Publications and Notes

FAMILY HISTORY – ‘What’s in a Name?’ 

Submitted by Susan Wright

When growing up I was told we had no relatives by the name of Ross.  My father only had one brother and he died young, and therefore no children, true.  My grandfather was the only boy with one half-sister and two sisters, also true.  Now this is where it gets interesting.  My great grandfather was also the only boy, wrong – he did have two brothers, but they had no children.  That is all the family history that was ever spoken about.  Then I came along and started researching the Ross family tree and this is where it got more interesting.  Nothing would fall into place.  Records would not line up and I started to hit brick wall after brick wall. 

My great grandfather’s birth, death and marriage certificates made for interesting reading and not all the info would line up.  So on and on I went and found that my great grandfather was born at Mistake Creek in Queensland.  Do you know how many Mistake Creeks there are in Queensland?  A lot!  Then I started to find siblings also born at Mistake Creek, Clermont and ‘Bancory Station’.  Again things get more interesting, as parents name were James Ross and Susan nee Smith.  When I got their marriage certificate, James was noted as being born at Maniro, NSW, with parents Thomas Ross and Catherine Jennings.  Ceremony performed in District of Manaroo with the family living at Bolero Manaroo.  On further investigation Manaroo/Maniro/Manara are the plains of southern NSW around the now Goulburn/Canberra area.  This area was a large grazing property.


More research and I’m now getting more and more confused.  So microfiche after microfiche (before Google).  I found a death for a Walter Patrick Ross in Cloncurry with the same parents Thomas Kirk and Catherine Jennings.  Sent for and received a death certificate of said Walter Patrick Ross that read “Walter Patrick Kirk known as Walter Patrick Ross”.  Back to the fiche and there were two death certificates, one in the name of Ross, also known as Kirk;  and the other as above.. Uh ha found it.

Now the question why the name change?  Maybe some trouble with the law, maybe a family problem, maybe a wife and with the dates, maybe a convict ???


All searches of convict records gave no information, again just confusion.  Finally a further research found Thomas Kirk and Catherine Jennings with a family of eight children.  Some born in NSW and some born in Victoria.


It appears that only James and Walter Patrick changed their names and moved to Queensland.  Recently I found a public members family tree on Ancestry for Thomas Kirk and Catherine Jennings and a lot of info on other members of the family, but nothing on James and Walter Patrick Kirk.  I informed her of my results and she returned with the same thought that these men were one and the same, but we have no clue why the name change and move.  She feels we may never know as she has found that the Kirk’s were not ones for newspaper articles etc.


This letter was sent to Lois Ross-Soden’s grandfather during WWI, from his brother.

5 O.C.B.

St John’s College



Dear Alf,

            I received a letter from you today, and it reminded me of how neglected you must feel at only receiving news second hand, thru Mother.

            I hope she sends all my letters on, that is all that she gets.  I doubt very much if she gets all I send, because the hun submarine is as busy as ever and I don’t get half the letters that are sent to me and none of the parcels.  It’s a pure bastard.

Jellicoe has been removed from 1st Sea Lord in the Navy because he was unable to stop the hun subs from sinking 20 vessels per month.  Hope Wemyss does better.  A new broom, you know, often does much good.  A few days before I went away from here on Xmas leave, I met Mrs and Adelaide Tucker who have been living here for the last 5 years.  They came over so that Adelaide could take a degree at Cambridge which she did, and while Miss Kitty (the elder) met and married a wounded Australian from Hamilton, Victoria, named Selwyn Stewart.  That was about 10 months ago.  They were very nice to me and I was damnably glad to meet someone I knew, but as I feared, since my return, they have made a hell of a nuisance of themselves by asking me round to their house too often.  I guess I am regarded as a ‘catch’, and I must say Mrs T is taking no pains to hide her designs.  She is as bad as the Emblings once were.  I am afraid I can’t tell you what I did on leave in London – there is too much of it.  Gordon came up and met me at the hotel the night I came down to London, and we had a very quiet night at a theatre after which he went back to Brooklands.  There was a hell of a thick fog that afternoon which lasted 4 days.  Next day I went to Cooks and the Bank, then down to see G at Brooklands.  There I stayed 2 days and he put me up in his room and the Mess where I was very comfortable.  On account of the fog there was no flying and so G was free to stroll around with me and show me what there was to be seen.  Sopwith Scouts (single seaters) in all stages of construction but only one 2 seater machine a huge triplane (Sopwith experimental) with its engine under repair.  So I did not get a  lift.  As there was absolutely nothing to do down there except suck up whisky, I returned to town with a ferry pilot name Foden (old Melburnian, after us) and dined and theatred with him.  He returned to Brooklands and I went home with a very ‘nice clean girl’ who proved quite a prize.  I have her name and address for future reference.  G came up unexpectedly next day and was free so long as the fog lasted.  Together we wined and dined and womanized and had a gorgeous time together.  I met Stan Gardner and Eric Larkin.  Also one day in Piccadilly Square I ran across young Grimwade who was a prisoner in Germany for 12 or 18 months.

Xmas Eve we spent at the house of another officer from Brooklands and a very dull afternoon developed amazingly into a gorgeous spree in which we saw everyone else home – well staggered – and then took ourselves home too.  Next day, we spent very quietly but had several fancy cocktails before proceeding to a very fine champagne dinner with Mrs Gregg, where we met Sid Dalrymple (Capt RFC) Tom Parker (Capt Inf) and Clive Williams HPM 1st Lieut.  We had a very jolly evening and then saw Clive home after which we too went back to our pub, where we had a few whiskeys in my room and then got into a real rough house.  The hotel staff (female) came home while we were drinking our ‘dock and dorris’ in my room, and went into a house at the back of the pub waving and calling to us.  We set out to find that house and did so after an hour or more.  We threw stones and coins at the windows but no answer so we tore down an iron railing fence and forced the door.  All doors on the ground floor were locked but on the first floor we found one open and G proceeded to collect a couple of souvenirs. He gave me a black blouse and had just got a pair of corsets for himself when a horrible screaming arose from within the room.  “‘Rose, Rose, an officer is stealing your clothes”.  We turned to run, G first, halfway down I was overtaken by a fat girl in her nightie and nearly brought to the ground.  I clung to the bannisters, saved myself, looked around to see Gordon safely floating out the door, then turned and pushed the female off.  As I began my descent, she hurled herself at me, throwing her arms round my neck and together we somersaulted arse over turkey down the stairs.  My glasses were smashed, knuckles grazed and cheek cut, as also was I somewhat dazed.  She continued screaming and by the time I got to my feet slammed the door and brought a dozen other similarly attired females to her aid.  They threw themselves on me when I tried to open the door and a waiter mysteriously entering from somewhere in rear, rescued me and wafted me up to my room where G soon joined me and we finished off the whisky in peace.  We sort of sobered up for the rest of the time and only got drunk safely, but managed to have a ripping time.

Had a few letters from Jack who is back in the trenches again with 11th Aust Field Ambulance, having a hell of a time with mud and shells.  We are going to lose this war – that’s dinkum;  so be of good cheer old Scout.  Hi Ki and Kunt to you.



Whitsunday Lone Graves

Includes name, date, reg No, place, remarks, parents, age, how died

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Whitsunday Pioneer Register Pre 1920

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Book 2 – $30 per copy incl postage


Proserpine Cemetery Photographs of Graves and MIs to 2007

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Saturday 2nd January, 2016.



Bowen Independent – Tuesday 11 April, 1911                                    submitted by Linda Thorogood

The Euchre Party in aid of the Band on last Friday night was as usual a success.  The lady’s prize was won by Miss Brown and the gentleman’s by Mr A. Phaff.  Light refreshments were provided by the lady friends of the members of the Band.  After the playing, a couple of hours dancing was indulged in, with Mr J. Holt as M.C.  Some of the music for the dances was supplied by the Band and Mrs Taylor supplied the remainder.

Yesterday one of our landmarks was removed by the falling of the fine mango tree near Hearn’s bakery.  Mr A.J. Setter is going to build there, so the poor mango had to go.

After some delay caused by the want of timber, the carpenters are making good headway with the Great Northern Hotel.  Most of the studding is up and a lot of the old building is being pulled down

Mr Rasmussen is very busy at present.  He is building four cottages for Mr T. Simpson in Waite Street and has also several other cottages in hand.

Mr H. Deicke is calling tenders for the painting of the Palace Hotel.  So all the tradesmen will have employment.

The ladies of the R.C. Church are holding a Euchre Party on Easter Monday night in the Oddfellows’ Hall.  The Hospital committee were going to have a dance on that night but they generously gave way to the ladies.  They will hold their dance a week later, on St George’s Day, which is a public holiday.

Easter Monday in aid of the hospital.  One noticeable feature of the programme is the quantity of beer to be competed for – two cases and one half hogshead.

The weather is fine though very hot, and there has been no rain for a week.

A team of cricketers from the local club journeyed to Preston last Sunday where they suffered a defeat at the hands of the home team.  Preston went in first and made 103 runs before they were disposed of.  Lahey with 40 being top score.  Proserpine could only make 58. Their cracks going out for nothing and the score being made by the tail, Kent with 13 made top score.  As Lahey is a member of the Proserpine club and made the highest score in the first match, he therefore wins Mr Cullen’s trophy.

The Church of England people are holding tableaus on the 22nd of the month and are assiduously holding rehearsals.  We are looking forward to a good night’s entertainment when they eventuate.

The “Yongala” and her fate are the chief items of conversation at present.  Our police were sent down to the coast last week to look for wreckage, etc.  They were to follow the coast around to Bowen and would in all probability have a rough trip.

If any Members have any thoughts on articles or a regular column you would like to see included in the journal, or have info weblinks, or an article you would like to contribute, please contact the Editor, or leave at the Library.

When you reach the end of your tether,  tie a knot and hang on


BOWEN INDEPENDENT    –        Saturday 23 December, 1911


A quiet but pretty wedding was solemnized at the Holy Trinity Church on Monday, 18th, the contracting parties being Mr Albert Thompson, Albion, Brisbane, and Miss Ethel (Kon) Emmerson, of Amelia Vale Station, granddaughter of the late Captain Sinclair, the discoverer of Port Denison.  The Rev. W.G. Hills officiated.  The bride, who entered the church on the arm of her brother-in-law, Lieutenant Smith, was attired in a lovely gown of crepe de shine over glace silk, the bodice being Magyar style, swathed with raised silk, Paris lace and belle sleeves, and finished with bands of beautiful beaded embroidery, the skirt being high waisted with heavy bands of silk Paris lace forming the tunic, and slight train. She wore the orthodox wreath and veil, and carried a shower bouquet of white roses, stephanotis and asparagus fern.  The only ornament worn was a handsome watch bracelet, the gift of the bridegroom.  Miss Dot Sinclair, cousin of the bride, and Misses Kon and Lulu Emmerson, nieces of the bridge acted as bridesmaids.  Miss Sinclair wore a dainty frock of pink silk, made Empire style, with wreath and veil and amethyst brooch, the gift of the groom.  Misses Kon and Lulu Emmerson wore pretty frocks of egg blue silk, wreaths and veils and bamboo bangles, gifts of the groom.  Each carried wedding bells covered with white roses and lilac.  Mr F. Cheffins attended the bridegroom as best man.  As the bridal pair left the Church the Wedding March was played by Revd Hills.  The wedding breakfast was served at ‘Braeside’, the residence of Mr W. Gordon, at which the usual toasts were honoured.  The happy couple left on Friday for Brisbane where the honeymoon will be spent.  The bride’s travelling dress was in Satin charmense, petunia shade, swathed with bugle and oriental trimmings, with semi-empire tube skirt and tube hat and shoes to match.  The presents were numerous and costly, including several cheques.

Bridegroom to bride, gold watch bracelet             –        Bride to bridegroom, gold sapphire ring

Mrs A.H. Emmerson, mother of bride, house linen –        Miss G. Emmerson, handanga pillow shams, and duchess set

Miss L. Emmerson, oil painting                           –        Mr and Mrs E.J. Emmerson, cheque

Mr and Mrs C.A.L. Emmerson, cheque                 –        Mr H.D. Sinclair snr, silver butter dish, and sleeve links

Mr and Mrs A. Sinclair, cheque       –       Mr Ron Sinclair, cheque        –        Mr H. Sinclair jnr, cheque

Mr J. Sinclair, cheque    –  Mr G. Taylor, cheque  –  Mr W. Sinclair, cheque  – 

Miss Dot Sinclair, handsome ruby salt sellars, silver mounted      –        Mr W. Bradley, cheque

Mr and Mrs W. Gordon, silver pickle jar               –        Mr A. Gordon and Miss Gordon, silver serviette rings

Misses Kon and Lulu Emmerson, cut glass and silver mounted stud box and pin box

Mr and Mrs A. Smith, table Damascus and serviettes       –        Master Hecky and Lovy Smith, vases

Mr F. Cheffins, beautiful silver bread board and knife      –        School Committee (Cannon Valley), handsome silver teapot

Mr and Mrs H. Wilson, silver mounted brush and comb     –        Mr and Mrs W. McCanley, handsome silver cret

Mr and Mrs D.A. MacDonald, butter dish              –        Misses V. and D. McDonald, trinket box

Miss F. McDonald, jewel case                            –        Miss Lee (Gladstone), silver jam dish

Mr F. Watts, silver and oak salad bowl                –        Mr G. Nielsen, salt sellars

Mrs A. Sinclair (Townsville), beautiful silver cake basket   –        Mrs Gilmour (Townsville), salt sprinkler

Mr T. Heron, flour spaigue                                –        Mr R. Miller, ruby jug and glass

Miss M. Field, bread board and knife                   –        Miss A. Bode, tray cloth

Mr. de Jersey, cheque  –  Mr and Mrs Thompson (Brisbane), cheque  –  Miss Higlett (Brisbane), cheque

Mr and Mrs Thompson, snr (Brisbane), cheque  –  Mrs Thompson (Brisbane), afternoon tea set

Mr and Mrs Fellows (Brisbane), biscuit barrel        –        Mr and Mrs Lowe (Brisbane), set of carvers

Mr and Mrs Rex (Brisbane), swinging lamp

This list is not complete –


Bushells’ Centenary   1883 – 1983                  (Continued from July)

1893 –       Financial crash becomes national & tens of thousands lose their life savings.

The economic crisis deepens and the Eastern colonies plunge headlong into depression.  Wool prices plummet to 7d a pound, a little over half what they stood at ten years ago.  Mutton, beef, wheat and mineral prices also drop dramatically.

As most banks suspend payment, tens of thousands lose both their jobs and their life savings.  Victoria and South Australia are the worst affected and, in Melbourne, the crisis is exacerbated when the Government proclaims a five day bank holiday in an effort to cool the rising panic.

The Australian branch of the Salvation Army provides some assistance to the distressed, serving free meals and helping the growing numbers of unemployed find work.

Many people decide to set out for Western Australia, following the discovery of vast goldfields there.  A second rich field has now been discovered at Kalgoorlie by an Irish prospector, Paddy Hannan.  This field will turn out to be the richest strike of all, the area becoming known as The Golden Mile where some of the world’s largest and most productive mines will be sunk.

Brisbane is devastated by two great floods, occurring within a ten day period.  The torrential rain is unceasing and the floods become the worst of the entire century.  More than seventy inches of rain is recorded until eventually, further registration of falls becomes impossible.

1894 –       Australia produces its first motor car.  Melbourne streets lit with electricity for the first time.

Australia’s first motor vehicle is built by Charles Hyland of Sydney.  It is a three-wheeler with a Daimler petrol engine.

Another shearers’ strike breaks out in Queensland and the ensuing violence is worse than in 1891.  It lasts three months at the end of which several lives have been lost.  The unionists are once again defeated, the economy and the state of the labour market being the deciding factor.

Women gain the vote in South Australia, the result of a highly political move, rather than an early enlightened point of view.

Bicycling is now all the rage and the annual spring meeting of the Melbourne Bicycle Club has become almost as popular as the Melbourne Cup, this year attracting a crown of thirteen thousand.

The central business area of Melbourne is lit for the first time with electricity, replacing the gaslight used till now.

1895 –       A seven year drought begins.  The Man from Snowy River is published.

The most severe drought in Australian history begins and will last for seven years, compounding the already disastrous effects of the depression.

The poetry of A.B. (Banjo) Patterson is published in a collection ‘The Man from Snowy River and other verses’.  Together with ‘Waltzing Matilda’ Paterson’s works are destined to become world famous for their evocation of the atmosphere of the Australian outback.  Following Queensland’s lead, South Australia passes legislation to limit the use of opium among Aborigines to medicinal purposes only.

After twelve years of operating in Queensland, a branch of Bushells Tea and Coffee is opened in George Street, Sydney by the founder’s eldest son Alfred Walter Bushell.



GEORGE BASS came to Australia in 1794 on the same ship as the new governor of New South Wales, John Hunter.

Bass was a ship’s surgeon – a sawbones.  There were no antibiotics or penicillin to cure infection then, so limbs were quickly amputated.  There were no anaesthetics, only rum.  George Bass and his patients needed strong stomachs.

Bass soon had a patient on his voyage to Australia.  Bennelong was going home from England and he was very ill.

Matthew Flinders was also on the ship.  He had grown up just a few miles from Bass’s home in Lincolnshire.  The two men became good friends.

Soon after arriving in New South Wales Bass and Flinders began exploring the coast to the south in a tiny open boat called the Tom Thumb.  They had what all great explorers need – skill and strength, imagination, courage and good luck.

In December 1797 Bass and crew of six sailed in a nine metre open boat through terrible seas around the southern tip of the Australian continent and on to discover that Van Diemen’s Land was separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water.  They named it Bass Strait.

On his way back Bass and his men found seven escaped convicts stranded and starving on a little island off Wilson’s Promontory.  The boat could only carry two more people so Bass took on board those who were most frail.  The other five were put ashore on the mainland with as many provisions as Bass could spare, but they were never seen again.

The following year Bass and Flinders sailed right through Bass Strait and around Van Diemen’s Land.  Flinders later became the first man to circumnavigate Australia.

Bass wanted to make his fortune trading in the south seas.  In February 1803 he set sail from Sydney for South America.  After calling at the north island of New Zealand he was never heard of again.

There is a story that he was captured by the Peruvian government who took him to be a pirate and made him a slave in their lead mines.

It is more likely that his ship sank in the Pacific.  Whatever happened, George Bass’ luck had run out.

  Proserpine Guardian –       

6 November 1928            –              Goorganga Beach Road:                Counter attractions played havoc with the attendance at the meeting held last Wednesday to discuss ways and means of cutting a new road through to Goorganga Beach.  Those present did agree to take a run out to the beach tomorrow with a view of cutting the new road and all are to try and persuade as many others as possible to join in the work.  Each man is asked to bring along an axe to help mow down the trees.   

Overland to Sydney:      Following are a few extracts from a diary kept by Mr WJ Graham during an overland trip to Sydney undertaken by Mr and Mrs Graham.  Arriving at the lower crossing of the O’Connell River we found the tide too high to cross, and had to turn back at Goorganga and take the old road over the Andromache and the O’Connell.  We picked up a tin of benzene at Eton, and then it was a second gear job up the range to the Range Hotel, where we arrived at 7.30 pm having registered 146 miles for the first day.  Next morning another tin of benzene cost us fourteen shillings and 3d, the most expensive of the trip.  Spent 3 ½ hours in Isaacs River, bogged to the axles in sand.  Went on in the moonlight, but took a wrong turn and ended 8 miles off our track.  Eventually made Clermont at 1.00 am.  The road through Morven, Mungallala, Mitchell, Mickadilla to Roma is through prickly pear country and would take some beating for a rough ride.  At Tenterfield we had to get our permit to travel through NSW, which is necessary if you are to stay in that State more than two weeks, and intend covering aa certain mileage.  We arrived in Sydney on the 14th day of our journey.


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