T is for Townsville and Toowoomba

Join me on my Cemetery Searching expedition for the 2023 A to Z Blog Challenge. I’ll be re-visiting some cemeteries and preparing for a wish list of others. Some family members will be mentioned but I also have an interest in German family graves as well as those of people born in Co Clare Ireland.


Belgian Gardens Cemetery

My maternal uncle is buried in this cemetery. He died young from peritonitis.

Joseph McSHERRY only son of James Joseph and Laura McSHERRY and husband of Millice. The cemetery was not well maintained when we visited.

Other family members are also buried there including my great-uncle John Joseph McSHERRY and his family. I don’t have a photo of their graves.

A list of burials in this cemetery can be found here. https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0025/8386/Belgian-Gardens-Cemetery-Records.pdf

West End Cemetery, Townsville, Queensland

This is Townsville’s oldest cemetery and has many interesting burials and gravestones and I’ve photographed a number of memorials include places of birth. I’ll start with some family memorials before sharing some others that caught my eye.

Mildred Patricia McSherry, youngest child of Peter and Mary McSherry, died 14 November 1910 when she was 7 years and six weeks. She was the fifth child they’d lost. Also buried with her, is Annie Jacobson nee McSherry, their fourth child and one of the few relatives I met myself.
Mary Melvin was the daughter of Laurence Melvin and his wife Mary Wilson Mitchell. This child was my first cousin twice removed.
The family of William Edward BLACKWELL including his grandson, Gerald Gaba-Tepe BLACKWELL. There has to be a story behind the child’s name, remembering a relative perhaps. Hardly an auspicious name given the circumstances at Gallipoli. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E84826 Contrast that with this https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-43412851/view?partId=nla.obj-43413356#page/n2/mode/1up
Coming from railway family, this memorial had to be included. Louis Moessinger was killed in a railway accident. You can read a lengthy news story on the accident here http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article193348669 I’m a bit mystified by the second name on the memorial as it does not seem to be family. More research needed.
Marion CURRIE died on 9 March 1903 during cyclone Leonta. Although her grave says she was 74, reports including family notices say she was 84 years old.
The Townsville Cyclone (1903, March 15). The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts (Barcaldine, Qld. : 1892 – 1922), p. 3. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76368888
CYCLONE AT TOWNSVILLE. (1903, March 13). The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 – 1924), p. 2. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121539078

Townsville is in our tropical zone and as such is susceptible to cyclones. You can read my own experience of a Townsville cyclone here. https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2013/02/02/fab-feb-photo-collage-2-feb-cats-kittens-maggie-cyclones/ Much more fortunate than poor Mrs Currie.

Richard Oswald ELLIS was killed in an accident with the mounted infantry. You can read the enquiry here. <a href=”http://”The Defence Force Fatality at Townsville.” Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 – 1902) 8 March 1892: 4. Web. 24 Apr 2023 http://”The Defence Force Fatality at Townsville.” Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser (Qld. : 1875 – 1902) 8 March 1892: 4. Web. 24 Apr 2023 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article220600620&gt;.

Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery, Toowoomba, Queensland

This cemetery is an epicentre for graves of family and my German interests. Today I’m restricting myself to just one memorial.

The memorial for the GAVAN/GAVIN family.

As you can see the sandstone on the memorial has been worn by wind and weather. It rmembers Mark GAVAN, a convict exile from Clifden in Co Galway, his wife Ann nee CONRY or CONROY, and their daughter Annie. Mark and Annie were the parents of one of the boys who drowned on Jimbour which I wrote about under J. The other reason that this memorial is interesting is because it mentions Annie’s brother Peter CONROY. His death is mentioned in the newspaper but his name does not appear in the death indexes nor have I found him in the inquest indexes.

“TOOWOOMBA.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 5 July 1866: 3. Web. 24 Apr 2023 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1270449&gt;.

8 thoughts on “T is for Townsville and Toowoomba

  1. Although, of course, one is grateful for news stories explaining what happened, they always make me enormously sad. I suppose it’s the drama of the current moment, for visiting gravesites feels quite different to me – peaceful and removed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another fascinating series of stories behind your ancestors’/relatives’ graves. Cyclones are indeed a serious force of nature and so sad about Mrs. Currie’s traumatic death. Her hand-pointing-up stone is a common motif on older gravestones here in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

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