parents were Salvatore Albanese and his wife, Elizabeth Dini. Salvatore was a fisherman in the Brisbane-Moreton Bay district.
Milo and Grace's first son, Patrick Milo, was born in Brisbane, just in time for Christmas! 16 December, 1920. Then it was that the family moved out to the land Milo had acquired and he called his property "Gracedale." A second son, Clement Michael (Clem), was born 30 June 1925. It was at this time that Grace cut her finger and when it became poisoned it affected her whole hand so that she had to have her right hand amputated, but, great woman that she was, she continued to run the home and care for her husband and family with only one hand.
Milo was proud of having been in the Light Horse and also of having fought at Gallipoli, and each year he led the military parade through the streets of Injune on Anzac Day. He died in the Injune Hospital 18 April 1968, just a week before he would have led the procession for the fortyseventh time. Grace died five weeks later 24 May 1968.
Patrick Milo married Patricia Chandler and they have twin sons, Philip and Peter born in October 1948, and a daughter Susan, born 1951, and now married to Colin Evans and living at Port Headland, Western Australia. Susan and Colin have two sons Zachary and Joshua.
Clement Michael O'Connor married Margaret Davis and they have a son Gregory born in 1956 and a daughter Fiona Maree born 19 January 1960. On 17 January 1981 Fiona married Michael Caffrey in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Toowoomba
The Dawsons Journey to Australia.
The DAWSON lineage has been traced to Henry Dawson who married Mary Beattie, their location of birth and marriage has not been traced at this time but is believed to be somewhere in England, Scotland or Ireland.
Henry and Mary had at least one child, Samuel Dawson. Samuel was born in 1836 in Fermanagh, Ireland, his occupation is listed as a Sacking Weaver.
Addresses for Samuel are as follows;
1859 was Upper Pleasance, Dundee
1861 census was Pleasance, Dundee.
He married Sarah Walker on the 25 Aug 1857 in Dundee, born 1835, (daughter of John Walker and Elizabeth Riddell), who died 23 Aug 1858 ( three days after the birth of her daughter) in 2 Rosebank Street, Dundee. The cause of death was Retained Placenta with bleeding 3 days after delivery, buried in Dundee Western Cemetery. The daughter that was born was Mary Dawson, born 20 Aug 1858 in 2 Rosebank Street, Dundee, who died on the 6th Sep 1858 in Upper Pleasance, Dundee, cause of death Debility, buried in Western Burying Ground, Dundee
Sarahs recorded address in 1857 was Bonnet Hill, Dundee.
After Sarahs death Samuel married Ann Wighton, (also known as Wightman) on the 11 Aug 1859 in Mary Magdalenes Episcopal Church, Dundee. Ann was born 1838 in Arbroath, (daughter of Alexander Wighton and Jessie Davidson). Her address in 1859 was Scouringburn, Dundee.
When Ann married in 1959 she signed the register "Ann Wightman" but when Samuel registered the birth of Henry in 1860 he gave her name as "Ann Wighton."
They went on to have Henry Dawson, born 28 Oct 1860 in 19 Upper Pleasance, Dundee. There is no record of Henrys death, but to all appearances, he died before or during their voyage to Australia.
Samuel & Ann departed from the port of Plymouth, England at 6.00pm on the 23rd of July, 1862 aboard the vessel the Utopia (949 tons) with 320 passengers on board. There were five births and one child death during the voyage, so she arrived in Rockhampton with 324 passengers.
Family stories have the birth of Olinda Stewart Dawson (daughter of Samuel & Ann Dawson, born on the 29.8.1862) on board the Utopia with her name being derived from the location of her birth (Olinda) and the captains surname (Stewart). This would appear to be confirmed in that she must have been off Nova Olinda, a location described as follows;
Nova Olinda is located 540 km south of Fortaleza, in Vale do Cariri, desert Ceará. Sua população é um pouco maior que 11 mil habitantes. Its population is slightly more than 11,000 inhabitants. A cidade foi desmembrada do município de Santana do Cariri em 14/03/1957, e recebeu este nome em homenagem à cidade pernambucana de Olinda. The city was carved from the council of Santana's Cariri on March 14, 1957, and received this name in tribute to the city of Olinda Pernambuco. This island is off the west coast of Africa
In addition to this, the Captain of the Utopia was definitely named Stewart, so it would appear that the story handed down through the generations is true.
Articles from the Rockhampton Bulletin (November, 1862) indicate that the voyage was more than eventful. The first point of interest is that this was the first direct voyage from England to Rockhampton. On the 27th August, 1862 the Captain notes that they observed a comet, bearing about north, altitude 50 degrees. They passed the Cape of Good Hope on the 26th September (64 days out from Plymouth). On the 27th October, in Lat. 41.4 & Long 149.47E fifteen of the crew knocked off duty, in consequence of some private quarrel among their watch below and they remained refractory to the end of the voyage, when they were handcuffed and conveyed to the lock-up at Rockhampton. In consequence of this insubordination the officers & four seaman were left to work the ship in this dilemma a number of the passengers volunteered their assistance and Captain Stewart desires to return them his kindest thanks for their services which were of greatest value to him, so that he found no difficulty in managing the ship under any circumstances. Those sailors refusing duty were sentenced to 3 months hard labor with a forfeiture of 6 days pay for every days refusal of duty
The vessel ran aground twice during the voyage, suffering no damage, the first grounding (prior to the pilot boarding her) was just short off Kepple Bay, the second was while she was at anchor in the bay.
At this time the movement of Samuel & Ann from Rockhampton has not been discovered, however they must have moved south as the births of the following children is recorded
Alexander Wightman b. Abt 1864 Northmead, Sydney
Samuel b. 1866 Newcastle, NSW
John H b. 1868 d. 1.12.1869 Newcastle, NSW
John Hannah b. 20.11.1869 d. 9.4.1894 Wallsend, NSW
Jessie A b. 1871 Newcastle, NSW
William Henry b. 1874 Newcastle, NSW
Joseph Filmer b. 1876 Lambton, NSW
Matthew Teasdale b. 17.3.1878 North Lambton, NSW
Onor Florence Maud b. 1882, Wallsend, NSW
Samuel was employed as a miner until his death on the 2nd September, 1900. He was buried in the Church of England Cemetery, Wallsend on the 3rd September, 1900 His death certificate states "Injuries accidentally received in the Newcastle Coal Company's "A" pit from a fall of coal. Inquest held at Newcastle 3 November 1900
The following death notices for Samuel were found in Newcastle papers at the time. It would appear that Samuel was committed to organizations that were supporting financially assisting other migrants wishing to come to Australia
Death notices, 25/8/1900 entered by D. Lloyd undertaker, as follows
DAWSON, Friends of the late Samuel DAWSON are invited to attend his funeral. To move from the residence son, Alexander DAWSON, Rose st, Merewether THIS AFTERNOON at 3.15 o'clock, to meet tram at Union Street to Wallsend Cemetery
DAWSON, - Friends of ONOR, ALEXANDER, SAMUEL, WM, HENRY, JOSEPH and MATTHEW DAWSON, Mr. & Mrs. John SEE and Mr. & Mrs. BREMCHER (?) are invited to attend the funeral of their father and father-in-law respectively. To move from the residence of his son, Alexander Dawson, Rose St, Merewether, Rose St, Merewether THIS AFTERNOON at 3.15 o'clock to meet tram at Union Street for Wallsend Cemetery
LOYAL ROSE OF AUSTRALIA LODGE, Lambton* - The members of the above lodge are invited to attend the funeral of the late Brother, SAMUEL DAWSON. The remains will be conveyed to Wallsend TODAY, by the 3 o'clock tram from Newcastle.
The members of No. 374, R.B.P., Lambton, are invited to attend the funeral of our late brother, Sir Knight SAMUEL DAWSON. The remains will be conveyed to Wallsend by the 3 tram TODAY The Knights of other Friendly Societies are cordially invited. By Order J. ????????
Edward Price, Registrar
The members of the Lodge Star of the Evening No. 10 are hereby invited to attend the funeral of our late brother, SAMUEL DAWSON. Members of sister lodges cordially invited. The remains will be conveyed to Wallsend TODAY by 3 o'clock tram. By Order
JOSEPH PALMER, W.M.
RALPH SNOWBALL, Sec
*These lodges were DRUID lodges and apparently Newcastle was the 1st town that was approved by England to open this type of lodge. They still exist as Friendly Societies
After Samuels death in 1900, Ann married William Teasdale at the St Johns Church of England, Newcastle on the 3 January, 1903. What is interesting here is that William must have been a close friend of the family prior to the death of Samuel because the 2nd last child of Samuel & Ann is Matthew Teasdale Dawson. Ann lived for another 15 months and died on the 26th April, 1904 in Newcastle. William lived for another 10 years and died in 1914 at Merewether, Newcastle.
At this no record can be found for the birth of either Samuel or Ann in Ireland or Scotland. If anyone who can assist with information I would be more than grateful to hear from you.
William King continued the carrying business and agency at North Road, Preston, Lancashire, in the north-west of England, begun by his father, James King. On 26 October 1845 he married Jane Elliot of Friargate, Preston, and moved to Blackburn where they raised a family of six children. Kenneth born 26 November 1854, William Henry 22 February 1857, Eugenie 29 May 1859, Walter 25 August 1861, Fanny 24 April 1864, and Caroline 28 January 1866.
Walter became a builder and painter but by 1886, though only 25 years of age, he had become so affected by lead poisoning, a form of T.B. common to painters of that time, that he decided to migrate to Australia, hoping that the clear air and warm sunshine would help him. He was living at Nithsdale Street, near Hyde Park, Sydney, when he met Hanora Kennedy. She was a member of the choir that sang in St. Mary's Cathedral and also at the Sacred Heart Church in Darlinghurst. She lived with her mother and sister at Paddington. They were married on 2 July 1891, and moved further out of the city, the first of the many moves which they made, always seeking better conditions and fresher air for Walter.
They were at Newtown when their second child, Walter James was born, 19 August 1893. Alice was then 18 months old. Margurita (known as Rita) was born 29 November 1894, and then the family had moved to Balmain before Cecil John was born 30 June 1898. Hanora moved the family again, taking them with her when she went to Randwick to nurse her own mother through her last illness. Mary Kennedy (Bourke) was only 53 years old when she died, 28 June 1899. Again Walter and Hanora moved house, this time going further from the dampness of the sea air to Smith Street in Summer Hill. But it was to be for only three months till Walter died 2 October 1899, only 38 years of age and having given thirteen years of his life and work to his adopted country.
Hanora was left alone to raise their family of four, the fruits of their hopes and prayers. She left Sydney, the scene of so much hardship and sorrow, and returned to Uralla, and the home of their mother's childhood. Her grandfather Daniel Bourke had died on 13 November 1893, her Uncle Patrick Bourke had died 11 June 1894 and now it was his wife Julia, with her mother Norah, and her sons, Tom, Dan, James and John who were managing the property and keeping the home going. Hanora and her children were welcomed into the home and lived there for four years. Hanora was able to take up her former work as a seamstress to help support her family. She used to spend some time with her very good friend L.ouisa Post who lived on Gostwyck. Perhaps she did some sewing for the women of Gostwyck. There she met James Carlon. They were married on 8 September 1903 and when Hanora moved to the new home he prepared for her it was the last time she had to move her family. They grew happily and well together with the new family that she bore with James, two daughters, and a son.
When the war started in 1914, Hanora's oldest son, Jim was just 21 years of age. He was patriotic, enthusiastic and eager to go with his mates so she did not deter him, but how it tore at their heart!!! She turned for comfort and strength to Our Lady, that other Mother who knows and understands the anguish of separation from a loving Son. The Rosary was the source of that trust that kept Hanora going. Throughout the cold, biting winter as in the heat of summer there was not a single evening that she did not "pray her beads" for Jim and for his companions. She prayed, too, for all the mothers like herself, and that included Sarah O'Connor, whose boys and their friends went so valiantly to defend their country and ours. Even during those long months of 1918 when Jim was "missing, presumed dead", Hanora did not join in such presumption. Perhaps her mother's instinct, perhaps the grace of God, kept her praying for his safe return. And return he did!! Even though it was months after the Armistice had been signed, months after many of the other boys had come back, but he came 26 June 1919.
Frances Margurita King was only four years old when her father died at their home at 15 Smith Street, Summer Hill, (near Ashfield) in Sydney. She had been born 29 November 1894, the third child of Walter King and Hanora Kennedy. She used to enjoy the walks with her father in the quiet of the evening, as she and her sister Alice would go out with him, each holding one of his hands. Perhaps they went to the nearby shop for the evening paper, or to set something for their mother. Sometimes it would be to the park that they would go and their father would push them gently on the swing. They did not realise how ill he was and that that was all the exercise he could take. Nor did she realise what it meant when he died and her mother sold up their home and took the two girls, together with their two brothers, Walter James was six years old and Cecil John was a baby fifteen months old. They went to Uralla, to "Uncle Pat's" home. The place was another "Summer Hill" and Uncle Pat had been their grandmother's brother; though he, too, had died. His wife and sons were there and welcomed Hanora and her four children. They spent some time with others of Hanora's relatives and friends. The children hardly understanding that they had returned to their mother's birthplace. Margurita, or Rita as she became known, started school at the Catholic School (St. Joseph's) in Uralla. When her mother married James Carlon the family moved to his home on Salisbury Plains and Rita attended the small school there.
Rita King was a popular member of the group of young people living and working in Uralla and her "Tea Rooms" was a favourite meeting place. In February 1924 she went to Sydney and entered the Little Company of Mary and made her final Profession of Vows there 30 September 1929. She was given the name Sister Benedicta and became a part of the Nursing Staff of Lewisham Hospital.
Sister Benedicta spent time as Superior at Calvary Hospital, Wagga Wagga, and also at Mount St. Margaret Hospital at Ryde. In 1956 she went as one of the foundation members and as Superior to the new hospital at Hawera, New Zealand. In 1963 Sister Benedicta was transferred to Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand, and appointed Provincial Superior of the New Zealand Province of the Blessed Sacrament, of the Little Company of Mary. On 9 April 1965, following the General Chapter of the Congregation, in Rome, Sister Benedicta was appointed Vicaress-General of the Little Company of Mary, which post she held until her return to Australia 11 January 1972. Sister Benedicta has been at the Convent at Lewisham until her death there on 7 November 1972.
Alice King married Roy McGarrigle in 1922 and they made their home at Maroubra, (Sydney), where their son Ronald was born 22 February 1923. Ronald was only fifteen years of age when his mother died, and he joined the Navy. He had spent only five years in the Navy when his ship was sunk on Christmas Day, 1943 and he was one of those who went down with it.
Mr. C.J. King
Cecil John ("Kingie") King died suddenly on November 29, at his home, 28 Copeland Street, East Lambton.
Aged 73, he was a popular resident of Kentucky South for many years, until he and his wife retired, about 11 years ago, to live in Newcastle.
He served in World War I at Gallipoli, and was one of the original soldier settlers at Kentucky South.
The last Mr. King's first wife (nee Ida Rixon), predeceased him by many years.
He is survived by his wife, Veronica (nee Ryan), and sisters and brother, Sister M. Frederick, of Kogarah, Winnie (Mrs. R. Carey, of Bondi), and Mr. Joseph Carlon (Salisbury Plains, Uralla).
A brother, Mr. Jim King, and sisters, Mrs. Alice McGarigal, and Sister M. Benedicta, predeceased him. Requiem Mass was said at St. John the Evangelist Church, Lambton, on Friday, after which interment was at the Catholic Cemetery, Sandgate.
Walter James (Jim) King was born at Newtown, (Sydney) on 19 August 1893, the elder son of Walter King and Hanora Kennedy. In early childhood he lived in various suburbs of Sydney as his mother moved the family from place to place seeking fresh air and comfort for her ailing husband. Perhaps it was when the family was living at Centennial Park that James could remember walking to school with a string on his slate slung around his neck. That would have been the year in which he celebrated his sixth birthday, it was also the year in which his grandmother died and then just three months later his father died 2 October 1899. Jim could remember his mother packing up all the family goods and travelling up to Uralla, to `Uncle Pat's place', though Uncle Pat had been dead five years, his wife, Aunt Julia welcomed the bereaved family. Then it was that Jim and his two sisters, Alice and Rita walked to the Convent School in Uralla.
Jim was ten years old when his mother married James Carlon and the family went to live at "Castlebrook", on Salisbury Plains. Some times ha. would stay with his mother's good friends, the Cahill family of Palace Hill. After leaving school, Jim was apprenticed to a tailor in Uralla, then he was working for Tom Elliott, a saddler when the first World War started. Jim enlisted on the 30 September 1914 and went into training with the 6th Light Horse. A note written about his departure on the S.S. Suevic makes interesting reading:
D. Troop, B. Squadron, 6th A.L.H.
On Board S.S. Suevic, at sea. 11 January 1915
My Dear Reader,
In the following pages I will write in the form of a diary, a few notes concerning my travels since we left camp at Holdsworthy. Since I came aboard I have not written anything relating to our trip because strict censorship is on all our letters. Well to start with on 19 December we received orders to pack our kits and load them onto the transports at 8 o'clock in the morning. Then all day we were let lay about, guessing at what time we should leave, when we were told at about S o'clock to saddle up and be ready to start at 6.30. in the excitement no one thought of having much tea, then at the sound of the bugle, about five hundred men were on the parade ground waiting for the order to mount. It being such a hot summer's day nature seemed to know our wants for without any warning a great black cloud burst overhead, and in five minutes we were standing in about afoot of water, at 7.30 we were mounted and ready for a long weary journey of 24 miles at a pace not to exceed 4 miles an hour. When you know the time it took us to get to the end you will wonder how we put in the time, nevertheless we got as far as Homebush at 10 o'clock in the morning, where we watered and fed our horses. After doing so we began to search for the pack horse that was carrying our midnight meal but without success and I can tell you our appetites were increasing rapidly by this time.
Unfortunately for us the note ends and there is nothing more written in the pad, however we know that the "Suevic" sailed from its berth at Woolloomooloo on 20 December, 1914, had an uneventful voyage and, after brief stays at Aden, Suez, Ismalia and Port Said finally reached Alexandria on 1 Feb. 1915, and the Regiment settled down to the task of completing its training near the edge of Cairo. May 15 they embarked from Alexandria on the "Lutzow" and on the morning of 18 May sailed past Cape Helles and on the afternoon of 19th reached Anzac Cove where they landed next morning. From 19 till the evening of 22 May the Regiment stood to in Shrapnel Gully. An 8 hour Armistice was arranged on 24 May to bury the dead. Late in June the Brigade took over the right flank of the Anzac position. The 5 Reg. occupied Chatham's Post, the 6 and 7 taking over successive sectors inland.
On 26 November the weather which had gradually grown colder, set in wet, with violent windstorms, culminating on the night of 28 with a heavy fall of snow, the thermometer showing 26 degrees of frost. Numbers were evacuated with frostbitten feet and the strength of the Reg. became so low that continuous night duty was unavoidable. For thirty-five consecutive nights one post was occupied by the same three observers.
For those who had, throughout 7 lurid months dwelt in an inferno of death and disease, the underlying sentiment was not for ourselves, but for the men who had fallen in a desperate and unsuccessful gamble, whom we seemed to be abandoning. But we knew, none the less, that the enterprise had failed. On the evening of 18 December the first large party embarked safely at Anzac Beach and the last few followed without incident at 2.30 the following morning. The string of rowing boats were rapidly loaded at the little jetty, a steam launch went ahead to the minesweeper awaiting us several miles from shore. We climbed aboard, shivering and conscious of the inevitable reaction, for our journey to Lemnos. Now that it was all over there were few who did not feel the unutterable relief.
We sailed on the `Beltana' for Alexandria, arriving there on Christmas morning. That Christmas compared well with one in the workhouse. The rations on board throughout had not been remarkable for either quantity or quality. Christmas dinner left more spaces unfilled than overloaded, and from 3 o'clock in the afternoon until 9 at night we sat on our kits on the upper deck and fasted - and prayed. Entraining towards midnight we reached Zeitoun in the small hours of the morning and, scorning sleep, spent the remainder of the night profitably in a steak and egg canteen.
The following day the Regiment marched out to Maadi and by nightfall the camp had been re-established. During our seven months absence the horses had been well cared for. Many re-allotments had to be made and by the opening of the New Year (1916) a period of training was in full swing, officers and men threw themselves vigorously into it. The result was the singular individual and corporate efficiency which characterised those Light Horse Regiments to whom fell the initial pioneering work in the Sinai Desert. By mid April training days were at an end and we entered into the desert campaign. At midday on 23 April 1916 we started on the long ride that began at Salhia,, on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal, and ended two and a half years later, on the Tablelands of Moab, beyond the Jordan River. On the 7 May the 6 Regiment reached Oghritina and just outside the camp was the old stone well with its plentiful supply of good soft water. Life became one stunt after another and both men and horses were learning to live in the desert. No training can teach one to quench a raging thirst with brackish water or to endure long days through the burning sun and suffocating dust without water. Then in the winter the weather became cold and wet, rain fell on Christmas Day 1916 and while its quantity was not very great it was sufficient to make the hessian bivvies of the men very uncomfortable. The nights became intensely cold and sandstorms blew with hurricane force. We were still in the region of Oghritina, Katia and Romani.
By February 1917 we were resting at the beach near Mazar for a week then during March we came to the very strong Turkish post at Gaza. We camped at Belah on the east side of the Wadi Ghuzze, which was for some months our reliable water supply. On 26 March began the first attempt to take Gaza but it was not until after the second attempt on 19 April that it was finally cleared of the enemy. On 22 May the Regiment rode out to take part in the demolition of the enemy railway which ran from Beersheba through Asluj. By 2 November the Regiment moved north along the Beersheba-Hebron road, then advanced towards Jaffa where we were for Christmas 1917. The New Year, 1918, opened with showery weather and for most of January and February, it remained cold, wet and windy. On 9 March the first move was made towards Jericho and the Jordan Valley. March 17 the long ascent up the Judean Hills was completed by nightfall. The Regiment bivouacked outside the north-west corner of the walls of the old city. of Jerusalem. Parties in turn went to visit the historic places in the old city, then rather in an unsanitary condition, its occupation by our forces having not been sufficiently long to work the vast improvement noticeable a few months later.
On 22 May the Regiment began the long descent into the Jordan Valley. The River was reached at dawn one morning and crossed on a pontoon bridge and then, traversing the eastern plain of the Valley, there were the signs of the previous day's conflict when the enemy had been forced across the river by the New Zealand Brigade, the wounded and the dead still lying along the route. The enemy could be seen on ridges four miles to the south, they withdrew as we advanced and by 4 o'clock the ascent of the Moab Mountains had commenced. The ascent, during a night of rain and darkness, in single file by what were goat tracks, along sheer ascents, up steep grades made slippery by wet flagstones, was accomplished by daybreak, and without one serious accident; a striking proof of the claim that in no phase of the Sinai-Palestine Campaign, were Australian horsemen and their camel transports unable to take part. The rain, which had been falling intermittently during the night, set in steadily at daylight and continued to fall in torrents during most of the day. Icy winds chilled the. already soaked and weary men.
The route followed took the Regiment through Naaur and northward along the Es Salt Road, thence branching off this on a track leading to Amman. El Fuheis was reached by 7 o'clock where we bivouacked for the day. B squadron, working on the left flank moved a considerable distance towards Amman, the remainder of the Regiment made a direct attack on enemy sangars a little to the right of the village. Absence of artillery on our side placed the advancing force at a great disadvantage. The enemy held his main position around Amman and along the railway line to the north. On 28 -March, a day for ever historic in the 6 Regiment, a general attack took place. Steadily the advance continued until it reached the top of a high, bare hill overlooking a series of strong enemy sangars several hundred yards in front, B Squadron, 58 strong when it started, spread out along the top to the left. Realizing that an advance was little short of suicide, Lieut. Dickson passed a message down to the C.O. that advance was impossible and received the reply for a frontal attack, three times he sent a similar message until the final reply was to advance at all costs. So the advance was made and the cost to the Squadron proved staggering. Of the men who crossed the skyline only one, wounded in four places got back. The missing included Lieut. Ridgeway, Sergeants King, Burlace and Sharpe, Corporal Redman and 18 other ranks - in all 23. Jim King was able to tell of his ordeal when he did finally get home but for eleven long months he was kept a prisoner in Aleppo and for his family he was "missing, presumed dead". He had been wounded in the shoulder, on the side of his head and in the calf of his leg. Perhaps it was fortunate for these prisoners that the railway line had not been destroyed or they may have been killed, as it was they were thrown into a closed van on the train and taken to Aleppo where there was at least a Red Cross station at which their wounds were tended, but they could get no message either to friends, family or comrades. They did not know that the Armistice was signed 11 November 1918, or that the war was over when they were put in a train in early February 1919, and taken across to France where their guards simply left them on the train and returned to Turkey. French officials assisted the former prisoners to cross the Channel to England.
When Jim King arrived home from The War he found that his mother had invested his money in a bakery business in Uralla. His brother Jack and sister, Alice were running the business with the help of their good friend, May Ryan. His sister, Rita and her friend Mary Haren were conducting "tea rooms" next door. Jim was discharged from the Army on 23 September 1919, and took over the management of the bakery. He was not happy with town life and was longing to have a farm of his own. When some of the Gostwyck land on the eastern end of Salisbury Plains was offered for soldier's settlement he put his name on the ballot list and was successful in getting a block, so he sold the bakery to his mother's cousin, Arthur Donaghue.
On 15 September 1920, just a year after he had arrived home, Jim married Eva Kathleen O'Connor, daughter of Patrick Michael O'Connor and Sarah Elliott. Eva had been working in Curtis's clothing shop in Uralla, for some years and was a familiar and popular member of the younger people of Uralla, as also were Jim's sisters, Alice and Rita King, and Molly and Winnie Carlon.
Jim and Eva moved out onto their holding soon after their marriage and began establishing their home, which they named "Oghratina,' after the oasis in Palestine where Jim had many times found refuge and water. Jim selecting his stock and building sheds and fences, Eva became a keen gardener and was able to grow all the vegetables they required as well as having a good supply of flowers to take to decorate the church or to give to her friends when she went to town.
Their first child, Joan was born 26 June 1921, then a son, Bernard Walter in 1923, Cecilia in 1925, and all this time they would make the long trips, 15 miles; to town in the sulky and Eva would be hard put to keep the small children warm in the cold of winter. It was a great day when Jim bought a car and they could travel the distance in less than half the time, as -well as being sheltered from the weather.
The farm was prospering, their next sons were born, Oswald James in 1927 and Keith Joseph in 1929. Jim commenced building a new house for his growing family when the great depression struck the country. Wool prices fell drastically and he was no longer able to purchase building materials. He and the family survived by living on their own produce, thanks to Eva's expertise in the vegetable garden and with the help of the children. Also to having their own meat, milk and eggs produced on the farm.
Carma Margaret was born in 1932 and Gerard Anthony in 1934. By 1936 Jim was able to complete the new house and the family moved in. Eva, like her grandmother, Mary Murphy, was careful for her children's education and taught them herself with the help of Mr. Finigan's Blackfriars Correspondence School, since there was no school within reach of their home.
Jim kept his interest in the army by training with the Australian Light Horse Association and went into camp with these men from time to time. When the 2nd World War started he became an instructor in Civil Defence, and also saw his son, Bernard enlist in the army.
After the war Jim joined the Gostwyck Shire Council and served the local community until November 1947 and then when the Gostwyck Shire Council and the Uralla Municipal Council amalgamated he became the first President of the new Uralla Shire Council.
In 1949, when most of their children were grown and had left home, Jim handed over the working of "Oghratina" to Bernard and he and Eva moved in to Uralla, hoping for a less strenuous way of life, in the Stock and Station Agency which he took over from his long-time friend, Tom Heagney. Jim did not enjoy his different way of life for long, he died suddenly 28 July 1950. Eva returned to "Ohgratina" with Bernard, but when part of "Ohio" Station was offered for soldier's settlement and Bernard secured a block of land there, "Oghratina" was sold and Eva went with Bernard to make a home on the newly developed property which Bernard named "St. Joseph's". Eva died suddenly there 4 December 1958. It is interesting to note that "Oghratina's" name has been changed, it is now known as "Kings" and has recently been purchased by a member of the Nivison family, the owners of "Ohio".
LIFE AT THE LIGHT HORSE CAMP
War-time Song Recalled
How would some of you late risers like to turn out each morning at 5.45? That is what they are doing at the light horse camp at the showground this week. At 5.45 the Reveille is sounded - and there is no snuggling down into the pillow for that last minute doze!
The feelings of some of the men are well summed up in that well-known song:
"Oh, how I hate to get up in the morning!
Oh, how I long to remain in bed!"
There are a few more lines, equally expressive, about murdering the bugler, but we have forgotten them for the moment. Those war days are such a long way off. At any rate, the sum total of them is that the bugler is not a nice man, in fact (at 5.45 in the morning) a horrible man, and that he would far better be dead. Anyone at the Light Horse Camp will tell you that.
To Horse! To Horse!
Fifteen minutes to dress! Hauled out of bed, shivering, in the early dawn, the next thing is the wash basin. The water is bitterly cold, but it takes those last traces of sleep out of you. Then a cup of coffee, steaming hot, after which life begins to assume a more cosy hue.
At 6.15 all proceed to the stables and for a full hour grooming and feeding of horses are attended to.
It is a long time since so many horses have been seen in Armidale at any one time. The total number at the camp is 194. Needless to say, they require a good deal of attention.
A Moist Welcome
Drizzling rain did its best to damp the ardour of the light horsemen upon their arrival on Monday. Fortunately the tents had already been pitched and other arrangements made for the accommodation of the horses and men and conditions therefore were not nearly as bad as they might have been.
Altogether 205 officers and men are in camp and, in addition, eight civilians have been employed as cooks, batmen, etc. The regimental band comprising members of the Armidale City Band, will march into camp early on Friday morning.
Following are the regimental officers attending this years camp: Lt. Col. Johnstone, V.D. in command. Major Menzies (Glen Innes), Captain Salmon, D.C.M. M.M. (Inverell), Capt. Clark (Tenterfield), Capt. Rowland, M.C. (Tamworth), Lt. Dowe (Tenterfield), Lt. Scholes (Glencowe). Lt. Cunningham (Inverell). Lt. Johnstone (Armidale), Lt. Treloar (Tamworth), Lt. King (Uralla), Lt. Brennan (Emmaville), Lt. Westmacott (Yarrowyck), Lt. McRae Wood (Armidale), Captain Digny, A.A.M.C. (Tenterfield), Capt. Ferguson, A.A. V.C. (Tenterfield).
Other officers include the Brigade Major, Capt. C.W. Huxtable, C.S., Major O.V. Hoad, A.A. and Q.M.G., First Cavalry Division, Major A.H. Powell. D.S.O., Staff Capt., 2nd Cavalry Brigade, Capt. Monaghan, S.C., Adj. 12th Lt. Horse, Lt. Serisier, S.C., Adj. 16th Lt. Horse Regiment (West Maitland). On Saturday, the Divisional Commander (Brigadier General Macarthur-Onslow) will visit the camp.
THE URALLA TIMES
Thursday, August 3, 1950
Walter James King
The death occurred suddenly at his home at Uralla on Friday of Walter James King, a 57-year-old stock and station agent and former grazier.
Deceased was one of the district's best known and most respected residents. He was the son of the late W. King, and the late Mrs. J. Carrion, of Salisbury Plains.
He was one of the first to enlist for service in the Army in World War I and he had a remarkable war record. He was one of a party of Australians who were ambushed on Gallipoli and reported killed. It was not until the end of the war that his family learned that he had not been killed but seriously injured, and had been taken to Constantinople, and later to the Interior of Turkey, where he had been welltreated.
For many years Mr. King conducted a grazing property 17 miles east of Uralla. Only recently he put his son in charge and moved to Uralla where he took over the stock and station agency of the late Thomas Heagney.
The late Mr. King had been keenly interested in the affairs of Southern New England P. and A. Association, and he had been chief steward at Uralla show for many years. He had also served for a time as shire councillor.
When the Uralla Bowling Club was formed he took keen interest in that sport.
The late Mr. King was a prominent member of the Catholic community at Uralla and an active member of the Catholic Holy Name Society and the Australian Holy Catholic Guild.
He is survived by three daughters and four sons. They are Mesdames Houlahan (Moree), Calma (Salisbury Plains) and Sister Rita (Armidale Convent) and Oswald, Bernard, Keith and Tony (Uralla).
Surviving sister and brother are Mother Bendicta (Sydney) and Jack (Kentucky South).
Deceased is also survived by two step-sisters and a stepbrother, Mother Fredericka (Wagga) and Mrs. R. Carey (Bondi) and Joseph Carlon (Salisbury Plains).
The funeral at Uralla on Saturday was one of the largest seen in the town. Members of the A.H.C.G. were pallbearers. Rev. Father B. O'Brien officiated at St. Joseph's Church and at the graveside. T. Crowley and Son had charge of the arrangements.
"The Uralla Times",
August 24, 1950.
TRIBUTE TO LATE WALTER JAMES KING.
Sir- What a pity so many good things about a life are left unsaid until they decease. What inspiration and cheer such remarks would give in life if they had then been passed on. It seems our life is not truly appraised until after death and in many cases, years after.
I would crave space in the columns of the Times to place on record this well merited tribute from one who knew Mr. W.J. King from boyhood.
The recent passing of James King of "Oghratina", Salisbury Plains, Uralla, has removed from us one of our finest citizens, who took an active interest in all worthwhile matters in our town and district. He was a man of very high prinicples - one whose word was always his bond, and the slave of honour in all his dealings.
By his exemplary character he won the esteem and respect of all who knew him, and the confidence of all who had dealings with him. Quiet and unassuming in manner, he was a man of devout faith, and one who had made his guiding principle of life in dealing with his fellow man, to be straight, upright and true.
Cut off in the prime of life, this community is the poorer for the passing of one of his calibre. A splendid trail has been blazed for his boys to follow in and a memory of all that is good and best in life - unselfishness, love and kindness - has been bequeathed to his loved ones, and to our town and district is left the impress of a man who was too fine to stoop to anything mean or unworthy; who always placed duty first and did what he conceived to be right irrespective of consequences.
THE WALCHA NEWS
DECEMBER 11, 1958
SUDDEN DEATH OF MRS. E.K. KING
The death occurred suddenly at the home of her son, Mr. Bernie King, of St. Joseph's, Walcha of Mrs. Eva Kathleen King on Thursday last.
Mrs. King, who was 60 years of age a native of Uralla and a daughter of the late Patrick and Sarah O'Connor. She had lived at Uralla all her life until making her home with her soldier settler son, Mr. B.W. King, at "St. Joseph's," about five and a half years ago.
Her husband pre-deceased her nine years ago.
Mrs. King was a woman of a very happy disposition and made many friends in Walcha.
She took an active part in three womens' auxiliaries - the Red Cross, CWA and Hospital in Walcha and was also in those same three auxiliaries whilst she was in Uralla.
She is survived by a family of four sons and three daughters.
The sons are Messrs. Bernard King (St. Joseph's, Walcha), Oswald (Kentucky), Keith (Wollun), and Tony (Gravesend). The daughters are Mrs. Joan Holahan (Gravesend), Cecilia (Sister Rita of the Ursuline Convent, Toowoomba), Nursing Sister Carma King, (of St. Margaret's Hospital, Darlinghurst.)
Three brothers and one sister also survive in Messrs. Milo O'Connor (Injune), Desmond O'Connor (Dungowan), Brendon "Tom" O'Connor, a relieving postmaster, and Mrs. Cruse (Uralla).
A brother, Mr. Justin O'Connor predeceased her just two months ago.
The high esteem in which Mrs. King was held was exemplified by the large funeral on Saturday afternoon. Burial took place in the Catholic cemetery, following a service in St. Patrick's Church with the Rev. Father J.B. McKeon officiating at the church service and at the graveside.
Piddington's had charge of the funeral arrangements.
Many exiled Irishmen became so excited, enthused and involved in High Patriotism during the celebrations in 1875 to mark the centenary of the birth of Daniel O'Connell that they restored, or added, the "0" to their name.
Uralla was gazetted a village in 1855, just three years after the area's first big gold strike. The centre of the village was the junction of the Bundarra Road with the main north-south road linking Armidale and Tamworth. The Rocky River Goldfields, the cause of the first settlement, follow a five mile stretch of the Bundarra Road till it reaches the Gwyder River at Maitland Point. The mines burrow into the sides of the Mounts Welsh, Jones, Mutton and Beef, and into the creeks running between these mountains.
Moses and John began well with their digging, finding some good gold. Their families settled in to the new way of life, but for the two men, their involvement with their families, together with Anne's illness and subsequent death, meant that from here their ways parted. They always remembered the companionship and support of the early years and visited when they could.
John and Mary had their first child, Margaret Mary, born 3 June 1855. Mary had been helping Anne with the education of her boys and, when Anne became ill during 1856, the two boys stayed with John and Mary. Moses' and Anne's daughter, Mary Anne, went to work for one of the local families. John and Mary's family was further increased when Patrick Michael was born 23 Nov. 1856.
The "Armidale Express" of Saturday, April 18, 1857, reports:
The diggers working at the Rocky River are earning from £2 to £4 a week. Some of the ground near Garland's late store is turning out first rate. Connor's party, who are working a horse machine there are getting very payable stuff, the yield being from 2 to 3 dwts. to the bucketfull.'
`Gold, £3 12s. per Oz. for any quantity'.
`The weather is a bit more settled, but already we can snuff the chill and bracing air of approaching winter, particularly the mornings and evenings.'
`Our postal service requires some remarks, for whenever a river rises, we get no mails! Last week, for instance, Monday and Wednesday's bags arrived only on Saturday, and the newspapers were much damaged, and in instances, missing altogether. We presume that the down mails shared the same delay, and that the letters by them for Europe were too late for the `Columbian'. A highway like that to New England deserves to be in a better condition.'
John and Mary became restless through the long, cold, wet winter of 1857. The ground was slushy, slippery and boggy, so John, like so many of the miners could not make any progress. Once again the family was packed into the dray and they set off for a new mine John had heard about at Fairfield (Drake), near Tenterfield. Mary's third child, Mary Anne, was born at Tenterfield, 13 September 1858.
This was not a successful venture, John felt let down by the gold mine and his losses worried him, so they returned to Rocky River. John was only one of the many who suffered such reverses in gold speculating, but to him it was a stern lesson. He returned to his digging and sluicing at Rocky River. Now that the weather was warmer it was better. He also brought more horses and made up a good team.
With his earlier knowledge of shipping conditions at Morpeth to aid him, he now began a carrying business, taking down the wheat and wool, and any other produce, that was to be shipped from Morpeth to Sydney and thence to England and Europe. On the return trip he would bring back the much needed food supplies, clothing and building materials. The value of horse teams over bullock teams was speed, horses could travel twelve to eighteen miles per day compared to bullocks only eight to twelve miles a day. In wet years with flooded rivers and boggy flats the trip could take up to five months whereas in a dry year the trip could be accomplished in five weeks. The teamsters were usually assisted by a mate or a lad, or as in John Connor's case, by his son. It is told that even at eight years of age, Patrick could walk (and ride) with his father's team from Uralla to Morpeth and back. He knew the special harness that fitted comfortably on each horse and could assist with the morning harnessing and evening unharnessing every day. He even knew the special spiked shoes for each horse as they were strung on the row of nails along the side of the wagon. At Morpeth where the flats were so boggy logs had been laid in neat rows to form a path for the wagons, but these were so slippery that the horses were shod with spiked shoes to enable them to pull their loads. This meant that when the teams reached the camping grounds, each horse had to have its shoes changed to the spiked ones and then after the wagon was unloaded at the wharf and the return load on and the wagon back on firm ground, the process with the horses shoes had to be repeated, putting on the normal ones for the homeward trip. What lessons must have passed between father and son on those long, quiet times together?
By 1860 most of the Rivers between Morpeth and Uralla had been bridged or, as at Singleton and Aberdeen, a ferry provided. John was among those teamsters who tried the route to Kempsey and a deeper shipping port, but the mountains were too steep and hard for the horses. Bad and all as were the Liverpool and the Moonbi Ranges, they were preferable to the steep climb up from the coast. So they continued their method of using two teams to haul a load to the top of the Moonbi's, leaving that load there and going back for the second load.
Twenty years and more John continued these trips, leaving Mary to attend to the children. They had seven children though one little boy lived only eight months. She cared for them, started them on the road of learning and then sent them to the local school. When John came home from his trips, whether that trip had been quick and pleasant or beset with storms, bogs, or any of the various frustrations, Mary was always there to welcome him home and to make his life easier, at least for a while.
The Catholic Priests had just come to the area and John and Mary were happy to have their children baptised and to be able to attend Mass, even though perhaps, not as often as they would have liked. Father Timothy McCarthy took up residence in Armidale in 1853 but it took him the first three years just to ride once around his parish which extended from Singleton to Ipswich and from the Pacific Coast as far inland as he could go. In 1855 Father John Dunne arrived and it was he who baptised Margaret Mary Connor on 11 October 1855 when she was four months old, and then Patrick Michael Connor on 12 December
1856 just a few weeks after his birth. Later Father J.T. 0'Neil came to help in the parish and when Moses Henry Connor was born in 1868 it was Father J.T. Lynch who baptised him. Father Lynch had visited the area while he was still in Singleton. It was he who had organised the Catholics to build the little wooden chapel in Armidale, that Father McCarthy found on his arrival there.
A public meeting was called at Rocky River and a fund raised to erect a chapel at the diggings. On 30 August 1856 Father McCarthy stated that, "a suitable building will be completed in about a week". It was made of slab, lined with calico and would hold 150 children. It was to be used as a school as well as a chapel and stood mid-way between the two most populated areas, Mounts Welsh and Jones, near Mr. James Ryan's residence. A report in the "Freeman's Journal" of 17 January 1857 stated that `Divine Service is occasionally given by Rev. T. McCarthy, but generally by Rev. J.F. Dunne.'
By 1860 the population of Rocky River was declining as the gold was becoming more difficult to get. Uralla continued to grow as the centre of a large woolgrowing district. The little wooden church-school at Rocky River fell into decay through neglect and not being used when a new wooden church was built in Park Street, in Uralla. This was the Mass centre until the new brick building was erected at the northern end of Bridge Street in 1880.
Mary's time was well filled with caring for, and sewing for, the children while John was away, but the nights were long and lonely. She began the education of her children by always having her precious Bible and dictionary on the table. Every childish question was carefully answered and they were taught how to seek and find the learning that would stand by them throughout life. It is little wonder that the teacher's reports commented on their level of achievement at school, or that they were competent and confident to undertake high responsibilities as young men and women of their time. Her three sons all entered into the Public and Civic life of their areas.
Margaret Mary Connor met John Patrick Henry, a carrier like her father. They were married at Uralla on 7 January 1871 and their first child was born 21 December that same year, and named John Patrick like his father. John built a home for Margaret at the end of Hill Street, near the foot of Mount Mutton. There they raised their family of twelve children.
Mary's youngest boy, Moses Henry, was only three years old when Margaret's John Patrick was born so there was no time when Mary was not caring for or helping with a baby.
The opening of the Railway Station in Uralla in August 1882, brought mixed blessings and feelings to John Connor. The speed of the trains made a great difference to the time for travelling to and from Sydney, or any of the places along the way. It made a great difference to the time for bringing food supplies, and it considerably increased the quantity of all types of supplies that could now be brought to the town. But for John it meant that he and his horses were no longer wanted; their life's work was done. He sold his team, and, being 72 years of age, he retired to a quieter, less stressful way of life. He still did some searching for gold and some working in the garden, but mostly he let go everything. It was only a few short years until he died in 1887.
John Connor loved the sea and had great faith in its healing powers. In between carting trips to Morpeth, particularly during the cold New England winters, when colds and flu were prevelant, he would load the family into the buggy and go down the sea at Kempsey for a few weeks. When all were restored to good health he would bring them home and return to the daily grind of earning a living. The same if any of the children or Mary or himself, had a cut or sore that would not heal, down to the clean salt water was better than to any doctor. Only at the end of his life did the sea fail him, perhaps he left the cut too long; gangrene
I had set in. He spent some weeks at Kempsey but was no better on his return; then a few weeks with his youngest daughter and her family at Ben Lomond, but he returned home still not healed. Did he remember how many years he had pushed his body to the limit, working to make a good home for Mary? To rear and educate his children? They are all grown men and women now, settled in their homes and with their families. Even his beautiful horses had not been needed since the railway line had been opened in 1882. The Lord called him home, quietly and gently, Mary as always was there at his side, God Bless her.
URALLA & WALCHA TIMES Wednesday, April 27, 1887
OBITUARY. - We have again this week to announce the death of one of the oldest residents of this neighbourhood, Mr. J. O'Connor, who died at his late residence on Thursday morning last.
Mr. O'Connor, who had passed the proverbial three score and ten, was born in Dublin in 1810, and followed the occupation of a brewer. He landed in Australia in the year 1830 - 56 years ago - and during that time experienced many changes and saw many ups and downs. The first few years of his life in this colony were spent in and around Sydney. Being of an adventurous spirit and great physical strength, he was just the man fitted to be a pioneer. He was one of the first white men to penetrate and explore the Macleay River, and many a thrilling tale he could tell of his adventures with the wild blacks in that district, and it is known that the Macleay tribes were the most warlike of any aboriginals in the Colony, From the Macleay he came to the Hunter River and located himself at Green Hills, Morpeth, where for 17 years he remained in the employ of Captain Rapsey, of the old St. Michael storeship as wharfinger. Maitland and Morpeth were nothing more than a wild bush when he went there: but, before leaving, both places were rapidly growing, and good buildings were standing in place of the ancient stringy bark buildings that were first erected on the sites now occupied by the pretty towns of Maitland and Morpeth. Here again after 17 years as wharfinger, he took a whaling voyage through the sunny Southern Ocean; on his return to Sydney, meeting with his only brother, Mr. M: O'Connor, now of Bundarra, he gave up the sea and with him settled down at Moreton Bay, or, as it is now known, Queensland; but that great epoch in Australian history, the gold discovery, sent him moving and he arrived at the Rocky River with the first rush and has lived here -ever since, with one or two exceptions - for a short time in the neighbourhood of Tenterfield, and for a while in Fairfield, where he lost a lot of money, speculating in mining. For 35 years Mr. O'Connor has lived in this neighbourhood; he has watched it grow from a wild bush to what it is now, and we do not suppose that there are many older inhabitants in this part left behind him. He leaves a widow, 3 sons, 3 daughters, 17 grandchildren, 1 brother, Mr. M. O'Connor, and a sister, Mrs. Bermingham, of Chester, England. Those who knew Mr. O'Connor some few years back relate many prodigious feats of strength that he has performed. The cause of his death was a general break up of the constitution. He was buried on Friday at Uralla and was followed to his last resting-place by a large number of old friends. The Rev. Dean O'Connor officiated at the grave.
When Patrick Francis Moran came to Australia as Archbishop of Sydney, in March, 1884 it was natural that Mary Connor (Murphy) should write to him, as to an old school friend, and welcome him to the country that had given her a new start in life, security and opportunities for her children and peace and contentment for herself. It was natural, too that when he came to Armidale for the Episcopal Consecration of Rev. Patrick Joseph O'Connor as Bishop of Armidale on 4 March 1903, that he would stop in Uralla and pay a visit to Mary.
THE URALLA NEWS
Wednesday, August 18 1909
One of our Pioneers.
On Monday last, August 16, Mrs. O'Connor, sen., of Leighlin Cottage, Uralla, celebrated her 80th birthday and was the recipient of many kindly greetings and presents from friends and relatives. Except for a troublesome partial deafness, the worthy old lady is in possession of all her faculties, and her recollections of the early days of the district (of which she has been a resident for 55 years) are wonderfully clear, and particularly entertaining when exercised in connection with the history of the early days of the old Rocky goldfield. She has reared a family of three sons and three daughters, all worthy citizens, who had the pleasure of meeting together to greet her on her birthday. Her other descendants comprise 41 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren - all New Englanders - so that in wishing our brave old pioneer many happy returns of the day, the News ranges itself upon the side of quite a big section of the community.
In a corner of the living room in her little weatherboard cottage Mary O'Connor had set up her treasures, the statue of Our Lady on top of the three boxes-cum-cupboard with a tidy curtain hanging in front. Inside she had her shroud all ready as was the custom of the time, and on the lower shelf her treasured Bible and her dictionary, both now worn and well used. On the wall above hung the two pictures, the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Sorrows. Many were the times when this "Prayer Corner" was the source of comfort and strength for Mary as she raised and trained her children and cared for her husband and came to the aid of her many neighbours and friends. When one day, by a sad accident, fire burnt through the cottage destroying Mary's home and clothing, this one corner was saved.
The statue is still loved and cared for in Rita Dawson's home in Hill Street, Uralla, which is built on the same place as Mary O'Connor's little "Leighlin Cottage" used be.
THE URALLA TIMES
Wednesday, May 28, 1914
Death of Mrs. O'Connor
On Monday, the 25th, at 2 p.m. there passed away another of our brave old pioneers in the person of Mrs. O'Connor, of Hill Street, Uralla, at the ripe age of 85 years. A native of County Carlow, Ireland, she, accompanied by a younger sister, ventured upon the long and arduous voyage to Australia per sailing ship 61 years ago. After a year spent in Queensland she married her late husband (who predeceased her by about 27 years) and came from Ipswich per horse team overland to the then famous Rocky River diggings where, save for a short interval spent at Tenterfield, she has lived ever since and reared a family of three sons and three daughters, all of whom were assembled at her deathbed. Although grown very feeble she only took to her bed about 12 days ago, since when she gradually sank and died as stated, passing away as peacefully as an infant falling asleep. She leaves 91 descendants, viz., 6 children, 42 grandchildren, and 43 great grandchildren. A worthy and patriotic woman she never, since the granting of womanhood suffrage, failed to record her vote, and it was a source of honest pride to her to know that her children inherited her public spirit; two sons, viz., Messrs. P.M. and J.F. O'Connor and a grandson, Mr. J.P. Henry, being each in turn Mayor of their native town, Uralla. The first named was also first President of the Gostwyck Shire Council and J.F. O'Connor is the present Mayor of Inverell, and the youngest son, Mr. M.H. O'Connor, is an ex-Mayor of Hillgrove. Truly, an honorable record; may she rest in peace!
The funeral took place on Tuesday, a large number of relatives and friends following the remains to their last resting place. A service was conducted at St. Joseph's Church by Rev. Father McGrath, and afterwards at the old cemetery), where the interment took place.
The late Mrs. O'Connor's daughters are Mrs. J.P. Henry SNR. Mrs. Nixon and Mrs. Wall.