By John Joseph Ray of Brisbane, Australia, retired academic and blogger. Most recent update: 2014

My "Ray" Ancestry

F.E. Ray

My father was Frank Edward Ray, who was born in 1915 at Home Hill in North Queensland. He died in Cairns Base Hospital aged 65 in 1981 and his remains are at the Townsville Crematorium. He was a quiet, sentimental man who loved my mother until the day he died. His last words were: "What's the time, Mum?" Like many men of his generation he usually called his wife "Mum". He would only call her "Peg" when he was "tired and emotional".

While I was a kid he mostly worked felling trees for timber, though when I was very young he worked for a short while as a canecutter. In his later years he worked at Queerah meatworks where he was well regarded.

He was about 5'6" tall and a redhead with a Roman nose like mine and blue eyes. When he worked outdoors, his fair skin would not tan but would go red, even though he was not sunburned. I believe that he was "a bit of a lair" (i.e. he enjoyed dressing fashionably) in his youth but he certainly was no lair in my experience of him.

Below is the wedding photo for my parents. My mother and father are on the Left, followed by my father's brother Hal, my mother's sister Maude and probably my mother's brother Bill

Jack Ray

Frank's father was John Francis Burnside Ray, who usually gave his name as John Charles Ray and was usually referred to as "Jack". He was born at Port Douglas in 1879, died of a stroke in 1956 and is buried in Cairns. He was a "bullocky" (bullock-driver, teamster) and timber-getter (lumberjack) in his time but in his later years he worked for the Cairns City Council as a labourer. Commercial directories of the Cairns area around the turn of the century (i.e. around 1900 A.D.) describe him as a "carrier" -- as bullock teams were the usual means of heavy carrying in those times. I still have a photo of one of his teams at work (below)

The photo below records considerable pride. Jack Ray (in the middle of photo) often used his team to "snig" (drag) out of the bush (forest) some of the huge trees they cut down in those days. He also felled trees himself and I suspect that he both cut and moved the monster in the photo. Jack was around 6' tall so that is the diameter of the tree

Imagine cutting down a huge tree with just an axe and a crosscut saw then imagine getting it to the railhead with bullocks pulling it along an unmade bush track and you will see the reason for the pride behind the photo. Those guys were not supermen so it is rather amazing what they accomplished with just brains and doggedness. They understood the challenges they took on and rose to them.

I remember him as a very quiet and tallish man, with white hair, blue eyes, a chronic squint, a Roman nose and a white moustache yellowed from smoking. He never went to school as he was working a bullock team by the time he was 10. He was however taught at home how to read and write. A photo from his wedding to Annie Warren below:

At one time I went around the Cairns and hinterland area looking up old people who had known my grandfather and met several of them. ALL of them said about him something like: "A very quiet man; never said much". So my own impression of him was well confirmed by others. The same quiet, reserved manner was inherited by his son (my father) and then by me -- and now by my son, Joe. In Jack it was not only a reserved but also a quietly confident manner and my having a similar manner did seem to go down well in upper class and upper-middle class circles whilst I was in England. In other words, I inherited a rather upper-class manner from a bullocky!

Henry Lawson's poem "The Teams" tells of how taciturn and enduring the early Australian bullockies usually were and what Lawson describes certainly fitted Jack to a "T". Lawson knew what he was talking about -- unlike the quite stupid poem about bullockies written by Judith Wright -- who obviously did NOT know the men she was talking about but simply drew on some ignorant stereotype or other. Bullockies had considerable capital tied up in their teams so were in fact hard-working small businessmen rather than ignorant roughnecks.
The Teams

A cloud of dust on the long white road,
And the teams go creeping on
Inch by inch with the weary load;
And by the power of the green-hide goad
The distant goal is won.

With eyes half-shut to the blinding dust,
And necks to the yokes bent low,
The beasts are pulling as bullocks must;
And the shining tires might almost rust
While the spokes are turning slow.

With face half-hid 'neath a broad-brimmed hat
That shades from the heat's white waves,
And shouldered whip with its green-hide plait,
The driver plods with a gait like that
Of his weary, patient slaves.

He wipes his brow, for the day is hot,
And spits to the left with spite;
He shouts at Bally, and flicks at Scot,
And raises dust from the back of Spot,
And spits to the dusty right.

He'll sometimes pause as a thing of form
In front of a settler's door,
And ask for a drink, and remark "It's warm",
Or say "There's signs of a thunder-storm";
But he seldom utters more.

The rains are heavy on roads like these;
And, fronting his lonely home,
For days together the settler sees
The waggons bogged to the axletrees,
Or ploughing the sodden loam.

And then when the roads are at their worst,
The bushman's children hear
The cruel blows of the whips reversed
While bullocks pull as their hearts would burst,
And bellow with pain and fear.

And thus - with glimpses of home and rest -
Are the long, long journeys done;
And thus - 'tis a thankless life at the best! -
Is Distance fought in the mighty West,
And the lonely battle won.
Jack's wife (my father's mother) was Annie Margaret Warren who was born in 1888 and died aged 29 of tuberculosis in 1917 at Home Hill. She was much beloved in her lifetime and her premature death was deeply felt. My father Frank no doubt got much of his nice nature from her. When I spoke to her brother, Vin, in 1986 or thereabouts and asked him what sort of a person Annie had been, Vin said, "She was a lovely person" -- and his eyes filled with tears.

After Annie died prematurely in December 1917, Jack remarried -- to Lucy Marion Medlock -- on 19 December, 1917. I remember Lucy as my kindly Grannie. The Medlocks had been known to the Rays and Warrens for a long time and were neighbours in Kuranda before they moved to Home Hill, if I have it right. I have the impression that both Annie and Lucy were very good catches for Jack, both being women who were nice-looking and nice-natured. It's interesting that Annie finally passed away on 16th and Jack remarried just three days later. TB is a slow death so arrangements had been made ... There were after all two little boys to be looked after.

From early photos, I think Jack was probably seen as a bit of a handsome devil in his youth. See what you think below. The image is off an old and damaged photo but maybe you can see ....

Bob Warren

Annie Ray's (nee Warren) father was Robert William ("Bob") Warren who was born in 1861. He was a carpenter and something of a local politician in his day. He was known as an inventor, a cricket enthusiast and for his ability to pour oil on troubled waters during any kind of dispute. He was also a dairy farmer and at one stage moved his herd via ship from Kuranda to Home Hill. He got some sort of land grant at Home Hill. The farmhouse and creamery at Kuranda is in the background of the picture below. He built his house himself and when he moved from Kuranda, he dismantled it, took it with him and re-erected it in Home Hill!

The photo above appears to be from 1909 and an interesting thing is that we actually still know the names of the beasts in the picture. Their animals were like people to their owners in those days. Bob is with his bull "Sultan" and the cow in the picture is the prize-winning "Coconut". In the background is "Bluebell". I think it was Vin Warren (Bob's youngest son) who gave us those details. He knew those animals himself. I had another picture of Coconut at one stage and asked Vin how he knew it was her. "By the curl in her tail" he answered. The animals were all real individuals to him. He remembered them like people.

The photo was taken at Myola, near Kuranda in North Queensland.

A press clipping of unknown date and probably published in a Home Hill paper reads as follows:
From Myola to Home Hill

In 1914, Mr. and Mrs. Warren, accompanied by their sons, Bert and Vince, and their son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ray, and nephew, W. Warren, set out for their new home, Mr. Ray having also drawn a block. Their youngest daughter (now Mrs Cliff Mann) joined them three months later and another son Harold remained in Cairns to complete his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner and came to Home Hill later

The property at Myola was sold, the buildings were disposed of and most of the cattle were sold at auction, leaving only a few to be brought with them. The home was dismantled to be brought with them and with household furniture and effects, a four-wheeled phaeton, Chaff Cutter, saddles etc., there were four big loads for a bullock waggon to the railway for the 24-mile journey to Cairns where it was loaded onto a boat, and with horses and cattle, and the Warren family it travelled to Townsville and then by rail again and by Guskie's horse team to the farm.

While the farm was being established, Bob Warren used his varied talents to advantage and had no trouble finding work. When test wells were put down to investigate the water supply for the establishment of the Inkerman irrigation scheme, he and another engine driver worked 12 hour shifts for a fortnight to test the two up river wells. The pumps ran non-stop for a forthnight to test the supply and the findings resulted in the establishment by the Government of the Inkerman irrigation scheme.

When the scheme was commenced, Mr Warren was engaged as head carpenter on the construction of the buildings and Vin was also employed as a clerk in the Irrigation office during the construction.

Mr Warren helped with the establishment of the Home Hill hospital and was a member of the first committee.

One of his keernest interests was cricket. A first class player in his younger days, he was Patron of the Home Hill Cricket Association until the time of his death and saw his sons and grandsons achieve success in the game

When coffee growing was commenced in the North and promised to become a thriving industry Bob Warren manufactured a machine to hull the beans and he sold a number of them. He had an inventive mind and was always ready to accept a challenge in that direction.
I actually remember Bob Warren myself. We visited them at Home Hill when I was about 6 and he gave me a penny. Even at that time the amount seemed small but he was an old man then and a penny would have bought a lot in his youth.

Annie Ray's (nee Warren) mother (Bob Warren's wife) was born Annie Elizabeth Shorter in 1861. Bob Warren died aged 93 in 1954 and his wife died in 1951 at age 89. Below is a picture of them in around 1910 when they visited Brisbane on holiday, arriving on the good ship "Wyreema"

Bob Warren's father was also Robert Warren and I have a photo of him which looks very much like an image of me! See below. The photo must date from the dawn of photography so was probably takes in connection with his official (albeit humble) duties. He emigrated from England to become a gardener at Government House in Brisbane.

My Great-great grandfather on my father's mother's side

EAWFB ("Frank") Ray

Jack (John Francis Burnside) Ray's father (i.e. my great grandfather) was Edward Arthur Walter Francis Burnside ("Frank") Ray, a "bullocky" (teamster) by profession who was born at Narellan in Sydney in 1844 and who died in 1910 at Goodna Mental Hospital, outside Brisbane -- though my Aunt Edie (his granddaughter) said that he and his wife are both buried in Cairns cemetery. He was deranged at the time of his death. I obtained a copy of his medical records and it seems that the medical staff of the day suspected that he had syphilis. From the photo of his wife, one could understand that he sought sexual satisfaction elsewhere. See below.

My great grandmother

He is remembered as a "quiet" man but also seems to have been "a bit of a lair" in his youth. His obit in The Cairns Post of 28 February 1910 describes him as the first carrier (bullocky) on the Palmer [river goldfield] up Cooktown way. I inherited from my father a large original photographic portrait of him as a young man that must also date from the dawn of photography -- around 1870 (digitized below)

Jack Ray's mother was Elizabeth Ann Holt, who was born at Bury in Lancashire in 1859. Her parents were Ellen Rodwell and William Holt. She was a redhead and rather stout in her later years (see above).

Very little about EAWFAB ("Frank") Ray has come down to us -- though my father recollected him as a bit of a villain (Taking timber logs off crown land, for instance) -- so it is interesting that a press cutting has come to light which may give some substance to that. The 1884 government Gazette tells us:
"Edward Arthur Walter Francis Burnside RAY, alias Frank Ray, is charged, on warrant issued by the Cooktown Bench, with deserting his wife Elizabeth, of that place, on the 19th ultimo. Description :--A native of New South Wales, 38 years of age. 6 feet high, medium build, dark complexion, dark hair, whiskers, moustache, and beard (the latter turning grey), hazel eyes, follows the occupation of sawyer or bullock-driver; wore light tweed trousers and coat, white helmet hat with black band. He left Cooktown by the S.S. "Maranoa" or “Quiraing" on the 19th ultimo, and it is believed he will go to New Guinea.
4th August, 1884."
Of interest is that the clipping confirms that he was popularly known as Frank and that he was 6' tall. Seeing his mother, Anne Jane, was only 4'9 3/4' tall that is a surprise. Her short stature must have been due to early nutritional deficiency. His father was a sawyer so that fits. And his father Joseph (Height 5 ft 6 and a half inches) had hazel eyes too. "Frank" was born at Narellan in Sydney in 1844, so his NSW origin is also correct.

And in the Cairns post of 29 August, 1891 we read:
On Thursday, a bullock driver named Frank Ray, in the employ of Lyons and Downey, Myola, met with a nasty accident through a cask of cement rolling on him. Dr. Dobie was called in, who found the man's leg badly fractured and he, after doing the needful, advised the removal of the patient to Cairns hospital.
Myola is on the outskirts of Kuranda in Far North Queensland and the Warren family were also there at the time. Frank probably knew Bob Warren. His son and Bob's daughter married, from whence my father sprang.

And in the Morning Post of April 23, 1901 we read.
Mr Frank Ray

The Post is pleased to learn that Mr Frank Ray, the well-known timber getter is recovering satisfactorily after two severe operations performed by Dr. Koch.
My father was also a timber getter (lumberjack in American parlance). Timber getters were normally independent contractors rather than employees so Frank was in effect a prominent businessman in his little pond.

The father of E.A.W.F.B. (Frank) Ray was Joseph Henry Ray, born in Birmingham in 1807. He came out to Australia as one of 170 CONVICTS in the hold of the East Indiaman "Bussorah Merchant" -- arriving in Sydney Cove on 1828. He must have had a great 21st birthday! He was tried at Stafford Assizes in 1827 and convicted of house robbery. I have a copy of his "Conditional Pardon" (The condition of conditional pardons was that the pardonee never return to England).

When he arrived in Sydney, he was sent to work on the land holdings (farms) of a recent settler, John Blaxland. John Blaxland was the brother of Gregory Blaxland of Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth fame, this trio becoming famous after discovering the way through the Blue Mountains in the early days of the colony of New South Wales.

Both Gregory and John were born in Kent and attended the King’s School, adjacent to Canterbury Cathedral. Becoming frustrated by the inadequacy of their land holdings in Kent, both were encouraged by Joseph Banks to further their fortunes in the young colony. In return for a healthy investment in the colony, John Blaxland was promised various incentives, including a significant land grant and the services of a number of convicts. Thus tempted, John Blaxland arrived in New South Wales in 1807 and commenced amassing his landholdings.

While still a schoolboy, the young Blaxland wandered the grounds and cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral and one day in 1788 put his foot up on the stone seating in the cloisters, scratched the outline of his shoe, and wrote his name.

Canterbury Cathedral is now a World Heritage site and any interference with the property now would bring swift and severe repercussions. So My great great grandfather was assigned to someone who defaced Canterbury Cathedral!

The Australia that greeted my convict ancestors

People tend to idealize these things but the fact of the matter is that the USA started out as a settlement of fanatical communists and Australia started out as a military dictatorship. It's a wonder how well both countries have done, considering such unprepossessing origins.

Starting out as a military dictatorship sounds like a bad start but the military concerned was subservient to the parliament of England so it was fairly humane and permissive by the standards of its day. But most Australians know that (I hope).

From Sydney's newspaper of the day ("The Australian" -- particularly the issue of 30.7.1828) we learn that the "Bussorah Merchant" left London on 27.3.1828 under Captain Baigrie. The guard was from the 29th Regiment.

What is perhaps more surprising is what a modern place Sydney was in its earliest days. Stories surrounding my two convict ancestors help illustrate that:

From the above-mentioned newspaper we learn that when the convict ship carrying my male ancestor arrived in Sydney harbour, there was smallpox on board.

So what did they do? Just say a prayer and disembark everybody straight away? No. The illness was immediately notified to the appropriate authorities. The ship was then sent to Neutral Bay in quarantine and the Sydney population warned. Thousands of people had cowpox vaccinations as a result. After official investigations, the ship was eventually allowed to disembark on August 5th at Spring Cove. Pretty modern! Precautionary vaccinations in 1828.

So Sydney was a pretty sophisticated place by 1828. A "visiting English gentleman" writing in "The Australian" of 13 August 1828 under the pseudonym "Delta" was surprised to find Sydney comprised of substantial brick and stone buildings instead of the mud huts and log cabins he had expected. He found it "a bustling, elegant and extensive city" with shops as good as London's but with much cleaner air. So the convicts had built well in their first 40 years.

A subsequent writer in "The Australian" found "Delta's" encomium a bit exaggerated but did nonetheless still see Sydney as a place with opportunities that might well entice emigrants from England.

And when my female ancestor from those days was being transported to Australia in 1840, the convict ship departed from Kingstown, about 12 kilometres south of Dublin city centre in Ireland , and now called Dún Laoghaire (or Dunleary). So how did she get from Dublin to the port? By steam train! The railway from Dublin to Kingstown opened for business in 1834 and terminated near the West Pier. So Australia started out as the offshoot of the most advanced country of its day. And it has always been a "modern" country. Around the year 1900 it was by some accounts the richest country in the world.

According to the convict ship records, Joseph was Protestant in religion, 5'6 1/2" tall, with a ruddy complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. In England he was a farm labourer but in Australia he was known as a sawyer or carpenter. He left Sydney as soon as he got his pardon and died in Rockhampton on 17.4.1866. His death certificate records that his parents were Edward and Sarah Ray.

While still in Sydney, he met a tiny little fellow convict named Ann Jane Burnside and married her on November 29, 1843 at St. John's church, Camden.

She arrived on the "Margaret" in 1840 from Ireland. The convict ship records show that she could read, that her native place was Liverpool and that her religion was Presbyterian. She was also described as of ruddy complexion, with brown eyes and light brown hair. She lived in Northern Ireland where she was a child's maid by occupation. She was tried at Down on 26.3.1840 and convicted of stealing clothes. She was born on 18.6.1814 and was baptized at the Oldham St Kirk in Liverpool on 10.7.1814. So she was of Scottish origins. The records of the Session of the Oldham St Kirk are now held at the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh! She died in Toowoomba, aged 96 on 2.9.1910. Despite being only 4'9 3/4" tall, she was something of a dominant character according to Mort Ray, who remembered her as his grandmother when I went to see him at age 96. The couple married on 29 November, 1843 in Narrellan, near Sydney.

Records in England may enable a trace further back but all that I have so far is what appears to be the marriage certificate of Joseph Ray's parents. It was issued by St. Martin's church of Birmingham, England, and says that Edward Ray and Sarah Hackett were married on 15th September 1793. Both signed with their "mark" (i.e. were illiterate). I also have a note of uncertain origin that the father of the Edward Ray mentioned was Samuel Ray.


As convict origins are a source of great interest and pride in Australia today, I give below all the information on the ship's manifests for both my convict ancestors:

The ship "Bussorah Merchant" under Captain Baigrie arrived in Sydney Cove on 29th July, 1828 with 170 convicts aboard:

Ref. nos. 135 and 1643: Convict Joseph RAY

Age: 21. Education: None, Religion: Protestant. M.S.: Single
No family accompanying. From Staffordshire. Occupation: Farm labourer
Crime: House robbery. Tried at Stafford Assizes 2 August 1827
Sentence: Life. Previous convictions: None. Height 5 ft 6 and a half inches
Complexion: Ruddy. Hair: Brown. Eyes: Hazel
Assigned to John Blaxland at Newington
Marks: Scar on neck right side; Blue neck on left; Arm: Small finger of left hand contracted, also small finger of right.

Later information: Ticket of Leave 39/1841; Conditional Pardon no. 48/440, pp. 483 & 484 of Register 25 dated Dec 31, 1847.

The ship "Margaret" from Ireland arrived 17th August, 1840:

Details for Jane Burnside:

Standing no. 394-40; Index No. 63

Age 17; Education: Reads; Religion: Presbyterian; Status: Single
Native Place: Liverpool; Trade: Child's maid; Offence: Stealing; Tried Where: Down; When: 26 March, 1840
Sentence: 7 years; Former conviction: 6 months
Complexion: Ruddy and slightly pockpitted; Height 4 ft 9 and three quarters of an inch
Hair: Light brown; Eyes: Brown; Particular marks: Lost canine tooth right side of upper jaw, scar on top of right side of forehead, scar on left cheek; Anchor, flag and J.W. inside lower left arm

Additional information from Death Certificate:
Joseph Henry Ray died on 17th April, 1866 in Rockhampton. The cause of death given on the death certificate is general debility. His father was given as Edward Ray and his mother as Sarah. He was buried at Rockhampton cemetary. He was said to have been born in Birmingham. His children living at the time of his death were:

Edward (my ancestor) born 5 Sept 1844
Joseph born 28.July 1849
John born 2 Oct 1852
William Francis 1858 (?)
Ann Jane 1844 (?)
Elizabeth 1856 (?)

Deceased children were given as Samson, Thomas, Charles and Mary Ann


An alarming number of my relatives and ancestors have lived into their 90s -- mostly living on well-done steak and boiled vegetables. The diet freaks of today would not believe it. It's the genes that matter. Which is what worries me. What if I live that long? It doesn't bear thinking about. I am decrepit enough at age 70!

Anyway, below is one of my nonagenarian ancestors: Mort Ray. I met Mort when he was in his 90s and he still had all his marbles. Mort, or Harry Moreton Ray as he was christened, was the son of Joseph Ray and Jane Zahnleiter. That Joseph Ray was a son of the convict couple. Joseph Rays are a bit pesky to track. My son is a Joseph Ray too. In the picture Mort is with his niece (Jane Conway nee Spencer) who was on that day helping him to celebrate his 95th birthday. Mort dies a few months later. And Mort's brother Lock lived to 100!

Mort was Jack Ray's cousin, which makes him my uncle twice removed (I think). Mort's father, Joseph, was the brother of my raffish ancestor, Frank Ray, pictured earlier. The lady in the picture below is still with us too. As of 2013 she was due to turn 90 next year.

And let us not forget that the convict lady, Anne Jane Burnside, lived to 93! Given the undoubtedly hard life she had and the poor medical standards of the day, that says a lot about her genes.

My "C**" Ancestry

It is a sad thing but it is generally unwise these days to mention online the maiden name of one's mother. It is too often used for ID purposes. Hence the abbreviation "C**"

My mother was Margaret Ray (nee C**). She was born in Townsville on 8.7.1917 and married my father on 30.3.1940. She was about 5'6" tall, with dark hair, blue eyes and fair skin which developed a few skin cancers in her later years. She was a feminist before her time and would probably have been a lesbian if born in a later age. She certainly had a considerable contempt for men generally. She died in Cairns in her 70s.

My maternal grandfather

My mother's father (my grandfather) was Joseph C** who was born on 1.1.1883. He was mostly a railway worker but was also a part-time confectioner. He died relatively young (in 1939) of stomach cancer. My cousin Shirley Smith has written the following about him:
My grandfather Joseph C** 1883 - 1939

Joseph C** (Jr.) was born in Townsville on 1st January 1883. He was the oldest son and first child of Joseph C** (Sr.) aged 32, a labourer, and Paulina nee Weaversley, aged 29 years at the birth. Both were born in England and met in Townsville. They were married at St James Church, Townsville on 25th March1882. A brother William Thomas C** was born in Townsville on 19th October1887 and the family then moved to Cairns where Martin John C** was born on 1st November 1889. Twins Thomas Francis C** and Jessie Emma C** were born on 23rd May 1892 in Normanton.

Josephs (Jr.) father worked as a labourer in north Queensland till 7th October 1893 when he took over the lease of the Norman Hotel. Joseph was 10 years old and should have been old enough to help around the hotel but oral history says the children ran wild while Paulina ran the Hotel. In 1897 the whole family went by ship to West Australia and Joseph and Paulina ran the Hotel at Sawyers Valley for 12 months. They returned to Queensland to the Tattersalls Hotel at Allora in 1900 and the Federal Hotel at Mt Garnett in 1902.

By this time Joseph (Jr.) had seen a lot of the country and at 18 was independent. He had a pig farm at Selheim in 1901 and it was at this time he started to take an interest in mining, working at various places and finally ending up at Selwyn, near Cloncurry, in 1910

While on a visit to his parents at Clayfield in Brisbane he married Margaret Kelly, a friend of his sister Jessie, on 20th June 1910. They returned to Selwyn and Joseph worked at the Mount Elliott Mine till there was a strike and the mine closed down in 1914. The family moved to Charters Towers then Duchess, south of Mt Isa where Joseph was an "aerated water manufacturer" in 1915.

The family moved back to Townsville and Joseph got a job with the Railways starting as a Porter on 10th April1916. He was 33 years old and earned 9/3 a week. He worked his way up to Signalman then Shunter and in 1921 was earning17/8 a week. By this time they had five children and were living in Stanton Street, Townsville. On 21st August 1924 Joseph started as Shunter in Charge at Oakey, apparently this improved his ranking and gave him more pay. He then moved back to Townsville and took up a Position as Guard.

The "1925 Award" saw a change in pay rates and he was earning 2/6 an hour but as the Depression set in work became harder to get.The Services of all Railway Employees was dispensed with for one week from 3rd September 1927 and this is probably when Joseph started icing cakes and making lollies under the house - apparently he was very good at it.

On 20th November 1931 Joseph, aged 48 years, was injured in a shunting accident at Ross River Meatworks and he was never well afterwards though he continued to work. They moved to Home Hill about 1933. In October 1939 Joseph went to Brisbane for treatment of his Stomach Cancer and died there on 26th November 1939, aged 56 years. He is buried in Lutwyche Cemetary.

Joseph's brothers and sisters: I do not know much about Martin John except that he married Violet May Brock in 1912 and had seven children. He worked as a miner at Irvinebank then was a "stoker/gas boy" at the gas works in Cairns and died of "Miner's Phthisis" (pneumoconiosis -- a wasting disease caused by particles lodged in the lungs) in 1932 aged 43 years.

Thomas Francis married Eda Augusta Carlson and had five children. He lived in Brisbane and was a Tramway Inspector -- a very esteemed profession. He married a second time and this wife looked after her mother-in-law (Paulina) until her death. One of Thomas's daughters had twins. Jessie Emma married Thomas Sobey and lived in Brisbane. She had three children and I remember her coming to visit my mother often. She resembled her mother.

My mother's mother was born Margaret Kelly in Brisbane on 16.12.1883 and I remember her as a lovely grandmother of about 5'4", with blue eyes and white hair.

Margaret Kelly's father was Joseph Kelly and he was born in Glasgow on 20.4.1857. My mother always remembered Joseph Kelly doing somersaults to amuse his grandchildren even though he was by then an old man! Margaret Kelly's mother was Martha McGuire -- another very Irish name.

My invaluable cousin Shirley (daughter of Jean C**) again has more info. (overlapping a bit with the details above about Joe C** junior, Margaret's husband):
Margaret C**, nee Kelly, 1883 - 1957

Margaret Kelly was born in Brisbane at the Lady Bowen Hospital on 16th December 1883. Her parents were Joseph Kelly, a sawyer, aged 26 years and Martha - formerly Mc Guire - aged 27 years. both were from Glasgow, Scotland and arrived in Australia on 5th September 1883 aboard the Warrego. at the time of Margaret's birth they were living at Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. A brother James Kelly was born on 10th January 1886. He died on 10th August 1887 after drinking "poison" from a bottle. Margaret would never let any children drink from a bottle. Martha Kelly died on 17th January1889 from Tuberculosis, when Margaret was just 6. They were living at Mary Street, Rosalie.

Margaret was fostered by a Mrs. Gray, a dressmaker, who lived at Rosalie. Margaret was Baptised in the Catholic Church but went to the Presbyterian Church with the Grays. Mr Gray died of Cancer of the Tongue and the Horror of it never left Margaret.

Her father, Joseph, married Jane Dallas, nee Richardson, on 19th December 1901 - Margaret was 9 - and this marriage lasted till his Death on 21st January 1937. Margaret apparently stayed with the Grays but had a lot to do with her father and step mother as Jane's youngest daughter Daisy was well known to all of us. We called her Aunty Daisy and Lex and I had music lessons from her son Allen Brandt who was a Radio Announcer.

Margaret was working as a machinist before her marriage and was living at "Coila" no2 Bowen Terrace, Brisbane when she met Joseph C**, a miner, who was staying with his parents at Clayfield.They were married on 20th June 1910 at "Coila" according to the Rites of the Presbyterian Church. Jessie C** was Bridesmaid. Was she the one who brought them together? After the wedding they headed to Cloncurry and then to Selwyn where Joseph had a job at the Mt Elliott mine. Their first child William Elliott "Bill" C** was born at Cloncurry on 5th April1911 and Jean Edna C** was born at Cloncurry on 27th May1912.

There was a strike at the mine and it was closed down so Joseph and Margaret moved to Charters Towers looking for work. Pauline Jessie was born there on 2 December 1914. They moved to Duchess - south of Mt Isa - soon after and Joseph worked as an "aerated water manufacturer" in 1914 - 1915. I remember my mother telling a story about finding a snake in the house there.

They moved to Townsville about 1916 and lived at Stanton Terrace when Margaret C** (mother of John Ray) was born on 8th July1917. Joseph started work in the railway on 10th April1916 on 9/3d a week. Maud Elizabeth was born on 10th March1920 and their life was pretty stable for a while.

In August 1924 Joseph was transferred to Oakey and I think the whole family moved there as I remember my mother talking about it. They were transferred to Cloncurry then Townsville in 1925 and as the Depression set in work became harder to get. The Services of all Railway Employees was dispensed with for one week from 3rd September 1927 and at this time the pay was 2/8 a week.This is probably when Joseph started icing cakes and making lollies under the house - apparently he was very good at it. The children were growing up and the three older ones were able to work, they eventually went to Mt Isa and worked for Mount Isa Mines till they married - Bill and Pauline in 1931 and Jean in 1933. In 1930 Margaret lived in McIlwraith Street, Townsville.

On 20th November 1931 Joseph was injured in a shunting accident at Ross River Meatworks and he was never well afterwards though he continued to work. They moved to 10th Avenue, Home Hill about 1933. In October 1939 Joseph went to Brisbane for treatment of his Stomach Cancer and died there on 26th November1939. Apparently margaret dug a hole in the back yard and buried all his cake making books and equipment and never spoke of it again.

Bill had married Evelyn Baxter and had two boys Kelvin William Joseph "Kelly" C** 4th December1931 and Robert George C** 24th November 1933. The marriage broke up and the boys eventually went to live with Margaret (their grandmother) when war broke out and Bill enlisted on 24th April 1940. When the boys left home, about 1950, Margaret sold the house and moved between her daughters - staying about 6 months. She was saddened by the death of her daughter Jean in 1951 from Breast Cancer. Margaret took sick with Heart Problems as she was on her way to Rockhampton in July 1957 and died on 5th July 1957 with Pauline nearby.

Margaret is remembered as a kind, quiet lady,always neatly dressed with hat and gloves. She was very independent and lived on her money till it ran out and she finally had to apply for a pension.

Old Joe and Paulina

Joe C**'s father and paternal grandfather were both named Joseph C** also, which can be more than a bit confusing.

The mother of the Joseph C** born in 1877 (my grandfather) was born Paulina Weaversley in 1853 and is remembered as speaking with a broad Yorkshire accent and making very good Yorkshire pudding. She had red hair and blue eyes. She was irreligious and profane, had a strong personality and long arms (like myself). She lived into her 90s.

I interviewed a family member who remembered her well in 1986 and got a very vivid picture of her. The following is how I summarized what I learnt at that time:
One thing about the generation before Paulina: Paulina had a stepmother.

Paulina's maiden name was Weaversley and she was born in Halifax, Yorkshire. She spoke with a broad Yorkshire accent.

The "twinkle" in old Joe's eye turns out to be a C** male family trait: they were all womanizers. The C** men were said to be very attractive to women and had lots of lady friends. Old Frank C** (father of the Frank I have met in Brisbane) got his future wife pregnant before marriage and had to marry her. The pregnancy turned out to be young Frank who doesn't like the fact mentioned. It was said of old Frank that women used to take him out. My past is apparently therefore a very C** one. My uncle Bill C** had 3 wives too.

Old Paulina therefore would have had her problems hanging on to old Joe. Old Paulina was a redhead with blue eyes. She was a handsome woman in her youth with strong features and a dignified manner. She also had a strong personality and was a very interesting woman. The long arms also apparently come from her.

She met Joe at the races in Townsville, where she apparently got off the ship. She worked in the Yorkshire woollen mills in her youth and was later "in service".

Joe was from Lancashire and both he and Paulina liked their beer. Their purchase of a pub in Mt Garnet looked a mistake at first as a mine closed soon thereafter but another mine soon opened so they ended up OK.

Old P. had massive furniture in her house in Bris. and used to rearrange it once every week or so -- shifting it herself even into her 90's. Her health went into a decline after a dog bit her when she was 89 or 90 and she never really recovered. She showed no signs of senility or physical incapacity until her 90's. Even then she still used occasionally to tell off her son (whom she lived with). Kids could always get icecream money from her at that stage and earlier (when she was still living at Hamilton) vfsiting kids used to get 2/- as a present -- a lot of money in those days (1940s).

In the old pub-keeping days, however, she used to have to serve behind the bar and her own kids ran wild a bit. Around 1900 she and Joe went back to Britain and were away a year. During that time her (male and female) twins were put in a girl's boarding schools to avoid splitting them up. In later years, however, the twins hated each other.

Paulina always called Joe "the boss". She was a strong and intelligent woman, irreligious and broad minded -- "no lady". She liked cats, was a good cook and used expensive ingredients. Known for her Yorkshire pud and onion tarts.

She was a hard worker and short and stocky by build. She had a lot to say for herself and moved with the times. She had lots of knick-knacks in her Hamilton house (Dresden china, tasseled cushions, several rocking chairs) but used to let kids play with them.

She was a fussy housekeeper and used "bloody" in her speech. It was old Frank's second wife who took in Paulina in her old age. It was not Frank's idea. The second wife wanted Paulina's money and Paulina did in fact leave it all to Frank. When Frank died, the second wife therefore got all the C** money.

The lady to whom P. was "in service" later provided her & Joe with a carriage to use when they went back to Britain on holiday so she was well thought of.
The Joe C** (husband of Paulina) who was the father of my grandfather Joe C** was born in 1841 at Gravesend in Kent and died aged 75 of stomach cancer on 10.1.26 in Brisbane. He is buried in Lutwyche cemetery in Brisbane. His mother was born Cordelia Woollett.

He (Joe C** of 1841) was originally a sailor and jumped ship in Townsville to go to the goldfields. He became a goldfields publican and retired to Ascot in Brisbane a rich man. My cousin Shirley Smith has written the following concerning him:
Joseph C** probably arrived in Australia sometime before 1876. Family stories say he was a seaman who jumped ship in North Queensland. It is not clear if the brothers came out to Australia together as William was married in Brisbane in 1876. Joseph is first recorded in Townsville in 1882 when he married Paulina Weaversley. There are two stories about how they met. One says she waved a handkerchief to him from the ship as he worked on the docks. The other says that they met at the races. Joseph was working as a labourer at the time.

They were married in St. James' Church of England, Townsville on 25th March, 1882 and their first son Joseph was born in Townsville on 1st January 1883. Four more children were born: William Thomas on 19th October 1887, Martin John on 1st November 1889 and twins Thomas Francis and Jessie Emma on 23 May 1892. The twins were born in Normanton, which is a port for beef cattle and gold and tin mines on the gulf of Carpentaria. Joseph worked as a labourer in Normanton and took over the lease of the Norman Hotel on 7th October 1893. Reputedly, Paulina ran the bar and the business prospered while the children ran wild.

In 1897 they left the hotel and the whole family went by ship from Townsville to West Australia to a small town called Sawyers Valley and ran a hotel there for 12 months before sailing back to Queensland. This was a very long journey, thousands of miles, and probably in sailing boats.

On his return to Queensland, Joseph operated the Tattersalls Hotel at Allora, a small farming town South West of Brisbane. He then bought the Federal Hotel at Mt. Garnet. This ia a tin and copper mining town West of Cairns and at the time all supplies for the town were transported by camels from the nearest railhead. Just after he got there the copper was worked out and the smelters closed down. Joseph was worried but other mines opened and he did very well financially -- so well in fact that they put the twins into boarding school and went to England for a year. The twins both went to a girl's boarding school so that they would not have to be separated. Joseph probably visited his relatives at Gravesend while he was in England though I see his father had died by then. They visited Yorkshire and were welcomed by Paulina's former employer.

On returning to Australia, they bought the Palace Hotel at Childers, 220 miles North of Brisbane where they grow sugar cane and produce beef cattle.

The family was devastated when William Thomas died at the age of 20 from typhoid fever on 27th November 1907. They sold the hotel and retired to Brisbane in 1908, when Joseph was 57 years old. When he died 18 years later he was listed as a gentleman -- which means that he was living on private means. Paulina lived on for another 20 years and was active almost to the end of her days.

Regarding the above, Martin C** of Charters Towers says: "One small error I can see is that old Joseph was born in 1851 not 1841 - actual date was 4/8/1851. Interestingly old Joe's brother (older) William Joseph lived here in Charters Towers for a number of years - I think his 3 children were all born here".

Below is a story from an old newspaper about William C**, brother of my great-grandfather, Joe C**

Reminiscences of the early pioneers of Queensland are always of absorbing interest, whether the narrator be head of an imposing expedition or a henchman who has shouldered his way in the rough and tumble of an adventurous if precarious stewardship.

There are, alas! only too few of the grand old stalwarts left, but Mr. W. J. C**, of Brisbane, though never at any stage a captain of industry, or a leader of men, can certainly lay claim to be numbered amongst the chosen few who have blazed the trail for Queensland.

He has reached the ripe old age of 81 years, but in spite of the manifold hardships through which he has gone, time has dealt kindly with him. His mental faculties are fully alert, and his physique might well be envied by men half his age.

He came to Queensland from England in 1871, in charge of some pedigree bulls for Mr. William Archer, of Gracemere station. The voyage out was an uneventful one until Sydney was reached, when it was found that his charges were suffering from foot and mouth disease. Then followed a monotonous three months in quarantine at Garden Island before he was permitted to continue the journey to Queensland with his cattle.

A butcher by occupation, Mr. C** was deeply impregnated avith the "gold fever," and participated in many prospecting adventures in North Queensland.


In his own breezy manner, as if the exciting experiences were mere commonplaces, Mr. C** related some of the difficulties and dangers attending mining ventures in the early days,

"While working at Watsonville," he related, "another man who had a claim just above us sang out one day for help. It appears he was winding up a bucket of stuff from his claim, when all at once he received a spear from a mob of blacks higher up the mountain, right through him, just missing his heart.

Some more miners who were working at the Great Northern mine on top of the mountain came rushing down, and between us we got the spear out. There was no doctor on the field, or at Herberton either, so we made a stretcher of saplings and bags and carried him to Herberton, whence he was conveyed 90 miles by coach to Port Douglas. He was then put on a boat for Sydney. He was patched up as well as possible, and returned to the fields, but was never the same man again.

His mate, who was working 20ft. below, came rushing up the ladder to see what was up. Directly his head and shoulders showed above the shaft he got a spear through his shoulder, but was soon all right again.


"Just after the above took place," continued the narrator, "there was a man missing from the camp. He was a big German. A search party wont out looking for him, and they eventually found him hanging in a tree, heels up, head down, with a sheet of bark hol- lowed out in the middle under the man to catch the fat dripping from his body.

The blacks say they dip their spears in this fat or oil, which they consider rank poison, and entering the body of another person is sure to cause death. The man was tied up with rope made from twisted stringy bark.


"I want to say right here," added Mr. C**, "that there are tons of gold in the North of Queensland yet undiscovered. The fact that all the old prospectors are dead accounts for that fact, and there have been no new prospectors to take their places. Of course they do not get sufficient encouragement from the Government.

I can give an instance of how Charters Towers was discovered. There were four men prospecting between Ravenswood and Charters Towers. When it got dark one day they came back to a waterhole where they camped after hobbling their horses, and putting bells on them.

In the morning the horses could not be found, so a black boy was sent to look for them. That was about 8 or 10 miles from Charters Towers. The boy found the horses in what is now called the Gap.

The boy noticed a lot of white quartz studded with bright stuff. He did not know it was gold, but gathered some of it, and took it to camp with the horses, and showed it to the prospectors. The prospectors were Messrs. Sellheim, Clark, Mossman, and Charters, and they went with the boy to the place whero the quartz was found, and pegged out claims. Mr. Mossman lost an arm through an explosion of dynamite."


Mr. C**, however, has vivid recollections of incidents other than those connected with the search for precious metal and stock raising, and he recalled with gusto an occasion on the Palmer, when a certain pioneer was made a Justice of the Peace

There were plenty of sly grog shops about, he mentions, and one day an old crony of the Justice appeared before him on a charge of drunkenness. The delinquent was at once recognised by the Justice, who roared at him. "What brings you here? get to H out of this. Next time you come here, and I am here, you will get three months'

Referring to the cost of commodities, Mr. C** explained that in those days there was a scarcity of many things. Flour was 1/- per lb., water 1/- a bucket, and beef 1/- per lb, in lots of not less than 60 lbs.

Some pix received via Martin C** of Charters Towers:

Joseph C** senior below. You can see what a tough cookie he must have been. To the right is Violet. Martin says of Violet: She was old Joe's daughter in law - married to Martin John C**. They married on 14/2/1912 (she was pregnant) and they married in Irvinebank on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands. It is not a great distance from Mt Garnet where old Joe had his pub earlier.

A later picture of Joe C** senior below. The lady on the left is probably Clara Weaversley nee Mitchell, his mother in law.

The children of old Joe C** below:

The kids above are/were: Joe (oldest) William (Bill) 2nd oldest, Martin John 3rd oldest and twins Jessie and Francis (Frank).

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The views expressed by me on my political blog linked above are generally conservative but they were pretty mainstream views in North Queensland when I was growing up. Since most of my relatives are still Queenslanders and many are North Queenslanders, I doubt that many will be much shocked at what I have to say